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Reassessing Plantinga’s Ontological Argument for God

Unicorn

Alvin Plantinga famously defends a version of the ontological argument that makes use of the notion of possible worlds. As is typically done, we might think of a “possible world” as a complete way that things might have been. In the actual world I am writing up this blog post, but I could have decided instead to go pour myself a Scotch. (Since it’s still morning, I won’t—I can wait an hour.) So, we might say that there is a possible world more or less like the actual world—Obama is still president, I still teach and write philosophy, and so forth—except that instead of writing up this blog post at this particular moment, I am pouring myself a Scotch. (Naturally there will be some other differences that follow from this one.) We can imagine possible worlds that are even more different or less different in various ways—a possible world where the Allies lost World War II, a possible world in which human beings never existed, a possible world exactly like the actual one except that the book next to me sits a millimeter farther to the right than it actually does, and so forth. Not everything is a possible world, though. There is no possible world where 2 + 2 = 5 or in which squares are round.

Philosophers make use of the notion of possible worlds in all sorts of ways. For example, it is sometimes suggested that we can analyze the essence of a thing in terms of possible worlds: What is essential to X is what X has in every possible world, what is non-essential is what X has in some worlds but not others. It sometimes suggested that modality in general can be analyzed in terms of possible worlds: A necessary truth is one that is true in every possible world, a possible truth one that is true in at least one possible world, a contingent truth one that is true in some worlds but not others, an impossible proposition one that is true in no possible world. Plantinga, again, makes use of the notion in order to reformulate the ontological argument famously invented by Anselm. We might summarize his version (presented in The Nature of Necessity and elsewhere) as follows:

1. There is a possible world W in which there exists a being with maximal greatness.
 
2. Maximal greatness entails having maximal excellence in every possible world.>
 
3. Maximal excellence entails omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection in every possible world.
 
4. So in W there exists a being which is omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect in every possible world.
 
5. So in W the proposition “There is no omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect being” is impossible.
 
6. But what is impossible in one possible world is impossible in every possible world.
 
7. So the proposition “There is no omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect being” is impossible in the actual world.
 
8. So there is in the actual world an omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect being.

Plantinga famously concedes that a rational person need not accept this argument, and claims only that a rational person could accept it. The reason is that while he thinks a rational person could accept its first and key premise, another rational person could doubt it. One reason it might be doubted, Plantinga tells us, is that a rational person could believe that there is a possible world in which the property of “no-maximality”—that is, the property of being such that there is no maximally great being—is exemplified. And if this is possible, then the first and key premise of Plantinga’s argument is false. In short, Plantinga allows that while a reasonable person could accept his ontological argument, another reasonable person could accept instead the following rival argument:

1. No-maximality is possibly exemplified.
 
2. If no-maximality is possibly exemplified, then maximal greatness is impossible.
 
3. So maximal greatness is impossible.

In The Miracle of Theism, atheist J. L. Mackie argues that even this concession of Plantinga’s overstates the value of his ontological argument. For it is not at all clear, Mackie says, that a rational person can treat the question of whether to accept either Plantinga’s argument or its “no-maximality” rival as a toss-up, as if we would be within our epistemic rights to choose whichever one strikes our fancy. Why wouldn’t suspense of judgment in the face of such a deadlock, a refusal to endorse either argument, be the more rational option? Indeed, if anything it is the “no-maximality” argument that would be the more rational choice, Mackie suggests, in light of Ockham’s razor.

But though I do not myself endorse Plantinga’s argument, I think these objections from Mackie have no force, and that even Plantinga sells himself short. For it is simply implausible to suppose that, other things being equal, the key premises of Plantinga’s argument and its “no-maximality” rival are on an epistemic par. To see why, consider the following parallel claims:

U: There is a possible world containing unicorns.
 
NU: “No-unicornality,” the property of there being no unicorns in any possible world, is possibly exemplified.

Are U and NU on an epistemic par? Surely not. NU is really nothing more than a denial of U. But U is extremely plausible, at least if we accept the whole “possible worlds” way of talking about these things in the first place. It essentially amounts to the uncontroversial claim that there is no contradiction entailed by our concept of a unicorn. And the burden of proof is surely on someone who denies this to show that there is a contradiction. It would be no good for him to say “Well, even after carefully analyzing the concept of a unicorn I can’t point to any contradiction, but for all we know there might be one anyway, so NU is just as plausible a claim as U.” It is obviously not just as plausible, for a failed attempt to discover a contradiction in some concept itself provides at least some actual evidence to think the concept describes a real possibility, while to make the mere assertion that there might nevertheless be a contradiction is not to provide evidence of anything. The mere suggestion that NU might be true thus in no way stalemates the defender of U. All other things being equal, we should accept U and reject NU, until such time as the defender of NU gives us actual reason to believe it.

But the “no-maximality” premise of the rival to Plantinga’s ontological argument seems in no relevant way different from NU. It is really just the assertion that a maximally great being is not possible, and thus merely an assertion to the effect that Plantinga’s first and key premise is false. And while Plantinga’s concept of a maximally great being is obviously more complicated and harder to evaluate with confidence than the concept of a unicorn, it seems no less true in this case that merely to suggest that a maximally great being is not possible in no way puts us in any kind of deadlock. Unless someone has actually given evidence to think that Plantinga’s concept of a maximally great being entails a contradiction or is otherwise incoherent, the rational position (again, at least if we buy the whole “possible worlds” framework in the first place) would be to accept his key premise rather than the key premise of the “no-maximality” argument, and rather than suspending judgment.

(Mackie’s assumption that Ockham’s razor is relevant here—he speaks of not multiplying entities beyond necessity – also seems very odd to me. Appealing to Ockham’s razor is clearly in order when you are dealing with alternative explanations each of which is already known to be at least in principle possible, and are trying to weigh probabilities in light of empirical evidence. But questions about semantics, logical relationships, conceptual and metaphysical possibilities, and the like—the sorts of issues we are considering when trying to decide whether Plantinga’s key premise or its rival is correct—are not like that. The whole idea of applying Ockham’s razor to such issues seems to be a category mistake. But I won’t pursue the thought further here.)

Other objections to Plantinga are also oversold. There is, for example, the tired “parody objection” that critics have been trotting out against ontological arguments since Gaunilo, and which I suggested in a previous post have no force, at least against the most plausible versions of such arguments. For example, John Hick suggests (in his An Interpretation of Religion) that Plantinga’s reasoning could equally well be used to argue for the existence of a maximally evil being, one that is omnipotent, omniscient, and morally depraved in every possible world. The problem with this objection is that it assumes that good and evil are on a metaphysical par, and as I have had reason to note before, that is by no means an uncontroversial (or in my view correct) assumption.

But defending the idea that evil is a privation would require a defense of the more general, classical metaphysics on which it rests. And there lies the rub. For Plantinga is not a classical (i.e. Platonic, Aristotelian, or Scholastic) metaphysician. That is reflected not only in the way he conceives of God’s omnipotence, omniscience, and “moral perfection”—I’ve noted before that Plantinga is a “theistic personalist” rather than a classical theist—but also in the more general metaphysical apparatus he deploys in presenting his ontological argument. From a classical metaphysical point of view, and certainly from an Aristotelian-Thomistic (A-T) point of view, the “possible worlds” approach is simply misguided from the start (for reasons I’ve also had occasion to discuss before). Many no doubt think that Plantinga’s argument is at least an improvement on Anselm’s. I think it is quite the opposite. In no way do I intend that as a slight against Plantinga; on the contrary, The Nature of Necessity is, as no one familiar with it needs me to point out, a testament to his brilliance. But it is also, like the best of the work of the moderns in general, a brilliant mistake. A sound natural theology must be grounded in a sound metaphysics, which means a classical (and preferably A-T) metaphysics. Within the context of a classical metaphysics, Anselm developed as deep and plausible an ontological argument as anyone ever has. But (so we A-T types think) even he couldn’t pull it off.
 
 
NOTE: Dr. Feser's contributions at Strange Notions were originally posted on his blog, including this article, and therefore lose some of their context when reprinted here. Dr. Feser explains why that matters.
 
 
(Image credit: Live Science)

Dr. Edward Feser

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Dr. Edward Feser is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California. He has been a Visiting Assistant Professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and a Visiting Scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of California at Santa Barbara, a master’s degree in religion from the Claremont Graduate School, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religious studies from the California State University at Fullerton. He is author of numerous books including The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism (St. Augustines Press, 2010); Aquinas (Oneworld, 2009); and Philosophy of Mind (Oneworld, 2007). Follow Dr. Feser on his blog and his website, EdwardFeser.com.

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  • GCBill

    NU: “No-unicornality,” the property of there being no unicorns in any possible world, is possibly exemplified.

    It's not necessary (...heh) for a rival of the MOA to assert anything like this. Recall that the first premise of Plantinga's argument states:

    1. There is a possible world W in which there exists a being with maximal greatness.

    One could simply substitute:

    1. There is a possible world W in which there exists no being with maximal greatness.

    And the other premises should follow as before (with modifications to the negations where appropriate), except now the conclusion is the exact opposite:

    2. Maximal greatness entails having maximal excellence in every possible world.

    3. Maximal excellence entails omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection in every possible world.

    4. So in W there exists no being which is omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect in every possible world.

    5. So in W the proposition “There is an omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect being” is impossible.

    6. But what is impossible in one possible world is impossible in every possible world.

    7. So the proposition “There is an omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect being” is impossible in the actual world.

    8. So there is in the actual world no omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect being.

    • Yup, that's the correct analysis. I still say that the modal ontological argument is at best used to demonstrate that belief in this-sort-of-god is not ruled out by logic alone.

      • "Yup, that's the correct analysis. I still say that the modal ontological argument is at best used to demonstrate that belief in this-sort-of-god is not ruled out by logic alone."

        Then I'm assuming you'd disagree with the many atheists who claim belief in God is illogical or, even worse, irrational?

        • VicqRuiz

          (sigh.....for the umpteenth time)....let's be careful not to segue from "belief in a god" to "belief in the triune God of the Christian tradition". Not without distinguishing what Plantinga attempts to prove from what he never attempts to prove.

          • "(sigh.....for the umpteenth time)....let's be careful not to segue from "belief in a god" to "belief in the triune God of the Christian tradition". Not without distinguishing what Plantinga attempts to prove from what he never attempts to prove."

            I can only return your "umpteenth" sigh with another sigh in return. Despite you making this criticism many times, in similar forms, and despite it being answers every time, you continue to marshal it.

            Neither me, nor Dr. Feser, nor Dr. Plantinga has anywhere suggested that the modal ontological argument attempts to, or successfully does, prove the fulness of the God of Catholicism.

            It confounds me why you continue to believe this is the case. I can only assume you enjoy beating down straw men arguments, such as this one you continue to insinuate:

            1. Any persuasive argument for God posed at Strange Notions must demonstrate all of God's attributes, as understood by the Catholic tradition.

            2. The argument in question does not demonstrate all of God's attributes.

            3. Therefore, the argument is partly or wholly flawed.

            The problem is Premise 1. No contributor at Strange Notions has believed it, asserted it, or defended it. It's only you, and a handful of other skeptic commenters, who keep insisting it's what theistic writers here believe. It's not.

            We're well aware that this particular argument only proves a slice of God. However, the slice is not only completely compatible with God, it's a slice way too big for any atheist or agnostic to accept.

            The modal ontological argument doesn't succeed in proving Catholicism, because that's not what it attempts to. It attempts to prove a necessary, transcendent, maximally great being--and thereby disproving atheism--and it does succeed at that.

          • VicqRuiz

            1. Any persuasive argument for God posed at Strange Notions must demonstrate all of God's attributes, as understood by the Catholic tradition.

            Not at all. I'm only suggesting that at a site ostensibly devoted to Catholic apologetics, it would be reasonable to see more articles specifically devoted to demonstrating the truth of Catholic theology rather than proving the truth of deism or of an abstract sort of theism, and further suggesting that when you talk about "belief in God" your readers do not conclude that you are talking about Tom Paine's god, or Spinoza's, or Voltaire's.

            You're probably right that it's futile for me to expect that sort of article, though. I'll take a sabbatical from posting here......

          • Jaffe C. Cole

            I have the same exact thoughts, Vic. I don't see the point of wasting so much time and space on proving an abstract "God" when the "God of Jacob" is anything but that. There is an unbridgeable gap btw the god of the philosophers and the god Xians propose.

          • Lazarus

            You could say that. It would not be true, but you could say that.
            There is a long list of books I could refer you to that will show you how this gap is bridged. You may of course still reject those arguments, but that certainly does not mean that the gap (assuming there is one to start with) is "unbridgeable".

          • Jaffe C. Cole

            Welp, Lazarus, twenty years of reading apologetics books tells me otherwise.

        • The use of "this-sort-of-god" rather than "god" was an important qualifier. "God" is one of those terms that gets defined differently on practically every occasion. Obviously some theistic belief is illogical, such as the belief of those (e.g. perhaps Descartes) who assert that there is a god with omnipotence not limited by logical consistency. And just as obviously some theistic belief is irrational, such as the belief of those (e.g. some YECs) who assert that although the evidence ratios make it look like the world is old, it's really secretly young. There are plenty of other people who propose definitions which fare much better.

          So I wouldn't presume to an opinion on whether an individual's theistic belief is illogical or irrational without first finding out what they say they believe and why.

        • It's only illogical/irrational if you don't ask the person to produce evidence that:

          (1) Upon becoming an atheist, a scientist does better science.
          (2) Upon becoming a religionist, a scientist does worse science.

          Now, you'll see hemming and hawing about this and all sorts of rationalizations. Cognitive dissonance, compartmentalization, etc. But I have repeatedly challenged atheists to produce a study which demonstrates (1) or (2), and guess what has resulted: nada. Zip. Zero evidence. It is a curious lacuna, in my view. Maybe belief in God isn't so illogical/​irrational at all. Or at least, this "illogical/​irrational" always hides when science goes looking for it, to establish causation and not just correlation. >:-]

          • neil_pogi

            that's why most scientist nobel prize winners are theists and christians!

          • Are you making a claim about correlation, or causation?

          • neil_pogi

            i'm claiming that theist christians are more credible than atheists'.. and that's a fact!

          • Jaffe C. Cole

            That's an opinion, dipstick. What grade are you in, anyways?

          • neil_pogi

            why not just dispute my claims?

            all you did is hominen attack!

          • Jaffe C. Cole

            I don't waste time with people who can't differentiate between opinions and facts. This was learned in elementary school.

          • neil_pogi

            can you tell me if macro evolution is an observed phenomena?

            can you tell me why the cause of the universe is a natural event?

          • Jaffe C. Cole

            Can you tell me if rubbing your knob is more offensive to YHWH in the morning or in the evening?

          • neil_pogi

            if you have nothing sense to say, at least, just answer my queries. or just you don't know!

            i think God has the prerogative not to, or answer your question, and not me!

          • That proposal strikes me as a weird non-sequitur. What link are you proposing there might be between the illogic/irrationality of theism on the one hand and the effects of religious (de)conversion on science careers on the other hand?

            The only link that comes to mind is that
            * if we assume that scientists have an innate quality of being logical or rational that applies across all domains, rather than skill and expertise developed by education and long hard work in a particular subject matter, and
            * if we assume that theism and atheism also have innate qualities of being logical or rational regardless of how they are reached, and
            * if we assume that a scientist's innate quality changes at the time of (de)conversion, caused by the (de)conversion, in the direction of the (lack of) belief s/he converts to, and
            * if we assume that the scientist's innate quality is objectively measurable in the quality or quantity of their publications,
            * then we could test for the presence or absence of the link.

            But of course the first assumption is contrary to established psychology, and the second and third assumptions are unreasonable.

            EDIT: Of course I agree that the tendency of people to be logical/irrational in certain domains is testable, and that this might shed light on the quality of the subject as well.

          • Sorry to inundate you with stuff, but I've been down this road many times before and am going to attempt to short-circuit some back-and-forth.

            What link are you proposing there might be between the illogic/​irrationality of theism on the one hand and the effects of religious (de)conversion on science careers on the other hand?

            Oh, I don't suspect that there's any link. But that's because I neither see religion as the source of irrationality, nor as the place where irrationality inevitably leads. However, I frequently run across atheists who seem to think one of these two things is the case. I have developed an easy to test to weed them out or force them to own up to their beliefs (especially this belief, plus the belief that they should form beliefs based on the evidence).

            * if we assume that scientists have an innate quality of being logical or rational that applies across all domains, rather than skill and expertise developed by education and long hard work in a particular subject matter[...]But of course the first assumption is contrary to established psychology

            While what you said is not necessarily an instance of what I predicted—

            LB: Now, you'll see hemming and hawing about this and all sorts of rationalizations. Cognitive dissonance, compartmentalization, etc.

            —it plausibly fits into that category. More evidence is needed. I can present some sociological evidence:

                When it comes to religion, it is useful to keep in mind that most human beings are not logicians. Thus relevances that may seem totally incompatible to an outsider may not seem so to an individual who is not philosophically inclined. There probably is something like a drive for coherence in the mind, but often this coherence is tenuous or vague. Thus a surprising number of people who claim to believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church also believe in reincarnation or, with more immediate practical effects, practice contraception. Since pluralism means that individuals put together their religious beliefs like a child uses Lego pieces to construct an idiosyncratic edifice, it is not surprising that some of the ensuing constructions look a bit odd. (The Many Altars of Modernity, 57)

            But the remaining question is: Is religion simpliciter irrational? We have to be careful of bias; from The Psychology of Religion, Fourth Edition: An Empirical Approach (recommended to my by atheist James Lindsay):

                Serious defects that often stemmed from antireligious perspectives exist in many early studies of relationships between religion and psychopathology. The more modern view is that religion functions largely as a means of countering rather than contributing to psychopathology, though severe forms of unhealthy religion will probably have serious psychological and perhaps even physical consequences. In most instances, faith buttresses people's sense of control and self-esteem, offers meanings that oppose anxiety, provides hope, sanctions socially facilitating behavior, enhances personal well-being, and promotes social integration. Probably the most hopeful sign is the increasing recognition by both clinicians and religionists of the potential benefits each group has to contribute. Awareness of the need for a spiritual perspective has opened new and more constructive possibilities for working with mentally disturbed individuals and resolving adaptive issues.
                A central theme throughout this book is that religion "works" because it offers people meaning and control, and brings them together with like-thinking others who provide social support. This theme is probably nowhere better represented than in the section of this chapter on how people use religious and spiritual resources to cope. Religious beliefs, experiences, and practices appear to constitute a system of meanings that can be applied to virtually every situation a person may encounter. People are loath to rely on chance. Fate and luck are poor referents for understanding, but religion in all its possible manifestations can fill the void of meaninglessness admirably. There is always a place for one's God—simply watching, guiding, supporting, or actively solving a problem. In other words, when people need to gain a greater measure of control over life events, the deity is there to provide the help they require. (476)

            So, I think more evidence is required to adjudicate this matter. I'm not seeing it! And so I will remain agnostic on:

                 (i) religion is a [major] cause of irrationality
                (ii) irrationality is a [major] cause of religion

            Instead, I'm inclined to agree with John Calvin on the following point, although generally I dislike what has been done with his ideas (as have the Catholics via Jansenism). From Calvin's Institutes, Book I, Chapter IV The Knowledge of God Stifled or Corrupted, Ignorantly or Maliciously:

            1. SuperstitionBut though experience testifies that a seed of religion is divinely sown in all, scarcely one in a hundred is found who cherishes it in his heart, and not one in whom it grows to maturity so far is it from yielding fruit in its season. Moreover, while some lose themselves in superstitious observances, and others, of set purpose, wickedly revolt from God, the result is that, in regard to the true knowledge of him, all are so degenerate, that in no part of the world can genuine godliness be found. In saying that some fall away into superstition, I mean not to insinuate that their excessive absurdity frees them from guilt; for the blindness under which they labour is almost invariably accompanied with vain pride and stubbornness. Mingled vanity and pride appear in this, that when miserable men do seek after God, instead of ascending higher than themselves as they ought to do, they measure him by their own carnal stupidity, and, neglecting solid inquiry, fly off to indulge their curiosity in vain speculation. Hence, they do not conceive of him in the character in which he is manifested, but imagine him to be whatever their own rashness has devised. This abyss standing open, they cannot move one footstep without rushing headlong to destruction. With such an idea of God, nothing which they may attempt to offer in the way of worship or obedience can have any value in his sight, because it is not him they worship, but, instead of him, the dream and figment of their own heart. This corrupt procedure is admirably described by Paul, when he says, that “thinking to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:22). He had previously said that “they became vain in their imaginations,” but lest any should suppose them blameless, he afterwards adds that they were deservedly blinded, because, not contented with sober inquiry, because, arrogating to themselves more than they have any title to do, they of their own accord court darkness, nay, bewitch themselves with perverse, empty show. Hence it is that their folly, the result not only of vain curiosity, but of licentious desire and overweening confidence in the pursuit of forbidden knowledge, cannot be excused.

            Also, one of the most famous American sociologists' judgment:

                Another exaggeration may have been the conventional view of the reach of scientific rationality. One does not have to look at religion only in order to find this thought plausible. It is amazing what people educated to the highest levels of scientific rationality are prepared to believe by way of irrational prejudices; one only has to look at the political and social beliefs of the most educated classes of Western societies to gain an appreciation of this. Just one case: What Western intellectuals over the last decades have managed to believe about the character of Communist societies is alone sufficient to cast serious doubt on the proposition that rationality is enhanced as a result of scientifically sophisticated education or of living in a modern technological society. (A Far Glory, 30)

            A French sociologist:

                Modern man is impervious to the preaching of the Gospel. That is connected with a number of sociological causes which I shall not recapitulate here. I shall emphasize one factor only. Man is said to have acquired a critical intellect, and for that reason he can no longer accept the simplistic message of the Bible as it had been proclaimed two thousand years ago. That is indeed one aspect of the diagnostic error, for we have in no way progressed to the stage of the critical intellect. Western man is still as naïve, as much a dupe, as ready to believe all the yarns as ever. Never has man gone along, to such a degree, with every propaganda. Never has he applied so little rational criticism to what is fed him by the mass media. (Hope in Time of Abandonment, 75)

          • re: Proposing vs. suspecting. What link are you proposing between those two things? If there's no plausible link, then it's wrongheaded to expect such a useless study to be done.

          • I'm not proposing the link; I think many atheists entail such a link, with their claims. I'm not going to back through old comments, but I'm going to watch like a hawk in the future, for examples of this. Feel free to ping me in a month or three if you want to see what data I've collected.

          • But of course the first assumption is contrary to established psychology

            While what you said is not necessarily an instance of what I predicted—

            Now, you'll see hemming and hawing about this and all sorts of
            rationalizations. Cognitive dissonance, compartmentalization, etc.

            —it plausibly fits into that category.

            I acceded to the scientific consensus, tentative as it may be. If your view is that that "plausibly fits in the category" of rationalizations and such, then we may lack sufficient common ground to profit from this discussion.

          • If your view is that that "plausibly fits in the category" of rationalizations and such, then we may lack sufficient common ground to profit from this discussion.

            Here's what I mean. Current psychological knowledge can fit any number of models. This is Underdetermination of Scientific Theory. At the current point in time, I do not think it can come anywhere close to showing, with any reasonable confidence, that:

            LB:     (i) religion is a [major] cause of irrationality    (ii) irrationality is a [major] cause of religion

            Agree, or disagree?

          • But the remaining question is: Is religion simpliciter irrational?

            Religion simpliciter - Is there such a thing? Religion is a very broad category, worse in that regard than the original question about whether belief in "God" is illogical/irrational. As far as I am aware, scientific study of religion is still mostly searching for interesting correlations with very coarse measures of religiosity such as self-assessment or frequency of attendance.

          • Religion simpliciter - Is there such a thing? Religion is a very broad category, worse in that regard than the original question about whether belief in "God" is illogical/irrational.

            Well, in The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict, William T. Cavanaugh argues that there is no natural kind that is 'religion'. On the other hand, in The Myth of Religious Neutrality, Roy A. Clouser thinks he can give a natural kind-type definition for 'religious belief'; feel free to peruse his article A New Philosophical Guide for the Sciences: Ontology without Reduction, especially up through the first numbered list.

            As far as I am aware, scientific study of religion is still mostly searching for interesting correlations with very coarse measures of religiosity such as self-assessment or frequency of attendance.

            Sure. And I am learning to keep an ever-sharper eye out for claims about 'religion' which are (i) ill-defined; (ii) unsupported by anything close to the burden of proof. As it turns out, there are a lot of them! For example: god Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Lots of people believe this stuff, sadly. At some point, I will have to go through Hitchens' book and see how many peer-reviewed journal articles he cites for his claims. (Not all claims need that, but some certainly do!)

    • KNH777

      I think the part your missing is that the unicorn isn't necessary in any world but the speck of something is necessary in this world.

      And out of the tiniest speck came every detail of our complexity impossible to find in the size of a speck and impossible to even contain in a speck.
      I think it supposedly was a speck the size of a mustard seed.
      Interesting though Jesus used a funny term in one of His teachings, I suppose He because He was there at this maximum great event done the Maximum Great God.
      Jesus told them “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.

      So something necessary needs to explain the unimaginably detailed contend needed to be contained in the little speck at the beginning of evolution. And that would be maximum greatness to have evolved from a speck to the world we live in.
      So maximum greatness or another explanation needs to substitute the unicorn, because in no possible world could a unicorn evolve to water, light, molecules, matter, life, .......etc, etc, etc..... So your argument is as ridiculous as the unicorn because your saying everything came out of nothing. And nothing is nothing not even space. Nothing is no thing at all!

  • Paul Brandon Rimmer

    That is one epic unicorn.

    • neil_pogi

      what about your LUCA?

      was it a REAL organism, or just figment of imaginations of evolutionists?

      • Paul Brandon Rimmer

        neil, why oh why couldn't I get the aliens comment?

        There's lots of Luca's out there in the world. Only some of them are imaginary.

        • neil_pogi

          they're all imaginary!

  • Paul Brandon Rimmer

    It was an interesting article, but I don't really agree with:

    But though I do not myself endorse Plantinga’s argument, I think these objections from Mackie have no force, and that even Plantinga sells himself short. For it is simply implausible to suppose that, other things being equal, the key premises of Plantinga’s argument and its “no-maximality” rival are on an epistemic par.

    I think that for the maximal greatnessness, they are on an about equal epistemic level. To illustrate this, I'll expand the unicorn example:

    U: There is a possible world containing unicorns.

    NU: “No-unicornality,” the property of there being no unicorns in any possible world, is possibly exemplified.

    AU: "All-unicornality" the property of there being unicorns in every possible world, is possibly exemplified.

    Which is the most likely? Probably U, I'd say. It seems silly to think that there's no possible world where there's unicorns*, and equally silly to think that there's unicorns in all possible worlds.

    But that's what Plantinga's argument forces us to choose! We can't choose the U-like option for God, because it's not allowed. We need to choose that there's God in all possible worlds or none, and for counter-examples, we simply need to argue that there's one possible world where God exists or some possible world where God doesn't. Each seems about equally silly.

    *Interestingly, Saul Kripke in his "Naming and Necessity", argues that there can be no such thing as unicorns in the actual world; just horses with horns. There are possible worlds where unicorns exist, but our actual world can't be one of those. It's an interesting argument near the beginning of the book, which Kripke admits never seems to convince anyone.

  • Michael Murray

    We can imagine possible worlds that are even more different or less different in various ways—a possible world where the Allies lost World War II, a possible world in which human beings never existed, a possible world exactly like the actual one except that the book next to me sits a millimeter farther to the right than it actually does, and so forth. Not everything is a possible world, though. There is no possible world where 2 + 2 = 5 or in which squares are round.

    So a possible world is a world we can imagine without logical impossibilities. How do we know that a world we imagine which is not the real world doesn't have logical impossibilities in it ? Sure there are things like 2 + 2 = 5 we can rule out immediately but how do we rule out all logical impossibilities ? What about more complicated statements than 2 + 2 = 5. Is a world in which the twin prime conjecture is false a possible world ? In a similar but different vein how do we know that a world with unicorns is not impossible for some subtle reason that we don't yet understand.

    • neil_pogi

      therefore don't dream of multiverse.

    • Bob

      How about a world where every time you placed two apples in a bag, then placed two more apples in the bag, you always ended up with 5 apples?

      • Howard

        How about a world in which the Supreme Court decided that all numbers greater than one are the same?

      • Michael Murray

        It might be possible. If you place two humans in a bag you sometimes end up with three or hour humans. Or nine or ten if they are Catholic.

  • David Nickol

    The Bad News: Still doubt existence of God as much as before.
    The Good News: Becoming more open to the existence of unicorns.

    • neil_pogi

      atheists say: the good news: we don't doubt the existence of aliens hovering the planet earth!

      theists say: it's been more than 4.6 'billion years ago', and yet no aliens are hovering the planet earth!

      • David Nickol

        I don't think atheists, as a group, have an opinion as to whether or not there are other intelligent races in the universe, and many people who do believe there are (or were, or will be) other intelligent races believe the odds of human beings encountering them are vanishingly small.

        The Catholic Church has no doctrine that rules out the existence of other races in the universe. The Vatican Astronomer, Brother Guy Consolmagno, has speculated about other intelligent races.

        • neil_pogi

          atheists always say that they are not really a 'group', so every atheists has different beliefs in so many issues, some believe that aliens are responsible for the coding elements in DNA (wickramasenghe and dawkins), and a minority ones reject it; some prominent atheist physicists and astronomers (krauss and hawking) believe that the universe just 'sprang' out of nothing, (take note, i refrain from using the word 'pop' because atheists hate that) and others don't, (as what you are claiming). is this an excuse? if atheists don't believe in that, then atheists may answer: 'we don't know' or 'we are still trying to study that'

          i believe that the 'alien' is God, and not the E.T. or other 'highly intellectual' aliens that we see in the movies

      • Michael Murray

        If you look back on these threads you will see a number of discussions between myself and Peter where I (the atheist) express scepticism about aliens and Peter (the theist) expresses his belief that they are common place.

        Fundamentally I think we lack data which of course makes it a great topic for internet debate !

        • neil_pogi

          dawkins, an ardent atheist, believe that aliens designed the DNA. so atheists are in denial mode, again?
          after the 'nothing' created the universe - atheists now deny it?

          so what really are your stand?

          • Michael Murray

            I doubt that Dawkins believes that. He might consider it not impossible but that doesn't mean he believes it. Also don't confuse "an atheist believes" with "all atheists believe"!

            My personal thoughts are we don't have enough information. I find Fermi's Paradox pretty convincing as an argument that there are few, if any, advanced, space-travelling intelligent species besides ours.

            I think Nick Bostrum's ideas here

            http://www.nickbostrom.com/extraterrestrial.pdf

            are interesting.

          • neil_pogi

            then why SETI?

            that is partly funded by christians' taxes!

          • Peter

            Perhaps there are no alien visitors because, advanced as they may be, mass increases with speed. There is not enough energy to accelerate an originally small but increasingly massive object to the speed of light, or anything vaguely approaching it.

            I prefer to believe that we are being observed as we were 50 or 100 or 1000 years ago by advanced alien telescopes at those corresponding distances. The rest of the universe knows we are here but can't do anything about it.

          • Michael Murray

            We've had this discussion before ! But I'll just remind you that it isn't just about alien visitors. You can cover the galaxy in self-replicating probes travelling at 10% light speed in about 500,000 years. But we see no alien probes either.

            Alexandra is correct this is rather off-topic so I'll stop here.

          • Peter

            The absence of such probes fortifies the likelihood of a galaxy teeming with advanced civilisations which ban them, just as the banning of biological and chemical weapons is a reflection of how civilised the human race has become.

            Self-replicating robots would be like a virus spreading through the galaxy or a cancer eating away at it. It is understandably why advanced alien civilisations capable of making them would ban them and, where possible, prevent others from making them.

          • Alexandra

            Dawkins has not stated he believes aliens designed DNA (unless you can point to a source I am unaware of).

            Isn't this off topic?

          • Peter

            If aliens exist, so does the likelihood of unicorns.

          • Lazarus

            Why?

          • Peter

            Because unicorns could be alien life.

          • Lazarus

            You seem to say that once alien life is found it's probable that unicorns will also be found. If you're serious about this I think you are drawing too long a bow, but I doubt that. I think that you are kidding. Talk of unicorns will do that ;)

          • Peter

            If there are no aliens, there is no likelihood of unicorns. If there are, and given the sheer size of the universe, there is a likelihood of all kinds of creatures, including unicorns, either now or in the future.

          • Lazarus

            I understand your point, I just think it's a non-sequitur. Why would there be "no likelihood of unicorns" just because we show that aliens do not exist? Even within the tongue-in-cheek parameters of the discussion there is no warrant for that assumption. There is no link between the two concepts that would automatically discount the one if the other is shown not to exist.

          • Peter

            Unicorns do not exist on planet earth. If they exist, they exist outside planet earth. if no creatures exist outside planet earth, no unicorns exist.

          • Lazarus

            You have now expanded your premise.

            "If aliens exist, so does the likelihood of unicorns."

            The "if no creatures exist" amendment makes it work.

          • Michael Murray

            I am not sure I have ever seen Peter kidding.

          • Lazarus

            Well then , unicorns it will be ...

          • neil_pogi

            maybe you can read the interview scripts from the movie: expelled, no intelligence allowed.

            every topic discussed here in SN almost always end up with topics such as evolution

          • Alexandra

            In the interview with Ben Stein where aliens were discussed, nowhere does Dawkins say he believes aliens designed DNA.

          • neil_pogi

            just analyze it.

          • Alexandra

            What this means is that Atheists have nothing to deny, since Dawkins never said it.

          • neil_pogi

            even if dawkins never say that the DNA's the work of aliens, then, what made them? (I refrain to use the word 'who' because it denotes a 'conscious' being).
            here's analogy: Jesus never says He is God, read the entire Bible, and you'll never encountered He says' 'I am God'... just like the case of dawkins.

          • Michael Murray

            And neil moves the goalposts again ...

          • neil_pogi

            why you just not make any comments to my post?

          • Michael Murray
          • neil_pogi

            i quoted you: '.. I find Fermi's Paradox pretty convincing as an argument that there are few, if any, advanced, space-travelling intelligent species besides ours.' --so you end up a believer of aliens!

            and since aliens are within our universe premises, then i ask you about their origins

            i read partly the paper of nick bostrom (the link you quoted),, about the presence of water on planet mars.. that life is possible there, so the 'just add water' argument is still there, may i request you to boil some water many times and store it in a sealed sterile glass container,.. then tell me what will happen!

          • Michael Murray

            Maybe before I do that you can find me some who thinks life arose from boiled water kept in a sealed sterile container.

          • neil_pogi

            of course the boiled water will become room temperature water, do some common sense

            anyway, tell me the origins of aliens!

          • Michael Murray

            Not my point. Of course the boiled water becomes room temperature. Find me someone who thinks life arose in a sterile jar or pure water.

            Ask Peter about aliens. He believes in them not me.

          • neil_pogi

            it only shows that life only comes from life.why the need for sterile water? so that no living microorganism can penetrate the sterile water.

            i quoted you earlier that you are a believer of aliens!

          • Michael Murray

            Sorry your english is giving you problems. Saying "few, if any, advanced, space-travelling intelligent species besides ours." does not mean I am a believer in aliens. Fermi's Paradox is an argument against the existence of space-travelling intelligent species of aliens. Look it up on wikipedia.

            I also said in another reply to you "My personal thoughts are we don't have enough information. ". Those remain my person thoughts. I neither belief or disbelieve.

            Back to the sterile water. It doesn't reproduce the initial conditions on an early earth. So you have proved that in some imaginary situation completely different to the one under discussion life couldn't arise. Well done !

          • neil_pogi

            if it don't reproduce the initial conditions on an early earth, what initiated the 'prebiotic soup'? when the early earth has only rocks and inorganic materials/elements?

            ok, fine! then tell me how the DNA was created?

          • Michael Murray

            Oh come on you have been told this stuff time and time again. Go and reread all the old replies.

            Why don't I ask questions for awhile: Tell me how Jesus' was resurrected. Did He just go "pop" ?

          • neil_pogi

            because their answers are not convincing. i need answers that are evidenced-based and not merely 'just-so' stories. (hate to say that again)

          • Michael Murray

            Then there is no point in asking me as my answers will be the same !

          • neil_pogi

            mine too!

          • Alexandra

            Additionally, since Dawkins doesn't speak for all Athiests - the claim that Athiests are in "denial mode", based on what one person says, is unfounded, in my opinion.

      • Lazarus

        Maybe the aliens are waiting for signs of intelligence;)

        • neil_pogi

          both earthlings and aliens are waiting with each other!

  • Peter

    If the unobservable universe is 3 x 10>23 times greater than the observable universe, amounting to 3 x 10>45 star systems, then many of the possible worlds of the philosopher could occur in real life. While the laws of nature would be the same, these worlds would develop in their own way and range from being similar to ours to greatly dissimilar.

    The shocking thing is that only a fraction of the hydrogen of the universe has been used up so far, which means that there is a vast potential for creating innumerably more worlds in the future. The possible worlds of the philosopher aren't imaginary; they are real.

    Of course, God doesn't exist in any of these worlds nor in the wider universe that spawns them. That would make God contingent like everything else. In fact God does not exist anywhere since "where" is a contingent thing and to exist in it is also to be contingent. God does not exist in any world.

    • neil_pogi

      a Creator can't exists on His creation, like the universe!

      the bible speaks of the location of Heaven, after the '3rd heavens'

      What does it mean when the Bible refers to the "third heaven?"At the time of ancient Israel they did not have as complete an understanding of the universe as we do today. So they wrote in terms with which they were familiar. The Jews spoke of three heavens. The first heaven consisted of the earth atmosphere where the clouds and birds were. The second heaven was where the sun, stars, and moon was. The third heaven was the dwelling place of God. When Paul said that he was caught up to the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2), he was referring to the very dwelling place of God.

      As a note, the Mormons erringly teach that the three heavens consist of telestial, terrestrial, and celestial. They divide them into compartments dwelt by people after they die.

      The First Heaven: Earth Atmosphere

      Deut. 11:17--"Then the LORD's anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce . . ."

      Deut. 28:12--"The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands."

      Judges 5:4--"O LORD, when you went out from Seir, when you marched from the land of Edom, the earth shook, the heavens poured, the clouds poured down water."

      Acts 14:17--"Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons, . . . "

      The Second Heaven: Outer Space

      Psalm 19:4, 6--"In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun . . . It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other, . . . ".

      Jeremiah 8:2--"They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens which they have loved and served . . . "

      Isaiah 13:10--"The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light."

      The Third Heaven: God's Dwelling Place

      1 Kings 8:30--"(phrase repeated numerous times in following verses)--then hear from heaven, your dwelling place . . . "

      Psalm 2:4--"The One enthroned in heaven laughs; The LORD scoffs at them."

      Matthew 5:16--"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

      The highest heaven, the third heaven is indicated by the reference to the Throne of God being the highest heaven:

      1 Kings 8:27--"But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you."

      Deut. 10:14--"To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it."

      https://carm.org/what-does-it-mean-when-bible-refers-third-heaven

  • neil_pogi

    the other possible worlds is HEAVEN!

  • David Hardy

    As I commented on the ontological argument in the last article, I will focus more on some of the ideas presented in this article. Two points that are touched upon in the article seem very relevant:

    A perfectly logical and coherent argument can be wrong if the premises are wrong. The position that a concept being logically coherent is somehow support that it potentially exists (that is, that the burden shifts to someone arguing it does not exist) is fallacious. If a concept is logically coherent, it is worthy of evaluation of whether it potentially exists, but this supports neither the conclusion that it exists nor the conclusion that it does not exist. The burden remains on both sides to present the evidence and reasoning that has led them to their conclusions. An incoherent idea cannot even merit evaluation.

    The ontological argument does not even attempt to prove its premise (that a maximally great being as defined by the qualities of omniscience, omnipotence and moral perfection is possible).

    The disconnect here is that the argument moves from possibility to necessity without establishing possibility first. At best, this argument establishes that, if the maximally great being defined in the argument exists, that being exists in every possible world. The emphasis in that conclusion is "if."

  • DonJindra

    1. There is a possible world W in which there exists a being with maximal greatness.

    2. To be in a possible world is to be contained in it.

    3. Maximal greatness cannot be contained, because it would then not be maximal.

    4. No possible world can contain maximal greatness.

    5. Therefore there cannot be a maximally great being in W.

    Alternately,

    4. Maximal greatness must be at least as great as W but must also exclude all other greatness including other possible worlds.

    5. Therefore W is the only possible world.

    6. Allowing for other possible worlds is a contradiction.

    7. Therefore any argument that posits other possible worlds is absurd.

  • David Hennessey

    I see we're playing the old shell game again, if atheists and agnostics get irritated, it is because the same old bait-and-switch is tried again and again. There is no such thing as a theist, there is no generic "god", so let's just overturn all three shells and see what we find. One is labeled God, one is Allah and the other is Jehovah, if you scratch a theist, you discover a Deist and the God is one of the three similar Gods of the Old Testament.

    So, you say, here's another argument for a First Cause, some philosophical sounding word salad, maybe a god is hiding behind an asteroid, maybe beyond time and space but if we pick up a shell it always has one of those three strange wizards underneath.

    So, this is not a game, if you are trying to prove the existence of Jehovah, say so, don't play hide-and-seek.

    So, play with me:

    Atheist: Are there any other Gods except Jehovah, the God of Abraham?
    Christian, Jew, Muslim: Of course not.
    Atheist: If I prove that Jehovah is not God, will you invent another one?
    Christian: That's ridiculous.
    Atheist: Jehovah was neither omnipotent, omniscient or morally perfect by evidence of your own scriptures.

    Since we have agreed that there is no other God except Jehovah and Jehovah can be easily proven not to meet the criteria for being God, we must agree that there is no God.

    A God which is not Jehovah or one of the manifesting deities of old, Jove, Zeus, Jehovah, Baal etc. is a theoretical god, a "generic theist" is silly, you must choose the specific God you are claiming exists, if it is not Jehovah, what is your God up to? Did the generic god of the theist create anything? Why? Does the generic god talk to people, cause thunder or earthquakes, do miracles?

    Define God. Pick up your shells. If it is Allah, God of the Prophet, say so, we can prove Allah is not God from the Quran, not omnipotent, not omniscient, not morally perfect. If it is Zeus, same difficulty. No God that has interacted with mankind has been superior in power, knowledge or morality over the people who worshiped that God, a God that doesn't interact with mankind has no basis to even investigate.

    The Jews started out saying that God was unknowable, they were agnostics, they should have stopped right there.

  • KNH777

    So what your saying here is back to the same conclusion anyway. No possible world could exist without maximum greatness.

    In your example you just took it down further a layer, or came to it from a different angle.

    If this is what you are saying, then no world could actually exist without maximum greatness at it's core.

    It all comes down to this question.
    What is necessary for any world to exist?
    What is necessary for any world to exist, and without this which is necessary then no possible world could exist?

    What is necessary for any possible world to exist?
    What is the 1st piece needed beyond the last known layer?
    When we peel back every layer down the nucleus of the base core, the final layer out of which all things began, what is necessary for our actual world?

    So if we peel back to 1st speck, back to evolutions 1st spark of energy that started the chain reaction of all creation would have to have every building block of our creation, the complexity of our entire of our world, to the highest possible evolution with every detail contained in a speck the size of a mustard seed.

    Also a thought, Jesus discussed faith the size of a mustard seed could move mountains into the sea. So If our faith is that powerful for us, what is God able to do with a mustard seed???

    Its a funny thing that Jesus referred to the kingdom as going through an eye of a needle, and also as a mustard seed.

    And Speed of light we now know, and I don't actually grasp.
    But I grasp enough to see a connection He is light, there is NO darkness in Him. He is eternal life and the light.
    In the New Jerusalem there will be only day. Are light years days in heaven talked about from almost every prophet?

  • KNH777

    My rendition *** compared to the main article<>.

    <<>>

    Yes ** 1 - Maximum Greatness exists in any and every possible world.***

    <<>>

    Yes ** 2 - Maximum Excellence exists in every possible way relative to the greater or at least minimum degree necessary to achieve Maximum Greatness in any and every possible world.***

    <<>>

    ***No!
    How did you determine Maximum Excellence entails Omniscience, Omnipotence, Moral Perfection is necessary for EVERY possible world.
    Maximum Excellence is point of reference and so is Maximum Greatness!
    If any of the possible worlds only consisted of ants and bugs, then Maximum Greatness is achieved
    by whatever qualities are necessary for that actual worlds Maximum Excellence.
    So Maximum Excellence is relative to the greater or at least minimum degree necessary to achieve Maximum Greatness for any possible world. ***

    SO *** 3 - Maximum Excellence entails qualities necessary to achieve the Maximum Greatness necessary relative to any and every possible world. ***

    <<>>

    So *** 4. - There exists a Being at Maximum Excellence relative to the greater or at least minimum qualities necessary to achieve Maximum Greatness in any and every possible world. ***

    <<>>

    NO *** 5 - Maximum Excellence as Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Moral Perfection is relative to the greater or at least minimum degree necessary to achieve Maximum Greatness in every possible world. ***

    <<>>

    No *** 6 What is impossible in one possible world may be be possible in other possible worlds.
    And What is possible in one possible world may be impossible in another possible world.***

    <<>>

    NO *** 7. The proposition "There exists an Omnicient, Omnipotent, and Morally Perfect Being of Maximum Excellence relative to the greater or at least minimum degree necessary to achieve Maximum Greatness in an actual possible world***

    <<>>

    YES *** 8. So the conclusion is there is a Maximum Excellent Being in the actual world that has greater or at minimum qualities in Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Moral Perfection relevant to the Greater Maximum acievement of our highest possible Evolution in an actual possible world . ***

  • KNH777

    The rule of logic leading to Maximum Greatness, by standards of Maximum Excellence.

    Qualities pertaining to Maximum Excellence in Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Moral Perfection necessary to achieve Maximum Greatness is determined by the highest possible Evolution in any and every possible world.

    Maximum Excellence is point of reference, and Maximum Greatness is point of reference!

    1 Maximum Greatness exists in any and every possible world.

    2 Maximum Excellence exists in every possible way relative to the greatest or at the very least minimum application necessary to achieve it's highest possible evolution to Maximum Greatness in any and every possible world.

    3 If any of the possible worlds consists of only ants and bugs, then Maximum Excellence is whatever qualities are necessary to achieve it's highest possible evolution to Maximum Greatness in that possible world.

    4 So Maximum Excellence is relative to the greater or at least minimum applications necessary to achieve highest evolution of Maximum Greatness for any and all possible world.

    5 Maximum Excellence entails the application of qualities necessary to achieve Maximum Greatness relative to any and every possible world.

    6 There exists a Being of Maximum Excellence relative to the greatest or at least minimum qualities necessary to achieve Maximum Greatness in any and every possible world.

    7 Maximum Excellence as Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Moral Perfection are relative to the greater or at least minimum application necessary to achieve it's highest possible evolution to Maximum Greatness in every possible world.

    8 What is impossible in one possible world, may be be possible in other possible worlds.

    9 What is possible in one possible world may be impossible in another possible world.

    10 The proposition, there exists an Omnicient, Omnipotent, and Morally Perfect Being of Maximum Excellence relative to the greater or at least minimum application necessary to achieve it's highest possible evolution to Maximum Greatness in an actual possible world.

    11 So the conclusion is there must be a Maximum Excellent Being in any and every possible world that has the greatest or at least minimum qualities necessary in Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Moral Perfection relevant to the acievement of highest possible evolution in Maximum Greatness in that actual possible world .
    **
    12 - Nothing exists if No-Maximality is exemplified

    13 - Maximal greatness is possible only if Maximality is exemplified.

    14 - Without Maximality, then Maximal Greatness is impossible!

    15 - Since Maximality exists, ONLY those who are made in the image of Maximality can achieve the highest possible Maximum Greatness in the image of Maximality!

    16 - Those who are made in the image of Maximality achieve Maximum Greatness by an ever present goal within themselves, and set before themselves ever reaching for their Maximum Greatness with standards reflective of the image of Maximality!

    17 - The goal to achieve Maximum Greatness can never achieved if Maximality is altered by a lesser image of Maximality in any and every possible world!

    18 - Maximum Greatness is achieved by reaching it's Maximum Potential in it's Maximum Purpose through achieving it's highest possible likeness to an unaltered image of Maximality.
    **

  • KNH777

    **
    1 - Nothing exists if No-Maximality is exemplified

    2 - Maximal greatness is possible only if Maximality is exemplified.

    3 - Without Maximality, then Maximal Greatness is impossible!

    4 - Since Maximality exists, ONLY those who are made in the image of Maximality can achieve the highest possible Maximum Greatness in the image of Maximality!

    5 - Those who are made in the image of Maximality achieve Maximum Greatness by an ever present goal within themselves, and set before themselves ever reaching for their Maximum Greatness with standards reflective of the image of Maximality!

    6 - The goal to achieve Maximum Greatness can never achieved if Maximality is altered by a lesser image of Maximality in any and every possible world!

    7 - Maximum Greatness is achieved by reaching it's Maximum Potential in it's Maximum Purpose through achieving it's highest possible likeness to an unaltered image of Maximality.
    **

  • KNH777

    Why aren't at least some animals like us in degree of difference?

    Looks like the universe picked one animal on earth to Excell, while all others adapted at a different rate?

    If you have several pots of the same original water temperature to boil on the same degree of heat measure, with the differences in the various pots noted as pot sizes and water levels?

    Wouldn't you think with some math and measurements that all the pots would boil at the same rate relative to the size and water level without any notable degree of difference between them that can be explained by math and science equation determining the rate of boiling by the size of pot and water level?

    But science ignores the degree of difference between man and the entire animal kingdom!!

    Actually that's where science gets a 0 for logic!

    Explain the degree of difference in man relative to the degree of difference in like creatures.

    Then compare that degree to man.
    It's not mathematical or scientific!!

    It almost feels like Sesame Street logic. That basic!!

    Which of these things is not like the other...?

    Lion, Jaguar, Bob Cat, House Cat
    Polar Bear, Brown Bear, Asian Bear, Sloth Bear
    Moose, Caribou, Elk, Deer
    Man, Ape

    If we take this sampling all animals are relative in degree of difference.
    Even the apes degree of difference is relative to the stages of difference all the way down the lists of animals to the house cat.

    There are no jumps in degree of difference between any of the animals. They all are adaptive to their habitat and live by the instict needed for survival.

    There are 0 a big fat ZERO that are anything near the degree of difference found 100 % through nature that comes close to a reasonable degree of difference stepping up to man.

    Then even adaptation, all animals would adapt and improve at a similar degree of difference in improvements. Again it's the same when compared to all animals and then to man!

    Here is an example chart of degree off difference, even for man, using the most basic man without any advancements
    House Cat --
    ..........Bear ------
    ..........Lion ---------
    ...........Ape -------------
    Basic Man -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ...Adv Man ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  • igor

    A being that has maximal greatness can exist only if the being has maximal excellence in all possible worlds. Before it can be possible that there is a being with maximal greatness, there must be a being with maximal excellence in each and every possible world. If we are to entertain the claim that there is possibly a maximally great being, we must either (a) ascertain/confirm that a maximally excellent being exists in each and every possible world or (b) pre-suppose the untested assumption that there exists a maximally excellent being in each and every possible world. If we ascertain/confirm that there is a maximally excellent being in each and every possible world, the argument is moot. If we pre-suppose the untested assumption that there exists a maxinally excellent being in each and every possible world, we are pre-supposing the conclusion that there exists a maximally excellent being. Hence Question Begging.

    It may be the case that the rules/constructs of Metaphysics or modal logic can provide a proof that shows the existence of a maximally excellent being. If that is the case, then the rules/constructs of Metaphysics or modal logic may not accurately/completely describe the actual world we inhabit. Hence any conclusion that relies on any such rules/constructs of Metaphysics or modal logic will not necessarily be valid for the actual world that we inhabit and as such will not necessarily apply to the actual world that we inhabit.

  • igor

    I offer a simpler version of my comments:

    If the Being has Maximal Greatness at all, it has Maximal Greatness "necessarily" (ie in all possible worlds). The Being cannot have Maximal Greatness "possibly" (ie in at least one possible world ("at least" includes "all", but "all" triggers the change from "possibly" to "necessarily")). So the premise "It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness" is incoherent and invalid.

  • Immanuel Kant

    How do you kill a snake? Cut off its head.