Saturday, November 13, 2010

Negating the Negations: My Objections to the Omniscience and Learning Argument

In his Omniscience and Learning argument Ryan Stringer attempts to prove that God doesn’t exist. The main thrust of the argument is that there is a contradiction in God’s omniscience since God wouldn’t be able to know what it is like learn since he has always known everything. My surface response to this argument is that, even in my atheist days I would have found this argument to be not very persuasive. It’s along the lines of can God create a rock so big that he can’t lift? These arguments just feel lame.

My main objection to this argument is that premise three is flawed. Premise three says, “A being's omniscience entails, among other things, that it has all experiential knowledge.” The problem is that we define omniscience as the knowledge of all propositional truths. God knows all propositional truths or facts and does not believe non-truths. This means that God does not have all non-propositional knowledge. So, God does not know what it feels to be a sinner. Since experiential knowledge like learning what it feels like to learn, falls outside of propositional truths this has no bearing on God’s omniscience. Note that having all non-propositional knowledge would be crazy. If you say that you know what it is like to be Napoleon Bonaparte, the French general, then we can regard you as being crazy since you clearly are not Napoleon.

Since this argument improperly defines omniscience it falls apart and fails to prove that God doesn’t exist.   

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