The Instigator
Poetaster
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
popculturepooka
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

An Omniscient Moral Entity Cannot Create a Universe Containing Immorality

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Poetaster
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/25/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,569 times Debate No: 32935
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)

 

Poetaster

Pro

This topic can become mired in cross-purposes of vocabulary, so I will allot the first round for acceptance, definitions, clarifications, etc.

Definition: An omniscient entity is one which lacks no knowledge of any information, whether necessary or contingent, for at least one point of its existence.

I posit this so as to not definitionally exclude different versions of omniscience from the argument. Specifically, this definition is designed to not immediately rule out: anterograde omniscience; “middle knowledge”-style omniscience; present-restricted omniscience; any other form of temporarily suppressed omniscience. (Often these are suggested to preserve the possibility of free will.)
However, in all of these cases, the god-like being “eventually” acquires all knowledge such that it lacks no knowledge at some point of its existence. Thus, they are encompassed by the definition.

Remark: Concerning the use of the terms 'morality' and 'immorality', I want to establish that it will not be necessary to justify, or even define, their contents or meanings. For the purposes of this argument, I will only recognize that a moral thing differs from an immoral thing categorically; no element of one is contained by the other. This is true by virtue of their logical relation to one another: one is the other's negation, X and not-X. Therefore, I will make use only of their relation, not their contents. This means that I will avoid invoking terms such as "evil", "good", or "suffering" in the course of the argument, for these allude to moral content.
With this in mind, I have simply built the terms 'moral' and 'immoral' into the resolution and my premises and will use them as merely referring to exclusively disjunct properties.

Having provided for these things, I cordially invite you to oppose me.
popculturepooka

Con

I accept. I don't see anything objectionable about Pro's stipulations. Let the games begin!
Debate Round No. 1
Poetaster

Pro

Before starting, I'd like to thank Con for accepting this debate. I hope to give a compelling argument for the resolution.

I’ve made my definition of "omniscience" highly inclusive in order to minimize the beginning
assumptions my argument makes, and so that it will be stronger for this.

I didn't want to simply exclude different versions of omniscience by definition. That could've made my case pretty trivial. However, I do want to logically argue for the exclusion of all
but one kind of omniscience.


I've given a very weak definition of an omniscient being: it must simply have complete knowledge for at least one point of its existence.

I want to separately show that if a being has complete knowledge for at least one point of its existence, then it must have complete knowledge at every point of its existence.

By strengthening "omniscience" in this way, I hope to logically ensure that an "omniscient being" cannot be ignorant of any property of anything that it creates, no matter how these properties unfold in time. In other words, it must have complete knowledge of its creation in the act of creating it.

To have some knowledge of an object is to know about some property of that object, so it makes sense to say that having complete knowledge of an object is to know of every property that object will ever have, no matter how or when it arises.

This will all be in service of my claim that an omniscient moral being cannot create a universe containing immorality: the main resolution of this debate.

Main argument for the resolution:

P1: A being cannot knowingly express its will such that the given expression is contrary to its will. (By law of non-contradiction [LNC].)

P2: If a being has complete knowledge for at least one point of its existence, then it must have complete knowledge at every point of its existence. (I will need to defend this)

P3: An omniscient being must have complete knowledge at every point of its existence. (By P2 and the definition of "omniscience").

P4: An omniscient being must have complete knowledge of what it creates at every point of its existence. (By the same.)

P5: Complete knowledge of a thing includes the knowledge of every property that thing will ever have.

P6: If an omniscient moral entity has created a universe, then that entity has knowingly expressed its will to create precisely that universe with full knowledge of its every property. (by P4, P5)

P7: If that universe contains immorality, then that entity has knowingly expressed its will such that this expression is contrary to its will. (by P2,P3)

P8: This is impossible. (by P1, LNC)

P9: Therefore, an omniscient moral entity cannot create a universe containing immorality.

End

I'll focus on defending P2, and in doing so I'll aim to prove two things:

-It is logically impossible for an agent to complete its knowledge from a position of incomplete knowledge. (Lemma 1, or L1)

-It is logically impossible for the knowledge of an agent with complete knowledge to become incomplete. (Lemma 2, or L2)


If I show both L1 and L2 to be true, it follows that it's logically impossible for a being with complete knowledge at some point in its existence to have incomplete knowledge at another point in its existence.
So proving L1 and L2 will prove P2, and the entire argument will follow.
I will first focus on L1.

Proof of L1

L1 is actually a special case of a more general statement. I'll prove the general statement first, then show that L1 is equivalent to it.



Define a task T consisting of some set of actions {a1,a2,..an,..}. The task can only
be completed on the condition that every action included in it has been performed.

Assign an agent T. Define some action an in T to be the utterance of the statement, when true:

"T is complete."

an can only be performed on the condition that the statement is true, but the same statement isn’t true until an has already been performed. This is a logical circularity.

Because of this, it is logically impossible for the agent to complete T, for it includes an action which can’t be logically performed by the agent.

Therefore, any task which includes acknowledgement of its own completion cannot
logically be completed
.

End general proof.


Now I will show that L1 is only a special case of this result:

Consider an agent which does not have complete knowledge. We will characterize the process of it completing its knowledge as a task which is to be completed by this agent. To complete this task, the agent must come to know all facts concerning all things at some point.

Among these facts is that it is lacks no knowledge at that point.To complete this task, it must acquire knowledge of this fact.

It must acquire the knowledge which says:

"I lack no knowledge."

But this is logically equivalent to the statement, "This task is complete" being included in the task it talks about. The task of an agent completing its knowledge is one which includes acknowledgement of its own completion.

As was just proven in the general case, such a task cannot be completed.

So L1 follows and is proven.


Proof of L2
L2 is also a special case of a more general statement. I'll prove the general statement first, then show that L2 is equivalent to it.

Consider some set element k with the following properties:

-Every "complete" set must contain k.

-Only "complete" sets can contain k.

It follows that k can only be missing from "incomplete" sets.

Now imagine that we try to make a logical program that turns "complete" sets into
"incomplete" sets. If a program tries to delete any element from a "complete" set, then it must delete k from that set. This is because deleting an element from that set would make the
set incomplete, and no incomplete set can contain k.

In other words: no element in a set is eligible for deletion until k is missing from that set. But if k is an element of that set, then k is under those very same constraints; it is not eligible for deletion until it is missing from that set.

This makes the absence of k a condition for its own deletion.

This is a logical circularity: k can't be deleted until it has been deleted.

This is logically impossible, so a program that turns "complete" sets into "incomplete" sets
as described is not logically possible.

End general proof.


Now it will be shown that L2 is only a special case of this result.

A being with complete knowledge must know the fact: "I lack no knowledge."

This fact has the following properties:

-Every being with complete knowledge must know this fact.

-Only beings with complete knowledge can know this fact.

This fact is logically equivalent to the set element k. Therefore the same conclusion applies: there is no logical program by which the knowledge of a being with complete knowledge can be made incomplete.

So L2 follows and is proven.

Proof of P2

L1 and L2 have been demonstrated, so P2 follows.

Conclusion
All of the premises which entail the resolution have been logically justified.

Remarks

My argument is basically a form of the old "Problem of Evil" (POE) objection to theism.

However, I’ve tried to strip my particular form of it down to bare logical machinery:

-I've stripped the terms "morality" and "immorality" down to their mere logical
relation of 'X and not-X'. This means that I don't need to establish anything
about "morality" or "immorality" for the argument to logically succeed. Morality doesn't even need to exist for the argument to logically succeed. I leave it to the theist to claim that immorality exists in the world; I leave it to the theist to claim that an omniscient, moral being
created the world. My job here is simply to show that these two claims are
logically in contradiction.


-The issue of "free will" often features in objections to the POE as an explanation for the existence of "immorality" in the world. However, the capacity of "free
will" doesn't seem to logically negate any of the premises of my argument,
so it appears the resolution would still follow.

I'd like to hear what kind of holes Con may see in my case.

Over to you, Con!
popculturepooka

Con

popculturepooka forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Poetaster

Pro

Please extend my arguments. The resolution stands defended and affirmed in this debate so far.
popculturepooka

Con

popculturepooka forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Poetaster

Pro

Though I'm unsure of the reason, my opponent has not issued a response for the previous two rounds. I hope all is well with him.


But so far as the resolution is concerned, it still stands affirmed in the last round. For this reason, Pro has almost certainly earned the reader's vote. (I don't know what Con will do this late in the game.)
popculturepooka

Con

popculturepooka forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Poetaster uses too much jargon... You would have a better debating experience if you actually presented arguments that don't make me want to rip my hair out.
Posted by Poetaster 3 years ago
Poetaster
Pooka (if you don't mind that abbreviation),
If you have any clarifying questions about my first argument, feel free to ask in the comments.
(I meant to say that at the end of this current round.)
Posted by Poetaster 3 years ago
Poetaster
Looking forward to it; see you then.
Posted by popculturepooka 3 years ago
popculturepooka
I'll accept this tommorrow.
Posted by Poetaster 3 years ago
Poetaster
I understand, sorry if I was unclear!

I mean precisely the following:
That an "Omniscient Moral Entity Cannot Create a Universe Containing Immorality" any more than I can watch my own eyes dart about in the mirror; it is simply and inherently a logically impossible act.

Of course, that is not my argument, but rather my claim. I hope to defend this claim as best as I can, and that the challenge attracts your interest, pooka!
Posted by philochristos 3 years ago
philochristos
I think Poetaster answered that question. It's saying it's logically impossible for an omniscient moral entity to create an immoral thing.
Posted by KeytarHero 3 years ago
KeytarHero
Poe, I think he was asking whether you're saying that this Moral Entity *can't* create a universe with immorality (that it would be logically impossible for him to do it), or if it's possible that he simply *wouldn't* create that universe? (Incidentally, this was the first question that entered my head when I came across this.)
Posted by Poetaster 3 years ago
Poetaster
I hope to demonstrate that the two following premises are in logical contradiction:

P1: An omniscient and categorically moral entity has willed into existence the universe.

P2: The universe contains an immoral thing.

If they are in logical contradiction, then an omniscient moral entity that has willed into existence a universe containing an immoral thing is an absurdity. If propositional contradictions cannot be true, then such an entity which creates such a universe cannot exist.

Compatibly, if an omniscient moral entity does exist, then either immorality does not exist in the universe or that entity did not create the universe. All of these would be consequences of my argument, if it is successful, as would the resolution: "An Omniscient Moral Entity Cannot Create a Universe Containing Immorality".
Posted by popculturepooka 3 years ago
popculturepooka
Do you mean "can not" create as in it would be logically or metaphysically impossible for this omnisicient moral entity to create a universe containing any amount of immorality?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
PoetasterpopculturepookaTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: FF