The Paradox of Omnipotence
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21-08-2012, 09:36 AM
The Paradox of Omnipotence
Here's the paradox -

"Could an omnipotent being create a stone so heavy that even that being could not lift it?"

The argument is that if the being can create this self-contradicting state of affairs, the being ceases to be omnipotent since it is unable to do something. Namely, lifting the heavy stone.
on the other hand, if it cannot create this stone that is too heavy for it to lift, then that thereby is something it cannot do.

I've been discussing this with some, like A2 and Vosur, and (of course) have come to yet another disagreement.

The argument for the against goes something like this -

Om·nip·o·tent
adj.
Having unlimited or universal power, authority, or force; all-powerful.
n.
1. One having unlimited power or authority: the bureaucratic omnipotents.
2. Omnipotent God.

Most all definitions will say basically the same thing; "All powerfull", "Unlimited power".

In order for something to be "Omnipotent", it must have the power to do "all" things, including creating self-contradicting state of affairs (e.g. Creating a stone it cannot lift).
Since it is nonsensical that a being could ever do such a thing, a being cannot ever be omnipotent.

My argument goes something like this -

The assumption that a being that cannot do things that are incoherent is therefore not omnipotent, is a faulty assumption.
It's assuming that omnipotence includes things that fail to be coherent and fall outside the realm of existing and possible things.

The argument of the paradox is an absurd argument that leads to contradictions. An argument of this form is called a "reductio ad absurdum", meaning reduction the absurd. The idea is that an assumption or group of assumptions leads to contradictions and should therefore be rejected.

A clearer understanding of my argument is that when someone says "all powerful being" they are essentially referring to a being that is capable of performing all logically possible tasks but not necessarily a being that can perform logically impossible tasks.
One understanding of "logically impossible tasks" is that they are simply nonsensical tasks to begin with.
For instance, if I asked "could God hypersuffohockinate?"
You would think that the question was ridiculous. That's because it is.
It's a nonsensical notion that I just created in my mind.
I can make up any notion, and apply it to the paradox.

Another example could be an example from the "Chomsky Sentence": "God dreams colorless green ideas furiously"
Or something like that.

The idea that "all powerful" and "unlimited" does not necessarily mean that said being can "goopadorntaman".
But rather that being can perform "all" tasks that are possible to be performed.

“What you believe to be true will control you, whether it’s true or not.”

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21-08-2012, 09:47 AM
RE: The Paradox of Omnipotence
I have never understood "omnipotence" to mean the ability to do something that contradicts logic. Something must first be possible to do in a universal sense before any god could be accused of failing to do it. It is not possible for 1 + 1 to equal 3. So it doesn't surprise me if an omnipotent god can't make it so. Nor does it prove a lack of omnipotence. When atheists try to argue otherwise, in my mind it's no better than when theists accept anything they can't explain logically with "God works in mysterious ways". I see both as ignoring reality.

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21-08-2012, 09:50 AM
RE: The Paradox of Omnipotence
(21-08-2012 09:36 AM)ideasonscribe Wrote:  Here's the paradox -

"Could an omnipotent being create a stone so heavy that even that being could not lift it?"

The argument is that if the being can create this self-contradicting state of affairs, the being ceases to be omnipotent since it is unable to do something. Namely, lifting the heavy stone.
on the other hand, if it cannot create this stone that is too heavy for it to lift, then that thereby is something it cannot do.

I've been discussing this with some, like A2 and Vosur, and (of course) have come to yet another disagreement.

The argument for the against goes something like this -

Om·nip·o·tent
adj.
Having unlimited or universal power, authority, or force; all-powerful.
n.
1. One having unlimited power or authority: the bureaucratic omnipotents.
2. Omnipotent God.

Most all definitions will say basically the same thing; "All powerfull", "Unlimited power".

In order for something to be "Omnipotent", it must have the power to do "all" things, including creating self-contradicting state of affairs (e.g. Creating a stone it cannot lift).
Since it is nonsensical that a being could ever do such a thing, a being cannot ever be omnipotent.

My argument goes something like this -

The assumption that a being that cannot do things that are incoherent is therefore not omnipotent, is a faulty assumption.
It's assuming that omnipotence includes things that fail to be coherent and fall outside the realm of existing and possible things.

The argument of the paradox is an absurd argument that leads to contradictions. An argument of this form is called a "reductio ad absurdum", meaning reduction the absurd. The idea is that an assumption or group of assumptions leads to contradictions and should therefore be rejected.

A clearer understanding of my argument is that when someone says "all powerful being" they are essentially referring to a being that is capable of performing all logically possible tasks but not necessarily a being that can perform logically impossible tasks.
One understanding of "logically impossible tasks" is that they are simply nonsensical tasks to begin with.
For instance, if I asked "could God hypersuffohockinate?"
You would think that the question was ridiculous. That's because it is.
It's a nonsensical notion that I just created in my mind.
I can make up any notion, and apply it to the paradox.

Another example could be an example from the "Chomsky Sentence": "God dreams colorless green ideas furiously"
Or something like that.

The idea that "all powerful" and "unlimited" does not necessarily mean that said being can "goopadorntaman".
But rather that being can perform "all" tasks that are possible to be performed.

It's "Green ideas sleep furiously". It is an example of a sentence that is syntactically correct, but semantically anomalous.

The whole discussion of omnipotence presupposes the existence of the being for which there is no evidence. Mental masturbation.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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21-08-2012, 09:52 AM
RE: The Paradox of Omnipotence
(21-08-2012 09:36 AM)ideasonscribe Wrote:  The idea that "all powerful" and "unlimited" does not necessarily mean that said being can "goopadorntaman".
But rather that being can perform "all" tasks that are possible to be performed.
I'm still waiting for a source on this. Where did you get the idea from that omnipotence means only to be able to perfom possible tasks? Consider

(21-08-2012 09:50 AM)Chas Wrote:  The whole discussion of omnipotence presupposes the existence of the being for which there is no evidence. Mental masturbation.
I'd argue that we're debating about concept of omnipotence in general.

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21-08-2012, 10:54 AM
RE: The Paradox of Omnipotence
(21-08-2012 09:52 AM)Vosur Wrote:  
(21-08-2012 09:50 AM)Chas Wrote:  The whole discussion of omnipotence presupposes the existence of the being for which there is no evidence. Mental masturbation.
I'd argue that we're debating about concept of omnipotence in general.

Still mental masturbation.Dodgy

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21-08-2012, 11:31 AM
RE: The Paradox of Omnipotence
My only question would be, does the concept of all powerful give one the ability to create things.
Power being the rate at which energy is transferred, used or transformed = Work / time
An all powerful being is simply the most powerful being in the universe or having all the power of a universe, not necessarily a being of unlimited power.

Just a thought

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21-08-2012, 11:34 AM
RE: The Paradox of Omnipotence
(21-08-2012 09:50 AM)Chas Wrote:  It's "Green ideas sleep furiously". It is an example of a sentence that is syntactically correct, but semantically anomalous.

I didn't use the exact version of the "Chomsky Sentence". The example I used - "God dreams colorless green ideas furiously" - is an example of the Chomsky, only altered. The sentence is grammatically correct but semantically nonsensical.

(21-08-2012 09:50 AM)Chas Wrote:  The whole discussion of omnipotence presupposes the existence of the being for which there is no evidence. Mental masturbation.

I wouldn't say it "presupposes" anything of existence really. It's more of a discussion focused directly on the idea or literal understanding of said claim.
I'm sure you already have plenty of threads focusing on "the existence of the being for which there is no evidence".

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21-08-2012, 11:38 AM
RE: The Paradox of Omnipotence
(21-08-2012 11:34 AM)ideasonscribe Wrote:  
(21-08-2012 09:50 AM)Chas Wrote:  The whole discussion of omnipotence presupposes the existence of the being for which there is no evidence. Mental masturbation.

I wouldn't say it "presupposes" anything of existence really. It's more of a discussion focused directly on the idea or literal understanding of said claim.
I'm sure you already have plenty of threads focusing on "the existence of the being for which there is no evidence".

No, we have threads on the non-existence of a being for which there is no evidence.

Now you're discussing an attribute which has no existence. Useless wordplay, mental masturbation.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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21-08-2012, 11:41 AM
RE: The Paradox of Omnipotence
(21-08-2012 09:52 AM)Vosur Wrote:  I'm still waiting for a source on this. Where did you get the idea from that omnipotence means only to be able to perfom possible tasks? Consider

Well, similarly like I was discussing above, it's logical to presume that the idea of "all powerful" and "unlimited" encompasses 100% of possible logical tasks.
It's illogical that "all powerful" and "unlimited" includes incoherent ideals such as "Can God Klapopperstomp?" The idea that I created has no value and fails to be coherent. Therefore, it holds nothing on God's being unable to do such a thing since it, logically, cannot be performed by anything. It is only a creation of my imagination.
The idea that omnipotence includes nonsensical ideals is not logically assumed. To assume so would be to add detailed substance to a vague definition.

(21-08-2012 09:52 AM)Vosur Wrote:  
(21-08-2012 09:50 AM)Chas Wrote:  The whole discussion of omnipotence presupposes the existence of the being for which there is no evidence. Mental masturbation.
I'd argue that we're debating about concept of omnipotence in general.

I should have read this before I answered Chas lol

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21-08-2012, 11:49 AM
RE: The Paradox of Omnipotence
When people define an omnipotent God, they frequently imply infinite omnipotence. This would imply that God is perfect. However, this paradox can be applied in many different ways to God's three primary attributes. If you are infinitely omnipotent, you must also be infinitely impotent. If you are omnipotent, but are limited to the constraints of being omnipotent, then how can one be all-powerful? Can God create a married bachelor? The idea is that he can only do something that is conceivable, which is not omnipotent, etc.

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