The Instigator
BrandonClark
Con (against)
Losing
19 Points
The Contender
ToastOfDestiny
Pro (for)
Winning
38 Points

Omnipotency is possible

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/29/2009 Category: Science
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,693 times Debate No: 9574
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (11)

 

BrandonClark

Con

Omnipotent, having unlimited power or authority. http://www.answers.com... I interpret this as being able to do everything, I don't want to debate the definition, but if you have a problem with it, mention it in the first round.

I say omnipotency is impossible, you say it does. It's as simple as that, let's do this.
ToastOfDestiny

Pro

Alright, let's get down to it.

First, both sides obviously have the burden of proof here. I can easily prove my side, as can Con. Let's not do the BoP dance.

Then, let us note that we are not debating whether an omnipotent BEING is possible, just omnipotence as an idea.

If omnipotency is defined as "having unlimited power or authority", then I shall show that it is possible to have either aspects of it.

A) Unlimited Power
1) If omnipotency means having unlimited power, then we must accept that this is even the power to do the logically impossible. A completely omnipotent being could do such nonsense as creating a square circle, or a round triangle. Unlimited power means that absolutely nothing constrains it - not even logic!

2) Alternatively, an omnipotent being is bound by logic - it can only do things which are possible to do. Such examples as the square circle, or round triangle cannot be done, because they cannot exist. A square has one set of characteristics, and a circle another - they are mutually exclusive. In this light, omnipotence is the ability to do anything that can be done.

Furthermore, Con interprets omnipotence as "being able to do everything". If omnipotence is being able to do everything, then he has conceded this debate! By interpreting it as the ultimate carte blanche, he concedes that there is NOTHING an omnipotent being can't do! This should go to destroy whatever arguments he will doubtlessly make.

B) Unlimited Authority
Authority is defined as "the power to enforce laws, exact obedience, command, determine, or judge." (http://www.thefreedictionary.com...). Such a thing is clearly possible in a few situations.

1) Supreme Dictator of the Universe
If in possession of hegemony over the universe, a being could enforce any of its laws or statues. Plain and simple.

2) Sole Constituent of the Universe
If, on the other hand, a being were the only one in existence, he or she (or it, for that matter) could enforce any law it wanted. Laws can only bind things with agency - thus the laws would only bind itself.

Ball's in your court, B_C.
Debate Round No. 1
BrandonClark

Con

I'll use a few situations that the only conclusion for it is that omnipotency is impossible.

Situation 1: Can an omnipotent being create a computer that he cannot defeat in a game of chess? Yes he can, he is omnipotent. At the same time as that, he cannot because if he were able to do everything, he would be able to beat the computer. Both answers include something that the omnipotent being cannot do. Because omnipotency means that the being can do everything, he can not be omnipotent because there are things that he simply can not do.

Situation 2: Can an omnipotent being create a rock so large that it cannot lift it? Yes, omnipotency means that the being can do everything, but at the same time, the being can't lift it. That does not work because the being has to be able to create the rock and lift it, but it simply cannot because the definition of the rock does not allow for it.

I can come up with many situations about this, but I feel that it would be a waste of the readers and my time. In short, omnipotency cannot be possible because there will always be exceptions to its limitations.
ToastOfDestiny

Pro

Con presents some arguments, but completely ignores mine. He provides some examples, which become meaningless when you view my arguments. Let's cross apply my case to his examples.

A) Unlimited Power
1) Logic Doesn't Bind Omnipotence.
Con shows some logical fallacies which bind omnipotence. If omnipotence is the power to do anything and everything, this includes circumventing logic. If a completely omnipotent being were to exist, logic would not bind it, and thus, these examples become meaningless. Con does nothing about this argument. You can vote on this point right now - logic doesn't need to bind a being who can do EVERYTHING.

2) Meaningless Tasks Are Meaningless.
Again, no clash from Con. If omnipotence is the power to do everything that can be done, then an omnipotent being cannot do meaningless tasks. Just as you can't insert the Mona Lisa into an algebraic expression and expect to receive a five paragraph essay (this is meant to be logically inconsistent), you can't expect an omnipotent being to carry out logically meaningless tasks.

2) Con's Concession.
Con doesn't touch his concession either. He interprets omnipotence as "being able to do everything", which means being able to sidestep logic. As weird as it sounds, an omnipotent being doesn't have to act by the laws of logic! Just as it could bypass the law of conservation of energy, or the second law of thermodynamics (entropy), it could bypass logic. Con hasn't touched this point, and this is the second thing you should vote on - we agree that logic doesn't need to bind an omnipotent being.

B) Supreme Authority
This isn't touched at all by Con. It is possible for a being to have unlimited authority, provided it is the only one in existence, or the despot of all that is.

Vote Pro!
Debate Round No. 2
BrandonClark

Con

I'll start this off with a couple of quotes. "an omnipotent being is bound by logic - it can only do things which are possible to do. Such examples as the square circle, or round triangle cannot be done, because they cannot exist. A square has one set of characteristics, and a circle another - they are mutually exclusive. In this light, omnipotence is the ability to do anything that can be done." Does this sound like something he addressed later? Why yes it does. "Logic Doesn't Bind Omnipotence. Con shows some logical fallacies which bind omnipotence. If omnipotence is the power to do anything and everything, this includes circumventing logic. If a completely omnipotent being were to exist, logic would not bind it, and thus, these examples become meaningless. Con does nothing about this argument. You can vote on this point right now - logic doesn't need to bind a being who can do EVERYTHING."

You don't really need to read the full paragraphs there, but just note the first line of each quote, they directly contradict each other. My opponent will probably say something about how an omnipotent being is bound by logic is different than logic not binding omnipotence, but a definition is a biconditional statement. A biconditional statement is where a conditional statement and its converse are both true. Turning them into conditional statements is, "If it is an omnipotent being, then it is bound by logic." It's converse is, "If it is bound by logic, then it is omnipotent." According to my opponent, logic does not bind omnipotence. This directly negates his definition of omnipotence rendering his argument null.

By accepting this debate, you accepted the definition and my interpretation of it, therefore, you cannot argue supreme authority because that is not part of the definition of omnipotence.

You say I concede the debate because the omnipotent being can simply bend logic when earlier you said the being is bound by it. This argument is also null because my opponent directly contradicted himself.

As you can clearly see, my opponent has either negated himself or broken the barrier of the definition he agreed to. This means that none of his points can be considered valid. Thank you for a quick debate, and good luck.
ToastOfDestiny

Pro

Alright, Con switches over to a 'contradiction' in my case, dropping his other arguments.

I far from contradict myself in my case. I offer two possibilities, two ways an being can be omnipotent. The first is that an omnipotent being can circumvent logic itself, and thus create logical contradictions. My second argument is that, failing the first, an omnipotent being can be bound by logic, and still be omnipotent. I'm not providing the two arguments together, but showing two different ways of being omnipotent.

Just look at my first argument. In my first point under "Unlimited Power", I say logic doesn't bind an omnipotent being. In the second, I say, "Alternatively, an omnipotent being is bound by logic". Perhaps it would have been clearer if I had said, "Alternatively, an omnipotent being CAN BE 'bound' by logic".

Con then makes an argument about my upholding a biconditional statement. First of all, this is a completely new argument, and could have easily been brought up before. Apart from that, I do believe Con strawmans my statements. I do not say, "If omnipotent, then bound by logic", I say, "If a being is omnipotent, it can be bound by logic and remain omnipotent". The converse of this statement is true as well if said, "If a being can be bound by logic and remain omnipotent, then it is an omnipotent being". In this sense, logic isn't 'binding' omnipotence, it is just that you can't expect a being to produce nonsense, just as you can't expect hedge clippers to produce a delicious chocolate gateau.

This whole debate boils down to two points, both of which go in my favor.

1) Omnipotent beings can bend logic, and do what we may consider impossible. This destroys all my opponent's reductio ad absurdum arguments, because, with an omnipotent being, absurdum is a possibility. If we accept my opponent's interpretation that omnipotence is the power to do everything, we must agree that this is includes the power to violate logic.

2) Even if you don't buy the above argument, an omnipotent being could be bound by logic, but remain omnipotent. Basically, omnipotency is the ability to do all that can be done. Square circles don't exist, and on top of that are nonsense. If you give two things mutually exclusive properties, they will remain mutually exclusive, plain and simple. Just as you can't expect complex architecture to rise out of cheese fondue, you can't expect an omnipotent being to produce logical nonsense.

Thank you, and vote Pro!
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by silntwaves 7 years ago
silntwaves
brandon clark!! :]]
Posted by Logical-Master 7 years ago
Logical-Master
Why not define omnipotency as everything that is possible? When I say I've done everything in an RPG game, that doesn't mean I'm saying I've played the game while it was off. Honestly, the semantics in such arguments are bad even by MY standards.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
This is an unpleasant bit of semantics. Con introduced the definition of omnipotent as "being able to do anything." That is really not a good definition, since omnipotence as debated in theology does not include the ability to perform a logical contradiction, but rather to do anything that is a matter of physical power. However, that was offered for debate. So the relevant question is, "Is it possible to successfully perform logical contradictions?" The answer is "no" so the resolution fails. Con gave examples demonstrating the impossibility -- it only takes one to disprove the resolution. The idea that definition is self-affirming is not correct. It fails for the same reason that defining God as "a, b, c, and existing" fails -- it is circular.
Posted by Nails 7 years ago
Nails
How did Con get 12 points?
This might be the most pathetically one-sided debate I've ever seen.
Posted by tBoonePickens 7 years ago
tBoonePickens
Pro all the way. Would have handled it the same way as Pro.
Posted by ToastOfDestiny 7 years ago
ToastOfDestiny
RFD
B/A: Pro.
C: Pro; Con brought in new arguments.
S/G: Tied.
CA: Pro; Pro never contradicted himself, he just showed two methods. The methods themselves were not refuted.
S: Tied.
Posted by ToastOfDestiny 7 years ago
ToastOfDestiny
Already bit. Shouldn't be too rough.
Posted by KRFournier 7 years ago
KRFournier
"I don't want to debate the definition..."

But that IS the debate, isn't it? So, you just want to define the term in whatever way wins the debate? I'm definitely not gonna bite.
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