On 1/12/2013 9:21 AM, Jason Resch wrote:



On Sat, Jan 12, 2013 at 10:32 AM, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com <mailto:johnkcl...@gmail.com>> wrote:

    On Sat, Jan 12, 2013 at 12:41 AM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com
    <mailto:jasonre...@gmail.com>> wrote:

        > Please provide some reference showing almost all theists use that 
definition
        of God [ a omnipotent omniscient being who created the universe] .  I 
find it
        unlikely that most theists would incorporate every facet of that 
definition.


    That's true. Many theists, the more intelligent ones anyway, reject the 
idea of God
    but they become so in love with a word they play a silly and rather 
cowardly game.
    If, as so many have, you redefine the word "God"  to mean "a power greater 
than
    myself" then I am a theist who firmly believes in God because I believe that
    bulldozers exist. But if by "God" you mean a being with super-human 
abilities then
    God is just a comic book superhero (or supervillan) and I am a agnostic 
about
    something like that actually existing somewhere in the universe.

        > It doesn't matter if 95% of theisms are ones you find fault with; it 
only
        takes one correct theism to make atheism wrong, which is why I think it 
is an
        untenable and illogical position.


    Obviously I can't refute every one of the tens of thousands of Gods that 
humans have
    invented over the eons,


It is not about refuting all of them. It is that maybe there are some you would do believe in, if you knew more about them. Even one who has spent years studying all known human religions lacks knowledge about religions unknown to history, or any of the individually developed privately known religions, or religions of other species or civilizations on other planets. How can anyone presume to know enough to know that they are all false?

    but your statement assumes that if there is no hard evidence for or against 
a theory
    then there is a 50% chance that it is correct and thus worthy of serious
    consideration. And that is idiotic.


I never said there was a 50% probability, or that all theories are worthy of serious consideration. I do find it absurd, however, to reject all theories when one has no evidence for or against them. Why not remain neutral until you have a reason otherwise? Also, if you don't think 50% is a valid starting point, what do you suggest is a good /prior probability/ to use in Bayesian inference when one lacks any evidence for or against a proposition?


        > John said that he "just believes in one less god" than I do, but he 
refused to
        say what that one God was that I believed in but he doesn't.


    I don't believe in a omnipotent omniscient being that created the universe 
and I
    think you do.


No you don't. I've said before an omniscient being does not have the power to forget, and hence cannot be considered omnipotent. However, if you limit those words to refer to something else, like a universe (rather than to itself, where the contradiction is created), then it may be possible to be both omniscient and omnipotent in reference to that other thing.

Since you and I are both platonists, we agree that anything not ruled out by its definition exists. So you should agree there are instances in the plentitude where beings create vast simulations of entire universes. We humans have already played this role in creating relatively simple GoL universes. In the context of the simulation, a being can know everything about it and simultaneously exercise complete control over it, even changing the laws or altering its natural progression of the simulation.

As one who often writes simulations, I note that I *don't* know everything about them and the reason I create them is to find out something I don't know. Of course you may say that I could find it out, after the simulation has run - but that does seem to be what the religious mean by omniscient since they include knowing things before they happen.


If you believe everything with a consistent definition exists, then there exists a universe just like ours that was created by a being who knows everything that happens in it and has complete control to alter it in any way that being sees fit. There is nothing inconsistent or impossible about this. So you have a choice: either abandon platonism or abandon atheism. The two are incompatible.

If it's possible we live in a simulation, it's also possible we don't. So I don't see the incompatibility.

This is more easily demonstrable when you use other definitions of God, such as when you identify the platonic plenitude with the Hindu's Brahman. You and Brent seem hell-bent on using a definition where God is an omniscient and omnipotent person,

And beneficent and answers prayers. Other gods who may have created the universe for amusement and who are not beneficent are possible. Gods who created this universe as a simulation to see how it turns out and who therefore never meddle in it, deist gods are possible.

But many things are possible. I don't go around believing them just because they are possible. A-theism doesn't mean believing there are no gods, it just means failing to believe there are gods (at least theist ones).

so I offer the above example of the simulation hypothesis as an example more fitting to your definition.

While on this subject, I have another question for you and Brent: Do you believe in an afterlife or immortality?

I think the evidence is against it.

Is there any definition of "soul" you agree with?

That's a liberal theologians question: There's a word "soul" I'd like to use. Please think of something it applies to so we can agree that it exists.

I'd be happy to agree with any definition that captures common usage and is definite. I think common usage equates soul with the basic character and expressed values of a person or other agent.

Brent

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