Monday, June 4, 2007

Proofs that Gods DNE

I wish to prove that the philosopher's god does not exist. To avoid confusion, I will call that god Phil. Define Phil as omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and the creator of the universe. This is consistent with the Merriam Webster definition. Proof I:
  1. Assume Phil exists.
  2. An omnibenevolent entity dislikes suffering.
  3. There is suffering in this universe.
  4. An omnipotent being does not have to do anything it would not want to do.
  5. From 2 and 3 we have that Phil does not like the suffering in this universe.
  6. From 4 we have that Phil did not have to create any universe with suffering.
  7. An omniscient entity would know the results of all of its actions before taking them.
  8. Thus, from 5 and 7, Phil would not want to create this universe.
  9. From 6 and 8, Phil would not create this universe.
  10. This universe exists.
  11. 9 and 10 form a contradiction. Therefore, our assumption must be wrong. Phil does not exist.
Discussion I: If an omnibenevolent god were to create a universe, it would not want there to be suffering in it. If it were omnipotent, it would have the power to create a universe without suffering, and if it were omniscient, it would know how to do this. But since the universe we live in contains suffering, Phil would not have created it. Since I defined Phil as the creator of the universe, my only assumption - that Phil exists - must be wrong.

Next I'll take on a god that has the same ultimate goal as that of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Define Judy as having the same traits as Phil, with the addition that Judy has created a heaven, and Judy wants to populate it with people who would chose to do certain things in their lives, i.e. worship and obey Judy.

Proof II:

  1. Assume Judy exists.
  2. As shown in Proof I step 9, Judy would not wish to create a universe with suffering if she could avoid it.
  3. Judy could populate heaven as follows:
    • create a computer model of the universe. (Judy creates an unimaginably powerful computer, and Judy writes an incomprehensibly complex simulation program.)
    • simulate the souls and lives in the program.
    • use the model to find out which souls would meet all criteria to go to heaven.
    • create only the souls that would go to heaven.
    • skip living. Place souls in heaven exactly as they would be as if they had lived.
    In this way, heaven is populated exactly as if this universe had existed, but without the creation of real suffering.
  4. From 3 we see that Judy can have what she wants without creating suffering, and we know she doesn't want suffering from 2.
  5. From 4, Judy would not create this universe.
  6. This universe exists.
  7. 5 and 6 form a contradiction. Therefore, our assumption must be wrong. Judy does not exist.
Discussion II: It should be evident that an all-knowing and all-powerful god could create the model in step 3, complete with simulated souls. I am asserting that free will could be simulated by an omnipotent, omniscient being. Unless someone has some very special definitions of souls or free will, there should be no argument on those points. I am not saying that the step 3 model is the only way Judy could accomplish her goal. It doesn't have to be. All I need to do is show that Judy could have what she wants without creating human suffering. Since she is benevolent, she would choose simulated suffering over actual suffering. Thus, she wouldn't create this universe. The ungrounded assumption in this discussion is that Judy exists, and since we found a contradiction, it means that that assumption must be wrong. Judy does not exist.

If you still believe in a god by the end of these two proofs, then either (1) they haven't sunk in yet, (2) you don't believe them because you don't understand logic, (3) you don't think they apply to your god, or (4) see below. If (3) is the case, then your god cannot have all four of the traits: omniscience, omnipotence, omnibenevolence, creator of the universe. It can have some of these, but not all four. If you think your god has these traits, but didn't do what was described in Proof II step 3 because of some special limitations/circumstances/whims, then these limitations mean your god isn't omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent, or your god didn't create the universe.

On the other hand, if (2) is the case, then I highly recommend that you learn logic. It is indispensable if things like the existence of god or problem-solving interest you. If you don't know which of these three categories you fit into, it's probably a mix of (1) and (2). Take a break, read up on logic, and then go back over these proofs in a few days.

(4) I have complete confidence in the truth and validity of these arguments. If you take issue with any of the premises or the logical steps, and you can demonstrate that you know the difference between truth and validity, then I encourage you to leave a comment.

You can also see a discussion of these proofs here.


DaggerClaw said...

I think there's a problem with your logic. Besides any proof starting with an assumption that is, in step 2 of Proof I you say that an omnibenevolent entity dislikes suffering, how do we know this is true, it is another assumption.

If we have to take a child in for their shots, we know what the shots are for, we know that it is in the child's benifit to have those shots and I'm sure we try to explain that it will hurt but its for the child's best interest. But In fact it hurts the child, causes suffering. Is it so hard to believe that an omnibenevolent would have some sort of reason for suffering. Just because we don't understand doesn't mean there isn't a reason.

Once that part of your proof is no longer accurate the rest of proof one is no longer accurate, since it is based on each step. Or so I learned when we covered scientific process and proof's.

Next, in Proof II again, you start with two assumptions. You assume that "Judy would not wish to create an universe with suffering if she could avoid it"

Now I'm not a religious person. But I respect other people's belief systems. It isn't easy for me to contimplate what may come after if there is an after. All I can rely on is the fact that we all die. If someone gathers comfort from the thought of an after life then more power to them, if someone gathers comfort from the thought that there isn't anything after, then more power to them as well.

What I don't agree with is your closing paragraphs. It seems to me as if you have closed the arguement leaving no room for opposition. You say "If you still believe in a god by the end of these two proofs, then either (1) they haven't sunk in yet, (2) you don't believe them because you don't understand logic, (3) you don't think they apply to your god."

In essence you have insulted anyone that doesn't agree with your beliefs with statement (2).

jackal said...

Daggerclaw, I'll respond to your points by numbering the paragraphs they appered in.
1.a) All proofs by contradiction (which both of these are) start with an assumption. That assumption is whatever you're trying to disprove.
1.b) I think the definition of benevolence shows us that an omnibenevolent being dislikes suffering.
2. Your giving shots to a child analogy is inappropriate because it assums limitaions on the actor. A god could make the shots not hurt.
4. I start with one assumption, (see 1.a), and I showed in Proof I that a god like Phil wouldn't want to create this universe.
5-7. These are not my beliefs. These are logical proofs. If you can believe something that contradicts these proofs, then either you are illogical or these proofs are illogical. For these proofs to be illogical, their premises must be false and/or their logic must be invalid.

DaggerClaw said...

Thank you for clarifying in your first statement. It has been awhile since I've seen or used proofs. I still disagree with your definition of benevolence though, well not the definition, but the assumption that a god would have the same reasoning behind it.

You say that my child analogy is inappropriate because it assumes limitations on the actor. That a god could make it not hurt. But it seems as if you are assuming that a god/goddess/being would think similiar in some regards to us. I stand by my reasoning that a god/goddess/whatever might have other reasons for allowing suffering, even for benevolent reasons.

"If you can believe something that contradicts these proofs, then either you are illogical or these proofs are illogical. For these proofs to be illogical, their premises must be false and/or their logic must be invalid."

It is just my opinion but the wording that you have used on that last statement seems to be seen in only black and white. Am I incorrect in thinking that you are saying that if I don't believe your proofs but can't refute the logic then I am illogical?

jackal said...


Let me elaborate on the what I take it to mean to be a benevolent god. I'll agree that some suffering may be beneficial. However, the suffering in this wold - the genocide in Darfur, the Holocaust, child slavory, child soldiers - I cannot believe that an god with infinite goodwill and unlimited power would knowingly create a world that would lead to such things. To change my mind, you'll have to show me something that a god like Judy would want that it could not get without genocide-scale suffering.

As to your other point, if questions like the existance of god are important to you, then you owe it to yourself to gain an understanding of logic. Otherwise, you'll never know if these kinds of proofs are right or not. If you'll recal my original post, people don't understand the logic, fall into category (2), and they are advised to learn about logic so that they may believe my argument or provide a logic-based rebuttal.

DaggerClaw said...

The only thing I can think of off the top of my head that a god like Judy could want from a world with genocide like the nazi's would be a person's willingness to sacrifice themselves to save someone else. Unselfish desire for another human being. It's rare but there were times that a person or family would hide people or families from reprisal in those situations, even though if they were caught they themselves would be killed.

In a world without suffering, there would be no self sacrifice that didn't come easy.

jackal said...

The idea of torturing thousands of people to death in order to build character in those few who would chose to make sarcifice for others is inconsistant with my view of what Judy could and would do. Why couldn't a god create souls with build-in character? This is possible under the process in Proof II step 3.

John said...

The assumption that Judy is omnibenevolent is a construct of Xianity (although fundamentalists seem to reject the idea). I think some Judaic sects also believe it. But the entire Old Testament puts the lie to that. Joshua, Kings, Judges and Job (most of the rest, too) portray God as petty, vindictive, jealous and possibly bipolar.

Onmipotence is a logical impossibility. Think of the old "can God make a boulder so heavy that even he can't lift it?" question. It's usually dismissed as being childish and impudent, if not simply ignored, but I've never heard it satisfactorily answered (I did know one minister who just answered "Yes." but that's the same as saying that you just have to have faith. It isn't really an answer). The creation of unresolveable paradoxes is a good indication that the situation can't exist.

Just remember that while logical proofs may satisfy some people, others will simply assert that God is beyond logic.

Rhology said...

Just to help clear up a bit...

Omnipotence = God can do anythg that is actually possible.
Can't create square circles. Can't make a rock so heavy He can't lift it, etc.

And for your 2 proofs, they are nice, but the Bible does not present an "omnibenevolent" God, so that's where the proof suffers.
The biblical God, rather, is highly benevolent, yes, but not OMNIbenevolent. He is more concerned w/ His glory and the accomplishing of His will than w/ omnibenevolence (whatever "omnibenevolence" means).


John said...


"Omnipotence = God can do anythg that is actually possible."

do you define 'possible' to include raising the dead, holding the earth stationary in its orbit, and other biblical miracles?

If your God created the universe, it follows that he created the rules of logic. Did he give up a huge portion of his power to do so?

If there is any, I repeat any limit on his power, then he is not omnipotent.

That is what omnipotent means.

John said...


If you meant "logically possible" rather than "actuallyt possible" I take back what I said about biblical miracles, they are ridiculous, but not logical contradictions.

For the rest of my previous comment, I assumed that "logically possible" is what you meant.

Rhology said...

Clarification (sorry I didn't get to this sooner):

Yes, I meant actually possible, not things that are logically impossible. Square circles are a logical impossibility. Raising a dead guy is not. Stopping the earth in place and keeping all the resultant catastrophic effects from wreaking havoc is not logically impossible, just really really hard. But God is powerful enough to do really really hard things.

And God didn't "create" logic; it is flows out of Who He is.