Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Note to Self: In Dealing with Omniscient Beings, Don't Be Flippant

It happened again. I tried to avoid it, but I let just a touch of flippancy creep into a conversation with an Omniscient Being, and as a result, he has ignored my petition. He initiated First Contact and I have proof of his existence, but I fear that my response was unworthy. Note to self: In dealing with Omniscient Ones, be more humble and agree quickly - otherwise they won't answer my email.

First Contact came on Sept. 28, 2007:

To: Jeff Lindsay
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2007 4:24 PM
Subject: Disturbing

I really can't blame you for taking a defensive position when it comes to The Book of Mormon, but it is extremely disturbing for me and others to read that you actually believe that it is an ancient work. But what is more disturbing is that you and others of your kind buy into the notion of supernatural beings. What nonsense.

I don't know if rational thinking will ever prevail, but given the advances made to date, there is still hope.
Here is my inadequate and unworthy response, which has not been greeted with the favor of a reply:
Interesting. What is your evidence that there are no supernatural beings - or no beings more intelligent than those on this little planet? Seems like that would be an extremely awkward position to defend scientifically. Do you mean to tell me that you have explored the entire universe and can definitively assure us that there is nothing out there superior to us? Doesn't that require a certain amount of, say, omniscience?

I can understand agnosticism - but the position you seem to take is surprising - or, as you might say, disturbing. May I ask how you arrived at it? And then I'd like to know why you would be so disturbed at those who don't share your views. Are you sure that this is completely rational?
Did I say something wrong? Maybe he was unhappy with my technically inaccurate blending of "supernatural" with "extra-terrestrial," but I thought it was a relevant question, just for starters. I mean, if there are beings elsewhere more intelligent than us, isn't it possible that there could be a Being who is Very, Very Much More Intelligent? And if that's possible, well, why rule out the possibility of one or more Beings whose powers to us might even seem a tad on the supernatural side? See where this is going? Seems to me that one has to be Omniscient, even supernaturally so, to rationally rule out the possibility of what we might call Supernatural Beings. And it appears that I had First Contact with a Supernaturally Omniscient Being (SOB) - and then I blew it!

Drats, I keep offending SOBs. What should I have said instead? How would you have responded?

For my offensive reply, I fear that I will be consigned to Outer Dorkness.

38 comments:

pepektheassassin said...

I think most SOB's consider themselves to be more or less alone in the universe (except for the Presence of other SOB's, and, of course, the rest of us less enlightened Beings).

pepektheassassin said...

PS Considering what we seem to be doing to each other and to the planet we call home, I certainly and sincerely HOPE there are more intelligent Beings, SOMEWHERE out there.

Anonymous said...

You were blessed to have contact with a disciple of Richard Dawkins, or perhaps the Great One himself. Bow and worship!

Michael Jay said...

You are a sarcastic genious!

Brian D. said...

I will pray for your soul, Jeff. In the meantime, keep up the good work. Er, I mean, watch what you say to S.O.B's. :-)

cold pizza said...

Somewhere, I believe, is a hot oven and a warm pizza. Alas, I fear I shall only be microwaved when my time is come. -cp

Anonymous said...

Have you ever noticed that people who think of themselves as intellectual and liberal are the more closed minded? They are quick to disparage all who would dare to disagree with them. Since they know they're right the discussion is closed. I've seen it with my own eyes. As long as the speaker was taking the liberal point of view they would be allowed to speak. But the minute the speaker took a different course they would be booed off the stand.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever noticed that people who think of themselves as intellectual and liberal are the more closed minded? They are quick to disparage all who would dare to disagree with them. Since they know they're right the discussion is closed. I've seen it with my own eyes. As long as the speaker was taking the liberal point of view they would be allowed to speak. But the minute the speaker took a different course they would be booed off the stand.

Joseph Antley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph Antley said...

You could always do what he does and just convince yourself that the certain SOB doesn't exist. That should fix it, huh?

Darion Alexander said...

SOB's??? Aren't those sons of....

This post has been removed by the administrator. :)

Bookslinger said...

If there is a supernatural being, "God," along the lines of what Mormons believe (and I also happen to so believe), and if our Heavenly Father has/had a Heavenly Father (etc.), and Heavenly Brothers and Sisters, and each one (or better to say each exalted-and-eternally-married couple) has their own universe in a bigger overall multiverse (ala Stephen Hawking's theory), and the generations of Gods have no beginning or end (as Joseph Smith said in the King Follett discourse, but which is technically NOT "official" doctrine)...

....then....

I think an analogy could be made between that and the "Q Continuum" as described in the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" TV series!

And as Picard learned on a couple of episodes: Don't disrespect the Q!

Jeff G said...

Okay, I'll bite.

The fact that you can't prove the inexistence of some or any thing is actually a very good reason why we get to assume, all other things being equal, that this thing does not exist. This is why we don't believe in tooth fairies, spagetti monsters, etc.

Of course the best response for a theist to offer to this is to show that all other things are NOT equal in this case.

Of course you did not do this. Instead, you offered a rebuttal which was weak, at best. Maybe it was for this reason that he didn't respond?

P.S. Why would a very, very intelligent being, who merely SEEMS supernatural deserve our worship? If this is what God is reduced to in the Mormon tradition (and I think He is, though stated a bit less crassly) it would seem that there simply MUST be some other reason why God deserves our worship, i.e. He created us, etc. We are supposed to worship Him, not just because of what He is like, but what relationship we have to Him.

This, however, plays into the hands of the atheist, for how intimate of a relationship can we possibly have with somebody for which there is no evidence of their existence? Even if the absence of evidence for God's existence doesn't amount to evidence for God's inexistence, surely a stronger argument can be made for the claim that the absence of evidence of a relationship DOES amount to evidence for the inexistence of such a relationship.

I know the post was a bit of a snark, but a little intellectual engagement never hurt anybody, right?

Anonymous said...

If the universe is infinite, then the possibilities that God exists are infinite. Given an infinite amount of probability, all probabilities exist.

Jon said...

Well, now wait a minute. If eyewitnesses are good enough evidence to cast out any unreasonable doubt in a court case, why are they not good enough proof for the existence of God? Has not God been seen by Joseph Smith and several of his predecessors, successors and colleagues? Theophanies, for me, are the best evidence of the existence of the kind of God with whom I can have a personal relationship.

Now, I realize that cases, sometimes good ones, can be made against the historicity for some accounts of theophanies, but I think that doing so moves the argument to a different arena. It becomes no more an issue of whether or not there is evidence, but whether or not the existing evidence is credible or not.

Anonymous said...

I read of an atheists lawyer that was going to prove the new restatement was false by using the same standards of the law an ended up converting to Christianity.

Mormanity said...

Jeff G.:

The fact that you can't prove the inexistence of some or any thing is actually a very good reason why we get to assume, all other things being equal, that this thing does not exist. This is why we don't believe in tooth fairies, spagetti monsters, etc.

The challenge is not whether you can prove a mythical being doesn't exist, but whether it is even remotely rational to assume that WE are the highest form of life in the whole vast universe. I am not asking him to prove that fairies don't exist, but to provide some rational basis for the idea that we are the highest life form out there.

My argument is not that God is some highly evolved alien! The challenge was "just for starters" - a foundation. But if there can be superior beings based on scientific rational thought alone -- considering that there are millions of galaxies and millions of planets and almost certainly other planets with life -- then is it truly rational to rule out the possibility of what we might call "supernatural" beings?

God is much more than that. He is our Creator and our Father in Heaven and the source of all there is. I wasn't anywhere close to laying the foundation for His existence in my brief reply, but just testing the waters to see if he can allow for the possibility that we are not the kings of the universe on our little throne of earth.

You assert that there is no evidence for the existence of God. I'd like to echo the fact that there are numerous witnesses, including eye-witnesses, for His existence. The Bible, the Book of Mormon, the revelations to many witnesses, the incredibly fine-tuned nature of the Creation, our improbably existence, and my numerous personal experiences all confirm that there is indeed a God, and one most deserving of our love and respect. He is intimately involved with us and loves us incredibly, and even sent His Son, who was seen by many hundreds of eye witnesses after His resurrection.

God exists. Our loving Father in Heaven is real, and abundant evidence is available to those willing to look and see.

Russell said...

Additionally, Jeff G., to assume that God is merely some kind of postmodernist figment to Mormons is utterly absurd, indeed at odds with the beliefs of every Latter Day Saint I know (and those numbers are not a few).

And this "intellectual engagement" seems more self-gratifying than satisfying. Intellectual engagement normally requires evidence, source quotes demonstrating that a particular tradition (ie Mormonism) indeed does support the thesis you claim.

You have no evidence that I am who I say I am. Therefore, I only appear to exist to you. Therefore, you believe in this postmodernist concept more than MOrmons do. Ironic indeed.

Jeff G said...

Wow! I guess I stuck a stick in the wrong hornets nest, huh? Lot's of comments, and most of them completely beside the point.

1) The guy never claimed that we are the "highest" beings in the universe.

2) I never said anything about figments, postmodern or otherwise.

3) The fact that I used mythical creatures as examples is largely beside the point.

4) I was not arguing or even asserting that there is no evidence for God's existence. I was merely describing things from the atheist's perspective, a perspective which you must adopt if you are to engage them.

5) Most importantly, to claim that there are many witnesses of God is actually the best argument which I think a theist can put forward. However, as I said in my comment, this was NOT the approach which Jeff took in his response to the guy. If it had, I would not have had much to say at all, but it wasn't. Jeff's response was entirely unconvincing to any atheist and I was merely pointing that out.

Jeff G said...

To be a little clearer, the intent of my comment was not to convert anybody to atheism. Rather, it was to show Jeff how and where his arguments could use a bit of refinement.

Anonymous said...

Well how considerate.

Mormanity said...

OK, I appreciate what Jeff G. is saying. Right, my brief response was hardly a well developed argument, except to challenge dogmatic atheism over agnosticism for those who aren't moved by the evidence of God's existence. Had he been interested in more than just a drive-by insult, I certainly would have wanted to probe the significance of witnesses and so forth.

Come to think of it, in light of the lack of reproducible evidence of his existence, the one-time email may have just been a random glitch of electrons from a sunspot or something that created the appearance of order in my email server. Perhaps he doesn't really exist after all. Sigh . . . sob.

cold pizza said...

I have never been to Spain. Ergo, it doesn't exist. Anyone who says otherwise is involved in the conspiracy of cartographers.

Mortality: the ultimate inversive virtual reality experience. -cp

Anonymous said...

Dear More Extremely Disturbed,


I am sorry that my experiences with Supernaturally Omniscient Beings are disturbing to you, it too disturbs me to have had such experiences. Like you I thought the whole thing crazy; people having such ideas, but my feelings have always been "to each their own".

Then it happened, without much effort, contact was made. The event was not life changing at first but I did seek out people with similar experiences to reassure myself that I was normal enough to function as a productive citizens. I can't say it has always been easy and at times I would like to have my lazay faire life back. But I am now accountable to the Supernaturally Omniscient Beings and must do my duty to them. I have always been told by atheists like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens that no intelligent person could possibly believe in such absurdities. This truly disturbed me because I realized that I was not intelligent but was also possibility believing in a delusion. After I had wasted all my years drinking the religious cool aid of literature I started reading all the science books I could.

As I read, I realized that there were many former atheists in the fields of quantum physics, astrophysics, and microbiology that have either converted to some sort of spiritualism or at least grungly admit the physics of this universe opens up the possibility that something more is behind all this.

Now I am more disturbed; should I listen to you, that it is all nonsense or to people that have dedicated their lives to the sciences of quantum physics, astrophysics, and microbiology and now feel the need to expose their inner most feelings about what they now believe? What do they know that you may need to know? Would you like a list of their names?

Anonymous said...

Actually, 100 billion stars in our galaxies and 100 billion known galaxies in our universe.

Bookslinger said...

Anon at 7:56,

Yes, I'd like some of those names. (Scientists who were formerly atheists but converted to some sort of belief in whatever.)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Disturbed,
Do not concern yourself with Jeff and those that think like him. I am an atheistic scientist and we have provided all man kind with the pleasures that they now enjoy and criticize. We will build any thing for them. Nuclear booms, big ones, small ones, or ones with only radiation. We will even build conventional weapons as large as the nuclear booms without the radiation. We will build biological weapons, and special ways to deliver them most efficacy.
I had hoped after 9-11 that people would see how damaging it is to believe in a after life and start believing in a atheistic materialistic scientists. There is nothing after this life so get as much as you can in this life with moral relivism and situational ethics. Because we don't believe in such nonsense we can create and destroy without asking any moral questions, like should I ?
Just give us a little more time, when we fully map the human DNA we will create man in Our Image and develop a way to completely control them so they will fulfill our utopian dream. We will remove the God gene and any other gene that opposes us. They will comply; they shall be absorbed. Why? Because we can.
We do not care if a sociopath atheistic scientist gets control of such inventions and kills mankind because we are nothing more than hairless apes and after this life is is nothing more than a dirt nap. Besides we can fix any problem mankind has because you can see what a bang up job we have done in the great atheistic societies that have been in place through out earth history. We have kill no more or less that those religious societies. Although our record is no better than theirs we should be given the control because we build better weapons.

Bookslinger said...

Atheists have killed far more people than any type of religious believer.

For murder by atheist and communist governments, check out:
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/MURDER.HTM

Anonymous said...

Bookslinger,
As a convert from athleticism to Mormonism I started collecting stories before the internet but now most can be found there.
Here is a web page from a Christian web page that lists over 100 scientists with some conversion stories. And I am sure there are some that lose their faith also, but when Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens get away with calling it child abuse to teach your children religion or that you are unintelligent because you have a religious faith when there are some very educated and intelligent people that are followers of faith just suspends all logical thought.
http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/bios/default.asp
Dr. Cimbala is professor of mechanical engineering, Pennsylvania State University. He holds a B.S. in aerospace engineering with highest distinction from Pennsylvania State University, an M.S. in aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology. As well as publishing a number of research papers in the area of fluid dynamics, Dr. Cimbala served as a visiting senior research scientist at the NASA Langley Research Center. He was a pioneer in the development of the internet for teaching enhancement and, in 1997, received the George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching at Pennsylvania State University. My college years at Penn State were spent as an atheist, or at best as an agnostic. Once I accepted the fact that there is a creator God, it was an easy step for me to accept His plan of salvation through Jesus Christ as well. I became a follower of Christ during my first year of graduate school at Cal Tech.
John Baumgardner
Married with four children, Dr David Catchpoole has worked as a plant physiologist and science educator, specializing in tropical agriculture and horticulture. Until his mid-20s, David was an ardent evolutionistic atheist, but a personal crisis while working in Indonesia brought him to embrace Christianity. However, for a decade he struggled to reconcile popular evolutionary beliefs with the Bible, until hearing an Answers in Genesis seminar in 1997. David now eagerly proclaims the whole truth of God’s Word,
Language of God by
He is head of the human Genome project and tells his story in his book.
France Collins

C. S. Lewis an non scientist

Amit Goswami, David Bohm the reason I add these is because they try to take what they know about quantum physics and explain some spirituality from it. Joseph Smith, Brighman Young, Orsen Pratt and others have added some from their frame of reference also.


Cosmic Jackpot by
All about our universe and quantum physics goes over the 30 forces and law of physics that are so finely in tune that it leaves scientists questing the odd of such a universe happening by chance.
Paul Davies

David Behe
Beyond Evolution
Darwin's Black Box

I.L. Cohen

Bookslinger said...

"As a convert from athleticism to Mormonism".

This may go against the beliefs of some, but personally, I don't think there is any conflict between athleticism and Mormonism at all.

There have been some very famous Mormon athletes. Football player Steve Young comes to mind.

I know that the church has de-emphasized "Church Ball" in recent years, but in the last ward I was in, the Elders Quorum had semi-regular basketball games. And the stake recently has had basketball tournaments between wards for both boys and men.

Anonymous said...

Um.... Something tells me a spell checker wouldn't have helped here. Extremely hilarious.

Bookslinger said...

Thank-you. Thankverymuch.

Anonymous said...

I, myself, am a convert from pedestrianism.

Anonymous said...

As a confirmed pedestrian I must protest--the, ah, atheist position simply says that we do not look for supernatural explanations for causes that can otherwise be explained naturally. If you wish to invoke higher powers, you are the one that must make the convincing case. What non-subjective evidence do you have?

--Agnes

Anonymous said...

One word - gravity.

Anonymous said...

Tell these pedestrians to take a walk - and then look around and explain the universe naturally. Just how did the ratio of the strong force to electromagnetic forces work out to be so precisely balanced? Blind luck?

You can see it in the trees.

Pedestrians need to practice what they preach: take a walk!

Ujlapana said...

Militant atheists are annoying, because they become literal examples of what should be straw men put up by theists. Child abuse? Get serious.

But, given that a lot of this thread has come around to intelligent design (more or less) do you not see how the Mormon God fails to address any of this? By claiming that he is not supernatural (as I think Mormons generally do--He works with nature in a way we do not understand, not "outside of it") and, what's more, an evolved being, he couldn't have been doing the "tuning" of the universe. You need something that exists outside of existence to do that, whatever that means. It starts to sound like something that might be described in the Nicene creed....

Eyewitnesses are easily questionable. As others have put it, is it more likely that a person is a liar or that a person just saw X, where X is an extremely unlikely, possibly illogical, event or thing? Lying's really pretty common, and so is misunderstanding something we see (particularly as a one-time event.)

Anonymous said...

Extremely hilarious. Yes I have been amusing people with my spelling, grammer, speaking ability, I also look and smell like a Troll. Most members and all people find me distastful. I pride myself in being a stumbling block to others. When I first joined the church I thought I was going to be a Joseph Smith or President Kimball but my life has turned more like Porter Rockwell. They keep shooting at me and when I shake out my clothing the slugs just fall to the ground. I sill owe you Mormons my life and salvation. Thanks again.