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#61 Grace

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Posted 08 May 2005 - 10:26 PM

Thanks :blush:

#62 Skeptic

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 01:29 AM

I second that. :clap2:

Well done, Grace! :first:

Edited by Skeptic, 10 May 2005 - 01:29 AM.


#63 mordecai_*

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Posted 21 May 2005 - 01:13 AM

How can God know something that hasn't happened yet? Surely if it hasn't happened yet, then there is 'nothing' to know yet...?

The same way you know a ball rolling down a hill will hit you in x seconds time. You can predict final outcomes of something by knowing how causes and effects operate, after all science itself is omniscience in the making, in predicting the future. The explanatory power of something is in how well it makes predictions of the behaviour of a system, if your predictions with the evidence pan out then you can predict the path something will take with greater and greater accuracy until you reach near or full 100% accuracy. When I drop a ball it will fall 100% of the time given the circumstances that allow and/or cause it to fall.

If god does not posess complete knowledge of how the universe operates, he cannot be god by definition.

Edited by mordecai, 21 May 2005 - 01:15 AM.


#64 Hyperion

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Posted 21 May 2005 - 03:36 AM

How can God know something that hasn't happened yet? Surely if it hasn't happened yet, then there is 'nothing' to know yet...?

The same way you know a ball rolling down a hill will hit you in x seconds time. You can predict final outcomes of something by knowing how causes and effects operate,

If God's omniscience works on this basis, then free-will does not exist. This has been commented on above. There are other ways to explain knowledge of the future.

after all science itself is omniscience in the making, in predicting the future.  The explanatory power of something is in how well it makes predictions of the behaviour of a system, if your predictions with the evidence pan out then you can predict the path something will take with greater and greater accuracy until you reach near or full 100% accuracy.  When I drop a ball it will fall 100% of the time given the circumstances that allow and/or cause it to fall.

This is a rather Newtonian way of looking at things. Since it is impossible to know exactly where a particle is and how fast it is moving, it is therefore also impossible to predict 100% any aspect of the future based on current conditions. We can be fairly sure about many things, but true 100% accuracy is impossible.

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#65 pantrog_*

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Posted 21 May 2005 - 10:26 AM

Hello everyone,

I agree the 'ball rolling down a hill ' argument is deterministic. But ultimately I'm not sure we have enough evidence to argue whether or not the Heisenberg uncertainty principle applies to the deity. We are (after all) firmly in the realm of metaphysics.

I was going to quickly (a) ask why the possibility of God's mind making deterministic predictions would negate the possibility of free will?

and (b) suggest that logically a being capable of making absolute deterministic predictions (if they could ignore quantum uncertainty) would need a brain capable of storing and processing the position and location of every physical partcle involved. Which although we know nothing of the deities cognitive function - would (if made of normal matter) require a brain larger than the universe itself.

#66 mordecai_*

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 01:54 AM

How can God know something that hasn't happened yet? Surely if it hasn't happened yet, then there is 'nothing' to know yet...?

The same way you know a ball rolling down a hill will hit you in x seconds time. You can predict final outcomes of something by knowing how causes and effects operate,

If God's omniscience works on this basis, then free-will does not exist. This has been commented on above. There are other ways to explain knowledge of the future.

after all science itself is omniscience in the making, in predicting the future.  The explanatory power of something is in how well it makes predictions of the behaviour of a system, if your predictions with the evidence pan out then you can predict the path something will take with greater and greater accuracy until you reach near or full 100% accuracy.  When I drop a ball it will fall 100% of the time given the circumstances that allow and/or cause it to fall.

This is a rather Newtonian way of looking at things. Since it is impossible to know exactly where a particle is and how fast it is moving, it is therefore also impossible to predict 100% any aspect of the future based on current conditions. We can be fairly sure about many things, but true 100% accuracy is impossible.

Then prophecy can't truly exist for christians by that definition, if god promises to do something in the future there is not a certain likelihood for its occurrence then why bother with the alleged prophecying?

IMHO thats a problem for christians everywhere if they dont believe god is omniscient, that is knows the outcome before it occurs. Knowing everything should not be a problem for a deity that is not subject to natural limitations, you're trying to give god characteristics of a man that exists in the universe (he has to measure particles to know where they will be).

Look determinism doesn't violate people choosing to act. Where people got the idea free will is "uncaused" is stupid as it is silly, if I deprive you of oxygen have I just deprived you of your "free will" (conscious awareness to avoid balls rolling down hills?).

Edited by mordecai, 22 May 2005 - 01:55 AM.


#67 Skeptic

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 01:48 AM

Hi Pantrog

I was going to quickly (a) ask why the possibility of God's mind making deterministic predictions would negate the possibility of free will?


The reason why knowledge of the future would negate free will is found in the argument I quoted here.

and (b) suggest that logically a being capable of making absolute deterministic predictions (if they could ignore quantum uncertainty) would need a brain capable of storing and processing the position and location of every physical partcle involved. Which although we know nothing of the deities cognitive function - would (if made of normal matter) require a brain larger than the universe itself.


If God is present in all places in the universe, then He is by definition at least as large as the universe. Since God is infinite, it is not a logical contradiction to posit an "infinitely sized"...er, "brain" (or should that rather be "mind"?) for God.

By all accounts God is substantially larger than the universe. A guy like mordecai can take pleasure in the fact that not being able to explain where God comes from or why he exists at all, leaves a far "larger" entity unexplained, than the case is for an atheist who cannot explain where the universe comes from or why it exists at all... :coffee:

#68 pantrog_*

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 11:50 AM

Thanks Skeptic

By all accounts God is substantially larger than the universe. A guy like mordecai can take pleasure in the fact that not being able to explain where God comes from or why he exists at all, leaves a far "larger" entity unexplained, than the case is for an atheist who cannot explain where the universe comes from or why it exists at all...


Yes, this is one of the arguments against the Teleological argument.

But coming back to the immediate line of argument (a modified form of the 'argument from free will').

I think were in an interesting situation here - unlike general Christian theology - an explicit Christadelphian position is that human consciousness is linked to processes undertaken by physical bodies (and that cease when the body dies) rather than perpetuated by an immortal soul.

Our thoughts and actions are not 'random', but the products of physical stimuli - processed by our biological brains. This recasts 'Choice' as being a physical process that (like balls rolling down a hill) could be easily predicted by an omniscient deity (or wives/parents/etc).

However If we accept consciousness (e.g. Adam's mind) as a predictable physical process undertaken in a determinist universe (the garden of Eden) - we have to ask - if Adam neither made his own brain nor the environment he was in ... why is it Adam that gets the blame when things go wrong?

e.g. If I put a 500lb steel ball at the top of a hill and (as I predicted) it rolls down into a person. Is it the ball's fault?

#69 mordecai_*

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Posted 24 May 2005 - 12:52 PM

By all accounts God is substantially larger than the universe. A guy like mordecai can take pleasure in the fact that not being able to explain where God comes from or why he exists at all, leaves a far "larger" entity unexplained, than the case is for an atheist who cannot explain where the universe comes from or why it exists at all... 


Being agnostic I can't really take pleasure in anything related to ultimate causes but I can examine claims made in the case of something actually being or not being related to its qualities. If the bible god is both:

1) Omniscient (possessing all possible solutions to all possible problems and knowing all possible presents, futures and pasts)
2) Omnipotent (Has the means to perform or instantantiate any action at will zero effort on his part, to solve all possible problems in any possible way)

Then the bible god has problems with incompetence, he chose the least successful of all possible solutions. He doesn't care about mankind at all, if the bible is supposed to be a saving message to mankind, just how many people didn't get saved because of lack of effort on gods part. i.e. He had to get people to write and spread his message for him? taking 1000's of years time while we're dropping like flies? Is that merciful, just or loving for the master of the universe in which nothing on his part requires any effort at all? There is only one resounding answer: No.

The bible says:

1) The universe, our sun and this planet will last forever

2) That everyone that was a 'good' bible believer and lived life well will be saved and everyone else who never heard of the bible or its god because of gods own lazyness and slow message spreading via people gets the short end of the stick.

3) That it should be "obvious" that the bibles particular god (out of many gods and sacred texts) with its particular quirks made the world and is responsible for humanity

4) That god controls / sustains reality that allows people to make choices based on the rather limited sense organs (brains, eyes, bodies) and other information they are given.

5) That any defects in the creation are man's "fault" because god changed "reality" (whatever this means, the extent of what was changed is by no means clear or unambiguous, it is couched in vaguery of the highest kind, did death exist in animals before the fall? were adam and eve immortal before the fall? etc? why did god the curse of the ground if the ground was already bringing forth plants that had thorns for millions or billions of years prior?), so god changed "reality" in some way we cannot detect or know of. That god somehow (that is not explained) changed the entire reality we lived in to be hostile on the simple act of disobedience of the first two beings of his own creation, with brains god himself designed.

The problem is assuming the bible god is both omniscient and omnipotent, one can only conclude that the bible god doesn't exist based on the irrefutable and unchangeable evidence of nature.

Stars burn fuel that eventually run out and take out (that is destroy) their solar systems, we know this is an indisputable fact of nature and that this has been happening everywhere in the universe for a long time. This contradicts the whole notion that the righteous will live on the earth eternally. The problem is we have mountains of evidence that there has been no intervention in interstellar history of other stars at all, so one can even conclude that the bibles particular god does not exist on that basis alone. How can you have an eternal or immortal race ruling or overseeing the earth when the star is going to blow up because thats how reality has operated for billions of years, what reason is there to think that the bible god even exists based on the fact all other stars run out of fuel and this destruction has been codified into natural law throughout all cosmic history?

Edited by mordecai, 24 May 2005 - 02:31 PM.


#70 Adanac

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Posted 24 May 2005 - 02:02 PM

Stars burn fuel that eventually run out and take out their solar systems, we know this is an indisputable fact and that this has been happening everywhere in the universe for a long time. This contradicts the whole notion that the righteous will live on the earth eternally. The problem is we have mountains of evidence that there has been no intervention n interstellar history of other stars so one can even conclude that the bibles particular god does not exist on that basis alone.

Your logic, as always, is quite frighteningly absurd.

Do you honestly think that the God of the Bible hasn’t taken all of what you say into consideration?

Honestly, Mord, think!

#71 mordecai_*

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Posted 24 May 2005 - 02:36 PM

Stars burn fuel that eventually run out and take out their solar systems, we know this is an indisputable fact and that this has been happening everywhere in the universe for a long time.  This contradicts the whole notion that the righteous will live on the earth eternally.  The problem is we have mountains of evidence that there has been no intervention n interstellar history of other stars so one can even conclude that the bibles particular god does not exist on that basis alone.

Your logic, as always, is quite frighteningly absurd.

Do you honestly think that the God of the Bible hasn’t taken all of what you say into consideration?

Honestly, Mord, think!

No you think, why would the master of the universe that has been around longer then we have use inferior technology and waste enormous (near eternity for an omnipotent being) amounts of time while condemning men and women to death for simply being born into a defective world from birth based on their ancestors bad choices, what kind of parent punishes a child for the actions of its parent and changes the whole nature of reality for subsequent children? Only the demi-urge in the fantasies of men.

The fact the bible god took so long to even get his message written contradicts the claims that it's god is omniscient and omnipotent. Why would a god reveal himself to limited sectarian amount of people and only perform miracles for the priveledged few throughout history, and then ask future generations far removed from those ignorant and superstitious times to believe it when the evidence from nature which is incapable of being corrupted by men refutes it all? It doesn't any sense at all.

If god was going to reveal a message he'd do it through nature and not a book which any human hand might make or change, any man can write a book about god and claim what is written in that book is about the master of the universe. But the reality is men wrote the bible and you believe what men say, god says. Not in god, but in mens infinitely error prone and corruptable words.

Nature is the only thing god could be sure of that is incorruptable and immune to human lies and tampering. When you understand why you reject all other gods and their sacred texts, you will understand why I reject yours on the same basis.

Edited by mordecai, 24 May 2005 - 02:39 PM.


#72 Adanac

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Posted 24 May 2005 - 02:41 PM

No you think, why would the master of the universe that has been around longer then we have use inferior technology and waste enormous (near eternity for an omnipotent being) amounts of time while condemning men and women to death for simply being born into a defective world from birth based on their ancestors bad choices,

No deity I know of. You obviously don't have any idea what the Bible says.

what kind of parent punishes a child for the actions of its parent and changes the whole nature of reality for subsequent children?


No parent I know of, least of all the God of the Bible.

The fact the bible god took so long to even get his message written contradicts the claims that it's god is omniscient and omnipotent.


Why? You have absolutely no idea how God got his message across in earlier times. Your objection is absurd.

Why would a god reveal himself to limited sectarian amount of people and only perform miracles for the priveledged few throughout history, and then ask future generations far removed from those ignorant and superstitious times to believe it when the evidence from nature which is incapable of being corrupted by men refutes it all?  It doesn't any sense at all.


You continue to have no idea what you are talking about.

The Scritptures talk about your sort, Mord. Read Isaiah 40 for instance and find out.

#73 mordecai_*

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Posted 24 May 2005 - 02:45 PM

God's omniscience. As soon as these truths become available, God will be the first to know them! (On the other hand, the definition of omniscience given in step 2 of the argument above is faulty, because it fails to allow for the possibility of truths which are intrinsically unknowable.)


The problem is either god knows everything or he doesn't, thats the definition of omniscience, complete knowledge. You can't add to or take away from it because it is complete, a truth that is intrinsically unknowable only exists for human beings, because by definition there cannot be anything that god cannot know or else he wouldn't be god because it would contradict omniscience (all knowing) as in everything is known. Something can only be intrinsically unknowable to a being like humans (of limited senses, i.e. we can't "know" atoms exist without the aid of technology). The problem is no religion defines its god well enough to build a philosophy of what a god really is and what it is and isn't capable of because of the inherent vaguery and change in the definitions and meanings.

How can a truth be intrinsically unknowable to an all-seeing being? Seeing being knowing. If all knowledge and truth statements that ever existed were finite amount of objects on a finite sized plane, and god was an observer, how could he not see or understand the 'intrinsically unknowable'. Something that is or has intrinsically unknowable property, is a vague and undefined thing to begin with.

What would be an example of something intrinsically unknowable to a being who's senses and computational ability and memory capacity and power is not limited?

Edited by mordecai, 24 May 2005 - 02:49 PM.


#74 Hyperion

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Posted 25 May 2005 - 08:20 AM

I think were in an interesting situation here - unlike general Christian theology - an explicit Christadelphian position is that human consciousness is linked to processes undertaken by physical bodies (and that cease when the body dies) rather than perpetuated by an immortal soul.

Is that an explicit position? If so, I might be in trouble because I view mind and consciousness as more than just the results of physical processes. I obviously do not believe in an immortal soul, but I don't see why there should only be the 2 options you present.

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#75 pantrog_*

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Posted 25 May 2005 - 10:38 AM

Is that an explicit position? If so, I might be in trouble because I view mind and consciousness as more than just the results of physical processes. I obviously do not believe in an immortal soul, but I don't see why there should only be the 2 options you present.


Ok, let me be fair

Genesis (2:7) describes: "the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."

As you probably/definately know Christadelphians (almost) universaly hold the position that their is no immortal soul. However the fine-detail of the metaphysical position is not set in stone - for example - only a proportion of Christadelphians would deny the existance of Ghosts!

Then it's down to how you interpret 'breath of life' - it could refer to an ethereal cognitive spirit which generates human consciousness (getting a bit close to the pagan 'soul' for some peoples tastes), it could refer to a divine spirit that is a prerequisite for biological life to occur, or it could mean something more akin to initial mechanical ventilation. ...so Christadelphian theology supports a relatively physcial (perhaps entirely biological) origin of human consciousness.

However - coming back to omniscience - whether the mechanism of human decision making is physical or nonphyscial - the deity is omniscient of it - and therefore logically the question about 'who is to blame' remains.

Edited by pantrog, 25 May 2005 - 10:40 AM.


#76 Adanac

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Posted 25 May 2005 - 11:35 AM

I would have thought 100% of Christadelphians deny the existence of ghosts.

#77 pantrog_*

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Posted 25 May 2005 - 12:23 PM

'100%' is an over estimate. Its probably around 85-90%.

I'd like to agree that strictly speaking general Christadelphian theology is anti-ghost.

However there are still a proportion of Christadelphians who - either through local cultural tradition (eg. African or Asian ecclesias), personal experience/intuition or ignorance of/disagreement with core theology - would when questioned accept the existance of ghosts.

My actual sub-point here was not the existance or otherwise of ghosts - but that Christadelphian theology was closer to accepting a solely (pun) biological basis to consciousness, than mainstream christian theology.

The actual point here was to do with 'blame' and 'Omniscience'.

Edited by pantrog, 25 May 2005 - 12:35 PM.


#78 Skeptic

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 02:26 AM

Pantrog

However - coming back to omniscience - whether the mechanism of human decision making is physical or nonphyscial - the deity is omniscient of it - and therefore logically the question about 'who is to blame' remains.


Yes. The other aspect is that for free will to be 100% free, all people whould need to have an equal chance of choosing any option, including those options classified as 'sinful' and 'not sinful' or even 'neutral'.

It is clear to me that a being with a 'fallen nature' does not stand an equal (i.e a 50-50) chance of choosing from moment to moment between obeying God and not obeying God. Apart from other possible definitions of sin-prone, one could classify (or operationally define for the purposes of an experiment) a creature as having a sin-prone nature based on calculating that whenever the being is presented with any given situation where she could either choose to sin or not, her statistical possibility of choosing the option of sinning is higher than 50%.

Having a sin-prone nature loads the dice as it were against the so-called 'free-willed' creature and prejudices her chances of salvation even before she has made a single choice. The combined nett effect of this is that on a daily basis, more choices are made by these creatures that do involve sin, than choices that do not involve sin. So the overall effect in the world of the all choices of all sin-prone people cannot but be bad.

The argument goes that Adam did not have a sin-prone nature, but since he chose to procreate it is Adam's fault that we all have sin-prone natures. But wait a minute, weren't Adam and Eve explicitly instructed by God in Gen 1:28 to have children? Indeed. So in essence God told Adam and Eve to have children, knowing in his omniscience full well that these children would not stand an equal chance of choosing for or against obeying him and that allowing them to procreate would result in a world filled with sin. Who is responsible? Good question, that...

Edited by Skeptic, 27 May 2005 - 02:42 AM.


#79 pantrog_*

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 12:41 PM

Using the 'argument from free will' (i.e. a potential paradox between divine omnisience and human free will) is philosophically a bit of a moving target. There are a number of possible rational positions:

1) The universe is determinist and there is free will ("soft determinism", cf. David Hume)
2) The universe is not determinist and there is free will ("Libertarianism", cf. Robert Kane)
3) The universe is determinist and there is not free will ("Hard determinism" cf. d'Holbach)
4) The universe is not determinist and there is not free will (er... not generally supported)

The tricky bit seems to be dealing with vague but heavily loaded term like 'Free will'. Christadelphians are (as you may have noticed) soft determinists.

Still I think there is a stronger (or at least more emotive) criticism which can be made - stemming from the combination of both 'omnisience' and 'beneficence'.

Basically - it doesn't seem terribly reasonable to allow several billion people to suffer and die, for a single action (by one) whom you designed and built, and allowed to malfunction - despite having the foreknowledge and ability to stop.

#80 Adanac

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 01:08 PM

Where's the "completely over my head" smiley everytime Pantrog posts? :unsure:




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