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Logic and God
Posted: 10 January 2007 03:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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Well, if god is perfectly good, as well as all powerful and all knowing, then it seems to me we can use him to make predictions: we can predict that the world he created ought to be the morally best one possible.

After all, a morally perfect being would never desire to create a morally imperfect world.

However, our world is manifestly not the morally best one possible.

Hence the “prediction” proves false, and we have disproved the god hypothesis.

NB: this is not a matter of logic, hence it still is logically possible that such a god exist (and have some unfathomable moral reason for the chaos we see around us), but we have no reason to believe that such a god exists.

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Posted: 10 January 2007 05:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]Well, if god is perfectly good, as well as all powerful and all knowing, then it seems to me we can use him to make predictions: we can predict that the world he created ought to be the morally best one possible.

Well, assuming that - “all powerful” and “perfectly good”, you’re quite right! But I was only assuming the “all powerful” attribute, since it seems to me, and to many others, that “all powerful” and “perfectly good” are not logically compatible (that’s why the other guys invented “free will”). LOL

Pjay

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Posted: 10 January 2007 06:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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[quote author=“Paulo Pinheiro”]Well, assuming that - “all powerful” and “perfectly good”, you’re quite right! But I was only assuming the “all powerful” attribute ...

Hmm ... Yes, some people, including Carl Sagan in his most recent (posthumous) volume, discuss the possibility that “god” could be all powerful but not perfectly good, or not perfectly knowing (doesn’t know the future), etc.

If you assume that god is not “omnicompetent” (perfectly good, powerful, knowing), then the problem of evil may dissolve.

The problem is that such a god is not believed by any of the standard monotheistic religions. And it further isn’t clear that such a god is really worthy of the sort of base worship that believers claim. (Not that the omnicompetent one is, either, but at least it has a certain sort of elegance). He’s basically not so very different from a very powerful alien.


[quote author=“Paulo Pinheiro”] ... since it seems to me, and to many others, that “all powerful” and “perfectly good” are not logically compatible (that’s why the other guys invented “free will”). LOL

I assume you mean that “all powerful” and “perfectly good” (and “all knowing”?) are not compatible with the world we see around us. But that, as I say, is not a logical matter, it is a matter of evidence.

I don’t believe that being all powerful and perfectly good at the same time (nor being omnicompetent) is logically problematic. It is possible that such a creature exist. ... I mean, modulo the problems of figuring out what it means to be perfectly good, of course.

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Posted: 10 January 2007 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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:D   The threads Existence and the two category fallacy are enough to disprrove a god.God is just notion ” to hide our ignorance behind a theological fig leaf.” Since the notion is vacuous, there can be no such being. It violates Occam’s razor . It contributes nothing whatsoever to understanding as it is just a mystery ,surrounded by mystery.The question is how do we get the believers emotions to come to the realization there is no god? I submit that it is a matter of psychology ! Dr. Albert Ellis to the rescue! The god notion is “mustabatory.” Read” Theism and Logic” to see powerfud , definitive arguments against God! :idea:

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 10 January 2007 08:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]The problem is that such a god is not believed by any of the standard monotheistic religions.

Agreed. That’s why Spinoza was considered an atheist - because his god had no use to humanity (or, could we say, to the established church?). And Diderot declared that, if nature and god are one and the same, we can throw god away and keep nature.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]And it further isn’t clear that such a god is really worthy of the sort of base worship that believers claim. (Not that the omnicompetent one is, either, but at least it has a certain sort of elegance). He’s basically not so very different from a very powerful alien.

What you mean is, I guess, that if god is not “omnicompetent”, there is no point in believing in one? If that’s the case, I agree. Of course, there are still the pantheists…  But one thing is believing in the existence of god, whatever conception of god one has, and another thing is NOT believing in him, even if believing in his existence

[quote author=“dougsmith”]I assume you mean that “all powerful” and “perfectly good” (and “all knowing”?) are not compatible with the world we see around us. But that, as I say, is not a logical matter, it is a matter of evidence.

I don’t believe that being all powerful and perfectly good at the same time (nor being omnicompetent) is logically problematic. It is possible that such a creature exist. ... I mean, modulo the problems of figuring out what it means to be perfectly good, of course.

I just don’t see how he could be “all powerful” and “perfectly good”... Maybe if the notion of good that god had would be very different from ours… but you would have first to believe in him and renegade OUR notion of good, i.e., what good means to US.

Pjay

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Posted: 10 January 2007 08:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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[quote author=“Paulo Pinheiro”]Agreed. That’s why Spinoza was considered an atheist - because his god had no use to humanity (or, could we say, to the established church?). And Diderot declared that, if nature and god are one and the same, we can throw god away and keep nature.

Well, but the god of Spinoza isn’t really all knowing, all powerful OR all good ... except in the banal sense that the universe contains all the power, knowledge and goodness that there ever will be.

Said another way, Spinoza’s god isn’t a person. It doesn’t have beliefs or desires. It is just identical with physical reality. And since Spinoza also didn’t believe that this sort of entity deserved worship, he pretty clearly was an atheist ... at least in any interesting sense of the word.

[quote author=“Paulo Pinheiro”]What you mean is, I guess, that if god is not “omnicompetent”, there is no point in believing in one? If that’s the case, I agree. Of course, there are still the pantheists…  But one thing is believing in the existence of god, whatever conception of god one has, and another thing is NOT believing in him, even if believing in his existence

Not sure I understand the distinction between “believing in him” and “believing in his existence” ... but yes, there is clearly no reason to believe in a non-omnicompetent god. (No evidence, no arguments).

[quote author=“Paulo Pinheiro”]I just don’t see how he could be “all powerful” and “perfectly good”... Maybe if the notion of good that god had would be very different from ours… but you would have first to believe in him and renegade OUR notion of good, i.e., what good means to US.

Hmmm ... well, to be perfectly good is just never to desire evil, always to desire good. To be all powerful is to be able to do anything that it is possible to do.

Where is the conflict? I don’t see it.

There is a separate question as to “What is the good?”, where we might say that our notion and god’s notion could be different ... but that is a separate question.

NB: it is also irrational for theists to claim that god has a different concept of goodness than we do. First of all, by their lights, we are created in god’s image, which has to mean his mental image. Hence our notions of ethics should correspond to god’s. Further, if god’s ethics are so different from ours, why call them “ethics” at all? If god likes murdering babies, why call god “perfectly good”? It would simply be a misuse of language, or obscurantism to do so.

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Posted: 10 January 2007 07:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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Well, as Dr. Pangloss said, “we live in the best of all possible worlds.”

Maybe, what we identify as evil and suffering is still the best of any other possible world.  raspberry

Geez, I’m glad I don’t understand philosophy.  LOL

Occam

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Posted: 11 January 2007 01:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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[quote author=“Occam”]Well, as Dr. Pangloss said, “we live in the best of all possible worlds.”

As I recall, this is precisely the position that Leibniz takes: since god is omnicompetent, he must have created the best of all possible worlds. So we’re living in it!

The problem is that this is what, in philosophy, is called a “reductio ad absurdum” of the hypothesis that the universe was created by an omnicompetent god!

:wink:

[quote author=“Occam”]Maybe, what we identify as evil and suffering is still the best of any other possible world.  raspberry

This is actually an argument that is made among theologians. It is part of their apologetics of “ theodicy ”. Needless to say, I don’t find it very convincing.

[quote author=“Occam”]Geez, I’m glad I don’t understand philosophy.  LOL

But it seems you do!

LOL

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Posted: 11 January 2007 06:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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Re:  Leibniz.  I was playing games by referring to the Leonard Bernstein light opera, Candide, in which he has Dr. Pangloss play the part of Leibniz.

Occam

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Posted: 11 January 2007 06:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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Right, well Dr. Pangloss was originally from Voltaire, as a caricature of Leibniz.

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Posted: 11 January 2007 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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Right, and Bernstein was just setting the Candide story to music.  I had forgotten Voltaire, because I was introduced to the musical production at UCLA more recently, 1961 as I recall.  smile

Occam

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Posted: 13 January 2007 01:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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How can one reconcile perfect justice and mercy? How can God know the future when it hasn’t happened yet. So, He is not so omniscient. Since, natural selection works without Him, He is not omnipotent. Since He allows evil ,He is not omnibenifent. So, one finds His attributes are overstated! Anyway , why would one want to worship and one should worship no being !

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 13 January 2007 07:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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While I consider the concept meaningless, I can always enjoy a hypothetical argument about mythological creatures. 

A theist would respond:
1.  God is outside time, so he knows all that has happened and all that will happen -  therefore - omniscient.
2.  He defined the workings of and set natural selection in motion so that is an example of his omnipotence.
3.  We have no ability to understand an omniscient, omnipotent being or second guess his motivations.  Quite possibly, what we see as evil is really a part of a far greater, more complex, more long range good.  So we can’t say god isn’t omnibeneficient.

In other words, your arguments are invalid.
=====
Having written the above, I’ll take a minute to let my nausea subside.  smile

It’s all drivel, but we can’t attack their structure easily.  I’m always fascinated at how well the theists have constructed their beliefs to withstand simple, straightforward arguments.

Occam

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Posted: 14 January 2007 04:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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Excellently done, Occam, that is precisely the sort of argument that a theist will give. There are a few problems with it:

[quote author=“Occam”]1.  God is outside time, so he knows all that has happened and all that will happen -  therefore - omniscient.

If god is “outside time” then he does not have any temporal properties. (That is what it means to say something is “outside time”). Then he is like a number or abstract concept. But then he can’t have beliefs and desires that change, he can’t listen to prayer, and he can’t be the god of the Bible. He’s basically then like Plato’s “Form of the Good”. He isn’t a person or a “personal god”. It’s not even clear what sense we can make that such a god “knows” or “believes” or “desires” anything, any more than the number five, or the “Form of the Good” can know, believe or desire anything.

That’s why a lot of theists will not say that god is “outside of time” but rather that he is “everlasting”, i.e. that god exists at all times.

[quote author=“Occam”]2.  He defined the workings of and set natural selection in motion so that is an example of his omnipotence.

Sure. If he were omnipotent, he could set the laws of the universe in motion, which would then make natural selection possible. But if he were outside of time, he couldn’t act at a particular time. So it’s not clear what sense we can make of such a god “setting something in motion”.

An everlasting god could “set the universe in motion” at a particular time if he wished to. (Assuming we can make sense of a purely nonphysical entity creating matter out of nothing and imparting motion to it ... !)

[quote author=“Occam”]3.  We have no ability to understand an omniscient, omnipotent being or second guess his motivations.  Quite possibly, what we see as evil is really a part of a far greater, more complex, more long range good.  So we can’t say god isn’t omnibeneficient.

What we can’t say is that the existence of evil makes god’s existence logically impossible, for the reasons you outline. It is certainly possible that such an omnicompetent being has some “greater purpose” for the carnage on earth. But the question is: do we have any reason to believe that such an entity exists, given what we know and see around us?

And the answer is that what we see around us makes the existence of such a god surpassingly unlikely. Why? Because we can’t see anything even remotely purposeful in the senseless deaths of hundreds of thousands in a tsunami or mudslide, in the senseless deaths of millions in warfare, etc.

The argument from evil is a very real problem for theists. VERY real.

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Posted: 14 January 2007 03:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]Excellently done, Occam, that is precisely the sort of argument that a theist will give. There are a few problems with it:

[quote author=“Occam”]1.  God is outside time, so he knows all that has happened and all that will happen -  therefore - omniscient.

If god is “outside time” then he does not have any temporal properties. (That is what it means to say something is “outside time”). Then he is like a number or abstract concept. But then he can’t have beliefs and desires that change, he can’t listen to prayer, and he can’t be the god of the Bible. He’s basically then like Plato’s “Form of the Good”. He isn’t a person or a “personal god”. It’s not even clear what sense we can make that such a god “knows” or “believes” or “desires” anything, any more than the number five, or the “Form of the Good” can know, believe or desire anything.

That’s why a lot of theists will not say that god is “outside of time” but rather that he is “everlasting”, i.e. that god exists at all times.

Damn, and here I was thinking that I’d make a great theist if I swung that way.  LOL

Occam

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