"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." -- Bertrand Russell

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sectarian Prayer at the Roanoke Board of Supervisors

The Roanoke Board of Supervisors has been having an illegal sectarian prayer at the beginning of their meetings for decades. The issue here is the explicit mention of Jesus in the prayer; according to a lawyer I spoke to from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), legally, the Board can have prayer at their meetings so long as it's not a prayer from a specific religious persuasion. Of course, he also mentioned that this is not their preferred solution.

The FFRF has sent a letter to them indicating that this needs to stop. This situation is very similar to what happened in Giles, and it would really behove us to be involved. To read more about this issue, please see this excellent blog post at Cornelioid or the press release that our student organisation released (and I wrote using instruction from the CFI leadership conference I recently attended.)

Mathematical Proof that God Does Not Exist?

I was recently scanning through my copy of The Cambridge Companion to Atheism and came across what purports to be a proof that an omniscient being cannot possibly exist. Since God is traditionally considered to be an omniscient being, this essentially amounts to a proof that God does not exist.

Following along with the text, I will proceed with a reductio proof that omniscient beings cannot logically exist. Assume that there is an omniscient being. Such a being would, by definition, know the set of all truths. Therefore, there must exist a set of all truths; call this T. Now, consider the power set of T (the set of all subsets of T); call this PT. By Cantor's theorem, PT will always contain "more" members than are in T (technically, the cardinality of PT will always be greater than T.) But for each member x of PT, there is at least one propositional truth; namely, that x is in PT. So, there must be some truths which are not in T. Therefore, T cannot be the set of all truths. This is a contradiction -- and we must conclude that the set of all truths does not exist. This implies that omniscient beings cannot logically exist.