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Impossible? God like civilizations?


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#18 Moontanman

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 03:58 PM

1myap?

#19 Moontanman

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 04:00 PM

Well if we discount god then my post makes no sense. I was just trying to have fun with some possibilities. But certainly, taking god out of equationmakes it all a waste of time. Cool.

Be that as it may, there are certainly things that are impossible lest we are to allow for supernatural. For example, drinking a bottle of water at 70 deg F that is sitting on the Sun's surface, while I am in my bedroom is impossible for me.


Good point lawcat but since god, by definition, is not confined by space time such a feat would not be impossible for god.

#20 lawcat

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 04:04 PM

But why adopt a definition of supernatural God? Why not natural God?

#21 Moontanman

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 04:09 PM

But why adopt a definition of supernatural God? Why not natural God?


I'm not trying to be obtuse lawcat but how can God be Omnipotent and be natural? Isn't "Natural God" an oxymoron?

#22 lawcat

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 04:12 PM

There is no reason imo that omnipotent and natural should be mutually exclusive. One could be omnipotent within the realm of natural. In other words, natural could allow for everything--omnipotence.

#23 Moontanman

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 04:29 PM

There is no reason imo that omnipotent and natural should be mutually exclusive. One could be omnipotent within the realm of natural. In other words, natural could allow for everything--omnipotence.


Doesn't omnipotent suggest outside the natural? If you are confined to natural law then you are not Omnipotent, are we chasing our tails?

#24 Moontanman

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 04:40 PM

I've given this some more thought, My pagan friends would tell me that their religion is natural. The Goddess is part of nature not separate from it as in most Abrahamic versions of god, so from their point of view I have to concede your point.

#25 modest

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 06:04 PM

Doesn't omnipotent suggest outside the natural?


I think you're right that it does imply unnatural. A wiki quote :singer::

However, on all understandings of omnipotence, it is generally held that a deity is able to intervene in the world by superseding the laws of physics, since they are not part of its nature, but the principles on which it has created the physical world.

Omnipotence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Then again, what is a deity, or physics, and what's nature, and what really is the physical world? And, what the heck does omnipotent mean in the first place? :singer: :D

~modest

#26 lawcat

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 06:33 PM

Let's kick this natural god thing some more. Let's take fish for example.

We can make them out of genes, let's say. We can create their environment, a fish tank, a lake, a culver, a ditch, some pipe system. We can genetically modifiy them to breed so much or so little. We can channel their swim to produce certain waves or to produce energy. We can connect their environment to other fish environments to create multiplying production effect. We can modulate the acidity of their environment. We can fix their disease. Fish can see other streams, but because of the way we designed it they can never swim that way. Fish can see us but they have no clue what we are all about, our nature. They know there is food for them, but they have no clue where it comes from. Etc.

For all practical purposes we are omnipotent for fish environment we created.

Fish are limited by our potence. Let's say we genetically modify fish to think and communicate. Let's further say that that the thinking and communication organs are both processors and receptors of information. Let's say that we can trnasmit the information we want to fish to process and store. That's all fish would have.

The possibilities could be limitless in natural depending of what natural is, regardless of what we know of natural.

#27 Moontanman

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 09:18 PM

Yes we can breed fish, even to the point of making them look like us but there are limits to what we can do, God could for instance take a fish into the sun and show him the center close up, I doubt we can ever do such a thing in any way except remotely.

God on the other hand can do anything, we are limited, I would be willing to say that even the fish, once it had achieved intelligence and technology would indeed question our omnipotence. Once a certain level of technology is reached the idea of god becomes harder and harder to fake.

#28 Boerseun

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 10:55 PM

I have to agree with Moontan here.

"Omnipotence" by definition places the owner of such power outside the scope of the laws of nature. Travel faster than light (which a God such as our Abrahamic God who created the universe in six days clearly must be able to) ? - bah - no problem! You just hop in your Omnipotent Superluminal Intergalactic SUV and you're all set... but that is not natural, whether we are fish or humans.

But I think Moontan's premise for this thread is at fault. When we talk of the "godlike" qualities of superadvanced aliens, I'm sure we're employing a metaphor, and we're not alluding to anything that's got anything to do with God, at all. I'm a flaming atheist, but I will use the term "godlike" when confronted by an awesome set of boobs, for instance. Is that because God's a tit, or because I'm employing a quick 'n handy metaphor to express the deep impression the object(s) under discussion has made on me?

#29 lawcat

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 11:24 PM

"Omnipotence" by definition places the owner of such power outside the scope of the laws of nature.


Modest provided a biased quotation. Let's take a look at a full quote:

the term omnipotent has been used to connote a number of different positions. These positions include, but are not limited to, the following:

1.A deity is able to do anything that is logically possible for it to do[4].
2.A deity is able to do anything that it chooses to do[5].
3.A deity is able to do anything that is in accord with its own nature (thus, for instance, if it is a logical consequence of a deity's nature that what it speaks is truth, then it is not able to lie).
4.Hold that it is part of a deity's nature to be consistent and that it would be inconsistent for said deity to go against its own laws unless there was a reason to do so.[6]
5.A deity is able to do anything that corresponds with its omniscience and therefore with its worldplan
6.A deity is able to do absolutely anything, even the logically impossible.
Under many philosophical definitions of the term "deity", senses 2, 3 and 4 can be shown to be equivalent. However, on all understandings of omnipotence, it is generally held that a deity is able to intervene in the world by superseding the laws of physics, since they are not part of its nature, but the principles on which it has created the physical world. However many modern scholars (such as John Polkinghorne) hold that it is part of a deity's nature to be consistent and that it would be inconsistent for a deity to go against its own laws unless there were an overwhelming reason to do so.[6]


If god can do only that which is in his nature, but that supersedes the laws of physics, then: It is not inconsistent to say that god's nature is natural and laws of physics are a subset of natural.

#30 Boerseun

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 11:46 PM

1.A deity is able to do anything that is logically possible for it to do[4].
2.A deity is able to do anything that it chooses to do[5].
3.A deity is able to do anything that is in accord with its own nature (thus, for instance, if it is a logical consequence of a deity's nature that what it speaks is truth, then it is not able to lie).
4.Hold that it is part of a deity's nature to be consistent and that it would be inconsistent for said deity to go against its own laws unless there was a reason to do so.[6]
5.A deity is able to do anything that corresponds with its omniscience and therefore with its worldplan
6.A deity is able to do absolutely anything, even the logically impossible.

As per your quote from Wiki, it's clear that points 1 and 6 contradict each other. Whether that's another example of Wiki's carelessness, bad editing or whatever, I don't know. But "Omnipotence" for me means the ability to do absolutely anything that might spring to mind, regardless of the laws of nature. You, as an omnipotent being, will be operating outside the laws of nature, because you're not bound by it - some say you've even written them! And that, being outside nature, makes you supernatural. There is nothing natural about the powers ascribed to God, at least not in our universe. If he was limited by the speed of light, for instance, then he cannot be responsible for the creation of the universe. Yet, according to scripture, he is. Therefore, he must be able to move at quite a considerable speed. Therefore, the laws of nature don't apply. Therefore he is supernatural, and not natural by any stretch of the imagination.

#31 lawcat

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 11:55 PM

But Boerseun, let's stay away from scriptures and what the scriptures say. Let's not make definitions guide our logic, but let's make logic guide the definitions. Let's make logic instead of scriptuires guide the discovery.

If it is in god's nature to move at the speed of light then god is omnipotent, all mighty, for god can move at speed of that which is in his nature.
But you say no. God must do more than what is in his nature. Thus god must move instanteneously over any distance. OK. The question is: why can this not be natural? Why is it logically inconsistent to say that moving above speed of light is natural, and at the same time not in the laws of physics?

#32 modest

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 12:33 AM

Modest provided a biased quotation. Let's take a look at a full quote:

the term omnipotent has been used to connote a number of different positions. These positions include, but are not limited to, the following:

1.A deity is able to do anything that is logically possible for it to do[4].
2.A deity is able to do anything that it chooses to do[5].
3.A deity is able to do anything that is in accord with its own nature (thus, for instance, if it is a logical consequence of a deity's nature that what it speaks is truth, then it is not able to lie).
4.Hold that it is part of a deity's nature to be consistent and that it would be inconsistent for said deity to go against its own laws unless there was a reason to do so.[6]
5.A deity is able to do anything that corresponds with its omniscience and therefore with its worldplan
6.A deity is able to do absolutely anything, even the logically impossible.
Under many philosophical definitions of the term "deity", senses 2, 3 and 4 can be shown to be equivalent.

However, on all understandings of omnipotence, it is generally held that a deity is able to intervene in the world by superseding the laws of physics, since they are not part of its nature, but the principles on which it has created the physical world. However many modern scholars (such as John Polkinghorne) hold that it is part of a deity's nature to be consistent and that it would be inconsistent for a deity to go against its own laws unless there were an overwhelming reason to do so.[6]


If god can do only that which is in his nature, but that supersedes the laws of physics, then: It is not inconsistent to say that god's nature is natural and laws of physics are a subset of natural.


:singer:

As per your quote from Wiki, it's clear that points 1 and 6 contradict each other.


I think the idea is to say that omnipotent has been taken to mean all of these things [1-6] at one time or another, or by some people or another. But is always considered, as it says: "However, on all understandings of omnipotence, it is generally held that a deity is able to intervene in the world by superseding the laws of physics, since they are not part of its nature, but the principles on which it has created the physical world."

I think wiki is consistent (I think :singer:) in what it's saying. I'm just not particularly convinced by some of 1-6 and what they even mean. I think some of them would apply to a human so long as the human were willing to consider himself a deity... which, according to Lawcat's recent post is not out of the range of possibility.

~modest

#33 Boerseun

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 12:47 AM

But Boerseun, let's stay away from scriptures and what the scriptures say. Let's not make definitions guide our logic, but let's make logic guide the definitions. Let's make logic instead of scriptuires guide the discovery.

Okay.

If it is in god's nature to move at the speed of light then god is omnipotent, all mighty, for god can move at speed of that which is in his nature.

Okay - god can move at a speed that is in his nature. This is self-referential and say nothing of his participation in the natural world.

But you say no. God must do more than what is in his nature. Thus god must move instanteneously over any distance. OK. The question is: why can this not be natural? Why is it logically inconsistent to say that moving above speed of light is natural, and at the same time not in the laws of physics?

It is inconsistent with the laws of physics. It might be in 'god's nature' to move at superluminal speeds, but then it will only be 'natural' as far as 'god's nature' is used as reference. We're using nature as reference to determine what is natural and what is not. Natural, then, means being consistent with the laws of nature as exposed to us over many years of research. And one of them being, of course, the inability to cross the lightspeed barrier. Anything capable of doing just that, is unnatural, per definition. Because we're using the laws of nature as the yardstick to define what is natural and what is not. The ability to cross the lightspeed barrier would then be termed 'godlike', because its consistent with the 'nature' of God - which is clearly not the 'nature' of the natural world.

#34 coldcreation

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 03:57 AM

There is no reason imo that omnipotent and natural should be mutually exclusive. One could be omnipotent within the realm of natural. In other words, natural could allow for everything--omnipotence.


It sounds like nothing much has changed since the invention of god: The idea was likely designed to explain events and phenomena that were observed in the world (e.g., lightning, rain, fire, the sun, the stars) in addition to some that were not observed directly (e.g., magnetism, gravity, creation, existence, or whatever).

Though much more is known now (thanks mostly to science), the idea that god (or omnipotence) relates somehow to, or is synonymous with nature is still alive and kicking.

But to say that god is responsible (as a creator or mediator) for anything or everything is almost equivalent to saying god is responsible for nothing. The former idea has no qualitative or quantitative value at all. However, the latter idea, essentially that there is no god or omnipotent force or entity, is much more attractive, since it requires nothing mythological, mystical, supernatural, otherworldly, metaphysical, psychic, transcendental, beatific, divine, ethereal, spiritual or chimerical. It would be hard to vacate any of these from the concept of god. That is what makes the god-idea so repulsive, to me at least.

Even today the deity-idea says nothing of the things it was likely intended to explain (see the cursory list above). All it does is spread the seeds of doubt, ambiguity, apprehension, confusion, demurral, difficulty, diffidence, dilemma, disbelief, discredit, disquiet, distrust, dubiety, dubiousness. In other words, and ironically, the concept of deity spreads the seeds of faithlessness, agnosticism, and yes, atheism, due to its lack of explanatory power, to its ridiculousness. :singer:


CC aka resident bright :singer: