Uncommon Sense

May 16, 2016

Ow, Ow, Ow, It Hurts My Head

I have written often enough about the poor level of thinking I see, often associated with religion. I have recently been reading Sean Carroll’s new book The Big Picture, which I heartily recommend, in which Dr. Carroll addresses issues both scientific and philosophical (including the meaning of life!). Last night I read a principle I had forgotten about, created by German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), as stated by Dr. Carroll:

The Principle of the Best according to which God always acts in the best possible way, including in the creation of the world.

Leibnitz made the usual arguments that God is all-powerful, all-good, etc. and therefore he argued, essentially as an axiom, that everything God did was perfect and good, including His Creation.

So, if I understand the Book of Genesis right, God creates a great many animals, one of which is designed to be both his gardener and to worship him. The being and his helpmeet become disobedient quite quickly and incur God’s displeasure and banishment from his direct presence, so apparently God did something less than perfectly. Not only did he lose his worshipers but also his gardener. Then, his created beings went forth and populated the planet with animals of all “kinds” as well as people, but God was so disappointed in the behavior of the people that he decides to kill all but eight of them with a massive flood, incidentally killing the vast majority of the innocent animals at the same time. After doing that, he repents his action and promises not to do that again.

This is a shocking number of changes of mind from someone who can see the future like we can see the past. And the only reason we can think of for such actions is he looked at His Creation and thought “This is not good.”

Now, Leibnitz was no idiot. He also knew that the lifespan of an atheist in the 1600’s could be counted in days if that fact became known, so he had to espouse some sort of faith in the existence of a god. But, his Principle of the Best, seems irrational in the extreme and certainly is not supported by scripture. Did he design it as protection from potential critics or did he believe it to be true? If he believed it to be true, he must have had a very unusual reading of the first book of the Bible.

It also seems that a great many people still believe this Principle of the Best, even though it is irrational in the extreme. And while people are capable of wishful thinking, I know I am, this is massively counterproductive thinking, if one could call it thinking in the first place. If I may paraphrase Einstein, we cannot solve our problems using the thinking that got us into them in the first place.


  1. Leibnitz was roughly in the same camp as Newton, in that sense. A bit later, Hegel came up with the “world spirit” (Weltgeist), which I think answered why such smart people were so trapped within the thinking of the day.


    Comment by timsteppingout — May 16, 2016 @ 11:17 am | Reply

    • Spinoza got away with a bit, lucky he lasted as long as he did. And the things people believed! Hardly things the religious spinmeisters were endorsing. Apparently the records of the Spanish Inquisition are quite enlightening. Ignorant and illiterate peasants gladly shared their understanding of scripture (as explained to them by pious monks, I am sure) little know that theu were condemning themselves to the stake whilst doing so.

      When’s you book coming out? I want to be able to read it from front to back!


      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 16, 2016 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

  2. Hard to call Creation good.


    Comment by john zande — May 16, 2016 @ 11:36 am | Reply

    • Along with God is good! God is love! Well, amongst all of the beatings and slaughterings and enslavings and genocides and …

      On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 11:36 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 16, 2016 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

      • Trump Card = Divine Command Theory


        Comment by john zande — May 16, 2016 @ 1:07 pm | Reply

        • But if my trump card is higher than yours? Hey, that explains everything! Trump is high all of the time!

          On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 1:07 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:


          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — May 16, 2016 @ 1:26 pm | Reply

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