Sunday, January 23, 2011

Refuting the Previous Post from Two Days Ago!

Yesterday I posted three simple arguments for the existence of God that come up a fair bit in ordinary debates of mine with Christians.  Admittedly, the second or "Ontological Argument" is a bit out there and is only normally used by apologists.  If I had to rank the arguments by how frequent I hear them in arguments, with the first being the most frequent, my list would be:  the Argument from Design, the First Cause argument, and lastly the Ontological Argument.  However, I will begin my refutations by beginning with the easiest argument to dispel, the Ontological Argument.

The Ontological Arugment is an attempt to define God into existence.  Again, the Ontological Argument goes something like:
  1. God is the greatest imaginable being.
  2. All else being equal, a being or entity that exists is greater than one that doesn't.
  3. Therefore, God exists.
The first premise, "God is the greatest imaginable being", isn't demostrated and entirely subjective.  Let me invent a syllogism of this nature based on cats and unicorns.
  1. Cats are the greatest imaginable pets.
  2. All else being equal, pets that exist are greater than those that don't
  3. Therefore, cats exist.
 Now on to unicorns:
  1. Unicorns are the greatest imaginable creatures.
  2. All else being equal, creatures that exist are greater than those that don't
  3. Therefore, unicorns exist.
Using syllogisms with similar wording but different subjects easily illustrates the issue within the first premise.  The first premise is unfalsifible; an apologist's response to objections to the first premise will be that he/she defines God to be the greastest imaginable being/entity.  This point cannot be falsified.

A humorous take on the Ontological Argument (Gasking's Proof) which proves that God does not exist follows:

  1. The creation of the universe is the greatest achievement imaginable.
  2. The merit of an achievement consists of its intrinsic greatness and the ability of its creator.
  3. The greater the handicap to the creator, the greater the achievement (would you be more impressed by Turner painting a beautiful landscape or a blind one-armed dwarf?)
  4. The biggest handicap to a creator would be non-existence
  5. Therefore if we suppose that the universe is the creation of an existing creator, we can conceive a greater being — namely, one who created everything while not existing.
  6. Therefore, God does not exist.

Taken from

For more information on the Ontological Argument, please see for more information.  

The next argument that I am going to dispel is the First Cause Argument (sometimes called the Cosmological Argument).  There is an internal contradiction in the First Cause Argument.  One of the premises of the First Cause Argument is that everything that exists needs a cause and later in the argument an assertion is made that God doesn't need a cause.  These views are inconsistant which makes the argument flawed.  Another point that is incorrect in the First Cause Argument is that it assumes the first cause is God.  Let's assume there is a "first cause".  Would apologists still use this argument if found that this "first cause" is a single particle?  The apologist has no grounds to assert that this "first cause" is necessarily a God and is a variant of the "God of the Gaps" fallacy. 

The final argument is Argument from Design.  Disregarding the fact evolution accounts for the complexity of life on Earth, what defines complexity?  Is a pile of rocks less complex then a perfect sphere?  A perfect sphere, I would argue, is more complex than a pile of rocks because of the mathematics involved in making a perfect sphere.  A perfect shape or form is nonexistant in natural.  The reason we recognize what is designed is from prior knowledge.  In order to attribute nature as a creation of a designer, we would have to know what nature would look like if it wasn't created by a designer.  Furthermore, even if we found hard evidence that nature was designed, where is the line between this and your God?  This is also a special pleading argument because proponents of the Argument from Design are assuming a "who" that created nature instead of "what".

Please e-mail at or comment below if you have questions, concerns, or (most importantly) if you disagree.  I'll be happy to start a discussion with you!  Have a wonderful day!

1 comment:

  1. You have these arguments completely wrong.

    There is no such thing as "the" ontological argument. There are multiple ontological arguments. Anselm wrote two versions, Descartes wrote two versions, Godel has one, and so on. And philosophers are always coming out with new ones. Robert Maydole published one in the peer-reviewed journal Philo in 2003. Were you aware of this?

    "The first premise, "God is the greatest imaginable being", isn't demostrated and entirely subjective. "

    The first premise does not need to be demonstrated because it isn't trying to prove God's existence in the very first premise. Do I need to demonstrate that unicorns have a single horn? No. A horse having a single horn is what we mean when we say "unicorn". Similarly, when we say "God" with a capital G, we are referring to an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent creator of the universe, who is the greatest conceivable being. All it's D&D attributes are maxed out.

    And so the idea of "greatness" is inherent in the idea of God, like "a single horn" is inherent in the idea of a unicorn. In contrast, "greatest conceivable animal" is NOT inherent in the idea of a unicorn.

    And the parody does not work because it has a logically impossible premise: "one who created everything while not existing."

    On to the cosmological argument:

    "One of the premises of the First Cause Argument is that everything that exists needs a cause and later in the argument an assertion is made that God doesn't need a cause. "

    No cosmological argument has EVER argued that everything that exists needs a cause. Thomistic cosmological arguments argue that there must be an unmoved mover in every causal chain, not back in time, but deeper into reality right here and now. Leibnizian arguments assert that there is a causal principle that applies to all contingent facts, but not necessary ones. And kalam arguments apply a causal principle to things that begin to exist.

    Finally, biological design arguments have indeed been done away with by Darwin, but fine-tuning arguments are still around and still being debated.

    I would take issue with this statement: