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I have faith and my heart tells me this is so.
You have a trust-based relationship with that thing you asserted?  Ok...

This same problem you voice here – assuming it is valid in our conversation – is the exact problem we have with every single thing anyone has ever said about gods. God loves us.  Impossible to discern.  God is omnipotent.  We have no way to tell.  God is omniscient.  We have no way to tell.  God exists.  We have no way to tell.
And that's probably why you're not a Christian: precisely because you felt there were no grounds on which to scrutinize your current beliefs (or lack thereof) about God.

But I’m not agreeing you have a valid point here.  I do not think you do.  I disagree with you that my claims are inscrutable.  You agreed with me that being omnimax means having no limitations. Then you turned around and suggested mothballs could be the stumbling block to the omnimax Screwtape since the merely potent and conscient Screwtape cannot surmount the problem.  So, either I have misunderstood what you’ve written or your definition of omnimax is not my definition of omnimax.
As I mentioned before, my views on omnipotence encompass multiple views at once.  In the most extreme sense, I believe God could create mothballs that do not kill and have them work exactly the same way as they do now, including killing.

Of course, this is illogical nonsense, but that's exactly my point: I don't think omnipotence is constrained by what is logical or coherent.  It's similar to this somewhat cavalier response to the rock paradox ("could God create a stone so big He can't lift it?"): "Of course He could, and then He'd lift it anyways because He's God!"  In other words, a truly omnipotent being could do something that is simultaneously true, false, partially true, undefined, and in such a way that "simultaneous," "true," and "false" have no meaning.

However, in human discussions, this quickly becomes unintelligible, and thus if we're going to have any discussion on it at all we must approximate it under an assumption of coherence that might not hold.  In this case, the latter definitions of omnipotence become much more useful, though as you go down the list they increasingly invoke a forced perspective.[1]

Were you truly omnipotent, would you be able to solve the problem?  If we lift all human constraints on omnipotence, it becomes impossible for us to say what that would look like from our perspective, whether we would even exist, or whether that's actually already happened (or has simultaneously happened and not, etc.).  Furthermore, if we go to the extreme of omnipotence, "solving the problem" becomes undefined as the constructs that allow problems to exist are no longer binding.

However, if, for the sake of salvaging any coherent thought and recovering Mooby from a combination of delusion and insanity too absurd for even the most satirical of Poes to entertain, we assume that the change is being made in a universe that is consistent from our point of view, then I do indeed think we're obligated to provide a mechanism via which Definition 3 can hold under that assumption.  In other words, could omnipotent you make the change in such a way that we can point to the current state of things and make judgements based on our current understanding and perspective such as, "That's wrong and God's responsible?"

And in doing this, you have said it is impossible for you to say whether your god could create moth balls or cars that would not kill people.
Impossible for me to say, yes.  But then again, I'm just a lowly cow.

If that is not acceptable, will this do?
Having unlimited or universal power, authority, or force; all-powerful.

Neither definition is comprehensive or thorough, but I have pointed out that I do not consider it the ability to do logically impossible things or realize paradoxes.

Of the definitions you linked, I think the first one fits with what I am talking about best.
 1. The issue is not that I lack imagination (as you suggested earlier); it's that I have too much.  You want me to drop some constraints while upholding the ones you assume apply but in my view are just as arbitrary.  I suspect we have some fundamental differences in the assumptions we make about reality that are beyond the scope of this discussion.
The first one I linked doesn't preclude doing illogical things; that would fall under Definition 3 (if logic were to be one of the deity's laws.)

If you're assuming a constraint that omnipotence does not apply to logically impossible things, then "definition of omnipotent" is a circular response to "How do you know that such a thing is even possible?"

Omnipotent being could do X --> X is possible via definition of omnipotent --> since X is possible, omnipotent being could do X


X is possible --> Omnipotent being could do X --> X is possible via definition of omnipotent

are both circular.  You can't simultaneously justify that:

1. An omnipotent being could do X
2. X is possible

via a definition of omnipotent that's dependent on both those things being assumed true before you can even apply it.  Rather, you must first have evidence that either 1) or 2) is true before you can apply the definition to show the other is contingently true.

Hence, while acting under those constraints, I have at various times asked you to show either:
1) How you know X can be done
2) How you know X is possible

You have done neither; you have instead applied a definition that does not hold via your own standards if either 1) or 2) is false.

Wait, wait, wait. Is this a question of perspective or one of ability?
Yes.  ;)

Was there no choice among the infinity of possible choices before him that would have resulted in less suffering?  In the end I think there are only two possible conclusions – omnimax is responsible for everything or omnimax does not exist.  That’s it.
I disagree, with the short answer being that to truly answer that question we must head down a road where that binary assessment does not apply.  Even still operating under the umbrella of logic, we run into some of the issues I mentioned in Reply #43.

And so what if I’ve made it impossible for humans to do science?  Is that my obligation as Omnimax Me?  To make science possible?  How dare you try to put Omnimax Me in a box.
If omnimax you wanted the laws of physics to exist (Wiki definition 3) or value sciencing as part of your plan (Wiki definition 4) and we're making assumptions about logical coherence and consistency, then yes you're constrained by that box.

And so are each of my cars. 
As you described them, they'd be repeatedly and consistently observable.

Not the point.  The point is those species could be different without invoking Burritos So Hot Even God Cannot Eat Them type of demands. 

I don’t know what Year Of Hell is.
It's a reference to Star Trek: Voyager.

No.  He starts off assuming an omnipotent and good god and concludes a “best possible world”.  His assumption begs the question, where he should have made a demonstration. 
Begging the question is where the conclusion of an argument is a premise or hidden premise.  For his argument to beg the question, "assume that we live in the best of all possible worlds" would have to be somewhere in the premises (explicit or implicit.)

Premises are assumptions.  Two ways to dispute the conclusion of a logical deduction are:
1. Dispute the premises (which is what it appears you're actually trying to do here)
2. Dispute the logical structure/reasoning (fallacies)

Omniscience.  If it knows it will happen, then it must happen.
You're invoking theological fatalism here, and I don't accept theological fatalism due to the fact that it makes unjustifiable assumptions.  With an attempt to avoid going too tangential into that subject, I'll summarize that depending on how the argument is constructed it uses either disputable premises or commits the modal fallacy.

Potential is a huge topic.  You could argue everyone has tons of potential they don’t live up to.  Or you could argue people actually have little potential and everyone lives up to it.  That is more than I want to get into here.
Ok.  Let's not get into it then.  This post is long enough already.  :P
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screwtape giving me lots to think about April 16, 2013, 10:32:31 AM