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The UAA - (Ultimate Atheist's Argument)

The argument taken from wikipedia;

The same logical form can be used to show that a perfect argument exists that disproves the existence of God:

  • 1.) The Ultimate Atheist Argument (UAA) is an argument against the existence of God that is greater than any you can imagine.
  • 2.) An argument that exists is greater than an argument that exists only in your imagination.
  • 3.) An argument that is correct, logical and incontrovertible is greater than one that is not.
  • 4.) Therefore, the UAA exists, is correct, logical and incontrovertible

Since both arguments cannot be correct but both use the same form, the form of the ontological argument appears erroneous. This type of argument has limited application (in this case to arguments, or in Guanilo's case, islands.) but nevertheless shows that the UAA must exist if the logical form of the argument is correct. See the section regarding Guanilo's island.

The Ultimate Atheist Argument is more than an analogy. Guanilo's parody fails if it is not an appropriate analogy, if it is not valid to compare perfect islands with a perfect being. The Ultimate Atheist Argument does not succumb to this flaw because it does not matter if it applies only to arguments. Even if the UAA argument only applies to arguments, it still shows that a UAA must exist, and if so that God must not exist. Since God cannot both exist and not exist the ontological argument must be fallacious.

"Ontological argument." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia. 2 Dec 2008, 21:59 UTC. 3 Dec 2008 .


At first, it seems apparent that the UAA would render Anselm's argument either false, or the method of the argument is deeply flawed. The very best comment made against the assumption that the method itself is incorrect, at least that I have seen on the web, is...

"I would prefer that the method of the argument were not contingent upon its subject"

To whomever made this comment, kudos to you, you know who you are!

The argument succumbs to the same flaw as does Plantinga's argument in the previous section. We should note that if God is the one doing the imagining, then since he is perfect He would understand the UAA by (1). The UAA would exist in God's imagination, so it can not be greater than itself. (3) is a statement we may assume to be correct, and (4) does not follow logically as incontravertible, because it is not correct by;

(i) God exists and can (does) understand the UAA.

Also, the UAA is not logical in the modal sense since;

(ii) It does nothing to private God of necessary existence because God can (and does) understand it.

and the UAA is not greater than any argument that may be understood by God. So (4) does not follow by ;

(iii) God is perfect and the argument is not.

If then we modify our statement (1) in the UAA to "greater than or equal to any idea in your imagination" then we succumb to the same flaw as Plantinga's possible worlds did. The UAA could feasily be the statement arising from one axiom:

A1) "God does not exist".

Which offers no justification for its existential statement, yet as a proof is valid. (For any other axiom is false if God is necessarily existent and this gives an existential judgement.)

Likewise If we modify the statement (1) to "The UAA is an argument greater than any that may be understood by any possible being" we would also result with the statement where "God is possible". So the set of "possible beings" includes the perfect being "God", and the argument is therefore inconsistent since if the UAA is not correct, logical and incontrovertable to even a perfect mind, then the axiom of the proof (2) does not entail (4). The set of "existent" arguments outside of the understanding of a perfect mind is in the sense of (3) a totally empty set.

Note that we do not succumb to the flaw in ascending the chain of contingent beings in this last modified case as we did in Plantinga's argument from possible worlds. (In the last section.) We jump straight from "possible" to "possibly perfect" without a UAA requiring possible worlds for every conceivable (as analogy to a contingent being) imperfect mind that can not "understand the UAA" as God 'could'. We jump immediately to Hartshorne's statement ¬N¬(G exists). I.e. God (or perfection) is "possible."

Note that the UAA fails when a perfect mind is considering the argument itself as per the first axiom (1). Notice by a simple application of Zorn's lema (the axiom of choice) we can choose a perfect mind to consider the UAA by ascending the chain of all possible minds. In this fashion the UAA is undone simply by an application of a simple set theoretic choice. However, there is no such restriction on Anselm's argument - For God can and does realise His own necessary existence because He is a being. God can and does consider a greater being than Himself continually through the trinitarian form, or simply by moving into a state of perfection that is better than stasis.


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