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DamnedIrishman
2009-05-21, 07:27 PM
Discussing real-world religions is not allowed on this forum. This thread is independent of established belief systems, and I would rather it stayed that way.


Interesting fact: You can debate the existance of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent god without involving real world religions.

Is there a God? Before you answer, I ask a qualifying question: what does "God" mean? In my personal understanding (and I must point out that I am an atheist at this point), something I would call God would be an omniscient and omnipotent being.

I personally believe that omnipotence and omniscience (with the existence free will) are paradoxical and thus impossible. Therefore, I cannot believe that there is a God.

But if I were to hypothesize that a being exists, which theists refer to as "God". He is not omnipotent and omniscient, therefore is it God or just an extremely powerful and intelligent alien? Should it be worshipped?

If it should be worshipped, why that being over any other powerful, intelligent aliens? At what point is a being sufficiently powerful and intelligent enough to warrant worship?

GoC
2009-05-21, 07:44 PM
As I pointed out in the previous thread it is possible for a philosophical demon to be physically omnipotent without creating a paradox.
Though the concept of omniscience destroying free will is indeed troubling...

A being should be worshipped if it has the power to destroy you, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it and it will destroy you if you do not worship it.
I'm a practical mind.:smalltongue:

EDIT: What of the combination Omniscience+Omnibenevolent?
That means that philosophical demon does not have meaningful free will because he will only take the optimal benevolent action. The optimal benevolent action will always involve a certain change in the world near us, so all philosophical demon could do is change things irrelevant to us, such as distant stars.

LordZarth
2009-05-21, 07:55 PM
God is omniscient, which means he knows everything, including what we will do.

However, we have free will (we know this because we can think). This, logically, is a paradox.

The simple and in my view correct answer is that, to us, the paradox's resolution is not comprehendable.

This is not an unscientific, layman's way out. Many things are not comprehendable. You know the big bang theory? I doubt that you can coherently explain to me what the singularity was, and even if you can I ask: what was outside the singularity? The answer isn't that we don't know. The answer is that we don't understand. Or check out Zeno's paradoxes: logically, they prove impossibilities.

Shadowcaller
2009-05-21, 07:56 PM
Thread being closed in 10... 9... 8...

GoC
2009-05-21, 07:59 PM
Thread being closed in 10... 9... 8...


Discussing real-world religions is not allowed on this forum. This thread is independent of established belief systems

This is a thread on philosophy not religion.


Or check out Zeno's paradoxes: logically, they prove impossibilities.
No, they do not. They are not logical. Why can't Achilles move through an infinite number of points in a finite amount of time?

Shadowcaller
2009-05-21, 08:01 PM
This is a thread on philosophy not religion.

I have seen this before, everyone can't keep those two thing separated. Especially when god is mentioned in the thread name...

GoC
2009-05-21, 08:03 PM
I have seen this before, everyone can't keep those two thing separated.

We've done fairly well so far...:smallconfused:
Four threads and not a single modding (though my conversation in spanish may or may not have strayed into the realm of religion).

Got any links to the previous failures?

Shadowcaller
2009-05-21, 08:03 PM
We've done fairly well so far...:smallconfused:
Four threads and not a single modding.

Got any links to the previous failures?

Well, since they got locked and moved? No.

Trizap
2009-05-21, 08:04 PM
well I don't believe in god, but see here is the logical reasoning:
if such a being is omnipotent and omniscient, then such a being knows I don't believe in him and have free will, then he would destroy me since its in his power since he wants believers.

but I'm not dead, and since he could destroy me at any time he wants, he wouldn't really hesitate to do it, I would be thinking, yet, I am alive.

so, either this hypothetical god is benevolent and just wants its creations to be themselves, or he doesn't exist.

either way, I'm alive, I can still believe whatever I want since this god, if it existed, allows me to believe whatever I want, and if he doesn't then my beliefs are right.

therefore, logically I win either way.

GoC
2009-05-21, 08:10 PM
Trizap:Your logic is flawed here: "since he wants believers"
Also, you are in danger of going off topic.

Could all posters remove any statements regarding personal beliefs ("I do/do not believe in a philosophical demon"). They are irrelevant. Let's keep this thread clean.

The questions this thread shall attempt to address:

Is omnipotence contradictory? Can an omnipotent being exist? Does omniscience remove free will?

Let us posit a being niether omnipotent and omniscient, is it the philosophical demon or just an extremely powerful and intelligent alien? Should it be worshipped?

If it should be worshipped, why that being over any other powerful, intelligent aliens? At what point is a being sufficiently powerful and intelligent enough to warrant worship?

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-21, 08:10 PM
Or check out Zeno's paradoxes: logically, they prove impossibilities.

In the case of Achilles and the tortoise, I've always felt the logic is flawed on the fact that they are racing: that is, they are moving independently of each other. Achilles does not run to where the tortoise was, allowing the tortoise to move, he is running to a point beyond the tortoise. The paradox implies that Achilles is chasing the tortoise.

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-21, 08:22 PM
Personally, I don't necessarily view a god as a being which must be omnipotent and/or omniscient, and I find that stereotype to be primarily a Western one. What qualifies a being as a god, to me, is a lack of conventional cause to its effect - that is, it has sprung into being without conventionally-accepted biological means - paired with significant personal power.

Basically, an extremely powerful being that wasn't "born", but rather came into existence.

This doesn't necessarily make those beings worthy of worship - that's simply the classification I choose to assign the term "god" to. It's a relative level of existence to me, not an indicator of morality.

GoC
2009-05-21, 08:30 PM
What qualifies a being as a god, to me, is a lack of conventional cause to its effect - that is, it has sprung into being without conventionally-accepted biological means - paired with significant personal power.

Would a Culture Mind be a philosophical demon by your definition?

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-21, 08:43 PM
That depends - what's a culture mind, and how much power are we talking?

GoC
2009-05-21, 08:53 PM
That depends - what's a culture mind, and how much power are we talking?

A Culture Mind is an AI from the Culture, a super-advanced sci-fi civilization.
It sprung up without conventionally-accepted biological means and has the power to destroy planets by slowing down near one.

Haruki-kun
2009-05-21, 09:12 PM
This is a thread on philosophy not religion.

This is not an apple.

http://www.h4x3d.com/feat/themes/red-apple.jpg

Strange. Me saying it didn't change its nature, did it?

GoC
2009-05-21, 09:15 PM
This is not an apple.

http://www.h4x3d.com/feat/themes/red-apple.jpg

Strange. Me saying it didn't change its nature, did it?

The OPs intent defines the nature of the thread.
Your intent and definitions do not the nature of reality.

Mando Knight
2009-05-21, 09:21 PM
The questions this thread shall attempt to address:

Is omnipotence contradictory?
No. The quality of supreme might isn't a self-contradictory state.

Can an omnipotent being exist?
Not through the might, power, or will of a non-omnipotent being. It would be impossible for a non-omnipotent being to create a (truly) omnipotent being, though, so an omnipotent being would have to be from eternity.

Does omniscience remove free will?
Perhaps. Perhaps not. We don't know. An omniscient being would. :smalltongue:

I don't believe so, though. A truly omniscient being would know simultaneously all possible outcomes of all current actions, all possible former paths, and all possible future paths. Omniscience would therefore exist outside of spacetime, and since we're (currently, at least) incapable of exiting the flow of time, we can't tell for certain if free will really exists or not in the first place, either...

(Do the characters in a play--not their actors, the characters they play--know that they are fated to do as the script tells them? Does the observing audience, presumably watching for the first time, know what they are scripted to do without first knowing the script? Do the characters exist outside of the script and performance? Does it matter?)

Let us posit a being niether omnipotent and omniscient, is it (a) God or just an extremely powerful and intelligent alien?
It depends on your definition of God. Some definitions include "Creator of heaven and earth" or "Creator of the visible and the invisible." If that is so, and the alien is such, then it could be considered God. If the definition is so, and the powerful/intelligent being is not such, then it is not God, despite its power and intelligence, even if that power/intelligence is greater than that of all other known beings, simply because it fails given definition of God.

Should it be worshipped?
Perhaps. Is it worthy of our worship? Or else does its might and majesty exceed our own in such a manner that is inspires worship?

If it should be worshipped, why that being over any other powerful, intelligent aliens?
If it is the most powerful and intelligent, or else the most mighty and majestic, being, then it would have the ability to demand worship above all other beings.

At what point is a being sufficiently powerful and intelligent enough to warrant worship?
It varies from person to person, and would probably fall under "religion."

AmberVael
2009-05-21, 09:26 PM
This is not an apple.

Indeed. It is a picture of an apple. :smalltongue:

Collin152
2009-05-21, 09:42 PM
Maybe if you'd used words like "philosophical demon" instead of "God", it wouldn't be so religiousy. As it stands? I can't stand it. Which is too bad, because this kind of discussion is ordinarily right up my metaphorical alley.

GoC
2009-05-21, 09:47 PM
Maybe if you'd used words like "philosophical demon" instead of "God", it wouldn't be so religiousy. As it stands? I can't stand it. Which is too bad, because this kind of discussion is ordinarily right up my metaphorical alley.

I'm editing all my posts. The OP can edit his when he gets back.

Mando Knight
2009-05-21, 10:24 PM
Maybe if you'd used words like "philosophical demon" instead of "God", it wouldn't be so religiousy. As it stands? I can't stand it. Which is too bad, because this kind of discussion is ordinarily right up my metaphorical alley.

But a core problem remains. How do you define this being? "Philosophical demon" has fewer religious connotations, yes, but the term also strips the casual reader of the idea of what this being entails. A "demon" also has far more negative connotations than divinity does, since it has been used for millennia to describe Creatures That Dwell In the Ventral Planes, whereas "god" and "deity" have been used primarily for exactly the kind of being that the thread wishes to discuss: a supremely powerful being that inspires worship from all who behold it. The word "demon" doesn't hold the connotations of divinity that its Greek source does, but instead a specific kind of spirit-being...

MethosH
2009-05-21, 10:29 PM
God is omniscient, which means he knows everything, including what we will do.

However, we have free will (we know this because we can think). This, logically, is a paradox.

The simple and in my view correct answer is that, to us, the paradox's resolution is not comprehendable.

Since I don't have much time I'm only going to comment this...

Suppose that we all do have in fact free will, that means our actions are only move by:

1) The events around us.
2) The actions of people around us and how those actions affect all current events around us.
3) Our decisions and actions on those events around us.

In this scenario there is 2 possible situations:

1) Our decisions are defined by our experiences on our past (being past everything that is not the instant moment.)

If so, there is a number 'K' of possible realities that are all defined by the randomness of particles in the universe. And our free will would be only the out come of an initial random result.

Suppose now that there is an hypotethical demon that can predicted every single 'K' initial random event, and predict every single possible out come of those events until the end of the universe. There fore this hypotethical demon knows everything there is to know.

2) Our decision are not fully defined by our experiences on our past.

If so, we only have a number 'N' of possibilities of actions based on our current situation, even if this number 'N' tens to infinity it is a finite number.

Suppose now that there is an hypotethical demon that can predicted every single action 'N' we can possible make, and predict every single possible out come of those action until the end of the universe. There fore this hypotethical demon knows everything there is to know.


.... I think I made myself clear, I'm going to sleep now, I need to take a plane in a few hours.

EDIT: By the way.... KNOWING what you are going to do does not affect my power to make you do it.

Collin152
2009-05-21, 10:31 PM
But a core problem remains. How do you define this being? "Philosophical demon" has fewer religious connotations, yes, but the term also strips the casual reader of the idea of what this being entails. A "demon" also has far more negative connotations than divinity does, since it has been used for millennia to describe Creatures That Dwell In the Ventral Planes, whereas "god" and "deity" have been used primarily for exactly the kind of being that the thread wishes to discuss: a supremely powerful being that inspires worship from all who behold it. The word "demon" doesn't hold the connotations of divinity that its Greek source does, but instead a specific kind of spirit-being...

Hey, I certainly didn't name the concept. (http://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/demons/)

MethosH
2009-05-21, 10:34 PM
Yeah... I'm staying with "hypotethical demon" for now...
Ok... BED! I NEED TO GO TO BED! :smallmad:

Mando Knight
2009-05-21, 10:40 PM
Hey, I certainly didn't name the concept. (http://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/demons/)

Although true, it doesn't help with the ambiguity of the term in and of itself without being given a definition. Which, when dealing with matters of philosophy, becomes very important.

Also, "James' Demon" in that article is what I meant by how an omniscient being does not necessarily deny all free will. The free will of other beings becomes inconsequential so long as the omniscient has the capability and will to execute its goal, but that does not deny the existence of the inconsequential.

Trizap
2009-05-21, 10:43 PM
Trizap:Your logic is flawed here: "since he wants believers"
Also, you are in danger of going off topic.

Could all posters remove any statements regarding personal beliefs ("I do/do not believe in a philosophical demon"). They are irrelevant. Let's keep this thread clean.

The questions this thread shall attempt to address:

Is omnipotence contradictory? Can an omnipotent being exist? Does omniscience remove free will?

Let us posit a being niether omnipotent and omniscient, is it the philosophical demon or just an extremely powerful and intelligent alien? Should it be worshipped?

If it should be worshipped, why that being over any other powerful, intelligent aliens? At what point is a being sufficiently powerful and intelligent enough to warrant worship?

no my logic is not flawed.

if the god is malevolent, then he already knows you don't worship him and will destroy you in an instant, thus leaving everyone who does worship him alive, rendering the issue moot.

if the god is benevolent or apathetic, it does not matter since if the god was benevolent, he wouldn't kill people over not believing him, and if he is apathetic, he wouldn't care whether someone worshiped him or not.

as for the three questions above that, omnipotence cannot exist,as that would imply perfection, perfection cannot exist, therefore omnipotence cannot exist either. I do not see how omnipotence is contradictory and yes omniscience does take away free will since the being with omniscience would already know all the possible actions he could do before he could make them
and could see all the things that would come out of that decision, therefore removing all uncertainty and making everything boring since they already know what is going to happen, before it happens.

really I do not see how any of these questions are hard, they seem pretty easy and simple to answer.

Ravens_cry
2009-05-21, 10:56 PM
I had this idea that since energy and matter can not be created by this worlds laws of physics, yet they exists, that there must be soemthing outside this universe,somewhere where this enrgy came from. Perhaps a veritable sea of infinite energy, someplace where the laws of physics were different and enrgy could be created. And within this sea, would be motes where the sea was infinitely dense, creating black holes in the sea, leading, perhaps, to this universe, empty and deflated, small, beyond microscopic, until energy inflated it in whitehole/ Big Bang.
Now infinite has a strange attraction to me, especially infinite noise, such as irrational numbers. Within irrational numbers, somewhere, is a string of number that if fed as binary into a computer are a picture of you.
Can the mind be thought of as numbers?
Perhaps. I think so anyway.
Was God In the Sea of Pi?
It's a thought.
I am not sure if it is a good thought, but it is a thought.

Collin152
2009-05-21, 11:03 PM
On this same token, there's a question that's been bothering me for some time:
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
No, really?

KnightDisciple
2009-05-21, 11:09 PM
On this same token, there's a question that's been bothering me for some time:
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
No, really?

As many as they want to?

Icewalker
2009-05-21, 11:09 PM
I've put a lot of thought into one small aspect of this recently: Omniscience.

The conclusion I came to is that it is likely impossible to have an omniscient being for more than an instantaneous amount of time, because at the point it reaches omniscience would willingly end its life.

As one approaches omniscience, opinion and personality are quickly removed entirely. Because you can see everything from every viewpoint and personality, which personality is your own is completely irrelevant (imagine, for example, the first pair of clothes you wore as a baby. They don't exactly matter to you when you think of clothes now). Opinion ceases to exist.

Life is knowledge: once omniscient, why would one take any action? If you know everything, then no choice of action is different from any other: they are all just one of infinite paths, all of which you see, and as such, none of which is any 'better' or any more 'real' than any other, because there is no reason for you to consider it as such.

An omniscient being would have no purpose, basically, is the conclusion I'm trying to reach.

[hr]
In a completely different argument, I concluded that it is physically impossible to achieve omniscience without some kind of extra-spacial reality. Which may well be out there.

The details of everything which exist, boiled down to it's most basic possibilities, relies on individual points of information. What I mean is, as an analogy, that when you get down to the most basic level everything is similar to binary: it has a certain number of possible states. If one exists, then the mind must use some system of states (similar to a computer's binary) to 'know' anything.

For information about any one thing to be COMPLETELY stored, you would have to have an equal number of states as that thing does at the most basic level to actually perceive what it is. Now, consider this: how can one understand their own mind? You would need the same number of states as your mind can possibly contain: the only way this would be possible would be if your mind is entirely and solely a perfectly efficient store of information, whereas if you are capable of processing anything, your mind is constructed of more state-pieces of information than your memory has possible states, rendering it physically impossible to perfectly understand one's own mind, let alone the rest of reality on top of it.

So, one could understand everything except the details of their own mind. But other than that, omniscience must be achieved via some kind of extra-reality which exists less in some ways than others.



...I've been thinking about omniscience a lot, lately, in case you hadn't noticed. :smallwink: One needs a life's goal, after all. As you might be able to tell from above, I concluded that Omniscience isn't it.

Je dit Viola
2009-05-21, 11:26 PM
I think that Omniscience and Free Will can exist together; I see it this way: Just because you know what's best does not mean that it has to be taken. But, then if someone wants the best thing, then they are choosing with free will the best thing. For example, (nearly everybody) knows that smoking is bad for your health. Some people still do it, other people choose not to do it. That's just a finite example, but in my mind, it explains it a bit better.

And I also think that perfection is possible, so I think that omnipotence is possible. That's just as easy an answer as saying it isn't possible.

Mando Knight
2009-05-21, 11:30 PM
I've put a lot of thought into one small aspect of this recently: Omniscience.

The conclusion I came to is that it is likely impossible to have an omniscient being for more than an instantaneous amount of time, because at the point it reaches omniscience would willingly end its life.

As one approaches omniscience, opinion and personality are quickly removed entirely. Because you can see everything from every viewpoint and personality, which personality is your own is completely irrelevant (imagine, for example, the first pair of clothes you wore as a baby. They don't exactly matter to you when you think of clothes now). Opinion ceases to exist.

Life is knowledge: once omniscient, why would one take any action? If you know everything, then no choice of action is different from any other: they are all just one of infinite paths, all of which you see, and as such, none of which is any 'better' or any more 'real' than any other, because there is no reason for you to consider it as such.

An omniscient being would have no purpose, basically, is the conclusion I'm trying to reach.
Of course, since you're not omniscient, there may be a piece of information that is available to the omniscient being that would entice any omniscients to remain alive. But we don't know that. :smalltongue:

Icewalker
2009-05-21, 11:35 PM
Yeah, that's why the entire first half has the attached word 'likely' at the beginning, and the second half has a stated exception :smallwink:

It's all conjecture, really. Very interesting conjecture, nonetheless, and rather necessary considering my own goals.

GoC
2009-05-21, 11:38 PM
Of course, since you're not omniscient, there may be a piece of information that is available to the omniscient being that would entice any omniscients to remain alive. But we don't know that. :smalltongue:

Indeed but it would not have anything to do with knowledge.
It will go through the motions, learn nothing, observing nothing new, doing exactly what it knew it would do. I'm not even sure you could call such a thing alive.

Ravens_cry
2009-05-21, 11:49 PM
Which is why God created free-will. Without it, if you know everything in the present, you can know everything in the future and past as well.
But with free will, a creature can throw a spanner in the works, and change things. God may still know everything from a moment to moment basis, He/She may know everything that is happening. But the future? It is wide open.

multilis
2009-05-22, 12:02 AM
For all we know, "God" could be like a giant computer, and we all could be part of a simulation (like simcity) he is running.

Omnipotent can mean different things in different languages and contexts. Eg, if everyone else combined could not prevent you from doing what you want, that would be a type of "omnipotent". (definition paraphrased from an ancient 'holy book').

Similarly an abillity to calculate/predict things on a scale vastly better than the rest would be in a sense "omniscient".

If certain genius humans can predict certain things in advance to an amazing degree, then a being with orders of magnitude more intellect/knowledge may do what seems like miraculous to us.

Insisting on a definition tied to mathamatical infinity to create a paradox can be a form of strawman flawed logic.

Felixaar
2009-05-22, 12:09 AM
As sad as it sounds, I tend to follow the Futurama school of Theology - watch the third season episode "Godfellas" to get my drift.

But yes, I believe in an all-powerful and all-seeing, loving God - monotheistic, too. An explanation for my beliefs would probably not be entirely forum appropriate, so we'll just go with "I have my reasons."

Icewalker
2009-05-22, 12:21 AM
As sad as it sounds, I tend to follow the Futurama school of Theology - watch the third season episode "Godfellas" to get my drift.

But yes, I believe in an all-powerful and all-seeing, loving God - monotheistic, too. An explanation for my beliefs would probably not be entirely forum appropriate, so we'll just go with "I have my reasons."

...I suppose we are kind of drifting through space on an object, although comparisons begin to drift off there.

God needs booze? :smallwink:

Serpentine
2009-05-22, 12:39 AM
This is not an apple.

http://www.h4x3d.com/feat/themes/red-apple.jpg

Strange. Me saying it didn't change its nature, did it?As has already been mentioned, this is, indeed, not an apple, but a picture of one :smalltongue:

I don't think omniscience negates the possibility of free will. This being knows what we're going to do in any set situation, but that doesn't change the fact that we are the ones who choose that action. It knows what we'll do because we choose to do it, we don't do it because it knows. To take one aspect of this wider discussion, say the omniscient being has some sort of "plan' for the universe. It can't directly make us make one decision or another, because we have free will. However, it knows exactly what decision we will make in any circumstance, and it is able to -subtly or overtly - manipulate the world and circumstances around us, even hundreds, thousands or even millions of years in advance. Thus, it is able to put us in a situation where we will make the decision that will advance its plan, while allowing us to still be the ones who make the decision.

Incidentally, there is a secular debate about free will, specifically in history (though probably other fields, as well). Unfortunately I can't remember exactly where I read about it, though if anyone's interested I'll try to find it. To the best of my memory, the school of thought is something like this: People make their decisions only in the context of their culture, surroundings, society, and the history of those. When, say, Caesar crossed the Rhine, it was only the culmination of centuries of circumstance. It was, effectively, inevitable. And that's the key, really: Inevitability. Everything that happens is inevitable, and there's nothing any one person, or one decision, can do to change it.
I just looked for it in my class handbook, but I can't quite find it. It has a lot to do with Causality, though.

Flame of Anor
2009-05-22, 12:45 AM
Firstly, let me congratulate the posters here on not getting the thread locked. As a side note, I'm glad you're more active around here lately, GoC, my previous interactions with you suggested you to be a thoughtful and reasonable person.

Secondly, the answer to "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" is "infinity". That is the whole point of the exercise: the question's original purpose is to help people wrap their heads around the concept of infinity.

Thirdly, whenever I consider the omniscience/free will problem, I just think about it like this: imagine a friend who knows you really, really well. You and that friend are driving to a place you drive to often. The friend will know from his (or her) knowledge of you which route you will take. If you go to a restaurant or bar, he'll know what you're going to order. Does this mean you couldn't go a different way or order something else? Of course not, but you won't. Even if you did, there must be some factor that drove you to it, and if your friend knew you that much better, he could predict that, too. I think of God as the infinite extrapolation of this--a friend who knows you so well, He can always tell what you're going to do. Simply put, you have a free choice, but He can guess infinitely well what you'll choose.
But, if enough information exists to guess infinitely well, does this mean that you wouldn't have free will whether or not there was an omniscient being--that your being determines what you will do anyway, that we are predestined by nature, not omniscience? Well, maybe. And maybe not. No science can come close to explaining the nature of consciousness, at least so far, and this seems to me a hopeful sign.
To close, here's a little thought that might defy your brain for a while, but that also might be reassuring: Even if we are predestined, we can choose what our predestinies have been. By making our predestined choices, we change the past--we change what they were predestined to be.

And with that, I bid you all bonne nuit. :smallamused:

Narmoth
2009-05-22, 01:51 AM
Why would knowing all deny free will?
Now, predetermining all, like in "this was powerful beings plan for Narmoth", is something different.
But merely knowing that I can get out of bed or continue typing where I am now, and that I'll most likely stay in bed until I've finished typing, is not a problem for omniscience.

The true paradox arises only when you defined the being of power to have all the following:
1. Power of omniscience, he/she/it knows everything
2. Power of omnipotence, he/she/it can do anything, including changing your behavior, curing cancer and so on
3. Benevolence, or being good. The desire that everyone should have a good life and so on (sorry for being vague here, but better definition would turn this to real religions)

Obviously, when we look around, we see that one of these definitions conflict with how the world in fact is.
What I propose is to change it to:
1. Power of omniscience
2. Power of omnipotence
3. Omnibenevolence, or being "super-good". The point being, since we are not omniscient, or "super-people", we only know good. Not "super-good". We don't know how omnibenevolence would be (or is) different for ordinary human benevolence.

Nameless
2009-05-22, 02:21 AM
I don't believe in a God, however I do believe that there has to be a reason for how everything started.
But this reason, this cause doesn't necessarily have to be a someone. Saying that's it's a someone already takes a whole load of options of the list, so I think that it's a something. And "God" is simply a way of giving this something a name. So, if there is a God, then "God" is literally just the cause of everything, the reason for everything. Not a cautious being, not a he, not a she, and most definitely not something that is still around today watching us all, it’s just a name that you can give to the cause of everything.

Serpentine
2009-05-22, 02:25 AM
Nameless, that's well and truly a religious statement. I'd suggest either rewording it or saying something completely different.

Alleine
2009-05-22, 02:29 AM
I'll throw my lot in with the people saying omniscience and free will can happen at the same time. Knowing =/= controlling. I have the free will to stop my car at any point during my drive to class. Will I? No. I know I won't, for various reason which aren't important. Is the option still open to me? Definitely. Knowing I won't stop doesn't mean I can't.

Omnipotence is one of those things I can't wrap my head around. So a being is omnipotent? Then there are some pretty standard questions you can ask. Can it create a rock so large the being cannot lift it? Is the being capable of being anything other than omnipotent? Can it stop being itself? Am I even using the correct definition of omnipotent?

Hopefully next semester will yield some fun when I take a philosophy class. If it turns out to just be a religion bashing class, I will be very, VERY upset.

Kalirren
2009-05-22, 03:25 AM
Omnipotence is easy:


"But how can a necessary being exist totally polluted with the possible? What difference is there, then, between God and primigenial chaos? Isn't affirming God's absolute omnipotence and His absolute freedom to make His own choices tantamount to demonstrating that God does not exist?"

-Umberto Eco in the voice of Adso, in The Name of the Rose, a book which I must recommend.


Omniscience fails to most interpretations of quantum mechanics. If you don't believe that quantum mechanics is a complete theory (that is, you believe that an entity can be observed without having collapsed its wavefunction into a suitable eigenstate) then we'll talk physics, but barring that, it's difficult to justify omniscience in the face of quantum probability.

Regarding worship-worthiness: Why should I believe anyone who says that anything is obviously worthy of worship? They don't have the right to surrender my judgment (by calling it obvious,) nor are they capable of making a social statement on my behalf (by praying for me or any such.) Really, this is just a corollary of the general principle that any person A who says any other person B is "worthy" of anything that person A doesn't have the right to give away is a jerk for purporting to grant something that isn't theirs to give.

Nameless
2009-05-22, 04:32 AM
Nameless, that's well and truly a religious statement. I'd suggest either rewording it or saying something completely different.

I think you misunderstood me. I don’t believe in a God or deity or any type of conscious higher power that watches us all. I just believe that there has to be a reason or a cause for how everything started. But I don’t believe in any way or form that the cause was a someone.
However, if I was to try and describe God whilst not believing in one, I would say that God is literally just a name (and nothing more) given to the cause of everything. Something had to happen to start off the Big Bang.
For example; If we were to find out how the Big Bang happened, that cause would in many ways be God. The one thing all religions agree on is that God/s is the creator of everything. So if we were to find out the cause of the big bang and everything, in a way that cause, that action would be God to them and not some sort of person or being that is still around today and we should all be worshiping.

Serpentine
2009-05-22, 05:06 AM
You started the post with "I don't believe in a God, however I do believe...". That is an undeniably religious statement. On review, it's not as bad as I first thought, but I still recommend rereading it and considering changing your words a bit.
edit: Or did you do that already? That'd explain it :smalltongue:

Nameless
2009-05-22, 05:32 AM
You started the post with "I don't believe in a God, however I do believe...". That is an undeniably religious statement.


Understanding that that there has to be a cause in order for a reaction to happen (The Big Bang) is hardly religious at all. If anything it's basic science.

Cause > Reaction > product
=
Something > Big Bang > The Universe

It's one of the first things I learnt in Chemistry.
Element A + Element B (Cause) > Heat (Reaction) > Compound (Product)

Religion is:

[none] > God > Universe
:smalltongue:

V'icternus
2009-05-22, 07:15 AM
Alright, let's see if I can actually put the mess of mush I call thoughts onto paper. (Er... the keyboard.)

I just want to make one point, and I don't want to get drawn into a debate. (Trust me, bad idea for me to start debating again...) So, here's the thing. Even if you ignore all the problems with being omnipotent itself, you can't be all knowing as well.

The ability to do anything doesn't work if you already know what you're going to do, because you can't change it. If you did change it, then you were wrong, and therefore not all knowing, and if you can't change it because if you change it you will have already known that you would, then you're not all powerful.

*Breathes*

Alright, I'm done, carry on.

GoC
2009-05-22, 07:17 AM
I don't think omniscience negates the possibility of free will. This being knows what we're going to do in any set situation, but that doesn't change the fact that we are the ones who choose that action. It knows what we'll do because we choose to do it, we don't do it because it knows. To take one aspect of this wider discussion, say the omniscient being has some sort of "plan' for the universe. It can't directly make us make one decision or another, because we have free will. However, it knows exactly what decision we will make in any circumstance, and it is able to -subtly or overtly - manipulate the world and circumstances around us, even hundreds, thousands or even millions of years in advance. Thus, it is able to put us in a situation where we will make the decision that will advance its plan, while allowing us to still be the ones who make the decision.
That doesn't sound like free will to me. You have no choice in your actions and will always do what the being knows you will do.


Thirdly, whenever I consider the omniscience/free will problem, I just think about it like this: imagine a friend who knows you really, really well. You and that friend are driving to a place you drive to often. The friend will know from his (or her) knowledge of you which route you will take. If you go to a restaurant or bar, he'll know what you're going to order. Does this mean you couldn't go a different way or order something else? Of course not, but you won't. Even if you did, there must be some factor that drove you to it, and if your friend knew you that much better, he could predict that, too. I think of God as the infinite extrapolation of this--a friend who knows you so well, He can always tell what you're going to do. Simply put, you have a free choice, but He can guess infinitely well what you'll choose.
The friend only knows you really really well. As his knowledge approaches perfection your free will approaches zero. And an omniscient being knows everything so your level of free will is zero. Such a being would not "guess" it would know.


Even if we are predestined, we can choose what our predestinies have been.
Herein lies the flaw. If we do not know our predestinies we cannot change them.
Thank you for the compliment btw.:smallbiggrin:


3. Omnibenevolence, or being "super-good". The point being, since we are not omniscient, or "super-people", we only know good. Not "super-good". We don't know how omnibenevolence would be (or is) different for ordinary human benevolence.
Is it possible that the "super-good" might be abhorrent to us? Super-good could very well be equivalent to indifference/enjoying human suffering/wanting apples to rule the world.


Cause > Reaction > product
That assumes there is time. Which there wasn't before the big bang.
And please try and stay ontopic...

We need a mod in here with a big red text saying: "stay on topic"

Nameless
2009-05-22, 07:25 AM
That assumes there is time. Which there wasn't before the big bang.
And please try and stay ontopic...

We need a mod in here with a big red text saying: "stay on topic"

No, that's not necessarily assuming there's time. However, before the Big Bang the chemistry (If there was chemistry) would of have been totally different so that might not relate. It's not something we can conceive, so nothing any of us say will be able to be proven.

However, if the theory about there being billions of other universes is correct, then we know how our universe was created, but not how the first universe was.

And it's this shade of red not this.
:smalltongue:

GoC
2009-05-22, 07:30 AM
No, that's not necessarily assuming there's time. However, before the Big Bang the chemistry (If there was chemistry) would of have been totally different so that might not relate. It's not something we can conceive, so nothing any of us say will be able to be proven.
cause->effect is time
Without time there is no cause->effect


However, if the theory about there being billions of other universes is correct, then we know how our universe was created, but not how the first universe was.
Why have a billion universes? It doesn't solve any problems. Let's just have one.


And it's this shade of red not this.
:smalltongue:

We're not allowed to use red text so I used darkred.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 08:59 AM
This is a thread on philosophy not religion.


Indeed. In fact, to be more precise it is a thread discussing a combination of metaphysics, the human condition, paradox and (often) semantics.

Hello again all. I am back to savor further the delights of argument and debate. I do apologise if my arguments are not as concise and well-reasoned as they were before, but although I am now slept and well-rested, I have not yet got back into my personal mindframe from erudite discussion. I do hope you will bear with me for now.


Maybe if you'd used words like "philosophical demon" instead of "God", it wouldn't be so religiousy. As it stands? I can't stand it. Which is too bad, because this kind of discussion is ordinarily right up my metaphorical alley.

The flaw I find in this argument is that the term 'God' implies a worshipped being, and the term 'philosophical demon' merely implies a being of hypothetical existence. Although this term works well with the metaphysical aspects of a god or godlike being (such as omnipotence) it does not serve so well discussion regarding the impact of such a being on humanity (whether it should be worshipped). The connotations of the word therefore direct the debate. Or, as has been more concisely stated:


"Philosophical demon" has fewer religious connotations, yes, but the term also strips the casual reader of the idea of what this being entails.

Well said that man. And now, once more into the breach dear friends, once more...

As I have stated, this thread is discussing a combination of metaphysics, the human condition and semantics. I have touched upon some of the semantic arguments above, and for now I shall discuss them no further. It appears to be that the metaphysical arguments can be divided as follows:

1. Can a being be omnipotent?


Not through the might, power, or will of a non-omnipotent being. It would be impossible for a non-omnipotent being to create a (truly) omnipotent being, though, so an omnipotent being would have to be from eternity.

Although this appears to me initially to be a valid argument. However, with further thought I do not follow your reasoning as to why a non-omnipotent being could not create an omnipotent being.
I can understand a principle that two equal omnipotent beings could not exist, as it would create paradox - they are not omnipotent if they do not have power over each other. One of them, must therefore have power over the other. From this logic, I do not see why an omnipotent being could not create a new omnipotent being - one with power over the original being. If one can create a being more powerful than oneself, then why could non-omnipotent beings create an omnipotent?


omnipotence cannot exist,as that would imply perfection, perfection cannot exist, therefore omnipotence cannot exist either.

As a syllogism:

Omnipotence implies perfection;
Perfection cannot exist;
Therefore: Omnipotence cannot exist.

The truth of the final statement is reliant on the truth of the first two parts. However, I do not see how the first two arguments are validified: why does omnipotence imply perfection? Why can perfection not exist?
Obviously, the discussion of perfection can easily wear down to mere semantics. My personal definition of 'perfection' is something which is quintessentially itself. I presume the statement interprets perfection differently? Perhaps, as a universal ultimate order.


Omnipotent can mean different things in different languages and contexts. Eg, if everyone else combined could not prevent you from doing what you want, that would be a type of "omnipotent". (definition paraphrased from an ancient 'holy book').

Indeed, this debate often devolves into semantics. For the purposes of discussion, I believe that the general consensus on 'omnipotence' is that it implies power over everything in the universe, which would possibly include the constraints of physics, or at least ability to manipulate physical constants (such as the speed of light, or acceleration under gravity).


Omnipotence is one of those things I can't wrap my head around. So a being is omnipotent? Then there are some pretty standard questions you can ask. Can it create a rock so large the being cannot lift it? Is the being capable of being anything other than omnipotent? Can it stop being itself? Am I even using the correct definition of omnipotent?

This is the paradox of omnipotence. Is power without limit even logically possible?


Omnipotence is easy:

Quote:
"But how can a necessary being exist totally polluted with the possible? What difference is there, then, between God and primigenial chaos? Isn't affirming God's absolute omnipotence and His absolute freedom to make His own choices tantamount to demonstrating that God does not exist?"

-Umberto Eco in the voice of Adso, in The Name of the Rose, a book which I must recommend.


One could view 'physics' as the omnipotent. It (an inadequate pronoun, as it implies an energy or mass rather than what is perhaps better described as a property) exerts it's 'laws' over all matter and energy in the universe.
The necessity of omnipotent physics for existence of energy and matter would mean that no being could ever be omnipotent.

The second metaphysical argument is the question of omniscience. If I have the energy, I will summarise and discuss it later.

Nameless
2009-05-22, 09:38 AM
cause->effect is time
Without time there is no cause->effect
If this is true, then how could the big bang happen with out a cause?
Well we don't know, and we might never know because we can't conceive a world without time.


Why have a billion universes? It doesn't solve any problems. Let's just have one.


Not wanting there the be a billion doesn't change the fact that it might be true.

Serpentine
2009-05-22, 09:49 AM
That doesn't sound like free will to me. You have no choice in your actions and will always do what the being knows you will do.You do choose what you do, the being just makes it so that your choices end up with the result it wants. Um... Coming up with a decent analogy is tricky...
Alright, lets say, you have a choice of two universities. One is really good, but very expensive. The other one is less good, but cheaper, and you know more people there. It's a pretty even choice (I hope... I tried to make it so), and you are free to choose either, in any situation.
The Being knows that if you have lots of money, you will go with the good university. If you have less money, you will choose the poorer university. You will, ultimately, be just as happy either way.
For some strange, unknowable reason, the Being wants you to go to the expensive university. So, a few centuries before, It puts a revolutionary idea into the head of one of your ancestors that ensures the material wealth of your family for generations to come. You now have lots of money, that is the means to choose the good university. You still have the option to go to the poorer one if you decide that being with people you know outweighs the quality of the education, but you will choose not to, for your own reasons. Tthe Being knows you will make this choice, and makes use of it. It doesn't make the choice for you.
I'd call this manipulation, not predestination.

Rapidwhirl
2009-05-22, 10:49 AM
The friend only knows you really really well. As his knowledge approaches perfection your free will approaches zero. And an omniscient being knows everything so your level of free will is zero. Such a being would not "guess" it would know.
This is a viewpoint that I have never been able to comprehend. It seems more like an attempt to create an unwinnable circle of debate. Regardless, I will attempt to discover why you think omnipotence isn't harmonious with free will.

Suppose an outside observer, with no power to change or affect you, knows everything about you. He knows what you are, have been and will be, down to every last possibility. Does he violate your free will?

I say no, because simply knowing you will consume a meal doesn't change the fact that you decided to eat on your own.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 11:12 AM
This is a viewpoint that I have never been able to comprehend. It seems more like an attempt to create an unwinnable circle of debate. Regardless, I will attempt to discover why you think omnipotence isn't harmonious with free will.

Suppose an outside observer, with no power to change or affect you, knows everything about you. He knows what you are, have been and will be, down to every last possibility. Does he violate your free will?

I say no, because simply knowing you will consume a meal doesn't change the fact that you decided to eat on your own.

I think the principle is that with truly free will, there is always an element of chance in your decisions. If a being knows exactly what you will do, all the time then this creates a paradox, as the chance element of free will means there can never be true certainty.


He knows what you are, have been and will be, down to every last possibility.

This statement contradicts itself. If he knows what you will be, there are no 'possibilities'. If, on the other hand, he knows everything you could be and not what you will be be, he is not omniscient.

Mando Knight
2009-05-22, 11:14 AM
You do choose what you do, the being just makes it so that your choices end up with the result it wants. Um... Coming up with a decent analogy is tricky...
Alright, lets say, you have a choice of two universities. One is really good, but very expensive. The other one is less good, but cheaper, and you know more people there. It's a pretty even choice (I hope... I tried to make it so), and you are free to choose either, in any situation.
The Being knows that if you have lots of money, you will go with the good university. If you have less money, you will choose the poorer university. You will, ultimately, be just as happy either way.
For some strange, unknowable reason, the Being wants you to go to the expensive university. So, a few centuries before, It puts a revolutionary idea into the head of one of your ancestors that ensures the material wealth of your family for generations to come. You now have lots of money, that is the means to choose the good university. You still have the option to go to the poorer one if you decide that being with people you know outweighs the quality of the education, but you will choose not to, for your own reasons. Tthe Being knows you will make this choice, and makes use of it. It doesn't make the choice for you.
I'd call this manipulation, not predestination.

Or alternatively, you're a novice playing chess against a grandmaster who knows all of the tricks. You can be playing your best, and choosing what you think are the best moves... but since he wants to win and knows all of the moves you could make before you do, he can ensure that he wins, regardless of how well you think you play. You have free will with regards to how you play, but the grandmaster can manipulate the outcome within the game to ensure his goal regardless.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 11:24 AM
Or alternatively, you're a novice playing chess against a grandmaster who knows all of the tricks. You can be playing your best, and choosing what you think are the best moves... but since he wants to win and knows all of the moves you could make before you do, he can ensure that he wins, regardless of how well you think you play. You have free will with regards to how you play, but the grandmaster can manipulate the outcome within the game to ensure his goal regardless.

But that is not omniscience. Omniscience implies knowing everything, and thus knowing what you will do, whereas in your analogy the chessmaster can only try to predict what the novice will do, and always with a chance for error, regardless of whether he can then turn that action to his advantage. The grandmaster is not omniscient but highly intelligent.

MethosH
2009-05-22, 11:30 AM
As many as they want to?

Actually its 32,767 (one more and they'd roll over and become 32,768 Devils)

http://xkcd.com/485/

Kalirren
2009-05-22, 11:43 AM
One could view 'physics' as the omnipotent. It (an inadequate pronoun, as it implies an energy or mass rather than what is perhaps better described as a property) exerts it's 'laws' over all matter and energy in the universe.

I don't accept that semantic move. I don't think you can just slap a name onto an arbitrary set of properties like physics, and attribute agency to them in the form of "exerting the laws of physics." There are no Auditors who "exert" the laws of physics upon all things. Physics and the physical behavior of objects is what emerges from their composition and construction. This is why high-energy physicists keep looking for more elementary particles.

But even if I did accept that definition:


The necessity of omnipotent physics for existence of energy and matter would mean that no being [made of energy and matter, sic] could ever be omnipotent.

We -are-, however, talking about a hypothetically omnipotent extra-universal being typically referred to as a "God". Most believers would reject the idea that God is made of energy and matter, sending us right back to square one.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 11:49 AM
We -are-, however, talking about a hypothetically omnipotent extra-universal being typically referred to as a "God". Most believers would reject the idea that God is made of energy and matter, sending us right back to square one.

... which would mark the end of the debate, since we are discussing an entity which is unrelated to perceptible and measurable reality.

Mando Knight
2009-05-22, 11:59 AM
But that is not omniscience. Omniscience implies knowing everything, and thus knowing what you will do, whereas in your analogy the chessmaster can only try to predict what the novice will do, and always with a chance for error, regardless of whether he can then turn that action to his advantage. The grandmaster is not omniscient but highly intelligent.

Unless omniscience extends to knowledge of everything you can do as well as everything you will do. With this definition, we only know one path of actions, that is, the course that we have taken so far, while the omniscient being knows all paths of actions and would know them as if they were as real as the one we are taking now.

We only have a partial view of the universe as it is. we can extrapolate based on what we know, but a thousand years ago we could have extrapolated that everything everywhere falls towards Earth at around 10 meters per second squared, and that everything slows to a stop while traveling unless it is falling downwards. Both assumptions are wrong. We can thus infer that any inferences into the realms of the infinite are uncertain until we can study the infinite in and of itself.

Trog
2009-05-22, 12:07 PM
Hmm...

Well in regards to god, the creator of the universe and everything in it, I look at it this way:

God created all the different components of the universe: protons, neutrons, subatomic particles, etc. Everything.

God created all the laws by which these component interact: insert any scientific discovery regrading the material world and its laws of behavior here and also all the ones we have yet to discover. Also be sure to include the very important notion that when conditions are right that matter forms self replicating patterns that become life as we know it and the whole idea of Darwinian evolution, etc.

This accounts for god being all powerful (he was the one who originally created everything - all matter - even the stuff that makes up you and I currently) and all knowing (he created and thus knows all the complex rules by which the matter of the universe works).

In this way it can be said that god is a supreme being and created life for a purpose (maybe we're here as a stepping stone to making plastic and robots... who knows? :smalltongue: ). Or at least created the laws of the behavior of matter in all its complexities to to such a degree that it's continued evolution gives the appearance of a purpose.

Though I think it's probably more true to say that matter, and it's eventual product, life, are just steps on the long, long road of continually making the universe ever more complex. The Big Bang happens and all matter exists in one spot. It hurtles out into nothingness slowly creating more complex elements from the earlier, simpler ones, this messy explosion begins to form into the stars and planets and galaxies, and so on and so forth.

So god created matter and a system of rules that evolves into more and more complex systems over time. In that sense we are changing our own world in a way that makes the universe more and more complex... or at least our planet more and more complex.

Now in this scenario god could (if he wanted to) intervene and change the rules... but that would disrupt the system. Since there doesn't seem to be much system disruption happening in the observable universe one could quite easily say that god is done with his job and now has the pleasure of sitting back and watching it all develop.

Also there is the whole he/she thing of god. I've chosen he here in my post for simplicity's sake. Really, I'm of the mind that god is nothing like any of us and the idea that humans were created in his image to be a very egocentric notion created by humans to explain the unfathomable. Religion too, for that matter. And perhaps the very notion of god sitting back and watching the universe is also an egocentric notion created by humans to explain the unfathomable. To project ourselves onto the universe.

In regards to the afterlife I do not believe that there is one. I believe that to the extent that one can say that the matter that makes up my body and mind will one day become a different form of matter and possibly new life one can say that we all will live again in one form or another... though likely never with all the same bits again. Which begins the long and complicated process of figuring out where, in one's body, the self really lies. Most would say the brain seems to be a probable place to start. But as we know when the brain is damaged or altered the self changes behaviors. So if you start whittling away at the brain (or the whole self for that matter) you will see that it is all interdependent and that the self is always a whole and not some small bit inside. Unless that small bit inside is simply the concept of the self. But then each self has a different concept of other selves too does it not? So the definition of self might not be a singular entity either but ALSO the sum total of everyone's concept of one's self. Your feelings on me contribute to me. Change the overall concept of me. Keep extending this further and further outward and I think you'll find it merges nicely into the concept of god.

Sorry, back to the afterlife... I got distracted. The afterlife seems to include both the idea of the self (see above for why I think the essential self is very slippery to nail down) and that the self goes to a different place. Now perhaps god has another reality somewhere. Another one built from the same rules... or maybe altogether different rules. Certainly it would be made of different matter than this one is and existing in different space than this one does. Or if you take away the concept of time, existing with the same fundamental stuff but at a different time. Kind of a moot point. Anyways... you go there after death. Though until it can be shown what portion of one's self the self truely exists in and how that portion of the self transports to this other world beyond all observable phenomenon I, personally am going to have a hard time believing in it.

But perhaps those particles or waves or what have you are there already... waiting to be discovered by man (or some other form of life out there in the universe). Maybe it exists and we somehow know it does on a base level. And that religion is just a way of explaining this unknown but somehow felt thing. Like seeing shadows on a cave wall. We know that something is casting them but we cannot observe them because we cannot turn around. Or the three blind men who touch different parts of the elephant each claiming its a different thing. Each only knows a small portion of what is there and hidden to them.

There... if that doesn't make you cross-eyed I don't know what will. :smalltongue:

Anyways, my two cents for what it's worth.

And you thought I came into this forum just to make goofy jokes and play a troglodyte. Well that's a part of me to be sure... but so is this. :smallwink:

Weezer
2009-05-22, 12:07 PM
Alright, lets say, you have a choice of two universities. One is really good, but very expensive. The other one is less good, but cheaper, and you know more people there. It's a pretty even choice (I hope... I tried to make it so), and you are free to choose either, in any situation.
The Being knows that if you have lots of money, you will go with the good university. If you have less money, you will choose the poorer university. You will, ultimately, be just as happy either way.
For some strange, unknowable reason, the Being wants you to go to the expensive university. So, a few centuries before, It puts a revolutionary idea into the head of one of your ancestors that ensures the material wealth of your family for generations to come. You now have lots of money, that is the means to choose the good university. You still have the option to go to the poorer one if you decide that being with people you know outweighs the quality of the education, but you will choose not to, for your own reasons. The Being knows you will make this choice, and makes use of it. It doesn't make the choice for you.
I'd call this manipulation, not predestination.
(emphasis mine)

I think that this analogy still has a part where the Being is impinging upon free will. By inserting an idea that ensures that the family is rich what he is doing is forcing the family to create and maintain their wealth. This clearly impinges on the free choice of the ancestor who receives that "inspiration".

While it appears that the person choosing between colleges has freewill it is in truth not his choice at all, by pushing the expensive college into a position that removes all possibility of choosing the poor college he is removing free will.

I think when you talk about free will there are only absolutes, you can't have kind of free will, you are either free or not. By knowing the outcomes of every decision an omniscient being removes the possibility of outcomes that contradict his knowledge. In doing this this stops you from being able to choose those outcomes that contradict what he knows will happen.

On the topic of when you should worship a Being, I say never. I know this is rather extreme but I can't concieve of a Being that would be worthy of worshiping. Power and knowledge aren't reasons to worship someone/thing. If power were a reason for worship then dictators of powerful countries would be high on the list for idolization, instead of that we despise them.
If as GoC mentioned we worship to stop the Being from destroying us for being unfaithful that's not true worship, that's fear leading to obedience. If a Being uses the threat of destruction (of any sort) then that makes it worthy of abhorrence and defiance not worship.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 01:11 PM
Unless omniscience extends to knowledge of everything you can do as well as everything you will do. With this definition, we only know one path of actions, that is, the course that we have taken so far, while the omniscient being knows all paths of actions and would know them as if they were as real as the one we are taking now.


But if the being knows what you will do, then what you can do is completely irrelevant - because you're not going to do it. A being that knows all that is, all that was, and all that could be is not omniscient because he doesn't know what will be.
In fact, for the being to be omniscient, lives must either be predetermined or inevitable. Either way, we either have only an illusion of free will or omniscience is a logical impossibility.


If as GoC mentioned we worship to stop the Being from destroying us for being unfaithful that's not true worship, that's fear leading to obedience. If a Being uses the threat of destruction (of any sort) then that makes it worthy of abhorrence and defiance not worship.

What is the form and purpose of true worship, if not merely to please the God of Rain so that there will not be drought?

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-22, 01:12 PM
@GoC - Eh, you could call a Culture Mind a "god" if you want to set the criteria at mere destruction. If one wants to speak of an AI deity, I, personally, would think more along the lines of Jane, of Ender's Saga fame.

GoC
2009-05-22, 01:31 PM
If this is true, then how could the big bang happen with out a cause?
As I said, without time there is no cause-effect and thus no need for a cause.


Not wanting there the be a billion doesn't change the fact that it might be true.
As I have previously pointed out anything physical is possible. Doesn't make it likely and having a billion universes doesn't explain anything. Having an infinite number of universes could explain the cause->effect thing but a billion merely post-pons the problem.


*snip*
That's besides the point. The lack of free will has nothing to do with any actions of the omniscient being. It's mere existence says that your fate is predetermined and that it knows the outcome. And if you have no choice in your actions then you do not have free will.


I say no, because simply knowing you will consume a meal doesn't change the fact that you decided to eat on your own.
"To decide" is merely a logical process that will reach an outcome based on your knowledge. It isn't free will any more than a computer executing a series of calculations to output "yes" or "no" is free will. The outcome was predetermined before the calculations/decisionmaking even began.

Obviously this assumes the omniscient being exists.


Unless omniscience extends to knowledge of everything you can do as well as everything you will do
If it knows what you will do then "knowing what you can do" has know meaning. As you cannot do anything but what you will do (amazing! I just used a tautology to show something!).

Weezer: Why worship anything? What is worship?

Trog: This thread does not currently discuss the possible existence of an afterlife.
Also, logical flaw here:

all knowing (he created and thus knows all the complex rules by which the matter of the universe works).
I can create rules of celular automata but I would not know everything about that system. Conway created the Game of Life but didn't know how to make a 17c/45 spaceship. Or even if such a thing was possible.

Lord_Gareth: Using effectors it can also create almost anything and read minds. I'm not familiar with Jane...

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-22, 01:45 PM
Jane isn't just part of an interstellar computer network - she basically is the network. Any ship, any piece of data, any thing whatsoever on that network (which is, incidentally, the only one) is under her near-absolute command. She can be delayed, but not stopped, and her information network runs to near present-omniscience (that is to say, anything the network knows, or anything that could be extrapolated from what the network knows, she knows).

Here's an idea on omniscience - what if a being knows all past things and all present things, but when dealing with the future it only knows all possibilities - that is, it knows everything you could do, but not everything you will?

GoC
2009-05-22, 02:00 PM
Here's an idea on omniscience - what if a being knows all past things and all present things, but when dealing with the future it only knows all possibilities - that is, it knows everything you could do, but not everything you will?

Even I know every possibility (assuming certain quanum mechanical effects extend to the macro realm). If it does not know what you will do then it's not omniscient.
In a world where iteration/step of the universe contains "actual" probabilities (to distinguish between virtual probabilities such as a problem involving picking cards out of a deck) omniscience as it is commonly defined is impossible.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 02:03 PM
Here's an idea on omniscience - what if a being knows all past things and all present things, but when dealing with the future it only knows all possibilities - that is, it knows everything you could do, but not everything you will?

This isn't omniscience. It's more like a combination of an extremely good encyclopedia and a solved game.

Rapidwhirl
2009-05-22, 02:36 PM
I think the principle is that with truly free will, there is always an element of chance in your decisions. If a being knows exactly what you will do, all the time then this creates a paradox, as the chance element of free will means there can never be true certainty.


He knows what you are, have been and will be, down to every last possibility.

This statement contradicts itself. If he knows what you will be, there are no 'possibilities'. If, on the other hand, he knows everything you could be and not what you will be be, he is not omniscient.That is the part that I don't get. You remain in full control of your actions, and can do whatever you want. This is free will. Sure, we have laws, both natural and artificial, that must be/are expected to be followed. If a being simply knows, how does that make everything you do become scripted? Because it simply is? If so, then we have a difference of perspective, not logic. For me, I'm going with what the dictionary calls Free Will (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/free%20will):


–noun
1. free and independent choice; voluntary decision: You took on the responsibility of your own free will.
2. Philosophy. the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces.As long as someone isn't dictating my actions, I do have free will. While it is true that I live in a world where circumstance influences my decision, it is still mine to make in the end. It doesn't matter if someone knows what I'm going to do. They aren't making the choice for me, so I am free.

I contradicted myself earlier? Hm, perhaps I have been too cryptic. Consider someone viewing from outside our definition of time, seeing all possibilities on how the universe could unfold, and knowing what the natural course is. It is my understanding of the concept of omnipotence.

Illven
2009-05-22, 02:40 PM
If all-perfect knowledge is possible then we lesser beings could not compherend it. No matter how smart or wise we are.

GoC
2009-05-22, 02:42 PM
You remain in full control of your actions, and can do whatever you want.
But you can't do whatever you want! You can only do that one specific thing that the omniscient being knows you will do.

Note: I've taken a page from D_A's book.:smalltongue:


As long as someone isn't dictating my actions, I do have free will.
Noone is dictating the actions of this cup of soup on my desk but it does not have free will.


It doesn't matter if someone knows what I'm going to do. They aren't making the choice for me, so I am free.
They aren't making the choice for you because you have no choice in the first place in this scenario.
Cool link. (http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~jas/one/freewill-theorem.html) Alternative link. (http://www.ams.org/notices/200902/rtx090200226p.pdf)


If all-perfect knowledge is possible then we lesser beings could not compherend it.
What does it mean to comprehend something? Is it enough to define it? Fit it into your world view? Something else?

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 02:48 PM
That is the part that I don't get. You remain in full control of your actions, and can do whatever you want. This is free will. Sure, we have laws, both natural and artificial, that must be/are expected to be followed. If a being simply knows, how does that make everything you do become scripted? Because it simply is?

Let me put this as simply as possible:

If you are definitely going to act in a certain way, you are not choosing to act like that, as choice implies multiple options.


Rather, you have an illusion of free will. Omniscience would require an inevitable future, and if the future is only one set path, there is no chance, no chaotic spark of uncertainty, and therefore no free will.

Narmoth
2009-05-22, 03:22 PM
Omnipotence is one of those things I can't wrap my head around. So a being is omnipotent? Then there are some pretty standard questions you can ask. Can it create a rock so large the being cannot lift it? Is the being capable of being anything other than omnipotent? Can it stop being itself? Am I even using the correct definition of omnipotent?

Those questions are made by jerks exploiting the fact that the human languages don't convey truth by themselves.
After all, I can construct the idea of "black couloured white rabbit"
Obviously, the rabbit can't be completely white and completely black at the same time. But I can say that he is.


Is it possible that the "super-good" might be abhorrent to us? Super-good could very well be equivalent to indifference/enjoying human suffering/wanting apples to rule the world.


I'm happy you understood the idea. :smallbiggrin:
It's not mine (I wish it were). It's the Strugatskij-brothers that made aliens like that in one short-story

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-22, 03:41 PM
Eh, the view I postulated on omniscience is simply my fiancee's view on her particular "supreme being".

By the by, why is there no argument about the phrase "omnibenevolent" going on here? For there to be something that is all-good, there first must be an objective definition of good. For that matter, what's "good" for one person in one situation at one time may be bad for hundreds of other people - but doing what's "good" for them may lead to even further catastrophe. An omnibenevolent being would be unable to act, paralyzed by its need to help the whole.

GoC
2009-05-22, 03:45 PM
People take omnibenevolent to mean "will do exactly what I think is good".

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-22, 03:47 PM
Lord_Gareth: Using effectors it can also create almost anything and read minds. I'm not familiar with Jane...

That qualifies it for "god" territory in my book, then. Frankly, the only reason I make a distinction between "god-like power" and "god-class being" is that, theoretically, a biologically-based being (that is, a conventional life form) could be replicated. Other life forms can gain access to that power. A being that comes into existence without conventional reproductive methods is a bit more exclusive. Thus, Superman has godlike power, but is not a god. Jane is a god, mostly because she's unique, but also because she has near-absolute control over the colonized galaxy.

Incidentally, in my personal book, control > creation.

Telonius
2009-05-22, 04:02 PM
Omnipotent within the world ... check.
Omniscient within the world ... check.
Omnibenevolent ....

Hm. Well, apparently the DM isn't God.

Though I would say that I love all of the characters I write, even the villains.

Trog
2009-05-22, 04:03 PM
Trog: This thread does not currently discuss the possible existence of an afterlife.
Now it does. Afterlife and god often go hand in hand. It's a natural extension of the original discussion.



Also, logical flaw here:

I can create rules of celular automata but I would not know everything about that system. Conway created the Game of Life but didn't know how to make a 17c/45 spaceship. Or even if such a thing was possible.
Perhaps. Then again perhaps a being that is intelligent enough to create a system that mankind still does not fully understand -would- know everything about that system. Though I see your point.

The only grey area I see is when it comes to humans creating things for themselves. In that arena I start to get a bit fuzzy about whether or not that is part of any particular "plan".

And again we get into the whole idea of whether everything is according to god's plan and how far reaching that plan (should it exist) is.

Now if the plan was that life would create a different kind of construct than the laws of physics and whatnot then anything life creates (a 17c/45 spaceship or what have you) then mission accomplished. Though what the ultimate point of that would be escapes me... but it does add to the world's complexity.

GoC
2009-05-22, 04:18 PM
Now it does. Afterlife and god often go hand in hand. It's a natural extension of the original discussion.
Not always. It would be best to stear clear of it until later.


Then again perhaps a being that is intelligent enough to create a system that mankind still does not fully understand -would- know everything about that system.
It's not that we don't understand it. It's that we don't start off knowing. We have to conduct experiments to find out how reality works. The actual, final, model of reality will probably be quite comprehensible to humans.

Rapidwhirl
2009-05-22, 04:19 PM
Ah, I see. This a rather discouraging thought, not having my free will if I want to believe in God. That is what it boils down to, though I can also say "if I want to believe an omnipotent being can exist".

Now that I understand your viewpoint, let's apply it to the real world. Specifically, the justice system. We can no longer hold any criminal who ever lived accountable for violating the law, because if there is an omnipotent being then he is responsible for everything he knew they would do. They didn't have a choice, we must let them go.

Alrighty then, who really decided the action? It was either the criminal, or the being that knows what the criminal was going to do.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 04:25 PM
Ah, I see. This a rather discouraging thought, not having my free will if I want to believe in God. That is what it boils down to, though I can also say "if I want to believe an omnipotent being can exist".


Or, alternatively, you could assume that your God is not omniscient (Omnipotent means all-powerful, not all knowing - that's omniscience. The free will debate only applies to omniscience).



Now that I understand your viewpoint, let's apply it to the real world. Specifically, the justice system. We can no longer hold any criminal who ever lived accountable for violating the law, because if there is an omnipotent being then he is responsible for everything he knew they would do. They didn't have a choice, we must let them go.


Exactly correct! Lucklily, I'm also an atheist who doesn't believe in determinism, so whilst you and other omniscient-being-theists should let them go, I can punish them, in line with my own conscience and the justice system.



Alrighty then, who really decided the action? It was either the criminal, or the being that knows what the criminal was going to do.

That depends. If you believe God is all-knowing, and that God created the human race, then the fault is God's - after all, he designed us, and when he was doing that he (being omniscient) knew that this would eventually happen. In fact, he designed us to do so.

If, on the other hand, you are either an non-deterministic atheist or believe in a non-omniscient God, then it is the fault of the individual, as they have free will.

Finally, if you're a deterministic atheist, or you believe that God didn't create humanity but IS omniscient, then it is nobody's fault, as everything is merely natural reaction to environment.

GoC
2009-05-22, 04:51 PM
Now that I understand your viewpoint, let's apply it to the real world. Specifically, the justice system. We can no longer hold any criminal who ever lived accountable for violating the law, because if there is an omnipotent being then he is responsible for everything he knew they would do. They didn't have a choice, we must let them go.
Responsible? I don't believe the term can be applied here...
If noone has a choice then that's just tough luck. They were doomed to go to prison. If they do not then we'd simply have more criminals.


Alrighty then, who really decided the action? It was either the criminal, or the being that knows what the criminal was going to do.
Who "decided" it is irrelevant. The criminal commited a crime. A punishment is necessary to make sure society stays intact.

Je dit Viola
2009-05-22, 07:56 PM
Exactly correct! Lucklily, I'm also an atheist who doesn't believe in determinism, so whilst you and other omniscient-being-theists should let them go, I can punish them, in line with my own conscience and the justice system.

...

If, on the other hand, you are either an non-deterministic atheist or believe in a non-omniscient God, then it is the fault of the individual, as they have free will.

Finally, if you're a deterministic atheist, or you believe that God didn't create humanity but IS omniscient, then it is nobody's fault, as everything is merely natural reaction to environment.

Or you could just believe something else. Like I do. But I won't go into specifics because it directly weaves into religion.

You don't have to be an atheist or non-omniscient God-believer to believe in free will. There are other possibilites, like, for example: Free Will is the Ultimate Good. So a Supreme Being who is Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnibenevelent will use his ultimate knowledge and ultimate power to ensure that free will exists. That's assuming that Free Will is the Ultimate Good. It is possible, not seeing that particular point of view does not mean that it's not there.

GoC
2009-05-22, 08:12 PM
So a Supreme Being who is Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnibenevelent will use his ultimate knowledge and ultimate power to ensure that free will exists.
We have proved that such a thing is impossible.

Rapidwhirl
2009-05-22, 08:16 PM
Or, alternatively, you could assume that your God is not omniscient (Omnipotent means all-powerful, not all knowing - that's omniscience. The free will debate only applies to omniscience).

Exactly correct! Lucklily, I'm also an atheist who doesn't believe in determinism, so whilst you and other omniscient-being-theists should let them go, I can punish them, in line with my own conscience and the justice system.

That depends. If you believe God is all-knowing, and that God created the human race, then the fault is God's - after all, he designed us, and when he was doing that he (being omniscient) knew that this would eventually happen. In fact, he designed us to do so.

If, on the other hand, you are either an non-deterministic atheist or believe in a non-omniscient God, then it is the fault of the individual, as they have free will.

Finally, if you're a deterministic atheist, or you believe that God didn't create humanity but IS omniscient, then it is nobody's fault, as everything is merely natural reaction to environment.There is a problem with me letting go of my religion...

Your entire argument is a Strawman. You are determining the rules of omniscience and telling me what is and isn't so. How do you know what it is like? You wouldn't happen to know by experience, would you? The fact is that we have free will, we know this because each of us may exercise it. My definition of God is dependent upon Him being omnipotent. I find that free will, and omniscience are not mutually exclusive.

How? When it comes right down to it, the person has made a choice. For perspective, consider someone who truly lacks free will. If such a person is given a command they obey. Will they begin acting on their own when not given something to do, or will they simply remain idle?

Also, if you bother to read about God you would know that He never designed us to break laws. We are supposed to communicate with Him. We decided to use our free will to act against God.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 08:16 PM
We have proved that such a thing is impossible.

Whilst I would shy away from the term 'proved' when discussing anything regarding a hypothetical entity, I would tend to agree.


"Unless omniscience extends to knowledge of everything you can do as well as everything you will do. With this definition, we only know one path of actions, that is, the course that we have taken so far, while the omniscient being knows all paths of actions and would know them as if they were as real as the one we are taking now."

But if the being knows what you will do, then what you can do is completely irrelevant - because you're not going to do it. A being that knows all that is, all that was, and all that could be is not omniscient because he doesn't know what will be.
In fact, for the being to be omniscient, lives must either be predetermined or inevitable. Either way, we either have only an illusion of free will or omniscience is a logical impossibility.

GoC
2009-05-22, 08:20 PM
You are determining the rules of omniscience and telling me what is and isn't so.
That's because you haven't made your own definition.


How do you know what it is like?
He has defined it.


How? When it comes right down to it, the person has made a choice. For perspective, consider someone who truly lacks free will. If such a person is given a command they obey.
That is quite the wacky definition of free will. You've said [lacks free will]->[will obey all commands].
I present a counterpoint:
http://thebitt.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/funny_monkey.jpg

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 08:25 PM
There is a problem with me letting go of my religion...

Your entire argument is a Strawman. You are determining the rules of omniscience and telling me what is and isn't so. How do you know what it is like? You wouldn't happen to know by experience, would you? The fact is that we have free will, we know this because each of us may exercise it. My definition of God is dependent upon Him being omnipotent. I find that free will, and omniscience are not mutually exclusive.



What I am actually trying to do, is determine the possibility of such things as omniscience and omnipotence by use of logic. If such things create a paradox, then in my mind they cannot exist.
The fact is not "we have free will". We may, as has been suggestion, merely think we have free will. How would we know the difference?
You are welcome to your own interpretation of God, and this discussion does not aim to take that away from you, nor do you have to justify having your beliefs. However, if you are going to join in the debate, then it is necessary to argue logically that free will and omniscience.

I do not care what you believe: that's your business, and yours alone. However, I do enjoy playing advocatus diaboli, and therefore this thread exists. Please do not view it as an attack upon yourself and your ideas about God.

Finally, I would argue that it is actually your argument that we should release all criminals which was the strawman.



How? When it comes right down to it, the person has made a choice. For perspective, consider someone who truly lacks free will. If such a person is given a command they obey. Will they begin acting on their own when not given something to do, or will they simply remain idle?



The statement that someone has made a choice relies on that person truly having free will, which is something which I do not feel has been established.




Also, if you bother to read about God you would know that He never designed us to break laws. We are supposed to communicate with Him. We decided to use our free will to act against God.

Your religious beliefs are not relevant to this debate. I am not trying to tear down Yahweh, I am discussing the logical implications of omniscience and omnipotence. This is about metaphysics, not religion.

@GoC

I think the monkey was... slightly unnessecary, although I appreciate the support.

:smallbiggrin:

Ravens_cry
2009-05-22, 08:35 PM
An omnipotent omniscient being could, ala Futurama, choose not to interfere. We may not have free will, in the sense if She wanted to, He could make us do whatever. And She knows very well what we will do without this interference. But, out of love, He chooses not too. Imagine your parents were dictators of small but prosperous nation. They could have cameras in every room, and lacking any laws to stop them, stop any action of yours they opposed. They are as close to omnipotent and omniscient it is is possible for any mortal to be. Yet, while love protects, love also let's go. Though they will make wrong choices and foolish mistakes, in the end a child who has grown ups life is their own.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 08:40 PM
An omnipotent omniscient being could, ala Futurama, choose not to interfere.

The reason that we argue that free will and omniscience are incompatible, is because (at least for the purposes of this debate) omniscience means knowing everything, including everything that we will do in the future.

For a being to know what we will do, the future must either be predestined or inevitable, as otherwise the being could not be omniscient - there would always be a tiny chance that he is wrong. We think we are choosing our actions, but in reality we are simply walking a fixed course. Thus, whether or not the being interferes with the universe, his omniscience dictates that the future is a set path.

Faced with this, some have argued that the omniscient being could instead have knowledge of all that is, all that was, and all that could be instead of all that will be. However, I argue that such a being is not omniscient, as although he knows all the options, he doesn't know which one will be chosen.

(Apologies for overuse of the male pronoun. 'It' would be more appropriate.)

GoC
2009-05-22, 08:51 PM
I am trying to tear down Yahweh

Umm...
Don't you mean "I am not trying to tear down Yahweh"? Those kinds of typos are a tad dangerous.:smallwink:

Glad you liked the monkey btw.:smallbiggrin:

I default to "he" instead of "she" because it's one letter shorter and "it" conveys an unintelligent creature.

Je dit Viola
2009-05-22, 08:52 PM
We have proved that such a thing is impossible.

And yet, by the same definition of 'proved', I have proved such a thing is not impossible. Which, basically means, that the possiblility is there, no matter how small or statistically insignificant it seems.

GoC
2009-05-22, 08:53 PM
I have proved such a thing is not impossible.
Where?text

Recaiden
2009-05-22, 08:55 PM
Well, It is possible that there are some things that cannot be known, and thus omniscient could simply refer to knowing all things that are knowable. Not true omniscience, but close.

Je dit Viola
2009-05-22, 08:55 PM
Just read my post. With an open mind. And you'll see it. If you still don't see it, read my other posts. If you still don't see it...there's no point in trying to convince you.

Recaiden
2009-05-22, 08:59 PM
Well, infinite power could be used to limit the being's own omniscience as I described, or to make reality so that whenever a decision is made, a parallel reality is made in which the other choice was made and the being knew that that choice would be made. All choices are made in some reality so choices can exist. I think.

Ravens_cry
2009-05-22, 09:01 PM
I can think of another kind of omniscience if combined with omnipotence. That is they know a what the results will be if they stretch forth their hand. Not the possibilities, but the actual results.
Let's say your in a maze and God dost say unto you "You were going to turn right, until I said this, then you will go left, except, well now that I said that your going to go right. This will go on for 37 times, or it would have,until I said that. Your going to go home. Except now that I said you are, you're not. Except you now are. . ." etc.

GoC
2009-05-22, 09:05 PM
Just read my post. With an open mind. And you'll see it. If you still don't see it, read my other posts. If you still don't see it...there's no point in trying to convince you.
I'm always suspicious when someone says "if you have an open mind you will see it and if you don't there's no point arguing with you".
I shall examine your post:

You don't have to be an atheist or non-omniscient God-believer to believe in free will.
Good. The statement to be proven should generally be the first thing the reader sees.

There are other possibilites, like, for example: Free Will is the Ultimate Good.
Ultimate good: The goal of the entity in question.

So a Supreme Being who is Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnibenevelent will use his ultimate knowledge and ultimate power to ensure that free will exists.
First you need to prove that such a thing is possible. (ensuring free will)
Note: We have already rejected "true" omnipotence as contradictory and substituted physical omnipotence. If you wish to use the previous definition of omnipotence you must explain the contradictions.

That's assuming that Free Will is the Ultimate Good.
Enphasizing that this is an if->then

It is possible, not seeing that particular point of view does not mean that it's not there.
However proving a viewpoint false does mean it's not there.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 09:07 PM
Umm...
Don't you mean "I am not trying to tear down Yahweh"? Those kinds of typos are a tad dangerous.:smallwink:


I can't believe I just did that. Mistake rectified. Move along, there's nothing to see.

Phew! Am I glad that it was you who noticed and not anyone else?


Well, infinite power could be used to limit the being's own omniscience as I described, or to make reality so that whenever a decision is made, a parallel reality is made in which the other choice was made and the being knew that that choice would be made. All choices are made in some reality so choices can exist. I think.

That does rather rely on the existence of parallel universes, which is a case of trying to prove one hypothetical concept by suggesting another. Diverting point, though.

Limited omniscience contradicts itself though, doesn't it? Omniscience meaning all-knowing.

Just read my post. With an open mind. And you'll see it. If you still don't see it, read my other posts. If you still don't see it...there's no point in trying to convince you.

I am assuming you mean this post:


Or you could just believe something else. Like I do. But I won't go into specifics because it directly weaves into religion.

You don't have to be an atheist or non-omniscient God-believer to believe in free will. There are other possibilites, like, for example: Free Will is the Ultimate Good. So a Supreme Being who is Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnibenevelent will use his ultimate knowledge and ultimate power to ensure that free will exists. That's assuming that Free Will is the Ultimate Good. It is possible, not seeing that particular point of view does not mean that it's not there.

I see your argument. However, the argument that you are responding to is that an omniscient being and free will in the same universe creates a paradox, and thus one cannot exist. Your counterargument appears to be that the being, in his omnibenevolence, would see to it that free will existed.
How, do you propose? By destroying itself?

Your argument, although interesting, does not appear to tackle the fundamental issue we are discussing, which is that omniscience and free will cannot both exist.

GoC
2009-05-22, 09:11 PM
Well, infinite power could be used to limit the being's own omniscience as I described, or to make reality so that whenever a decision is made, a parallel reality is made in which the other choice was made and the being knew that that choice would be made. All choices are made in some reality so choices can exist. I think.

Essentially you don't make a choice because you actually always choose all the available options.

And it also destroys continuity of concience.

Lupy
2009-05-22, 09:11 PM
An omniscient being knows what we will do, but does not force us to do it, so we have free will.

An omnipotent being can make us do things, but that does not mean he has to, so we still are free in our actions.

An "omnibenevolent" being would have to help us, which would remove all free will on our part if he is also omniscient and omnipotent.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 09:13 PM
An omniscient being knows what we will do, but does not force us to do it, so we have free will.

An omnipotent being can make us do things, but that does not mean he has to, so we still are free in our actions.

An "omnibenevolent" being would have to help us, which would remove all free will on our part if he is also omniscient and omnipotent.

I don't mean to be rude, but I think you've skipped over the majority of this thread. Furthermore, you haven't given any arguments to support any of your assertions.

Recaiden
2009-05-22, 09:16 PM
Essentially you don't make a choice because you actually always choose all the available options.

And it also destroys continuity of concience.

Yes. Is that second part a problem?

Ravens_cry
2009-05-22, 09:16 PM
An omniscient being knows what we will do, but does not force us to do it, so we have free will.

An omnipotent being can make us do things, but that does not mean he has to, so we still are free in our actions.

An "omnibenevolent" being would have to help us, which would remove all free will on our part if he is also omniscient and omnipotent.
I disagree on the omni benevolent part.A helicopter parent being an excellent example. Of course, a mortal parent doesn't know everything, but even if they did, would that make it right?

Recaiden
2009-05-22, 09:19 PM
I disagree on the grounds that an omnibenevolent being might count free will as being a good thing, and thus act to preserve it.

And since it might not cause our actions, how does the being knowing what our actions are prevent us from having freely chosen them?

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-22, 09:19 PM
Quick clarification question - what's the difference between "omnipotence" and "physical omnipotence"?

Also - one major train of thought supporting the idea of an omniscient being is having said being exist outside of time. Thusly, it knows what you will do not because the future is determined already, but because it went ahead and saw you perform the action. Now, to me (thinking about this for only about five seconds, mind), that by itself isn't impinging on free will. HOWEVER, paired with omnipotence - since that's one of Irishman's requirements for a deity-class being - that means that free will only exists at such a beings' sufferance.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 09:20 PM
Yes. Is that second part a problem?

Without consequence, do you truly have choice?

Let us assume for the sake of argument that each possible decision spawns a new parallel universe. Why does this mean we, in this universe, have free will?
After all, we're still following one specific path through space-time, are we not?



Quick clarification question - what's the difference between "omnipotence" and "physical omnipotence"?

Also - one major train of thought supporting the idea of an omniscient being is having said being exist outside of time. Thusly, it knows what you will do not because the future is determined already, but because it went ahead and saw you perform the action. Now, to me (thinking about this for only about five seconds, mind), that by itself isn't impinging on free will. HOWEVER, paired with omnipotence - since that's one of Irishman's requirements for a deity-class being - that means that free will only exists at such a beings' sufferance.

True omnipotence implies power over everything, including physics. Physical omnipotence implies power over everything within the boundaries of physics.

The argument has merit, but it relies on the possibilty of existence outside the universe, and also of time travel. This is, again, supporting a hypothetical being by using a hypothetical principle.

I mean, I could say: Magic did it! It's a solid argument, as it brooks no dissension, but it is fundamentally flawed in that relies on something just as hypothetical as what it is trying to support.

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-22, 09:21 PM
I disagree on the grounds that an omnibenevolent being might count free will as being a good thing, and thus act to preserve it.

And since it might not cause our actions, how does the being knowing what our actions are prevent us from having freely chosen them?

*Sigh*

Okay, here's the deal - if a being exists inside time and knows everything, then that means there was no choice to begin with; if it knows the future, our choices were set in stone long before we made them. If such a being does not know the future for WHATEVER REASON, then it is not omniscient, the word literally translating to "ALL-KNOWING".

Lupy
2009-05-22, 09:26 PM
In my opinion, to be God a being must be omnipotent, omniscient, and absolutely perfect. In order to be perfect, he must have created the Universe, as otherwise he could not be sure that he was perfect.

This God knows what we will choose, but because he does not tell us what to choose, we have free will. (Like the DM who knows all the answers but doesn't tell you what to do, you make the choices.)

A god need only be immensely powerful.

GoC
2009-05-22, 09:29 PM
Essentially you don't make a choice because you actually always choose all the available options.Yes.

I rest my case.:smallbiggrin:

Lord_Gareth and Lupy: A brief read through this thread (and the morality thread) may be required. Mere omniscience is sufficient to mean you (or it) don't have free will (basically because an omniscient being knows what you will do).


In order to be perfect, he must have created the Universe, as otherwise he could not be sure that he was perfect.
Huh? Why would he be unable to be sure he was perfect without creating the universe? Why does he need to be sure he is perfect to be perfect? What is "perfect"?

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 09:32 PM
In my opinion, to be God a being must be omnipotent, omniscient, and absolutely perfect. In order to be perfect, he must have created the Universe, as otherwise he could not be sure that he was perfect.



Define 'perfect'. And please explain why he must be so.



This God knows what we will choose, but because he does not tell us what to choose, we have free will. (Like the DM who knows all the answers but doesn't tell you what to do, you make the choices.)


As we have been arguing for several pages, omniscience and free will are contradictory. The DM analogy is weak - he doesn't know what you are going to choose, he merely reacts to what you do choose. This does not even approach omniscience.



A god need only be immensely powerful.

But how powerful must something be to warrant being called a God?

Lupy
2009-05-22, 09:34 PM
How does knowing what will happen change the fact that I decided to make it happen?

The God in question may know that I will eat a cherry poptart, but he doesn't influence my decision, so didn't I still have to choose to?

-----------

If God was created, wouldn't he be imperfect in that he isn't infinite?

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 09:38 PM
The God in question may know that I will eat a cherry poptart, but he doesn't influence my decision, so didn't I still have to choose to?


Please, please read earlier posts! We have been through this so many times now!

Ravens_cry
2009-05-22, 09:38 PM
HOWEVER, paired with omnipotence - since that's one of Irishman's requirements for a deity-class being - that means that free will only exists at such a beings' sufferance.
This leads back into my 'powerful parents' comment. Yes, it might only exist at their sufferance, but that is what makes it so special, why it it is such a gift.

Recaiden
2009-05-22, 09:41 PM
If God was created, wouldn't he be imperfect in that he isn't infinite?

Infinity is not a requirement of perfection. Neither is creating the universe. Perfect may mean unable to be improved. Is the universe necessarily an improvement? It may be, but how could we know? Is infinity an improvement? And how does being created make it not infinite?

Rapidwhirl
2009-05-22, 09:42 PM
That's because you haven't made your own definition. He has defined it.

That is quite the wacky definition of free will. You've said [lacks free will]->[will obey all commands].
I present a counterpoint:
(User posted image)
I concede.


What I am actually trying to do, is determine the possibility of such things as omniscience and omnipotence by use of logic. If such things create a paradox, then in my mind they cannot exist.
The fact is not "we have free will". We may, as has been suggestion, merely think we have free will. How would we know the difference?
You are welcome to your own interpretation of God, and this discussion does not aim to take that away from you, nor do you have to justify having your beliefs. However, if you are going to join in the debate, then it is necessary to argue logically that free will and omniscience. (aren't mutually exclusive?)

Finally, I would argue that it is actually your argument that we should release all criminals which was the strawman.

The statement that someone has made a choice relies on that person truly having free will, which is something which I do not feel has been established.

Your religious beliefs are not relevant to this debate. I am not trying to tear down Yahweh, I am discussing the logical implications of omniscience and omnipotence. This is about metaphysics, not religion.I have tried, although I feel as though we have missed each other entirely. The fault is mine, for I am having trouble clearly expressing myself in words. My "prisoners release" fallacy seems more like a red herring in retrospect, regardless, I thank you for bringing it up.

My view rests on this definition of omniscient:

Complete knowledge and awareness of everything.

An omniscient being does not remove free will simply because the outcome is already known. While you are definitely going to act a certain way, you did choose that action over the uncountable alternatives at some point.

Your logic is sound, as such I think it comes down to selecting which assumption to entertain.

Lupy
2009-05-22, 09:48 PM
Infinity is not a requirement of perfection. Neither is creating the universe. Perfect may mean unable to be improved. Is the universe necessarily an improvement? It may be, but how could we know? Is infinity an improvement? And how does being created make it not infinite?

How can anything be truely, absolutely, unimaginably perfect if it is not all encompassing?

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 09:49 PM
My view rests on this definition of omniscient:

Complete knowledge and awareness of everything.

An omniscient being does not remove free will simply because the outcome is already known. While you are definitely going to act a certain way, you did choose that action over the uncountable alternatives at some point.


If you are definitely going to act in a certain way, there is no element of chance. You must come to that conclusion: to come to any other conclusion is impossible. Therefore, you are not truly choosing, and what you think of as making the decision is actually an illusion of alternatives to the definite outcome.

I do not argue that an omniscient being removes free will, rather I argue that the existence of both free will and omniscience in the same universe is paradoxical, and thus the existence of an omniscient being would prove that there is not free will in the universe.


How can anything be truely, absolutely, unimaginably perfect if it is not all encompassing?

As I stated, define perfect. In my own lexicon, something perfect is something which is quintessentially itself.
Thus, everything 'perfect' is, indeed finite.

GoC
2009-05-22, 09:51 PM
How can anything be truely, absolutely, unimaginably perfect if it is not all encompassing?

Perfection is a word that requires context. Thus you must define it for this discussion as what it means in the context is unclear.

Mando Knight
2009-05-22, 09:53 PM
An "omnibenevolent" being would have to help us, which would remove all free will on our part if he is also omniscient and omnipotent.

How/why would the omnibenevolent being have to help you/us? Aren't humans the greatest villains in history (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HumansAreBastards)? Would the being be required to support us through the most overt acts, or would it be possible that an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent being could be the most glorious Magnificent Bastard (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagnificentBastard) of all time and our lives are just a small part of the being's complex Xanatos Roulette (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/XanatosRoulette)?

Recaiden
2009-05-22, 09:53 PM
How can anything be truely, absolutely, unimaginably perfect if it is not all encompassing?

By the definition of improve. How would encompassing everything improve this being?

I define perfect as impossible to improve. Improve = make more beneficial/ efficient/useful.

I believe help was meant as in, alter to make good according to what is considered benevolent.

Lupy
2009-05-22, 09:57 PM
@Mando: Allow me to clarify, by help I mean do the right thing for us, protect us from harm, give us everything we want (depending on if he is omniscient, in which case he will know better than this). An "omnibenevolent" being would smother us, in other words.

On perfection: Completely without flaw and unable to be improved. Nothing in the Universe that science has proven and I know about is perfect.

A God would be perfect in that he would be all powerful, and incapable of making a wrong decision, because as the all-knowing creator he would have made the Universe to function in such a way that he was always right.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-22, 09:57 PM
Right. Enough is enough. It is four in the morning. I am going to bed.

If you wish to continue this debate, be my guests. I will be back when I am well-rested, and I expect there to be fresh points for me to discuss with you. If one more person retreads the same old ground again then there will be trouble.

Goodnight.

jackwhirl
2009-05-22, 09:57 PM
Would it depend at all on the method by which all knowledge is obtained? It seems that the eternal nature of God is being overlooked here. What if God possesses knowledge of all your future actions because, from his point of view, you've already performed them? A God who exists outside of time, could have all knowledge through perfect hindsight. This would not paradoxically affect freewill.

Recaiden
2009-05-22, 10:06 PM
@Mando: Allow me to clarify, by help I mean do the right thing for us, protect us from harm, give us everything we want (depending on if he is omniscient, in which case he will know better than this). An "omnibenevolent" being would smother us, in other words.

On perfection: Completely without flaw and unable to be improved. Nothing in the Universe that science has proven and I know about is perfect.

A God would be perfect in that he would be all powerful, and incapable of making a wrong decision, because as the all-knowing creator he would have made the Universe to function in such a way that he was always right.

But it would not necessarily have created the universe.
How about light? What's wrong with it?

What if this omniscient being determines that free will is best for us, in the case that it exists in the present/past and is not omniscient through perfect hindsight? How would it reconcile our actions not being the result of our own choices with our actions being the result of our choices being the best outcome?

I see that it could in some way limit its omniscience, as it is omnipotent, and thus reasonably able to affect itself. This might remove perfection in certain views of what is perfect.

Oh! I understand now. If there was absolute knowledge that a certain choice would be made, the other was never a possibility. There was only ever 1 choice, and any appearance to the contrary was an illusion. so any 'free will' is false or useless.

Rapidwhirl
2009-05-22, 10:07 PM
If you are definitely going to act in a certain way, there is no element of chance. You must come to that conclusion: to come to any other conclusion is impossible. Therefore, you are not truly choosing, and what you think of as making the decision is actually an illusion of alternatives to the definite outcome.

I do not argue that an omniscient being removes free will, rather I argue that the existence of both free will and omniscience in the same universe is paradoxical, and thus the existence of an omniscient being would prove that there is not free will in the universe. I rather dislike these internet shouting matches. I am fine with you thinking my conclusion is impossible. I understand your side, and agree that with your assumptions the coexistence of free will and omniscience is in fact a paradox.

Free will is not a random chance, it is your ability to make a decision. An omniscient being that knows what your choice will be has not take that choice away.

Lupy
2009-05-22, 10:12 PM
Yes, free will is, to God, an illusion.

But because we don't know what God has planned, to us it is still a decision.

Allow me to give an example, then I must go to bed.



A man is walking down a hallway when he comes to two doors.

God, who built the hall, built it in such a manner that the doors are the same, but appear to be different, so that the man believes his choice will matter when God knows that the outcome is the same because his decision is irrelevant.

The man picks a door, walks through, and never returns.


The man believes he made a decision, when in fact there was only one outcome. To the man, it appears to be freewill, while god knows the truth.

We are the man, so we have freewill, of a sort.

Bitzeralisis
2009-05-22, 10:22 PM
I agree with Rapidwhirl and Lupy — free will isn't the lack of a predetermined outcome, but the presence of a decision.

Recaiden
2009-05-22, 10:24 PM
Yes, free will is, to God, an illusion.

But because we don't know what God has planned, to us it is still a decision.

Allow me to give an example, then I must go to bed.



The man believes he made a decision, when in fact there was only one outcome. To the man, it appears to be freewill, while god knows the truth.

We are the man, so we have freewill, of a sort.

So objectively it does not exist. We have an illusion that appears real to us, that's all.

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-22, 10:30 PM
Firstly, I'd reccomend that people speak in more nuetral terms. Continuing to say God, with a Capital G for Importance, looks very religious. Look how I word things - diety-class being, god-like power, that kinda thing.

Secondly, a question directed to Irishman - Why have you chosen those attributes to define divinity?

Trog
2009-05-22, 11:52 PM
Not always. It would be best to stear clear of it until later.
Well considering I've already posted it's a bit late for that. 9_9


It's not that we don't understand it. It's that we don't start off knowing. We have to conduct experiments to find out how reality works. The actual, final, model of reality will probably be quite comprehensible to humans.
Please note that I said "still does not understand". I already said what you are saying. I never claimed we would not be able to understand it.

ghost_warlock
2009-05-23, 01:14 AM
Would it depend at all on the method by which all knowledge is obtained? It seems that the eternal nature of God is being overlooked here. What if God possesses knowledge of all your future actions because, from his point of view, you've already performed them? A God who exists outside of time, could have all knowledge through perfect hindsight. This would not paradoxically affect freewill.

How the being comes to the knowledge is irrelevant. Simply knowing, absolutely, the result of a decision before the decision-maker does removes the possibility of chance and, therefore, removes free will. No interference with the decision-maker at all is necessary.

Omniscience, even your hindsight version, is like re-reading a book. From the characters' perspectives they're all making choices but, from the perspective of the re-reader, they're all just marching down a pre-determined path. They'll never behave differently than the first time the book was read.

On page 235, Jack will fight with himself about whether or not to shut the door and, then, ends up shutting the door. From his perspective, he made a decision. From the re-reader's perspective, he simply did exactly what he did last time. Every single time the book is read, Jack will always close the door. He'll never 'choose' to leave the door open. Closing the door is the only available outcome. In fact, Jack never had a choice in the first place; only the illusion of choice. Absolute knowledge absolutely denies the existence of choice.

Incidentally, an omniscient being would even deny it's own free will, as it innately knows, in advance, what it will chose whenever it would be confronted with different options. For that matter, even the presentation of options would be determined in advance. "Next week, at 2:19 p.m., John will ask me if I want chocolate or raspberry ice cream, and I will choose chocolate. I will later regret this decision..." :smalltongue:

Serpentine
2009-05-23, 01:58 AM
I've skipped over a few pages, mostly because I think the thread has gone on into territory I'm not particularly interested in pursuing (not citicising anyone else for being interested, I'm just not very good at this sort of thinking and argument).
(emphasis mine)

I think that this analogy still has a part where the Being is impinging upon free will. By inserting an idea that ensures that the family is rich what he is doing is forcing the family to create and maintain their wealth. This clearly impinges on the free choice of the ancestor who receives that "inspiration".I thought someone might pick up on this. Having an idea is not the same as implementing it. How many people have had ideas for a brilliant novel, but never written them down? The hypothetical ancestor is granted some insight or knowledge. It is entirely that persons choice whether he does anything with it.
I kinda like the idea of omniscience being knowing every possible consequence of every possible choice made with free will, though it's something I'd have to think about some more to get it right in my head. It kinda reminds me of The Ellimist from Animorphs once he goes all basically-divine and sees the net of time, events and existance...

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-23, 08:51 AM
I rather dislike these internet shouting matches. I am fine with you thinking my conclusion is impossible. I understand your side, and agree that with your assumptions the coexistence of free will and omniscience is in fact a paradox.


I do intend for this to become an internet shouting match, not at all. However, I started this thread as a debate. Therefore, any point made in this thread I assume is an attempt to join the discussion and thus I will counterargue it.

Really, I'm playing devil's advocate here. I'm an atheist, and I do not believe in godlike beings. To be perfectly frank, I don't care if such a being could be omnipotent, omniscient, omnispectral or omnimalevolent. I am merely arguing the logical traits of omniscience at this point.
Perhaps it would be better to remove the term God from the current discussion at all. For the purposes of argument, it doesn't matter if the hypothetical omniscient is God, or a supercomputer, or a particularly bright raccoon.

If you think I am being deliberately aggressive, I apologise, and I tell you honestly that it is not my intention. However, as this is a debate thread, I will challenge any point which I think is untrue or unjustified if I feel I can logically counterargue it.



Free will is not a random chance, it is your ability to make a decision. An omniscient being that knows what your choice will be has not take that choice away.

The issue I think that you have not addressed with this statement is the following: if you must come to a certain conclusion, how can you say that you truly made a choice?
An example. I am hungry and am choosing what to eat. I could either choose to have an apple (which is possible, since I have one) or I could choose to eat a fresh unicorn steak (which is impossible, since I don't have one). I choose the apple - but is it really a choice, since I am only able to carry out one of the options.
It may appear to be somewhat of a strawman, but follow me, please. For an omniscient being to know what the future holds, there must be one, single specific space-time path for the universe to follow. Which means, for every 'choice' we face, we really have only one option - to follow the defined space-time path. Therefore, although we might think we are waying up options, there is only one decision we can ever make, and thus we have illusory free will rather than true freedom of choice.


I agree with Rapidwhirl and Lupy — free will isn't the lack of a predetermined outcome, but the presence of a decision.

I agree also - free will isn't the lack of a predetermined outcome, but the presence of a decision. However, my argument is that a predetermined outcome removes the presence of a decision, and that I propose that omniscience is impossible without predetermined outcome.


Secondly, a question directed to Irishman - Why have you chosen those attributes to define divinity?

Omniscience and omnipotence? Simple enough really. I had a Catholic upbringing (and that is the end of discussion on that matter because this thread is not about real-world religions), and those were the principles which were (rightly or wrongly) instilled in my head by my local clergy.
There was also the idea that God would be all-seeing, but I couldn't remember the technical term for it when I created the thread and for the life of me I can't remember it now either.

Rapidwhirl
2009-05-23, 09:26 AM
*sigh* You did make the choice. Under the same circumstances you would make the same choice again. Time is conclusively set in stone after it has passed.

Example: It has been a long hot day and you have finished your lawn work. Someone you know, as a gesture of kindness offers you two different drinks to satisfy your thirst. No matter what you do in this situation, you will select the same course of action no matter how many times we rewind time without changing the situation.

Do you have free will in the above example?

jackwhirl
2009-05-23, 09:40 AM
How the being comes to the knowledge is irrelevant. Simply knowing, absolutely, the result of a decision before the decision-maker does removes the possibility of chance and, therefore, removes free will. No interference with the decision-maker at all is necessary.This is what's been discussed for the last four pages. It is not what I'm talking about.


Omniscience, even your hindsight version, is like re-reading a book. From the characters' perspectives they're all making choices but, from the perspective of the re-reader, they're all just marching down a pre-determined path. They'll never behave differently than the first time the book was read.Predetermined by whom? If you made a decision and simply by the nature of time you are unable to change that decision, is that not still free will? Yesterday you exercised your free will. You cannot change what you did. If you were to go back in time as an invisible observer and watch yourself throughout the day, your knowledge about what your past self is going to do does not change the fact that you exercised your free will.


On page 235, Jack will fight with himself about whether or not to shut the door and, then, ends up shutting the door. From his perspective, he made a decision. From the re-reader's perspective, he simply did exactly what he did last time. Every single time the book is read, Jack will always close the door. He'll never 'choose' to leave the door open. Closing the door is the only available outcome. In fact, Jack never had a choice in the first place; only the illusion of choice. Absolute knowledge absolutely denies the existence of choice.You're reading the wrong book. Try the Neverending Story.:tongue:


Incidentally, an omniscient being would even deny it's own free will, as it innately knows, in advance, what it will chose whenever it would be confronted with different options. For that matter, even the presentation of options would be determined in advance. "Next week, at 2:19 p.m., John will ask me if I want chocolate or raspberry ice cream, and I will choose chocolate. I will later regret this decision..." :smalltongue:Again, this would be an omniscient being living inside of time.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-23, 09:40 AM
*sigh* You did make the choice. Under the same circumstances you would make the same choice again. Time is conclusively set in stone after it has passed.

Example: It has been a long hot day and you have finished your lawn work. Someone you know, as a gesture of kindness offers you two different drinks to satisfy your thirst. No matter what you do in this situation, you will select the same course of action no matter how many times we rewind time without changing the situation.

Do you have free will in the above example?

That relies on determinism. There is a psychological school of thought that supposes that everything we do is a product of neurochemistry, our genetics and our life experience so far. This school would argue that we do not have 'free will', because everything we do is the inevitable result of our reaction to a certain situation.

I do not believe in determinism. I believe that the element of chance exists in all our non-coerced decisions, and thus I believe in free will. If I am making a random decision, if you rewind time and I make it again, I might make in differently.
However I must also add that I don't believe time travel is possible, but that is neither here nor there.

In my own belief, there is no 'future'. What we think of as the present is not a point in a great, long timeline, but the current status of the huge long cause-effect chain that we call our universe. The 'past' is a descriptor how things were, not a place we can return to, and the future exists only in our imagination of a point further along in the cause-effect chain.

Omniscience - entailing knowing the future - is incompatible with my own beliefs regarding the nature of time without determinism. And with determinism, I do not see how free will can truly exist, even if we go through the motions of choice.

Elminster1
2009-05-23, 09:47 AM
In this sense, it does seem paradoxical. It's because God, in this scenario, has perfect knoweldge, which translates into perfect knoweldge of all things and events, without error. If you say God doesn't know the outcome with absolute perfect certainity, then you must conceed God doesn't have perfect knoweldge of all things and events. God cannot simultaneoulsy have perfect knowledge of all things and events (Ominiscience) and possibly be in error, since it would contradict God's perfection, that's fallacious. The idea of a free will agent then becomes an impossibility. From our vantage point we appear to have volition, because we lack knowledge of every possible factor and variable. In the judeo-christian tradition, God not only has perfect foreknowledge of all things and events (Omniscience) but also orchestrated all of existence with a Divine plan.

I would conceed, if God was not Omniscient, then we could have volition. This would also solve "the problem of evil" dilemma. God could be loving, but because God created us as free will agents, we are free to choose our own destinies as we see fit.

However, my idea of God is different. God would be more like the universe's mind awakening, becoming self aware so to speak, through all existence and sentience. That's why I feel oftentimes people say they "feel" some universal connection to each other, or even everything. Akin to Satori in Buddhism. You can see a relationship bewteen al the world religious traditions and ancient mythology as well.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-23, 09:51 AM
In this sense, it does seem paradoxical. It's because God, in this scenario, has perfect knoweldge, which translates into perfect knoweldge of all things and events, without error. If you say God doesn't know the outcome with absolute perfect certainity, then you must conceed God doesn't have perfect knoweldge of all things and events. God cannot simultaneoulsy have perfect knowledge of all things and events (Ominiscience) and possibly be in error, since it would contradict God's perfection, that's fallacious. The idea of a free will agent then becomes an impossibility. From our vantage point we appear to have volition, because we lack knowledge of every possible factor and variable. In the judeo-christian tradition, God not only has perfect foreknowledge of all things and events (Omniscience) but also orchestrated all of existence with a Divine plan.

I would conceed, if God was not Omniscient, then we could have volition. This would also solve "the problem of evil" dilemma. God could be loving, but because God created us as free will agents, we are free to choose our own destinies as we see fit.

However, my idea of God is different. God would be more like the universe's mind awakening, becoming self aware so to speak, through all existence and sentience. That's why I feel oftentimes people say they "feel" some universal connection to each other, or even everything. Akin to Satori in Buddhism. You can see a relationship bewteen al the world religious traditions and ancient mythology as well.


Discussing real-world religions is not allowed on this forum. This thread is independent of established belief systems, and I would rather it stayed that way.

But to move to a fresher topic, would you care to describe the qualities of God-As-The-Universal-Mind, and why this makes such an entity divine, and why (or whether) such an entity is worthy of worship?

Flame of Anor
2009-05-23, 10:27 AM
The friend only knows you really really well. As his knowledge approaches perfection your free will approaches zero. And an omniscient being knows everything so your level of free will is zero. Such a being would not "guess" it would know.

That's really what I meant; I just said "guess" because the friend would be guessing and I wanted to clarify the analogy.

Recaiden
2009-05-23, 10:49 AM
But a being outside of time would also exist before time, and view all things as a perfect prediction, perfect knowledge of what is currently happening, and perfect hindsight. So it still knows in advance.

Rapidwhirl
2009-05-23, 10:59 AM
That relies on determinism. There is a psychological school of thought that supposes that everything we do is a product of neurochemistry, our genetics and our life experience so far. This school would argue that we do not have 'free will', because everything we do is the inevitable result of our reaction to a certain situation.

I do not believe in determinism. I believe that the element of chance exists in all our non-coerced decisions, and thus I believe in free will. If I am making a random decision, if you rewind time and I make it again, I might make in differently.
However I must also add that I don't believe time travel is possible, but that is neither here nor there.

In my own belief, there is no 'future'. What we think of as the present is not a point in a great, long timeline, but the current status of the huge long cause-effect chain that we call our universe. The 'past' is a descriptor how things were, not a place we can return to, and the future exists only in our imagination of a point further along in the cause-effect chain.

Omniscience - entailing knowing the future - is incompatible with my own beliefs regarding the nature of time without determinism. And with determinism, I do not see how free will can truly exist, even if we go through the motions of choice.I must apologize, for this is the inevitable point where I must insert something that cannot be observed by the empirical senses. The soul, the essence of a human. Since it transcends the body, it unfortunately defies logic and reasoning, making what would be impossible in a purely material world possible.

To put it in mathematical terms, the soul is an unknown variable. It allows me to take the assumptions that man has free will, there is an omniscient being, and come to the conclusion that they may coexist without causing a paradox. For me, the human mind is not a very complex system of hard-coded reflexes to stimuli. It has that as part of its function, however there is also a divine component, if you will. I cannot prove it exists anymore then you can disprove it.

Now, what intrigues me is that you seem to believe that free will is a random number generator that exists outside of time. Would you care to explain how this can be? It sounds rather... "supernatural". This is odd, usually atheists don't rely on anything except facts.

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-23, 11:23 AM
But a being outside of time would also exist before time, and view all things as a perfect prediction, perfect knowledge of what is currently happening, and perfect hindsight. So it still knows in advance.

For future reference, the phrase "before time" makes exactly as much sense as "below down".

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-23, 11:26 AM
I must apologize, for this is the inevitable point where I must insert something that cannot be observed by the empirical senses. The soul, the essence of a human. Since it transcends the body, it unfortunately defies logic and reasoning, making what would be impossible in a purely material world possible.

To put it in mathematical terms, the soul is an unknown variable. It allows me to take the assumptions that man has free will, there is an omniscient being, and come to the conclusion that they may coexist without causing a paradox. For me, the human mind is not a very complex system of hard-coded reflexes to stimuli. It has that as part of its function, however there is also a divine component, if you will. I cannot prove it exists anymore then you can disprove it.



I do not see how the existence of the soul alters the paradox. Why does having a sould mean that free will becomes possible? If we assume a soul (as I think many people would, but I am open to a better definition) is the... essence of a person's nature, a sort of composite of principles and inner direction which guides a human mind, then I do not understand how this could possibly make any difference to the argument that omniscience = determinism = no free will.



Now, what intrigues me is that you seem to believe that free will is a random number generator that exists outside of time. Would you care to explain how this can be? It sounds rather... "supernatural". This is odd, usually atheists don't rely on anything except facts.

I have said nothing about free will existing outside of time. Neither is it a random number generator - but it CAN act like one. Free will is the ability to choose between mutliple possible options before performing an action. I highlight possible because for the choice to truly exist, one must be able to do either action, and if we accept determinism then one is only able to perform the action which fits the timeline.

What you may have interpreted as me suggesting that free will exists outside time was me saying that I do not believe that 'the past' and 'the future' exist as anything other than ideas in our heads.


EDIT: I thank you for coming up not merely with one fresh argument in this discussion, but two! It really is most revitalising. I was bored of treading the same identical ground.

GoC
2009-05-23, 11:50 AM
Free will is not a random chance, it is your ability to make a decision.
What does it mean to make a decision? "Free will", "choice" and "decision" are all part of a collection of words that define eachother. We need to find a definition that allows us to find out what the whole group means.

btw: If both you and DamnedIrishman are rational people then you can reach a conclusion using the rules of logic.


Would it depend at all on the method by which all knowledge is obtained? It seems that the eternal nature of God is being overlooked here. What if God possesses knowledge of all your future actions because, from his point of view, you've already performed them? A God who exists outside of time, could have all knowledge through perfect hindsight. This would not paradoxically affect freewill.
Then we are not really living are we? Looking at it from the perspective of this 4D being is like looking at this picture (it's cellular automata, down is the forward direction in time):
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fa/CA_rule110s.png
It's not changing or moving in any way. None of the little dots in it have any element of choice or even motion.
Note: You may assume that the cellular automata universe ends somewhere (just extend the picture to the end of the universe). Our universe also has an end (either heat death or crunch or rip) so it's a viable comparison.


Completely without flaw and unable to be improved. Nothing in the Universe that science has proven and I know about is perfect.
What do you mean by "improved"?

DamnedIrishman: Stop saying "I believe this" and "I believe that". This is a debate. Noone cares about what you believe, only how well you argue your position.


I must apologize, for this is the inevitable point where I must insert something that cannot be observed by the empirical senses. The soul, the essence of a human.
What properties does this "soul" have? What is it useful for? What does it do?


Since it transcends the body, it unfortunately defies logic and reasoning, making what would be impossible in a purely material world possible.
Truly an earthshaking claim. In order for you to claim it "defies logic" you will have to prove that using only the rules of logic you can create a contradiction. You can do this either by normal proof or by demonstration. I wish you luck, you'll need it.:smallamused:


This is odd, usually atheists don't rely on anything except facts.
DamnedIrishmen:
SEE?!
This is why I said you should not state what you believe! It creates prejudice and turns a philosophy debate into a religious debate.

Recaiden
2009-05-23, 11:51 AM
For future reference, the phrase "before time" makes exactly as much sense as "below down".

Yet it can be understood. What I mean is that for a being "outside of time" there is no difference between perfect hindsight and perfect foresight. And if hindsight is how it knows all, it must be able to affect the past in order to be omnipotent, so it still determines our choices.

About a soul, or some divine portion of humanity, how could it allow someone to defy what an omniscient, omnipotent being knows and intends to happen? It may act as another factor in what the predetermination, but that doesn't allow it to circumvent it without intervention by the deity or being to allow free will.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-23, 01:44 PM
DamnedIrishmen:
SEE?!
This is why I said you should not state what you believe! It creates prejudice and turns a philosophy debate into a religious debate.

Yes, yes, I understand the point. Could you possibly provide an alternative verb to indicate that the proposition following is the one which in my mind is supported by the best and most logical arguments?

GoC
2009-05-23, 02:01 PM
Yes, yes, I understand the point. Could you possibly provide an alternative verb to indicate that the proposition following is the one which in my mind is supported by the best and most logical arguments?

It may be a good idea to consider why you feel it relevant. Saying "I'm an athiest" means "I do not believe any god/gods exist in the real world". That's kindof off-topic as we're talking about wether an omniscient/omnipotent/omnibenevolent being could exist given X/Y/Z definition of omniscient/omnipotent/omnibenevolent.

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-23, 02:23 PM
Yet it can be understood. What I mean is that for a being "outside of time" there is no difference between perfect hindsight and perfect foresight. And if hindsight is how it knows all, it must be able to affect the past in order to be omnipotent, so it still determines our choices.

Umm...no, no it cannot be. In order for there to be a 'before' there must be time. Time creates the cause-effect relationship of the universe, and the human mind is so thoroughly based in this relationship that we can't handle trying to think outside of it. Think of one of the most common definitions for madness - repeating the same action and expecting different results. Humans think in patterns.

So, again, saying "before time" makes no sense. Neither does "after time" or "above up".

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-23, 02:27 PM
It may be a good idea to consider why you feel it relevant. Saying "I'm an athiest" means "I do not believe any god/gods exist in the real world". That's kindof off-topic as we're talking about wether an omniscient/omnipotent/omnibenevolent being could exist given X/Y/Z definition of omniscient/omnipotent/omnibenevolent.

Actually, I use the term belief seperately to any religious ideas, hence:


In my own belief, there is no 'future'. What we think of as the present is not a point in a great, long timeline, but the current status of the huge long cause-effect chain that we call our universe. The 'past' is a descriptor how things were, not a place we can return to, and the future exists only in our imagination of a point further along in the cause-effect chain.

... thus, the term 'believe' is to show how I think the universe works.

As for why I stated I'm an atheist, that was simple. I used it to try and defuse what I perceived as rising tension, to state that I was debating a point of logic and not trying to defend my own religious standpoint. Hence:


Really, I'm playing devil's advocate here. I'm an atheist, and I do not believe in godlike beings. To be perfectly frank, I don't care if such a being could be omnipotent, omniscient, omnispectral* or omnimalevolent. I am merely arguing the logical traits of omniscience at this point.

I have also used it to deflect an attempt at reductio ad absurdum:



Quote:
Originally Posted by Rapidwhirl
Now that I understand your viewpoint, let's apply it to the real world. Specifically, the justice system. We can no longer hold any criminal who ever lived accountable for violating the law, because if there is an omnipotent being then he is responsible for everything he knew they would do. They didn't have a choice, we must let them go.

Exactly correct! Lucklily, I'm also an atheist who doesn't believe in determinism, so whilst you and other omniscient-being-theists should let them go, I can punish them, in line with my own conscience and the justice system.

Does that answer your query sufficiently?

* Come to think of it, I quite like the idea of an omnispectral being. Invisible Pink Unicorn? Pah! Invisible Rainbow Unicorn!

GoC
2009-05-23, 02:34 PM
Does that answer your query sufficiently?

Yeah...:smalltongue:

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-23, 02:34 PM
@Irishman - For the sake of pure intellectual argument, I want you to consider this scenario.

Bob, for whatever reason, can travel through time. Curious about what his mother is going to cook for lunch the next day, Bob travels forward in time and discovers that she will be making grilled cheese. Satisfied, he returns to his "present", secure in his knowledge that there will be delicious grilled cheese the next day.

Has free will been broken or impinged upon?

GolemsVoice
2009-05-23, 02:46 PM
I have not read all pages of this thread, so please excuse me if I say anything that has allready be mentioned.
But I just had an epiphany. At least it felt like one. Poor man's enlightenment.
You discussed if Free Will and Omniscience can go together, and I say, of course! Assume every human has a basic free will. That means, as far as I read it in this thread, that he has the power to make his own decisions, of course influenced by his upbringing, social situation, feelings, usw. Now, if we do have a free will, that means that our decisions can't be foretold with 100% exactness. But omniscience seems to imply that.
However! If our decisions CAN'T be foretold, they cannot be known in advance. And omniscient means knowing all that can be known. So a being could be both omniscient, and not know what you will do next, because that can not be known. The being could probably see all possibilities, and judge from what it knows about you (everything) what is likely, but it can not know what you will do, because that can not be known.

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-23, 02:48 PM
Unfortunately, your argument has one logical hole - omniscience isn't knowing all that can be known. It's knowing EVERYTHING, full stop.

Weezer
2009-05-23, 02:49 PM
But the problem with that is that if there is something that this omniscient being can't know, then he can't be defined as omniscient. Even if there is something that is unknowable for everyone except for this being the being must know it to be omniscient.

EDIT: ninja'd

GolemsVoice
2009-05-23, 02:59 PM
Ah, but if it just CAN'T be known? If it is unknowable? It is, of course a different kind of omniscience, but if something can't be known, because the knowlegde literally does not exist yet, the being would still know all that is to know if it knows everything else.

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-23, 03:02 PM
You seem to be having some issues with the word "All", Golem. When we say Omniscient - that is, ALL-KNOWING, there is no qualifier. An omniscient being knows EVERYTHING. And we mean EVERYTHING. There is no "unknowable", there is no second chances, do not pass go and do not collect two hundred dollars. If the being doesn't know something, then it isn't omniscient. It's a simple definition.

GolemsVoice
2009-05-23, 03:09 PM
Sorry if I insist, I do not mean to sound provocative or stubborn, but if the knowledge literally does not exist, that IS all.
Think of a man who owns all money on the planet, assuming that all money is physically available. He knows every person that can print money, knows every printing press, etc. As soon as new money is printed, he will own it. But as long as this money does not exist, he can't own it. Everyone can be sure that this man will forever own all money that exists. He has owned all money that was, owns all money that is, and will own all money that will be. There is, at no point in time, any money that does not belong to him. So you could say that he "owns" future money, but he does not has it in his possesion yet. That is what i am thinking of.

EDIT: I have literally no philosophical education apart from what you get thaught in the German shool system, which I am about to finish, and I also must admit that my mind tends to go all woozy when I think about such things, so there may be a theoretical or logical flaw. If my definition of omniscience is just wrong, even under the circumstances I outlined above, I rest my case.

Recaiden
2009-05-23, 03:42 PM
Think of it like this, an omniscient man has all money that ever has been and ever will be. If it will be known, an omniscient being knows it.

GoC
2009-05-23, 03:43 PM
GolemsVoice has simply said that with an alternate definition of omniscience "all that can be known is known" omniscience and free will can coexist.

The definition of omniscience we have been using so far implies that everything CAN be known.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-23, 04:05 PM
@Irishman - For the sake of pure intellectual argument, I want you to consider this scenario.

Bob, for whatever reason, can travel through time. Curious about what his mother is going to cook for lunch the next day, Bob travels forward in time and discovers that she will be making grilled cheese. Satisfied, he returns to his "present", secure in his knowledge that there will be delicious grilled cheese the next day.

Has free will been broken or impinged upon?

Yes and no.

I am of the opinion that time travel can only exist in a deterministic universe. In such a universe, there is no free will anyway, for reasons I have described over the past few pages, so yes it has.

If we want to assume that time travel can exist in a non-deterministic universe, then we have options. One possibility is that the act of seeing the grilled cheese being made has locked the future into that particular shape, in the same way that observing a quantum waveform causes it to collapse, in which case free will has been impinged upon as, when your mother reaches the point in space-time when she is deciding what to cook for lunch, she MUST make grilled cheese now (as the waveform has collapsed), and although she may feel she has an alternative, the universe only allows one decision to be reached - impinging on her free will.
Alternatively, observing the act in the future doen't lock the future into that shape, in which case your mother has free will, but YOU aren't actually secure in the knowledge you'll have grilled cheese for lunch tomorrow.

However, the idea you could travel forward in time to a hypothetical point which would then never exist is the logical paradox which leads me to conclude that time travel can only exist in a deterministic universe.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-23, 04:09 PM
Sorry if I insist, I do not mean to sound provocative or stubborn, but if the knowledge literally does not exist, that IS all.

Well, it differs from the definition we've been using but it does make logical sense.

For this reason, I propose a new term: panscience, knowledge of all which can be known.

Panscience changes the game, because if you think the universe is non-deterministic, then the panscient entity doesn't know the future.

By the way, you're not the only one here with just a school education.

GolemsVoice
2009-05-24, 07:58 AM
Panscient, that's a very good term, and describes very well what I have been aiming for.
As I see it, pansciene is the only kind of "super"-science possible in a non-deterministic, universe with free will.

Elminster1
2009-05-24, 10:17 AM
I think the core of these cherished ideas about space and time are contingent on another forgotten factor, perception. Everything we know hinges on it, it is the framework which everything falls into. Just because we perceive something to be as it appears, and that variates with each individual perceiving agent, we can never know the true nature of a thing (if there is a thing to begin with). Very Kantian, I know, but interesting nonetheless.

On another note, the deterministic model of the universe is incomplete with the introduction of Quantum physics. Things on a micro level of existence don't act in accord with deterministic laws. Is it possible that God could exist (loosley put I apologize) in this manner. As a universal quantum mind? Perhaps the inextricable link bewteen all sentient minds? Perhaps the universal mind perceives all the exists simultaneousley, akin to being atemporal (if time even truly exists aside from perception).

This is what led to my ideas about a universal psyche. Perhaps this is what we all think of as God, that attracting force that pulls together, the feeling of "oneness" sometimes experienced, or even in things as simple friendships or loving experiences. Maybe the traditional view of seprateness is illusory. Just something to ponder.

GolemsVoice
2009-05-24, 01:22 PM
I think the core of these cherished ideas about space and time are contingent on another forgotten factor, perception. Everything we know hinges on it, it is the framework which everything falls into. Just because we perceive something to be as it appears, and that variates with each individual perceiving agent, we can never know the true nature of a thing (if there is a thing to begin with). Very Kantian, I know, but interesting nonetheless.

Didn't Descartes ponder the same problem? And why do you say Kantian like that would be a problem? That man seems to have earned his praise, and he and Nietzsche are considered the greatest German philosophers. (I know too little of him to judge wheter I can confirmt hat praise)

Lupy
2009-05-25, 09:03 PM
@ GoC:

Water in space forms a perfect sphere, but it is still not atom-for-atom even, is it? A perfect being is completely perfect.

GoC
2009-05-25, 09:10 PM
@ GoC:

Water in space forms a perfect sphere, but it is still not atom-for-atom even, is it? A perfect being is completely perfect.

Again, define perfect.

LXH
2009-05-25, 09:19 PM
Omniscience would be at odds with the common definition of what a god is, which is, without getting into specific contradictory examples, why I settled into being atheist. Being causal determinist, I don't believe in free will as it is described. Sure, we make what we think are choices and bet on what we think has the best odds of coming to fruition, but we're still only weighing and calculating as many factors as we can, while many others will contribute to the event that will happen, as opposed to the false concept of what could. Choices are ultimately made because of the sum of our parts and our experiences, which in turn were caused by past events, and so on.

A god meeting the criteria of a Laplace's Demon type entity would sit back and enjoy its creation as things unfold exactly as it intended. I don't believe in any such being, but if there is one, I would guess it is every bit as caught up in the continuing march of events as we are.

leafman
2009-05-25, 10:17 PM
Forgoing the agrument omni-whatever I will make my case as to the existence of a "god" or "gods".

From a psychological standpoint a higher being or power is theoretically a figment of the human imagination. Humans created the idea of such an entity to explain the unknown. "God" acts as a safty blanket to humans, we fear the unknown and clutch the idea to ourselves to make ourselves feel safe as a child does a blanket or stuffed animal when something "goes bump in the night".

That's not to say an entity cannot possibly exist, rather that no one logical argument created by a human without irrefutable physical evidence can prove or disprove the existence of a "god". The reason being that if an omni-everthing entity exists, the logic it exists by is completely incomprehensible to the human species.

How could a single being know everything, be everywhere all the time but still exist in such a manner we are not physically or mentally part of it (having free will)? I mean if it is omni-present then wouldn't each individual be part of this entity by definition? And if we are, how can we make decisions freely without the taint of the entity's influence?
I can't think of any factual or scientific explanation to prove that it is possible, but because I am not perfect, none of my logic can prove that it is in fact impossible.

I probably violated the rules about religion here, so if it is found that I did, let me know and I'll delete the post or section in violation.
(btw I'm one of the humans that clutches to the idea of a god to make myself feel safe :smallbiggrin:.)

Innis Cabal
2009-05-25, 10:20 PM
Again, define perfect.

adjective 1. conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type: a perfect sphere; a perfect gentleman.
2. excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement: There is no perfect legal code. The proportions of this temple are almost perfect.
3. exactly fitting the need in a certain situation or for a certain purpose: a perfect actor to play Mr. Micawber; a perfect saw for cutting out keyholes.
4. entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings: a perfect apple; the perfect crime.
5. accurate, exact, or correct in every detail: a perfect copy.
6. thorough; complete; utter: perfect strangers.
7. pure or unmixed: perfect yellow.
8. unqualified; absolute: He has perfect control over his followers.
9. expert; accomplished; proficient.
10. unmitigated; out-and-out; of an extreme degree: He made a perfect fool of himself.
11. Botany. a. having all parts or members present.
b. monoclinous.

12. Grammar. a. noting an action or state brought to a close prior to some temporal point of reference, in contrast to imperfect or incomplete action.
b. designating a tense or other verb formation or construction with such meaning.

13. Music. a. applied to the consonances of unison, octave, and fifth, as distinguished from those of the third and sixth, which are called imperfect.
b. applied to the intervals, harmonic or melodic, of an octave, fifth, and fourth in their normal form, as opposed to augmented and diminished.

14. Mathematics. (of a set) equal to its set of accumulation points.
15. Obsolete. assured or certain.

–noun Grammar. 16. the perfect tense.
17. a verb form or construction in the perfect tense. Compare future perfect, pluperfect, present perfect.

–verb (used with object) 18. to bring to completion; finish.
19. to bring to perfection; make flawless or faultless.
20. to bring nearer to perfection; improve.
21. to make fully skilled.
22. Printing. to print the reverse of (a printed sheet).


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Origin:
1250–1300; < L perfectus, ptp. of perficere to finish, bring to completion (per- per- + -fec-, comb. form of facere to do 1 + -tus ptp. suffix); r. ME parfit < OF < L as above

Related forms:

per⋅fect⋅ed⋅ly, adverb
per⋅fect⋅er, noun
per⋅fect⋅ness, noun


Synonyms:
1, 2. See complete. 4. unblemished; faultless.


Usage note:
A few usage guides still object to the use of comparison words such as more, most, nearly, almost, and rather with perfect on the grounds that perfect describes an absolute, yes-or-no condition that cannot logically be said to exist in varying degrees. The English language has never agreed to this limitation. Since its earliest use in the 13th century, perfect has, like almost all adjectives, been compared, first in the now obsolete forms perfecter and perfectest, and more recently with more, most, and similar comparison words: the most perfect arrangement of color and line imaginable. Perfect is compared in most of its general senses in all varieties of speech and writing. After all, one of the objectives of the writers of the U.S. Constitution was “to form a more perfect union.” See also complete, unique.


Main Entry: 1per·fect
Pronunciation: \ˈpər-fikt\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English parfit, from Anglo-French, from Latin perfectus, from past participle of perficere to carry out, perfect, from per- thoroughly + facere to make, do — more at do
Date: 14th century
1 a: being entirely without fault or defect : flawless <a perfect diamond> b: satisfying all requirements : accurate c: corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept <a perfect gentleman> d: faithfully reproducing the original ; specifically : letter-perfect e: legally valid
2: expert, proficient <practice makes perfect>
3 a: pure, total b: lacking in no essential detail : complete cobsolete : sane d: absolute, unequivocal <enjoys perfect happiness> e: of an extreme kind : unmitigated <a perfect brat> <an act of perfect foolishness>
4obsolete : mature
5: of, relating to, or constituting a verb form or verbal that expresses an action or state completed at the time of speaking or at a time spoken of
6obsolete a: certain, sure b: contented, satisfied
7of a musical interval : belonging to the consonances unison, fourth, fifth, and octave which retain their character when inverted and when raised or lowered by a half step become augmented or diminished
8 a: sexually mature and fully differentiated <a perfect insect> b: having both stamens and pistils in the same flower <a perfect flower>


Wiki has this to say (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect)

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-25, 10:24 PM
I probably violated the rules about religion here, so if it is found that I did, let me know and I'll delete the post or section in violation.
(btw I'm one of the humans that clutches to the idea of a god to make myself feel safe :smallbiggrin:.)

No, you've avoided mentioning real-world religions, so you're fine.

I think what this boils down to is that belief in God is a matter of faith. Basically, you choose a cosmology because you were indoctrinated as a youth, or convert later in life and you sort of just go, "Well, there's no empirical evidence for the existense of a higher power but this is what I want to believe". Which they have every right to do, even if it is contrary to the scientific method.

If I may make a minor point, I would like to paraphrase AC Grayling on the subject of atheism.
Atheism, he says, is an unsuitable word. Why do we have a specific term for the lack of belief in something? I mean, you don't go around saying you're afairyist; it's just assumed that you don't believe in such things. Thus, he proposes new terms: naturalists and supernaturalists in place of atheists and theists. Ultimately, belief in any god is belief in the supernatural. People should be assumed to be atheistic until they prove otherwise; after all, it is the supernaturalists who are proposing an unverified theory.

Elminster1
2009-05-26, 10:33 AM
But, what about people that claim they had experiences of God? Is it just simply waved away as folly and nonsense? Have you defined God? If so, what is it? How do you know or not know? Where did you get your certainity either way? Is your personal experience, the end all and be all for everyone?

Some may say belief in God is based on faith. Perhaps. Some say they have had intimate connection to the Divine. Perhaps. It's for each individual to decide, and search.

Aside from that, your asking people who believe in God (either based on faith, or experience, or both) and asking them to prove that (of course whatever constitutes proof will vary from person to person). That would be nigh impossible. On the flip side, your asking those of faith to offer empirical proof (as you've defined it) that's incontrovertible to sustain their belief. I would think it's rather contradictory to ask people of faith (which requires no empirical evidence) to provide empirical evidence for God (an object of faith, typically). Very odd.

We haven't defined God. God seems like an inference we draw, or experience some have that's tough to explain. Just defining God and then undercutting the definition seems absurd.

leafman
2009-05-26, 05:01 PM
But, what about people that claim they had experiences of God? Is it just simply waved away as folly and nonsense? Have you defined God? If so, what is it? How do you know or not know? Where did you get your certainity either way? Is your personal experience, the end all and be all for everyone?

Some may say belief in God is based on faith. Perhaps. Some say they have had intimate connection to the Divine. Perhaps. It's for each individual to decide, and search.

Aside from that, your asking people who believe in God (either based on faith, or experience, or both) and asking them to prove that (of course whatever constitutes proof will vary from person to person). That would be nigh impossible. On the flip side, your asking those of faith to offer empirical proof (as you've defined it) that's incontrovertible to sustain their belief. I would think it's rather contradictory to ask people of faith (which requires no empirical evidence) to provide empirical evidence for God (an object of faith, typically). Very odd.

We haven't defined God. God seems like an inference we draw, or experience some have that's tough to explain. Just defining God and then undercutting the definition seems absurd.

People believe in Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster and they have fuzzy pictures and "foot prints" to back their claims, but we still regard them as crazy people don't we? I don't think God or any other form of higher power should be exempt from scientific examination. If you want to believe, fine go right ahead, that's your right to do so. Remember though, those who blindly follow are often deceived.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-27, 06:59 AM
But, what about people that claim they had experiences of God? Is it just simply waved away as folly and nonsense?

Without empirical evidence to support it, I'd say that every theory is to some extent bunk.

Bouregard
2009-05-27, 07:52 AM
We haven't defined God. God seems like an inference we draw, or experience some have that's tough to explain. Just defining God and then undercutting the definition seems absurd.

I define a omnipotent god as a sentient being we believe to exist, to that rules, that whe are aware or not aware of do not apply if he choose so.

For example a god can create a rock he can't move. But as soon as he created it and he tries to move it he can move it. Because, as a omnipotent being he is no subject to logic and cause&effect.

So for me a omnipotent god is someone who lives outside the rules. If he want to do something, it will be done the way he want it to be done.

V'icternus
2009-05-27, 07:58 AM
I define a omnipotent god as a sentient being we believe to exist, to that rules, that whe are aware or not aware of do not apply if he choose so.

For example a god can create a rock he can't move. But as soon as he created it and he tries to move it he can move it. Because, as a omnipotent being he is no subject to logic and cause&effect.

Not subject to logic? How does that work?

Bouregard
2009-05-27, 09:21 AM
Not subject to logic? How does that work?

People assume everything is a subject to logic because they never seen somthing that is no subject to logic.

But for a omnipotent god this would be a problem. I mean he's omnipotent. So he can't be a subject to logic, because otherwise he has to be subject to logic.


Historically Cause&Effect are a acceptet not proven thing, if we assume Cause&Effect work that way, we could explain other things.


If that sounds dumb to you think a moment:

Why can't we divide by zero? In real live its possible. If we take 5 melons and want to share it with 0 people, how many melons anyone gets? Yes 0, we would just let them rot there.
But mathematics have a problem with that, because if you allow divide by zero we got some problems with other proofs and soon nothing could be explained anymore scientific.

Or a more simple example why is 1+1=2 and not 1+1=1? You will answer, because 1+1 IS 2, yes per definition and not proven.

V'icternus
2009-05-27, 10:05 AM
Actually, the error there is that to share 5 melons equally among no people, there can't be any melons, but you've already said that there were five. That's a basic mathematical error. Mathematics assumes that a) The thing you're talking about exists and b) the other thing you're talking about exists.

And, as for your more simple example...

If I have one *Random item*, and put it somewhere, I have on *Random item*. If I then get another *Random item* and put it in the same place, there are two *Random item*'s in that place. So, 1+1=2.

I don't see how that's not proven, when I have several items I can try it with right now.

As for something being unbound by logic, that's illogical. Logic is not actually a "binding", but is embedded into everything.

Of course, some "logic" isn't logic at all, and some logic is incredibly simple, but there isn't a way around it. Logic is basically "Fact" + "Fact" cannot equal anything except "Other fact". And by cannot, I don't mean "Cannot, by our understanding". I'm talking about pure logic. Like, say "Get hit so hard it hurts" = "Painful" or "Can create something I cannot lift" = "I can't lift the thing I create which I cannot lift".

Bouregard
2009-05-27, 11:10 AM
tems I can try it with right now.

As for something being unbound by logic, that's illogical. Logic is not actually a "binding", but is embedded into everything.



Prove it. You can't prove logic without the use of the very same :)




Or *gasp* do you believe it?

V'icternus
2009-05-27, 11:19 AM
Well, see, that's the thing. You can't prove anything without logic. Without logic, "Sun being hot" doesn't equal "sun being warm". Without logic, "apple" can equal "submarine".

Now, if some being exists that isn't bound by logic, then it isn't any concern of ours. We ARE bound by logic, and therefore anyhting it does/can do is irrelevant, because it can't possibly exst in the same universe/dimension/whatever as us. Everything around us is defined by logic. If this being isn't bound by it, then it can do anything at all at any time, including not exist and exist simultaneously and barf yellow donkeys. Personally, I find this reasoning to be backwards, in that it is used in the same manner as an excuse. Thought up afterwards to try and prove something, not used as the original argument for it. (See: Psuedo science)

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-27, 01:32 PM
Prove it. You can't prove logic without the use of the very same :)


If a being creates a rock that it cannot lift and then lifts it, then that rock was not beyond the capabilites of the being to lift, therefore there is no logical paradox.

If the being can alter its nature to be able to pick up something which it previously couldn't, then this is taken into account in the logic. After all, I could find a rock that I couldn't life, work out, then be able to lift it.
Therefore, it is not beyond my abilities to lift even if I have to unlock those abilities.

SDF
2009-05-27, 01:36 PM
THIS IS RELEVANT

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1334/651583733_d53518dfa5.jpg

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-27, 01:37 PM
THIS IS RELEVANT

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1334/651583733_d53518dfa5.jpg

I want to put him in a wardrobe and get him out at parties. He'd make a great icebreaker.

Elminster1
2009-05-27, 05:26 PM
Logic is not infallible. It is a system used to deduce. There are logical paradoxes. It's not to claim logic is wrong so to speak, but incomplete. It doesn't encompass everything. See Schroedinger's Cat, the Liar's Paradox and other mathematical paradoxical anomalies as examples.

Logic also seems to be a constraint of the mind, a literal construction we invented. It's not like the basic laws of logic exist apart from perception.

Logic is simply a system. And, it has it's own flaws, encompassed in logical paradoxes. As human beings experience more, our understanding of things expands, as will our systems that help us express our experiences.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-27, 06:51 PM
Logic is not infallible.

Suggest an alternative system to logical deduction? 'Faith' won't cut it.


And by the way, on the subject of Schrödinger's Cat:
The fact that a cat cannot be both alive and dead at the same time is the entire point of the thought experiment. It's an argument against quantum theory, not for it. By creating a logical paradox, Schrödinger was trying to prove that the idea of events not occuring until the collapse of a quantum waveform due to observation is a fallacy.

Elminster1
2009-05-27, 07:09 PM
Actually, I thought the idea of the thought experiment of Schroedinger's Cat was to show that the outcome of the event is unknown until the moment of observation.

Just because logic ins't infallible, doesn't mean it's not useful. It is useful, for making deductions. What I'm saying is, logic is not unflawed, and the exitence of paradoxes shows that.

On a side note, I never stated, or insinuated faith (whatever your personal definition of faith may be) was a way to gain knowledge. I didn't make a claim either way.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-27, 07:14 PM
Actually, I thought the idea of the thought experiment of Schroedinger's Cat was to show that the outcome of the event is unknown until the moment of observation.

Just because logic ins't infallible, doesn't mean it's not useful. It is useful, for making deductions. What I'm saying is, logic is not unflawed, and the exitence of paradoxes shows that.

On a side note, I never stated, or insinuated faith (whatever your personal definition of faith may be) was a way to gain knowledge. I didn't make a claim either way.


Schrödinger did not wish to promote the idea of dead-and-alive cats as a serious possibility; quite the reverse: the thought experiment serves to illustrate the bizarreness of quantum mechanics and the mathematics necessary to describe quantum states.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger's_cat

I invite you instead then to demonstrate the fallibility of logic. Logic is based on the principles of demonstration and inference. It is fundamentally based (when correctly applied, of course) in what can be shown and proved -empirical knowledge. The idea of a being outside of logic implies that aforementioned being cannot be shown or proved which means there is no sensible reason to believe in such a thing. Logic applies to everything which exists and can be demonstrated.

Elminster1
2009-05-27, 07:43 PM
I understand the premise of logic. But, logic is a human construct, so it has our perception as a limit.

All you have to ask is this: "Is it possible that a being could exist in a way in which we cannot currently understand?"

It doesn't seem illogical (which is of course based on our perception anyway and preconceived bias).

The simple fact is, we don't know with certainity what existence even really means, in totality. And, just because we can't directly observe (loosley put I admit), or even comprehend something, doesn't mean it's not possible.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-27, 08:13 PM
I understand the premise of logic. But, logic is a human construct, so it has our perception as a limit.

All you have to ask is this: "Is it possible that a being could exist in a way in which we cannot currently understand?"

It doesn't seem illogical (which is of course based on our perception anyway and preconceived bias).

The simple fact is, we don't know with certainity what existence even really means, in totality. And, just because we can't directly observe (loosley put I admit), or even comprehend something, doesn't mean it's not possible.

But you cannot provide any instance of the fallibility of logic? Your argument rests on your ability to do so.

"Is it possible that a being could exist in a way in which we cannot currently understand?"

Yes. However, this doesn't make such a being illogical. An illogical being would be one that is impossible to demonstrate ever, not simply because we do not currently possess instruments capable of doing so.

Elminster1
2009-05-27, 08:24 PM
Are not logical paradoxes examples of the falibility of logic?

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-27, 08:25 PM
Are not logical paradoxes examples of the falibility of logic?

No. Logical paradox is the proof that something cannot exist in the state that creates the paradox.

DarthArminius
2009-05-27, 09:04 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger's_cat

I invite you instead then to demonstrate the fallibility of logic. Logic is based on the principles of demonstration and inference. It is fundamentally based (when correctly applied, of course) in what can be shown and proved -empirical knowledge. The idea of a being outside of logic implies that aforementioned being cannot be shown or proved which means there is no sensible reason to believe in such a thing. Logic applies to everything which exists and can be demonstrated.

God has his own logic. He's the one who made it. We live in three dimensions as humans, but actually we exist in at least 5. What if weird alien creatures watched us live our daily lives? They would laugh at our blindness.

It is the same with God. Our logic can only extend so far. God, however, gives us a spiritual dimension which is capable of observing by proxy.

leafman
2009-05-27, 09:55 PM
The validity of logical statements can change with increases in knowlege, for example:

All Red objects are not Blue objects and All Blue objects are not Red objects.
Therefore No object can be a red and a blue object at the same time.

If we assume the first two statements are true, the conclusion is valid. But when we apply the current understanding of light and colors the statements become false. The reason is that an object can reflect equal amounts of red light and blue light (red and blue at the same time), what we see is the intersection of the two light spectrums (infared and ultraviolet) and we have named the intersection "purple".

Tiger Duck
2009-05-28, 08:17 AM
I very much like this tread, very enlightening and mostly a good read.
this is something I was thinking.

god was Omni everything, and as such knew that we would expect/demand free will and took away his Omniscentince, which she can because its omnipotence, at the first convenient moment.

or is it more like a cop-out?

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-28, 09:00 AM
God has his own logic. He's the one who made it. We live in three dimensions as humans, but actually we exist in at least 5. What if weird alien creatures watched us live our daily lives? They would laugh at our blindness.


Those statements lacks any form of empirical or logical support, so do not constitute a valid argument under critical theory.

V'icternus
2009-05-28, 09:07 AM
I can't beleive that people are arguing about logic itself in a philosophical debate...

Listen, if you can't trust logic, then you might as well go ahead and do wahtever you want. Go jump into a plane engine, see if the logical theory about you dying if it happens is true.

Elminster1
2009-05-28, 12:51 PM
I don't think thats what they mean when they say "God is beyond logic". I think what it means is God is a being that is not constrained to natural laws. Just because we can't comprehend that,, doesn't mean it's not possible. Sure, maybe no one can demonstrate it, and I'm not making a claim for it, but that doesn't exclude the possibility.

Second, is that logic, in and of itself is a construct of the mind. We created logic as a method for deducing. We invented the idea of assiging "truth" value to things. So, the laws of logic enforce our concept of truth (based on that system).

They're are other systems of Logic, such as Dialetical logc which allow for contradictions to exist, and do not presuppose statements must either be true or false.

On the topic of logical paradoxes. They show that formal logic is not a complete system. So, another system is necessary to aid, hence the other logic systems of thought/mathematics.

Logic is a system for deduction. Just because an idea or concept doesn't meld with human perception and formal logic, or is beyond our scope of knowledge, doesn't mean it's not possible.

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-28, 12:52 PM
Advocatus Diaboli

We can't actually disprove a non-demonstrable being. However, that's kinda like saying that we can't disprove that invisible, intangible space unicorns are stalking you right now.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-28, 01:50 PM
I don't think thats what they mean when they say "God is beyond logic". I think what it means is God is a being that is not constrained to natural laws. Just because we can't comprehend that,, doesn't mean it's not possible. Sure, maybe no one can demonstrate it, and I'm not making a claim for it, but that doesn't exclude the possibility.

Second, is that logic, in and of itself is a construct of the mind. We created logic as a method for deducing. We invented the idea of assiging "truth" value to things. So, the laws of logic enforce our concept of truth (based on that system).

They're are other systems of Logic, such as Dialetical logc which allow for contradictions to exist, and do not presuppose statements must either be true or false.

On the topic of logical paradoxes. They show that formal logic is not a complete system. So, another system is necessary to aid, hence the other logic systems of thought/mathematics.

Logic is a system for deduction. Just because an idea or concept doesn't meld with human perception and formal logic, or is beyond our scope of knowledge, doesn't mean it's not possible.

You can say whatever you like, but until you give an example of the fallibility of logic your arguments don't hold water.

Dialetical logic is still logic.

Devils_Advocate
2009-05-28, 09:32 PM
Logic is not infallible.
True premises + valid logic -> true conclusions. Invariably.

Do you dispute this? Give me a counterexample, if so.

I have several other points to make.

1. I find it odd that others apparently define free will to mean that you don't determine your own choices (because free will definitionally requires undetermined choices). Free will would seem to be quite undesirable, then, if one desires control over one's own choices.

Why would one describe an unpredictable correspondence between one's will and one's future actions as "free"? It seems to me the opposite: random chance limiting our freedom. I would say that freedom is the ability to determine one's own actions. Certainly not the opposite.

2. Could an omnipotent being make a rock so green that he couldn't lift it? :smallamused:

3. DamnedIrishman, you have expressed, if I've followed you correctly, disbelief in the past and the future. Does this mean that you believe only in the present? If so, how do you reconcile this belief with the relativity of simultaneity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relativity_of_simultaneity)? Because the ordering of events is relative, so too is "the present" relative to a frame of reference. Do you believe that exactly one frame of reference is "right"?

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-29, 06:53 AM
3. DamnedIrishman, you have expressed, if I've followed you correctly, disbelief in the past and the future. Does this mean that you believe only in the present? If so, how do you reconcile this belief with the relativity of simultaneity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relativity_of_simultaneity)? Because the ordering of events is relative, so too is "the present" relative to a frame of reference. Do you believe that exactly one frame of reference is "right"?

I am not a physicist so that concept has never needed reconciling before, but I shall try my best to get my head around the concept...

Right. Let me explain my own temporal beliefs. I disbelieve in the existence of a past universe and future universe: this is to say, one cannot travel to either of the two because they are not physical entities.
I view the universe as a constant series of physical processes. What we think of as 'time' is our method of comparing these processes to each other - for example, the basis of our time system is the complete solar orbit (year), which we compare to complete rotations of the earth on it's axis (day).
The past is our memory of completed processes, and the future is our prediction of processes which have not yet happened or been completed.

How can I reconcile this with Relativity of Simultaneity? Simple. In an absolute sense, stuff happens. Our perceptions will never quite match actual events, since we rely on the reflection of light from objects into our eyes to see anything. Therefore, there will always be a delay between event and perception, even if it is near infinitesimal.


it is impossible to say in an absolute sense whether two events occur at the same time if those events are separated in space

It is impossible to say whether two events happen at the same time, but that is a matter of perception, not a question of when they occurred. Therefore, I do not think Relativity of Simultaneity invalidates my own understanding of the nature of time.

V'icternus
2009-05-29, 07:22 AM
I think of time being a kind of structure (kind of like the three dimensions).

It's what causes things to happen in order. My perception of the universe before time is that everything happened at once. Which, obviously, would be confusing, but can also help explain the cause of the universe.

With no time, and everythign happeneign at once, there is infinite chance of anything happening all at the one time, so, simply put, everything happened. Including the incredibly unlikely event of a universe springing out of nowhere. Then, time came into effect, and the rest was random chance.

So, basically, there is an infinitely small chance of somethign happening, but it has infinite time to do it, (or no time to bind it), then it's going to happen because odds mean nothing with infinite time. (Like, say, if you roll 20 D20's infinitely. Eventually, all are going to be natural 20's.)

But, that's just one view on time...


Also, in a related matter, never go back in time, ever, for any reason. If you go back to, say, kill Hitler, then Hitler will be dead and so you would not have gone back in time to kill him, so that means you didn't, so he's alive, which means nothing changed, which means you would go back in time and kill him, which means he'd be dead and so you would not have gone back in time to kill him, so that means you didn't, so he's alive, which means nothing changed, which means...

Of course, the same applies if you go back and, say, kill your past self, help yourself find the keys you lost, or save JFK.

Devils_Advocate
2009-05-29, 10:24 AM
By definition, nothing happened before the beginning of time. It's rather like how nothing happens north of the North Pole.

Obviously, "changing time" is impossible. A given event either happened/will happen/is happening at a given time or it did/will/is not. Or both, if there are multiple timelines, in which case you can kill Hilter in an alternate timeline while he stayed alive in your own timeline.

But you can't make an event go differently "this time around" by traveling into your own past, because that's not a new time around, it's the same original time around. That's what traveling to the past means.

Blayze
2009-05-29, 01:00 PM
I prefer the logic of "What happened stays happened."

This way, there are two possible answers:

1) Time travel is impossible.
2) Whatever it was you tried to change, your attempt didn't work.

The logic of number two is questionable, since you could always just nuke the past -- and surely you'd hear about it being nuked before anyway -- to kill yourself if you really wanted to prove your point.

Answer one works well for fact, answer two works well for fiction. It is, after all, the Stable Time Loop that interests me more than causing paradoxes -- whether it was already destined to occur that way or the universe has to invent new and amusing ways to screw you over -- either by altering itself to avoid the fate you tried to bestow on the past or by taking the path of least resistance and removing *you*.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-29, 01:40 PM
Since the discussion of the nature of God has petered to a halt, I (as OP) wholeheartedly support the hijacking of this thread into a discussion on the theory and practicality of time travel and the nature of time.

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-29, 02:15 PM
Most of these theories are based on the idea that time is linear; that is, that time moves from one point to the next, always "flowing" in the same direction. Frankly, there's not a whole lot of evidence supporting the idea of linear time. The only reason humans percieve in linear time is because we judge the "passage" of time according to recurring patterns (Earth moving around the sun, Earth's rotation, et cetera). Human beings like thinking in patterns, even if they're incorrect ones.

Trog
2009-05-29, 03:49 PM
Since the discussion of the nature of God has petered to a halt, I (as OP) wholeheartedly support the hijacking of this thread into a discussion on the theory and practicality of time travel and the nature of time.
I have a question that sparked a long debate way back in the early nineties between myself and a friend of mine regarding going back in time. First of all this discussion assumes that time travel is possible.

The question is: Would events that happen at random (for ease of discussion say the event in question is lottery numbers being drawn) happen in the exact same way as they did before you traveled back in time or would those random events get yet another random shake and change the outcome?

Discuss. :smallbiggrin:

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-29, 06:24 PM
I have a question that sparked a long debate way back in the early nineties between myself and a friend of mine regarding going back in time. First of all this discussion assumes that time travel is possible.

The question is: Would events that happen at random (for ease of discussion say the event in question is lottery numbers being drawn) happen in the exact same way as they did before you traveled back in time or would those random events get yet another random shake and change the outcome?

Discuss. :smallbiggrin:

I've always thought that time travel requires a deterministic universe, so yes the lottery would come out the same if time travel could possibly exist.

DarthArminius
2009-05-29, 06:41 PM
Those statements lacks any form of empirical or logical support, so do not constitute a valid argument under critical theory.

Do they not? Think about, also, a young child being disciplined by their parents. They think the parent is being mean. It doesn't mean that the parent is.

Its all about perspective. God has a much higher perspective than we do. What I'm saying simply is our perspective is limited in relation to higher dimensions, so empirical data is limited to what we can gather from the higher source directly from His hand.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-29, 06:47 PM
Do they not? Think about, also, a young child being disciplined by their parents. They think the parent is being mean. It doesn't mean that the parent is.

Its all about perspective. God has a much higher perspective than we do. What I'm saying simply is our perspective is limited in relation to higher dimensions, so empirical data is limited to what we can gather from the higher source directly from His hand.

No, they don't. And they still don't, and it still isn't a valid argument under critical theory.

DarthArminius
2009-05-29, 06:48 PM
Who made Critical Theory?

Edit- According to wikipedia, it was human beings who created Critical Theory. I submit to you that a First Causal being would know more than those who have made such a theory.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-29, 06:54 PM
Who made Critical Theory?

Edit- According to wikipedia, it was human beings who created Critical Theory. I submit to you that a First Causal being would know more than those who have made such a theory.

I submit to you that your first causal being has as much evidence to support it as fairies, invisible pink unicorns and the flying spaghetti monster.

"Because I said so" does not constitute a valid argument.

Besides, if nobody had ever decided to tell you that the first causal being existed, you wouldn't think it did. Effectively, you're just believing something somebody once told you because you can.

DarthArminius
2009-05-29, 06:55 PM
"Because I said so" does not constitute a valid argument.

Who says my argument is equilavent to making a claim of superiority over you?

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-29, 06:56 PM
Who says my argument is equilavent to making a claim of superiority over you?

Nobody did, which makes the reason you brought it up downright inexplicable.

DarthArminius
2009-05-29, 06:56 PM
Read what I have in quotes.

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-29, 06:57 PM
I'd hate to repeat myself, BUT - what evidence supports the idea of linear time? If time isn't linear, then causality and time travel both change significantly as concepts.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-29, 06:57 PM
Read what I have in quotes.

Happily. Now read this quote of your own:


I submit to you that a First Causal being would know more than those who have made such a theory.

There is absolutely no logical reason to believe in this being, as you have provided neither logical support or empirical evidence. Ergo, your counterargument amounts to:


"Because I said so"

DarthArminius
2009-05-29, 06:59 PM
I submit to you that your first causal being has as much evidence to support it as fairies, invisible pink unicorns and the flying spaghetti monster.

The rules of the forum kind of defeat the purpose of me mentioning the word Ressurection without referring to 13th level clerics. I'll just say that unless you really want a religious discussion in PM you won't get a coherent answer on the boards without me getting into trouble.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-29, 07:04 PM
The rules of the forum kind of defeat the purpose of me mentioning the word Ressurection without referring to 13th level clerics. I'll just say that unless you really want a religious discussion in PM you won't get a coherent answer on the boards without me getting into trouble.

I wouldn't engage in any form of argument if I wasn't confident of my knowledge in the subject, so any mention of Resurrection would get a "so what?"

If you wish to try and convert me, you're welcome to PM me with whatever you like. But I've been through this many a time before with many an individual and if I thought that there was any decent reason to believe in anything of the sort, I would have converted long ago.

And now I bid you goodnight sir, because it is an hour past midnight and I am exhausted.

DarthArminius
2009-05-29, 07:06 PM
I was about to bring him over to the Dark Side and convert him before he went to bed. That DAMNED IRISHMAN!:smallwink:

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-29, 07:09 PM
I was about to bring him over to the Dark Side and convert him before he went to bed. That DAMNED IRISHMAN!:smallwink:

I like how you call theism the Dark Side. Saves us atheists a lot of hassle.

Nighty night folks!

Halna LeGavilk
2009-05-29, 07:12 PM
The problem with the nature of the discussion of any higher, omnipotent being is simply one of comprehension and perspective.

Firstly, can we even comprehend a being of unlimited power? I think it. It's hard to imagine the amount of power contained within a nuclear bomb, and that is surely limited power. Can we comprehend unlimited intelligence, unlimited strength, unlimited vastness? That is of course, if concepts such intelligence, strength, vastness, or even power apply to such a theoretical being.

Secondly, the problem of perspective: a being such as the one mentioned above, has a far better perspective than we do of anything. Our limited perspectives on topics like good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, and the good of humanity, or much more limited than a omnipotant being's is.

V'icternus
2009-05-30, 08:59 AM
Would events that happen at random (for ease of discussion say the event in question is lottery numbers being drawn) happen in the exact same way as they did before you traveled back in time or would those random events get yet another random shake and change the outcome?

Well, my beleif has to do with how "random" random really is. See, when the thing spins a certain amount of times, stops at a certain point, and has a certain momentum, and begins from the same starting point, the same numbers will come out. And, so, if you go back in time, and change nothing, then there's no reason for it to have changed. Really, "random" refers to the causes involved.

So, for instance, if I throw a ball across a sports field, where it lands is random. I only provide general direction and force. Then there's wind, the weight of the ball, random bird attacks, etc. All of which can affect the outcome. If someone goes back in time, these things all happen the same way, because they were all put in motion the same way.

Basically, I think time manipulation is the only way to change the past. Just going back changes nothing. (Remember: This is all my thoughts at this point in time. Do not take as fact, and feel free to question things. If I cannot answer, then congratulate yourself. My mind hasn't changed through external influence since I was seven. I am honestly looking forward to a day when I am outsmarted in such a way.)

Devils_Advocate
2009-05-30, 02:54 PM
DamnedIrishman, I would like to echo Lord_Gareth in saying that you sound a bit inconsistent. You criticize Armin for making claims unsupported by evidence, yet you yourself profess beliefs apparently unsupported by evidence.

What evidence justifies your belief in an absolute frame of reference?

What evidence justifies your belief in non-determinism? If it's quantum mechanics, what reason do you have to prefer another interpretation over Many Worlds (http://lesswrong.com/lw/q8/many_worlds_one_best_guess/)?

Do you feel that unsupported claims have no place in a debate, but unjustified beliefs are valid, so that prefacing an assertion with "I believe" makes it acceptable? Granted, this technically does turn a dubious assertion into a reliable one -- assuming that one has accurate knowledge of one's own beliefs (and is honest about them)!

So, statements of belief can be assumed correct, but what about the beliefs themselves? How can you believe something while acknowledging that it is insufficiently supported to put forth as a valid argument? Are you not then thinking something true when there is insufficient reason to think it true?

DarthArminius
2009-05-30, 02:58 PM
Thank you, my Advocate.

I'm kind of wondering if his reasoning in making such a constructed debate in the Playground is a trap to lure Playgrounders into stating their beliefs in the religious sense. I felt obligated to PM him my actual beliefs, since I think that allowing this thread to continue is, in a way, laying out a mouse trap for those with religious belief.

Devils_Advocate
2009-05-30, 03:40 PM
Honestly, I think that saying a theological claim has no support basically counts as discussion of real-world religion. A theological claim may not be inherently a part of any particular real-world religion, but many supporting arguments for that claim will be. So in calling the claim unsupported, you're denouncing religious arguments; you're just doing so implicitly and without being specific.

And, of course, arguing against that general denouncement requires a specific counterpoint, which itself might be explicit real-world religion. If you've "won" a debate point because the counterarguments would violate board rules, that's only due to an extremely dubious standard of victory.

Trog
2009-05-30, 04:01 PM
Well, my beleif has to do with how "random" random really is. See, when the thing spins a certain amount of times, stops at a certain point, and has a certain momentum, and begins from the same starting point, the same numbers will come out. And, so, if you go back in time, and change nothing, then there's no reason for it to have changed. Really, "random" refers to the causes involved.

So, for instance, if I throw a ball across a sports field, where it lands is random. I only provide general direction and force. Then there's wind, the weight of the ball, random bird attacks, etc. All of which can affect the outcome. If someone goes back in time, these things all happen the same way, because they were all put in motion the same way.

Basically, I think time manipulation is the only way to change the past. Just going back changes nothing. (Remember: This is all my thoughts at this point in time. Do not take as fact, and feel free to question things. If I cannot answer, then congratulate yourself. My mind hasn't changed through external influence since I was seven. I am honestly looking forward to a day when I am outsmarted in such a way.)

All very good points. Okay, hmmm... perhaps I did not pick a truly random event to discuss after all. Let us substitute a computer random number generator then for the lottery drawing then. Would it, at that point in time, generate the same number again?

Or would it be another random figure pulled simply because the timeline where you are not there in the past differs from the timeline where you are in the past? Since the two are different since the difference is that you are there.

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-30, 04:10 PM
Umm, I was just asking why he chose to believe in linear time >.>

Incidentally, atheism is a negative position; that is, atheists don't need to prove anything. It's up to those who actually believe in a higher power - a positive position - to actually supply proof. That's not a theological point, that's just how debates work.

DarthArminius
2009-05-30, 04:30 PM
In other words, debate no longer exists as long as an athiest exists in it.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-30, 05:33 PM
So, statements of belief can be assumed correct, but what about the beliefs themselves? How can you believe something while acknowledging that it is insufficiently supported to put forth as a valid argument? Are you not then thinking something true when there is insufficient reason to think it true?

The difference is that whilst I submit my own musings on the nature of time, I don't imply that they are true.
My discussion with Armin arose as a criticism of logic. For several pages, this thread has discussed the possibility of Godly attributes - mainly omnipotence and omniscience - in terms of logical paradoxes. One of the main arguments was that omnipotence creates a logical paradox and therefore must be impossible, and that omniscience is not possible in a universe with free will. These discussions were obviously hypothetical, and thus arguments made were expected to be supported by sound logical reasoning.
Eventually, this discussion petered out. In it's place was put forward the argument that logic is not infallible and thus is not a suitable method for the discussion of a Godlike being. For a short period, I defended logic in this discussion.
Armin decided to bring God into the debate on logic in this post. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6168096&postcount=196) His main argument was that "God had his own logic", but this argument was not supported with any reasoning that I could see. If one cares to read through the following pages, one will see that his following points have all also been attempts to invoke God in the argument rather than following the critical process and making reasoned arguments.

My own stated 'beliefs' were my opinions on the nature of time. At no point did I state or imply that they were correct. When they were challenged (as they were with the Theory of Relativity of Simulatenity) I tried to justify them with sound logical reasoning.



I'm kind of wondering if his reasoning in making such a constructed debate in the Playground is a trap to lure Playgrounders into stating their beliefs in the religious sense. I felt obligated to PM him my actual beliefs, since I think that allowing this thread to continue is, in a way, laying out a mouse trap for those with religious belief.

It was your choice to bring your personal religious beliefs into this debate: this thread has had seven pages of debate free of such things. The purpose of this thread was a logical thought experiment, not a 'mouse trap'. People's religious beliefs are their own business and I have no interest in what faith others profess. The only reason I have criticised it here is when attempts are made to use it as a valid point in a debate without empirical evidence or logical reasoning to support it.

I don't know why you felt obliged to PM me: I merely stated that I will counterargue if you chose to. That is not a challenge. You will also note that one of my first statements was the following:

"If however you are likely to be offended by the refutation of your faith and criticisms thereupon in the form of logical argument, I suggest you do know such thing."

Nobody is making you argue with me. If you're not comfortable with it, then stop.


Honestly, I think that saying a theological claim has no support basically counts as discussion of real-world religion. A theological claim may not be inherently a part of any particular real-world religion, but many supporting arguments for that claim will be. So in calling the claim unsupported, you're denouncing religious arguments; you're just doing so implicitly and without being specific.


A theological claim should never have been brought into a religion-free logical debate in the first place. If one wanted to to assume the existence of a God for the sake of an argument, and then argue using logical reasoning, that would be perfectly acceptable. In the same way, if one wishes to support a theological claim with either empirical evidence or logical reasoning, this is also perfectly acceptable.
Faith has no place in debate.

Futhermore, there is no such thing as 'victory' in debate.


In other words, debate no longer exists as long as an athiest exists in it.

No, that's not the case at all. If you examine:


It's up to those who actually believe in a higher power - a positive position - to actually supply proof.

This doesn't mean debate doesn't exist, it means you have to supply proof. If you have proof, debate may continue.

I would also like to draw everyone's attention to the following quotation, from the very first post in this entire thread:


Discussing real-world religions is not allowed on this forum. This thread is independent of established belief systems, and I would rather it stayed that way.

If people insist on dragging their religious beliefs into my hypothetical, logical discussion then I will report this thread and have it closed myself.

V'icternus
2009-05-30, 06:10 PM
All very good points. Okay, hmmm... perhaps I did not pick a truly random event to discuss after all. Let us substitute a computer random number generator then for the lottery drawing then. Would it, at that point in time, generate the same number again?

Or would it be another random figure pulled simply because the timeline where you are not there in the past differs from the timeline where you are in the past? Since the two are different since the difference is that you are there.

Well, if you change nothing (strictly, nothing. Room temperature, general mood of the room, reflected light, etc.) then the result can't change. You're basically just viewing what happened. As long as you change nothing, then nothing changes.

And, to make things even more puzzling, if you did change something and it changed the outcome, the outcome wouldn't have changed. The outcome would always have been what you changed it to, because you changed it. It would be the same result you remembered, and would happen in the same way.

And I'm not talking in a "I knew I could do it 'cos I did it" way. I'm talking about "Alright, it's three." *Go back in time, change it to four* *Universe applies the laws of time, likely causing a paradox due to the fact that if the result was a four, you would not go back in time and make it four, meaning it was a three, which means you would go back, making it a four, which means you wouldn't need to go back to make it a four, so it's a three, which means...*

*Breathes*

And that's what I think of randomness and time travel.

DarthArminius
2009-05-30, 06:20 PM
[


Faith has no place in debate.


As long as faith has no place in debate, than freedom is non-existent.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-30, 06:24 PM
As long as faith has no place in debate, than freedom is non-existent.

Just... no.

DarthArminius
2009-05-30, 06:26 PM
Its true. If faith has no place in debate structure, then there is no freedom of debate.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-30, 06:29 PM
Its true. If faith has no place in debate structure, then there is no free debate.

You misunderstand me: 'faiths' can be debated (though not on this forum, as it is against the rules), 'faith' - which is to say justifying an argument on the foundation of belief rather than logical reasoning - has no place in debate structure.

DarthArminius
2009-05-30, 06:29 PM
I was using a rational framework.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-30, 06:35 PM
I was using a rational framework.

Good for you. A rational framework still requires logical reasoning or empirical evidence, however.

DarthArminius
2009-05-30, 06:36 PM
logical reasoning
Well, I just guess I'll quit while I'm ahead.

DamnedIrishman
2009-05-30, 06:41 PM
Well, I just guess I'll quit while I'm ahead.

Lovely.


I'd hate to repeat myself, BUT - what evidence supports the idea of linear time? If time isn't linear, then causality and time travel both change significantly as concepts.

Is there any? To what extent can we ever provide evidence on the nature of time? Is it forever going to be a theoretical science?

Trog
2009-05-30, 07:50 PM
Well, if you change nothing (strictly, nothing. Room temperature, general mood of the room, reflected light, etc.) then the result can't change. You're basically just viewing what happened. As long as you change nothing, then nothing changes.
Well with a random number generator most of those conditions wouldn't really apply to the result anyway but I get what you are saying.


And, to make things even more puzzling, if you did change something and it changed the outcome, the outcome wouldn't have changed. The outcome would always have been what you changed it to, because you changed it. It would be the same result you remembered, and would happen in the same way.

And I'm not talking in a "I knew I could do it 'cos I did it" way. I'm talking about "Alright, it's three." *Go back in time, change it to four* *Universe applies the laws of time, likely causing a paradox due to the fact that if the result was a four, you would not go back in time and make it four, meaning it was a three, which means you would go back, making it a four, which means you wouldn't need to go back to make it a four, so it's a three, which means...*

*Breathes*

And that's what I think of randomness and time travel.
So you're saying even if one went back in time and changed it it wouldn't really change anything. Which I would find odd (not that this whole discussion isn't odd :smallwink:) because if you change something it stays changed.

Lets say you wanted (for whatever odd reason) to go back in time and change something minor. Like erase a digit on a homework assignment and change your wrong answer to a correct one. You're saying that if you do that that you never got it wrong in the first place, but you would have never gotten it right if you hadn't went back... and you never would have went back if you hadn't gotten it wrong. Classic paradox if you subscribe to time being strictly linear.

If you go with a non linear model you would get the answer wrong, go back in time and change it, go back to the future - a different future. One where you still are from the future where you got it wrong but no one else is. Which might then result in there being two of you since the changed future you would have no reason to go back in time.

Or you could return back to your own time which would remain unchanged yet there was a parallel time where you did get it right that you can never visit. Which would be sort of lame, but I could see how that might happen.

Or you could go back in time, change the answer and suddenly poof out of existence... the future you got the answer right and had no reason to go back and the you that went back ceases to exist.

Yeah... I don't have any answers to this either (I kinda doubt anyone really does for that matter) but it sure does make you go cross-eyed thinking about it. :smallbiggrin:

Lord_Gareth
2009-05-30, 10:19 PM
Is there any? To what extent can we ever provide evidence on the nature of time? Is it forever going to be a theoretical science?

Eh, one can say that the existence of cyclic patterns is evidence for linear time, but that's stretching it.

If you haven't noticed, I'm not really debating on any one side ^_^

Ghostwheel
2009-05-31, 02:21 AM
Discussing real-world religions is not allowed on this forum. This thread is independent of established belief systems, and I would rather it stayed that way.



Is there a God? Before you answer, I ask a qualifying question: what does "God" mean? In my personal understanding (and I must point out that I am an atheist at this point), something I would call God would be an omniscient and omnipotent being.

I personally believe that omnipotence and omniscience (with the existence free will) are paradoxical and thus impossible. Therefore, I cannot believe that there is a God.

But if I were to hypothesize that a being exists, which theists refer to as "God". He is not omnipotent and omniscient, therefore is it God or just an extremely powerful and intelligent alien? Should it be worshiped?

If it should be worshiped, why that being over any other powerful, intelligent aliens? At what point is a being sufficiently powerful and intelligent enough to warrant worship?

We live in a Universe that we can perceive in four dimensions. Simply postulating a single entity that can perceive and affect more than just those four shows that we can imagine "God." That does not require you to believe in, worship, or even acknowledge the existence of such a being.

When I understand all of nature, with no gaps in my knowledge, I will stop believing that God exists. You are free to do and believe as you wish (of course you already knew that).

Have a good day!:smallcool:

Ghostwheel
2009-05-31, 02:29 AM
Any changes in a time-line would only produce another time-line according to the "Many Worlds" theory extant in physics. All time-lines that are possible would simply be conserved in the same way that inertia is conserved in conventional mechanics and physics.

This is nothing new. Have a nice day in this time-line!:smallcool:

Serpentine
2009-05-31, 02:38 AM
On the subject of timetravel, I found this (http://www.mjyoung.net/time/index.htm) website interesting - it even helps to understand some of the mechanisms and problems of time-travel and how it'd work (theoretically). The one on Donnie Darko was particularly... well, confusing. Caution: Spoilers.
One of the main things it talks about is the different timelines caused by timetravel, usually three. I can't remember them exactly, in large part because it's damn confusing, but I believe it's something along these lines: Timeline 1: The natural progression of history without time-travel. Timeline 2: the progression of history with the time-travel. Timeline 3: The time-traveller's timeline as he goes back and forth.

V'icternus
2009-05-31, 03:05 AM
So you're saying even if one went back in time and changed it it wouldn't really change anything. Which I would find odd (not that this whole discussion isn't odd :smallwink:) because if you change something it stays changed.

Lets say you wanted (for whatever odd reason) to go back in time and change something minor. Like erase a digit on a homework assignment and change your wrong answer to a correct one. You're saying that if you do that that you never got it wrong in the first place, but you would have never gotten it right if you hadn't went back... and you never would have went back if you hadn't gotten it wrong. Classic paradox if you subscribe to time being strictly linear.

If you go with a non linear model you would get the answer wrong, go back in time and change it, go back to the future - a different future. One where you still are from the future where you got it wrong but no one else is. Which might then result in there being two of you since the changed future you would have no reason to go back in time.

Or you could return back to your own time which would remain unchanged yet there was a parallel time where you did get it right that you can never visit. Which would be sort of lame, but I could see how that might happen.

Or you could go back in time, change the answer and suddenly poof out of existence... the future you got the answer right and had no reason to go back and the you that went back ceases to exist.

Yeah... I don't have any answers to this either (I kinda doubt anyone really does for that matter) but it sure does make you go cross-eyed thinking about it. :smallbiggrin:

My problem with this (not that it isn't good) is that everything needs an origin. If you change the origin of an event, the event changes. So, if you go back to change something, then it was changed, so you wouldn't go back to change it (etc)

However, if you were then able to go back to the future, then you have no origin. None at all. A different you would have an origin, and would have followed the sequence of events differently. Remember, the other you is still you. So, if you don't go back, you can't come back.

Also, "poof"ing out of existance doesn't solve the problem, either, as the change in the past needs an origin too. Otherwise, it wouldn't have happened.

Think of it this way: Person #1 writes a B on a peice of paper. Person #2 erases it and writes a C. Person #1 finds out about the switch too late to change it, and bad things happen. Person #1 goes back in time, and changes the C to a B again. However, this means that #1 would never have goen back in time to change it to a B, so it was a C, which means he went back and changed it to a B, and that means he never went back to change it to a B because it was a B, so that means it winds up as a C, and because nothing's changed, the loop continues forever, and the Universe might as well go to hell, because Person #1 was an idiot and created a Paradox in time.

Now, I don't beleive in things being pre-determined. But once they happen, they happened. You can't and shouldn't change things, because if you do, then you would never change those things, creating the loop reffered to above.

Still, I fully accept that I may be wrong and that another sequence of events is truly possible if there are other timelines and people can travel to ones other than their own. After all, if there's one thing learning Philosophy has taught me, it's that "Even if nothing can prove you wrong, and the evidence is in your favour, it's never, ever 100%".

bibliophile
2009-06-01, 03:36 PM
Hello, I'm back. I'd like to tell you all my long absence was due to saving orphans and puppies, but alas, honesty insists I tell you it was school work. I've read most of whats been posted (time travel, logic) and will respond in brief.

Logic God, even an omnipotent god cannot create a logical contradiction. A logical contradiction is not merely impossible, it is a meaningless string of words.

Free will and Omniscience I believe that god is omniscient, and that we have free will. But wait! you say, logical contradictions are impossible, so what gives? I believe that both can coexist without logical contradiction. First let me say that I think god is beyond time. This whole area is a rather confusing idea so let me illustrate with a metaphor. Let us say I am reading about the life of George Washington. From my perspective I can see the whole of his life in one instant. I don't need to wait 67 years to find out how he died. To me, it all happened at the same time. I know that after becoming Genera of the Continential army, he will eventually accept Cornwallis surrender at Yorktown. But what about his perspective? He does not know when he becomes general that he will succeed. He has free will, and freely chooses the choices that take him to victory.

Time Travel I don't think time travel is possible, and it's rather off topic.