What do you think of this argument for the existence of God?

It seems to me this is cut from the same cloth as the various arguments that have been put forth through the centuries and grouped together as “ontological arguments.” The idea has been around at least since Anselm wrote it down in the eleventh century, with various refinements and variations rebuttals appearing since then.

Here, my reaction is that I would be reluctant to accept any argument that relies so heavily on considering what the human mind is capable of thinking about and/or understanding. For my money, the possibility of breaking an idea into “simpler components” speaks to nothing more or less than the current limits of human thought processes. I don’t know whether, assuming I were to set my mind to it, I could break down omniscience that way, but if I try and fail, I don’t know that my next-door neighbor Mary couldn’t blurt out an answer immediately. She might see some nuance that has escaped my notice. To be fair, I suspect you’re probably right, but I’m not sure that probably is good enough when the stakes are proving the existence of God.

Also, I would ask, What obliges me to accept omnipotence in particular as the critical defining attribute of God? What makes it both necessary and sufficient to declare an entity to be God?

Well…if god created the universe that kinda seems omnipotent.

I have a bigger problem with omniscience.

Now that’s just hippie talk. :face_with_spiral_eyes:

exactly this.

One can choose to play with words and so define a god into existence, that is trivially easy.

But that is all that it is, a game, and the way the OP defines a god leaves nothing left to discuss.

god is existence, existence exists, therefore god exists.

It doesn’t mean anything, doesn’t explain anything and in fact doesn’t even introduce any concept beyond that which is already adequately covered by the word and concept “existence”. (As Czarcasm said)

Okay, sure, that’s a definition. I’m not sure it’s a very useful one, though, without examples of ideas you’d call “fundamental truths.”

Without knowing what you consider a “fundamental truth,” I find this suspect. Why would this be true?

If your idea is that god=omnipotence, surely omnipotence can be broken down? E.g., omnipotence requires an objective universe on which to act, and the law of cause-and-effect such that a God’s action can achieve a result, and the idea of power to cause change, and so on.

Other than the first, vague definition, I’m afraid I don’t see that this argument holds water. Give some examples of fundamental truths (and explain why the word “axiom” doesn’t cover what you mean), and we’ll work from there.

But how did God create the universe? If it didn’t require anything more than sparking the big bang, you could easily posit that everything went out of control after that. And that spark could have been an accident.

If the proof wants us to accept the biblical account of creation, that introduces a whole lot of other issues as far as building an argument. A lotta ins, a lotta outs, a lotta what-have-yous, as the Dude would say.

I would agree, though, that omniscience would present a bigger problem.

Right. The OPs argument is an argument from definitions. Though the words are different, the OP’s argument reminds me of Saint Anselm’s ontological argument for the proof of god’s existence. Far from being a new argument, it stretches back about a thousand years.

He said that “Horse , for an example, is a fundamental truth that makes up the concept of a unicorn.”

Now, to the best of my knowledge, there was a time when there were no horses, and there could be a time when there are no horses — but I guess they’re meant to be the textbook example of a fundamental truth.

I think the idea of a prime mover (Aquinas?) has it that the clockwork perfection of the universe and the creation of man could not be an accident and could not be a result of chance. There had to be a plan and only a supreme being could manage such a thing.

Of course, what they never answer, is how god came into existence and once we start down that road it is turtles all the way down. I suppose god is supposed to be eternal but that has some problems of its own.

I don’t find the “clockwork perfection” argument particularly compelling. It seems to me that if there’s no rational-minded planner, you would expect objects to display the kind of observably consistent behavior the clockwork proponents will point to.

Now, if the sun were to rise in the west tomorrow morning, I might take that as evidence of God.

Well, even a physicist will tell you there are a WHOLE lot of other arrangements our universe could have taken and most of those would not be conducive to life forming.

Now we are on to the Anthropic principle I think but still…our universe being as it is is quite the longshot.

We can make this not a problem if we assume a multiverse. If there are infinite universes out there then having one that can support life is no longer a longshot. Indeed, it is inevitable.

If you, or any of us, were still around to witness it. Applying that much energy to change the Earth’s rotation over that short a period of time would likely kill every living thing larger than a bacteria :grimacing:.

That proves God doesn’t exist. If He did exist, we would survive such proof.
Unless he hates us.

It’s a long shot, but then again, so is any universe-arrangement. I would argue that from that point of view, what we have here is nothing special. A Powerball drawing of 1 2 3 4 5 6 might seem far less likely than (opens new tab to check most recent winning numbers) 10 20 23 49 65 22, but it’s not. 1 2 3 4 5 6 simply happens to be a pattern that’s easy to recognize and meaningful, in a trivial way, to the human mind, so it would feel more significant if it were to be drawn.

If I’m still around afterward to take note of what happened, that would be one reason why I’d have to consider the possibility that the existence of God has been proven. But I might want more detail in the scenario to determine whether I’d consider it irrefutably proven, case closed, full stop.

Another reason, of course, would simply be the extraordinary nature of the event.

If you haven’t already you may find reading about the Anthropic Principle interesting. That link is the Wiki page and a good start.

That is not to say you are wrong. You may be right. This is just one deep dive people have done on this long before us that is worth reading about.

It gets even more confusing when you consider the question: is this fundamental truth objective or subjective?

Take the example of a black swan. To a European in the 1500s, a black swan is a fictitious concept that combines two real concepts (swans, and the color black).

But then Europeans got to Australia and found out that actually, there were black swans around the whole time.

I had not been aware of that particular idea, and I don’t think I’d be prepared to make any comment that would require a true understanding of it just yet.

It’s now on my radar, though. Is there a book you’d recommend? This would be a book for someone who finished a BA in philosophy in the mid-eighties for some reason and hasn’t been called upon to use any of it since then, and that particular person at this point recalls bits and pieces of the more memorable stuff. So it doesn’t have to be at the level of Subject Matter for Dummies, but something highly technical or advanced might very well leave me choking in the dust.

Congratulations, OP. As others have pointed out, you have reinvented the ontological argument, first proposed by:

Saint Anselm of Canterbury in his 1078 work, Proslogion (Latin: Proslogium , lit. ‘Discourse on the Existence of God’), in which he defines God as “a being than which no greater can be conceived,” and argues that such being must exist in the mind, even in that of the person who denies the existence of God.[1] From this, he suggests that if the greatest possible being exists in the mind, it must also exist in reality, because if it existed only in the mind, then an even greater being must be possible—one who exists both in mind and in reality. Therefore, this greatest possible being must exist in reality.

The mistake in this way of thinking is that the necessity of logical syllogisms can tell us nothing about reality if there is no correspondence between the words and real objects they describe.

The famous syllogism…

All humans are mortal.
Socrates is a human.
Therefore Socrates is mortal.

…works because we all generally agree that the first statement is true. That is, we agree on the meanings of the words “all,” “humans,” “are,” and “mortal,” and agree that the statement describes reality.

If we grant that Socrates is human, then logic tells us that Socrates is mortal. But this only applies to the real world if all the terms in the syllogism are true in reality. If there are humans who not mortal, or if Socrates is not human, the logic may be sound, but it won’t accurately describe reality.

Definitions of words depend on agreement among those using them. If I say all swans are black, you’re likely to disagree with me, until I show you that what I mean by “swan” is corvus brachyrhychos. Obviously, I’m mistaken in this case, and if I can be disabused of my error, I will stop making erroneous statements about swans.

Needless to say, it is somewhat more difficult to obtain general agreement when defining words like “god.” The OP’s definition may agree with his perception of god, and if it agrees with other people’s, they may agree with his conclusion. But those who don’t accept his definition will see no reason to accept his conclusion.

And since, unlike words like “human,” “mortal,” and “Socrates,” there is no empirical experience to which one can point as an exemplar of “god,” there is unlikely to be widespread acceptance of the premise of an ontological argument such as the OP proposes.

There is no shortage of books and articles on this. My first exposure to it was reading Stephen Hawking’s book, “A Brief History of Time”. The book was not about the Anthropic Principle but he talked a little about it. A worthwhile and fun read.

If you want a book I think The Anthropic Cosmological Principle might be for you but that’s a lot to absorb unless you really want to study the topic. (I have not read it so…take with a lump of salt)

I would suggest starting with the Wiki link I gave before. It is a good start. I also think the video below (18.5 minutes) does a really good job (that whole channel is great…you can lose many hours watching their videos):

Watching the video I linked he says Tipler and Barrow misinterpreted the strong version of this principle (there is a “weak” one too but do not take it to mean a lesser argument…just a different take on it).

So, maybe do not read that book.

There is a lot of debate over this though. This is where science and philosophy converge.