Scott Maddox versus New Apologetics on God’s Existence

August 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Dialogues

 

What is the newest Apologetics argument for the existence of God?

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  • New Apologetics We are happy that you asked. As far as we know, our version of the modal ontological argument is the newest. One of our contributors has been working on it for about 15 years, and it finally seems to have reached a point of refinement where it appears to hold water against all known criticisms. Ironically, the author rejected earlier versions because they were “too complex.” There are immense implications if this proof is sound as it not only proves God, but the *redemption* as well. It also vindicates Ernst Malley’s deontic logic, which was dismissed out of hand in the early 20th century. We will explain what we mean if you are interested.

    If you go to our website www.newapologetics.com and look under “The Tractatus,” the argument appears in Article 3. 

    Some notes: The presentation there is pretty raw, and is not necessarily intended to be understood by a general audience. It is mostly “for the record”, and for professors of philosophy who have a background in modal logic. As time permits, the content of the Tractatus is going to be greatly expanded and refined. We expect to produce about 50 additional articles in 2013 covering many topics in philosophy of religion in a totally new way.

    If you are interested in understanding the proof, we would enjoy translating it to normal language and walking you through it. Also, it would save us a lot of work if anyone can poke a hole in the argument. Open invitation to all to whack the piñata…
  • Scott Maddox Article 1
    Okay, it doesn’t look like your Tractatus argument works. Just because God could logically exist, which I don’t agree with, doesn’t mean that God does exist. 

    Article 2
    I disagree that “good” and “evil” exist in objective terms. These are purely subjective labels that people have applied to stuff. 

    Article 3
    I don’t agree that “perfect justice” even exists. Also, I disagree that something that is “completely unjust” exists either.
  • New Apologetics Scott Maddox Thank you for your response. We will post three separate comments in response to each of your rebuttals.

    You wrote:
    Article 1
    Okay, it doesn’t look like your Tractatus argument works. Just because God could logically exist, which I don’t agree with, doesn’t mean that God does exist. 

    We reply:
    Your response is a common one because almost nobody at the “popular” level of debate knows that the logic of the proof in Article 1 has been established as non-controversial for quite a while now. It is already settled among logicians and philosophers (regardless of whether they are theists or atheists) that the proof we posted in Article 1 is a valid proof. The logic is not suspect, and the only question remaining is whether the *premises* are true. Consider that the atheist philosopher, Michael Martin admits:

    “There seems to be little doubt that the argument is valid. The crucial question is whether the premises are true. Clearly the most important ones for our purposes are premises (1) and (7). On Hartshorne’s view, (7) is the hardest to justify. He recommends using one or more of the theistic proofs that he claims demonstrate that perfection must be at least possible. But this seems to have things backward. The theistic proofs presume that the concept of God is coherent; they cannot demonstrate it. Furthermore, … there have been many attempts to show that the concept of God is incoherent. Before one can claim that it is coherent, one at least needs to show that these attempts have failed. Hartshorne has not done this, and consequently premise (7) is unjustified.”

    Premise 1 is simply the recognition that IF God exists, then God is not a logically contingent being. God, as the source of all being would be ontologically basic to all possibilities, so “contingency” cannot apply.

    Because the logic of the proof is sure, you are simply mistaken when you object that granting God’s logical possibility does not entail God’s necessary existence. We accept that you do *not* grant God’s logical possibility. But the “proof” as we propose it in the Tractatus is not intended to be a proof for the existence of God. Rather, it is a proof that the debate about God from an *evidentiary* standpoint is entirely bogus. Because of the modal proof, the question of theism or atheism is settled as soon as one grants that God is logically possible. Necessarily, *all* evidentiary considerations are epistemically posterior to the assumption that the object of one’s inquiry is logically possible. The whole popular debate between theists and atheists in terms of “evidence” is completely unhinged from reason at this point. Once we even believe that the question of God is a coherent question, then the debate is over. Nobody really knows it except for a handful of logicians and analytic philosophers.
  • Scott Maddox I reply to your reply:
    Who are these logicians and philosophers? It doesn’t take a genius to know that Article 1 is bogus. God by your definition of God doesn’t make logical sense, but more importantly, claiming that God exists necessarily requires evi…See More
  • New Apologetics Scott Maddox You have misunderstood the argument. We will try to explain it to you in detail. 

    You wrote: Who are these logicians and philosophers? It doesn’t take a genius to know that Article 1 is bogus. 

    We reply: For starters, you could probably take any of the people of the editorial board of Philo (a journal of secular humanist philosophers), and they (being experts in the field of philosophy of religion) would recognize that the argument is valid. (http://www.philoonline.org)

    You wrote:
    God by your definition of God doesn’t make logical sense, but more importantly, claiming that God exists necessarily requires evidence that God exists.

    We reply:
    We are not defending a definition of God in Article 1. We are also not using the argument in Article 1 to prove the existence of God. You are entitled to assert that the existence of God is logically impossible, but that is a separate consideration as to whether or not Article 1 succeeds at the thesis it is intended to establish.

    You wrote:
    You can’t recognize IF God exists because you don’t have any evidence. Stop presupposing; you’re getting way ahead of yourselves.

    We reply:
    The above objection is unclear. Could you explain?

    You wrote:
    You assume the nature of a being for which you have no evidence, just to justify your lack of evidence. I can prove a nothingness so devoid of anything that you cannot ever find evidence that it exists as a non-existent nothingness.

    We reply:
    Your point about nothingness does not seem to be coherent. Could you please clarify? Do you deny that we can conceive of a *hypothetical* being (of whatever nature), and then reason as to whether or not there is warrant for the belief that such a being exists in reality?
  • Scott Maddox Nothingness: we don’t have prove that it exists. Many people take this fact for granted because there are so many things that appear to be nothing, but in reality are actually something. Air for example is something.

    I’m not denying the power of your imagination. If you’re making up stuff, you can’t just reason that it exists. You need to start from reason, like if you have a scientific model and there seems to be a missing piece, you go find out what that missing piece is with a Large Hadron Collider and then you name it Higgs Boson.
  • New Apologetics Scott Maddox Do you agree that we can conceive of a hypothetical being and ask ourselves what the reasonable criteria for concluding its actuality would be? Empirical verification is *one* way to come to that conclusion. Another would be a logically valid deductive inference or a strong inductive inference. It seems that you reject these and assert that only empirical verification is admissible. Is that correct?

  • Scott Maddox In this case, empirical evidence is the only way. Logic alone isn’t sufficient.
  • New Apologetics Scott Maddox We agree that logic alone is not sufficient. There would need to be some information available that is not itself a truth of logic. The proof we offered is not purely from logic. It relies on the intuition/observation/perception that the concept of justice is a coherent concept.