Vexen Crabtree 2015

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Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards


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Vexen Crabtree 2015
vexen

God cannot be omniscient

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Any sentient being which considers the problems of epistemology will realize that without verification from other beings or greater realms of reality it cannot know if it is correct in it's world view. It doesn't matter how intelligent or knowledgable a being is - if that being wants to verify it's knowledge to make sure that it is correct then it needs to look to something more intelligent than itself.

God is called all-knowing. This means that God knows everything but I believe it can be shown that this is a logical impossibility, and that no being can know everything.

If a God was to sit down and ponder the problem of epistemology and wonder whether it does not everything or not, it would realize that it has no way to verify that this is true. How does it know it knows everything? It merely thinks it does. The God has no test, method or possibility of finding out if it does indeed know everything. In short, it does not and cannot know if this is true. God does not know if itself is omniscient or not. God therefore does not know everything and is not omniscient.

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Attributing our limited knowledge and understanding to God?

(Anonymous)
That may be true of beings who are finite, but it breaks down when you're talking about the One who is infinite and created all things. People make the same mistake when talking about the omnipotence of God. "Can God create a rock so heavy that He can't lift it?" The question is based upon an assumption that God has limitations. And, yes, I suppose there is a sense in which it is a "limitation" for God to not be able to create a rock so heavy that He can't lift. His "limitation" is only do to His exceeding power. This "limitation" pales in comparison to what He can do: He can keep making bigger rocks and yet still lift them. This process could go on without end. That's power.

The God who created what we call reality, logic and so on, is not bound by the limitations we have. The problem some people have when contemplating God is that they very frequently can't think beyond human potential or limitations. They operate under the "God must be like us and subject to the same limitations we are" misconception, to one degree or another.

Re: Attributing our limited knowledge and understanding to God?

So... tell me again how you think God could be omniscient, all I heard was "if logic disproves god, logic must be wrong!", which to me sounds more like an emotional response than an intellectual one.

You don't know what it means to be omniscient

(Anonymous)
Why would an omniscient being such as God have to ask himself questions?

An omniscient being would know if it was omniscient, in fact only a truly omniscient being would know that it was omniscient. If it had any doubts, if it had to refer to external sources for verification then it would not be omniscient would it?

Now on the other hand you could try to challenge a being's claim to omniscience by asking it questions and if it failed then it's claim was a lie. However, even if a being was able to answer every question that YOU asked it is not enough to prove the being omniscient.

But the fact still remains that omniscience is not a logical impossibility, which means that God could still be omniscient. Assuming you believe that God exists (as I do).

Re: You don't know what it means to be omniscient

Such a question-and-answer session would only reveal what the being knew. The ultimate question I pose is, "How does it know that it knows everything?"

If there is something it has missed and does not know, then it does not know everything. But, how does it know that it itself hasn't missed anything? It doesn't. It can't know. It is impossible to know that. Therefore, omniscience is impossible.

God is omniscient

(Anonymous)
God knows the future of what the free will creatures choose. Free will does not stop becoming free because God knows what will happen. For example, I know that my child will choose to eat chocolate cake over cauliflower. If I were to set them both before my child and turned to my wife and said, "We know which one she will choose, don't we?", this is not taking away the freedom of my child. Likewise, for God to know what a person will choose does not mean that the person has no freedom to make the choice. It simply means that God knows what the person will choose. This is necessarily so since God knows all things.

If God does not know there is evil, he is not omniscient [all-knowing]. If God knows there is evil, but cannot prevent it, he is not omnipotent [all-powerful]. If God knows there is evil and can prevent it, but desires not to, he is not omni-benevolent [all-good].
This is where your story flaws. God knows of evil, God can prevent evil, and the reason he allows evil is so that we might learn as individuals. This does not mean God does not care, or that he is not omni-benevolent. God wishes we would choose the write (CRT) To say that God desires not to prevent evil is to say that “you wouldn’t let your children learn.” For is it not true that you have to let your own children fall befor they learn to walk on there own?
If, as the Christian claims, God is all-knowing and all-powerful, we must conclude that God is not all-good.
I just proved this false. The existence of evil in the universe excludes this possibility. Therefore you are incorrect.

cjclds@hotmail.com

Re: God is omniscient

1) Child/Chocolate
Why would a child chose chocolate? Because it is in the nature of the child. Now, culture and upbringing can override that nature. The genetics of a child, and the culture and way it is brought up is all set up and created as part of an endless chain of events by God. God created the universe, set it up so that mankind would evolve with the genes that we have: these genes determine our behavior, as does our culture. These things are not free-will-chosen by us.

God, as all-powerful and all-knowing, yet also the being that created the chain of cause and affect that result in us making "choices", denies us free will.

2) Theodicy
You presented a theodicy of experience as a justification for gods creation of evil. Tell me, what do you think happens to babies when they die very young? If they go to heaven, then this "experience of evil" is not necessary. Also, God could simply give us an innate knowledge of what evil is like, without us having to experience it. Thirdly, there is no logical reason why our development and learning has to involve the knowledge or experience of evil. Your theodicy does not logically stand as a reason for why evil exists unless you can show how it is logically possible for a being to /require/ experience of evil in order to develop... and, if there is such a requirement, why does god let babies and the unborn die?

Re: God is omniscient (Anonymous) Expand

omniscience

(Anonymous)
your argument is silly!
im an atheist but assuming hypothetically god is divine creator etc blah
then god caused everything and has causative knowledge of creation (read some aquinas)
then it logically follows god knows everything, because god created all there is to know.
your argument suggests there was knowledge before god, which doesnt make sense if you consider god as tri-omni being.
and why would god doubt something about god's own knowledge?

How does God know that it created the Universe? It could have been tricked by a more powerful being that it created the universe. It can be said of *any* being that it could have been fooled into thinking it is omniscient, but it cannot verify absolutely that this is true... therefore it doesn't know.

However, there is a big concession that has to be made here. (For part 1 of the argument, part 2 still stands despite the following:) All-powerful means that God can do everything that is logically possible... for example, it can't create square circles because it's logically impossible. Omniscience could also mean that God knows everything that it is possible to know. This would still provide god with enough knowledge to be effectively omnipotent[1], but still concede that some things (like attempting to verify ones own omniscience) are logically impossible to know.

[1] Unless you hold that God, who created quantum uncertainty, has built it an utterly unpredictable element into reality itself, and for example cannot (illogically) know both the precise speed and location of a particle, etc.

Re: omniscience (Anonymous) Expand
Re: omniscience (Anonymous) Expand
Re: omniscience (Anonymous) Expand
Re: omniscience (Anonymous) Expand
Re: omniscience (Anonymous) Expand

yet again

(Anonymous)
yet again, you bring God down to a human perspective. God is so far beyond us that our logical thinking means nothing, concidering that God is outside of our dimensions of time and space. thats the only way that he could see the future, and everything that happens. And, he can forget things because God can do anything. If he wants to make himself not know something, he can, because hes God. You cant say God cant do something because if he cant do something, then this universe doesnt exist, because God hold everything together, whether you think so or not, because you talk about logic all the time and God is the only logical thing. I mean, even if you do believe in Evolution and the big bang. An explosion destroys things, so, that kinda takes the big bang theory out. Evolution cant be proven because science can only prove something if it is an on going thing, and you cant prove that evolution is on going. You make a lot of logical fallacies in your attempt to prove that God does not exist, but, keep trying, maybe you'll get something that even an adult will have trouble explaining, because im only 17

1) Yes, it is commonly held that God is outside space and time.

2) If God can forget something, then how much thought do you think would be required for God to remember it again? Being omniscient, it could do it instantaneously. Therefore, it is logically impossible for God to "forget" things.

3) That logically God is self-contradictory and impossible means that belief in God is irrational. It doesn't mean that in the future some argument or evidence wont be found for God, we might find some one day. But not yet.

4) "Explosion" is an English word that means many things. Explosions are very chaotic and energetic, but, what they create is a change in state of all energy. The "Big Bang" is an "explosion" that caused the initial inflation and expansion of the universe and time (spacetime), leading to the universe as we see it now.

5) Science can proof many things, they do not have to be ongoing. For example, computers, space sattellites, wave mechanics, engineering, medicine, etc. Evolution is just another scientific fact, the various theories of evolution compete to explain how evolution occurs.

6) If I have made logical fallacies, please point them out. Your present post was mere assertions, any accusation of logical fallicy is best coupled with actually pointing out faulty logic.

(Saying "God is above Human logic" is, by the way, an admission that God is illogical - so be careful about saying that!)

Re: yet again (Anonymous) Expand
Re: yet again (Anonymous) Expand

think again

(Anonymous)
It is a fallacy to think that a putative God would have to verify God's alleged omniscience by the standard of some external reference point, which proves that there is no omniscient God. Why? Because you are already presuming God is not omniscient by the very act of questioning how God could know if God is omniscient. In other words, your premise presupposes the 'conclusion' of your argument. It's circular.

If God is omniscient, God knows.
If God does not know that God is omniscient, then God is not omniscient.
What do these two deductions prove about reality? Nothing.

There is no logical contradiction in the notion of omniscience (that is why the word exists in usage). Just because we have no direct experience of it, or comprehensive grasp of its meaning, doesn't prove that it is impossible in itself. What is a logical contradiction is an omniscience unsure of itself. You can't correctly imply a logical contradiction to prove something about reality.

So you have not proved that omniscience is impossible, and I have not tried to prove it is real.



You have not shown how God can be sure that it knows everything. Imagine the following possibilities:

1) A being has created a limited, non-omniscient being for the purpose of creating the world. The created being is given innate knowledge that it is omniscient - but through the logic I have highlighted, it would instantly realize that it is doesn't know everything so is not actually omniscient.

2) A powerful being is deluded, and thinks it is God. In this frame of mind, it then goes on to realize that it cannot actually "check" its own knowledge in order to find out if it is deluded.

These two limitations will apply to every omniscient being. As a result, then indeed yes, it is not logical to describe something as "omniscient" without first resolving how these two scenarios above could possibly be resolved.

This is not a circular problem. It is an intrinsic problem with the concept of omniscience, regardless of whether it is applied to a specific being, such as God, or not. The circular nature only arises if you think the logic of it requires the existence of an omniscient being, which it doesn't.

Re: think again (Anonymous) Expand
Re: think again (Anonymous) Expand

Motivation?

(Anonymous)
Vexen,

I question your motivation for proving that it is absolutely impossible for God to be all-knowing, as it is this very quatlity upon which so many of the most plausible arguments against God have been made.

-Matt R.

P.s. Vexen is a cool name.

Because it makes philosophical and theological sense; the impetus for the argument is that it is true: if there is a God, it cannot be all-knowing, as nothing can be all-knowing.

Without omniscience, theologians resort to the "open theism" or "open god" theory, which is where god doesn't know everything. They use this to theorize a god that is perfect given what it knows and can therefore explain god's failures through his lack of knowledge. "Perfection", sensibly, they use to mean "the best possible" God.

There are not many open theists; I seem to remember that Greg Boyd is one of them.

As there aren't any logical or philosophical proofs that God exists, and all pro-God arguments are inferior to arguments that assume that God doesn't exist, and doesn't need to exist, it doesn't matter what arguments we make about God-if-it-was-real, the fundamental truth is still that God isn't real. So it's all a bit academic.

That's my view. My motivation is a search for truth, and I present this argument even if some open theists embrace it, becuause God doesn't exist whether or not omniscience is impossible.

Er, clear?

Re: Motivation? (Anonymous) Expand
Re: Motivation? (Anonymous) Expand

Omniscience, gardeners and Robert Smith.

(Anonymous)
Hello, I'm Bob. I trust you are all having a spiffing day.

I have quickly read through these arguments and I apologise if I repeat anything that has already been stated because I missed it out.

I picked up interest because I am formally (to some extent) schooled in philosophy (in fact by Peter Vardy who was mentioned above) and take a bit of an interest in the existence of God arguments.

It strikes me that if the definition of God is to be omniscient, and to be omniscient is at least part of being God then this forms a tautology (something that is necessarily true in virtue of its logical entailments) that if God exists then He must know everything, and if everything is known then at least part of what it is to be God exists. I think it is difficult to maintain that everything within the Universe (assuming the Universe [both physical and metaphysical] is the superlative of existence) is not everything there is to know, so by the Universe's own existence, conclusively, at least part of God must therefore exist.

Here one encounters the problem of whether God (or non-god) must be conscious of His (their) own knowledge. If a person is in a coma can they be said to know nothing? It is difficult to answer.

When it comes whether or not God could doubt His own knowledge, I think this again would be a logical impossibility due to the premiss that part of what it is to be God is to be omniscient and vice-versa. Essentially God would have to doubt his own existence, which as Descartes has proven is difficult because sentient existence is a necessary a posteriori truth. Although, again, would God need to be conscious of it for that truth to be necessary. Can a truth be passive in this sense?

I'm not sure whether anyone's heard of the invisible gardener parable. I really do apologise if it has been written above, but it is basically two chaps in a garden which is exquisite. One says it must be created by a ruling gardener, the other that it happens by accident. They wait to see if one turns up. No-one turns up but plants start disappearing mysteriously and others appear. The believer says the gardener must be invisible, the non-believer says it's chance. Things start to happen that defy the laws of physics, tools start moving themselves around in a way that looks like they're being wielded by an invisible man. The non-believer says it's chance, however unlikely, the believer that the gardener is doing it. Eventually the two people end up saying exactly the same thing but neither will move from their standpoint. So it is with most theological arguments about God's existence, it is the same thing explained in two different ways. The tools may as well be wielded by someone as not, and the fact that the two sides disagree is simply because there is not the language to explain what is happening and is no reflection on reality.

I think that the idea of a God following morals devised by men is rather preposterous, and if the laws in Leviticus really are divine then anyone who believes them should follow them fundamentally. It is impossible to follow a rule without some degree of intepretation so they are not following God's rules but their own interpretations, thus making the following of said rules objectively and accurately a chimera.

I think that to say God exists or doesn't, in either a yes/no or realist/anti-realist construct does little more than to demonstrate the limitations of language and understanding, rather than bear any light on necessary truths/fallacies about existence. As some of you may have noticed, yes, I do believe Wittgenstein was absolutely right.

On a side note, The Cure is a shit band.

Until later,

Bob.

GOD IS

(Anonymous)
My friend God is all knowing. God is the absolute truth. God does not need to compare himself to anything else. He created everything. We cannot fathom the greatness of God. I would love to chat with you about how great God is. Please know sir that God is All knowing, for he is TRUTH.

In Christ Always,
Aaron dubll_a_07@yahoo.com

implausible

(Anonymous)
I find your agnosticism/skepticism implausible, God just knows, you can't know that you know otherwise you suspend you're judgement, I want to know how do you know that? You can't attribute such finite questions to an infinite being. God can't remove his knowledge, neither can we, that sort of agnosticism is simply a denial of knowledge.

Vexen,

I just discovered your constellation of websites. Great, great, content. I came across your essay "The Impossibility of Omniscience," and remembered that I had written a similar essay in 1992 (when I was 26, and there was no internet). It was written as a Socratic Dialogue, but the result was essentially the same: an omniscient Creator negates free will, not just for us, but for the Creator as well. An omniscient Creator cannot alter history, cannot intervene in human affairs, cannot even contemplate interference, since the perception of time is a limitation of the un-omniscient. Such a Creator might as well not exist.

I grew up Christian fundamentalist, which might explain why I would spend time thinking about this.

DPinksen

god and omniscience

(Anonymous)
It all depends on what the meaning of god is. If you consider that god is the creator of THIS universe
(and maybe other universes) , but exists outside of the created universes, he can very well be omniscient
with respect to the created universes and not omniscient regarding the universe he resides in
(and therefore, not necessarily the creator of that universe). There can be numerous levels of universes
within universes and creation within creation. For example, any software engineer who would create a universe simulation
on his extra powerful computer would be the god of that created universe, living outside that universe.
It is pretty obvious from this point on that this scenario renders pretty much all points about omnipotence,
omniscience, free will etc irrelevant.
Cheers

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