Gone But Not Forgotten
- Jul 18, 2016
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...a hypothesis that stands in the absence of evidence...
So, a bit like Flat Earth ?
So, a bit like Flat Earth ?
Maybe the analogy is while there are so many different channels, some manage without watching a TV at all.It is incredibly difficult to describe to some believers what not having such belief means.
You can point to "Off" not being a TV channel or say that "no opinion" is not an opinion but still they cannot grasp the idea of not holding a belief in any deity.
My personal understanding is that atheism is a null hypothesis, a hypothesis that stands in the absence of evidence. Present me with evidence of a contradiction to that null hypothesis and I will change my stance
But matter and substance are included in the term maximally great, because if not included then maximal greatness is not maximal
Whether it is more or less consequential is irrelevant to the argument regarding maximal greatness
I am not talking about what is or is not worthy of the title God, only about the description "maximally great"
This merely demonstrates that philosophy (which itself is predicated on the use of language) is an ineffective tool
Sorry, we do NOT know the cat exists, the cat could have existence or it could be fantasy. Only if you specify that the cat has existence a priori can we discuss the meaning of the words used. It seems that Lewis Carrol was making a similar point about philosophical constructions when he was writing about the Cheshire Cat
These qualities logically incomprehensible. The problems associated with omnipotence, omniscience and omniprescence as well as with the term "maximally great" are only resolved by introducing special pleading, insisting on special definitions of these terms.
The problems begin with omnipotence, omniscience and, of course, "good"
- A being has maximal excellence in a given possible world W if and only if it is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good in W; and
- A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
- It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
- Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being exists.
- Therefore, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.
- Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.
There is a curious lack of imagination in some of this.As I said earlier I am using Platinga's restatement of Anselm which is as follows
The problems begin with omnipotence, omniscience and, of course, "good"
An omnipotent being should be able to create another being with equal or greater power to itself - which would mean it was not omnipotent.
An omniscient being would exist only in a world of predetermination (plus, of course, the problems it engenders with quantum randomness and the quantum Zeno effect)
Good is an entirely undefined term and, worse, any attempt at definition must fail as it is always a term whose meaning changes with the person, culture or species. A good (!!??? sic) example is that for mallard ducks gang rape is "good," but, most certainly, it is not "good" for humans.
It is notable that Platinga (despite his affirmation that he is Christian) fails to include "omniprescence" in his definition of excellence and greatness in this discussion
Anselm says that some of God's omnipotence is born of impotence: he is not capable of those things that would result in his being or becoming less powerful. For example (mine), God is not capable of destroying himself or corrupting himself or creating something that is capable of confounding his own will as these potencies would result in less than the greatest potency that can be imagined.An omnipotent being should be able to create another being with equal or greater power to itself - which would mean it was not omnipotent.
He, then, who is thus capable is so not by power, but by impotence. For, he is not said to be able because he is able of himself, but because his impotence gives something else power over him. [...] So, then, when one is said to have the power of doing or experiencing what is not for his good, or what he ought not to do, impotence is understood in the word power. For, the more he possesses this power, the more powerful are adversity and perversity against him, and the more powerless is he against them.
Therefore, O Lord, our God, the more truly are you omnipotent, since you are capable of nothing through impotence, and nothing has power against you.
It has everything to do with the question that someone asked a page or so back which basically was what knotty issues bother agnostics or atheists about origins.....so for me being agnostic the idea that the universe simply originated on it's own is knotty since I am unsure about 'God' or any such being.The universe coming into existence on its own may be problematic philosophically but what has that to do with anything? There are probable physical processes that allow this universe to come into being as long as there is a space-time: and space and time had to exist because a deity has to occupy a space and time is required to allow an action to occur (time before the action, time of the action and time following the action. Claims that a deity can exist outside of all space and all time is not just philosophically knotty it is philosophically incoherent.
So Anselm's argument is that omnipotence only means the bits of omnipotence that do not allow the concept to be disproven. This is special pleadingAnselm says that some of God's omnipotence is born of impotence: he is not capable of those things that would result in his being or becoming less powerful. For example (mine), God is not capable of destroying himself or corrupting himself or creating something that is capable of confounding his own will as these potencies would result in less than the greatest potency that can be imagined.
The apologist William Lane Craig pointed to the problem of eternal in his formulation of the Kalam Cosmological Argument; anything that is eternal (temporally infinite) is subject to infinite regression making it impossible to have any point of origin for the universe as each cause must have some prior cause. Of course, WLC is careful to exclude his god and "His" creative process from being subject to this same problem by interjecting the long discarded "uncaused cause" originating in Aquinas' corruption of Aristotle.There is a curious lack of imagination in some of this.
If God is eternal (as difficult for us to truly grasp as infinite) perhaps he IS all of creation and we are actually in his stomach (or other organ of choice) I'm not saying I believe this, I don't . But any discussion about the existence or otherwise of God should take into account there can potentially be things we are unable to perceive but nevertheless exist - other dimensions, other planes of existence. Things too small, things so large that the universe is tiny (Like in Men In Black)
That came from my post which compared some extreme views on the atheist 'side' with similarly extreme views on the religious fundamentalist 'side'. My view being that they were both examples of zealous nutbaggery that have very much in common and are essentially stemming from the same root of quest for control and imposition of ideology. Both examples previously I mentioned boil down to using Utilitarianism.I'm not understanding the linkage between atheism and eugenics that's seemingly being presumed here.
Rather that the naive conception of omnipotence as the unlimited power to do anything is self-contradictory. If a being is omnipotent enough to bind himself, he cannot be truly omnipotent.So Anselm's argument is that omnipotence only means the bits of omnipotence that do not allow the concept to be disproven. This is special pleading
Words have meanings, claiming that the understanding of a word is "naive" is special pleading and hides the fact that the concept itself is flawed.Rather that the naive conception of omnipotence as the unlimited power to do anything is self-contradictory. If a being is omnipotent enough to bind himself, he cannot be truly omnipotent.
I don't accept all of his argument, but this seems cogent to me.
Omnipotence is an extrapolation that is non-observable in the universe.Words have meanings, claiming that the understanding of a word is "naive" is special pleading and hides the fact that the concept itself is flawed.
Using omnipotence only to mean what he wanted it to mean merely made Anselm Humpty Dumpty.
You appear to have skipped over some important distinctions I was making.Dodgson was satirising the semantics of philosophers changing the meanings of words to support their arguments - which is exactly Anselm's "crime" - the fact Dodgson he used "Glory" in his example is probably irrelevant although given the religious meaning of "Glory" possibly not.
Analysing what we mean by the word "omnipotence" is genuinely an interesting. It is not just semantics.You appear to have skipped over some important distinctions I was making.
Dodgson--as evidence by the quotation from his private correspondence--had no objection to the redefinition of words. The practice that he was parodying was of writers redefining terms ex post facto and claiming an unspoken intention as justification.
Anselm is not doing this.
His argument is:
1) That omnipotence cannot mean 'capable of all things' because that would entail God being capable of actions that make him less powerful.
2) That omnipotence is not concerned with capacities, but with power.
3) That to ensure maximum power it is necessary that God not be capable of certain actions.
I think the difficulty lies in the definition of 'omnipotent'.
Does is mean:
a) capable of being or doing anything whatsoever?
b) as powerful as it is possible to be?
Because these are two different things. Anselm is pursuing the latter as he sees the former as incoherent.
Subscribers to a) must be content with a God that could make a door simultaneously both open and not open. I'm not sure that I can be so.
And many Christians have viewed omnipotence as being defined a third way:
c) able to do anything he wishes to do.
Which is different in key respects and might relate to your question about free-will.
Yes, Dawkins certainly said that, and he also apologised for saying it subsequently. Like you, I also think that he chose the word immoral poorly, and I suspect so does he. Clearly in a liberal democracy we need to respect other people's choices on these difficult issues. I personally wouldn't keep a Downs Syndrome child, but I wouldn't care if someone else did, provided they took full responsibility for that choice.Prof R Dawkins has publically stated that he thinks it's immoral* to allow unborn babies with Down's syndrome to be born https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-ouch-28879659 and various hardline fundamentalist groups have also argued the reverse re. abortion rights in terms of morality, even resorting to violence and terrorism. Both are doing their belief systems and society a disservice, and potentially feed ideologies that can end with results like Aktion T4 or, conversely, Ceacescu's regime of state-enforced births.]
Omnipotence is implicit in the term "Almighty", for which is used in the Old Testament. The Old Testament Hebrew word for Almighty is pronounced Shaddai, and is equivalent of the term Pantokrator in Greek which also means "all powerful".Did the writers of the Old Testament even view God as omnipotent? I feel like that came later.