Brian and Kelly: Please explain what you mean by "theism is irrational"

Gavagai
Theist
Gavagai's picture
Posts: 183
Joined: 2006-04-17
User is offlineOffline
Brian and Kelly: Please explain what you mean by "theism is irrational"

Brian and Kelly have claimed that theism is irrational. I’ve asked them to clarify what they mean by this claim. Now, they don’t have to explain the very nature of rationality itself; that would be an unfair demand. My request is modest. Just provide the rough definition of rationality that you’re working with when you claim that theism is irrational. You can do this by filling in the blank of the following schema:

A person’s belief in some proposition is rational if and only if, roughly, _________________________________________________________________.


I want to know what exactly Brian and Kelly would write here. They make the claim about theism being irrational. What precisely do they have in mind when they say this? So far they haven’t answered, and no doubt this is due to their busy schedules. As we’ve been waiting for their response, Scottmax (in another thread) has tried to answer my question from his own perspective. Here’s his answer:

"A person's belief in some proposition p is rational if and only if, roughly, all propositions supporting that belief are non-contradictory and all objections proposed for that belief can likewise be answered without contradiction. "


I am a theist. That is, I believe in the proposition God exists. So am I rational or not, given Scottmax’s definition? Well, I cannot find any contradictions among the set of propositions in favor of that belief, nor have I asserted any contradictions in response to objections. So it appears to me that I've satisfied the conditions in Scottmax’s definition; given his view of rationality, he shouldn’t hesitate to count my belief in theism as rational. Of course, it doesn't follow from the fact that one is rational in believing that God exists, that God in fact exists. People have rational but false beliefs all the time. As I stated in another thread, the truth value of a proposition is to be distinguished from the reasons one has for believing in that proposition. Remember, what we’re concerned with here is not whether God exists, but whether it’s rational to believe he exists. So far it seems to me that Scottmax should say that I’m rational for believing in God, given that I’ve conformed to his view of rationality. I await his objections to this.

Tilberian also attempted to answer the question. I cannot hold my theistic belief on rational grounds, says Tilberian, “because there is no evidence for God and God as described in all theologies violates logic and known natural law.” But it’s unclear what Tilberian means by “evidence”. Under what conditions, according to Tilberian, does something count as good evidence for something else? It’s also unclear what he means by “violates logic and known natural law”. So I’ll wait for him to be more precise before we discuss his view of rationality.

Cheers,

 

W. Gavagai

 

P.S. For the interested reader, I have provided a list of some contemporary analytic philosophers and logicians who are theists. The list includes Alexander Pruss, Peter Forrest, Michael Bergmann, William Vallicella, Lynn Rudder Baker, Robert Koons, Douglas Groothius, Nicholas Rescher, Bas van Fraasen, Timothy McGrew, John Hawthorne, Dean Zimmerman, Hud Hudson, Richard Davis, Eleonore Stump, Robin Collins, Peter van Inwagen, William Alston, Keith Derose, Michael Sudduth. There are hundreds more. (Send me a private message for more resources.) The reason I provide this list is so we have something against which we can test the definitions different people proffer. A plausible definition should be such that if we were to apply it as a rule of thumb to the relevant theistic beliefs expressed in the writings of these philosophers, we would be able to legitimately classify the philosophers as irrational to the extent that they hold those theistic beliefs.


Wyzaard
Posts: 58
Joined: 2007-06-08
User is offlineOffline
Eloise wrote: My

Eloise wrote:

My contention is that angels are not cross conventional, the whole just pops up fully formed across the board, even alien visitation would fit better than convention, unless you believe the CT fairy tales these ideas weren't psychically implanted in humans one day, there was a natural observation.

Perhaps... though the desire for kin-like protectors bearing the likenesses of various creatures, and bearing powers that overcome our failings are pretty common entities in human belief systems.  With these borrowings and similarities as well as the influx of stress and puzzling empirical imput may come some unusual sensory transformations.

Quote:
You're right, and you'll find a lot of agreement to that, the main issue I have with it is as I said, we can say it, but what are we really saying? Is this a psychic global cohesion or something, what, well defined, keeps reigns on chaos? we are still looking at a vague definition of the same thing.

 Trouble is... this 'cohesion' may not exist in any other form than within the slim, brief chance of elements coming together to form what we call a commonality, but might actually be one or another hazy cloud-shape in the chaos, consciousness being simply a sliver of the mealstrom translated into a provisional 'order'.

 But all of this is unverifiable conjecture; such matters lie outside of sensibility and cognitive conventionality; we have no omni-justified perspective on our perspectives...  

 

Quote:
I can't argue with that, I agree. fortunately this is as ontologically grounded as anything could be. Mystical creation revelation = the fundamentally observed nature of matter. It is temptingly complete looking, but that is not the case if there is anything to the detail. According to the detail this completeness is merely one part of a much larger picture.

 But here you fall into a sort of affirmation of the consequent... mystical-creation-revelation may indicate the fundementally-observed-nature-of-matter... but does it do so in reverse?  All manners of metaphyscial schemas/indicators could account for the empirical world... so on what metajustified grounds do we choose which one over others IF such a thing is even possible?

 

Quote:
I'm glad you said that it could be us. It probably is, but again, this is in no way inconsistent with either pattern, both quite unambiguously say it is us. But what good is that without some methodological means of observing it? How is pragmatism not just us making the universe more real than it actually is? The more we try to drive home the "it's just us, just our psychology" line to end the debate the further we promote nihilism and refuse to go beyond it. If the choice is between a nihilistic folding of my hand and postulating an objective greater reality, I will take the latter.

 I prefer neither... to postulate a collapsing solopsism is just as bad as a boundless realism in terms of metajustification; I can verify neither... ANY 'greater' reality to me is unjustified in certain belief in, but at the same time, endlessly opens up the playful conjecture quite beautifully...

Metaphysics sould be revolutionary, not revalationary.

 

Quote:
I don't like the Occam jackhammer, personally, but in any case I wouldn't propose positing a god with a barrage of assumptions, and I'm hardly interested in proving god with all his epistemic baggage as opposed to simply proving a consistent phenomenological basis for the creation mythology, symbology and faith.

Why go for this sort of consistent basis and not another? 


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
Wyzaard wrote:

Wyzaard wrote:
Eloise wrote:

My contention is that angels are not cross conventional, the whole just pops up fully formed across the board, even alien visitation would fit better than convention, unless you believe the CT fairy tales these ideas weren't psychically implanted in humans one day, there was a natural observation.

Perhaps... though the desire for kin-like protectors bearing the likenesses of various creatures, and bearing powers that overcome our failings are pretty common entities in human belief systems. With these borrowings and similarities as well as the influx of stress and puzzling empirical imput may come some unusual sensory transformations.

I can't say you're wrong really, I can only say that a natural basis for quite specific ontologies isn't covered by this argument, not to the degree that for example the horse/man angelic being's specific purpose is so explicitly equivalent in so many cultures. It covers the Horse/man on it's own, or it covers the purpose on its own, but the very definite and unchanging conjunction of the two it doesn't. It is things like this that lead Jung and Campbell to their theories of the Gnostic Aeon Archetype, the Syzygy emanations of God. Emanations in the sense that is synonymous with message, and therefore Angels and like. Jung and Campbell put forward the syzygy as a symbolic psychological androgyny, an immaterial psychic projection which puts it at odds with physicalist theories. From the physicalist view point the natural world should rightly be the source of these strange congruences but half horse half men Angels in reality with the specific purpose of capturing fire/energy secrets and messages to convey to humanity Is not a physical thing as far as we can tell (outside a major axiom of quantum 'many histories' theory).

 

Quote:
Quote:
You're right, and you'll find a lot of agreement to that, the main issue I have with it is as I said, we can say it, but what are we really saying? Is this a psychic global cohesion or something, what, well defined, keeps reigns on chaos? we are still looking at a vague definition of the same thing.

Trouble is... this 'cohesion' may not exist in any other form than within the slim, brief chance of elements coming together to form what we call a commonality, but might actually be one or another hazy cloud-shape in the chaos, consciousness being simply a sliver of the mealstrom translated into a provisional 'order'.

But all of this is unverifiable conjecture; such matters lie outside of sensibility and cognitive conventionality; we have no omni-justified perspective on our perspectives...

We do have loads of external data to mine for some idea of an omni-justification. But we are suspicious and discriminating beings, so that is a lot harder than it sounds in theory.

 

Quote:
Quote:
I can't argue with that, I agree. fortunately this is as ontologically grounded as anything could be. Mystical creation revelation = the fundamentally observed nature of matter. It is temptingly complete looking, but that is not the case if there is anything to the detail. According to the detail this completeness is merely one part of a much larger picture.

But here you fall into a sort of affirmation of the consequent... mystical-creation-revelation may indicate the fundementally-observed-nature-of-matter... but does it do so in reverse? All manners of metaphyscial schemas/indicators could account for the empirical world... so on what metajustified grounds do we choose which one over others IF such a thing is even possible?

Actually it does do so in reverse to a degree, but there are good reasons behind not admitting those parallels into science as you can probably imagine. Individuals generally would have to explore this on their own. It's much more healthy for all concerned to separate them officially, but they are distinguishably related in an unofficial sense.

 

Quote:
Quote:
I'm glad you said that it could be us. It probably is, but again, this is in no way inconsistent with either pattern, both quite unambiguously say it is us. But what good is that without some methodological means of observing it? How is pragmatism not just us making the universe more real than it actually is? The more we try to drive home the "it's just us, just our psychology" line to end the debate the further we promote nihilism and refuse to go beyond it. If the choice is between a nihilistic folding of my hand and postulating an objective greater reality, I will take the latter.

I prefer neither... to postulate a collapsing solopsism is just as bad as a boundless realism in terms of metajustification; I can verify neither... ANY 'greater' reality to me is unjustified in certain belief in, but at the same time, endlessly opens up the playful conjecture quite beautifully...

Metaphysics sould be revolutionary, not revalationary.

For all intents and purposes we can call it a more specific reality as opposed to a greater one. For the reductionists. ;P

 

Quote:
Quote:
I don't like the Occam jackhammer, personally, but in any case I wouldn't propose positing a god with a barrage of assumptions, and I'm hardly interested in proving god with all his epistemic baggage as opposed to simply proving a consistent phenomenological basis for the creation mythology, symbology and faith.

Why go for this sort of consistent basis and not another?

I have my doubts about others, in a nutshell, I don't find them satisfactory. It's not enough to say that historical humanity lived inside their own minds unlike us, and thats how they came up with all this bogus junk, because then where did observation spawn as a first principle. It's almost like saying Jesus changed the holy covenant and relegating the credit to someone else past tense. We have to strike a balance somewhere, and mythological culture appears to defy subject-object balance. But then perhaps it doesn't.

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


Gavagai
Theist
Gavagai's picture
Posts: 183
Joined: 2006-04-17
User is offlineOffline
Hello Scottmax,

Hello Scottmax,

Sorry for the delay.

Quote:
I generally refer to God as omnitemporal, thus existing in all points of time simultaneously. Is this essentially what you are proposing here?

No, I haven't proposed anything about God's relation to time. If you go back and read my post carefully, Scottmax, you'll notice that I framed my discussion of God and time in terms of what a theist can say about it. I was exploring one option among several. I personally am agnostic about the issue; after all, the nature of time itself is hardly agreed upon by contemporary philosophers. Again, one does not have to know every detail about the implications of a proposition in order to rationally believe that proposition.


Quote:
I accept your limitation that even omnipotence must produce a system of reality that is internally consistent. But I don't believe that does much to help your argument here. I will restate:

God has the power to create any desired system of reality that maintains an internal consistency.

If you deny even this limited statement, then you are simply redefining omnipotence.

I don't know what you mean by a "system of reality that maintains internal consistency". Remember, your goal here is to find contradictions in my definitions, not to change my definitions into something you (as an atheist) feel more comfortable with. Now I define omnipotence, roughly, as the ability to do anything within broadly logical possibility. That's the definition I will work with. That's the definition you need to poke holes in. So far you haven't.

Quote:
No, you do not need to know that.

Of course you do. It follows logically that you do. I'll review the dialectical flow step-by-step here, so it should be clear to you by your next post. I began by characterizing omnibenevolence as follows:

Characterization of Omnibenevolence (CO): An omnibenevolent agent S would prevent the occurence of any intense suffering S could, unless S could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or bringing about some evil equally bad or worse.

You presented an argument from evil that rests on the claim that God should have prevented a particular type of evil E. It follows straightforwardly, from CO and your claim, that you're committed to

(P) There is no greater good such that had God prevented E, that good would have been lost, and there is no evil equally bad or worse than E, such that had God prevented E, that evil would have been brought about.

Surely, you should recognize this. Now, I asked what good reasons you have for asserting that (P) is true other than the mere fact that it seems to you to be true. You never answered. Instead, you think I owe you a "viable explanation" for E (i.e. a theodicy). But this request of yours rests on a misunderstanding of how logical arguments work. If I were to provide a successful theodicy, I would thereby refute your argument from evil. That is, I would be showing that one of the premises of your argument is false. But I needn't go this far to maintain my rational belief. All I need to do is rebut your argument. That's to say, I need to make it clear that there aren't any good reasons to believe that some premise of your argument is true. Now your argument rests on (P), and so far there are no good reasons to believe that (P) is true. So your argument is a failure to this extent.


Quote:
By simply falling back on the "God only knows" argument you can justify any "decision" of God.

Please quote me where I made an argument the conclusion of which is "God only knows". If we wish to have an intelligent discussion, Scottmax, it's important that we're careful to understand each other's positions. I have not provided any argument that entails that we should doubt humans sacrificing other humans to strange deities is wrong. I've merely asked you to defend your premise above. So the issue of "human sacrifice" seems irrelevant.

Quote:
So what is your epistemology for determining moral from immoral decisions of God? If it is simply, "we cannot understand the infinite mind of God", then you have no basis for determining truth.

Since on my conception, God is essentially morally perfect, God cannot perform a morally wrong action. So the possibility you assume in your question --that God can make immoral decisions -- makes your question cognitively meaningless to me. Moreover, I've never suggested that we can't "understand the infinite mind of God". Rather, I think there are some things about God's nature that we can understand, and some things, perhaps, that we can't. It doesn't follow from this that I have no basis for determining truth.

Quote:
You are essentially manufacturing a false dichotomy here, Gavagai. This is not an either/or. You need to propose a situation wherein God's ultimate goals can only be achieved through animal suffering, and not be any other means. Again, God can create any self-consistent reality. How can it be that his hand was forced on this point?

So let's hear the best arguments for why God would create a world with animal suffering.

As I just said above, to maintain a rational belief in God, I do not have to provide a complicated theodicy for you. All I have to do is rebut the argument that you used to try to show that I'm irrational. And so far, my project has been successful, given that there has been no good reason presented for believing one of the claims necessary for your argument.

Quote:
Perhaps I have set myself an impossible task. You can fall back to the "our finite minds cannot understand" position on almost any question to avoid being caught in a contradiction. But simply refusing to answer the question to avoid contradiction does not make your position rational.

Far from it, I've provided a lot of information about my conception of God. You put quite an uncharitable spin on things, Scott, by suggesting that I "refuse to answer" your questions. This is wrong. My answer is: I don't need to provide a theodicy, since a rebuttal of your argument is sufficient to maintain the rationality of my position. To review, you provided an argument aimed at showing that my belief in God is irrational. To maintain my rationality, all I need to do is to show that there is no good reason to believe a premise of your argument is true. I don't need to show that a premise of your argument is false. The former is called a rebuttal; the latter, a refutation. There's a big difference. A successful theodicy would function as a refutation of your argument, as it would specify the reason God actually has for permitting E; to that extent, your premise that there is no reason would be shown false. But, as I say, I don't need to go this far. I need only show that there's no good reason to believe that that premise of yours is true. The distinction between refutations and rebuttals is uncontroversial, and it's accepted by every philosopher I know of who's published something on the issue. This is just how logical argumentation works.


Quote:
This would be my favored proposition. I did not gaze too deeply into the eyes of the various forms of the problem of evil until over a decade after reverting to atheism. It takes long reflection to see how deep that well is.

Apparently, you haven't studied it enough to make some elementary distinctions that nearly all philosophers who discuss the argument have endorsed (explicitly or implicitly) in their writings. Your view about the rationality of theism seems deeply problematic to me, since it forces you to invent creative but completely ad hoc hypotheses like "Gavagai must not have reflected too deeply". I've been deeply reflecting on the issue and I've been carefully studying all the relevant literature.

Quote:
I also believe, based on our debate to this point, that if you delve deeply into the atheistic objections, that you could be a strong voice in the atheist community. You have obviously spent a great deal of time digesting the "pro" arguments. How much time have you devoted to reading the opposition?

I've studied the challenges to theism 3x more than I have the "pro arguments". I also believe, based on our debate to this point, that if you delve deeply into the logically informed, intellectually rigorous, contemporary philosophical literature on these issues, and you expanded the scope of your studies beyond popular level atheological apologetics like RRS, Dawkins, etc., you could come to seriously reconsider your naive view that theism is a "mental disorder".

Cheers,

Gavagai

Rude, offensive, irrational jackass.


scottmax
scottmax's picture
Posts: 164
Joined: 2007-03-12
User is offlineOffline
Gavagai wrote: Quote: I

Gavagai wrote:

Quote:
I accept your limitation that even omnipotence must produce a system of reality that is internally consistent. But I don't believe that does much to help your argument here. I will restate:

God has the power to create any desired system of reality that maintains an internal consistency.

If you deny even this limited statement, then you are simply redefining omnipotence.

I don't know what you mean by a "system of reality that maintains internal consistency". Remember, your goal here is to find contradictions in my definitions, not to change my definitions into something you (as an atheist) feel more comfortable with. Now I define omnipotence, roughly, as the ability to do anything within broadly logical possibility. That's the definition I will work with. That's the definition you need to poke holes in. So far you haven't.

If "the ability to do anything within broadly logical possibility" does not mean "system of reality that maintains internal consistency", then I don't know what it means. I cannot poke holes in a vague definition that apparently has no solid meaning. How do you determine whether or not something breaks the "within broadly logical possibility" clause?

Gavagai wrote:
Characterization of Omnibenevolence (CO): An omnibenevolent agent S would prevent the occurence of any intense suffering S could, unless S could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or bringing about some evil equally bad or worse.

Gavagai, there is no way to absolutely disprove a negative. But if there is no rational reason to believe a thing and there is rational reason not to believe a thing, then belief is irrational. If you were to claim, "there are nontemporal unicorns living in the rings of Saturn and they are the source of all feelings of hope on Earth", I could in no way prove you wrong. Would that make your statement rational?

Gavagai wrote:
Quote:
By simply falling back on the "God only knows" argument you can justify any "decision" of God.

Please quote me where I made an argument the conclusion of which is "God only knows".

Gavagai, that is your argument. You dress it up in fancier words, but you are claiming that I must prove to you that God doesn't have a good reason for causing animal suffering. "We cannot know, but that does not believe that God doesn't have a good reason."

Gavagai wrote:
As I just said above, to maintain a rational belief in God, I do not have to provide a complicated theodicy for you. All I have to do is rebut the argument that you used to try to show that I'm irrational. And so far, my project has been successful, given that there has been no good reason presented for believing one of the claims necessary for your argument.

No, it is not rational to simply say "I don't know". By not addressing the issue of animal suffering, you are essentially ignoring the argument. You have offered no explanation as to why we should ignore this problem other than "you can't prove that God doesn't have a reason". You could make the same argument for any absurd position of any religion.

Gavagai wrote:
Far from it, I've provided a lot of information about my conception of God. You put quite an uncharitable spin on things, Scott, by suggesting that I "refuse to answer" your questions. This is wrong. My answer is: I don't need to provide a theodicy, since a rebuttal of your argument is sufficient to maintain the rationality of my position.

You say I am being uncharitable in accusing you of refusing to answer... as you again refuse to answer. Refusing to answer does not maintain your rationality. If you insist that your wife would not cheat on you, and I show you a picture of your wife in bed with another man, you cannot claim to rationally believe that she would never cheat on you by simply refusing to look at the picture.

Gavagai wrote:
To review, you provided an argument aimed at showing that my belief in God is irrational. To maintain my rationality, all I need to do is to show that there is no good reason to believe a premise of your argument is true.

You have not in any way established that.

Gavagai wrote:
Your view about the rationality of theism seems deeply problematic to me, since it forces you to invent creative but completely ad hoc hypotheses like "Gavagai must not have reflected too deeply". I've been deeply reflecting on the issue and I've been carefully studying all the relevant literature.

And yet you have no answer to why God should require animal suffering.

Gavagai wrote:
I've studied the challenges to theism 3x more than I have the "pro arguments". I also believe, based on our debate to this point, that if you delve deeply into the logically informed, intellectually rigorous, contemporary philosophical literature on these issues, and you expanded the scope of your studies beyond popular level atheological apologetics like RRS, Dawkins, etc., you could come to seriously reconsider your naive view that theism is a "mental disorder".

That is possible. Yet is seems unlikely to me. I have read quite a bit of "popular" apologetics (Craig, Kreeft, Norman Geisler, Frank Turek, David Limbaugh, etc.) and have been very unimpressed. Perhaps I haven't found the good arguments yet. I sure have found the bad arguments.

 


Gavagai
Theist
Gavagai's picture
Posts: 183
Joined: 2006-04-17
User is offlineOffline
Scottmax,  It seems that

Scottmax,

 It seems that we've reached an impasse. I suggest that rather than ending things, we take a short break from the point-by-point responses to get clear on a few foundational issues. Afterwards, we can jump back into it. The main problem you have with my response to your argument is that, well, I haven't really "responded" at all. You think I haven't responded because I haven't provided a theodicy. A theodicy, recall, is just a specification of God's actual reasons for permitting evil. So your view, then, is that a theist can go about answering the problem of evil if and only if she specifies God's actual reasons for permitting evil. 

Unfortunately, not a single philosopher of religion (theist or naturalist) believes this is the only way for theists to go about answering the problem of evil.  Really, there are two general categories of responding to PoE. First, there is the project of giving theodicies. Second, there is theistic skepticism. One might further divide theistic skepticism into two sub-categories: moderate skepticism and austere skepticism. According to moderate skeptics, there may be different reasons for why God allows evil, but we don't have enough information to assert with confidence that any one of those possible reasons is (or is not) the actual reason God has. According to austere skepticism, the possible reasons God has for permitting some evil are in principle unknowable by us. There are also combinations and variations of these categories. This is a rough idea of the terrain, and most philosophers who discuss the PoE work with something like these categories. 

Now let's put aside the issue of whether these types of responses are plausible. Let's focus for now on how each category functions as a response to the PoE. Consider the classic formulation of the evidential argument from evil by Rowe, as follows:

 (1) There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.

(2) An omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could,unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse. 

(3) Therefore, God does not exist.

The key premise is (1). (However, certain theists have questioned (2) as well, but nevermind that for now.) Suppose we offer a successful theodicy. What would that do? It would show that (1) is false. For, we will have shown that instances of evil described in (1) don't exist; we will have falsified (1). In other words, Rowe's argument would be refuted. But suppose we respond by merely questioning the support for (1), rather than utterly falsifying it. This would be a rebuttal of Rowe's argument. Theistic skepticism functions in just this way. It functions to question Rowe's reasons for thinking (1) is true. Either way, whether we refute or rebut Rowe's argument, Rowe's argument would fail; thus, Rowe's argument would not make belief in God irrational.

Everything I've said so far is uncontroversial. You should have no problems with it. What I want to get you to see is that if a theist chooses to advance skepticism rather than a theodicy, that doesn't mean she is "refusing to answer" the argument from evil. This is agreed upon by every single philosopher publishing on this issue; that's because it's just the way arguments work. You don't always need to refute arguments to show that they fail. You can answer them just as legitimately by rebutting them.

You might think that skepticism is problematic somehow; all that means is that you don't think the argument from evil has been successfully rebutted. But it would be wrong of you to say that the theist advancing skepticism of your argument hasn't gone about answering you at all.

 Again, these are uncontroversial, foundational issues that all parties of the debate typically agree on. So I'll ask you to make the following (extremely plausible) concessions before we jump back into our debate: regardless of whether you think theodicies and skepticism are both problematic ways of answering the PoE, they are ways to go about answering it in the first place. Theodicies aren't the only ways of going about answering the PoE. Skepticism is another way to go about answering it. It doesn't follow from the fact that a theist advances skepticism, that she "refuses to answer" the argument. Just let me know if you agree with this, and then I'll respond to your latest post.

 

Cheers,

Gavagai 

 


Rude, offensive, irrational jackass.


flatlanderdox
Theist
Posts: 91
Joined: 2007-05-15
User is offlineOffline
Hey Scott! I’ll try to

Hey Scott! I’ll try to keep this one short and sweet.

I’m trying to figure out how best to illustrate why atheist epistemology doesn’t make sense to me… Perhaps it would best be done with a series of questions and responses as a kind of case study or “for instance.” I’ll ask you a question, and you respond in your “atheistic simplicity.”

Ok then. I’ll begin with a simple and obvious question: Does the Earth revolve around the Sun, or vice versa?

edit: I'll go ahead and pose the obvious follow-up question, "Why do you believe that?"

Ockham's Razor is only as sharp as you are.


CrimsonEdge
CrimsonEdge's picture
Posts: 499
Joined: 2007-01-02
User is offlineOffline
flatlanderdox wrote: Ok

flatlanderdox wrote:

Ok then. I’ll begin with a simple and obvious question: Does the Earth revolve around the Sun, or vice versa?

edit: I'll go ahead and pose the obvious follow-up question, "Why do you believe that?"

If you don't mind, I'd like to answer this Laughing.

The Earth revolves around the sun. I don't believe this, I know this. How do I know this?  Observation along with science and common knowledge advancing past the point of simple "belief" that the sun revolves around the earth.

Also, we're moving insanely fast through space.


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Gavagai

Gavagai wrote:

Unfortunately, not a single philosopher of religion (theist or naturalist) believes this is the only way for theists to go about answering the problem of evil. Really, there are two general categories of responding to PoE. First, there is the project of giving theodicies. Second, there is theistic skepticism. One might further divide theistic skepticism into two sub-categories: moderate skepticism and austere skepticism. According to moderate skeptics, there may be different reasons for why God allows evil, but we don't have enough information to assert with confidence that any one of those possible reasons is (or is not) the actual reason God has. According to austere skepticism, the possible reasons God has for permitting some evil are in principle unknowable by us. There are also combinations and variations of these categories. This is a rough idea of the terrain, and most philosophers who discuss the PoE work with something like these categories.

Subscribers to either of these brands of "theistic skepticism" are then bound to admit they can know nothing about God, or else violate their own principles. If we can't know why God permitted evil, why can we know that God is good? If we can't know why God couldn't create the universe without a good/evil dicotomy, why can we know that he created the universe at all? If we can't know why God didn't make the universe such that free will, and therefore sin, are unnecessary, then we can't know why Jesus had to die on the cross.

If God is an ineffable, inpenetrable mystery, why do we presume to know anything about him at all? And, given that we know nothing, how do we defend the need for religious practice?

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian wrote: Gavagai

Tilberian wrote:
Gavagai wrote:

Unfortunately, not a single philosopher of religion (theist or naturalist) believes this is the only way for theists to go about answering the problem of evil. Really, there are two general categories of responding to PoE. First, there is the project of giving theodicies. Second, there is theistic skepticism. One might further divide theistic skepticism into two sub-categories: moderate skepticism and austere skepticism. According to moderate skeptics, there may be different reasons for why God allows evil, but we don't have enough information to assert with confidence that any one of those possible reasons is (or is not) the actual reason God has. According to austere skepticism, the possible reasons God has for permitting some evil are in principle unknowable by us. There are also combinations and variations of these categories. This is a rough idea of the terrain, and most philosophers who discuss the PoE work with something like these categories.

Subscribers to either of these brands of "theistic skepticism" are then bound to admit they can know nothing about God, or else violate their own principles. If we can't know why God permitted evil, why can we know that God is good? If we can't know why God couldn't create the universe without a good/evil dicotomy, why can we know that he created the universe at all? If we can't know why God didn't make the universe such that free will, and therefore sin, are unnecessary, then we can't know why Jesus had to die on the cross.

Hi Tilberian, mind if I butt in?  I agree with you, and though I agree with Gavagai also that rebutting the premise is valid, I still avoid leaning heavily on skeptical theism. I'm sure it will provide a nice ache under the arms if used for a crutch too long, but not much else.

So this is the theodicy (partially formed so go easy) that I'm gradually working on regaining the use of my legs with.

Again we start with the multiverse concept and I'll skip your first question and hop straight to your second:

How can we know why God couldn't create a universe without a good/evil dichotomy?

This can be rebutted on the strength of the multiverse, we don't have to know why God couldn't create such a universe simply because we can know he probably did, contingent universes absolutely provide for any conceivable corruptionless universe that could exist.

So, I will anticipate your next question may be: how does that provide an "out" for god putting us in this universe instead of the corruptionless one?

This one is easy, because this universe is intensional to self, can't take away one without taking away both. Hence to take away the universe with the good/evil dichotomy is to take away the your self which you know right now. In the other corruptionless universe your self must be different to the one you know. You would not know this self there unless you had experienced it here. So me/you, Tilberian and Eloise who are Tilberian and Eloise and not some disconnect of those same - are. We are denied neither existence nor a possibly perfect universe where one or the other strictly could be denied us. 

Omnibenevolent enough?

I think so. But you be the judge of your own opinion.

Lets see what it does to all the other questions:

(1) If we can't know why God permitted evil, why can we know that God is good?

 We can know why God permitted evil. Since it exists in this universe it is necessary to our very existence. Hence a "why" God permitted evil could be "so I can exist". Why can we know that God is Good is provided in the conceivability of a corruptionless universe that equally allows us to exist exactly as we are. 

(2)  why can we know that he created the universe at all?

 becomes non-sequitur, and we don't even have to know. 

 (3) If we can't know why God didn't make the universe such that free will, and therefore sin, are unnecessary, then we can't know why Jesus had to die on the cross.

Okay, well we can know why the universe, where free will and sin are necessary, should exist for us to exist. We also don't need to know why he didn't make an alternative for we are actually in a position to posit that he did. Why Jesus died on the cross could also then be known as being a necessary component of our existence (a part of the universe in which we exist) and we could leave it at that. But that doesn't explain the whole sin cleaning ritual very well. Let me know if you want me to go further with this for you. 

 

 

 

Quote:

And, given that we know nothing, how do we defend the need for religious practice?

 

I refuse to defend the existence of a need for religious practice. I will qualify that

1. there possibly has been a need for it in history, and

2. that there is a need for religious practice to have existed in the history of the universe from which my existence emerges.

But beyond that, I see only a need to understand the reality of these two things better and no further need for religious practice.

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Eloise wrote: This one is

Eloise wrote:

This one is easy, because this universe is intensional to self, can't take away one without taking away both.

Oops. You used the word "can't" in reference to God's abilities. You can't do that, unless you are positing a limited God. Are you?

Eloise wrote:

Omnibenevolent enough?

Sure. But definitely not omnipotent.

Eloise wrote:

Lets see what it does to all the other questions:

(1) If we can't know why God permitted evil, why can we know that God is good?

We can know why God permitted evil. Since it exists in this universe it is necessary to our very existence. Hence a "why" God permitted evil could be "so I can exist". Why can we know that God is Good is provided in the conceivability of a corruptionless universe that equally allows us to exist exactly as we are.

Darn, there's those pesky "necessary"s and "allows" again. Are you saying that it was impossible for God to make us the way we are without permitting evil? I thought God could do anything!

Also, I'm not sure how our existing in a corruptionless universe mitigates the actual evil and suffering that occur in this one. So everything is peachy somewhere else...so what? Why couldn't God have made everything perfect here?

Eloise wrote:

(2) why can we know that he created the universe at all?

becomes non-sequitur, and we don't even have to know.

What? Why does God interest us in the slightest if he isn't the creator of the universe?

Eloise wrote:

(3) If we can't know why God didn't make the universe such that free will, and therefore sin, are unnecessary, then we can't know why Jesus had to die on the cross.

Okay, well we can know why the universe, where free will and sin are necessary, should exist for us to exist.

I'm sorry but you have not explained that except to say it's OK as long as there's an alternate universe where this is not the case. Why can't God have made us the way we are without the necessity for free will and sin? Hint: there's no answer to this question that preseves God's omnipotence.

Eloise wrote:

We also don't need to know why he didn't make an alternative for we are actually in a position to posit that he did.

I don't care about an alternative. I want to know why this universe has to have evil in it.

Eloise wrote:

Why Jesus died on the cross could also then be known as being a necessary component of our existence (a part of the universe in which we exist) and we could leave it at that. But that doesn't explain the whole sin cleaning ritual very well. Let me know if you want me to go further with this for you.

Please do. I'll be interested to hear why Jesus' torture and death doesn't count as God's fault for not designing the universe such that it didn't need to happen.

Eloise wrote:

I refuse to defend the existence of a need for religious practice. I will qualify that

1. there possibly has been a need for it in history, and

There may have been a need for public education, nation-building, social services, medical care and other services that religious institutions provided historically, but you can show no need for the actual religious observances themselves without showing that a) God exists b) he's worthy of worship and c) we can have knowledge of his worthiness/unworthiness.

Eloise wrote:

2. that there is a need for religious practice to have existed in the history of the universe from which my existence emerges.

But beyond that, I see only a need to understand the reality of these two things better and no further need for religious practice.

OK, as long as we're agreed that religious practice is pointless in a condition where God is Mystery.  

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian wrote:

Tilberian wrote:
Eloise wrote:

This one is easy, because this universe is intensional to self, can't take away one without taking away both.

Oops. You used the word "can't" in reference to God's abilities. You can't do that, unless you are positing a limited God. Are you?

Eloise wrote:

Omnibenevolent enough?

Sure. But definitely not omnipotent.

Eloise wrote:

Lets see what it does to all the other questions:

(1) If we can't know why God permitted evil, why can we know that God is good?

We can know why God permitted evil. Since it exists in this universe it is necessary to our very existence. Hence a "why" God permitted evil could be "so I can exist". Why can we know that God is Good is provided in the conceivability of a corruptionless universe that equally allows us to exist exactly as we are.

Darn, there's those pesky "necessary"s and "allows" again. Are you saying that it was impossible for God to make us the way we are without permitting evil? I thought God could do anything!

Also, I'm not sure how our existing in a corruptionless universe mitigates the actual evil and suffering that occur in this one. So everything is peachy somewhere else...so what? Why couldn't God have made everything perfect here?

Okay, this is a reasonable reply. To answer it I just add properties to my previous start on Omnibenevolence.

1. We are not denied the will to define ourselves.

This solves the first issue as by defining ourselves we define the universe we live in. It also begs the question of God's omnipotence again, if he put the isomorphisms in place then why could he not match me and you with the properties of the corruptionless universe. Essentially this is answered because if we defined our self we therefore defined a self which is ostensibly contingent to the evil we live in, this (fine-tuning) is hard to break, thus, consider your sense of self identification, take atheism for example. Your atheism has contributed greatly to who you are, without it, you wouldn't be defined as the person you are, you wouldn't have the feelings ideas and inner integrity that is precisely you in definition. If you emerged from a world without theocratic evil-doing you would not feel compelled to identify on RRS as an atheist, the essential you which exists right here and now. If a universe without theocratic evil did not exist, then that essential you would spring up from void, even if God created that you in a perfect universe fully formed, you are still denied something, the experience of becoming. If he implants it in you in the perfect universe, you still experience it even if only as a memory, memories are real enough and the reality of this universe is questionable enough to be existing only as a memory. Therefore you cannot escape the experience of becoming you, even if you have and are now only reliving it in your mind in the corruptionless universe, If a creator God escaped it for you, he is denying you something and that strikes his omnibenevolence. So even an omnipotent God wouldn't throw us full formed into a perfect universe if he was omnibenevolent, because to do so is to deny us and by denying us he is not omnibenevolent.

2. In infinite possibility this is one universe in which our equivalent self can exist.

We've looked at one conceivable instance of how our equivalent self can exist in another universe, ie a memory. Another conceivable existence in another universe is a dream of you. Your equivalent self can concievably exist in the incorruptible universe in either of these forms, therefore God could have put you there also, and it need not impinge on his omnibenevolence or omnipotence that you are here, now.

 

Eloise wrote:
Quote:

(2) why can we know that he created the universe at all?

becomes non-sequitur, and we don't even have to know.

What? Why does God interest us in the slightest if he isn't the creator of the universe?

What interests us in this thread is wether it's irrational to believe in a God, so I'm keeping to that purpose. I'm not here to preach, I don't believe it matters in this instance to call it God or believe it is God behind creation, what matters is only whether doing so is irrational or not, as long as it's not proven irrational it doesn't need to be restated a posteriori.

 

Eloise wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

Why Jesus died on the cross could also then be known as being a necessary component of our existence (a part of the universe in which we exist) and we could leave it at that. But that doesn't explain the whole sin cleaning ritual very well. Let me know if you want me to go further with this for you.

Please do. I'll be interested to hear why Jesus' torture and death doesn't count as God's fault for not designing the universe such that it didn't need to happen.

Okay, this is definitely cutting closer to the bone of defining torture and death in multiverse terms. By the above two statements of omnibenevolence. 1. That we can define ourselves and 2. That in infinite possibility this is one universe where an equivalent self can exist. we can assume the same properties for torture and death because they too are intensional to the universe in which they exist. There are beautiful tortures in this universe which we can draw on to conceive of an equivalent self in inifinite probability that was also Jesus. For example, tears of happiness. Getting choked up over a tragedy and getting choked up over a wonderful event are two things which are physically equivalent in the internal self of being, both are internal feelings of emotional agony, but one is nice and one is awful; apart from the exterior events that are intensional to them they are virtually indistinguishable. We can concieve of this in our universe thus we can concieve of a universe where in equivalent self Jesus' torture was overwhelmingly good, and Jesus equivalently existed in that universe, again perhaps as a memory or dream both are conceivable.

If we go on to death we will be using half definitions, so I will leave it at that, death is not something we will easily agree on a definition for.

 

Eloise wrote:
Quote:

I refuse to defend the existence of a need for religious practice. I will qualify that

1. there possibly has been a need for it in history, and

There may have been a need for public education, nation-building, social services, medical care and other services that religious institutions provided historically, but you can show no need for the actual religious observances themselves without showing that a) God exists b) he's worthy of worship and c) we can have knowledge of his worthiness/unworthiness.

Eloise wrote:

2. that there is a need for religious practice to have existed in the history of the universe from which my existence emerges.

But beyond that, I see only a need to understand the reality of these two things better and no further need for religious practice.

OK, as long as we're agreed that religious practice is pointless in a condition where God is Mystery.

I think it's pointless both ways. Where God is a (__) mystery and where he is no longer a religious mystery. It's middle ground, but we are just about past it as far as I am concerned.

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Eloise wrote: So even an

Eloise wrote:
So even an omnipotent God wouldn't throw us full formed into a perfect universe if he was omnibenevolent, because to do so is to deny us and by denying us he is not omnibenevolent.

You still aren't getting it, Eloise. Why couldn't God have created the universe such that he could place us in a perfect universe and still avoid "denying" us? Maybe you and I can't think of a solution, but God should be able to. That is, unless there is no solution. In which case we have found something that God cannot do. In which case God is not omnipotent.

There is no answer to this question. An omnipotent God could have made a universe such that even the very rules of logic are different than they are. If this universe has evil, and God is omnipotent, it is because he wanted it that way. There is no other solution that works with God's omnipotence as it is described in the Bible and by Christian churches the world over.

Are you ready to admit that your version of God is not omnipotent?

Eloise wrote:

2. In infinite possibility this is one universe in which our equivalent self can exist.

We've looked at one conceivable instance of how our equivalent self can exist in another universe, ie a memory. Another conceivable existence in another universe is a dream of you. Your equivalent self can concievably exist in the incorruptible universe in either of these forms, therefore God could have put you there also, and it need not impinge on his omnibenevolence or omnipotence that you are here, now.

How does a "dream of me" existing in another universe in any mitigate the suffering I experience in this one? How can a "dream of me" even be rightly considered "me"?

Eloise wrote:

What interests us in this thread is wether it's irrational to believe in a God, so I'm keeping to that purpose. I'm not here to preach, I don't believe it matters in this instance to call it God or believe it is God behind creation, what matters is only whether doing so is irrational or not, as long as it's not proven irrational it doesn't need to be restated a posteriori.

But if God is omnipotent he is also the creator of the universe, since nothing in the universe can be other than how he wishes it and nothing in the universe can be unknown to him. Even if an omnipotent God were created today, he would still have this role, since time would be no barrier to such a being and the past would have to conform to his wishes just as much as the future.

Eloise wrote:

We can concieve of this in our universe thus we can concieve of a universe where in equivalent self Jesus' torture was overwhelmingly good, and Jesus equivalently existed in that universe, again perhaps as a memory or dream both are conceivable.

In multiverse theory, the other universes are, in fact, other universes. They are separate and distinct in a way that surpasses our imaginations. No interaction between universes is permitted. Their timelines are totally divergent.

What I'm saying is that the existence of any entity in a separate universe can have no relevance whatsoever to anything that happens in this one. Just because Jesus had a really fun torture and death in another universe does not, in any way, mitigate the fact that his torture (if it occurred) was agonizing in this one, and that God is fully responsible for it.

You are trying to do a ledger balancing where good in one universe mitigates bad in another. All this means is God is subject to the laws of economics. An omnipotent God should have been able to set things up so that there was no need for such accounting. 


Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian wrote:

Tilberian wrote:

Eloise wrote:
So even an omnipotent God wouldn't throw us full formed into a perfect universe if he was omnibenevolent, because to do so is to deny us and by denying us he is not omnibenevolent.

You still aren't getting it, Eloise. Why couldn't God have created the universe such that he could place us in a perfect universe and still avoid "denying" us? Maybe you and I can't think of a solution, but God should be able to. That is, unless there is no solution. In which case we have found something that God cannot do. In which case God is not omnipotent.

No, I'm definitely getting it, Tilberian. Okay let's try considering it this way. What is Benevolence?

be·nev·o·lence /bəˈnɛvələns/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[buh-nev-uh-luhns] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun

1.desire to do good to others; goodwill; charitableness: to be filled with benevolence toward one's fellow creatures.
2.an act of kindness; a charitable gift.
3.English History. a forced contribution to the sovereign.

 

So here we have the crux of the Problem of Evil, benevolence itself is a mitigation of power, ability to do - countered by - desire to do.

In a perfect world without the Good Evil Dichotomy the God of that world is benevolent but not Omnipotent. There is something he has not demonstrated he can do through that world, which is provide the environment for a discerning, rational consciousness to evolve. Frankly he would hardly be benevolent in that choice either because that choice is to is deny his protege a whole world of what can be.

In that world you and I would probably be arguing is God omniboring?, that is, if we were even capable of arguing, which technically we probably wouldn't be because our experience would be entirely uncontroversial.

Now here is where the problem of evil argument actually eats itself up a bit: If Omnibenevolent God would prevent suffering in my world and There is suffering in my world ... Conclusion. But. If Omnibenevolent God prevents suffering in my world and there is no sufferng in my world.. God is not omnibenevolent either, because there is no such thing as Omnibenevolent in that world and there is no such thing as strife and so no such thing as contention meaning there is no such thing as argument and no such thing as a party to debate in that case, which just took a big hunk out of your own identity and it's not your world at all.

This doesn't mean God is not omnipotent. It just means that the perfect world isn't so perfect for self-made thinking people to develop. God can still be omnipotent. He can put the people in that world and then insert thinking and critical debate into their systems, they wouldn't be self-made but hey what the heck we don't put any stock in that part of ourselves do we, it's much more important for everything to be bland and perfect.... so now what reason is there for thinking, there is no strife, there is no contention, who needs critical reasoning? So now you have a hunk of your own identity sticking out like a third arm, you are you, but what of it? It doesn't matter because all the utility you have is dancing around in your perfect existence.

Then God could be omnipotent and omnibenevolent and introduce some strife for you so that your identity has an outlet. And then what of it? You're arguing with others, your critical skills are utilised and your life is thrilling. But do you still have your perfect world without strife? No. You've got growing strife exponentially taking over your perfect world.

So then lets say omnipotent God preserves his perfect world and gives you strife to contend with at the same time, so both your identity and your perfect world are revered equally. How does he do that? Does he make your strife an illusion and then cause you to forget that so you can enjoy your utility for contention? Does he split into two worlds where you can utilise your critical mind and have your perfect world at the same time?

You're not asking the impossible of an omnipotent God, you are simply asking for what you ask to be impossible so a God can't be omnipotent.

 

Eloise wrote:
tilberian wrote:

2. In infinite possibility this is one universe in which our equivalent self can exist.

We've looked at one conceivable instance of how our equivalent self can exist in another universe, ie a memory. Another conceivable existence in another universe is a dream of you. Your equivalent self can concievably exist in the incorruptible universe in either of these forms, therefore God could have put you there also, and it need not impinge on his omnibenevolence or omnipotence that you are here, now.

How does a "dream of me" existing in another universe in any mitigate the suffering I experience in this one? How can a "dream of me" even be rightly considered "me"?

A dream of you can rightly be considered you. Dreamselves come with their own unique histories. But in any case the dream is not the preferable version of you for this specific consideration, the memory is.

There is no doubt that the memory is you and it being just a memory in a perfect moment most definitely can mitigate the suffering you experience in this world.

There are simple examples, like a game of Rugby League you go out onto the field on an icy winters night, you smash your body against other bigger guys for 40 solid minutes ripping at your tendons and bruising your bones. You walk off field a winner and somebody's hero. It's all mitigated, the crushing feeling of the big forward's hitup, the agony of sprinting for those last points with a twisted knee and a sore hamstring from the cold, all of it just a memory.

Or for a woman giving birth, your body gives up it's own fuel and blood for close to a year, sacrificing it's bones, teeth and richness of health for the life of a young child, then to add insult to injury (or vice versa as the case actually is) it cramps and pulls itself about for several hours until it is exhausted, virtually split up the middle, and somewhat close to death, then a baby lands in your arms and the rush of achievement and wonder mitigates the whole experience, including the weakened bones the bruised bladder and the hollowed tooth.

 

Eloise wrote:
Quote:

What interests us in this thread is wether it's irrational to believe in a God, so I'm keeping to that purpose. I'm not here to preach, I don't believe it matters in this instance to call it God or believe it is God behind creation, what matters is only whether doing so is irrational or not, as long as it's not proven irrational it doesn't need to be restated a posteriori.

But if God is omnipotent he is also the creator of the universe, since nothing in the universe can be other than how he wishes it and nothing in the universe can be unknown to him. Even if an omnipotent God were created today, he would still have this role, since time would be no barrier to such a being and the past would have to conform to his wishes just as much as the future.

What I meant was we are talking about whether a belief is rational. As long as the belief is rational it doesn't need to be stated over again as a matter of fact. We don't need to know it is God to believe it or not believe it, only that it can or can't be God and we aren't ignoring anything to the contrary of either.

 

Eloise wrote:
Quote:

We can concieve of this in our universe thus we can concieve of a universe where in equivalent self Jesus' torture was overwhelmingly good, and Jesus equivalently existed in that universe, again perhaps as a memory or dream both are conceivable.

In multiverse theory, the other universes are, in fact, other universes. They are separate and distinct in a way that surpasses our imaginations. No interaction between universes is permitted. Their timelines are totally divergent.

We do not know that they are separate and distinct in a way that surpasses our imagination. In fact we have good reason to think that close by universes are very indistinct from ours, with quite literal counterparts of ourselves residing within them distinct from us in only minor ways.

Also Quantum interference is an interaction, you and your counterpart in another universe most definitely do interact, on a scale which is subtle and indirect but nonetheless interaction. This much doesn't surpass our imagination it's a necessary result. If there was no transfer of this coherence among universes we wouldn't even know there was multiple universes and without it, one tiny fluctuation in our universe would spiral it into chaos and collapse.

Quote:

You are trying to do a ledger balancing where good in one universe mitigates bad in another. All this means is God is subject to the laws of economics. An omnipotent God should have been able to set things up so that there was no need for such accounting.

Yes I am trying to do a ledger balancing, but not because it is the wrong thing to do, rather because benevolence is a power economic. Those are the definitions we are working with, our own definitions pertaining strictly to our understanding.

An omnipotent God has the power to wipe out those definitions if he wishes, we are presuming for the moment that he is omnibenevolent enough or non-existent enough for those definitions to be fruitful for us to explore in regards to a God, so we take a blind assumption into this question, none of anything I, or you, say is absolute to an omnipotent God.

We are the finite minds here and we need to be aware of the finiteness of our own thinking and reasoning. It stands to reason that if our own finite abilities are incapable of taking this bull by the horns then we have concluded a less than omnibenevolent god anyway who allows us to put ourselves on the line to discuss nothing of any value. So you see we have to know our assumptions quite well. The less we know them the more error we get in our result. If our definitions are good enough then it's all academic and in no way irrational to believe in an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God.

Or I could just use the same argument the way Gavagai has proposed and rebut the premise of the problem of evil, but then we would only be arguing in the negative and would have to drop it's useless ar**.

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Eloise wrote: So here we

Eloise wrote:

So here we have the crux of the Problem of Evil, benevolence itself is a mitigation of power, ability to do - countered by - desire to do.

You still aren't there, Eloise. You haven't followed it all the way to its end. God made that definition. God set up this condition for benevolence. He didn't have to do it that way. He could have made the rules some other way. When you argue that he could not, you are placing limits on God.

Eloise wrote:

 There is something he has not demonstrated he can do through that world, which is provide the environment for a discerning, rational consciousness to evolve.

An omnipotent God could cause a rational consciousness to evolve in a perfect world.

Eloise wrote:

Frankly he would hardly be benevolent in that choice either because that choice is to is deny his protege a whole world of what can be.

An omnipotent God could make any choice he wanted and still be benevolent.

Eloise wrote:

In that world you and I would probably be arguing is God omniboring?, that is, if we were even capable of arguing, which technically we probably wouldn't be because our experience would be entirely uncontroversial.

An omnipotent God could make the perfect world also perfectly exciting and full of wonderful arguments.

Eloise wrote:

Now here is where the problem of evil argument actually eats itself up a bit: If Omnibenevolent God would prevent suffering in my world and There is suffering in my world ... Conclusion. But. If Omnibenevolent God prevents suffering in my world and there is no sufferng in my world.. God is not omnibenevolent either, because there is no such thing as Omnibenevolent in that world and there is no such thing as strife and so no such thing as contention meaning there is no such thing as argument and no such thing as a party to debate in that case, which just took a big hunk out of your own identity and it's not your world at all.

An omnipotent God could make a world with no suffering and still be omnibenevolent.

Eloise wrote:

 So now you have a hunk of your own identity sticking out like a third arm, you are you, but what of it? It doesn't matter because all the utility you have is dancing around in your perfect existence.

An omnipotent God could preserve all identity in a perfect world.

Eloise wrote:

Then God could be omnipotent and omnibenevolent and introduce some strife for you so that your identity has an outlet. And then what of it? You're arguing with others, your critical skills are utilised and your life is thrilling. But do you still have your perfect world without strife? No. You've got growing strife exponentially taking over your perfect world.

An omnipotent God could keep the strife fun and not let it become bothersome.

Eloise wrote:

So then lets say omnipotent God preserves his perfect world and gives you strife to contend with at the same time, so both your identity and your perfect world are revered equally. How does he do that? Does he make your strife an illusion and then cause you to forget that so you can enjoy your utility for contention? Does he split into two worlds where you can utilise your critical mind and have your perfect world at the same time?

I don't know how he would do it. I only know that he could, since an omnipotent God can do anything.

Eloise wrote:

You're not asking the impossible of an omnipotent God, you are simply asking for what you ask to be impossible so a God can't be omnipotent.

That statment doesn't make any sense as it stands. I think what you are trying to say is that I'm asking for a perfect world to be possible so that I can accuse God of not being omnipotent because he didn't provide it.

But God defined what is possible and not possible when he created the universe. If it isn't possible, that's because God made it that way. And omnipotent God could have made a perfect universe possible. 

Eloise wrote:

There are simple examples, like a game of Rugby League you go out onto the field on an icy winters night, you smash your body against other bigger guys for 40 solid minutes ripping at your tendons and bruising your bones. You walk off field a winner and somebody's hero. It's all mitigated, the crushing feeling of the big forward's hitup, the agony of sprinting for those last points with a twisted knee and a sore hamstring from the cold, all of it just a memory.

Oh dear, this is a very weak argument. Are you seriously trying to say that pain is literally wiped away if it is suffered in a good cause? Please. There is a very big difference between feeling that pain is worth it and feeling no pain at all. Anyone who is sane would prefer the outcome without the pain. Just ask my wife after two kids. And an omnipotent God would be able to deliver any good feeling with no necessity for associated pain. 

Eloise wrote:

What I meant was we are talking about whether a belief is rational. As long as the belief is rational it doesn't need to be stated over again as a matter of fact. We don't need to know it is God to believe it or not believe it, only that it can or can't be God and we aren't ignoring anything to the contrary of either.

And what I'm pointing out is that omnipotence is an incoherent, illogical concept that can describe nothing, since anything omnipotent can be equally its opposite. Belief in belings with illogical properties is fundamentally irrational, since rational beliefs must conform to logic by definition.

 

Eloise wrote:

We do not know that they are separate and distinct in a way that surpasses our imagination. In fact we have good reason to think that close by universes are very indistinct from ours, with quite literal counterparts of ourselves residing within them distinct from us in only minor ways.

Also Quantum interference is an interaction, you and your counterpart in another universe most definitely do interact, on a scale which is subtle and indirect but nonetheless interaction. This much doesn't surpass our imagination it's a necessary result. If there was no transfer of this coherence among universes we wouldn't even know there was multiple universes and without it, one tiny fluctuation in our universe would spiral it into chaos and collapse.

Conjecture, conjecture, conjecture. All this speculation and a buck fifty will buy you a cup of coffee. This is no way to form beliefs about the real universe. And no way to defend a belief in God. As I've pointed out earlier, multiverse theory does not exempt God from the Problem of Evil. 

Eloise wrote:

Yes I am trying to do a ledger balancing, but not because it is the wrong thing to do, rather because benevolence is a power economic. Those are the definitions we are working with, our own definitions pertaining strictly to our understanding.

Definitions and understanding created by God.

Eloise wrote:

An omnipotent God has the power to wipe out those definitions if he wishes, we are presuming for the moment that he is omnibenevolent enough or non-existent enough for those definitions to be fruitful for us to explore in regards to a God, so we take a blind assumption into this question, none of anything I, or you, say is absolute to an omnipotent God.

Yes! You said it! Our belief in an omnipotent God rests on an assumption. Or rather, a presumption. One problem: we can't hold such a presumption rationally, since it is held a priori to reason.

Eloise wrote:

We are the finite minds here and we need to be aware of the finiteness of our own thinking and reasoning. It stands to reason that if our own finite abilities are incapable of taking this bull by the horns then we have concluded a less than omnibenevolent god anyway who allows us to put ourselves on the line to discuss nothing of any value. So you see we have to know our assumptions quite well. The less we know them the more error we get in our result. If our definitions are good enough then it's all academic and in no way irrational to believe in an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God.

But if our definitions are logically incoherent, no rational belief can attach to them. Omnipotence is logically incoherent.

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian wrote:

Tilberian wrote:
Eloise wrote:

So here we have the crux of the Problem of Evil, benevolence itself is a mitigation of power, ability to do - countered by - desire to do.

You still aren't there, Eloise. You haven't followed it all the way to its end. God made that definition. God set up this condition for benevolence. He didn't have to do it that way. He could have made the rules some other way. When you argue that he could not, you are placing limits on God.

Eloise wrote:

There is something he has not demonstrated he can do through that world, which is provide the environment for a discerning, rational consciousness to evolve.

An omnipotent God could cause a rational consciousness to evolve in a perfect world.

Eloise wrote:

Frankly he would hardly be benevolent in that choice either because that choice is to is deny his protege a whole world of what can be.

An omnipotent God could make any choice he wanted and still be benevolent.

 

Eloise wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

In that world you and I would probably be arguing is God omniboring?, that is, if we were even capable of arguing, which technically we probably wouldn't be because our experience would be entirely uncontroversial.

An omnipotent God could make the perfect world also perfectly exciting and full of wonderful arguments.

But this is where you aren't getting what I am saying. Presume that world and tell me if you are in it? If you can imagine a way that you are in that perfect world without appealing to the supernatural then this world could have been created by an ominpotent omnibenevolent God; This world, the one we know and observe right now. There is a way and I have shown you it.

There is no point trying to imagine some incoherent non existing world that this one should have been, what does that have to do with any god of this world? It has to be this world it has to be natural and real to this world because this world was created by the same supposed entity, if there is an omnipotent omnibenevolent God this world is not some second rate mishap it's the grand design and in it's own nature we should see the grand design, or else there isn't one.

 

Eloise wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

Now here is where the problem of evil argument actually eats itself up a bit: If Omnibenevolent God would prevent suffering in my world and There is suffering in my world ... Conclusion. But. If Omnibenevolent God prevents suffering in my world and there is no sufferng in my world.. God is not omnibenevolent either, because there is no such thing as Omnibenevolent in that world and there is no such thing as strife and so no such thing as contention meaning there is no such thing as argument and no such thing as a party to debate in that case, which just took a big hunk out of your own identity and it's not your world at all.

An omnipotent God could make a world with no suffering and still be omnibenevolent.

Yes, but just to reiterate my point, if that God is the god of this world then that is already true in our own natural reality. If it is already true then it is conceivable that the creator of this world is an omnipotent omnibenevolent God entity.

 

Eloise wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

So now you have a hunk of your own identity sticking out like a third arm, you are you, but what of it? It doesn't matter because all the utility you have is dancing around in your perfect existence.

An omnipotent God could preserve all identity in a perfect world.

Again, if he did it in this world then we should be able to concieve of it in this world. We can, so it's plausible already without appealing to a supernatural alternative to this world in order to make it true.

 

Eloise wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

You're not asking the impossible of an omnipotent God, you are simply asking for what you ask to be impossible so a God can't be omnipotent.

That statment doesn't make any sense as it stands. I think what you are trying to say is that I'm asking for a perfect world to be possible so that I can accuse God of not being omnipotent because he didn't provide it.

What I have written above shoud help to clarify this.

Tilberian wrote:

But God defined what is possible and not possible when he created the universe. If it isn't possible, that's because God made it that way.

Exactly. And Vice versa if it is possible...... you see?

 

Eloise wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

There are simple examples, like a game of Rugby League you go out onto the field on an icy winters night, you smash your body against other bigger guys for 40 solid minutes ripping at your tendons and bruising your bones. You walk off field a winner and somebody's hero. It's all mitigated, the crushing feeling of the big forward's hitup, the agony of sprinting for those last points with a twisted knee and a sore hamstring from the cold, all of it just a memory.

Oh dear, this is a very weak argument. Are you seriously trying to say that pain is literally wiped away if it is suffered in a good cause? Please. There is a very big difference between feeling that pain is worth it and feeling no pain at all. Anyone who is sane would prefer the outcome without the pain. Just ask my wife after two kids. And an omnipotent God would be able to deliver any good feeling with no necessity for associated pain.

Yes, quite true, but that wasn't my point (I've had three 24hr+ labours). I wasn't saying the pain was a necessity, do you think if Rugby League players felt pain was all bad that they'd vie enthusiastically for team positions in even tougher and more dangerous representative games? Pain is not a necessity it's an intensity of experience, a different thing altogether. To a degree it is a more a desirable thing than a necessary one, but only to a degree. If God was taking statistics on what kind of worlds we wanted to live in I would be voting for ones with challenges and intense adversity as long as there is always a right of reply. That is the world we have.

 

Eloise wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

What I meant was we are talking about whether a belief is rational. As long as the belief is rational it doesn't need to be stated over again as a matter of fact. We don't need to know it is God to believe it or not believe it, only that it can or can't be God and we aren't ignoring anything to the contrary of either.

And what I'm pointing out is that omnipotence is an incoherent, illogical concept that can describe nothing, since anything omnipotent can be equally its opposite. Belief in belings with illogical properties is fundamentally irrational, since rational beliefs must conform to logic by definition.

I didn't understand that to be what you meant originally. But anyhow, that is why I am saying we need to be careful to know our assumptions including the blind ones. If we take incoherent steps we will get incoherent results.

Tilberian wrote:

Yes! You said it! Our belief in an omnipotent God rests on an assumption. Or rather, a presumption. One problem: we can't hold such a presumption rationally, since it is held a priori to reason.

Ahem.. the same assumption/presumption that a priori 'No God' rests on. You must abstract your identities and assume unknown coherence of them to do logical analysis, you must assume an unknown coherence to everything do any spiritual contemplation. Same thing both ways. Everyone is assuming unknowns in this conjecture. You too, not just me. In fact this argument of yours is rather like Gavagai's rebuttal. If noone else is willing to accept that rebuttal then why should I accept this one?

 

 

Eloise wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

We are the finite minds here and we need to be aware of the finiteness of our own thinking and reasoning. It stands to reason that if our own finite abilities are incapable of taking this bull by the horns then we have concluded a less than omnibenevolent god anyway who allows us to put ourselves on the line to discuss nothing of any value. So you see we have to know our assumptions quite well. The less we know them the more error we get in our result. If our definitions are good enough then it's all academic and in no way irrational to believe in an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God.

But if our definitions are logically incoherent, no rational belief can attach to them. Omnipotence is logically incoherent.

 

As I noted, this leads back to the same place Gavagai and Scottmax stopped at. Omnipotence is logically incoherent, therefore there is no problem of evil. Are we satisfied with this now?

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


Gavagai
Theist
Gavagai's picture
Posts: 183
Joined: 2006-04-17
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian,  You say

Tilberian,

 You say "omnipotence is logically incoherent". Would you mind explaining why you think people should believe this? You can begin by stating the definition of omnipotence you have in mind. Then, given that definition of omnipotence, post an argument with numbered premises, and specify any inference rules you employ to arrive at the conclusion that omnipotence is incoherent. 

I also noticed your opinion above that theistic skepticism is problematic. Of course, the reason I mentioned it in my last post was not to provide a robust defense for it there, but merely to lay out the dialectical terrain for Scottmax. If you go back and read my post carefully, you'll see that I made this very clear. While I'm  waiting for Scottmax to get back to me on that, we can talk about omnipotence.

Cheers,

 Gavagai
 

Rude, offensive, irrational jackass.


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Eloise wrote:

Eloise wrote:

As I noted, this leads back to the same place Gavagai and Scottmax stopped at. Omnipotence is logically incoherent, therefore there is no problem of evil. Are we satisfied with this now?

Looks like we've been arguing for nothing. If you aren't holding out for an omnipotent God, then I agree that there is no problem of evil.

Now all we need is some evidence for the existence of this being and we're well on our way to being able to hold a rational belief in him. Having dispensed with the supernatural aspect of his existence, we can legitimately expect him to leave evidence of his works, if he exists. 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Gavagai wrote: Tilberian,

Gavagai wrote:

Tilberian,

You say "omnipotence is logically incoherent". Would you mind explaining why you think people should believe this? You can begin by stating the definition of omnipotence you have in mind. Then, given that definition of omnipotence, post an argument with numbered premises, and specify any inference rules you employ to arrive at the conclusion that omnipotence is incoherent.

Omnipotent means able to do anything. 

Therefore God can make a rock he can't lift.

Doesn't work.

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian wrote: Eloise

Tilberian wrote:
Eloise wrote:

As I noted, this leads back to the same place Gavagai and Scottmax stopped at. Omnipotence is logically incoherent, therefore there is no problem of evil. Are we satisfied with this now?

Looks like we've been arguing for nothing. If you aren't holding out for an omnipotent God, then I agree that there is no problem of evil.

Now all we need is some evidence for the existence of this being and we're well on our way to being able to hold a rational belief in him. Having dispensed with the supernatural aspect of his existence, we can legitimately expect him to leave evidence of his works, if he exists.

I wasn't dispensing with the omni-aspects of his existence I was attempting to demonstrate how circling back on them to rebut each argument is what you were cynical about at first and then what you did in your argument anyway.

 If you want we can continue. If we are going to continue I just have to address this point:

 When you argue that he could not, you are placing limits on God.

 I don't think you are understanding completely that when I say could not in relation to omnipotence/omnibenevolence, I mean 'could not have done' rather than 'could not do'.  My first argument was that God 'could do' all that was conceivable in terms of omnipotence and omnibenevolence. So the problem of evil and my argument stand on the same ground, with one minor exception, the 'corruptionless existence' in my point has more chance of actually existing.

Because our world and ourselves are intensional we (I said "you" originally) cannot separate them, if God could all well and rosy but what is that to us but an appeal to the supernatural?  We cannot separate them so for the moment we assume either that a: they cannot be separated (naturalistic view) or b: God did not separate them (theistic view) it comes out the same, some absolute definition prevents us from separating them. So we take them together and see if that is benevolent and it is, our self made identity is attached to our experience. 

Omnipotence as you said, does not preclude preservation of identity under any circumstances. So then there must exist an equal you in the corruptionless world preserved, self made and identifiably you. This is also feasible in multiple respects, so omnipotence is a feasible attribute for a proposed God entity that created the world we know, just because he is omnipotent does not mean he did not do both.

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


Gavagai
Theist
Gavagai's picture
Posts: 183
Joined: 2006-04-17
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian

Tilberian wrote:

Omnipotent means able to do anything. 

 Please link me to at least one contemporary, theistic philosopher who thinks this is is what omnipotence means.

Quote:
Therefore God can make a rock he can't lift.

Doesn't work.

What you've demonstrated, Tilberian, is that your personal definition of omnipotence -- which is the sort of definition one might hear during an extremely unsophisticated Sunday school sermon -- is incoherent. Do you think you've thereby presented a serious intellectual challenge for theists?

Rude, offensive, irrational jackass.


scottmax
scottmax's picture
Posts: 164
Joined: 2007-03-12
User is offlineOffline
Gavagai wrote:

Gavagai wrote:

Theodicies aren't the only ways of going about answering the PoE. Skepticism is another way to go about answering it. It doesn't follow from the fact that a theist advances skepticism, that she "refuses to answer" the argument. Just let me know if you agree with this, and then I'll respond to your latest post.

Nope, I don't agree. I tried to make that clear. This is a serious logical problem and just saying you are skeptical that it is a serious logical problem is nothing more that refusing to answer. If there is no conceivable way for a hypothesis to be true, the only rational thing to do is to reject the idea. So I say theists need to either conceive a way for their proposition to be true, or admit that they are taking the irrational position of believing that it is true in spite of all logical evidence to the contrary.

 And no, I would not care if every philosopher on the planet agreed that your skepticism was an adequate rebuttal.


scottmax
scottmax's picture
Posts: 164
Joined: 2007-03-12
User is offlineOffline
Gavagai wrote: Please

Gavagai wrote:

Please link me to at least one contemporary, theistic philosopher who thinks this is is what omnipotence means.

Gavagai, how about if you just give us your coherent definition of omnipotence so that we can actually have a basis for conversation.  That should make things a lot easier. 


Gavagai
Theist
Gavagai's picture
Posts: 183
Joined: 2006-04-17
User is offlineOffline
Scottmax,

Scottmax,

The point was not whether it's adequate. Nor did I say that every philosopher would think it's an adequate rebuttal. The point is that it's a way of responding to the argument from evil. All philosophers who discuss the argument agree on this much. In general, all philosophers and logicians agree that questioning the truth of a premise of an argument, rather than utterly falsifying that premise, counts as a kind of response to an argument. Why don't you?

Please provide your reasons for thinking that when a person questions the truth of a premise in an argument, rather than falsifying the premise, that person has "refused to" respond to that argument. While you're at it, cite just a single logician who would accept this view.

 

Rude, offensive, irrational jackass.


Gavagai
Theist
Gavagai's picture
Posts: 183
Joined: 2006-04-17
User is offlineOffline
Quote: Gavagai, how about

Quote:
Gavagai, how about if you just give us your coherent definition of omnipotence so that we can actually have a basis for conversation.  That should make things a lot easier.

  I already did. 

Rude, offensive, irrational jackass.


scottmax
scottmax's picture
Posts: 164
Joined: 2007-03-12
User is offlineOffline
Gavagai

Gavagai wrote:

Quote:
Gavagai, how about if you just give us your coherent definition of omnipotence so that we can actually have a basis for conversation. That should make things a lot easier.

I already did.

Not that I could understand.  You said that omnipotence "involves the ability to do anything within broadly logical possibility".  I already tried to restate that position as "must produce a system of reality that is internally consistent" but you apparently did not like my attempt to nail down exactly what you mean.  So please explain what you mean.  If I cannot understand your definition of omnipotence then I cannot argue against it.  If your definition is so fuzzy as to have become denuded of meaning then you will have created an unassailable wall of mud.

 


scottmax
scottmax's picture
Posts: 164
Joined: 2007-03-12
User is offlineOffline
Gavagai wrote: In general,

Gavagai wrote:

In general, all philosophers and logicians agree that questioning the truth of a premise of an argument, rather than utterly falsifying that premise, counts as a kind of response to an argument. Why don't you?

Of course you can question the premise. But you need to give logical reasons why the premise might be false. That does not entail proving that God had to allow animal suffering, in this case. But you must provide at least some possible explanation. Otherwise, you are simply saying "I question your premise" and leaving it at that.

You can answer any criticism in that way. I can say, "God requiring that Muslims kill unmarried women who are not virgins is counter to the concept of an all-loving God." You can respond, "I am skeptical of your argument because God might have a good reason for requiring that." Great. We are nowhere now.


Gavagai
Theist
Gavagai's picture
Posts: 183
Joined: 2006-04-17
User is offlineOffline
Scottmax, Looks like we

Scottmax,

Looks like we might be making some progress.

Quote:
Otherwise, you are simply saying "I question your premise" and leaving it at that.

Not quite. What I'm saying is that I would like to see a good reason why I should believe a particular premise is true. This is a totally legitimate way of responding to an argument. All logicians and philosophers -- and ordinary rational people who understand how arguments work -- agree with this. You're right that things don't end there. It would then be up to you to provide good reasons to believe that the premise in question is true. Please concede this extremely plausible point so we can jump back to the main discussion.

Rude, offensive, irrational jackass.


Wyzaard
Posts: 58
Joined: 2007-06-08
User is offlineOffline
Eloise wrote: I can't say

Eloise wrote:

I can't say you're wrong really, I can only say that a natural basis for quite specific ontologies isn't covered by this argument, not to the degree that for example the horse/man angelic being's specific purpose is so explicitly equivalent in so many cultures. It covers the Horse/man on it's own, or it covers the purpose on its own, but the very definite and unchanging conjunction of the two it doesn't. It is things like this that lead Jung and Campbell to their theories of the Gnostic Aeon Archetype, the Syzygy emanations of God. Emanations in the sense that is synonymous with message, and therefore Angels and like. Jung and Campbell put forward the syzygy as a symbolic psychological androgyny, an immaterial psychic projection which puts it at odds with physicalist theories. From the physicalist view point the natural world should rightly be the source of these strange congruences but half horse half men Angels in reality with the specific purpose of capturing fire/energy secrets and messages to convey to humanity Is not a physical thing as far as we can tell (outside a major axiom of quantum 'many histories' theory).

 Hmmm... I can't say I've seen any convergences 'specific' enough in this sense to warrent looking for non-natural sources, particularly when it comes to our amazing capacities for pattern-incorporation/mixing, both with shared entities and concepts.  And how are we to independantly verify/justify non-natural explanations outside of the presense of these 'emanations'?   

 

Quote:
We do have loads of external data to mine for some idea of an omni-justification. But we are suspicious and discriminating beings, so that is a lot harder than it sounds in theory.

Sounds impossible... how are we to justifiably arbitrate the correspondance between empirical phenomina and metaphyscial causes?  We can mine away all we like... but without some sort of omni-justified methodology, we're coming up with pretty rocks and little else. 

 

Quote:
Actually it does do so in reverse to a degree, but there are good reasons behind not admitting those parallels into science as you can probably imagine. Individuals generally would have to explore this on their own. It's much more healthy for all concerned to separate them officially, but they are distinguishably related in an unofficial sense.

How do we determine this to any reasonable degree, assuming that we even know what 'any reasonable degree' means here?  They are 'unofficial' in what sense?  

 

Quote:
For all intents and purposes we can call it a more specific reality as opposed to a greater one. For the reductionists.

 Why should one choose one specific reality over another, on what grounds and why?

Quote:
I have my doubts about others, in a nutshell, I don't find them satisfactory. It's not enough to say that historical humanity lived inside their own minds unlike us, and thats how they came up with all this bogus junk, because then where did observation spawn as a first principle. It's almost like saying Jesus changed the holy covenant and relegating the credit to someone else past tense. We have to strike a balance somewhere, and mythological culture appears to defy subject-object balance. But then perhaps it doesn't.

I'm curious about how you define 'satisfactory', 'balance', as well as why you seem to label our cobbled epistmologies 'bogus junk'... we do what we can, after all.  We structure our phenominal world with all manners of cognitive frameworks that borrow, expand upon, merge and digress in all sorts of ways.  Celebrate our imagination!


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Eloise wrote: We cannot

Eloise wrote:

We cannot separate them so for the moment we assume either that a: they cannot be separated (naturalistic view) or b: God did not separate them (theistic view)

So the theistic view is that God could have created the world such that evil is not necessary but didn't.

Why not? You must answer without limiting God's power to do so, or accept that the theist view is that God is not omnipotent.

I'll simply repeat that setting up a situation where evil is here and not there is not the same as having no evil at all.

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian wrote: Eloise

Tilberian wrote:
Eloise wrote:

We cannot separate them so for the moment we assume either that a: they cannot be separated (naturalistic view) or b: God did not separate them (theistic view)

So the theistic view is that God could have created the world such that evil is not necessary but didn't.

No, did and didn't (didn't apparently at least) which sets us up for the philosophical question of existence itself to which, if the answer is concievably, "existence is truly both", God's not only plausible, he rocks

 

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Gavagai wrote: Tilberian

Gavagai wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

Omnipotent means able to do anything.

Please link me to at least one contemporary, theistic philosopher who thinks this is is what omnipotence means.

That is what the word means. That is it's common useage, and the useage that appears in the dictionary. If theistic philosophers want to say something else, they should use a different word. Don't try to play semantic games with me.

Gavagai wrote:

Quote:
Therefore God can make a rock he can't lift.

Doesn't work.

What you've demonstrated, Tilberian, is that your personal definition of omnipotence -- which is the sort of definition one might hear during an extremely unsophisticated Sunday school sermon -- is incoherent. Do you think you've thereby presented a serious intellectual challenge for theists?

I've apparently presented an insurmountable intellectual challenge for you, since you are sneering and posturing instead of refuting me.

I have no doubt that most theistic philosophers have abandoned the claim that God is omnipotent. I further have no doubt that they are dishonestly trying to disguise their retreat as a "redefinition" of the word itself. News flash: theistic philosophers don't get to reinvent the English language in order to worm their way out of their previous, flawed positions. 

The fact is, and you know this as well as I do, that the word omnipotent is used, and was used, by religious leaders and thinkers for hundreds of years, with the exact meaning I have attached, to describe the power of God.

Now you asked me what definition I was using and I replied with the definition that is used every Sunday morning by every cleric at every pulpit across the land and by every person on every street in the English speaking world. You will now deal with THAT definition, or tell me that 99% of Christianity is walking around with a concept of God in their heads that is not the real concept of God. At which point I will note your no-true-Scotsman fallacy and tell you to shut up.

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Eloise wrote: No, did and

Eloise wrote:

No, did and didn't (didn't apparently at least) which sets us up for the philosophical question of existence itself to which, if the answer is concievably, "existence is truly both", God's not only plausible, he rocks

Your theory just makes no sense at all.

Multiverse theory does not avoid the problem of infinite regression when postulating an infinite cosmos. Therefore the multiverse does not have infinite different universes. Therefore any universe we can imagine does not necessarily exist. Therefore we need evidence of this "universe with no evil" before we admit its existence.

  Creating one universe with evil and another one without evil IS NOT THE SAME AS HAVING NO EVIL AT ALL. 

Here's your equation:

Good (positive) universe + evil (negative) universe = 0 

Hooray, we've arrived at nullity. God is a nihilist. However, even this is not the truth, because the equation really looks like this:

Good universe + evil universe = good/evil multiverse.

There is still evil. Having an all-good universe doesn't change that. 

 

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian wrote: Eloise

Tilberian wrote:
Eloise wrote:

No, did and didn't (didn't apparently at least) which sets us up for the philosophical question of existence itself to which, if the answer is concievably, "existence is truly both", God's not only plausible, he rocks.

Your theory just makes no sense at all.

Multiverse theory does not avoid the problem of infinite regression when postulating an infinite cosmos. Therefore the multiverse does not have infinite different universes. Therefore any universe we can imagine does not necessarily exist. Therefore we need evidence of this "universe with no evil" before we admit its existence.

Of course Smiling so we go about discovering more about our own existence and God is academic. Our continued examination and embracing of our existence is all he could want since it appears ontologically equal to the biblical promise. 

 

Quote:
 

Creating one universe with evil and another one without evil IS NOT THE SAME AS HAVING NO EVIL AT ALL.

Here's your equation:

Good (positive) universe + evil (negative) universe = 0

Hooray, we've arrived at nullity. God is a nihilist. However, even this is not the truth, because the equation really looks like this:

Good universe + evil universe = good/evil multiverse.

There is still evil. Having an all-good universe doesn't change that.

 

 

ah but he is omnibenevolent, he sees no evil and loves all.

so the equation again:

Good universe according to Tilberian + evil universe according to Tilberian = perfectly benevolent good multiverse according to God = Good existence for all (inclusive anti-Tilberian)

 

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


scottmax
scottmax's picture
Posts: 164
Joined: 2007-03-12
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian wrote: Gavagai

Tilberian wrote:
Gavagai wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

Omnipotent means able to do anything.

Please link me to at least one contemporary, theistic philosopher who thinks this is is what omnipotence means.

That is what the word means. That is it's common useage, and the useage that appears in the dictionary. If theistic philosophers want to say something else, they should use a different word. Don't try to play semantic games with me.

Exactly, Tilberian. Gavagai, it seems to me that you are hiding behind vague words and the authority of theistic philosophers. Omnipotent, however, is not a vague word. The attempt to make it vague is itself irrational. You should instead just accept that God cannot be omnipotent and define what his limitations actually are.

Gavagai, you have still failed to define even what your vague version of the word means except with more vagueness that I have been unable to pin down. Does omnipotent actually have a well-defined meaning to you?

 


scottmax
scottmax's picture
Posts: 164
Joined: 2007-03-12
User is offlineOffline
Gavagai wrote: Not quite.

Gavagai wrote:

Not quite. What I'm saying is that I would like to see a good reason why I should believe a particular premise is true. This is a totally legitimate way of responding to an argument. All logicians and philosophers -- and ordinary rational people who understand how arguments work -- agree with this. You're right that things don't end there. It would then be up to you to provide good reasons to believe that the premise in question is true. Please concede this extremely plausible point so we can jump back to the main discussion.

You say that all ordinary rational people who understand how arguments work agree with this. But I see no good reason to believe that your premise is true.

Is this an acceptable answer to you? Does it help our conversation? Or would you just consider this a dodge.


Gavagai
Theist
Gavagai's picture
Posts: 183
Joined: 2006-04-17
User is offlineOffline
Quote: I've apparently

Quote:
I've apparently presented an insurmountable intellectual challenge for you, since you are sneering and posturing instead of refuting me.

 I was not sneering or posturing, but if my post came off that way to you, I apologize. 

Quote:
I have no doubt that most theistic philosophers have abandoned the claim that God is omnipotent.

Actually, the overwhelming majority of them believe God is omnipotent.  

 

Quote:
I further have no doubt that they are dishonestly trying to disguise their retreat as a "redefinition" of the word itself. News flash: theistic philosophers don't get to reinvent the English language in order to worm their way out of their previous, flawed positions.

 That's a pretty serious charge, Tilberian, especially since many naturalistic philosophers agree with theists that the definition of omnipotence is not the ability to do absolutely anything (even making logical conradictions come out true). Are these naturalistic philosophers also guilty of dishonesty?

Do you think that philosophers who offer extremely precise definitions of words for the sake of clarity are reinventing the English language? 

Quote:
The fact is, and you know this as well as I do, that the word omnipotent is used, and was used, by religious leaders and thinkers for hundreds of years, with the exact meaning I have attached, to describe the power of God.

I know of a few theologians in the past who've said that omnipotence is the ability to do absolutely anything at all (e.g. make it the case that 2+2=5). Most, however, have not held a position like this. Most have asserted plainly that there are things God cannot do.

Quote:
Now you asked me what definition I was using and I replied with the definition that is used every Sunday morning by every cleric at every pulpit across the land and by every person on every street in the English speaking world. You will now deal with THAT definition,

It's highly doubtful that every cleric and every person on every street in the English speaking world uses the definition on Sunday mornings. Many people don't even believe in God. 

Quote:
or tell me that 99% of Christianity is walking around with a concept of God in their heads that is not the real concept of God. At which point I will note your no-true-Scotsman fallacy and tell you to shut up.

 It's highly doubtful that 99% of Christianity has that concept of God. But I do agree with you that perhaps many theists (whether Christian or not) have a philosophically unsophisticated definition of omnipotence according to which God can make round squares, and so on. And I think you've been successful in showing that such superficial views about omnipotence are logically incoherent. I don't think you've thereby presented a challenge to everybody else who's thought about it carefully.

Cheers,

Gavagai 

 

Rude, offensive, irrational jackass.


Gavagai
Theist
Gavagai's picture
Posts: 183
Joined: 2006-04-17
User is offlineOffline
Quote:

Quote:

You say that all ordinary rational people who understand how arguments work agree with this. But I see no good reason to believe that your premise is true.

Is this an acceptable answer to you? Does it help our conversation? Or would you just consider this a dodge.

This is a perfectly legitimate response to me. You'd like to see evidence that supports my claim. So it would be up to me now to point you to several references that make a clear distinction between "refute" and "rebut". I will have thus provided a good reason to believe my claim.  See?

Rude, offensive, irrational jackass.


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Eloise wrote: ah but he is

Eloise wrote:

ah but he is omnibenevolent, he sees no evil and loves all.

so the equation again:

Good universe according to Tilberian + evil universe according to Tilberian = perfectly benevolent good multiverse according to God = Good existence for all (inclusive anti-Tilberian)

 

Are you trying to say that if God doesn't acknowledge the evil in the universe, it isn't there?

The the question just becomes why would God allow us to suffer from the perception of evil in our universe?

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Gavagai wrote: I was not

Gavagai wrote:

I was not sneering or posturing, but if my post came off that way to you, I apologize.

Apology accepted. 

Gavagai wrote:

Actually, the overwhelming majority of them believe God is omnipotent.

Not according to the commonly understood meaning of the word.

Gavagai wrote:

That's a pretty serious charge, Tilberian, especially since many naturalistic philosophers agree with theists that the definition of omnipotence is not the ability to do absolutely anything (even making logical conradictions come out true). Are these naturalistic philosophers also guilty of dishonesty?

Will you ever stop your appeals to authority? Pick a naturalist definition of omnipotence and post it here if you think it's better than mine. Remember, YOU asked ME for the definition of omnipotence that I use. Then you immediately conceded that it was, in fact, incoherent. So far, everything I have said about omnipotence is 100% supported. 

I don't care if you want to throw some naturalistic philosopher in my face who disagrees with me. I'm not claiming to be in alignment with anyone's thought but my own. If you can show that my definition of omnipotence should not be used (though it is the commonly understood definition) then MAKE THE ARGUMENT.

Gavagai wrote:

Do you think that philosophers who offer extremely precise definitions of words for the sake of clarity are reinventing the English language?

They are if they leave the meaning of the word.

Gavagai wrote:

I know of a few theologians in the past who've said that omnipotence is the ability to do absolutely anything at all (e.g. make it the case that 2+2=5). Most, however, have not held a position like this. Most have asserted plainly that there are things God cannot do.

I don't give a shit. I'm not chasing your red herrings any more. I don't care what any number of theologians or philosophers say. I'm here to argue specific propositions, not hold a goddam literature review.

Gavagai wrote:

It's highly doubtful that every cleric and every person on every street in the English speaking world uses the definition on Sunday mornings. Many people don't even believe in God.

Now you're just being an asshole.

Gavagai wrote:

It's highly doubtful that 99% of Christianity has that concept of God.

I'll make you a deal. I'll stop making statements about the number of Christians who believe x if you stop making statements about the number of philosphers who said y.

Gavagai wrote:

But I do agree with you that perhaps many theists (whether Christian or not) have a philosophically unsophisticated definition of omnipotence according to which God can make round squares, and so on. And I think you've been successful in showing that such superficial views about omnipotence are logically incoherent. I don't think you've thereby presented a challenge to everybody else who's thought about it carefully.

I think I've proven that God cannot be omnipotent as the word is commonly understood and applied to God by Christians. And I've been in enough arguments with enough of them to tell you flat out that most Christians will not admit that there is anything that God can't do.

If theologians and philosophers have been working to change the definition of omnipotent to something other than what I've described, it is because they understand the concept has no merit. The word should be thrown out of use in the context of anything that can really exist.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Gavagai
Theist
Gavagai's picture
Posts: 183
Joined: 2006-04-17
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian,

Tilberian,

Quote:

Apology accepted.

...

Not according to the commonly understood meaning of the word.

...

Will you ever stop your appeals to authority? Pick a naturalist definition of omnipotence and post it here if you think it's better than mine. Remember, YOU asked ME for the definition of omnipotence that I use. Then you immediately conceded that it was, in fact, incoherent. So far, everything I have said about omnipotence is 100% supported.

I don't care if you want to throw some naturalistic philosopher in my face who disagrees with me. I'm not claiming to be in alignment with anyone's thought but my own. If you can show that my definition of omnipotence should not be used (though it is the commonly understood definition) then MAKE THE ARGUMENT.

...

They are if they leave the meaning of the word.

...

I don't give a shit. I'm not chasing your red herrings any more. I don't care what any number of theologians or philosophers say. I'm here to argue specific propositions, not hold a goddam literature review.

...

Now you're just being an asshole.

...

I'll make you a deal. I'll stop making statements about the number of Christians who believe x if you stop making statements about the number of philosphers who said y. ...

I think I've proven that God cannot be omnipotent as the word is commonly understood and applied to God by Christians. And I've been in enough arguments with enough of them to tell you flat out that most Christians will not admit that there is anything that God can't do.

If theologians and philosophers have been working to change the definition of omnipotent to something other than what I've described, it is because they understand the concept has no merit. The word should be thrown out of use in the context of anything that can really exist.

 

I agree that you've demonstrated that a certain conception of omnipotence is logically incoherent. That conception is the one had by many theists who haven't bothered to think about it too deeply.

In saying that the overwhelming majority of theist philosophers don't share that conception, I'm merely highlighting the obvious fact that you haven't engaged philosophically robust definitions of omnipotence. You've done what nearly anybody can do: you've disproved something that's indefensible to begin with. This is hardly any sort of intellectual challenge to theism.

I've pointed out the fact that philosophers don't have the same ideas about omnipotence as, say, a sunday school student who hasn't bothered to think about it in a careful and logically rigorous manner. You assert that I've "appealed to authority". But you're mistaken on this score. In standard informal logic, a fallacious appeal to authority involves an inference from "so-and-so believes (or asserts) that p" to "therefore, p", where "so-and-so" stands for somebody who isn't a qualified expert on matters concerning p. I've done nothing of the sort.

You insist that the definition of omnipotence you disproved is the "common" one. I grant this. My point is that not much of interest follows. You've disproved a popular way in which many laypeople construe omnipotence. For those theists (and atheists) who've studied theology and philosophy, well, we already knew that the loose and "common" construal is strictly speaking false.

What you've done is similar to what somebody does when they claim to have refuted the view that "the sun rises and sets" by showing that, really, Earth's orbit is such that the sun is visible to many observers in Earth's frame of reference at some time t, and not visible to those observers at some other time t*. You've refuted something that folks in ordinary circumstances speak about loosely and informally. Not a big deal.

You ask me to cite some naturalist philosophers. No problem. Examples of naturalist philosophers who agree with theists that omnipotence does not mean the ability to do absolutely anything (e.g. creating married bachelors and round squares) include: Bill Rowe, Quentin Smith, John Mackie, and several others. On your view, these philosophers are dishonestly trying to reinvent English. That seems implausible, Tilberian. These men are honest as far as I can tell. The more sensible view is that the ordinary English laypeople use when they talk about omnipotence is extremely loose, and needs to be supplemented with more terminologically precise philosophical language. So philosophers haven't "abandoned" the view that God is omnipotent; they've clarified it.

Take care,

Gavagai

Rude, offensive, irrational jackass.


Chretien
Theist
Chretien's picture
Posts: 6
Joined: 2007-06-25
User is offlineOffline
 Actually, atheism is

 Actually, atheism is irrational because it cannot provide a foundation in which to make rationality intelligible. Atheism assumes the inductive principle and the uniformity of nature but cannot provide a rational foundation for this assumption.

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible.” -- George Washington


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Gavagai wrote: I agree

Gavagai wrote:

I agree that you've demonstrated that a certain conception of omnipotence is logically incoherent. That conception is the one had by many theists who haven't bothered to think about it too deeply.

Which is most theists. Which raises the question of who holds the "official" definition of omnipotence. 

Gavagai wrote:

In saying that the overwhelming majority of theist philosophers don't share that conception, I'm merely highlighting the obvious fact that you haven't engaged philosophically robust definitions of omnipotence. You've done what nearly anybody can do: you've disproved something that's indefensible to begin with. This is hardly any sort of intellectual challenge to theism.

It is a devastating intellectual challenge to the theism that matters; the theism of the people who actually make the church go.

I'm not interested in addressing someone's alternative definition of omnipotence because in doing so I could be perceived as accepting the possibility that the actual definition is not the only definition. There is one definition in English of the word omnipotence and that is what I am addressing. If you want to use another word to describe God's power, we can get into that, but I'm not going forward on the basis that omnipotence is anything other than what the word means to the people who use it in English.

Gavagai wrote:

I've pointed out the fact that philosophers don't have the same ideas about omnipotence as, say, a sunday school student who hasn't bothered to think about it in a careful and logically rigorous manner. You assert that I've "appealed to authority". But you're mistaken on this score. In standard informal logic, a fallacious appeal to authority involves an inference from "so-and-so believes (or asserts) that p" to "therefore, p", where "so-and-so" stands for somebody who isn't a qualified expert on matters concerning p. I've done nothing of the sort.

Yes, I stand corrected, you have never actually put forth an alternative proposal to mine of any kind. You have only made the negative assertion that a bunch of philosophers disagree with me. Perhaps we should call this the Non-Argument from Authority.

Gavagai wrote:

You insist that the definition of omnipotence you disproved is the "common" one. I grant this. My point is that not much of interest follows. You've disproved a popular way in which many laypeople construe omnipotence. For those theists (and atheists) who've studied theology and philosophy, well, we already knew that the loose and "common" construal is strictly speaking false.

Thank you for agreeing that the popular conception of God is false. Are you aware of the political and social ramifications of this fact? 

Gavagai wrote:

What you've done is similar to what somebody does when they claim to have refuted the view that "the sun rises and sets" by showing that, really, Earth's orbit is such that the sun is visible to many observers in Earth's frame of reference at some time t, and not visible to those observers at some other time t*. You've refuted something that folks in ordinary circumstances speak about loosely and informally. Not a big deal.

False analogy. Most people who say that the sun rises and sets are perfectly aware of the real truth. Most theists who say that God is omnipotent do in fact hold and believe that God is able to do anything at all. That is why my point about omnipotence is actually crucially important.

Gavagai wrote:

You ask me to cite some naturalist philosophers. No problem. Examples of naturalist philosophers who agree with theists that omnipotence does not mean the ability to do absolutely anything (e.g. creating married bachelors and round squares) include: Bill Rowe, Quentin Smith, John Mackie, and several others. On your view, these philosophers are dishonestly trying to reinvent English. That seems implausible, Tilberian. These men are honest as far as I can tell. The more sensible view is that the ordinary English laypeople use when they talk about omnipotence is extremely loose, and needs to be supplemented with more terminologically precise philosophical language. So philosophers haven't "abandoned" the view that God is omnipotent; they've clarified it.

I reject your suggestion that there is a "correct" English of the elite philosophical classes and a vulgar "loose" English, complete with different definitions, of the unwashed masses. The definition of omnipotent is that which people mean when they use the word. If the word is used differently in formal philosophical discourse (like the word "theory" is used in science) then you have a valid point, but to my knowledge (and the dictionary's) no such divergence exists. And, yes, if naturalistic philosophers have tried to change the definition of omnipotence for no other reason than to make it a coherent concept, they ARE engaged in dishonest reinvention of the language for no good reason. 

We have a word that means "able to do anything." If the philosophers want a word that means "able to do a lot of stuff but not anything" they should coin it rather than try to mess with the perfectly good nonsense word that we have. That is, of course, unless their goal is to apologize for religion and retroactively rewrite the texts of the last centuries to mean something other than what they meant when they were written. In that case, I hear the Ministry of Truth is accepting applications.

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Chretien wrote: Actually,

Chretien wrote:
Actually, atheism is irrational because it cannot provide a foundation in which to make rationality intelligible. Atheism assumes the inductive principle and the uniformity of nature but cannot provide a rational foundation for this assumption.

Atheism is only about rejecting belief in God. Your problem is with naturalists and possibly materialists, not necessarily atheists.

As a naturalist and a materialist I will say that I don't have to assume anything. I use the inductive principle and the theory of uniformity as long as they appear to be working. As soon as they are demonstrated to be flawed, I will abandon them.  

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Magus
High Level DonorModerator
Magus's picture
Posts: 592
Joined: 2007-04-11
User is offlineOffline
Chretien wrote: Actually,

Chretien wrote:
Actually, atheism is irrational because it cannot provide a foundation in which to make rationality intelligible. Atheism assumes the inductive principle and the uniformity of nature but cannot provide a rational foundation for this assumption.

Todangst goes over your problem of induction here http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/sapient/atheist_vs_theist/6534

Sounds made up...
Agnostic Atheist
No, I am not angry at your imaginary friends or enemies.


NarcolepticSun
Posts: 108
Joined: 2007-02-18
User is offlineOffline
simple theist wrote: The

simple theist wrote:

The creator of something can not be bound by what he creates since that would mean that what he creates would have to exist before he created it. And yes things that don't exist are also not bound by anything.

In your own words, IF God is not bound by logic, science, and everything around us then his existence is possible. Of course all Christians believe God is unbound by anything hence we call him infinite. So by your own words, you say it is possible for God to exist.

Hmm... if God isn't bound to logic... then he is, by definition, illogical.

If God isn't bound by science - then he is not measurable, testable, or real by any means.

If God has nothing to do with everything around us - there is a reason for that - God is imaginary. 


NarcolepticSun
Posts: 108
Joined: 2007-02-18
User is offlineOffline
Chretien wrote: Actually,

Chretien wrote:
Actually, atheism is irrational because it cannot provide a foundation in which to make rationality intelligible. Atheism assumes the inductive principle and the uniformity of nature but cannot provide a rational foundation for this assumption.

Atheism accepts apparent reality "as is" - theism is the one without the logical or physical construct to support a god.

By the way - George Washington NEVER said "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible" That is a mere interjection into history by your lying clerics.


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian wrote:

Tilberian wrote:
Eloise wrote:

ah but he is omnibenevolent, he sees no evil and loves all.

so the equation again:

Good universe according to Tilberian + evil universe according to Tilberian = perfectly benevolent good multiverse according to God = Good existence for all (inclusive anti-Tilberian)

 

Are you trying to say that if God doesn't acknowledge the evil in the universe, it isn't there?

Where did I say that? I said, If God acknowleges all the existence in the universe, evil according to you, according to me, according to the girl down the street, is there. It's the default position of omnibenevolence.

 

Quote:

The the question just becomes why would God allow us to suffer from the perception of evil in our universe?

Well anything I answer here is just going to wind us back to the definitions problem you're nutting out with Gavagai now, eventually, so I guess I will start with that.

The question of absolutes such as omnipotence which you have elocuted in the argument "Can God make a rock so heavy he can't lift it." does not demonstrate a real logical problem of omnipotence to me, it provides a logical boundary of logic which we already know exists without invoking God at all. Any absolute on the fringe of logic will result in a paradox, "omnipotence that cannot" is not logical, whatever God can do, we can't do that we cannot apply logic to the illogical.

Paradoxes are an accepted limit of logic, in no other case that some extreme logical boundary asserts a paradox do we throw away the consistent logical part as nothing. You instead recognise the limits of logic have been reached and broaden the possibility that still exists within logic. The grandfather paradox for example, was an internal contradiction constrained by the absolute of "time", to us, time continues to exist as some sort of absolute slightly beyond our logical grasp, yet we work with it under broadly logical possibility as we must to work with it at all.

So then why does God let us suffer the perception of evil, I have already begun to answer. We are intensional to our experience and define ourselves, the experience of evil is our own knowledge, information we form our own beingness from, in open choice. This is basic free will theology, the creation myth of humanity having partaken of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil to become Gods outlines the same concept. Some conscious choice to partake of knowing both good and evil is intensional to our selves in this universe. We are defined by it direcly or indirectly or both consistent with the universal data stream from which our own consciousness emerges.

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


gatogreensleeves
gatogreensleeves's picture
Posts: 86
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
Gavagai wrote:I agree

Gavagai wrote:

I agree that you've demonstrated that a certain conception of omnipotence is logically incoherent. That conception is the one had by many theists who haven't bothered to think about it too deeply.

In saying that the overwhelming majority of theist philosophers don't share that conception, I'm merely highlighting the obvious fact that you haven't engaged philosophically robust definitions of omnipotence. You've done what nearly anybody can do: you've disproved something that's indefensible to begin with. This is hardly any sort of intellectual challenge to theism.

"Omnipotence" is already clearly defined.  There can be no requalifications of the definition that contradict themselves, only a replacement of the definition of the object in question.  In this case, "(very) powerful" would be more suitable for the God of Christian theology.  The theistic battle over keeping the word "omnipotent" is quite telling.  "Very powerful" doesn't feel as good.  Redefining the quality of omnipotence with "divine attributes" leads to absurdity.  In Dr. Nicholas Everitt’s book, The Non-Existence of God, he shows that if we consider "omnipotent" God to have the divine attributes of a nullipotent being (a being that cannot do anything), we can still consider this being to be omnipotent within the boundaries of its attributes.  Isn’t the qualification of God’s ‘divine attributes’ really just an imposition of limitations, just one step removed?  As for naturalistic philosophers accepting that omnipotence does not mean the ability to do absolutely anything, I would guess that their point was that no one can make a "round square" etc., so there is no omnipotence to begin with- I would like to see more evidence in context.  Yes, I am aware that some naturalist philosophers dismiss such questions (can God make a rock he can't lift?) as incoherent in themselves (Carrier is one), but isn't that because the idea of the possibility of omnipotence is absurd in itself?  Even still, at the end of the day, if there was a truly omnipotent god, why couldn't he make even logical absurdities coherent?

"If Adolf Hitler flew in today, they'd send a limousine anyway" -The Clash


scottmax
scottmax's picture
Posts: 164
Joined: 2007-03-12
User is offlineOffline
gatogreensleeves

gatogreensleeves wrote:

Redefining the quality of omnipotence with "divine attributes" leads to absurdity.

Yeah, my favorite example of this is when theists explain that God is omnipotent but since he is also omnibenevolent, he is incapable of performing evil acts.


Gavagai
Theist
Gavagai's picture
Posts: 183
Joined: 2006-04-17
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian, Looks like we're

Tilberian,

Looks like we're just going back and forth now. I'll let your last post serve as the last word in our discussion, leaving intelligent readers to come to their own conclusions. Nice talking to you.

Cheers,

Gavagai 

Rude, offensive, irrational jackass.