Ah, the ontological argument and beer. What better way to take your mind off the subject of genital surgery?

Discussion (53)¬

  1. Thank God a new subject. I love these Philosophy 101 arguments. Hilarious. Thanks again, Author.

  2. Alverant says:

    But if it exists then it’s subject to being distorted by gravity, impacts, radiation, etc. Plus being made of matter it would eventually fall victim of entropy. All of which make it not-perfect. So instead of existence being a property of perfection, only non-existent objects can be perfect.

  3. Quine-Duhem says:

    Gaunilo strikes again! I suspect that Alvin Plantinga would disagree with Guinness being the subject of this (100%) proof. After much scholarly debate, Christian philosophers have concluded that Plantinga’s modal ontological argument works exclusively with Carlsberg: since it is probably the best lager in the world, in some possible world it is both the best lager and the best drink, therefore it must be the best lager and best drink in all possible worlds. Thus – necessarily – it is the only drink that can be used to demonstrate actualized perfection. QED.

    Sadly St. Anselm’s alcoholical argument has not distracted me from your previous strip on circumcision. Could there be such a thing as a perfect circumcision? Hold it … it’s gone!! Help! I feel so naked without it …

    Phew! I just thought of the perfect foreskin and it’s back and better than ever.

  4. Oozoid says:

    Good point, Alverant, except it seems more and more likely that matter doesn’t actually exist – at least not in the material form which we perceive.

  5. James Hafseth says:

    Surely it would be even more incredible if something that was utterly perfect did not exist and STILL managed to be utterly perfect? That would be, like, even perfecter. Therefore, ontologically speaking, God does not exist.

  6. jackinthebeanstock says:

    lol ive never had a perfect pint of guiness, lol.

  7. Unruly Simian says:

    I’m just waiting for Beer Stupidity to come and join us again with paragraph after paragraph of all the needed explainations as to why his beer is the best beer and the only beer anyone should ever drink, ever, period.

  8. beechnut says:

    Existence is NOT a property!

  9. Neuseline says:

    I am too hungry to comment.

  10. Intelligent Designer says:

    Great to see some more ontology/epistemology!

    IMO (and I’m the worst at philosophical argument) the main flaw in this Cartesian argument is the existence of alternative conclusions, for instance:

    1. If we CAN conceive of a supremely perfect being, we must be perfect too, because a less than perfect being could not exceed the limitations of its existence and imagine something more than the sum of its knowledge and experience. If we were perfect, we would be like God.

    We are none of us perfect, therefore God cannot exist.

    2. God is described in Judeo-Christian doctrine as unknowable and ineffable, but sentient and self-aware. If we are able to imagine and express a concept of God, then we must be God too – as only he is aware of himself.

    However, if we imagine God, we must encompass all knowledge and infinite space and time, because according to that same doctrine God is omnipresent and eternal (infinite), and omniscient (all-knowing). We can not possibly know everything and we are demonstrably not immortal or in several places at once (quantum states aside), therefore we cannot conceive of a supremely perfect being – such a being would possess qualities beyond our comprehension.

    So, we can imagine an imperfect god, and that god CAN still exist, but not as a supremely perfect being, because although existence is a property of perfection, perfection is not a property of existence.

    An imperfect god is not the God of Islam, Christianity or Judaism, so therefore God does not exist.

  11. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    In philosophy using an “if”
    Is akin to leaping from a cliff
    When used which is pallid
    Is used to make valid
    “If not” must then be dealt with.

  12. beechnut says:

    “although existence is a property of perfection, perfection is not a property of existence”

    The argument actually seems to be saying that if the highest conceivable being does not exist, it cannot be perfect. Therefore, perfection is contingent. So the argument contradicts itself.

  13. James says:

    Ah yes, Anselm’s Ontological argument! It’s one of the few arguments for belief in God that can beat Pascal’s Wager for idiocy.

  14. Ketil W.Grevstad says:

    cheers!!! hehee 🙂

  15. Stephen P says:

    My answer to the ontological argument is as follows.

    If someone claims to be able to conceive of a supremely perfect being, then let him write down the attributes of that being (otherwise the claim is unsupported).

    Is “actually exists” on the list of attributes?

    If not, then the ontological argument fails immediately.

    If so, then the ontological argument is circular, because it assumes that which it claims to be able to prove.

  16. archbish says:

    Another one to pinch for the philosophy lessons:) – although Pascal didn’t try to prove God exists – just hedged his bet.

    @Stephen P and that hits the nail on the head. (cf. Kant/Schopenhauer/etc.)

  17. Stephen Turner says:

    Don’t forget what Pascal didn’t say: “I think therefore he is”.

  18. James says:

    Let’s ask J&M if ontology recapitulates epistemology and see if they’ll have a go at it!

  19. Mary2 says:

    And my brain hurt trying to get my head around all the issues involved in the comments from the previous cartoon!

  20. daoloth says:

    @ Beechnut. If I might offer a slight modification- existence is not a predicate.

  21. Digitus Impudicus says:

    No real being or object is perfect, hence, perfection is a quality that only imaginary things can have. Hence God is imaginary.

  22. Moosey says:

    In THIS I will bow out!

    I may have opinions, but I know when I a out of my intellectual league. 🙂

  23. beechnut says:

    True, daoloth. Existence is a sine qua non.

  24. Ashley says:

    This is just plain outright blasphemy…

  25. Author says:

    @Ashley – Thank you.

  26. foundationist says:

    I tried it. Iwalked up to this girl in the bar and said ‘You know, I can really conceive the two of us having the best sex ever. Perfect sex.’ Still waiting for the outcome of that lawsuit….

  27. jesus 2.3 says:

    Screw the ontological arguments. In reality it don’t matter to me if you call it coincedence or the Will of GOD. My mother’s name is GABRIELLE, and GABRIEL delivered the Qur’an. My stepmother’s name is MARIAN, and MARIAM is Jesus 1.0 mother within the pages of that book. But MARY is my daughter’s godmother, and we all know what the Bible says about that. My wife is named Joan, and when I see those letters WWJD, I don’t thinkg of myself, &I don’t do what Joan does, she doesn’t even think like me, but I do love her just the same.
    You tell me how all this happened in conceptual reality. These people in my life are physically real. Infinite Reality is how I explain it all, but in reality I’m a Muslim Master Mind, come to mess with simple minds. You all have a nice day!

  28. jesus 2.3 says:

    Let me put it another way for all of you fools. In reality the world is perfect, in everything, and to tell you the truth it always has been.

    Now, try to prove me wrong! It is the perception within your head my friends, that confuse you to the truth. C’est la vie and then you die, get over yourself already.

  29. Author says:

    jesus 2.3 has been blacklisted for being rude, deluded, and boring.

  30. HaggisForBrainsDS7 says:

    @Stephen P

    A quote from Douglas Adams, sadly missed, and almost as funny as Author. (sook, sook!)

  31. HaggisForBrainsDS7 says:

    @ Stephen P – I’ll try again;

    “Oh dear!” says god, “I hadn’t thought of that”, and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

    And thank you, Author, for dealing with J 2.3 (worse than Windows 3.1)

  32. kiyaroru says:

    I hate the ontological argument. I can’t believe anyone ever fell for it.
    I second the “Thank-you” for banning jesus2.3.
    Have you banned anyone before this?

  33. Author says:

    @ kiyaroru – I think he’s the second.

  34. @ Mary2 Much as I’m sure we all want to get away from the thread that went with the last strip, somebody named Suseyblue added these links and you really should check them out.
    Also, maybe backtrack and check out her post addressed to you. Educational.

  35. Unruly Simian says:

    For a good look at this type of arguement I recommend watching a new movie with Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones. I absolutely loved Tommy Lee’s character in this movie. It was made for tv and it is a very philisophical. Well worht the time….. I concur with your removal of Jesus 2.3 (bowing, genuflecting, etc.)

  36. Unruly Simian says:

    Sorry it’s called “The Sunset Limited”….2011 release…

  37. daoloth says:

    It’s flame time for Auntie Daoloth again…
    The ontological argument has been associated with advances in predicate calculus.
    For example- Kant’s response to Descates version resulted in Russell’s reasoning about existence’s not being a predicate. Alvin Plantinga’s response to THAT has also resulted in what are generally taken to be logically interesting moves.

  38. @ daoloth I’m with Stephen Hawking. Philosophy is dead. Thy flame grows dim, my friend.

  39. daoloth says:

    @DH. Philosophy is dead? Pity. Oh well, back to asserting things without regard to logic. Oh, wait…I get what you are doing now–its kinda like self-referential irony, huh? Very good! You were just teasing me. Naughty.

  40. xxxFred says:

    In my day we had that kind of argument AFTER we drank our beers, not before! (Somehow they made more sense then…)

  41. @ daoloth Wasn’t it Russel who set out his “theory ot types” and had the problem with “the set of all sets that don’t contain themselves” resulting in him developing a set theory in which a definition of a set could never invoke that set. I admire the man, but I’m not sure I see him as a paragon of logical thinking. And I assume that by “Descantes” you mean “Descartes”. Or are we talking wine here? In which case the word is “decant”, something you may have been doing from the sound of it.

  42. xxxFred says:

    @Drawin – Decanters: is he the one that said “I drink, therefore I am”?

  43. Mary2 says:

    @author. I am going to miss Jesus2.3. I liked reading his posts and trying desperately to find something that made sense in them.

  44. HaggisForBrainsDS7 says:

    @ xxxFred – LOL!

  45. Mary2 says:

    @Darwin Harmless. I stand corrected. I was only referring to the most extreme versions of FGM and even then I was obviously not in possession of all the facts. I am not going to look at the links, I am going to be very scientific and take your (and @Suesyblue’s) word for it that they contain what you say (sorry @Daoloth)!

    I would like to set the record straight though, and remind you that I in no way approve of male circumcision (I do not), and that I in no way support the comparison of abuses as one is worse than another. Abuse is abuse and the fact that worse abuses exist, does not lessen the wrong. I was merely responding to someone else’s comparison (I think yours @DH although I won’t tell anyone) and was annoyed at the weighing up of one bad against another. (although after reading further posts I understand the reason for the comparison – i.e. to point out that one version gets universal condemnation, and the other is trivialised).

    Now that I have said all that, the author will probably blacklist me as not sticking to the topic! But believe me author, I may not know much about circumcision, but I know even less about philosophy – excellent comic as always, by the way!

  46. @ Mary 2 Thanks for that, and I was well aware that you do not support circumcision. Felt bad that you thought I was trivializing FGM. Pity about not looking at the links though. They were an eye opener for me. Moms who had been done to talking about doing it to their girls was most strange. It’s in that language of caring mothers, like they are talking about what kind of dress to buy for the girl’s grad, except they are talking abouit cutting clits. Spoing.
    @ xxxFred Good one.

  47. Hi guys, great stuff you’re doing. I hope you do not mind me using this strip as part of a link to your site ( Just let me know if you want me to remove it.

  48. Mary2 says:

    @Darwin Harmless. Never ceases to amaze me how many people actively promote the very things that oppress themselves.

  49. Prior Aelred says:

    “And malt does more than Milton can
    To justify God’s ways to man.”
    A.E. Housman, “A Shropshire Lad” (1887)

  50. Stephen Turner says:

    Is having the argument before having the beer putting Descartes before de horse?

  51. gk4ca says:

    AH! the ontological argument again .. !

  52. keeyop says:

    A complimentary comment, and a correction:

    a) While I’m not a fan of censorship, if someone is consistently off-topic and off their rocker, banning them is warranted… J2.3 all but asked for a crucifiction! [sic]

    b) “…to take your mind OFF the subject…” A minor “f” up (“f” out?), but for posterity’s sake, thought I’d bring it to your attention. Cheers!

  53. anon says:

    We were learning about the ontological argument in Philosophy and our main problem with it was its assumption that existence was a property of perfection. For example, Hitler existed. We spent the entire lesson talking about how in that way you could ‘define [Hitler] into existence’-thanks for the quotation Author!-I mean all of the arguments made for God’s existence were quite easy to find holes in, especially after a long Biology module on Natural Selection.

    Thanks so much Author!


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