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Apologetics and Theology / Molinism and PAP
« on: June 18, 2021, 03:32:31 am »
I was reading about molinism again and one thing puzzles me: it seems molinism is ncompatible with the principle of alternate possibilities, i.e. the idea that one can do differently in the same situation, which is said to be essential for libertarian freedom. What am I missing?

Apologetics and Theology / Sin cities
« on: January 18, 2021, 04:04:42 am »
It seems that it is generally accepted that some communities are more 'sinful' than others. For example, we have various references to 'sin cities':

So for the purposes of the discussion let us assume that Berlin is more sinful than, say, a remote Tibetan village. Now the question is: why is that? Assuming free will, each and every resident of any of those places is responsible for all his individual sins. However, that does not explain why Berlin is more sinful than the Tibetan village. Sure, we may just conclude that Berliners just happen to sin more than Tibetans, but it would be a very odd explanation, given that the two places differ consistently in that respect over a long period of time. If we can safely predict that Berlin will be more sinful than the Tibetan village for the next five years, then free choice alone does not seem to explain the probability of that prediction.

Given above, the explanation for the sinful nature of Berlin must be external to Berliners (or at least to their volition). If the reason is external, then, according to (some?) free will proponents, Berliners cannot be held responsible for the fact that they are more sinful than Tibetans, even though they are responsible for each and every sin they commit.

I am interested in what free will proponents think about that.

Apologetics and Theology / One man's journey
« on: December 02, 2020, 05:37:14 pm »
An interesting look at one person's life:

It is better watched than told, so if you do not have the patience, just skip it...

Apologetics and Theology / Failed prophecies of modern-day prophets
« on: November 10, 2020, 04:59:57 am »
First see here:

(I know this has TRUMP in the title, but the purpose of this post is not political.)

While in Europe we do have a share of odd personalities, to put it mildly, such teleprophets are very rare, so I am quite fascinated with what I saw. What is the general opinion on those people in the U.S.? Are they just scammers or do they really (but obviously falsely) believe that God talks to them, so it is some kind of a mental problem? If they do this for a living, it must be because someone believes them, right? How is that possible if they fail time after time with their 'prophecies'?

1. Actual inifnities are logically impossible.
2. God is omnipotent if he can bring about any effect that is logically possible for him to bring about.
3. God cannot create a world with an actually infinite number of stars.
4. There is a possible world that God could create which has a number of stars X such that there is no possible world that God could create which has a number of stars greater than X.
5. It is logically possible that God could create a world with a number of stars equal X plus one.
6. God cannot create a world which creation by God is logically possible.
7. God is not omnipotent.

This is a somewhat different take on the paradox described in this thread:
Author, author!

Suppose that Paley did, in fact, encounter a watch on the ground. His argument was that 'There must have existed [...] an artificer [who] designed its use.' But is it necessarily so? Suppose then that this particular design of a watch was produced by one James Brown. However, he had a secret - most of his life he wanted to design a watch, but was not talented enough, so he prayed hard to God for help. And God responded kindly to his prayers and sent him a vision of that particular design. This clever design would have brought much fame to his designer, John Smith. It did not, however, as John Smith never existed - his world never came to be: only God, in his omniscience, knows that John Smith WOULD design the watch, if he had a chance.

So who designed the watch? Not James Brown, as he just saw it in his vision. Not God, as he only passed the design on. And certainly not John Smith, as he never existed. So it seems Paley was wrong - watches do not have to be designed at all.

But that is not all: suppose that God gave James Brown in his vision a selection of designs he could chooose from. Would that act of selection make him a designer? Admittedly, some define 'design' that way, but it seems rather different than what John Smith did. We would say that James Brown is a less creative designer than John Smith, if we even call the latter that. This begs the question: is God in his designs more like James Brown or more like John Smith? As he knows all the 'designs' of possible worlds eternally, there cannot be an act of creative design involved - it is more as if he just went to the library of ready blueprints and chose what he deemed fit. So it seems the universe is no more creatively designed than Paley's watch - if the designs are part of the omniscient knowledge, which is uncaused, then they are uncaused as well.

1. In a true loving relationship both parties freely reciprocate.
2. God freely reciprocates human love in each loving relationship he has with a human.
3. If LFW obtains, then PAP is true.
4. For each loving relationship between God and a human, there is a possible world in which God chooses not to reciprocate human love.
5. There is a possible world in which all human love toward God is unrequited (because God chooses not to reciprocate).

Some do not believe that 3. is true, then of course the argument does not apply.

Apologetics and Theology / Possibility of non-actualizable worlds
« on: January 03, 2020, 05:28:02 am »
Suppose a free-willed agent has a moral choice between two options. However, one of those is such that it would lead to a world that God would not desire (it would be gratuitous evil, it would subvert God's goals, etc.). For that reason, God would never actualize a world that leads to that choice. Would you say a world which God would never actualize is possible? Does the agent have a libertarian free will while making the choice?

Apologetics and Theology / The tragic, yet curious case of Mel
« on: November 23, 2019, 03:44:45 am »
The positions of several theists in the discussion about transsexualism and dualism were not entirely clear to me, so I hope the following discussion will make them more clear to me.

Suppose that in the future some terrible disaster occurs, for example a terrorist bomb attack. The body of one of the victims, a man called Mel, is so mutilated that there is little hope for him. However, due to the advances in transplantology, it is possible to save him by grafting his head onto a body of another unfortunate victim, Sharon. The question: is the person still considering himself Mel and having the body of Sharon, still a male, just with a female body, or did the change turn the male Mel into a female Mel?

A variant of the above scenario: due to medical and situational considerations Mel does not receive the body all at once, but his male body is replaced with parts of several women. The end result is, however, the same - only Mel's head remains and the rest of the body is from females. Does that change anything?

And another variant: only Mel's brain is transplanted.

(If you think Mel's name should be Ijon, you would not be wrong. Just wanted to avoid the literary reference to avid confusion.)

Could God, for example, choose as his goal that everyone ends up in hell and suffers eternally?

Apologetics and Theology / The immorality of truth
« on: August 05, 2019, 04:42:16 am »
We can think of situations where our telling things which are true in some sense actually causes someone to form a false belief. For example, a kid might answer to his mother: 'I did not eat the cake!', knowing fully well that she would think his little brother did. However, what the older brother said was true in the sense that he did not eat the cake _yet_, but he did take it, while the younger one had nothing to do with it. I am sure you can think of even better examples (some Gettier cases involving epistemic bad luck come to mind).

Would you say that telling things that technically are not false, but are certain or near certain to cause people to form false beliefs, due to no fault of their own, is wrong? How would you categorize such behavior: is it lying, misleading or still something else?

Apologetics and Theology / Metaphysical constraints
« on: February 14, 2019, 08:56:56 am »
In one of the threads on divine hiddenness Harvey made the following comment:

If God must be unseen as a metaphysical requirement, then 2 and 3 [of the Schellenberg's argument] are false.

In other words, the claim seems to be that otherwise God would reveal himself, but he must be unseen due to metaphysical requirements. In other words, God is metaphysically constrained: he cannot be seen as much as he possibly might want to.

Similarly, Craig wrote:

For an all-powerful, all-good being, it is alleged, would not permit the suffering we observe in the world. Therefore, such a being probably does not exist. Suppose that the theist responds, as I do, by saying that, for all we know, God may well have morally sufficient reasons for permitting the suffering in the world.

This seems to imply that otherwise Go would create a world without suffering, but there are certain metaphysical requirements that he must obey during world actualization. Similar arguments are raised by proponents of skeptical theism, free will defence, etc.

The underlying stipulation seems to be that some worlds are conceivable as better than this one, but they are impossible for God to actualize due to metaphysical requirements. In other words, God is metaphysically constrained in actualizing worlds that might be conceivably better. This leads to several questions:

1. What is the explanation for existence of such constraints? They do not seem to be created (it would be absurd to claim that God himself creates constraints which he must then obey) nor flowing from God's nature (we can easily conceive of a God without such constraints). So why do they exist at all?

2, The relation between metaphysical constraints and the maximally great being: We can conceive of a being which is not bound by such constraints – that means God is not the greatest conceivable being.

3. If we interpret omnipotence as 'God can do anything that is metaphysically possible (for him)', then it is virtually meaningless. Everyone can do what is metaphysically possible for him. If we couple this with theistic skepticism, we cannot make any positive claims about what God can actually do.

4. If we can posit unexplainable (or necessary) metaphysical constraints, then the fine tuning argument is pointless: one can just claim that the physical constants are metaphysically constrained for no reason.

Apologetics and Theology / Author, author!
« on: December 16, 2018, 05:05:49 am »
Suppose that God sees in the future a poem published by a modern author. In antiquity he shares that knowledge with a prophet. The prophet, under divine revelation, writes down word for word the poem that God has seen in the future. In the modern times the author seeks an inspiration in ancient sources and comes across an obscure, long-forgotten prophecy with the poem. He is so envious (and otherwise uninspired), that he copies the poem word for word, presenting it as his own work.

The scenario seems to be possible on the assumption of foreknowledge. The question is: who is the author of the poem?

I wanted to conduct a thought experiment involving beliefs concerning mythical creatures. For that purpose I need an assistance of a willing and agreeable theist who does not believe in a particular kind of mythical creatures of their choosing. Note that, for the purpose of the experiment, I might ask him/her to reconsider the choice, as not all creatures might work well enough.

Also, I know that for some theists the mere mention of mythical creatures on this forum produces an extremely adverse reaction: those are kindly asked to abstain from participating in the discussion. The same applies to those who would rather derail the thread. Finally, a word of warning: this topic might involve linguistic deliberations!

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