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i-f1536573ea39330c1d1ffe5432f7b10e-stenger.jpgScience can never have an opinion about the existence or non-existence of a god who keeps himself hidden and doesn’t interfere with the world. Thus many scientists take the position that god questions are beyond scientific inquiry. In this book, Victor Stenger starts from an interesting observation: no religious people actually believe in a god who keeps himself hidden and doesn’t interfere with the world. Quite the contrary, most believe that he has a strong and direct influence on what happens in the world and that it’s possible to communicate with him on a daily basis. Such a god, once his characteristics have been decided upon, can be studied scientifically through his works. If any. And if there is no evidence of such works — then the god most faithful people believe in has been disproven.


Myself, I approach the god-proof business from another angle. I find the whole hypothesis so preposterous, particularly considering its origins in ancient mythology, that I can’t really see why we should take it seriously at all. Proving or disproving the existence of the Judaeo-Christian-Muslim deity seems as called-for as testing for the existence of Bilbo Baggins, Zaphod Beeblebrox or Albus Dumbledore. Gods are fictional characters, consisting of words on paper, and a heavy burden of proof rests with anyone who suggests that they might exist. If some people are uncritical or deranged enough to actually believe in gods, then I’m afraid rational argument is unlikely to convince many of them otherwise.

But let us follow Stenger’s excercise in scientific logic. His message is that god is not just an unnecessary hypothesis: it’s a falsified one. The book is structured around a list of commonly envisioned divine characteristics that are empirically testable. Stenger reports on how they have been tested, one by one, and so strips the deity of its identity one chapter at a time until nothing remains but the hidden, non-interfering god that nobody actually believes in. Like so:

  • No god designed the world in all its complex structure. Everything whose origins have been understood so far has arisen by simple natural processes.

  • No god has given us immortal souls. Everything suggests that our minds are entirely reducible to simple material components.
  • No god has made any miraculous interventions in human history. All such accounts are source-critically spurious.
  • No god created the universe by supernatural means. Everything we see is compatible with the known laws of physics.
  • No god fine-tuned the parameters of the universe to make it congenial to humans. Innumerable other configurations would have worked too, and besides, only an infinitesimal part of our vast universe is inhabitable or even accessible to us.
  • No god has communicated with humans through revelations. Such visions never contain any testable data about the real world that weren’t already present in the head of the visionary.
  • No god has given us morality. We negotiate our morality among ourselves, and regardless of our faith or unfaith we tend to agree remarkably well about what behaviour is good or bad.
  • No omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipotent god exists, as there is evil and suffering in the world that such a being would never allow.

I quite liked the book, particularly Stenger’s insistence that science cannot be allowed to avoid having an opinion on factual issues when statements based in religion are made about them. It’s a bit long-winded and pedantic in some parts, but it did keep me reading. Still, as I said, I wonder what impact the book can ever have on religious people.

In order to drop belief in the Abrahamic Sky Guy the Stenger way, you must first achieve a critical, skeptical, scientific mind-set, or you won’t be willing to follow his reasoning. And once you do achieve such a mind-set, you no longer need to follow Stenger’s arguments, because you have already learned not to believe anything on blind authority. Religious faith and a scientific worldview can’t co-exist in one’s mind without serious compartmentalisation.

So, Victor my man, I agree with almost everything you say. Now, do you have any ideas about how I can convince my neighbour, the intellectually challenged yet very good-natured Seventh-Day-Adventist carpenter, that all his most cherished beliefs are in fact just lies?


Stenger, V. 2007. God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist. New York: Prometheus Books. 294 pp. ISBN 978-1-59102-481-1.

Comments

  1. #1 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    May 17, 2007

    One thing about the book that annoyed/disappointed me a bit: in many places where the discussion seems about to get interesting and he brings up a topic I’d like to know more about, he says he has covered that in one of his previous books, and so won’t be covering it in depth here. This happens a couple dozen times in the course of the book. Thus I received the impression that this book was not a complete attempt at the relevant arguments, but an update, perhaps spurred by the popularity of other recent books on atheism.

  2. #2 Anatoly
    May 17, 2007

    Thanks for the review Martin, I’ve been meaning to read that book myself. It’s use of science to disprove God (especially cosmology) is not something I find often in atheist literature. You also bring up a good point on how to convince religious people to adopt a skeptical and scientific viewpoint. That is indeed a tough question which no one seems to answer really well.

  3. #3 J-dog
    May 17, 2007

    Martin – Thanks you for the review – I will put it on my To-Be-Read list – I want to read Hitchens book first though.

    Mustafa – Thanks for the feedback too… when I do read his book, at least I won’t be as pissed as I would have been without your heads up and Go Cats!

    Martin again – re: Your Neighbor… Yeah. That is a GOOD question… he’s a carpenter, so hit him over the head with with a 2 x 4? And wasn’t that Nazareth guy supposed to be a carpenter too? So maybe a little crucifying might get him in the mood to examine the situation more closely…

    And for all you IDiots out there, the last comment was a freaking joke, so don’t go all Gonzalez Martyr on me!

  4. #4 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    May 17, 2007

    I wonder what impact the book can ever have

    Seems Stenger’s book didn’t cause the stirrings Dennet’s and especially Dawkins did. Perhaps people are getting tired of the subject, or perhaps Dawkins were more efficiently addressing concerns of theists and philosophers. (Since Dawkins once was religious, while I am uncertain Stenger ever was, it could be a reason behind the later.)

    In any case, it would be interesting to add this book on the staple of to-reads.

    Science can never have an opinion about the existence or non-existence of a god who keeps himself hidden and doesn’t interfere with the world.

    Every time I see a statement like this I feel unease. If we were discussing science, we would have several examples of no-go theorems (with the usual risks for loopholes of course) or testing that precludes sets of theories, presumably including limits of vanishing parameters. I could never be so certain of the limits of empirical methods, they can do amazing things at times.

    In fact, when agnostics like Wilkins whips forth their philosophical gods to define their degree of unbelief, I can sometimes feel like they have as much unsupported beliefs as theists. :-)

    For example, we once debunked vitalism, or the belief that the functions of a living organism are due to a special “vital principle”, because we found that we could explain those functions by chemistry. But nobody kept to the belief that there is still a “vital principle” inhabiting life, just not one that has no visible functions.

    Perhaps that is part of Stenger’s program. He is debunking interventionist gods. (Because I assume that he generally have no numerical data to back up most of his claim of failed tests.) And if he is successful, perhaps the remaining dualism loses its appeal as well.

  5. #5 Mark
    May 17, 2007

    It has been pointed out endlessly that religious belief is not rational, so no rational argument is likely to change a believer’s mind. I suspect that the only believers who might be particularly subject to rational argument are some (not all) of those who try to present rational arguements for their religious beliefs. Those people are, I believe, not trying to convince others that what they believe is true, but rather trying to convince themselves that what they believe is true. Given this evidence of doubt, slight though it may be, such people might eventually come to realize that their arguments fail. I was once such a person. My own congitations on the existence of a god eventually led me to conclude that the Judeo-Christian-Islamic god does not exist. Nor does any other type of god or gods.

  6. #6 derek
    May 17, 2007

    It’s true that *any* hypothesis of a present and active God can be falsified, but that’s been known true since the eighteenth century. The problem with the smart believers is that they always believe in the God you haven’t falsified yet. So your task becomes the whack-a-mole job of falsifying *every* hypothesis of a present and active God: the famous God Of The Gaps, who always moves to be where you aren’t. That’s why the overarching Set Of All God Hypotheses is rightly called unfalsifiable, even though none of the individual god hypotheses are.

  7. #7 Christina
    May 17, 2007

    What impact will the book have on a religious mind? None. To name a few reasons (I am not going to call myself the Devil’s advocate, because I do not recognize such a being as Satan, but just as a side note, if I am the Devil’s advocate, I guess in this case, that would make the religious people…well…the Devil, right?):

    “No god designed the world in all its complex structure. Everything whose origins have been understood so far has arisen by simple natural processes.”

    They do not agree – they feel that have proved the opposite for 2000 years now.

    “No god has given us immortal souls. Everything suggests that our minds are entirely reducible to simple material components.”

    They do not agree – they’ll say you have to make a leap of faith and assume what you can’t see is still there. Like your bad is there even in the dark.

    “No god has made any miraculous interventions in human history. All such accounts are source-critically spurious.”

    BUT THE BIBLE SAYS…(fill in blank according to any given “truth” in the Bible that they may use), and we all KNOW the Bible was written by God, so it must be accurate.

    “No god created the universe by supernatural means. Everything we see is compatible with the known laws of physics.”

    This statement is why God also created Intelligent Design, according to them. So the rest of us dumb-ass scientists can understand his creation.

    “No god fine-tuned the parameters of the universe to make it congenial to humans. Innumerable other configurations would have worked too, and besides, only an infinitesimal part of our vast universe is inhabitable or even accessible to us.”

    We can’t even seem to agree amongst ourselves on this issue, they say, so why should they even worry about such stupidity? It cannot be proven scientifically, at least not any more so than God’s existence…

    “No god has communicated with humans through revelations. Such visions never contain any testable data about the real world that weren’t already present in the head of the visionary.”

    They do not agree – they feel that have proved the opposite for 2000 years now AND BUT THE BIBLE SAYS…(fill in blank according to any given “truth” in the Bible that they may use), and we all KNOW the Bible was written by God, so it must be accurate.

    “No god has given us morality. We negotiate our morality among ourselves, and regardless of our faith or unfaith we tend to agree remarkably well about what behaviour is good or bad.”

    Some religions will agree with this argument, but for those religions that do not, again, you cannot prove it anymore than you can disprove their “hypothesis”. They do not agree – they’ll say you have to make a leap of faith and assume what you can’t see is still there. Like your bad is there even in the dark.

    “No omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipotent god exists, as there is evil and suffering in the world that such a being would never allow.”

    Then what would they do with their knowledge of Satan, who is just as real as God?

    I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no point in arguing with morons, so I try to ignore them as much as I can. What they do then, is attack my kids – they know where my weakspots are just as I know theirs. Then what I do is I tell them I am asatru (or wicca or whatever). That horrifies them to the point where they do not know what to do AT ALL and all fighting stops.

    One simply cannot fight blind faith by virtue of it being b-l-i-n-d. A Moslem friend of mine asked me a question about Christianity recently. Half way through my answer, he stuck his fingers in his ears and called out “La-la-la-la-I can’t hear you. It’s a sin for me to even think the thought that such things exist”. He can’t even begin to think the thought of arguing with me, never mind that there is something else out there. I think the best way to deal with it is how I’ve dealt with it in my kids’ school: over time (which on occasion has seemed endless) the other parents have come to learn that I am a good person, my children are good people, we stand by our words, we do not kill and we are not cannibals. And we do not believe in their God. They cannot argue with that.

  8. #8 Scott Coulter
    May 17, 2007

    OK, admittedly it’s a bad idea to argue against the conclusions reached in a book I haven’t read, because I may be mis-representing his arguments, but it really sounds like the entire book is one big circular argument.
    If you already don’t believe in the possibility of miracles, then if anybody reports having observed a miracle (for example, the writers of the Jewish and Christian scriptures), then you just say “I don’t think that’s a trustworthy source” and therefore “there’s no evidence of miracles”.
    Or you go to some isolated tribe in Papua New Guinnea that has never seen the Jewish or Christian scriptures and ask them for some examples of immoral behavior and they rattle off 6 of the 10 commandments (true story, by the way). You say it’s because we’ve all “evolved” the same moral sense, and I say we all have the same moral sense because that’s how God made us. In what sense has either of us “proved” or “disproved” anything? We’re just asserting things based on our existing belief system.
    I know I’m just commenting based on a brief book review, but in what sense did Stenger “test” or “prove/disprove” any of his assertions?
    –sdc

  9. #9 James
    May 17, 2007

    I have an old friend who is a minister and has been his whole life basically (he was my youth minister growing up and is just a few years older than me). I always considered him very smart, but I realized soon out of high school – and youth group – that God was a myth and that the supernatural was just someone’s snake oil they were trying to sell. I’ve remained in contact through email and we don’t discuss religion in great depth due to our understanding of each other’s views, but sometimes I feel the need to try to snap him out of it if for no other reason than the fact that I care about him and his family and want to see them enjoy the life they have now instead of dwelling on being God’s children so that they may join Him in Heaven. They home school their kids which, by itself, isn’t the end of the world, but it’s just 6 more humans who will grow up believing in ghosts, Holy and otherwise, and thinking the world is 10,000 years old. To me this isn’t just irresponsible parenting, but it’s dangerous as well. How many other seemingly rational human beings like my friend are out there raising another generation of superstitious, end-of-days wishing, fundamentalists who find their way into power due to the overwhelming herd mentality of our society? How do we as critical thinkers stem this tide? I’m not smart enough or schooled enough to debate these people, but I also don’t have a haze of faith masking my view of the world which makes me feel a bit smarter in a different way. How do I argue rationally with someone like this without sounding like I’m just saying, “Nuh-uh!” over and over? Is this even possible? I’ll have to read this book and I know this post is about my own “problem”, but maybe I can get some insight into how to present a rational argument that doesn’t come off as just not having faith. How do you argue against faith? I welcome any and all advice.

    James Miller

    Proud member of American Atheists

  10. #10 Eric
    May 17, 2007

    Just a few quick comments:

    “No god has given us immortal souls. Everything suggests that our minds are entirely reducible to simple material components.”

    Suggests? Perhaps … but we still have no unified theory of consciousness, merely interesting observations. Nothing I’ve read so far from the field of neuroscience and consciousness studies is very convincing.

    “No god created the universe by supernatural means. Everything we see is compatible with the known laws of physics.”

    I suppose we can call “the big bang” a “natural” pheonomenon, but it so borders on the fantastic that it feels like a really flimsy defense. Where did the big bang come from? The answer from science is, ultimately, “we don’t know.”

    “No god fine-tuned the parameters of the universe to make it congenial to humans. Innumerable other configurations would have worked too, and besides, only an infinitesimal part of our vast universe is inhabitable or even accessible to us.”

    Actually, the balance of conditions that produce our form of life is quite fragile. That still proves nothing about God, of course.

    “No omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipotent god exists, as there is evil and suffering in the world that such a being would never allow.”

    And here we enter the realm of philosophy, not science …

  11. #11 Martin R
    May 17, 2007

    Derek, Stenger’s approach is to whack all the main characteristics of god-moles, until the creatures that keep popping up no longer look like god-moles at all.

    Scott, I suggest you read for yourself. Stenger’s book is extensively annotated with references to scientific research.

  12. #12 Martin R
    May 17, 2007

    Christina, James, here’s the best argument against religious claims that I know of.

    “I will accept no argument based in your holy scriptures, as I regard them as written by normal people and not divinely inspired. If that’s OK with you, then let’s talk.”

    Remember, you’re not the one making fantastic claims, they are.

  13. #13 Martin R
    May 17, 2007

    Eric, according to Stenger, a lot of cosmologists believe that the Big Bang occurred because a physical property of nothingness is that it is unstable. Leave nothingness alone for long enough, and somethingness will come into being automatically.

    The problem of evil (theodicy) is indeed philosophical, and one which remains unsolved to the satisfaction of religious people. It is logically impossible for a god who cares about humans to be at once omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent.

    As for Satan, Stenger makes short work of him too with simple logic. Satan is, according to believers, not as strong as God. This means that all evil perpetrated by Satan occurs with God’s tacit acceptance. Ergo, God is either not omnibenevolent, or Satan does not exist.

  14. #14 Martin R
    May 17, 2007

    … or God does not exist.

    Or neither character exists.

  15. #15 Whatever
    May 17, 2007

    I suppose we can call “the big bang” a “natural” pheonomenon, but it so borders on the fantastic that it feels like a really flimsy defense. Where did the big bang come from? The answer from science is, ultimately, “we don’t know.”

    Lets pretend it’s 1701 for a second.
    I suppose we could call “lightning ” a “natural” phenomenon but it so borders on the fantastic that it feels like a really flimsy defense. Where does lightning come from? The answer from science is, ultimately, “we don’t know”.

    Hmmmm, sounds kind of silly now doesn’t it? Plus, the big bang made predictions about how our universe should look if it were true. These predictions have been independently verified by multiple sources. So it’s not that science isn’t giving us any answers, they just keep moving the goal posts.

  16. #16 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    May 17, 2007

    It is logically impossible for a god who cares about humans to be at once omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent.

    I don’t think that’s logically impossible, it is empirically impossible to square with the observed world.

  17. #17 Martin R
    May 17, 2007

    You’re absolutely right, sorry for that. What I meant was that it’s logically impossible for such a god to exist in a world with demonstrable evil.

  18. #18 Caledonian
    May 17, 2007

    Since all three of those traits are inherently logically impossible, it’s still impossible for such a being to exist.

  19. #19 John Wilkins
    May 17, 2007

    In fact, when agnostics like Wilkins whips forth their philosophical gods to define their degree of unbelief, I can sometimes feel like they have as much unsupported beliefs as theists. :-)

    I’m sure you meant to say “whimps”. In fact I am even more annoyed at this comment than an atheist who is told they have beliefs. Agnosticism is the complete lack of beliefs, or confidence in the decideability, about the topic one is agnostic about. You know this, Torbjörn, as you have read my posts on the matter.

    Stenger’s book is interesting in that he takes seriously attempts to use God as a scientific hypothesis, and not a more general metaphysical claim. He treats the “God hypothesis” as if it were a falsifiable claim (with the attendant faults of Popperian views of science), and of course it fails. We knew that back in 1860. In a way, Stenger is more immediately responding to modern Christian apologetics, and more power to him. But as I seem to need to say again and again, this is not, I repeat not the standard view of Christianity, and even less Judaism or Islam, all of which are of varying degrees of empirical import and rational foundation. Mostly, religion is basically how you act in ritual and social contexts; the dogma contributes very little to the view of the world that educated theists develop, and neither Stenger, nor Dawkins, nor Dennett, nor PZ nor Moran address this, so-called “Courtier’s Replies” notwithstanding.

    I am come to the conclusion that this is not a debate that can be resolved, because I simply see a different set of phenomena than these people do. They won’t even admit that I might be having this experience of religious people. It is dismissed out of hand to begin with. In critical reasoning this gets called “begging the question”. But that’s it. Enough.

  20. #20 Aaron C
    May 18, 2007

    Stenger claims, “no religious people actually believe in a god who keeps himself hidden and doesn’t interfere with the world”

    Actually, are are some who believe in such a god. They constitute about 1/1000th of 1% of total believers. They are called theologians, particularly of the apologetic xian variety. For them god is anything which can’t be pinned down and systematically investigated. In a word, what they worship is *ignorance* itself. So their more than happy to contend that there might be a god who can’t be detected in any way, but nonetheless still somehow “exists”. In fact, from this starting point they build all kinds of elaborately ridiculous fantasies about their undetectable god.

  21. #21 Martin R
    May 18, 2007

    Caledonian, I do know that omnipotence contains a paradox, “make a stone you can’t lift”. But the other two?

    Wilkins, I didn’t entirely follow you — are you saying that standard Abrahamic religion has a largely rational foundation?

    Aaron, theology is one weird subject. That department in Uppsala used to share a building with philosophy in the 90s. The philosophy undergrads liked to remove letters from the theologists’ sign, converting teologiska into ologiska, “illogical”.

  22. #22 Eric
    May 18, 2007

    I think my point about the big bang is being missed. (And by the way, I’m non-religious, so I’m not supporting a continued adherence to any scripture.) For example:

    “Leave nothingness alone for long enough, and somethingness will come into being automatically.”

    OK, it’s fine to say this, but that still doesn’t “explain” anything. In fact, it sounds like the language of myth, not science.

    As for the lightning analogy, it actually doesn’t sound silly. We can talk about what lightning does and how it’s generated, but we still don’t have any ultimate explanation of the phenomenon.

    We’re very confident in our “explanations” for things, but what we fail to realize is that our explanations don’t do much in terms of ultimate understanding. So, I get the “pushing the goal post back” analogy, but I’m asking about the stadium.

    My point isn’t just to be the annoying guy that reminds everyone about how much we don’t know (though that’s an important reminder). My point is: arguments against religion would be much more satisfying if they didn’t adopt the unfounded arrogance of the opposition. Instead, just cop to the truth about what we can actually explain and what we can’t, and don’t cover up the gaps with over-stated assurances. We’ve come a long way since 1701, but our ignorance still mightily dwarfs our knowledge.

  23. #23 Martin R
    May 18, 2007

    Few people seek the kind of “ultimate” explanations you seem to want for lightning. Clouds and static electricity do it for me, just to name one.

    Likewise with Stenger’s information about physicists’ ideas about somethingness vs. nothingness. They’re saying that nothingness has a physical trait: it tends to break down into somethingness. It’s a fact of existence comparable to magnetism, if I understand correctly.

  24. #24 Mark
    May 18, 2007

    The only way I can interpret a quest for an “ulitmate” explanation for any phenomenon is in the context of some inherent meaning of the phenomenon. At that point the question becomes closer to religion than physics.

  25. #25 Martin R
    May 18, 2007

    Natural sciences don’t deal in meaning, but causation.

  26. #26 windy
    May 18, 2007

    “Leave nothingness alone for long enough, and somethingness will come into being automatically.”

    I’m not a physicist or anything, but hasn’t such an effect been observed already? :)

  27. #27 Torbj�rn Larsson, OM
    May 18, 2007

    I suppose we can call “the big bang” a “natural” pheonomenon, but it so borders on the fantastic that it feels like a really flimsy defense. Where did the big bang come from? The answer from science is, ultimately, “we don’t know.”

    First, argument from incredulity is a fallacy. Big bang can mean both the process of expansion that we live in and its local singularity at the beginning of our universe. The second phenomena is a natural consequence of the first process.

    Second, the answer from science of the last couple of decades have been “we have many hypotheses”, so presumably we may know. It doesn’t seem to be an impossible task at the moment.

    We have multiverse theories where our universe is a local pocket or bubble universe. Essentially, they embed big bang in a larger setting. Since they follow naturally from the inflationary state we think our universe started in these theories seem to be popular hypotheses right now.

    We have theories with eternal multiverses, cyclical universes, or now latest universes that fold back and restart themselves in a closed loop. And we have theories where universes are created similarly to when virtual particles pop out of vacuum as mentioned here.

    He treats the “God hypothesis” as if it were a falsifiable claim (with the attendant faults of Popperian views of science), and of course it fails.

    There are no methodological faults in testability. We can define limits for exclusion by convention, and it works. The problems that diverse philosophical views can have with that seems to be beside the point here. And it would probably be special pleading to argue about which specific method Stenger choses for his work.

    John:

    I’m sure you meant to say “whimps”.

    Actually, I was going to say “as they claim atheists have”, but “theist” was shorter and more accurate.

    In fact I am even more annoyed at this comment than an atheist who is told they have beliefs. Agnosticism is the complete lack of beliefs, or confidence in the decideability, about the topic one is agnostic about.

    If I have touched you emotionally, fine I guess. This mirrors how annoying it can be when a reasonable position, such as Martin’s on mythology or Dawkins on improbability, is claimed to be belief. Both are based on empirical observations and in the absence of being falsified they hold.

    Now, since you read my previous comment without reacting to the real message I am sure repeating it wont help much. But FWIW, I mean that the results of empirical methods are hard to predict. They can at times exclude objects or classes of theories as not existing.

    I also claim that we debunk dualisms as we debunk pseudosciences. Theologists make a special plea that this specific dualism, supernaturalism, could remain as having no visible function. But we can’t rationally accept that exception. We should do as we did for vitalism and countless other debunked dualisms.

  28. #28 Denis Vlasov
    May 19, 2007

    I’ll be rather simple about science/religion controversy. What is overlooked sometimes is difference in ‘ways of thinking’. Academic thinking focuses mainly on explanatory concepts. Working models (inventions) are secondary. Religious thinking puts emphasis on working models (rituals). Explanations are secondary. If your explanations are wrong then your scientific model (hypothesis) will prove false in testing. So are the proofs (verification) different in academic and religious thinking. More generally, religious proof has no value in science and scientific proof has no value in religion. No common scale to measure – no point argue, IMO.

  29. #29 Martin R
    May 19, 2007

    Denis, many religious people do not respect that distinction. And almost every single religious text makes statements about the real world.

  30. #30 Pierce R. Butler
    May 19, 2007

    I can’t speak for Caledonian, but my understanding of the omni-science/-potence paradox is that it traps whoever has those traits in a nasty double bind. With complete omniscience, one would know the future – including what oneself is going to do. Ergo, no freedom, no possibility of doing anything but acting out the previously understood script. Or, if one changes one’s mind and acts differently than originally projected… putatively, omnipotence is reasserted – but one wasn’t really omniscient after all, then, was one?

  31. #31 Martin R
    May 20, 2007

    Of course, silly me! Jim Benton even wrote a guest entry on my old blog about that.

    “An omniscient god is a pre-programmed automaton, totally helpless, totally unable to change anything, since his choices were made when he first made his creation.”

  32. #32 Lars
    May 20, 2007

    Have you read Richard dawkins “The God Delusion”. It is also a very God book about why we cannot believe in God or other supernatural beings. It also adresses all the problems that follow blind faith.