Monday, May 11, 2009

Omnipotent god? Then 'fine-tuning' is irrelevant! And more....!

I've been thinking about this one for a while, but I have to give credit to the The Atheist Experience episode last week for helping me to get started with putting it into words.

I'm sure that all of us have heard from Christians, Jews and/or Muslims that their god is omnipotent (ie. can do anything it wants, even what we'd say is impossible). Most of them seem to agree on this point, and I'm going to consider it to be an axiom of their religions. But then we get this argument coming from many of them, including people such as Lee Strobel, that a god must exist because the Universe is fine-tuned for life.

This is completely contradictory to the belief that their god is omnipotent! Why? Well, if their god can do anything it wants, then it could create life to exist in any environment. So if the physical constants or conditions of the Universe were any different, then we, or another form of life, could be made to live in it. The Universe then doesn't have to be tuned for our existence. In other words, the physical constants are completely arbitrary, and life could exist no matter what they were. In fact, the Universe being suited to our existence (or vice-versa) is a compelling suggestion that there are no gods at all!

Let's take another example of how the existence of an omnipotent god doesn't make much sense. That is the existence of bacteria and viruses which make us sick. I'm told by the creationist fucktards that disease was made to punish humans for seeking knowledge, or disobedience, however you want to interpret that garbage. Why would such an omnipotent god need to create bacteria and viruses to be the causes of disease? Couldn't it just give us the disease without any physical cause at all? Like by magic? Like the way that many religious psychos believe their god created everything in the first place? Why doesn't it work that way anymore? Where did the magic go? Why does disease seem to be caused by processes that are natural and follow natural laws? The fact that disease gets transmitted by bacteria and viruses, and the fact that other diseases are caused by mutations in DNA, giving all diseases a physical cause, is another compelling suggestion that an omnipotent god does not exist.

Another question is why does this god send to me the stupidest people in order to pass along its message? I'm a pretty smart guy, and the people who attempt to debate with me, or to tell me about the existence of god, are often dumb as bricks and can't stand their ground in a debate. Couldn't an omnipotent god choose somebody smarter than me to try to convince me? Couldn't an omnipotent god send a person who knows absolutely everything to my door to answer all of my questions? Why does this god count on these fucking incompetent boobs who either end up getting caught with their pants down with a trannie hooker, or sent to prison, or end up disgraced for molesting children? If you're going to argue that god sent Jesus, or some crap, please spare me! That work of fiction is from 2,000 years ago. Where is the message for me directly?! Even better, why does this god need carriers of its message at all? Why couldn't it make me born with the knowledge or put it into my head by magic? Again, it really looks as if this hypothetical god has some serious limitations.

Another question is about the cruelty that life must inflict on other life in order to survive. Why would an omnipotent and all-loving god do that? Couldn't it have made all life photosynthetic? Then we'd get all of our energy from the sun, and we wouldn't need to eat other life. Here is where the believer argues, "Duh, phoyosynthesis doesn't provide enough energy to support life". But that's the entire fricking point!!!! Why couldn't an omnipotent god have made photosynthesis more efficient, so that all life could get all of the energy it needs without killing any other life, including not killing plants? Why? A better question, why couldn't it make us so that we don't need energy at all?! Why do we need energy? Why can't we all operate by magic and never need food, or even sleep? We could then exist without ever killing another living organism.

This magical, omnipotent god seems to require a lot of natural systems in order to make things run. It operates all of its little creations within the framework of natural laws, and does not deviate from them. It seems to be limited by what the laws of physics say is possible. That is EXACTLY how we'd expect the Universe to look if gods didn't exist at all!


vivid said...

What human was before the fall and what they were after is two different things. They started off like God, and were naked 'of God' after it. It wasn't punishment at all it was just a fact. If you take off your coat you will get cold. If you try to breath underwater you will drown. If you try to be 'another God' when there is only God and no other God was or could be (If you can get your head around the total of what God really means) then you will find yourself heading in the direction of extinction. Life is in God, so if you leave that place what will you find? That is what we found, not punishment but that we cant 'be' outside of the total (relationship) Luckilly, God (The hugeness of Him) knew all this, allowed it and rescued us from it like we were little children about to learn our first nasty lesson. Stay near because there is nothing other than me but I want you to understand that yourself and choose me without my interference. I will be waiting for you to see and I have all the time in the world...

Charles said...

This is an absurd argument that begs the question. Any created universe has rules. Any action or event within that universe has a mechanism. Even if we could magically teleport into the fantasy-world of Tolkien, we would find laws. They would be logical and orderly.

Admin said...

Why Charles? Why do things need physical causes, and why would things need to be orderly, if they were all run by a magician who could make anything happen? You're looking at it from an atheist's point of view. If anything can be done, then ANYTHING is possible. Order would not be required, nor expected.

Take the first part of the argument, and tell me where it goes wrong. Why should I believe some religious twit's argument that the constants of this Universe being suitable for life (in some places) prove the existence of a god, when any constants at all would be suitable for life if an omnipotent god existed? All it's saying then is, "life exists, therefore omnipotent god". It's a repackaging of the same garbage we always here.

Then, why would an omnipotent god require a transmission medium for disease?

Charles said...

See, I think the thing is - the bulk of the argument above is aimed at idiots. A christian is not necessarily an idiot; and you seem to make the connection. There are and have been - for 1700 years - very intelligent, philosophical Christians....I am not saying that this proves Christianity - I'm just saying that the argument should be aimed towards the high denominator, not the low.

Anyways, the reason I say that is because of this comment:

"You're looking at it from an atheist's point of view. If anything can be done, then ANYTHING is possible. Order would not be required, nor expected."

You assume that to be logical is to be an athiest. That is not the case. To be logical is to be a coherent, intelligent human being capable of glancing at the universe around them.

To have a logical universe, by contrast - is to have a universe we can conceive of. A universe which does not function on rules is a universe which does not exist. Its not that in a god-universe 'any constants would be suitable' - the constants that would be suitable would be (whatever ones) life was in. If you plunk life down on mars, it metabolizes perchlorates and CO2, if you plunk it down on titan, it metabolizes methane. It looks exactly the same, god or not.

What /does/ need to be answered, on the other hand - what you are really referring to - is the Anthropic principle, which asks the question 'why should there be life here at all' which was a popular philosophical topic for physicists before the whole intelligent design movement came in and ruined it for us. Basically, you have to believe one of the following (look it up on wikipedia!)

1. Our universe is one of an infinite regression of universes.
2. There is some unknown property of physics which requires that our physical constants be at their current values.
3. There is a god.

As you said - you /shouldn't/ believe some religious twit's argument. But if you /must/ take a stance, you have to choose one of those three. And that's not a religious twit's argument, this comes from cosmology.

Admin said...

Charles, I think you need to expand your imagination. You know why it appears to you that all universes must have physical laws? It's because they DO require physical laws, because there's no such thing as an omnipotent god. That's why I say you're looking at it from the point of view of an atheist.

But what if there WAS an omnipotent god? Why does an omnipotent god need to create bacteria to transmit disease? It could just give it to sinners by magic, with no transmission medium. Bacteria would be redundant in this case. Any function performed by bacteria could be performed by magic instead. Why does this omnipotent being seem to be required to work within a framework of rules? WHY CAN'T AN OMNIPOTENT GOD BREAK THE RULES? Omnipotence, by definition, means it would have no such physical laws constraining it, or the world it created. In a universe run by an omnipotent being, there would be no need for PHYSICAL causes for anything. Things could just 'happen' for no apparent reason at all as seen by the people who live in it. When I pray for a sandwich, it could just appear in front of me by magic, rather than being delivered to my door by a delivery dude. When I pray for my enemies to be vanquished, they could just disappear into thin air, instead of requiring my bullet to pierce them. But as we know, in our Universe, all things have physical causes. I think you're having trouble imagining a place where this need not be the case. I CAN imagine it, at least partially.

It is not aimed at the lowest denominator, because this is a consequence of any person's belief in a truly omnipotent creator. How many of even the 'reasonably intelligent' Christians have ever thought about this? 'Intelligent Christian' is a bit of an oxymoron, as it shows they already accept ridiculous beliefs with no evidence, and with a blindness to the context of their religion in a world containing many other religions. There is a correlation between education/intelligence and religious belief (if there isn't prove me wrong and I'll retract).

As for the 3 options you outlined.... I'm not sure how useful that is, as none of them seems to be falsifiable by beings living in this Universe, short of #3 revealing itself in spectacular fashion. Also, be careful you don't create a false trichotomy. In matters such as this, the answer is probably unimaginable. Or it could be just as simple as 'the constants were arbitrary'.

Admin said...

The fact that the gods worshiped all over the world 'answer prayers' by natural phenomena with physical causes, just allows such 'miracles' to remain unfalsifiable. If something in violation of the laws of physics could occur in answer to prayer, as would be possible by definition of 'omnipotence', then we could have proof. If the religious had any guts, they'd demand such proof from their gods in order to be worshiped.

Of course, no such things happen, because there's no such thing as gods. But that doesn't stop the religious from supposing things like a person surviving a plane crash is proof of their gods.