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Passions in Poetry

Are We Omniscient?

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Essorant
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0 posted 12-17-2008 07:11 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant




Could it be that we know everything, but just not perfectly?  


Grinch
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1 posted 12-17-2008 07:28 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


No.

There is a point of maximum calculability defined by the age, size and entropy of the universe which, along with the speed of light and minimum time taken to move information across the Planck length, precludes the ability to know everything.

A god could theoretically know everything in our universe, if she existed outside our universe and timeframe but had read only access to it.

Essorant
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2 posted 12-17-2008 08:11 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I don't agree with that Grinch.  I will tell you why.  It is because the rest of the universe is just an extension of what is "right here".  And I know what is "right here", an extension of "right there".  The rest is just "right here" stretching further "right there".  Therfore, knowing "right here" is knowing "right there" too, just not perfectly.    

In this way, we must be omniscient, just not perfectly so.  Going and studying "right there" will just improve, adjust, perfect our knowledge, not remove any complete absence of it "right here".

Ron
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3 posted 12-17-2008 10:47 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Get a dictionary, Ess.

Imperfect omniscience is right up there with applying a superlative to the word unique. After you look up omniscience and unique, you can browse through to oxymoron.
Essorant
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4 posted 12-17-2008 11:14 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

That is the same trick modern scientists do with the word "science" forcing their stipulations on a word that literally means "knowledge" not "institutional knowledge or knowledge only with a special institution's method or terminology".  Likewise omniscient literally means "all knowing", not "allperfectly knowing".  The same way one knows even himself but not perfectly to the extent of every particle, likewise we know the whole universe, but not to the extent of every specification, in fact sometimes very generally and imaginatively, and in fact in a way that may keep focus on the principles of the universe, artistically cultivating our strength in doing so, instead of cluttering endless specifications and pretending that is the only thing that may be "science" or even "omniscience".  Despite us knowing everything, I am very glad to use art to pedestal knowledge, and even more glad to use imaginative art, instead of mechanical and unimaginative ways of using and expressing knowledge.  

Not A Poet
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5 posted 12-17-2008 11:22 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Even if I were to accept that you know everything, or can know everything, right here, I still have to challenge your extrapolation that 'the rest of the universe is just an extension of what is "right here"'. I don't believe you actually know that.
Essorant
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6 posted 12-17-2008 11:27 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Mind you I said "right here" is an extension of "right there" too.   The point is that all places are simultaneously one place, the universe, and we know that "place" or "universe" to varying extents, just not perfectly to every possible condition or aspect.
Ron
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7 posted 12-18-2008 12:19 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I can answer your question, Essorant, but I don't see any point in posting it here. Since here is just an extensions of there, you already know what I was going to say.

Now, would you please turn your head so I can get undressed in private before retiring to my bed? Your omniscience is making me uncomfortable.
Stephanos
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8 posted 12-18-2008 01:32 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

ROTFL

Ron are you kidding? clothes are no barrier for the omniscient voyeur Essorant!

And I agree with everyone else, No.

Unless you want to tell me the specific object I thought of at 1:34 AM Ess?

No clues

Stephen
Essorant
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9 posted 12-18-2008 06:33 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Don't worry,  it is not too difficult to understand if you see something as an extent of all, the whole universe, instead of just an extent of itself.  If you understand everything as some extent of everything, then you may understand how knowing anything is also knowing something of everything.  That is, we know everything to some extent, but we don't know everything to every extent.   And that some extent to which we know everything may be very limited, not just by our minds, by even by our choices, choosing this instead of that.  Anything is itself, but it is also an extent of the the whole universe, an extent of everything, and therefore knowing anything is also knowing everything, to some extent.  It is not just humans, but all our fellow earthlings, other animals and insects, that are omniscient.  We all know all to some extent.


Susan Caldwell
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10 posted 12-18-2008 12:28 PM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

"Imperfect omniscience is right up there with applying a superlative to the word unique. After you look up omniscience and unique, you can browse through to oxymoron"

*snort*

I don't remember Ron ever making me laugh so much.  

"too bad ignorance isn't painful"
~Unknown~

Not A Poet
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11 posted 12-18-2008 05:27 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Gosh Susan, I hope you didn't snort coffee out your nose
Stephanos
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12 posted 12-18-2008 09:53 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
I don't remember Ron ever making me laugh so much.


Me either, not since the first time I looked at that jpeg of his.  JJJJust Kidding there ol' Mod.

Bob K
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13 posted 12-19-2008 08:06 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Essorant,

           You are taking a specialized use of the word "omniscient" and using it as though it were the commonly understood use of the word.  You make a similar argument about the word "science."  Especially about the word "science," I feel you have an interesting point to make.  "Science" is only recently become conflated with "scientific method."  It is unclear that this confusion has been to the benefit of "science" yet or not in my opinion;  the results are still coming in, and I believe they are quite mixed.

     Be that as it may, your understanding of "omniscient" and the understanding of others who are attempting to talk with you about your proposal ("Are We Omniscient?") goes no place productive until you reach agreement on terms.  As a glance at the discussion so far will quite possibly lead you to understand.

     On the other hand, the whole basis of the discussion seems to hinge on the promotion of exactly this confusion.  There seems little to talk about without this piece of confusion to dance around in the discussion.  The discussion becomes essentially meaningless.

     The way to test the correctness of my theory here is simple.  Decide on a common definition of omniscience.  If that definition is successful and nobody needs to resort to specialized uses of the word and the discussion continues with fascination and fervor, I will have been wrong.  If the discussion fizzles, or turns into another jargon-fest, perhaps we need to look again at how we've framed the discussion in the first place.

     Or perhaps somebody has some more interesting suggestions.  

Curiously enough, Bob Kaven
Bob K
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14 posted 12-19-2008 08:08 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K




     The notion of "the black box" has always seemed interesting to me when I think about discussions like this one.
Stephanos
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15 posted 12-19-2008 09:07 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Omniscience means to know all things, in greatest detail, the ends of all means, all possible futures, and all necessary futures.

If you're talking about something else, I say invent a new word.


Bob K
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16 posted 12-20-2008 04:36 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Stephanos has given a pretty good definition of what I understand to be the generally understood meaning of the term.  If it has other meanings, then to the best of my understanding, they are not the meaning that most people have in mind when they use the word but are some secondary meaning or obsolete or jargon meaning of the word.

     What is the primary understanding of folks here about the generally understood meaning of this word?

rwood
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17 posted 12-21-2008 11:28 PM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

No, Ess. Sorry. I'm not. I can't even figure out all the what when where whys and hows about everything in my life, let alone the rest of us, nor would I want to. Too much to think about and too many things I don't wanna see or know.
Stephanos
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18 posted 01-01-2009 07:56 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch:
quote:
A god could theoretically know everything in our universe, if she existed outside our universe and timeframe but had read only access to it.


Just curious why a transcedent God would be bound by a "read only access" rule?  


Stephen
Grinch
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19 posted 01-01-2009 12:18 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Lots of reasons.

The most interesting being that if she had more than read only access to our universe and timeframe sheíd lose both free will and the necessary prerequisite to be godlike - omnipotence.

Stephanos
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20 posted 01-01-2009 01:54 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch,

So "read only" is more conducive to omnipotence?  Strange way have you of preserving that important attribute.  The incarnation doubtlessly involved God taking on limitations (even to the point of death), and yet they are chosen limitations to achieve his desired end.  From the Christian perspective, history and experiential knowledge would deny "read only", no matter your seemingly-logical disavowel of divinity who acts within time/space.


I guess the best way to understand it is by noting the contradictions of your own faith.  You are an atheist, a material being in a materialistic universe bound by time, chance, and physics, and yet you believe you have real insight about the whole show, real knowledge, and meaning to your life beyond sheer material process.  If you won't allow God to have freedom (if he chooses to act in our physical universe) I don't see how you can allow it for yourself.  I guess there's some degree of "faith" involved either way?

Stephen    
Grinch
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21 posted 01-01-2009 02:56 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
If you won't allow God to have freedom


Itís not a case of me allowing or disallowing - Iím simply stating a point.

As I see it, an entity outside this universe and timeframe could know everything in this universe, everything that has been and everything that will be. To do that though two conditions must apply, for our future to be known it must be predetermined, which removes our free will, and the second condition is that the entity cannot interact in this universe and timeframe without losing her free will and omnipotence. She can only have read only access.

If you can see any way she can interact without extending her omniscience to cover her own actions in her own universe and timeframe Iíll be happy to listen.

quote:
history and experiential knowledge would deny "read only"


History? Experiential knowledge?

Do you mean stories and hearsay Stephen, or have you some verifiable examples of gods interaction in our universe?

Stephanos
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22 posted 01-01-2009 03:59 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch:
quote:
for our future to be known it must be predetermined, which removes our free will


For our future to be known, it only needs to be known.  For a God who transcends time (in addition to acting within time), whatever happens is observed.  Yes, you may say that everything that happens is certain, but not all predetermined (as in directly caused) or necessary (as in it could not have been differently).  Unless determinism and omniscience are confused, freedom may be retained.


quote:
and the second condition is that the entity cannot interact in this universe and timeframe without losing her free will and omnipotence. She can only have read only access.


But you still haven't explained why "read only" is a prerequisite for omnipotence and freedom of will.

quote:
If you can see any way she can interact without extending her omniscience to cover her own actions in her own universe and timeframe Iíll be happy to listen.


It's a false dilemma, unless you're going to admit that knowing what you're going to choose to eat for lunch tommorrow means you're not free to choose otherwise.  There's a difference between "not free" and "have chosen".    

And you still haven't explained to me how you can have freedom of will and knowledge in an atheistic materialistic cause/effect universe, if you are a mere piece of it, a link in material process.  

quote:
History? Experiential knowledge?

Do you mean stories and hearsay Stephen, or have you some verifiable examples of gods interaction in our universe?

Anything can be called into doubt Grinch, whether it should be or not, don't you agree?  And I, like you, know from experience how difficult it can be to debate with the religiously convinced.   It's not that there's no good evidence ... It's just that whenever we've discussed evidences in the past, you've demanded nothing less than unassailable proof.  And thankfully it's too early for that.  

Stephen
Grinch
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23 posted 01-01-2009 05:16 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

quote:
For our future to be known, it only needs to be known.


If the future can be known it cannot be changed.

The ability to change, particularly your mind and actions, is a pre-requisite of free will.

If you know the future, especially your own, you cannot claim to have free will.

quote:
But you still haven't explained why "read only" is a prerequisite for omnipotence and freedom of will


There isnít enough time in this universe to know everything, however an entity outside this universe and unrestricted by the constraints of time could, theoretically, know everything in this universe. She would be able to view what was, what is and what will be, as I said earlier though it would have to be a read only knowledge. If the entity could interact in this universe the entity would also require omniscience in her own universe - to know her own future actions and interactions in this universe - and if she knows her own future, as I pointed out above, the future is pre-determined and she loses free will.

Omnipotence - the ability to do anything requires free will.

quote:
It's a false dilemma, unless you're going to admit that knowing what you're going to choose to eat for lunch tomorrow means you're not free to choose otherwise.


If you or any other entity has the omniscience to know what you have for lunch tomorrow then thatís what youíll have for lunch tomorrow, you canít use your free will to change your mind and still claim omniscience.

quote:
And you still haven't explained to me how you can have freedom of will and knowledge in an atheistic materialistic cause/effect universe


You canít, but then again I never said you could. In a cause and effect universe true free will doesnít exist and there isnít enough time to have knowledge of everything (omniscience).

The future cannot be known because it cannot be calculated, at least, not in this universe.

quote:
you've demanded nothing less than unassailable proof.


You were claiming historical fact Stephen - without proof history is generally regarded as a non scientific theory, a story or a myth.

Stephanos
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24 posted 01-01-2009 06:37 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
If the future can be known it cannot be changed.


If God has known a future that will indeed happen (indeed has happened from his perspective being transcendent of time), then why the need to change it?  If you say its certainty rules out God's freedom to choose, then certainty rules out your freedom to choose as well, whether you know it or not.  You can't have it both ways.  Your future also is as certain as if it had already happened regardless of your psychological state.  Knowledge definitely complicates the issue Grinch, but it is merely one more layer to the paradox that already exists for you as well ... not just concerning God.  

quote:
f you or any other entity has the omniscience to know what you have for lunch tomorrow then thatís what youíll have for lunch tomorrow, you canít use your free will to change your mind and still claim omniscience.


Yes, its quite pardoxical isn't it?  But the fact remains that if you've chosen spaghetti, and therefore know what you'll be eating for lunch, it doesn't therefore follow that you are not free to do otherwise.  Can one make a definite decision and still be free?  If not, you've destroyed the notion of free will completely, and made it to mean the opposite of what it is ... the ability to choose.  

quote:
If the entity could interact in this universe the entity would also require omniscience in her own universe - to know her own future actions and interactions in this universe - and if she knows her own future, as I pointed out above, the future is pre-determined and she loses free will.


Again, unless you believe that your own decisions imply absence of freedom, then you have no argument here beyond sophistry ... since choosing is the essence of free will.  Are you arguing for eternal indecision as the essence of free will?

  
quote:
Omnipotence - the ability to do anything requires free will.


If that's the case Grinch, then omnipotence may have the freedom to be somehow free and not free at the same time.  There's definitely something like this going on when one considers the incarnation, and theories of middle knowledge (Molinism).  Of course our speculation is "as in a glass darkly" and always borders on the ridiculous.  But my guess is that it is kind of a larger version of your own paradoxical freedom in a universe in which your future is certain whether you know it or not.  In discrediting omnipotence with the playful pardoxes of free will, you are discrediting your own ... or do you admit you are a determinist?

  
quote:
You canít, but then again I never said you could. In a cause and effect universe true free will doesnít exist


Ah.  There we have it.  No need to discuss this anymore with you Grinch.  You are only believing and advocating your view because you are absolutely and slavishly bound to believe it by the physical properties of your own cerebral cortex and the impersonal events which gave rise to your present configuration of atoms.  March on automaton.  I'm content for now, having demonstrated that by insisting that divine pardox is unworthy to accept in view of difficulties, you've theoretically deconstructed your own humanity, and undermined human knowledge, reason, and choice.

      
quote:
ou were claiming historical fact Stephen - without proof history is generally regarded as a non scientific theory, a story or a myth.


There is proof for Biblical History Grinch.  It may be denied nonetheless.  There are those who deny the Holocaust.  There is such a thing as revisionist history.  But the point I was trying to make is that Historians will unanimously say that empirical proof is not part and parcel of their field.


Stephen
 
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