Fallacy of "can God make a rock not even he can lift?"

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ryancook
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:28 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo, thanks for reading over my argument and making that excellent point. I have read Flatland, and I understand what you mean. Although we can't fully rationalize a concept (such as 4 dimensional space) we can understand it in terms of comparisons. Just as 3D space is to 2D space, 4D space would be to 3D space. However, I'm not sure how to apply this to something such as TRUE = FALSE.

---------- Post added 02-16-2010 at 12:31 AM ----------

I don't know if I clicked your quick reply button in my previous comment or just scrolled to the bottom... I just want to make sure you get emailed, since that's how I keep track of responses. I'm new to the site (day 1) but I'll get the hang out it.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:33 pm
@ryancook,
ryancook;128838 wrote:
However, I'm not sure how to apply this to something such as TRUE = FALSE.


Me neither. But a book like Flatland alerts us to the possible limitations of our human minds. I like to imagine an alien species with 9 sense organs, whose body is four-dimensional. Of course I really can't imagine it. I can describe it and bump up against the limits of imagination. I think the idea of God has served that purpose for some humans, probably a minority.
 
ryancook
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:43 pm
@Reconstructo,
God bumped against my mental limits quite a bit before I finally denied his existence. The issue of the limits of knowledge interests me a lot. Philosophers have debated whether the world as it truly is can be knowable to humans, but unfortunately I haven't been studying long enough to have an intelligent conversation about their arguments. I bought a book called Understanding Empiricism, which describes many of these debates against the rationalists, in preparation for reading the legendary A Critique of Pure Reason. I tried reading that one dry, and I after a couple pages I gave up. It's intense but I'm sure it will be worth it.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 12:02 am
@ryancook,
ryancook;128842 wrote:
God bumped against my mental limits quite a bit before I finally denied his existence. The issue of the limits of knowledge interests me a lot. Philosophers have debated whether the world as it truly is can be knowable to humans, but unfortunately I haven't been studying long enough to have an intelligent conversation about their arguments. I bought a book called Understanding Empiricism, which describes many of these debates against the rationalists, in preparation for reading the legendary A Critique of Pure Reason. I tried reading that one dry, and I after a couple pages I gave up. It's intense but I'm sure it will be worth it.


No God on this end either, but I do think the myth and concept of God is one of humanity's more fascinating inventions. I fascinated with Kant and Jung, and all those metaphysical/epistemological guys. Also Nietzsche, who defined truth as an army of metaphors. I think pragmatism is a slick option, too. Yes, the limits of knowledge issue is indeed great. The mind minds the mind. The investigation is investigated. Hegel wrote some brilliant stuff on the subject-object theme. Good hunting. To me, it seems like an endless quest . Or maybe a bottomless salad.
 
ryancook
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 12:18 am
@ryancook,
ryancook;128824 wrote:
I'll take a stab...

Assuming that God exists and that logic exists externally (some philosophers have argued that logic is a result of how human brains perceive the world), and assuming that any proposition regarding the potentiality of an act by God is true, then we can conclude that God is able to create a rock that 1) He can lift, 2) He cannot lift. Simplified, we have concluded that TRUE = FALSE.

Furthermore:

1) If God transcends logic, then we are unable to understand or postulate what that conclusion means, and logical analysis stops there.

2) If God does NOT transcend logic, then that definition of God is illogical and a being of that nature cannot exist

3) A third possibility is that God exists, but is not omnipotent and does not transcend logic, and he can choose to make balls of any sort he prefers.

I welcome criticism, I'm sure this argument is not airtight.


To clarify: I'm assuming that God can make one rock that he can both lift and not lift, hence TRUE = FALSE. In my third possible conclusion, I state that he can make a single rock that he can either lift or not lift, but not both. I reread my argument and couldn't let that ambiguity stand. I also meant rock, not ball Laughing
 
richard mcnair
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 12:22 am
@Mephistopheles phil,
This proposed rock that god is meant to try to lift, where is it? Because weight isn't a property of objects is it? Weight is dependent on the gravity wherever the object is.

Science which apparently can tell us everything about everything according to some, can't actually tell us anything about what gravity actually is, along with space, time, causality, etc and just proceeds on the assumption that they 'just are'.

If god created everything then he also created gravity, and the law of gravity operates by his will, therefore asking if he could create a rock big enough that even he couldn't lift is like asking someone to lock their hands together and pull to try to figure out which of their arms are stronger.
The premise is completely nonsensical.

Also it (along with innumerable other such arguments) is entirely based on a caricatured understanding of God. I.e. it was probably formed by an atheist who either ignorant of what the idea of god is meant to be, or didn't really care as to the soundness of the argument, but just as long as it sounds good and attacks theism, then that's all right then.

God in practically every religion is meant to be a being who doesn't exist corporeally in time and space, but transcendentally outside time and space. The act of lifting a rock, indicates an action taking place in time, involving matter existing in space.
 
ryancook
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 12:30 am
@richard mcnair,
Richard McNair, this question is one that has been around for some time, and what's important is not God or the rock (from which you derived questions regarding gravity). The question attempts to show the shortcomings of our man made theory of logic, not shortcomings in a God. The question of what would happen if an unstoppable force hit an unmovable target is of the same structure and same intent.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 12:30 am
@ryancook,
ryancook;128845 wrote:
In my third possible conclusion, I state that he can make a single rock that he can either lift or not lift, but not both. I reread my argument and couldn't let that ambiguity stand. I also meant rock, not ball Laughing


I like that. So he's gets to do it only once? Interesting. This is like minimal abstract fiction. Fun to visualize.

At first I thought you meant he could make either rock, but not a self-contradicting rock.
He's standing there with an option as to what kind of rocks he feels like making. The liftable or the unliftable.
 
richard mcnair
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 12:35 am
@ryancook,
ryancook;128854 wrote:
Richard McNair, this question is one that has been around for some time, and what's important is not God or the rock (from which you derived questions regarding gravity). The question attempts to show the shortcomings of our man made theory of logic, not shortcomings in a God. The question of what would happen if an unstoppable force hit an unmovable target is of the same structure and same intent.

Well sorry... most of the time I have heard that argument has been from atheists trying to bash the theists.
 
ryancook
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 12:38 am
@richard mcnair,
richard_mcnair;128856 wrote:
Well sorry... most of the time I have heard that argument has been from atheists trying to bash the theists.


Understandable, I'd say that's a misuse of the argument by those atheists. Although I'm an atheist myself, I would recommend using my previous post against them next time you face it.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 02:08 am
@Mephistopheles phil,
Can God make a copy of himself?
 
Raine
 
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 08:28 am
@Mephistopheles phil,
Mephistopheles;16334 wrote:
First off, I just want to say this is the first subforum I've been browsing around in since I joined here, and I'm absolutely astounded by the intelligence of people here. I am honestly impressed. I have been to many forums and I haven't found anything with such high quality.

That being said, the highest mathematics course I've taken is trigonometry/algebra II. I also don't know if this has been said before. But I do have a grasp of basic logic to make the following assertion:

A common scenario is thus: can God make a rock not even he can lift?

There's two conclusions I've come to. One, ∞<x =/=. Nothing can exceed infinity by the very nature of infinity. Thus, this question is invalid because it uses illogic to try to come to a "logical" conclusion which obviously means the whole scenario is corrupt. However, the second simultaneous conclusion is that indeed, if there is a God, he has limitations. Personally I'm an atheist, but it's still something to consider.

Assuming reality is material.

Just thought this might interest some of you.



You could always argue that infinity is an implausible concept (outside its use in mathematics ^^).
This is the analogy that made me question whether infinity was a possible or even logical. ( Can't remember who orginally did this, does anyone here know?)
Imagine a hotel with an infinite number of rooms, all of them occupied. If you ask for a room in this hotel you've created a paradox. You can't stay because the rooms are occupied to infinity, but there are an infinite number of rooms in which you can stay. You simultaneously can and can't stay at this hotel.

One thing I really like about this analogy is that it makes my brain hurt a little everytime I think about it (:
 
Krumple
 
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 09:11 am
@Raine,
Raine;131818 wrote:
You could always argue that infinity is an implausible concept (outside its use in mathematics ^^).
This is the analogy that made me question whether infinity was a possible or even logical. ( Can't remember who orginally did this, does anyone here know?)
Imagine a hotel with an infinite number of rooms, all of them occupied. If you ask for a room in this hotel you've created a paradox. You can't stay because the rooms are occupied to infinity, but there are an infinite number of rooms in which you can stay. You simultaneously can and can't stay at this hotel.

One thing I really like about this analogy is that it makes my brain hurt a little everytime I think about it (:


You are referring to Hilbert's paradox of the grand hotel.

If there are an infinite amount of rooms and there is no vacancy then by all means there are no empty rooms according to their definitions. However; you can make empty rooms by moving people to the next room. So you could move everyone up one room in number and you will have an empty room in room one.

There are other ways to make this even more complex. Like moving only people in the odd or even numbered rooms up one room number. Now you have an infinite amount of empty odd or even rooms.

More than likely infinite do not exist in actual reality however; you can potentially create an infinite loop or infinite cycle or infinite linear progression that just never becomes infinite.

You could make time infinite, even if it has a start point, you could say it will continue to tick away seconds and minutes for ever and at no time in the future will the process ever stop.

You can have an infinite loop, such as a wheel. A wheel basically has no starting or ending point. It can continue spinning technically for ever but the only thing that would stop the wheel is some other force like drag or erosion.

The matter-energy exchange is considered an infinite exchange since matter can not be destroyed, it can only be transformed into energy.
 
Raine
 
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 09:27 am
@Mephistopheles phil,
Thank you!

But can time be infinite if you admit that it has a starting point?
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 09:29 am
@Raine,
Raine;131825 wrote:
Thank you!

But can time be infinite if you admit that it has a starting point?
That's like asking 'can the natural numbers be infinite if they start with zero'.
 
Raine
 
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 09:35 am
@Mephistopheles phil,
But the definition of infinity that I know, isn't something that began and goes on for a very long time, but something without a start or an end.

I guess I'm quite torn on this subject, and in some ways I believe that even discussing infinity is meaningless, as we can't ever fully understand the concept we're talking about.
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 09:43 am
@Mephistopheles phil,
Here you go: Peter Suber, "Infinite Sets"
 
Emil
 
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 07:38 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;131830 wrote:


Would that be understandable for a person without a university background in mathematics?
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 08:22 pm
@Emil,
Emil;132106 wrote:
Would that be understandable for a person without a university background in mathematics?
Yes, it's quite accessible.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 08:29 pm
@Mephistopheles phil,
Aren't there an infinite amount of numbers between 0 and 1?
 
 

 
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