Posts tagged ‘ontological argument’

August 1st, 2013

Transcript and Thoughts on My Debate with Justin Schieber

by Max Andrews

Over the last month or two I’ve been working on a written/audio debate with Justin Schieber of Reasonable Doubts. The topic of the debate was “Does the Christian God Exist?” I imagine the debate may have been released earlier had it not been for my delayed responses due to health issues and moving out of our house and preparing to embark on our move to Scotland. I have apologized to Mr. Schieber concerning this and I extend apologies to the readers and listeners.

I was actually expecting much stronger arguments from Mr. Schieber. Two arguments were off topic and the other one was a far metaphysical and modal stretch. You’ll be able to read his arguments in full but here are my thoughts :

April 21st, 2013

The Reverse Ontological Argument

by Max Andrews

Interestingly, there is an argument used by atheists to demonstrate that God is impossible, which picks up on the ontological argument. This argument is traditionally called the reverse ontological argument. Instead of demonstrating that God a maximally great being that exists necessarily, the reverse form is used to demonstrate that God is impossible. To give a context for the atheistic argument here are the two most popular versions of the theistic ontological argument:

The Anselmian Ontological Argument (Theistic)

  1. God exists in the understanding
  2. God is a possible being
  3. If X exists only in the understanding and is a possible being, then X might have been greater
  4. Suppose God exists only in the understanding
  5. God might have been greater (2, 4, 3)
  6. God is a being than which a greater is not possible
  7. So, a being than which nothing greater is not possible is a being which is greater is possible
  8. Since 4 led to a contradiction 4 must be false
  9. God exists not only in the understanding alone—God exists in reality as well
    read more »

April 3rd, 2013

Liberty University Debate Video

by Max Andrews

A debate between Max Andrews from Liberty University and Dan Linford from Virginia Tech on the topic “Does God Exist?”

Filmed on the campus of Liberty University, March 28, 2013.

Sponsored by the Liberty University chapter of Ratio Christi, the Phi Sigma Tau Honor Society, and the Philosophy Department of Liberty University.

April 3rd, 2013

Arguments Used in the Liberty Debate

by Max Andrews

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 9.53.05 AM

December 17th, 2012

Q&A 2: The Ontological Argument, Logic, and… Aliens?

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion 1:

I am interested in becoming a Christian apologetic but these couple questions are kind of a stumbling block for me. Do you think you could answer these questions for me so I could understand Christianity more?
1.What is the ontological argument? To mean it seems like a lot of lip service. Basically tell me if I’m wrong the ontological argument is that if you think something exists it does or if your mind can imagine something it exists? It doesn’t make sense to me.  A perfect concept does not prove a perfect being.
2. I was watching a philosophical interview with Greg Koukl who was talking about abstract uncreated beings. From what I got out of it uncreated beings do not exist and God created everything even Numbers But if that’s the case then how can God be bound by logic? Like the answer to the question can God make a rock to be he can’t lift? One would say that God can do anything LOGICALLY possible and since there are no rocks he can’t lift then the question is logically impossible. So how does this make sense? Do you know about created and uncreated abstract beings and can you explain more about the study of them and what they are?
read more »

July 25th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Unicornex

by Max Andrews

Word of the Week: Unicornex

Definition: Let a unicorn be a magical horse with a horn protruding from the forehead.  Let a unicornex be an existent unicorn.  No non-existing thing is a unicornex.  So, it’s true by obversion, some existing thing is a unicornex.

More about the term:  Atheist philosopher of religion William Rowe argued that Anselm’s ontological argument (probably) begs the question.  He used the example of a ‘unicorn’ and a ‘unicornex’ to display this charge of circular reasoning. This is what Rowe believes Anselm is  doing by just defining God into existence.

July 12th, 2012

The Problem of Evil and the Multiverse

by Max Andrews

If God has a sufficient reason for permitting evil in some possible world then he has a sufficient reason in all possible worlds. Given simplicity, God is perfectly similar in every possible world we can conceive.  He never wills differently, he never acts differently, he never knows differently, and he never loves differently.  If modal realism is true and evil exists then the probability overall or on balance for justice is precisely 1.[1]  Thus, the problem of evil is an insufficient objection given whatever God’s interaction is in this world. It would be morally equivalent to his actions in other worlds with evil.  If God is absolutely similar in all possible worlds and if he has a morally sufficient reason to permit evil in some possible world then he is morally justified in permitting evil in all possible worlds (even if some worlds are more bad than good because God would be acting towards the same telos).  The following is a modified version of Alvin Plantinga’s ontological argument.[2]  In it I include the necessary entailment of a morally sufficient reason for permitting evil.

P1. The property of being maximally great is exemplified in some possible world.
P2. The property of being maximally great is equivalent, by definition, to the property of being maximally excellent in every possible world.
P3. The property of being maximally excellent entails the properties of omniscience and moral perfection.
P4. The property of moral perfection necessarily entails a morally sufficient reason for permitting states of affairs that are overall more evil than good.
P5. A universal property is one that is exemplified in every possible world or none.

April 6th, 2012

Is the Concept of God Logically Incoherent?

by Max Andrews

In response to the defintion of God being the greatest conceivable being there are a couple objections. 1) All great-making properties (GMP) must emit of maximality and 2) these properties must be co-possible. For instance, the maximality of the angle of a Euclidian triangle is 180 degrees.   Tom Morris makes the case that it doesn’t follow that God must have all GMP.  For instance, moral duties are a GMP but God doesn’t have moral duties.  He acts in accordance with duties but does not act out of duty.  It may be the case that God’s properties are perfectly modulated (or regulated).  Sometimes the best state is perfectly regulated.  For instance, the best Olympic runner’s heartbeat mustn’t be infinite but appropriately regulated. The properties must be maximally compossible and it may be the case that the maximal state is in the middle.

December 21st, 2011

Responding to the Evil God Challenge

by Max Andrews

Stephen Law has been setting forth his case for the evil God challenge.  It has been a recent topic of discussion in the blogosphere and there have been several articles written about it.  The argument is formulated in a way that mirrors the moral argument for the existence of God.  If objective morality is true then this morality is grounded in God.  Law argues that if objective evil is true then it is grounded in an evil God. (That’s the basic outline of the argument but please see more here).  I haven’t read much of anyone’s responses to the challenge so I apologize if I’m repeating someone.  I’ve been hesitant to participate in this discussion because I hoped it would pass over but here are my thoughts.

The reason why I waited so long to chime in on this discussion was because I didn’t think the argument was a very good argument.  I have two primary contentions for why this is an incoherent argument.  My first is that the argument requires there to be a genuine ontology for evil and my second follows Thomas Aquinas in that everyone always acts according to what they believe is right.

July 29th, 2011

The Validity of Plantinga’s Ontological Argument

by Max Andrews

In 1974 Alvin Plantinga developed a modal version of the ontological argument, which is as follows:

  1. The property of being maximally great is exemplified in some possible world.
  2. The property of being maximally great is equivalent, by definition, to the property of being maximally excellent in every possible world.
  3. The property of being maximally excellent entails the properties of omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection.
  4. A universal property is one that is exemplified in every possible world or none.
  5. Any property that is equivalent to some property that holds in every possible world is a universal property.
  6. Therefore, there exists a being that is essentially omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect (God).


Ax =df x is maximally great

Bx =df x is maximally excellent

W(Y) =df Y is a universal property

Ox =df x is omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect

1 ◊(∃x)Ax                                                     pr