Balerion wrote:oooooookay. Time to take some steps back methinks,when you start assuming dehumanization as the source of my objections.
I see two main points of contention that the main argument stems off of. I think the first problem is that we have defined omnipotent differently. As I said in my first post, there are apriori things which simply are (mostly things Plato thought of as the forms). An omnipotent being has no power to affect them, because they are not physical, they are concepts, logical constructs.
I think you don't agree with that definition.
You'd be right. Plato's philosophical idealism is hack work. Most of what ancient peoples thought of as being immaterial or supernatural were really just crude abstractions or were emergent properties of natural causes. By way of example, love is a human emotion and behavior, not some weird universal constant that exist in some ideal realm beyond our own. Any speculation in that direction is just that and would be unnecessary to any discussion.
Nietzsche called philosophers of that ilk "mummy makers," since he felt they had no appreciation for history or the process of how things come to be, instead they honor the objects of their appreciation by worshipful preservation and putting it at a distance. They try to make it imperishable and eternal.
And in any case, human character is not beyond the power of human agency. So it's fair to assert that a powerful being capable of creating complex sentient life would be able to design the conditions to meet their specifications.
The question basically boils down to: Why make us capable of suffering and then fill the universe with things that do exactly just that?
Anyway, causing suffering because it serves a purpose, especially when that purpose is easily achievable by other means, is simply sadistic.
Or maybe I'm just looking at naive Taoism that asserts that arbitrarily assigns contrasting properties to objects and decide that just because they're observed, they're fundamentally necessary to the whole?
I don't know. You tell me.
Your statements of such things like "simply make people not get spoiled" show one of two things: you either really are not thinking through how complicated a change like that would be, and all of the utility effecting results that would occur (which btw are beyond either of our abilities to calculate; you cannot make the definitive statement that world is of higher utility than ours because you can't even define the theoretical equation, it's that complex). OR, you handwave those complications because the omnipotent being should be able to avoid the problem. I am going to assume its the second option.
Utility is subjective and goal-oriented. So yes, I can say that omniscient being could create a creature living in an environment where all the utility one could ever want is achieved.
Complexity of a problem is not an issue here because we're assuming said creator had sufficient knowledge to account for all aspects of his creation. Not that this is necessarily the case with Erfworld, but if you're going to assume omnipotence, that's what we got to work with.
For me, those complications cannot be just handwaved away, because they stem from those apriori concepts. 1!=2 ; no amount of power can make it otherwise, it simply is. And those concepts are going to come back to bite you as you try to make your utopia. Which is your burden of proof here btw; you said at the beginning that the presence of evil could not be explained if there is a benevolent, omnipotent, omniscient being, and that evil + omnipotence+omniscience actually mandated maliciousness. So you have to reach a no-evil world, with all the changes that requires, and then show that it has more net utility than all possible worlds with evil.
Philosophical idealism is a hack job. The philosophers who admire it as hacks.
For one thing the burden of proof is on the guys who assert knowledge of "a priori" ideas as being more real than reality and that they even exist. Secondly, it's also a separate proposition to say that these ideals are beyond the influence of any being, and also cannot be assumed even if we grant the premise that idealism isn't just nonsense.
Establish exactly how it is that suffering is a universal constant. Because there is no enigma in the idea of a universe that lacks it. By definition
, a universe where beings cannot comprehend it is one that lacks suffering.
Claiming that suffering is a realer-than-real constant that maintains some grand Equilibrium is naive. "Suffering" is a name we give to a psychological human condition. It is not an object-unto-itself and it lacks any reality beyond which it is given by the people who feel it. I for one, have an impossible time of believing that the universe tilts-and-sways around our petty self-centered ideas.
And again, comparing all the alien utility standards that every existed and trying to account for some grand calculus is pointless. And this is why I find discussions of utilitarian ethical theory to be so depressingly boring and vague. People keep revisiting the text book definition instead of actually placing it in the context of history (consequentialism arises from increasing relevance of humanitarian goals in civilization).
Deonotological discussions are worse. Especially around people who have to pretend to be principled for a living.
Again by definition, if all the people are happy by their own understanding of it, then they've achieved maximum utility. That's impossible in this universe given our psychological composition and the necessary problems of survival.
If you give me power and free will, you have no influence on how I decide to use that power. If I can fly, you can't stop me from flying on Tuesdays. If I can talk to an individual, I can insult that individual. When beings are granted the power to communicate with one another, they also have the power to ostracize, the power to belittle, etc. The two are linked, so long as I have free will. You could claim my tongue freezes when I try to insult; but that would override my free will, wouldn't it, if i lose my power when i have decided to use it in a particular way?
Does that even make sense when you read that aloud?
Humans override the will of other humans all the time
. If I manage to get a law passed to keep you from flying on Tuesday, then I've achieved a measure of control over your power. Assuming that there are necessary components to make you able to fly, then dismantling that mechanism directly will also keep you from flying, especially if you lack the power to reassemble it (i.e. clipping the wings of a bird).
And I can exercise a measure of control over other people's wills themselves, either by use of soft or hard force. You may have heard of this lobotomy thing.
One of the greatest human projects in any society is education and indoctrination precisely because we know we can try and at least manufacture good character and good manners.
Also, having communication doesn't mean you have the power to harm me. For one thing, I may simply have more power, such that your ability to communicate is irrelevant. For another, while you might say unkind things about me, I might just not care what you think to even be hurt by your opinion. You're trying to establish a general principle that isn't true.
But does that mean we should abandon communication? Look at what it has done for humanity as a whole. Our entire civilization is built on it, with all of the astounding utility gains that have come with it. Clearly, the benefits outweighed the costs. The utility of the decision to grant communication, from the perspective of the omnipotent being, was a correct one, as it raised total utility. And at that point, a benevolent etc etc has allowed evil while being omnipotent. And at that point, your statement is false.
Show me where I said we should abandon communication.
That is the specific of a general case. If I have power to make you happier, I also have the power to not make you happier. Your hypothetical where people can all live in harmony etc is basically one where no one else has the power to lower my utility. But they won't be able to raise it by much either. And that is the concern; could the omnipotent being raise the total utility by allowing us the power to interact further? to grant more ability to create happiness, even if that power comes attached to an ability to lessen happiness?
It's easier just to say "non sequitur" and move on.
You have to establish that lacking the power to make a person happy always also
means that I am also unable to make you miserable.
Keeping all my qualifiers to a minimum, I simply lack the power to come over there and torture you. There are complex reasons for this. Throwing you a few dollars is comparatively easy.
I guess a third point is if free will is even necessary to generate utility. And it's not; I will accept the hypothetical that a being without free will is capable of experiencing utility. But will it be able to experience more than a being with it? that is where I will disagree. Free will lets me discover the options which increase my utility, and partake in them. Because of my relative individuality, letting me find those options will increase the total utility I can experience, and I would contend by leaps and bounds over the automaton.
See above. Utility is subjective and you must have agreed-upon standards if you want to be remotely objective about it.
And bad news buddy, we are
automatons. Overdesigned automatons with terrible R&D documentation. I bet doctors would love documentation. And maybe a design that's physiologically a little more simple and robust.
One of the other
great human projects is pretending that our material form isn't somehow vital to our sense of identity, while hiding or suppressing its various functions.