The Ontological Argument
So here we are m’lords, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we have finally reached the concluding chapter of the debunking of William Lane Craig’s 5 arguments for god debunked. It has been a roller coaster of emotion, well for us here at AIR it has anyway. Last weeks instalment was completed 5 mins before publication. The week before I was ill and we had other articles on standby just in case I couldn’t get it together. we got there and here in the end. I hope you have enjoyed the series. We have reached a large number of people with our posts and to date no derogatory comments have been received so looks like we are doing things right.
Anselm’s Ontological Argument for the existence of God
On to the argument, let us first mention St Anslem. His original argument has had to be reformulated as WLC mentions, this is because it was crap. his argument was as follows:
Anselm’s reductio ad absurdum argument runs as follows:
Assume God does not exist.
‘God’ is defined as “that than which no greater can be conceived”
“That than which no greater can be conceived” must therefore not exist. (from 1 & 2)
“That than which no greater can be conceived” exists only in imagination, not in reality. (from 2 & 3)
If “that than which no greater can be conceived” were to exist in reality as well as in imagination, it would be even “greater”.
But that would mean “That than which no greater can be conceived” is not “that than which no greater can be conceived”. ( From 4&5)
“That than which no greater can be conceived” must exist in imagination and also exist in reality for it to be the greatest thing conceivable.
That means ‘God’ both does and does not exist (from 1 & 7).
Premise 1 cannot be true (reductio ad absurdum)
Anselm was forced to admit his argument relied on ambiguities in definition. In which case enough said about that one. Anselm himself knew it wasn’t up to scratch.
Platinga’s Argument for the Existence of God
Plantinga on the other hand went balls deep into assumption.
A being has maximal excellence in a given possible world W if and only if it is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good in W; and
A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being exists.
Therefore, (by axiom S5) it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.
Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists
The arguments are just based on assumptions
When you assume, you are making an ASS out of U or ME! All seems reasonable until we reach P4. “Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being exists.” Now we have delved into the realm of assumption. Lets assume leprechauns exist to show they exist shall we? How can an argument More circular than a circular dinner plate be considered? It is the ultimate sin in the world of logical discourse. This was realised by Alvin Plantinga and by his own admission, it proves nothing:
“Our verdict on these reformulated versions of St. Anselm’s argument must be as follows. They cannot, perhaps, be said to prove or establish their conclusion. But since it is rational to accept their central premise, they do show that it is rational to accept that conclusion”
-Alvin Plantinga, “The Nature of Necessity” (1974), pg 221
WLC reworked Ontological Argument
So how does WLC rework the argument to make it air tight? He doesn’t!! He just acts like it is. Oh and just for fun you can switch the ultimately good god for an ultimately evil god and it still works!!
If we consider this in terms of mathematics then that any possibly true but unproven must be considered true. This is not the case and never will be. WLC seems to rely on people not knowing Plantinga’s admission, most out of character for him to try a fast one and pull the wool over the eyes of the unsuspecting readers/viewers. If only it were. Never buy snake oil from this man!! The apologists suck it up without question. Indoctrination at it’s finest
This argument is adaptable to show the most ridiculous of assertions to be true. Dawkin’s said he used it to show pigs can fly in one similar debate.
Summary of the Ontological Argument
So we have an argument which shows wonderful logical progression yet proves nothing. I will have to leave that as my conclusion. Something of an anti-climax. I was hoping to end this series with a much bigger bang but I am afraid WLC’s arguments just don’t allow for fireworks, and bravado. It was just all too easy.
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Alan The Atheist