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OPAR chapter 1 quote clarification

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Can I get clarification about what is meant in this bit, in the last section of chapter 1:

Is God the designer of the universe? Not if A is A.

So my question is, what is the quickest path from the law of identity to "a supernatural entity [God] could not have designed the universe"?

Is he saying that existence implies existence as something, and God could not both exist and create existence, or that "God" has no specific, non-arbitrary identity? Or something else?

Edited by brian0918
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It's both. As you noted, existence/the universe cannot have been created, because creation presupposes an entity doing the creating. If God created the universe, then existence existed with God's existence, and thus the universe with God in it existed before God created the universe, and round and round we go...

God purports to be omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. All three of those attributes violate the Law of Identity, for reasons not the least of which is that a physical infinity (such as an omni-attribute) is an impossibility. To be is to be something (something finite -- distinct from other finite things). What is an infinite anything?!? It's nonsense.

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It's also important to note that this quote is one of the summing-up parts of the chapter and it relies on you having read and understood the rest of the chapter. You did read Peikoff explaining all the ways in which the idea of God contradicts the law of identity, right? He's just restating that entire section in a single sentence.

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  • 1 month later...

Another way of thinking about the nonsense of the supernatural is to understand the objectivist definition of a concept. A concept refers to something that exists in reality. The alternative (and comparatively worthless view) is that a concept is just a definition. The problem with the second type of 'concept' is that it allows things that haven't actually been conceptualized to be a concept or in other terms its just wrong.

When I say 'walrus' you don't picture a walrus in your mind because of choice, a walrus is a thing in reality. Even if I don't know the anatomy of a walrus, I can still talk about walruses and know that I mean the walruses who live here on earth. I also know that I can mean no other kind of walrus.

When a mystic says 'god' he could mean anything or nothing at all. Further, one does not picture 'God' when someone mentions 'God'. A concept which is not gained from interaction with the real world is invalid. From this perspective, a theological argument is invalid from the moment 'god' is mentioned in any form, because its an anticoncept.

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Further, one does not picture 'God' when someone mentions 'God'.

In conjunction with your 'walrus' example, that is too concrete bound. One doesn't picture 'justice' when someone mentions 'justice', but that does not demonstrate that 'justice' is an invalid concept. A concept should be reducible, not necessarily directly perceptual.

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In conjunction with your 'walrus' example, that is too concrete bound. One doesn't picture 'justice' when someone mentions 'justice', but that does not demonstrate that 'justice' is an invalid concept. A concept should be reducible, not necessarily directly perceptual.

But God is supposedly an entity, not just a concept. So it may be concrete-bound but still rather appropriate.

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