5 comments

  1. Closer to Truth is a great series. Boyd gives great food for thought. I would just quibble with his ‘neo-Molinism’ (term he probably no longer uses) about God contemplating all the possibilities in advance to figure out a response. I would emphasize His real time knowledge, intelligence, power, not computational thinking.

    1. Hi William, it would be nice to draw you ought a little bit on your reference to “computational thinking”.

      I was musing on a thought experiment a while ago.
      Lets say we have a computer connected to a neurological impulse sensing module – attached to a person’s head. The computer can, without error, convert each impulse into its corresponding thought.

      Over a period of time, the computer learns enough about the person’s thoughts to be able to predict what that person’s next thought will be – and with infallible accuracy.

      Does it then logically follow – as Calvinism would argue, that the computer is determining the person’s thoughts, simply because the computer has infallible foreknowledge?

      That thought experiment made me wonder the degree to which Molina’s “middle knowledge” may be akin to “computational thinking”.

      Thanks in advance.

      1. I made up computational thinking. I am trying to contrast God number crunching endless possibilities that would never obtain or needing to contemplate them exhaustively far in advance in order to respond to contingencies. Boyd is probably avoiding the objection of God not knowing the future being a providential disadvantage? In reality, God could not change the fixed, foreknown future, even if He wanted to, without falsifying His foreknowledge (so seeing it is useless). The best emphasis, in my mind, is God’s perfect intelligence, wisdom, exhaustive past/present knowledge, predictability, ability, power, etc. God acts in real space-time just fine without having to muse about all contingencies from eternity past before creation. I would avoid Molinism (Boyd critiques it too) and emphasize God’s character and attributes, not a computational model? I imagine others could say it better, but I think I am on to something and right to quibble (Boyd might think differently now or qualify/refine his snapshot comments here….but not the first time I heard him drop that thought to sound more exhaustive on possibilities than I think is necessary or actual).

        1. Oh I see what you’re saying – kind of like quibbling over endless genealogies. There are some possibilities that are rather senseless to contemplate/calculate, because they are so improbable. Like a minutia of factors and contingencies that would have to be taken into consideration if humans were actually brains floating in vats. I get that point. :-]

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