Friday, August 7, 2009

Dominoes deliver

In a thread over at "Da Bomb's" blog, Pilgrimage, the discussion has stalled somewhat, and at the risk of directly insulting Da Bomb, I've no idea why.

The subject deals with the responsibility and/or culpability of god with respect to the outcome of his creative act, specifically when this god is given the generally accepted attributes asserted by Christians, which follow:

  • Omniscience
  • Omnipotence
  • "First Cause" or "Prime Mover"
  • Timelessness (eternally living)
Really, no other attributes need mentioned, but clearly "omnibenevolence," or "maximal goodness," could be added to the list, as could others, but they'd be of no consequence with respect to the argument I've formed.

Now, the astute reader, whether or not familiar with my past arguments on this subject, will likely see where this is going and how, but for whatever reason, Da Bomb just doesn't follow, even though I've spelled it out in what I feel is the simplest way possible for any reasonably comprehending human to honestly grasp. He continuously asserts that humans have "free will," and that god has not predetermined everything, going so far as to make each of the following statements:

God occasions evil but is NOT the cause.
(Emphasis DB's)

I will state it loud and clear FOREKNOWING IS NOT PREDETERMINING.
(Emphasis again DB's)

People are not a direct cause and effect action from God Himself but more of a separate cause and effect if that makes sense?

That last one is the kicker, in my view, since it exposes his misunderstanding -- whether intentional or unwitting -- regarding the implications of the suggestion that there are cause/effect systems which are separate from god. I'd prefer to think he's smarter than this, but that would require that he be dishonest, and I'd prefer to think otherwise. Could it really be confusion, or is it just pure cognitive dissonance on display?

At any rate, here is the argument I've presented for him, in YouTube video form. The instructions are simple:

  1. In the first 20 seconds of the clip, pause it at some point and identify "your" domino -- the one that represents you -- and note its location.
  2. Choose an arbitrary number and configuration of dots for your domino -- you have limited "free will," after all.
  3. Resume the clip. You are free to change the number and configuration of dots on your domino any number of times until it falls.
  4. Note any effect your "free will" had on the fate of your domino.
  5. Consider if the boy is responsible for the falling of any individual domino beyond the first.
  6. At the conclusion of the video, consider if the boy's foreknowledge that the dominoes would all fall, including the order in which they would fall, coupled with his decision to tip the first in the sequence, constitutes a rough equivalent to omniscience and omnipotence in the world of the dominoes, their individual ability to rearrange their dots notwithstanding.
  7. Ask yourself if it is any individual domino's fault for falling.
At this point, you should have a few perspectives resulting from the Q&A built in to the instructions, which influence what you need to do next.

  • If you, like Da Bomb, still think that the boy is not responsible for the falling of domino #2742 in the sequence (or whichever domino represented you), run the video again, and see if the position of your domino changes, or if it falls at a different time index in the video. Repeat this process until you either accept that the boy is responsible for your domino falling, or you awaken from a coma.
  • If you, like Da Bomb, think each individual domino is responsible for its own fall, run the video again, utilizing every bit of your domino's "free will" by rearranging the dots into every conceivable pattern and number. Repeat this process until you either accept that no action on the part of the domino can forestall its fate, or you awaken from a coma.
Now that the instructions are known and understood, here is the video:

So if there is an omniscient, omnipotent, "first cause" sort of god, then I am as a domino in a long sequence of dominoes, and while I may have the ability to arrange or number the dots on my individual domino, I may not change the fact that I am a domino in a long sequence of dominoes, and I may not halt the process of domino tipping domino. This god's omniscience is represented by his positioning of each individual domino. His omnipotence is represented by his manufacturing of each individual domino. His "first cause" status is represented by his tipping of the first domino.

Who is responsible for any domino's fall?

Ask Da Bomb.

What does "Timelessness" have to do with any of this? Well, obviously it is not pivotal, but if god is eternal, then he existed prior to creation as a singular entity, contentedly alone. It follows from this that god did not have to create, or position and tip the dominoes. Indeed, he may have positioned the dominoes in any configuration, or none at all, or he may not have manufactured a single one. Since the Christian god is alleged to have this property (timelessness) in addition to the three others, his creative act must also be viewed as deliberate, which is where the domino argument becomes the PoE, and disproves the Christian god by way of internal contradiction with respect to the existence of evil and/or the doctrine of a populated hell (of eternal torment).