God the all-powerful: The Paradox of Omnipotence

Then Job answered the Lord and said: "I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You." (Job 42: 1-2)

Can God create a stone so heavy even he can't lift it?

The paradox of omnipotence is one of the simplest, and therefore one of the most powerful, questions one can ask about God. It forms the basis of a classical argument against God's existence.

The paradox stems from the notion of "omnipotence" as indicating the ability to do anything. One may conclude that if a being is capable of doing anything, therefore it must be able to do even that which is logically impossible. Thus God can create a square circle, God can create a stone that even God cannot lift, and (my personal favorite) God can create another God. Keep in mind that God is defined as an uncreated being. To create an uncreated thing is logically contradictory. But if God cannot do the logically impossible, then he isn't omnipotent, right?

So what may the God-believer respond to such a question? Let's take one form of the paradox, and see where deduction leads us.

Can God create another God?

The answer to this question is either yes or no. For the purposes of this discussion, the main quality of God is his uncreated nature. Therefore, if one responds "yes," it means that God can create something that is uncreated. Let's look a bit closer at the "yes" response.

If God can create something that is uncreated, it means that the ability to create something that is uncreated exists. If that ability exists, somewhere in the universe, then the believer who responds "yes" is met with a dilemma: God himself may have been created.

Think about it. Since the "yes" responder has now established that the ability to create an uncreated thing exists, he has admitted that uncreated things can be created. God is an uncreated thing. Therefore God may have been created. And "God" as typically defined, ceases to exist.

But the fun doesn't stop there. Not only is it now possible that God (an uncreated thing) was created, but the thing that created God--the Overlord that created the Lord--itself may have been uncreated. The "yes" respondent has thus opened the floodgates to an infinite regress of uncreated creators. Interestingly, the absurdity of an infinite regress is one of the major themes offered by God-believers to support the existence of God as an "uncreated creator" or an "unmoved mover."

To sum up the conclusion from the "yes" response:

  1. God is omnipotent
  2. Therefore God can do anything
  3. Therefore God can create another God
  4. Therefore, since God is uncreated, it is possible for God to create an uncreated thing
  5. Therefore, the ability to create something that is uncreated exists
  6. Therefore, uncreated God himself may have been, in fact, created [refuting the existence of God]
  7. By (5), since every uncreated thing may have been created, we are necessarily left with an infinite regress of uncreated creators, each in turn created by an uncreated creator

The "No" camp

Perhaps sensing the inconvenient outcomes of the "yes" response, the main thrust of religious thinking (from such great philosophers as Augustine and Aquinas and Averroes) has focused on the "no" response. However, as we shall now see, this too leaves the God-believer in a profound intellectual predicament.

If one says that God cannot create another God, then one is admitting that God's power is limited. And therefore God is not omnipotent.

Not so fast, says the theist. It's not that God is limited, but rather that power is limited. That is, God can do with power whatever power can do. But since power, by definition, cannot bring about a contradictory state of affairs, God cannot do it. But that is the fault of power, not of God. So (the theist will claim) we are legitimate in identifying God as omnipotent, because God can do whatever power can do. But since power cannot do that which is logically impossible, neither can God.

The problem with this argument is that it confuses the definition of the word "power." Power means, quite simply, "the ability to do something." That's it. The definition doesn't say "the ability to do something that is logical," or the "ability to do something that makes sense." The word "power" makes no reference to logic, to contradiction, or any such thing.

Once we have a solid understanding of the word "power" as the ability to do a thing (not a logical thing, not a sensical or nonsensical thing, but just "a thing"), then we can see why the "no" response digs its own grave.

The "no" respondent indicates that God's power is constrained. Specifically, it is constrained by logic. The question then arises... who created logic?

Obviously, if God cannot violate logic, it follows that he did not create logic. A being cannot create the thing that constrains it. Therefore logic must exist outside of him, external to him, or prior to him.

If logic exists beyond God's hand, then logic is either uncreated, or was created by something other than God. Either way, we have discovered at least one thing--logic--that God did not create. Therefore God did not, in fact, create everything. And the God hypothesis is defeated twice: first, as a being with infinite/ unlimited power, and second, as the creator of everything.

To sum up the conclusions from the "no" response:

  1. God's power is restrained by logic
  2. Therefore God cannot do that which is logically impossible
  3. Therefore, no, God cannot create another God because God cannot create an uncreated thing
  4. Thus, God is not all-powerful
  5. If God's power is constrained by logic, then logic must exist outside of God
  6. Therefore God cannot have created logic
  7. Therefore logic is either uncreated, or was created by another being
  8. Therefore God did not create everything

Final Thoughts

Omnipotence isn't all it's cracked up to be. According to logic, we have seen that it is very unlikely that God exists, as far as "God" is typically defined. It is also highly unlikely that omnipotence exists. The paradox of omnipotence is a fascinating intellectual game, but it would seem that no matter who plays, and no matter what side they take--the "yes" side or the "no" side--nobody wins. Nobody, that is, who is a theist.

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Comments 277 comments

f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

These religious types always ask: "Who created nature?"

That gods always were a creation of the human mind is quite obvious to many. To what extent is irrational religiosity an educational and/or a mental health problem a modern society should learn to classify as such and do some thing about?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 6 years ago from New York City Author

I certainly appreciate your frustration and can relate. But I don't think it will do for modern societies to get into the thought-police business. Part of what makes modern societies modern is that they allow all sorts of crazy and even irrational notions to compete in the marketplace of ideas. Frustrations aside, I don't think I would trade that for anything.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I truly wish that people would look on the ends of their arms whenever they need a helping hand and quit expecting God to help them or justify their ideas.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Austinstar--we can always hope!

And pray.

Whoops, I mean... hope. :)

I do find it interesting that not a single theist or religious believer has yet commented on this hub, despite it being up for months.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

They are afraid, very afraid...


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

This argument has been around for 800 years and has been answered by a mutlitude of thinkers way brighter than either of us. God is not interested in your paradoxes. He is omnipotent, yes. He is also truth and order. Therefore, He never wishes to do paradoxical things. It is an interesting argument, though. I'll grant you that.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

James,

"This argument has been around for 800 years and has been answered by a mutlitude of thinkers way brighter than either of us."

Then surely you can provide that answer for my benefit?

In any case, I already cited the arguments made by thinkers such as Aquinas and Augustine (which are the kinds of people I am assuming you are referring to).

The question is very simple. And the answer is either yes or no. Either yes or no. If the answer is yes, God does not exist, and if the answer is no, God does not exist.

"Therefore, He never wishes to do paradoxical things."

Irrelevant. The question is not "does God wish to do XYZ" the question is "CAN God do XYZ."

I am sure God would not be interested in "my" paradoxes if he actually existed (despite the fact that this is far from my argument--although I do wish I could take credit for it). This argument and debate is a test of precisely that--does God exist, as he has been defined as an omnipotent entity.

Remember, James: the answer is either yes or no.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

James says, "God is not interested in your paradoxes."

Really? How does James know this? Is God his facebook friend that lists his interests?

It must be nice to speak for God. He is apparently unable to do it himself.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Haha, well maybe God needs his earthly bodyguards to keep the masses away from him. I'm sure he's very delicate by now, living in the easy comfort of the clouds and all... very dainty and Paris Hilton-like. That would explain the moods swings.

On the other hand, maybe James asked him himself:

http://twitter.com/god


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

"The paradox of omnipotence is a fascinating intellectual game..."

FYI..God does not play games invented by mere mortals. To quote Einstein ( who more than any other human, understood or rather got a small glimpse of what makes the universe tick)... "God does not play dice with the universe."

So stop playing this silly game of yours and start reaching for the stars, because as Carl Sagan famously said: "we are all partly made of stardust"... or something to that effect. It is man's destiny to unravel the mystery that is the universe, and in so doing get a small glimpse of the Divine.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

A Villarasa, I'm getting deja vu all over again.

James said above:

"God is not interested in your paradoxes."

And you said:

"God does not play games invented by mere mortals."

Seems like you're reading from the same playbook--vainly trying to diminish the logical problem (which otherwise seems to break the back of God) by calling it "your idea" or "mortal ideas." Yet the problem remains.

Try as you all might, rhetorical obfuscation and argumentative dodging will not solve the paradox.

I find it telling that you have chosen to zero in on my minor and insignificant rhetorical flourish, whilst COMPLETELY bypassing the entire *substance* of the article.

Oh, I am always reaching for the stars. That's what keeps me from playing the *real* games--God games, superstitious games and supernatural games. Living in the real world and seeking real happiness and understanding, in this life and this world. That's how you avoid games.

Indeed, let's try to unravel the mysteries of the universe. And the only way to do that is to use reason, logic and observation.


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

I agree with you that man has to use reason, logic, and scientific observation/confirmation in his attempts to unravel the mysteries of the physical universe. These methodologies, however, have already been used and ultimately found inssuficient in proving or disproving the existence of a spiritual universe(God). Man needs to use his instinctual perception(faith) to guide him along the path of discovery. In the end, I would not be too unsettled, if man do get a glimpse of the ethereal, transcendenat, mystical, and the DIVINE. I think that is what separates your earth-shackled secularist mind to my heaven-bound separatist mind.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

I will note that you still have not addressed the substantive topic of the hub.

Now we are on a new topic:

"These methodologies, however, have already been used and ultimately found inssuficient in proving or disproving the existence of a spiritual universe(God)."

The very hub you are commenting on proves this statement wrong. If God can create an immovable stone, he is not omnipotent. If he cannot create an immovable stone, he is not omnipotent. "God" is broken by logic. QED.

"Man needs to use his instinctual perception(faith) to guide him along the path of discovery."

Explain to me this: if "instinctual perception" is what gives us the ability to access the most profound and mysterious and important truths in reality, then why is it so frustratingly unreliable in answering practically every other question?

"I think that is what separates your earth-shackled secularist mind to my heaven-bound separatist mind."

You seem pretty confident that you're "bound" for heaven. I wonder why.


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

I read somewhere (not the Bible of course) that the universe is replete with paradoxical entities/events. The one you are playing with just does not make the cut of what I would consider a "game-changer". What I would consider a "game-changer" is if it is proven beyond scientific doubt, that whoever intitated the process of universal creation, just did not care much for what he has created, and left that creation to it's own devices. The appearance of man (on earth), and perhaps of other similarly predisposed beings (in other planetry systems(?), I consider 100 percent proof that whoever initiated the universal creation did and continues to care about what happened to his creation.

Now if you are one of those who believe that the universe just happened to create itself... then I don't think we have much to discuss about.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

So you don't agree that the omnipotence paradox breaks the back of God. That's fine. I am happy to hear your explanation of it, how an omnipotent God is possible. I haven't heard it yet though.

Until I hear such an explanation, the paradox is indeed a "game-changer" because omnipotence is an essential quality of God. In other words, since God is defined as an omnipotent being, insofar as omnipotence is impossible, God is impossible. It really is that simple.

There are many other logical problems with the concept of God as well, and especially with the arguments for God.

You said:

"What I would consider a "game-changer" is if it is proven beyond scientific doubt, that whoever intitated the process of universal creation, just did not care much for what he has created, and left that creation to it's own devices."

Obviously a nonscientific entity cannot be explained in scientific terms. If God were defined in a way that was accessible to science (i.e. observation, experimentation, etc), then I might be interested in this idea. However, believers in God define him in such a way that he is definitionally inaccessible to the scientific method, so you will be waiting a long time for this game-changer.

But aside from that, the much more profound and much more powerful flaw with your argument is this: You are assuming that the universe or reality was created. Why?

I assume reality is uncreated and eternal.

You happen to believe that reality was created by something. Why? What is the basis for this assumption?


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

My idea that universal reality was created is based solely on my instinctual perception that whoever or whatever created this reality wants too be beheld or discovered, or sought by those entities that he created with the sentience, volition, imagination, creativity, and intellectual capacity to do so. On earth, humans collectively as a specie have this destiny.

So you assumed that reality is uncreated and eternal. On what basis do you say this? Scientific observation, experimentation, and interpretation?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Unfortunately you have not answered the question. You said:

"My idea that universal reality was created is based solely on my instinctual perception that whoever or whatever created this reality wants too be beheld or discovered, or sought by those entities that he created with the sentience, volition, imagination, creativity, and intellectual capacity to do so."

Allow me to streamline this statement so as to demonstrate exactly what you are saying:

"My idea that reality was created is based on my instinctual perception that whatever created this reality wants X."

Let me boil this down even further, if I may:

1. Reality was created

2. How do you know?

3. I know because whatever created reality wants X

4. And how do you know that reality was created?

See the problem? Your answer requires the assumption that reality was created (specifically that it was created by something known currently as "whatever"), which simply leads back to the original question that was posed.

You have committed the logical error known as "begging the question." You have not introduced any new information, only restated that you believe reality was created. But you have not actually said WHAT is the logical basis for this belief. Thus you have not actually answered the question.

Now, if you are to say "My belief in a created reality is based on my instinctual perception," then I will simply ask again: why do you have so much confidence in your "instinctual perceptions" on these very important matters, whilst instinctual perceptions are not reliable in the same way for almost any other question?

Moreover, what exactly constitutes an "instinctual perception"? Is it just subjective opinion? Is it just a feeling? An emotion? If not, then what is the difference? There are many questions.

======================================

Now, to your question for me:

"So you assumed that reality is uncreated and eternal. On what basis do you say this?"

There are a number of reasons to believe this, but the following three-step formulation is sufficient:

[Reality is defined as the set of everything]

1. Everything has a cause

2. Therefore there is an infinite/ eternal stretch of causes within reality

3. Therefore reality is eternal

Note that this is a formulation based on current human knowledge. In other words, the best we can say at the current time is that reality is uncreated. It is the most logical conclusion available.

==============================================

Here is a logical problem that is impossible to solve for those that believe that reality was created:

1. Reality was created by God

2. Who created God?

3. No one, God is uncreated

4. If God is uncreated, then logically why can't reality be uncreated? That is, since it is logically possible for God to be uncreated, then it is logically possible for reality to be uncreated as well.

The theist has no problem with something being uncreated. He just has a problem with that thing being reality.


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

My idea of "God"/"Ethereal Entity" is neither biased by my religious upbringing, nor bent by my immersion in the physical sciences during medical school. I think of the Entity as inhabiting or being present in the circular continuity of space-time. The circle, of all the geometric configuration, comes closest to our human perception or understanding of what infinity is, i.e. we dont know at what point in the physical construct of a circle where its beginning and where its ending is(are), because in actuality, its beginning and ending is(are) one and the same thing, ensconsed in one congruent entity.... God, alpha and zeta, the beginning and the end. The concept of an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-encompassing Entity could be allegorically/literally explained on the basis of the Entity inhabiting all points of that circle. The energy I assume, needed for such a circular infinitisimal "existence" would have been more than enough to have intitiated the "Big Bang" that ultimately led to the creation of all that is material in the universe, including the earth and life on earth. I do not know whether the material universe inhabits the same infinitisimal circular space-time continuum as the Entity? What my instinctual perception allows me to imagine is the Entity, continuously sending energy to the material universe to keep it going until such time that the entity decides not to send his energy anymore...then the universe will cease to exist.

On the other hand, the entity could be one big ZERO a number that we configured as a circle, i.e. without a beginning and without an end. ZERO...An interesting mathematical concept, supposedly originated by uncomprehending, ignorant humans in our not so distant past... in cosmic terms of course.


Jewels profile image

Jewels 5 years ago from Australia

The world and our conscious understanding of it is full of paradoxes. In our little minds, our boxed rigid thought-forms, we have not yet fathomed the enormousness of creation and the plethora of possibilities within the creation.

We live in a human body and our standpoint of consciousness is limited by it to a large degree. One can expand their consciousness and fathom great mysteries. But all mysteries will not be understood and appear paradoxical time and time and time again because we are small ants in comparison to the size of the universe. The logical rational mind is a useless tool but at the moment it appears to be all we have to attempt to understand and compartmentalize the workings of our existence.

The question is not an answerable one. Never will the small mind be satisfied with an answer. If you yourself discovered you were omnipotent, would you believe it? Do you really understand what being omnipotent is?

Until the little mind shuts up, it will never realize it's full potential. And that's a paradox in itself!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

A. Villarasa

Needless to say, most of my substantive points stand. Interestingly, your description of "God" bears a striking similarity to reality itself, if reality is uncreated. In other words, just substitute "reality" for "God" and you have an idea very close to mine--an eternal, uncreated thing with no beginning and no end, from which or within which all things arise.

However your description and your hesitancy seem to point to an at least partial departure from your original posture in this discussion, wherein you confidently declared "God does not play games invented by mere mortals."

An interesting development.

"What my instinctual perception allows me to imagine is the Entity, continuously sending energy to the material universe..."

And my instinctual perception allows me to imagine all sorts of things--little green men from Mars, time travel, Vulcans, the Death Star, and lots of other cool stuff. But I am interested in this discussion in what actually is real, not what we can imagine is real.


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

@Secularist: Can you elucidate further what this infinite/eternal stretch of causes is all about? I agree that we have similar ideas of what physical reality is all about, but where we diverge is in the concept of a non-physical, non-material reality/dimension. I believe in its existence and you dont. God obviously do not exist in any material form, otherwise he would have been qualitated and quantitated by man a long time ago. He exist in the non-material realm and humans to even attempt to measure him via physical means or to put physical constraints on his existence is at most an exercise in ego driven futility and delusion. Man because of the ethereal nature of what and who created him, has in him a glint of the ethereal.. what people with religious beliefs call the soul. Man is an emotional being(heart), but where his heart is, there his soul should be also.

Imagination has a role in the way man perceives the physical reality, that he may not have an immediate access to. That's how Einstein formulated his now famous equation.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

A. Villarasa

If everything has a cause, then there is an effectively endless string of causes.

A is caused by B, B is caused by C, C is caused by D, D is caused by E, etc...

Not the most "instinctually" satisfying conclusion, but it is the best and most logical one we can make at the current time with current human knowledge.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Jewels,

Welcome, thanks for coming.

The paltry state of human knowledge relative to the size of reality does not constitute a paradox, nor does it point to a paradox of any kind.

It is true that many things that in the past seemed "paradoxical" today with new discoveries and new advances in human knowledge are not so mysterious after all. But this is more a commentary on human knowledge and understanding, rather than any limitations inherent in logic or reason per se.

You said

"The question is not an answerable one."

Precisely. That is why it is a paradox. And that is why it effectively breaks the back of God.

"Never will the small mind be satisfied with an answer."

Then how about a big mind? :)

Or is this just a clever way of avoiding the inexorable conclusion of the paradox of omnipotence--namely, that God, as defined, does not exist?

"If you yourself discovered you were omnipotent, would you believe it? Do you really understand what being omnipotent is?"

If I discovered I was omnipotent... this hardly seems like a reasonable question because if I was truly capable of everything, then I would be capable of giving myself infinite and total knowledge (i.e. omniscience), which in turn means I would already know that I was omnipotent, and therefore I will not have "discovered" it. You can only discover something you did not previously know.

Do I understand what omnipotent is? Yes, it means to have infinite or unlimited power. The very first lines of this article provide a pretty good definition:

Then Job answered the Lord and said: "I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You." (Job 42: 1-2)


Jewels profile image

Jewels 5 years ago from Australia

Then I do seriously question your understanding of omnipotence. For to have it you would never need to place the question on the table. But then again, we are talking about your conscious rational understanding of it and not the experience. No-one on the planet has had the experience, for to have it you would be dead and therefore not writing hubs. The question breaks the back of an arms and legs God sure, but define what god is at a higher level of consciousness and you will understand the entire concept is full of paradoxes? You have broken the back of god, yet you have also broken the back of anything else. So the discussions will forever be circular and perhaps a waste of paper (or space).

Everything you have stated comes from the little mind. Even those who have achieved great states of consciousness can only get a sniff of omnipotence. It's beyond comprehension.

But you have cemented the knowledge that the rational logical mind is extremely limiting. We need another form of thinking and a language to accommodate it. :)


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

"The question breaks the back of an arms and legs God sure, but define what god is at a higher level of consciousness and you will understand the entire concept is full of paradoxes?"

The entire God concept is full of paradoxes--well, that is exactly what I believe. You seem to think that the paradoxes simply mean that "we can't understand it very well." Well, if so, then all belief in God is meaningless and pointless. Indeed, how can a finite mind understand an infinite one? Is infinity divisible by a finite number? Surely not.

I do wonder how you can be so confident in your understanding of this "higher consciousness." Perhaps you are in the same boat as the rest of us.

"You have broken the back of god, yet you have also broken the back of anything else."

Umm... How do you figure that? The nonexistence of God has nothing to do with the existence or nonexistence of other things.

"Everything you have stated comes from the little mind."

Well, the fun thing is that I could say the same thing about you. Since you are forsaking logic, there is no way for you to prove me wrong. You have no way to demonstrate that your ideas are any more correct than mine. There are no rules!

"It's beyond comprehension."

How convenient.

Here is my main question for you: how can you tell when a violation of logic means X is "beyond" logic, versus when it means X really is impossible?


Jewels profile image

Jewels 5 years ago from Australia

Hmmmmm, isn't all that is God? If you want to separate god from all that is then you can fight the whys and wherefores of duality.

Forsaking logic is necessary to understand the non logic of paradoxes.

In order to understand little mind, you first have to experience being in a higher one.

There are many levels to higher states of consciousness - omnipotence happens to be very high on the list. To conceive of it is an amazing feat, one in which the little mind has no chance. From the little mind you conceive omnipotence as being able to do anything. But from the higher state it's not about doing anything. It's a state of being. And that in itself is unfathomable.

I am aware that my tone is someone derogatory - please accept my apologies if you are willing and I will attempt to change my approach in future. I am not really saying YOU yourself have a little mind. But the whole conversation has been done to death time and again through the use of rational thinking, logic etc. When I say we need a new way of thinking - this is what I am talking about.

I don't use "beyond comprehension" lightly. I loathe anything that is incomprehensible as being titled God, which of course is touted by the religious.

But there are works in progress on mapping states of consciousness. Together with experiences by many on tangible cognizable metaphysical experiences. Omnipotence is not one of them by the way! These people are alive.

Anyone who has not experienced non-physical phenomena cannot possibly understand that X (the experience) is believable. It will circulate in the mind as wonder until it is wrung to death, or they themselves have the experience. Remember real knowledge (as in nous) is not about the books, it's about experience.

Nothing is impossible, but proving that? You have to be out of your mind! Literally. And that's not logical, or is it?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

God is typically defined by the major religions as an entity separate from the rest of reality. I am using the most popular/ most common definition of "God."

I don't take offense at anything you said. I understand your meaning. I've dealt with far too many religious/ spiritual people of every stripe to be shocked at this point. They all think they have the exclusive, final and absolute truth. Then it turns out they can't solve any real problems or answer any real questions. Nothing new under the sun.

Anyway, I can certainly imagine people or hypothetical aliens far more intelligent than me having more consciousness than me, being more aware or capable of more complex thoughts.

The issue is not different levels of consciousness. But different levels of consciousness have nothing to do with a *supernatural* realm. Consciousness is completely explainable within a naturalistic framework.

I am inordinately more conscious than an ant, for instance. Yet 100% of what the ant is conscious of lies within the natural world, and 100% of what I am conscious of lies within the natural world. There is no reason to think that anything you or I or anyone experiences is supernatural in nature, no matter how conscious we are.

You can't just change the definition of the word "omnipotence." If you want to refer to some other idea, then go ahead. But the definition of the word remains what it has always been, which is a reference to power and power, in turn, is a reference to doing.

"Nothing is impossible, but proving that? You have to be out of your mind! Literally. And that's not logical, or is it?"

So nothing is impossible. Interesting. In that case, it is possible for 3 to equal 5. It is also possible for a triangle to have four sides. In other words, as I said, there are no rules. It is impossible to understand anything. Ironically if this is true, then you cannot know anything, Jewels, which means there is no reason for you to believe what you believe. Once you forsake logic and reason, you saw off the tree branch upon which you sit.

"Anyone who has not experienced non-physical phenomena cannot possibly understand that X (the experience) is believable."

And you can never know that you experienced non-physical phenomena because the only way you can understand or describe anything is in physical terms. :)

Sorry to be a wet blanket.


Jewels profile image

Jewels 5 years ago from Australia

We will have to agree to disagree.

I must be different as I don't regard god as a separate entity, there are other religions who also adhere to this teaching. Hindu and Buddhist for example advocate unity. You can't have this if God is a separate entity.

Compared to states of consciousness that comes close to accommodating a state like the power of omnipotence, you are indeed akin to an ant, unless you are special! Another way of saying this is, we know little about cosmic phenomena and to fathom the magnitude of it leaves us in wonder.

I do know I've experienced non-physical phenomena. It is difficult to describe using our normal English and it is not very accommodating to these things, nonetheless it is my experience and I'm not a nutter - unless you chose to believe I am! Unless you too have the experience you will not see what I see. It's true you cannot measure non-physical experiences using physical instruments. Yet I can perceive non-physical experiences through the third eye. As you have done a little study on Hindu philosophy you would be familiar with this.

I notice you are seeking truth, yet by using the means by which you are looking, ie by rational means will ensure you don't find it. Unless of course you are trying to appease the mind.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

These kinds of discussions always come back down to epistemology. What counts as legitimate knowledge and why.

Logic and reason are indeed not only legitimate tools for discovering knowledge (and therefore finding the truth), but they are the ONLY dependable tools at our disposal. Humans have tried to use many tools to find answers to their questions--feelings, instincts, emotions, hallucinations, drug-induced experiences, etc. None has provided sustainable answers remotely as dependable as good old-fashioned logic, reason, criticism and rational skepticism.

If you want to fight a losing battle for the legitimacy and dependability of epistemological "tools" that have failed to do anything to raise human understanding and, yes, human consciousness, for thousands of years, well, go ahead. I think the rest of us will just assume that 3 does not equal 5.

As I have said all along, if you are going to forsake logic/ reason/ rationality, then you have no way of knowing anything, including anything you are claiming. This is not a problem for me, but certainly for you. And that is why you have still not addressed this most profound issue.

Without rationality, what reason do you have to trust your senses? What reason do you have to think that your spiritual experiences have been real, as opposed to an error in judgment? Surely you are not immune to errors in judgment?

Without rationality, how can you say that "my experience means X"? How can you make such a deduction, or such a connection, without employing rationality or logic? The very act of THINKING is itself inherently based on rationality and identifying rational connections and patterns, even for the most devout and most spiritual. So without rationality, what is the basis for anything you believe?

Even the most narrow-minded supernaturalist must surrender to the rules of logic and rationality when he claims "X means Y because of Z."


Jewels profile image

Jewels 5 years ago from Australia

Sadly you keep missing the point. Expansion of consciousness requires you firstly do away with finding logical explanations for the unknown. Everything at one point was unknown.

Of course intelligence is used to structure experiences, that goes without saying.

No intelligent person I know of has been immune from errors in judgment.

But back to your topic including omnipotent abilities. Again - you have to be completely out of your mind to fathom it and if you think you understand the state of being, you are sadly mistaken.

Broad minded 'superanaturalists' don't surrender to rationality and logic, if they did they would become complacent with the status quo - f**k that! Rationality and logic is used but one does not need to surrender to it.

Broaden your horizons and find ways of broadening your mind. It pays great dividends.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

And sadly you keep avoiding the question.

"Expansion of consciousness requires you firstly do away with finding logical explanations for the unknown."

And how do you know this? You will say "I know this because of X"

And how do you know X? "I know because of Y."

Voila. You have used reason. QED.

"Rationality and logic is used but one does not need to surrender to it."

Then what does one use in its place? Emotion? Instincts? Hallucinations? See my previous comment.

Again, the definition of the word "omnipotence" has been established for quite some time. If you wish to discuss a certain state of being, or realm of consciousness or whatever, that is another topic entirely. I can take a pair of pants and label them "omnipotence" but that does not change what omnipotence is as a concept in the lexicon.

Try as you might, you cannot escape the fact that this "broadening" of the mind you speak of is not a broadening at all, but rather a violation of everything that makes thinking meaningful.


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

Secularist:

As someone who values logic and rationality above all else to explain material reality, what do you think logically and rationally caused the material universe to exist? I assume that since you do not believe in imagining things, your answer will be based on pure reality. I assume also that since you do not believe in the spiritual, your answer will be based on pure materiality. You can conjecture if you like, but conjecture that is based on pure science. Since I assume you are not a scientist by avocation, you can if you must give me reference to all the scientific data that supports your conjecture.

Since I assume that you do not believe in any other reality except the material one, then I and Jewel are most likely barking up the wrong tree.

A tree that has never been bathed in the warm glow of an ethereal light.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

"...what do you think logically and rationally caused the material universe to exist?"

Well, I already answered this question above. There is no cause. Reality is uncreated and eternal.

In terms of reasons to believe this, let me just quote myself from earlier:

"If everything has a cause, then there is an effectively endless string of causes. A is caused by B, B is caused by C, C is caused by D, D is caused by E, etc..."

Of course science and observation tell us that everything in reality has a cause. So there is your scientific support. But science/ observation do not tell us anything about the cause (if there is one) of reality because, by definition, to observe a cause of reality would require the observer to step outside of reality, which is obviously impossible.

In any case, there are really only two possible options here: either reality is caused, or it is uncaused.

If reality is caused, then the next question is "what caused it?" There are two possibilities:

1. Reality just appeared out of nothing--something from nothing.

2. Reality was caused by God, gods, a spirit, or some other supernatural force.

Note that #1 is obviously absurd.

So we are left with #2. Unfortunately there are at least two major logical problems with this:

(a) where did the god come from? Oh, he was uncreated, you say? Then logically, reality can be uncreated too, in which case there is no reason to believe in a created reality;

(b) more profoundly, insofar as reality is defined as "the set of all things that exist" this position must explain how a god that *exists* somehow lies outside of reality, which is supposed to encompass all things that exist!


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

Secularist: I agree that something can not come from nothing...even in an absurd world, the concept of something coming from nothing is well... absurd, as you said.

So now the concept of an uncreated/uncaused entity(GOD), creating or causing the process with which material reality came into existence is the only logical answer. This entity I consider outside of the physical realm.... a realm that you consider the ONLY reality, thus your difficulty in understanding what Jewels and I have been saying all along, i.e. that aside from physical reality, there is also spiritual/transcendental reality... a reality that may not necessarily follow the laws of physics or logic or both.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

I understand what both of you are saying just fine, there is just no reason to believe it, because there is no proof or logical legitimacy for it.

You are assuming the existence of a separate non-physical realm. What is the basis for this assumption? Why assume that anything exists beyond this world? There is no reason.

Think about this little twist: if I assume a supernatural world, why can't I assume a second supernatural world--that is, a realm beyond the supernatural? And then, why not assume yet a third such realm beyond that one? Or a fourth, or fifth, or sixth? After a supernatural realm, how about a mega-natural realm? Or an uber-natural realm?

You see, once you assume that one such realm exists, the door has been opened to an infinite string of such realms. Which raises the very interesting question: why do you arbitrarily draw the line at just one?

Moreover, you have simply begged the question: Suppose I accept that the physical realm originates from the non-physical realm. Ok, great.

Now: where did that non-physical realm come from? You see, you have just moved the line. You have not answered the question of "where did it all come from," you have just shifted the question from the physical world to the non-physical world. Your conclusion has been eaten alive by its own premise--the premise that there was a beginning.

You have not answered the question "where did REALITY come from." You have simply redefined "reality" to be "the physical world we live in," then arbitrarily proposed a new non-physical world we do not live in (for which there is no evidence or logical justification), and then said "the physical came from the non-physical."

Great. So where did REALITY (the container of all things--all things physical and non-physical) come from?


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

Secularist:

I think we( I mean our discussions) are moving in a circular motion, your head, trying desperately to catch my tail (no physical pun intended). So let us just agree that you do not believe in a spiritual reality because your logic and rational thinking just does not support the possibility of its causation and its existence. I believe in the duality of reality i.e. both material and physical, specifically in human terms what we call body and soul; in astrophysical terms what scientist would call mass and energy... in transcendental terms, what believers would call the Universe-God. My instinctual perception tells me that my belief is not anymore unreasonable than yours.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

This has been an interesting discussion, but frankly I tired of it near the end because no one has done that one thing that makes these discussion really useful - define terms in unambiguous and non-contradictory ways.

We see the word exist tossed about as if the whole world knows what that means - but can someone explain how an idea exists? How about a concept like energy. Can you point to a lump of energy hanging on a tree or stuck to the bottom of your shoe?

No, we can't. But we love to talk about disembodied spirits "existing" as if be declaring existence we can make them real.

Hardly. What makes things real is their definition. We can define exist as that which has shape and occupies a place in the universe. By this definition, a rock on the ground exists, whether I believe it exists or not. Its existence has been defined.

Thinking, dreaming up, posting, hoping, imagining a spiritual mind that has no substance, shape, or location means that this being is conceptual, i.e., dreamt up, and thus does not exist by the rigid and unambiguous definition of exist that I use.

The reason I use this definition is not to eliminate your ideas, but because it is the only way we can have useful dialogue about existence - everyone speaking has to know what the word means, and that meaning cannot vary by speaker or idea.

For example, the idea of omnipotence. Omnipotence is not something to be understood, but something to be defined.

I suggest defining terms unambiguously and concretely, then start again from the top. These arguments will sound much different with definitions in place.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

+1

Now: where did that non-physical realm come from? You see, you have just moved the line. You have not answered the question of "where did it all come from," you have just shifted the question from the physical world to the non-physical world. Your conclusion has been eaten alive by its own premise--the premise that there was a beginning.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

A Villarasa

Of course this discussion has been circular, because you keep asking the same question and I keep giving the same answer, to which you keep giving the same response, and not actually answering my questions. No wonder it's so circular!

"So let us just agree that you do not believe in a spiritual reality because your logic and rational thinking just does not support the possibility of its causation and its existence."

Haha. As Reagan would say, "there you go again." Unfortunately (for your side), this is not "my logic." Logic and reason has been around a lot longer than either you or me. I wish I could take credit for creating human reason, but I can't.

"My instinctual perception tells me that my belief is not anymore unreasonable than yours."

See my earlier comments about "instincts" and "instinctual perception."

I just wish somebody would give me a straight answer to some of my substantive critical questions. Oh well. The hope lives on.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

AKA Winston, welcome, thanks for coming.

I had a discussion with another hubber on another one of my hubs about the concept of existence. It is one of those fundamental concepts that cannot be "defined" per se. We just have to accept it as an axiom.

"but can someone explain how an idea exists?"

The best we can say is that "an idea is." Something either is or is not. To exist means to be, and to be means to exist. That's not a definition of "existence," just another word to use in its place, to clarify the concept.

In order to define something, you must reference something else. But since existence, the concept, is meant to encompass everything, by definition it cannot be defined, because there is nothing "else" to which we can reference it.

Suppose I define existence by saying "existence is X." Good--I have created a successful definition, because I have referenced something else. Then we would have to say "what is X?" Well, if X is something that exists/ something that is real (as it must be), we have here a circular problem because "X" references "exist" and vice versa.

So we either start out with an infinite regress, a circle, or a blind faith axiom. I am on the side of blind faith axiom, because it allows knowledge to begin.

"The reason I use this definition is not to eliminate your ideas, but because it is the only way we can have useful dialogue about existence"

I disagree that it is a useful definition. It is certainly clear and rigid and unambiguous, to be sure. But there are 2 major problems,

(1) nevertheless everyone knows that there are things that are not solid or physical (such as the energy that moves those solid things around)

(2) more profoundly, it does not clarify the concept of "existence" any further, rather it just draws an equation: existence=solid objects and solid objects=existence. So in that way it is no better than my statement "to exist= to be and to be=to exist." As a blind faith axiom, it carries the same logical weight, and the same usefulness.

It is a definition based on blind faith because you just have to accept it without question, without any further investigation.

I will humbly submit that the real reason this discussion's usefulness has petered out is because the other side has failed to address, much less answer, my actual questions. For example, I asked A Villarasa "why not assume an infinite string of supernatural realms, why do you arbitrarily stop at just one?" He did not answer that question. Thus, the discussion comes to an end.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

(everyone knows that there are things that are not solid or physical)

secularist10,

The question is not whether we know, think, hope, can prove, or believe - the question is binary, whether or not x exists.

Energy is a concept - a description. There is not a thing, an object we can point to and say there is a lump of energy or go to the store and buy by the pound.

The importance of defining existence is to separate concepts from objects. Objects exist. Concepts do not exist because they have no shape and no static location in the universe.

The reason this is important is that concepts cannot and do not interact with the physical world - love cannot move mountains - it requires dynamite to move mountains.

I am not saying that concepts are not real in the sense that any description is real and the thinking process occurs, but to eliminate any possible claim that a concept can be the direct cause of physical action or reaction.

A. Vallaresa's claim of instincual perception is simply a concept, a description of what he believes, and belief has no bearing on actuality. In this sense, the concept of instinctual perception manufactured by A. Vallaresa's brain does not exist, but A. Valleresa's brain does exist.

btw, exist=to be is a synonym, not a definition. What does "to be" mean, exist?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

"The importance of defining existence is to separate concepts from objects. Objects exist. Concepts do not exist because they have no shape and no static location in the universe."

According to your definition of "exist" this is true. Not according to my definition. It's just a different definition.

"exist=to be is a synonym, not a definition. What does "to be" mean, exist?"

As I already said, to be is to exist and to exist is to be, they are one and the same. It's just a way to flesh out the concept using language. It's an axiom because you can't refer it to something else/ couch it in terms of something else.

And as I also already indicated, if "exist=to be" is a synonym, then your own definition of existence is also a synonym. And for the same reason--you cannot couch it in terms of something else, like a typical definition.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

secularist10,

Of course, we are free to define words in any way we wish, but if we are to have meaningful and precise discourse, then the definitions used must be unambiguous.

How can we show a rational explanation for the idea that energy exists if exists means to be? Try as you may, all you can do is explain the concept of energy - but you can never do other than assert it exists. But concepts cannot be reified into objects.

Precise definitions prevent assertions and reifications from being presented as realities. There is no thing named energy - there is only a concept of what energy is and that concept is explained as the ability to do work.

How can the ability to do work exist? If this concept is reified into a "thing" that exists, then it is equally possible to reify god into a thing that exists, as god is simply a concept of absolute love and absolute power and absolute knowledge, etc. If concepts exist, then all concepts exist - we are not free to pick and choose which concept we like and those of which we do not approve.

Once you allow common definitions into precise applications, the precision of the thoughts is eliminated and instinctual perception becomes as real as the entity it discovers by its application.

You say exist means to be. But something can only "be" due to the definition of exist, and if concepts like energy exist, then concepts like god also exist, regardless of logic.

God's existence or nonexistence is not due to belief or logic, but because of the definition of exist. Once we have a precise definition of exist, we can then show that it is rationally impossible for god to exist - and that rational explanation will fit in with our known understanding of the physical world.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Energy is just a concept? Oh please. So physical forces are just concepts and they do not exist? Electromagnetism is just a concept? I think you need to rethink your definition of existence, Winston. Objects are nothing but energy.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

The idea: can god create a rock so heavy he can't life it is an interesting one because it shows simply that omnipotence is impossible. There is always a limit. The god loses omnipotence both if he can and if he cannot create such a rock. If he can create it, he can't lift it. If he can't create it he is again limited. It's not so much saying something about a god, it is saying something about limitation in general.

The person who quotes: "God does not play with dice" doesn't understand that it means that the universe is order. That order comes from cause and effect. I think that person also said god chooses not to do paradoxical things or some such nonsense. The fact is he either can or cannot. It is not a matter of choice. To say god chooses not to be able to do something is the height of absurdity. Were he to exist he either could or could not. It is as if Christians on the one hand say god can do anything but fools himself from time to time into thinking he can't. Surely no one can honestly claim such a thing and believe it?


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston. Just to remind you. E = MC squared. That means energy and matter are the same thing in different form. Mass is the measurement of matter in a system. So even though the equivalency theory talks about mass, mass is matter. So don’t let that confuse the issue. Energy is the physical world. Nothing that exists is not energy. I think you have gotten caught up in the “work” definition and may not fully understand what it means.

I have to say, though, that I do agree with you that concepts themselves do not affect the physical world. And if you accept that a concept cannot do anything on its own, energy is far from a concept. It can and does affect the physical world because it is the physical world.

I agree with much of what you have said. I merely object to the example you chose to illustrate it.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston. You said: "God's existence or nonexistence is not due to belief or logic, but because of the definition of exist."

I know you don't mean a definition of a word determines something's existence. A thing exists or it does not, as you say, regardless of logic or belief. Concepts exist as patterns in a human brain. They either correspond to real things or they do not. The way they exist is in the fact that they are real physical patterns or processes. Exist is defined as: to be real, or to be, or to live. To be a real thing it has to be a physical thing. So to be physical is to exist.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

AKA Winston

"How can we show a rational explanation for the idea that energy exists if exists means to be?"

We know that energy exists because we observe it and its effects. The effects so observed cannot be explained in any naturalistic way without the notion of energy.

(By contrast, every effect/ evidence offered for God can be explained without the notion of God.)

"If concepts exist, then all concepts exist - we are not free to pick and choose..."

I think you are confusing two things. There is the concept of something in my head--my imagining of it--and then there is the actual thing beyond my head.

I have an idea of God. God, if he exists, is evidenced by X, Y and Z. When I look out at the universe, do I see X, Y and Z? No, therefore God does not exist. But the concept still does.

I have an idea of the ability to do work. The ability to do work, if it exists, is evidenced by A, B and C. When I look out at the universe, do I see A, B and C? Yes, therefore the ability to do work exists.

"...and if concepts like energy exist, then concepts like god also exist, regardless of logic."

Yes, all concepts exist in the minds of humans. They are composed of electrical signals in our brains. Whether the actual object so referenced exists beyond our imaginings, is another story entirely.

"God's existence or nonexistence is not due to belief or logic, but because of the definition of exist."

But the definition of exist is itself a belief. As I keep saying, and you continue to not respond to this point, "exist" as a notion is an axiom, it is blind faith.

My conception of exist is blind faith, and your conception of exist is also blind faith. It must be, because it logically cannot reference something else. It is a starting point, an axiom. There is nothing beyond existence to which we can reference existence.

Your earlier definition of existence creates a problem of circularity. You said "We can define exist as that which has shape and occupies a place in the universe."

So then does the universe exist?

Think carefully, now. If the universe is defined as a thing that exists, then the word "universe" references the word "exist." But the word "exist" in turn references the word "universe," as we have just seen. Circular.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Slarty--welcome, thanks for visiting.

"The fact is he either can or cannot. It is not a matter of choice."

Exactly. The theists can obfuscate and dodge the question all they want by talking about "what God wants to do, or what God feels like doing." But that is not the issue. The fact of the matter is that the paradox of omnipotence does indeed break the back of God. But the faith lives on...

"It is as if Christians on the one hand say god can do anything but fools himself from time to time into thinking he can't. Surely no one can honestly claim such a thing and believe it?"

Oh, they can and they do, my friend. They can and they do. They've been claiming it for thousands of years around the world. Actually, it's interesting, because in the opening parts of the Bible, God does not sound very much like a truly all-powerful being. He comes across more as an extremely powerful one, but not technically ALL-powerful. There are clear gaps and cracks in his powers and abilities.

Over time, perhaps the Jewish and Christian religious communities have come to believe in a literally all-powerful God, but that does not seem to be the original concept of the tribal God of the ancient Hebrews. The original concept seems more like a human relative to a bug, for example. A much more powerful being, but not an infinitely powerful one.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

secularist10

That's the difference between the logical mind and the mind set in faith and belief. Logic has nothing to do with faith. That's why it is so hard for theists and non-theists to communicate. They see it as a flaw in us that we can't have faith and we see it as a flaw in them that they can't see logic.

You are right, of course. The Jewish god was never an omnipotent god. It was a really really powerful entity in thier eyes but not perfect and not completely omnipotent. It was the only game in town for the Jew, but in fact the god of Abraham was originaly part of a pantheon of Sumerian and Babylonian gods. It was the Jew's god, and they his chosen people. It wasn't till Moses and after that he became the only god and it wasn't till christianity that he became completely omnipotent.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

(I know you don't mean a definition of a word determines something's existence)

Slarty,

You are correct. What I said (or meant) was that to have a precise and rational discourse about existence the word exist must be defined unambiguously.

(The way they exist is in the fact that they are real physical patterns or processes. Exist is defined as: to be real, or to be, or to live. To be a real thing it has to be a physical thing. So to be physical is to exist.)

This is somewhat a mismash of ideas. How can we have an intelligent discourse about my Mazda if it has to be alive to exist? How will I get to work? How is energy - a concept of the ability to perform work - real? How is the process of thinking - a dynamic concept - a "thing" in the same sense that a static object, like a rock is a "thing"?

Are you beginning to see the problem with loose definitions?

Do you see my point? When we have multi-definitions for a word it doesn't mean anything useful - the word itself simply becomes an assertion of faith.

I believe energy exists because I saw it move the cross of inertia, halleleujah! (:-) Just a little snarky sarcastic humor - no harm intended.)

Why am I so anal about this word? Because it makes or break all arguments. Using my definition, try to explain rationally how energy moves a feather from here to there.

To save you time, you cannot do it. Because energy is not a thing. Only things - physical mediators - can cause the movement of the feather.

Positing that it was energy that caused the feather to move is no different that asserting it moved due to the will of god or from a ghost's sneeze, as all of those are conceptual, invisible, and unverifiable.

Do you see the point I am making?

(We know that energy exists because we observe it and its effects.)

Secularist10,

No, we cannot "see" energy. Energy is not an it. It is a definition: the ability to perform work. We see the effects of our conceptualization of energy - what actual performs the work is physical contact between atoms, a physical mediator. We cannot energy the boulder to move, think the boulder to move, or make it move by explaining how it should move if enough conceptual energy is applied, while boulders also do not move of their own volition. If we want the rock out of our way, there has to be a physical mediator applied to cause the stone to budge.

(So then does the universe exist?)

It is a concept, so no. Space itself (the void) cannot occupy location. [an aside: sometimes I err in writing definitions - the phrase "in the universe" has no bearing on a useful definition of exist. It should be this: exist: physical presence - that which has shape and location. I apologize for the poor definition.]

Space separates objects. Hence, space does not exist. Space is our concept of nothing.

Matter exists - all matter - but the concept of all matter and all space as a continuum, as universe, does not fit the definition of exist. I hope you can see the distinction. The concept of universe must be formulated inside the brain of a sentient being and thus cannot exist outside than mental activity, while matter is of the phsical world and occupies location regarless if observed or thought about.

(My conception of exist is blind faith, and your conception of exist is also blind faith.)

I think you are missing the main point of this discussion. You seem to want to argue correctness of thought, as in establishing a right or wrong thought, to prove.

But defining exist has nothing to do with proving or with right or wrong beliefs. All it does is to force the dialogue to conform to unambiguous understandings.

Mankind for thousands of years has been arguing over the existence or non-existence of god, going round and round with proof and rebuttals and logic and refutations, all of it nothing but opinion.

Defining exist as I do forces the dialogue out of the subjective realm and straight into objectivity. Exist: physical presence, that which has shape and location.

Now, does god exist? The question is binary now. God either fits the definiton and exists or does not fit the definition and does not exist - there is no belief or proving about it.

I will say that it kills the fun, though, as the argument ends suddenly: but nature is a binary system, and to argue endlessly about possibilities, while a good parlor game and a stimulating scholarly study, is irrelevant gibberish to mother nature.

Concepts like gods do not appear or disappear based on the belief of humans - when an atheist disbelieves god, god does not disappear, only to reform over a believer's chimney in a Santa suit.

Whether god does or does not exist can be shown objectively - by definition - and that definition removes opinion from the equation.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

@Winston

"This is somewhat a mismash of ideas. How can we have an intelligent discourse about my Mazda if it has to be alive to exist? How will I get to work? How is energy - a concept of the ability to perform work - real? How is the process of thinking - a dynamic concept - a "thing" in the same sense that a static object, like a rock is a "thing"?"

There is no mishmash if you can discern differences in context. We aren't going to talk about your car as if it is alive. But life is one way the dictionary describes the word exist because that is a common usage.

For your second question, I need only remind you again that matter is energy. Objects are energy. It is described by many scientists as energy/matter denoting the fact that they are the same thing in different form. Just like space/time denotes that time, velocity and distance are intimately related.

You talk of atoms as if they are not energy, but they are. Energy is physical. The energy in a pencil is enough for all the electrical needs of a city for a week were it possible for us to release all of it in a controlled way. Electro magnetic energy is very real. The strong and the weak forces are real, or atoms would collapse or wouldn't form at all. All forces are energy. To say energy is not real is to not understand modern physics.

Can you hold energy in your hand? Of course you can. Anything you pick up is nothing but energy. Can you buy it in a the store? Sure. No matter what you buy it is energy/matter. Atoms are the substance all things are made of and atoms are energy.

Even the void of space is filled to the brim with quantum activity. Space is not empty. Space is not just a concept. The universe is not just a concept. It exists as the combination of all things including the space between them. What you have said is like saying the distance between any two points is only a concept and not real. Distance is a concept but it describes a phenomenon that effects energy/matter. Distance can be measured. It does not exist as one thing, but it is a real phenomenon. It's physical aspect is as little as a volume of air, a forest full of trees, a mountain. You name it.

Concepts are not always about one thing. A religion is a concept that references many things and many other concepts and aspects of life. Distance is the same kind of thing, as is energy.

"Are you beginning to see the problem with loose definitions?"

If they are loose then I do see a problem with it. But the word exist is not a loosely defined word, for the most part. To be or to be real is the basic definition. But what is required for something to be real? There is but one criteria, it must be physical in some way.

A concept is a physical pattern in the brain, as I have said. In that way it is real in its own right. But it may not be about real physical objects. That is what you seem to be missing. The concept of a god exists as a concept but may not reflect reality outside the brain. This is common understanding. It seems you are trying to redefine terms.

"try to explain rationally how energy moves a feather from here to there. To save you time, you cannot do it. Because energy is not a thing. Only things - physical mediators - can cause the movement of the feather."

But you already have. Energy is the physical mediator. Be it wind or what have you, it is energy. There is nothing else.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

Slarty,

How can a definition - the ability to do work - resolve to an object? I can point to a pencil, but that resolves to the word pencil, not the word energy.

Energy is a description. It cannot be a thing. Those neurons flying around in your brain while you conceptualize energy are neurons - the phosphates moving along the electronic transport chain in the cells of your brain are phosphates. They are not molecules of energy. Energy describes - things are.

I don't know how to make it any clearer than that.

(Energy is the physical mediator. Be it wind or what have you, it is energy. There is nothing else.)

When I put my finger against a pencil that is lying on a table and push, it is my finger that is the physical mediator that causes the motion. When Carrie stared at the same pencil without touching it, it was the mental "energy" of her "mind" that caused the pencil to move.

Which description depicts reality and which depicts a movie script?

All you are doing with your unfounded assertions is to reify a concept into an object - which is how religions and philosophers get away with unrealistic claims that matter is energy.

Even mathematical physicists don't buy that. It is mass that is expressed as equivalent to energy, and mass represents not matter but inertia. It is said that energy can change form, but that is ridiculous because energy has no form to begin with. How can it change what it does not have. Energy and inertia and the like are all descriptions that are used by engineers and mathematicians as shortcuts for their calculations.

Yes, it is accurate that wood set afire releases heat that can be used to warm water than can then cause steam that can then turn a turbine to produce electricity. It is a lot easier to write a symbol each time for this unit of heat than to write this entire paragraph over and over. The symbolic expression of all this mumbo-jumbo is named energy.

The famous Einstein equation of E=MC2 can equally be rewritten in sentences to say: (the ability to do work)= (the amount of oomph in an object)x (the speed of discrete packages of nothing multiplied by itself.)

It doesn't sound nearly so realistic presented this way. But we can dazzle the world with E=MC2.

However, as you and Objectivist10 are both philosophers and have abiding faith in logic over rationality, I won't continue to explain the presentations.

You will have to keep hoping that while driving home some night you don't run headlong into a giant lump of energy standing in the roadway and wreck your car.

Me, I'll only have to keep a lookout for real objects like deer and rocks.

See you guys.


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secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

AKA Winston

Didn't you get the memo? "Deer" and "rocks" are just concepts of the human mind--concepts developed to describe objective phenomena.

To respond to your earlier comment to me, I will say the following, just to sum things up. (This discussion is draining my otherwise nonexistent energy.)

"(So then does the universe exist?) It is a concept, so no."

Well, then I suppose my case rests :)

If the universe does not exist, if it is not there, if it is not real... then I don't know how you explain a lot of what you observe. Seems like a pretty big problem.

The reason mankind continues to debate the existence of God is because people still believe it, and choose to not accept logic and reason. The logic is and has always been the same.

"exist: physical presence - that which has shape and location."

How is this a definition? It is simply an equation: existence=physical presence. It is a "synonym," in your earlier description. It does not reference something else, which a definition must. You have simply redefined “physical presence” to become a synonym of “be.”

Only "existence=being" is the actual conception of existence, as it has been formulated by people. There's really no improving on that, try as you might. It is as simple as it is going to get, and as straightforward as it needs to be.

We already have an unambiguous understanding of existence: existence is being, to exist means to be. There is nothing ambiguous about that.

"Defining exist as I do forces the dialogue out of the subjective realm and straight into objectivity."

No, it does not. You have simply offered another subjective definition based on blind faith.

“Whether god does or does not exist can be shown objectively - by definition - and that definition removes opinion from the equation.”

And what is a definition? It is a subjective concept within our minds. Therefore not objective. There is no "definition" of anything written into the fabric of the cosmos.

“Now, does god exist? The question is binary now. God either fits the definiton and exists or does not fit the definition and does not exist - there is no belief or proving about it.”

This exercise of yours is totally arbitrary, because you have departed from the original intention of “existence.” Suppose I define “exist” as an apple pie. Now, does god exist? The question is binary now. God either fits the definition and exists (he is an apple pie) or does not fit the definition and does not exist (he is not an apple pie).

Just because you have decided to render “existence” equal to physical location and shape does not suddenly make it more meaningful or more intellectually efficient.

I will reiterate one more time: the concept of existence is an axiom, it must be taken on blind faith in the last analysis because it cannot, logically, reference something else. Although you certainly gave a valiant effort to make it reference something else.

How do we know whether things exist? By observation/ experience, AND/ OR by logic. God fails on both. Arbitrary definition games are not necessary.


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secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

AKA Winston

Just one last thing. As we know, your updated definition of "exist" is "exist: physical presence - that which has shape and location."

Interestingly, what is "physical presence"? What is "shape"? What is "location"? They are all concepts. Therefore they do not exist.

Thus, exist does not exist.

Just look at the mess you have made.


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secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Slarty:

"The Jewish god was never an omnipotent god. It was a really really powerful entity in their eyes but not perfect and not completely omnipotent. It was the only game in town for the Jew, but in fact the god of Abraham was originaly part of a pantheon of Sumerian and Babylonian gods. It was the Jew's god, and they his chosen people. It wasn't till Moses and after that he became the only god and it wasn't till christianity that he became completely omnipotent."

That's a great point. There are small vestiges of beliefs in magic and spirits and similarly "non-Kosher" things in the Bible--including stories of the Jews before they left Egypt. These indicate that before Moses the Jews did indeed have those kinds of beliefs, and thus what we know as Judaism inevitably arose from that belief system. Of course the whole thing was, in turn, probably influenced heavily by Zoroastrianism.

A very similar phenomenon occurred with the Muslim God. Allah was originally one of many gods worshipped by the pre-Islamic Arabs, and the Kaaba (which today is an extremely holy shrine in Islam) was a temple for worshipping all of them.

This is why it is so crucial for Muslims to say "there is no god but Allah," because that idea of a single god was a novelty for the polytheistic world of the time.


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Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston. Read some science books. Mass is the measurment of matter in a system. Science accepts that matter and energy are the same thing in different form. You are caught up in the definition of work. No wonder you don't get it. Your udnerstanding of E=mc Squared is non-existant, which is clear from your attempt to discribe it in meaningless terms. Study physics. Your attempt to say my statements are religious borders on the absurd. Please, a quick study of some real science will set you straight. I can't make it any clearer than that. ;)


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Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

"How can a definition - the ability to do work - resolve to an object? I can point to a pencil, but that resolves to the word pencil, not the word energy."

The definition doesn't resolve into anything. It is a definition. The fact that you look at a pencil and the word pencil comes to mind and not energy is your failier to understand the underlying reality of the object. The pencil is many things: wood, graphite, atoms, energy. You are looking at it's subjective function, which is pencil.

"When I put my finger against a pencil that is lying on a table and push, it is my finger that is the physical mediator that causes the motion."

Wrong. It is your brain telling your finger to push the feather. The energy in your body makes it possible for your finger to move at all.

Bad example. Try wind. What is it, Winston? Just a concept? What about elecro-magnetic force? Is that just a concept? Concepts by themselves do nothing and have no way to do anything. They discribe real or imagioned things. Real things affect the world around them. Imagioned things that do not correspond to something real do not. You know this, you said it yourself. So why are you fighting the idea that all objects are energy at their root? An electron is energy. Please define it as not being energy for us. Or perhaps you think it is just a concept so it doesn't exist? lol..

Sorry, Winston. I don't mean to be insulting. But the idea that energy does not exist seems laughable to me in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.

It isn't an easy idea to get your head around, I understand that. But I know it isn't beyond you.


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A.Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

@Slarty:

Of course I understood what Einstein meant when he said God does not play dice with the universe....he would not be God if he created something only to see that creation thrown into chaos. In fact it is the absolute order in the universe that convinced us theist, that there is a God... a God who by the way does not exist in the physical world but in a transcendental realm. A realm/reality that atheist, objectivists and reductionists insists does not exist because of its non-physical mooring. To aka Winston, I said that if he finds the idea of a spiritual world nonsense, I said so be it. On the other hand I did not say that God refuses to do paradoxical things... on the contrary, the universe that he has created is full of paradoxes, and paradoxical events. I merely said that God has enough in his plate i.e. keeping the order in the universe he has created, to be bothered about playing games( the game of Omnipotence paradox) invented by mere mortals.

@Secularist: I suppose you can imagine a string of multiple universes, created by a string of multiple Gods, but I am having a lot of fun just trying to imagine and understand the universe we are in, I just can't be bothered by other multiple universes/ multiple Gods.

@akaWinston:

I get your point about being clear with what one means with a word or words that one uses to communicate ideas, ideals and ideologies. To the extent that a non-pathological neuronal connections in my brain would allow me, my ability to express those concepts have to be couched or cocooned in my sublimational interpretations of the physical reality that I am sorrounnded with... and one of those sublimational interpretation is my interpretation that reality exist not just in the physical realm but most importantly in the spiritual realm.


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Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

secularist10

Absolutely. Zoroastrianism had an fluence on the Jews and some of their scholars freely admit it. I did a hub on this subject called: A short history of the OT.

You are right about the Arabs too. Before their one god they had many, mostly the Baylonian gods. Their main god was Sin, the moon god. Which is why their symbol is still a crecent moon.

I recently told a Muslim that they stole their religion from the Jews. He countered with the idea that the OT was the history of all semitic people. The Jews are from one of the sons of noah and the Arabs from another son.

In a sense it's true that the ot is about all the people of the region, but before Mohammed the OT was not used by the Arabs. Again, as you said, they worshiped the Babylonian pantheon. So his argument doesn't wash. Mohammed knew that a unified religion could be used to rule, and shape his people who were an ununifed rabble just like the Jews were before Moses. So he used their books and built around them.

The history of religion is amazing. Too bad theists don't study it or want to know about it.


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Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

"a God who by the way does not exist in the physical world but in a transcendental realm. A realm/reality that atheist, objectivists and reductionists insists does not exist because of its non-physical mooring."

The problem is that we now have science that tells us that energy can not be created nor destroyed. Hence we have an eternal/non-created substance and no need for a god. A substance that plays by rules, it's nature, to transform itself into all the objects we see and all their relationships. Cause and effect. God is not the only game in town any more. It is not required.

I'm not saying I know for a fact there is no god of some sort anyway. No more than I can say bigfoot does not exist with absolute certainty. But you can not know that there is a god of any sort with any certainty either. You are guessing. Before I would buy that there is a non-physical realm it would have to shown to exist or at the least be possible. I see no mechanism which makes it possible. But I'm open to evidence. If you have any evidence for a non-physical realm, I'll be happy to hear it. Notice I didn't say proof. I'll take logic, a rational compelling argument, anything that logically or rationally points to a non-physical realm.

I'm not even saying that science is the last word here. But for now it is the most compelling argument because it has a large body of evidnece backing it up. I'm all about evidnece, and if new evidence comes to light showing a need for an outside conscious force, I'd be open to it.

So far that has not been the case.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

(Didn't you get the memo? "Deer" and "rocks" are just concepts of the human mind--concepts developed to describe objective phenomena.)

Perfect! You got it! All terms are concepts. Some terms resolve to real objects, others do not. Those that do not cannot be reified into what they are not - i.e., objects. Nature is a binary system: objects/ideas

(The reason mankind continues to debate the existence of God is because people still believe it)

Have you seen the universe? I don't mean just this galaxy within this solar system, but all of the universe? Isn't the universe everything that is - both all space and all matter? Have you looked at clump of nothing - can nothing even be seen? Do you know for sure the universe is endless, or do you make that assumption. Does your universe contain dark matter (the science equivalent of god's will, used to explain contradictory information)

What this unending concept of universe is and whether it is a reality is similar to belief in a god. Is the universe a reality to a lump of coal, which can neither see stars, planets, and the moon, does not know anything about Earth, and has no brain to conceptualize any of it?

The universe, being a concept (a term) only resides in our minds, and it does not resolve to a unified shape we can draw or point to in a picture and say, that is the universe in totality - we can only point to parts of this universe and say, that is a galaxy or that is a solar system, etc.

Making more sense, now?

(Thus, exist does not exist)

LoL. Spoken like a true philospher, Secularist10

See you around.

Oops, one last thing, here, too.

(How do we know whether things exist? By observation/ experience, AND/ OR by logic.)

So, you are claiming that nothing existed prior to sentient beings "knowing" it existed?

Or are you simply confusing knowledge with existence?

For the blind pigmy who has been held captive underground sense birth and has never seen the sun, has never experienced the sun, and who has no knowledge of logic - does the sun not exist or does it still exist, irrespective of this one individual's beliefs, feelings, knowledge, or logic?

Nature - reality - doesn't care if you believe, see, feel, think, hope, conceptualize, or pray for guidance. It simply is, regardless of us.

The only things that disappear when we are gone are our concepts. When there are no more sentient human beings left to muse about love, energy, forces, and gods, where in her vastness will nature keep these objects hidden until the next sentient beings comes along - will they then look at a rock and say, there's some energy right there? Will they point to a tree and say, look, I found some love?

Tree=object, object=real, name=term, term=concept, tree concept=resolves to real.

Now this: energy=concept, concept=term, energy concept=resolves to ?

It resolves to the workings of the brain of a sentient being - but thoughts and ideas are not objects.

By my definition, they do not exist. By your definition, they may. But then your definition would mean that thoughts are as real as a tree, even when there is no human sitting in that tree to dream up thoughts. I suppose the thought simply hangs there in midair, waiting for a human to stroll buy and capture it in a thought net.

Maybe not.


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secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

A Villarasa

"I suppose you can imagine a string of multiple universes, created by a string of multiple Gods..."

Aha! Exactly. You don't *want* it to be true, or you "can't be bothered," but that is not the issue. As you admit, it is possible, because the door has been opened by your own idea of a supernatural.

Thus you must explain why you arbitrarily stop at just one such supernatural realm, as opposed to 2 or 10 or 100 or 10,000...

And being lazy or "not being bothered" is not a legitimate answer.


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Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston. Your problem seems to be a dislike for science and philosophy. Strange that you, being a philosopher of sorts, feels that way. The arguments you put forth are philosophy, my friend. Strange that someone so intent on exact definitions doesn't know that. ;)


AKA Winston 5 years ago

Slarty,

All I have is my own ability to reason and think. It is either that or simply go Streetcar Named Desire and always rely on the kindness of strangers (authorities) for understanding.

Expert group think has a long history of being wrong - 2000 years worth of geocentric universe model tells that.

I don't like or dislike either science or philosophy. I simply acknowledge what they are and what they can and cannot do.

And if expert group think seems irrational to me, I call B.S. on it instead of bowing my head in awe and asking for autographs. :-))

(Mass is the measurement of matter in a system. So even though the equivalency theory talks about mass, mass is matter.)

Slarty,

This is somewhat embarrassing because you probably know more about physics than I do, but mass is not matter.

Mass is an expression of inertia. It is only thought of as matter on Earth because of the measurement of weights. We can think of kg of matter having a kg of energy, but if we took that object to the moon, it would only be 1/6 kg, but it would have the same mass as when on Earth.

Mass=inertia


AKA Winston 5 years ago

(Allah was originally one of many gods worshipped by the pre-Islamic Arabs,)

Secularist10,

I don't know why I keep coming back other than I have trouble leaving unwarranted truth claims left unchallenged.

I recently investigated this very claim about Allah, going so far as to get verification from my brother, who holds a Ph.D. in religion from Boston University.

While you present one side, this is a debate and it is certainly not a conclusive, one-sided win. Far from it.

The word allah is simply Arabic for "the god". It is not a proper name. In Hebrew, the word for generic god is elohim. Again not a proper name. So, the other side of this argument is that the pagan moon god allah was simply "the god" and not the same god Mohammed proclaimed.

The argument would be like saying Mohammed's "the god" is discredited because pagans also used the word for a generic "the god' about a moon goddess, rather than saying Mohammed's god and the pagan moon god are one in the same because they both share a common proper name.

The latter is simply untrue. Jews and Christians have a personal name for god, Yahweh and Jehovah, respectively. Muslims do not have a personal name for the Muslim god. God means allah, but allah is not god's name.

This debate is far from the settled fact you make it appear.


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Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston: We all try to think for ourselves and many atheists are sceptics. I am the first to reject arguments from authority. Any new scientific discovery is suspect and there is never a last word in science, it is always up for debate. I tend to believe as little as possible about anything and take a wait and see attitude. For instance, the big bang: it is a good theory because it explains a lot. It is the best theory we have so far, and it may prove to be fact. But I don’t believe in it nor believe it is, as yet, fact.

I do, however, accept facts. The laws of thermodynamics are facts about the way the universe works. E=mc squared is a fact that has been proven time and time again. There isn’t any controversy over it in scientific circles anymore. But there was at one time. I’m not surprised you don’t like the idea but your arguments against it don’t wash.

Any interpretation of science is philosophy. It seems that many people these days don’t like that word, but whether they like it or not, if they engage in explaining the world they are engaging in philosophy.

It just seems rather illogical to me that a person should dislike what they are so energetically engaged in. But to each their own.


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Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston: No reason to be embarassed. Mass refers to three properties of matter. Inertial, active gravitational and passive gravitational. The reason we say mass as opposed to matter is because mass is also found in energy and matter is not a very well defined term. You are quite right that in space you don't weigh anything but you still have mass. After all, you are still matter. This is why mass is a good way to measure the matter of a system. While it isn't exactly right in physics to say matter when you mean mass, it is really talking about the same thing.


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Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

"The word allah is simply Arabic for "the god"."

You are correct. It means god and nothing else. It is not a name of god. God is not a name ofgod so I'm not sure why Jews and others often won't spell it out. But I think you misread Secularist. I don't think he meant that Allah was the name of one of the gods in the Babylonian pantheon. I think he meant that the current god they worship and which they now call the god, originates in a pantheon. That's how I read what he said. I could be wrong. But their god was probably originally the Babylonian god Sin, the moon god. That was their patron god before Mohammed and the cresent moon that is still their symbol could be considered evidence of that. But sure there is debate. There is always debate over things that happened in the distant past. We can only ever make educated guesses about so much of it.


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secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Re: Allah

Actually, you are both sort of wrong and sort of right. "Allah" is indeed the proper name of God in Islam, as it is used today (on par with "Jehovah").

There is some controversy as to the exact meaning of "Allah" and whether it is just the Arabic word for "God" like "Dios" is the Spanish word and "Gott" is the German word, and "God" is the English word, or if it is a wholly separate idea, a different character.

This, of course, then gets into theology, and that is an interesting discussion (for example, Allah is believed to have no human characteristics, and therefore cannot have a son, but in Christianity, God does have a son named Jesus, so that would seem to point to a different entity).

But "Allah" is indeed the proper name of God used by Muslims today. A very good argument can be made that the Arabic word "Allah" is a contraction of "al-ilah" which means "the god" as you know. However, this gets into some hairy territory as to the origin of a particular word several thousand years ago. Another argument is made by some that "Allah" is really a unique word, derived from earlier Aramaic or Hebrew or other beliefs/ peoples, despite its structural similarity to "al-ilah."

The point is that just as "Los Angeles" is the proper name of a city, whilst nevertheless literally meaning "The Angels" in Spanish, "Allah" is the proper name of the highest being in Islam, whilst nevertheless it's possible/ likely that it literally means "the god."

In any case, whatever the truth is of the name issue, the pagan Arabs worshipped this character long before Muhammad came around. After Muhammad, they clarified and refined the character and his personality, maybe started calling him "al ilah" and then eventually contracted this to "Allah," and this unique word became his proper name.

Wikipedia has this to offer:

"The name was previously used by pagan Meccans as a reference to the creator deity, possibly the supreme deity in pre-Islamic Arabia. The concepts associated with the term Allah (as a deity) differ among religious traditions. In pre-Islamic Arabia amongst pagan Arabs, Allah was not considered the sole divinity, having associates and companions, sons and daughters–a concept which Islam thoroughly and resolutely did away with."


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Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston: To show you I am not blowing this out my ear I was going to copy out the definition of mass for you from a physics text book I still have. But I found this one on the net that says exactly the same thing, so why copy when I can copy and paste? This is from Whatis.com, an IT encyclopedia.

mass

Mass (symbolized m ) is a dimensionless quantity representing the amount of matter in a particle or object. The standard unit of mass in the International System ( SI ) is the kilogram ( kg ).

Mass is measured by determining the extent to which a particle or object resists a change in its direction or speed when a force is applied. Isaac Newton stated: A stationary mass remains stationary, and a mass in motion at a constant speed and in a constant direction maintains that state of motion, unless acted on by an outside force. For a given applied force,large masses are accelerated to a small extent, and small masses are accelerated to a large extent. The following formula applies:

F = ma

where F is the applied force in newtons, m is the mass of the object or particle in kilograms, and a is the resulting acceleration in meters per second squared. The mass of an object can be calculated if the force and the acceleration are known.


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Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Secularist:

Nice work fleshing that out. I stand corrected about what you meant, but that’s par for the course when second-guessing someone’s meaning. It would be nice to have a Muslim scholar to talk to about this sort of thing but they are not very approachable, from my experience.

It’s an interesting topic.


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secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

AKA Winston

Not sure if your questions are rhetorical or substantive, but I'll answer a few anyway:

"Do you know for sure the universe is endless, or do you make that assumption."

The uncreated universe is a conclusion based on deduction, as well as the fact that there is no better idea out there.

"What this unending concept of universe is and whether it is a reality is similar to belief in a god."

No. The key characteristic of God is that he lies outside the natural world. The universe is the natural world. In order to believe in God, we need to accept the idea of a supernatural world. They are not related at all.

Yes, they are related in the broad sense of "stuff we don't quite know 100%" but nothing more.

"Is the universe a reality to a lump of coal, which can neither see stars, planets, and the moon, does not know anything about Earth, and has no brain to conceptualize any of it?"

Talk about an odd question. What is it like to be a lump of coal? An impossible question to answer, of course. But given that a lump of coal cannot exist without a box to exist in--i.e. reality, the set of all things--then yes, reality/ the universe is relevant to the lump of coal.

"The universe, being a concept (a term) only resides in our minds, and it does not resolve to a unified shape we can draw or point to"

I prefer the term "reality" over universe because it is more precise. But, again, this is incorrect. If reality did not exist, then we would not exist. We do exist, therefore reality must exist.

"(How do we know whether things exist? By observation/ experience, AND/ OR by logic.) So, you are claiming that nothing existed prior to sentient beings "knowing" it existed?"

No, you must read carefully. I did not say "How do things exist? By observation" I said "How do WE KNOW things exist? By observation."

Whether we know about it or not, it exists, it is out there. But you originally asked me how we know anything exists. And that is the answer, that is how *we know,* apart from reality outside.

"But then your definition would mean that thoughts are as real as a tree..."

Yes, that is correct. Thoughts are simply composed of electrical signals in the brain. Those electrical signals are just as real as the tree. The existence of the object referenced by those signals (God, a tree, a demon, etc) is wholly separate from the signals themselves, as I keep reiterating.


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A.Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

@Slarty: Let us assume that your statement is factual, i.e energy can not be created or destroyed, hence there is no need for a god. I am extrapolating now from this statement that you believe that energy is what initiated the process of creation ( on earth via an evolutionary construct) and it is what is keeping the non-chaos that we now appreciate is universally pervasive in that creation. An entity so powerful that it created the universe and its continuing non-chaos, a "supernatural force" ---a "god" in everyone's parlance, albeit from your perspective an impersonal one.

This concept mirrors Stephen Hawking's belief in an impersonal "god" that he thought is gravity, not energy. Be that as it may, you and Hawkings are proposing that the creation of the visible/non-visible universe, and everything in it (including the earth and all the animate/inanimate, sentient/non-sentient, volitional/non-volitional, biological/non-biological entitities in it) was just one big happenstance event that was niether "willfully" nor "purposely" created.

This is where I diverge from you, akawinston and secularist. Your and my understanding of Energy (or Gravity for that matter) is that it exist(although we could not see it or touch it or taste it or hear it) because we could appreciate physically its effects or actions on us. As impersonal as energy/gravity is i.e. there are no meaningful interactions between it and us beyond what we appreciate as its physical effects , on us, is it really possible for energy (and perhaps energy/gravity, acting in some kind of binary process) to have created a very willfull, volitional, imaginative, creative, emotional, conceptualising, sublimating, personalising entity like Homo Sapiens?

If energy/gravity created the universe, would it care that what it created "knows" that its creator exist? Of course not... which leads us to the question: Why would the universe (and everything in it) exist at all if no one knows or appreciates that it exist. Why would an impersonal entity like energy/gravity create entities that now appreciates that energy/gravity exist?

Homo Sapiens, after all the evolutionary changes that it went through (mostly because of a highly integrated neuronal connections in his brain), are now capable of conceptualizing that yes, the universes is made of the material, and that possibly there are other realities out there that are not material in nature, ie. a supernatural being (God) who has a personal stake in what happens to his creation, because at least one of them (Homo Sapiens) now conceptualize the idea, the concept of a personal God.


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secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

"Why would the universe (and everything in it) exist at all if no one knows or appreciates that it exist. Why would an impersonal entity like energy/gravity create entities that now appreciates that energy/gravity exist?"

Why wouldn't it?


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

@Secularist: The creation of the universe by energy/gravity as is posited by Slarty and Stephen Hawkins is a random event, because by definition energy/gravity by their very nature do not possess voliton/sentience. So can a non-random event(s) like the creation of humans via evolutionary pressures and processes be actually produced by a random event like the creation of the universe by energy/gravity? I don't think so. In my mind only a non-random event can produce a non-random series of events, in the same way that only random events could cause a series of random events.

Only a volitional/sentient being can create another volitional sentient being. A non-sentient, non-volitional entity like energy/gravity, can only give rise to random events, and therfore can not create a non-random entity like Homo Sapiens.

Now if you tell me that man's existence on earth is just a random result of some random interaction between energy/gravity and or othe non-sentient entities.. then I suppose there is no point to any of the discussions that you and I and a million other humans are involved in on anything that affects them.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

A Villarasa

"Only a volitional/sentient being can create another volitional sentient being."

Really? How do you know that?

"In my mind only a non-random event can produce a non-random series of events..."

Then how do you explain the spontaneous and random formation of atoms, molecules and compounds? In other words, random phenomena creating non-random phenomena? A good example is diamonds: diamonds have orderly chemical structures, but are created by a spontaneous and random process.

"then I suppose there is no point to any of the discussions that you and I and a million other humans are involved in on anything that affects them."

A common canard from the theist.

Purpose comes from us. We define our own purpose, and we are masters of our own fate. We don't need a cosmic nanny to tell us what to do or why. Human potential and creativity is enough.

Don't worry about having faith in God--if he is so powerful, he will do just fine without you. Instead, have some faith in humanity.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

Slarty,

I never doubted you. Me, I never took physics in my life.

Still, this...

(The standard unit of mass in the International System ( SI ) is the kilogram ( kg ).)

in no way conflicts with what I said. On Earth, mass is stated as weight. But if you take an object from the Earth to the moon, its weight would change to 1/6th its orginal weight, but its mass would stay the same.

(Mass is measured by determining the extent to which a particle or object resists a change in its direction or speed when a force is applied.)

"the extent to which a particle or object resists a change in its direction" which is...Inertia!

Mass is measure by....weight? Nope. "by the extent to which a particle or object resists a change in its direction" which is...again...Inertia!

So, on Earth, mass is expressed by weight, but what it really is is the definition of how much oomph must be applied to get that lump of matter to move.

Mass is not matter - mass is a definition of oomph.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

secularist10,

Thanks for the Muslim debate info. I will simply supply this quote from an e-mail I got from my brother, who as I said before holds a Ph.D. in religion:

"There is scholarly debate about the origins of the name Allah. What is known is the goddess Allat was worshipped in northern Arabia and Mesopotamia in antiquity and identified with a star like the

goddess Venus. There is some evidence that in southern Arabia Allah

was another name for the god Hubal identified with the moon. However, the word Allah just means "the god" and may have been just a generic term for "god". Thus the debate. An older, somewhat dated, but still

good book to check on this is The Archeology of World Religions by Jack Finegan. He suggests that these early Arabian god and goddess are behind the crescent moon and star of the Muslim flag."


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

@Villarasa

People say happenstance as if the process of existence is all an accident. But in a universe of cause and effect there are no accidents. One event follows another.

When Hawking is talking about gravity being the “creator” he is in fact talking gravity calculated using string theory in conjunction with something called quantum fluctuation and theories by Feynman concerning “history of all possible universes” calculations.

It was interesting that he choose the time he did to use string theory, just at a time most scientists, even string theorists, were claiming that string theory was all but dead having made no headway in over 15 years. Was it coincidence, was he trying to bring it back from the brink, or had he just not gotten the memo? Be that as it may, his theory is not being taken very seriously yet, and may prove to be utter nonsense. We will eventually find out.

But Quantum fluctuation is real. It has been discovered that space is not an empty void but that it is teaming with these quantum events that create matter and anti matter from potential. Some have referred to this as something from nothing, but it's a poor way of describing it. It is a way to sensationalize the findings and get media attention for them. But there is really no need. It’s amazing all on its own. It is something from apparently nothing, what we have always referred to as the void of space. It isn’t so void anymore.

Heisenberg predicted that it was inevitable due to the uncertainty principle, but it wasn’t proven until recently. Many scientists including Hawking, think this could be how the universe started.

Because these bits of matter and anti matter cancel each other out almost instantly, nothing substantial comes from it now. It's really very controversial at the moment. We will see where it goes.

I talked about energy being eternal. But not only is energy eternal. Mass is also eternal. To understand this fully one has to study the conservation laws. Mass and energy are intimately related and except for certain types of energy, one does not exist without the other. It is not wrong to say they are elements of a single substance.

In any big bang theory, you always start with a very condensed amount of energy. (all that now exists in the universe) It is never nothing, as some suggest. Even in the theories that postulate potential rather than actual energy at the beginning, energy is always there. That's why I explain it as energy being the eternal substance, for convenience sake.

Energy has mass and all mass has energy. Mass is in essence matter. But the definition of matter is so diverse among different fields of study that using M to mean matter in the equation E=mc Squared could lead to inaccurate conclusions depending on who's definition you use.

So your question is: how can energy produce creativity? Well what is creativity? Creativity only happens through conflict of some sort. Inner conflict, problem solving, art wanting to escape from an artist. Creativity is due to need in humans. Creativity is problem solving. Humans mimic the atomic world in behaviour, and I will show you how.

How is energy/mass creative? Well look around. It has created all that exists. The reason it has created all that exists is due to the laws of conservation. The tell us that energy and mass cannot be created nor destroyed, but they can be transformed. And that is what they do. They transform.

If we go back a few seconds after the expansion of the universe we end up in a place full of subatomic particles like quarks. There particles formed the first atoms, starting with the simplest one, hydrogen. One electron and one proton. This happened as a result of what is known as the weak force and strong force in subatomic particles. As the universe cooled these clouds of new atoms condensed. When they condensed sufficiently to produce a critical mass due to gravity they became giant stars.

Pressure and temperature forced atoms together creating new types of atoms. When you force two hydrogen atoms together you get a new atom with two electrons and two protons as well as neutrons. To keep the protons together.

This produces a new substance. The deeper in to the star the more pressure and the more heavier the resulting atoms get. When those stars exploded due to being too large and unstable, they spread all those new atoms into the universe. As the clouds resulting from the explosions condensed they formed new smaller stars like ours, and the remaining cloud that wasn’t big enough to produce a star produced planets and moons.

Now remember that each time you add more electrons and protons you produce new basic elements. Now you have all these varieties of atoms interacting in space and on new planets.

Back to the laws of conservation. One of the most interesting laws tells us that ever atom tends toward its lowest level of output of energy. Atoms are like couch potatoes at heart. If left alone they will reach an equilibrium at its lowest possible level of energy output. But it has a hard time achieving it due to interaction with other atoms.

It will merge with another atom in order to achieve a new lowest level of energy output. At times the mergers are violent. But most of the time they simply do something amazing. They produce a compound substance. Add two hydrogen atoms to an oxygen atom and you have something new and amazing. Water. And if you pass electricity through water you can separate the hydrogen from the oxygen and if you set the hydrogen on fire, the oxygen helps it burn. And the combustion product of this burning is water.

All this from conflict. How creative can you get? Of course there are millions of possible combinations. Sometimes it is as simple as a stray electron getting caught in an atom’s attractive force. It suddenly has a much higher output of energy. What does it do? It is forced to fling the electron at the nearest atom. What happens next is an eternal game of hot potato that forces the two atoms together and forms a new substance.

So due to the nature of the atom toward its lowest output of energy, and conflict which makes it difficult for the atom to achieve, mergers take place. Conflicts are resolved and new substances arise. From this we learn that chaos breeds order. Chaos theory is in fact not about disorder, but about how things become ordered.

Spin glass is a perfect example. Take molecules with wildly different spins. Throw them all together. You might expect an explosion. But no. Exact opposites cancel each other out. What is left is a super strong and stable piece of glass. Add energy and it becomes a teaming mess again. Stop adding energy, after a time it settles down again. New order always arises from chaos.

A god human analogy is war. Either one side or the other runs out of resources, one side beats the other outright, or both parties run out of resources and will, and make a deal. In any event, the conflict always creates a new order through its resolution.

The atomic world is amazingly creative. The proof is all around you. And all it takes are a few simple rules to make things massively complex in no time. Compound substances subjected to electricity and pressure form new substances. Amino acids are formed. Proteins form. And soon you have cells. From there all the plants and animals form. Evolution is again all about conflict and resolution. Catastrophe creating niches for now forms, times of stability that allows species to adapt and change. Natural selection. All order from conflict.

See next comment for the rest. Sorry it's so long but it is an interesting question


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

AKA Winston

Yes, I'm familiar with most of that. However I'm not sure if your brother speaks or has studied Arabic (I have). I was slightly in error earlier: the translation of "the god" can be "al-ilah" or "Allah." I suspect an Arabic speaker would use the former to refer to a lesser/ pagan god. But "Allah" seems to mean "the God" as in "the one and only God... THE God," rather than something like "Zeus is the god." This would square quite well with the Islamic monotheistic temperament.

It's possible that "Allah" was used as a generic term for god, but it seems more likely that "ilah" was, as it is today.

If an Arabic speaker says "the god" in reference to a pagan god, he will probably say "al-ilah." This is pronounced differently than "Allah." In fact, the latter is really pronounced "Ullah" in Arabic like the "ul" in ulcer... Do you have one yet? I do.

To complicate things further another word for god is "rab." I think this word is used a lot by Christians (who nevertheless also use "Allah" a fair amount of the time.)

But again, regardless of its literal meaning, Arabic-speaking Muslims use "Allah" as the proper name of this entity, just as "The Angels" is the proper name of a city.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

@Villarasa

That’s why I said no outside god is required. Yes, energy/mass energy/matter is definitely capable of being what we could say metaphorically at least, is god, the producer of all things. That it isn’t conscious is of no concern at all. It isn’t required to be, considering its nature. Even all of Aquinas’s criteria are met.

The next idea was that of we humans being able to think of a higher power. Well, Descartes said that we could only understand things from our experience. So since no one had experienced perfection and the idea of an ultimately perfect being, the idea had to be implanted in us by such a being. Hence god exists.

Of course this is nonsense. The human mind works in a very different way than he imagined. All humans can imagine a slightly better life. After we have imagined one improvement we can imagine another. We can continue doing this for a long time. But at some point all our needs and desires are met. There is nothing more to improve. That state is what we have come to call perfection. When all your needs and desires are met and there is no conflict in your life, that’s as good as it can get.

Make a small improvement in a human. Imagine another and yet another, and eventually the human is not a human. He is a perfect being. Yet we have not experienced full blown perfection, and yet we can still imagine it without a perfect being existing, let alone implanting the idea into us.

Yes the universe is amazing and the way it works is even more amazing to me. Yes, energy/matter can have produced humans with emotions and will and all the rest. Energy is simplicity going toward complexity due to some very simple rules of its nature. No outside god is required.


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Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston.

You misinterpreted all of that. The oomph is force applied to the mass. It's resistance is what is measured and that amount of resistance is transformed through a formula to kgs of mass (or matter) in the object. Don't confuse mass with weight. Here is a perfect explanation for you.

"Mass is the amount of matter present in a body and is an intrinsic property of the body. Mass of an object remains the same always at any place.

Weight on the other hand is the force which a given mass feels due to the gravity at its place. Weight is measured in units of Force like Newtons (which is the SI unit of Force).

If your mass is 60 kgs then your weight is approximately 60 x 10 = 600 Newtons. This is because Force = mass x acceleration (From Newton’s second Law)

Thus, weight = mass x acceleration due to gravity

If you go to the moon your mass remains the same, i.e 60 kgs, but your weight becomes less by 1/6 the amount, since the moon’s gravity is 1/6 that of earth."

Yes, it is about inertia, which is also an intrinsic property of any body. I never said otherwise. You have a lot of the basics but you haven't put it together yet. That's ok. This is all classical Newtonian physics. You should check it out.

Why is it that a wooden ball and an iron ball of the same size will fall at the same rate? The weight of the iron ball is ten times that of the wooden ball. But that means it has ten times the resistance to falling than the wooden ball does. That means its inertia is ten times that of the wooden ball, so it even's out, and they fall at the same rate.

Isn't that amazing? Winston. You have to study physics. You will love it.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

(It's resistance is what is measured and that amount of resistance is transformed through a formula to kgs of mass (or matter) in the object. Don't confuse mass with weight. Here is a perfect explanation for you.

"Mass is the amount of matter present in a body and is an intrinsic)

Slarty,

We may be saying the same thing differently - the inertia may well be expressed in kg, but so too can weight be expressed in kg. The mass does not change when I take an object to the moon, the mass kg does not change, but the weight kg does change.

We are simply expressing two different measurements and using kg to describe both: we measure weight and we measure inertia.

Thus, mass is no more matter than it is weight.

Mass and weight are both abstract concepts. Matter is an object. The best we can do is offer a mathematical formula to transform a reality (matter) into an abstract idea (mass).

If matter were indeed the same as mass, there would be no need to define the relationship by formula.


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

@Slarty:

Thank you for the above tutorial on the perplexing, mystifying world of quantum mechanics... an area of physics that some believe could infact reveal indirect evidence (via observable scientific experimentation) of God's existence that is beyond and outside of the space-time continuum.

I would argue that physical theories would allow room for a personal God to influence human actions and events. I believe that ultimately, concrete evidence(s) of God's hand at work in the physical world will be revealed via laboratory experimentation in the field of quantum mecahnics.

Stephen Hawking in his book "A brief hostory of time" posited that the universe would have been created without a need to involve a creator. In the Q&A section of Time Magazine last year, he modified that statement by saying that he believes that God exist, but an impersonal one. John Polkinghorne (an equally noted physicist turned Anglican priest) in his book titled: "Science and Providence: God's interaction with the world" stated his belief that there is a personal God because he acts in the world, and which actions that do not violate the same laws of nature that He made. He believes that there is a way of describing God's actions that is consistent with science, i.e. quantum mecahnics.

Quantum mechanics, as you well know, deals with the physical laws describing and governing the sub-atomic realm. You are also aware that quantum mechanics have some peculiar properties. One of these is the uncertainty principle (which you mentioned very briefly in your tutorial) which states that you can never predict the outcome of a quantum experiment with certainty, you can only calculate the probability of getting a particular result. Of course quantum events are starkly different from those in the familiar large scale world.

At the quantum scale though, equivalent events are intrinsically indeterministic and this fundamental indeterminism has been repeatedly confirmed in the laboratory, for example, physicists have shown that 2 identical/equivalent radioactive atoms will decay at different times. Scientists have not come up with an explanation for this, knowing that the known laws of physics do not force a quantum event to yield a certain result, but allows a choice/outcome. Could the explanation be, that another entity(God), a volitional one, makes that choice, thus manipulating the outcome, thus influencing an event in the physical world.

The above interpretation not only allows a place for God (in the material world) but also adresses a philosophical mystery that bothered Einstein and his followers: Is there some deeper determinism that controls the outcome of seemingly random quantum events?

Now you might argue that quantum events usually play out only in the sub-atomic level. This is where Chaos Theory comes in. As I understand it, chaos theory, is a mathematical formulation that describes the underlying order in large seemingly unpredictable systems( weather, economics). Chaos theory posits that tiny changes in starting conditions can lead to vastly different outcomes over time. The so-called "butterfly effect" metaphorically expresses this.

There is room, I think, for God in the deep mysteries of chaos theory and the limits of prediction... a divine intelligence in command of chaos, would manipulate a vast number of quantum events with just a few well chosen controls. The result would then grow large enough to have a meaningful impact on human lives.

There is another quantum effect called Entanglement that could indirectly explain God's existence. In Entanglement, 2 particles become twinned in such a way that the measurement of one always determines the properties of the other., no matter how far apart they might be. Emtanglement tests conducted with real photons in the laboratory do suggest that quantum effects must be cause by influences that originate from outside space-time.


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Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston.

Yes we are almost saying the same thing. But you are still not getting the full picture. As I have explained, there are two reasons we say mass as opposed to matter for purposes of scientific calculation. Newton is to blame. The main reason is that matter has a history of having an embarrassing plethora of definitions depending on what field of study are you are part of. One criteria present in some definitions and left out of others is that matter must take up space. Some definitions definitely do not apply to mass. Even philosophy never standardized the word.

The next reason, not to do with Newton, is because mass has been found in certain types of what we thought was pure energy. Some types of pure energy have been found to have rest mass. Science doesn’t like inconsistencies, so until that is ironed out the easiest way to keep things consistent is to keep the two ideas somewhat separate for reasons of accuracy in calculation. Can we still call them pure energy if they have mass? I don’t think so, but that’s for others to figure out.

There is another issue. Mass cannot be destroyed or created according to the laws of conservation. But it has been found that some types of matter (specifically some types of atom) can and have been created and destroyed. I assure you, no conservation laws we actually broken during the test.

Frankly, there is an inconsistency here that will someday be figured out. But there is no clear defining difference between mass and matter. Can you tell me what the actual difference is? If matter is not mass what is it? I have an idea but I’m not saying yet. I want to run it by a friend of mine who is a physicist. ;)

But mass is matter. There is no getting around it. Every text book and ever scientist will tell you that. It is the amount in KG of matter in an object.

Weight is just gravity acting on mass. That’s why weight changes but mass doesn’t. On the moon your weight drops but your mass stays the same. Again, you wouldn’t expect otherwise. You are still the same amount of matter on the moon as you are on earth, but gravity isn’t creating as much weight.

Weight is a force. The gravitational force. Mass is matter.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

“ Thank you for the above tutorial on the perplexing, mystifying world of quantum mechanics... an area of physics that some believe could infact reveal indirect evidence (via observable scientific experimentation) of God's existence that is beyond and outside of the space-time continuum”

Believe me, my friend, a mathematical equation can found to prove anything at all. Somewhat like the fact that the bible can be used for and against any argument you care to name. The proof is in falsification. Feynman, a most respected physicist by all, once postulated that there is only one electron in the universe. He can prove it mathematically. But it can’t be falsified. There is no way yet devised to test the math. As yet we still can’t devise a rational way to think about the physics which might have existed in the super compressed universe at the beginning of time. Most scientists say it is a meaningless question. I tend to agree for the most part. So it will be a long time before an experiment can or will ever be devised to find a super being outside time and our universe. If: what was the physics before time and space is a meaningless idea because by definition there is no “before” in any way we can yet conceive, then the question: How can we detect a super being outside time and space if there is one, is gibberish.

That’s what is wrong with so many scientific theories these days concerning QM. They can’t be tested so they must be regarded as speculation rather than scientific theory.

“Stephen Hawking in his book "A brief hostory of time" posited that the universe would have been created without a need to involve a creator. In the Q&A section of Time Magazine last year, he modified that statement by saying that he believes that God exist, but an impersonal one.”

Hawking may be a Pantheist then. Or he still isn’t off the fence. I’ve tried to get a definitive statement from him before but he said (through his assistant) he did not want to enter the debate. His most recent book, however, seemed to have put him squarely on the atheist side of the fence. But who knows?

I believe in an impersonal god too. It’s called nature. And I can see its hand in everything very clearly. I’m very sure John Polkinghorne would have no trouble proving that particular god exists. He should become a Pantheist. Look. I’m not trying to be flip. It is obvious something always existed and that something produced all this. But no logic says it has to be conscious or self aware. We can show nature and natural law. So we can show process. Why introduce a super being if there is no need for it and no direct evidence of it? If it comes to pass that we do find a need for an outside force, that will be the time to look for it. But now it’s like adding wings to car which will never fly anyway. It’s useless for science to attempt it unless and until it becomes warranted.

“One of these is the uncertainty principle (which you mentioned very briefly in your tutorial) which states that you can never predict the outcome of a quantum experiment with certainty, you can only calculate the probability of getting a particular result.”

Actually, QM predicts perfectly with no uncertainty to amazing accuracy. But it does so through the use of statistics.

“for example, physicists have shown that 2 identical/equivalent radioactive atoms will decay at different times. Scientists have not come up with an explanation for this, knowing that the known laws of physics do not force a quantum event to yield a certain result, but allows a choice/outcome.”

Just because the cause of an event is not known does not mean the event is causeless. No scientist to date has put his reputation on the line to state that there is such a thing as a causeless event. Again, while you cannot know which atom will decay when, statistically you can know almost exactly how many will decay within a defined period.

I did a hub on Observer Driven Reality which is way too long to post here. Please feel free to read it as an answer to this the idea of choice driven outcome.

“ Could the explanation be, that another entity(God), a volitional one, makes that choice, thus manipulating the outcome, thus influencing an event in the physical world.”

It could if such an entity exists. But until it is proven such an entity exists it is hard to say what it may or may not do. It is pure speculation at this point. It might not be the Christian god. It might be a god long forgotten by mankind. Until such a god is found, to me it is fantasy. You want to prove god by what it does. That’s fine. But until you prove it exists you can never prove it does anything. There is nothing wrong with saying “I don’t know” and leaving it at that until you do. And until you do, you can’t pass off speculation as fact. Not that you are doing that here, you are asking a question. I’m just saying that unless you found compelling evidence that only an outside being could be doing something, then even if we have no other answer to the question of “choice” reality. It would stupid and unscientific for science to take you seriously or investigate the idea. You first have to prove that a god exists. Then the rest should become self evident. Besides which, this idea of “choice” reality is not a theory. It is just science philosophy at the moment. We don’t know yet if it is a valid idea or total nonsense. I suspect total nonsense. There is too much we still do not know to be jumping to any conclusions. Read my hub on the subject. ;)

“Now you might argue that quantum events usually play out only in the sub-atomic level. This is where Chaos Theory comes in. As I understand it, chaos theory, is a mathematical formulation that describes the underlying order in large seemingly unpredictable systems( weather, economics). Chaos theory posits that tiny changes in starting conditions can lead to vastly different outcomes over time. The so-called "butterfly effect" metaphorically expresses this.”

The butterfly effect is about non-local cause. It is part of chaos theory and complexity theory. As I said, it seems that simple local causes can grow in complexity rather quickly. Which is often used to counter the theist idea that nature left to itself without a god wouldn’t create complexity from non-complex basic elements. It is used to show creationists that yes, DNA can form from non-sentient processes and life can arise from non-living (in the biological sense) matter. So it doesn’t really help your cause as such.

But getting to your point, non-locality, while part of physics, is not one of the quirky actions of atoms that have had classically trained scientists in shock for the last hundred or so years. It is really a study of in-depth chains of cause and effect.

“There is another quantum effect called Entanglement that could indirectly explain God's existence. In Entanglement, 2 particles become twinned in such a way that the measurement of one always determines the properties of the other., no matter how far apart they might be.”

Yes. Entanglement is now considered a fact after rigorous testing. In fact, it is the impetus for quantum computing. You can not only have a switch that is on or off. You can have one that is both off and on at the same time. Sort of.

Entanglement does not happen between all particles. It is made to happen by creating the twins you are going to send in different directions at the speed of light. You can’t take random particles to do this. The twins are the result of a process. But what we have also proven is that this connection cannot be used to send data faster than light. Why would a god bother changing the direction of a single particle to aid in a human experiment? How do you think it could show the hand of god?

There is something funny about the speed of light. Feynman said that if you traveling at light speed you could be anywhere instantly. There is no such thing as faster than light and there doesn’t have to be. Sending two particles in opposite directions at the speed of light is not like sending two cars off in opposite directions at 60 mpg. You can’t combine the speed. It is always the speed of light.

I’m not sure he is o


AKA Winston 5 years ago

(But mass is matter. There is no getting around it. Every text book and ever scientist will tell you that. It is the amount in KG of matter in an object.)

Slarty,

Yes, I understand that this is what will be in the textbook. It is a practical method to teach and close enough to accurate to work.

But it is not reality.

I can make this clear, I think. Draw me a picture of mass. Can you do it?

How about force? Or energy? Can you draw a picture that shows these actual objects? How about gravity. Can you draw a picture of gravity itself - not something falling, as that is the action. Draw the thing gravity. No can do, huh?

Now, can you draw or point to a picture of an atom? Sure, there are pictures on the internet of what atoms may look like. Copy one. Now, you have just drawn a picture of matter. Matter is the real stuff, the objects scattered here and there that are separated by space.

Why can we draw an atom but not "a" mass or "an" energy or "a" force or "some" gravity? Because these are abstract concepts used to describe - they are not objects.

Gravity is an action. It is not a thing.

I understand that you have authority on your side and eductation you can point to - and none of it appears to be rationally conceived.

Theists posit an immaterial mind that can act on the physical world and they call this irrational actor concept god.

Mathematical physics posits an immaterial "force" that can act on the physical world and they call it "gravity".

These are very similar ideas.

We know something occurs when a ball is let go - it falls - but in every other case in nature a physical mediator is required (my finger touching a pencil) to cause objects to move, either pull it to me or push it away.

Is it more likely that nature has suddenly broken from its natural course of mediated actions by subsituting a god-like "force" called "gravity", or is it more likely man has misunderstood and come to an invalid conclusion about what is happening?

David Hume may well say the latter is occuring, because the modern (from Newton on) description of gravity is quite miraculous - almost as good as the one about Lazarus.

Either way, may the Force be with you.


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Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Sorry. Here is the rest of that post:

I’m not sure he is one hundred percent correct. But he was probably on to something. He also solved the double slit experiment issue. He said there is no wave function. The particle simply takes all possible routes to get where it is going if there is more than one opening. But it goes direct if there is only one. This has yet to be proven, or be falsifiable for that matter. But Hawking uses it as if it has been proven, in his latest book. Heisenberg must be rolling in his grave.


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Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

“I can make this clear, I think. Draw me a picture of mass. Can you do it?

How about force? Or energy? Can you draw a picture that shows these actual objects? How about gravity. Can you draw a picture of gravity itself - not something falling, as that is the action. Draw the thing gravity. No can do, huh?

Now, can you draw or point to a picture of an atom? Sure, there are pictures on the internet of what atoms may look like. Copy one.”

Wow. I can draw a picture of an atom but it is not an accurate picture. We don’t know what they look like. Some say they are waves. Some say they are made of particles. The standard drawing is not meant to be accurate. It is a rough model. Atoms do not look like planets around a sun. That we are sure of.

I can make this clear. Draw wind for me, not leaves blowing around, that’s the action. Lol... Oh you can’t? Are you going to tell me wind is a misinterpretation of the facts? Being able to draw something or find a representation of it does not prove anything. It’s not that simple.

A picture of mass is easy. Look at yourself in the mirror. Look at your keyboard. Why are you obsessed with trying to prove mass is not matter? It makes no sense.

Gravity is a rather easy one too. It is topography. The only explanation still valid and used even in QM is the one given by Einstein. Mass curves space. It is usually illustrated by stretching rubber over a circular frame. You put a steal ball in the middle, and then put a smaller one on the rim. The smaller ball will orbit the large until it is pulled in to the center. Just like satellites do if they aren’t boosted occasionally. QM’s attempt to find a graviton failed. And String theory takes Einstein’s figures and say strings do it. Why do you think gravity on the moon is less than the gravity on earth? Because it has less mass. It doesn’t curve the quantum fabric of space as much as earth does.

See, Winston. I don’t buy into everything authorities say. I could care less. As you say, if it is nonsense I’ll say it is nonsense and tell you why.

But frankly, Winston. While it’s great that you wonder about things; if you are going to criticize current science, you have to know current science. Otherwise you will waste your time trying to guess what is going on and build straw men like Mass vs Matter. If you know it, you might even be able to contribute to it by proving some of your then “educated” ideas.


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

@Secularist:

If atoms and molecules and cells are randomly formed, as you are arguing, then the formation of Homo Sapiens over a long evolutionary process, was a random series of events. How can you have "faith" in something that was created williy-nilly without any reason for being and without any purpose except for the fact that it exist as just another physical entity among billions and billions of physical entity in the universe. And frankly for you to analogize man to a diamond is the height of 'inhumanity".

Now you say that the meaning of man's life is what he makes it to be i.e putting purpose and meaning to his life. Why and how do you think man is able to do that if he is just an accidental/random creation? Surely a diamond, no matter how complex and ordered its atomic structure is, can not do that.


All_is_well profile image

All_is_well 5 years ago from London, England

I don't know if your religion says that god is omnipotent but Hinduism says that god is omnipresent. We don't have ONE god like you might but in the Bhagavad-Gita which is sanskrit for the 'words of god', the supreme being 5000 years ago says: The soul is neither created, nor does it have and end, it is eternal and forever. Science says, energy can neither be created nor can it be destroyed.

The lord says, just as we change old worn out clothes, the soul changes old worn out bodies. Science says, energy can not diminish, it can only change forms.

The lord says, nothing can go against nature.

The lord says, at the end of a 4 billion 320 million year cycle, all souls enter into his nature and after a four billion 320 million year again he generates them. Science now says that there is a possibility that the Universes collapse and regenerate again and again.

The lord says that a mount of earth and a heap of gold are the same, that your enemy and your friends are the same Science says that all matter are mere varying frequencies of vibrations of molecules creating an illusion of solidity.

Lord krishna says that every soul needs to attain Moksha by uniting the individual conciousness into the ultimate consiousness to enter into the supreme conciousness and not go through the transmigration process again and again.

Lord krishna explains that the individual soul will go to the attachment it builds that is, if you practise greed, your habit becomes your nature in the forthcoming transmigration.

In a path to moksha, if a soul is to transmigrate, the soul is made sure to be born into a family and circumstance that he regains his previous learned knowledge and continues on his path.

REPLYYY!!!


AKA Winston 5 years ago

Slarty,

This is so simple it is flying right over your head. That is not a fault, or insult, but a description of a common problem understanding this simple presentatation, mostly because of our experience of knowledge, i.e., being taught and accepting that teaching as valid.

For purposed of this presentaton, I separate reality into two components: real, and imagined real. Real means those things with a physical presence, shape and location. Now because all words are concepts, the words we use in the "real" category can be part of the "imagined real" category, too, like apple, but the imagined real category items cannot be reified into real-world objects, i.e., gravity is not an object in the sense that an apple is an object.

I do this in order to guage the world not from my perspective but from the perspective of Nature.

Nature has a binary perspective: real/not real, yes.no.

Slarty, you seem to get hung up with a description of an activity - like the neuronal movement necessary for thinking - as a static object. Thinking occurs, but it is not a thing - it is an activity. Because it is not a static physical object, by defintion it goes into the imagined reality category.

Not my rule, Slarty-san. Nature's rule.

Time is a scaler we use to measure motion. Time was invented by man. The key requirement for time is memory.

Nature has no memory. To nature, it is always now. Nature does not recognize time. Again time is in the category of imagined reality. Not my rule, but nature's rule.

You can argue all you want within the category of imagined reality - and you will be in the same shoes as the theists and mathematicians, proving and disproving each other with manmade abstract concepts of logic. Resolving nothing.

To get resolution, a yes/no answer to a dichotomy, requires a natualistic view, the binary view of nature itself.

This is not an argument about what occurs or what does not occur. It is a presentational format to quantify reality in rational, unambiguous terms so we can determine actuality rather than pontificate about possibilties.

It is black and white and that is what makes it difficult to get the head around. It is not a challenge to imagined reality thinking.

It is simply a different perspective we term the rational perspective, another term for the perspective of nature.


All_is_well profile image

All_is_well 5 years ago from London, England

@ AKA Winston

Real and Imagined real?? I don't know what you are saying but all matter in the Universe are 'Imagined Real', it's just the frequency we are able to percieve, for instance, different animals can hear different frequency of sound. Different animals have diffence in sight meaning, what is real for us like the colour red is 'Imagined Real' for dogs who are in fact colour blinded. In fact, science itself supports the fact that colours are simply made of the different frequency of light that is reflected from an object therefore coloure itself is 'imagined Real'.

Science also supports the fact the all matter in the universe are mere illusion of solidity created by the varying frequency of vibrations of molecules and therefore even your apple is 'Imagined Real' and not 'Real'.

Not my rule Winston, Nature's rule!!


PrometheusKid profile image

PrometheusKid 5 years ago from Heaven

Real means those things with a physical presence, shape and location.

Aka Winston

I don't know what you are saying.

All_is_well

Exacly

I think you need to explain about objects and concepts to poor old All_is_well winston good luck.


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

@Slarty:

I thought that I was going to have a leisurely walk through your exposition until I hit some rough patches.

(1)"... the Bible can be used for and against any argumment you care to name..."Let me assure you that I have never used the Bible as a debating tool in any of my discussions on HubPages or anywhere else for that matter. So for you to mention the Bible in our discussion was unnecessary.

(2) "It is obvious something existed and that something produced all this. But no logic says it has to be conscious or self-aware" I agree with the first statement. The second statement left me "cold"... from my perspective a random event, like what you are proposing is what created the universe (i.e.energy/gravity randomly intermingling in some fashion), can not possibly lead to the ultimate creation of a sentient, volitional, imaginative, creative, sublimatiing, conceptualizing entity like Homo Sapiens. Only another conscious, self aware entity could have the temerity and the perspicacity to create another conscious self-aware entity. As I told Secularist, if you think that man's creation via evolutionary demands or constraints is just a random effect of a random cause, then I suppose there is no purpose for humans to discuss amongst themselves the things that affect their daily lives...not unlike other the other animate entities on earth whose only concern/purpose is to fulfill their biologic need to breath, eat, defecate, unrinate, procreate, and not be bothered by the world that exist around them except as it relates to those biologic needs.

(3) Why introduce a Superbeing if there is no need for it and no direct evidence of it. Obviously, until such time that God decides to physically reveal Himself in some unmistakable fashion (that does not break the laws of nature that he created)..i.e. appear on our TV sets and exclaime I am here you fools,, and if you want proof that I am God, can I blow you up into kingdom come? I would argue, that until such time that science is able to fill all the gaps in our knowledge of the universe, then there will always be a need for a God to explain what we don't know about the universe. Now are you telling me then that since you said there is no need for God, that science has filled all those gaping gaps?

Hardly.

(4) "Actually QM predicts perfectly with NO UNCERTAINTY to amazing accuracy, but it does so through use of statistics. So why call it "uncertainty principle" to begin with. As far as I know, statistical analysis can never lead to certainty, but to probability.... something that I could not place my "faith" on.

(5) "It would be stupid and unscientific for science to take you seriously, or invistigate the idea. You have first to prove that a God exist". Isn't that what science is supposed to do... invistigate? Granted that scientific armamentarium currently is inssuficient to be able to establish even indirectly the existence og God, but should that be a resaon to stop looking for those evidence that indirectly prove the existence of an entity that is outside of space-time continuum?

(6) "The butterfly effect (sic)....is often used to counter the theist idea nature left to itself wouldn't creat complexity from non-complex basic elements. As a scientist myself, I fully comprehend the factual basis for complex entities, arising from non-complex ones... but when applied to Homo Sapiens, leaves much to be desired. Why and How, amongst all the complex entities that resulted from the random creation of the universe, has man become the only one who could appreciate its complexity and then try to unravel what makes the universe tick?


AKA Winston 5 years ago

(I don't know what you are saying but all matter in the Universe are 'Imagined Real', it's just the frequency we are able to percieve,)

All_is_well,

I see, so before there were any intelligent apes on this blue ball, then nothing existed? That must mean mankind is god, creating the universe by his ability to perceieve, and that explains why the earth is only 6000 year old.

Brilliant!

(it's just the frequency we are able to percieve,)

You miss the point almost 100%. I am unsurprised. Most people don't "get it" right away because they are so conditioned to think in a particular way.

Let's try again, slowly. What is perceived by men, dogs, cats, or porpoises - is irrelevant to Mother Nature - Mother nature only recognizes physical objects. From her perspective, everything is a yes/no question that is determined in the present - right now.

It doesn't matter to reality if we as humans can see an object or not. The moons of Jupiter surely orbited that planet before Galileo pointed his telescope that way.

We cannot see atoms. We cannot feel atoms. However, we assume atoms have some kind of shape and a location.

We define exist as shape + location.

Hence, by definition of the word exist, we assume atoms exit.

Mother nature can answer yes/no to the atom question. We, limited by our senses, can only hypothesize. Our atom hypothesis describes matter.

By the same token, gravity, having no shape or location, cannot exist.

Note, I did not say the effect of gravity does not occur. The effect of gravity surely occurs, so in that sense the action occurs within what we experience - but the thing, the object - the thing we point to and name gravity - does not exist.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

A Villarasa

Evolution includes an element of randomness, but is not totally random, hence the term "natural selection." The non-random components are the constraints of the environment that act as a funnel in many ways guiding development.

"And frankly for you to analogize man to a diamond is the height of 'inhumanity"."

Of course it is dehumanizing if one's perspective is that humans, to have any value, must be wholly separate and distinct from the rest of the cosmos. If, on the other hand, one accepts that humans are a part of the cosmos, came from nature, and ultimately return to nature, it is not dehumanizing at all, but rather clarifying as to our basic nature and our relationship with the universe. What is so terrifying about accepting that we are a part of the universe?

"Now you say that the meaning of man's life is what he makes it to be i.e putting purpose and meaning to his life. Why and how do you think man is able to do that if he is just an accidental/random creation?"

Why not? What is stopping us? I think you are confusing the origins of something or someone with their basic value or potential. This is unnecessary and unwarranted.

Does a child born in a third world slum have less inherent potential or less inherent value than a child born in a gated community with access to the best private schools? Surely you would agree the answer is no. The past is not the future. Origins are irrelevant.

Let's take it a step further: what if that child was somehow created from a pool of mud? Would the fact of his unusual and even objectionable origins reduce his basic value as a person, relative to another child created from, say, pixie dust? Is not a child, a child? Human potential and ability has nothing to do with the circumstances of our predecessors eons ago. The past is not the future.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

(1)"... the Bible can be used for and against any argumment you care to name..."Let me assure you that I have never used the Bible as a debating tool in any of my discussions on HubPages or anywhere else for that matter. So for you to mention the Bible in our discussion was unnecessary."

I was simply making an analogy. Sorry it upset you. It wasn't my intent.

"from my perspective a random event, like what you are proposing is what created the universe (i.e.energy/gravity randomly intermingling in some fashion), can not possibly lead to the ultimate creation of a sentient, volitional, imaginative, creative, sublimatiing, conceptualizing entity like Homo Sapiens. Only another conscious, self aware entity could have the temerity and the perspicacity to create another conscious self-aware entity. As I told Secularist,"

In a cause and effect world there are no random events. No accidents. But I truly do not see your issue. Of what value is being created by a conscious being as opposed to a process? So what if the process didn't produce us with any intent? Does that devalue your existence? How? Do you not still love and feel? What's the difference? I see zero added value in being created by a god. I think it is amazing that the universe produced us.

You will have to do better though than just to say that you don't accept that a process could create human beings. Your sensibility doesn't really count, don't you agree? It is or is not that way. Give me a logical reason why it actually couldn't be. I've already shown you reason why it probably can.

" and if you want proof that I am God, can I blow you up into kingdom come? I would argue, that until such time that science is able to fill all the gaps in our knowledge of the universe, then there will always be a need for a God to explain what we don't know about the universe."

Why would a loving god want to blow us up because we want proof it exists? Doesn't make sense does it? God did it tells us nothing. It is of no value. If science has not filled the gaps then we say: "I don't know." Not god dun it. That tells us nothing about how anything works and is completely beside the point. Besides which, we can't know it is true.

" (5) "It would be stupid and unscientific for science to take you seriously, or invistigate the idea. You have first to prove that a God exist". Isn't that what science is supposed to do... invistigate? "

Yes. Things that make sense. Things that can be falsified. If you can't falsify something it is speculation. It is not the job of science to prove or disprove a god. God for science is beside the point. Historically scientists believed in god. That didn't stop them from looking for answers to how god did it. They assumed that was what they were studying. God is irrelevant to science. But to human beings science philosophy is used to argue such questions and the findings of science have created a lot of atheists.

4) "Actually QM predicts perfectly with NO UNCERTAINTY to amazing accuracy, but it does so through use of statistics. So why call it "uncertainty principle" to begin with. As far as I know, statistical analysis can never lead to certainty, but to probability.... something that I could not place my "faith" on."

The uncertainty principal is accurately named. You can have two identical radio active particles, as you mentioned, but can't tell which will decay first. But you can statistically predict very accurately how many particles will decay in a specific span of time. You hang your faith on a lot less than that every day. QM has been proven to make strikingly accurate predictions because of the uncertainty principal. I recommend you read up on QM. It is fascinating. Remember, the quantum world is not like the macro world it makes.

"As a scientist myself, I fully comprehend the factual basis for complex entities, arising from non-complex ones... but when applied to Homo Sapiens, leaves much to be desired. Why and How, amongst all the complex entities that resulted from the random creation of the universe, has man become the only one who could appreciate its complexity and then try to unravel what makes the universe tick?"

How do you know it is only man kind that appreciate it? You are assuming there are no other species on earth that are sentient. We don't know that. And are we the only sentient creatures in the universe? We don't know that either. Tell me. If we find sentient aliens out there will you still feel that way?

I think your emotions are getting in the way of your rationality. Again, what value does a god add to life? To me, it adds nothing. Tell me what it adds as far a you are concerned. I'm interested.

I could go into a great deal of detail about how instinct and thought are intimately related and how consciousness works. But my posts are long enough here as they are. I have written some hubs on the subject if you are interested.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

"I separate reality into two components: real, and imagined real. Real means those things with a physical presence, shape and location. Now because all words are concepts, the words we use in the "real" category can be part of the "imagined real" category, too, like apple, but the imagined real category items cannot be reified into real-world objects, i.e., gravity is not an object in the sense that an apple is an object."

I'm with you, Winston. Gravity is either the lay of the land or a particle. Either way it is a material thing. Concepts can be about real or imagined things. We have been through that. We agree.

Real things have an effect on the material world. Imagined things do not. Energy is not imagination because it has a very powerful effect on the material world. Science considers energy to be physical. It helps create the material world. Matter does not exist without it.

As for nature being binary, you seem to forget the quantum world where not everything is binary. In quantum computing they rely on the fact that entanglement of special particles can create switches that are off, on, or both off and on at the same time. The computers that can do that already exist. In a few years you might be using one. Nature is not that simple.

Existence is physicality. Energy is physical. It exists not as an object, but in all objects. It is a property of all objects. An object would not exist without it.

While I applaud your efforts to make things clearer and simpler, your definitions are still reductionist and inaccurate.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

All_is_well

"The lord says, at the end of a 4 billion 320 million year cycle, all souls enter into his nature and after a four billion 320 million year again he generates them. Science now says that there is a possibility that the Universes collapse and regenerate again and again."

Actually you are a few years out of date. The big Crunch theory has been scrapped. Not enough matter in the universe for that. Currently it is thought that it will continue to expand.

Oh, not galaxies. Don't worry. Gravity will keep our galaxy in tact for hundreds of billions of years. But in about 4 billion or so we won't be able to see any other galaxies. At least that is the findings of current cosmology. We'll see I suppose. Well some one will. I don't expect to be here by then. ;)

But aren't all your gods just a manifestation of the one? I was under the impression that's how it works. And isn't it Hinduism that claims we are all just part of god's dream? Which would make us all unreal.

Just curious.


All_is_well profile image

All_is_well 5 years ago from London, England

@ AKA Winston

WHOA!!! Hold on there my friend, THE BIBLE says that earth is only 6000 years old, not Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) which is what i follow however, I am not defending religion, i am just saying what you are denying that YES, MAN IS GOD!! or at least a crucial part of it.

In Hinduism, in the Bhagavad-Gita, Lord Krishna explains that the soul like every other energy in the Universe is as crucial as the supreme soul itself because we are BOUNDED BY THE LAWS OF NATURE.

The Bhagavad-gita doesn't say the earth is 6000 years old, the Bhagavad-Gita itself was supposedly sung 5000 years ago and speaks of events that happened 100s of thousands of years ago, it says that after a cycle of 4 billion 320 million year cycle, the Universe is destroyed and regenerated again. It says that what we humans percieve time as is actually just another illusion and espicially to your reply, hear what i am saying SLOWLY this time....

All matter are basically different combinations of Atoms = TRUE or FALSE?? TRUE!!

All Atoms are made up of basically different combinations of Electrons, Protons, Neutron (let's not go deeper than that) = TRUE or FALSE?? TRUE

Therefore, each and everything is the same = TRUE or FALSE?? Well still debated about but shows promising evidence.

When you say real and imagined, you should note that air was a couple of centuries ago also NOT REAL however, modern science led to the discovery that air in fact is also made up of atoms.

Energy.... Define energy?? What is energy made of?? Its just that entity that is just there, It can not be created neither can it be destroyed. It was there since the begining of time and will remain for all eternity which brings me to what time is... You know what, YOU tell me, what is time? Is it real or Imagined real??

Nothing if you analyse is real...

Everything you touch and or feel or occupies space is infact vibrations of different molecules giving us the illusion of solidity....


AKA Winston 5 years ago

(It says that what we humans percieve time as is actually just another illusion...)

All_is_well,

Perception has nothing to do with reality. If it did, then nothing could have existed prior to sentient beings.

Reality is a separate, stand-alone entity that cares nothing about what you or I think, feel, prove, or hope.


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

@Secularist:

The last 3 paragraphs of your last response were as absurd as you analogizing an inert object(diamond) to humans. To be clear, all humans (irregardles of the specifics of their birth) comes into this world with the same inate capacity to develop into fully functional sentient, volitional, emotional, creative, constructive, idealizing, conceptualizing, sublimating members of the specie. Of course he is part of the natural world, but what separates him from the rest of earthly creation are the above mentioned characteristics. You posited that the evolutionary process thru which man was created, was not totally random, a process called 'natural selection', a process that is, as you stated, purely environmentally directed.

There is no evidence to assume that our hominid progenitors, and the simian progenitors of our closest genetic relative, the chimps, were subjected to different environmental constraints, since they both populated a similar geographical location in Africa. So if they were subjected to the same evolutionary process, why did we develop a highly integrated neuro-cerebral connections and the chimps did not. Is it because as a specie, we were genetically programmed to develop such a brain, or is it because, a higher consciousness, "intervened" during the evolutionary process to make us develop such a brain. So who did the programming, or the intervention? Not the environmentally induced evolutionary process you are proposing, I don't think. If you insist that it was pure evolutionary demands/ and constraints that made Homo Sapiens develop such a highly integrated brain, then it was all pure luck that of all the millions and millions of animate entities that have ever populated the earth, Homo Sapiens was the lucky one.


PrometheusKid profile image

PrometheusKid 5 years ago from Heaven

Wow this when nowhere. Just give up AKA


All_is_well profile image

All_is_well 5 years ago from London, England

@ AKA Winston

What is reality if not perception my dear friend....It's like the difference between Keanu Reeves and his friends in the movie 'The Matrix'. Imagine if we had eyes that were as advanced as the most powerful microscope today, would we percieve matter the same way we do now??? If we could see the space between the vibrating molecules in an object, could we or have we not already broken in between them?

Reality is reality, i'm with you on that but who decides what's real or not??? Tell me Winston, could you tell an illitrate man that the reality is that the house he lives in, the floor he stands on is actually moving at a speed so incredible that we are not able to see it with our naked eyes?? For him, the reality is that the bricks are lifeless objects with nothing except red mud in it. Similarly, I do not hope that you consider the modern science to be the supreme judge of all things real and unreal, do you?

The fact is, modern science was, is and will always be a student always learning and changing PERCEPTIONS with new findings!!

AND!!!!

@ PrometheusKid

Why don't you explain it to me yourself??


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

A Villarasa

Unsurprisingly, yet again, you have failed to actually answer a substantive question. I asked, very simply, why do you assume man must be incapable of identifying purpose if he comes from an undirected, undesigned process.

In response you simply brush it off in an emotional huff as "absurd." Clearly you are not capable of squaring with real legitimate criticism of your beliefs.

You also characterize an empowering and positive vision of human potential and human creativity as "absurd," solely because it refuses to accept your "God" as the center of the universe.

I reiterate, yes, it was basically "luck," in a sense, based on evolution by natural selection. Human and chimpanzee DNA are practically indistinguishable, sharing almost all genetic information. Why is it so difficult to grasp that a tiny amount of genetic change can occur over a very long time? Ever heard of a snowball effect?

There is no logical or rational problem with saying that sentience and consciousness can arise from an undirected process containing an element of randomness. There is an abundance of evidence that supports it.

Aside from emotional appeals and subjective declarations amounting to little more than "But... but... it JUST CAN'T BE!!" you have not remotely challenged this idea.

That, my friend, is absurd.


All_is_well profile image

All_is_well 5 years ago from London, England

@ AKA Winston

General example: Does thought exist?? Is thought real or not real? Is thought only ASSUMED to exist? If yes, is it not just because we can realate to it?

Tell me now, where does the reality of thought fit into the equation you have created about reality is reality weather we like it or not, weather we agree to it or not, weather we can touch it, feel it or not?

More importantly, what is thought made of? Perception maybe....

What is colour made of... the ability of perception (science says it not me)

What is solidity made of? Percepetion is it not?

Atoms, protons, electrons and neutron and gamma particles and so on... this is where your discussion is based on is it not?? That this is real no matter what i say.... did we not recently find that these aren't in fact the smallest particle in an atom that there's more sooooooo, have we figured it all out yet????

What is reality??? Who decides what reality is????


AKA Winston 5 years ago

(What is reality??? Who decides what reality is????)

All_is-well,

Not who decides but w-h-a-t decides reality: answer, the definition of reality used decides what reality is.

I understand your point of view. Do you undertand mine? Let me clarify it simply.

If our discussion is to do more than go around and around in circles of what ifs and opinions, then we must use precise defintions of the key terms.

For the purpose of this discussion, these definitions will be used:

Object: that which has shape

exist: a physical presence, that which has shape and location.

Matter: any conceived object that exists, seen or unseen, synonymous with physical presence.

Space: that which does not have shape, synonym for nothing.

We are now in a position to talk about specifics objectively, without infusing the conversation with opinions. The reason we can do this is because we have defined the key terms unambiguously and consistently. All we have to do is match the claim to the category:

Thought: no shape = nothing

Rock: shape+loaction=physical presence=matter

The reason we do this is so when we talk about an abstract concept, ergo, a thought, an idea, we know we are not talking about something that exists in the same fashion that a rock exists. We cannot use this thought-concept as a noun. Therefore, Energy did it is a meaningless statement because it resolves to thought did it which means the same as nothing did it.

An action requires a physical mediator - thought cannot move a pencil across a table - it requires blown air molecules or a finger - some kind of physical connection to cause the effect of movement.

That is why we don't allow reification in our definitions, because thought (i.e. energy) is not a thing and therefore cannot be the physical mediator of action, cannot be the cause of the effect.)

Energy did it is a description of w-h-a-t happens. My finger engaged the pencil and this set of neurons fired and these phosphates moved down the ETC and so on is an explanation of how and why it happened.

The object is to explain, not to describe.


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

@Slarty:

"In a cause and effect world there are no random events... no accidents"

I'm sorry, but were you not that one in this converstaion that said the creation of the universe was a random effect of a random cause,i.e. Energy/Gravity(?) acting in some kind of random process. So now that the intial random event(with a random cause and a random effect) is done... the subsequent events are no longer random because they are now part of a cause and effect world? Since man as you posited is a part of the natural world( a cause and effect world), his creation via evolutionary demands and constraints(what Secularist termed as the process of natural selection)is also non-random event.

From my purely human instinctual perception, anything that is non-random happens because of intent or purpose ( thus the refrain...for everything, there is a reason). So if the creation of man is a non-random process, he, as a member of that highly evolved, highly intelligent, supremely egoistic and arrogantic, forever questioning and invistigating specie, would, because of his inate nature, would be asking what the reason is for his existence, and why of all the other sentient entities on earth is he the only one who has the temerity to be asking this questions, and then the perspicacity to actually search for the answers. The last time I checked, none of the other sentient specie are asking and seeking answers, apparently content with the idea that yeah they exist but so what?

So of course it matters to man that he invistigate the reason for his existence and who made his existence possible to begin... it is in his nature to ask why and who, and how, and what.

".... if you want proof that I am God, then can I blow you up till kigdom come..." is of course just a linguistic rhetorical bombast on my part, and taken in the context of what we are discussing, i.e. God's Omnipotence is I think appropriate, however rhetorically bomabastic it was. But for you to perceive and interpret it other than what it obviously is, was a bit disappointing.


All_is_well profile image

All_is_well 5 years ago from London, England

Ok, AKA Winston I should stop you at where you are and ask you one thing, Thought you said is energy! Correct?

Maybe you made a mistake saying that, maybe you want to correct it, doesn't matter. I ask you, can energy be created? Can it be destroyed? It has been there forever and will remain forever, we have just modified it therefore, a question to you is, will a thought die? Of course you'd say NO, that it'll just keep being modified into many other stuff supposedly. let's forget that for now and....

Ok, first let's clear some things you just said.

Exist: You said it needs a physical presence.

I said, air a couple of centuries ago did not have a physical presence until some bloke found that air too has atoms in it. Therefore, air Exists because atoms have a physical presence.

Object /matter: That which has shape and exists.

I said, since all that exists are made of atoms and like air, atoms still are not fully studied and has been showing more to is EXISTANCE than just the formation by combinations of protons, neutron's and electrons. Now, the only thing i am saying is that since we are still finding more to an atom than what you are willing to accept, the level of sizes of particles that are being found to be the basic components that make an atom, we are not fully sure weather or not the components that make an atom EXISTS AT ALL!! Therefore, i ask you one last time, in your own words,

WHAT decides reality??

What will you say tomorrow if the scientist find that the particles that actually make an atom are just balls of energy and does not have physical appeareance, what decides reality??

IT CAN NOT BE!! you might say.... well, logical.

There was a time when air didn't exist.

There was a time when objects were just objects and had no spaces in between then and obviously was not moving. (Proven wrong hasn't it?)

Ok, let's look at it from your perspective and not go with what ifs anymore. Space you said is synonym for NOTHING. This nothing is actually what the universe is. The Universe is not just formed of energy (doesn't exist), obect and matter (don't yet know if it exists) but also NOTHING....

I end my point


PrometheusKid profile image

PrometheusKid 5 years ago from Heaven

There was a time when objects were just objects and had no spaces in between then and obviously was not moving. (Proven wrong hasn't it?)

All is not well

WTF


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

A Villarasa

First let me explain a little about our evolution. Our ancestors farthest back in time would have been, not primates, but single cells. It wasn’t until later, when oxygen started to form on earth that multi celled creatures flourished. More oxygen made bigger animals possible.

No one knows what paths we took along the way. But there are some interesting things of note about our brains. Our brains are actually made up of three separate types of brain. You might say our brains are kind of a trinity. It is called the triune brain.

Brain one is at the center. It is called the "R complex". This is the brain snakes and lizards and other reptiles still have today.

Brain two is wrapped around Brain One. It is called the "limbic system" or the "old mammalian brain" Dogs and cats still have this type of brain.

Brain three is the outside Surface wrapped around Brain Two. It is called the "neocortex" Primates and humans are the only animals that have this feature.

So this suggests that we have ancestors that were reptiles which then evolved into mammals. After that, the ancestors that later became primates and us added onto that early mammal brain.

we are in fact a species of ape. And we have one special quality other apes do not have. We a great voice box that can make a wide range of sounds. But is that unique? No.

We all know parrots , parakeets, and myna birds can reproduce human speech. But it turns out a lot of birds can. The list includes Jays, ravens, magpies, rooks, jackdaws and even crows.

Speech is important to human evolution. Every person has an inner dialogue going on all the time, and it is going on in language, not just feeling. This inner dialogue is how we think. How we consider things, ideas, problems. Speech makes it possible for us to explain things to ourselves. To categorize and create complex concepts. To weigh consequences. Imagine if you didn’t have an inner dialogue that included speech?

Words are concepts. Concepts are often full of different related ideas. Without that dialogue, our heads would be at times a little quieter. But we would be running on pure emotion and some kind of inner symbolism. A raw instinct about the world. We certainly wouldn’t be able to set up a meeting to design and build a new sky scraper.

Other apes and primates did not get that voice box. As I say, that may mean we were already on a separate but close evolutionary path even back then. But studies have shown that a lot of our closest primates can and do act with logic, reason, and cognitive skill. And of course they would, having our type of brain. Birds do not have the brainpower to use human language even though they have the vocal capacity. So it will do them little good to speak our language. They can’t learn what it all means. But primates, on the hand, can learn language. Studies have shown they can use sign language effectively, if taught.

Are opposable thumbs really unique? Well no, they are not. Many primates have opposable thumbs. polydactyl cats have opposable thumbs. Cats are, by the way, our next closest relative after primates, according to genetics. Giant Pandas have opposable thumbs and so does a particular species of African rat. An interesting mix.

What about finger prints? Surely they are unique to humans? Not quite. Gorillas have them and so do a lot of primates. But some like the chimpanzee do not. But what is most amazing to me, is that koala bears have them, and they closely resemble ours in shape size and pattern.

It seems to me humans did get a lot of breaks along the way. But does it mean only alien or divine intervention could have produced us? It doesn’t look that way to me. It looks like all the qualities we have already existed before we developed. It just so happens we got the best of most worlds.

That doesn’t mean it was all random chance. The world is based on cause and effect. In such a world nothing is accident. But at the same time, process does not have intent.

Well not exactly. But any process has results. Specific results. So the process of existence is deliberate in that sense.

Chaos theory shows that the simplest acts can become complex chains of cause and effect very quickly. we talked about this in depth already. The gist of it all is that chaos breeds order, and creativity is due to conflict and conflict resolution.

So along with the fact that all our special traits pre-exist us, and the concept of complexity from simplicity, there is no reason for divine intervention. Nature seems to have been capable of doing it on its own.

I'm doing a hub on this tonight, by the way.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

PrometheusKid,

You are wise beyond your years.

(air a couple of centuries ago did not have a physical presence until some bloke found that air too has atoms in it)

All_is-well,

This is not that hard. Quit building strawmen to tear down as the effort is taxing your brain.

Exist: physical presence, that which has shape and location.

Where in that definition do you find any necessity for man knowing, seeing, feeling, thinking about, hypothesizing, discovering, knowing, or sensing shape and location?

Nowhere.

The definition uses Nature's perspective. Air molecules had shape and location before mankind lived.

Atoms are hypothesized (assumed) to exist as they can be described as a physical presence with shape and location, even though we can't see them. They either did or did not exist prior to mankind conceptualizing them.

(if the scientist find that the particles that actually make an atom are just balls of energy and does not have physical appeareance)

Do you really have any idea what you are saying, here? How will a human "find" something that does not exist? Will he pick up a ball of energy and taste it? Will he stub his toe on a block of energy?

No, what you are trying to say is that mathematicians may try to describe particles that comprise an atom as balls of energy.

What have you said? Ball is an object, it has shape. Particle is an object, its shape and location can be hypothesized. Energy is an abstract concept, so it is not a "thing", and thus it does not exist. You have described a ball of nothing. Atoms are made of balls of nothing.

No wonder you need a god of Quantum to reify these balls of nothing into something, just like the Creator God of Christianity reifies nothing into something with creation ex nihilo.

Refication of nothing into something is the hallmark of religion. Scientists will never find imaginary balls of nothing at the heart of an atom - this power can only be granted by faith to an immaterial essence called energy, which is no different than asserting an immaterial essence called god.

Scientists will not find god - voodoo priests may have a chance.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Well, Winston. You are forgetting that atoms may be waves, not always particles. What is a wave? It's energy. A real material thing. Atoms act as either wave or particle. Depends on the test you do. It's what wave/particle duality is all about.


PrometheusKid profile image

PrometheusKid 5 years ago from Heaven

What is a wave? It's energy.

Slarty O'Brian

I want you Slarty to draw me a wave without using objects I will appreciated.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

PrometheusKid

http://tinyurl.com/4z5kntl

Next.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

(What is a wave?)

Slarty O'Brien,

Adverb. It describes a type of motion. Water can move as waves.


All_is_well profile image

All_is_well 5 years ago from London, England

@ PrometheusKid and AKA Winston

You are so god damn stubborn.....

You say it yourself that

Exist: physical presence, that which has shape and location.

yet you deny the very truth about that physical presence and shape.

Tell me, that physical presence, that shape that is created..... does it not contain 'NOTHING' as well??

Isn't molecules like the fan of a helecopter moving at an incredible speed giving us the bloody illusion of solidity????? Science bloody says it, not me!!!!

Your arguement is that it still needed a particle of physical presence and shape to occupy that space to create that illusion of solidity, right?

I am taking you deeper within it and science has been one step at a time disproving your theories one at a bloody time.

You give PrometheusKid the credit to be very wise and you show that you have that ability to judge so, so i ask you this....

In the end.... burn gas (Gas = Physical substance), what is if not energy ONLY that is left??? Tell me with your immense knowledge of object, matter and concept..

Now, if the end product is energy and nothing more, how do you propose the notion that, that process is irreversible?? I'm not saying it's possible, i'm just saying that we don't know yet.

Just go through the basic principle of antiparticles, dark matter and antimatter

Apparantly, every particle in the Universe has an antiparticle that has the same mass but carries an opposite charge therefore, every particle can be said that it came out of nothing as antiparticle cancels out the presence of particle creating nothing. The very notion of antiparticle dismisses any bases you have formed of reality.

Either you two are just playing smart or you are just dumb.


All_is_well profile image

All_is_well 5 years ago from London, England

@ AKA Winston

One more thing, I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN, I DO NOT FOLLOW CHRISTIANITY, I FOLLOW SANTATANA DHARMA AND YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT IT AND AND AND, IT'S NOT A BLOODY RELIGION.....

DO YOU UNDERSTAND NOW???


PrometheusKid profile image

PrometheusKid 5 years ago from Heaven

All is not well

Valves opens and there is a mixture of gas and air to make combustion. The spark plug ignites the mixture to created a rapid expansion of gas which pushes the piston that rotates the crankshaft the torque converter and then transmission and then drive shaft and then differential and then drive axles and then finally the wheels. But in your world is all done with magic or energy. But in reality it was obejcts that move other objects.


All_is_well profile image

All_is_well 5 years ago from London, England

Dear god!! PrometheusKid!!

Valves open and there is a mixture of gas and air to make Combustion - Hmm.... the only thing you say here is energy transferring from one object to another and a chemical reaction that also creates a byproduct.... did i say energy doesn't transfer or do you not understand English?

You have only written about a mechanism that uses energy from substances to put it into motion - Am i correct??

After combustion, the gas expands but that's not where it stops does it, prometheusKid?..... explain oh great Genius of all laws of physics.... what happens to the particles of the gas and air??

Let me, after combustion, a byproduct and energy are formed, that's it. My question was, in such a case, it is seen that all substances have energy in it... yes or no, yes. Another question was, the by product that is created, what does it have some more of, ENERGY!!!!

Go ask a scientist what is a substance, he will say that a substance is anything that has atoms in it, what is atom, he'll say something that is made up of electrons, protons and neutron. What are they made of, he'll say electorns and quarks. What are they made of, he'll tell you how they behave but not what they are made of because we don't know yet!!! We don't know if atoms are made up of things that really exist.

I understand what AKA Winston is trying to say that because we see a shape and a location of an atom, we ASSUME that it exists which is why i keep saying PERCEPTION, PERCEPTION, PERCEPTION!!!!

However, if you take in consideration antiparticle, have it bloody combusted to its relevant particle too... what the hell do you get?? NOTHING!! Absolutely, NOTHING!!! I don't know how it works in your ''REAL'' world but in my magic world, this is what i have learned so far.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston

You are such a reductionist.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston

You need to study physics, not grammar, to get your your answers.


PrometheusKid profile image

PrometheusKid 5 years ago from Heaven

However, if you take in consideration antiparticle, have it bloody combusted to its relevant particle too... what the hell do you get?? NOTHING!! Absolutely, NOTHING!!! I

Nothing Makes Someting

Something Makes Nothing

All is well believes this lol

Aka we had no chance against this guys illusion, is just a matter time before he starts talking about point horizon, and Dark Energy and Dark Matter, And Anti Matter. Which for him it exist but they had zero dimension and take up no space. lol

Oh and by the way i said show me waves without using objects.The picture you put you are showing me what objects are doing. Show me a wave please?


AKA Winston 5 years ago

(You are such a reductionist)

Slarty,

You are correct. I reduce religion-like irrational nonsensical discussion to the point of rational thought.

That is the best man can do - explain without ambiguity.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

All_is_well,

Sorry, but you simply don't get it. That's O.K. I bet you are a good guy, anyway.

Still, if it rains tonight I won't expect an umbrella of energy to keep my head dry. But maybe they work for you.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

secularist10,

I do enjoy your work on logic. You have great grasp of the subject and express it well.


All_is_well profile image

All_is_well 5 years ago from London, England

Bloody hell prometheusKid, which world are you living in? Where do you get your facts from? What the hell are you saying?? Is energy nothing?? And yes, what about antimatter, doen't CERN keep creating it all the freakin time?

Dimension and space, what the fuck have we unraveled about dimensions yet? Are you retarded?

Space, As AKA says doesn't exist therefore, what are you talking about when you say take up space??

All the fuck i am saying is, it doesn't necesarily have to be a phyical bloody subtance that make matter... what the fuck have you proven? NOTHING!! What have i proven that what exactly makes matter is still UNKNOWN!!!

having dimension and space!!!... can you store energy?? YES!! Does that mean energy can be trapped in space? OH YES!! Photon, a little packet of energy has been found to have Zero mass but seems to take up space therefore, ENERGY occupies space too (Just 1 example till date but opens door to posibilities) therefore, promethusKid is an idiot!!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

AKA

Thank you, I appreciate that. Which are you referring to specifically?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

All_is_well:

You have contributed to the discussion. But please, abstain from unnecessary profanities and CERTAINLY do not call anyone an "idiot." Last warning.

I want a spirited and intelligent debate, not a boorish name-calling contest. I don't want to delete any comments but I will if I have to.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

secularist10,

I thought this hub on the paradox of omnipotence was dead-on target, logically speaking.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston

"You are correct. I reduce religion-like irrational nonsensical discussion to the point of rational thought.

That is the best man can do - explain without ambiguity."

But your definitions miss the target. Light is created by photons. Photons are pure energy, no mass. By your definition light does not exist.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

(But your definitions miss the target. Light is created by photons. Photons are pure energy, no mass. By your definition light does not exist.)

Slarty,

I am afraid that once more you do not grok. There is no such thing as a 0D particle or pure energy - these things are simply abstract conceptions.

We know light exists as an object because we can block it with our hand. Therefore, this nonsensical model of light made of 0D particles is wrong.

Btw, Slarty, you may want to drill yourself a little and see if you can define unambiguously these key terms in your assertion:

photon

create

light

energy

mass

All I read was a description and an assertion - not a single explanation of how light accomplishes what it does.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Oh. I see All_is_well was already covering f**king photons. lol...


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston. I've already defined those terms to death and you still don't get it. I'm sure you are a great guy too, by the way. How about you study physics instead of playing word games and get back to me? Until then I can't take your reductionist ideas based on grammar seriously.

Sorry my friend.

Seriously, do you not think science has thought this through and perhaps it is you who are missing something? You admit you have not studied physics. Well try it.

There is an entire history of wave particle debate that explains all of this and why we know photons have no mass. How we know that photons are pure energy and how it can be proven. Perhaps even to your buddy.

Once you have a good grasp of it all, then, if you still think you are on the right track, tell us what is wrong with the science.

At that point you may win a Nobel. Who knows?

But right now you are arguing from a grammatical perspective. It isn't working.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston

Look, you don't even have to go to school. There is enough material on the net to get you going and teach you all you need to know. Look up the history of QM, look up the word photon. Even wiki has great articles on this stuff. Take a few months to study and formulate your arguments.

Look. I am not trying to one up you or win the argument at this point. To be honest we agree on a lot of definitions you brought up. We both understand that reality is material. But you are missing is that energy is part of the physical too. It's real, in the sense you mean that word. So your theory has to include that.

When it does, how ever, you will have to understand that such an understanding as you are putting forth already exists. You aren't telling the world anything new. But that's the way this stuff works. What ever you can think of, some one has already touched on. No one has anything 100 percent original to say. It's happened to me a dozen times. But then, I like reinventing the wheel as much as you do. ;)


AKA Winston 5 years ago

(There is an entire history of wave particle debate that explains all of this and why we know photons have no mass. How we know that photons are pure energy and how it can be proven)

Slarty O'Brien (which is a great name, btw),

I know that you understand modern mathematical physics. What you seem to have forgotten along the way are your history lessons.

In fact, I would say your entire perspective of what science is and what is does is based on appeal to common knowledge rather than a critial analyzation of what it should be.

I don't want to hold your feet to the fire because we all use words incorrectly at times, especially in ordinary speech, but when it comes to presenting a scientific presentation there is no room for ambiguity. At that point, we must be precise.

Therefore, I won't chastise you too much about claiming proof - proof is opinion - meaning subjective. 100% proof only means unanymous agreement of opinion.

When the geocentric model of the universe was used, there was 100% agreement. Did that make it true?

Ptolemy's epicyles actually better modelled the retrograde motion of planets than competing ideas - and thus helped continue the geocentric authority for 2000 years.

See, Slarty, what you are arguing is simply authority, which is a form of knowledge, as knowledge for the most part is garnered from authority, and it is authority we believe. What we accept as accurate=knowledge.

Big problem. Knowledge is not absolute. Authority screws up all the time.

The God Einstein is no different than the God Ptolemy - both are worshipped as delivering perfect truth - until they are disproven.

The only thing we have to fall back on is reason and critical thinking. How can nothing (OD photon) move? Ideas don't move. Things do. Ergo, light must be a thing. Therefore, it cannot be nothing.

Maybe we should vote the God Slarty O'Brien into the top spot - he seems like a really nice guy and quite bright.

:-))


PrometheusKid profile image

PrometheusKid 5 years ago from Heaven

My feelings are hurt. I think I am going to go play some Grand Turismo 5.

http://www.amazon.com/Gran-Turismo-5-Playstation-3...


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

AKA Winston

Yes, thank you. I always find it interesting to learn about and study classical arguments on the big questions. The paradox is one of those classics.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston

You have me all wrong, buddy. I do not believe anything. There is no need to. To believe in a fact is redundant, and to believe in speculation is just plain stupid.

That means I don't believe anything, including current science theory, is the last word on anything. I've argued against the logic of Penrose's theory that state vector collapse over the microtubeuals in the brain are responsible for a kind of free will. After all, any process we do not control can not give free will. It would be like saying free will through accident, and that's not free will.

I've argued about the Heisenberg uncertainty principal, that the Copenhagen interpretation is wrong, and that probably all interpretations of QM are wrong. Turns out that doesn't matter.

There are at least a dozen interpretations of QM, but QM does not require any interpretation when working with it.

No interpretation is included in the math. Interpretations are irrelevant. The patterns are what you need to study.

Big bang? Do I believe in it? No. It's a great explanation but if it doesn't turn out to be true it will be no skin off my nose.

But there are facts that we know are facts because the predictions we make using them work. In fact, you see facts of physics in our technology, medicine and all parts of our life.

Mass and all that stuff is old Newtonian physics. It's well established because the formulas work. They accomplish things in the real world. The laws of Thermodynamics and Conservation are facts about the world. I accept facts. Not unconditionally, but until some new evidence comes along to modify them, they can be used without too much uncertainty about the outcome.

Energy is a fact, and energy is real.

The point is, grammar is not going to prove it isn't. You have to know the science to be able to talk about the science and argue against it. That's all I am saying.

Asking someone to draw a picture of energy or to define every word in their sentence is a meaningless game. It's only designed to try to take control of the conversation and keep people distracted from the actual topic.

Where are you guys learning this stuff? I've seen this kind of idea only on these hub pages from you, the kid, and a few others. lol... what guru is teaching all you guys to ask people to draw pictures and define every word in their sentences? And you all use the same pattern.

Give me some science if you are going criticize science.

If you are going to criticize grammar, I don't care much about that subject. So far you have given me no reason to think energy is not real in the physical sense. Your argument is not convincing; there is too much you are trying to sweep under the rug. It is reductionist, and that isn't a good thing in this case. Yes it's nice to bring things down to their framework, but you forgot to frame in the doors and windows.


All_is_well profile image

All_is_well 5 years ago from London, England

Dear AKA and PrometheusKid

http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3Dd9zv7P72n7E

The above URl will lead you to a television show by Derren Brown who like you is an atheist however, he shows immense skills of psychology and illusion. He in this show plays a trick on a persons mind to actually find Derren Brown to be Invisible with just the clothes on him, later, he tricks him in such a way that he finds Derren completely invisible being able to see right through him.

I am providing you this URL not to claim that atoms don't exist but just to give you an insight of what i mean when i say the possibility of nothingness. That the mind is not to be left unobserved when trying to break down physics.

Like prometheusKid said, there needs something to make something, Nothing can come out of nothing therefore, your whole basis of atheism is at stake because, according to the statement, there had to be a creator and that creator needed a creator and that creator needed another and so on and so forth. Energy could not have come out of nothing, it's just mind boggling.

I agree when you say that without object of shape and mass, the whole basis of the Universe is seen to be abstract and nothing more, that particles are absoulety NEEDED for the existance of the Universe however, like i said, we don't know so you guys claiming that you do is absurd.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

All_is_well

Mass and energy can not be created nor destroyed. Both are part of the same eternal substance. They transform. So no god is required.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

(we don't know so you guys claiming that you do is absurd.)

All_is_well,

Can you please point me to a single quote where I made a claim. All I have asked for are unambiguous definitions in order to eliminate opinion from the discussion. I have shown you over and over how your opinion that energy is a real is simply opinion.

One more time into the fray. Let's try a new approach.

Energy is a word used to describe a series of events that produces an effect. Let's use very simple examples to keep things straight.

Water pours onto the waterwheel, which turns, and that waterwheel is connected to gears that engage that lead to other gears that engage that cause a stone to turn and grind grain into a powder we call flour.

Where in that scenario is energy? We can hypothesize that energy is an inherent component of water, but then how do we explain that calm water in a tub cannot be used to grind flour? Well, we can invent an idea and call it potential energy. If so, shouldn't we be able to locate potential energy in water? The chemical makeup should be H2O+E. But the E is really only a description of the series of events that water can produce when it is moving or heated, isn't it? In other words, it isn't real - it is an abstract concept we invented as description.

What we have done is abstraced an essence to describe a series because it is simpler to use E in an equation.

The same with mass. We have to multiply the weight in kg by 0.05 or whatever the conversion factor is to give us the amount of mass, so the mass is not a "thing" but a descriptive comparison that allows us to use the concept in our equations. Mass is the product of an equation. In other words, can the mass be determined without the kg? If it were a "thing", you could measure its length, width, and height and determine it was a lump of "mass".

Mass and energy are inventions of man used to describe.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

(If you are going to criticize grammar, I don't care much about that subject. So far you have given me no reason to think energy is not real in the physical sense)

Slarty O'Brien,

I'm sorry you feel that way as language is how we intelligent apes communicate with each other. All I am doing is creating a separation between physical and conceptual, and using strict language to keep those two worlds distinct to themselves.

I will put this to you in all seriousness. I explained the waterwheel example above to All-is-well, and I ask the same of you. Where in that example does one locate energy? In the same line, where, but in the product of a calculation, does one locate mass, i.e., can you determine mass by LWH?

Grammar keeps a rock and a rock's mass separated. You are free to disagree with the importance of doing that.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

Slarty O'Brien,

You asked above a source. http://hubpages.com/education/What-is-a-point

Bill recently presented his theories to the IEEE convention in Hong Kong. You can find the presentation on youtube if you search Bill Gaede.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

What is a rock but what is contained in it's mass? A rock is not a static solid form. No object is a static solid form. The water in the wheel is mass and energy. The flow of water produces energy that is tapped by the wheel. Otherwise the wheel wouldn't go around.

You are trying to reduce things into static forms. It will not work. Until you account for what an object is in a non-static sense, your definition fails. Force is energy. But energy is also potential in all things.

While the energy of moving water is a force, water itself has another kind of energy within it's atoms. Also forces. Electrons traveling at the speed of light.

You can't exclude half of what an object is and expect to

find a good definition for it. It doesn't help communication in the least.


PrometheusKid profile image

PrometheusKid 5 years ago from Heaven

Where in that scenario is energy? We can hypothesize that energy is an inherent component of water, but then how do we explain that calm water in a tub cannot be used to grind flour? Well, we can invent an idea and call it potential energy. If so, shouldn't we be able to locate potential energy in water? The chemical makeup should be H2O+E. But the E is really only a description of the series of events that water can produce when it is moving or heated, isn't it? In other words, it isn't real - it is an abstract concept we invented as description.

Amen


AKA Winston 5 years ago

(You are trying to reduce things into static forms. It will not work)

Slarty O'Brien,

At last we are making progress. You are exactly right. But I am not trying to "get things to work". I am arguing for precise and unambiguous presentation of hypothesis and theory. But I am not trying to reduce things to static - static is nature's view.

(While the energy of moving water is a force, water itself has another kind of energy within it's atoms. Also forces. Electrons traveling at the speed of light.)

Please consider what you have said here. A) energy of moving water is a force B) water has a different kind of energy C) Electrons traveling at the speed of light.

Slarty, in cases A) and C) you have defined both types of energy as movement - a dynamic quality. Dynamic activities are not "things", but occurences.

My contention is that nature does not recognize this movement. To nature, it is always now.

Why is all this mumbo jumbo important? Because physical events require physical mediators as their cause.

We posit that the same natural laws of Earth are equally viable elsewhere in the solar system and beyond. Why, then, do we posit a different set of circumstances simply because we reduce size, as in quantum, or cannot find a useful explanation, as in the definition of light?

Is it science to hypothesize a different set of natural laws than ones known in order to solve mysteries? Isn't that what theists have done for centuries - claim an unknown "force" named god did it?

We chased our tails for 2000 years trying to prove the geocentric model of the universe. How many thousands of years will be chasing our tails trying to prove that time and space is an object that can be wrapped, like a pair of pants can be folded?

We are not so far removed from Ptolemy to be arrogant in our knowledge. He, too, was certain of his knowledge.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston. Thanks for the source. I will study it and get back to you on it.

Kid

"Where in that scenario is energy? We can hypothesize that energy is an inherent component of water, but then how do we explain that calm water in a tub cannot be used to grind flour?"

It can. Run electricity through it, you separate the hydrogen from the oxygen. Then you have a fuel you can use to run a mill. Boil some of it and you can make a steam engine. But that has nothing to do with the potential energy in the water. If you could release that in a controlled way you could run a large city for a month on a pale full.


All_is_well profile image

All_is_well 5 years ago from London, England

Yup, I know that energy can neither be created nor can it be destroyed, it only transforms and nowhere am I defending theism Slarty O' Brian but thank you very much and thank you AKA, I do agree I am very off point and being irrational, a very bad habit I have and I should man up to it. Also I do apologize dearly AKA, PrometheusKid and Secularist10... Not being sarcastic.

Derren Brown, I think you know who he is (Google him if you don't) had done a show, 'Trick or Treat', the end episode called all the participants through out the show to join him for a final show which unknown to them was infact an experiment.

All the participants were left in a room with varieties of props for them to fiddle around with, a led score board that showed the points they had earned and another room with £500 for each of them if they were able to earn the 100 points within an hour. However, they were not given any hints of what they were supposed to do to earn those points.

A twist in the experiment was that on the ceiling of the room was written for anyone who read it that they would be given £150,000 in cash if they would just walk out the door.

A final twist was that the score board was not at all monitoring the activities by the participants but was monitoring the movement of a fish in an aquarium in another room and points would be awarded each time the fish would cross over the half of the aquarium creating a complete randomness in awarding points.

The experiment was to see how minds create superstition. Out of the greed for the £500 pound in front of them, they did all things and everything possible however, unaware to them was that the points that they were recieving had nothing to do with their activities. And had they relaxed for just a moment to think it through, they were most certain to realise this and also see the writing in the ceiling and win the £150,000 in cash but that didn't happen.

In the end, the experiment showed that they didn't see the bigger picture (the writing on the ceiling) in search for something driven by superstition and not observation and science. Some participants had created a superstition that there were certain activities they had done which awarded them points repeatedly but the fact was, it was only coincidence that the fish had crossed over the half of the fish tank exactly at the same time that these participants were performing an activity not once but multiple times and were not in any way related to each other. This is how religion all over is driven.

A very irrelevant thing to say in our discussion, i know. I am just telling you this to let you know that yes i do follow a certain belief however, it is not a religion, it is something that i believe needs more studying to find the small truth in it which was most definately blown out of proportion during the many millenniums after it was created.

Also, i read this in a magazine once but I have forgotten who the scientist was who said this but he had just won an award for something but forget that for now. What he said intruiged me so i just thought maybe I'd share it with you too.

He said that science is subject to superstition because, science tries to explain why things happen the way it happens and if an explaination satisfies the activities and the many question that arises out of the activity than that explaination is regarded to be the official science of that particular activity. However, this creates a lacking of the search for alternative explainations creating characteristics similar to that of religion.

Having said that, I would like to request either AKA, Slarty, prometheus or Secularist to shed some light on Wheelers' Theory of the one-electron Universe also, the possibility of Photons colission (Could there be a posibility that photons could be collided and that a photon might hold both matter and anti-matter waveform?) It is only a humble request without an intention to argue, thank you!


AKA Winston 5 years ago

All_is_well,

You don't have to apologize to me. I have taken no offense of anything you have said. We all are human and can get emotional at times - I screw up all the time so who am I to judge you for your human action?

As to your last request, I couldn't comment as a photon to me is a meaningless term - a 0D particle? WTF? To me, a photon is an invention that is better classified in the category as "God done it" than in the category of "Science".

I keep things simple so I can understand. We can block light with our hands, so there must by a physical mediator of light - question is, what is it?


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Has anyone seen this? Just out of curiosity?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gaede

“But let’s concede for the sake of argument that energy is ‘an ability’ or ‘the capacity’. How do relativists intend to reconcile either of these concepts with velocity (e = mc²), where the little c represents the velocity of light) or with ‘energy transfer’? Does an ability have speed? Can capacity be moved? Are relativists moving concepts again?”

Wow. What a ride. He is calling people relativists and saying they believe in relativity, QM and string theory. For someone so worried about definitions he certainly missed the boat on that one. A relativist is a philosophical term, usually used to denote a person who believes there is no absolute truth. It is also known as Perspecivism. I did a hub called “Observer driven reality check.” But it can also mean someone who understands that truth is relative, not to perspective, but to a specific set of variables.

Does water boil at 100 degrees c? Yes. And no. It only boils at that temperature at a specific altitude with a specific purity of water. Change altitude or water purity and you get a different boiling point. But, if you always are at the same altitude and always use the same purity of water, you will always measure it to boil at the same temperature. It’s called absolute truth through relative truth.

Besides not seeming to know what relativism means, he doesn’t understand E=mc squared. It means energy = mass times the speed of light squared.

The speed of light referred to here is a number, not the ability to have speed. Speed has nothing to do with it. No one is accelerating the water to the speed of light. lol... The number is 300,000,000. (the speed of light in meters per second) Say you have 1 kg of pure water. There are say:111 grams of Hydrogen atoms in that water.

In numbers that would mean 0.111 kg of atoms x 300,000,000 x 300,000,000 = 9,990,000,000,000,000 Joules of energy. It’s like burning hundreds of thousands of gallons of gas. It isn’t about speed.

This is what the atomic bomb is based on: The ability to release a vast amount of energy from a very small bit of matter. The formula is proven. Unfortunately there is no way to release all of the energy except with antimatter, and we can’t produce enough of that or collect it yet. Even an atomic explosion does not release all the energy in the matter used.

“Closer inspection reveals the underlying reason the famous point remains primitive after 5000 years of history: the mathematicians cannot use the term consistently (i.e., scientifically). If they define a point as a location, they cannot use it as a brick to construct geometric figures, and if they define a point as a dynamic 'event', they cannot also use it as the static singularity, the alleged 'center' of a black hole.

And if the point is just a number on the number line, it cannot also be an encrypted set of two numbers used to locate a point on a pair of cartesian coordinates.”

Different uses for a word can be used in different contexts. A point can mean a lot of different things including the ones he sights. He’s making a “much to do about nothing.” I’m sorry we do not have enough words for ever context to have its own, but we don’t. He’ll have to invent some, I suppose.

Look, this guy has some interesting ideas. His rope theory of the atom is interesting. But other than that, he doesn’t give a lot of alternative explanations for anything he knocks down. He is basically just complaining a lot in a rather rude and irrational way, but not explaining anything. And his rope theory is obviously from the mind of an engineer. It looks pretty good in some sense, but it will have to be proven to be accepted. He as yet, has no evidence. As he points out, there are a lot of models for the atom. Too many to take any of them seriously right now. No one has ever seen one. Neither has he. All we can do is describe how they behave, not what they are or look like.

In the 1950s Feynman postulated the idea that there is no wave. When we point a photon at a single slit it goes through and registers once as a particle. But if we put it through a double slit it takes every possible rout to get there, causing interference with itself and creating the wavelike patterns we see. So much for the Copenhagen interpretation. But his theory hasn’t been validated yet either. All we know for sure is what the experiments tell us. The observations. I think Bill said that too somewhere.

This is why if you read Stephan Hawking’s book, the first thing to ask is why he is basing his new theories on a combination of Feynman’s “history of all possible universes” and string theory. How can he say his theory makes sense? In point of fact, for all the great work he has done in the past, this time he F**ked up.

Look guys. Like I said, I don’t believe anything at all. He may be proven to have some good ideas in the end and they may all be nonsense. I thought string theory was the answer for a while. But even without Bill, I figured out it was a dead end a long time ago.

I don’t think the interpretations of QM are rational, but they don’t matter. The principals work to predict quantum behaviour in a spectacular way.

Don’t hitch your wagon to this guy’s train. Don’t believe anything at all. Watch and wait. But in the mean time learn as much as you can about all the many theories. Only then do you have a way to get to the truth of the matter.

Have you read Bill’s ideas on the extinction of mankind? His ideas on economy? They are related. He says the dino died out when his food source died out. There was no natural disaster. That’s not a bad hypothesis as far as it goes. But he is claiming we are the last generation and we will die out like the dino because our food will run out too. Wait a minute. The economy may completely collapse, but unless something happens like an asteroid that prevents us from growing anything at all, mankind will still survive. Why? We eat anything. Vegetable or animal. For every single human to die off due to food shortage, it has to be so bad that nothing survives. That’s not going happen without a natural or manmade disaster. And his whole theory is based on the idea that no natural disaster happened to wipe out the dino. DooH!

He’s not a genius, guys. He’s not the great god Bill. Lol... But he is arrogant and rude and manipulative. Not that those are always bad qualities. But he seems to have his followers doing the same, with the same patterns as he uses. Talk about viral meme. ;)

But it all explains so much about what is going on in these hub pages. He’s developing a kind of cult. He has a bunch of people now going out and manipulating others to draw them pictures and define words like they are in grammar school. I wonder if he knows about it? Bet he’s proud of himself if he does. The next form of scientology is on the way. Lol... If he only knew, he could rich from it, and doesn’t have to prove a thing.

No offence to you guys, but please never tell me I am talking from the perspective of authority again.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston. Good post, by the way.

“At last we are making progress. You are exactly right. But I am not trying to "get things to work". I am arguing for precise and unambiguous presentation of hypothesis and theory. But I am not trying to reduce things to static - static is nature's view.”

Natures view? You have said that before. Perhaps you can explain it a little for me. Unless you are postulating a nature that has consciousness of some sort I don’t think it has a view. But I am all for a precise and unambiguous presentation of hypothesis and theory. I can’t argue with that.

(While the energy of moving water is a force, water itself has another kind of energy within it's atoms. Also forces. Electrons traveling at the speed of light.)

“Please consider what you have said here. A) energy of moving water is a force B) water has a different kind of energy C) Electrons traveling at the speed of light.”

“Slarty, in cases A) and C) you have defined both types of energy as movement - a dynamic quality. Dynamic activities are not "things", but occurences.”

Fine, but the issue is not speed, it is force. Weight is force. Put enough weight on a table and it will collapse. The occurrence is the collapse. What is an occurrence? It is an event. But the force that made the event happen is weight, not an event. Yes, movement and energy are linked. No energy no movement, simple as that.

What I was pointing out was that water and anything, has many kinds of potential energy inherent in it’s being. Water weighs a lot. Ten pounds per gallon. So if it is moving you have a lot of force behind the movement. But you can boil it and use the steam as a force. You can use the Hydrogen atoms in it as a force. And to top it all off, if you had anti-h2o you could power a city for a month from a cup full.

It isn’t the other forces I am interested in. If the only thing was that water had weight and if it moved it produced “work” energy, then I would say you might be right. Energy is just a concept. But energy is an inherent part of the matter itself. There is no separating the two. Water molecules do not have to be moving to produce an effect. They just have to come into contact with the same amount of anti-h2o molecules to release massive amounts of energy. What is it if it is not real?

Again, this is a fact proven by atomic research based on e=mc squared. No moving parts required, except those to control the event. In some places in the world a strange event takes place where there are large amounts of radioactive material. When it rains, the water connects deposits of material. It starts a radioactive build up. But there is no explosion because the heat given off by the reaction vaporizes the water breaking the connection. No moving parts required. Just enough radioactive material and rain water.

“My contention is that nature does not recognize this movement. To nature, it is always now.”

Again, unless nature is conscious, your statement is irrelevant.

“Why is all this mumbo jumbo important? Because physical events require physical mediators as their cause.”

I understand. Weight is a physical mediator. Energy is a physical mediator. Without electrical impulses going to your muscles your hands wouldn’t move.

“We posit that the same natural laws of Earth are equally viable elsewhere in the solar system and beyond. Why, then, do we posit a different set of circumstances simply because we reduce size, as in quantum, or cannot find a useful explanation, as in the definition of light?”

I didn’t know we did. Light is well studied and well known. I’m not sure why you dislike Einstein so much but he was the one who said it was a particle, not a wave. So he’s on your side. ;) The problem is it has no mass, so it is pure energy. How can a material thing have no mass? It can’t by your definition, but if it exists. You can’t deny light exists. The only reason it can travel the speed of light is because it has no mass. And yet Einstein proved it was a particle. Every test done shows that to be true. So here we have pure energy that is material, without mass.

“Is it science to hypothesize a different set of natural laws than ones known in order to solve mysteries? Isn't that what theists have done for centuries - claim an unknown "force" named god did it?”

Right. Well let me try this on you. When we first tried looking at atoms we thought they were going follow Newtonian laws. Classical physics. Einstein tried his best to keep it that way even though others were developing QM. The problem is simple. If you set up an experiment where you shoot a particle through a small slit, you get a point hit. Like a little object hit the back of the wall. So we were happy. That’s what we expected. But when we shoot a particle through two slits we get a wave pattern out the other end. It shouldn’t happen, but it does. Logically it can’t. It cannot be both a wave and a particle at the same time. Hence all the interpretations.

But this is even more strange. If you put a sensor at the double slits to sense the photon going through and find out what is happening, the damn things act like particles again. This lead Heisenberg to conclude that the wave was collapsed by observation. By observing it, you collapse the wave function. That has lead to all these theories of observer driven reality. That the observer decides the outcome of an even and some that say if there is no observer there is no event. What a lot of bull shit. No one observed anything. A sensor was added.

Stranger still is that we can know the speed of a particle, or we can know its location. But we can’t know both at the same time. Wow. We never expected that. And then there is entanglement. Einstein predicted that as a consequence of relativity, but he didn’t like it at all. Yet it has been proven a fact.

Now I understand your point of view. But when we have attacked the idea of the atom, we have come up with bizarre observations. It isn’t our fault. No one wanted it that way. Everyone wanted classical interpretations. But since we can’t get a handle on things through classical means by observing single atoms, we developed QM. And that is a TOOL that perfectly predicts the behaviour of atoms statistically. Quantum statistics are not the same as standard statistics.

So we have a problem in logic, or the quantum world behaves very differently from the macro world. The observations are what they are. No getting around them. But the interpretations are always suspect because we can’t see this stuff or work with it the same way we can work with wood or metal or chemicals. So something is going on and to me it means we just don’t know enough to say what that is. But we will keep trying. Bill’s rope theory is interesting because it says all atoms are connected. Bell said the same thing. But where it kind of falls down is in the fact that entanglement doesn’t work for just any two particles. They are prepared. They are twins.

To be continued


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Winston

“We chased our tails for 2000 years trying to prove the geocentric model of the universe. How many thousands of years will be chasing our tails trying to prove that time and space is an object that can be wrapped, like a pair of pants can be folded?”

Well, the answer is until another more rational explanation comes along to replace it. String theory tried and failed. QM tried to find a graviton and failed. That’s why we are still looking for a unified field theory. We are still looking. That’s the point. Everyone knows it isn’t over. The search continues and we will build upon what has come before like we always do. There are no last words in physics or in science. It evolves as new evidence comes in. Any scientist with half a brain won’t tell you we have it all figured out yet. They would be lying.

That’s why I don’t like Bill’s attempt to say that we think we have. We try, we experiment, we build on what others have done. Only people who don’t know anything about science would say scientists are trying to sell you the absolute last word on anything. But people do vigorously defend their favourite issue. That’s human nature and the world of funding. But it all eventually comes out in the wash. 2000 years is nothing. Let’s see how physics has evolved in 2 million.

“We are not so far removed from Ptolemy to be arrogant in our knowledge. He, too, was certain of his knowledge.”

No scientist in his right mind is certain about anything except well established facts. And even those he knows he has to let go of if evidence to the contrary surfaces. Those that don’t go with the ever changing flow die like the dinos.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

All_is_well

The single electron universe is a funny story.

Feynman's advisor, John Wheeler, (who was a theist)proposed the hypothesis in a telephone call to Feynman in 1940. In his Nobel lecture he said this:

"As a by-product of this same view, I received a telephone call one day at the graduate college at Princeton from Professor Wheeler, in which he said, "Feynman, I know why all electrons have the same charge and the same mass" "Why?" "Because, they are all the same electron!" And, then he explained on the telephone, "suppose that the world lines which we were ordinarily considering before in time and space—instead of only going up in time were a tremendous knot, and then, when we cut through the knot, by the plane corresponding to a fixed time, we would see many, many world lines and that would represent many electrons, except for one thing. If in one section this is an ordinary electron world line, in the section in which it reversed itself and is coming back from the future we have the wrong sign to the proper time—to the proper four velocities—and that's equivalent to changing the sign of the charge, and, therefore, that part of a path would act like a positron." "But, Professor", I said, "there aren't as many positrons as electrons." "Well, maybe they are hidden in the protons or something", he said.

—Feynman, Richard, Nobel Lecture December 11, 1965


AKA Winston 5 years ago

Slarty O'Brien,

Thanks for taking the time to look at Bill's work. You may also want to investigate his claim of debunking the results of the double slit experiment.

You bring up a good point about observation, which is actually my point, too, but I look at it from another perspective. It is the interpretation of observations that I question. Redshift, for example, is still not fully explained as a Doppler effect. Why it was ever suggested to be a Doppler effect is weird, even.

I know, that is cosmology, but the point is similar.

The EM rope theory is based on a "backwards" type of physics from what is practiced today. The theory was developed to explain how a physical mediator acts to carry light - because - according to the backwards physics, a 0D particle (the photon) cannot exist, regardless of what the mathematicians say.

I cannot verify this as I have not studied it in depth, but I have been told that this theory thus far has withstood every challenge thrown its way.

Anyway, I'm tired and you are quite bright and a challenge for my limited knowledge of physics.

Thanks for a quite interesting and challenging discussion, Slarty, and enjoy hub pages.


Slarty O'Brian profile image

Slarty O'Brian 5 years ago from Canada

Thanks Winston.

I don't think we are that far off. You said: "It is the interpretation of observations that I question." Well that's what I question too. But I have learned that interpretations aren't relevant. It's the patterns you have to study. That's where the answers come from.

You know the old saying: Opinions are like ass holes. Everyone has one and most of them stink. ;)

I'm not done with Bill yet. I intend to look at him and his theories a lot closer. This is the first I have heard of him so thanks for the intro. The chances are he has a small piece of the puzzle like so many other thinkers do. It may not be what he thinks it is, but it may add up to something interesting. We'll see.

You are right that today's cosmology is strange indeed. Just when you thought it couldn't get stranger Penrose pops up and gives us a new static universe again. You should check it out just for fun. No dark energy or matter in this one.

Physics is an amazing study. You are a bright guy with a lot of potential and not a half bad adversary in a debate despite your admitted lack of physics education. You are intellectually honest too. That counts for plenty.

Keep at it. And thank YOU for an interesting discussion, Winston. I expect I'll be seeing more of you on these pages in the future.

You too Kid. ;)


Mike Marks profile image

Mike Marks 5 years ago

I think the first premise one must consider is... is your question utterly stupid? I would conclude "yes" it is. I would draw that conclusion by simpifying your question, to relieve it of its desperation to appear as a sophisicated question, by restating it as "Can God make white black?" Answer, no he can't, because then white would be black. Omnipower doesn't suggest being able to accomplish any paradox. Can the uncreated create the uncreated? Can something come out of nothing? No and no. Therefore, then, can omnipower exist? Not if you want to define it as being able to make white black. If you'd rather define it as being able to create heaven and earth, well, now we're onto a different question, one which the answer to is yes. Is the uncreated and nothing the same thing? No. Can the uncreated, as being something other than nothing, exist? Yes. Because I for one know that existence exists, and that's quite a momumental something. There was never nothing. An instance of absolute nothing proceeding something, even for omnipower, is impossible. Therefore, eternity is the only possibility left over. No one need create eternity. Obviously, because existence exists, eternity is its own cause effect and cause. And no word game is ever going to make eternity go away.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Mike

""Can God make white black?" Answer, no he can't..."

Interesting. Therefore there is a limit to God's power. Therefore God's power is not unlimited, therefore he is not omnipotent. If he is not omnipotent, then he is not God, is he?

See the article for more on this. I already dealt with your objection in the article itself.

This is not a question of "word games." The paradox is a logical bind that theists have never been able to resolve. Doesn't seem very "stupid" after all.

Regarding eternity, of course, if you look at the discussion, you'll see I believe that reality is eternal/ uncreated, so you don't have to convince me that eternity exists. If eternity can work for God, then it can work for reality.


Mike Marks profile image

Mike Marks 5 years ago

then perhaps our disagreement is you're considering a more fundamental personality God. I don't really make a distinction between eternity and God. If I did, I would consider God to be the biggest sentient being composed of the most universe possessed by any singularity, but not the biggest thing in existence, and yes, not omnipowerful according to your definition of such power being able to make a square circle. I don't think a group of people arguing a certain point of logic for centuries necessarily makes the point nonstupid. People have for centuries been seeking what came before the beginning of existence, aren't they? Still playing 'gotcha' games addressed to personalities that make us feel less powerful, aren't they?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

No, it doesn't make it nonstupid, but it certainly is an indication if many smart people have tackled these issues before. We can see that the paradox has not been resolved in any case.

And it's not "my" definition of power, it is the concept of power in the human language--the ability to do something.

Can God create a square circle? Well, a square circle is a logical contradiction, so if God cannot do this, as you believe, then his power is constrained by logic. Since a being cannot make the thing that constrains it, it follows that God did not create logic. So the new question you must answer (among other things) is: who created logic?


Mike Marks 5 years ago

careful the next time you build a cage that the door doesn't close behind you...


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Haha, I will keep that in mind, Mike. Words of wisdom.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Another good read, full of interesting comments. Very interesting and informative.

Thank you.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

I am reading a book now that says that God is all things, ranging from everything to nothing, limited to unlimited, all powerful to powerless. In short, that God is a paradox.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Glad you liked it, Earnest. Yes, the discussion is quite something for this one! I don't think there was a major metaphysical point of view that hasn't put in its two cents.

Tom--since God has been represented as all things through the ages, I suppose that would make some sense, lol! If God is all things, then it also follows that God is no thing at all. God exists, and does not exist.

Thanks for coming.


Mike .x.  5 years ago

if god is omnipotent. would he even know he exists.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Mike:

Another way of asking that question might be: can infinity be divided by infinity?

Talk about another whole can of worms, lol...


Scottmonster profile image

Scottmonster 5 years ago from Washington, D.C.

great hub. I had to work around many of your excellent points, for the sake of preventing repetition, in a similar hub I made. I think challenging omnipotence is a great way to get through to those who view God as infinitely merciful and just.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Thanks, Scott. The classical arguments, such as the paradox of omnipotence, are always the most fascinating. And the most enduring, as seen by the fact that the believers have been unable to really challenge it. :)


HAK 5 years ago

secularist10, I can see how you came to your conclusion. However, I would like to recommend to watch this short video. InshAllah it will clear up many things.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRT_qNN7Pvw


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Hello HAK

Here is the most important line from the video:

"Allah doesn't move things like that"

In other words, when someone asks "can God create a stone so heavy even he can't lift it" Yusuf Estes says, essentially, this is a non-question. God does not work in that way, in a physical way, because he is utterly distinct from his creation.

Which is, ironically, the most sensible answer possible, since God, by definition, has been defined out of this kind of discussion. But the funny thing is, God has been defined out of this kind of discussion for the same reason it is not logically warranted to believe in him: God, by definition, is impossible to grasp or imagine.

Let me ask you a question. The human mind is finite. God is considered to be infinite. Can a finite quantity be divided by infinity? What kind of an answer will result if you divide a finite number by infinity? An irrational, incomprehensible answer.

So what appears to be a third possible answer to the main question (I dealt with the "Yes" answer and the "No" answer in the article), in fact negates all belief in God in the first place. This third answer, which responds by saying the question is meaningless and has no answer in the natural world, rests on a mentality that--when taken to its logical extent--renders belief in the existence of God impossible.

Since (1) God is defined as a supernatural being, and (2) human knowledge can only find expression in naturalistic form, (3) it follows that God, if he exists, cannot be known to exist. Therefore belief in God is not warranted for human beings.

The ridiculousness of theism is that it tries to have its cake and eat it too. On the one hand, theists like Yusuf Estes want to believe in God, and describe him and identify him in naturalistic ways. This makes sense, because as I said the human mind can only work in a naturalistic capacity. So the theist subscribes to the tools of naturalism when it suits him. But then, as soon as it no longer suits him, he switches and suddenly says "but God doesn't work like that."

So which is, HAK? Which is it, Yusuf? Is a discussion about God amenable to naturalistic evidence and logic, or isn't it?

Estes makes this very mistake in his presentation! He says "can God create a stone? Yes. Can God create a stone so heavy even he cannot lift it? Well, God does not move things that way." Haha! In the second part he undermines the very logical foundations upon which his claim in the first part rests!

If it can be said that "God can create a stone" then logically it can be said that "God can create an immovable stone." However, if it CANNOT be said that "God can create an immovable stone" then it likewise cannot be said that "God can create a stone." Both statements rest on the same kind of naturalistic mentality, so to deny one is to deny the other. To deny the *foundations* of the one is to the deny the foundations of the other.

To play both sides of the fence is utter capitulation and tacit admission that theism does not have a logical leg to stand on.


emrldphx profile image

emrldphx 5 years ago from USA

I have something to point out to you. When the bible is translated from Hebrew into English, a lot of liberty is taken with word choice.

The word 'everything' in this verse doesn't come directly from a Hebrew word. Instead, it is translated as part of the word 'Yakol', meaning 'to prevail, overcome, endure, have power, be able'.

When God is called Almighty, the Hebrew word is 'Shadday', meaning 'almighty, most powerful'.

What makes more sense as a better translation to me is to say that God can 'do anything that can be done'. Most powerful is not the same as all-powerful. I don't think it is meant to say that He can create a paradox, but anything that can be done according to the laws of nature/universe/perfection(call it what you will), he can do it.

Of course, these things are up to personal interpretation. Translating from one language to another is not an exact science.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City Author

Hello Emrld, thanks for coming. Yes, things do get lost in translation. However, I would say two things: first, regardless of the original Hebrew term, the fact is that people today believe God is omnipotent.

Secondly, more importantly, I already dealt with this argument in the article, under the "no" response. It is the more common argument given through the ages by religious thinkers and apologists.

If God "can do anything that can be done," that means there are constraints to God's power. Specifically, logic--God cannot do anything that is logically impossible (such as create a square circle). This means that since logic constrains God's actions, logic was not created by God. Thus, logic (as well as other constraints such as the basic laws of nature) was either uncreated, or was created by a more powerful being than God.

Either way, God did not create everything. If he did, then he would have created logic, and thus he would not be constrained by logic.

You said:

"... anything that can be done according to the laws of nature/universe/perfection(call it what you will), he can do it."

So God did not create the laws of nature. Because if he did, he would not be constrained by them.


Theodore 4 years ago

No "theist", preferably Christian has commented until now. Only reson why I didn't is because I've never seen this before. Here you go nonbelievers.

Solved Omnipotence Paradox

by Brian McCormick on November 5th, 2007, 9:14 pm

The omnipotence paradox is this.

"Could an omnipotent being create a stone so heavy that even that being could not lift it?"

"The argument states that if the being can perform such actions, then it can limit its own ability to perform actions and hence it cannot perform all actions, yet, on the other hand, if it cannot limit its own actions, then that is -- straight off -- something it cannot do"

That is paraphrased from wikipedia.

I discussed it, and found logic, which lets god be all powerful in the universe, while abiding by the paradox rule. It is not to say the paradox is faulty, but rather the assumption that god is not all powerful because of it is. My answer is suprisingly simple, but I believe you all will be as well satisfied with the answer at the same time.

My Answer

God cannot create what is not creatable, therefore He can create only that which is creatable.

And since that which is not creatable doesn't exist, then God can have absolute power over the universe.

He has all power and can do the impossible as the Bible says, you people are trying to be too smart for your own good. He has all power, but according to what can be done; even what we can't do. If a power doesn't exist, then how can He do it? He still has all power though. All the power that is able to be acquired and used. All the power He can do and the IMPOSSIBLE we can't do. He is a logical God too. I pray and hope some of you start believing. Read the BIBLE. Believe.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Theodore, we have already dealt with this idea. So I will just quote from the article (which evidently you did not read):

***

"It's not that God is limited, but rather that power is limited. That is, God can do with power whatever power can do. But since power, by definition, cannot bring about a contradictory state of affairs, God cannot do it. But that is the fault of power, not of God. So (the theist will claim) we are legitimate in identifying God as omnipotent, because God can do whatever power can do...

The problem with this argument is that it confuses the definition of the word "power." Power means, quite simply, "the ability to do something." That's it. The definition doesn't say "the ability to do something that is logical," or the "ability to do something that makes sense." The word "power" makes no reference to logic, to contradiction, or any such thing.

...

[This argument] indicates that God's power is constrained. Specifically, it is constrained by logic. The question then arises... who created logic?

Obviously, if God cannot violate logic, it follows that he did not create logic. A being cannot create the thing that constrains it. Therefore logic must exist outside of him, external to him, or prior to him.

If logic exists beyond God's hand, then logic is either uncreated, or was created by something other than God. Either way, we have discovered at least one thing--logic--that God did not create. Therefore God did not, in fact, create everything."

***

Your argument is actually the most popular one among theists, since ancient times. So there is nothing new there. And the Bible is useless for true knowledge.


Daniel 4 years ago

The cognitively least demanding conception of power is that according to which dictionaries may define power: the ability to bring about a particular state of affairs that does not obtain prior to the act of bringing it about. This conception of power is a fully generalized abstraction from actual kinds of powers. We abstract it similar to how we abstract generalizations in math. Whether we add two pair of shoes, or one pair of shoes and one of socks, there is a particular sense that stays the same: four objects. Similarly, whether we observe a hammer as it strikes a nail, or the nail as it goes into wood, the most singular sense is always the same: something brings something about: simple agency.

But, simple agency is the fully ambiguated, or logically indifferent, sense of the idea of power. It doesn’t say anything that we don't already know: It can’t tell us that tornados cannot blow 2+2 up into 5, nor that human wishful-ness cannot cause tornadoes to cease. In fact, simple agency says much less than we already know if we think that it is sufficient to understanding any act of power: It can’t tell us that the logical potential to accidentally trip and hit your head is not strictly an example of power, but of a lack of the cognitive power to coordinate a less-than-perfectly-coordinated body sufficient to prevent accidents. Moreover, simple agency cannot tell us that the ontology of power is concretely neither the idea of ‘potential’ or the concreteness of action, so it can’t tell us what we most implicitly know about power: that power is an agent, and that there is, in fact, nothing which is not an agent. So, simple agency cannot tell us that the kind of agent that a particular agent is is what determines what powers it has, or, rather, is.

So, to use the idea of simple agency as the singular metric for identifying potentials and actions of power, while being consistent on its own terms, nevertheless is ‘epistemologically adverse’: it is logically indifferent to the nature of the relations between results and their causes. It then becomes nothing but the idea of ‘effect’. So, to say that ‘power is defined in terms of its effects’ is to define power essentially as an adversarial relationship to the constitution of entities, rather than as a kind of entity in itself. In fact, if the ontology of power were simple agency, then power would not be anything in itself, but would consist purely in the fact that something changes. This, in turn, would mean that nothing could be held a priori exempt from being changed, including mathematical sums and other kinds of logical entailment.


Daniel 4 years ago

From a certain cognitively lax outlook, to imagine an omnipotent agent as having 'power over' 'logic' is assumed to describe a state of affairs in which 'logic' is subsumed to omnipotence. But, the accurate description of this imaginary, nominal 'state of affairs' is that the omnipotent agent is being subsumed to the 'logic'?that is, to the accurate description, or identity?of non-omnipotent agents.

The accurate description, the logic, the order, of this subsumation is like two arrows, each of a differing degree of 'straightness', simultaneously nocked to one bow string, so that when the string is released, only one arrow hits the Bulls Eye. And, by this analogy, the description of the bowman and his point of view is that the bowman is so insensible as not to know that he has released two arrows at once, and so he concludes that the target, not his bowmanship, is incoherent.

If it is allowed that an omnipotent agent can create a stone that's too heavy for it to lift, then it is allowed that omnipotence is more powerful than omnipotence. But, if omnipotence already is more powerful than itself, then it already is just that powerful. This means that its power to create a stone that’s too heavy for it to lift is identical to its power to lift that very stone.

While this doesn’t quite make complete sense, I wish to stress the implicit point most strongly: that even within the process of proving that the concept of omnipotence is immediately incoherent, one concludes that it is immediately coherent, and that the only difference is that this process is forced to this conclusion by a perfectly irrational route to its own unwilling end, with a perfectly unwelcome set of things included in that end.

In fact, this process is merely a fancier form of the classic liar paradox: if I say, “I am a liar”, then how can it be true if I’m telling the truth therewith, and, if I’m telling the truth therewith, then how can I be a liar? So, to think that omnipotence is an epistemological paradox is like failing to recognize that, when taking the statement, ‘I am a liar’ self-referentially, the statement is reduced to an actual failure to lie. In other words, if one maintains the supposedly ‘initial’ position that the necessary conception of omnipotence includes the 'power' to compromise both itself and all other identity, and if one concludes from this position that omnipotence is epistemologically incoherent, then one implicitly is asserting that one's own ‘initial’ position is incoherent. This position finds that the ‘ultimate identifiable power’ can be identified only by requiring that it be, at once, subordinate and superior to an ‘omnipotence of thought’.

The sense that the immediate coherence of the concept of divine omnipotence is a limitation upon the power of an omnipotent agent is tantamount to the position that the possibility of knowledge constitutes an object which is distinct from, and superior to, the ultimate agent. This bias is equivalent to the statement: ‘the identifiability of omnipotence is not co-extensive with omnipotence, despite that the concept of omnipotence is known immediately to be coherent, because the haecceity of its immediate coherence is held to be concretely independent of its omnipotence.’ This irrational view of omnipotence is, in fact, the sense that logic is a power which not only is independent of the ultimate agent, but which is so superior to, and controlling of, that agent as to at once define that agent irrationally and, given the supposed ontological independence of ‘logic’, to deny that that agent is logically possible. Such ‘logic’ is nothing more epistemologically relevant than that of an irrational mind looking at itself in the mirror of itself and attacking the reflection as irrational while failing to recognize that the reflection is merely that.

In a world of disharmony on all levels, we humans have a problem with power: we tend to conceptualize power as essentially adversarial or otherwise ‘dominative’. In other words, in the context of a basic psychological, social, organic, and general material insecurity, the human mind/psyche easily falls to ‘intuiting’ power not only as most essentially an action, but as an action which is a self-preserving or antagonistic response to inhospitable, intrusive, manipulative, domineering, or otherwise adverse external agents.

In fact, this adversarial-dominative sense of power is so pervasive in the fallen mind that some people, despite their more-or-less conscious recognition that the concept of omnipotence is immediately coherent, adopt the view that its very coherence constitutes an external limitation on, or ontological counter to, the power of an omnipotent agent, called ‘logic’. They then are forced to ‘recognize’ that omnipotence must be remedied as irrational in order for them easily to maintain a sense of its epistemological stability: paradoxically in adverse relation to the logic not only of its own identity, but to all identities whatever.


Daniel 4 years ago

You say: "If logic exists beyond God's hand, then logic is either uncreated, or was created by something other than God. Either way, we have discovered at least one thing--logic--that God did not create. Therefore God did not, in fact, create everything."

What is the concrete substance of this 'uncreated' thing you're calling 'logic'?

What we commonly refer to as ‘logic’ is nothing but our minds reflected in themselves like a mirror. Of course, it's possible merely to submit to someone else's preferred presuppositions, and thus to be subject to their preferred reflections. Or, we could internalize wrong presuppositions when we're disappointed by, or afraid of, what our initial natural notions seem necessarily to produce. But, just like the simplest concept of power as simple agency, the simplest concept of reasoning is 'logic'. Both are pure abstractions; neither of them is a thing in itself. So, the problem with this ‘mirror’ called 'logic' is in recognizing ourselves when we look into it.

So, your irrational have-your-cake-and-eat-it position on omnipotence argues, in effect, that the 'logic' which requires that this be the genuine concept of omnipotence is actually the glass, and the silver backing, of the very mirror by which you know also of logically coherent things. That’s a seriously flawed mirror:

You: “Ouch! My mirror just punched me!...I'm telling!...mom! My mirror hit me!”

Mirror: “did not!”


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Daniel:

"The cognitively least demanding conception of power is that according to which dictionaries may define power"

Whether a definition of something is "cognitively demanding" or not is completely irrelevant.

"But, simple agency is the fully ambiguated, or logically indifferent, sense of the idea of power..."

So what?

"It can’t tell us that the logical potential to accidentally trip and hit your head is not strictly an example of power, but of a lack of the cognitive power to coordinate..."

Ability to trip and fall is not "strictly an example of power" according to your conception of the word "power." But it is an example of ability to do something. A rock does not have the ability to trip and fall, for instance. Whether we subjectively like to fall or not is irrelevant on this point. It is something we are capable of doing.

"So, simple agency cannot tell us that the kind of agent that a particular agent is is what determines what powers it has, or, rather, is."

Uh huh. And simple ice cream cannot tell us that the flavor (kind) of ice cream that a particular ice cream cone is is what determines what flavor it has, or rather, is. LOL.

So what? This is all irrelevant to the core issue.

"In fact, if the ontology of power were simple agency, then power would not be anything in itself, but would consist purely in the fact that something changes."

How do you figure that? Power is the ability to change something or do something, not the change itself. The fact that something changes is not a power, it is the result of power. My college degree, for instance, is the result of my ability to graduate from college.

"From a certain cognitively lax outlook"

Again with this "cognitive" nonsense. I'm assuming this is a fancy way of calling your opponent dumb.

"to imagine an omnipotent agent as having 'power over' 'logic' is assumed to describe a state of affairs in which 'logic' is subsumed to omnipotence... the omnipotent agent is being subsumed to the 'logic'--that is, to the accurate description, or identity--of non-omnipotent agents."

Indeed. Thank you for proving the point that even if a God existed, it would be impossible for us to know anything about him. Thereby rendering belief in God baseless.

"So, to think that omnipotence is an epistemological paradox is like failing to recognize that, when taking the statement, ‘I am a liar’ self-referentially, the statement is reduced to an actual failure to lie."

Either the statement is true, or it is a lie.

If the statement is true, then the speaker is not a liar.

If the statement is false, then the speaker is not a liar. Either way, he is not a liar. Seems pretty simple to me. I fail to see how this is "reduced to an actual failure to lie."

"The sense that the immediate coherence of the concept of divine omnipotence is a limitation upon the power of an omnipotent agent is tantamount to the position that the possibility of knowledge constitutes an object which is distinct from, and superior to, the ultimate agent."

I suppose, in a very wordy and roundabout way, that is correct. I will reiterate that it is the theist who makes claims about God. It is the theist who claims to know something about God. Thus it is the theist himself who is essentially assuming that human reason and knowledge are distinct from, and superior to, the "ultimate agent." I already said that belief in God is baseless for this simple reason; even if God did exist, we could not know anything about it.

"This irrational view of omnipotence is, in fact, the sense that logic is a power which not only is independent of the ultimate agent, but which is so superior to, and controlling of, that agent as to at once define that agent irrationally and, given the supposed ontological independence of ‘logic’, to deny that that agent is logically possible."

Well, again, you are going to have to take that up with yourself and your theist friends. It is theism itself that creates all these contradictions and problems. Making your mirror analogy very apropos indeed, lol!

While the atheist may use logic to deny that God is possible, the theist uses logic to argue that God is possible! If you are to be consistent with your criticism of "logic" then you must throw the baby out with the bath water: both theism and atheism must go for you. (Now who is trying to have their cake and eat it too?)

Except for the inconvenient fact that atheism will remain because non-acceptance of a claim is the default state of the human mind.

God is not needed for logic, but logic is needed for God.

"What is the concrete substance of this 'uncreated' thing you're calling 'logic'?"

A lot of ambiguous words there like "concrete" and "substance." So the answer depends on exactly what you mean. But to clarify, logic for this purpose can be thought of as the coherence in nature, or the laws of nature that we happen to perceive as ordering reality.

These laws and rules, if God can violate them, God is not constrained by them. But if God cannot violate them, then God is constrained by them. In which case, nature/ reality preexisted God in some way. There is something in nature that existed before God. Therefore God did not create everything. There is at least one thing--whatever we call it--that he did not create.

Despite your mountain of assertions and claims, you have failed to demonstrate how my position is irrational in any way.


Daniel 4 years ago

Secularist10:

“Except for the inconvenient fact that atheism will remain because non-acceptance of a claim is the default state of the human mind.”

I’m not sure what you mean. It seems to me that that sequence of words amounts to saying that ‘Ignorance is the default state of the human mind’. But, I doubt my own impression that that’s what you mean, so I’m not sure what you mean.

There are two, mutually exclusive notions of omnipotence. One of these is contingent on the most cognitively lax and ignorant sense of the idea of ‘power’. The other is contingent on the knowledge that power is not essentially an act, but a concrete thing.

This first-mentioned notion of omnipotence is the product of the obscene sense that the ontology of the greatest conceivable power stands in ontologically independent, and even adverse, relation to the possibility of knowledge. This second-mentioned notion of omnipotence is the product of the sense that there logically is allowed an irreducible agent in which inheres the logically greatest scope and degree of powers.

There are a host of issues and problems involved in conceiving of omnipotence as including sentience, which is an additional matter to those that I have addressed in my first post, to which you replied.

It is not uncommon for people to think that for an omnipotent agent to be able to become even more omnipotent is accurately described as 'logic' being subsumed to omnipotence. But, this way of thinking is cognitively lax, and incoherently ignorant of its own presuppositions. The accurate description of the image of omnipotence being able to become even more powerful than itself is that the omnipotent agent is subsumed to a logic which applies, by definition, to limited agents.

The logic of limited agents is not in the merest fact that they are limited, but in the causes of their limitations. These causes are contingence, synthesis, and mutually dependence. That is, a limited agent is made of other, limited agents; the mutual bonds of which are not immutable; and the organized whole of which, as its own distinct kind of limited agent, depends for its functional maintenance on a specific relationship to an environment comprised of a host of other agents each of which is in some ways more powerful that it. This is how limited agents can multiply themselves, and can artifice other agents which are in some ways more powerful than themselves.

So, unless pure, cognitively lax imagination is the standard of the logical conception of anything, the concept of omnipotence must entail certain things while precluding others. I maintain that one of the things it precludes is the creation of anything that’s equal to omnipotence, such as second omnipotent agent, and doubly precludes the creation of anything that exceeds omnipotence.

Now, this line of reasoning so far may not be convincing to many people. But, in that case, this is because there are many more facets of reasoning than this one that can seem to impugn the concept of omnipotence. But, then, too, there are as many more lines of reasoning involved in the concept, and which individually and together show that the concept of omnipotence naturally, and for every sound reason, obtains to our minds as immediately coherent.

In fact, it is the immediate coherence of the concept of omnipotence that provides us with the sense that omnipotence is paradoxical: its immediate coherence is felt to pose an external, or otherwise genuine, constraint on the power of an omnipotent agent to change the very epistemological definitions of things. But, such a ‘constraint’ allows us to conceive of omnipotence in the first place, because the possibility of definitions is the possibility of knowledge. The issue, therefore, is as to what all are the things that cause us to feel that the possibility of knowledge poses a genuine constraint on the power of an omnipotent agent.


Daniel 4 years ago

Secularist10:

I shall here address the 'liar paradox' at length.

You mentioned that you fail to see how it is a failure to lie. But, I assume that you do see that it is a paradox. Now, if you think you see _how_ it is a paradox, then look self-referentially at the mechanics of your own thinking by which you see it as a paradox.

The paradoxicality is purely the result of the _pure_ self-reference, which means there is no actual content about which the nominal lie is lying. An impersonal version of the original liar statement may be instructive: ‘This is a lie’.

Of course, by a cognitive laxness which is nevertheless focused ‘carefully’ on the liar statement (as a telescope is focused on a forest), one tends to conflate two things 1) the mere subjective sense that the statement 'I am a liar' is somehow in reference to some actual matter external to the explicit statement; and 2) the objective sense that the statement can be turned upon itself. But, sense 1) is not actually part of the explicit statement.

In mind of Kurt Godel's Incompleteness theorem, the statement, 'I am a liar', is incomplete. But, when taken self-referentially, it fails to be in reference to anything about which a lie is epistemologically possible. The mere idea of a lie is not anything about which a lie is possible. So the point is that there is no possible world in which the only subject matter is the mere idea of a lie, or the mere idea of truth.

Much of this applies as well to the statement, 'I tell the truth'. When taken self-referentially, the same result obtains: a failure to actually inform in the explicit form of the statement. What truth am I telling? None, if the truth is merely about the _idea_ that I am telling the truth. But, unlike for the statement, ‘I am a liar’, to take the statement that ‘I tell the truth’ self-referentially does not produce in us a sense of paradox, because it has no epistemologically adverse element.

But, in the case of sentimentally adverse self-reference, there easily is neither paradox nor a failure to inform: ‘I hate making statements.’ ‘I hate to talk.’ ‘I hate to use language.’ ‘I find it unpleasant to express my thoughts.’

But, in the case of statements that use a combined sentimental-epistemological adverse element, there is some paradox when they are taken self-referentially: ‘I feel that there is no point in saying anything.’

More complexly explicit forms of the Liar statement may instructively seem not to have as much paradoxical force to them, such as ‘I am lying by way of the current statement’. And, a fully reductive, one-word form may also be instructive: ‘Lie’.

Further self-referential explications of the non-information of a statement are possible. For the liar statement, a rather lengthy such explication would be, ‘If you accuse me of lying about saying in this current run-on sentence that I am a liar, and, indeed, I assert herein that am a liar, then you must prove purely therewith that I am lying, but, since you can’t prove it purely therewith without also proving that I’m telling the truth herein, then I think you misunderstand what this run-on sentence is actually about, namely your failure to see how I’ve spun you up in the mechanics of your own thinking.’


Daniel 4 years ago

===

==

==

==

"God is not needed for logic, but logic is needed for God."

Again, what is logic? You use the word so easily, so it normally would seem that you would know what it is. All knowledge by limited cognizing agents, even the most a priori knowledge, does not simply terminate, or 'dead-end', once consciously identified, but flows back around to other, related knowledge, and to many other cognitive functions. Your mind is not some kind of computer that either reverts to ‘standby mode’ or shuts itself off when some terminal cognitive task is completed. This means that for the contingent, linear minds of limited cognizing agents, there is no static end to the process of thought, no matter what that thought involves. Another term for a priori knowledge is presupposition, and while most presuppositions have more basic presuppositions of their own, the non-terminal nature of thought allows even the most basic, or terminal, presuppositions to lead back around to all secondary, non-terminal knowledge.

Concretely, an agent either: 1)is simply coextensive with itself, or 2)depends for its continued coherence on contact with things which are external to it. The human brain-mind is a case of 2). God, by definition, is a case of 1).

For the human brain-mind to define God coherently, such a brain-mind requires 'logic'. Such 'logic' is not a Platonic 'glue' that holds everything to be what everything is. Rather, such 'logic' is a coherent coordination of the parts of the brain-mind requisite to such a coherent definition. Such parts may be referred to in the abstract, but they really are a bit more concrete.

It seems to me that the exact nature of the relation between the ‘merely’ concrete and the sentient-ly concrete is somewhat beyond me. But, it also seems to me (and I could be wrong) that the concept of the ‘merely’ concrete may well be a concept which is more a product of the cognitive efficiency of limited cognizing agents than an actual accurate representation of the nature of the concrete. Much by the efforts of Albert Einstein, even the Newtonian concept of space as both concretely fully accommodating/indifferent and ontologically independent of matter/energy is today commonly accepted as an example of the illusion which cognitive efficiency can paint for us limited cognizing agents.

The conception of power as the most abstracted sense of ‘something bringing something about’, or ‘simple agency’ is logically indifferent. So, this conception of power can seem to us to be logically all-purpose. But, in fact, it is logically no-purpose, because it is perfectly epistemologically passive. As the epistemologically passive conception of power, simple agency is the root of the paradoxical reconception of omnipotence: simple agency is that by which omnipotence is 'proved' to be irrational. But, such ‘proof’ actually is nothing but a description — however un-complete-able ? of this irrational re-conception of omnipotence.

In keeping with the term, ‘simple agency’, its resultant conception of omnipotence may be termed 'pure agency': an agent in regard to which not only its own agency has no essential agency in face of its own agency, but everything else, too, including the identity of mathematical sums, has no essential identity in face of this pure agency. In other words, simple agency constrains our notion of omnipotence to be formulated as an agent which must be anti-identifiable except in terms of simple agency. But, this means that, for the anti-identifiable conception of omnipotence to be valid on its own terms, the very idea of ‘all identities’ must include even the negation of given positive identities, else it is allowed that such negations are proper states of affairs that are ontologically and epistemologically independent of their respective positive identities.

But, an equivalently simple haecceity as that of simple agency is not normally, nor typically readily, applied either to omniscience or to omnibenevolence. But, it can be so applied. In fact, to so apply it is only consistent with the epistemological passivity of simple agency and its resultant re-conception of omnipotence as an irrationally ‘pure agency’.

So, the epistemological equivalent of simple agency is the purest abstraction of ‘knowledge’, or ‘pure knowledge’, containing no actual knowledge, but being simply the idea of knowledge. And, the sentimental equivalent to simple agency is the purest abstraction of ‘benevolence’, containing no actual sense that some things are bad, others are good, and still others are indifferent, but being simply the idea of benevolence?whatever that actually can mean.

The re-conceptualization of omniscience in terms of a meaninglessly abstract mere idea of ‘knowledge’ results in defining omniscience as a ‘pure’, or ‘absolute’ ‘extent of knowledge’, including knowing that a given identity or equation equals explosion. And, spectacularly, such a ‘pure omniscience’ actually is equivalent to ‘absolute’ omnipotence, because this ‘omniscience’ must include knowing how to exercise pure agency without having either to know anything or to take any thought to initiate such exercise.

But, this absurdly meaningless re-conception of omniscience is not abided by people who maintain the paradoxical view of omnipotence. And, the reason they do not abide it is because they, like everyone else, grant that the nature of knowledge is more intimately known to them than is the concrete nature of ultimate power known to them. Naturally, therefore, they the more readily reject this standard for conceiving omniscience than they reject it for conceiving omnipotence.

And, for the same kind of reason, they with least difficulty reject this standard for omnibenevolence: an ‘omnibenevolence’ which as well approves every lie, evil, and indifference as it approves every truth, good, and empathy? like some insensibly happy man who cannot see that anyone else is having a difficult time, as if he is on some overpoweringly euphoria-inducing drug that makes him smile and pat his belly while responding to everyone’s complaints as if they were telling him the most cheery news.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Daniel, I'm going to have to ask you to keep your comments under 1000 words. You should be able to express yourself adequately within that range. Anything above 1000 words will be deleted. If you want to write these huge essays, join Hub Pages and have at it.

I'm not inclined to wade through your dense linguistic thicket in any case. Too much time to try to figure out what exactly you're trying to say, to say nothing of your many irrelevant tangents.

So I will just respond to a few points that jump out at me.

I notice you continue with this ridiculous "cognitively lax" nonsense. Why must a definition not be "cognitively lax"? What law says that we have to complicate everything endlessly? Sometimes things really are just simple and straightforward. To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

So just because you want to complicate the definition of "power" or "omnipotence" doesn't change the actual definition of these words.

"This first-mentioned notion of omnipotence is the product of the obscene sense that the ontology of the greatest conceivable power stands in ontologically independent, and even adverse, relation to the possibility of knowledge."

Basically this is an argument from outrage. You see something as "obscene" and therefore it must be wrong.

I don't quite understand how the "possibility of knowledge" is relevant here. You would have to flesh that out more. But if this is a chicken-and-egg issue (as in, God encompasses everything, including knowledge itself), I already addressed that issue earlier. You need to use logic to come to that theistic conclusion, thereby undermining your own argument.

"But, when taken self-referentially, it fails to be in reference to anything about which a lie is epistemologically possible. The mere idea of a lie is not anything about which a lie is possible. So the point is that there is no possible world in which the only subject matter is the mere idea of a lie, or the mere idea of truth."

The statement "I am a liar" is not a reference to lying. It is a reference to the speaker. The speaker, a person, is referencing himself. The speaker is the subject of that statement.

"Again, what is logic?"

Why are you asking again? I already answered this question. You are once again trying to have your cake and eat it too, in any case. Because although “logic” may be difficult to define, “God” is even more difficult if not impossible to define, especially by the narrow materialistic standards you seem to be applying here.

"Concretely, an agent either: 1)is simply coextensive with itself, or 2)depends for its continued coherence on contact with things which are external to it. The human brain-mind is a case of 2). God, by definition, is a case of 1)."

If God exists as he is defined by theistic believers, then yes. But this does not prove in any way that God exists.

Here: An agent either (1) has a single horn on its head or (2) it does not. A unicorn, by definition, is a case of (1). This statement is just as reasonable.

"And, the reason they do not abide it is because they, like everyone else, grant that the nature of knowledge is more intimately known to them than is the concrete nature of ultimate power known to them."

Well, don't you think that kind of makes sense, since we can't "know" anything without "knowing" it? Lol. Knowledge of power, or knowledge of a tree, or knowledge of a car, is obviously our brains working. So of course knowledge or awareness--and the potential or ability thereof--is more fundamental to us than anything else.

But perhaps I am being "cognitively lax" lol.


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MilesArmbruster 4 years ago from Somewhere on the journey

Ultimately, the answer to the original "paradox" is simple. You are correct, god, as you have defined him, is impossible based upon your logic. In other words, you have created a god who can't exist within the parameters you have defined. Your argument and conclusion are correct as long as you get to choose what "god" is. Since you are so committed to logic, you should immediately recognize this as a "straw man" argument. That is, you set up a false view, one that fits your position, and then proceed to knock down the false view.

In this case, the straw man you have set up is one where your god has only one quality - omnipotence. In your definition of god, he is less than a person, he is a mechanism, you even define what he can and can't do, based on your logic. Now, if we follow your argument, since you have defined god in this way, your argument only proves that you are capable of creating a god in advance who fails the criteria you want him to fail.

This is, why as you claim, "The paradox of omnipotence is... one of the most powerful, questions one can ask about God." As long as you define omnipotence and god in a way that are incompatible with the conclusion you already hold, every argument will ultimately prove what you have already concluded.

I wonder what would happen if you put the true God of any religion into your argument.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Miles:

This isn't my definition of God, it's the definition of God as held by most theists. Most theists claim God is omnipotent, so that is why I am using that definition.

So I haven't "created" any god, it is the theists who have created the God and I am simply working with what they have given me. And moreover, the fact that this is not a personal thing unique to me is indicated by the fact that countless thinkers and philosophers through the ages have employed the paradox of omnipotence. I didn't invent any of this.

"In this case, the straw man you have set up is one where your god has only one quality - omnipotence."

Nowhere did I claim that God has only one quality. I assumed--again, as the theist claims--that God is omnipotent. This omnipotence is an essential feature of God, but not his only feature. Omnipotence is a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition. There are other qualities (such as omniscience or the fact of creating everything) that are also essential to God. Just like the columns holding up a building, if just one of these qualities fails, then the whole concept fails.

Therefore if omnipotence is impossible, then God is impossible. In the same way, if omniscience were impossible, then God would be impossible for that reason. And so on.

So the theist, by defining God so narrowly with all these necessary qualities, has made God very fragile indeed.


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MilesArmbruster 4 years ago from Somewhere on the journey

I know hundreds of theists, and none of them define God this way, not even one.

And I didn't say that you claimed that God has only one quality. I said that your argument only works because you have created a god with only one quality. If you argued the God of the theists, your argument would no longer work.

But, at least you do see the point. If omnipotence were the only quality of God, then you could perhaps make your argument work. In fact, I will grant your whole argument. If there were a god and his only attribute was omnipotence, and we assume that his omnipotence is somehow constrained to the rules of rhetorical argument, then yes, that god does not exist. (And, as I said, I don't know any theists who believe in a god like that) If, however, we grant God at least the complexity of character that we would give anyone, He would be judged on the complexity of His many attributes. I think that the issue in this case would be your analogy. Attributes of a person's character cannot be so singled out, as in your image of pillars of a building. It is perhaps more helpful to see a person's character as a tapestry where you can't pull out a single characteristic and judge the whole person by it. If we look at God this way, a theist doesn't define God narrowly at all. Nevertheless, your whole argument still hinges upon a narrow definition where you set up a god who is no God at all. The god that you and "countless thinkers and philosophers through the ages" have created is easy to refute.

Given the criteria you have used we could argue this way.

Joe, the typical next door neighbor, is typical. He likes football, enjoys backyard bar-be-cue, yells at his kids when he get angry, and works hard to support his family. One day, we see Joe yelling at his kids because they threw a baseball at the house and broke a window.

1) Joe is angry.

2) Angry people are not kind.

3) Conclusion: Joe is never kind.

So, by narrowing Joe down to a single attribute, anger, we can prove whatever we want about him. Simple logic. Of course, our judgement of Joe would be altered if there was, perhaps, other attributes of his that made us rethink our conclusion.

And I am sorry, I did not mean to imply that your definition of god was original in any way. To be consistent with your expression of it, I should have said that, "countless thinkers and philosophers through the ages" have imagined a narrow definition of god to build arguments around. You did not invent it, both this narrow view of God and this form of argumentation have been around for a long time.


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MilesArmbruster 4 years ago from Somewhere on the journey

Mea culpa.

I did say one thing in error in my last post, and I need to be honest, I was wrong. I said, "I know hundreds of theists, and none of them define God this way, not even one." That is incorrect. You did say that "most theists claim that God is omnipotent" and that is absolutely true. And you also say, "Omnipotence is a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition." So in all fairness, I need to admit that you are right, you have properly identified omnipotence as an attribute that theists would claim for God. I am sorry that I may have misrepresented your position.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Understood. Mistakes happen.


Daniel 4 years ago

Secularist10 wrote: 'The statement "I am a liar" is not a reference to lying. It is a reference to the speaker. The speaker, a person, is referencing himself. The speaker is the subject of that statement.'

I disagree. I think the subject of that statement (when interpreted as an instance of hypocrisy/lying) is the implicit one of the mere idea of the act, on the speaker’s part, of lying.

Some people think that the Liar Paradox is not a paradox, but simply a lie. But, the statement, 'This statement is an instance of lying', is, from a certain frame of reference, correctly representing itself, in that the statement is not actually committing a lie, in which case its self-representation as an instance of lying is a misrepresentation of itself. But, other than that, there is no lie, and, since it is intended as self-referential, there is, in fact, a paradox.

The problem is that the statement, as you correctly imply, does not, and cannot, stand on its own: it has no mind, no intention, in the sense that it is just a sequence of forms which do not constitute meaning. Only by way of a mind's accustomed interaction with that sequence is there a lie, a paradox, or a failure to inform about that sequence's normal functional content.

Taken self-referentially, the term 'lie', produces a paradox, because then the mind is in the act of contradicting itself as to whether the idea of lying constitutes an act of lying. Answering it in the affirmative is an instance of something being false: the statement, 'The idea of the act of lying is an instance of lying' is false.


Daniel 4 years ago

In your assertions about ‘omnipotence’, it sounds to me as if you’re arguing that, ‘for every agent, there can be another agent more powerful’, that you deny that there logically can be an agent that, as an agent, is essentially peerless.

Hence, my appeal to the Liar Paradox as an instance of such a denial: your formulation of such an agent as necessarily paradoxical, by way of your appeal to an epistemologically indifferent (lax) notion of power which allows such an agent to be redefined as ‘existing’ in adverse relation to the possibility of defining anything as essential, including the very definition of such an agent.

So, while the agent in your redefinition of such an ‘agent’ can, by definition, create a rock that it then cannot lift, every quality of that rock task, including the result that that agent is unable to lift the rock, is meaningless to that agent. Such an agent cannot care about what, from its own point of view, are just so many petty problems of identifiability and reality. If such an agent is posited to exist, then, to be consistent with that position, one also must posit that this agent is meaningless even to itself (power). So, if it is to be required that this agent create a rock too heavy for it to lift, then that rock’s very quality of being too heavy for it to lift is indistinguishable from any other outcome (cause-and-effect). In fact, there is no outcome as far as this ‘absolute’ power is concerned (change/sequentiality).

In seeming to find it epistemologically required that the logic of the immediate coherence of the concept of omnipotence be viewed in dichotomous, or adversarial, relation to the concept, you seem to find it natural to actually pit power and logic against each other to see which one wins. But, any genuine contest requires a neutral, or otherwise common, standard, and, since no such standard is forthcoming for this contest, one or the other fully ambiguated contestants (logic and power) is presumed to serve as judge. After all, if some neutral or common standard were presumed to exist, then there would be some doubt, to say the least, as to how to determine the winner, much less how to convince anyone else that the winner has, indeed, won.

So, either power, as such, can be identified to exist, or power is not co-extensive with...'logic' in any sense.


Daniel 4 years ago

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If I state that ‘I utter falsehood’, and if I do not intend that statement as an instance of my uttering falsehood (but rather of my accurately describing that I utter falsehood), and if you know that I do not intent it as an instance of my uttering falsehood, and if you utter that it must nevertheless be understood as an instance of my uttering falsehood, then you shall be uttering falsehood.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Daniel:

Well, the statement "I am a liar" is pretty straightforward grammatically. It has the same structure as "the house is a mansion" or "Greece is a country." The subject of this sentence is not country, it is Greece. The statement is providing new information about Greece--Greece could be a city, a region, a planet, etc, but the statement is providing the information that it is a country.

"... you deny that there logically can be an agent that, as an agent, is essentially peerless."

No, I don't deny that. Suppose there are no other intelligent life forms in the universe. In that case, we humans would be peerless. But we do not have infinite or unlimited power. An agent can be peerless without having infinite power. It is the issue of infinite power that is a problem.

"... your formulation of such an agent as necessarily paradoxical, by way of your appeal to an epistemologically indifferent (lax) notion of power which allows such an agent to be redefined as ‘existing’ in adverse relation to the possibility of defining anything as essential, including the very definition of such an agent."

Well, firstly, "epistemologically indifferent" is quite a loaded phrase. You're essentially saying that if a given term does not give us the result we want, we can simply change the definition of it until we get that result. And if we are not so fast and loose with the language, then we are being uncreative, lax and indifferent. That is straightforwardly ridiculous.

Secondly, the whole point of all of this is that the agent, in light of the paradox of omnipotence, does not exist! It does not exist because it logically CANNOT exist. So I am not redefining it as existing, I am precisely arguing that it cannot exist in the first place. As for anything being "essential" that seems like yet another topic altogether.

"... while the agent... can... create a rock that it then cannot lift, every quality of that rock task... is meaningless to that agent. Such an agent cannot care about what, from its own point of view, are just so many petty problems of identifiability and reality."

Again you are bringing in irrelevant issues. The question is not "does God care if he can do XYZ" the question is "can God do XYZ." It is a question of objective truth, not subjective feelings. Everything may very well be meaningless to this amazing being, but that does not have anything to do with its basic ability to do anything. Buying a pack of chewing gum doesn't carry any great significance or weight to me, but that does not have anything to do with my ability to buy it.

"... you seem to find it natural to actually pit power and logic against each other to see which one wins. But, any genuine contest requires a neutral, or otherwise common, standard..."

The contest here is not between logic and power. It is between God's ability to create the immovable stone, and God's infinite power. In other words, God's power to do a specific thing (create an immovable stone), and God's power to do another specific thing (move any stone).

Logic is the neutral arbiter, the standard you seek, between these two.


Daniel-Omnilingua 4 years ago

Secularist10:

I find this fascinating and challenging: That one person can find something so obvious to that person (either you or me) while another person does not seem even to see it, seemingly no matter how obviously to the one person that that one person states the issue. Herebelow is my own new, very short-and-simple, and formal, attempt to state what I find so obviously false about your statements about omnipotence, but which it seems to me that you miss (like a diamond ring in tall grass as you gallop by on your steed after the fox).

Let 'A' be a logical necessity. Let 'z' be the negation of 'A'.

Therefore 'A'='z' is not (I repeat, not) a thing.

Assuming you agree so far with this formula, let 'OP' be an agent that can do any thing.

Need I complete the syllogism?

(I wish a smiley that likens someone pulling out his hair) :)

.

Now, back to the liar paradox:

Consider the following pair.

'The following statement is false.' 'The preceding statement is false.'

What, in any world, is the subject of the falsehood which that pair grammatically seems to address?

This is no less the case for the Bob-and-Jim world (in which the only members are two guys, by the names of Bob and Jim, each of whom knows nothing whatever except the mere idea if lying):

Jim says, 'Bob is a liar.'

Bob says, 'Jim is a liar.'

What. Is. The. Lie? ???

It's like you're saying that there are ten thousand angels on the head of a pin, but you cannot actually prove that there is even one angel there. You just assume it.

So, all my replies have amounted to demanding that you name those angels, or even so much tell what they look like. 'A'='z' is a thing, somehow (you think), yet you've not even begun to prove it. You cannot name even one of those angels. But, you think 'OP can, if 'OP' existed, because 'OP' can____.

Fill in the blank, even with random nothings: 'wtltwtbf spb gbpfpt', no less than that 'roses ARE wtltwtbf spb gbpfpt' (pre-consequential power, as one of the innumerable 'any things' that aren't things.)


Daniel 4 years ago

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Secularist10:

In an earlier post, you had quoted me and then replied.

I had said, "... you deny that there logically can be an agent that, as an agent, is essentially peerless."

You repied, "No, I don't deny that. Suppose there are no other intelligent life forms in the universe. In that case, we humans would be peerless."

First, I said _essentially_ peerless. By 'essential', I meant "cannot be undone in its own agency." In other words indestructible, even by its own power. By 'peerless', I did not mean simply in terms of a limited number of the basic kinds of agency, but in terms *every* basic kind of agency. If you think that intelligence (i.e., subjective awareness, and that awarenesses power to act and interact in a libertarian-ly free manner) is a basic kind of agency, so be it. But, clearly, humans are not peerless in terms of every basic kind of power. A human can, for instance, have his entire set of coherent powers crushed to oblivion between a very massive-and-voluminous boulder and the Earth's gravitational mass, or blown to dust by a very high explosive.

Second, when I said that *you deny* that there logically can be an agent that is essentially peerless, I meant that your arguments here have failed to allow for an agent which is inviolably peerless in every basic kind of power (whatever you yourself think are all the basic kinds of powers, not what I might think). Whether you actually reject that such an agent is logically possible is not the point, but simply that it seems to me that your direction of thought (as assumed by the forms of language you've used), is looking right past the diamond ring in the tall grass (see my previous post).


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Daniel:

"Let 'A' be a logical necessity. Let 'z' be the negation of 'A'. Therefore 'A'='z' is not (I repeat, not) a thing. Assuming you agree so far with this formula, let 'OP' be an agent that can do any thing. Need I complete the syllogism?"

Either I'm too dumb, or you are not a very good communicator (or both), because I don't really get what you're trying to say here. I assume that you're saying that OP, an agent that can do anything, is a logical necessity, and then some kind of Z is the negation of this agent? Logic flies in the face of the ability to do anything, so that's all I can say on this. Unless you wish to clarify this for me.

"'The following statement is false.' 'The preceding statement is false.' What, in any world, is the subject of the falsehood which that pair grammatically seems to address?"

Well, each sentence in this pair is addressing a different subject. The subject of the first sentence is the second, and the subject of the second sentence is the first. Both sentences have the structure "[subject] is [adjective]." I don't know how else to explain this. It's simple grammar.

But the liar issue does not concern me that much.

"'A'='z' is a thing, somehow (you think), yet you've not even begun to prove it. You cannot name even one of those angels. But, you think 'OP can, if 'OP' existed, because 'OP' can____. Fill in the blank, even with random nothings: 'wtltwtbf spb gbpfpt', no less than that 'roses ARE wtltwtbf spb gbpfpt'..."

I think you're saying that I am saying that OP can do anything. Yes? How about we replace "OP" with "God"? Again, as I said, I didn't come up with the idea of God. I didn't come up with the idea of an omnipotent agent. All I've been saying is, precisely the opposite, that such an agent CANNOT logically exist because it creates irreconcilable contradictions with itself.

Is it possible to make a square circle? Of course not, because it is a contradiction. But if an agent can truly do ANYTHING then it can do even things that self-contradict. Self-contradicting states of affairs are included in "all states of affairs." Since such a being can bring about any or all states of affairs, it must follow that he can bring about impossible states of affairs. Which, obviously, leads to contradictions. Contradictions that liquidate the possibility of the existence of such a being at all.

"By 'essential', I meant "cannot be undone in its own agency." In other words indestructible, even by its own power."

In that case yes. I don't believe such a thing is possible. That is kind of the whole point of this article. That omnipotence is logically impossible. But I am not assuming this blindly, if that's what you're implying. I am coming to this conclusion from logical deduction.

I didn't start with the assumption that omnipotence is impossible. I said "let's say that it is possible, what would that mean? Well, that would mean X, and it would mean Y. But wait--X and Y logically contradict each other. Therefore omnipotence is not logically possible."

Creating a square circle is included under the umbrella of "everything." Creating a immovable stone that is movable is included under the umbrella of "everything." And so on. So if a being can truly do "everything," it can do these things. Nothing is impossible.

You see how logical deduction leads to separate conclusions that each logically contradict each other?


Daniel 4 years ago

Firstly, we’re not talking about God. You may be talking about God, but I’m not. I’m talking about your logical standards for defining the idea of ‘all the power which may inhere in a single agent’.

So, secondly, I’m not talking about whether such an agent is logically necessary. Rather, my basic question is whether, in your mind, such an agent is irreducibly a single agent, or whether, instead, you think that such an agent is reducible ‘by definition’? Because, if, in your mind, such an agent is reducible ‘by definition’, then I doubt the ultimate coherence of the standard(s) by which you arrive at that definition.

About the definition of ‘states of affairs’ (or ‘things’). The idea of a ‘square circle’, or of ‘2+2=explosion’, clearly has ideational content (unlike intentionally ideationally content-less strings of letters such as ‘dfdhtye’). But, unless a ‘square circle’ and ‘2+2=explosion’ are things in the sense of even possibly existing in the actual world outside the ‘imagination’, then these ‘things’ aren’t things in any meaningful way in terms of the power to actualize them, nor in terms of their own power to exist.

Imagine an agent which has only one very narrow ‘power’: the ‘power’ to make ‘square circles’. The problem is that, all else being equal, no one could actually identify an instance of that agent’s action: an actual ‘square circle’. Because, to identify an actual, concretely real, ‘square circle’ requires the power to identify it. And, this means that for an agent to have the power to create a ‘square circle’, this does not imply that that agent has the power either to know that it has created anything, or what it has created.

So, what I’m saying is, I think that your ‘conclusion’ as to the logical impossibility of omnipotence is merely a _description_ of your definition of omnipotence. Some people actually assent that such a definition in no way precludes that an agent of that description cannot exist, but I hope that you can see how cognitively lax is the thinking of such people.


Daniel 4 years ago

Yow! I made a grammar error in that finl sentence, by putting 'precludes' where 'means' should have been.

So, I should have written:

'Some people actually assent that such a definition in no way means that an agent of that description cannot exist'


Daniel 4 years ago

The position that an agent which is omnipotent, or has unlimited power, necessarily or literally means that that agent's power is logically explosive is a position which is reducing the definition of power to an action which changes something.

This definition of power fails to account for the fact that concrete entities, or agents, do not simply 'have' power, but actually are power. Power is not some abstract force. Every instance of power is an actual agent, otherwise no agent could change any other agent. Most agents are synthetic, and so can lose some of their powers (such as that a bird dies) without losing their status as concrete entities. But, death is just a certain level of a failure to cohere.

It seems to me you are saying that power is not most essentially an agent, or a concrete thing, but that power is most essentially an action upon something that changes that something. But, if power consists most essentially in the fact that something is subject to being changed, then, all-power would mean that everything, no matter how identifiably inviolable, can be changed. But, I would think that you believe as I do: that power consists most concretely in an agent; specifically, an agent which is not subject to being changed. I would say that you might assent to the idea that some ‘inviolable set of universal physical constants’ is such an agent.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

An agent with limitless power--it might be reducible or irreducible. Either way, I don't think it makes much difference. Either way, the fact of limitless power has certain implications. It is these implications that create logical contradictions. The implications, therefore, indict the very concept that gave birth to them.

(If, on the other hand, you will claim that simply describing the implications of this limitless power itself makes the agent reducible, then I will say I don't see where the incoherence lies.)

I am not just talking about the "idea" of a square circle. I am talking about an actual square circle--actually existing, out there in reality. We can't imagine such a thing, but a truly limitless agent can create realities in which such things are possible.

If calling my analysis a "description" of omnipotence is what you prefer, then so be it. It is still valid regardless. And it is not "my definition" of omnipotence, it is *the* definition of omnipotence: the ability to do anything; limitless power; infinite power.

"The position that an agent which is omnipotent... means that that agent's power is logically explosive is a position which is reducing the definition of power to an action which changes something."

No, power is not an action. Power is the ability to perform action. Potential, in other words.

"This definition of power fails to account for the fact that concrete entities, or agents, do not simply 'have' power, but actually are power. Power is not some abstract force. Every instance of power is an actual agent, otherwise no agent could change any other agent."

No, again, power is the potential. I have the power to drive a car. Do I drive? No, I actually don't own a car. Does that mean I don't have the power or ability to drive? No, I do have a driver's license and I am physically capable of driving. I'm just not doing it at this moment.

"... all-power would mean that everything, no matter how identifiably inviolable, can be changed."

This is precisely what omnipotence means, and why it is impossible.

"But, I would think that you believe as I do: that power consists most concretely in an agent; specifically, an agent which is not subject to being changed. I would say that you might assent to the idea that some ‘inviolable set of universal physical constants’ is such an agent."

I wouldn't consider the natural laws of the universe to be an "agent" in this way. An "agent with power" to me sounds like a conscious entity of some kind--a person, an angel, a god, etc. I don't see the natural laws as "agents with power" I see them as rules.

Here is an analogy: a basketball game. You have the set of rules of the game (natural laws), and then you have the players (conscious entities). The players have all sorts of powers--to pass, to shoot, to steal, etc--but they must work within the framework of the rules of the game.

Do the rules have "power"? I suppose, in an extremely broad sense. But it seems much more useful to think of the rules as just boundaries or a framework demarcating what is possible and what is not. Within that framework, "power" has meaning. The rules say the player has the power to shoot the ball, but not the power to travel with the ball.

(It should go without saying that although the players have the power to do this or that, that does not mean they actually are doing that at any given time.)

So it is not that the rules have power; it is that the rules identify which powers are possible and which are not.


Daniel 4 years ago

I find this very interesting.

Are you saying that 'power' implies sentience? Or, are you saying that 'limitless' power necessarily includes sentience as a kind of power?

As this is not a live exchange, I'm going to assume that you think that sentience is a kind of power. But, if 1)sentience is a kind of power, and if 2)limitless power includes sentience, and if 3)limitless power includes the power to make any identity equal logical explosion, then...

...what is the relation between the sentience of that limitless power and anything that you and I find to be 'true (or else coherent) by definition'?

In other words, what is it is about your idea of power that makes you think that 'limitless power' implies the power to make everything meaningless? Why does the term 'limitless power' compel you to think that it means a dichotomy between power and the essential knowledge that some things can be known to not be what they are not? Consider the following agent, in which inheres exactly three powers:

Power 1: A benevolence which is devoid of the ability to grieve by the acts of any agent other than itself, but ‘perfect’ in its knowing when benevolence is required;

Power 2: The power to accomplish anti-identifiably ‘anything-everything’ in the number-mathematics of all agents except itself (it has no power to multiply itself, or to reduce itself to zero, or etc.).

Power 3: Indestructibility/inviolability in terms of all other agents.

It has no other powers.

Assuming that I have defined these three powers as explicitly by which to define the hypothetical agent I have in mind, I think a case can be made that there are at least three main conclusions that follow from this definition. The least controversial conclusion may be that this agent has no power to compromise itself (the definitions of the three powers given do not enumerate such a power, and they are concluded by the stipulation that this agent has no powers but those which have been enumerated). The second and third conclusions may be somewhat controversial:

2nd, this agent has no power to communicate with any other agents except by using the irrational portion of its math power to change mathematical equations as a means of interaction. 3rd, this agent would never, and, thus, shall never, use the irrational portion of its mathematical power.

A fourth conclusion seems to follow from the latter two: 4th, this agent shall never communicate with any agent.

A fifth, independent, conclusion is that this agent has no necessary form.

A sixth conclusion, which follows from the fifth and from the definitions of its powers, is that this agent cannot change its form.

A seventh conclusion is that this agent has no form, and cannot occupy a form.

An eighth conclusion is that this agent (but not this agent's actions) necessarily is insensible to all other agents.

A ninth conclusion is that this agent would never create anything, because its one power to change anything (any ‘state of affairs’) is the power arbitrarily to change mathematical equations (which it will not do, because to ever do so would confuse and invalidate other sentimental agents, and this agent will never do anything that undermines the sentimental well-being of any sentimental agent).

The tenth, and most important, conclusion is that if (I repeat, if) this agent exists, then mathematical sums are not inviolably true, but only inviolable in face of the powers of agents which are not this agent.

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Now, by what means can the above agent be proved not to exist? Of course, the point in conceiving such an agent is exactly what??? The same goes for your formulation of 'limitless' agent. But, it seems to me that you insist, for reasons which you have not succeeded in demonstrating to my mind, that that formulation

is necessarily implied in every rational compound of 'power' and limitless'.


Daniel 4 years ago

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I think that one meaningful way of interpreting the term ‘limitless power’ is that of a concrete agent which is not, and cannot be, limited by any other concrete agent. Such an agent would, in my mind, be defined as genuinely unlimited in this sense. But, other rational dimensions of ‘unlimited’ can be added, such as that this agent can do anything concrete in regard to the functions, potentials, and natures of all other agents. It seems to me that such an agent would be, by all rational definition, omnipotent and omniscient: the one non-contingent, irreducible agent.

But aside from such an agent, I think that unless potential inheres in an irreducible agent of some kind, then our sense of the ability to identify as to what is logically required be conceived/inferred by a compound of two or more ideas is an illusory ability in any case.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

I would say power includes or implies sentience, or something resembling sentience. A bird, for instance, has the power to flap its wings, though it is not as sentient or conscious as a person.

"...what is it is about your idea of power that makes you think that 'limitless power' implies the power to make everything meaningless?"

Because a limitless power is not limited by anything, including logic itself. Yet the definition of "limitless power" itself requires the use of logic. Hence the paradox of omnipotence.

"Of course, the point in conceiving such an agent is exactly what??? The same goes for your formulation of 'limitless' agent. But, it seems to me that you insist, for reasons which you have not succeeded in demonstrating to my mind, that that formulation is necessarily implied in every rational compound of 'power' and limitless'."

Are you asking here why I bother to conceive of a limitless agent? What is the point, in other words. Well, I didn't come up with this idea--other people did. I'm just showing how their idea makes no sense.

An agent with "limitless power" clearly means something, so I don't see what your criticism is there. I am just using the term "limitless power" or "omnipotence" or whatever as it has been given to me, and showing how it makes no sense.

It's like if I said I believe in a square circle. You can then take the definition of a square, and of a circle, and show that my idea makes no sense.

"I think that one meaningful way of interpreting the term ‘limitless power’ is that of a concrete agent which is not, and cannot be, limited by any other concrete agent... It seems to me that such an agent would be, by all rational definition, omnipotent and omniscient: the one non-contingent, irreducible agent."

Well, an example of such an agent would be a tyrant who has total, complete control over a small community of people. This is a concrete agent who cannot be limited by any other concrete agent (suppose they are the only people in existence). This may qualify as "omnipotent" by your definition, but that is not the typical definition of that word. The tyrant still cannot jump up in the air and fly; he can't grow to an enormous size in an instant; he can't breathe in space; he can't melt into a puddle of water and then reassemble.

There are countless things he can't do, so how is such a person "omnipotent"? Only by a very narrow definition of that word does it make sense. That is not the typical definition of the word "omnipotence."


Daniel 4 years ago

"a tyrant who has total, complete control over a small community of people...is a concrete agent who cannot be limited by any other concrete agent (suppose they are the only people in existence). This may qualify as "omnipotent" by your definition,"

It seems to me you still mistake my position somewhat. So, I'm going to try to rephrase and re-term my position:

A concretely real object, whether sentient to any degree, or purely non-sentient, if it has every logically possible kind and degree of power over, and if it is impossible to be compromised by, all other concretely real objects, is omnipotent in any rational sense in which power practically is said to be power.

I take it as axiomatic that sentience is a kind of power: the 'power to know'. So, I have for you what I hope you find is a sensibly-termed question: By what 'power to know' do you believe that you’ve apprehended the true relation between the nature of power and the nature of knowledge, such that an object of logically ultimate power is defined as an object which, by its own self alone, is changed from irreducible power to reducible power?

I may be over-simplistic in some or all of this, but my thinking is that there are exactly two most ‘basic’ definable, logically possible, kinds of concrete objects: that made of other concrete objects/synthetic/reducible (such as you and me, bread, water, atoms, etc), and that which is irreducible (entirely co-extensive with itself in such a way that it cannot be taken apart even into smaller bits of itself). And, it seems to me that this second-mentioned kind of object takes logical precedence, or a priority.

I think that the formulation of either or both parts of the compound of 'omnipotence' that produces the irrational object which you insist is omnipotence implies that those formulations are ultimately irrational (mis-formulations of the actual real-world empirical facts from which the genetralized concepts of these parts are derived) Further, I think this irrational compound has much more to do with the Liar Paradox that you may realize:

First, paradox depends on the existence of a coherence against which to construct a seemingly necessary conflict. How this works in the normal liar paradox is that the nominal liar lies only in sum, not in all the parts that make up that sum. That is, the nominally 'perfect' liar is permitted to make genuine reference to objects, such as to himself, as a means of misrepresenting the objects referenced.

But, to assert that the liar must, by definition, be precluded absolutely from all senses in which it is possible correctly to represent anything is actually to allow that the nominal liar is precluded from representing anything as a means of mis-representing it.

This means the classical Liar Paradox is inconsistent with the standard for which it sometimes is presented as the demonstration: the concept of the contra-normally ‘perfect liar’. In so far as the least contra-normative idea of a ‘perfect’ liar is allowed to be a cognizing object, that ‘perfect’ liar is an irrational object.

The kind of ‘perfect liar’ which a mind normally contrives is that involving either a mind, or a necessarily epistemological interpretation of a form produced-by-a-mind-for-an-epistemological-purpose. The cost of such a contrivance is, at best, that the concept of a ‘perfect liar’ is side-stepped, and, at worst, that this side-step is not realized.

This means that the classical Liar Paradox is a paradox for the very reason that it is a retention of the epistemologically normative function, on the part of a mind, of cognitive functionality. In other words, the classical Liar Paradox is a case merely of the mind’s own normal sense in which the concept of a ‘liar’ is a mind. This is why, in many cases, the paradox is rephrased as an impersonal statement.

But, since forms themselves do not constitute reference, all forms are allowed---even ‘Abraham Lincoln was uncommonly tall’---, while no form may be produced as reference. And, if no form is produced as reference, then it doesn’t matter whether any form produced is taken by a non-producer as reference: the production is consistent with the standard, and so no paradox is produced. Only by irrational reference is a concept re-conceived as irrational.


Daniel 4 years ago

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We don't normally think of the familiar concrete objects around us as limited in their powers by that fact that they cannot make irrational objects. Rather, we think of them as limited in terms of all the other concrete objects in our world: mutually subject. So, an omnipotent concrete object would be an object which is not mutually subject to other concrete objects, and would be that one concrete object to which all others are subject. So, there are, to start with, three senses in which an omnipotent concrete object would be omnipotent:

1) its own concrete coherence cannot be undone by any other concrete object,

2) it can effect any other concrete object in any concrete way.

3) its omnipotent ability to effect any other concrete object cannot be undone by any other concrete object.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Sorry for the delay in responding.

"A concretely real object, whether sentient to any degree, or purely non-sentient, if it has every logically possible kind and degree of power over, and if it is impossible to be compromised by, all other concretely real objects, is omnipotent in any rational sense in which power practically is said to be power."

I don't agree. I would say such an agent is very powerful, but not all powerful. Because there are still things he cannot do. He cannot travel through time, for instance. He cannot open a wormhole in space at will. He cannot rip a hole in, or create, or destroy, a universe. He is, therefore, limited. He is limited by the natural laws of reality.

Unless you will say that those natural laws, and the logic that they produce, are themselves "concrete" in some way, and therefore the omnipotent agent can indeed violate them, in which case we are back to where we started. (I don't think that's what you would say.)

Basically, you use words like "concretely real" and "rational" and "practical." These are arbitrary self-serving designations. To an atheist, God is a figment of the imagination, and therefore not concretely real. By contrast, to a theist, God is most certainly "concretely real." Why do you arbitrarily draw the line of "concreteness" at the boundaries of what we know to be real?

You have simply narrowed the terms just enough so that you can claim "omnipotence is possible."

I can say that I am omnipotent. But let me clarify: omnipotent in my house. I have total power over everything, and nothing can limit me, in my house. Thus, I am omnipotent in my house. Within those boundaries, I am all powerful. Since I never leave my house, this is the only rational or practical meaning of power to me :)

This is essentially what you are doing.

I said in the article that power, definitionally, has nothing to do with anything logical or anything that "makes sense." That is a slippery slope. Power means the ability to do something. That's it. Not the ability to do something that "makes sense to us" or something that "obeys logic." No--just the ability to do something.

"We don't normally think of the familiar concrete objects around us as limited in their powers by that fact that they cannot make irrational objects. Rather, we think of them as limited in terms of all the other concrete objects in our world: mutually subject."

I don't quite agree with that. Yes, we say they are limited by each other on some level. But the real thing that defines the boundaries of what is possible for me, or you, or a bird, or the human race, is the laws of nature. (Those would be the "rules" in the context of the basketball game aforementioned.)

It's not so much that "X is limited because it cannot make irrational objects." It's more that "X is limited by logic," or "logic dictates that A is possible for X and B is not possible." Essentially saying the same thing, of course.

There is nothing in the actual definition of power or omnipotence that mentions logic or the laws of nature, as much as you would like to claim.

And this is precisely why omnipotence is allowed as a quality of God--because God is the creator of reality, and lies outside of reality, and thus it makes sense that he would be able to bend and violate the laws of reality.


Daniel 4 years ago

No problem for the delay.

First, in reply to parts of two of your final paragraphs:

1. "It's not so much that "X is limited because it cannot make irrational objects." It's more that "X is limited by logic,"

and

2."God is the creator of reality, and lies outside of reality, and thus it makes sense that he would be able to bend and violate the laws of reality."

'Logic', 'reality', it seems to me that you are using both for the same thing. In any case, when I examine the idea in my mind of 'a sentient power that created reality', and compare this with your words, I get the impression that you are projecting actual entity-ness onto an abstraction which you are calling 'reality', so that you are maintaining the position that this abstraction subsumes the defined 'creator of reality'. But, regardless whether this is your position, this position seems to me to be incoherent on its own terms.

Now, about your response to what you quoted of me at the beginning of your comment:

Me: "A concretely real object, whether sentient to any degree, or purely non-sentient, if it has every logically possible kind and degree of power over, and if it is impossible to be compromised by, all other concretely real objects, is omnipotent in any rational sense in which power practically is said to be power."

You: "I don't agree. I would say such an agent is very powerful, but not all powerful. Because there are still things he cannot do. He cannot travel through time, for instance. He cannot open a wormhole in space at will. He cannot rip a hole in, or create, or destroy, a universe. He is, therefore, limited. He is limited by the natural laws of reality."

Are you saying that space is not concretely real, but that space is just an abstraction? Because, if you think that space is something that exists outside the minds of specifically contingent sentient entities, that is, if you think that space is an object in itself, then the 'omnipotent object' that you quoted me as defining is an object the power of which applies to space. That's how I meant it to apply: to any real object outside itself. Unless you think that space is an irreducible object which, by its nature, precludes wormholes or etc., then the 'omnipotent object' of my quoted definition has power to make wormholes.

On the other hand, if, in your mind, the nature of space as a real (rather than abstract) object is comprehensively self-evident, ontologically necessary, concretely irreducible, and concretely non-manipulate-able, then space must be part of that uniquely non-contingent reality to the power of which all contingent objects are subject. But, I'm pondering whether space can be such a thing, because, if space is essentially non-sentient, then I'm struggling to make any sense of where 'subjective' sentience comes from. I'm wondering very much whether my own conception that some things are non-sentient (such as rocks, space, and even plants) is not in some way a cognitive shorthand for the purposes which my own merely practical needs generally require, since I'm aware that my mind is limited in its operations and resources.

You said:

"the real thing that defines the boundaries of what is possible for me, or you, or a bird, or the human race, is the laws of nature."

Do you include in those 'laws of nature' the 'laws of coherent thought' (what I think you might call 'logic')?


Daniel 4 years ago

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Based on your words about the 'laws of reality', I’m under the singular impression that you believe as I do: that some things, whatever they may be, are not the products of anything, but are irreducibly what they are as non-contingent objects (inherently coherent, self-existent objects). I shall hereafter call these objects ‘essential objects’.

If you believe that there essential objects, then the first question I have for you is whether you think there can be multiple, mutually independent essential objects.

If you think there can be multiple, mutually independent essential objects, then I have a second question for you: do you also think that any of these multiple essential objects can be sentient?

If you answer ‘No’ to that second question, then I have a third question: what is the nature of the connection between coherent thought and the coherence of essential objects?


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Logic and reality are for our purposes the same thing. "Logic" technically is our interpretation of reality and its laws. But the basic meaning here is a set of laws and rules that are inviolable.

"space is an object in itself... That's how I meant it"

I agree with that. Ok, then in that case, as I said in my previous comment, we are back to where we started in terms of the logical problems of omnipotence.

"But, I'm pondering whether space can be such a thing [concrete, irreducible, etc], because, if space is essentially non-sentient, then I'm struggling to make any sense of where 'subjective' sentience comes from."

Ah, here is where things get interesting. We are getting a bit more fundamental here as far as our assumptions. It seems you are onboard with what many theists believe, which is that consciousness and sentience require an original sentient entity to exist. Subjective sentience requires objective sentience (the kind that could only characterize God or something like a god).

I am assuming that you do not believe that consciousness and "subjective sentience" can arise spontaneously from nature itself (i.e. through evolution). That, of course, is another whole discussion. But for now suffice it to say that there is no reason to believe that consciousness must arise from other consciousness. There is no reason to DISbelieve the implications of evolution, which is that consciousness can arise spontaneously from non-conscious things and processes.

"Do you include in those 'laws of nature' the 'laws of coherent thought' (what I think you might call 'logic')?"

Again, "logic" per se is simply our interpretation and understanding of reality and its laws, or the effect of nature on our minds. If your next step after this question is to say that the logic or coherence of nature requires a logical designer, this relates to what I just said above. I have dealt with this issue, including in another hub. And many greater thinkers than I have successfully confronted it as well. There are logical holes in it. But I will wait for your response if that is your actual meaning, since that is another topic.

"If you believe that there essential objects, then the first question I have for you is whether you think there can be multiple, mutually independent essential objects."

I suppose anything is possible. I see no reason to believe such a thing though. It seems there is reason only to believe in a single such object--namely, reality or nature itself.

"what is the nature of the connection between coherent thought and the coherence of essential objects?"

I know this question does not technically apply based on your question chain, but I will answer anyway and say that coherent thought can arise--indeed, some might say, it is guaranteed to arise--from the coherence of nature itself. Hence evolution of complex intelligent organisms.

(Of course, the much subtler and deeper insight is that what we call "coherence" is itself a byproduct of this reality we are in. So coherence/ order/ etc really only mean conformity with reality itself. This again indicates that it all goes back to nature/ reality itself. But again, that's another whole tangent.)


Daniel 4 years ago

I'm back.

You said : I am assuming that you do not believe that consciousness and "subjective sentience" can arise spontaneously from nature itself (i.e. through evolution).

That's correct. I think it is ontologically incoherent to say that 'subjective' consciousness is the product of merely 'physical', non-aware stuff (like saying that a cauldron of various witches potions heated and stirred to a certain temperature and rate re-creates the actual waking mind of a frog-prince who is otherwise sleeping). Unlike for Daniel Dennett, for me it seems not just a mystery that merely 'physical' stuff causes consciousness: for me it seems an impossible fantasy to say that it does cause consciousness. This might seem to mean that I'm a mind-body dualist, but I'm not satisfied with any simple such dualism.

But, back to space vs. omnipotence. I say that space is more essential than, say, a tree, in that space exists prior to trees, whereas a tree is made up of things which are not 'tree'. Just like a motorcycle is less essential than plants, in that a motorcycle is not only less integrated with its own parts than is any plant with a plant's parts, but that motorcycle-ness is not integral to animal life on Earth.

Now, if space is more essential than trees, then what, if anything, is space made of? I think it is self-evident that space is not made of anything but space: it is irreducibly what it is. But, even if space is not made up of even more basic stuff, but simply 'is space', this does not seem to me to say that space is actually a particular kind of stuff.

I think space does not exist of itself. What I think is that the human perception that space is 'irreducible' is nothing more than the human cognitive device for sensing the 'expansiveness' of specifically practical space (unlike what space is 'made of'). This is comparable to the perception that 'time' is a 'field' of an endless procession of empty 'present moments' which successively pass into and then out of some 'room of the present' and each filled, in turn, with events, matter, feelings, etc..

So, I think that to entertain the idea of time travel is an impossible fantasy built on a fundamental misconception of time. And, I think a similar thing of space: that space is not the same thing as the human practical sense of space. I think that the human practical sense of space cannot say what space is, but only what is the relation between space and matter in terms of matter.

And, I believe that that 'in terms of' clause is the key to understanding everything as much as we contingent cognizing agents ('subjective' creatures) can understand things. There is a natural and unavoidable hierarchy of things in terms of which a creature ' makes sense of things'. Confusion in regard to a particular thing arises when, in face of an assumption that the hierarchy is plumbed, the hierarchy is not quite plumbed---when, what is not quite essential is assumed, for purely pragmatic reasons, to be essential (pragmatic evidentialism). The analogy by computers is to assume, quite ignorantly, that an accustomed program is right for correctly displaying every file, so that when a file displays as having 'errors', the file itself is assumed to contain the errors.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Well, I will just say that insofar as consciousness as we know it is composed of complex chemical and electrical processes in the brain, it seems straightforward to draw the line between the physical/unconscious components and consciousness. Sure, it's very hard to wrap our heads around, and we have not discovered how it all works completely. But there appears no reason to think this phenomenon is inherently unexplainable by naturalism.

An analogy would be the properties that collections of particles have. Individual atoms, protons and neutrons are not anything like the liquids, gases and solids that they compose. Yet the whole thing falls completely within the naturalism sphere.

"I think space does not exist of itself. What I think is that the human perception that space is 'irreducible' is nothing more than the human cognitive device for sensing the 'expansiveness' of specifically practical space (unlike what space is 'made of')."

(Technically, according to quantum mechanics, what we perceive as "empty space" is actually a bubbling brew of subatomic particles and chaos. But nevertheless, whatever its basic nature, your point is taken.)

I see no reason to think that space does not exist of itself. Why should we think such a thing? There appears to be no rational or empirical reason to. If one day science were to discover some deeper, more fundamental thing that preexisted space, gave space the ability to exist in the first place, then that would not solve the basic problem. For we would then be forced to ask: well, what is the basic nature of this thing? Does it exist of itself and if so, how? And so on.

In other words, all of the same questions you are asking about space/ reality now.

Suppose instead of space/ reality being eternal and uncreated, now we are going to say that reality is created, and it was created by God.

Well, now we have the same problem, just in a different format: how is God uncreated and eternal? How does God exist of itself? The same questions you are asking about reality/ space apply just as well to some such supernatural entity. Wherever the starting point is, we, with our limited brains, will always have this problem.


Daniel 4 years ago

Yes, it seems to me as well that we will always have an explanatory problem. I think the something must simply exist necessarily, and that it must consist of itself: it is not concretely made up of things which can properly be understood as concretely distinct from it or from one another.

But, my point about space has to do with the common 'folk physics' perception that space is in some sense composed of dimensionless points. Even Einstein seems to have arrived at such a dimensionless point: he seems to have proposed that spacetime began as a dimensionless 'singularity' in which all of the current physical forces was somehow contained. It seems bizarre. But I think our practical perceptions of physics are simply not equipped to comprehend the actual nature of physics. You refer, for example, to 'chaos', but do you really know what that is, and that it is really there as they assert that it is? Further, I think that, in keeping with the mere concept of the dimensionless point as a logical necessity, there is a current infinite regress of kinds-and-sizes of particles that make up things, so that even a single leaf has just as many particles as the whole tree (and, so, infinity concretely cannot be reduced, otherwise it's not infinity).

Some people wonder how, then, can anything really exist if there is an infinite regress of stuff. But, if there is a bottom level to stuff, then it seems there is the possibility that human discovery and practical application has a fixed maximum, and beyond which there is just the spinning of our mental wheels. LOL.

It seems it is going to be bizarre either way, because unless space does in some sense contain an infinity of dimensionless points, then how is there such as thing as objective locality? But, then, I'm thinking that that's part of the thing you call 'chaos': no particle has an exact location, because if it did then it would not act in a bizarre manner. Instead, it would act as something which itself has an absolute location at a particular 'point' in 'time'. But, since it appears that the smaller we look into stuff, the more dynamic it is, then is there really a need for particles to be merely miniature versions of the 'clunky' macro-scopic level. A tree and a rock are fairly 'clunky', appearing essentially inert and lacking in forces. But, of all the forces familiar to us, gravity alone seems to be everywhere. And, still, with all our advances in physics, it seems to me that we have not ascertained the 'clunky' idea that gravity is made of particles. Unless I've not kept up with the research, gravity is as mysterious as ever.

And if gravity is not made of anything that we can think of as 'clunky', then what of our 'clunky' brains as the very substance of consciousness? What causes such a brain to 'immediately' perceive a dichotomy between the 'clunky' world and the world of perception? Between mind and matter? Some dualists had come up the concept of zombies in order to prove that their dualism is rational. But, to me, if mind is just the action of so much 'clunky' stuff, then why the perception of many people that the actions of a human consciousness can be fully realized in an artificial substrate? Isn't the idea of such a realization the essence of a zombie?

And, most importantly to my way of thinking, if the actions of a mind can be realized independently of a mind, then it seems to me that the 'subjective' awareness which seems to us to drive our distinctly intelligent actions is ultimately a useless redundancy that need never have arisen in the first place. So, when we take our 'clunky' sense of things and super-impose it onto everything, including onto mind, that redundancy is what seems to me to result.

That result seems to me to be at odds with the concept of infinity.


Daniel 4 years ago

A little more about space: a positive bit of 'empty' space need not be empty, but do its contents make up the space itself?

A little more about mind and perception: an analogy to the naturalistic theory of mind makes that theory make sense only up to a point. I think that the 'clunky', 'cave-man' perceptions are what make that theory seem to have a rational basis.

But, while I struggle mightily with/against dualism, my own preferred analogy is that the relation between mind and 'clunky' matter, in terms of the control which the mind seems to have in making our bodies move and feel, is like that between a 'ghost' and a system-of-systems of gears-and-springs: in the womb, we build bigger and bigger gears and their drive springs, and the smaller sets of gears-and-springs that we've already built are kept up by our own direct driving of the biggest gears. So that, if any subset is removed from the system, that subset simply winds down while appearing to our 'clunky' perceptions to be at once alive and mindless. This analogy seems supported by the fact that people can learn to stop their hearts temporarily, or even, in some cases, to powerfully control their sense of pain. I myself have occasionally managed to see out through my eyes without my brain so much interpreting the signals from my optic nerves. What I saw was a lot like a pixilated jumble, and one story in the Bible has a newly-sighted blind man saying that when he was given sight he at first saw people 'as trees walking'. That's what I saw. I saw the feet and lower calves, but the rest was a lot like looking at a huge conifer in a wind storm.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

The problem of an infinite regress vs. an irreducible starting point is certainly an interesting one. Both options have problems from our perspective, but it seems that an infinite regress has many logical problems that the other option just does not have. It seems the problem with an infinite regress is that it violates a number of logical rules, but the only problem with an irreducible beginning point is that it is hard for us to understand it.

The idea that in a reductionist/ materialist framework subjective consciousness or intelligence is a "useless redundancy" is nothing but a judgment call. The universe does not make judgment calls. The fact is that our minds have developed out of this reality, and we alone have the power to make such judgments.

Starting from a theistic worldview, for example, yes, I can see how one would come to the conclusion that intelligence is a "useless redundancy" in this scenario. But that is presuming something that has not been legitimated.


Daniel 4 years ago

If it has not been legitimated that intelligence is a useless redundancy, then how, in your mind, is it legitimate to think that power is, or can be conceptually reduced to, the level of a generic 'ability'. It seems to me that to allow such a conceptual reduction of power is to allow also the conceptual reduction of all other generic-able concepts, including 'existence', 'presence', 'logic', etc.. For example, if 'existence' is a generic thing (hereafter EG=existence generic) which exists prior to, and superior to, any actual concrete thing which exists, then the existence of anything which does exist is uselessly redundant to EG.

In your article here, you seem to me to assert that power is something which exists prior to any concrete thing which 'has' power, and thus that you reduce power to a generic (PG) which has no inherent logical connection to any concrete thing no matter how irreducibly basic that concrete thing may be.

In other words, if you do, in fact, assert that power is generic (PG), then, to be consistent with that assertion, it seems to me that you also must assert that existence is generic (EG). But, if power is PG, then it is as much a case of possessing/using power for an ant to be crushed by a shoe as for the shoe to crush the ant. Likewise, it would be as much a case of power for a student to fail an academic test as for a student to succeed at the test. This is, it seems to me, to be your thesis on omnipotence, so that you hold that power is PG and that PG is prior to the omnipotent being. This is why I have said what I have said about your logic: in so many words that your logic of power is at odds with your logic of logic. Whence, then, is there coherence in your logic, since it seems to me that you wield logic is if it were generic.


Muslim 4 years ago

Both your arguments stem from the same argument,which is in fact a very old and outdated one. Your argument assumes that the questions you are asking are valid,when in fact they carry no meaning. What you are doing is creating a grammatical construct without any ontological export from that grammatical construct.

Clear example would be,"can god make 1 plus 1 equal 43?"

The question itself has no meaning,because you are essentially asking "can god make 2 ,43" ? Notice I'm not talking about god turning 2 into 43,notice that I'm saying your question is like asking can god make the concept 2 itself mean 43,obviously the question is absurd because 2 is intrinsically 2.

So when we go to your 2 questions,god creating another god is intrinsically impossible,so is creating a rock which over powers him,why?

Because the very definition of omnipotence is that nothing can over power him,not a thing nor another being,so how are you asking such a contradictory question?

This is like saying " This apple is the best at being red and nothing can beat it at being red".

Then you say "I accept this premise,but I challenge it with this question,can another apple be better at being red"?

How are you accepting the definition of omnipotence and then asking a question that contradicts it?

Second,god is intrinsically the most power like 1 plus 1 is intrinsically 2,asking if something can over power god is like asking if 1 plus 1 can equal 43,both questions are flawed.


Muslim 4 years ago

Ibn Rushd,famous islamic philosopher who was one of the main sources for philosophy for the west debunked this in the 12th century (it was debunked many times before that as well).

He was actually the one who brought it up as well,so you are using an Islamic argument that was for the existence of god,and because you don't understand it you;'re actually trying to use it against god (quite funny).

He simply asks,can something be greater or equal than the greatest?

Then how can you ask the question,can god create something greater than him?

The question is illogical.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Daniel:

"Likewise, it would be as much a case of power for a student to fail an academic test as for a student to succeed at the test."

Yes, the power to succeed and the power to fail are both manifestations of "power" essentially. That is a far more precise and consistent and useful way of thinking about "power" than to try to finely delineate what constitutes "success" and what constitutes "failure"--i.e. is a 50% a passing grade? Maybe in some jurisdictions it is, but in others, it's not. So in Texas, if you earn a 51% on your test, you have power, but in Nebraska, you don't. That doesn't make any sense--how can crossing a state line suddenly change the definition of a word, or the meaning of a human concept. And how about a 60%? 65.324%? And so on.

"This is, it seems to me, to be your thesis on omnipotence, so that you hold that power is PG and that PG is prior to the omnipotent being."

The omnipotent being has, precisely, been defined in terms of power, so definitionally, power is prior. It is the theist who has claimed "this being depends on power; power is part of what he is."

"This is why I have said what I have said about your logic: in so many words that your logic of power is at odds with your logic of logic. Whence, then, is there coherence in your logic, since it seems to me that you wield logic is if it were generic."

I'm not sure I understand this question. But yes, I suppose logic is "generic" in the terms you have laid out. Logic here meaning the basic order of nature/ reality. If you are asking whether power comes first or logic comes first, the answer is logic comes first, because power (generic) obeys the laws of logic (generic). And as I said, the hypothetical omnipotent being, in turn, (ostensibly) is described by the laws of power, and therefore by the laws of logic as well. But if the logic clashes with implications of the power, then that creates problems for the omnipotence.


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secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Muslim:

The user "HAK" posted a Youtube video above featuring a talk by a Muslim intellectual. The same arguments you are making were made in that video, and I have already addressed them.

"... your question is like asking can god make the concept 2 itself mean 43,obviously the question is absurd because 2 is intrinsically 2."

If God is truly omnipotent (i.e. his power has no limits, none) then he is able to do what for us seems impossible. He will therefore be able to make the concept 2 intrinsically 43. It may make no sense to us, but that's irrelevant. He is God. All things are possible.

Now, that is if God exists prior to logic/ rationality/ reason/ the laws of nature. If, on the other hand, God is *constrained* by the laws of logic and reason, then he cannot make 2 intrinsically 43. But in that case God is constrained. He is limited. And therefore he cannot have created the laws of logic (because a being cannot create the thing that restrains it), and therefore he did not create everything, and therefore he is not God.

"Because the very definition of omnipotence is that nothing can over power him"

Precisely. Even things that overpower us, like the laws of logic, or the intrinsic nature of the number 2, cannot overpower him. If he is truly omnipotent. That is the point.

I understand the argument very well, and I'm probably more familiar with Ibn Rushd than you are.

"He simply asks,can something be greater or equal than the greatest?"

Not for a thing that is limited by logic. But, if God really did create everything, then he is not limited by logic.

"The question is illogical."

What theists such as yourself do not realize is that logic itself constitutes a *constraint*, a *limit* on what is possible.


Dean Michael Jackson 4 years ago

You forgot that God is not only Omnipotent, He is Omniscient, therefore God can indeed create a rock He couldn’t lift, because He knows He would never want nor need Himself to lift the rock!

As for the claim God is incapable of creating a square circle, the argument is moot due to God's Omniscience; God would never want nor need to create a square circle since He made the circle round and God can't be wrong about the circle being round due to His Omniscience. It's a moot point!

This brings us to your last argument against the existence of God, "God can create another God". Again, the argument is moot since God is Omniscient, and only one Omniscient entity can exist. It is a contradiction in terms to posit that an Omniscient entity should be able to create another Omniscient entity. Whatever the nature of the second created entity was, it could not be Omniscient or Omnipotent because it was created!

A little reflection on Omniscience would have shown that all Omnipotent arguments against the existence of God are moot.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

Dean, God's omniscience is irrelevant. The issue is not whether God wants or needs to lift the rock. The issue is whether he can.

"...only one Omniscient entity can exist."

Why?

(If you are going to say that there is a "contradiction in terms" or a "logical fallacy" or some other such problem, then you will admit that God's power is limited by logic, and therefore not unlimited. Therefore not omnipotent.)


Dean Michael Jackson 4 years ago

secularist10 says, "The issue is not whether God wants or needs to lift the rock."

Response: Where did I say "whether"? I said, "He KNOWS [emphasis: mine] He would never want nor need Himself to lift the rock!" God would KNOW he couldn't lift the rock, because He made the rock not to be lifted by Him.

secularist10 says, "Dean, God's omniscience is irrelevant. The issue is not whether God wants or needs to lift the rock. The issue is whether he can."

Response: God's Omniscience is critical, since that is the duel side of God's nature. When discussing God's nature, one can't omit Omniscience.

So again, God very well can create a rock He can't lift, knowing He would never want nor need Himself to lift the rock. In other words, the argument you're making is moot.

You say, "The issue is whether he can." The issue is moot, and in raising the moot point, you have misunderstood God’s true nature; Omnipotence and Omniscience.

secularist10 asks, '"...only one Omniscient entity can exist.

Why?"

Response: The question you posed in the article was, "[Can] God...create another God[?]"

As I replied to that question in my last comment, "Whatever the nature of the second created entity was, it could not be Omniscient or Omnipotent because it was created!"

That answer should be clear to you, however if you need elaboration on that point: Since "God" #2 was created by God #1, God #2 can't be Omnipotent or Omniscient because he didn't know God #1 before he was created, therefore he isn't Omniscient, nor Omniscient because he didn't created God #1. Clear for you now?

I see you immediately saw the fault in the claimed "square circle" paradox, since you failed to reply to my critique of it.


Dean Michael Jackson 4 years ago

Correction:

"...therefore he isn't Omniscient, nor Omniscient because he didn't created God #1."

should read:

"...therefore he isn't Omniscient, nor Omnipotent because he didn't created God #1."


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

"Response: Where did I say "whether"? I said, "He KNOWS"

Semantics.

"When discussing God's nature, one can't omit Omniscience."

Yes we can. We are discussing omnipotence as a quality of God, as it has been defined by the theist. Just as "plant" is a quality of "tree." We can isolate plant and discuss it. If it is impossible for a plant to exist in a given location, then it is, by definition, impossible for a tree to exist there. Because plant is impossible, tree becomes impossible. Same thing with omnipotence vis-a-vis God.

We are destroying omnipotence as a possibility, apart from God. And in the process destroying God. Clear for you now?

"God #2 can't be Omnipotent or Omniscient because he didn't know God #1 before he was created, therefore he isn't Omniscient, nor Omniscient because he didn't created God #1."

The fact that 2 did not know 1 before he was created is irrelevant. There is no logical reason why a created entity cannot be omniscient. God 2 may be aware of everything that has ever happened, before or after his creation, for instance. His created quality does not logically negate this possibility. Clear now?

"I see you immediately saw the fault in the claimed "square circle" paradox, since you failed to reply to my critique of it."

You must enjoy jumping to conclusions. It has already been dealt with. You said at the top that issue depends on the omniscience issue, so I only need to deal with the latter to deal with the former.


Dean Michael Jackson 4 years ago

secularist10 says, "We are discussing omnipotence as a quality of God, as it has been defined by the theist."

Response: I could care less what theists say, you're replying to me.

secularist10 says, "We are discussing omnipotence as a quality of God..."

Response: Fine, continue to pretend you're slow:

God certainly can create a rock He can't lift. Now tell me...so what?

secularist10 says, "There is no logical reason why a created entity cannot be omniscient. "

Response: As I said, "God #2 can't be Omnipotent or Omniscient because he didn't know God #1 before he was created, therefore he isn't Omniscient, nor Omnipotent because he didn't create God #1. Clear for you now?"

If "God" 2 were Omnipotent, by definition it would have created God 1, and if "God" 2 were Omniscient, it would have known God #1 before it was created. "God" # 2 only knew God # 1 AFTER it was created by God #1. What God did was to create a demigod.

secularist10 says, "You must enjoy jumping to conclusions. It has already been dealt with. You said at the top that issue depends on the omniscience issue, so I only need to deal with the latter to deal with the former."

Response: As I said in my previous comment, "I see you immediately saw the fault in the claimed "square circle" paradox, since you failed to reply to my critique of it."

You have now for a second time refused to address my critique for the claimed "square circle" paradox.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

"I could care less what theists say, you're replying to me."

Lol. And you are replying to my argument, which is in response to omnipotence and God as defined by the theist.

"God certainly can create a rock He can't lift. Now tell me...so what?"

Therefore he is not omnipotent, because there is something he cannot do. Did you even read the article before commenting? Lol. Looks like you're the one pretending to be slow.

"if "God" 2 were Omniscient, it would have known God #1 before it was created."

How can an entity know something before it exists? Lol.

Anyway, this is, again, a non-sequitur. You have not explained why something must be uncreated in order to have infinite knowledge. What does one thing have to do with the other? You are operating on faith and blind assumption, not logic.

"You have now for a second time refused to address my critique for the claimed "square circle" paradox."

Let me spell it out for you. You originally said:

"As for the claim God is incapable of creating a square circle, the argument is moot due to God's Omniscience"

Thus, your claim is: Omniscience argument makes [square circle] moot.

Therefore if omniscience argument stands, square/ circle is moot.

Therefore if I attack omniscience, I am defending square/ circle. That is according to your own claim. If you want to change that claim, go right ahead.

I suggest you read things more closely before responding.

And I also suggest you be more respectful if you want me to keep approving your comments. Stick to the substance.


Dean Michael Jackson 4 years ago

secularist10 says, "And you are replying to my argument, which is in response to omnipotence and God as defined by the theist."

Response: As I said, "I could care less what theists say, you're replying to me." If you wanted to reply to theists only, you should have made that clear at the top of the blog.

secularist10 says, "Therefore he is not omnipotent, because there is something he cannot do."

Response: Who says He wants to do "something"? Checkmate!

secularist10 says, "How can an entity know something before it exists? Lol."

Response: That's the point, "God" #2 didn't know!

secularist10 says, "Therefore if I attack omniscience, I am defending square/ circle. That is according to your own claim. If you want to change that claim, go right ahead."

Response: You're the one making the claim that since God can't create a "square circle" He is therefore not Omnipotent. Now, for the THIRD time, I want YOUR explanation for why you think the "square circle paradox" is true in proving God is not Omnipotent.

secularist10 says, "And I also suggest you be more respectful if you want me to keep approving your comments. Stick to the substance."

Response: Getting a little hot under the collar, huh? Don't worry, I have this Q&A written down for all to see.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

"If you wanted to reply to theists only, you should have made that clear at the top of the blog."

Discussing a theistic belief indicates I am dealing with theism.

"Who says He wants to do "something"? Checkmate!"

LOL! Checkmate what? I reiterate once again: God's desires (i.e. what he "wants") are irrelevant. His powers are.

"That's the point, "God" #2 didn't know!"

Of course not, he wasn't created yet! Lol.

I asked for the logical connection between (a) being created, and (b) non-omniscience. Still no answer.

"Now, for the THIRD time, I want YOUR explanation for why you think the "square circle paradox" is true in proving God is not Omnipotent."

Why don't you just read the article or my previous comments to other users? Squaring a circle is illogical. If God cannot do it, then he is limited by logic. Therefore there is a limit to his power, therefore his power is not unlimited, therefore he is not omnipotent. Not complicated.

I don't think I have much to fear from your piercing arguments, lol. I've dealt with countless commenters online and I've pretty much heard it all at this point. I only ask that commenters to my hubs maintain respect. Substantively, you can disagree as much as you want.


Dean Michael Jackson 4 years ago

secularist10 says, "Discussing a theistic belief indicates I am dealing with theism."

Response: You said, "And you are replying to my argument, which is in response to omnipotence and God as defined by the theist." Since I don't necessarily agree with everything "theists" claim to be true, then as I said, "I could care less what theists say, you're replying to me." If you wanted to reply to theists only, you should have made that clear at the top of the blog."

As for the rest of your "reply", well no need beating a dead horse.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 4 years ago from New York City Author

You don't have to agree with everything theists claim to be true. You were making an argument against X.

X deals with theism.

X = my argument.

You came to my article, to my argument, not the other way around. Just quoting and re-quoting yourself over and over is not going to change that.

"As for the rest of your "reply", well no need beating a dead horse."

Sounds like a white flag to me. You did not respond to the square/ circle issue, nor did you explain how omniscience *logically* requires an entity to be uncreated.


Jonathan Pira 3 years ago

I think Jesus is the answer you are looking for.

Yes, Jesus, the Son of God, can create a stone which is too heavy for him as the Son of Man. The cross was even too heavy for him. Or He can command that stones become bread or whatever but He will only do what the Father wants Him to do.

God, the Father, can create another God, Jesus, even if Jesus is from all eternity. Trinity is amazing when you are thinking about it.

And God can die for you on a cross just because He loves you. Hope you will find Him.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

That's very clever, Jonathan, but it doesn't solve the problem. The question is not whether God can accomplish something by taking a different form, but whether God, as an omnipotent entity, can accomplish something. Insofar as Jesus as a person is not omnipotent, he does not apply.

Moreover you can't say that creating Jesus constitutes creating another God because Jesus is believed to be God himself. So you are actually contradicting yourself--when it comes to moving the stone, Jesus is the same God (a different version of God), but when it comes to creating another God, Jesus is a different God.


Dean M Jackson profile image

Dean M Jackson 3 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

Jonathan Pira, the only way atheists, and Satanists pretending to be atheists who comprise 95% of atheists, can create a "paradox" for God is by separating God from His duel nature, which is omnipotence AND omniscience. When the complete nature of God is presented, all paradoxes disappear or become moot.

See my comments above for more on this subject.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

Dean, where did you get the idea that Satanists comprise 95% of atheists?


Dean M Jackson profile image

Dean M Jackson 3 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

secularist10 asks, "Dean, where did you get the idea that Satanists comprise 95% of atheists?"

Simple, since it's easy to see the logical holes in [Natural Selection] Evolution and Communism, individuals who espouse such ideologies are naturally Satanists using those ideologies as a cover to weaken religion.

Satanists would know that the best strategy to weaken religion is to hide from religion; a Satanist is a religious person siding with Satan, however by openly siding with Satan the Satanist also affirms God.

Affirming God is contrary to the Satanist's goal. Satanists want those who side with God to fall away from God. Therefore Satanists hide behind the cloak of secular, bogus ideologies to confound and weaken those who side with God.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

Well evolution and communism have nothing to do with atheism. So your argument makes absolutely no sense. But even if there was a connection, you did not explain where you got the 95% number.


Dean M Jackson profile image

Dean M Jackson 3 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

secularist10 says, "Well evolution and communism have nothing to do with atheism."

Those who claim to be atheists use the cover of Evolution or Communism. They are not atheists, for atheism can't exist. They are Satanists. All atheists are adherents of Evolution or Communism or both.

Since everyone knows that God exists, and Evolution and Communism are laughably incoherent concepts, persons who say they adhere to such ideas are in reality worshipers of Satan.

Those Satanists that practice their religion in the open are the 5% or less of Satanists that actually exist. Hence the iceberg analogy.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

No significant atheists that I know of "use the cover of evolution or communism." They just don't believe in god. Simple.

Sounds like you need to take a look at my hub, which deals with the myths surrounding atheism:

https://soapboxie.com/social-issues/Top-10-Myths-a...

Atheism most certainly "can" exist. You may not like it, but it does. The only laughably incoherent concept is God, as the paradox of omnipotence demonstrates, as well as countless other logical problems with God.

You still have not provided any evidence of any kind about 5% of anything. No surveys, polls, studies, nothing.


Dean M Jackson profile image

Dean M Jackson 3 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

secularist10 says, "The only laughably incoherent concept is God, as the paradox of omnipotence demonstrates..."

We've already been there (see my comments above). What's laughable is the supposed paradox of God's omnipotence. The only way atheists can claim a paradox for God is by forgetting that God is also omniscient. In other words, atheists construct half a God and then discern there's a paradox!

In fact, the supposed logical paradox of God not being able to create another God (which you say is your favorite God omnipotence paradox permutation), doesn't even require the inclusion of God's omniscience to debunk it. It's logically absurd, by definition, to claim that there is a paradox because God can't create another God.

What this means is that the logical paradox atheists claim for this permutation of the God omnipotence paradox is cancelled out by the logical absurdity of the notion that God should be able to create another God. In other words, atheists in desperation have concocted an obviously ludicrous MOOT argument!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

Whether you want to accept it or not, the fact is that the concept of omnipotence contradicts itself.

Since God does not exist without omnipotence, if omnipotence is impossible, then so is God.

Omniscience is irrelevant.

What God "wants" to do is irrelevant.

Your arguments continue to be incoherent and confused.


Dean M Jackson profile image

Dean M Jackson 3 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

secularist10 says, "Whether you want to accept it or not, the fact is that the concept of omnipotence contradicts itself."

Whether you want to accept it or not, the fact is that God is omnipotent AND omniscient.

secularist10 says, "Omniscience is irrelevant.

What God "wants" to do is irrelevant."

What God IS is relevant.

secularist10 says, "Your arguments continue to be incoherent and confused."

Your arguments continue to be straw man arguments.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

You cannot point to a single straw man from me. If you actually look at the definition of a straw man argument, you will see I have created none.

"the fact is that God is omnipotent AND omniscient."

The issue is not God. The issue is omnipotence. ONLY omnipotence.

God is a separate issue. As such:

"What God IS is relevant."

Exactly. What God is. And God is omnipotent. So if omnipotence alone is impossible, then God is impossible. Regardless of his other qualities.


Dean M Jackson profile image

Dean M Jackson 3 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

secularist10 says, "The issue is not God. The issue is omnipotence. ONLY omnipotence."

The issue is God, all of God, which includes omnipotence AND omniscience.

secularist10 says, '"What God IS is relevant."

Exactly."'

Thank you. Boy, it took you long enough to comprehend the simple proposition that God is omnipotent AND omniscient!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

You quoted me deceptively, as anyone can see. Come on, at least TRY to cover yourself, lol.

I'm well aware that God is believed to be both omnipotent and omniscient. Always have been. You are still failing to comprehend that if an essential quality of something is impossible, then that thing is also impossible.

If A requires B, C and D,

and B is impossible,

then A is also impossible

C and D are irrelevant.

If God (A) requires omnipotence (B), omniscience (C) and omni-benevolence (D),

and omnipotence (B) is impossible,

then God (A) is also impossible

Omniscience (C) and omni-benevolence (D) are irrelevant.


Dean M Jackson profile image

Dean M Jackson 3 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

secularist10 says, "You are still failing to comprehend that if an essential quality of something is impossible, then that thing is also impossible."

You are still failing to comprehend that if an essential quality of something is MISSING, then the argument is a straw man argument.

secularist10 says,

"If A requires B, C and D,

and B is impossible,

then A is also impossible

C and D are irrelevant."

If A is both B and C

then

refuting A on the basis of B alone is LUDICROUS!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

Lol. What do you mean by "missing"? Did God misplace his omnipotence?

Let's take an example completely removed from God: a shirt.

Let's say a shirt has only two qualities: (1) it is an article of clothing, and (2) it is a warm item.

If you own a factory, and your factory cannot make an article of clothing, it follows that your factory is unable to produce shirts. But wait, you say: your factory CAN produce things that are warm. Doesn't matter--BOTH qualities are essential to the shirt. Without either one, the shirt does not exist.

As long as "clothing" and "warm" are distinct from each other AND essential to the condition "shirt," all it takes is lack of one to make "shirt" impossible.

The same is true of omnipotence, omniscience and God respectively. Omnipotence and omniscience are distinct from each other and they are both independently essential to the condition "God."


Dean M Jackson profile image

Dean M Jackson 3 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

secularist10 says, "Lol. What do you mean by "missing"? Did God misplace his omnipotence?"

Is that the best reply you thought of in 4 hours?! As you know, YOU misplaced God's OMNISCIENCE (not omnipotence) in your ludicrous paradox: God is BOTH omnipotent AND omniscient.

secularist10 says, "As long as "clothing" and "warm" are distinct from each other AND essential to the condition "shirt," all it takes is lack of one to make "shirt" impossible."

God's omnipotence and omniscience are not distinct from God; they are his nature, they are who He is at all times, and therefore can't be separated.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

Wow, four whole hours! Believe it or not, some of us have lives outside of the internet. You still did not answer what you meant by "missing" (yet another of the dozens of questions you have not answered).

"God's omnipotence and omniscience are not distinct from God..."

If they are not distinct from God, then why do you call them by different names?


Dean M Jackson profile image

Dean M Jackson 3 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

secularist10 says, "You still did not answer what you meant by "missing" (yet another of the dozens of questions you have not answered)."

Another diversion! Why, since my answer is there? As I said, "As you know, YOU misplaced God's OMNISCIENCE (not omnipotence) in your ludicrous paradox: God is BOTH omnipotent AND omniscient."

secularist10 says, "If they are not distinct from God, then why do you call them by different names?"

Because omniscience means the capability to know all things, and omnipotence means all powerful. God, being God, has both characteristics at the same time. I can't believe you don't know that!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

Your contradictory and silly semantics about me "misplacing God's omniscience" is obviously not an answer to anything. Just a diversion. I reiterate, therefore, that you did not answer the question.

And, look here, yet another question you cannot answer: why do you call "omnipotence" and "God" by different names? If omnipotence cannot be distinguished from God, then why do you distinguish them by using different names?

You cannot answer these questions because your argument is fundamentally weak, and you must pretend that I do not know what "omnipotence" and "omniscience" mean.


Dean M Jackson profile image

Dean M Jackson 3 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

secularist10 says, "And, look here, yet another question you cannot answer: why do you call "omnipotence" and "God" by different names?"

Do you know what you're talking about? "...call "omnipotence" and "God" by different names?"?!

God is God, who is all seeing and all knowing! Why is that so difficult for you to understand?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

Why is it so difficult for you to answer a simple question?

Are "omnipotence" and "God" two different things, or not?


Dean M Jackson profile image

Dean M Jackson 3 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

secularist10 says, "Are "omnipotence" and "God" two different things, or not?"

As I said, God is God, who is all powerful and all knowing! Why is that so difficult for you to understand?

Omnipotence is a word used to describe His all powerful capability, and omniscience is a word to describe His all knowing capability.


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secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

"Omnipotence is a word used to describe His all powerful capability..."

Finally! We're getting somewhere. That's a little bit of an answer anyway.

Then you agree that omnipotence can be logically distinguished from God? In other words, just as "clothing" and "shirt" are two different concepts, "omnipotence" and "God" are two different concepts?


Dean M Jackson profile image

Dean M Jackson 3 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

secularist10 says, "Then you agree that omnipotence can be logically distinguished from God?"

How can God being all powerful and all knowing be distinguished from God? It is the nature of God to be all powerful and all knowing!

You need to go back to school and take a course in basic cognitive skills, then a course in critical thinking, unless, of course, and this is the only real explanation in your case, you're a Satanist. Otherwise you would have clearly understood that God, being God, is all powerful and all knowing.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen:

The supposed "God Omnipotence Paradox" is so spurious I'm shocked no one else before me debunked it. The only way Satanists can claim such a "paradox" is by excluding God's all knowing nature. In other words, they cheated!

Examples of the "God Omnipotence Paradox" provided in this article melt away as soon as God's all knowing nature is included (Though in the particular "omnipotence paradox" that affirms that God should be able to create another God, God's all knowing nature isn't even necessary to debunk that "paradox". God's omnipotent nature alone will do just fine in debunking that claimed "paradox".).

For convenience, here once again are the three claimed "paradoxes" presented in this article, and their dethronement by this writer (see my comments above for initial dethronement):

1. God should be able to create a rock He can't lift.

Solution: God certainly can create a rock He can't lift, because he would know He would never need to lift the rock. A moot paradox!

2. God should be able to create a square circle.

Solution: God would never need to create a square circle since He made the circle round and God can't be wrong about the circle being round due to His Omniscience. Conversely, if God had made circles square in our universe, then again being omniscient, He would have no need to create a round circle due to His Omniscience. Another moot paradox!

and

3. God should be able to create another God.

Solution: If God could create another God, then the created God would be, by definition, neither omnipotent nor omniscient, therefore not a God. Yet another moot paradox!


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secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

So close!

Your inability to understand or answer a simple question is really astounding. And then you have the absolute gaul to insult my intelligence! LOL

Do you even understand that "clothing" and "shirt" are two DIFFERENT concepts? Even though all shirts are articles of clothing, and "clothing" is essential to the nature of "shirt"? I have my doubts.

I've already either destroyed your other ridiculous arguments above, or they are self-defeating on their face, so I don't need to waste time on that again.

"How can God being all powerful and all knowing be distinguished from God?"

You will never understand this. Or you are being intentionally obtuse to try to save face. Which is pathetic.

The concept of "infinite power" or "omnipotence" is a DIFFERENT CONCEPT than "God." Just look them up in the dictionary. There are TWO different concepts. Not one. This is despite the fact that the concept of "God" includes the concept of "omnipotence." A requires B, but A and B are nevertheless two distinct concepts.

Since they are different from each other, then we can analyze and test each concept SEPARATELY. Upon analysis, omnipotence is impossible UNTO ITSELF. And since God requires omnipotence to be possible, if omnipotence is impossible, then God is impossible.


Peeps 3 years ago

So, I have, in no way at all been keeping up with this impressively large string of comments; however, reading the last comment, I felt like it was still keeping with the Omnipotence attribute of God's. I am just a kid, not too many years away from being a child, really. But I love Theology, Proper Theology. With that knowledge, don't expect me to keep up with what you have been taught about science and all that.

secularist10,

Firstly, I am a kid, so I would appreciate it if you would be gracious to me in your comments (if you comment back) as I will be gracious to you.

Second,

In your last comment you seemed to be very inclined to believe that God and Omnipotence cannot exist.

Is God the same thing as Omnipotence? Not really. Why do I say this? A: God exists regardless of our understanding of Omnipotence. and on the other side of the coin, some would argue that the concept of Omnipotence can exist without the knowledge of God. I would word it like this though, "the concept of Omnipotence can exist without a PERSONAL understanding of God" I word it this way because of Romans 2:18-20. So, with that in place, if you don't understand God, (and I am in no way saying that I have God all figured out [Isaiah 55:9]) it is likely that you cannot understand how omnipotence can exist. Indeed, apart from God there is no power (Psalm 62:11). Omnipotence is real, just as God is real. God and omnipotence are tied together, not because God is dependent on omnipotence, but because omnipotence is dependent on God, and omnipotence is one of His Holy (set apart) attributes.

It would be the same as me saying, Since I don't understand science, DNA doesn't exist; However, I feel that if I understood science, I would than have a better understanding of DNA.

I don't know if the "can God make a rock so big even He can't lift it?" argument has been answered yet, but I will give you my response to it.

No, God cannot make a rock so big even He cannot lift.

Why do I say this? And, am I not just affirming that God is not Omnipotent?

No, I am by no means saying that God isn't Omnipotent. He is. He cannot make a rock so big that even He cannot lift it because He can make a rock that expands beyond infinite space (I know this "logically" doesn't make sense) and than still lift it.

The argument presupposes either one of two limitations, God is limited by what He can Lift, or God is limited by what He can make. God is limited by neither, so the syllogism may be accurate, but the premise is not properly understood, and that's why I would answer it that way.

It would be the same as this, "Mr Joe Blow Christian guy is a vegetarian; therefore, Christians are vegetarians." The syllogism may be "logically" sound, but The premise that the whole syllogism is based on is flawed.

Aside from all that,

This argument cannot apply to God even if we wanted it to.

How can I say that?

God is Spirit, not flesh and bone that is fed by oxygen to give strength.

John 4:24

If there was anything In that post that was in anyway pointed, I apologize. It is not my intent to throw insults back and forth. I simply want to, and need to, give a response for the Hope I have in me.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

I'm always respectful to those who are respectful to me. Plenty of comments on my hubs confirm that. I welcome all commenters, whether they agree or disagree, as long as they provide substantive discussion. So, certainly, I welcome you to the discussion.

"Is God the same thing as Omnipotence? Not really."

Certainly, I agree with that.

"God and omnipotence are tied together, not because God is dependent on omnipotence, but because omnipotence is dependent on God, and omnipotence is one of His Holy (set apart) attributes."

It would be helpful if you clarified your statements beyond the Biblical citations. But that aside, the idea that "omnipotence is dependent on God," needs more clarification.

My contention in the exchange with Dean was that omnipotence is wholly independent of God, as it is independent of every other concept, definitionally speaking. That does not mean that there is necessarily an object hanging out in the universe called "omnipotence," but it does mean that we can distinguish it conceptually from God himself. In the same way that we can distinguish "clothing" from "shirt" conceptually, and definitionally.

(Note that this is true even if God is the only being in the universe that is omnipotent.)

If this is true, then it follows that if omnipotence, in its own right, on a conceptual basis, is shown to be untenable, then any concept (or hypothesis or theory or whatever) that is derived from it or based upon it (in this case God), is similarly untenable.

Not sure I understand the science/ DNA analogy. I am confident that I understand what God and omnipotence are, as they have been defined by theists for centuries.

"He cannot make a rock so big that even He cannot lift... because He can make a rock that expands beyond infinite space... and than still lift it."

So he cannot make that object, therefore his power is limited.

"The argument presupposes either one of two limitations, God is limited by what He can Lift, or God is limited by what He can make."

It just so happens that the rock argument focuses on those two qualities, but the real core of the issue raised by this argument is the nature of infinite/ limitless power.

"It would be the same as this, "Mr Joe Blow Christian guy is a vegetarian; therefore, Christians are vegetarians." The syllogism may be "logically" sound, but The premise that the whole syllogism is based on is flawed."

Well, first of all, that is not a syllogism. Second of all, it is not logically sound at all. Just because one Christian is a vegetarian does not mean that all are. And I'm not sure what this has to do with the issue of omnipotence and God.

"This argument cannot apply to God even if we wanted it to... God is Spirit, not flesh..."

This is then the same argument raised earlier by several commenters. The problem with this idea is that power is power, whether it is spiritual or worldly. And logic is logic, whether it is being applied to spiritual or worldly matters.

Either God is understandable by us, on our terms, according to our logic, or he is not. If he is, then the paradox, which is a product of logic, DOES apply. If he is not, then it makes no sense to believe in him anyway.


Peeps 3 years ago

Hello Justin,

I would like to apologize in advance for the duration of this post; I have trouble wording things, so I often go on longer than I need to.

I would like to, for the immediate future, hold off on farther defining God’s attributes, namely His Omnipotence in light of His Holiness, and focus solely on His Omnipotence at this point. The attributes of God are topics that are better suited for thick wordy Theology books, but I hope to, in time, describe some of these attributes for you. It is important to Know about His attributes Primarily because every attribute of God has to be understood in light of all His other attributes, I will allude to this fundamental truth in this post, but will not go in depth.

(1) “My contention in the exchange with Dean was that omnipotence is wholly independent of God, as it is independent of every other concept, definitionally speaking.”

(2) “If this is true, then it follows that if omnipotence, in its own right, on a conceptual basis, is shown to be untenable, then any concept (or hypothesis or theory or whatever) that is derived from it or based upon it (in this case God), is similarly untenable.”

(A: 1) Is Omnipotence wholly independent of God? No, as I said earlier, Omnipotence is dependent on God. Can we define omnipotence apart from God? Sure (sort of), definitionally, we can describe (to the best of our abilities) what this means; however, what we cannot do is understand this existentially, apart from God, for God is indeed the only Omnipotent Being or source in existence. What we know about omnipotence, we know only because God has graced us with the ability to understand it, so in reality, even on a conceptual basis, Omnipotence is dependent on God, but we don’t need to know God personally to understand omnipotence on a conceptual basis, as you have demonstrated.

(A: 2) Omnipotence is only proven to be (to the best of our ability) definitionally independent of God. Not existentially independent of God. “…any concept (or hypothesis or theory or whatever) that is derived from it or based upon it (in this case God), is similarly untenable.” This could be an accurate statement; however, as I have stated before, Omnipotence is dependent on God, not the other way around, as you understand it. Existentially, omnipotence cannot be apart from God (as previously mentioned in Psalm 62:11).

A movie cannot exist unless there is first a camera filming it. Would it be fair to assume that if we have never seen a movie, cameras are none existential things? This is just another variant of the DNA analogy, my apologies for the confusion with that, I am still learning how to come up with similes, analogies, and what not.

My quote: "He [God] cannot make a rock so big that even He cannot lift... because He can make a rock that expands beyond infinite space... and than still lift it."

“So he cannot make that object, therefore his power is limited.”

The problem with this, as I have already said, is that "The argument presupposes either one of two limitations, God is limited by what He can lift, or God is limited by what He can make."

It assumes that things are weighty or heavy to God, they are not. God being the source of all power is not limited in power. So, as said before "He [God] cannot make a rock so big that even He cannot lift... because He can make a rock that expands beyond infinite space... and than still lift it."

On the other end of the argument is that if God cannot make something greater than Himself (cause that’s what this rock would accomplish) He is not God. This is true, not because of His ability to create, but rather it is an issue of His nature. I will allude to this latter in the post.

This argument is assuming that an impossibility (God being limited in Power) is a necessity for God to be All Powerful. The paradox, as it would seem, is in the argument itself, Not in God’s Power.

I would still like to present that this argument cannot even apply to God, Because He is Spirit, Not flesh, as revealed to us in John 4:24, But you had an issue with this.

“The problem with this idea is that power is power, whether it is spiritual or worldly”

Next time my Power goes out at my house, and I really need to use my computer and printer, cause I have a paper to write a paper or something like that. Will I be able to hold onto my laptop hard enough, stare at it long enough, or punch it vigorously enough, to get it to power up? Perhaps if I hold it in a strong wind, or light a stick of dynamite underneath it, will it than power on for me?

“Power is power” in the sense that it is all used to accomplish things, but there are different means of power indeed, and they accomplish different things with different results. The only way in which we could properly define “power as power” is that all power ultimately finds its source in God, but even then, God has seen fit to manifest His given power in many different ways.

Skipping to the syllogism about the Christian.

My quote: "It would be the same as this, "Mr Joe Blow Christian guy is a vegetarian; therefore, Christians are vegetarians." The syllogism may be "logically" sound, but the premise that the whole syllogism is based on is flawed."

“Well, first of all, that is not a syllogism. Second of all, it is not logically sound at all. Just because one Christian is a vegetarian does not mean that all are. And I'm not sure what this has to do with the issue of omnipotence and God (Emphasis added).”

My understanding of a Syllogism is this: A is the same thing as B, B is the same thing as C; therefore, A and C must be the same also. Oxford English Dictionary seems to agree with this, at least to the best of my understanding in my reading, and dictionary.com (love it, for its simplicity and ease) definitely agrees with this.

“Mr Joe Blow (I chose this as a super broad name because the name isn’t representing that individual, but rather, “people”)” (A) “Christian” (B) guy is a “vegetarian” (C); therefore, Christians are vegetarians.

I would maintain that the syllogism here is logically sound within itself. Where it becomes illogical, as you have said it is, (and, you have said correctly in stating the illogic, here) is when you have the knowledge of “D,” in this case: Other Christian (B) people (A) who are “not Vegetarians” (D). D being in relation to A and B, voids the possibility of C being equal to A and B because D is contradictory to C.

To draw the parallel of the original intent for this syllogism/simile:

“God” (A) is “omnipotent” (B). If we see omnipotence in itself to be “untenable,” (C) than God (A) is “Untenable” (C) (proving God not to exist). As with the Vegetarian syllogism, it is logically sound within itself, until, as you have said with the previous syllogism, “it is not logically sound at all.” And I would affirm that for this Syllogism. The grenade pin, so to speak, here is the knowledge of “D.” just as it was with the vegetarian Christians. “D” is that Omnipotence cannot exist outside of God. So, we draw the same conclusion as with the previous syllogism. It would be illogical to assume that God cannot exist just because omnipotence apart from God cannot exist.

Getting closer to the core issue now.

“Either God is understandable by us, on our terms, according to our logic, or he is not. If he is, then the paradox, which is a product of logic, DOES apply. If he is not, then it makes no sense to believe in him anyway.”

I would argue that He can be understood logically because He is The Father of Logic, but we can understand Him only to an extent. I say this because our logic has been affected by our sinful nature (when I say this, I am not implying that EVERYTHING about God can be known by us, Indeed He is above us) (Isaiah 55:9, 1 Cor 2:11, Col 2:8, 1Tim, 6:20).

Indeed God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

But, even though we don’t understand Him by our Logic (I, myself cannot logically wrap my mind around the Trinity, but I still believe it). Why would this give us any reason not to trust Him?

If a child (small kid. Say, 6 years old or so.) runs out into the middle of the street while a speeding car comes barreling


Peeps 3 years ago

It seems that the last part of my post is missing, Ill add it back in, in case there was some technical difficulties that limited the extent of my content or something.

If a child (small kid. Say, 6 years old or so.) runs out into the middle of the street while a speeding car comes barreling down the road. His parent, who happens to be watching their child running into the path of the speeding car, yells out “GET BACK HERE JIMMY DEAN!” (Dean is his middle name... sausages is His last) the child has no idea why the parent is yelling at him. It seems harsh, unfair, and uncalled for. Should this child, than, assume that the parent cannot be trusted because what they are doing makes no logical sense to them?... But this child doesn’t know about “D” (speeding car)… Does He?

I’m getting the sense that your contention with God’s omnipotence isn’t really the rock that He can lift, and make for that matter; rather, it seems that your understanding of God’s omnipotence is that He can do anything we can imagine, and if He can’t, than He isn’t really Omnipotent. Is this a more accurate definition of your understanding of/issue with God’s Omnipotence?

No theologian in his right mind would say this about God. There are indeed things that are impossible for Him, He cannot Lie, He cannot deny Himself, He cannot be tempted by Evil (Num 23:19, 2 Tim 2:13, James 1:13). These things are impossibilities for Him because they would contradict His other Holy attributes. This is where, as I said earlier, “every attribute of God has to be understood in light of all His other attributes.”

I, again, would like to tremendously apologize for the length of this post; can you see why I didn’t want to discuss any additional attributes? LOL. But seriously, I know you have a life, like I do, and it can be difficult to sit down and read lengthy writings, at least for me it is.

If any of this made sense, let me know. I’m still trying to work out how to communicate stuff like this.

If you have question and would like to Email that would be cool too.

Name’s Shane BTW.


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secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

This is one of my busiest times of the year with work, so I will respond more completely some time next week.

For now I will just say that if anything is "impossible" for God then he is by definition not all-powerful. Isn't it interesting that it is impossible for God to lie, but it is possible for a human to lie? The human being would seem to have more power and freedom than God!


Peeps 3 years ago

Hi Justin,

I totally understand.

Just wanted to put something up really quick to address your last post before you reply more thoroughly.

Then Job answered the Lord and said: "I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You." (Job 42: 1-2)

"For now I will just say that if anything is "impossible" for God then he is by definition not all-powerful"

This isn't really a question of God's power, but of His "purposes."

God can't sin because sin is not one of His Holy purposes.

One could almost say that we have more freedom in the sense of sinning. Unfortunately for us, That leads to Hell...

But, that's where God's Omnipotence matters so much.

God demonstrated His Omnipotence by having power over the grave (sin and death) after He died on the cross for the sins of the world, "...so that He would be Just and the Justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).


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secularist10 3 years ago from New York City Author

Sorry I completely forgot about this for a week. I have just one rule on these articles: please keep your comments to no more than 1000 words at one time. This helps keep the discussion flowing. Any comment over 1000 words I will delete because I don't want one person monopolizing this page.

If God is the only omnipotent being in existence, it is irrelevant as to omnipotence's definitional/ logical independence from God. Here's an analogy: let's say that humans are the only beings with intelligent life in the universe (not likely, but possible). Does that mean that we cannot logically divorce "human" from "intelligent life"? Of course not. There is a clear distinction between "intelligence" and "human." So even if IN REALITY intelligence does not exist without humans, in a CONCEPTUAL sense, "intelligence" is independent of "human."

Existential dependence does not imply conceptual or logical dependence. They are two different dependences.

On this minor point:

"What we know about omnipotence, we know only because God has graced us with the ability to understand it..."

But according to your belief system (which I am entertaining), this is true of everything that we know, so it is not unique to the concept of omnipotence, therefore not relevant.

You said: "Existentially, omnipotence cannot be apart from God"

I am not questioning this. I am saying that existentially, omnipotence is impossible. If omnipotence cannot be apart from God, then it follows that if one is impossible, the other is too. So this winds up supporting my point anyway.

Omnipotence is what we would call a "necessary condition" of God, but not a "sufficient condition." Meaning that you can't have God without omnipotence, but omnipotence alone is not enough for God--God also needs other things, hence "necessary" but not "sufficient." If any of God's necessary qualities--omnipotence, omniscience, etc--are proven impossible, then God is impossible by extension because they are necessary to his existence.

The key is that omnipotence is a *quality* of God. Thus it is one of the building blocks that composes God. If a building block is removed from a structure, that structure collapses.

If you disagree with the notion that omnipotence is a quality of God, then your argument is with thousands of years of theistic philosophy, not with me.

"Next time my Power goes out at my house..."

You use "power" here colloquially to refer to electricity. It is not "power" in the basic sense of the word.

Yes, there are different means of power, different types of power, etc. The point is: can God do X? If God cannot do X, then there is a limit to his power. Omnipotence means power without limits.

Now, note that God can still be extremely powerful without being "all-powerful." The US military is very powerful, and probably cannot be defeated by any military on this planet. But there are still limits to what it can do. It cannot blow up the sun, for example.

But unfortunately for the theists, God has not been defined as "extremely powerful." He has been defined as "all-powerful", capable of anything and everything.

On this Christian syllogism thing, this is a really minor point. But a logically sound syllogism would be: Joe is a Christian, Christians are vegetarians, therefore Joe is a vegetarian. The structure is A is B, B is C, therefore A is C. It is logical but factually incorrect because not all Christians are vegetarians. In other words, empirical evidence belies the premise B.

So in this case: God is omnipotent, omnipotence is impossible, therefore God is impossible.

You say: "Omnipotence cannot exist outside of God... It would be illogical to assume that God cannot exist just because omnipotence apart from God cannot exist."

Again, see my previous point that omnipotence is a necessary *quality* of God.

The analogy comes again: intelligence is a necessary *quality* of humans. Your argument has things backwards; you say "omnipotence cannot exist without God," but this is like saying "intelligence cannot exist without humans." In the reality of the universe, that may very well be true (again, assuming there are no other intelligent life forms).

But that is not the issue. The issue is whether intelligence is possible logically. What the current, past or future state of the universe is, is irrelevant, because we are talking about logical absolutes, which are absolutely true or untrue regardless of time.

So instead of the above, we need to reverse things and say "humans cannot exist without intelligence," or, "God cannot exist without omnipotence." These are definitional statements, not empirical statements.

"He can do anything we can imagine, and if He can’t, than He isn’t really Omnipotent."

Of course, for it is the very definition of omnipotence to be able to do *anything.* The fact that many theologians and other religious people would disagree with that just shows the depth of their irrational thinking around their religious beliefs. The paradox is precisely a result of this illogical thinking on the part of theism.

Your Biblical citations also demonstrate that the Bible contradicts itself to no end. In one part, God is described one way, in another, he described differently. But that is another topic entirely :)


Jordan Garrett 2 years ago

Power defined:

1. The ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something.

If one cannot speak of something in such a way so that it makes sense, then, as Wittgenstein said, one must remain silent. The idea of "creating" a being that by definition is necessarily uncreated is inherently contradictory and absurd, so there is no ability for raw power qua power to bring it about by itself. Let's say that you and I agree conceive of an omnipotent, all-knowing, omnibenevolent and so on Hen, that exists, as opposed to God. If that Hen (Praise be!) can only lay an Egg out of which it's only begotten Chick pops out, as opposed to a dog or a unicorn, nobody would say that it was not omnipotent. Logic dictates the limits of reality, and if reality includes an Omnipotent Creator God, then the idea of a state of affairs whereby that God's power could be thwarted is nonsensical, because logic prevents it from ever being actualized, just as 1+1=3 can never be actualized, being contrary to logic.

If you want a better argument against God, here's one I just came up with:

1) God created reality and all of existence (by definition)

2) God, by definition, is self-existent and eternal.

3) If God always existed, then there was an existent state of affairs before He existed.

4) Therefore, reality existed before God existed

5) God created reality and did not create reality. (Reductio Ad Absurdum)


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secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

"Logic dictates the limits of reality, and if reality includes an Omnipotent Creator God, then the idea of a state of affairs whereby that God's power could be thwarted is nonsensical, because logic prevents it from ever being actualized..."

Then, as I said in the article, logic is not under the control of God. Therefore God did not create everything, and therefore God, as defined, cannot exist.

It's the same idea that has already been looked at.


Jordan Garrett 2 years ago

Could it not simply be said, however, to play the Dev...er, Deity's advocate that logic is internal to God Himself as an aspect of his character, as opposed to either transcending him or being subservient to him? By suggesting that logic is either "above" God or "below" him, so that he is either A) Constrained by logic or he is B) Irrational, nontheists (I include myself in this category, albeit as a somewhat strong agnostic.) present a false dichotomy which any skilled theist can easily sidestep.

If my suggestion holds, then if God violates an aspect of his character (IE: Logic), then by strict logical necessity, he is internally inconsistent. Basically, the situation would look like this

A) God exists and can, per impossible, actualize a state of affairs, whereby He, an omnipotent Deity, can create a rock so heavy He cannot lift it.

B) Actualizing a state of affairs whereby an omnipotent Deity can create a rock so heavy that he cannot lift it is logically absurd and impossible

C) Logic is an aspect of God's character (One could hardly postulate an Omniscient Deity who created a universe of observed regularities, who Himself is inherently irrational, and who belongs in a Cosmic Rubber)

D) If God were to violate his character, He would be internally inconsistent.

E) Something internally inconsistent is logically impossible

F) God exists and is logically impossible.

G) Therefore:

God exists and does not exist. (Again, Reductio Ad Absurdum)

With all due respect, I think you're beating a dead horse. I hope you don't take issue with my saying so, but there are much better arguments against God then what I perceive as an old canard that nontheists would be better off abandoning if they are to be taken seriously in the intellectual arena, as it were.

Another Example of a logically valid :

A) God's will is eternal and immutable (Unchanging in character, will, etc)

B) God is omnibenevolent. That is to say, he constantly wills the good of His creatures, and never possesses ill-will for them

C) For God to condemn anybody to hell, requires that He change his will, which requires that it change in response to outside circumstances. Whether or not he foreknew the decision that creature made (And I fail to see how Omniscience is compatible with free will, at any rate.) was irrelevant, insofar as it engendered a response.

D) If God's will switches from benevolent to "wrathful" as a result of a human decision, he is neither omnibenevolent, nor is immutable.

D1) If, God's will does NOT change as a result of a free decision by one of his free creatures, but for no reason external to himself, God is not only A) Not immutable B) Not omnibenevolent, but C) Apparently suffers from Intermittent Explosive Deity Disorder, Sovereign Schizophrenia or Blessed Bipolar Disorder.

E) God is not God~! (Reductio Ad Absurdum. For the fucking win.)


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secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

"...logic is internal to God Himself as an aspect of his character..."

We would have to more clearly define what "aspect of his character" means exactly.

But regardless, it still doesn't wash because any way you slice it, God's abilities are constrained in some fashion. If logic is part of God's character, then we have simply moved the location of logic from outside God to inside God. But logic is still logic.

Either way, restrictions are in place. Restrictions mean omnipotence is impossible.

One of his "aspects"--logic--is constraining another of his "aspects"--his actions.

(So this is essentially the same argument that some theists make, including some earlier in the comments, when they said "Pish! God would never want to do such a thing anyway, silly!" because God would never *desire* to make an immovable stone, etc. Needless to say, the issue is not what God wants (i.e. what is in his nature), but rather what he can do (what the limitations are on his power, whether internal or external).)

"...old canard that nontheists would be better off abandoning..."

You give the theists far too much credit. In thousands of years, they have not been able to solve the paradox of omnipotence. They create convenient (for themselves) workarounds such as "God would never want to make such a stone anyway." But the fundamental issue is never solved.


Dion Walker profile image

Dion Walker 2 years ago from Maryland

GOD is supernatural and there are many thing that can not be explained by logic or any thing else. Such questions that the writer proposed were merely silly nonsensical musings to entertain the human mind and such questions were posed by atheist that could never be answered by the logical mind because spirit/supernatural transcend the logical mind. FOR ME GOD IS REAL, I EXPERIENCE HIM DAILY.


Dion Walker profile image

Dion Walker 2 years ago from Maryland

If these questions that were proposed by the writer were answered to your satisfaction would it change your minds?


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Dion:

"GOD is supernatural and there are many thing that can not be explained by logic or any thing else."

Then, as I already said in the article, you cannot claim to understand God, in which case it makes no sense to believe in him.

You cannot say on the one hand "I know that God is like this" and then on the other hand "But we don't understand God."

"...silly nonsensical musings to entertain the human mind..."

This is just dismissing the argument because you cannot address it.

"I EXPERIENCE HIM DAILY."

Shout all you want. But you have no proof of God. You experience what you believe is God. Not necessarily actually God.

There are many logical and empirical problems with the idea of God. This paradox is just one. But yes, theoretically, if it could be resolved (and it has not been in thousands of years), that would encourage me to believe in God.


Captain Obvious 2 years ago

Quote from the "NO" conclusion:

"Obviously, if God cannot violate logic, it follows that he did not create logic. A being cannot create the thing that constrains it. Therefore logic must exist outside of him, external to him, or prior to him."

I agree with the second sentence but not the first. The statement, "If God cannot violate logic, it follows that he did not create logic" only applies if, as you say, logic exist outside of God. However, if God is logic (being the source of logic) than He himself is the only thing (God) that constrains Himself and therefore since He is the only being/force/thing that constrains Himself, He is in fact still ALL-POWERFUL.

But . . .anyway just a thought. I'm glad you all have your opinions and I'm sure these opinions cannot be changed over argumentation. LOL! Best of luck to everyone.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Hi Captain.

"However, if God is logic (being the source of logic) than He himself is the only thing that constrains Himself"

Hold on. If God is, or is the source of, logic, then he is NOT constrained by logic. (In other words, he IS able to violate logic, making the previous assumption moot in any case. He can change the rules whenever he wants.)

Therefore your answer to the original question would be "yes", and that results in all the problems already mentioned for that answer.


Dunzel Kirk 2 years ago

Ridiculous.

God cannot do "everything" and omnipotence does not denote the ability to do so. This is not a true paradox. God cannot do the logically impossible. The Bible states there are things God cannot do, like lie, or go against His own nature. So, the argument starts off on faulty ground by misrepresenting what omnipotence really means. In order for God to exist in any possible world, there must be order. Order is derived from logic. Without logic, nothing would exist. So, in this universe, order exists, therefore logic must exist, and everything is subject to logic - including God. God is logic.

As an aside, the Christian Bible notes that Jesus Christ was the "Logos," or "logic"before becoming a man. This is consistent with the idea that in an ordered universe where God enters in and works His will, logic will be there also.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Well on one hand you say that logic precedes God, and then on the other you say that God himself is logic.

If logic precedes or contains God, then he is subject to logic. But if God is himself logic, and logic is God, then presumably God would be able to make logic into whatever he wants. If he wanted to make a square circle possible, he could just wave his hand and make it so.

You have to choose either one or the other.

See the section on the "No" response. I already dealt with this. If God cannot violate logic, then he is not all-powerful, and he did not create logic, therefore he did not create everything.

Now, separately, if God is incapable of lying, isn't that interesting? It means that humans are capable of doing something that God is not. And yet we are supposed to be inferior to him.

Regarding the Bible, clearly, the Bible contradicts itself. In some parts it says that God cannot lie and so on, but then you have other sections like the passage from Job that I quoted at the top, which say that God CAN do anything.


Tom the Agnostic 2 years ago

I do not believe in the Judeo-Christian God anymore than I believe in Thor or Santa, however I have my doubts that one could say with full certainty that a supreme being of sorts does or doesn't exist. Even if such an entity were to exist, what would we really know of its true nature anyway?

We've barely scratched the surface of the observable universe, and have come up with theories just as incomprehensible as a formless "Sky daddy." If it exists outside the realm of our limited existence and knowledge thereof, we wouldn't have a clue, just as we've barely a clue if there really is a multiverse or not. I think our first step is to first understand all of reality, before we jump to anything concrete.

Suppose he does exist, he or it was just subtle enough to make his presence quite debatable. Why? What would be the gain? Either he doesn't exist, or romantically, he really wants to test us and I mean as a consequence, rather than judgmentally; to help us grow, rather than to punish or reward us.

If God is simply that which creates reality, then I have one potentially definable god in mind, quite literally and figuratively. The human brain, while in truth only perceives objective reality, is also the one thing that creates subjective reality for each individual. In that sense, I have no problem believing in a type of God, as fragile and limited as it is.

Yeah, not quite the cosmic being most are hoping for, but it's as close as we'll probably get to any celestial creator, seeing as we are still a part of the universe, even if we are a tiny insignificant part of it.

Oh what secrets would be presented to us, if we were given the opportunity to cheat and take a peek just before the Big Bang. What would we see...what COULD we even see? Reality itself is a wonder, with or without the need of a creator.

Food for thought, and I welcome the criticism.


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 2 years ago from New York City Author

Tom:

I agree with a lot of what you say. There are massive gaps in what we understand, or perhaps could ever understand. Which is why humbleness is all important.

It is also why beliefs about a "God" complicate matters even more--we take something we don't understand very well (the universe, reality), and then add on top of that an additional thing (God) that seems extremely difficult if not impossible to fully understand, according to its own definition.

As far as the human brain: indeed, humanity is the closest thing to a "God" that we have discovered thus far.

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