It seems a large amount of internet atheists do not know how to voice objections without revealing their immaturity and intellectual dishonesty. AntiCitizenX has decided to respond to the modal ontological argument with exactly this mentality. It is fine if you disagree, but why must respect be thrown out the window? When they do this, it really only reveals intellectual dishonesty, immaturity, and a pure lack of philosophical knowledge.
It should be quickly noted that AntiCitizenX put forward a large amount of objections that were straw men. This actually creates more damage for his case than aids because all he does it set up his viewers for failure. They are given objections by AnticitizenX, which do not work and are based on terrible reasoning like equivocating the property of necessity with existence. Instead of debunking the ontological argument he only succeeds in assuring his viewers will not only misunderstand how theists actually present the argument, but teach them objections to that do work and make them look philosophically ignorant. If one wants to have a conversation on natural theology that is fine, but quote mining and misrepresenting your opponents doesn’t do you or your viewers any favors. It actually hinders their growth for knowledge. So all AnticitizenX does is make his viewers truly ignorant on how the argument works and that is setting them up for failure.
AntiCitizenX’s video is by far one of the worse I’ve seen, which is quite funny because he has such an arrogant attitude about how right he knows he is. Allow me to explain:
Ending at 0:47 – So right off the bat we have a straw men. Never once did I say the ontological argument (OA) proves facts about the external world (by external I mean physical). In fact, I concluded “Answering Objections to the ontological Argument (Part 2) by quoting Plantinga and saying:
Plantinga is not saying the argument is a waste of time. It actually does exactly what it is suppose to do. The point he is making is that this argument cannot and should not be used to prove God exists like one can prove earth is round. But as he says at the end of this quote, the argument shows that the belief in God is completely rational. The ontological argument is not a way to prove God exists, in fact, no argument in natural theology can be said to prove God exists like one proves a scientific fact. The aim of this argument and natural theology is to show that the best inference, and most rational conclusion we can come to is that God exists.1
So we have our first straw man, and this is pretty much what the rest of his response is, but you’ll see why below.
Ending at 2:07 – AntiCitizenX shows his ignorance on philosophy by bringing up a common point he tries to state often is a proven fact – the analytic/synthetic distinction. First, he presupposes this is proven somehow (which is self refuting and I’ll get to in a second). It is not a proven fact, in fact, most philosophers accept the analytic/synthetic is controversial and blurred, since the philosopher Quine demonstrated this in his paper, “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” This has been pointed out to him before:
He just presents it like a proven fact, yet fails to mention it is really a controversial philosophical claim. This shows a lack of philosophical knowledge.
Second, he bases his objection on this presupposition, that analytical claims have no bearing on claims about the external world. The obvious problem is the analytical/synthetic distinction is claimed to speak about what is true about the real world and must therefore be a synthetic proposition. However, where is the empirical evidence to demonstrate this distinction is true? The fact is he doesn’t have any, so by his logic the analytical/synthetic distinction must be false and is therefore self-refuting.
AntiCitizenX wants to have his philosophical cake and eat to, that claims about the real world can only be empirical, but he presents this exact claim through analytical presuppositions, not empirical evidence. Where is the synthetic evidence of this analytic/synthetic distinction? Well, he doesn’t have any. It is obvious his distinction is analytical, so by his own logic it has no bearing on the real world.
Third, what does he mean by “real world”? Does he mean the physical world? If so, that is not a fact of what the real world consists of. Several philosophers, like Thomas Nagel, would argue the real world includes the objectively of abstract logic, as well as the physical world. In fact, if logical claims are separate from the ‘real world’ how can AntiCitizenX’s logical claims and ‘made up distinction’ have any bearing on the real world? This should alone refute the rest of his video, since he continually makes analytical and logical claims about what can and cannot be true of the real world. So his entire reasoning is – “do as I say, not as I do.”
When it comes to the ontological argument it is already assumed logic is objectively true, so if the real world is logical then what is discovered to be logically true will have an objective bearing on the whole real world. The only way out of this is to deny logic has any relation to the real world, which is self-defeating. Because to argue logic has no relation to the real world is to assume your claim is logically coherent about the real world. So does AntiCitizenX think his claims are logically true statements about the real world? If so then he accepts the same reasoning foundational for the OA and has refuted himself, again.
Ending at 2:26 – Again another straw man (that makes two so far) I never said I can prove God exists… Did he even watch my videos or he is more interested in creating propaganda?
Ending at 3:14 – AntiCitizenX claims the concept of God is logically incoherent. So my reply is: what professional philosopher in their right mind says that the concept of God is logically impossible? These supposed objections that the properties of God create logical absurdity have been overwhelming rejected by professional philosophers due to theistic responses to show they do not lead to any logical absurdities, once they are property understood. In fact, in my four part series on the OA I demonstrated why this is the case. Now if AntiCitizenX wants to redefine the concept of God in a way to debunk it then he is being ad hoc and not actually addressing the theistic definition. No one has to accept his absurd definitions, which is why this objection fails.
If he thinks religious apologists have not properly defined God then it shows he has never read any theistic philosophers. He should start here: “The Coherence of Theism” by Richard Swinburne. The concept of God is logically coherence and his past objections do not hold any water.
Ending at 4:58 – The ignorance is astounding. AntiCitizenX argues just because something is logically possible that doesn’t mean it exists in the real world, which is another objection I already addressed in “Answering Objections to the Ontological Argument Part 2. Of course logical possibility alone doesn’t mean it has evidence in the real world. He is confusing metaphysical and logical possibility. So the objection is answered by the simple point that I already addressed it in “Answering Objections to the Ontological Argument (Part 2).”
Ending at 7:57 – Yeah, this is sad and pathetic. AntiCitizenX continues his immaturity by taking what I said out of context. Apparently if I state premise 3 that means I didn’t actually defend premise 3. However, I do in a later part of the video. I explain why premise 3 is sound. Instead AntiCitizenX has continued his immaturity and dishonesty by magically pretending I never did this in my video. If that is the best he can do, then it shows he is not interested in having a real conversation but creating propaganda. I do actually show why premise 3 is sound, unlike what AntiCitizenX implies… So this section of his video is propaganda, and reveals his motives are not pure…
Ending at 9:01 – Again, another straw man. I never said definitions transfer into empirical proof. I never claimed the definition means God exists in the physical world. In fact, if God did exist in the physical world He would not be God. No Christian theist would ever claim God exists in the physical world. Did he even watch my videos or just hear what he wanted to hear? The dishonestly is pathetic and really shows it is just another piece of propaganda.
Second, once again, he has limited the real world to the physical, which is not proven and is highly controversial, as philosophers like Nagel argue logical truths are objective but not physical. If the real world is only the physical then his own logical claims are not real or true and have no bearing on what is real. I thought it would be obvious the real world would include objective logic, but apparently that it too much to consider for some Internet atheists. Yet the irony is they insist their logical claims are true about the real world, like this analytic/synthetic distinction. It is an excellent example of terrible logic. If you are going to make logical claims about the real world then you already accept logic is objectively true and has a bearing on reality. But some Internet atheists, want it both ways. They want to tell theists their logical claims have no truth-value, why making logical claims about what is true. It is embarrassing and AntiCitizenX is a prime example of this.
Third, the OA never claims from a definition alone you get to existence. It claims the definition is logical coherent and then asks if it is metaphysically possible. You can have a definition, but that alone doesn’t make it metaphysically possible. I can define a tree as necessary, but that will not show it is metaphysically possible based on a posteriori reasoning. So he dishonestly attacks the OA and demonstrates he doesn’t understand it.
Ending at 10:28 – This is just plain wrong, as even David Hume points out centuries ago. The only way something can be proven logically if its negation is logically impossible, and Robert Maydole’s Modal perfection argument does in fact show the negation of maximal greatness is impossible, which I went over in “Answering Objections to the Ontological Argument (Part 1). Even if you deny the MPA, no one is saying the definition alone gets you to existence. It must also be metaphysically possible. It must be easy to attack an argument when you consistently take everything out of context.
Ending at 10:52 – AntiCitizenX asks for examples of things that exist necessarily, which doesn’t address the argument. That wouldn’t work because he is asking for physical things in the universe, which by definition are not necessary. So this question is a setup. Second, it is matter of metaphysics to explain the physical universe and is the basis of contingency arguments. The obvious logic follows – if there are contingent things, like the physical, where did they originate? This obvious chains goes back to the need for a necessary substance so contingent things can exist, which theists argue would have to be a necessary being. Asking for extra examples would be absurd because logically there would only be a need for one necessary substance/being. Also the mere lack of other necessary things doesn’t imply there are is not one necessary substance obviously… That would be an association fallacy.
Also, his ignorance on the nature of necessity outstanding. The definition of ontological necessity does not mean existence by definition, it means “cannot fail to exist if possible.” It is a way for something to exist, not existence by definition. In other words, it describes a type of existence, in the same way something can exist contingently. I doubt he has ever read anything on necessity like, “Naming and Necessity” or “The Nature of Necessity”? If you are going to redefine terms to debunk an argument you only show your ignorance and you end of debunking a straw man, not the argument itself. Necessity doesn’t equal existence; it is a property of something that can exist, if possible…
Ending at 11:29 – AntiCitizenX says truth doesn’t exist, it is label. So the obvious question which follows: It that is a truth about reality or just a label? It is true that no truth exists? By his own logic is that not just a label? In other words if all truth is a label, then so is this claim so why would it be anything but a label? This is why his entire position is self-defeating. He wants to say there is no truth, but that itself is truth claim. As Thomas Nagel says:
“Claims to the effect that a type of judgment expresses a local point of view are inherently objective in intent: They suggest a picture of the true sources of those judgments which places them in an unconditional context. The judgment of relativity or conditionally cannot be applied to the judgment of relativity itself. To put it schematically, the claim “Everything is subjective” must be nonsense, for it would itself have to be either subjective or objective. But it can’t be objective, since in that case it would be false if true. And it can’t be subjective, because then it would not rule out any objective claim, including the claim that it is objectively false.2“
Ending at 12:02 – This is false dichotomy. It is not true that in saying if some claims are true, then you are necessarily agreeing in a raw essence of truth. You can think truth exists while not thinking it is a thing of itself, but simply an abstract objective fact of logic like in nominalism and true. Some claims are objectively true and some are objectively false. We do not create the label, we simple discover what is true or not. So even if you reject platonism that doesn’t entail fictionalism. Many philosophers agree in the objectively of logic while rejecting platonism.
Ending at 12:33 – This doesn’t make any sense. No one is saying the definition of a square means it exists in the real world. This is once again another terrible straw man. The point is a raw definition of a square entails necessity of four sides. There is no scenario where a square could be without 4 sides. It is a necessary truth of what a square is. No one is therefore claiming it must empirically exist. The dishonestly from this guy is astounding.
Ending at 13:33 – This is getting sad and AntiCitizenX only continues the pathetic propaganda. First, I noted in the beginning of my video I am trying to simply the OA, meaning the formulation used is meant to teach, not be a rigorous formation. Second, I already addressed this in a different video, where I point out the OA doesn’t beg the question and gave a more rigorous formulation:
He also continues with his straw man of a definition of necessity. Once again, necessity doesn’t mean existence, that should have been obvious. I can definite a tree as necessary, but that doesn’t make it logically possible or even metaphysically possible.
Ending at 14:42 – Another straw man. Does this guy even try or does he just hear big words and assume the rest without any thought? I never once said “greatness” or “betterness” are objective quantifiable things. This is dishonestly at its finest. ‘Great-making properties’ is a title for properties that are ontologically beneficial in all possible worlds. No where did I say greatness is a property itself. I can’t tell anymore is he is really this ignorant and lying on purpose.
Ending at 15:03 – AntiCitizenX has tried to say he can out define a MGB by defining a being that is maximally great, but can beat the other MGB in an arm wrestling contest. Does he even try? If that was the case then the first being is not maximally great and is just another lesser being. We are not asking for degrees of power but one who would be all powerful and if a being could be all powerful then no other being could be more powerful. So just saying there is a greater being is meaningless. If that was the case then that would be the MGB and the other would not be.
Ending at 15:45 – It is evident AntiCitizenX is not even trying. I never said God is necessary because I said so, but because a MGB must entail all great-making properties. It is not accepted ad hoc, but because all GMPs must be entailed, which includes necessity by definition. Asking why is a MGB necessary is like asking why does 2+2=4. It is by definition. If you think the definition is incoherent then you must explain why, not just get upset because you do not like the definition. When I see parodies of the OA, I explain why the definition is logically incoherent, that is how logic works.
Ending at 18:15 – This is once again self-refuting. If you cannot demonstrate something empirically that means it doesn’t exist? I’ve yet to see AntiCitizenX empirically demonstrate the truth of this claim he insists is true. If the truth of the real world is determined by empirical claims then the claim, “empirical claims determine truth” requires empirical evidence as well, but it has none.
Also, once again, I never said definition alone means it exist in the real world. Something must be metaphysically possible for it to be considered to exist in the real world (and yes, I am making a distinction between real and physical world since the real world is more encompassing than the physical). And I’ve already given evidence for why a MGB is metaphysically possible in the real world. So we have more examples of AntiCitizenX taking things out of context.
Ending at 18:44 – I think this may be the worst lie yet. We have no empirical evidence for God? Notice the switch from empirical proof to empirically evidence. Because in reality, we have plenty of evidence, which we infer to the best explanation of theism, but we never claimed proof:
With this empirical evidence William Lane Craig then explains what the OA does:
The theistic arguments need not be taken to be like links in a chain, in which one link follows another so that the chain is only as strong as the weakest link. Rather, they are like links in a coat of chain mail, in which all the links reinforce one another so that the strength off the whole exceeds that of any single link. The ontological argument might play its part in a cumulative case for theism, in which a multitude of factors simultaneously conspire to lead one to the global conclusion that God exists. In that sense, Anselm was wrong in thinking that he had discovered a single argument which, standing independent of all the rest, severe to demonstrate God’s existence in all his greatness. Nevertheless, his argument does encapsulate the thrust of all the argument together to show that God, the Supreme being, exists.3
So now that we do have evidence in the other arguments of natural theology we then have metaphysical possibility from a posterior reasoning and from there we have all we need for the conclusion of the ontological argument. Even if you deny the conclusions from these other arguments, you cannot deny the minimal metaphysical possibility. From there the OA follows and shows that to simply accept the metaphysical evidence that a necessary being is possible means one the most logical conclusion about the actual world is one exists. The only way out of the conclusion is to deny logic has any bearing on the real world, and which is kind of what it seems AntiCitizenX is implying. Which makes me wonder if he thinks his logical claims have any bearing on the real world.
In conclusion AntiCitizenX did an excellent job debunking the straw man he built. He wrapped himself up in a self-defeating case of nonsense and demonstrated he doesn’t understand the OA or how logic works. If he really thinks logic has no bearing on the actual world, then I expect him to through out all the logical claims he made of the real world. He cannot have it both ways.
- Nagel (2001). The Last Word, Page 14-15.
- Craig and Moreland (2003). Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, Page 449.