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Odinn comments on The Fun Theory Sequence - Less Wrong

28 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 25 January 2009 11:18AM

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Comment author: Jon2 25 January 2009 06:45:20PM 5 points [-]

I can certainly understand your dissatisfaction with medieval depictions of heaven. However, your description of fun theory reminds me of the Garden of Eden. i.e. in Genesis 1-2, God basically says:

"I've created the two of you, perfectly suited for one another physically and emotionally, although the differences will be a world to explore in itself. You're immortal and I've placed you in a beautiful garden, but now I'm going to tell you to go out and be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over all living things; meaning build, create, procreate, invent, explore, and enjoy what I've created, which by the way is really really big and awesome. I'll always be here beside you, and you'll learn to live in perfect communion with me, for I have made you in my own image to love the process of creation as I do. But if you ever decide that you don't want that, and that you want to go it alone, rejecting my presence and very existence, then there's this fruit you can take and eat. But don't do it, because if you do, you will surely die."

It seems that the point of disagreement is that your utopia doesn't have an apple. The basic argument of theodicy is that Eden with the apple is better than Eden sans apple. To the extent that free will is good, a utopia must have an escape option.

Or, to put it another way, obedience to the good is a virtue. Obedience to the good without the physical possibility evil is a farce.

It's easy to look around and say, "How could a good God create THIS." But the real question is, "How could a good God create a world in which there is a non-zero probability of THIS."

Comment author: Odinn 03 August 2015 03:06:47AM 0 points [-]

I knew there would come a day when almost a decade of mandatory bible classes in private school would pay off. (That's not true, I've generally written it off as a really depressing waste of my mental resources... still) You've got the order of events in the Garden of Eden backwards. After God finished up and took off for Miller Time, Adam and Eve had nothing to do. They didn't need clothes or shelter, all animals were obedient and gentle, they had to live of fruit for eternity which would get old, the weather and season (singular) was always the same and they were the only those two people in existence with no concept of there ever being any more. Sure, they would have lived forever, but there was no challenge, inspiration, reason or stimulation. Only AFTER the forbidden fruit and the knowledge of good and evil does God start up Eve's biological clock and issue the 'be fruitful and multiply' command, society starts to develop, there's a ton of implicit incest (er... bonus?) and they can cook up a nice lamb shank to break up the monotony. Once again, the literal interpretation of the bible leaves a lot to be desired in a literary sense, because the Garden of Eden is one of the most depressing 'paradises' ever devised. Also, here I go again responding to many-years-cold comments.

Comment author: [deleted] 03 August 2015 03:45:45AM 0 points [-]

and they can cook up a nice lamb shank to break up the monotony.

Well, no. That's not until Noah is issued permission to eat meat after the Flood.

because the Garden of Eden is one of the most depressing 'paradises' ever devised

It's not that depressing. It's just a park. The depressing part is that God gets angry and says, "Oh, you don't want to spend 100% of all your existence in this park for all eternity with literally nothing else? FUCK YOU AND LITERALLY DIE." A good God would have allowed much larger portions of possible life-space to be explored with fewer or even no penalties.

Eden is indeed more interesting for having the Apple, but damnation is so totally uninteresting that religious people had to go and invent Redemption, which is the simpering and undignified version of having your cake and eating it too.