Leontiskos wrote: ↑June 28th, 2022, 12:41 am
This may be worth talking about because I really disagree with you here. A world without death will not produce death in art; a world without suffering will not produce suffering in art; etc. Such fundamental counterfactuals would not only be outside the scope of imagination, but they would also be uninteresting and unformed (because of their sheer impossibility). Our environment forms our imagination (and our freedom), and a deathless environment would result in a massive shift in imagination and agency.
I think you don't credit peoples' imaginations enough. People imagine all sorts of things that don't exist, or couldn't exist because physics don't allow them (just look at an Escher painting).
I think if it were impossible for me to lose an arm that I could still wonder "I wonder what it would be like if this thing were just gone somehow." I don't know how to rigorously demonstrate
that a person in a Toy World could imagine these things, but I will say that it seems reasonable to me that they could.
Leontiskos wrote:That's fine and it has been a staple of Christianity since Augustine fought off Manichaenism, but you're mixing two different things. Whether you think it is worth paying fire to receive firefighters (I agreed above that it isn't) has nothing to do with whether my first principle is true (I am willing to defend that first, strong principle, which should make for a more interesting conversation). The key concept in that principle is the concept of possibility. I do not say that good presupposes bad, but rather that the possibility of good presupposes the possibility of bad.
Now that principle would be false if there is some case where it is impossible to do bad things, and yet it remains possible to do good things. What would that case be? Praising your friend for the speech they gave? But if you are able to praise then you are also able to abuse or else abstain from praising. If praise is thought to be good, then abuse would be bad as its opposite, and abstaining would be relatively bad insofar as it is an absence or privation of good. And refraining really can function as a negative judgment; in the case where you are in the habit of praising your friend's speeches, silence will be especially significant.
So what would be an example of a reality where there is a possible good but not a corresponding possible bad?
I think there's a difference between "good vs bad" and "good vs privation." I don't really find good vs. privation is a problem in a Toy World. I am also not here to defend a hurtful silence because I have already said that such a thing could exist in a Toy World. So there are two things here:
1) If we are just answering the question "can good exist without bad," then in the most general sense, it depends on whether you consider "good vs bad" to be a different scenario than "good vs privation." If good vs privation is a different scenario, then yes; you can have good without bad.
2) If we bring up the example of silence as hurtful (the deliberate withholding of praise if we normally give it for instance), this isn't the general case anymore, but something specific. I feel like (1) answers the general case fine. (2) I can only answer on a model-based basis. In my Toy World model, I've already said that some hurtful things would exist, such as withholding praise even when normally given.
Leontiskos wrote:I realize that you have been talking about fiction. We have this strange idea in America that fiction and reality are entirely separate departments. I think that even in Tolkien's time authors unanimously rejected that idea even in their fiction. So for example Tolkien tells us that the Hobbit was written primarily by Bilbo, most of the Silmarillion was written by elves, the events occurred in the same world in which we live, albeit long ago, and (unless I am mistaken) Englishmen are descendants of hobbits.
I am an intense Tolkienite so I will try not to take offense at your blatant blasphemy
Tolkien used Bilbo as a device not just for The Hobbit but for the trilogy, but the Silmarillion is elvish legends collected by Bilbo and written into the fictional Red Book of Westmarch (which Tolkien "found" and translated). The "found manuscript" framing device was indeed somewhat common in fantasy (and weirdly continued in horror and weird fiction; e.g. Machen's Green Book in "The White People," The King in Yellow in Chambers' book of the same name, the famous Necronomicon in H.P. Lovecraft, etc.)
Englishmen wouldn't be descendants of hobbits but rather a mixture of Númenóreans and "Middle-Men."
Leontiskos wrote:Digression aside, the more general point is that fiction informs reality and reality informs fiction. You would not have known about swords but for The Hobbit and Tolkien would not have known about adventures and wars and evil but for reality. The human imagination can invent and freewheel to some extent (e.g. goblins) but I don't think it could dream up something as substantial as death wholecloth. If we had no experience of wounds or death then Tolkien would never have been able to write about beings who die or are slain, goblins or otherwise. At least it seems so to me.
I disagree, but I don't know how to dispel your skepticism. For instance I don't think it's really possible to just lose one's body, but I can imagine floating around outside of my body like an astral projection sort of thing.
You know, this could be because I'm not religious: of course
I think people are really good at imagining things (and I do not mean this in a disrespectful way, but could it be that my worldview includes
people being really good at imagining things that don't exist, so I find this easier to think is true?)
Again, I think if it were physically impossible for me to lose my arm, I could still look at it and wonder "huh, what if something were able to happen where I just didn't have this anymore? What would that be like?"
Actually, hold that thought. Consider Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive series. In this series, there are weapons called Shardblades that do not cut through physical flesh, but do cut through the equivalent of a spirit: if your arm is cut through with one of these weapons, the flesh and bone and everything would still be there, but the arm would become useless, without feeling, and for all intents and purposes be dead. Now I don't think there is much in the way of things like that which actually exist in this world, but Sanderson was easily able to imagine it, and readers are able to digest it without thinking "huh?" All Sanderson had to do was imagine some property or aspect of the arm and think, "but what if something could happen
to that, even though it doesn't happen that way in reality?"
You seem to be saying that life would not be banal because we could use our imaginations to think about non-banal things even if we wouldn't be able to act them out. Basically that we would have video games, no?
By the way, I wonder what you imagine heaven as being like? Is it banal there, or do you suppose there's physical suffering there?
I get that a response may look like, "well, that's why we suffer during life, it gives everything we need for eternity to be non-banal." But when you've existed in a realm without physical suffering for 573,392,648,274,694,077,263,749 years, does it really matter whether the first 80 were "real" experiences or imagined experiences in terms of making things non-banal for you? I find that hard to believe!
Okay, well my most recent answer was given in <this post
> when I talked about "The conclusion you did not draw." That was the idea that the momentum moves freely in both directions, such that we are apparently either forced to have an infinite evil and an infinite good, or else zero evil and zero good.
My earlier answer was in my first post to you, and it related to the soul-making theodicy, such that fire produces much more than just firemen. There I agreed that firemen are not sufficient. I said, "If the malady is introduced for the sake of the cure then presumably nothing has been accomplished, for the cure is nothing more than the negation of the malady."
Then I disagreed that there was more that was good to the firefighters than simply alleviating or preventing the suffering caused by fires, though. I don't think we hashed that one out very thoroughly.
Astro Cat wrote: ↑June 27th, 2022, 11:38 am
Leontiskos wrote: ↑June 26th, 2022, 9:39 pm
I would agree that bringing death, violence, and weapons to a peaceful culture is not a good thing to do. But it is crucial to Christian thinking to maintain the truth that the Fall was our doing, not God's.
Humans didn't create the physics of the world, God did (on theism anyway). So that death, violence, and weapons are physically possible is something God is culpable for.
I thought you read the story of Adam and Eve!
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”
Do not invite death by the error of your life,
nor bring on destruction by the works of your hands;
because God did not make death,
and he does not delight in the death of the living.
For he created all things that they might exist,
and the generative forces of the world are wholesome,
and there is no destructive poison in them;
and the dominion of Hades is not on earth.
But the alternative to God making death is somehow that humans made death, and how does that work? What am I supposed to cognize out of that?
Death is very clearly an aspect of the physics of the world, and humans very obviously don't have magical power over the physics of the world. God does. How do we resolve this sensibly?
Leontiskos wrote:I didn't say it was better, I said it was worse ("the cons outweigh the pros"). The point of the Avatar example was to demonstrate that the introduction of weapons--whether in your example or in Avatar--is still going to increase complexity and agency, even if the outcome is worse. The point was that a variety of things happen and "thinking about it clearly" requires us to consider each of them, some of which are good.
As to your other points, 1) God did not create death, and 2) The possibility of your "world of happy people just doing nice things" where you "couldn't harm people" hangs on our discussion above about whether that is even possible.
This gets into a very paradoxical part of Christianity: what is called the felix culpa (happy fault). The idea is that although the Fall occurred because of Adam's fault, nevertheless God in his infinite wisdom is able to bring good even out of evil, and so now we look back on Adam's fault with fondness, for it is the occasion that God made use of in order to bring forth a much greater good. Tolkien gives a masterful and beautiful depiction of this idea in the Ainulindalë (the "Great Song").
Yes, every time Melkor tries to disrupt the harmony, Ilúvatar reveals that his disharmonies were woven into a more beautiful pattern and greater enriched it. Good reference, you get some points!
However, I strongly
dispute this "God did not create death" thing (made my argument above here so I won't repeat again).
Leontiskos wrote:Why couldn't God create each of us in different universes that are hermetically sealed from one another? Something like this would be the analogue to your solution to physical suffering. You say that God could exclude physical suffering by making our physicality indestructible. I say God could exclude relational suffering by removing relationships and cutting us off from one another. You say physical indestructibility would remove some agency but not all. I say isolation tanks would remove some agency but not all. Tomehto-Tomahto!
I think the answer here is because it's obvious that's undesirable to free agents that are social creatures, whereas it's not so obvious whether excising physical suffering would lead to undesirable aspects if done the right way (hence needing a loooong discussion about it). I don't think anybody would say "yes, that sounds like a good idea" to social deprivation tank universes. We might as well simply add the premise to the original argument that God wants social
free agents and see how the argument goes from there.
Leontiskos wrote:Hell, we should probably just go read Lois Lowry's The Giver and call it a day. Jonas and Fiona are my retort to your Snort! ^_^
(Okay, okay, so it has nothing to do with Snort... The rhyme was irresistible. =))
All I can say is pew pew *finger guns*, haha!
Leontiskos wrote:I think even many non-theists would say that physical suffering adds something important to life, just you seem to believe that relationship-related suffering adds something important to life.
Well, it's more that I don't think relationship-related suffering can be removed on the premises so we might as well find the silver lining to them. Remember, the goal of the OP is simply to ask whether God is culpable for physical suffering to bring about a reductio ad absurdum
on the omni-property premises.
Astro Cat wrote: ↑June 27th, 2022, 11:38 am
So let me clarify that when I say "innocent victims" I guess I mean victims that can do nothing at all about their situation. Maybe I need another term. Someone that is hearing mean language can leave the area, for instance. Someone dying of cancer or in a hungry tiger's spotlight may have no feasible recourse at all.
Okay, this is a new argument. The millennials who are afraid of commitment will definitely resonate with this one. ;P
...haha. I am a bit tired so I will leave this for next time, or for you to flesh out.
I am a millennial and I'm probably afraid of commitment, so, yep! LOL.
All I mean to say on this one is that barriers to our being able to help ourselves in a lot of situations are physical: we can't escape cancer, we can't move to a different room to get away from a birth defect, etc. With hurtful speech, we can remove ourselves from the situation. Now, the more I think about it, I think you can probably really weaken this line of argument, so I don't know if I should go on about it.
For instance I was going to say you can't die from speech, but you could point out suicidal ideation brought about by speech, and that wanting to die is really close in badness as actually dying. I was going to say that you could remove yourself from a hurtful speech situation, but in the same vein, you can't remove the thoughts from your head sometimes if you dwell on it; or for instance if the non-physical suffering you're experiencing is something like unrequited love you will feel that pain even when away from the situation too. So this "innocent victims" line of reasoning probably isn't a great tack to take.
*cartwheels into the ocean*
It seems to me that the question here is something like, "What is the purpose of life, if not to avoid suffering? What is the thing that makes suffering worthwhile?"
Astro Cat wrote: ↑June 27th, 2022, 11:38 am
Why good thing about firefighters is there that couldn't possibly exist without fires whatsoever? What makes fires worth it?
I don't know that it is fair or interesting to isolate it to a single thing, because you could isolate every single thing and then end up with nothing, having no absolute justification for any single thing. It's like I said above: the momentum moves freely in both directions if we don't have any way to ground it. I am trying to actually demonstrate this to you by showing you that the danger of a spoiled relationship isn't actually any different from the danger of fires, and if we throw out fires then there doesn't seem to be any good reason to retain relationships.
The other problem with fire is that you present it as if it is 100% bad. ..As if Prometheus didn't have to bust his butt to get us them coals.
I think we make purposes all the time that aren't suffering-centric, and I think that would be the case in a Toy World. As for the Prometheus thing, recall that fire could still be used for good things in a Toy World; it just wouldn't burn you or burn your house down. It'd be well-behaved fire.