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).

--
Stan

16 comments:

Da Bomb said...

I just want to clarify what I said here:

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

I mean, people are not a direct endless cause and effect from God (like dominoes with no will)

God made people with freewill, to act with their freewill spearate sometimes even to God's desire. But if God did not let people have freewill, even against His desire, then there is no such thing as freewill.

God is big enough to create people with freewill.

You obviously don't think He is big enough and can only think of first cause and dominoes.

God is the "first cause" of people, people are separate from Himself that are able to create their own "first causes" in their lives...freewill/choice.

Call me willfully ingnorant if you like but I believe the Bible and the God you portray is not the God of the Bible.

cheers,

DB

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Sorry, DB, but the dominoes in my illustration do have "free will": they may freely alter their number and configuration of dots. Hell, they can even change the color of the domino, the stylized pattern on its back, the color and shape of each individual dot -- unbounded "free will" is available to them, but they are limited in that they are still dominoes, and they are still one in a sequence, the first of which has been tipped.

I'm not calling you willfully ignorant -- I think I made that clear in the post. You can only be one of three things, though: you can be willfully ignorant, dishonest, or influenced by cognitive dissonance. I have settled upon the third. Clearly, you are not dishonest, and just as clearly, you are not willfully ignorant. If there's another option, I don't see it -- and before you assert that you are correct, let's finish the Q&A.

Speaking of which, I suspect that Q&A session I've started on your blog will clear things up.

--
Stan

ExPatMatt said...

I can just hear Dr. Evil;

"You just don't... get it...do ya Scott?"

One day...

Zedge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zedge said...

Let me repeat your blog in one sentence: if you can foresee an indirect outcome of your actions and then take those actions, you are responsible for the foreseen outcome.
You may have already tried the single sentence approach; I just wanted to be sure.
Someone once said; “If you could reason with the religious there would be no religious.”
If he is that dense, you‘re beating a dead horse.
Good luck, TLRay
http://madcowone.blogspot.com/

Keith said...

Hi Stan,

I’m sorry to veer off topic, but there doesn’t seem to be any other way of contacting you, if you don’t want to sign up for myspace.

On Dan’s blog, you said, “Citizens' rights have been upheld in various Supreme Court rulings, such that the Constitutional definition of a religion is personal, not [necessarily] institutional. Sure, those religions with which we are most familiar are institutional, but this need not be the case, and the various rulings have borne this out.”

I’m shocked. I’ve never read this. Can you substantiate it?

Also, what’s so great about Red Dawn?

I'd prefer an email reply. I hope you can suppress mine here.

Thanks

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

On Dan’s blog... 

Which Dan? Please provide a link to the comment/thread in question. If you're unsure as to how to do this, use the following template:

<a href="http://www.google.com/">Google</a> 

To produce the following:

Google 

you said... 

That statement does not sound unlike me, but I do not pretend to recall my exact words on any given subject -- indeed, sometimes I read old posts of mine and marvel at my own insight or laugh at my errors. The sentiment and syntax of your quote seem to echo my thoughts, but I'd prefer to see it in context before I consider replying to your query.

Can you substantiate it? 

I imagine that even if you cannot or do not provide context, I could substantiate that particular quote, even if it were not mine, or if I disagreed with it in principle.

[W]hat’s so great about Red Dawn? 

It kicks ass? Where did I mention Red Dawn?

I'd prefer an email reply. 

Not until you identify yourself -- your profile is ambiguous, and to my knowledge I only converse with one "Keith" in the blogosphere.

I hope you can suppress mine here. 

I'm sure I don't know what you mean. If you wish to communicate via email, one of us must provide his own via some means. I will not be that one.


On that note, are you just a spam-bot, or are you real? Your post was... odd. Everything was fractured and apparently disconnected from reality... yet just close enough to be possible.

--
Stan

Keith said...

On one of your posts on Dan’s ‘Atheism is Definitely a Religion!’ thread you said, "But yes, with respect to [U.S.] Constitutional protection(s), Atheism is a religion, for in this context a religion is nothing more than a personal set of beliefs. Citizens' rights have been upheld in various Supreme Court rulings, such that the Constitutional definition of a religion is personal, not [necessarily] institutional. Sure, those religions with which we are most familiar are institutional, but this need not be the case, and the various rulings have borne this out."

Keith
I’d love it if this were the case. But I think I’ve read every major Supreme Court decision on this and I’m very doubtful of your claim. However, when I say “read,” I don’t mean “studied.” I read them once a couple of years ago and only remember my impressions rather than their details. So you could be right, and I’d be thrilled to know which rulings have upheld that principle.

Stan
If you wish to communicate via email, one of us must provide his own via some means. I will not be that one.

Keith
As someone who values his own privacy, I completely understand.

When I saw that your blog had identified my email address, I mistakenly assumed that you had that information as well.

Maybe you could start a new thread, and we could discuss this via comments there? Or, if you prefer, we could do it here.

Keith before
What’s so great about Red Dawn?

Stan
It kicks ass?

Keith
I was hoping for a bit more detail, if you’re willing to share it.

Stan
Where did I mention Red Dawn?

Keith
Your myspace page.

Stan
Are you just a spam-bot, or are you real?

Keith
May I get back to you on that?

Stan
Your post was... odd. Everything was fractured and apparently disconnected from reality... yet just close enough to be possible.

Keith
I apologize. Sometimes my writing isn’t clear.

-- Keith

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Keith,

I sent you an email a week or two ago, but haven't gotten a response. If you're still lurking here, let me know if you got it.

--
Stan

Keith said...

Hi Stan,

No I didn't. Maybe the wrong email address?

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Hmmm. Set up an account at SMRT and send a PM to "stan" -- we can then verify email addresses in private, and I can re-send it to you.

Also, feel free to browse and/or contribute on the threads there -- a lot of the people who post here and on DB's blog are regulars there.

--
Stan

Da Bomb said...

Hey Stan,

Continuing comments about the tree on:

http://vessel-of-clay.blogspot.com/2009/09/well-nearly-finished-my-essay-and-i-am.html?showComment=1254032052690#c961215727847314132

cheers,

Dan

zilch said...

Hey Stan- just wondering what you're up to. Drop me a line if you read this, or even if you don't-

cheers from cool Vienna, zilch

zilch said...

Okay, Stan my man, are you still around? I hope so. Show yourself from time to time.

Daniel (Da Pilgrim) said...

Hey Stan, long time no read! What are you up to these days? (DB)

zilch said...

Stan, my man, where are you? I hope you're having a good time.

cheers, zilch