"Case Against Faith" Response, Part I.

RhadTheGizmo
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"Case Against Faith" Response, Part I.

Original Article: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/paul_doland/strobel.html

This will probably be among one of my last threads here... I believe that I have found that which I came here to discover-- just have some loose ends to tie up. I appreciate all of you who helped me with my learning, it's definitly been an experience. So, here is my response to the Case Against Faith.

Granted, I am speaking from my own perspective, not from someone else's. I have been, what you might call a 'skeptic' for as long as I can remember, and it is in asking questions that I realized the point of making choices. The objective facts are the same for most everyone, what you choose to do with them.. is a different issue.

A few definitions before I start, feel free to cross reference them with the dictionary. Make sure to cross reference those words within the definition which might be important to understanding the first. So, here we go. I state these, because.. well-- if we all have our own definitions, that might be kind of hard. So I'll be using the language as prescribed by the dictionary. No descriptive linguistics here! (Maybe some).

Reason: 1) Basis for a belief
2) Statement given as justification
3) Sound Judgement; Good sense
Rational: 1) Having or exercising reason, sound judgement, or good sense
Irrational: 1) Not in accordance with reason; utterly illogical
Logic: 1) A particular method of reasoning
2) The system or principles of reasoning applicable to any branch of knowledge or study
Evidence: 1) Grounds for a belief
2) That which tends to prove or disprove something
Tends: 1) To move or extend in a certain direction
Prove: 1) To establish the truth or genuineness of
Semantics: 1) The study of meaning
Empirical: 1) Derived from or guided by experience or experiment
Necessary: 1) Being essential, indispensable, or requisite
Sufficient: 1) Adequate for the purpose; enough
Assumption: 1) Something taken for granted; a supposition
Assertion: 1) A positive statement or declaration, often without support or reason
Axiom: 1) Self evident truth that requires no proof
2) Logic, Mathematics: a proposition that is assumed without proof for the sake of studying the consequences that follow from it
Fallacious: 1) Deceptive; misleading
2) Disappointing; delusive
3) Containing a fallacy
Fallacy: 1) A deceptive, misleading, or false notion

About the Author of "The Case Against Faith"

He seems very logical.

(What, you were expecting more? It was a well structured critique as well as fair in my view.)

He ask questions of the author and his interviewees. These questions appear to be valid for, in one way or another, the interviewee and the author just assume that all reading will accept just because they are given a response. Furthermore, some apparent, common sense, contradictions spawning from the statements that the book makes, are equally challenged. Both these methods of argument I consider valid, so I'm not going to be saying that they are not; I will address to all things I can. So, here I go, I will try to make my answers small, assertions simple, logic clean, and reason clear as I can. (Furthermore.. I will try summarize his arguments his quotes-- therefore I can address what I understand as the spirit of his argument). I do not necessarily write this response to give answers, merely ask more questions, that is.. after all, what I do many times. If you grow tired of not finding a straight answer to the original objection, for instance "Since Evil and Suffering Exist, A Loving God Cannot", then look at the end of each section.. there I will write my understanding of it, but I really feel as if my point by point response will give a more complete picture from which to understand my position. Whether representative of truth or not, this is a map of my reasoning at this point in my life.

Objection 1: Since Evil and Suffering Exist, A Loving God Cannot
(Interview with Dr. Peter John Kreeft, Ph.D.)

Quote:
In fact, Templeton says that suffering was a major reason why he turned away from the Christian faith, noting a photograph of an African woman holding her dead baby, who had died of starvation due to severe drought, in her arms. God allowed all of this suffering when all that the woman needed was a little rain. How can there be a loving God if He won't even send a little rain? (p. 14).


Quote:
For one, Kreeft says that finite humans are not capable of understanding the plans and reasoning of an infinite God. Kreeft illustrates his point with an analogy:

Imagine a bear in a trap and a hunter who, out of sympathy, wants to liberate him. He tries to win the bear's confidence, but he can't do it, so he has to shoot the bear full of drugs. The bear, however, thinks this is an attack and the hunter is trying to kill him. He doesn't realize this is being done out of compassion (p. 32).


This accurately sums up the argument of Strobel: God knows better than us, we cannot comprehend why these things happen.

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God may well know better than I, and what appears to me to be injustice could all be a part of a greater plan. I am imperfect, and cannot know that which a perfect God may know. However, Kreeft's argument that I cannot know what eventual good may come from some suffering is a fallacious "argument from ignorance."


Agreed. While his answer may be correct, this argument does little to advance the debate since the answer to a valid question is that the answer cannot be comprehended. If this answer were multiplied and given for every question, you might see where this sort of response would lead to.

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The bottom line is that if I am like the bear of Kreeft's analogy, unable to see the greater good to come from apparent injustice, then God should not be surprised that I see apparent injustice as genuine injustice.


Granted. He should not be 'surprised'.

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For there is no reason to assume that there is a greater good to come from injustice.


Granted as well. While I tread lightly on any assertion that there is "no reason" for any assumption, I will accept this assertion because I can think of no counterexample. If one sees something that seems like "injustice" they will not automatically assume that is, in fact, "justifiable".

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It may sound like Strobel, Kreeft, and I are using this woman as a debate tool[...]But these are real issues being raised, and they need to be discussed.


Agreed.

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To explain how suffering can lead to a greater good, Kreeft offers the analogy of when his daughter pricked herself and suffered a small amount of pain, but learned from it (p. 41)[...]A valid explanation for a little pain doesn't explain extensive, intense, and apparently gratuitous pain.


This might be where I would lay down my first contention. If I give an example:
A person asks me, "Look at all this death in Iraq. How can the U.S. be justified in such a war?"
I would answer, "The death in Europe during World War II was 100 fold, would you ask this same question of that war?"

What is valid for one instance of pain is not necessarily valid for another, yet, the element of truth (if accepted in the first explanation) can be applied to the second that being:
Pain or suffering, no matter to what extent, is not reason enough to assume that pain and suffering are not without reason or justification; even as the number of death, no matter to what extent, is not reason enough to assume that war is not without reason or justification in a particular case.

Quote:
Why have I been fortunate, while so many others have not? Arguing that there must be no God because of the suffering in the world is sometimes called an "argument from outrage." But should one not be "outraged" at the injustice of the world?


Indeed.

Yet, even as you pointed out something earlier as fallacious, so this thing would be fallacious if its purpose is to win an argument. It does not make a logical conclusion, merely that makes the assertion that one should be outraged at such injustice. In this I agree, but if the purpose of it was to imply that there cannot be justification for something that "should cause outrage", then for that I cannot agree.

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Moreover, the fact that the poorest often suffer the most is, to me, very significant. In a debate with William Lane Craig, Corey Washington develops the point:


Significant?

Quote:
Relatively speaking, people really didn't suffer.


The disgust I find at one individual dying in a horrible way and another individual dying in a horrible way is not magnified by their socio-economic standing. I realize you may be saying, "as a whole" opposed to individually, and if this is what you meant, I would agree. The fact that their are nations of so much excess that they seem to burst at the seems while there remains nations in our world that are as they are, is a problem that I think needs addressing.

I cannot say I have an answer to correct this state of affairs.. but some day, perhaps I can help in some significant manner.

Quote:
So you have to think about what Craig is saying. God's going to allow the innocent, the weak, and the poor to suffer, so the rich can show their colors, can be courageous, and develop themselves into moral beings. That sounds kind of sick to me actually. I think this is totally incompatible with Christianity as you read it. Remember the proverb was that, "The meek shall inherit the earth," not that they shall be destroyed by it.[1]


However.. this statement seems to imply something that I don't believe is relevant to the central question. Let me present it you this way:

If God allows a rich, successful man, to suffer at the hands of another man, so that the one man gets his head sawed off as he screams for the other to stop; would that god be more or less loving than one who would allow such a thing to happen to a man of less riches?

If you mean those instances of suffering apart from the direct actions of another individual-- such as famine, natural disaster, or the such-- then I would suggest that if you accept that letting a rich man be harmed by another is not more or less a reflection on ones character than if that character let a poor man be harmed by another, then I would only go to point to my even earlier statement. When it comes to suffering as a result of natural elements, it is only as an indirect result of the order than humans have set up themselves. It is not that there is not enough food or resources to support or move all individuals into certain areas of greater resources, it is that nations keep people in and others out. There is a unequal dispersal of resource and space because that is what people, as a whole, have created. One might counter, "there is no way that industrialized nations can take in all citizens of these other nations"-- and that might be true.. a sudden influx of a group of people skilled in only non-industrialized tasks, would most certainly put a large burden on the receiving nation. Yet.. once again, this system is as it is merely as a result of the man made system itself.

In my view, "Man" is as much responsible for a person who dies from famine as a man is responsible for killing another. Feel free to disagree. I am stating these things to present reasoning, not to give answers.

Quote:
But God could solve the problem, or at least mitigate it a great deal, by sending more rain. Is this really too much to ask of a compassionate, miracle-working God?


I can only point to my earlier question. Would a god who mitigates pain by 'sending rain' be more or less loving even though, at the same time, he doesn't mitigate the pain of every other individual in a less general sense (murder, rape, torture, etc)? Both would be equally as easy for a God of infinite power? I have not stated my belief on God's personality.. or my understanding of the human condition, merely that these actions that you say increase your un-understanding of the possibility of an infinite are not necessarily the only rational conclusion to reach.

In my opinion it would be as hard to understand a god who 'allows' extreme suffering on the grand scale, then it would be as equally hard to believe in a god who 'allows' extreme suffering on the small scale.

Quote:
Kreeft says he purposely let his daughter bleed a little, for the learning experience--the greater good to come.


I really do not understand this man if this story is actually true. I would hope that if I was a parent I would not 'let' my kid touch a stove and then follow that up by not tending to his wound just because he will 'learn better'. I would pull his hand away. I would consul him. For he trusts me and would let me tend to his wound.

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The fact that a Christian would save the child if he could implies that Christians don't really believe that an apparently needless death serves any greater good.


Not necessarily.. As with the example of the father and their child: if harm is caused, I will tend to the harm for the harm is real and needs tending too. This would not change the fact that my child may have learned from the experience.

Whether or not their is "good that can comes from bad" exists independently (I would contend) from the "whether one should help to mitigate the bad."

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Kreeft, of course, claims that injustice not rectified in this life will be rectified in the next. He quotes Mother Teresa, who said, "In light of heaven, the worst suffering on earth, a life full of the most atrocious tortures on earth, will be seen to be no more serious than one night in an inconvenient hotel" (p. 47).


This I think belittles pain.

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In other words, in the grand scheme of eternity, the dead baby's needless death is "no biggie."


This I think belittles eternity. For mathematically.. finite life is insignificant next to infinite.

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But doesn't that make this life on Earth rather pointless?


I believe even an atheist would agree with this statement: we are living now, in the present, whether or not mathematically the existence of this time is insignificant to the existence of time itself, does not change the fact that life is real, present, and significant in this one.

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To defer to a person's unverifiable condition after death in order to find any resulting greater good appears remarkably forced--it is tantamount to admitting that there is no greater good to be found.


I must admit.. I always felt that in a moment of suffering, the statement "it's for the greater good" to be insensitive even as other: "it was there time", "you can't change life". In general, I feel, as though, in a moment of suffering, ones purpose should be to be there.. not to make sense of it.

We can now, living apart from it all, with the clarity of mind to look backwards and forwards with thought and deliberation, look at all things and find 'greater good' if we wish too.

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For we have to take it entirely on faith that this otherwise seemingly needless suffering resulted in any greater good at all.


While I have not defined my concept of this 'greater good' yet, I will in time.

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A related question concerns the existence of evil. Kreeft says that the complete elimination of evil would eliminate free will and the chance for true love, and claims that some evil and suffering is necessary to make us who we are:


This I think is a odd statement for him to make.

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It's like that old Twilight Zone television show, where a gang of bank robbers gets shot and one of them wakes up walking on fluffy clouds at the golden gate of a celestial city. A kindly white-robed man offers him everything he wants. But soon he's bored with the gold since everything is free, and the beautiful girls who only laugh when he tries to hurt them, since he has a sadistic streak. So he summons the St. Peter figure. "There must be some mistake." "No, we make no mistakes here." "Can't you send me back to earth?" "Of course not, you're dead." "Well, then I must belong with my friends in the Other Place. Send me there." "Oh, no, we can't do that. Rules you know." "But I thought I was supposed to like heaven?" "Heaven? Who said anything about heaven. Heaven is the Other Place." The point is that a world without suffering appears more like hell than heaven....


This on the other hand.. is a great analogy but not used in the manner in which he did. I will refer to it later.

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But you have to think of the consequences of everything you try to improve.


If God could have 'improved' anything, I think he would have. I think he uses this word rather haphazardly.

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Every time you use force to prevent evil, you take away freedom.


This, however, I agree with.

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If Kreeft believes that an Earth without pain and suffering would be like Hell, what exactly does Kreeft believe Heaven is like?


Once again. I don't agree with the way he used it... for this very reason. But.. I will refer to it later.

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Kreeft also asserts that simply recognizing "evil" as being "evil" in and of itself is a good argument for the existence of God. If there is no God, then there is no absolute definition of what is evil and what is not evil (p. 34).


I think you give a good enough response to this one. "The fact that many concepts don't have an ultimate meaning in a godless universe does not mean that they are without meaning to our biological nature." That is not to say that I don't believe there to be a validity in the concept he touches on, but more on that later.

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Why, then, is it necessary for us to lack absolute proof of God's existence? And what about Satan? Satan, when he chose to rebel against God, had absolute proof of God's existence. And yet he was still free to choose not to follow God. Again, why is it necessary for humans to lack absolute proof of God's existence?


More on this in my section response.

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God is often called our "Heavenly Father." If somebody's earthly father moved to another country and left no forwarding address, but left a few clues lying around as to where to find him, would we consider this earthly father worthy of seeking?


No. More on this in my section response.

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And during this quest, at times beliefs that were held as unquestionable by the majority have been proven false.


Yup.

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And Kreeft must, of course, also realize that 90% of all human beings that have ever lived have not believed in his God. Kreeft seems likely to believe that the followers of Buddhism, Hinduism, pagan religions, and so on are completely wrong, but he is happy to accept their members just for the moment to "prove" how "snobbish" atheism is.


In his defense.. I believe it would have been "snobbish" for a person to come along during the time when 90% of the world believed the world was flat and proceeded to tell them it was round, and that they were irrational, and that only those claiming the world was round were rational.

Because.. the concepts necessary for proving the world was round were not understood, therefore not accepted, at that time. To call someone irrational because they don't understand that mathematics posited the world was round before sailing or space travel 'saw' it, does seem terribly 'snobbish'.

I am not saying that Atheist are like this, merely pointing out that if an Atheist proposed to 'prove' to a theist that they are stupid for not understanding, or accepting, theories that have not been 'proven' themselves.. they would be equally as snobbish.

"To be an atheist", however, is no more "snobbish" then "to be a Christian".. one is just "being". So yes, I would agree with you in some respects that Kreeft is a bit "snobbish" himself, because this is the very thing I think he meant for people to accept.

RESPONSE: Theist choose to address this issue in many ways. Each way would seem to contain a bit of ambiguity sown into the fabric of its position. I will try, the best I can, to relate my position. As much as some might say that my positions are inherently contradictory to the writings of the Bible, I do not believe them to be. I believe them to be supported by the Bible, even as others understand their understandings to be. The question might come up, well then how do you know which is right? And truth be told, I do not. I merely have made the choice to live by those things I have chosen to live by through reasoning-- even as you do.

If you would like to argue the points of the Bible, If you feel that they are inherently contradictory, then I will read your contention and respond; however, you must give the one verse you feel to be most clear in its contradiction to the position I state. This is the only way I can see it be done.. otherwise people will just say: "Look at bibleiscontradictory.com." And I will.. but, how could I get around to all of it? I might be able to address all the questions of the site, but to transport those questions here would grow this thread exponentially.. as well as, even then, not satisfy the one who contested first.

Would it not be more efficient to just take one of your choice to present?

SUMMARY (Objection 1: Since Evil and Suffering Exist, A Loving God Cannot): I have accepted the Bible as truth. I have accepted that the God written of in its pages, is a real God. As such, I must address this objection within the context of that God, and not any other.

The words used very frequently to describe the Christian God by Christians are: loving, creator, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent.

I would agree these are our perceptions of him. As a Christian I accept that he is loving, for if he were any other than there would be no reason, that I can think of other than fear, to care for such a God. As a Christian I accept that he created all things, for if he did not then he is not God. As a Christian I accept that he has the capacity to do everything logically possible, for logically impossible things are logically impossible... while one might like to think a "square circle" could be created, it cannot logically be so since both the square and the circle are words designating concepts solely in the human mind. As a function of omnipotence, I, as a Christian, accept that he has the capacity to know all things, for omnipotence designates capacity for anything. As a Christian, I accept that existence, in all forms, is only sustained by his presence, and therefore, he is present (in some sense) in all things existent.

These are things I have chosen to believe in. So how do I make such concepts agree with the existence of suffering and evil in our world?

Here is my reasoning:

I believe the biggest problem within this debate is that both sides seem to automatically assume, or concede, the proposition that evil is a direct result from God, or in some way related to his wanting for it to go on longer, I do not believe this to be the case. I do believe it to be a reasonable argument to say that 'love' could not have existed without 'choice'. God, being a loving God, wanted that which he created to have to ability to love him back. Thus, freewill was placed into that which he created.

I further believe it to be a reasonable argument that, as a function of freewill, as a function of our heightened stated of consciousness, we are curious beings. We are. I do not believe history would give an example of a "non curious" being, for curiosity is the means by which we live.. it is the reason we attempt to crawl, taste food, walk, and so many other things. I am not discounting the possibility that these could be things as instinctual as a reflex.. yet I believe them both to be equally improvable or untestable theories. Furthermore, I am not saying that free will is curiosity, just that it is a necessary result of freewill. We wish to experience what we have not experienced.

And here is where I move to analogy to present my position:
If a father watches over his son, giving him all those things which are good for him, does this mean that the son will not wants those things which the father cannot give? Of course not. One asks the question.. one wants an answer. Yet, even as a parent cannot explain the experience of being burned by fire, so God could not explain the experience of being apart from him; for the very words used in the descriptions of burning and apartness, would require experience to understand. Or is one born with the innate ability to understand the concept of 'hot', 'burn', 'sting'.

The concept of sin is not one that brings about punishment from God but of de facto separation. Even as one must leave a house to try and live life on his own, so one must leave god to try and live on his. This is how I interpret the seemingly decreasing, direct interaction, interaction that God did with regards from the beginning of the Bible, where it was God having a direct conversation to Cain or the fire cloud above the Hebrews, and the end, where God had to become man to interact.

While many would like to think that we are more civilized now than thousands of years ago, it does not change the fact that we are perhaps even more barbarous now than then. Is killing someone because they are of a different race more or less barbarous than killing indiscriminately?

As a whole, humanity has long since continued on its journey to explore the experience of life as is. I know this might sound like I'm saying, "If only we would all serve God perfectly, then everything would be fine", I do not believe so. It is possible that I could be wrong however, I believe that it is so far removed from where we are that it does not seem a realistic goal. You, even I, explore those things we should not, and do those things we don't feel as if we should do. "I do what I do not want to do.." as Paul once wrote. All evil in the world is a direct result of our actions (as a whole), not of God's. God means only to sustain us until our curiosity runs out and our final choices are made.

Who knows when that might be. When it does come, and the story has been told, one will have made the choice, explicitly or implicitly through their life, which thing he cherishes more. If it his independence, then so be it, God will grant them their independence. If it be dependence, then so be it, God will bring them home. The desire to experience life away from God will no longer be existent, even as a child who has burnt himself enough will not longer wish to explore the curiosity of touching fire.

Hell.. you might say, is an apparent, common sense, contradiction to the concept of a loving God. I would probably agree with you on this point. I cannot imagine that if Man, to live, needs God to sustain him, how God, who is all-loving, can sustain an individual for the purpose of eternal torment/torture.

Yet, the belief in hell (of this sense) is not necessitated by scripture. Yes, there is a concept of "hell"-- but not necessarily one of eternal torment/torture. Feel free to disagree with me, and point out the particular part of scripture you feel to be most obvious on your point.

As I have stated before, when the time comes that our curiosity has been fulfilled, our choices will have been made, the story complete, we will live forever or die forever, wiped from existent by "eternal fire".

These are my thoughts. Part II will come, in time.


caseagainstfaith
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RhadTheGizmo,   Thanks

RhadTheGizmo,

 

Thanks for reading my paper, and taking the time to respond to at least the first section. As you might imagine, I don't find your counter-arguments compelling, and here is my counter-response:

Quote:
What is valid for one instance of pain is not necessarily valid for another, yet, the element of truth (if accepted in the first explanation) can be applied to the second that being:
Pain or suffering, no matter to what extent, is not reason enough to assume that pain and suffering are not without reason or justification; even as the number of death, no matter to what extent, is not reason enough to assume that war is not without reason or justification in a particular case.

Perhaps. But, you had agreed with me that to assume that some greater good it to come without a reason to is a fallacious argument from ignorance.

And, one issue that I didn't get into in my article is, the implausibility of a perfect diety needing any sort of "bad" to enact his "good". How can perfection require imperfection in order to bring about a delayed perfection?

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The disgust I find at one individual dying in a horrible way and another individual dying in a horrible way is not magnified by their socio-economic standing. I realize you may be saying, "as a whole" opposed to individually, and if this is what you meant, I would agree.

 

Remember that you are responding to something that I myself didn't say, I was quoting someone else. If I had said it myself, I think I would have tried to clarify it the way you seem to realize it really means. While anybody directly impacted by the San Francisco quake might have sufferred as much as anybody directly impacted by the Armenian quake. But, the real point was, there were lots fewer of the later than the former. And, the reason there were lots more of the later is directly related to the economic statuses. Which shows that God doesn't protect the poor, they get screwed. Take New Orleans for example...

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I cannot say I have an answer to correct this state of affairs.. but some day, perhaps I can help in some significant manner.

Or perhaps you won't. More argument from ignorance.

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When it comes to suffering as a result of natural elements, it is only as an indirect result of the order than humans have set up themselves. It is not that there is not enough food or resources to support or move all individuals into certain areas of greater resources, it is that nations keep people in and others out.

Well, for one, God made humans imperfect, right? So how can we be faulted for coming up with imperfect systems? Second of all, let's pretend, for discussion purposes, that man were to create a pretty fair system, where most everybody has reasonably good standard of living. People would still die in natural disasters. There would be fewer people to die, if all housing was well made. But it isn't practical or even possible to build every house to withstand every earthquake, tornado, tsunami, etc.

Also, what you are not dealing with is the fact that regardless of what humans *could* do to protect ourselves from natural disasters, it is STILL (allegedly) God's system that there are natural disasters to have to deal with at all. And, aparantly, such a system is really necessary, as there aren't natural disasters in heaven, as I understand it anyway.

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Whether or not their is "good that can comes from bad" exists independently (I would contend) from the "whether one should help to mitigate the bad."

You can contend that if you wish, but it is contradictory. If "bad" can result in eventual "good," then removing the "bad" would remove the eventual "good. " Basically, you are saying, whether you realize it or not, that you really can't know what eventual "good" might come, but you can see the "bad" now, so it makes sense to alleviate the "bad" now and not assume there will be a "good" later. Which means, essentially, you agree with me that there is not a good reason to assume that eventual good always come from bad. If it did, then it wouldn't make sense to help mitgate the bad.

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This I think belittles eternity. For mathematically.. finite life is insignificant next to infinite.

True, but that makes all life on earth insignificant. The entire life of the whole universe, is insignificant next to infinite.

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I would agree these are our perceptions of him. As a Christian I accept that he is loving, for if he were any other than there would be no reason, that I can think of other than fear, to care for such a God.

Then why was God such a vindictive, unloving SOB in the OT? Did you know that one of the very early schools of Christian thought, before "orthodox" became orthodox, was the Jesus was a *different God* than Yehweh, and Jesus came to save us from the bad Yehweh!

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I do believe it to be a reasonable argument to say that 'love' could not have existed without 'choice'. God, being a loving God, wanted that which he created to have to ability to love him back. Thus, freewill was placed into that which he created.

I don't believe that "freewill" can really exist, either with or without God. If God created me, he created my personality, my instincts, my needs and desires. For example, as a heterosexual male, I'm biologically wired to desire females. On the other hand, if I was castrated, I would no longer have hormones and no longer have sexual desire.

What part of creation is *not* under the direct control of an omniscient, omnipotent being? Nothing.

 


RhadTheGizmo
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My intent was just to leave

My intent was just to leave this thead as is.. but my respect for you as a sincere person, as well as the original writer of this article, draw me into debate.  There will be 7 other threads coming in time, once I finish some work here, that will address the 7 more parts of your article-- but, until then, I'm still here.

Before you being.. I'd like to state something, something I try to say over and over again in very post I do.

I believe the only thing you can know for sure is that you are here.  "I think therefore I am."  Everything else.. are things you just take for granted.. none of it is "objective" in the purest sense... everything is an "argument of ignorance" however, in most cases, people just accept what you have accepted and therefore both individuals go on their merry way.

This is not to say that any is any more or less ignorant than the other.

All function rests on the unfounded assertion that "If I see something, and a sufficient amount of other people see the same thing, then it is real."

So when someone tries to put themselves higher than me because they are somehow.. "more knowledgeable" "are more rational because they only accept things which have "reason"".. then I take it with a grain of salt.

Because if each one of these individuals applied the same measure of "reason" to everything.. then there acceptance of that earlier assertion has no more reason than mine, a belief in God.  They are accepted because individuals believe them to aid in functioning.. not for any reason beyond that.

What you do.. from that point on.. however, is a different issue.  People are "irrational" or "rational" because they claim to believe something then to not act in accordance, either because of ignorance or because of contradictory beliefs.

So once again.. I write my thoughts down, this is my reasoning.. the "reason" is the Bible.  That is where Christian Theology is supposedly based of.. so I will type from that perspective.

caseagainstfaith wrote:

Thanks for reading my paper, and taking the time to respond to at least the first section. As you might imagine, I don't find your counter-arguments compelling, and here is my counter-response:

A counter-response to a counter-response.. so what does this make this? Smiling Let's just call it a conversation broken up by days as opposed to seconds.

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What is valid for one instance of pain is not necessarily valid for another, yet, the element of truth (if accepted in the first explanation) can be applied to the second that being:
Pain or suffering, no matter to what extent, is not reason enough to assume that pain and suffering are not without reason or justification; even as the number of death, no matter to what extent, is not reason enough to assume that war is not without reason or justification in a particular case.


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Perhaps. But, you had agreed with me that to assume that some greater good it to come without a reason to is a fallacious argument from ignorance.

All things being equal.. yes, I did agree.  But all things are not equal.. we have thousands of years of philosophy, history, and science; so much so that I would venture to say that every perception of every event, is influenced by some external stimuli.

Even as one accepts a science book as reason to believe that the earth revolves around the sun, so I accept I state that the bible is reason to believe that there is more than just what we see.

They are choices we make.. choices of where to put our trust.  I don't mean to say that the bible and a science book are contradictory.. merely that one chooses to trust the content as well as the writers.  Why do I choose the Christian idea of a God over others? I have my reasons... but thats not for this thread. Smiling

Furthermore, I am not saying that either the science book or the bible are infalliably true... merely that they influence ones perception of things.

If there was no science book, no outside influence, there would be no reason to believe the earth revolves the sun; even as if there was no book (of any type), no outside influence, then there would be no reason to believe that perhaps there is more to suffering then just the instance of suffering.

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And, one issue that I didn't get into in my article is, the implausibility of a perfect diety needing any sort of "bad" to enact his "good". How can perfection require imperfection in order to bring about a delayed perfection?


I have conversations with my cousin all the time.. whenever he goes through a rough spot.  Years later he'll tell me.. "God wanted me to go through that hell so that I could come to this point"-- I reply: "Maybe.. or maybe you just took the long route to where you would have been anyway."

God, (and I'm speaking from a theological standpoint once again), gave us everything good... we wanted the bad.  I do not believe God is enacting "better" then before, merely trying to get us back to where we started.

I believe them to be two different concepts.

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The disgust I find at one individual dying in a horrible way and another individual dying in a horrible way is not magnified by their socio-economic standing. I realize you may be saying, "as a whole" opposed to individually, and if this is what you meant, I would agree.


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Which shows that God doesn't protect the poor, they get screwed. Take New Orleans for example...

This is complicated.. in my mind at least.  I don't believe God "protects" anyone.. I do believe that all things come from him.. de facto.  Life, love, hope..  abstract concepts.. are from him.  Food, shelter, levies, these are things under man's control.

Perhaps.. one could make the argument that at one time God did have a hand in these other things (OT).. but I addressed my reasoning behind this growing separation in my first post.

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I cannot say I have an answer to correct this state of affairs.. but some day, perhaps I can help in some significant manner.


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Or perhaps you won't. More argument from ignorance.

Heh.. I don't mean about God.  This was a statement from a separate viewpoint.. at some point.. I wish to do help people of poor nations in a more significant manner than I can now.  This was all I was saying.

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When it comes to suffering as a result of natural elements, it is only as an indirect result of the order than humans have set up themselves. It is not that there is not enough food or resources to support or move all individuals into certain areas of greater resources, it is that nations keep people in and others out.


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Well, for one, God made humans imperfect, right?

No.
 
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So how can we be faulted for coming up with imperfect systems?

I don't believe the system of freewill to be anything but what it was meant to be.
 
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Second of all, let's pretend, for discussion purposes, that man were to create a pretty fair system, where most everybody has reasonably good standard of living. People would still die in natural disasters. There would be fewer people to die, if all housing was well made. But it isn't practical or even possible to build every house to withstand every earthquake, tornado, tsunami, etc.

If this ever happens.. we will discuss it then.  I could simple contend that all people could be concentrated into areas where such sorts of natural disasters do not occur.  Until this happens.. or until some study is done.. neither of us will have evidence to back up our claims.

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Also, what you are not dealing with is the fact that regardless of what humans *could* do to protect ourselves from natural disasters, it is STILL (allegedly) God's system that there are natural disasters to have to deal with at all.

Earthquakes are caused as a result from our liquid inner core, if I understand the earths plates correctly, hurricanes the result of moving pressure systems, etc.  While I would imagine a counter argument would be, "Why would not God create such a system where these things did not have to occur?" Possibly so.. I would imagine some natural laws would have to be changed, but nothing is outside of his hand, right?

Possibly.  Then I would only refer to my previous statement.  These things are not "bad" in and of themselves.. neither do people need to die as a direct result from them.

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And, aparantly, such a system is really necessary, as there aren't natural disasters in heaven, as I understand it anyway.

Who says that? Of course.. they probably wouldn't be called "disasters" anymore.  What would they be called? Natural?

Here.. they are called disasters because people die and billions of dollars of damage are created.  I would imagine.. in some other place.. they would just be called.. "really big storm".. "twirling black cloud".. "giant wave".

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Whether or not their is "good that can comes from bad" exists independently (I would contend) from the "whether one should help to mitigate the bad."


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You can contend that if you wish, but it is contradictory. If "bad" can result in eventual "good," then removing the "bad" would remove the eventual "good. "

We can't keep on moving between the "cosmic" and the "finite".  "Cosmically", on some bigger stage, perhaps some "good" will come from the "bad", even as a burn takes away the desire to touch fire, but on the individual level.. why would I not tend to the burn?

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Basically, you are saying, whether you realize it or not, that you really can't know what eventual "good" might come, but you can see the "bad" now, so it makes sense to alleviate the "bad" now and not assume there will be a "good" later.

Once again.. I think you're mixing up concepts-- I do not believe purposefully.  One can easily alleviate the affects of "bad" now and still assume that there will be "good", experentially, latter.  Why can I not tend to my sons burn, yet still be able to say, "Well, now you've learned."  

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If it did, then it wouldn't make sense to help mitgate the bad.

I think this confusion might come from many Christians who would like to say.. "God made you sick so that you will confess your sins and come back to him".  Or perhaps on a grander scale, "God killed all those people as punishment to their country for the evil they have done."

I do not believe this to be the case.. and I thought I made that clear earlier.  Evil is done by man.. nobody else.  A person is hurt by another person.. and thus I help alleviate the pain.. and I will always do so until my death.  But my belief, based off outside influence, still lets me believe that there is more than just this.

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This I think belittles eternity. For mathematically.. finite life is insignificant next to infinite.


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True, but that makes all life on earth insignificant. The entire life of the whole universe, is insignificant next to infinite.

Mixing up concepts again.  I made it very clear these years, the 60 or more years I live, are insignificant when placed next to cosmic eternity itself.. that does not mean that it is not significant to me, now.

If you remember.. this response was in response to something you and Strobel stated, he belittled pain, you belittled eternity (in my opinion).  I was just drawing up a point of contention.

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I would agree these are our perceptions of him. As a Christian I accept that he is loving, for if he were any other than there would be no reason, that I can think of other than fear, to care for such a God.


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Then why was God such a vindictive, unloving SOB in the OT?

Hmm.. if earth is mans experiment into evil.. an experiment that must run it's course.. I would contest that God was doing all that was necessary to sustain us. Whether in foresight or in an eye-for-eye manner, he sustains us.

I'm sure you've heard this one before.. but, even a doctor knocks out a patient and pulls out an arm to sustain the body as a whole.

I know that might seem cold, comparing people to an arm, but analogies are all the same in that they are ambiguous.

The idea however, is only that sometimes someone must do something gruesome to make sure everyone does not die.

Because if everyone died before we, as a people, lived long enough.. then everything would have to start over.. God would create a new pair, and then, freewill and curiosity would lead them to the same place.

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Did you know that one of the very early schools of Christian thought, before "orthodox" became orthodox, was the Jesus was a *different God* than Yehweh, and Jesus came to save us from the bad Yehweh!

I did.  Did you know that scientist once thought that the sun revolved the earth?  Many times people have the same facts, same words, and yet they come to different conclusions.

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I do believe it to be a reasonable argument to say that 'love' could not have existed without 'choice'. God, being a loving God, wanted that which he created to have to ability to love him back. Thus, freewill was placed into that which he created.


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I don't believe that "freewill" can really exist, either with or without God. If God created me, he created my personality, my instincts, my needs and desires. For example, as a heterosexual male, I'm biologically wired to desire females. On the other hand, if I was castrated, I would no longer have hormones and no longer have sexual desire.

God created Man, your parents created you.

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What part of creation is *not* under the direct control of an omniscient, omnipotent being? Nothing.

I do not understand how you make this jump.  Omnipotent only refers to capacity.  While God "could" directly control everything.. he does not, he created the system, we do the rest.

I did not take as much time in this response as I did my last.. but hopefully it addresses some things.


todangst
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caseagainstfaith

caseagainstfaith wrote:

RhadTheGizmo,

 

Thanks for reading my paper, and taking the time to respond to at least the first section. As you might imagine, I don't find your counter-arguments compelling, and here is my counter-response:

Quote:
What is valid for one instance of pain is not necessarily valid for another, yet, the element of truth (if accepted in the first explanation) can be applied to the second that being:
Pain or suffering, no matter to what extent, is not reason enough to assume that pain and suffering are not without reason or justification; even as the number of death, no matter to what extent, is not reason enough to assume that war is not without reason or justification in a particular case.

Perhaps. But, you had agreed with me that to assume that some greater good it to come without a reason to is a fallacious argument from ignorance.

And, one issue that I didn't get into in my article is, the implausibility of a perfect diety needing any sort of "bad" to enact his "good". How can perfection require imperfection in order to bring about a delayed perfection?

Precisely. How cany an omnipotent being rely on any contrivance.

The theist error here is that his thinking is necessarily backwards. He does not start with first principles - 'god's omnipotence and omniscience', instead, he works backwards, from our world, and tries to link it back to omnipotence and omniscience

But if there is an omnipotent, omniscient creator, then nothing in our world can be necessary! So the theist has no right to assume that our parameters of existence must be the parameters of existence. Given omnipotence/omniscience, we would not expect our world at all, and this is precisely why the arguent for evil, or pain, or for contrivance ought to shake theistic belief.

We can call this error the Panglossian error.

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The disgust I find at one individual dying in a horrible way and another individual dying in a horrible way is not magnified by their socio-economic standing. I realize you may be saying, "as a whole" opposed to individually, and if this is what you meant, I would agree.

 

Remember that you are responding to something that I myself didn't say, I was quoting someone else. If I had said it myself, I think I would have tried to clarify it the way you seem to realize it really means. While anybody directly impacted by the San Francisco quake might have sufferred as much as anybody directly impacted by the Armenian quake. But, the real point was, there were lots fewer of the later than the former. And, the reason there were lots more of the later is directly related to the economic statuses. Which shows that God doesn't protect the poor, they get screwed. Take New Orleans for example...

Excellent point.

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I cannot say I have an answer to correct this state of affairs.. but some day, perhaps I can help in some significant manner.

Or perhaps you won't. More argument from ignorance.

Yes. The argument goes: there are things that people have not known, that they later learned. Ergo, this thing I currently don't know has an answer.

The fact of the matter is, if you don't know, you can't use the fact that there are some cases where ignorance is overcome as a reason why you should still hold to your position! All you can say is at the present time, this argument is a reason why you should reconsider your opinion.

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When it comes to suffering as a result of natural elements, it is only as an indirect result of the order than humans have set up themselves. It is not that there is not enough food or resources to support or move all individuals into certain areas of greater resources, it is that nations keep people in and others out.

Well, for one, God made humans imperfect, right? So how can we be faulted for coming up with imperfect systems? Second of all, let's pretend, for discussion purposes, that man were to create a pretty fair system, where most everybody has reasonably good standard of living. People would still die in natural disasters. There would be fewer people to die, if all housing was well made. But it isn't practical or even possible to build every house to withstand every earthquake, tornado, tsunami, etc.

Yes, there's an infantile wish* hidden in the theist argument - that we can all live happily ever after. Human existence seems to belay that notion - there is always some suffering no matter how hard we try.

(Infantile wish is a freudian term, not meant as an insult, we ALL have such wishes - i.e. wishes that go against reality!)

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Also, what you are not dealing with is the fact that regardless of what humans *could* do to protect ourselves from natural disasters, it is STILL (allegedly) God's system that there are natural disasters to have to deal with at all.

Excellent point. The entire situation is akin to putting an infant in a room with a rattle snake and a stick, and saying 'well, I gave the kid a chance". The question that should arise is: Why the snake? But the theist focuses on the stick.

If there is an omnipotent, omniscient 'god' that loves the infant, it staggers reason to hold that such a being would create such a situation.

If you had total control over every facet of your own child's life, would you give him leprosy? Sounds ridiculous, but a theist must answer "YES, I WOULD!" if he wishes to be consistent, for this is precisely what he believes his 'ever flowing fountain of moral goodness' does to some of his beloved creation.

 

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And, aparantly, such a system is really necessary, as there aren't natural disasters in heaven, as I understand it anyway.

Yes, the entire enterprise seems for naught.... if you look at it from the point of view of first principles .

So the theist must avoid this, and work backwards again.

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Whether or not their is "good that can comes from bad" exists independently (I would contend) from the "whether one should help to mitigate the bad."

You can contend that if you wish, but it is contradictory. If "bad" can result in eventual "good," then removing the "bad" would remove the eventual "good. " Basically, you are saying, whether you realize it or not, that you really can't know what eventual "good" might come, but you can see the "bad" now, so it makes sense to alleviate the "bad" now and not assume there will be a "good" later. Which means, essentially, you agree with me that there is not a good reason to assume that eventual good always come from bad. If it did, then it wouldn't make sense to help mitgate the bad.

The outcome for the theist is that he can no longer decide what is really good or what is really bad! He is forced to admit that bad might be good, good might be bad.

He is forced to concede that he no longer has a moral system, as he can no longer evaluate any action as good or bad... anything good may ultimately prove bad, and vice versa.

The theist must then concede that he relies on a secular moral system.

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This I think belittles eternity. For mathematically.. finite life is insignificant next to infinite.

True, but that makes all life on earth insignificant. The entire life of the whole universe, is insignificant next to infinite.

Belittilng human life for a delusion of grandeur is truly an evil action.

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I would agree these are our perceptions of him. As a Christian I accept that he is loving, for if he were any other than there would be no reason, that I can think of other than fear, to care for such a God.

Then why was God such a vindictive, unloving SOB in the OT? Did you know that one of the very early schools of Christian thought, before "orthodox" became orthodox, was the Jesus was a *different God* than Yehweh, and Jesus came to save us from the bad Yehweh!

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I do believe it to be a reasonable argument to say that 'love' could not have existed without 'choice'. God, being a loving God, wanted that which he created to have to ability to love him back. Thus, freewill was placed into that which he created.

I don't believe that "freewill" can really exist, either with or without God. If God created me, he created my personality, my instincts, my needs and desires.

This god must be responsible for every parameter of existence that would affect any choice you make. He must be perfectly responsible for everything being precisely as it is... ergo omnipotent/omniscient creation obviates free will.

Even if this 'god' were to 'abdicate' and remove himself from the process, this would fail, as this god would make this choice knowing fully well what would happen, and this 'god' would still be responsible for every parameter of the being that made the choice.

So the free will defense for theodicy must fail, unless the theist special pleads to omnipotence as truly unlimited even by 'logical' restrictions.

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For example, as a heterosexual male, I'm biologically wired to desire females. On the other hand, if I was castrated, I would no longer have hormones and no longer have sexual desire.

What part of creation is *not* under the direct control of an omniscient, omnipotent being? Nothing.

Precisely

To answer that X is not under the control of "god' is to deny his role as the creator.

To answer "nothing" is to concede to the problem.

Checkmate. Nicely played, Case. Always enjoy seeing you on this site, I give out your web adress every time one of the apologists you deconstruct is mentioned here.

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


caseagainstfaith
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Quote: I do not understand

Quote:
I do not understand how you make this jump.  Omnipotent only refers to capacity.  While God "could" directly control everything.. he does not, he created the system, we do the rest.

 

I need to write a paper just on this topic, as it comes up frequently.  I want to respond to just this point in this response, and maybe use it as a basis for a future paper. 

 

I know analogies are imperfect tools, but, I hope this one will have some explanitory power.  Say I were to run someone over with my car, and I get arrested for manslaughter.  And I respond, "I didn't do nothing, I just pressed that little lever thingy on the floorboard, and this carrige thing I was sitting in lurched and killed the man."  You wouldn't buy that defense because 1. I took a specific action and 2. I knew what would happen by taking that action.  Even though I had nothing to do with the engineering of the vehicle, or the production of the gasoline, etc., I still knew what would happen when I pressed the gas pedal.  Direct cause and effect, right?

 Of course, if I was a native that had never seen a car before in my life, and somehow stumbled upon civilization, got in a vehicle, started to investigate the nobs, well, then my defense would be reasonable.  I would have no way to have known that pressing the gas pedal while moving the gearshift into drive would do anything. I should not be held accountable for having killed the person. But God, being omniscient and omnipotent, could never be like the native, not knowing what the outcome of His actions would be.

And so, like the human that presses on the gas pedal of a car, God is BY DEFINITION in control of everything He does.  If He isn't, then he isn't omniscient and omnipotent.  So, when you say: "he created the system, we do the rest" -- that is incorrect.  By creating the system, he necessarily does the rest. 

 


RhadTheGizmo
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caseagainstfaith

caseagainstfaith wrote:


Quote:
I do not understand how you make this jump. Omnipotent only refers to capacity. While God "could" directly control everything.. he does not, he created the system, we do the rest.




I need to write a paper just on this topic, as it comes up frequently. I want to respond to just this point in this response, and maybe use it as a basis for a future paper.

I would very much like to read that paper.



Quote:
I know analogies are imperfect tools, but, I hope this one will have some explanitory power. Say I were to run someone over with my car, and I get arrested for manslaughter. And I respond, "I didn't do nothing, I just pressed that little lever thingy on the floorboard, and this carrige thing I was sitting in lurched and killed the man." You wouldn't buy that defense because 1. I took a specific action and 2. I knew what would happen by taking that action. Even though I had nothing to do with the engineering of the vehicle, or the production of the gasoline, etc., I still knew what would happen when I pressed the gas pedal. Direct cause and effect, right?

If you want to accuse the Christian God of Manslaughter under the rational of the US system of laws.. I have no problems with this. I don't think you would win however, not with this analogy (I mean.. the guy in the analogy).

Just to use the analogy in my favor.. and how I understand it. My view of the system is.. "God created the car.. man pressed the gas and put himself underneath the tire."

But regardless, there is however, a big jump between Manslaughter and Murder, 1st or 2nd degree.

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But God, being omniscient and omnipotent, could never be like the native, not knowing what the outcome of His actions would be.

To create or not to create.. that is the question. If God created us, then it was only a matter of time before we fell, if he did not, then we would not have fallen but, yet, we wouldn't exist either.

Granted.. only within the construct of the belief. I'm just giving my understanding of it.

Tod, responded before you and I'd just like to address something: Everyone.. works backwards Tod, not just religious folk. Scientist do not work forward.. they are just trying to understand what has always been. If they someday "figure out all there is to know" and don't find God.. so be it. However, they may find him as well. At which point he'll put out his hand and say.. "Here you go.. I'm made up of Hydrogen."

In any case.. was just pointing out: Religion fits the world to a thought, Science fits the world to nothing (it has no goal but the pursuit of knowledge).


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And so, like the human that presses on the gas pedal of a car, God is BY DEFINITION in control of everything He does.

God is in control of everything He does.. agreed. How would I not agree with that?
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If He isn't, then he isn't omniscient and omnipotent.

I'm not omniscient or omnipotent.. I'm in control of what I do.

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So, when you say: "he created the system, we do the rest" -- that is incorrect. By creating the system, he necessarily does the rest.

Analogies are imperfect tools indeed.. but this one was all over the place. It tries to make me concede that God created the car, presses the gas, knows a man to be underneath, and is therefore "doing" as much as me "killing" a person intentionally...

If I know all.. and I'm all powerful.. I created something.. "E=MC2".. valid.. in and of itself.. can be used for great things.. and I know this.. I also know that it can be used for horrible things.. yet the great things far outweigh any bad. And so I use it to create a system of energy from matter to wipe away the need for all fossil fuel.. with a single providing the world with a source of energy that can heat them at night and cool them during the day.. as well as every other benefit that comes about through limitless energy. Are you trying to tell me I'm as directly responsible for the creation of the atom bomb, not only the atom bomb but every instance of its use, as I am for these other things?

That wont' work in the court of the law.. and I probably wont' accept it here either.

Because if it were the case.. the owner of any gun used in the "accidental shooting" of anyone, even if it wasn't the original own, would be charged and put in prison.. for he "knew" when he bought it that it could be used to kill people.

I think the big thing here would be the distinction between "could" and "would".. God knew it "would" happen.. humans only know things "could" happen. But nevertheless, in the sense of God, if I could try and reason this out again-- there were two choices.. either create or don't. If he created.. "this" would happen... and if didn't.. "nothing" would. I do not see how this is negligent.

It's not only "knowing".. it's also "negligence" as well.. was God "negligent"? Well.. thats a different issue. Some may say he is.. I.. on the other hand.. much prefer existence to non-existence.

Once again.. not saying that god is necessarily the source of everything.. I realize that there are other plausible explanations to how we came to be.


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Quote: Because if it were

Quote:
Because if it were the case.. the owner of any gun used in the "accidental shooting" of anyone, even if it wasn't the original own, would be charged and put in prison.. for he "knew" when he bought it that it could be used to kill people.

 

What you aren't getting is, God wouldn't merely know that x *could* be used for evil, he would know exactly when and where it *would* be used for evil.

If I gave you a gun, I might know that it could be used for evil.  If I gave it to you just after you said, "man, I wish I had a gun to blow away my two-timin' spouse", I think I would have at least some responsibility if you indeed used it to kill your spouse.  Now, if I also created YOU, and your personality, such that you would kill your wife if she cheated on you; and created her, such that she would cheat on you; and created the people who made guns with personlities to make guns; and the physics to make guns work; and the earth with the compounds to make guns, etc., how am I not responsible for all of this?

 What theists seem to think is that personality, desires, instincts, etc., create themselves, and so God is "off the hook".  But that is simply not true.  I didn't create my own personality any more than I created my own DNA.  Do you think I created my own DNA?

 


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caseagainstfaith

caseagainstfaith wrote:


Quote:
Because if it were the case.. the owner of any gun used in the "accidental shooting" of anyone, even if it wasn't the original own, would be charged and put in prison.. for he "knew" when he bought it that it could be used to kill people.


 

What you aren't getting is, God wouldn't merely know that x *could* be used for evil, he would know exactly when and where it *would* be used for evil.

I responded to this.  So.. either you're not reading.. or your just ignoring.

When it comes to the "would" question.. it's a matter of "negligence".. since we're debating as if this were the court of law.  If it is proven that I absolutely know someone will die as a result of my actions.. then the question becomes whether there was any other action I could have taken.

It's easy to say that "God is omnipotent.. he could have done anything.. including freewill without the possibility of evil."

Now that.. is contradictory.

I believe.. yes.. evil was a result of freewill (one that is temporary.. but still.. a result).. yet could God have done anything else? As I stated before... to create.. or not to create.. or perhaps create without freewill.. I'm not sure there is rational middle ground when it comes to christian theology.


Quote:
What theists seem to think is that personality, desires, instincts, etc., create themselves, and so God is "off the hook".

Heh.. You stated before that theist believe that God created everything.  I believe everything existent (concrete.. not abstract. Actions are abstract.. they do not exist apart from the person doing them.) exists because of him.  You, me, the tree, etc etc etc.  I do not believe that he "creates" everything-- that would seem foolish to me, for he does not "create you".. he merely created the things that make you possible.

[quote[ But that is simply not true. I didn't create my own personality any more than I created my own DNA. Do you think I created my own DNA?

Yes... yes I do.. I believe you created your own DNA.  I realize this question was rhetorical in nature.. Smiling


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Quote: I do not understand


Quote:
I do not understand how you make this jump. Omnipotent only refers to capacity.

Here's the error: who 'decides the capacity' in the first place?

"god"

So you're argument fails.

Quote:
 

 While God "could" directly control everything.. he does not, 

Sorry, but you're just not paying attention. This 'god' creates all the parameters of existence, and this alone dicates all possible outcomes.  

 

 

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RhadTheGizmo wrote:It's

RhadTheGizmo wrote:


It's easy to say that "God is omnipotent.. he could have done anything.. including freewill without the possibility of evil."

Now that.. is contradictory.

No, it is not, because your leaving out that our free will is already limited. Your argument, again and again, commits the Panglossian error of implicitly assuming our world is a set of necessary givens. But this is false if there is an omnipotent omniscient creator.

The 'christian' 'god' created the nature of free will, and all parameters of existnece, ergo this god 'limits' free will as it is...

Also, your argument commits a second error - why does the theist hold that we have 'free will'? Because the theist claims we need the freedom to love god or follow god, or the like.

Well, none of this necessitates the existence of rape or murder, ergo the free will argument cannot even justify such actions even potentially. If all that free will is required for is a freedom to 'choose god' then there is no need to allow for rape or murder. And since our will must already be limited by the parameters of existence, as created by this 'god' with full forthought, to those who say "well, this limits our actions' - they merely leave out that this must already take place.

 

So the free will defense doesn't even work, provided the theist could argue for free will in a divine system. And he can't do this anyway. So theist is back at square zero, with the problem of evil still at his feet, waitng to be dealt with.

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caseagainstfaith And so,

caseagainstfaith wrote:

And so, like the human that presses on the gas pedal of a car, God is BY DEFINITION in control of everything He does. If He isn't, then he isn't omniscient and omnipotent. So, when you say: "he created the system, we do the rest" -- that is incorrect. By creating the system, he necessarily does the rest.

 

 

Precisely.

 

'God' the ironworker, and why the free will (theodicy) defense for evil fails

 

In brief: If there is an omnipotent, omniscient creator, then this creator must be perfectly responsible for creating every parameter of existence. Anything that exists, or could potentially exist, only exists contingent upon the fiat of an omnipotent, omniscient creator.

Most theists can agree to this, but few can follow the ramifications (other than Calvinists), for it follows from this logic that the free will defense for the problem of evil fails, for it cannot absolve an omnipotent/omniscient creator for the ultimate responsibility for evil - as this creator's perfect responsibility for creating every parameter of existence precisely as it is, would necessarily obviate free will. Whatever is responsible for free will would be precisely as it is, because of this god's fiat.

Note: This is not solely an argument from omniscience, it is primarly an argument from perfect responsibility.

Let's review:

Many may still balk at the fact that an omnipotent, omniscient creator must have perfect responsibility for 'his' creation, so it may help to follow along more concretely:


It necessarily follows that such a creator is

1) is responsible for creating the concept of free will,

2) responsible for its nature, which means responsible for creating its limits/parameters

3) responsible for granting it to his creation (when he need not have done so, despite the possible deleterious outcomes it might cause for his creation) and

4) completely responsible for the creating every aspect of the nature of humans precisely as they are, as well as their their enviroment that influences their 'choices', precisely as it is, with full ability to make any change, anywhere, at any time.

5) Of this is is done without any 'limit' upon this god's fiat, for any limit must be contingent upon this 'god's' fiat in the first place!

To hold that this 'god' must do X is to commit the Panglossian error.

All of this means that 'free will' cannot coexist in a universe entirely contingent upon the fiat of an omnipotent, omniscient creator. It must follow that anything that occurs necessarily ocurrs as a ramification of an entity that this god is perfectly responsible for, because this creator is not only perfectly responsible for every aspect of the person's character that makes the decision, not only responsible for every aspect of the environment that influences the decision, but also responsible for the very parameters of existence that would lead to the situation in the first place! I.e. not only the nature of the chooser, but the nature of what the chooser can choose and not choose!

Here's a nice follow up on this point written by Knight of Baawam, concernig how theists fail to respond to the argument:

Which is why all the xer sects save Calvinism (with their doctrine of predestination) are dishonest on this point. I have yet to meet an xer who will deal with their god being both omniscient, omnipotent, and the creator of everything at the same time in an argument. They always leave a part out while making their claims, e.g. "Just because god knows everything doesn't mean he forces you to act in a certainway", leaving out of course the notion that god created everything.

They simply can't deal with all the concepts at once, so they leave one out and imagine that they've taken care of everything. And when called on it, they scream at you and retreat into "it's just god's will/god works in mysterious ways", in essence conceding the point.

Such is the problem with mutually-exclusive and self-contradictory concepts trying to be shoehorned onto a tribal phallic symbol.

Now, here is an example that helps illustrate the point:

Inagine you want to stress test a pieceof metal that is going to be used in a building. You need it to bear up a certain weight, or it will prove to be unsafe for construction.

So you stress test it..., because you don't know what load it can bear. You apply a chosen amount of weight per square inch that you hold to be required to keep the building up, and if the metal cracks, you realize you need a better metal.

Now, imagine god is making the building. Let's tune in and watch:

God the Iron Worker

One day, god decides to make a building. He decides that the metal must be able to bear 2000 pounds per square inch. He decides this based entirely on fiat, of course, as god can never do anything out of necessity, as he is unlimited in what he does, because any limit can only exist contingent upon omnipotence.

 So 'he' 'makes' a metal. This metal can bear 1900 pounds per square inch. 'He' then tests the metal, and it shatters. "No good", 'he' says, and makes another, this time, able to bear 1900 pounds per square inch.

'He' tests it again. It shatters. "Damn" he says, "No good again." 'God' conjures up another piece. This one can bear 1900 pounds per square inch.....

 Getting the point yet? An omnipotent, omniscient metal worker need not test the metal, for perfect metal worker is responsible for the fact that the metal passes or fails the test in the first place. Whatever 'is', is, by this creator's fiat. There can be no 'necessity' that this 'god' must adhere to or obey... for every 'fact' that 'exists' itself exists solely through the fiat of this 'creator in the first place.

  So the test is arbitrary, and necessarily so, because 'fact' that the metal must be able to bear 2000 pounds itself is arbitrary. This 'creator' could make ANY level of stress pass, or fail the test, for the test itself is necessarily arbitrary!

This simple exercise helps us grasp that an omnipotent, omniscient creator must, necessarily, be perfectly responsible for every aspect of existence that in turn must dictate every outcome, because there can be nothing that is not itself contingent upon this 'god's' fiat.

 

It therefore follows that 'god' cannot be all powerful/all knowing AND the creator of the universe AND create beings with free will AND then find them guilty for their behaviors, because such a god must also be perfectly responsible for every single solitary aspect of existence that determines their guilt, in the first place. An omnipotent, omniscient iron worker is perfectly responsible for his metal, just as a omnipotent, omniscient creator is perfectly responsible for every factor within his creation that would produce 'sin' including the concept of 'sin' itself.

 

'God' creates ALL the parameters of existence - all of them... he decides the parameters of the metal, AND the test! 'God' could make the metal stronger or reduce the stress bearing ability required, or do away with the concept of needing to bear stress altogether.... or, to get more abstract, 'he' could do away with the metal or even do away with the CONCEPTS of "metal", and "test" altogether and just make a building without them.... so the free will argument makes no sense, and fails in it's true goal - to absolve god from the true guilt for "sin", if it did exist.

 To hold that there can be any necessity in a universe created by an omnipotent omniscient creator is known as the Panglossian error. It is the presumption that elements in our lives are givens, yet, that there is a god upon which all is contingent! And this is the error that the free will argument relies upon.

When considering human behavior and morality, consider that god would have to be responsible for creating the very concepts of existence, behavior, humanity, morality, choice, 'good', "evil', and so on, with none of them being necessary parts of existence. Ergo, this god would have to control every aspect of a "choice', including human character, prediliction and every single solitary other aspect that shapes the choice!

Poof goes free will in such a universe. Even if it existed, it would be moot.

Parameters of existence

What do I mean when I use the term 'parameter of existence'?

What I mean is any aspect of reality, all of which would be under the purview of an omnipotent being. And, an omnipotent, omniscient creator is necessarily perfectly responsible for his own creation. This is so because this creator is responsible for creating all the parameters of existence, which in turn determine all outcomes.

 Any and all of the parameters could have been different, so this god is responsible for them being as they actually are. Ergo this omnipotent being is perfectly responsible for his creation being precisely as it is, this includes the existence of free will, and it's limits. If there is an omnipotent, omniscient creator, the universe didn't have to work the way it currently works, it could exist without any of these things.

When I say 'parameter of existence', I mean every single aspect of existence, including the fact that existence exists. This 'god" would be responsible for the following: existence itself, the existence of our universe, the various'laws of physics - i.e. basic cosmology of our universe. To continue, this god would be responsible for the existence of concepts, or ideas, as well as the particular concepts and ideas that do exist, including ideas like 'good' and 'bad' and 'right' and "wrong'.

This god would be responsible for creating matter and energy, as well as responsible for the forms matter takes in the universe. This god would be responsible for creating the concept of life, of biology, and psychology. This god would be responsible for creating the concept of humanity, character, personality, temperament, as well as perfectly responsible for the particular personalities and temperaments that exist in humans.

This god would then be responsible for creating concepts like free will, and choice, including the existence of the idea of choice itself! As this god is also responsible for creating character and the environments within which people live, every possible factor that influences a free will choice, it necessarily follows that an omnipotent, omniscient creator necessarily obviates free will. After all, this god creates not only 'free will' but the parameters of free will. ... he decides what the limits are! He also decided the penalties for 'infractions', including the the very idea of a need for infractions and penalties!

A theist ought to ask:

Does he (god) create and control the environment we live in?

Does he create and control the possible range of human temperament, personal, character?

Does this god control the possible range of experiences we can experience?

Is he perfectly responsible for creating the universe as he "wills" it to be?

 Is he resposible for creating every parameter of existence?

If so, how can this god not be perfectly responsible for his own creation, and thusly, every event that occurs within it?

Or, to make things even more direct:

How can there be any necessity in a universe where everything exists contingently upon the fiat of an omnipotent, omniscient creator?

 

 

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Nice to see you again

Nice to see you again Tod

todangst wrote:

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

It's easy to say that "God is omnipotent.. he could have done anything.. including freewill without the possibility of evil."
Now that.. is contradictory.


Quote:
No, it is not, because your leaving out that our free will is already limited. Your argument, again and again, commits the Panglossian error of implicitly assuming our world is a set of necessary givens. But this is false if there is an omnipotent omniscient creator.

The 'christian' 'god' created the nature of free will, and all parameters of existnece, ergo this god 'limits' free will as it is...

Granted.. but we created the concept of "freewill", not God.  I don't think God created a "circle".. we did.  I don't think that God created "freewill".  It's mans attempt to describe existence.. nothing more.  I use the word because it we would have a very difficult time talking within words and without coherent concepts.  So I accept it.  And within our understanding of "freewill", we cannot have it if we do not have the ability to choose our own will.

But I gave you ground last time.. or at some time previously.  I do believe that God could have created some alternative concept in which we would have nothing but the will to follow him.. and while we would not know that we were restricted in will, God would.  Now.. why should God care? That's a different issue.. but thats not the argument you made. Smiling

Quote:
Also, your argument commits a second error - why does the theist hold that we have 'free will'? Because the theist claims we need the freedom to love god or follow god, or the like.

Well, none of this necessitates the existence of rape or murder, ergo the free will argument cannot even justify such actions even potentially. If all that free will is required for is a freedom to 'choose god' then there is no need to allow for rape or murder.

As we define freewill (at least.. I'm assuming you define it the same way) it merely allows for the ability of will over ourselves. no more limits exist.  Within our concept.. how can you say "no need to allow" a particular direction of will?

Quote:
To those who say "well, this limits our actions' - again, our free will is already limited in that there are physically impossible actions. Hence this argument fails.

Ah.. I see where your going with this.  I would have to contend, once again, in the concept of our freewill you have the ability of will over yourself.. not over nature.  If "rape" "murder" were "natural concepts" then I would be contradicting myself.. but I do not believe them to be "natural concepts" even as I don't believe "gravity" to be a individual concept.

Quote:
So the free will defense doesn't even work, provided the theist could argue for free will in a divine system. And he can't do this anyway.

Um.. why can't he do this?


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todangst wrote: Quote: I

todangst wrote:


Quote:
I do not understand how you make this jump. Omnipotent only refers to capacity.



Here's the error: who 'decides the capacity' in the first place?

"god"

So you're argument fails.


Heh.  Capacity refers to the ability... not the other definition of capacity which refers to a limit.  God has the 'ability' to do anything, does not necessarily mean he 'does' everything. Is that more clear?

Quote:


While God "could" directly control everything.. he does not,


Sorry, but you're just not paying attention. This 'god' creates all the parameters of existence, and this alone dicates all possible outcomes.

 


I create a car.  I give it to a person.. he smashes it with a sledge hammer and then drives it around.

I did that?

"Dictating all possible outcomes" and "directly controlling everything" are two distinctly different things.  If you cannot see this.. I will try and think of an example.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: I

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

I believe.. yes.. evil was a result of freewill (one that is temporary.. but still.. a result)..

 Are you saying "freewill" is temporary, or it is temporary that freewill can result in evil and eventually it won't?  In any case, you still can't deal with the problem that it is implausible for a perfect being to need "temporary" imperfections in order to bring about a future perfection! 

Quote:
I believe everything existent (concrete.. not abstract. Actions are abstract.. they do not exist apart from the person doing them.)

 Nonsense.  Actions are concrete, they are physical.  If I pick up a hammer, I have engaged muscles (physical) attached to tendons (physical) attached to bones and skin (physical) to apply a physical force to physical object.

Now, we can try to get into whether the MIND is physical or not.  I surmise you are a dualist, as most theists, meaning that (probably) you think the mind is partially the physical brain and partially some spiritual essense or soul or something.  Correct?  Well, for one, there is lots and lots of evidence that the mind is indeed purely physical.  I' like to recommend this article by Keith Augustine:

 http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/keith_augustine/immortality.html

 

But, even if we were to suppose, contrary to the available evidence, that there is some soul or spiritual essense, well, then where did THAT come from?  Do souls self-generate, or does God create them?  Even if we assume a soul, the proverbial buck still stops with God!


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RhadTheGizmo wrote:Nice to

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Nice to see you again Tod

Hey man.

todangst wrote:

... you're leaving out that our free will is already limited. Your argument, again and again, commits the Panglossian error of implicitly assuming our world is a set of necessary givens. But this is false if there is an omnipotent omniscient creator.

The 'christian' 'god' created the nature of free will, and all parameters of existnece, ergo this god 'limits' free will as it is...

 

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Granted.. but we created the concept of "freewill", not God.

I'm not quite sure what you mean here. Do you mean the term itself, or 'free will' in of itself?

Anyway, here's your problem: humans cannot literaly create anything. We can only alter what is, into 'something else'


Only an omnipotent creator, working ex nihilo, can 'create'

Quote:

I don't think God created a "circle".. we did. I don't think that God created "freewill". It's mans attempt to describe existence..

Ok, but this would only mean that humans are giving names to potentials that 'god' is responsible for. This is not creation.

Quote:

nothing more. I use the word because it we would have a very difficult time talking within words and without coherent concepts. So I accept it. And within our understanding of "freewill", we cannot have it if we do not have the ability to choose our own will.

You can't use the dire outcome of my refutation as a reason to reject my argument! If it is the case that we cannot have it if we do not have the ability to choose our own will, then this means that you must surrender your god claim as it is your god claim that creates the problem in the first place.

 

Quote:

But I gave you ground last time.. or at some time previously. I do believe that God could have created some alternative concept in which we would have nothing but the will to follow him..

Why would this be bad? NO theist ever gives a reason why it would be bad to be a blissful robot in paradise. They simply assume it would be bad.

Quote:

and while we would not know that we were restricted in will, God would. Now.. why should God care? That's a different issue.. but thats not the argument you made. Smiling

But I think it is important to explore this. If we wouldn't know the difference, and we were happy, what is lost precisely?

Notice also that your argument relies on persuasive rhetoric.

"Would you prefer to be free, or be forced"?

Of course we say free.

But what if you reworded it thusly:

"Would you prefer to be saved from error and pain, and in paradise, or would you prefer to be left on your own devices, in ignorance, and in eternal pain"?

Notice that the choice is the same... just the persuasive terms have changed.

Quote:
Also, your argument commits a second error - why does the theist hold that we have 'free will'? Because the theist claims we need the freedom to love god or follow god, or the like.

Well, none of this necessitates the existence of rape or murder, ergo the free will argument cannot even justify such actions even potentially. If all that free will is required for is a freedom to 'choose god' then there is no need to allow for rape or murder.

 

Quote:

As we define freewill (at least.. I'm assuming you define it the same way)

This is a problem, agreed. I hold to soft determinism - the ability of the brain to weight options and make selections. I reject the idea of a strict Libertarian free will, free from all causes.

My view is called compatiabalism. I don't hold to it as a dogma, as I am open to strict determinism as well.

Quote:

it merely allows for the ability of will over ourselves. no more limits exist.

The problem is the part where you say "will" and 'over ourselves"

What is our 'will" in your theology? It is created by god, shaped by god, and given to us by 'god', without our 'choice' (Obviously!) and with full forknowledge of what choices we would make.

Then, we must ask "what is 'ourselves'?

Again, in your theology, we exist contingent upon this god's fiat.... our nature is precisely as it is, by fiat.

Ergo, I must ask: if this god creates the will precisely as it is, and our selves, precisely as they are, with perfect responsibility.. what's 'left' that is free?

Answer: there can be nothing.

Solution: There is a solution for you. But you won't take it.

The solution is to insist that omnipotence can create a situation that we would define as internally contradictory.

But to take this path is to concede that one's position is 'beyond reason'

Quote:

Within our concept.. how can you say "no need to allow" a particular direction of will?

Not sure what you mean here.

 

Quote:


Quote:
To those who say "well, this limits our actions' - again, our free will is already limited in that there are physically impossible actions. Hence this argument fails.


Ah.. I see where your going with this. I would have to contend, once again, in the concept of our freewill you have the ability of will over yourself.. not over nature.

I am glad you see my direction, this makes me happy. But again, as per your theology, what is 'yourself' if not a part of nature that exists precisely as it is, completely contingent upon the fiat of an omnipotent, omniscient god?

What element is outside of 'god' and absolutely 'necessary' i.e. outside the purview of 'god'?

 

Quote:

If "rape" "murder" were "natural concepts" then I would be contradicting myself.. but I do not believe them to be "natural concepts"

What on earth do you mean here? Do you concede that these acts exist? If you do, then they exist contingent upon your creator.

It sounds like you're reaching for a word game, a game of 'let's define X negatively, and then argue that negatives don't 'exist'

The problem is that for a negative to have any meaning, it must exist within a universe of discourse, and this discourse gives it a positive ontology, making it an existent.

Do you follow this? If not, please do not be shy about asking, because it says nothing about your intelligence to ask about my terms... my terms may simply differ from how you would say it.

 

Quote:
So the free will defense doesn't even work, provided the theist could argue for free will in a divine system. And he can't do this anyway.

 

Quote:

Um.. why can't he do this?

 

As I stated above, omnipotence and omniscience obviate free will, in that they lead to a perfectly responsible creator. There can be nothing outside the scope of his responsibility... whatever you relied on to choose anything, would exist, precisely as it is, by the fiat of this creator..... whatever you choose from, these options would only exist by the fiat of this creator.

Whatever it was that influenced you to pick B over A (and that's stupid, coz A is so much better) would also exist.... precisely as it is, by the fiat of this perfectly responsible creator. 

In other words, take a look at my "god the iron worker' argument.

Nice talking to you!

 

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todangst wrote: Sorry, but

todangst wrote:

Sorry, but you're just not paying attention. This 'god' creates all the parameters of existence, and this alone dicates all possible outcomes.


RhadTheGizmo wrote:

I create a car. I give it to a person.. he smashes it with a sledge hammer and then drives it around.

I did that?


Again, as Todangst points out, you are not paying attention.  If yoiu make a car, you didn't create ALL of the parameters of its existence.  You didn't design the property of atoms that allow them to become cars.  You didn't design humans to have the ability to make cars, hammers, or to drive cars.

 When I first introduced my analogy about the car, I prefaced it with saying that analogies are imperfect. I had some apprehension that you would try to use similar analogies, but more fatally flawed ones, like you are doing.  Your analogies aren't giving the people involved omnipotence and omniscience, making your analogies totally worthless. 


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RhadTheGizmo

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
todangst wrote:

 
Here's the error: who 'decides the capacity' in the first place?

"god"

So you're argument fails.


Heh. Capacity refers to the ability... not the other definition of capacity which refers to a limit.

Then you make a distinction without any difference: Ability speaks to limits. Able/not able. 

Now you must ask yourself: "Who decides what the limit is, in my theology, and can this 'decider' change it?"

You must find that whatever limits exist, it exists solely by the fiat of your 'god' in the first place. Where else would it come from. To try and hide from the problem by assigning it to 'god's 'nature', you must then answer: can he change this 'nature', even potentially?

If not, then you've left theism and entered into pantheism - a god that follows physical laws.

So arguing that omnipotence doesn't lead to the necessary obviation of any limit fails...

So your'e back to square one.

Or, square zero really.

Here's a good analogy... imagine a 'god of doors' - a being who instantly can create any door, anywhere.. can he bump into a wall?

I supppose, but it's his choice.

Your 'god' cannot be limited by a limit, if all limits are contingent upon him.

 

Quote:

God has the 'ability' to do anything, does not necessarily mean he 'does' everything. Is that more clear?

The point here is not that he 'does everything' but that whatever limits exist, must exist as per the fiat of this creator, ergo the functional outcome is unlimitedness.



Quote:


While God "could" directly control everything.. he does not,


Quote:

Sorry, but you're just not paying attention. This 'god' creates all the parameters of existence, and this alone dicates all possible outcomes.


Quote:

I create a car.

Sorry, but cannot create a car. You can make a car from components.

You are not omnipotent. You are not omniscient. You are not responsible for the parameters of existence.

Quote:

I give it to a person.. he smashes it with a sledge hammer and then drives it around.

I did that?

Please read my comments above, in the 'god' the iron worker' post, from the Knight of Bawaa

The problem here is that your analogy fails, because it reles on you as a replacement for 'god' and you are not omnipotent, you are not omniscient, you are not the creator of all the parameters of existence.

You didn't create the character of the person, or the nature of the environment. You didn't create all the possible outcomes, or options to choose from.

You don't have perfect responsibility for every single solitary aspect of existence, they do not rely on you contingently, they do not exist through your fiat.

Or your Audi.

Sorry... 

 

Quote:

"Dictating all possible outcomes" and "directly controlling everything" are two distinctly different things. If you cannot see this.. I will try and think of an example.

You're leaving out a few vital components of my argument

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caseagainstfaith

caseagainstfaith wrote:


RhadTheGizmo wrote:

I believe.. yes.. evil was a result of freewill (one that is temporary.. but still.. a result)..

Quote:
Are you saying "freewill" is temporary, or it is temporary that freewill can result in evil and eventually it won't? In any case, you still can't deal with the problem that it is implausible for a perfect being to need "temporary" imperfections in order to bring about a future perfection!

I mentioned this in my first response to you.. so.. I don't know if you didn't read it.. or perhaps I as unclear-- but I will say again.

A function of freewill is curiousity.  A function of curiousity is to experience what we have not experienced.  In the beginning we had not experienced life "apart from God".  And so.. we explored it.

To say that we will be more perfect then then we before is an incorrect understanding of this concept.  Is a child more perfect after he burns himself just because he knows what burning feels like? No.. he just has more knowledge.

Granted.. omnipotent as he as (as I have agreed).. he could have placed the experience (necessary to understand) into our minds already.. but.. to place experience never experienced into ones mind-- seems contra-freewill.  If you believe this, in the context of christian theology, would have been the better choice-- then it was a choice of God's (according to Christian theology).. and to place the experience in peoples mind or to let them choose it.. are they not the same?

Once again.. you might say.. "God can do anything! He could have made it so that freewill did not need experience to quench curiousity!" Granted.. but we are speaking of our concept of freewill.. not of some non existent concept.  If you wish to define free will as "The power of will but without curiosity" then so be it.. I do not think you will gain many supporters.  

Quote:
I believe everything existent (concrete.. not abstract. Actions are abstract.. they do not exist apart from the person doing them.)


Quote:
Nonsense. Actions are concrete, they are physical. If I pick up a hammer, I have engaged muscles (physical) attached to tendons (physical) attached to bones and skin (physical) to apply a physical force to physical object.

I think you fail to understand what I mean by this.  If you did not exist.. things would still exist, your actions would not.  If you did not exist.. the matter and energy the you are composited of.. would still exist.. your actions would not.  This is what I mean by everything existent is existent because of him.

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Now, we can try to get into whether the MIND is physical or not.

It is physical.. your thoughts are not.

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I surmise you are a dualist, as most theists, meaning that (probably) you think the mind is partially the physical brain and partially some spiritual essense or soul or something. Correct?

I believe there is some concept to the mind that cannot be understood at this moment.  Perhaps someday.  And if by "spiritual essense" or "soul" as in.. something that can exist apart from the brain-- no, I do not believe so.

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Well, for one, there is lots and lots of evidence that the mind is indeed purely physical. I' like to recommend this article by Keith Augustine:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/keith_augustine/immortality.html

Okay.

 

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But, even if we were to suppose, contrary to the available evidence, that there is some soul or spiritual essense, well, then where did THAT come from? Do souls self-generate, or does God create them? Even if we assume a soul, the proverbial buck still stops with God!

Well.. I don't have to address this-- because.. well.. I don't I speak of these things the same way you do.  I am me, my body, my mind.  If I died, physically, I would be dead.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: To say

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

To say that we will be more perfect then then we before is an incorrect understanding of this concept. Is a child more perfect after he burns himself just because he knows what burning feels like? No.. he just has more knowledge.


Sooo....  In heaven, do people have no more curiousity?  Do they know everything and therefore no longer need to explore anything?  What do you do, sit around all day and go "God is Great!  God is Great!"  Won't that get a bit boring after, say a googolplex-cubed years?

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

I think you fail to understand what I mean by this. If you did not exist.. things would still exist, your actions would not. If you did not exist.. the matter and energy the you are composited of.. would still exist.. your actions would not.

And if the earth didn't exist, it wouldn't be orbiting the sun.  And if the sun didn't exist, things wouldn't be orbiting it nor us being warmed by it.  So what?  If I don't exist, then I won't do the actions I do, I fail to see that as any revelation. As long as I do exist, the actions I take are physical.

 

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Quote:
Now, we can try to get into whether the MIND is physical or not.

It is physical.. your thoughts are not.

 

But that is demonstrably false.  You are welcome to try having a lobotomy and find out for yourself. Or Alzheimers Disease.  Or a bullet in your brain.  Or, as in my case, depression.  My thoughts are much different when I swallow these little pills of physical chemical compounds then when I don't swallow them.  Or you could try getting castrated and see if that doesn't impact your sexual desire.   Your argument is simply and flatly demonstrably false.

 

 

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Quote:
But, even if we were to suppose, contrary to the available evidence, that there is some soul or spiritual essense, well, then where did THAT come from? Do souls self-generate, or does God create them? Even if we assume a soul, the proverbial buck still stops with God!

Well.. I don't have to address this-- because.. well.. I don't I speak of these things the same way you do.

Oh, baloney.  You're not answering because you are without an answer.

  

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

I am me, my body, my mind. If I died, physically, I would be dead.

 And not doing the actions you would do if you're not dead.  Another stunning revelation!


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caseagainstfaith

caseagainstfaith wrote:

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Quote:
Now, we can try to get into whether the MIND is physical or not.

It is physical.. your thoughts are not.

 

But that is demonstrably false. You are welcome to try having a lobotomy and find out for yourself. Or Alzheimers Disease. Or a bullet in your brain. Or, as in my case, depression. My thoughts are much different when I swallow these little pills of physical chemical compounds then when I don't swallow them. Or you could try getting castrated and see if that doesn't impact your sexual desire. Your argument is simply and flatly demonstrably false.

 

I would add two more arguments

1) The localization of cognitive abilities to particular brain areas. 

We can add brain localization to that... if the mind were independent of the brain, why would ablation, or lesions to particular areas of the brain eliminate specific cognitive functioning. 

2) The fact that immateriality has no ontological status... it is a set of negative claims, devoid of any universe of discourse.

Arguments for immateriality are only arguments from ignorance, and worse  they violate everything we know of physics. Basically, they only amount to confusing abstractions for immateriality, becuase of the fact that third person ontology differs from first person ontology.

But if we wish to continue this, we should start another thread. 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


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todangst wrote: ... you're

todangst wrote:

... you're leaving out that our free will is already limited. Your argument, again and again, commits the Panglossian error of implicitly assuming our world is a set of necessary givens. But this is false if there is an omnipotent omniscient creator.

The 'christian' 'god' created the nature of free will, and all parameters of existnece, ergo this god 'limits' free will as it is...


 

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Granted.. but we created the concept of "freewill", not God.



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I'm not quite sure what you mean here. Do you mean the term itself, or 'free will' in of itself?

Anyway, here's your problem: humans cannot literaly create anything. We can only alter what is, into 'something else'


Only an omnipotent creator, working ex nihilo, can 'create'

If you do not know what I mean... how can you say I have a problem?

Hmm..

I mean "freewill" is a term we have created to describe something we perceive.  If God had changed the parameters.. well then.. I'd imagine we'd be having a different conversation.  But.. restricted to this term.. which has its logical limitations (even as a circle does).. how can you say "God is all powerful, he can do the illogical"? I mean.. you can say it.. but I think it would be as irrelevant as the question: Can God created a square circle?

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I don't think God created a "circle".. we did. I don't think that God created "freewill". It's mans attempt to describe existence..



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Ok, but this would only mean that humans are giving names to potentials that 'god' is responsible for. This is not creation.

Now I am not understanding you.  What does naming something have to do with it's creation? I named my dog TJ, doesn't mean I had something to do with its creation.

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nothing more. I use the word because it we would have a very difficult time talking within words and without coherent concepts. So I accept it. And within our understanding of "freewill", we cannot have it if we do not have the ability to choose our own will.



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You can't use the dire outcome of my refutation as a reason to reject my argument!
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Hah.

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If it is the case that we cannot have it if we do not have the ability to choose our own will, then this means that you must surrender your god claim as it is your god claim that creates the problem in the first place.

Once again.. this sentence is constructed in such a way that I cannot understand.  Could you make into a system of necessary and sufficient conditions?  Then maybe I can better address it.

If X => Y
If Y => Z
X

 

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But I gave you ground last time.. or at some time previously. I do believe that God could have created some alternative concept in which we would have nothing but the will to follow him..



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Why would this be bad? NO theist ever gives a reason why it would be bad to be a blissful robot in paradise. They simply assume it would be bad.

I didn't assume it would be bad.  It wouldn't be anything at all.  Without choice.. there is nothing-- for I would venture to say that your consciousness is a function of your freewill.. or do you not choose what you think of?

But like I said.. I don't think it would be bad.  But if it were the case.. I wouldn't think at all.

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and while we would not know that we were restricted in will, God would. Now.. why should God care? That's a different issue.. but thats not the argument you made. Smiling



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But I think it is important to explore this. If we wouldn't know the difference, and we were happy, what is lost precisely?

If this were the case.. nothing would be lost for we would know nothing else.  However, my understanding of God (according to my rational of course) is one that is loving.  True.. he could give the illusion of freechoice.. but still-- he would know it was an illusion.

I can take my kid to the local amusement part and tell him it's disneyland.. he'll never know the difference.  Doesn't mean that I don't know, and that I realize what I'm telling him is untrue.

"Yes.. you have free will.. you're not forced to be here.. well.. kind of.. you are.. because you don't really have free will"

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Notice also that your argument relies on persuasive rhetoric.

"Would you prefer to be free, or be forced"?

Of course we say free.

But what if you reworded it thusly:

"Would you prefer to be saved from error and pain, and in paradise, or would you prefer to be left on your own devices, in ignorance, and in eternal pain"?

Notice that the choice is the same... just the persuasive terms have changed.

Heh.  True.  They do have different emphasis.. yet the choice is still the same.  I'm not trying to convince you of something.. I'm just explaining my rational.  

Yet.. still-- it doesn't really matter what your choice is as to your creation.  I mean.. concede for a moment that God exists.. just for the purpose of this sentence..

You choose "saved from error and pain, and in paradise".. fine-- snap.. we're all there.

Yet.. the only way this can be done is to start from the beginning.. to once again.. a point where God is given the choice to give "freewill" (as we understand it) or not.  What choice he makes is of no matter to us.. but it is matter to him. (e.g. the parent analogy)

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Also, your argument commits a second error - why does the theist hold that we have 'free will'? Because the theist claims we need the freedom to love god or follow god, or the like.

Well, none of this necessitates the existence of rape or murder, ergo the free will argument cannot even justify such actions even potentially. If all that free will is required for is a freedom to 'choose god' then there is no need to allow for rape or murder.


 

Quote:

As we define freewill (at least.. I'm assuming you define it the same way)



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This is a problem, agreed. I hold to soft determinism - the ability of the brain to weight options and make selections. I reject the idea of a strict Libertarian free will, free from all causes.

My view is called compatiabalism. I don't hold to it as a dogma, as I am open to strict determinism as well.

It's times like these I wish I read the dictionary more often. Smiling

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it merely allows for the ability of will over ourselves. no more limits exist.



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The problem is the part where you say "will" and 'over ourselves"

What is our 'will" in your theology? It is created by god, shaped by god, and given to us by 'god', without our 'choice' (Obviously!) and with full forknowledge of what choices we would make.

Yes.. without our "choice" it was given to us.  By God's choice.  But like I said before.. and now again.. if it was any other way (and I'm really trying to stretch my imagination) then we would not know it.. and only God would.
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Then, we must ask "what is 'ourselves'?

Again, in your theology, we exist contingent upon this god's fiat.... our nature is precisely as it is, by fiat.

Okay.. if I understand the term 'fiat' correctly.. I could accept this, tentatively.

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Ergo, I must ask: if this god creates the will precisely as it is, and our selves, precisely as they are, with perfect responsibility.. what's 'left' that is free?

God gave something.. we define it as freewill.

God created nature.. as is.

God forsees all that is to be, perfectly.

If I know.. KNOW.. exactly what decision you are going to make for a particular situation-- does that mean YOU are not still making the decision?

This would be an interesting philosophically question.

However.. it seems trivial. God knows or does not know the end and every particular movement you will make.  You believe you are making the decision.. granted.. even within this sphere you can argue that you have the decision.. but even as you stated above.. why did God not give us the "illusion" of freewill? Where everything is possible except the bad?.. I said.. because it would seem to go against his character.

Yet.. with this philosphical question we are perhaps presented with another...  perhaps now we only have the "illusion" of freewill.. we may have nothing at all.

Only God knows.  Or without God, then no one does.  But no matter which the case, we merely act in accordance with the game we've been set up in.

(I use this metaphor lightly.. do not take it to far).

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Answer: there can be nothing.

Solution: There is a solution for you. But you won't take it.

With God there can be no freewill.  Without God we cannot define objectively "freewill." Either way.. we will never know.  If the former we say.. "God knows everything.. we make no decisions." In the latter we can only say "We have the illusion of freewill-- but it's very possible that its merely the actions predestined by genetics themselves."


Quote:
The solution is to insist that omnipotence can create a situation that we would define as internally contradictory.

But to take this path is to concede that one's position is 'beyond reason'

"Will" is the power over ones thoughts and actions (in accordance with natural law).  

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Within our concept.. how can you say "no need to allow" a particular direction of will?



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Not sure what you mean here.


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To those who say "well, this limits our actions' - again, our free will is already limited in that there are physically impossible actions. Hence this argument fails.



Ah.. I see where your going with this. I would have to contend, once again, in the concept of our freewill you have the ability of will over yourself.. not over nature.



Quote:
I am glad you see my direction, this makes me happy. But again, as per your theology, what is 'yourself' if not a part of nature that exists precisely as it is, completely contingent upon the fiat of an omnipotent, omniscient god?

What element is outside of 'god' and absolutely 'necessary' i.e. outside the purview of 'god'?

Ah.. now I definitely see your mind.  But.. once again.. look up stairs.  To me.. these seem as illogical a question to ask as "I wonder if I am".   To question self determination is a seemingly practice in self determination.  Granted.. we may only have an illusion of free will.. genetics and all.  The question is.. how would we know that our freewill was an illusion? We may have an understanding of genetics (at some point in time) to say.. look at all these things.. look at all these things that they determine.. for instance:

Genetics say that I will punch someone in the face on my 13th birthday, at my house, and now.. I know this.

Can I change it? Can I make a new decision? Or would that new decision just be an "illusion of free will" once again?

This may all be an illusion.. but.. whether theistic or secularistic.. I don't see how one would ever go about understanding, or knowing, whether or not it is an illusion or not-- for it would seem to be a practice in disproving itself.

 

Quote:


If "rape" "murder" were "natural concepts" then I would be contradicting myself.. but I do not believe them to be "natural concepts"



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What on earth do you mean here? Do you concede that these acts exist? If you do, then they exist contingent upon your creator.

It sounds like you're reaching for a word game, a game of 'let's define X negatively, and then argue that negatives don't 'exist'

I never said they don't exist.. I merely stated that they exist as expressions of freewill.. and are not independent of aforementioned ability of will.

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The problem is that for a negative to have any meaning, it must exist within a universe of discourse, and this discourse gives it a positive ontology, making it an existent.

Do you follow this? If not, please do not be shy about asking, because it says nothing about your intelligence to ask about my terms... my terms may simply differ from how you would say it.

Ontology.  Is the main word.

Everything else I can figure out.  I'm having a bit of trouble mainly because you seemed to have pulled a phrase out of a larger argument.

 

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So the free will defense doesn't even work, provided the theist could argue for free will in a divine system. And he can't do this anyway.


 

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Um.. why can't he do this?


 

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As I stated above, omnipotence and omniscience obviate free will, in that they lead to a perfectly responsible creator. There can be nothing outside the scope of his responsibility... whatever you relied on to choose anything, would exist, precisely as it is, by the fiat of this creator..... whatever you choose from, these options would only exist by the fiat of this creator.

I choose to kill.
Kill was forseen by God.
God created me in such a way that he knew this would come about.

I grant all these things.  I have already.  Yet, since we seem to be putting the character of God on trail at this particular moment.. I merely go back to the original question.. was he negligent? Is there any other system he could have created in which none of these things could have happened, at the same time, giving us the same freedom we now "understand" (I put understand in quotes.. because.. well.. it might be an illusion. Smiling ?

Even without God.. think of it on your own for a moment.. logically.. could you conclude a simple setup in which freewill could exist without restricting curiousity?

"YES!" Is not an answer.

Quote:
Whatever it was that influenced you to pick B over A (and that's stupid, coz A is so much better) would also exist.... precisely as it is, by the fiat of this perfectly responsible creator.

In other words, take a look at my "god the iron worker' argument.

Nice talking to you!

 

Heh.. I will in time.  It's kind of late here.

Always nice talking with you Sir.


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todangst wrote: But if we

todangst wrote:

But if we wish to continue this, we should start another thread.

 

I thought about going into some of those points, but I figured that article by Augustine I linked to would be a better source if Gizmo wants more detailed information.  And, of course, you could as well.  And, yeah, to go too deep into this would be another topic.


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Wow.. you guys sure work

Wow.. you guys sure work fast.

caseagainstfaith wrote:


RhadTheGizmo wrote:


To say that we will be more perfect then then we before is an incorrect understanding of this concept. Is a child more perfect after he burns himself just because he knows what burning feels like? No.. he just has more knowledge.




Sooo.... In heaven, do people have no more curiousity? Do they know everything and therefore no longer need to explore anything? What do you do, sit around all day and go "God is Great! God is Great!" Won't that get a bit boring after, say a googolplex-cubed years?

I did not say no more curiousity.  I said this particular curiosity would be fulfilled.  Just because a kid burns himself doesn't mean he still is curious about the swing set.

Sticking out tongue

RhadTheGizmo wrote:


I think you fail to understand what I mean by this. If you did not exist.. things would still exist, your actions would not. If you did not exist.. the matter and energy the you are composited of.. would still exist.. your actions would not.


Quote:
And if the earth didn't exist, it wouldn't be orbiting the sun. And if the sun didn't exist, things wouldn't be orbiting it nor us being warmed by it. So what? If I don't exist, then I won't do the actions I do, I fail to see that as any revelation. As long as I do exist, the actions I take are physical.

Granted.  But as the sun doesn't really have a choice (as we understand choice) as to what it warms up.. neither the earth in its orbit.. do you not seem a small different between what you consider "actions" and what you consider there "actions" to be.

I'm just trying to understand you.. as well as help you understand me.. because we might have different understandings of the word "actions".

I do not say.. "The suns actions are not as they should be" "The earth acts in a manner it shouldn't".. I can say the same for me.  Granted.. as Tod pointed out.. individual actions, based of choice, may just be an "illusion" of choice granted to us by God (or, as I countered, by genetics).. yet.. if this is so.. then it is an illusion we will never be able to prove.. or disprove (at least I can not think how we would go about this.. for as soon as someone tells me that I will act a certain way and do a specific think.. I will still have the choice to do something else. (at least I believe I would be able to).

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Quote:
Now, we can try to get into whether the MIND is physical or not.

It is physical.. your thoughts are not.


 

Quote:
But that is demonstrably false. You are welcome to try having a lobotomy and find out for yourself. Or Alzheimers Disease. Or a bullet in your brain.

Heh.. your thoughts are a function of your physical brain.  I only meant to imply the complexity of thoughts.  People say they are the controlled firing of ions.. and they may very well be--

Quote:
Or, as in my case, depression. My thoughts are much different when I swallow these little pills of physical chemical compounds then when I don't swallow them. Or you could try getting castrated and see if that doesn't impact your sexual desire. Your argument is simply and flatly demonstrably false.

Heh.. I agreed with you. Sticking out tongue

 

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Quote:
But, even if we were to suppose, contrary to the available evidence, that there is some soul or spiritual essense, well, then where did THAT come from? Do souls self-generate, or does God create them? Even if we assume a soul, the proverbial buck still stops with God!

Well.. I don't have to address this-- because.. well.. I don't I speak of these things the same way you do.


Quote:
Oh, baloney. You're not answering because you are without an answer.

You seem to really like to jump to conclusions.. you did it first in my original post when I made a personal statement as to what I hope to do in the future.. and you took it as an argument of ignorance-- when I was making no argument with that statement.  Further.. you conclude here that I am being dishonest in some respect.. when I do not believe that I have given you reason to assume this.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

I am me, my body, my mind. If I died, physically, I would be dead.


Quote:
And not doing the actions you would do if you're not dead. Another stunning revelation!

Yup. Heh.


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todangst

todangst wrote:


RhadTheGizmo wrote:
todangst wrote:


Here's the error: who 'decides the capacity' in the first place?

"god"

So you're argument fails.


Heh. Capacity refers to the ability... not the other definition of capacity which refers to a limit.



Quote:
Then you make a distinction without any difference: Ability speaks to limits. Able/not able.

Omnipotence = the ability to do anything.

This was my original contention.  Where are you headed off too?

People like to say omnipotence as if he "does" everything.. I was originally trying to clear it up.  I don't know how we went so far off tangent.

Quote:
If not, then you've left theism and entered into pantheism - a god that follows physical laws.

Perhaps he does.. perhaps he doesn't.  I do not find this particularly important within theistic faith.  People like to say "God created something out of nothing".. but God could just have easily created "something out of something"-- unless of course.. we are assuming that God himself is nothing.. in which case he would have nothing to work with. Smiling

But I go off the point.  Physicals laws are laws as we understand them now.. the product of Science.  Science may very well add or adjust these laws as we go on.  I mean.. it might be fun to try to say "God fits into these and doesn't fit into these"-- but I would deem it rather pointless since I already conceeded that God has the ability to do anything.

Does he?

Hmm..

Quote:
So arguing that omnipotence doesn't lead to the necessary obviation of any limit fails...

You use big words that I need to look up.  I'm only a kid.. geez.  As for this.  I keep on pointing out.. since the beginning!.. that the character of a God (in the Christian Sense) does not rely on whether he was negligent-- not whether he knew the outcome.

Quote:
So your'e back to square one.

Sweet.. so I was in square two

Quote:
Or, square zero really.

Dang it.

Quote:


God has the 'ability' to do anything, does not necessarily mean he 'does' everything. Is that more clear?



Quote:
The point here is not that he 'does everything' but that whatever limits exist, must exist as per the fiat of this creator, ergo the functional outcome is unlimitedness.

I think this keeps on coming back to the beginning.. we like to say.. "unlimited power" then he can do anything.  And this very well is the understanding that I have.  Yet.. while even I choose to act in accordance with those beliefs I have choosen to hold.. so I would project onto God that he does the same.

He knows the different possibilities.. and whether he choose this one (which would allow evil but give free will (our understanding of it)) or that one (which would not allow evil but not give fre will (our understanding of it)).. it's all a matter of what he choose to do.

Once again.. I have granted that evil is in the world as a function of God's creation. But was it negligent?


Quote:


While God "could" directly control everything.. he does not,



Quote:


Sorry, but you're just not paying attention. This 'god' creates all the parameters of existence, and this alone dicates all possible outcomes.



Quote:


Please read my comments above, in the 'god' the iron worker' post, from the Knight of Bawaa

The problem here is that your analogy fails, because it reles on you as a replacement for 'god' and you are not omnipotent, you are not omniscient, you are not the creator of all the parameters of existence.

You didn't create the character of the person, or the nature of the environment. You didn't create all the possible outcomes, or options to choose from.

You don't have perfect responsibility for every single solitary aspect of existence, they do not rely on you contingently, they do not exist through your fiat.

Or your Audi.

Sorry...


You guys respond very fast.  Heh.. I'm going to sleep now.. it's 1:30am and I got a test tomorrow.

But.. I responded to this particular question in an earlier response.. after I realized what you were saying.

"Freewill".. is the question.. and if god new the result of his perfectly designed creation.. is he not "directly controlling" everything.

And perhaps.. I'm just uncomfortable with the terminology.. which is why I asked in th eearly post whether you see a difference between "directly controlling everything" and "dictating the outcome"?


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RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Ah.. I see where your going with this. I would have to contend, once again, in the concept of our freewill you have the ability of will over yourself.. not over nature.

 

I was thinking about heading in this direction as well. You of course grant that I don't have the "freewill" to flap my arms and fly to Pluto. I have physical constraints. But, I don't think you fully appreciate the impact of this. Like, we are conversing via this medium called the Internet. You wouldn't have the "freewill" to have this conversation if there was no Internet. If you used an automobile to go to work today, you wouldn't have the "freewill" to have done so if automobile's didn't exist. What do you do for a living? I'm a computer programmer by profession. I wouldn't be able to do that if computers didn't exist.

 

If you like to eat ice cream, you wouldn't be able to if ice cream didn't exist. To you like wacking off to lesbian porn, you wouldn't be able to if you didn't have a dick, or if females didn't exist, or if lesbians didn't exist, or medium such as computers or magazines didn't exist. I know I'm being crude, but, my point is, EVERYTHING YOU DO, is impacted by your PHYSICAL environment. EVERY CHOICE YOU MAKE is limited by your PHYSICAL environment. Even to comtemplate flapping my arms and flying to Pluto, I wouldn't be able to do if Pluto didn't exist! I'm saying that even when I notice my own limitations, I only notice them because of the existence of physical things to tell me that something else might be conceivably possible.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: You

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
You seem to really like to jump to conclusions.. you did it first in my original post when I made a personal statement as to what I hope to do in the future.. and you took it as an argument of ignorance-- when I was making no argument with that statement.  Further.. you conclude here that I am being dishonest in some respect.. when I do not believe that I have given you reason to assume this.

 

Your objection here is valid.  In fact, I considered editing out that section, but I was too late, as another post had followed.  I don't like it when theists "mind read" and say that I "really believe in God and just don't want to admit it", so, I should not "mind read" theists.  But, I can say that, well, your response *at least* qualifies as a dodge of a question... <g> 


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caseagainstfaith

caseagainstfaith wrote:


RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Ah.. I see where your going with this. I would have to contend, once again, in the concept of our freewill you have the ability of will over yourself.. not over nature.


 

I was thinking about heading in this direction as well. You of course grant that I don't have the "freewill" to flap my arms and fly to Pluto. I have physical constraints. But, I don't think you fully appreciate the impact of this. Like, we are conversing via this medium called the Internet. You wouldn't have the "freewill" to have this conversation if there was no Internet. If you used an automobile to go to work today, you wouldn't have the "freewill" to have done so if automobile's didn't exist. What do you do for a living? I'm a computer programmer by profession. I wouldn't be able to do that if computers didn't exist.

 

If you like to eat ice cream, you wouldn't be able to if ice cream didn't exist. To you like wacking off to lesbian porn, you wouldn't be able to if you didn't have a dick, or if females didn't exist, or if lesbians didn't exist, or medium such as computers or magazines didn't exist. I know I'm being crude, but, my point is, EVERYTHING YOU DO, is impacted by your PHYSICAL environment. EVERY CHOICE YOU MAKE is limited by your PHYSICAL environment. Even to comtemplate flapping my arms and flying to Pluto, I wouldn't be able to do if Pluto didn't exist! I'm saying that even when I notice my own limitations, I only notice them because of the existence of physical things to tell me that something else might be conceivably possible.


And? I'm afraid you're going to need to connect this back into the particular place where it belonged in the argument.

This whole tangent of an argument popped out because I said.. "everything that exists, exists because of God"-- this was my way of explaining my understanding of "omnipotence".. meaning-- if God were not here, neither would be the existence.

I drew a distinction between physical things and abstract things because.. many a counter arguments become.. "then God sustains evil!"-- well.. no, God sustains life, life creates evil.

So the fact that everything is affected by your physical surroundings.. how exactly does this fit into the original statement?

There.. now I go to sleep.  I'm being bombarded by tangents. Smiling

It's been a pleasure.  Tomorrow I will have more adequate time to respond.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote:

People like to say omnipotence as if he "does" everything.. I was originally trying to clear it up.

But it must do everything. Here is why:

If a being is omnipotent, then any limit that would limit it would be within its control. Any limit would be contingent, or dependent upon the omnipotent being in the first place.

To say "but this would violate physics, or logic' is just arguing to dire consequences. In other words, if you are falling off the empire state building, you can't argue that there must be a parachute on your back, otherwise you'd die.... the fact that it would suck to fall and die is not a reason to believe there is a parachute.

Quote:
If not, then you've left theism and entered into pantheism - a god that follows physical laws.

Quote:

Perhaps he does.. perhaps he doesn't. I do not find this particularly important within theistic faith.

Here's the problem: if your 'god' follows physical laws, then he no longer is god. Whatever determined the laws is god.

If nothing determined them, then there is no need for a god in the first place.

So it's kind of important.


Quote:

But I go off the point. Physicals laws are laws as we understand them now.. the product of Science. Science may very well add or adjust these laws as we go on. I mean.. it might be fun to try to say "God fits into these and doesn't fit into these"-- but I would deem it rather pointless since I already conceeded that God has the ability to do anything.

Does he?

Hmm..

I again wish to direct you to a key point: what is responsible for the limit in the first place? Wouldn't any limit be contingent upon an omnipotent creator by definition?

 

Quote:
So arguing that omnipotence doesn't lead to the necessary obviation of any limit fails...

Quote:


You use big words that I need to look up. I'm only a kid.. geez.

Sorry man, but you are very smart so it's hard to remember that you're just a kid. What I mean by this is the existence of any limit that would limit a 'god' must created by that god in the first place.

So, do you see the problem?



Quote:
The point here is not that he 'does everything' but that whatever limits exist, must exist as per the fiat of this creator, ergo the functional outcome is unlimitedness.




Quote:

You guys respond very fast. Heh.. I'm going to sleep now.. it's 1:30am and I got a test tomorrow.


But.. I responded to this particular question in an earlier response.. after I realized what you were saying.

"Freewill".. is the question.. and if god knew the result of his perfectly designed creation.. is he not "directly controlling" everything.

And perhaps.. I'm just uncomfortable with the terminology.. which is why I asked in th eearly post whether you see a difference between "directly controlling everything" and "dictating the outcome"?

 

My argument is stronger than just the omniscience problem, my argument holds that an omnipotent creator must also have perfect responsibility for his own creation.

 

Anyway, I bet you will do well on your test. Take care. 

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todangst wrote: Tod,

todangst wrote:
Tod, responded before you and I'd just like to address something: Everyone.. works backwards Tod, not just religious folk. Scientist do not work forward.. they are just trying to understand what has always been.

 

 Since the argument about "working backwards" was Todangst's, I may not do his argument justice.  But, here is what  I was thinking about this...

 It seems to me (correct me if I'm wrong), but that scientists do indeed "work backwards" to come up with hypotheses to explain things.  The scientist observes something, the postulates what might be happenning to explain the observation.  *BUT*, testing hypotheses involves working forwards:  making predictions and testing them.

For example, the scientist may observe the proverbial apple falling from a tree, and make a hypothesis about gravity.   *Then*, once he/she has made their hypothesis, they test it:  "well, if my hypothesis is correct, then if I drop 'x' object from 'y' height, it should hit the ground with 'z' force."

But with theism, there is only the working backwards part, trying to fit God into a hypothesis about the observable world, but no working forward to make predictions and test the hypothesis.  If the theist posits a hypothesis that keeps God in the equation, that is where the investigation ends.

I've just started reading Victor Stenger's new book: _God:  The Failed Hypothesis_.  I haven't got very far in it yet, but, in his preface, he says that what I've said here is basically his approach:  make testable predictions based on the "God Hypothesis", and see if they pan out or not.  He says that his approach wouldn't disprove any and all possible gods, depending on what you might define a 'god' to be.  He was specifically working on the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God hypothesis.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: And?

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
And? I'm afraid you're going to need to connect this back into the particular place where it belonged in the argument.

 Well,  basically, you have, for lack of a better term, 'dodged' answering what exactly it is that makes the alleged choices of "free will".  I was thinking about another possible paper to write, on the topic of "The Soul of the Gaps".  As you may know, sometimes theists will posit God as the answer to some gap in our knowledge.  If we have gaps in our understanding of the origin of life, God is posited as the answer to that gap.  A "God of the Gaps".

 Well, even though the arguments that me, Todangst, and the article I linked to by Keith Augustine, seem to show that the mind is indeed a physical operation of the brain, there will presumably always be at least some gaps in our understanding  of this. And, as long as there is at least some gap in this understanding, there is a place to posit a "soul of the gaps", something for the soul to do that is "beyond" the physical mind.

Yet, while I concede this is technically possible, as the knowledge of the brain expands, the possible function of this "soul of the gaps" diminishes.  Does the "soul" control language?  Well, no, that is found in the physical brain.  Does the "soul" possess memories?  No, that is also found in the physical brain.  Does the "soul" control sexual desire? Well, no, that is in hormones.  So, what exactly could this "soul" do even if it does exist?  Doesn't look like much to me.

 But, as I said earlier, I think it a fair question to ask, what, exactly, makes these choices that is open to this alleged free will?  It seems to me that you have to either assert it is physical, like most atheists do, or assert it is spiritual, like most theists do.  But, as I've already said, there is sufficient evidence to discount the mind being non-physical -- but even if it wasn't, even if there is a "soul", this had to either create itself, or be created by God.

The last time I brought this up, you were reticent to respond, and then I implied that your reluctance was intentional avoidance.  Well, my implication may have been inappropriate, but I think the fact remains that it is a legitimate question to ask:  "What, exactly, makes decisions, and where does it come from?


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RhadTheGizmo wrote:

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
And? I'm afraid you're going to need to connect this back into the particular place where it belonged in the argument.

Well, I guess I didn't yet answer your question here yet. And, I'm not sure I know how best to express my point. I'm pretty sure that Todangst knows where I'm going with this, and might help clarify. But I'll give it a shot:

First, our "free will", if it exists at all, has huge amounts of limits. So, if you were to argue that God doesn't want to limit our free will and therefore, as an unfortunate consequence, we have evil in the world --then the vast amounts of limits we obviously do have on our "free will" disprove this assertion. Everything that we do, from the most "good" to the most "evil", -- and even merely think about doing -- is shaped by what we even can do, and by our drives, instincts and personality. All of these factors, our physical limits, drives, instincts and personality, HAD to come from somewhere. (Unless you want to assert that they self-arise, which I don't think you do.) So, if we assert that they did come from somewhere, then either it was natural or supernatural. In a nutshell, if it was natural, then atheism is right, if it was supernatural, theism is right. But, as I've said several times herein, if theism is right and God, the supernatural, and the soul exist, the "buck" necessarily must stop with God. If, as Todangst says, if everything exists *by* God's fiat, then everything *IS* per God's fiat.

 


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caseagainstfaith

caseagainstfaith wrote:

todangst wrote:
Tod, responded before you and I'd just like to address something: Everyone.. works backwards Tod, not just religious folk. Scientist do not work forward.. they are just trying to understand what has always been.

 

Since the argument about "working backwards" was Todangst's, I may not do his argument justice. But, here is what I was thinking about this...

It seems to me (correct me if I'm wrong), but that scientists do indeed "work backwards" to come up with hypotheses to explain things. The scientist observes something, the postulates what might be happenning to explain the observation. *BUT*, testing hypotheses involves working forwards: making predictions and testing them.

For example, the scientist may observe the proverbial apple falling from a tree, and make a hypothesis about gravity. *Then*, once he/she has made their hypothesis, they test it: "well, if my hypothesis is correct, then if I drop 'x' object from 'y' height, it should hit the ground with 'z' force."

But with theism, there is only the working backwards part, trying to fit God into a hypothesis about the observable world, but no working forward to make predictions and test the hypothesis. If the theist posits a hypothesis that keeps God in the equation, that is where the investigation ends.

  Yes. If a theist starts with first principles: omnipotence and omniscience, he must end in a world of magic, where there are no problems of evil, etc.

However, this would force the theist to admit that his religious claim is false. So he must avoid this, by workign backwards, and trying to shoehorn reality into his fantasy.

 


 

Quote:

I've just started reading Victor Stenger's new book: _God: The Failed Hypothesis_. I haven't got very far in it yet, but, in his preface, he says that what I've said here is basically his approach: make testable predictions based on the "God Hypothesis", and see if they pan out or not. He says that his approach wouldn't disprove any and all possible gods, depending on what you might define a 'god' to be. He was specifically working on the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God hypothesis.

Sounds good. 

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caseagainstfaith wrote:

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
And? I'm afraid you're going to need to connect this back into the particular place where it belonged in the argument.

Well, I guess I didn't yet answer your question here yet. And, I'm not sure I know how best to express my point. I'm pretty sure that Todangst knows where I'm going with this, and might help clarify. But I'll give it a shot:

First, our "free will", if it exists at all, has huge amounts of limits. So, if you were to argue that God doesn't want to limit our free will and therefore, as an unfortunate consequence, we have evil in the world --then the vast amounts of limits we obviously do have on our "free will" disprove this assertion. Everything that we do, from the most "good" to the most "evil", -- and even merely think about doing -- is shaped by what we even can do, and by our drives, instincts and personality. All of these factors, our physical limits, drives, instincts and personality, HAD to come from somewhere. (Unless you want to assert that they self-arise, which I don't think you do.) So, if we assert that they did come from somewhere, then either it was natural or supernatural. In a nutshell, if it was natural, then atheism is right, if it was supernatural, theism is right. But, as I've said several times herein, if theism is right and God, the supernatural, and the soul exist, the "buck" necessarily must stop with God. If, as Todangst says, if everything exists *by* God's fiat, then everything *IS* per God's fiat.

 

Precisely. 

And here is another point that theists simply refuse to even acknowledge, let alone respond to:

The theist claims that the reason we have free will is because god wanted us to 'choose' him freely. If this is the reason for free will, given that free will already has limits, there is no reason why people ought to have the freedom to commit any evil action, such as rape or murder, that has nothing to do with the free choice  to follow or not follow 'god'.

Those who respond by saying 'this takes away free will" forget, yet again, that our free will is already limited, AND that the supposed reason free will has NOTHING to do with any actions that could bring harm to others. 

Even worse (and notice how every theist argument ends in an "and even worse&quotEye-wink an action like murder deprives the free will choices of another.

So, there is no reason for murder in this theological system.... free will does not require it, and it actually serves to lessen the opportunity for others to actualize their free will! 

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RhadTheGizmo wrote: I did

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

I did not say no more curiousity.  I said this particular curiosity would be fulfilled.  Just because a kid burns himself doesn't mean he still is curious about the swing set.



But you said that "evil" was temporary, as a result of our curiosity.  So, it seems to me that if this is the case, you have to assert either both evil and curiousity are temporary, or both are eternal.  So, which is it?

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Granted. But as the sun doesn't really have a choice (as we understand choice) as to what it warms up.. neither the earth in its orbit.. do you not seem a small different between what you consider "actions" and what you consider there "actions" to be.

Well, I think I tried to address this in the couple of posts above this one, where I discussed, what, exactly makes "choices"?

 

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Heh.. your thoughts are a function of your physical brain. I only meant to imply the complexity of thoughts.

 My neurons have received no meaning from this statement Laughing.  Seriously, this makes no sense at all to me.  Thoughts are physical, but the "complexity" of thought isn't? Does this have any meaning at all?  Ya got me...


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Now.. to get started on my

Now.. to get started on my responses (if I can).  I'm finally "well rested".. a new morning.  Ah.. tis a grand day.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: People

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

People like to say omnipotence as if he "does" everything.. I was originally trying to clear it up.



Tod wrote:
But it must do everything. Here is why:

If a being is omnipotent, then any limit that would limit it would be within its control. Any limit would be contingent, or dependent upon the omnipotent being in the first place.

To say "but this would violate physics, or logic' is just arguing to dire consequences. In other words, if you are falling off the empire state building, you can't argue that there must be a parachute on your back, otherwise you'd die.... the fact that it would suck to fall and die is not a reason to believe there is a parachute.

You keep on using "limits" as if I used it.  I said "ability" (if I remember correctly).

Ability is not limits, as I contested to tod, it is merely ability.

I have the ability to kill this fly thats been flying around me.. does this mean if I choose not to kill it that I am somehow limited in my original ability?

If this is what you are saying.. I will have to think on it some more as to how to proceed from there. Because to me this seems a simple idea-- perhaps I was no clear before-- but if its not.. I will question my perception of the idea.. and perhaps it is not as simple as I thought.

Quote:
If not, then you've left theism and entered into pantheism - a god that follows physical laws.


Quote:

Perhaps he does.. perhaps he doesn't. I do not find this particularly important within theistic faith.



Quote:
Here's the problem: if your 'god' follows physical laws, then he no longer is god. Whatever determined the laws is god.

If nothing determined them, then there is no need for a god in the first place.

So it's kind of important.

Once again.. ability and limit.  Is God limited by physical law? No.  Could he choose to abide by them? Yes.

"If nothing determined them, then there is no need for a god in the first place."
Our small understanding of natural laws still leaves much to be desired.. whether God does or does not abide by natural law.. exists independently of whether the universe "needed him".

Just a thought.

I'll expand if you wish.

Quote:


But I go off the point. Physicals laws are laws as we understand them now.. the product of Science. Science may very well add or adjust these laws as we go on. I mean.. it might be fun to try to say "God fits into these and doesn't fit into these"-- but I would deem it rather pointless since I already conceeded that God has the ability to do anything.

Does he?

Hmm..



Quote:
I again wish to direct you to a key point: what is responsible for the limit in the first place? Wouldn't any limit be contingent upon an omnipotent creator by definition?

Once again.. you are using the word 'limit' as if I have been using it all along.. this is not the case.  We must distinguish between my saying ability.. and you saying that I said "limit".

 

Quote:
So arguing that omnipotence doesn't lead to the necessary obviation of any limit fails...


Quote:



You use big words that I need to look up. I'm only a kid.. geez.



Quote:
Sorry man, but you are very smart so it's hard to remember that you're just a kid. What I mean by this is the existence of any limit that would limit a 'god' must created by that god in the first place.

So, do you see the problem?

Heh.. I'm 23.. so technically not a kid.  I just think of myself as one... always up for learning.  My vocab leaves much to be desired.  

Once again.. "limit" "ability".
If there is no distinction between the two.. then you must say so.. but I am still under the impression that they deal with different things.

If I have the ability to everything.. it means I don't have any limits... yet it doesn't mean that I choose to do everything.

I could do everything.. but it's not a necessary condition.



Quote:
The point here is not that he 'does everything' but that whatever limits exist, must exist as per the fiat of this creator, ergo the functional outcome is unlimitedness.



Quote:

You guys respond very fast. Heh.. I'm going to sleep now.. it's 1:30am and I got a test tomorrow.


But.. I responded to this particular question in an earlier response.. after I realized what you were saying.

"Freewill".. is the question.. and if god knew the result of his perfectly designed creation.. is he not "directly controlling" everything.

And perhaps.. I'm just uncomfortable with the terminology.. which is why I asked in th eearly post whether you see a difference between "directly controlling everything" and "dictating the outcome"?


Quote:
My argument is stronger than just the omniscience problem, my argument holds that an omnipotent creator must also have perfect responsibility for his own creation.

Anyway, I bet you will do well on your test. Take care.

Turns out my teacher got sick.. so the test is tomorrow.  

We'll see how it turns out.

As per this question.

I have not stated that God is anything but responsible for his creation.  Once again.. I point to the question.  Was he negligent in it?

Furthermore I asked a question, is there a difference between "directly controlling everything" and "dictating the outcome"? The answer of this one seems to come down to the concept of freewill.  Which attempts to disprove seem as illogical as trying to disprove logic using logic.

I believe God knew what would become of everything-- what would be the result of anything he created-- how it would affect other things-- what choices you would make within the construct of his creation.. but-- once again.. it's a philosphical question of free will.  If God knows all these things, does that mean you never had a choice? Do we have freewill? or would it just be the illusion of freewill? Does one knowing what your decision will be take away from the idea that you are deciding it? Hm.. I'll wait for your response.

Take care Tod.


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rhad wrote: Tod, responded

rhad wrote:
Tod, responded before you and I'd just like to address something: Everyone.. works backwards Tod, not just religious folk. Scientist do not work forward.. they are just trying to understand what has always been.


 
caseagainstfaith wrote:
Since the argument about "working backwards" was Todangst's, I may not do his argument justice. But, here is what I was thinking about this...

It seems to me (correct me if I'm wrong), but that scientists do indeed "work backwards" to come up with hypotheses to explain things. The scientist observes something, the postulates what might be happenning to explain the observation. *BUT*, testing hypotheses involves working forwards: making predictions and testing them.

I don't understand.  If one is working backwards to explain something.. how can it ever be that he is working forwards?  Someone puts a simple (non multivariable) calculus problem in front of me.. it has a question, and an unknown answer.  I'm working to find that answer.  The fact that I work through different hypothesis, making predictions, and testing them in order to find the answer.. does nothing to change the fact that the answer was always there.  I'm always facing backwards.

Quote:
For example, the scientist may observe the proverbial apple falling from a tree, and make a hypothesis about gravity. *Then*, once he/she has made their hypothesis, they test it: "well, if my hypothesis is correct, then if I drop 'x' object from 'y' height, it should hit the ground with 'z' force."

But with theism, there is only the working backwards part, trying to fit God into a hypothesis about the observable world, but no working forward to make predictions and test the hypothesis. If the theist posits a hypothesis that keeps God in the equation, that is where the investigation ends.

I have God in the equation.. my investigation still continues. I hypothesis is the beginning of all things.. this is not to say that I do not wish to investigate and see in what manners this world works.

I realize that many Christians might say.. "God did it" no need to try to figure out a question anymore.. I do not see this as the case.  It's not who did it.. but rather "how" that science tries to answer. Which is why if Science leads somewhere.. I'm all for following it to it's conclusion.

To put this in your example.  If a scientist observes the proverbial apple falling from the tree, he can say "God" and end discussion there; he can say "In what way does this thing work?"; or he can say "God. In what way does this thing work?."

The first leads nowhere.  The later lead to hypothesizing and testing.  The only difference is that the later addresses "who" as well as "how"-- the former only "how".


Quote:
I've just started reading Victor Stenger's new book: _God: The Failed Hypothesis_. I haven't got very far in it yet, but, in his preface, he says that what I've said here is basically his approach: make testable predictions based on the "God Hypothesis", and see if they pan out or not. He says that his approach wouldn't disprove any and all possible gods, depending on what you might define a 'god' to be. He was specifically working on the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God hypothesis.

I've read a summary of it.  Lets see if we can't work out the idea without me reading some book for the moment. Smiling  I can't really debate the author.. so if I disagree with an assumption.. what do I do?


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: And?

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
And? I'm afraid you're going to need to connect this back into the particular place where it belonged in the argument.


caseagainstfaith wrote:
Well, basically, you have, for lack of a better term, 'dodged' answering what exactly it is that makes the alleged choices of "free will". I was thinking about another possible paper to write, on the topic of "The Soul of the Gaps". As you may know, sometimes theists will posit God as the answer to some gap in our knowledge. If we have gaps in our understanding of the origin of life, God is posited as the answer to that gap. A "God of the Gaps".

I believe in only one gap... that being.. the beginning of the universe.  I admit that it could be some sort of circular (non beginning) entity.. as well as I admit it could be through some "god".  Everything else.. is fair game.. and possibly, can be argued, that it is within reach of the human mind.  If we just have more time. Smiling

Quote:
Well, even though the arguments that me, Todangst, and the article I linked to by Keith Augustine, seem to show that the mind is indeed a physical operation of the brain, there will presumably always be at least some gaps in our understanding of this. And, as long as there is at least some gap in this understanding, there is a place to posit a "soul of the gaps", something for the soul to do that is "beyond" the physical mind.

I did not say there "must" be a soul.. I just voiced my opinion that the concept of conscious is an interesting and complex thing.  If.. at somepoint.. man is able to control the release of ions in such a manner as to stimulate a brain into verifiable consciousness.. I will say "Wow-- I guess my consciousness is as simple as release of ions".

Until then I will only say that the release of ions has been proven only to be "necessary" for I idea of consciousness.. not necessarily "sufficient".

Quote:
Yet, while I concede this is technically possible, as the knowledge of the brain expands, the possible function of this "soul of the gaps" diminishes. Does the "soul" control language? Well, no, that is found in the physical brain. Does the "soul" possess memories? No, that is also found in the physical brain. Does the "soul" control sexual desire? Well, no, that is in hormones. So, what exactly could this "soul" do even if it does exist? Doesn't look like much to me.

Why are we still talking about the soul? I have stated that I do not believe in it as you are assuming I do, or how it "must be" understood.

Quote:
But, as I said earlier, I think it a fair question to ask, what, exactly, makes these choices that is open to this alleged free will?
Consciousness

Quote:
It seems to me that you have to either assert it is physical, like most atheists do, or assert it is spiritual, like most theists do.

I could be physical.  The bible (in my understanding) does not necessitate the existence of consciousness apart from the body. "The dead know nothing".

Quote:
But, as I've already said, there is sufficient evidence to discount the mind being non-physical -- but even if it wasn't, even if there is a "soul", this had to either create itself, or be created by God.

There is "evidence".. I'm not sure there is "sufficient" evidence.  Sufficient evidence would require "consciousness" to say that it was no longer "consciousness".  Yes.. we say that when the brain has no more waves.. that the person does not exhibit any of the characteristics we apply towards a "conscious" being.. does that mean he is has no more consciousness?

Once again.  The only way to "prove" that mind is purely physical is to "prove" that only the physical can create consciousness.  (e.g. Through control ion stimulation of a brain.. hook up some lips.. eyes.. and go for it.)

It may very well be the case that it is a purely physical idea.. I do not see how this plays into the argument as a whole however.

Quote:
The last time I brought this up, you were reticent to respond, and then I implied that your reluctance was intentional avoidance. Well, my implication may have been inappropriate, but I think the fact remains that it is a legitimate question to ask: "What, exactly, makes decisions, and where does it come from?

Consciousness allows for decisions to be made.  What is sufficient for consciousness? Don't know.  What seems to be necessary for consciousness? The brain.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: And?

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
And? I'm afraid you're going to need to connect this back into the particular place where it belonged in the argument.


caseagainstfaith wrote:
Well, I guess I didn't yet answer your question here yet. And, I'm not sure I know how best to express my point. I'm pretty sure that Todangst knows where I'm going with this, and might help clarify. But I'll give it a shot:

First, our "free will", if it exists at all, has huge amounts of limits.

Your actions are limited by what is physically possible.. your "will" is not.  I can "will to fly by flapping my wings".. does this mean I can fly by flapping my wings?  No.. merely that I "will" it.

Quote:
So, if you were to argue that God doesn't want to limit our free will and therefore, as an unfortunate consequence, we have evil in the world --then the vast amounts of limits we obviously do have on our "free will" disprove this assertion.

Actions.. not will.

Quote:
Everything that we do, from the most "good" to the most "evil", -- and even merely think about doing -- is shaped by what we even can do, and by our drives, instincts and personality.

Hmm.. tentatively agreed.

Quote:
All of these factors, our physical limits, drives, instincts and personality, HAD to come from somewhere.

Hm.. DNA perhaps? Which yes.. I believe was a system put in place by God.

Quote:
(Unless you want to assert that they self-arise, which I don't think you do.)

Yes.. I arose myself.

Quote:
So, if we assert that they did come from somewhere, then either it was natural or supernatural. In a nutshell, if it was natural, then atheism is right, if it was supernatural, theism is right. But, as I've said several times herein, if theism is right and God, the supernatural, and the soul exist, the "buck" necessarily must stop with God. If, as Todangst says, if everything exists *by* God's fiat, then everything *IS* per God's fiat.

I do not disagree with this.  The buck stops with god.  We use this terminology all the time.. "The buck stops with the president" "The buck stops with the principal".. yes.. inevitably the "buck" would stop with an omnipotent, omniscient God.

I may see a glimpse of the point you are trying to make-- and I'm not sure I agree.. because I like to think that I have control over my direction .. are saying that because God knew what would become of creation, in every single aspect, that he "controls" you even as if here were pulling the strings at this moment?

I see a disparity between the two.  Perhaps you do not.  An analogy would help. Smiling

 Hmm.. philosphical.


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todangst

todangst wrote:
caseagainstfaith wrote:


todangst wrote:
Tod, responded before you and I'd just like to address something: Everyone.. works backwards Tod, not just religious folk. Scientist do not work forward.. they are just trying to understand what has always been.


 

Since the argument about "working backwards" was Todangst's, I may not do his argument justice. But, here is what I was thinking about this...

It seems to me (correct me if I'm wrong), but that scientists do indeed "work backwards" to come up with hypotheses to explain things. The scientist observes something, the postulates what might be happenning to explain the observation. *BUT*, testing hypotheses involves working forwards: making predictions and testing them.

For example, the scientist may observe the proverbial apple falling from a tree, and make a hypothesis about gravity. *Then*, once he/she has made their hypothesis, they test it: "well, if my hypothesis is correct, then if I drop 'x' object from 'y' height, it should hit the ground with 'z' force."

But with theism, there is only the working backwards part, trying to fit God into a hypothesis about the observable world, but no working forward to make predictions and test the hypothesis. If the theist posits a hypothesis that keeps God in the equation, that is where the investigation ends.



Yes. If a theist starts with first principles: omnipotence and omniscience, he must end in a world of magic, where there are no problems of evil, etc.

Isn't that what this whole conversation has turned into? You seem to conclude before there is conclusion that I must do anything.

Quote:
However, this would force the theist to admit that his religious claim is false. So he must avoid this, by workign backwards, and trying to shoehorn reality into his fantasy.

I admit.. I may be guilty of a bit of "shoehorning".  But even as "shoehorning" won't allow you to fit a size 9 foot in a size 4 shoe.. so "shoehorning" has its limits as well.

This does not address my original contention however in that both science and religion both work backwards.

 

Quote:


I've just started reading Victor Stenger's new book: _God: The Failed Hypothesis_. I haven't got very far in it yet, but, in his preface, he says that what I've said here is basically his approach: make testable predictions based on the "God Hypothesis", and see if they pan out or not. He says that his approach wouldn't disprove any and all possible gods, depending on what you might define a 'god' to be. He was specifically working on the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God hypothesis.



Quote:
Sounds good.


I addressed this earlier... (I think).


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todangst

todangst wrote:
caseagainstfaith wrote:


RhadTheGizmo wrote:
And? I'm afraid you're going to need to connect this back into the particular place where it belonged in the argument.


Well, I guess I didn't yet answer your question here yet. And, I'm not sure I know how best to express my point. I'm pretty sure that Todangst knows where I'm going with this, and might help clarify. But I'll give it a shot:

First, our "free will", if it exists at all, has huge amounts of limits. So, if you were to argue that God doesn't want to limit our free will and therefore, as an unfortunate consequence, we have evil in the world --then the vast amounts of limits we obviously do have on our "free will" disprove this assertion. Everything that we do, from the most "good" to the most "evil", -- and even merely think about doing -- is shaped by what we even can do, and by our drives, instincts and personality. All of these factors, our physical limits, drives, instincts and personality, HAD to come from somewhere. (Unless you want to assert that they self-arise, which I don't think you do.) So, if we assert that they did come from somewhere, then either it was natural or supernatural. In a nutshell, if it was natural, then atheism is right, if it was supernatural, theism is right. But, as I've said several times herein, if theism is right and God, the supernatural, and the soul exist, the "buck" necessarily must stop with God. If, as Todangst says, if everything exists *by* God's fiat, then everything *IS* per God's fiat.



Precisely.

And here is another point that theists simply refuse to even acknowledge, let alone respond to:

I thank you for predicting what I will and will not do before I do anything. Smiling Give me some credit.  I am a theist.  So either this statement needs some qualification like "many" or "most".. or it would be inaccurate.

Quote:
The theist claims that the reason we have free will is because god wanted us to 'choose' him freely. If this is the reason for free will, given that free will already has limits, there is no reason why people ought to have the freedom to commit any evil action, such as rape or murder, that has nothing to do with the free choice to follow or not follow 'god'.

I addressed this somewhat with COF.  "Freewill" is the ability to choose a "will".  "Will" does not have limits (at least within our understanding of freewill).. or would you say that there is anything in the entire universe.. that I could not "will"?

I "will" to fly.  I cannot.  This is not a limit on my "will".. this is a limit on my capabilities as a human in a natural world.

Granted.. perhaps god could have "limited" the capabilities, and parameters, of a human in a natural word.  But.. for instance.. to limit such things as "rape" and "murder".. would require (from my understanding of logic) a natural law that would not allow sex and would not allow movement.. for "murder" is a function of ones ability to move. "Rape" a function of ones ability to have sex.

So.. god limits functions.. but not will.  So one can still "will" to murder but cannot do so.  One can "will" to rape an individual.. but cannot do so.  All because of physical limitations (generally applicable laws.. such as gravity).  \

Quote:
Those who respond by saying 'this takes away free will" forget, yet again, that our free will is already limited, AND that the supposed reason free will has NOTHING to do with any actions that could bring harm to others.

Once again.. I disagree with your assumption that it is limited-- as stated before.  

I think you might be trying to back me into a corner where I will admit that God could have created "freewill" only within the realm of choosing or not choosing him.. and not for anything else such as "who else you love... who you would like to have a relationship with.. etc etc etc" and that this would be the "better" of the two options.

I don't think you can.  I don't think you would believe so either.  Granted.. we would not have known the difference if it was that way or this.. but God would have known the limitations he had put on "will"-- why should he care? Another issue. Smiling

Quote:
Even worse (and notice how every theist argument ends in an "and even worse&quotEye-wink an action like murder deprives the free will choices of another.

I haven't ended any of my arguments with "and even worse" Smiling

"Free will" does not deprive another of "free will".  Ones ability to act upon his/her "will" can however lead to a point where one will no longer be able to exercise his "freewill".

"Freewill" to me, would seem as the concept of freedom.  I have freedom.  If I'm killed at the hands of another.. it does not take away from the fact that I have freedom.  Merely that I am no longer able to act on those things which my freedom allowed.

"He took away his freedom when he killed him" is inaccurate rhetoric (I believe) for  "He took away his ability to practice freedom."

I have a car.  Some kills me.  I still "have" the car, technically-- I'm just not able to use it.

Quote:
So, there is no reason for murder in this theological system.... free will does not require it, and it actually serves to lessen the opportunity for others to actualize their free will!

It doesn't "lessen" it "removes" the ability to actualize their free will.

Because.. well. they're dead.

To "lessen" the ability to actualize free will would require a limitation on the mind itself.. when someone kills you.. they do not "limit" it.. they "destroy it".

I guess this can best be explained in the plainest of logical terms.

The opposite of "all" is not "none".. but "some".  (Logical Concepts 101.. if I remember the concept correctly)

The opposite of "freewill" is not "no freewill" but "some freewill".


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caseagainstfaith

caseagainstfaith wrote:


RhadTheGizmo wrote:


I did not say no more curiousity. I said this particular curiosity would be fulfilled. Just because a kid burns himself doesn't mean he still is curious about the swing set.


But you said that "evil" was temporary, as a result of our curiosity. So, it seems to me that if this is the case, you have to assert either both evil and curiousity are temporary, or both are eternal. So, which is it?

Heh.. "So which is it?"

I would say that you are misunderstanding me.  Or at least misunderstanding the concept of "curiousity".. "curiousity" only goes so far as to the point where one is longer curious about a particular thing.  I'm curious about this cracker thats on my text.. I wonder how it tastes.. I wonder if its good.. etc.

Once I eat it.. I'll have the choice of eating more or not.

At some point however, it is possible, that I will not longer be "curious" as to what the cracker tastes like.. I'll just know.. and I'll know that its not something I wish to experience again, because, well.. there bad crackers.

I stated in my original response that "evil" is merely the corruption of good.. and its depravity can only be experienced from that which is the source of all good.

I gave an analogy earlier.. saying that "even as one must leave the parents house to experience life away from the parents.. so Man left to experience life away from God".

Curiousity to experience life "away" from God will one day be satisfied.. even as my curiosity for these crackers was satisfied.

This does not take away "Curiosity" in general.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Granted. But as the sun doesn't really have a choice (as we understand choice) as to what it warms up.. neither the earth in its orbit.. do you not seem a small different between what you consider "actions" and what you consider there "actions" to be.


Quote:
Well, I think I tried to address this in the couple of posts above this one, where I discussed, what, exactly makes "choices"?

As did I. If this is still a problem after all the reading.. we will have the opportunity to address it again.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Heh.. your thoughts are a function of your physical brain. I only meant to imply the complexity of thoughts.


Quote:
My neurons have received no meaning from this statement Laughing. Seriously, this makes no sense at all to me. Thoughts are physical, but the "complexity" of thought isn't? Does this have any meaning at all? Ya got me...

Heh. Did I said.. "I only meant to imply that complexity of thoughts is not a fully physical idea." No.. I just said "I only mean to imply the complexity of thoughts."

Which is all I mean to imply.. the concept of "thoughts" is a complex one.. how they come about... what is necessary for them.. what is sufficient for them... it's complex.  That's all I was saying.  Sorry if I didn't make that clear. (I thought I did... but.. I usually "talk" conversations.. not "write" them.)


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: I

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

I don't understand. If one is working backwards to explain something.. how can it ever be that he is working forwards? Someone puts a simple (non multivariable) calculus problem in front of me.. it has a question, and an unknown answer. I'm working to find that answer. The fact that I work through different hypothesis, making predictions, and testing them in order to find the answer.. does nothing to change the fact that the answer was always there. I'm always facing backwards.



Well, I was working off Todangst's argument.  Had I wanted to raise the basic issue he was raising, I think I would have chosen different termonology, as "forwards" and "backwards" are relative terms.  But, that said, I do think thing his point has validity, whether the termonology is the best or not.  Making hypotheses and testing them are very different in approach.  Making a hypothesis is looking at an observation, and trying to deduce what mechanism may be at work.  Testing a hypothesis is the reverse, taking the hypothesis,  making predictions based on the hypothesis, and seeing if observation pans out.  Whether you like calling them "forwards" and "backwards" or not, the fact remains that in making a hypothesis you go from observation to hypothesis, and testing a hypothesis you go from the hypothesis to observation.

So, with theism, we take an observation, say "natural disasters kill people" and try to hypothesize why this happens in light of the assumption God exists.  But you don't do the reverse: if an omniscient, omnipotent, loving God exists, then what might we expect the world to look like?  If you do that, you will find that observation doesn't match what you would expect.

 

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

I have God in the equation.. my investigation still continues.



  Yes, your investigation continues, in the direction of, "God exists, then why do we observe 'x'?"  Not in the direction "if God exists, then what should we observe?"  That would be like a flat earther saying "the earth is flat, then why do we see things like ships disappearing over the horizon?"  If you work like that, you can always come up with some hypothesis:  "maybe light bends over distance and that makes it look like ships disappear".  But, until you test they hypothesis, saying "if light bends making ships look like it disappears, then what else might we expect if that is the case?" and test it, then you've only done half the work.  Theism only does half the work.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote:

RhadTheGizmo wrote:


I don't understand. If one is working backwards to explain something.. how can it ever be that he is working forwards? Someone puts a simple (non multivariable) calculus problem in front of me.. it has a question, and an unknown answer. I'm working to find that answer. The fact that I work through different hypothesis, making predictions, and testing them in order to find the answer.. does nothing to change the fact that the answer was always there. I'm always facing backwards.


caseagainstfaith wrote:
Well, I was working off Todangst's argument. Had I wanted to raise the basic issue he was raising, I think I would have chosen different termonology, as "forwards" and "backwards" are relative terms. But, that said, I do think thing his point has validity, whether the termonology is the best or not. Making hypotheses and testing them are very different in approach. Making a hypothesis is looking at an observation, and trying to deduce what mechanism may be at work.

Accepted.

Quote:
Testing a hypothesis is the reverse, taking the hypothesis, making predictions based on the hypothesis, and seeing if observation pans out.

You mean.. "seeing if the prediction pans out."

Quote:
Whether you like calling them "forwards" and "backwards" or not, the fact remains that in making a hypothesis you go from observation to hypothesis, and testing a hypothesis you go from the hypothesis to observation.

Observation-> hypothesis -> experimentation -> observation -> hypothesis -> experimentation.

Is I believe the circle you speak of.

Quote:
So, with theism, we take an observation, say "natural disasters kill people" and try to hypothesize why this happens in light of the assumption God exists. But you don't do the reverse: if an omniscient, omnipotent, loving God exists, then what might we expect the world to look like? If you do that, you will find that observation doesn't match what you would expect.

Although I drew a connection between science and theology in that they both work backwards... I never stated that they are the same (in fact I believe that I explicitly stated that I don't believe them to be the same).

And it is for this very reason. Yah... I'm sure it's nice to say "If God omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent then pain and death should not exist." But that's not a scientific statement by ay stretch of the imagination.. its an assertion.. that must be defended-- which is what we have been doing this whole time.

To say that it cannot happen (as if it were fact, within the construct of this conversation) is dishonest within the context of this conversation. It's like you've ignored the whole coversation.. not addressed particular points.. merely jumped to the end.

Fine... I'll make the same type of assertion. "If God omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent then pain and death should exist."

There.

But we just seemed to ignore the whole past conversation.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:


I have God in the equation.. my investigation still continues.



Quote:
Yes, your investigation continues, in the direction of, "God exists, then why do we observe 'x'?" Not in the direction "if God exists, then what should we observe?" That would be like a flat earther saying "the earth is flat, then why do we see things like ships disappearing over the horizon?" If you work like that, you can always come up with some hypothesis: "maybe light bends over distance and that makes it look like ships disappear". But, until you test they hypothesis, saying "if light bends making ships look like it disappears, then what else might we expect if that is the case?" and test it, then you've only done half the work. Theism only does half the work.

Your statement here is working the wrong way-- even in science this would not work.

Newton did not say.. "If gravity exists, what should this apple do?".. no-- for he did not know what "gravity" was. He stated (I'd imagine).. "This apple fell, why?"

We start with the observation.. just as you stated before..

The observation?:

The world is as it is, why?

Hypothesis: God.

Added: Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent.

How can these coexist?

Well.. thats what this conversation is about. It's reasoning.. its not science. Science would require you to disprove, scientifically, that an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent being could not create a world such as this one.

Obviously that seems like an odd request.. but thats how science works.. "experimentation".

Since we cannot "experiment" with these abstract concepts... we reason with them.

Which is what we are doing. Smiling

Just don't state as fact what has not been concluded as fact within this "conversation": this would be "begging the question" as was so kindly pointed out to me by this forum. 


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Quote: Ability is not

Quote:
Ability is not limits, as I contested to tod, it is merely ability.

Essentially, they are two words the mean the same thing, or roughly.  If I have the "ability" to do something, it is within the "limits" of my ability.  If I do not have the  "ability" to do something, then it is outside my "limits".

 If God somehow doesn't have the ability to do something, something must be limiting him.  But, by definition of omnipotence, nothing is outside of his ability.  But, this leads to logical contradictions.  Like the age-old, "can God make a rock so big that he can't lift it?" If he can't make such a rock, that is a limit, but if he could make such a rock, then his not being able to lift it is a limit.  But God is limitless, so neither could be true.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: Your

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Your statement here is working the wrong way-- even in science this would not work.

Newton did not say.. "If gravity exists, what should this apple do?".. no-- for he did not know what "gravity" was. He stated (I'd imagine).. "This apple fell, why?"

 Yes, it DOES work that way.  Once you make the hypothesis of gravity, you then expand on it.  Do denser object fall faster than slower objects?  You perhaps hypothesize that heaver objects do fall faster than slower objects.  So you head to the side of a building and drop different density objects, and find that your hypotheis has been falsified.  That's why there are such things as experiments, working from hypothesis to observation and NOT observation to hypothesis.

 One of the points in Victor Stenger's book that I actually didn't realize is, its not considered legitimate to revise a hypothesis due to an experiment not working out as expected, and then consider the experiment a confirmation of the new hypothesis!  Like in my previous example, if you hypothesized "denser objects fall faster," and your experiments do not confirm this, it isn't valid to change the hypothesis to  "denser objects do not fall faster" and consider your experiment a confirmation of this new hypothesis.  If you change your hypothesis, you have to make a new prediction that you don't yet know the answer to, and make a new experiment.  In short, at least according to Dr. Stenger, you MUST do the confirmation in reverse order from making the hypothesis.

 


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caseagainstfaith

caseagainstfaith wrote:


Quote:
Ability is not limits, as I contested to tod, it is merely ability.


Essentially, they are two words the mean the same thing, or roughly. If I have the "ability" to do something, it is within the "limits" of my ability. If I do not have the "ability" to do something, then it is outside my "limits".

If God somehow doesn't have the ability to do something, something must be limiting him. But, by definition of omnipotence, nothing is outside of his ability. But, this leads to logical contradictions. Like the age-old, "can God make a rock so big that he can't lift it?" If he can't make such a rock, that is a limit, but if he could make such a rock, then his not being able to lift it is a limit. But God is limitless, so neither could be true.


Perhaps.. but I didn't say God had the "ability" to do "something", I said that he had the "ability" to do everything.

So.. if by "limit" you and he meant.. he has the "limit" of doing anything outside of "everything"-- then fine.

But I don't think thats what you guys were meaning.

Quote:
But, by definition of omnipotence, nothing is outside of his ability.

Which is why I always said he has the "ability" to do anything.

This all came up because of an earlier contention that God "must" do everything just because he is "omnipotent"... I contended, no, merely he has the "ability" to do anything.. no that he "must" do everything.

As for your rock analogy.. I addressed this earlier to.

I said anything "logically" possible because it is only through logic we can speak.

"Can god make a rock so big that even he can not lift it?"

Has problems on two issues.. 1.) It requires me to concede that God has a limit to his ability to lift.. as well as concede he has a limit to his ability to create.

Both of the concessions would be illogical while held up to the concept of "omnipotence" and therefore I would be "not smart" to allow you to ask this question without challenging the illogical nature of the question itself.

Its the same as "Can you prove to me that logically, logic is illogical?"
Logic is a concept. It cannot prove itself illogical.  

"Can an omnipotent character create a rock so big that even he could not carry?"
Omnipotence is a concept.  It refers to limitlessness.. so.. the rock would be infinitely big and his ability to carry would be infinitely large as well.  The moment you try and measure either of these things.. the concept stops.. and it is no longer in line with the concept of "omnipotence" anymore-- and therefore the question would no longer apply.


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caseagainstfaith

caseagainstfaith wrote:


RhadTheGizmo wrote:


Your statement here is working the wrong way-- even in science this would not work.

Newton did not say.. "If gravity exists, what should this apple do?".. no-- for he did not know what "gravity" was. He stated (I'd imagine).. "This apple fell, why?"



Yes, it DOES work that way. Once you make the hypothesis of gravity, you then expand on it. Do denser object fall faster than slower objects? You perhaps hypothesize that heaver objects do fall faster than slower objects. So you head to the side of a building and drop different density objects, and find that your hypotheis has been falsified. That's why there are such things as experiments, working from hypothesis to observation and NOT observation to hypothesis.

... You erased the part after that.

Observation comes before hypothesis in both those cases.

"The apple falls."
"The world is as it is."

These are observations.

Now.. hypothesis differ from here..

Now here is where science and philosphy diverge..

Philosphy deals with reasoning.. science does with reasoning that is testable.

Omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresent.. are not testable concepts... only reasoned within their understanding. So while scientist would test their hypothesis.. philosphy only fits the facts to the concepts.

Once again.. this is all a side issue. Such a small issue as me drawing a similarity between religion and science in ONE respect.

That one respect being:

That they both have the same set of facts.. merely differ on what is considered a legitamate hypothesis.

Science says "testable through experimentation".. religion/philosphy says "testable" through reason".


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There are lots of points

There are lots of points throughout your posts on in this thread that I had been meaning to respond to.  I suspect it will take a bit of writing to get through all the points I want to respond to.  So, I'm just posting this as a "head's up!  expect more crap from Case!"


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Quote: I said: Second of

Quote:

I said:

Second of all, let's pretend, for discussion purposes, that man were to create a pretty fair system, where most everybody has reasonably good standard of living. People would still die in natural disasters. There would be fewer people to die, if all housing was well made. But it isn't practical or even possible to build every house to withstand every earthquake, tornado, tsunami, etc.

You responded:

If this ever happens.. we will discuss it then. I could simple contend that all people could be concentrated into areas where such sorts of natural disasters do not occur. Until this happens.. or until some study is done.. neither of us will have evidence to back up our claims.

I believe the fact that people die in natural disasters even in areas of good housing provides prima facie evidence that my position is correct. And your posulation of people being concentrated in areas without natural disasters, despite the fact that there is no such place on earth, nor could we all fit if there were, is an "ad hoc" argument without merit.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Possibly. Then I would only refer to my previous statement. These things are not "bad" in and of themselves.. neither do people need to die as a direct result from them.

Give me a plausible scenerio where everybody on earth could be protected from natural disasters. And, as Todangst pointed out, even if you could, it would be like putting a toddler in a room with a snake and a stick and saying, "I gave the kid a chance".

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Here.. they are called disasters because people die and billions of dollars of damage are created. I would imagine.. in some other place.. they would just be called.. "really big storm".. "twirling black cloud".. "giant wave".

Give me a break! THAT'S YOUR ARGUMENT??? For one, I always thought that heaven was a spiritual realm where there was no physical air to make physical storms. But, regardless, SO WHAT? Of what possible relevance are storms that can't do anything? What possible difference could it make if they exist or not?

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

One can easily alleviate the affects of "bad" now and still assume that there will be "good", experentially, latter. Why can I not tend to my sons burn, yet still be able to say, "Well, now you've learned."

Think this through. What you are saying is, that there is no "good" to come from more "bad" after some point. That the burn the child got was sufficient lesson in itself, and therefore continued "bad", continuing to let the child suffer, has no value. But then you are implicitly admitting that not all bad results in eventual better good. If it did, then you should keep beating the crap out of your kid as every beating will result in even better stuff in the future.

By the way, this is essentially how Mother Teressa thought, the fucking bitch. If you think she helped aleviate sufferring, you've been lied to. She thought sufferring was good and therefore withheld treatment. But, see, if God really does reward sufferring, then she was right. What she did is perfectly justifiable IF her contentions were true. Just like, if the Mulim terrorists are right that they will be rewarded for flying planes into buildings, then 9/11 was a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Which is among the reasons I really fucking hate theism.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

I made it very clear these years, the 60 or more years I live, are insignificant when placed next to cosmic eternity itself.. that does not mean that it is not significant to me, now.

But it really shouldn't be! If you have Bill Gate's money, a few million missing somehow won't hurt him in the least. If you have an infinite lifetime, why should these "60 or more years" mean a fucking thing to you?

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

I know that might seem cold, comparing people to an arm, but analogies are all the same in that they are ambiguous.

In this particular case, your problem isn't the analogy itself, it is the flawed reasoning behind it. For a doctor might have to sacrifice an arm for he isn't perfect and can't avoid loosing something in order to save something more valued. But God, by being perfect, doesn't have the limitation of imperfection, requiring him to have to accept some bad to get good.

In general, from my position, it is a lot easier to have analogies that aren't terribly misleading. For if a human in a scenerio that I give would be "in control" of the situation, then surely an omnipotent creator would be "in control" in an analagous situation, no? But, on the other hand, if you have an analogy where the human has a limitation, your analogy is instantly doomed because God would have no such limitation. So, you might think it unfair, but, basically, analogies are useless for your position, but not for mine. So, the instant you bring up a limited human analogy, you have lost the point.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

And if by "spiritual essense" or "soul" as in.. something that can exist apart from the brain-- no, I do not believe so.

I'm confused here. How can you have life after death, if you concede that there is no non-physical soul?

Quote:

I said:

...exactly, makes these choices that is open to this alleged free will?

You responded:

Consciousness

Okay, so what is "consciousness"? I've asked whether it is physical or nonphysical, and you seemed to accept it being physical. Which is quite strange for a theist, I've never heard a theist to hold such a position, and seems to eliminate life-after death. But, my main question is, how does "consciousness" operate? What rules makes "consciousness" choose one option over another? And where did the design of this operation come from? It came from God, right?

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Your actions are limited by what is physically possible.. your "will" is not. I can "will to fly by flapping my wings".. does this mean I can fly by flapping my wings? No.. merely that I "will" it.

Well, first, if this was an accurate statement, why not have more limits on physicality? Why not prevent me from killing you and taking away your free will, if I could still "will" for you to die?

But, secondly, its not an entirely accurate statement. For we can only imagine to a certain extent beyond our experience. We can imagine flapping our arms and flying to Pluto, because we have the knowledge that flying, to some degree, is possible. And we have the knowledge that Pluto exists. Granted, different people have a stronger imagination than others. But, nobody a 200 years ago couldn't have possibly imagined, "gee, it'd really be cool if somebody would invent the computer so I can surf the web and play World of Warcraft!" These concepts were so far removed from the experience of people 200 years ago, that they couldn't really even "will" to surf the web or "will" to play World of Warcraft.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Yes.. I arose myself.

Are you joking, or is this a serious assertion?

 

Well, there are more points you raised that I want to address, but, the wife is calling me for dinner, so I'll stop for now. Perhaps your response to this will alter what I might have said to some of your other points anyway...

 


todangst
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RhadTheGizmo wrote:Ability

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Ability is not limits, as I contested to tod, it is merely ability.

I.e. the abiliyt to do something, or not do something

So it speaks to limits 

 

Quote:

I have the ability to kill this fly thats been flying around me.. does this mean if I choose not to kill it that I am somehow limited in my original ability?

No. Limits in abilty are things you are physically unable to do.

Quote:
Here's the problem: if your 'god' follows physical laws, then he no longer is god. Whatever determined the laws is god.

If nothing determined them, then there is no need for a god in the first place.

So it's kind of important.

 

Quote:

Once again.. ability and limit.

Once again, a distinction without a difference. To be able or unable speaks to our limits. 

And none of this is really the key point here. 

 

Quote:

Is God limited by physical law? No. Could he choose to abide by them? Yes.

.

Here is the actual issue before you.

You say that omnipotence is limited in that it can't do the impossible. 

Well, who DECIDES what is impossible in the first place in your theology?

This is the question you must answer.

Is it 'god'? If so, then your 'god' is the one responsile for the limit being as it is, in the first place! So to speak of limits is preposterous.

If it is not 'god', then whoever created these limits IS god.

If  nothing created them, if they are eternal, then there's no  need for a god.

No theist answers because to answer is to be refuted. 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.