bookmark_borderIs It Completely Unfair for Dawkins to Equate “Faith” with “Blind Trust”?

While going through some old files, I discovered this passage at the end of a book review. The book being reviewed was Dawkins’ God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life by Alister McGrath. The reviewer was Paul Pardi, a philosopher at Seattle Pacific University. Here is what Pardi wrote:

“I also have one technical contention to make with McGrath on the topic of faith as blind trust. In taking Dawkins to task on this point, McGrath does not seem to account for the fideist tradition and the impact it has had particularly on modem evangelicalism. Perhaps the reason is that the phenomenon is a North American one. However, I have been a part of evangelical churches in North America where the idea that faith not only is blind and irrational but should be is a view held by many lay evangelicals. In the view of this writer, Dawkins’ criticism on this front does have a target and is not without merit. Evangelical philosophy has its work cut out for it on this front; and until the life of the mind again is a priority, the Dawkinses of the world will have plenty to caricature.”

Paul Pardi, Philosophia Christi 8:2 (2006), 514-517 at 517
If what Pardi writes is true, however, then it seems to me that one cannot simply dismiss the notion of “faith as blind trust” as merely a “caricature.” It may be a caricature in the sense that a correct interpretation of the Bible does not support it. It may also be a caricature in the sense that so-called “mainline” churches do not hold to it. But it it is not a caricature in the sense that “many lay Evangelicals” hold the view. Or, to put the point another way, it may be the case that, in theory, faith does not mean blind trust but, in practice, for many Christians faith does mean blind trust.
If I were going to write anything about the relationship between faith and reason, then, I’d probably make a distinction between, on the one hand, what Christian intellectuals and the mainstream Christian tradition has held and, on the other hand, what many lay Christians believe.

bookmark_borderObjections to Objectivism – Part 2: More Popular Objections

In this post I will examine three more populuar arguments against ethical objectivism from Russ Landau’s textbook The Fundamentals of Ethics (hereafter: FOE).  I will present Landau’s criticisms of these arguments, and I will also present a few of my own criticisms.
 
Objection 4: Moral Objectivity Supports Dogmatism

1. If there are objective moral standards, then this makes dogmatism acceptable.

2. Dogmatism is unacceptable.

3. Therefore, there are no objective moral standards. (FOE, p.309)

Russ Landau agrees with premise (2), because “Dogmatism is a vice…”.  So, he focuses his attention on premise (1), and argues that premise (1) is false:
By itself, the claim that there are objective moral standards is perfectly neutral about how broad-minded we should be.  Ethical objectivism is a view about the status of moral claims.  It does not tell us what is and is not morally acceptable.  All it says is that the correct moral code, whatever it happens to be, is objectively true.
…If moral truth is not of our own making, then it will not always be easy to discover.  And that fact should encourage us to be humble, rather than arrogant and closed-minded.  The proper outlook of astronomers and geologists and chemists is that of wonder, a recognition of one’s intellectual limitations, and an appreciation that no matter how smart you are, you’ll never know the entire truth about your subject matter.  These are appropriate attitudes precisely because there are objective truths in these subjects. …
If ethics, too, is a subject whose truths are objective, then we should also be open-minded about moral matters. It is perfectly consistent to say that the answers to some questions are objectively true, even though you’re not sure what those answers are. … (FOE, p.309-310)
The objectivity of morality provides a reason to be open-minded about moral issues, not a reason to be dogmatic about moral issues.
Landau fails to mention a serious problem with premise (2) of the argument, but his comment on premise (2) clearly indicates the problem.  He agrees with premise (2) because he believes that “Dogmatism is a vice…” (FOE, p.309).  A vice is a habit that is morally bad or wrong.  So, Landau appears to be interpreting the argument this way:

1a. If there are objective moral standards, then this makes dogmatism morally acceptable.

2a. Dogmatism is morally unacceptable.

3. Therefore, there are no objective moral standards.

But if premise (2) means that “Dogmatism is morally unacceptable.”, then premise (2) implies that dogmatism is morally wrong.  If it is true that dogmatism is morally wrong, then there is at least one thing that is morally wrong, and thus there would be at least one objective moral truth.  If there is at least one objective moral truth, then ethical objectivism is true.  Therefore, if premise (2) means that “Dogmatism is morally unacceptable.” , then premise (2) implies that ethical objectivism is true, and this argument would thus be another sefl-defeating argument against ethical objectivism.
A moral skeptic might reply that dogmatism is unacceptable in epistemic terms, so premise (2) need not be understood as making a moral claim.  Dogmatism prevents a person from noticing and rejecting false or inaccurate beliefs, and thus hinders a person from developing a system or collection of beliefs that is more accurate and that contains more truth.  So, dogmatism is epistemically unacceptable.
But if we interpret premise (2) as claiming that dogmatism is epistemically unacceptable, then we must also interpret premise (1) in a similar fashion, so that the logic of the argument is maintained:

1b. If there are objective moral standards, then this makes dogmatism epistemically acceptable.

2b. Dogmatism is epistemically unacceptable.

3. Therefore, there are no objective moral standards.

But on this interpretation, it is clear that premise (1) is false.   If there are objective truths in morality, then dogmatism is NOT epistemically acceptable in relation to moral claims and moral issues.  Landau has persuasively argued this point already. (He seems to have interpreted premise (1) to be about epistemic acceptablity and premise (2) to be about moral acceptability. In that case, the logic of the argument would be invalid because it would commit the fallacy of equivocation.).  His objection  to the truth of premise (1) is more obviously correct, if we interpret the argument to be talking about whether dogmatism is epistemically acceptable.
So, if premise (2) is talking about dogmatism being morally unacceptable, then premise (2) implies that ethical objectivism is true, thus making this argument a self-defeating argument against ethical objectivism.  On the other hand, if premise (2) is talking about dogmatism being epistemically unacceptable, then premise (1) must be talking about the epistemic acceptability of dogmatism, in which case, premise (1) is clearly false, and the argument is unsound.
 
Objection 5: Moral Objectivity Supports Intolerance
In stating the argument for this objection, Landau fails to make explicit the final steps of the reasoning, so I have added those final steps, in order for the argument to arrive at the intended conclusion (the added claims are in blue font):

1. Tolerance is valuable only if the moral views of different people are equally plausible.

2. If ethical objectivism is true, then the moral views of different people are not equally plausible.

3. Therefore, if ethical objectivism is true, then tolerance is not valuable.  (FOE, p.311)

4. But tolerance is valuable.

5. Therefore, ethical objectivism is not true.

 
Landau accepts premise (2) as correct, but he argues that premise (1) is false:
In fact, ethical objectivism is much better than moral skepticism at supporting tolerance.  the basic reason is this: If all moral views are equivalent, then a tolerant outlook is no better than an intolerant one.  The outlook of a committed bigot would be as plausible as yours or mine. (FOE, p.311)
…if individuals have the final word on what is morally right, then those who are fundamentally intolerant–intolerant at their core, in their deepest beliefs–are making no mistake.  The same goes for societies.  If social codes, rather than individuals, are the measure of morality, then deeply intolerant societies are no worse than freer ones.  (FOE, p.311)
The assumption of equal plausibility of all moral views supports intolerance, not tolerance, and the assumption of the unequal plausiblity of moral views supports tolerance, not intolerance.  So, premise (1) is false.
Because Landau fails to make premise (4) of this argument explicit, he also fails to point out a very serious problem with this argument: Premise (4) implies that ethical objectivism is true, and thus this argument is another self-defeating argument against ethical objectivism.
Premise (4) asserts that tolerance is valuable.  Clearly, this is intended to mean that tolerance is morally valuable, that tolerance is a moral virtue, that is is morally good to be tolerant.  But that means that premise (4) is asserting a moral judgment.  So, if premise (4) is true, then there is at least one moral judgment that is objectively true, and thus that ethical objectivism is true.  Therefore, premise (4) implies that ethical objectivism is true, and this argument is a self-defeating argument against ethical objectivism.
 
[NOTE: I’m skipping over Objection 6 for now, because I view it as one of the better objections.  I will cover that objection in another post in this series.]
 
Objection 7: Atheism Undermines Moral Objectivity

1. Morality can be objective only if God exists.

2. God does not exist.

3. Therefore, morality cannot be objective.  (FOE, p.313)

 
Landau argues that this is a self-undermining argument, in that believing premise (2), as atheists do, provides a strong reason for rejecting the main (or most common) argument for accepting premise (1), thus casting the truth of premise (1) into serious doubt.  The main (or most common) argument in support of premise (1) goes like this:
Moral laws, like other laws, must have an author.  But if the laws are objective, then (by definition) no human being can be their author. …
…human beings cannot play this role, since objective truths are true independently of human opinion. That leaves only God to do the work.  (FOE, p.314)
This reasoning involves a questionable assumption: “Laws require lawmakers.”  But no reasonable atheist should accept this assumption:
But if atheism is true, then the crucial assumption is false.  Laws would not require lawmakers.  Atheists believe that there are objective laws–of logic, physics, genetics, statistics, etc.  And yet if God does not exist, these laws have no author.  (FOE, p. 314)
In other words, if we accept premise (2) of the skeptical argument, then we ought to reject the main (or most common) argument that is given to support premise (1), and thus we ought to doubt the truth of premise (1).  The atheism asserted in premise (2) undermines the main reason usually given to support premise (1), thus this argument is self-undermining.
There is a second very serious problem with this argument against ethical objectivism that Landau fails to mention.  This argument is a question-begging argument, and it begs the question in the worst sense: it involves circular reasoning.
Although children (and perhaps teenagers) may be rationally justified in accepting atheism simply because they are unaware of arguments for the existence of God, a higher standard applies to educated adults.  To reasonably hold the position of atheism, an educated adult ought to have some understanding and awareness of arguments for the existence of God, at least some of the standard or common arguments for the existence of God.
Thus, in order for an educated adult to reasonably believe premise (2) of the argument against objectivism that we are considering, that person should have some understanding and awareness of at least some of the standard or common arguments for the existence of God.
One of the standard and most common arguments for the existence of God is the moral argument.  Here is a simple version of the moral argument for the existence of God:

1. Morality can be objective only if God exists.

4. Morality is objective.

5. Therefore, God exists.

Note that the first premise of this moral argument for the existence of God is the very same claim as the first premise of the skeptical argument we are considering.  Thus, an atheist who is putting forward the skeptical argument must, in order to be logically consistent, accept the first premise of this argument for the existence of God. The moral argument for God presented above is  logically valid, so the only way that such an atheist can reject this argument is by rejecting or doubting the truth of premise (4).
This means that in order for an educated adult to reasonably hold and accept premise (2) of the skeptical argument (i.e. to reasonably hold the view of atheism) and to also accept premise (1) of the skeptical argument, that person must FIRST reject the moral argument for God, and must do so by rejecting or doubting premise (4) of the moral argument for God.  In other words, an educated adult who puts forward the skeptical argument that we are now considering, must FIRST reject ethical objectivism in order to reasonably believe premise (2) of his/her skeptical argument, before accepting the conclusion of that skeptical argument, namely that ethical objectivism is false.  But this is reasoning in a circle:
Ethical Objectivism is false–>God does not exist.–>Ethical Objectivism is false.
Therefore, this skeptical argument against ethical objectivism should be rejected because it begs the question in the worst sort of way: it involves circular reasoning (in addition to the problem of being self-undermining, which Landau has pointed out).

bookmark_borderObjections to Objectivism – Part 1: Three Popular Objections

I have many textbooks, handbooks, and readers on ethics, so I didn’t really need to buy another introduction to ethics this weekend. But I glanced through Russ Landau’s textbook The Fundamentals of Ethics (hereafter: FOE) and the third and final section of his book caught my attention: “Part Three: The Status of Morality”.  In Part Three, he has a chapter on ethical relativism, a chapter on moral nihilism, and a chapter on objections to ethical objectivism.
Objectivism is relevant to philosophy of religion because the objectivity of moral principles and moral claims comes up in discussions about moral arguments for the existence of God, and also in discussions of the problem of evil, and even just in discussions about the meaning of the word “God” (Christian philosophers sometimes define “God” as being the source of moral standards, or as being one source of moral duties).
Landau’s general conclusion about objections to objectivism seems right to me:
As we’ll see, some of the most popular arguments are also the least plausible.  But others represent deep and serious challenges. …My goal in this chapter is simply to show that, despite widespread doubts about ethical objectivism, none of the most popular skeptical arguments is obviously correct, and some, indeed, are pretty plainly unacceptable. And to those that represent more significant challenges, there are potentially promising replies that objectivists can offer.  (FOE, p.306)
I would like to review the ten objections that Landau presents and criticizes, in order to reinforce his conclusion that the most popular arguments against objectivism are bad arguments, and that the better arguments are far from conclusive.
First, some clarification of the viewpoint in question:
Ethical objectivism is the view that there are some objective moral standards.  Given my understanding of objectivity, this amounts to the view that these standards apply to everyone, even if people don’t believe that they do, even if people are indifferent to them, and even if obeying them fails to satisfy a person’s desires.  Moral claims are objectively true whenever they accurately tell us what these moral standards are, or tell us about what these standards require or allow us to do.  (FOE, p.305)
I agree with the criticisms that Landau makes against the ten objections to objectivism that he examines.  However, I will not merely recite his criticisms of these objections to objectivism; I will add some objections of my own.  Landau fails to point out some obvious and very serious problems with some of the more popular objections, so I will be pointing  out those other problems, in addition to presenting Landau’s criticisms.
 
Objection 1: Objectivity Requires Absolutism

1. If moral claims are objectively true, then moral rules are absolute.

2. No moral rule is absolute.

3. Therefore, moral claims are not objectively true. (FOE, p.306)

Landau is uncertain about premise (2): “I don’t know if there are any absolute moral rules.” (FOE, p.306).  So, he focuses his attention on premise (1):
That first premise tells us that if moral standards are objective, then every moral rule is absolute.  But that isn’t so.  The moral rule that forbids us from lying is probably not absolute; in some cases, morality would probably allow us to lie.  For all we know, though, that rule could be objective.  Ross [W.D. Ross (1877-1967)] thought that the fundamental moral rules are objective.  But he denied they are absolute. …There is nothing in the very idea of an objective morality that requires moral rules to be absolute.
…The objectivity of moral rules has to do with their status: with whether they are ever true, and if so, with the role of human beliefs and desires in fixing their truth.  The absoluteness of moral rules has to do with their stringency: with whether it is ever okay to break them.  There is no direct connection between matters of status and stringency. (FOE, p.306-307)
Landau concludes that premise (1) is false, and thus that this argument is unsound.
But there is also a very serious problem with premise (2) that Landau fails to mention.  The standard argument given in support of premise (2) involves giving examples of moral rules that have exceptions, such as the very example that Landau uses: “The moral rule that forbids us from lying is probably not absolute; in some cases, morality would probably allow us to lie.” (FOE, p.306).
This conclusion about the moral rule against lying is usually defended with a description of a specific scenario, such as the following:
Suppose that you lived in Nazi Germany, and suppose that you were friends with a Jewish family in your neighborhood, and that you had invited that family to come and live in your attic, so that they would not be taken away by the Nazis to be enslaved or murdered in a Nazi prison camp.  Suppose that a Nazi official knocks at your door one day and asks you if you have seen any Jews in the neighborhood recently.  Should you tell the official the truth, that you have a Jewish family living in your attic? or should you lie, and tell the official that you have not seen any Jews in the neighborhood recently?
This sort of specific scenario is offered as providing a good reason to believe that there are legitimate exceptions to the “moral rule that forbids us from lying”.  This is how one typically defends the view that “No moral rule is absolute”.
But notice that this reasoning is filled with moral assumptions.  First of all, this whole line of reasoning ASSUMES that it is indeed wrong to lie sometimes.  But if it is SOMETIMES wrong to lie, then morality is objective, and ethical objectivism is true.
Second, in scenarios like the one about lying to the Nazi official, there are clearly other moral considerations and assumptions (besides the wrongness of lying) that are the basis for believing that this particular case is an exception to the norm.  The enslavement and killing of Jews  just because they are Jews is ASSUMED to be morally wrong.  But if that is true, then morality is objective, and ethical objectivism is true.
Third, there seems to be various moral rules and principles operative in our thinking about this scenario, that goes something like this:

  • You have a general moral duty to help prevent the Jewish family from being enslaved and/or murdered by the Nazis.
  • Inviting the Jewish family to hide in your attic created a specific moral duty to make a serious effort to keep them hidden, and telling the Nazi officials that they are living in your attic would be a morally wrong betrayal of that family.
  • It is more important, in terms of moral considerations, to prevent the enslavement and murder of this innocent Jewish family, than to be honest to the Nazi official about the presence of Jews in the neighborhood.

These assumptions are all moral in nature, and our conclusion that it is OK to lie in this particular circumstance is based upon these sorts of moral assumptions.  But if these assumptions are true, then morality is objective, and ethical objectivism is true.
Therefore, the reasoning that is typically used to support premise (2) is based upon various moral principles and assumptions, and thus this reasoning presupposes the truth of ethical objectivism.  The reasoning that is used to support premise (2) presupposes the truth of the very idea that the argument is supposed to prove is false.  Therefore, this is a self-defeating argument, unless someone can come up with some plausible alternative way of supporting premise (2), other than the usual way that people argue for this claim.
My objection to this argument can be put more simply this way: This argument assumes that acting in accordance with absolutism is morally wrong, and leads to morally wrong actions (such as telling the truth to a Nazi official even when one knows this will result in the enslavement or murder of an innocent family).  This argument, therefore, assumes that ethical objectivism is true.  So, this argument assumes the exact opposite of what it is trying to prove.
 
Objection 2: All Truth is Subjective

1. There are no objective truths.

2. Therefore, there are no objective moral truths. (FOE, p.307)

Landau argues that premise (1) is false:
Premise 1 is either true or false.  If it is false, then the argument crumbles right away.  So suppose that it is true.  But this is impossible. The premise cannot be true.  For if it were, then there would be at least one objective truth–premise 1.  And if there is at least one objective truth, then premise 1 is false!  No matter how we look at it, then, this premise is false.  (FOE, p.307)
So, the one, and only, premise of this argument against moral objectivism is false, and it shows itself to be false, because the premise refutes itself.
 
Objection 3: Equal Rights Imply Equal Plausibility

1. If everyone has an equal right to an opinion, then all opinions are equally plausible.

2. Everyone has an equal right to his or her moral opinions.

3. Therefore, all moral opinions are equally plausible.

4. If all moral opinions are equally plausible, then moral objectivism is false.

5. Therefore, moral objectivism is false. (FOE, p.308)

Landau believes that premise (2) is true, so he focuses on premise (1), and argues that premise (1) is false:
From the fact that we each have a right to our opinions, nothing at all follows about their plausibility. …
There are countless examples in which people have an equal right to an opinion–that is, an equal right not to be forced to change their mind–even though their views are mistaken.  Some historical claims are true and others false, even though we each have an equal right to our historical opinions.  The same can ber said of our opinions concerning economics, trigonometry, basketball strategy, or beer brewing.  Most people know more than I do about each of these things, and so my views on these subjects are far less plausible than theirs.  And yet, my right to hold the views I do is just as strong as anyone else’s. (FOE, p.308-309)
So, this argument against ethical objectivism fails because premise (1) is false, and thus the argument is unsound.
But there is also a very serious problem with premise (2) that Landau fails to mention: if this premise is true, then that implies that ethical objectivism is also true.  In other words, this argument against objectivism is another self-defeating argument.
To assert that “Everyone has an equal right to his or her moral opinions.” is to assert the truth of a moral claim.  This claim implies, for example, that it is morally wrong to force someone to accept a moral opinion that he or she does not currently accept.  This would, according to premise (2) involve violating a right of that person.  But if people have rights concerning their opinions, and thus it is morally wrong to violate such rights, then that means there are some objective moral truths, and thus that ethical objectivism is true.
Therefore, premise (2) implies that ethical objectivism is true, and thus this argument against ethical objectivism is a self-defeating argument, just like the previous two popular arguments against objectivism.

bookmark_borderGeisler’s Five Ways – Part 14: More On Phase 4

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NOTE:
To avoid sounding overly aggressive and insulting,  I will not be repeating the evaluation that Dr. Geisler’s various arguments for the existence of God are a steaming pile of dog shit.  However, please understand that the fact that I refrain from writing such comments does NOT mean that no such thoughts come to my mind as I am reading and thinking about Dr. Geisler’s arguments; it just means that I am restraining myself from stating clearly and forcefully how I view his arguments, for the sake of etiquette and public decorum.
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PHASE 4: ARGUMENTS FOR GOD’S ATTRIBUTES
Geisler wrongly believes that he has proven the claim that “God is a necessary being” in Phase 3 of his case for God in When Skeptics Ask (hereafter: WSA).  He then procedes to argue from this assumption to claims about various metaphysical attributes of God:

  • God is unchanging.
  • God is eternal.
  • God is unlimited.
  • God is infinite.
  • God is omnipresent.

Geisler also argues for the following conditional claims based on the assumption that “God is a necessary being”:

  • If God has power, then God is omnipotent.
  • If God has knowledge, then God is omniscient.
  • If God has some moral goodness, then God is perfectly morally good.

In Part 13 of this series, I argued that Geisler’s arguments for these conclusions failed:

  • God is unchanging.
  • God is eternal.

In this post,  I will argue that Geisler’s arguments for the following conclusions also fail:

  • God is unlimited.
  • God is infinite.
  • God is omnipresent.

Here is how Geisler argues for the first two of those conclusions:
Since a necessary being cannot not be, He can have no limits.  A limitation means “to not be” in some sense, and that is impossible–so He is infinite.  (WSA, p.27)
Phase 4 Argument #3

54b. There exists exactly one being that caused the universe to begin to exist (a long time ago) AND the being that caused the universe to begin to exist (a long time ago) is a necessary being.

70. A necessary being cannot not be.

THEREFORE:

71.  The being that caused the universe to begin to exist (a long time ago) cannot not be.

72. A being B has a limitation IF AND ONLY IF being B can be said “to not be” in some sense.

THEREFORE:

73.  The being that caused the universe to begin to exist (a long time ago) has no limitations.

74.  If a being B has no limitations, then being B is an infinite being.

THEREFORE:

75.  The being that caused the universe to begin to exist (a long time ago) is an infinite being.

First of all, this argument is based on a dubious and unpoven premise: premise (54b), so the whole argument rests on a shaky foundation.
Second, there must be a problem somewhere with this argument, because the same logic can be used to prove an absurd conclusion:

A. The number six is a necessary being.

70. A necessary being cannot not be.

THEREFORE:

81.  The number six cannot not be.

72. A being B has a limitation IF AND ONLY IF being B can be said “to not be” in some sense.

THEREFORE:

83.  The number six has no limitations.

74.  If a being B has no limitations, then being B is an infinite being.

THEREFORE:

85. The number six is an infinite being.

B.    There can be only one infinite being.  (according to Geisler: WSA, p.28)

C.    God is an infinite being. (according to Geisler: WSA, p.27)

THEREFORE:

86.  The number six is God. (!!)

The claim “The number six exists” is a necessary truth, so the existence of the number six is necessary; therefore, the number six is a necessary being.
But given Geisler’s logic and assumptions, it follows from the fact that the number six is a necessary being, that the number six is God!  But that is absurd.  God is a person, and the number six is NOT a person, so God cannot be the number six, and the number six cannot be God.  Thus, there must be at least one false premise or one invalid inference somewhere in Argument 3 of Phase 4.
If we clarify the premises of Geisler’s argument, we can see that there is at least one invalid inference in the argument.  Premises (70) and (72) are both in need of clarification.  First, let’s make it more clear that (70) is talking about existence:

70a. A necessary being cannot not exist.

Next, lets think about premise (72) to see if we can clarify that premise,  based on understanding the underlying logic of that premise:

72. A being B has a limitation IF AND ONLY IF being B can be said “to not be” in some sense.

A being might have a limitation related to knowledge, thus making the being fall short of possessing omniscience.  For example, a being might NOT know calculus, and thus fall short of possessing omniscience.  In this case, the being can be said “to not be” a being that knows calculus, and that would mean that this being has a limitation related to knowledge.
A being might have a limitation related to power, thus making the being fall short of possessing omnipotence.  For example, a being might NOT have the power to instantly create a universe out of nothing, and thus fall short of possessing omnipotence.  In this case, the being can be said “to not be” a being that has the power to instantly create a universe out of nothing, and that would mean that this being has a limitation related to power.
Note that a being that fell short of omniscience could, nevertheless, exist.  Note that a being that fell short of omnipotence could, nevertheless, exist.  So, lacking some power or characteristic that is required in order to have infinite power or infinite knowledge does not imply the non-existence of the being in question.  I am not omniscient, nor am I omnipotent, but I do exist.  Thus, it appears that the phrase “not be” has a different meaning in premise (70) than in premise (72), and thus Geisler’s argument is invalid because of the fallacy of equivocation (if I had a nickel for every equivocation fallacy by Geisler, I could buy Bill Gates’ house on Lake Washington).
Here is a clarified version of Argument 3 of Phase 4 that makes the invalidity of Geisler’s logic more obvious:
Phase 4 Argument #3 RevA

54b. There exists exactly one being that caused the universe to begin to exist (a long time ago) AND the being that caused the universe to begin to exist (a long time ago) is a necessary being.

70a. A necessary being cannot not exist.

THEREFORE:

71a.  The being that caused the universe to begin to exist (a long time ago) cannot not exist.

72a. A being B has a limitation related to characteristic C IF AND ONLY IF being B can be said “to not be” a being with property P, where P is a property that B must have in order to have characteristic C to an infinite degree.

THEREFORE:

73.  The being that caused the universe to begin to exist (a long time ago) has no limitations.

74.  If a being B has no limitations, then being B is an infinite being.

THEREFORE:

75.  The being that caused the universe to begin to exist (a long time ago) is an infinite being.

Premise (71a) has no logical connection with premise (72a), because (71a) is talking about EXISTENCE, while (71a) is talking about having, or not having, some PROPERTY or characteristic.  Therefore, the inference from (71a) and (72a) to (73) is logically invalid, and this argument fails, like every single other argument that Geisler has presented in his case for God.  Geisler has yet again committed the fallacy of equivocation, because he plays fast-and-loose with the meanings of words and phrases, such as the phrase “not be”.
Argument 3 of Phase 4 clearly FAILS because (a) it is based on a dubious and unproven premise, premise (54b), and because (b) the logic of the argument is invalid.
Here is Geisler’s argument about omnipresence:
Also, He can’t be limited to categories like “here and there,” because unlimited being must be in all places at all times–therefore, He is omnipresent.  (WSA, p.27-28)
 
Phase 4 Argument #4

73.  The being that caused the universe to begin to exist (a long time ago) has no limitations.

THEREFORE:

76. The being that caused the universe to begin to exist (a long time ago) has no limitations related to its location.

77. A being that has no limitations related to its location must be in all places at all times.

78.  A being that is in all places at all times is an omnipresent being.

THERFORE:

79. The being that caused the universe to begin to exist (a long time ago) is an omnipresent being.

This argument is better than most given by Geisler in his case for God.  The main problem is that the initial premise (73) is controversial and questionable, and Geisler has failed in his previous attempt to provide a sound argument for (73).  So, this argument rests on a shaky foundation.
Premise (77) is not Geisler’s wording; it is my attempt to use the logic that we uncovered in clarifying premise (72) in order to clarify this present argument.
There does seem to be a bit of a problem with the truth of premise (77), at least as I have worded it.  Being confined to a particular location seems to be a kind of limitation.  We put people in prison, for example, to confine them, to limit their freedom.  As human beings, one aspect of our freedom and power is to be able to LEAVE a particular location when we wish to do so.  I can pick up my marbles and go home, if I get mad and don’t want to play anymore.  If a being MUST be in a particular location, then that being is confined to that location, and is not free to leave that location.  Thus it seems to be the case that a being that “has no limitations related to its location” would be a being that is able to leave a location and NOT be present at that location, whenever the being wishes to do so.  Thus, it is not clear to me that (77) is true.
Perhaps premise (77) could be modified to get around this objection.  I’m not sure.
My main objection to Argument 4 of Phase 4 is that it is based on the questionable and controversial premise (73), for which Geisler has failed to provide a solid argument.