For those all who’ve regularly been reading this blog for the past couple years (all zero of you), you’ll know a few things about me. For those who haven’t been following along, well, let me fill you in. And then, once I get that background out of the way, we’re off to the races. (Here we go)
Axiom 1: The metrics by which an epistemic system is to be judged, are its explanatory power and its ability to make testable, repeatable predictions that reliably allow reality to be influenced in conformity with will.
When I was a very young child, 8 years old, I remember going to services at our local Reform temple one evening. It was a very cold day, and I was running ahead of my family when my mother called out for me to be careful. I told her, secure and confident in the way that only a child can be, that I had nothing to fear since a temple is “God’s house” and of course I couldn’t get hurt there. She reiterated that I had to be careful, and that I could break a bone if I slipped and fell on the ice. That was the first time I truly began to realize that theism didn’t quite add up.
So, I’ve written here, at great length, about the importance of negation, of the null hypothesis, as a fundamental hypothesis that can only be overturned by carrying the burden of proof. And the null hypothesis’ relationship to belief in deities. (or God, or G-d, or יהוה, or what-have-you). But tonight I was discussing Spinoza and Einstein with someone, and it helped me to crystallize a way that I might share my mind with you… and thereby give you insight into where I’m coming from.
“I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning.” – The Book of Lies
I’d like to address the claim that an omnipotent, omniscient being, a being that wanted its will to be communicated with perfect clarity and fidelity to all people for all of time, decided to do so by having people grind up pigments in order to stain dead trees and/or animal hides with words.
– Axiom 1: Determinism and the ontological possibility of choice, are mutually exclusive.
– Definition 1: let deterministic mean: “a system in which no randomness is involved in the development of future states of the system. A deterministic model will thus always produce the same output from a given starting condition or initial state.”
– Definition 2: let free will mean : “the capacity unique to persons that allows them to control their actions by making choices”
– Definition 3: let omniscience mean: “knowing everything : having unlimited understanding or knowledge”
-Given 1: there is an omniscient entity
-Given 2: humans have free will
– P1: There is an omniscient entity (G1)
– P2: If an entity is omniscient, it will know the starting and ending states of a system, as well as all states in between. (D3)
– P3: if an omniscient entity knows every state, including the ending state of a system before the system gets to that point in time, then events within the system cannot vary from what is destined to happen. (P2)
– P4: Events that are destined to happen can not occur any way other than what is destined to occur. (P3)
– P5: If events cannot occur any way other than what is destined, the cosmos will always produce the same output from a given starting condition or initial state. (D1)
– P6: If there is an omniscient entity, then the cosmos will always produce the same output from a given starting condition or initial state. (P4, D1)
– P7: Any system which will always produce the same output from a given starting condition or initial state, is deterministic. (D1)
– P8: If a system is deterministic, any and all future actions are already destined, and choice is not ontologically possible. (A1, D1, P3, P4)
– P9: Free will requires the ontologically possibility of choice. (D2)
– P10: Free will and determinism are mutually exclusive (A1, D2)
– P11: Reality is deterministic. (P1, P2, P6, P7)
– P12: Humans have free will (G2)
∴ (P1 ⊕ P12 )