Revised Ontological Argument

The below item is part of my "Conversations" series.

An atheist and a Christian having lunch in a high school cafeteria

Shannon: I finally figured out what’s wrong with that argument you told me yesterday about a godless universe being impossible because it’s so unlikely.

Travis: Oh?

Shannon: Yes! It’s pretty easy, actually. Let’s say that in the infinity of time all possible universes come to exist —

Travis: Hang on there. Are you sure you want to use that argument?

Shannon: You haven’t even heard it yet.

Travis: I know, but as soon as you start talking about infinite possible universes, that proves that God exists.

Shannon: No it doesn’t.

Travis: Yes it does. Is there anything logically impossible about an omnipotent, omniscient god existing?

Shannon: No.

Travis: Then if all possible universes exist, a universe in which God exists exists. And if God is omnipotent and omniscient, then God is everywhere and knows everything, which means that if He exists in one possible universe, he must exist in all possible universes.

Shannon: Or He doesn’t exist in any of them.

Travis: You admitted God was logically possible.

Shannon: Right, but something being logically possible doesn’t mean it might exist.

Travis: Given all possible worlds it would.

Shannon: Not if it was logically possible but physically impossible. For example, if I asked you to name a random number, it’s logically possible that you could sit here reciting the digits of an enormously large random number until you died of starvation, but there’s no circumstance in which you’d actually do it.

Travis: Given enough universes, there would be an infinite number of them in which I was crazy and spouted real numbers. There wouldn’t even be an infinite amount of them, since the length of the numbers would be limited by how long I would live.

Shannon: I still don’t think that’s possible, but let me try another example. It’s not logically impossible for the force of gravity to obviously go by the name Usagi. In every language in the world, gravity would be called Usagi.

Travis: I guess that’s possible.

Shannon: In order for it to be obvious that gravity is called Usagi, then it would have to be unthinkable for it to be called anything else. If it is unthinkable for it to be called anything else, then it must be called Usagi in all possible universes. Therefore, in our universe gravity is called Usagi.

Travis: That argument doesn’t work. Gravity is a physical thing so it can’t have the property of being “necessarily” anything in all possible worlds. Only immaterial things can have that.

Shannon: I don’t know why that would be, but okay — numbers are immaterial, so the number twelve is now Usagi.

Travis: Numbers are just concepts.

Shannon: Then there’s a possible universe in which Usagi is the perfect name for God, and if it’s the perfect name then it must be His name in all universes.

Travis: Usagi isn’t a perfect name.

Shannon: Not in our universe.

Travis: Not in any universe.

Shannon: Is it logically impossible?

Travis: No, it’s just stupid.

Shannon: With that in mind, you want to ask me what I think of the idea of God existing?

Travis: No. Let’s go back to talking about creation.

Shannon: Fine with me. Let’s say that in the infinity of time all possible universes come to exist…


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Posted on January 22, 2014 at 5:04 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Conversations

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