I just came across this on Wikipedia, and I am still reeling in astonishment. It's called the 'Omnipotence Paradox.' Just thought I'd throw it on here to give you guys some quick and easy ammo against theists. I'll give you the scientific idea, then the example (aka 'Paradox of the Stone').
If a being can perform such actions, then it can limit it's own ability to perform such actions. By this arguement, it cannot perform all actions, yet, on the other hand if it cannot limit it's own actions, then that is something it cannot do, and therefore, is not omnipotent.
And now for the easy version:

Could god create a stone so heavy that even he could not lift it? If so, he would then cease to be omnipotent. If not, he was not omnipotent to begin with.

Thank you for your time and patience. Another win for the Rationalists brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Atheist,

Maggie

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Yeah tell that to the people who kept insisting that God can do anything he wants to when I was discussing science one day. I kept affirming that the acceleration of gravity on Earth was 9.8 meters per second squared. I told them that I wasn't expecting the Earth to suddenly change size and thus alter that property anytime soon. So this presents us with two situations. Either God doesn't exist or he's self-limiting to mirror the physical laws of nature, in which case, what's the point of requiring an icon to worship? Does God not will it because he can't? Or does God not will it because he won't? One presents a physical limit. One presents a theoretical one.

More to the point, I find the concept of something being omni anything to be utterly ridiculous.
Augustine was just another religious fanatic, in an endless series of them.
You are assuming that omnipotence should include the ability to do things logically impossible.

Why is this an unfair assumption? "Omnipotence," as a facet of the greatest conceivable being, is the capacity for unlimited power. Unlimited power is not constrained by anything. The fact that logic limits the being only shows that the being is constrained by something and thereby not omnipotent.

If this omnipotent being is constrained by logic, then it is not the greatest conceivable being because I can conceive of a being that could theoretically operate outside the boundaries of logic. Of course, because I am human and necessarily constrained by logic myself, I do not know how something could operate independently of the boundaries of logic. Although I can conceive of this logically-independent entity as a theoretical possibility, I cannot conceive of how it would exist in any meaningful way.

In the end, the entire thing is just a mental exercise that paints omnipotence as an irrelevant concept which only dwells in the theoretical realm of the human mind. Our minds' ability to conceptualize various possibilities does not mean that any of these possibilities exist beyond the realms of our imaginations. This is why all arguments for God's existence as a meaningful, relevant entity fall apart in the attempt to translate the concept outside of the human mind. (I suppose this spawns the argument of God as existing within the mind, but any sort of being who is bound by the limits of human imagination seems rather inferior to me.)
You are assuming that omnipotence should include the ability to do things logically impossible.

Why is this an unfair assumption?


You can assume that if you want. But then by assumption omnipotence includes the ability to do things logically impossible (you assumed it). You can't then say things ARE logically impossible, so nothing is omnipotent. What you have said is really nothing meaningful at all, that is my whole point here.


If this omnipotent being is constrained by logic, then it is not the greatest conceivable being because I can conceive of a being that could theoretically operate outside the boundaries of logic.

You can conceive of a being that exists outside the boundaries of logic?

What would make a being operating outside of the laws of logic greater? My children can behave rather illogically. Does that make them greater than me?

Of course, because I am human and necessarily constrained by logic myself, I do not know how something could operate independently of the boundaries of logic.

Doesn't this contradict your previous statement?

Although I can conceive of this logically-independent entity as a theoretical possibility, I cannot conceive of how it would exist in any meaningful way.

I don't think you actually can conceive of a being outside of logic. Everything would be meaningless if logic no longer applied. Even the statement "everything is meaningless" if it were true would be meaningless and hence you would have said nothing.

In the end, the entire thing is just a mental exercise that paints omnipotence as an irrelevant concept which only dwells in the theoretical realm of the human mind. Our minds' ability to conceptualize various possibilities does not mean that any of these possibilities exist beyond the realms of our imaginations.

Just because you can think of something doesn't mean it exists. That's true. Of course, just because you can't think of something doesn't mean it doesn't exist either.
If you're saying if omnipotence is assumed to include the ability to do the logically impossible it is incomprehensible then yes, I think I said that.

This is why all arguments for God's existence as a meaningful, relevant entity fall apart in the attempt to translate the concept outside of the human mind.

Really? You certainly haven't even come close to supporting any such claim with anything you have said here.

The fact that their is such a thing as logic and you are thinking at all is actually strong evidence for Gods existence. Why should a bunch of atoms randomly bouncing around generate logic? Where do thoughts come from? When matter organizes itself in a sufficiently complicated manner it can suddenly become aware of itself and start thinking logically? Why would the universe display a high degree of order and operate in a way we can understand under apparent laws? What properties of matter in motion leads to logic or thoughts? Why would matter obey laws? Where did matter even spring into existence from?


(I suppose this spawns the argument of God as existing within the mind, but any sort of being who is bound by the limits of human imagination seems rather inferior to me.)

It does??
God is the square root of negative one.
"The fact that their is such a thing as logic and you are thinking at all is actually strong evidence for Gods existence."

*snort* Wow. It's a regular field of strawmen.

God of the gaps.
You can assume that if you want. But then by assumption omnipotence includes the ability to do things logically impossible (you assumed it). You can't then say things ARE logically impossible, so nothing is omnipotent. What you have said is really nothing meaningful at all, that is my whole point here.

My point is that I am not assuming so much as following the definition of "omnipotence" or "all powerful." Doesn't "all powerful" mean that the power is not restrained by anything? Isn't logic something? If omnipotence is conditional--as in, all powerful within the boundaries of logic--then is it really "all" powerful?

Of course what I have said does not seem meaningful, because the very subject of omnipotence itself is not meaningful; statements about something nonsensical will necessarily be nonsensical. This does not reflect negatively upon the descriptive statements so much as it does upon the original concept itself.

You can conceive of a being that exists outside the boundaries of logic?

Just because I cannot conceive of how something would operate does not mean that I cannot conceive of it. Can you conceive of a time machine? How would it operate?

Really? You certainly haven't even come close to supporting any such claim with anything you have said here.

The fact that their is such a thing as logic and you are thinking at all is actually strong evidence for Gods existence.


When I made the comment regarding why arguments for imaginary concepts fall apart when translated to the real world, I thought that it was a given that I am painting with a rather broad brush and not really staking any specific claims. But, really, neither omnibenevolence, omniscience, nor omnipresence can withstand logical scrutiny either.

However, I find it incredibly ironic that the next immediate statement does exactly what you accuse me of doing: making an unevidenced claim that cannot be supported. How exactly does the existence of logic support the existence of God? The next paragraph of questions are certainly valid, but in abosolutely no way do any of them infer a supernatural cause. Many facets of consciousness remain a mystery even in the face of modern neuroscience, but mystery does not mean that a divine explanation exists because we have not discovered a physical explanation. Your entire argument is a "God of the Gaps" position, one which grows ever smaller with each new scientific discovery.

Me:(I suppose this spawns the argument of God as existing within the mind, but any sort of being who is bound by the limits of human imagination seems rather inferior to me.)

You:It does??

Isn't this the entire basis for the ontological argument, that God necessarily exists as the "greatest conceivable being?" Isn't the only truly defining characteristic of God the fact that he is something that is conceived of by a conceiver? Doesn't this infer the necessity of a conceiver to do the conceiving? If the conceiver is necessary, then it would seem to suggest that God cannot exist outside of the conceptual powers of the conceiver. For simplicity's sake, I label "the conceptual powers of the conceiver" as "the human mind."
Lol! I love that the company is called "Brooklyn Superhero Supply."

Ah, Shine, back with her articulate wisdome.  Hooray!

 

Aw, thanks, M. :) Unfortunately, I'm still battling with a decrepit computer and dodgy internet connection so my access is still limited. :( I really want to engage in more conversations but it just takes so long for my computer to load or process anything.

  I happen to agree with Eric on this. The paradox becomes meaningless, it is similar to asking if the creator can draw a square circle. In this case it would display both the ability and disability in omnipotence.

  We could also assert that omnipotence that does not demand that being must able to do all things at all times. In this sense 'It' creates this immovable rock, but manipulates the rock later to lift.

  When this gets brought up, you should retort back that the rock is not the same rock, or that the being had to get stronger than it was previously to lift it, therefore proving he was not omnipotent to begin with. So don't use the paradox as a crutch, and look out for back doors in the argument. Cheers.

Exactly! Point proven.

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