Talk:Bad arguments against the existence of God
Thanks for starting this, I've been wanting to do something similar for a while...but we need to make a few changes.
1. Instead of calling this "bad arguments...", we should retitle this in a way that it's clear that these arguments are often ineffective.
Your first entry, for example, may be ineffective as you've presented it, but I think this is actually a pretty good argument. Here's why:
What does omniscience mean? 1. All knowledge, including future events, without error 2. All knowledge, excluding future events, without error 3. All possible knowledge
Your apologists example, that omniscience simply means knowing all possible outcomes should not count. I know all possible outcomes of a coin toss, but I have no knowledge of what the actual result will be until it occurs. Am I 'coin-toss omniscient'?
In this case, your apologist is simply cheating to avoid the very problem we're trying to address here. Your apologist's redefinition is simply the equivalent of definition 2, above.
Definition 3 is useless, because we have no way of knowing what knowledge is possible. This is an ambiguous definition. Definition 2 (and your apologist's dirivative) leads to other objections, about how such a god could ever make reliable prophecy. Definition 1 is, for most people who believe in an omniscient creator, the only one that really conforms to what they believe - without creating new contradictions with their other beliefs.
The second part of this issue also includes a dilemma. If this omniscient being created the universe, did it have a choice about how to do this? Could it have created a universe with a slightly different progression?
If the answer is no, then we can address the power of this deity, by pointing out that if it had no choice about how to make the universe, then it isn't all powerful - the universe could only have come about in one way...and this kills about a dozen of their fine-tuning arguments and other claims.
If the answer is yes, then we can address this by pointing out that a creative deity, specifically chose to make the universe we live in (from a pool of possible universes) with foreknowledge of future events. This does eliminate free will, in any meaningful sense and it does place the responsibility for everything squarely on the deity.
It's not like creating a world and letting it run, it's more like creating the pre-rendered, scripted intro to that virtual world. It runs the same way, every time, exactly as you planned it. - Sans Deity 10:05, 23 November 2008 (CST)
- IIRC I'm the one who added this page to the wish list, and I'm pretty sure what I had in mind was to police the atheist side in the same way that the rest of this wiki critiques arguments for the existence of gods.
- You write "we should retitle this in a way that it's clear that these arguments are often ineffective". I think there's room for both bad arguments (invalid, unsound, based on fallacies, etc.) and unconvincing ones. --Arensb 11:56, 23 November 2008 (CST)
"Your first entry, for example, may be ineffective as you've presented it,"
It may be worth pointing out that flaws may lie in the presentation rather than the actual argument; the page might include bad ways to make a good argument in addition to those that are unconvincing, or make the arguments badly and point out how to present them better.
Also, I've heard argument that God simply knows the outcome of all things, regardless of the path taken to reach them. It seems to me that that isn't omniscience, but I couldn't get past that little obstacle with the apologist.
I encountered the argument as I originally wrote it when arguing with a friend of mine who had recently read the Dune series, so I'm pretty sure he had that kind of omniscience in mind. The way he described it really got me thinking about it deeply enough that I overlooked the fact that it didn't address the definition enough, so thanks. I need to start thinking in analogies...