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Atheist regressions
Posted: 11 January 2009 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]
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A god that did not exist and created every thing would be greater and more impressive then a god that did exist and created every thing, there for god does not exist.

If god exist every where then god must also exist no where, there for god does not exist.

A god that did not existed and knew every thing, something, or nothing, would be more impressive then a god that existed and knew every thing, something or nothing. Therefor god does not exist.

If god is all powerfull then god has the power to not exist, there for god does not exist.

A god that exist and does nothing is more impressive then a god that exist and does something there for god does not exist….................

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Posted: 12 January 2009 02:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Good cases should not be defended with bad arguments.

Vaz The Spaz Godzilla - 11 January 2009 01:53 PM

A god that did not exist and created every thing would be greater and more impressive then a god that did exist and created every thing, there for god does not exist.

A god that doesn’t exist is not an entity. A non-existing thing cannot have the predicate of being “great” and impressive, so your argument is fallacious.

If god exist every where then god must also exist no where, there for god does not exist.

 

I didn’t understand this one.

A god that did not existed and knew every thing, something, or nothing, would be more impressive then a god that existed and knew every thing, something or nothing. Therefor god does not exist.

Same as in the first one.

If god is all powerfull then god has the power to not exist, there for god does not exist.

God _does_ have the power not to exist that is right. However it doesn’t mean that he actually uses this power, so it is illogical to conclude he doesn’t exist.

A god that exists and does nothing is more impressive then a god that exists and does something there for god does not exist….................

No, if your premise is correct, then the conclusion is that “if god exists then he does nothing”, not the conclusion you made.  And your premise is a strange one. Why is a god that exists and does nothing more impressive?

[ Edited: 12 January 2009 02:09 AM by wandering ]
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Posted: 12 January 2009 10:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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wandering - 12 January 2009 02:03 AM

If god exist every where then god must also exist no where, there for god does not exist.

 

I didn’t understand this one.

Not too different from the first one in its approach, actually.

He’s saying that an omnipresent god must exist nowhere by definition, including “nowhere” among the places that god must exist as though “nowhere” is a place.  Again, erroneously giving a non-entity status as an entity.

If god is all powerfull then god has the power to not exist, there for god does not exist.

God _does_ have the power not to exist that is right. However it doesn’t mean that he actually uses this power, so it is illogical to conclude he doesn’t exist.

Certainly his conclusion does not follow from his premisses, but I’d have criticized it differently.  I’m not sure that not existing is a power.  Instead, I think his argument boils down to having the power to make an all-powerful being not exist.  That ends up being similar to the supposed problem of creating a rock too big for an all-powerful being to lift, since an all-powerful being has the power to continue to exist.  It sets up the omnipotent god in a contest with himself.  If he cannot defeat himself then he is regarded as defeated.  And I suppose if he defeats himself we are supposed to regard him as defeated as well. 

If the argument produced a true contradiction in the concept of an all-powerful god we could at least say that there is no god who is all-powerful as defined.

A god that exists and does nothing is more impressive then a god that exists and does something there for god does not exist….................

No, if your premise is correct, then the conclusion is that “if god exists then he does nothing”, not the conclusion you made.  And your premise is a strange one. Why is a god that exists and does nothing more impressive?

Good question.  smile

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Posted: 13 January 2009 03:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Bryan - 12 January 2009 10:17 AM

Not too different from the first one in its approach, actually.

He’s saying that an omnipresent god must exist nowhere by definition, including “nowhere” among the places that god must exist as though “nowhere” is a place.  Again, erroneously giving a non-entity status as an entity.

I see.

This one is really obviously fallacious then.

 

Lets assume that space exists everywhere (newtonian physics assumption).  By this logic, if space exists every where, then space must also exist no where, therefore space doesn’t exist. So by this logic, if newtonian physics is true, there is no space.

Certainly his conclusion does not follow from his premisses, but I’d have criticized it differently. 

Just for interest - why would you focus more on this criticism?

I’m not sure that not existing is a power.  Instead, I think his argument boils down to having the power to make an all-powerful being not exist.  That ends up being similar to the supposed problem of creating a rock too big for an all-powerful being to lift, since an all-powerful being has the power to continue to exist.  It sets up the omnipotent god in a contest with himself.  If he cannot defeat himself then he is regarded as defeated.  And I suppose if he defeats himself we are supposed to regard him as defeated as well. 

If the argument produced a true contradiction in the concept of an all-powerful god we could at least say that there is no god who is all-powerful as defined.

 


Do you mean something like
(1) God is all-powerful
Thus (2) God must have the power to stop existing
(3) If god doesn’t exist at a certain point, he doesn’t have the power to exist at this point
(4) Thus he is not all-powerful (contradicts 1)

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Posted: 13 January 2009 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Does a prysm work in reverse?

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Posted: 13 January 2009 11:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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wandering - 13 January 2009 03:01 AM
Bryan - 12 January 2009 10:17 AM

Not too different from the first one in its approach, actually.

He’s saying that an omnipresent god must exist nowhere by definition, including “nowhere” among the places that god must exist as though “nowhere” is a place.  Again, erroneously giving a non-entity status as an entity.

I see.

This one is really obviously fallacious then.

Lets assume that space exists everywhere (newtonian physics assumption).  By this logic, if space exists every where, then space must also exist no where, therefore space doesn’t exist. So by this logic, if newtonian physics is true, there is no space.

Hopefully simply pointing out that “nowhere” is not a place is sufficient to the point that a reductio ad absurdum is not required—but you’re exactly right.  smile

Certainly his conclusion does not follow from his premisses, but I’d have criticized it differently. 

Just for interest - why would you focus more on this criticism?

I think it hits the more fundamental error, plus it may be that God is a necessary being and therefore cannot not exist. 

Do you mean something like
(1) God is all-powerful
Thus (2) God must have the power to stop existing
(3) If god doesn’t exist at a certain point, he doesn’t have the power to exist at this point
(4) Thus he is not all-powerful (contradicts 1)

Not quite.  That conclusion doesn’t follow from the premisses.

More like:

“All powerful is defined as X, X is self-contradictory, thereofore All powerful defined as X is incoherent (and therefore not an appropriate description).”


There’s another approach that’s kind of fun also.  Let the skeptic define “All powerful” in an absurd way.  Then use that definition one step beyond what the skeptic proposes.  If “All powerful” includes the ability to do impossible things then on what basis do we exclude the ability to exist despite being impossible?  Surely that is well within the abilities of a being who is all powerful as defined. 

The point, of course, is to gently prise the skeptic’s hands from the absurd definition of “all powerful.”

[ Edited: 13 January 2009 12:56 PM by Bryan ]
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Posted: 13 January 2009 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I believe the standard definition of “all powerful” is that the person can do everything it is logically possible to do. Since it is not logically possible to contradict oneself, these simple contradictions are not really germane.

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Posted: 13 January 2009 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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dougsmith - 13 January 2009 11:05 AM

I believe the standard definition of “all powerful” is that the person can do everything it is logically possible to do. Since it is not logically possible to contradict oneself, these simple contradictions are not really germane.

You might be surprised as how many skeptics willfully dismiss the standard definition.  I have witnessed folks simply try to amend the big rock scenario by arguing that since a man can make a rock so big he cannot lift it himself therefore it must be logically possible and therefore an all-powerful being can reasonably be expected to do the same thing.

And these simple contradictions are germane in that considerations like these led to a better developed definition of “all powerful.”  Some skeptics argue that developing the definition in response to these types of would-be problems is a form of cheating, if you can believe it.

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Posted: 13 January 2009 11:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Yes, there are bad arguments on all sides. There are also varieties of “negative theology” that go in for contradiction ... And then there’s the Trinity ...

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Posted: 14 January 2009 02:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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dougsmith - 13 January 2009 11:05 AM

I believe the standard definition of “all powerful” is that the person can do everything it is logically possible to do.

Aha! That’s the point - those people do not bother to define their terms.

The fact that one reply to the rock problem is

“God created logic, so he is above it”

shows that your definition is not neccessarily what they mean. On the contrary, I think that their default meaning is “something that can do EVERYTHING”.

By the way, I heard a much nicer phrasing :

“Can god cook a breakfast so large he cannot eat it?”

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Posted: 14 January 2009 05:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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wandering - 14 January 2009 02:13 AM

“God created logic, so he is above it”

Well, if someone believes that God created logic, and could have chosen logic from contradiction, then let him deal with the absurd ramifications of that claim. But a believer in God needn’t say such a thing. In fact, this is isomorphic to the Euthyphro problem: if there are moral facts, they cannot have been created by God. If there are facts of logic and morality, they bind God just as much as the rest of us.

wandering - 14 January 2009 02:13 AM

On the contrary, I think that their default meaning is “something that can do EVERYTHING”.

This is not contrary to what I said. To be able to do EVERYTHING is to be able to do EVERYTHING logically possible. There is no other thing which it is possible to do.

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Posted: 14 January 2009 05:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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dougsmith - 14 January 2009 05:36 AM

This is not contrary to what I said. To be able to do EVERYTHING is to be able to do EVERYTHING logically possible. There is no other thing which it is possible to do.

Yes, this is your logical point of view. From my experience, it is not true that this is the view of believers (jewish ones). They are either unsure if god can do illogical things, either positive that he can. (The majority is unsure)

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Posted: 14 January 2009 05:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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wandering - 14 January 2009 05:49 AM

Yes, this is your logical point of view. From my experience, it is not true that this is the view of believers (jewish ones). They are either unsure if god can do illogical things, either positive that he can. (The majority is unsure)

I’m not sure that’s true about Jewish believers in general. You are probably talking about Jews with interest in the mystical. There is a strain of “negative theology” also in somewhat fringy parts of Christianity. I believe it’s somewhat more prominent in Islam.

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Posted: 14 January 2009 09:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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dougsmith - 14 January 2009 05:36 AM
wandering - 14 January 2009 02:13 AM

“God created logic, so he is above it”

Well, if someone believes that God created logic, and could have chosen logic from contradiction, then let him deal with the absurd ramifications of that claim. But a believer in God needn’t say such a thing. In fact, this is isomorphic to the Euthyphro problem: if there are moral facts, they cannot have been created by God. If there are facts of logic and morality, they bind God just as much as the rest of us.

I somehow doubt that God is upset at restraints such as his inability to be ~God at the same time and in the same sense.  The Euthyphro dilemma is commonly used to imply a power outside of God to which God is subservient—but that doesn’t necessarily follow.  An eternal god might well have logic as its nature.  After all, we don’t make an eternal god responsible for creating itself—and so what?  What does that matter?  The supposed binding comes down to “I gotta be me.”

You might have reason to be upset that you can’t get to Los Angeles in no time flat.  But I don’t know why you’d want be all magenta and all ~magenta at the same time and in the same sense.

The dilemma is not up to the task for which it is so frequently used.

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Posted: 14 January 2009 09:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Bryan - 14 January 2009 09:27 AM

The Euthyphro dilemma is commonly used to imply a power outside of God to which God is subservient—but that doesn’t necessarily follow.  An eternal god might well have logic as its nature.

I’m not sure precisely what the distinction is that would be made between a power outside of God and one within God which God lacks the power to will to be different. The point, in either case, is that it’d not be up to God what these laws are. They do not depend on a freely willed decision by God, however we take that free will to act, because a free will as between two options at least implies that if the person in question had the desire to do either option, he would be able to act upon that desire. But that is not the case with logic, and if there are moral laws, it’s not the case with them either. God must will those laws because they are good, it’s not the case that they become moral laws because God willed them, so the good has at least a metaphysical (if not a temporal) priority over God’s will. This is the Euthyphro argument. The same would follow for the laws of logic.

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Posted: 14 January 2009 09:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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dougsmith - 14 January 2009 09:38 AM
Bryan - 14 January 2009 09:27 AM

The Euthyphro dilemma is commonly used to imply a power outside of God to which God is subservient—but that doesn’t necessarily follow.  An eternal god might well have logic as its nature.

I’m not sure precisely what the distinction is that would be made between a power outside of God and one within God which God lacks the power to will to be different.

Location, location, location—to coin a phrase.

The point, in either case, is that it’d not be up to God what these laws are.

Right, for just as I pointed out we do not expect that God created himself and figured out his attributes in advance.  Here we have something analogous to the “ultimate responsibility” argument from Strawson (free will thread).  But we shouldn’t lose the distinction that it is ultimately up to God in that God is the grounding for reality.

In other words, if you say that’s the point then it doesn’t seem much of a point.

They do not depend on a freely willed decision by God, however we take that free will to act, because a free will as between two options at least implies that if the person in question had the desire to do either option, he would be able to act upon that desire. But that is not the case with logic, and if there are moral laws, it’s not the case with them either. God must will those laws because they are good, it’s not the case that they become moral laws because God willed them, so the good has at least a metaphysical (if not a temporal) priority over God’s will.

That seems like a fancy way of saying that the divine command theory of morality is not coherent.  Color me unconcerned.

This is the Euthyphro argument. The same would follow for the laws of logic.

And if the logic argument is parallel to the moral argument then the divine command theory of logic suffers as well.  I thought I had already very willingly relinquished that notion.  So what is the purpose of your reply overall, sir?

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