Apparently he's been obsessed with it for some time.
In 1977, Craig published his doctoral thesis for University of Birmingham titled The cosmological argument for the existence of god: Historical and critical analyses.
I can't seem to find it anywhere. It's not in his list of publications either. Curious.
I checked out various open libraries and search tools, nada.
But I pursued it further, and found it!
EThOS is the British library's electronic theses online service, and has an entry:
Registration is required to download, but the electronic version of this thesis has no cost. No financial details are asked for.
It's 633 pages and nearly 42MB.. It's a crappy oldschool scan done as a bitmap and without OCR. =(
So back to the original topic.
Here is a cleaned-up version of YouTube's automated transcript:
0:02 - Number five.
0:04 - The possibility of god's existence.
0:07 - Now I've rarely shared this argument in a public lecture before,
0:13 - Ah not because i think it's unsound but because it's so abstract
0:17 - that students are apt to think that it's either a trick
0:20 - or else that uh... that they just don't understand it but tonight I'm going to
0:24 - go out on a limb and share it with you.
[sucking up to the crowd]
0:27 - Now in order to understand this argument you first need to understand
0:30 - what philosophers mean by "possible worlds".
0:35 - A possible world" is just a way the world might have been.
0:40 - It's a complete description
0:42 - of reality.
0:44 - So a possible world
0:46 - is not a planet or a universe or any kind of concrete object, it's just a
0:51 - world description.
See possible worlds for an actual description of what philosophers mean.
0:54 - The actual world is the description that is true.
0:58 - Other possible worlds are descriptions that might have been true
1:03 - but are not in fact true.
[Other possible worlds are not in fact true.]
1:06 - To say that something exists in some possible world
1:11 - is to say that there is some description of reality which includes that entity.
1:17 - To say that something exists in every possible world
1:21 - is to say that no matter which description is true
1:25 - the entity will be included in that description.
1:28 - So for example,
1:30 - unicorns do not in fact exist, but
1:34 - there is some possible world in which unicorns
1:37 - exist.
1:38 - On the other hand, many mathematicians think
1:42 - that numbers exist in every
1:44 - possible world.. they exist necessarily.
1:48 - Now, with that background in mind consider the ontolgical argument
[I love that the automation reads "aren't a logical argument"]
1:53 - which was discovered in ten eleven by the monk Anselm of Canterbury.
1:59 - God,
1:59 - says Anselm, is
2:01 - by definition the greatest being
2:05 - conceivable. If you could conceive of anything greater than god,
2:09 - then that would be god.
[Yes, I'd agree that conceptions fabricate gods.]
[Actually being able to actually conceive of a god is a problem in agnosticism.]
2:13 - By definition god is the greatest conceivable being; a maximally great being.
[Using definitions to reinforce an argument is dishonest.]
2:20 - So, what would such a being be like?
[originally "such a beating be like".. haha]
2:23 - well he would be all-powerful
2:26 - all-knowing
2:28 - all good
[And all evil, since we can conceive of that!]
2:29 - and he would exist in every logically possible world.
2:32 - a being which lacked any of those properties would not be maximally great.
2:38 - We could conceive of something even greater.
2:42 - But what that implies is that if god's existence is even possible
2:47 - then it follows that god must exist.
2:51 - For if a maximally great being existing any possible world,
2:56 - it exists in all of them. That's part of what it means to be maximally great: to
[Again, reasoning which falls back on definitions is dishonest. I define myself as being right, and since by definition I am right.. therefore I am right.]
3:01 - be all-powerful,
3:03 - all-knowing and all good in every logically possible world.
3:09 - So if god's existence is even possible,
3:12 - he exists in every logically possible world
[1:03 "Other possible worlds are descriptions that might have been true but are not in fact true."]
3:16 - and therefore in
3:18 - the actual world.
3:20 - Now we can summarize this argument as follows. Number one:
3:23 - It's possible
3:25 - that a maximally great
3:27 - being AKA god
3:29 - exists.
3:31 - Two. If it's possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being
3:37 - exists in some possible world.
3:41 - Three. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in
3:47 - every possible world.
3:50 - Four. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in
3:55 - the actual world.
3:58 - Five. Therefore, a maximally great being exists in the actual world.
4:03 - Six. Therefore, a maximally great being exists. Seven. Therefore,
4:09 - god exists.
[The original is "sex therefore autographs" haha.]
4:14 - Now, it might surprise you
4:15 - to learn
4:16 - that steps uh two
4:19 - through seven
4:20 - of this argument are relatively uncontroversial.
[originally "obvious argument" haha.]
[He claims they're relatively uncontroversial. He's lying through his teeth.]
4:25 - Most philosophers agree that if god's existence is even possible
4:30 - then he must exist.
[What philosophers? Do we need to start up a Project Steve-equivalent?]
4:32 - So the whole question is premise one.
4:35 - Is
4:36 - god's existence possible?
4:40 - Well, what do you think?
4:42 - The atheist has to maintain that it's impossible
4:46 - that god exists.
[Shifting the burden of proof. Dishonest.]
4:47 - He has to say that the concept of god is a logically incoherent.
4:54 - Like the idea of a married bachelor,
[That's incoherent because of its definition.]
4:57 - or a round square
[Alright, how about "god is supernatural, things which are super natural are outside of nature and therefore don't interact with our reality" ? See, I can play that game too. Whatever word games exist, the burden of proof is still on theists.]
5:00 - But the problem is that the concept of god just doesn't appear to be
5:05 - incoherent in that way. The idea of a being
5:08 - which is all powerful
5:10 - all knowing and all good in every logically possible way seems
[originally "all powerful bob dole" haha.]
5:15 - perfectly coherent.
["seems perfectly coherent"]
5:17 - Moreover,
5:17 - as we've seen, there are other arguments for god's existence which at least
5:22 - suggest that it's a logically possible
5:24 - that god exists.
5:27 - So, I'll simply to leave it to you
5:29 - tonight do you think
5:30 - but it's possible that god exists
5:34 - if you do then it follows logically that god does exist
If you'd like to hear more of it from the horse's mouth, there is a playlist of his official videos on the ontological argument:
A basic response is Ideas aren't real, but let's turn the ontological argument against itself.
- It's possible that a god exists which is blady blah blah and also able to be pointed at.
- No god exists which is able to be pointed at, letalone a particular blady blah blah variety.
Therefore no god exists.