1. Joined
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    16 Jan '14 18:311 edit
    Here is a thought experiment that I think could be worthwhile. For theists, the question is roughly as follows. What is the nearest possible world (the one maximally closest to our actual world) wherein your god(s) does not exist? This question is of course specific to your particular theistic conception, whatever it happens to be. So, let's say you believe that there exists some god(s) with properties x,y,z....; then what is the nearest possible world wherein no such entity(ies) exists? What does it look like relative to the actual world?

    For atheists, the question could be roughly as follows. What is the nearest possible world wherein god(s) does exist; what does it look like relative to the actual world? However, this question is too unconstrained because it is not specific to any particular god-conception. Perhaps we would need to constrain the question further to make it interesting.

    To lead by example, I will play first. As an atheist, I lack belief that any god(s) exists. What do I think the nearest possible world wherein god(s) do exist looks like? Again, this presumably could depend on what god-conceptions are at issue. If, for example, the god at issue would be one wholly unconcerned with human affairs, then presumably the answer is that the nearest possible world wherein such an entity exists is just an exact replica of our actual world. If, on the other hand for example, the god at issue is one intensely interested in human affairs, then presumably the nearest possible world could be quite different from the actual one. However, let's consider a specific example of a somewhat traditional conception of 'god' as a personal creator, interested in human affairs, and having properties including omnipotence, omniscience, moral perfection, etc. Personally I think an evidential problem of evil shows that we ought to expect the world to be quite different from what it is actually is, were such an entity to exist. However, I also think that logical formulations of the problem of evil fail: that is to say, I think arguments that purport to show that the evils that exist in the actual world are logically inconsistent with the existence of such an entity, are unsound. (For instance, I think it is broadly logically possible that we are simply radically confused in our valuation of putative evils in such arguments and that it is broadly possible that they are necessary for some greater good.) Since I think it is broadly logically possible (despite how evidentially improbable I think it is) that such an entity exists even given all these putative evils; then I would have to conclude at least on the basis of only these considerations that the nearest possible world wherein such an entity exists is still just an exact replica of the actual one. Further, I know of no arguments that show that the existence of such an entity is logically incompatible with our actual world. Further, I know of no argument that shows such an entity is logically impossible simpliciter (although I think the omni- properties involved are quite difficult to coherently formulate). So I would venture that the nearest possible world wherein such an entity exists is just a duplicate of the actual world.

    This question may be more interesting for theists rather than atheists.
    πŸ˜•
  2. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    16 Jan '14 18:46
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    Here is a thought experiment that I think could be worthwhile. For theists, the question is roughly as follows. What is the nearest possible world (the one maximally closest to our actual world) wherein your god(s) does not exist? This question is of course specific to your particular theistic conception, whatever it happens to be. So, let's say you b ...[text shortened]... ctual world.

    This question may be more interesting for theists rather than atheists.
    πŸ˜•
    "Here is a thought experiment that I think could be worthwhile. For theists, the question is roughly as follows. What is the nearest possible world (the one maximally closest to our actual world) wherein your god(s) does not exist?" -LemonJello

    God is not only eternal and sovereign; omniscient, omnipotent and immutable but also omnipresent;
    the "actual world", "possible world(s)" and the entire known universe and beyond are His domain.
  3. Joined
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    16 Jan '14 18:47
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    "Here is a thought experiment that I think could be worthwhile. For theists, the question is roughly as follows. What is the nearest possible world (the one maximally closest to our actual world) wherein your god(s) does not exist?" -LemonJello

    God is not only eternal and sovereign; omniscient, omnipotent and immutable but also omnipresent;
    the "actual world", "possible world(s)" and the entire known universe and beyond are His domain.
    I don't think you understand the concept of a thought experiment.
  4. SubscriberSuzianne
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    16 Jan '14 18:51
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    I don't think you understand the concept of a thought experiment.
    This seemed more like mental masturbation, if you ask me. πŸ˜•
  5. Joined
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    16 Jan '14 19:19
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    "Here is a thought experiment that I think could be worthwhile. For theists, the question is roughly as follows. What is the nearest possible world (the one maximally closest to our actual world) wherein your god(s) does not exist?" -LemonJello

    God is not only eternal and sovereign; omniscient, omnipotent and immutable but also omnipresent;
    the "actual world", "possible world(s)" and the entire known universe and beyond are His domain.
    If I understand you, you are claiming that there are no possible worlds (near to ours or otherwise) wherein your God does not exist. Is that correct? Do you have any considerations that show this? Just stating that he is omnipresent is not really relevant: that He is 'omnipresent' just means he is everywhere present within a given world where He is instantiated. But that is consistent with His not being instantiated in some possible world(s). To show that there are no possible worlds wherein He doesn't exist, you need to show that His existence is logically necessary -- not that He is putatively omnipresent.
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    16 Jan '14 19:40
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    This seemed more like mental masturbation, if you ask me. πŸ˜•
    The thought experiment is a very powerful tool, as you should know.

    I know that you yourself don't believe that there can be evidence for god
    and so this question wont concern you.

    However for those that think there can be or is evidence for gods then it's relevant.

    If you are one of those people who say that 'the universe' proves that there
    is a god, then it's a relevant question as to what would be the closest universe
    to this one that didn't have, and wasn't made by, a god.
  7. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    16 Jan '14 19:46
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    If I understand you, you are claiming that there are no possible worlds (near to ours or otherwise) wherein your God does not exist. Is that correct? Do you have any considerations that show this? Just stating that he is omnipresent is not really relevant: that He is 'omnipresent' just means he is everywhere present within a given world where He is ins ...[text shortened]... need to show that His existence is logically necessary -- not that He is putatively omnipresent.
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    "If I understand you, you are claiming that there are no possible worlds (near to ours or otherwise) wherein your God does not exist. Is that correct? Do you have any considerations that show this? Just stating that he is omnipresent is not really relevant: that He is 'omnipresent' just means he is everywhere present within a given world where He is instantiated. But that is consistent with His not being instantiated in some possible world(s). To show that there are no possible worlds wherein He doesn't exist, you need to show that His existence is logically necessary -- not that He is putatively omnipresent."

    Please see these two Original Posts.

    Thread 157026

    Thread 156911

    Thanks for an interesting thread.
  8. Joined
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    16 Jan '14 21:043 edits
    If all versions of God can and do perform miracles, and no other being performs miracles, then a world in which there is no god would be a world without miracles. Presumably this means that world is governed by strict physical causality. If one can argue that the bestowal of free will upon a being is a miracle, then there is no free will in such a world. Any moral approval or disapproval of the acts of any being would be unjustified.

    That's my first reaction.
  9. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    16 Jan '14 21:12
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    I don't think you understand the concept of a thought experiment.
    Hmm... does googlefudge plan to accept LemonJello's Invitation to participate or sit on the sidelines critiquing?
  10. Joined
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    16 Jan '14 21:25
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    Hmm... does googlefudge plan to accept LemonJello's Invitation to participate or sit on the sidelines critiquing?
    I get basically the same answer as LemonJello's in that because an omnimax
    god can make any universe it wants and thus the closest universe to this one
    that could have a god is this one.

    I don't think this one is the most probable universe that would actually have a
    god, but that wasn't the question asked.

    As he said, it's not a very interesting question for an atheist.
  11. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    16 Jan '14 21:38
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    I get basically the same answer as LemonJello's in that because an omnimax
    god can make any universe it wants and thus the closest universe to this one
    that could have a god is this one.

    I don't think this one is the most probable universe that would actually have a
    god, but that wasn't the question asked.

    As he said, it's not a very interesting question for an atheist.
    Does his concluding remark suggest superfluity or hypothetical excess: "So I would venture that the nearest possible world wherein such an entity exists is just a duplicate of the actual world." If not, what would be the rationale for a "duplicate"?
  12. Subscribersonhouse
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    16 Jan '14 21:42
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    This seemed more like mental masturbation, if you ask me. πŸ˜•
    Maybe this will turn out to be a juicy topic thenπŸ™‚
  13. Joined
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    16 Jan '14 21:47
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    Does his concluding remark suggest superfluity or hypothetical excess: "So I would venture that the nearest possible world wherein such an entity exists is just a duplicate of the actual world." If not, what would be the rationale for a "duplicate"?
    You really need to make your posts clearer.

    Guessing at what you are asking...

    The present world does not have a god or gods.
    Thus while the nearest world that could have a god would be like this one,
    it is not this one.
    Hence duplicate.
  14. Joined
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    16 Jan '14 21:56
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    "If I understand you, you are claiming that there are no possible worlds (near to ours or otherwise) wherein your God does not exist. Is that correct? Do you have any considerations that show this? Just stating that he is omnipresent is not really relevant: that He is 'omnipresent' just means he is everywhere p ...[text shortened]...
    Thread 157026

    Thread 156911

    Thanks for an interesting thread.
    I took a look at the opening posts in the two threads to which you linked. I don't see how they are relevant to the current inquiry. Could you clarify?
  15. Standard memberwolfgang59
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    16 Jan '14 22:00
    Because I am only 99.999999999999999 % sure that gods do not exist I
    must concede that the closest world in which a god could exist is this one.

    However, I think a more likely one would be a world with one religion and
    a holy book that did not have contradictions or need 3rd parties to explain.
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