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A Disproof of God’s Existence

THE TRADITIONAL DEFINITION OF GOD CREDITS HIM WITH three attributes: moral perfection, omniscience, and omnipotence. These are supposed to be logically independent, with none entailing the others. But that is not obviously correct: How is moral perfection possible without omniscience and omnipotence? How is it possible to be omnipotent without also being omniscient? Isn’t omniscience a type of omnipotence—a power to see and know everything? In fact, can’t we simply define God in terms of omnipotence, since his other attributes flow from this? If God is omnipotent he must be morally perfect, since he has the power to be morally perfect, and why would he not exercise that power? And if he is omnipotent he must be omniscient, since omniscience is an epistemic power. At the least he has the power to be both morally perfect and all knowing, given that he is allpowerful. Thus omnipotence seems to be basic in the definition of God. God differs from lesser beings precisely in having powers they do not have—moral powers, epistemic powers, and other powers (causing earthquakes, healings, etc.). God is replete with power, overflowing with it, by no means lacking in it. Any power there is, he has.

But is that right? Does God have every power? He has the power to create and destroy universes, but does he have the power to sneeze or digest food or pick his nose? Those powers require possession of a body with a certain anatomy, but God has no such body, being disembodied. Does he have the power to decay or split or emit radiation? How could he have these powers given his immaterial nature? Does he have the power to come down with a cold or be bed-ridden or have the runs? Surely not: God has the powers that are proper to his divine nature, not any old powers that things of other natures have—animals, plants, atoms. God essentially lacks certain powers as a condition of being who he is. He has the powers of a god not of a worm or cactus plant. Everything must lack something in order to be something, i.e., to have a determinate nature.

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About Skeptic

BEHE’S LAST STAND COLUMNS The SkepDoc: Is Low-Dose Radiation Good for You? The Questionable Claims for Hormesis, by Harriet Hall, M.D. • The Gadfly: Define Your Terms (or, Here we Go Again), by Carol Tavris ARTICLES Making Gasoline from Water: John Andrews and the Invention of a Legend • Online Gaming: A Virtual Experiment in the Dark Side of Human Nature • Duped by Data Mining • How Science Will Explain and Fix Fake News • The Cult of Falun Gong: A Dance Troupe and Victimhood Raises Big Money • The Opioid Epidemic Misunderstood • Why the Human-Centered View Has Not Served us Well • Behe’s Last Stand: The Lion of Intelligent Design Roars Again • Straw Man on a Slippery Slope: The Case Against the Case Against Postmodernism • A Disproof of God’s Existence REVIEWS Reviews of: The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure; The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe: How to Know What’s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake; Investigating Ghosts: The Scientific Search for Spirits; Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post- Facts, and Fake News; Hoax: A History of Deception: 5000 Years of Fakes, Forgeries, and Fallacies; Truth’s Fool: Derek Freeman and the War Over Anthropology JUNIOR SKEPTIC Quest for the Truth about Dungeons and Dragons

Other Articles in this Issue


COLUMNS
Is Low-Dose Radiation Good for You? The Questionable Claims for Hormesis
Define Your Terms (or, Here we Go Again)
ARTICLES
John Andrews and the Invention of a Legend
A Virtual Experiment in the Dark Side of Human Nature
DATA MINING INVOLVES RANSACKING DATA AND searching
THE INSTANT, GLOBAL SPREAD OF INFORMATION through the
How this Group Raises Big Money Using a Dance Troupe and its Own Victimhood
DRUG OVERDOSE IS NOW THE LEADING CAUSE OF death for
“Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world’s
The Lion of Intelligent Design Roars Again
The Case Against the Case Against Postmodernism
THE TRADITIONAL DEFINITION OF GOD CREDITS HIM WITH
REVIEWS
A Review of The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
A review of The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe: How to Know What’s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake, by Steven Novella with Bob Novella, Cara Santa Maria, Jay Novella, and Evan Bernstein.
A review of Investigating Ghosts: The Scientific Search for Spirits by Benjamin Radford
Reviews of Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post- Facts, and Fake News by Kevin Young and Hoax: A History of Deception: 5000 Years of Fakes, Forgeries, and Fallacies by Ian Tattersall and Peter Nevraumont
Review of Truth’s Fool: Derek Freeman and the War Over Anthropology by Peter Hempenstall.
Michelle E. Ainsworth holds an MA in history. She enjoys
JUNIOR SKEPTIC
Today we’ll sharpen our pencils, pick up our magical
As we’ll learn, role-playing games (RPGs) such as Dungeons
Strategy board games like Risk were complicated enough
It took a year to sell the first thousand Dungeons
Fear of Satanic cults trickled first through certain
Eventually the Satanic Panic faded away. The FBI concluded