Author Topic: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .  (Read 1128 times)

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Offline ButterFlavoredPam

Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #58 on: March 13, 2014, 12:34:56 PM »
Can we agree that "Big Brush" things could be aggregated and quantified?

Depends.  WE probably could.  But I'd be very wary about specifying a big picture "doing this will definitely increase overall happiness" without being able to measure it. 

For example: diverting resources to feed all the homeless and needy in the UK certainly FEELS like it should would overall happiness.  All the hungry people with full tummies, yes, their happiness would go up.  But by how much has the happiness gone DOWN for the people whose resources were just forcibly diverted?  How do you measure the one against the other?  What if one person so hates the homeless that using his money to feed them makes him desperately unhappy and suicidal?  Does that counterbalance the increased happiness of the man who has just been fed by his money?

- - -

Sadly - in practical terms - I am forced to concede that taking such action probably WOULDN'T increase overall happiness, at least not in a 100% dead cert way.  Because if we are all trying to increase happiness, then I would expect such a thing to have long-since happened, making overall happiness rise significantly.  But it hasn't happened.....which makes me wonder if - overall, in aggregate - we are happier because it is NOT being done?

And that idea makes me unhappy.

Here again though you are projecting your limitations and the limitations of the current level of technology onto god.  Essentially your are saying "I can't do it so God can't either."  Also, your examples are narrowing down to a small subset of the populations.  Not quite a strawman argument but close.
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Offline ButterFlavoredPam

Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #59 on: March 13, 2014, 12:57:17 PM »
Ataraxia, I'm too lazy to cut and paste my way through that so I will answer in this format.  First, I think we need to set some ground rules (and this is for everyone in this thread).  It is totally unfair and mean spirited for you guys to use my words against me.  As a mock-theist I am to be given a wide latitude and plenty of wiggle room.  If you persist in this I will be forced to play my trump card.  Don't make me do it.

God's happiness is of no real interest to me.  I misspoke earlier when bringing up happiness as happiness is (as has been pointed out) a dependent and subjective emotion.  Perhaps the plan for the universe is too maximize well-being . . . eventually.

God is not constrained by his choices as they were his choices to begin with.  If I make up a game I can set the rules however I wish and then modify them whenever I wish.  While I am choosing to play by the rules I am constrained by them but only in as much as I wish to be.   ie . . .

Pam: Rolls a 5
Ataraxia: Why do you move forward when you roll a six but backwards when you roll a five?
Pam: Because those are the rules I made up.
Ataraxia: But that makes no sense.  You just had to move backwards.
Pam:  So?
Ataraxia: So you couldn't have invented the game.
Pam:  Huh?

I have already answered the "tweaking" question but I will try again.  I am not using your definitions of omnimax.  I am, instead proposing a Functionally Omnimax God.  I believe too much has been made of the terms omniscient and omnipotent.  We can't even actually grasp the full implications of those words. 

Think of God as a baker.  In the beginning there was no cake and flatness was on the face of the counter.  Then, in  the first five minutes God said "Let there be a bowl" and the bowl was placed on the counter.  Into the bowl God added the flour, eggs, sugar, and milk.  And so ended the first 5 minutes.

God in this case is the God of the cake.  There are no other Gods for the cake but him.  In his omniscience God decides whether to make angel food or chocolate.  He is omniscient to the cake in that he knows what ingredients will be added and when as well as when the cake will be finished.

Look, all WE have is this universe.  All WE can know about is a very very very very small fraction of this universe.

Who are WE to criticize or doubt God?  Who are WE to question his plan when we can only perceive the tiniest fraction of its design.

Why call him God?  Because he is.
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Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #60 on: March 13, 2014, 01:29:51 PM »
"God" is the entity that created this universe.   The primary characteristic of "God" is the ability to create this universe as evidenced by the fact that the universe exists.       

Very well, but you still haven't answered me about its personality. This is a key factor in debunking your OP.

Forgive me
<snip>
edit - If I attacked a strawman, I apologize.  Please set me straight if that is the case.

You are forgiven, My child. My point in asking for your definition is expressed in the first/above section of this post.
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Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #61 on: March 13, 2014, 01:39:26 PM »

I will be happy to answer your questions and explain my "reasoning" but I want to take your comments above one at a time.  Let's  begin with your misrepresentation of the anthropic principle.  You stated that  "The anthropic principal assumes that humans have some special importance".  That is incorrect.  Do you acknowledge that your representation of the anthropic principle was flawed?

Read that quote I gave in 48 again. You have misread it.
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Offline ButterFlavoredPam

Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #62 on: March 13, 2014, 05:01:16 PM »

I will be happy to answer your questions and explain my "reasoning" but I want to take your comments above one at a time.  Let's  begin with your misrepresentation of the anthropic principle.  You stated that  "The anthropic principal assumes that humans have some special importance".  That is incorrect.  Do you acknowledge that your representation of the anthropic principle was flawed?

Read that quote I gave in 48 again. You have misread it.

You're right. Sorry.  Cut me a little slack though.  This isn't easy.  :)
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Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #63 on: March 13, 2014, 05:22:46 PM »
I used that definition because you said in your scenario,

 God wants this particular life form in his creation (this time)...

So how will he ensure that he gets humans?
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #64 on: March 13, 2014, 07:07:17 PM »
To your last point, Anfauglir, the speed of light was not quantifiable 400 years ago.  The distance between the stars and Earth was a non-sense question 1000 years ago.  An algorithm to measure the  aggregate happiness is conceivable even if it cannot be realized at this time with this level of technology.

And yet, "speed" was still a meaningful concept back then.  Distance divided by time.  How far someone can travel before the sun sets.  Etc.

The analogous terms here are not "speed of light" and "maximum happiness" but "speed" and "happiness".

"Meters per second" was understood quite nicely well before light was ever measured, or the idea of measuring light was even conceived.  Can you quantify any example of happiness whatsoever?  If not, then why act as though the idea is meaningful?
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Offline ButterFlavoredPam

Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #65 on: March 13, 2014, 10:44:55 PM »
To your last point, Anfauglir, the speed of light was not quantifiable 400 years ago.  The distance between the stars and Earth was a non-sense question 1000 years ago.  An algorithm to measure the  aggregate happiness is conceivable even if it cannot be realized at this time with this level of technology.

And yet, "speed" was still a meaningful concept back then.  Distance divided by time.  How far someone can travel before the sun sets.  Etc.

The analogous terms here are not "speed of light" and "maximum happiness" but "speed" and "happiness".

"Meters per second" was understood quite nicely well before light was ever measured, or the idea of measuring light was even conceived.  Can you quantify any example of happiness whatsoever?  If not, then why act as though the idea is meaningful?

"Meters" and "Seconds" are a fairly recently invented metric.  For thousands upon thousands of years there was only "faster" and "slower".  Why is that any different than "happier" and "sadder"?   Perhaps the metric for measuring emotional states is still waiting to be discovered.  It seems arrogance to assume we are at the pinnacle of human technological achievement.
“In dark ages people are best guided by religion, as in a pitch-black night a blind man is the best guide; he knows the roads and paths better than a man who can see. When daylight comes, however, it is foolish to use blind, old men as guides.”
 Heinrich Heine

Offline ButterFlavoredPam

Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #66 on: March 13, 2014, 10:45:53 PM »
I used that definition because you said in your scenario,

 God wants this particular life form in his creation (this time)...

So how will he ensure that he gets humans?

How does one assure, when combining, milk eggs and flour that he gets a cake instead of a pie crust?
“In dark ages people are best guided by religion, as in a pitch-black night a blind man is the best guide; he knows the roads and paths better than a man who can see. When daylight comes, however, it is foolish to use blind, old men as guides.”
 Heinrich Heine

Offline Ataraxia

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Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #67 on: March 14, 2014, 03:17:30 AM »
First, I think we need to set some ground rules (and this is for everyone in this thread).  It is totally unfair and mean spirited for you guys to use my words against me.  As a mock-theist I am to be given a wide latitude and plenty of wiggle room.

You get as much wriggle room as the next theist, atheist, mock-theist, stamp collector or non-stamp collector.

Quote
If you persist in this I will be forced to play my trump card.  Don't make me do it.

Ah, typical "theist". ;) Why aren't you coming at us with your best argument from the start? Why hold off with some trump card, I presume for some "gotcha" moment?

Quote
God's happiness is of no real interest to me.  I misspoke earlier when bringing up happiness as happiness is (as has been pointed out) a dependent and subjective emotion.  Perhaps the plan for the universe is too maximize well-being . . . eventually.

It's of interest to me and that's why I asked. To refuse to engage with at least an attempt to answer that question is to dodge the question.

It doesn't matter if you change maximum happiness to well-being, maximum jealousy or the best possible tasting strawberry - the concept still holds and the question remains as to why god needs to bring forth a universe in order to achieve this when it has already been achieved via his existence alone.

Quote
God is not constrained by his choices as they were his choices to begin with.

No, you're missing the point. The point is no choices are ever necessary. There are no holds barred for god - his playing field has no perimeter fence. However, it was you that stated god has to follow natural laws, so it follows that those natural laws already existed. Now you are saying that they were god's choices to begin with. We call that shifting the goalposts.

I suggest that you either stick with god having to follow these natural laws or make these natural laws redundant because they are laws god put there anyway. If you go with the latter, then you must concede that god could've made those laws however he damn well liked, and that they cease to be laws but random choices god made on a whim.

Quote
If I make up a game I can set the rules however I wish and then modify them whenever I wish.  While I am choosing to play by the rules I am constrained by them but only in as much as I wish to be.   ie . . .

Pam: Rolls a 5
Ataraxia: Why do you move forward when you roll a six but backwards when you roll a five?
Pam: Because those are the rules I made up.
Ataraxia: But that makes no sense.  You just had to move backwards.
Pam:  So?
Ataraxia: So you couldn't have invented the game.
Pam:  Huh?

That's not my contention. My contention is that god is constrained by the concept of rules/laws.

Quote
I have already answered the "tweaking" question but I will try again.  I am not using your definitions of omnimax.  I am, instead proposing a Functionally Omnimax God.  I believe too much has been made of the terms omniscient and omnipotent.  We can't even actually grasp the full implications of those words.

I haven't really defined what I mean by omnimax. I've heard theists in the past use defnitions that allude to "as powerful as possible" or "to know all that is possible to know". I'm happy to stick to such definitions instead of "can do anything" or "knows everything". 

Quote
Think of God as a baker.  In the beginning there was no cake and flatness was on the face of the counter.  Then, in  the first five minutes God said "Let there be a bowl" and the bowl was placed on the counter.  Into the bowl God added the flour, eggs, sugar, and milk.  And so ended the first 5 minutes.

Ah, right, so if we follow your analogy, god already had something to work with - the counter and its flat face. He needs this in order for the bowl to be placed somewhere. I'll take this to be analogous to the natural laws he needs to adhere to...... which already exist, leaving god unnecessary for the existence of nature.

Quote
God in this case is the God of the cake.  There are no other Gods for the cake but him.  In his omniscience God decides whether to make angel food or chocolate.  He is omniscient to the cake in that he knows what ingredients will be added and when as well as when the cake will be finished.

Based on what I said above, you'll see that I totally disagree. You may say he is the god of the cake, but I say the counter is the god of god, just like the natural laws are if he has to follow them. Why then, do you say this is god when it is held to ransom by other external factors. Surely, that which is top of the tree - that which isn't contingent on anything else - is what god is supposed to be, not some weedy sycophant to counters and natural laws?

Quote
Look, all WE have is this universe.  All WE can know about is a very very very very small fraction of this universe.

How do you know that we can only know about a small fraction of the universe? If that is the case, then it smacks of confirmation bias when you invoke a god to explain the universe as a whole.

I do agree that all we have is this universe to perceive, therefore anything posited as outside of that is imperceptible, unfalsifiable and not worth mind wanking over.

Quote
Who are WE to criticize or doubt God?  Who are WE to question his plan when we can only perceive the tiniest fraction of its design.

Apparently, WE are the ones who god gave critical, doubtful and sceptical faculties to, so for it somehow feel it should be exempt from our use of these is rather contradictory. And again, if we take your repeated assertion of perceiving a tiny fraction of "design", then there is no reason to invoke something for which we can't perceive - that being the universe as a whole.

Then there's the word "design". What does design imply? Design takes planning, it means to invent something based on what you have available to you. What you have available to you is what constrains you. If god is constrained by laws external to him that he has to follow, then the laws are more akin to a god. If it is god that makes up these laws, then it isn't design - it is something that is indistinguishable from randomness, and if god appears random then he has no control, so why call it god?

Quote
Why call him God?  Because he is.

Who's "him". I didn't know we were questioning who was god, but the concept of god.

I must say, you're doing quite a good job of mimicking a theist. It's difficult to not dodge questions and use confirmation bias when arguing for something irrational isn't it? :)
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 03:22:20 AM by Ataraxia »
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #68 on: March 14, 2014, 09:29:39 AM »
"Meters" and "Seconds" are a fairly recently invented metric.  For thousands upon thousands of years there was only "faster" and "slower".

Those were still quantifiable.  Just not in meters and seconds.  I even gave an example of such a primitive time-measurement, which you have decided to ignore in favor of the less historically applicable one.  What was your motive for ignoring that example?

Why is that any different than "happier" and "sadder"?

Because the thing being measured isn't an observable quantity.  It being a quantity isn't even observable.  Our brains are not somehow "filled" with happiness or sadness as some sort of fluid - they're an arrangement of matter, not a quantity of it.  And not even the same arrangement every time, in different or even the same brains.

Differences in speed have been demonstrable for all of history, and with the diurnal cycle, we have always had a way to think of it in terms of measurement.  That's why it's a quantity.

You're the one who used the term "maximal happiness".  This is 100% on you, Pam.  Being an atheist pretending to be a theist doesn't mean that you also have to dodge and knowingly use disingenuos arguments, does it?  State what you meant, specifically and non-circularly, or admit that you didn't know what you meant when you made your OP.

Perhaps the metric for measuring emotional states is still waiting to be discovered.

If you knew what your terms meant, then you would be able to postulate a hypothetical measurement.

It seems arrogance to assume we are at the pinnacle of human technological achievement.
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Offline ButterFlavoredPam

Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #69 on: March 14, 2014, 11:26:51 AM »
I didn't want to do this but you guys have left me no choice.

My arguments above are perfectly valid.  It is only your sin that is clouding your vision.  You are picking at knits that are not even remotely germane to my arguments.  If only you would open your hearts as well as your minds you would be able to see The Truth.

:)

Seriously . . .I deditionem.  I give up.  I'm out.  I gave it my best shot (and I think I actually may have scored a few points) but I cannot defend against multiple attacks when I am almost totally unarmed.

You win.
“In dark ages people are best guided by religion, as in a pitch-black night a blind man is the best guide; he knows the roads and paths better than a man who can see. When daylight comes, however, it is foolish to use blind, old men as guides.”
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Offline Mrjason

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Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #70 on: March 14, 2014, 11:44:23 AM »
<snip>

My arguments above are perfectly valid.

To you maybe but clearly they are not to us. 

It is only your sin that is clouding your vision.

What does this even mean? A fictional premise is affecting the way we think? I would suggest that you are in fact the one who's vision is clouded.

  If only you would open your hearts as well as your minds you would be able to see The Truth.

Back at ya but without the "hearts" bit.  :)

Seriously . . .I deditionem.  I give up.  I'm out.  I gave it my best shot (and I think I actually may have scored a few points) but I cannot defend against multiple attacks when I am almost totally unarmed.

You win.

Never mind, at least you tried.

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Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #71 on: March 14, 2014, 01:19:46 PM »
I didn't want to do this but you guys have left me no choice.

My arguments above are perfectly valid.  It is only your sin that is clouding your vision.  You are picking at knits that are not even remotely germane to my arguments.  If only you would open your hearts as well as your minds you would be able to see The Truth.

:)

Seriously . . .I deditionem.  I give up.  I'm out.  I gave it my best shot (and I think I actually may have scored a few points) but I cannot defend against multiple attacks when I am almost totally unarmed.

You win.

You were starting from reality and trying to fit a god into it. Theists don't think like that. They start from their own idea of a god and deny reality. The task is to make them aware of their indoctrination and denial of reality. You might be able to imitate a religious story of creation but not the delusion which goes with it.
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Offline ButterFlavoredPam

Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #72 on: March 14, 2014, 09:02:16 PM »
Thanks for the discussion everyone.  I twisted, turned, and spun enough in this thread to make myself dizzy.  I thought, from watching several theists on these threads, that I would be able to spin forever. Eventually, however, I ran out of viable responses to fairly well reasoned arguments.  Eventually even "I don't know" was not an option as I had posted way too much about what I "knew".  Eventually my only option was the nuclear "appeal to faith". 

Theists have to hit the same wall I did.  They have to.

How can you hit a wall that substantial and then not question your assumptions about the universe and your God? 

EDIT: And where the Hell are all the freaking theists when you need backup?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
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Offline OldChurchGuy

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Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #73 on: March 15, 2014, 05:30:57 AM »
Thanks for the discussion everyone.  I twisted, turned, and spun enough in this thread to make myself dizzy.  I thought, from watching several theists on these threads, that I would be able to spin forever. Eventually, however, I ran out of viable responses to fairly well reasoned arguments.  Eventually even "I don't know" was not an option as I had posted way too much about what I "knew".  Eventually my only option was the nuclear "appeal to faith". 

Theists have to hit the same wall I did.  They have to.

How can you hit a wall that substantial and then not question your assumptions about the universe and your God? 

EDIT: And where the Hell are all the freaking theists when you need backup?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I can't speak for all theists but for me, you are correct that it comes down to a matter of faith.  This forum will not accept the faith argument since it is looking for evidence / proof that fits the rigors of scientific inquiry.  And, for this forum, that makes absolute sense. 

So while I personally agree with the faith argument, beating people over the head with it on this forum is futile either to "win" an argument or to convert anyone to a theistic viewpoint. 

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #74 on: March 15, 2014, 05:54:17 AM »
Can we agree that "Big Brush" things could be aggregated and quantified?

Depends.  WE probably could.  But I'd be very wary about specifying a big picture "doing this will definitely increase overall happiness" without being able to measure it. 

For example: diverting resources to feed all the homeless and needy in the UK certainly FEELS like it should would overall happiness.  All the hungry people with full tummies, yes, their happiness would go up.  But by how much has the happiness gone DOWN for the people whose resources were just forcibly diverted?  How do you measure the one against the other?  What if one person so hates the homeless that using his money to feed them makes him desperately unhappy and suicidal?  Does that counterbalance the increased happiness of the man who has just been fed by his money?

- - -

Sadly - in practical terms - I am forced to concede that taking such action probably WOULDN'T increase overall happiness, at least not in a 100% dead cert way.  Because if we are all trying to increase happiness, then I would expect such a thing to have long-since happened, making overall happiness rise significantly.  But it hasn't happened.....which makes me wonder if - overall, in aggregate - we are happier because it is NOT being done?

And that idea makes me unhappy.

Here again though you are projecting your limitations and the limitations of the current level of technology onto god.  Essentially your are saying "I can't do it so God can't either."  Also, your examples are narrowing down to a small subset of the populations.  Not quite a strawman argument but close.

WHAT?  Who the hell mentioned any god?  What has god got to do with ANYTHING I said there?

All that post was about, was how it is impossible to balance happiness without being able to quantify it.  No idea why you suddenly felt the need to bring god into it.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 05:57:08 AM by Anfauglir »
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #75 on: March 15, 2014, 05:55:52 AM »
WHAT?  Who the hell mentioned any god?  What has god got to do with ANYTHING I said there?

I told him that, if he thought like a theist for too long, his brain would stick that way. He's already making strawmen.
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Offline ButterFlavoredPam

Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #76 on: March 15, 2014, 01:42:45 PM »
Can we agree that "Big Brush" things could be aggregated and quantified?

Depends.  WE probably could.  But I'd be very wary about specifying a big picture "doing this will definitely increase overall happiness" without being able to measure it. 

For example: diverting resources to feed all the homeless and needy in the UK certainly FEELS like it should would overall happiness.  All the hungry people with full tummies, yes, their happiness would go up.  But by how much has the happiness gone DOWN for the people whose resources were just forcibly diverted?  How do you measure the one against the other?  What if one person so hates the homeless that using his money to feed them makes him desperately unhappy and suicidal?  Does that counterbalance the increased happiness of the man who has just been fed by his money?

- - -

Sadly - in practical terms - I am forced to concede that taking such action probably WOULDN'T increase overall happiness, at least not in a 100% dead cert way.  Because if we are all trying to increase happiness, then I would expect such a thing to have long-since happened, making overall happiness rise significantly.  But it hasn't happened.....which makes me wonder if - overall, in aggregate - we are happier because it is NOT being done?

And that idea makes me unhappy.

Here again though you are projecting your limitations and the limitations of the current level of technology onto god.  Essentially your are saying "I can't do it so God can't either."  Also, your examples are narrowing down to a small subset of the populations.  Not quite a strawman argument but close.

WHAT?  Who the hell mentioned any god?  What has god got to do with ANYTHING I said there?

All that post was about, was how it is impossible to balance happiness without being able to quantify it.  No idea why you suddenly felt the need to bring god into it.

The whole point of this post was trying to present a viable, theistic view that was still, at its heart, representative of the physical universe and, therefore, defensible.  Of course I brought God into it.  THAT WAS THE POINT.  From the first post "God creates a deterministic universe with a specific goal in mind . . . to wit . . . the maximum happiness for its occupants.  "

You are arguing that you cannot quantify happiness and I was merely stating that just because something was out of your reach now it was not unthinkable to imagine it to be within God's reach (or our reach in the future).

Look, I already capitulated.  I already said I can't defend from every angle.  I am not (as you accused me) a theist and I have no "faith" resources to fall back on.
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Offline ButterFlavoredPam

Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #77 on: March 15, 2014, 01:44:58 PM »
WHAT?  Who the hell mentioned any god?  What has god got to do with ANYTHING I said there?

I told him that, if he thought like a theist for too long, his brain would stick that way. He's already making strawmen.

That was not a strawman.  "God" was in this from the beginning (no pun intended).
“In dark ages people are best guided by religion, as in a pitch-black night a blind man is the best guide; he knows the roads and paths better than a man who can see. When daylight comes, however, it is foolish to use blind, old men as guides.”
 Heinrich Heine

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Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #78 on: March 16, 2014, 07:43:23 AM »
WHAT?  Who the hell mentioned any god?  What has god got to do with ANYTHING I said there?

I told him that, if he thought like a theist for too long, his brain would stick that way. He's already making strawmen.

That was not a strawman.  "God" was in this from the beginning (no pun intended).

If you'll actually read Anfauglir's post, both the one you created a strawman for and the one where he complained about said strawman, you'll see that he doesn't mention any god in it. Only you do.
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Offline ButterFlavoredPam

Re: I try to think like a theist . . . so riddle me this . . .
« Reply #79 on: March 16, 2014, 12:00:28 PM »
If you'll actually read Anfauglir's post, both the one you created a strawman for and the one where he complained about said strawman, you'll see that he doesn't mention any god in it. Only you do.

As a mock theist I was trying to establish a defensible model of the universe that allowed for an omniscient and omnipotent  creator without generating a paradox.  As a mock theist the existence of a god was a given,  The existence of a god with more access to information and a greater understanding of the universe was implied.  Of course I brought god into a discussion when Anfauglir stated that WE couldn't measure happiness.  I just thought of another angle I could have taken that would have allowed for god to measure happiness but the point is now moot.  I CANNOT DEFEND THE MODEL OF A UNIVERSE THAT INCLUDES A GOD WITHOUT REFERENCING THAT GOD. 

I failed.

I admitted that I failed.

What torks me off is being labeled a theist in disguise.  I gave plenty of disclaimers about what I was doing and why.   I argued as a theist as best I could (which isn't easy).  I thought it was fun.   Still, after I already gave up and admitted defeat (as a mock theist) you two wouldn't let it go.  WTH? 

 
 
“In dark ages people are best guided by religion, as in a pitch-black night a blind man is the best guide; he knows the roads and paths better than a man who can see. When daylight comes, however, it is foolish to use blind, old men as guides.”
 Heinrich Heine