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Member since: Sat Sep 24, 2011, 10:36 AM
Number of posts: 16,444

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Great B-Sides

For those of us who remember vinyl 45s, what are some of your favorite B-Sides (you know, the song that wasn't supposed to be a hit)? A lot of good music on the flip side.

One of many: Kiss Me, Baby (Beach Boys, B-side of "Help Me, Rhonda," 1965)

-- Mal

Did any DUers have a POW bracelet?

Did your POW make it back?

They were pretty common when I was in High School, albeit mostly among the girls.

-- Mal

Of Will


What follows will be humorous, to those who like this sort of humor; infuriating, to those who are infuriated by such subjects or methods; entertaining, if one has low expectations; and probably tedious, regardless of one's inclinations.

We will be discussing a hoary old subject, the freedom or bondage of the will, one of the "two great labyrinths" according to Neal Stephenson. We'll do so using logic, not authority; for the latter, may I commend you to Thomas Aquinas? (Yeah, I know the old boy uses logic like, all the time, but it's funny how many of his arguments end up turning on authority)

Gather wood for the bonfire, by the way, we're going to be committing at least six heresies before breakfast.

We'll start with a simple premise: God exists. Can't get much simpler than that, eh? Since this is the premise, I don't have to prove it, but I will define it.

First, what is meant by the verb, "to exist?" Second, what is meant by the noun "God?"

I use "existence" in the sense that the thought of a unicorn is a real thing. Not necessarily corporeal, but something that can be examined and argued about. This shouldn't be a problem, since we are already arguing about it, not cooking it and eating it (although we may do so figuratively yet).

So, what is this "God" thing? For the purposes of this argument, I'll define God as "Omni." Omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, you get the drill. (Not, however, omnibenevolent, which I'll leave to Epicurus to talk about) Feel free to disagree, but I wonder how, if this "God" thing exists, it can be other than "Omni." We're talking serious superhero, here, after all.

We proceed thus: If God exists, then nothing exists, save God wills it.

For if it did exist outside of God's will, then he is not omnipotent, which is contrary to the Job Description. (Arguably, it also contradicts his being omnipresent, which is two strikes. And hey, it also contradicts his being omniscient, which is three strikes and you're out, baby)

"Existence," in this case, applying to things with a corporeal substance, or to acts. That doughnut you just ate for breakfast existed (briefly) because God willed it, and you ate it because he willed it. This does mean that God is responsible for things we perceive as evil, just as he is responsible for things we perceive as good, which is why I left "omnibenevolent" out of the Job Description. That 13 year old girl was raped because God wills it, and that drowning 8 year old was rescued because God wills it. That tornado that tore up the neighborhood did so because God willed it, and your house was saved from that selfsame tornado because God willed it. God has a lot of 'splainin to do.

God's will must control actions, otherwise things could exist outside of God's will, which is contrary to the Job Description. (And things could exist outside of God, which is also contrary to the Job Description, or what else does "omnipresence" mean?)

Thus you and I, grasshopper, do not have Free Will.

For if we did, then our will would exist outside of God's, which is contrary to the Job Description.

Not only do we not have Free Will, but it follows we also have no independent will, again for the reason that it would require a thing to exist outside of God's Will.

But wait a second, if we have no independent will, then our will is identical to the Will of God.
And if our will is identical to the Will of God, then, well, we are God (which Valentine Michael Smith proposed some time ago, and much good did it do him). Substance being indivisible, if God's Will exists in us, then so does the rest of him, and thus we are identical to God. And if you don't like that argument, we still have the Job Description to fall back on: we must be identical to God, otherwise we would exist outside of God, which is contrary to the Job Description.

So our will is identical to God's.

Our will is identical to God's?

Our will is identical to God's.

Hold on, God's will is free. The Job Description says so: if it were not free, it would be constrained, and if constrained, then he is not omnipotent.

But we just demonstrated above that our will is not free.

So God's will is both free, and not free. Which is a contradiction. So the premise is false.

Thus, God does not exist. QED.


Per contra: Actually, all we have proved is that our will is identical to God's. Since it has no independent existence, it is meaningless to talk about "our" will; only God's will exists, and we haven't shown it to be constrained. Aw, shucks.

Well, hmmm. If we are God, doesn't that make us Omni? I didn't know I was omnipotent (hell, I even have trouble composing a coherent argument), which I must be if I am God, right? Well, maybe I am but just don't know it... oh, yeah, I'm supposed to be omniscient, too. (Somebody-or-other defined God as "the one who knows that he knows." Isn't theology fun?) So God is both omniscient and not, which is a contradiction.

Thus, God still does not exist, QED.


And the wise guy in the peanut gallery points out that, actually, all we have done is prove that God's existence cannot be proved by logic. A bunch of folks have tried over the years, but haven't quite demonstrated it satisfactorily. And if it were possible to prove the existence of God by logic, then we'd be left with the premise that started this whole mess, which we have just disproved. Is it five O'Clock somewhere?

-- Mal

Today, the US government paid me for living this long.

Social Security, what a concept. I was definitely sure that it would never be around by the time I was eligible.

Of course, who knows what they'll do to it in the future. I wonder if I'll be grandfathered if they drop it?

-- Mal

Music that makes you hungry...

... Either about food (and drink!) or with food (or drink!) in the title. Let's start with some Louis Jordan:

Beans and Cornbread:

Saturday Night Fish Fry:

A little appetizer and some flowers from Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass:

Lollipops and Roses:

We're having a picnic with Laura Nyro:

Stoned Soul Picnic

And for dessert, some Popsicles from Jan and Dean:

Any additions to the menu?

-- Mal
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