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Debate Score:28
Arguments:14
Total Votes:29
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 Anselms Reductio Ad Absurdum for the Existence of God (14)

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Anselms Reductio Ad Absurdum for the Existence of God

Anselm posits that we can reduce the supposedly false assertion "God does not exist" into a contradiction, for it is false. You be the judge. I have spent several weeks examining this argument and have come to a verdict independent of stimulation from other critics.

God does not exist

God = Nothing can be Greater Conceived (NGC)

NGC does not exist

So NGC has being only in my understanding and not in reality

If NGC existed in reality too, it would be greater

So NGC is not NGC

So NGC cannot exist only in my understanding

NGC must exist in reality

God exists

God exists and God does not exist

Premise 1 must be false

God exists

Add New Argument
4 points

This isn't an argument. It's not structured like one anyway. It sounds more like an Algebraic Math equation. Either way, your argument is rendered null and void.

Side: Flawed Argument
2 points

Ever heard of a syllogism? Also known as a deductive argument.

Side: Flawed Argument
Bohemian(3861) Disputed
2 points

Ever heard of a syllogism?

Yes, Syllogistic arguments are often mistaken, as is this one.

Side: Flawed Argument
Peekaboo(704) Disputed
2 points

It most certainly is an argument, in the sense that it is a set of premises which purportedly give support to a conclusion. Yes, it sounds a little like maths, because logic and maths are two faces of the same general area of study.

It's presented in a pretty informal manner here as far as logic is concerned, but it's clear enough that you get a good idea of what is being presented.

Side: Tricky Argument
3 points

There are a gazillion ways to attack Anselm's ontological argument. A few off the top of my head:

1. Using his logic, one can "prove" the existence of anything as long as you claim that it is the greatest of its kind.

2. It begs the question by assuming God's existence when defining "God".

3. When a non-theist considers the being "God", they conceive it as an imaginary being, so this argument only proves that God is to be imagined to exist.

4. Existence is not a predicate.

However you state your specific objection, I think the underlying intuition is that the ontological argument shouldn't be allowed to succeed - we don't want things to be defined into existence, and we don't find it convincing when someone does make such an attempt. It's fun as far as it is a riddle to solve, but for evangelical purposes it's useless.

Side: Tricky Argument
2 points

Surely, your God can only exist in your understanding. That's why it doesn't exist in everyone's understanding.

Side: What the

"Surely, your God can only exist in your understanding."

Not if that God = Nothing can be Greater Conceived. For a God existing in reality would be greater than a God existing in undertanding. His essence, which Anslem conceived, implies his existence in reality.

Side: Tricky Argument
TheDane(24) Disputed
3 points

"For a God existing in reality would be greater than a God existing in understanding."

If a god exists in reality, it will also exist in understanding. However, a god existing in understanding doesn't equal to a god existing in reality, as this is not the greatest. In other words, you have to accept reality into your understanding, but reality doesn't have to accept your understanding.

Side: Tricky Argument
2 points

This is a version of an argument I first heard several years ago. What it essentially says is that God is the greatest thing we can think of, and that a God that exists is greater than a God which doesn't exist, therefore God must exist because we can think of him. This is a fundamentally flawed argument for two reasons.

1.Thoughts are often wrong. That a God which exists is the greatest thing you can think of does not demonstrates that he does.

2. Through the logic you're using one could just as easily conclude that your premise is incorrect.

This, like nearly all other arguments for the existence of God, is a very poor argument.

Side: Flawed Argument