Friday, September 28, 2007

Limit of the God Function

One argument for the nonexistence of an Abrahamic God occurred to me recently. It's probably been stated better hundreds of years ago, but I've got a jazzy new way to say it, to wit:

The limit of the God function over time is zero.

This quasi-mathematical formulation is not meant to suggest any actual rigor or quantitative nature, just to capture the essence of the idea. Basically, the history of science has been a sort of nibbling away at the boundaries of what deities are perceived as doing. The ancients believed that the gods carried the sun in its quotidian saunter across the sky, held the earth on their shoulders, threw lightning bolts at those who displeased them, or maybe made the sun stand still for hours at a time. As science has elucidated the natural mechanisms underlying these and many more phenomena, the divine job description has contracted considerably. These days the potential influence of divine action in the real world has been restricted to probabilistic phenomena like weather, or possibly quantum interactions, and nonobservable influences on people's hearts and minds. Between functional MRI and the possibility of newer understandings of very small particles, this niche promises to continue shrinking.

Now to make this all mathy, let G = the set of all possible deities affecting the observable world, whether real, imagined, or just kidded about, from YHWH to FSM.

f(G) is the influence of G in the observable universe.


If true, this would allow for only one of two possibilities, atheism or the most bland form of Deism, virtually indistinguishable from atheism.

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