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Refutation of existence of an all powerful being.

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This is just a refutation of the ontological argument I came up with.

This argument intends to show that an "all powerful being" is self contradictory and therefore non existent.

--assume an all powerful being

--if a being is all powerful then it can do anything which does not self contradict

therefore, an all powerful being can copy itself

--assume an all powerful being copies itself

--there are now two all powerful beings

--an all powerful being can destroy anything

--an all powerful being can prevent the destruction of anything

Assume one of the all powerful beings wishes to kill the other who does not wish to die

--something which can destroy anything is attempting to destroy something that cannot be destroyed

contradiction

therefore an all powerful being is not possible.

Thoughts anyone? It seems logically sound to me, but I am only in a basic logic course at the time so I don't have a great deal of background.

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--if a being is all powerful then it can do anything which does not self contradict

Then the "all powerful being" would have never thought of killing the other clone since it would have known it would have led to a contradiction. If you left out the "which does not self contradict" part then it would be a logically sound.

Edited by OCSL
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Then the "all powerful being" would have never thought of killing the other clone since it would have known it would have led to a contradiction. If you left out the "which does not self contradict" part then it would be a logically sound.

If the "all powerful being" cloned itself then it would no longer be an "all powerful being." If the "all powerful being" did not clone itself because it would lead to such a contradiction, then it could not be an "all powerful being," since such a being could not create contradictions - end of story. Once you modify the original premiss, the "all powerful being" is no longer an "all powerful being."

Edited by LCEntity
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--assume an all powerful being

--if a being is all powerful then it can do anything which does not self contradict

Contradiction.

A being which cannot do something is not all powerful. An all powerful being should be able to do the impossible. Otherwise it is only "all powerful with an exception"

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I've explored this with religious people using the old line about: "If God can do anything, can he make a building so high that even he can't jump over it?"

If they're smart they call it out as an invalid question. But even if they don't do that, they can just say "yes". An omnipotent being is not bothered by contradictions. He can overcome a contradiction and make it not a contradiction. ... (and your mind is too small to understand, so just have faith.)

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I always figured it was enough to simply ask "Why do deities never know more than their priests/pastors/ministers?" It quickly leads to more questions, like why wasn't the 11th commandment to the jews "Avoid Europe?" I mean even a last second warning in 1939 would have been good enough... Why is nothing in the bible something that anyone around at the time could have just decided? You would think an all powerful and all knowing being would have let slip some valuable piece of physics or math theorem accidentally? I mean, hell, the Pythagorean theorem isn't even in the bible. It would appear a ignorant, dirt poor, camel herder could have written it.... a camel herder who hated foreigners, women, and gays apparently. Evidentially, the universal truths of the bible are mainly parables about how easily a crusty, creative old con-man (moses) can use lies to control an entire nation of people. Makes me wonder what really caused Egypt to kick out the Israelites.

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You don't even have to attack the part about such a being being able to self-contradict or not. It is enough to point out that “assume an all powerful being” is itself enough to invoke a contradiction. An all powerful being is not a “non-all powerful being” and that in itself is a limitation. The point being that any type of “absolute,” “total,” or “infinite” attributes are conceptually inconceivable.

But not only that, you can go even further to preempt that. You don't need to assume any kind of being, or logically analyze various conceptions of God. There is no sensory evidence for this being on which to ground any logical analysis.

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It would appear a ignorant, dirt poor, camel herder could have written it.... a camel herder who hated foreigners, women, and gays apparently.

Unlikely since camels were domesticated later than some of the books were written. In other words, you understate your case. It is nonetheless true that there is nothing in the bible (both testaments) that could not have been written by someone in the first century. Granted this person would have been unusually highly educated for his day since literacy was not common back then, but that does not imply a high degree of intelligence or ability to think straight as anyone who has dealt with people educated beyond their intelligence can attest.

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  • 1 month later...

This is just a refutation of the ontological argument I came up with.

This argument intends to show that an "all powerful being" is self contradictory and therefore non existent.

--assume an all powerful being

--if a being is all powerful then it can do anything which does not self contradict

therefore, an all powerful being can copy itself

--assume an all powerful being copies itself

--there are now two all powerful beings

--an all powerful being can destroy anything

--an all powerful being can prevent the destruction of anything

Assume one of the all powerful beings wishes to kill the other who does not wish to die

--something which can destroy anything is attempting to destroy something that cannot be destroyed

contradiction

therefore an all powerful being is not possible.

Thoughts anyone? It seems logically sound to me, but I am only in a basic logic course at the time so I don't have a great deal of background.

What if this all powerful being chooses to do the hardest thing known to him--not to contradict himself? It's so easy to contradict.

What if He chooses to do the most challenging thing fathomable after that; create a non-contradictory Universe?

What if He again wants to "one-up" himself by creating a being who can think with contradictions--which gives them free-will--who is to exist in this non-contradictory Universe?

It may not matter what he can do, but what he chooses to do.

Edited by m082844
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  • 2 weeks later...

It is baffling to me that Objectivists are incapable of seeing the horrendous error in equating "inability" to "ability" and "weakness" to "strength".

Your argument basically says that in order for a being to be all powerful, He must have the "power" to possess a weakness. In order for Him to be able to do all things, He must have an inability. This is so absurdly altruistic. Strength does NOT require weakness. Ability does not require inability.

The "ability" to posess an inability is NOT an ability. The "ability" to be weak is NOT a strength. It is a weakness.

An omnipotent being could not do any of the things listed in all of your silly objections because all of those things are weaknesses, inabilities, deprivations. An omnipotent being is not "able" to be non-omnipotent; and the inability to be non-omnipotent is NOT a weakness, but a strenght. The inability to be weak is NOT a weakness.

If you wish to argue otherwise, then I cannot fathom how you can separate yourself from the envious, sniveling, altruistic, greatness-haters running rampant in the world.

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Keep working that through Jacob and you'll come to see the contradiction intrinsic to "omnipotent being".

If a man was incapable of irrationality, would that be a strength or a weakness?

Would you accuse him of a weakness because he wasn't "able" to be irrational?

Or would you shut your mouth and realize that you were using "ability" in two different ways?

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If a man was incapable of irrationality, would that be a strength or a weakness?

Would you accuse him of a weakness because he wasn't "able" to be irrational?

Strength.

No.

Man is not omnipotent, so he doesn't suffer from the contradiction of that definition.

Thank you.

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A few respondents seem to be assuming that one can simply look at the term "all powerful" to divine its meaning. The reasoning seems to go like this: "the phrase 'all powerful' includes the word 'all,' so it must mean the ability to do absolutely all things, including contradictory things."

Well, you can't do that. If you don't want to create a straw man, you have to look at what theologians have said about the concept of "all powerful." The term has a technical meaning in Christian philosophy.

I think that most people know this, so I'm not sure why you have chosen to address a concept of "all powerful" that very few theologians have held to.

Edited by ctrl y
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I think that most people know this, so I'm not sure why you have chosen to address a concept of "all powerful" that very few theologians have held to.

Because there's this thing called logic, and we want to hold theologians accountable to it?

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Ayn Rand does not start with a zero and seek to discover evidence of God's nonexistence. She starts with reality, i.e., with (philosophically) known fact, then denies a claim that clashes with it. Nor, as I have made clear, does she expect any such refutation to be accepted by apostles of the arbitrary. These individuals will merely reformulate the claim so as to protect it from evidence, then insist again: "Prove that it is not so."
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Strength.

No.

Now follow the same reasoning: if the same man was incapable of being weak, would that be a weakness or a strength? Would you cry out the his inability to be weak is a weakness since the strongest man in the world would not have ANY inabilities?

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A few respondents seem to be assuming that one can simply look at the term "all powerful" to divine its meaning. The reasoning seems to go like this: "the phrase 'all powerful' includes the word 'all,' so it must mean the ability to do absolutely all things, including contradictory things."

Well, you can't do that. If you don't want to create a straw man, you have to look at what theologians have said about the concept of "all powerful." The term has a technical meaning in Christian philosophy.

I think that most people know this, so I'm not sure why you have chosen to address a concept of "all powerful" that very few theologians have held to.

Thank you, Ctrl Y, for your integrity here.

Because there's this thing called logic, and we want to hold theologians accountable to it?

If you wish to hold actual theologians accountable (which I HIGHLY commend), then be honest and hold them accountable to what they actually say and not what you imagine them to say.

No serious theologian has posited that God could do the contradictory and if any has, they have been swiftly corrected by other theologians.

Ctrl Y is right. You are arguing against a strawman.

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If you wish to hold actual theologians accountable (which I HIGHLY commend), then be honest and hold them accountable to what they actually say and not what you imagine them to say.

No serious theologian has posited that God could do the contradictory and if any has, they have been swiftly corrected by other theologians.

Ctrl Y is right. You are arguing against a strawman.

But our position is that the concept of omnipotence is logically contradictory. That's our position. The fact that some theologians disagree and think it's not contradictory does not make our position a straw man, it makes it a disagreement.

Edited by 2046
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It is baffling to me that Objectivists are incapable of seeing the horrendous error in equating "inability" to "ability" and "weakness" to "strength".

You're the only one to introduce those words (weakness and strength) to the discussion. They have no relevance. If anything is a strawman, this is it.

Edited by Eiuol
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Now follow the same reasoning: if the same man was incapable of being weak, would that be a weakness or a strength? Would you cry out the his inability to be weak is a weakness since the strongest man in the world would not have ANY inabilities?

No. I am sticking to definitions. Being "weak" is clearly not the definition of "strength". This is simple stuff. The definition itself eliminates the confusion of other concepts and meanings. Don't over think it.

All powerful does not come with limits. If you'd like to define some limits then, for the sake of accuracy, a better choice of words would be in order.

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If one wishes to examine the concept 'all-powerful,' it is essential that one first identifies the referents of this concept in reality. Ultimately, one should seek to determine the group of referents that is unified by this concept, and whether such a grouping is valid; i.e. based on essential characteristics. This is the methodology laid out in ITOE, as I understand it. Playing circular (and rationalistic) word games with the definition does not strike me as a fruitful way to examine the concept.

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But our position is that the concept of omnipotence is logically contradictory. That's our position. The fact that some theologians disagree and think it's not contradictory does not make our position a straw man, it makes it a disagreement.

You're an atheist. Of course you're going to define "all powerful" in such a way that nothing can be all powerful.

No one in a theological debate is interested in your personal definition of "all powerful," because the opponents of a concept do not get to define the concept out of existence. That's not philosophy.

To refute Christian theism, you have to do more than set up an opposing position on the definition of the concept of "all powerful." You have to look at what theologians have said and address their actual positions.

Refutation of a position involves more than just disagreeing with it. It involves constructing an argument against it based upon mutually agreeable propositions.

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Refutation of a position involves more than just disagreeing with it. It involves constructing an argument against it based upon mutually agreeable propositions.

I disagree. A significant number of commonly held positions in philosophy and theology are based on invalidly formed concepts. The proper response is not to accept these concepts as valid and argue from those premises, but rather to identify the errors in conceptualization and argue for the proper conceptualization. For example, a discussion of capitalism with a Marxist must begin with the proper conceptualization of 'capitalism,' because he will undoubtedly include exploitation as one of the essential features of capitalism, which is incorrect. Ayn Rand's usage of this methodology is one of the reasons she successfully identified a number of false dichotomies, debates in which both sides accepted some invalid premise on which they merely took different positions.

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I disagree. A significant number of commonly held positions in philosophy and theology are based on invalidly formed concepts. The proper response is not to accept these concepts as valid and argue from those premises, but rather to identify the errors in conceptualization and argue for the proper conceptualization. For example, a discussion of capitalism with a Marxist must begin with the proper conceptualization of 'capitalism,' because he will undoubtedly include exploitation as one of the essential features of capitalism, which is incorrect. Ayn Rand's usage of this methodology is one of the reasons she successfully identified a number of false dichotomies, debates in which both sides accepted some invalid premise on which they merely took different positions.

Isn't this an exact mirror of what has happened in this thread though? The atheists have assigned a false and irrational definition to the theist position and then attacked that definition rather than the one that the theist actually holds.

Further, have I not demonstrated that the atheist objections on this thread have a false and irrational definition of "all powerful"?

They say that in order for a being to be "all powerful", he must have the ability ("power") to lack a power.

But the "power" to lack a power is NOT a power. lol. If it was, then weakness (lack of power) is equal to strength (possession of power). In fact, this means that the most powerful being must "have the power" to be the weakest being. This is ridiculous.

This (the atheist definition of "all-powerful") is obviously self-contradictory and therefore needs to be rejected.

The "refutations of an all powerful being" in this thread all depend on that irrelevant, erroneous, and self-contradictory definition and therefore all of those refutations fall with it.

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