Anyone got a simple answer?

124


Discussion by: laocmo

Can’t get a sensible answer from any theist or religious group to this simple logical dilemma. All I get is obvious ignorance of logical syllogisms, or a three page theological discussion, every fourth word or so of which I have to look up. Thought I’d try here.

Does anyone know who first thought up that big list of all the many attributes God is supposed to have? In addition to the more commonly known three,

Immutability – means God cannot change
Omnipotence – refers to Him being "all powerful"
Omniscience – refers to Him being "all knowing".

there are about a dozen more that I was not even aware existed. (Google “God’s attributes” and you will see what I mean) I would guess they were first listed by some well meaning theologians in the early days of the Church when people in general were very ignorant. And is it time to revise the list now that we can look at God more logically?

For instance Omniscience refers to him being all knowing of things past, present, and future. Yet this seems to be a false attribute as demonstrated by simple logic. God knows what I will order at the restaurant tonight, beef, or chicken. They agree. Now could He write the answer down? I’m told He assuredly could do this as for Moses with the Ten Commandments. If written down He could seal it in an envelope and give it to me. I could read it at the restaurant, and then if He wrote chicken I could order beef, or if he said beef I could order chicken. Remember I have free will. This logic seems to say that either God does not have Omniscience or I do not have free will, I have free will, I use it every day. So that only leaves one other possibility, that He can not see the future as we have assumed. Of course the simple answer is He does not exist. I’m mainly concerned with my logic.

Any ideas here? Thanks.

124 COMMENTS

  1. Any ideas here? Thanks.

    I’m betting that once the chicken had arrived you would look down at the paper and it would no longer read beef but chicken. God’s pretty slippery.

    And is it time to revise the list now that we can look at God more logically?

    Oh indeed. The modern answer is something like “of course sophisticated theologians don’t think of god in this naive way anymore, god doesn’t have properties, god is the essence of property, god is the foundation of being, the loveness of love, deepity, deep, deep, etc”.

    Michael

    • In reply to #1 by mmurray:

      God’s knowing is different from man’s knowing, because God follows the laws of intuition, not physics or logic (if that’s not too redundant). It is declared incomprehensible in the hope that any logical discrepancies will be ignored.

  2. Your logic about chicken/beef is spot on laocmo. The theists way out of this, is like their way out of studies which have shown prayer to be wrong. When a scientific study shows prayers were of no benefit, (eg. to heart patients), the theists’ reply is something like: ” ‘God’ will not answer prayers when you are testing him; only ‘genuine’ prayer will be answered.”

    The problem is that in the studies done, the patients don’t necessarily know that they are being prayed for. So ‘God” must be doing the dirty on good ‘God’-fearing patients, because they are not being prayed for properly!!! It sucks.

    Anyway, one theological answer to ‘God’ writing chicken or beef on paper is that, in theory, ‘God” could do it, but if that would violate your free will or ‘his’ omniscience, ‘he’ simply won’t oblige. So ‘God’, when under test in this way, will never predictively write your choice down.

    I presume that* if *you were a ‘good’, ‘God’-fearing person, who will obey what’s on the paper, then maybe ‘he’ would put his prediction down. In that case, everything would be peachy.

    But ‘he’ would know that in your case you’d go against ‘him’, so ‘he’ wouldn’t give you the chance, and so would not write your choice down, or tell you in any other way what it would be.

    • In reply to #2 by SurLaffaLot:

      ” ‘God’ will not answer prayers when you are testing him; only ‘genuine’ prayer will be answered.”

      Sounds like Quantum Mechanics… If you look, it’s a particle.

      This is top secret so don’t tell anyone. Deep in the Vatican archives, there is a very old Old Testament. As you know, these were copied from scribe to scribe. This Old Testament is the oldest known. In Genesis, when it says “On the sixth day, God created man in his own image.” It actually reads, “On the sixth day, Man created god in his own image.” It appears the next scribe in copying the document, suffered a “Spoonerism”. Once that is corrected. god doesn’t have any properties.

    • In reply to #2 by SurLaffaLot:

      You’re missing the point a bit (or I am, maybe). The question was of what God could do, not what he would do. The latter leads into a lot of waffle about knowing hearts and character, and mysterioso deepity doo-doo.

  3. You assume a linear development of Christian philosophy. It would help if you went to the trouble of listing the extended list of the main attributes in your post rather than directing the reader to perform a search!

    This Wiki is a groovy list of Christian Philosophers divided into eras ~ you could read the links for the big names. But, even that doesn’t help you since you need to put that in the context of the Hebrew Bible. And to put THAT into perspective you have to look at the drawing together of the pantheon-of-gods concepts of the early city civilisations to form the monotheisms that we have today. Some of the attributes of God are covered by the Greek philosophers for example BUT they aren’t tied to a god as such, but to the nature of reality or divided up among the pantheon, once you attribute reality to one God you’re obliged to move all your philosophical furniture across to the more rickety house of some wacky, ill tempered & jealous bearded bloke with a nasty lightning fingertip.

    An example of this transition is linked to Plato & the “demiurge,” which derives from his Timaeus [c. 360 BC] & is his creator of the universe, BUT NOT god. Plato discusses the necessary attributes of this “demiurge” and it’s interesting stuff. Far better than the weak tea Plato’s ideas became once they had Christianity bolted on. Aristotle is another good one.

    That’s enough from me. I hope I’ve helped you with your homework project & now you can do some very hard legwork yourself, should take you around six years to read the main sources & begin to understand the landscape. I think I’ve got about six months on you at the moment.

  4. We can prove many theorems about the set of “all counting numbers” because although it is unbounded, it has regularities and rules that allow us to know about what it does and does not include.

    We do not know what the set of “all powers” includes, so making assertions about it is without foundation, and thus, said assertions can be dismissed without discussion.

    We do not know what the set of “all knowledge” includes, so making assertions about it is without foundation, and thus, said assertions can be dismissed without discussion.

    We do not know what the set of “all places” includes, so making assertions about it is without foundation, and thus, said assertions can be dismissed without discussion.

    We do, however, know what “unchanging” means, and it could not very well include a being that starts with an eternity of nothing and changes to create a world of living creatures and then changes to decide to flood the whole thing out and start again. (Many other examples of changes are all through Jewish and Christian mythology.)

    The “omnis” represent words put together without meaning, and that is why theology can’t link them together into a sound logical system. (They fall back to the “it’s a mystery” defense.)

    • In reply to #5 by Quine:

      It’s also worth pointing out that there’s no object or matter we’ve observed that’s unchanging in the sense it’s usually understood. There are qualities of matter and types of things that are always the same in each case, but it’s not really true that they’re unchanging. They’re in a constant state of flux. Anything that acts or is dynamic in any way cannot be unchanging, except in human imagination.

  5. Just because you think you use free will everyday does not mean you actually have free will.

    How about this for an awful and sexists example…

    An attractive young woman meets an elderly man of wealth. 90% of her brain components get together for a meeting and decide to go for a marriage on this one. The 10% of her brain that was not at the meeting is known as human consciousness. Consciousness is notorious for getting things arse about so is only ever given the minimum information required. In this case consciousness is simply sent the message that you are deeply in love with this wealthy old fellow.
    Of course same example works for Male brains too just replace with money with big tits.

  6. Hi Iaocmo,

    Hopefully the following doesn’t have too many long words for you to look up.

    Michael Fisher’s post covers the basics from a Christian god perspective.

    However, it has always seemed to me that the supposed attributes of the Christian god are far simpler to explain. In the time before monotheism – which appears to be an Ancient Egyptian ‘innovation’ – there was polytheism.

    In polytheistic societies (as Michael points out one of the best known being Ancient Greece) we can surmise that the priests of each god had a vested interest in pumping up there deity.

    As you have discovered philosophy is not, generally speaking, a strong trait among theists. That’s why the few they get are so lauded, loudly and long.

    What, then, might priests of alternative paths to divine beings do? Might they brag? Might they stand around listening to the competition and take away the bits they liked? Might they form clubs in order to divie-up the best attributes and powers in order to fix the market?

    It seems obvious to me that, politicians having not changed that much, there would have been a lot of silly shouting: My god A can do X! Well my god B can do XX! Pah, you’re gods A and B are as nothing compared to my god C who is Y, and that’s clearly worth XXXX! Hah-ha, got you there! [B Priest thumps C Priest, etc., etc., for the next 3,000-odd years] Any children’s playground will offer examples.

    I’m reminded of the scene in Life of Brian where Brian attempts to hide from the Romans in plain sight by joining a group on the fringes of a market. The group is a set of nere-do-wells each openly pontificating on the nature of their personal god in the hope of … well the Viewer is left to guess but founding a religion seems the most likely motivation. The interesting part, from our perspective here, is how the Children’s Playground of theology is partly steered by the crowd of onlookers.

    In the open market of ideas, polytheistic priests who formed cartels to certify each other would have been a winning formula and, after centuries of invention and bragging and refining each other’s best ideas they had a nice collection of godly attributes to divide between them.

    Then came the invention of monotheism.

    With the benefit of hindsight, monotheism is the obvious way for a new set of Shamen to break the monopolistic tendencies of the poly theists; No, no, you’ve got it all wrong there’s only one.

    The theist (all kinds) returned to the playground: Well God F has attribute/ power R and god G has attribute/power S and god H has attribute/power T etc.. Where does that leave your One God?

    At first this sounds hard but, again as Michael points out, the monotheist simply moves up the mystery scale. When your opponent sees through your smoke and mirrors a good theologian simply ups the anti with more smoke: Ah, my children, how little you understand of that which is beyond the understanding of mere mortals, blah, blah, blah (pass me a bucket) …

    To cut a long story short: the new One God must have R S T. Result the One God has attributes and powers which are mutually incompatible.

    Unlike Michael Fisher I won’t be looking up any history of theology, or reading any theological treatise. To me the evidence is already plain and obvious. I’m not interested in the immature, vacuous and idiotic babblings of people who play ‘Let’s Pretend’ for a living.

    Writing this has wasted enough of my precious time already.

    Now stop worrying about the nonsensical, fictional rankings of the intellectual immature and bankrupt and go and enjoy the rest of your life.

    Merry Christmas.

  7. I think this example is important because it could be used to illustrate determinism quite well. God is obvious nonsense, but let’s pretend for the benefit of the story:

    You open the promised envelope and read in fancy script:

    “You decide to have chicken tonight.”

    Chuckling to yourself, you toss the card down and decide of your own free will to defy God’s authority and order a beef stew instead. After a thoroughly enjoyable meal, washed down with two glasses of a rather excellent red wine you put up your feet and, as the dishes are being cleared, you pick up the now rather grubby card and idly flip it over, where you read on the reverse:

    “Chuckling to yourself, you toss the card down and decide of your own free will…

    • In reply to #9 by Peter Grant:

      Hm. Nice, but I’m not convinced. The problem is that if a being can perceive the whole of time it either cannot see itself (1), or would be outside of time. Either way, if it modified time by inserting an assertion that described time that had previously come after the insertion (in the time-line of the external agent) the assertion would not necessarily hold. That is not a disproof of determinism. God could say “you would have had chicken if you’d not read this”. He cannot say “you will have chicken” and necessarily be correct. This is not evidence of free will.

      I guess the question is more interesting with a copy of the whole of space-time stored in a region of space time, for simplicity excluding itself. It could arrange in advance to have the card delivered. The thing that I’m struggling with is that if it intervenes in the world, the world changes, so there is either necessarily communication back from the future to its model/copy of spacetime, or it cannot act. I’m not sure a multiverse-type model resolves this as I suspect that mainly reduces the problem to knowing which multiverse will be the true one.

      (1) or contains an infinite recursion of infinite recursions of infinite recursions of… The model of the universe would need to model itself. I’m not sure whether a real number structured space would allow it, but the quantal universe would not, I think. There are computer programs called “quines” that can output themselves, possibly something like that would work.

        • In reply to #101 by Peter Grant:

          In reply to #83 by PERSON:

          God is obvious nonsense.

          Well duh :) though to be more precise all the versions of God are nonsense; there’s about one per believer. I was talking about your argument after allowing for some non-Yaweh/Jehovah abstract type (but not deist, I think) God.

          Nothing is self caused.

          That has at least a couple of possible meanings.

          Nothing is also unstable…

          A la Dirac’s spontaneous electron-positron pairs? Or something else?

          • In reply to #102 by PERSON:

            Well duh :) though to be more precise all the versions of God are nonsense; there’s about one per believer. I was talking about your argument after allowing for some non-Yaweh/Jehovah abstract type (but not deist, I think) God.

            It was simply a poetic demonstration of why “free will” is nonsense. All causa sui are nonsense. Omniscience is a curse.

          • In reply to #104 by Peter Grant:

            In reply to #102 by PERSON:

            Well duh :) though to be more precise all the versions of God are nonsense; there’s about one per believer. I was talking about your argument after allowing for some non-Yaweh/Jehovah abstract type (but not deist, I think) God.

            It was simply a poetic demonstration

            So you knew it was flawed but wanted to get the point across simply? Fair enough, though I think it could easily lead to misunderstanding, and I dislike that form of pedagogy where it’s not made clear it’s a simplification.

          • In reply to #105 by PERSON:

            I dislike that form of pedagogy where it’s not made clear it’s a simplification.

            So do I, but sometimes seems the only way.

  8. Just as creationists try to “blind with pseudo-science” in areas of scientific complexity, god postulaters as well as loving hiding their gods in scientific gaps in knowledge, also love hiding them in the ill-defined shifting meanings and vagaries of verbosity and meaningless obfuscation.

    This was developed to a fine art by the postmodernists – and beautifully debunked on these links:

    http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/

    Be sure to read the section at the bottom of the page.

    http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/

    • In reply to #10 by Alan4discussion:

      Just as creationists try to “blind with pseudo-science” in areas of scientific complexity, god postulaters as well as loving hiding their gods in scientific gaps in knowledge, also love hiding them in the ill-defined shifting meanings and vagaries of verbosity and meaningless obfuscation.

      Wow! I really hope this is an example of meaningless obfuscation, because if it’s not, I’m losing it. Ha ha!

      PS I did read the caption, so I’m just joking.

  9. First of all lets be clear that the list you are talking about does not describe the concept of God in all religions past or present. As to where those ideas came from there is a fairly simple answer. In Western thought before the enlightenment and the scientific method there was no difference between theology, philosophy, and studying the natural world. They were all thought to be sub-disciplines of the same thing. It’s funny that really none of the things you mention are explicitly in the bible. Like the idea of “original sin” they were made up many centures after the last part of the bible was written by theologins in the Roman Catholic Church. People like St. Augustin and William of Occam (who also gave us something useful in the form of Occam’s razor).

    • In reply to #12 by BriRey:

      Is this a serious comment? I found this with your photo:
      http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/williamsaundersonmeyer/2013/07/20/close-encounters-with-ufo-airheads/comment-page-1/

      Clickable link

      Larry :William Saunderson-Meyer, you call us airheads. I to was in your camp most of my life until I saw my own UFO. And it was not the typical fuzzy white spot that is seen by so many. It was the silver, metallic, saucer shaped disk with a distinct dome on top that has been reported by many. And it was observed for 5 to 10 seconds through a quality 10X binocular while watching planes approach the local airport. It appeared out of nowhere and rapidly traveled West until it grew smaller and disappeared. No I did not immediately think “alien”, My immediate thoughts were,…”so our government does indeed have secret aircraft…” My thoughts now are that I wish I had not seen it. Now I know they exist and it bothers me quite a bit. I hope you have the opportunity to see your own someday.

      I’d like an explanation for the above. Are you an atheist simply because you believe gods are actually space aliens?

      • In reply to #15 by Peter Grant:
        >

        In reply to #12 by BriRey: – I’d like an explanation for the above. Are you an atheist simply because you believe gods are actually space aliens?

        One morning I once saw a giant golden flying saucer a couple of miles away to the east.
        After driving another half mile down the road, it turned into the Sun shining through a cloud. -
        Another “miracle”!!

        • In reply to #16 by Alan4discussion:

          One morning I once saw a giant golden flying saucer a couple of miles away to the east.
          After driving another half mile down the road, it turned into the Sun shining through a cloud

          Wow, Alan, you Saw A Flying Saucer. Amazing luck, getting to see it before it turned on its cloaking fields or whatever. Reminds me of long ago, walking in the Pennines, in an old mining area, where the rust stained stones had little disk-shaped fossils embedded in them. Obviously washers from some ancient space-ship, clear evidence that Von Daniken was right. Also, there were these little mushroom shaped things that turned out to be portals to another dimension…..

          • In reply to #96 by OHooligan:

            before it turned on its cloaking fields or whatever.

            Device. It’s a cloaking device

            sigh.

          • In reply to #98 by Alan4discussion:

            You realise we are having a laugh??

            Yes, yes, I do! I did! ~snort~ heh, and yet, the “cloaking fields or whatever” phrase set off my Star Trek NG slavish uber-fealty reaction. You know, female Treckies of a certain age are a rare breed. I don’t know any others….Not making excuses! It’s just, you know, context.

            :-D

          • In reply to #99 by LaurieB:

            In reply to #98 by Alan4discussion:

            You realise we are having a laugh??

            Yes, yes, I do! I did! ~snort~ heh, and yet, the “cloaking fields or whatever” phrase set off my Star Trek NG slavish uber-fealty reaction. You know, female Treckies of a certain age are a rare breed. I don’t know any others…..

            Ah, Cloaking Device. I stand corrected. And pleased to meet you, internetically, LaurieB. You clearly know more about Alan’s UFO than I do. Were you on it? Anyway, may you Live Long and Prosper.

  10. Well omniscience would directly contradict the observations of the Quantum world.

    1) It’s impossible to know the the position and velocity of a particle.

    2) Quantum particles can be either ‘left’ or ‘right’ handed, but this isn’t decided until they are observed. If an omniscient entity existed then their handedness would be fixed before observation and the observer would be incapable of influencing the handedness.

  11. Isn’t it funny how god develops his attributes along with a civilization progress :). No one can predict its powers, not even god itself. hahahaha….

    Anyway, why he needs to be prayed for, or asked to do something? For example he sees someone very ill and he has the ability to save she or him, why he simply doesn’t do so? Why he simply don’t save someone immediately, but waits to be asked? God is not so clever after all isn’t it? Not so “omni” isn’t he? ;) Lovely little “logical rocking horse” Iaocmo, thank you.

  12. The fact that you think you have free will because you use it every day doesn’t mean that you actually have free will. It sort of depends on your definition of free will. However, even without free will you have the ability to make decisions and change your behavior based on your sensory inputs, so indeed, you paradox still holds. But if you are going to use the absolute definitions of omnisecense and omnipotence, then that would preclude having free will in even this limited sense. Consider that God would know how this experiment will play out and can choose to let you believe whatever he wants. He can write down anything, knowing that you will choose the opposite. So the fact that you choose something different from what he wrote down in no way changes the fact that he knew what was going to happen. Thus he can choose to have you believe that you have proved that he is not omniscient even though he knew what you were going to choose. One the other hand, being omnioptent implies that he can make you choose however he wants. It would appear that knowing what will happen is easier than being able to make anything happen in a logical sense, because what will happen is a single thing, while omnipotents implies being able to do contradictory things simultaneously.

  13. You are cheating. You are only allowed to open the envelope after you have ordered.

    Those are the rules for an good scientific experiment, and I extend the same courtesy to fictional participants. If God wins every time James Randi should give him the million bucks.

  14. The Game:

    First, who says god can’t change. If he’s omnipotent, he must be able to change, by definition.

    Second, god knows that you are going to do the opposite of what he writes on the paper.

    Third, god doesn’t care what you eat, and doesn’t care whether you think you have fooled him. He KNOWS precisely what you will do. It doesn’t matter what he writes on the paper, he knows you will do the opposite in this particular case.

    Fourth, in a sense he has determined what you will do, based on your decision to fool him. He can make you eat whatever he wants you to eat. If he writes down “chicken” you’ll eat beef.

    How do you know you have free will. Just because it feels like you do.

    • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA etc…

      In reply to #21 by Ospreywing:

      The Game:

      First, who says god can’t change. If he’s omnipotent, he must be able to change, by definition.

      Second, god knows that you are going to do the opposite of what he writes on the paper.

      Third, god doesn’t care what you eat, and doesn’t care whether you think you have fooled him. He KNOW…

  15. It is hardly the role of skeptics concerning the reality of a fire breathing dragon in the garage to define the attributes of such alleged dragons.
    Throughout history and up to now there are enough different-end evolving- characteristics of the “person (s)/concept/entity(ies)” going by the name of “god”(s) for the various different schools of believers to argue with each other. Should a particular group clearly define particular attributes in operational terms , then some objective tests can be performed to verify the existence of these attributes.

  16. Does free will in traditional terms exist…

    Free Will;

    I construe free will the way I think most people do: At the moment when you have to decide among alternatives, you have free will if you could have chosen otherwise. To put it more technically, if you could rerun the tape of your life up to the moment you make a choice, with every aspect of the universe configured identically, free will means that your choice could have been different.

    Coyne goes on to argue against the existence of this version of free will:

    To assert that we can freely choose among alternatives is to claim, then, that we can somehow step outside the physical structure of our brain and change its workings. That is impossible. Like the output of a programmed computer, only one choice is ever physically possible: the one you made. As such, the burden of proof rests on those who argue that we can make alternative choices, for that’s a claim that our brains, unique among all forms of matter, are exempt from the laws of physics by a spooky, nonphysical ‘will’ that can redirect our own molecules.

    • In reply to #27 by Apeshit:

      To assert that we can freely choose among alternatives is to claim, then, that we can somehow step outside the physical structure of our brain and change its workings. That is impossible. Like the output of a programmed computer, only one choice is ever physically possible: the one you made. As such, the burden of proof rests on those who argue that we can make alternative choices, for that’s a claim that our brains, unique among all forms of matter, are exempt from the laws of physics by a spooky, nonphysical ‘will’ that can redirect our own molecules.

      I like your computer analogy.

      Perhaps a good illustration of a variation of it is the RISC-OS system.

      RISC OS takes its name from the RISC (reduced instruction set computing) architecture supported. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RISC-OS

      In this ARM-driven system (not Microsoft) of windows, a limited choice of possibilities is offered from those physically possible in order to simplify decision making.

      Perhaps because of chaos theory, a limited “choice/selection” of “free-will” alternative possibilities, may be decided by the physics of the brain, hence preventing the total predictability of “predetermination”.

  17. In reply to #28 by Alan4discussion:

    I like your computer analogy.
    Perhaps a good illustration of a variation of it is the RISC-OS system.

    A RISC chip has nothing to do with limiting choices the computer makes. The ultimate capabilities of a RISC chip (addition, subtraction, multiplication, move information, etc.) are the same as any other chip it’s just that some instructions that are actually hard wired on a normal chip are left off a RISC chip. But any of the instructions left off can still be done by two or more combinations of other instructions. All a RISC chip does is leave off some functions (e.g. multiplication) that can be done by combining other instructions (e.g. addition and iteration).

    The thing that makes RISC chips unusual was that it’s counter intuitive to think that just using the smaller instruction set can be as fast or faster than the bigger instruction set. Executing one hard wired multiplication function should (and usually would) be faster than executing N number of additions and summing the result. But by clever design they were able to make the core set so much faster that it was worth the trade off to leave off some basic functions. I think it has to do at least partly with size. The closer you can fit each core instruction on the chip the faster the chip will be and by limiting the number of instructions they get the ones that are there to be much closer and hence faster.

    • In reply to #31 by Red Dog:

      In reply to #28 by Alan4discussion:

      I like your computer analogy.
      Perhaps a good illustration of a variation of it is the RISC-OS system.

      A RISC chip has nothing to do with limiting choices the computer makes. The ultimate capabilities of a RISC chip (addition, subtraction, multiplication, move in…

      I think you misunderstood my comment. I was talking about the simplified choices presented to the user, not the capabilities of the computer.

      The thing that makes RISC chips unusual was that it’s counter intuitive to think that just using the smaller instruction set can be as fast or faster than the bigger instruction set. Executing one hard wired multiplication function should (and usually would) be faster than executing N number of additions and summing the result. But by clever design they were able to make the core set so much faster that it was worth the trade off to leave off some basic functions.

      As I recall the history, RISC OS3.1 using 250K could out-perform MS Windows 3.1 using 7meg.

      • In reply to #32 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #31 by Red Dog:
        I think you misunderstood my comment. I was talking about the simplified choices presented to the user, not the capabilities of the computer.

        You are comparing apples and oranges. Saying that Microsoft Windows can outperform a RISC chip makes no sense. A chip and an operating system are not at all the same thing. Any decent operating system will support all the major chips and vice versa.

        I think your confusion is that there was an operating system called RISC OS that claimed it was specifically designed for the RISC chip.

        But getting back to the point, from an end user’s perspective a RISC chip (as opposed to an OS that claims to be designed for the RISC chip) is the same as any other chip. The same Java code will run on a RISC chip as will run on any other chip. From the end user’s perspective there shouldn’t be a difference except in speed. The “limited possibilities” were a feature of that OS not the chip.

        • In reply to #34 by Red Dog:

          In reply to #32 by Alan4discussion:

          I think you misunderstood my comment. I was talking about the simplified choices presented to the user, not the capabilities of the computer.

          You are comparing apples and oranges. Saying that Microsoft Windows can outperform a RISC chip makes no sense.

          Actually, @32 – I said that RISC OS3.1 out performed Microsoft windows 3.1.

          A chip and an operating system are not at all the same thing.

          Any decent operating system will support all the major chips and vice versa.

          I think your confusion is that there was an operating system called RISC OS that claimed it was specifically designed for the RISC chip.

          I was referring to the RISC OS3.1 (OperatingSystem 3.1), which was not only designed for the ARM chip, but was actually included in the chip hardware, and therefore it was much faster, as it did not need to take time to access a hard-drive to operate.

          The “limited possibilities” were a feature of that OS not the chip.

          I hope this clears up the issue that the OS was on the chip when using that system, and was therefore the source of the “limited possibilities”.

          Anyway we are getting off topic here.

  18. Iacomo OP:

    Can’t get a sensible answer from any theist or religious group to this simple logical dilemma. All I get is obvious ignorance of logical syllogisms, or a three page theological discussion, every fourth word or so of which I have to look up.

    Ah, Iacomo, you are obviously not familiar with the numinous and the transcendent ! To hope to nail down the eeliness of the slippery one is but to come to St Peter’s gates as a lock picker !

  19. Maybe free will is more like Quantum superposition, whereby all of our future actions (quantum states) are already sub-consciously pre-determined (set) but these sub-conscious actions are not apparent (visible) to our own conscious mind giving us the illusion that, at the time, a choice was made by us (free will) and not already set in stone for us at a genetic level (so we are genetically pre-programmed to respond to any given stimulus with a pre-determined response however complex that response may seem in hindsight).

    • In reply to #35 by Apeshit:

      Maybe free will is more like Quantum superposition, whereby all of our future actions (quantum states) are already sub-consciously pre-determined (set) but these sub-conscious actions are not apparent (visible) to our own conscious mind giving us the illusion that, at the time, a choice was made by .

      That’s the best I’ve read today. It harmonizes with what I’ve read in the writing of St. Paul (Romans), but of course he takes it up a notch and introduces a life principle whereby one’s mind is freed through the death of another, in the way that the matrix is rebooted and a beautiful sunrise appears over the horizon, created by Sati in Neo’s honor.

  20. Q1 : Does anyone know who first thought up that big list of all the many attributes God is supposed to have?

    ‘….Omniscience is the property of having complete or maximal knowledge. Along with omnipotence and perfect goodness it is usually taken to be one of the central divine attributes. Philosophical considerations of omniscience often derive from “perfect being theology”, the idea made famous by St. Anselm, that God is that than which nothing greater can be thought. … St. Thomas Aquinas attributed another feature to God’s knowledge: he held that it was not “discursive” (Summa Theologiae, I, 14, 7 : ). By this he meant, first, that God does not first think of one thing and then think of another, for “God sees all things together and not successively” and, second, that God does not derive his knowledge by deducing conclusions from other things that he knows. ….’ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy : Omniscience – http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/omniscience/

    Your argument:

    For instance Omniscience refers to him being all knowing of things past, present, and future. Yet this seems to be a false attribute as demonstrated by simple logic. God knows what I will order at the restaurant tonight, beef, or chicken. They agree. Now could He write the answer down? I’m told He assuredly could do this as for Moses with the Ten Commandments. If written down He could seal it in an envelope and give it to me. I could read it at the restaurant, and then if He wrote chicken I could order beef, or if he said beef I could order chicken. Remember I have free will. This logic seems to say that either God does not have Omniscience or I do not have free will, I have free will, I use it every day. So that only leaves one other possibility, that He can not see the future as we have assumed. Of course the simple answer is He does not exist. I’m mainly concerned with my logic.

    Q2: Any ideas here? Thanks.

    ‘….In recent years perhaps the most widely accepted response to the argument is to accept it but to deny that omniscience extends to knowledge of the future. Peter Geach (1977) held that apart from “present trends and tendencies” there is no future to be known. Swinburne (1993) agrees that, at least if God is a contingent being, he does not have foreknowledge of future free actions. Hoffman and Rosenkrantz (2002) give a careful account of omniscience, intentionally limiting God’s foreknowledge to truths that are “causally inevitable”, where causally inevitable events are not free actions. Indeed a recent movement within philosophy of religion, so-called Open Theism, has been developed with the explicit aim of leaving the future “open”, and thus unknown to God, precisely so as to leave room for human freedom. William Hasker (1989, 2004) has been a leading figure in this group, as have been the contributors to Pinnock (1994).

    For a fuller discussion of these issues, see the entries on foreknowledge and free will* and medieval theories of future contingents**. …’ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy : Omniscience – http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/omniscience/

    *Foreknowledge and Free Will : http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/free-will-foreknowledge/

    **Medieval Theories of Future Contingents : http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/medieval-futcont/

    ‘If our salvation be dependent on theological dogmatics and exegesis, we are lost. (Twilight, 135)’

  21. In reply to #29 by crookedshoes:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA etc…

    In reply to #21 by Ospreywing:

    Would you please explain what is so funny.

    I’d really appreciate telling uswhat you think i

    The Game:

    First, who says god can’t change. If he’s omnipotent, he must be able to change, by definition.

    Second, god knows that you are going to do…

    • Your first sentence

      First, who says god can’t change. If he’s omnipotent, he must be able to change, by definition.

      is a direct logical contradiction of the rest of your post.

      Your first premise disqualifies the second, third and fourth.
      I know, I know, you’ll tell me about “no limits” on the god thing. But, and this is what’s funny, is omnipotence is a logical impossibility. If your god thing can change, he cannot know the future; if he can know the future, he cannot change.

      In reply to #39 by Ospreywing:

      In reply to #29 by crookedshoes:

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA etc…

      In reply to #21 by Ospreywing:

      Would you please explain what is so funny.

      I’d really appreciate telling uswhat you think i

      The Game:

      First, who sa…

      • In reply to #42 by crookedshoes:

        Your first sentence

        First, who says god can’t change. If he’s omnipotent, he must be able to change, by definition.

        is a direct logical contradiction of the rest of your post.

        Could you please explain your logic regarding my contradictions. If you won’t or can’t, nobody learns anything from your post.

        Your first premise disqualifies the second, third and fourth.
        I know, I know, you’ll tell me about “no limits” on the god…

        • I did explain it. It just seems that you don’t want my explanation to be applied to the god thing you propose.

          If there are many many possibilities for the actions of this god thing that you propose, and one of the courses IS the one the god thing will take, then the god thing cannot change. If the god thing can change, then the future is uncertain. Something uncertain is unknown. “Omnipotent” is impossible when you introduce the idea of potential change.

          In reply to #44 by Ospreywing:

          In reply to #42 by crookedshoes:

          Your first sentence

          First, who says god can’t change. If he’s omnipotent, he must be able to change, by definition.

          is a direct logical contradiction of the rest of your post.

          Could you please explain your logic regarding my contradictions. If you won’t or can’t…

  22. I once got an answer to that same question from a very good friend of mine. She said that god didn’t know what you were going to choose, but that he knew all the consecuences to your actions and decisions. It means that he knows all the diferent paths you may take in life.
    Even though it wasn’t enough for me, there was no contradiction with the idea of god we were discusing. All I’m saying id that your question is valid, but it won’t be enough to disproof god, especially to hardcore believers.

    • In reply to #40 by bjibanez:

      Even though it wasn’t enough for me, there was no contradiction with the idea of god we were discusing.

      If you’re discussing a god that isn’t omnipotent or omniscient, then yes. Otherwise it’s a fairly big contradiction.

  23. It is interesting to see a lot of people arguing about the attributes of a being that most probably doesn’t exist, and about whom (or it) we have no (zero) reliable information. In my first post, I tried to answer a question about logic, accepting certain assumptions for the sake of argument. Of course, the definitions of “omnipotence” and other characteristics have long been changed by theologians that restrict the meaning of most terms to make them acceptable in the age of reason and science. The Catholic Church has even accepted the idea of evolution as long as god can still be credited for setting down the laws of nature to run their course. In this context, I do remember a comment made by Dawkins that theologians have never made a real contribution to knowledge or
    understanding.

    In short, I think it’s absurd to argue about the attributes of a god that doesn’t exist. If he/she did exist she has already demonstrated (in the old testament) that she is more than willing to to break her own commandments, especially those relating to killings, rape,
    genocide, etc. If that isn’t a “change” in the nature or behavior of god what is. God is not an idea that can be understood by application of logic. Neither are ghosts, angels, Bigfoot, or the Loch Ness Monster.

    • More comedy?? You cannot spout off two paragraphs of your own “logic” and then in the last sentence declare that the god thing you propose is “not understood through logic”…

      How do YOU know?

      BTW, we agree that all the things you mention are bullshit. Made up bullshit is the stuff that “lies outside logic”. It is code for horse crap.

      Your application of “logic” is very suspect, since your stances contain serious contradictions at every turn.

      It is like saying that words can’t describe something and then going on to describe it with words. Or to scream the sentence “I am NOT screaming!!!!!”

      In reply to #48 by Ospreywing:

      It is interesting to see a lot of people arguing about the attributes of a being that most probably doesn’t exist, and about whom (or it) we have no (zero) reliable information. In my first post, I tried to answer a question about logic, accepting certain assumptions for the sake of argument. Of cou…

    • Immutability – means God cannot change
    • Omnipotence – refers to Him being “all powerful”
    • Omniscience – refers to Him being “all knowing”.

    It looks like the properties of the self image of a psychotic delusional troll!

    Dogmatic intransigence, the god-spot delusion cons its host organism into believing the self deception that it has magic powers to do anything, and of course – it knows-it-all!

  24. The answer of your question is not inside the logic we develop for thousand years, you must learn a different logic to find the answer, For example you can not speak to a foreigner if you dont know his language. The logic we develop and share betwwen us is usefull to understand each other but can not be used to solve your question of destiny. For example you need to learn math to solve physics.

    • In reply to #50 by sezai:
      >

      The logic we develop and share betwwen us is usefull to understand each other but can not be used to solve your question of destiny.

      Logic has always worked for me in planning routes and objectives in the past. – or did you have some strange vague definition of “destiny”?

      • In reply to #52 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #50 by sezai:

        The logic we develop and share betwwen us is usefull to understand each other but can not be used to solve your question of destiny.

        Logic has always worked for me in planning routes and objectives in the past. – or did you have some strange vague definition of “destiny”?

        With math language we can read & write science. With religous language we can read & write souls. With …. language we can read & write “Destiny”

        • In reply to #58 by sezai:

          With math language we can read & write science. With religous language we can read & write souls. With …. language we can read & write “Destiny”

          The difference between “math language” and “religious language” is that with math and science we see overwhelming evidence that there is a process here that is doing what we would expect a knowledge enriching processs to do. Questions are getting answered, benefits are achieved from what we do know, and new questions are constantly coming up.

          Name one tangible achievement — I’m talking about a conceptual achievement, something where people used to say “this is an unsolved problem” but now we have a clear compelling answer for. You can’t. People are still arguing over the same theological issues that they debated in the middle ages or ancient Greece and Rome.

          Where as Math and science have given us evolution, calculus, Newton’s laws of motion, relativity, etc. religious language has nothing to show for over two thousand years of debate.

          • In reply to #59 by Red Dog:

            Religion language basically (and orginally) is used for humanism. Not to steal, not to kill innocent, not to lie, not to cheat etc .. When you write somebody’s soul he/she expected not to steal ,cheat or lie etc. When you read somebody’s soul you know he/she loves you, be a real friend of you, whether speaks you the truth or not etc .. Religions try to use uses spritual language in order to influence people. However because of those whom dont know the true spiritual language might cause conflicts

          • In reply to #61 by sezai:

            Religion language basically (and orginally) is used for humanism. Not to steal, not to kill innocent, not to lie, not to cheat etc ..

            You don’t need a religious argument to assert that. I can give you many rational arguments why altruism makes sense for humans and other animals. Steven Pinker wrote a whole book on the topic: The Better Angels of our Nature. And what he argued is that it is the language of faith and irrationality, things like religion, nationalism, jingoism, fascism, etc. Those are the things that cause so much suffering in the world and if we were more rational we would steal less, kill less, etc.

            So it’s obvious that religious language isn’t the only way to say those things. Now look at the history of religion. How good a job has religion done to make people less inclined to steal, cheat, and kill? Not very. As Pinker argues there HAS been significant progress in those areas. We don’t revel in public torture (often sanctified by the church) any more. We don’t keep slaves anymore etc. But most of the time the church has OPPOSED those changes not helped bring them about.

            When you write somebody’s soul he/she expected not to steal ,cheat or lie etc. When you read somebody’s soul you know he/she loves you, be a real friend of you, whether speaks you the truth or not etc .. Religions try to use uses spritual language in order to influence people. However because of those whom dont know the true spiritual language might cause conflicts

            I think what you are talking about are emotions not the soul. I believe in emotions and in relating to people on an emotional level but I don’t believe in a soul and it’s never stopped me from loving anyone.

          • In reply to #61 by sezai:

            Religion language basically (and orginally) is used for humanism. Not to steal, not to kill innocent, not to lie, not to cheat etc ..

            This only applied to the tribe to keep them unified. Further reading of this document and its indiscriminate slaughter of outgroups will reveal humanism had very little to do with it.

            In reply to #62 by Red Dog:

            As Pinker argues there HAS been significant progress in those areas. We don’t revel in public torture (often sanctified by the church) any more. We don’t keep slaves anymore etc. But most of the time the church has OPPOSED those changes not helped bring them about.

            I must say this is one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read. The chapter describing the history and public acceptance and participation of torture was one of the most difficult I’ve been through. We have indeed come a long, long way. The Church has had very little to do with this progress even though they’d like to claim it.

          • In reply to #63 by Skeptic:

            In reply to #61 by sezai:
            Religion language basically (and orginally) is used for humanism. Not to steal, not to kill innocent, not to lie, not to cheat etc ..
            This only applied to the tribe to keep them unified. Further reading of this document and its indiscriminate slaughter of outgroups will reveal humanism had very little to do with it.

            Very true. “Love thy neighbor” in the Old Testament did not mean to be altruistic to all humans. It meant to be altruistic to other Jews. And the same for a lot of the supposed moral lessons in the old testament, when you take into account the sexism and authoritarian cultures they just took for granted they hardly seem moral at all given modern standards. Which shouldn’t be a big surprise. I’ve always thought it was odd that somehow when it comes to questions of ethics and morality we rely on books written by nomadic people who were by our standards functionally illiterate.

          • In reply to #62 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #61 by sezai:
            Science could not find what is emotion & consciousness yet. Not believing existance of soul does not mean it does not exist. Recently parallel universes are being discussed by scintists. Emotions or conciousness or soul whatever might be our connection to worm holes.

          • In reply to #66 by sezai:

            Science could not find what is emotion & consciousness yet.

            Science doesn’t have a complete explanation for emotions and consciousness I agree. I don’t see how that is relevant.

            Not believing existance of soul does not mean it does not exist.

            I agree. I don’t think the soul doesn’t exist just on a whim and I certainly don’t think it doesn’t exist because I just happen to believe it doesn’t exist. I believe it doesn’t exist because believing in a soul contradicts everything we do know about how the brain and the mind work. What you said earlier that science can’t explain everything is certainly true. But it’s not true that we can’t explain ANYTHING yet, not by a long shot. And every scientific theory we have for the brain and mind that are backed up by evidence says that the mind is a result of electrochemical activity in the brain and when that activity stops so does the mind.

            Recently parallel universes are being discussed by scintists. Emotions or conciousness or soul whatever might be our connection to worm holes.

            Sigh.

          • In reply to #67 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #66 by sezai:

            We could explain many things and probably we could go much further in future to find the relationship between the brain nerves. But the more science develops the more complicated it became till now. No body knows what will be the next surprising scientific discovery regarding brain tissues. They might be connected each other like quantum entanglement, which might explain sixth sense, destiny etc

          • In reply to #66 by sezai:

            Science could not find what is emotion & consciousness yet.

            Actually science has found out quite a lot about emotions and conscious brain activity.

            It is a combination of electrical circuits and biochemistry.
            Neuroscience For Kids – http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/synapse.html)

            There is no evidence of anything else, and indeed the laws of thermodynamics suggest anything else is unlikely.

            Not believing existance of soul does not mean it does not exist.

            Not believing in fairies does not mean they don’t exist, but there is no evidence for believing in either souls or fairies.
            There are all sorts of unanswered questions about claims to “souls” like “How could such things get into animals like humans?” or “When during evolution were they acquired, – given that soul claims do not usually include single celled organisms?”
            There are no credible rational answers to these questions which can be compatible with scientific knowledge. Nor is there any evidence of a physical presence of such things in a human body.

            Recently parallel universes are being discussed by scintists. Emotions or conciousness or soul whatever might be our connection to worm holes.

            You really are grasping at straws here. “There’s no evidence for ‘souls’ on Earth, so maybe they are hiding in distant space”, is a pretty wild claim which looks like pure “gapology”!

        • In reply to #58 by sezai:

          In reply to #52 by Alan4discussion:

          With math language we can read & write science. With religious language we can read & write souls. With …. language we can read & write “Destiny”

          .. . . . A very strained analogy equating the precision of mathematics with the vagaries of religious waffle !!

          It looks like you are getting into whimsical semantic contortions here. This bears no resemblance to the definition of “destiny” you offered @60!

          It is no surprise that it requires a vague fantasy use of language, to describe vague fantasy notions of immaterial mythology, which are thoroughly debunked by modern science. You have offered no explanations of how these mythical entities were supposed to be part of human beings, while the only clearly expressed theist definitive descriptions, are logically untenable in the light of known science.

          “Zeus-did-it-by-magic” is not a credible explanation.

          Once you ask which animals are supposed to contain “souls” the concept becomes a self contradictory nonsense.

          • In reply to #75 by Alan4discussion:

            Once you ask which animals are supposed to contain “souls” the concept becomes a self contradictory nonsense.

            Indeed or as Quine likes to ask “which of your ancestors was the first one to have a soul”?

            Michael

      • In reply to #52 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #50 by sezai:

        The logic we develop and share betwwen us is usefull to understand each other but can not be used to solve your question of destiny.

        Logic has always worked for me in planning routes and objectives in the past. – or did you have some strange vague definition of “destiny”?

        Destiny = Position & Speed of Mass in Space-Time having a reason (causality)

        • In reply to #60 by sezai:

          In reply to #52 by Alan4discussion:

          In reply to #50 by sezai:

          The logic we develop and share betwwen us is usefull to understand each other but can not be used to solve your question of destiny.

          Logic has always worked for me in planning routes and objectives in the past. – or did you have some strange vague definition of “destiny”?

          Destiny = Position & Speed of Mass in Space-Time having a reason (causality)

          That makes nonsense of your earlier claim that logic “can not be used to solve your question of destiny”.

          Logical deduction and mathematical calculations using scientific laws and scientific measurements, is standard procedure for tracking trajectories through space and time using cause and effect. It is effective to very high levels of accuracy over vast distances and time-scales. No other methods produce reliable predictions of reality.

          There are “other methods” of introspection which produce self-consistent imaginary delusional self-deceptions, but these have nothing to do with logic or reality.

          @61 – Religions try to use uses spritual language in order to influence people. However because of those whom dont know the true spiritual language might cause conflicts.

          I think I detect a No true Scotsman fallacy here, along with some “ink-blot interpretation ” of language.

          • In reply to #65 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #60 by sezai:

            In reply to #52 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #50 by sezai:

            I could not explain well, sorry. I mean we need to get out of atheist vs fundementalist fight to search for truth.

          • In reply to #68 by sezai:

            I could not explain well, sorry. I mean we need to get out of atheist vs fundementalist fight to search for truth.

            Science has nothing to do with preconceptions of atheism or fundamentalism. It is the search for truth.

            Science is a methodology which is based on material evidence and reasoning. That is the opposite of “faith” which is belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

            If it refutes faith claims, it is because they lack support from evidence and reason, and usually because they are debunked by already established science.

            I could not explain well, sorry

            You cannot explain well, not through any lack of talent, but because there are no credible evidenced arguments for gods. All the evidence from neuroscience points to images of gods in brains short-circuiting and bypassing considerations of external evidence.

            At speed of light time slows down to zero.

            Humans’ interactions with the environment on Earth do not take place at the speed of light. This is just more gapology.

            In atomic level both speed and location of particle can not be known at the same time.

            I think you mean “at subatomic level”, where this is purely a property of wave/particles, which do not conform to the definition of a “particle” on a larger scale.

            At the atomic and molecular level where brains function, chemistry and physics is known.

            As I said earlier, no credible description of how organisms contain “souls” has ever been presented. They are all inconsistent with known science, and based on the theist fear of death.

          • In reply to #73 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #68 by sezai:

            How will you discover the unknown with known ? There must be a hypothesis or a theorem and somebody will try to proove it. Einstein’s general relativity theorem could be prooved many years later. During his time his approach was accepted as a ‘gapology’ also. Furthermore Schrodinger’s cat was also a subject of joy to ‘Scientists’ but several years later it has been prooved. Even the genious Einstein could not agree with quantum level physics. So how will it be possible to discover the truth if we dont hypothesis ?

          • In reply to #76 by sezai:

            How will you discover the unknown with known ? There must be a hypothesis or a theorem and somebody will try to proove it. Einstein’s general relativity theorem could be prooved many years later.

            We can’t know the unknown unknowns at present, but we can certainly discover unknown in terms of present knowns, PRECISELY AS EINSTEIN DID in adding to the laws of Newton – not refuting them.

            There are unknowns, but the observable underlying laws of physics are not going to be overturned in the light of wishful thinking, although the human descriptions of them may become more accurate in the light of new knowledge.

            Anyone who steps onto air out of a tenth-floor window, is going to confirm the law of gravity and Newton’s laws of motion, – not discover any “new physics” which refutes them!

            During his time his approach was accepted as a ‘gapology’

            No it wasn’t! Einstein only slightly modified the accuracy of Newton, and then only at extreme velocities irrelevant to unmechanised locomotion on Earth . Any “gapology” based on refuting Newton is long debunked.

            You have still offered no explanations of when or how these mythical “souls” appeared in humans or other animals. Those answers (or the absence of them) are in brains (or the absence of brains) on Earth, not in the depths of space or on hypervelocity planets etc.

            Even the genious Einstein could not agree with quantum level physics.

            This simply shows that the forces of physics operate on a different basis at different scales. The is no doubt about the scale of brain chemistry. It is chemistry, not nuclear physics.

            So how will it be possible to discover the truth if we dont hypothesis ?

            You need to do more than speculate that there could be a hypothesis. For it to be evaluated for “truth content”, you need to present one.

            Your problem is that many have already tried and failed, so they are reduced to wild speculations about the gapology of “unknown unknowns” and ignoring present well evidenced “knowns”. This amounts to “Well we can really believe ANYTHING no matter how ridiculous!” – (But only our “true believers‘ anythings” – other people’s “anythings” are ridiculous!)

            @82 – Indeed or as Quine likes to ask “which of your ancestors was the first one to have a soul”?

            So your hypothesis of “souls in organisms” is ….. . . . . . . . ?

          • In reply to #84 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #76 by sezai:
            I understand from your explanations that there is no God, no soul, no spririt. Only material and organisims which happened by chance and evolved for million years by itself. That is all. Am I wrong ?

          • In reply to #84 by Alan4discussion:

            My hypothesis is “Organisms do not have souls, they are living because of the existance of 6th dimension. Reason is determined by 5th dimension. Location and speed is determined by 4th dimension. Existance is observed in 3rd dimension.”

          • In reply to #89 by sezai:

            In reply to #84 by Alan4discussion:

            My hypothesis is “Organisms do not have souls, they are living because of the existance of 6th dimension. Reason is determined by 5th dimension. Location and speed is determined by 4th dimension. Existance is observed in 3rd dimension.”

            And the evidence supporting this speculation to advance it to the status of a hypothesis is .. . . . . . . ??

            There is plenty of evidence that the existence of matter and energy is observable in the 4 dimensions of space and time, as are the “reasoning” mechanisms of living organisms and machines. The gapology seems to be getting wilder!

            sezai @ 87 – All the evidence shows the working laws of the universe do not require gods or the supernatural.

    • In reply to #50 by sezai:

      The answer of your question is not inside the logic we develop for thousand years, you must learn a different logic to find the answer, For example you can not speak to a foreigner if you dont know his language. The logic we develop and share betwwen us is usefull to understand each other but can not be used to solve your question of destiny. For example you need to learn math to solve physics.

      It always worries me that when we say “you can’t understand this science you just have to rely on the consensus of experts” we are leaving open the argument “you can’t understand this theology you just have to rely on the consensus of experts”. But the flaw is the word ** consensus**. If theologians all agreed that applying advanced theo-mechanics they could demonstrate the existence of god we would need to pay attention. But there is no consensus of theologians.

      Michael

        • In reply to #85 by sezai:

          In reply to #81 by mmurray:
          I agree what you say. The existance of God must be prooven, not by consensus but by science. But if Science prooves if God exists what will happen then ?

          Science starts with evidence and builds theories to try and explain that evidence. It tests the theories by looking for more evidence. What evidence have you got that you want to explain with your theory of gods ?

          Michael

          • In reply to #88 by sezai:

            In reply to #86 by mmurray:
            I dont have a theory, I am searching for truth. That is all.

            The word Dawkins has 7 letters in it. That’s true.

            The equation a^n + b^n = c^n has no solutions over the positive integers for n > 2. That’s true.

            There are two truths for you.

            Did you have some particular kinds of truths in mind ?

            Michael

          • In reply to #90 by mmurray:
            What is in my mind can not be considered as truth. But according to my calculations there are more dimensions than 3. And there are of course evidences for this. But it is too early to tell existance of soul.

        • In reply to #85 by sezai:

          But if Science prooves if God exists what will happen then ?>

          If evidence of god, any god at all, turns up there will be many surprised people left scratching their heads. Until then, you have a solution looking for a mysterious ‘x’. Using trial and error to try to plug in evidence is not proving very effective. Perhaps you should wait for the evidence, before coming up with the conclusion.

  25. I’m not sure why I should care about god’s attributes any more than I care about Super Man’s attributes. Supernatural things simply don’t exist. It might be fun to discuss if Thor is stronger than Odin, but it isn’t important, and it doesn’t have any bearing on the real world.

    Most of god’s common attributes are logical impossibilities. Can an all powerful being make something he can’t move? These are just logic puzzles, parlor games, nothing more.

  26. Discussing the attributes of a likely non-entity strike me as an amusing but fundamentally fruitless exercise. It’s one step down from Philosophy and not half as fun as Batman vs. Superman type pub games.

  27. Of course we could make up some more …..doesn’t eat mayonnaise sandwiches, is a soccer fan, collects butterflies, anything you like, really. As evidence is not involved in assigning attributes the skies the limit (or the cosmos, if you like). What’s logic got to do with the illogical?

  28. Well, the Christians keep saying that we have no free will, but it does not save situation for if the God organised our actions, including actions of criminals, then he have no right to punish anybody.
    No, speaking about religions, I prefer polytheistic version of Latvian tradition (the other is closer to Deism). So, we have many gods, and female ones (Mothers) are more abundant, most of them just maintain our environment, but sometimes punish humans for hubris. There is Perkons, responsible for the souls of those fallen of the battlefield, but that is it. And Devil is more like a stupid human, who tries to ape The Main god, which sometimes lead to intresting results, especially concerning geography.
    Well, I am not sure, how much of this is authentic – after all nobody, untill era of National Romanticism, really wrote down much of beliefs. But Devil might be authentic.

  29. Of course you can’t get a sensible answer! You don’t go to religious people with such questions if you want a sensible answer.

    Gods became invisible when someone actually climbed Olympus and found no palace. The gods became mysterious when the supposedly benevolent gods failed to deal with evil events. And as the gods become ever more remote and mysterious it was necessary to enhance their powers.

    The early Hebrew god made mistakes. He put the tree of knowledge in the garden.
    He was insecure. He tossed Adam and Eve out of the garden so they wouldn’t eat of the tree of life and become gods themselves.

    He was sorry he made the human race, so he destroyed it with a flood. He was treacherous. Pharoah would have let the Israelites go after several of the plagues god sent, but god “hardened his heart”.
    God acted just like a tyrannical middle-eastern priest-king. In fact the priest-king was god, in his own country at least..
    Needless to say, people became unhappy with this arrangement. It came to be said that the priest-king was only appointed by god, and god could toss him out if he became too obnoxious. And it was so!
    As god receded from the real world more and more power was attributed to him. And if contradictions and absurdities arose, well, god is mysterious and unknowable.

    That is the only answer a religious person can give to the conundrum: Just believe it. If cognitive dissonance make you uncomfortable, pray a little louder.

    I was talking to god just the other day, and he really prefers atheists, because they aren’t always whining and begging and groveling and flattering. Most atheists and agnostics actually use their god-given reason to try to improve the human experience. He said he was thinking of becoming an atheist himself, but he didn’t want to lose his job because of the health insurance.

  30. Time could be bend. At speed of light time slows down to zero. In atomic level both speed and location of particle can not be known at the same time. Thus there must be new physical rules to be discovered in order to explain what is happening out there in universe. I think these new rules might also enlighten our deepest questions. I think mathematics is one of the language of God if exists

  31. The Teistic answer would be : God is Omnipotent and Omniscient . So when you would try to cheat
    him by doing the opposite AFTER reading the paper , He would have the right to cheat you too,
    because you cheated first. Let say you read “chicken” and order “Beef” He would then change the word
    on the paper from chicken to beef. In that way He would always win . Or He could make the waiter hear
    the word chicken no matter what you say … even you say beef a hundred times the waiter would always bring you chicken.

  32. If God is all knowing, does that mean he has the power to change the future?
    He saw the future. He knows what it will be.
    He is powerful, so he changes it. Now his previous prediction is wrong? Is he still all knowing?
    Maybe he cannot change it. Is he still all powerful?

  33. Could you give a full list of the omnis, etc, that you’ve found out about?

    These are all the product of the human concept of infinity, that which is greater than any other (which I think is not quite the same as mathematical infinity, which has more rigorously derived structure). I suspect the concept, in seeming simple yet having a rich structure, is sustained by an evolved brain module, which allows us to have concepts such as biggest, strongest, tallest, oldest, wisest, most experienced, most noble, most powerful (the top of the social power hierarchy), etc.

  34. There’s no simple answer because it’s all just made up fantasy. And not by a single author either, each one added a bit to the accumulated tangle. Then some fairly smart people tried thinking seriously about it. It’s like trying to explain the evolution of the Klingon language, without admitting that it never existed, just the few phrases of it that were made up by some scriptwriters on a deadline for the next episode of Star Trek.

    I hope that serves in place of the simple answer you were looking for.

  35. Time to paraphrase an extract from my favourite philosophical writer, A.A. Milne.

    Tiggers can do anything.
    
    Can they fly?
    Yes, they're strornery good flyers.  But (evading request for demonstration), they just don't want to.
    
    Why not?
    It's hard to explain to anyone who isn't a tigger.  
    

    That’s a simple enough answer, isn’t it?

  36. That would most likely be Moses. He created God in the image of man. Moses was educated as an Egyptian Prince and he couldn’t become Pharaoh of Egypt, because he was not Egyptian. However, there were over 600,000 Hebrew slaves that had no leader or king. The Pharaoh was concerned because they out numbered the Egyptians. What if they rebelled or joined forces with an enemy of Egypt to overthrow the Pharaoh? Maybe Moses cut a deal with Pharaoh to lead this threat away. All Moses had to do was convince the Hebrews that God talked to him and would only talk to him and nobody else. So, Moses and his God ruled over the Hebrew slaves with a “Rod of Iron.” If you “Obey Moses,” you will prosper. However, if you disobey, you will suffer extreme harsh punishment. Moses had “Absolute Authority” from God. Even though it was from the God that he created. But, that part is a secret.
    I just finished writing a book on the subject of “God, The Bible” and how the whole thing was created based on a Lie and the Lie has been continuously embellished for thousands of years. Even though Christians don’t believe in “Evolution,” the Bible and religion has continued to evolve ever since it was created. My book is titled, “Purifying the Truth.” Now all I have to do is find a good publisher. I am willing to share co-authorship with someone who can get me published with someone like “Random House.” Any Takers?

  37. The list of “omni” powers seems to create all kinds of logical problems. I think your beef/chicken example is a great one, and it touches on a problem I like to pose to theist apologists. Even if you take just the powers of omnipotence and omnipresence (the notion that god exists outside our limitations of time), that seems to clearly create problems for the religious notion of “free will.” I mean, if god knows all and exists at all times, he simply can’t be fooled, right? Very much like your beef or chicken dilemma, even if he doesn’t write it down, he KNOWS it, and he can’t be wrong. If even one being knows everything you will do before you do it you clearly only have the illusion of free will, at best. There’s no good religious argument against this, because if you COULD trick god by switching at the last second without his foreknowledge, he would not be omniscient. If he’s not omniscient, he’s not infallible, and therefore, he can’t be counted on to make good decisions. He’s as likely to be wrong as any other imperfect creature.

    • In reply to #112 by fameduri:

      The list of “omni” powers seems to create all kinds of logical problems. I think your beef/chicken example is a great one, and it touches on a problem I like to pose to theist apologists. Even if you take just the powers of omnipotence and omnipresence (the notion that god exists outside our limitat…Whoops. I meant omniscience and omnipresence, but omnipotence is important to the argument, too. He knows all things at all times and can do anything. Simply can’t make a mistake.

    • In reply to #112 by fameduri:

      … If even one being knows everything you will do before you do it you clearly only have the illusion of free will, at best. .

      “Knows” has no affect on your action. You act at your will.

  38. So is your question ‘Who thought up God’s attributes?’ or ‘Are God’s attributes mutually contradictory?’ If the first, then it’s like asking who thought up language. The answer is that it developed of its own accord because humans had a need for it. Ditto with God’s attributes. People made them up as they went along and then someone wrote them down.

    If the second, then yes, they are mutually contradictory, as has been pointed out many times before e.g. If you have to step in to change your initial creation, then you aren’t omniscient or you would have seen the problem coming. And if you aren’t able to step in and change things, then you aren’t omnipotent.

  39. —either God does not have omniscience, or I do not have free will, I have free will, I use it everyday.–

    I submit the following view:

    First, there is no clear evidence that God exists. The burden of proof lies with the theist, and no such proof has been forthcoming. If he/she doesn’t exist, he can’t have any properties at all, unless non-existence is a property. The arguments about his omni-characteristics are pointless.

    Second, how do you know you have free will? Just because you feel it, is not sufficient evidence that you have it — you may be experiencing a “phantom limb,” a phantom free will. Furthermore, free will is incompatible with a universe that follows the laws of physics — namely, a deterministic universe. Finally, there is convincing evidence from neurophysiology that the experience of free choice occurs AFTER, not before, the related neural processes underlying choice have already begun. In other words, the batter feels the intent to swing his bat just AFTER he actually begins his swing. Unconscious physiological processes — the “stream of unconsciousness” determines your actions. I suspect this view will be hotly debated in the coming years. Please read Sam Harris’s “Free Will” (2012) and much classical philosophical work on the subject.

    • In reply to #116 by Ospreywing:

      Furthermore, free will is incompatible with a universe that follows the laws of physics — namely, a deterministic universe.

      This keeps getting repeated, in various phrasings. It always seems to assume “the laws of physics” as understood in the 19th century. Haven’t we all gotten over the “deterministic universe” yet? Consider Heisenberg. The Uncertainty Principle seems to me (not that I’m precisely sure, you understand) to show the limitations of the old-fashioned notion that one could predict all future events in the universe if one had precise knowledge of the state of the present universe. That precise knowledge is impossible, according to Heisenberg. Now you’re going to suggest that somehow there exists such a precise state – though not practically knowable – and therefore all future events are in theory predictable, so the universe is “deterministic”. No, it isn’t. There is no precise state that exists but we just can’t know it. No more (or less) than there is the hypothetical god being that people here dismiss so readily.

      God-dunnit is no explanation, we agree. I claim that it-is-all-determined is equally fallacious. It isn’t determined, can’t be determined, and will never be determined. Uncertainty rules. Things happen that could not – even in principle – be predicted. Many things happen within a predictable statistical framework, but that is not enough to smooth out the Heisenberg uncertainties and return to the Newtonian construct where all is predictable, given enough detailed knowledge of the present.

      Free will, however defined, is only incompatible with a strawman universe, extrapolated from a 19th century grasp of physics.

      • In reply to #121 by OHooligan:

        Free will, however defined, is only incompatible with a strawman universe, extrapolated from a 19th century grasp of physics.

        In reply to #122 by Ospreywing:

        In reply to #121 by OHooligan:

        In reply to #116 by Ospreywing:

        Furthermore, free will is incompatible with a universe that follows the laws of physics — namely, a deterministic universe.

        This keeps getting repeated, in various phrasings. It always seems to assume “the laws of physics” as unders…

        There is a third option. Pessimistic incompatibilism denies free will any part in the process, but also takes the position that determinism is not true. It is the strongest position on the scale because it accommodates our modern probabilistic physics and our neuroscientific discoveries.

        • In reply to #123 by Zeuglodon:

          There is a third option. Pessimistic incompatibilism denies free will any part in the process, but also takes the position that determinism is not true. It is the strongest position on the scale because it accommodates our modern probabilistic physics and our neuroscientific discoveries.

          Yes, I can accept that. The only thing I take issue with is the argument that says “Universe is Deterministic therefore Free Will is impossible”, because I don’t see how the determinist can accommodate the probabilistic nature of physics. Maybe they don’t really mean determinist, maybe they mean probabilist? Which still leaves room for uncertain outcomes, no matter how well informed one is beforehand. And in the uncertainty of the outcome, there’s room for chance, and also, for those who like such things – some free will as well. And – grudgingly – room for the god of the ever narrowing gaps, I suppose. Or just blind chance, without further complexity, that would be the parsimonious choice.

          I know this is veering a bit off topic, and will no doubt resurface next time anyone digs up the old Free Will debate.

          • In reply to #126 by OHooligan:

            Yes, I can accept that. The only thing I take issue with is the argument that says “Universe is Deterministic therefore Free Will is impossible”, because I don’t see how the determinist can accommodate the probabilistic nature of physics. Maybe they don’t really mean determinist, maybe they mean probabilist? Which still leaves room for uncertain outcomes, no matter how well informed one is beforehand. And in the uncertainty of the outcome, there’s room for chance, and also, for those who like such things – some free will as well. And – grudgingly – room for the god of the ever narrowing gaps, I suppose. Or just blind chance, without further complexity, that would be the parsimonious choice.

            I get the impression you’re mixing two different arguments together here: whether determinism is incompatible with free will, and whether probability fits into either model. I won’t pretend there couldn’t be a counter to my point, but I haven’t met it yet. The way I understood it, determinism – specifically on the subject of human agency, mind – flatly contradicts free will because free will presupposes that humans run on a different system to the rest of the universe, one in which they “freely choose” rather than just fit in a causal network and get pushed around by (and push around in turn) internal and environmental causes, albeit very complicated ones. But as Hume pointed out, free will can’t fit into a random (or, as we might now say, uncertain) universe either, because if actions just spring out of nowhere, they’re no more “freely chosen” than actions that were caused, albeit in a very complicated way. Room for chance is room without free will, because uncertainty is not the same thing as choice.

            That’s how you get pessimistic incompatibilism, acknowledging the incompatibility yet pointing out that neither determinism nor free will are strictly correct. Ignore the pessimistic part, though: in my view, that’s a misnomer, as there’s nothing particularly pessimistic about the idea.

            Personally, I think the concept of free will is a deification of a perfectly mundane process that anything with a brain has to do: navigate its environment by making decisions. It’s also what I call a “black box” idea; you can’t dissect how free will works, you just go back to some core concepts and then arbitrarily stop. And that’s why I think it, and the free-will-determinism debate, are utter bunk. For me, the real interesting question is how the mind accomplishes the tasks it does.

            I know this is veering a bit off topic, and will no doubt resurface next time anyone digs up the old Free Will debate.

            Yup.

  40. I would think the first mentioning of Gods qualities, as listed above, and clearly expressed were probably in the book of psalms. Further to this, the actual qualities of God are described in the Zohar, the first book of Jewish mysticism, written nearly 2000 years ago.

  41. God is a quantum wave function. If you measure his omniscience then you will be totally ignorant about his omnipotence. These are conjugate variables.

    See? Quantum mechanics solves it all!

    Oh…you wanted a sensible answer.

  42. No doubt you have many fine attributes, but logic is not among them. As God would be all knowing, knowing the past, present and future, God would know that you would “freely” choose beef. As would most likely a close friend or partner, who know what you prefer to eat.

    In fact, my wife of many years knows exactly what I would order, and she doesn’t even need omniscience. Though at times I think she immutable and omnipotent.

  43. I don’t think that it makes sense to lead a discussion about religious content. There is no logic in a creature that knows everything (so I don’t have a free will at all – because it already knows how I am going to be and to act) and then set up a bunch of rules that I should follow to be “saved” and if I don’t I’ll get infinite punnishment for a finate “crime”.

    Being Chritian means “to believe that a cosmic Jewish zombi who is his own father can make you live forever, if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so that he can remove an evil force from your soul, that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magic tree.”
    What kind of rationality do you exactly expect from people believing such nonsense?

    No lets get more seriously. Your questions about logical stringency in belief systems are absolutely correct. But only if you ask from outside and are not involved in it. Belief is another word for “pretending to know without knowing”. In such a system questions for logical stingency are not allowed. Therefor you get no answers at all or answers not worth the time listening to them, sad but true!

  44. I don’t think that it makes sense to lead a discussion about religious content. There is no logic in a creature that knows everything (so I don’t have a free will at all – because it already knows how I am going to be and to act) and then set up a bunch of rules that I should follow to be “saved” and if I don’t I’ll get infinite punnishment for a finate “crime”.

    Being Chritian means “to believe that a cosmic Jewish zombi who is his own father can make you live forever, if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so that he can remove an evil force from your soul, that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magic tree.”
    What kind of rationality do you exactly expect from people believing such nonsense?

    No lets get more seriously. Your questions about logical stringency in belief systems are absolutely correct. But only if you ask from outside and are not involved in it. Belief is another word for “pretending to know without knowing”. In such a system questions for logical stingency are not allowed. Therefor you get no answers at all or answers not worth the time listening to them, sad but true!

  45. In reply to #121 by OHooligan:

    In reply to #116 by Ospreywing:

    Furthermore, free will is incompatible with a universe that follows the laws of physics — namely, a deterministic universe.

    This keeps getting repeated, in various phrasings. It always seems to assume “the laws of physics” as understood in the 19th century. Haven…

    As far as I know, quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle only apply to the subatomic world of particles. At the level of “bigger things,” Newtonian physics holds up very well, thank you — everything from planetary motion, cars crashing, and human behavior. If randomness and uncertainty were significant aspects of neurophysiology, the result would be chaos in both brain function and behavioral function. It should be obvious that significant randomness and indeterminacy would result in unstable, unreliable neural processes that could not produce repeatable and reliable patterns of behavior. This has been pointed out by many neuroscientists.

    Furthermore, many scientists and philosophers are convinced that free will is an illusion. Neurophysiological findings over the last 30 years strongly support this view. If free will does not exist (nonhuman animals apparently get along without it very well), and indeterminacy can’t act as a reliable causal agent, then determinism must be seriously considered.

    I suggest that free be considered in a separate discussion.

  46. In reply to #124 by Ospreywing:

    In reply to #123 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #121 by OHooligan:

    Free will, however defined, is only incompatible with a strawman universe, extrapolated from a 19th century grasp of physics.

    In reply to #122 by Ospreywing:

    In reply to #121 by OHooligan:

    In reply to #116 by Ospreywing:

    Furthermore…

    That’s pessimistic incompatibilism, not indeterminism. Probabilistic physics is physics that has to take into account some degree of uncertainty, such that the best way to model it is to use probability. Quantum mechanics runs on it. The wave function is based around the probability that an electron, say, could be in several different locations at any particular time. I won’t pretend I understand the details exactly, but as far as I understand it, this uncertainty renders determinism a special case of a more general phenomenon, at best, obsolete at worst.

  47. In reply to #45 by Aaron Browder:

    Could God cook a burrito so hot even He could not eat it?

    The answer to that “genius” question is no. There are certain things that G-d “can’t” do… like create a rock that he can’t destroy… by definition He’s just to powerful. Semantics… its all semantics.

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