Is this a strawman argument?
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10-01-2014, 08:57 PM
Is this a strawman argument?
I'm embarrassed to say that I wrote this. I think it's dead at this point. I'm wondering what to call the fallacy involved.
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1) If a document (such as an ad for a car) states that something has properties X, Y, and Z (two doors, silver color, travels in time) and any one of those properties is logically impossible (time travel) then we can say that the thing, as described in the document, does not exist.

2) If an entity is omnipotent, it can do anything, choose to do anything.

3) If an entity is omniscient, it knows everything including the future.

4) A being that is omniscient knows everything, all that will happen, including all it will do. It therefore cannot make choices, change it's mind, or do something else. It lacks that power because it already knows what it will do.

5) Therefore an entity cannot be both omniscient and omnipotent.

6) The bible describes god as omniscient and omnipotent.

Conclusion: The god of the bible cannot exist, it is logically contradictory.

Note: This does not prove that no gods exist, just that the one from the bible cannot exist as described. One could argue that the bible misrepresents god, has some attributes wrong. Fine. But if that ad for the car was wrong (suggesting it could travel in time when it can't) would you have any confidence that any of the other traits of the car were as advertised without seeing the car or having some other, external source on the attributes of that car? I wouldn't, and I think it reasonable to say you wouldn't either. Therefore we can trust nothing the bible says about god unless it is backed up by some external source.
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.... Yep. I wrote it. Unsure Anyway, I'm thinking the omnipotence-omniscience contradiction angle would be classified as a straw man argument. Thoughts?
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10-01-2014, 09:14 PM
RE: Is this a strawman argument?
(10-01-2014 08:57 PM)OddGamer Wrote:  Therefore we can trust nothing the bible anyone says about god anything unless it is backed up by some external source.
Fixed.

As for the topic at hand, your line of reasoning can only be considered to be based on the straw man fallacy if and only if you are responding to a misrepresentation of another person's argument.

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10-01-2014, 09:18 PM
RE: Is this a strawman argument?
The misrepresentation involved would be the definition of 'omnipotence'. As I understand it, the sophisticated definition is "The ability to do anything that is not logically contradictory", thus eliminating the argument since if making choices and omniscience would be contradictory, omnipotence doesn't include it. ... Except... man I'm tired. My head is spinning.
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10-01-2014, 11:02 PM
RE: Is this a strawman argument?
What Vos said and...

I think you're looking at Boolean 'and's and 'or's.

The more attributes that something has (X, Y and Z) the less likely it is.

X, Y or Z... no problem.

Theists' argument from complexity is a non-starter.

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11-01-2014, 05:40 AM (This post was last modified: 11-01-2014 05:56 AM by Hafnof.)
RE: Is this a strawman argument?
Let the universe be a n-dimensional object that includes all dimensions of space and time.
Let G be an additional free dimension in which changes to the universe across all of space and time can occur.
Definition, omnipotence: The ability to change the universe arbitrarily over the free dimension G.
Definition, omniscience: The ability to observe and comprehend the universe at any point g[sub]i[/sub] in G
Omniscience of this sort may be ruled out by the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics if that holds, but doesn't seem logically contradictory with omnipotence.

Answers:
1) Logical impossibility only deals with whether a logical proposition is consistent with a set of axioms. What we want to find to prove a set of axioms false is a contradiction - a logical proof that true = false based on the axioms, and that therefore the axioms cannot all hold simultaneously.
2) See definition, omnipotence.
3) See definition, omniscience.
4) The god being has no knowledge of what it will do in the free dimension G. It only knows the state of the universe at all instances of time g[sub]i[/sub]
5) Only if God is physically part of the universe
6) Where does it do so? Can you quote chapter and verse, and exactly what form of omnipotence and omniscience is required of the being?

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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11-01-2014, 08:37 AM
RE: Is this a strawman argument?
Well, for the bible saying god has omnipotence and omniscience I was thinking Mathew 19:26 and 1 John 3:20 respectively, however that doesn't do much for the rest of the argument.

Thanks. Big Grin
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11-01-2014, 08:49 AM
RE: Is this a strawman argument?
(10-01-2014 08:57 PM)OddGamer Wrote:  Therefore we can trust nothing the bible says about god unless it is backed up by some external source.

Any perception that the Bible is inaccurate is the fault of the person reading it.

Is the color Blue, Blue > Yes
the Bible says that Blue is Yellow is that correct > Yes
So then Blue is not Blue > Your interpreting it wrong

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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11-01-2014, 09:09 AM
RE: Is this a strawman argument?
OddGamer -

The issues you have raised with omnipotence and omniscience have been pointed out long ago as contradictions to classic theism.
Baruch Spinoza wrote at length on the topic trying to reconcile these attributes of God using logical reasoning from his rationalistic philosophical system.

Spinoza's conclusion was God cannot be a "Personal" deity which has omnipotence (a separate "will" which can do anything logically not contradictory) but God "as the embodiment of the whole universe" (a kind of omnipotence ?) acts by determined necessity and Spinoza ended up denying free will for God - the whole universe is determined by rational laws. (He didn't know at his time but the exception would be at the quantum level with indeterminacy)
In any case quantum indeterminacy does not solve the problems because on a macro scale the universe still follows deterministic causal laws.

I think Spinoza is right on this.
God must create a universe for a reason or purpose and must do this by logical necessity (otherwise he would not be a God ! )
i.e God cannot not create otherwise He would be impotent & know nothing and have no real power.

Then if God is perfect and knows the best possible outcomes then he could only choose "the best" future and cannot have a choice (therefore no omnipotence). Even more so if God transcends time (whatever that means) then the concept of past, now and future don't even apply and choice becomes meaningless.

God as omnipotent is a human projection of our own weakness & ignorance and need for a superman like figure. We have meaningful choices due to our ignorance of the future and human limitations - if we knew the future we wouldn't have any meaningful choices to make - the concept of a choice becomes absurd and meaningless.

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence -
David Hume


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11-01-2014, 09:12 AM (This post was last modified: 11-01-2014 09:16 AM by Baruch.)
RE: Is this a strawman argument?
Of course Spinoza's conclusions were not accepted at the time and he fled his Jewish orthodox roots as a apostate & heretic and then fleeing from any Christians who might want to persecute him for heresy.

Long live the heretics & apostates for their great ideas !

Funny thing about Spinoza was he was given the full biblical curses when excommunicated from his community as a apostate / heretic.
His name means blessed and he became one of the most blessed philosophers of all time playing a critical role in the foundation for the enlightenment followed by what would become the scientific revolution. See what happens to heretics when they religiously misbehave - they contribute to science, philosophy and rationality !

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence -
David Hume


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11-01-2014, 09:52 AM
RE: Is this a strawman argument?
If you want to say that God is both omniscient and omnipotent in all frames, including the one that he himself occupies then you have to step pretty carefully to avoid a self-contradiction. If you limit God's omnipotence to the universe while leaving him free not possess those attributes with regards to his own frame then omnipotence and omniscience seem internally consistent.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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