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Old 19th August 2022, 07:32 PM   #41
psionl0
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
Does the suggestion require that it's the only reason?
For some people it would definitely be the only reason but we would never know which people.
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Old 19th August 2022, 08:57 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
How would you distinguish between somebody who genuinely avoids harming others (even if it results in personal benefit) and somebody who is only trying to avoid punishment?

The former will get rich.
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Old 19th August 2022, 11:01 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
For some people it would definitely be the only reason but we would never know which people.
Your post suggested that it would be the only reason. But aside from that, we don't need to know unless we're gods in charge of an afterlife. If there's no afterlife nobody needs, really, to know why anyone does the right thing. When a thing is done, it's done.
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Old 20th August 2022, 04:03 AM   #44
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Well, to return to the topic, there's lots of ways a God could make a better world, even without revealing himself.

Like, for a start, reduce death in childbirth. It was probably THE #1 cause of death for women in ancient times. Surely if you have complete control over the design, you can design it so the kid is a bit smaller when coming out. I mean, kangaroos are 1 inch sized at birth, and then eventually grow to something bigger than a human. It might (or might not) be harder to design something like that for a human, but if you're God I trust you can overcome that challenge.

Or since overpopulation was a big reason for warfare, make it an expanding world. Or make several worlds and portals between them. Or just start with a Birch world (i.e., a gigantic shell around a black hole). One built around Sagittarius A* should be able to easily house something like a quintillion (i.e., 1 billion billions) humans before they start fighting over living space and resources.

Reduce infant mortality, by bumping up the baby's immune system a bit. To keep population still manageable, make the woman as sterile as a brick for 3 years after childbirth.

Other stuff:

Design a better thymus, to at least reduce the incidence of autoimmune diseases.

Make insulin resistance more reversible.

Fix harmful alleles (gene variants), so you don't end up with recessive genetic diseases.

Remove trichinosis instead of forbidding pork.

Remove the gene that screws up cell multiplication regulation from herpes and hepatitis type viruses. Note that I'm not even asking to remove the virus itself, or viruses as a whole. Just one gene which dramatically increases the risk of cancer in the patients.

Make the enzymes that break down alcohol be released outside the liver, so you don't ruin it if you're in a culture that drinks beer instead of water. (E.g., ancient Egypt.)

Come up with grain that produces more food per surface unit. If Monsanto can do it, so can God.

Etc.

Note how none of the above do much to remove free will or any of the other BS offered in apologetics. There is no free will involved in inheriting two genes for haemophilia, so removing those alleles wouldn't really do anything to curtail human free will or anything. Or nobody exercised their free will to get lupus, Type I diabetes, giant cell myocarditis (the #1 deadliest auto-immune disease) or any of the other other auto-immune diseases.
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Old 20th August 2022, 04:17 AM   #45
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And then comes the stuff you could do better as a God if you're gonna claim to be the ruler of that world and give rules. Starting with actually doing a real management job if you're the ruler, not just be an absentee and then make some spectacular example of some bystanders when you're pissed off that your subjects didn't guess what you want them to do.

Like, this would be one rule I would give my subjects: "Thou shalt adorn thy houses with my holy symbol: a continuous rod fashioned out of copper, extending from two feet above thy roof to two feet under thy lowest basement. The houses thus displaying their faith in me shall be spared from being lit on fire by my lightning."

Simple and actually solves a problem, eh? Sometimes even a spectacular one down the line, like churches outright exploding in the age of gunpowder.

Or teach them how to make a ceramic water filter. Doesn't use extra energy like boiling the water, and stops even viruses.

Teach them to make eyeglasses. I mean the basic technique of using pitch to polish a lens is so simple once you know it, that even stone age people could probably use it.

Teach them about mental illness. No, some guy hearing my voice telling him to sacrifice a child to me is not actually speaking for me. He's not a prophet, he's schizophrenic. If I want to tell you something, I'll do it myself, thank you very much.

In the same vein, teach them that no, witchcraft isn't real. And a cat isn't a familiar spirit even if it's black and its owner talks to it. Trust me, it's just a cat. I made those, so I should know. And even if ad-absurdum someone actually discovered some way to do magical harm, I'm omnipotent and can stop it myself if I want to. There is no need to burn anyone in my name, because they can't actually do $#!&. And if you do, it won't please me, it will just piss me off that you misuse my name and authority like that.

Teach them to only eat their steak well done, if you're still concerned about trichinosis. Yeah, not as tasty, but it beats getting trichinosis.

Teach them not to $#!& near their water supply.

Etc.
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Old 20th August 2022, 08:32 AM   #46
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Also, I still get the jitters if I go too long without taking the piss, so here's again my Argumentum Ad Anime against theodicy: Surely a benevolent God could just give people random hair and eye colours -- as in, literally take 3 random numbers between 0 and 255, make an RGB triplet out of them -- so people like me who have trouble decoding faces would have an easier time telling people apart. ("Who's Jill?" "You know, the tall light blue-haired girl with crimson eyes?" "Oh, THAT one.")If some Japanese artists could figure that one out, so could God
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Old 20th August 2022, 09:57 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
And then comes the stuff you could do better as a God if you're gonna claim to be the ruler of that world and give rules. Starting with actually doing a real management job if you're the ruler, not just be an absentee and then make some spectacular example of some bystanders when you're pissed off that your subjects didn't guess what you want them to do.

Like, this would be one rule I would give my subjects: "Thou shalt adorn thy houses with my holy symbol: a continuous rod fashioned out of copper, extending from two feet above thy roof to two feet under thy lowest basement. The houses thus displaying their faith in me shall be spared from being lit on fire by my lightning."

Simple and actually solves a problem, eh? Sometimes even a spectacular one down the line, like churches outright exploding in the age of gunpowder.


...snip....
Asimov did an interesting essay on that saying it was one of the pivotable points from religion to science: many churches etc. were the tallest structures in many towns, secular buildings started to install lightning rods, for some reason the churches were against it. Result was the terrible blasphemous brothel (for example) were no longer being destroyed by lightning but churches were.
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Old 20th August 2022, 09:57 AM   #48
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I have to ask, which god are we talking about? Are we talking about the Chick Tract omnipotent, omniscient, infallible YHWH? Is it more of a George Burns in Oh, God! sort of deity, who is powerful, but has limitations on what it can do? Is it a deist's god that represents a designer, but which isn't necessarily anthropomorphic, and doesn't interfere with the laws of nature on our behalf nor respond to prayer?

I suspect it's been assumed from the start that we're talking about the Abrahamic all-powerful god. I think the most relevant question isn't "could we do better?", but rather "couldn't God do better?". Given how God spends more time being pissed off about how its creations aren't doing what it wants of them than sitting back and feeling insufferably pleased with itself, the answer is clearly "yes". Even if we ignore our collective notions of what God's competency is, we have to grant that God itself is not pleased with its own work. This would be understandable if it was a limited god that could only do and know so much, like a Bender the robot god. But it simply isn't a logically sound claim to have an all-powerful deity that is constantly upset with its own creation.
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Old 20th August 2022, 09:59 AM   #49
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I think the singular piece of knowledge a god could have told us about that would have had the most impact is the germ theory of disease, alongside its cousin of antisepsis.
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Old 20th August 2022, 10:21 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
yes, undoubtedly we could do better than God.

For Starters, the Bible claims that humanity started out from a PERFECT state of Paradise, and that things can only get worse from there, to a point of Final Judgement.
One of my most significant moments in my journey away from Evangelical Christianity in my teens was the realization that God was supposedly going to finally make everything the way it always should have been as described in the Revelation of John. If things got messed up in the first place because God had to give Adam and Eve free will so they wouldn't be "robots", did that mean that it was going to eliminate free will in its perfect kingdom to come? Whatever conditions would prevail to keep this final perfect world on the rails, why weren't they implemented from the start? Why all the pain and suffering and staggeringly high percentage of eternally damned souls? When I asked if God would still allow free will after the events of Revelation played out, I was told "certainly". So I asked how it could be any more certain that no one would willfully disobey God then. I was told that we'd have the ability to disobey God, but that we wouldn't. When I asked why God hadn't simply made humans that way from the start, I started getting brushed off and told to go read my Bible some more and pray to be filled with understanding.

Once I considered the premise that it was all made up superstition, it suddenly made perfect sense to me.
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Old 20th August 2022, 11:43 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
One of my most significant moments in my journey away from Evangelical Christianity in my teens was the realization that God was supposedly going to finally make everything the way it always should have been as described in the Revelation of John. If things got messed up in the first place because God had to give Adam and Eve free will so they wouldn't be "robots", did that mean that it was going to eliminate free will in its perfect kingdom to come? Whatever conditions would prevail to keep this final perfect world on the rails, why weren't they implemented from the start? Why all the pain and suffering and staggeringly high percentage of eternally damned souls? When I asked if God would still allow free will after the events of Revelation played out, I was told "certainly". So I asked how it could be any more certain that no one would willfully disobey God then. I was told that we'd have the ability to disobey God, but that we wouldn't. When I asked why God hadn't simply made humans that way from the start, I started getting brushed off and told to go read my Bible some more and pray to be filled with understanding.

Once I considered the premise that it was all made up superstition, it suddenly made perfect sense to me.
I think a big problem with all this is that the god in question, that is "God," is a passive-aggressive creep.

We're told by most Christian religions that we're to be judged by faith, not works. But at the same time, God has a big list of works that we must do, or be presumed to lack faith. But at the same time, if we do them because we fear the consequence of not doing them, we're said not to be doing it out of faith. Which is nonsense. If you do something because you are convinced there really is a god and there really is an afterlife in which that god will punish you for what you did or did not do, then that requires total faith. So what God is saying, basically, is that you must do what he wants, but not because he wants it. You have to do what I want, but it's only good if you do it because you want it. But you can't want it for the wrong reasons either. You have to want it the way I want it but not because I do.

So here we have a god that blames us for exercising our free will freely, but insists that we keep it and exercise it the way he wants, but we're going to want it that way ourselves, but not because he did anything. Or something.

In the more general question of what we might be able to do better, I think it also depends on whether we consider the judgment and afterlife to be included in the world of being to which the question is applicable.

Assuming that our supposed eternal afterlife is part of our being, a decent, loving God would go a long way toward improving things simply by easing up on some of the entry restrictions, and letting some people in who are currently excluded for trivial reasons, like a priest getting a word wrong in the baptism ritual. After all, we can presume, I hope, that there's not a parking problem in heaven. When we get to the number given in Revelations, does the next person get "sorry, no vacancy?" A god wouldn't have to go all Universalist to make things at least a little bit nicer.
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Old 20th August 2022, 11:44 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Asimov did an interesting essay on that saying it was one of the pivotable points from religion to science: many churches etc. were the tallest structures in many towns, secular buildings started to install lightning rods, for some reason the churches were against it. Result was the terrible blasphemous brothel (for example) were no longer being destroyed by lightning but churches were.
Oh, he's right. But as I was saying, it goes even further than that. Other buildings may or may not have been spared from catching on fire, but churches were outright exploding. People were storing gunpowder in churches, so one good hard lightning could be all it took to cause a massive explosion. Think, having a potential Gunpoder Plot kind of event under a lot of churches.

And I mean, I actually remember visiting some Eastern European town whose name I forgot, some decades ago, when the guide suddenly tells us that the plaza we were is paved with all that remained out of the old church that suddenly exploded. It was pretty typical square stone pavement. Not very big stones, is all I'm saying.

I was already fairly atheistic, and even I had a sudden thought along the lines of "WTH was the priest doing that angered God THAT much?!" I mean, more joke than serious, but the thought was there.

I can only imagine that a lot of people were asking themselves the same thing in the renaissance when a church was hit so hard by God's lightning that it detonated spectacularly.

So yeah, even better reason to put a lightning rod on it, is all I'm saying.
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Old 20th August 2022, 11:48 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Oh, he's right. But as I was saying, it goes even further than that. Other buildings may or may not have been spared from catching on fire, but churches were outright exploding. People were storing gunpowder in churches, so one good hard lightning could be all it took to cause a massive explosion. Think, having a potential Gunpoder Plot kind of event under a lot of churches.

And I mean, I actually remember visiting some Eastern European town whose name I forgot, some decades ago, when the guide suddenly tells us that the plaza we were is paved with all that remained out of the old church that suddenly exploded. It was pretty typical square stone pavement. Not very big stones, is all I'm saying.

I was already fairly atheistic, and even I had a sudden thought along the lines of "WTH was the priest doing that angered God THAT much?!" I mean, more joke than serious, but the thought was there.

I can only imagine that a lot of people were asking themselves the same thing in the renaissance when a church was hit so hard by God's lightning that it detonated spectacularly.

So yeah, even better reason to put a lightning rod on it, is all I'm saying.
I remember a long ago joke that you could always tell which church in town was the Unitarian, because it has a lightning rod on the steeple.
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Old 20th August 2022, 11:52 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
I have to ask, which god are we talking about? Are we talking about the Chick Tract omnipotent, omniscient, infallible YHWH? Is it more of a George Burns in Oh, God! sort of deity, who is powerful, but has limitations on what it can do? Is it a deist's god that represents a designer, but which isn't necessarily anthropomorphic, and doesn't interfere with the laws of nature on our behalf nor respond to prayer?
Well, I can't speak for the others, but I was deliberately going for low hanging fruit rather than stuff really needing omnipotence. (Though the idea of creating a Birch World around Saggitarius A* is well into Kardashev Type II domain, and might as well be divine magic even for someone at our level.)

In fact, the second message is entirely at the level of a human from a more advanced planet trying to play God.

That's deliberate. I'm not trying to get into philosophical or theological debates about the limits of omnipotence or omniscience. I'm just trying to show that -- as per the thread title -- yes, even WE could come up with better ideas on how to make the place better. We may or may not have the technology to do so at the moment, but this is definitely not requiring omniscience or actual omnipotence.
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Old 20th August 2022, 12:07 PM   #55
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But if we're talking something even vaguely resembling God, here's IMHO the one best thing I would do to keep the place sane: just actually manage the place, if I'm claiming rulership. Hell, it doesn't even have to mean personally dishing the punishments and whatnot. Just:

A. give New Rules when they're warranted, instead of relying on people taking guesses which parts of the OT are still valid, and whether a cheeseburger is also meant when God said "don't boil a goat cub in milk", AND

B. In the process show that yes, I'm real, I know what you're doing, and I have my own opinions on that. I do believe that a lot less people would start thinking I won't notice, or I won't mind it because they're special, or that they can misuse my name just because the voices in their head say so.

In fact, it can be as simple as projecting something like this on the sky, with sound, once a week. Hell, once a month. Once a year, even.
And now it's time for New Rules, everybody, New Rules.

(Caption: HERMIT THE FROG)
If your idea of being a hermit means living across the moat from the town's gate -- no, really, have you heard about it? it's getting to be the new fad in Germany and France -- or with enough followers and pilgrims to qualify for a name on the map, then you're not really a hermit.

And besides, which part of me saying, "It is not good for man to be alone," in Genesis was unclear?

(Caption: LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR)
If you call yourself a holy emperor and call a church council, and then end up thanking the town for supplying thousands of prostitutes to all the high ranking clergy at the council -- no, really, they just did that in Konstanz; I'm not making it up -- you no longer get to call yourself holy. Also, you may want to have another look at my top ten rules list.

(Caption: BONE TO PICK)
If you desecrate a saint's grave, as well as every single grave in the cemetery because of not knowing which tomb is hers, and then disrespect the remains by using them to decorate a church with what can only be described as a macabre tsunami of bones on every wall... do you really think it will make her like you so much, she'll do intercession for you? Think it through.

In fact, speaking of intercession, I think I'll invite her in the studio next time, so she can personally tell you what she's been asking me to do for you. And by "for you," I mean, "to you."

(Caption: THY NEIGHBOUR'S ASS)
If you write a whole book about how if a man is sexually attracted to a young woman, the only explanation is that she's using satanic witchcraft to corrupt him, like this guy just did (cut to image of Dominican monk), the rest of us get to call it your coming out of the closet confession.

Besides, if you think _I_ couldn't give people an urge to jump each other's bones, why do you think I made two teenagers, naked and free of any sense of right or wrong, for my garden? Just to name the plants and animals? You figure it out.

(Caption: BLACK SACRAMENT)
If you petition the pope to outlaw coffee as a "muslim drink", you have to lay down the crack. Seriously, it's not a muslim drink, nor a christian drink, it's just a drink. It won't turn into Muhammad's blood in your mouth. And, besides, if it did, admit it, wouln't you want to bleed him dry?

(Caption: UNNATURAL PHILOSOPHY)
Speaking of coffee, if you rehash the old 'theory' that milk is menstrual -- no really, this guy (cut to image of Heinrich Kramer) just did it to argue that a cow can't go dry unless witchcraft is involved -- remind me to never accept a cappucino at your house. Also, from now on, leave writing about that kind of thing to someone who's spent some time with a cow, a woman, or both. Being a celibate clergyman kinda doesn't make you an expert on reproduction.
(And yes, the tone IS taking the piss, because, hey, if I were God, I could choose any tone I wish for my act. Hell, I'd probably even add a laugh track.)
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Old 20th August 2022, 12:13 PM   #56
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Also, since we're talking about what God could do better, here's my old parody of the Evil Overlord's List. Here's my list for what I'd do as God do to make it a better religion and world to live in:

1. While good management practice does involve knowing how to delegate, that in turn relies on making it clear who is actually delegated to speak in my name. Instead of letting ten thousand schizophrenics speak in my name, and nobody knowing who's the real article, I'll give a visible halo to the one I'm actually using to represent me.

2. With great power comes great responsibility. I will make it clear to my chosen one(s) that that halo also makes an awfully visible target from above, should they decide to use their position to advance their own agenda, rather than using vague threats and false prophecies against them.

3. I will not however randomly try to kill the same guy I just sent on a mission, for no reason whatsoever.

4. I will also find a better way to communicate with my people than dreams and visions.

5. I will not let my people guess what I actually want when it comes to stuff I haven't ruled about in the past. If Bill Maher can give New Rules every week, so can I.

6. I will have a clear sense of responsibilities. I will not give a plague to a bunch of loyal underlings because I'm pissed off at a completely different bunch.

7. I will have a clear sense of responsibilities. I will not hold people responsible for what some very distant ancestor did.

8. There is no original sin. Frankly, after a few generations, none of them will be even remotely original.

9. I will have a sense of proportions. A genocide is NOT appropriate response to a few people screwing around or making cute little idols. Nor is it commensurate for a decision of one single Pharaoh or other kind of ruler.

10. While I am God and above being judged, I'll at least try to be consistent about my rules. I will not reward a guy with perpetual priesthood in my name, or any other reward, really, for murdering two newlyweds without trial.

11. I will use at least the bare minimum of my omniscience to not forbid stuff that will be essential to even the most elementary functioning of society in the future. E.g., I will not decree a death penalty for working on weekends.

12. While I am God and above being judged, I will not be a psychopath that has to find someone else to blame for his own bad decisions. If the garden I designed can go haywire because someone plucked an apple, I will fix my own bugs instead of blaming someone who had nothing to do with that buggy design. Ditto if I have a problem with random biological deviations produced by my design, like 10% of people being born wired like the opposite gender.

13. If Blizzard can nerf mages, so can I. Instead of, you know, commanding idiocies like "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."

14. I will get my priorities straight when giving rules. There are more important rules for the top 10 than forbidding sculptures. And for that matter for the top 600 than forbidding mixed fiber jeans or mixed bread.

15. I will not show favouritism for no rhyme or reason (Abel vs Cain, men vs women, Jews vs Canaanites). All my people are equal until they personally do something to earn my wrath.

16. I will at the very least keep in mind that some people can't possibly be responsible for some decisions. I will not order babies murdered or cattle slaughtered wholesale, no matter how much a group displeased me.

17. I will also not nuke whole cities, since, you know, there are babies and stuff inside. There is no reason, given my omnipotence, why nuking the whole city would be less effort than surgically striking just the ones actually responsible for whatever it was that angered me.

18. Offering your daughters to be gang raped is NOT a way to get on MY good side, much less what qualifies one to be the only family saved from a city.

19. Offering to sacrifice your child will NOT earn my favour.

20. While I'm not a vegan god, I will not command animals killed or released into the wilderness just to please me. Honestly, if you're gonna eat it, go ahead, but the smell of burned flesh is not doing anything for me.

21. I will be secure enough in my greatness to not need to torture an innocent just to see if they renounce me.

22. If any kind of sexual practice repulses me enough to want it stopped, I will just wire the people to be all repulsed too to the point of being unable to do it, instead of commanding their death. It's good to be omnipotent.

23. I will not give rules for how to properly keep slaves. Just don't own other humans, ok?

24. And sex slaves are right out.

25. I will have at least the minimum common sense and foresight to NOT order that a raped girl be married to her rapist.

26. I will have a clear sense of who's guilty and who's the victim. I will not order a raped woman be put to death together with the rapist.

27. Nor end up giving instructions for how to properly rape in warfare. Honestly, dude, if you just killed her family, it's safe to say she doesn't want you.

28. I will have at least have the same sense of cause and effect and proportions as a 6 year old. I will not give a 7 year world-wide drought just to make one guy in Egypt fabulously wealthy.

29. While there is a time and place for performance art, I will not take it to retarded extremes like ordering a guy to bury his underpants just to illustrate "I'll destroy your people like these underpants."

30. I do NOT need to father myself so I can sacrifice myself to myself to forgive some people for something I judged against. If I want to forgive them, I can just forgive them. I'm God. Who's to say I can't?

31. If I say something is forgiven, I'll also lift the punishment for it. Otherwise it's not really forgiven.

32. If I tell some people they're my best friends, I will not plan to fry them in hell anyway, just because something out of their control hasn't happened yet.

33. While I may or may not be inclined to do only a limited amount of divine intervention per day, and it's my prerogative to do so, I will keep at least the same sense of priorities a 6 year old can have. I will not end up fixing football games and lottery draws while letting babies die in fires or suffer for months on end and die of brain cancer.

34. If I do end up going personally to Earth to give New Rules anyway, I will find some better way to preserve them than going through oral tradition for decades, and then be changed by any scribe with an agenda. Titanium nitride covered printing plates will convey my exact words so much better.

35. I will at least try to express myself as intelligibly and clearly as a child can. If everything I say ends up having multiple interpretations or being "a mystery to great for mortal minds", I'll take some communication lessons and try again.

36. While creative and unusual punishments can be worth some giggles, I will find some better punishments than, say, turning some people gay or lesbian for idolatry. Honestly, it's not much of a punishment if they enjoy it.

37. If I rescue a people from just hauling rocks, I will not lead them into a total war to take someone else's land instead. Honestly, being stabbed is worse than pulling a big sled. I'll use my omnipotence to make a new continent for them.

38. I will take "yes" for an answer. E.g., if the pharaoh agrees to let my people go, I'll take that.

39. If, for whatever deranged reason (like maybe I lost a bet with me ol' pal Satan) I feel like commanding a people to go to war, I will do my part and help on the first try, not after they got wiped out twice.

40. I will not come up with an excuse as stupid as "but they had iron chariots". I'll save that for when it's at least tanks.

41. If Blizzard, or really even amateur MUD operators, can keep unfinished content away from the players, so can I. A tree that is not intended for them to use (yet) goes into a god only zone, not in the middle of the garden.

42. I will not show an obsessive preoccupation with my NPCs sex lives. Honestly, it's not healthy.

43. If the sign of my covenant ends up involving not just taking a knife to an infant's genitals, but an adult sucking on said genitals too... I'll come up with a saner sign of the covenant.

44. Given my omniscience, I do not need to set a rainbow in the sky to remind myself to not go psycho and drown everyone again. Nor any other visible reminders to myself, really.

45. If my underlings undertake manage to organize some grand project that involves the cooperation and coordination of thousands, I will congratulate them, not randomize their language or otherwise make them fail.
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Old 20th August 2022, 01:31 PM   #57
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If we had God powers... Funny that, it has actually already happened. A very long time ago everybody had those powers, but after a while they got angry with each other, you know, one undoing what another had done. So, they killed each other off. The last one standing, is the God we have now.
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Old 20th August 2022, 08:29 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, to return to the topic, there's lots of ways a God could make a better world, even without revealing himself.

Like, for a start, reduce death in childbirth. It was probably THE #1 cause of death for women in ancient times. Surely if you have complete control over the design, you can design it so the kid is a bit smaller when coming out. I mean, kangaroos are 1 inch sized at birth, and then eventually grow to something bigger than a human. It might (or might not) be harder to design something like that for a human, but if you're God I trust you can overcome that challenge.

Or since overpopulation was a big reason for warfare, make it an expanding world. Or make several worlds and portals between them. Or just start with a Birch world (i.e., a gigantic shell around a black hole). One built around Sagittarius A* should be able to easily house something like a quintillion (i.e., 1 billion billions) humans before they start fighting over living space and resources.

Reduce infant mortality, by bumping up the baby's immune system a bit. To keep population still manageable, make the woman as sterile as a brick for 3 years after childbirth.

Other stuff:

Design a better thymus, to at least reduce the incidence of autoimmune diseases.

Make insulin resistance more reversible.

Fix harmful alleles (gene variants), so you don't end up with recessive genetic diseases.

Remove trichinosis instead of forbidding pork.

Remove the gene that screws up cell multiplication regulation from herpes and hepatitis type viruses. Note that I'm not even asking to remove the virus itself, or viruses as a whole. Just one gene which dramatically increases the risk of cancer in the patients.

Make the enzymes that break down alcohol be released outside the liver, so you don't ruin it if you're in a culture that drinks beer instead of water. (E.g., ancient Egypt.)

Come up with grain that produces more food per surface unit. If Monsanto can do it, so can God.

Etc.

Note how none of the above do much to remove free will or any of the other BS offered in apologetics. There is no free will involved in inheriting two genes for haemophilia, so removing those alleles wouldn't really do anything to curtail human free will or anything. Or nobody exercised their free will to get lupus, Type I diabetes, giant cell myocarditis (the #1 deadliest auto-immune disease) or any of the other other auto-immune diseases.
You are talking about a world that was pretty much as described in Genesis 1. No death, disease, hardship, suffering etc. If that was his end plan then there would have been no need to give people the opportunity to make evil choices.
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Old 20th August 2022, 11:19 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
You are talking about a world that was pretty much as described in Genesis 1. No death, disease, hardship, suffering etc. If that was his end plan then there would have been no need to give people the opportunity to make evil choices.
But according to the bible that WAS the end plan. After all, the ability to make evil choices is something we're being punished for according to the mythology.
Again, not the actions of something benevolent.

No matter how you or Emre_1974tr or any other theist keeps spinning it, from the outside in neither the god of Judaism, Christianity or Islam is good, powerful and knowlegable.
Only willful denial suggests the god in those mythologies is better than humans.
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Old 21st August 2022, 01:02 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
But according to the bible that WAS the end plan.
No, that is a step towards the end plan which is to create gods who would rule the universe with God. It is not quite clear if everybody who's name gets written in the book of life will be a god or only a selection of these people will be. Either way, according to the bible, ultimately the universe will be renewed and death and other evils will be eradicated.
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Old 21st August 2022, 01:48 AM   #61
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
You are talking about a world that was pretty much as described in Genesis 1. No death, disease, hardship, suffering etc. If that was his end plan then there would have been no need to give people the opportunity to make evil choices.
Kinda not really, though? It's only 'because of humanity's bad decisions' in the same way as when Don Giovanni sets your shop on fire, and insists it's purely your own fault for disrespecting him.

I mean, even the whole setup is stupid. You take two apes, who officially aren't yet set up to know good from evil, then judge them as evil when they genuinely don't know whether disobeying an order would be evil. Bonus points, they're barely days old. It takes more than a decade for the final-ish stage of the world model to be there in humans.

It's literally on par with those idiots who whip a baby with a plastic tube for not doing what it's told. The little idiot jr just doesn't even know wth it's doing.

Plus, think of it as a game design issue. As I was saying, even amateur teenagers running a MUD (old timey text-mode MMO) knew that if something isn't intended for the players to use or not finished, it shouldn't be accessible to players in the first place. Like, when I was briefly a coder for such a MUD, there was physically nothing you could do to get into an area or use an item we hadn't yet actually judged to be ready and released. God puts some tree that wasn't supposed to be used right in the middle of the garden, draws attention to it, then has a MASSIVE overreaction and blames everyone but himself when the expectable happens. You know, instead of taking responsibility and fixing whatever (literally) goddamn bug that tree had. That's the kind of thing that, forget divine infinite intellect, even a 14 year old who downloaded DIKU (a MUD engine) and set up his first server would know not to do.
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Old 21st August 2022, 03:36 AM   #62
Lukraak_Sisser
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
No, that is a step towards the end plan which is to create gods who would rule the universe with God. It is not quite clear if everybody who's name gets written in the book of life will be a god or only a selection of these people will be. Either way, according to the bible, ultimately the universe will be renewed and death and other evils will be eradicated.
That's an interesting interpretation of the various holy texts I've never seen anywhere outside of the book of Mormon, and maybe Scientology.

Anyway, again, if we want to create something that works with us, we'd do it better than setting it up to fail again and again, make it extra broken, remove the ability needed to do it's task and then punish it for our mistakes.
So one more thing where we'd be better.
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Old 21st August 2022, 07:23 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
No, that is a step towards the end plan which is to create gods who would rule the universe with God.
If that is the goal and God is all knowing and all powerful then it should just create whatever additional gods it actually wants.

If the testing process is able to weed out all of the ones who would ever defy the original god that nullifies giving them free will in the first place. The end result is the same as just constraining the choices of the new gods.

Also eternal punishment for the flawed ones does nothing to advance that supposed goal. It is an unnecessary part of the process and results in leaving behind an ongoing evil.
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Old 21st August 2022, 10:53 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
No, that is a step towards the end plan which is to create gods who would rule the universe with God. It is not quite clear if everybody who's name gets written in the book of life will be a god or only a selection of these people will be.
But the first of the 10 Commandments says that there should be only one god. Moreover, the whole storm about the Satanic Verses was about Mohammed trying to insert some of the pagan gods worshipped in Mecca as intermediaries between man and Allah, which, when questioned, he hurriedly explained as coming from Satan pretending to be Gabriel.
Which holy book are you referencing here, because it certainly isn't the Bible or the Quran.

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Either way, according to the bible, ultimately the universe will be renewed and death and other evils will be eradicated.
If death is evil, why is the Biblical god so insistent that those who disobey him should be killed? Stone your daughter to death for having pre-marital sex, do not suffer a witch to live, etc etc. The Quran is equally explicit about killing unbelievers. If your argument is correct, following god's rules creates more evil in the world.
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Old 21st August 2022, 12:09 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by jrhowell View Post
If that is the goal and God is all knowing and all powerful then it should just create whatever additional gods it actually wants.

If the testing process is able to weed out all of the ones who would ever defy the original god that nullifies giving them free will in the first place. The end result is the same as just constraining the choices of the new gods.

Also eternal punishment for the flawed ones does nothing to advance that supposed goal. It is an unnecessary part of the process and results in leaving behind an ongoing evil.

There's another implication of the general idea of the world as a testing/proving ground, that never seems to get considered. It first occurred to me when discussing the reincarnation narrative in which human spirits are taught and tested and perfected over numerous reincarnations to prepare them to ascend to a higher plane. But it applies just as well to any narrative in which a single lifetime on Earth tests and selects those who are worthy to inhabit some future godly or heavenly realm.

Which is this: a realm, kingdom, or plane that was a paradise, without strife or temptation or pain, doesn't require that kind of training or selection. You don't put recruits through boot camp to send them on a nice holiday, you do it to prepare them for something worse. You don't select the most capable from among the populace to accomplish something pleasant and easy, you do it to accomplish something extremely difficult.

It follows that the Kingdom of Heaven or the Islamic Paradise or the higher spiritual plane of the reincarnation stories must actually be a very dangerous and challenging place, most likely morally instead of physically. Instead of people hovering around with halos on soft puffy clouds playing harps, maybe it's a vast plain bewilderingly crisscrossed by countless trolley tracks, with people tied to all of them, and switches and racing trolleys everywhere. Maybe everyone has buttons that give them lots of money but kill someone they don't know, or are passengers on sinking ships with not enough lifeboats, or it's a huge prison camp with piles of delicious unattended food while everyone is hungry. Whatever it is, it has to be something that justifies all the prior Earthly teaching and testing, so it follows that to an insufficiently advanced or insufficiently worthy soul, it would look like a hell.
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Old 21st August 2022, 03:03 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
That's an interesting interpretation of the various holy texts I've never seen anywhere outside of the book of Mormon, and maybe Scientology.

Anyway, again, if we want to create something that works with us, we'd do it better than setting it up to fail again and again, make it extra broken, remove the ability needed to do it's task and then punish it for our mistakes.
So one more thing where we'd be better.

What I thought also. Certainly has the smell of Mormon about it. Are we getting an incite into psionl0's religious inclination perhaps?
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Old 21st August 2022, 07:30 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
God puts some tree that wasn't supposed to be used right in the middle of the garden, draws attention to it, then has a MASSIVE overreaction and blames everyone but himself when the expectable happens.
You don't understand Genesis at all.

You see, it's actually a scientific paper exploring a theory about how the world began, just like the Big Bang theory.

In science you make observations and then develop hypotheses to explain them. Because Genesis is presented as a story it may be not obvious at first that it follows the same principle, since the theory is presented before the evidence. So let's turn it around. The evidence goes like this:-

1. Unlike other land animals, snakes don't have legs. Why not?

2. Animals communicate with sounds, but they don't speak. Why not?

3. Humans are ashamed of certain parts of their bodies. Why?

4. Women suffer great pain in childbirth. Why?

5. People live for only about 75 years. Why?

etc. etc.

No doubt the ancient Israelites had lots of hypotheses about each of these observations, but could a unified theory be developed to tie them all together? Turns out that yes, a theory could be developed that accounted for all of them - God. Only the God of Genesis accounts for all the seemingly disparate things they saw in a cohesive fashion. Just like observations of things like the CMB have led scientists to the conclusion that the Universe must have started from a singularity with a Big Bang, then inflation etc., so too observations of certain phenomena pointed them to the existence of a God with certain characteristics.

Take for example what is perhaps the most perplexing observation in Genesis - that snakes don't have legs. This obviously puts them at a distinct disadvantage compared to other animals, suggesting that they might once have had legs but lost them in some incident. The question is what was it? There's a story here, we just have to figure out what it is.

The Israelites must have put their top scientists and mathematicians on the case to solve this mystery and come up a brilliant theory that not only tied all the observations together but also had considerable explanatory power. The Genesis Theory covers everything from how the stars and planets were born to how life evolved and why everyone does bad stuff even when they try really really hard not to. Truly it is a scientific masterpiece!

Now, as we know, major scientific theories often need modification as new evidence comes to light, sometimes requiring the inclusion of entities that we don't have direct evidence for but are 'logically' necessary, eg. Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Of course it was possible they ware wrong about some of it, but which is more likely - that a powerful wizard cursed the snake for doing something bad, or that its legs just fell off for no reason?

It's important to note that Genesis doesn't just say 'God did it' and leave it at that, without any supporting evidence or logic. Every story in Genesis has a logical narrative that makes sense and accounts for all the observations with the minimum entities necessary and no more, just like any good scientific theory should. However this apparent simplicity belies a complexity that could take a lifetime of study to fully appreciate, just like Einstein's theories made the existence of black holes necessary but not the complex way they behave.

And of course simple theories often give way to more complex ones with more explanatory power. So we now know that Genesis is in fact no more than a collection of 'just so' stories, but that doesn't make them invalid any more than Einstein made Newtonian physics invalid. I mean, Genesis might 'only' be a collection of ancient myths and legends, but that doesn't mean it's not entertaining, right?
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Old 21st August 2022, 09:10 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by I Am The Scum View Post
You guys are thinking too small. Why would God even make physical-bodied humans capable of pain and death in the first place? If heaven is real, and perfectly blissful all the time, then God could just make us all souls in heaven and then be done with it.
The theory is that God did create us in a perfect spirit world, but because we are untried and untested, we soon began to make mistakes and corrupt the perfect world. So we fell from grace and began a long cycle of incarnations in the mortal world.
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Old 21st August 2022, 10:38 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I mean, even the whole setup is stupid. You take two apes, who officially aren't yet set up to know good from evil, then judge them as evil when they genuinely don't know whether disobeying an order would be evil. Bonus points, they're barely days old. It takes more than a decade for the final-ish stage of the world model to be there in humans.
You can put any spin on biblical texts you like but it is still possible to take the twisting too far.

God told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate from the fruit of the tree of knowledge and evil. The serpent told them something else. Even if they were unaware of evil, they weren't illogical. They knew that only one of the two versions could be true (hence the other person must be a liar). They would also have been aware that defying God was at best risky and at worst fatal.

God could have destroyed the couple then and there but evidently found that they could still be god-worthy but it would now take a completely different path.
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Old 21st August 2022, 10:48 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by Cosmic Yak View Post
But the first of the 10 Commandments says that there should be only one god.
No, it says that you should not worship other gods.

There are biblical references that make it quite clear that God wasn't just creating human bots. For example, Psalm 85:6 says, "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

Jesus actually quotes this verse in John 10:34.
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Old 22nd August 2022, 12:20 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
God told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate from the fruit of the tree of knowledge and evil. The serpent told them something else. Even if they were unaware of evil, they weren't illogical. They knew that only one of the two versions could be true (hence the other person must be a liar). They would also have been aware that defying God was at best risky and at worst fatal.
That's still being generous with their mental capacities, given that we're talking about babies merely days old. Ok, so they would have the brain fully formed, but again, it takes over a decade for the final-ish world model to click in place. Look up Piaget's development stages.

Plus, it's silly to expect them to even have the concept of what "death" means at that point. And not just for brain development reasons, but because such a thing didn't exist yet. They hadn't seen anyone die, to know WTH it even means.

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
God could have destroyed the couple then and there but evidently found that they could still be god-worthy but it would now take a completely different path.
That is still God doing it. And still based on judging that they did something 'evil' when they objectively didn't have the capacity to know it is.
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Old 22nd August 2022, 01:26 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
That's still being generous with their mental capacities, given that we're talking about babies merely days old
I don't think they were ever "babies" (or even children for that matter).
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Old 22nd August 2022, 01:59 AM   #73
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I'm talking about experience level, rather than body shape.
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Which part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?
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Old 22nd August 2022, 03:21 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I'm talking about experience level, rather than body shape.
You don't even know if they had belly buttons but you know all about their cognitive development?

You don't know how long Adam had to wait until he got a mate nor what he learned during that time. You also don't know how long Eve was around until the serpent appeared.

You are just making worst case assumptions.
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Old 22nd August 2022, 03:23 AM   #75
Lukraak_Sisser
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
You can put any spin on biblical texts you like but it is still possible to take the twisting too far.

God told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate from the fruit of the tree of knowledge and evil. The serpent told them something else. Even if they were unaware of evil, they weren't illogical. They knew that only one of the two versions could be true (hence the other person must be a liar). They would also have been aware that defying God was at best risky and at worst fatal.

God could have destroyed the couple then and there but evidently found that they could still be god-worthy but it would now take a completely different path.
Again, we are looking at this from a design point of view.

God created humanity, so we'll assume it was aware of the innate curiosity in mankind. The thing you only learn to control trough negative feedback.
In the created paradise there is no negative feedback, so humans could never have learned not to take things.
There is also (as already mentioned) no death, so the humans do not know what it is and are therefore not really inclined to take that seriously.
Both traits present in humans well into adulthood in most cases and that is in the normal world.
Not acknowledging these traits and then leaving them is clearly something we do better.

Also, when creating something humans should never ever touch, it's a major design flaw to put it in clear view and tell them about it.

Not to mention allowing the snake in the garden is also a clear act of stupidity we would avoid.
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Old 22nd August 2022, 03:46 AM   #76
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
You don't even know if they had belly buttons but you know all about their cognitive development?

You don't know how long Adam had to wait until he got a mate nor what he learned during that time. You also don't know how long Eve was around until the serpent appeared.

You are just making worst case assumptions.
Even without that, I'm still going by what the text says:

1. Nobody and nothing had died yet, so they couldn't possibly know what "you will die" means.

2. In the modern justice system you need both an evil mind and a degree of evil intent. Yet someone as supposedly infinitely just as God, can't see the issue with assigning both to people who, we're told in the actual text, were physically unable to make such distinctions.
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Old 22nd August 2022, 04:02 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
You don't even know if they had belly buttons but you know all about their cognitive development?

You don't know how long Adam had to wait until he got a mate nor what he learned during that time. You also don't know how long Eve was around until the serpent appeared.

You are just making worst case assumptions.
As opposed to "best case" assumptions to justify the supposed actions of this god?

The strangest thing about this god under discussion is that it is so poor at explaining itself that it needs some "special" humans to justify all the contradictions in its supposed actions and to tell other humans what it is actually trying to do.
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Old 22nd August 2022, 04:17 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
God told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate from the fruit of the tree of knowledge and evil. The serpent told them something else. Even if they were unaware of evil, they weren't illogical. They knew that only one of the two versions could be true (hence the other person must be a liar). They would also have been aware that defying God was at best risky and at worst fatal.

God could have destroyed the couple then and there but evidently found that they could still be god-worthy but it would now take a completely different path.
According to the story: as soon as they ate the fruit, they realised they are naked. And as soon as Adam tells God they are naked, God deduces that they ate the fruit:

Gen 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
...
9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?


The story is the death of innocence before God, since mankind decided they were wise enough to make their own rules.

Last edited by GDon; 22nd August 2022 at 04:29 AM.
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Old 22nd August 2022, 05:53 AM   #79
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The story of Adam and Eve raises lots of things that we could do better than God.

Expecting them to know right from wrong when that information was intentionally withheld from them is illogical. God should have realized that the mistake was his.

There are only two people with child-like minds but God couldn’t spare the attention to monitor them and intervene before they came to harm. It’s like leaving toddlers alone in a room full of matches.

——-

The Bible makes much more sense when you realize that the God character acts in whatever way is need to advance the plot and teach the moral instead on acting consistently and rationally.

Last edited by jrhowell; 22nd August 2022 at 06:04 AM.
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Old 22nd August 2022, 06:11 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
As opposed to "best case" assumptions to justify the supposed actions of this god?
The only assumption that I am making is that the tree of knowledge of good and evil (or something similar) was a necessary part of the god-apprenticeship. After all, if you are training somebody for a position of great responsibility then at some point, you are going to have to put them in a position of trust and hope they do the right thing.

Some people find the tree outrageous but only because they assume that Adam and Eve had no intelligence whatsoever.
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