Well, you can limit yourself and still retain seeming omnipotence if you can reverse that limitation at will and defy it as much as you'd like. Basically, if you write the rules, you can be on either spectrum of physical capability or power because you write the rules.
So Q could make a rock so heavy he couldn't lift it, snap his fingers, and levitate it with a pinky. Overthinking the term is missing the point that the Q possess powers which transcend normal laws of physics and even ST understanding of probability.
But if GodQ couldn't lift it physically(the old fashioned way), then it implies that there is something which GodQ can't do, which would negate the idea of God'sQ's infinite powers. That's the beauty of the omnipotence paradox, in one swell move it completely renders moot one of the key aspects of a monotheistic deity(Chrisitian apologists' only counter to this being dismissing it as nonsense).
Except that Q's powers appear to allow him to basically manipulate reality at will, making our measures of cause and effect or strength/power meaningless. He could be unable to lift a rock in one instant and then change the rules of reality the next and throw the rock across space and time. Taking the viewpoint of omnipotence as being able to do all things at one point in time does not rule out the ability to do all things at different points in time.
If you want to read into the literal interpretation, sure. But let's consider the term in light of what we know:
When has Q ever been able to not do something without being explicitly forbidden by other Q?
The answer is pretty much never and in that sense, Q is omnipotent within the confines of the plot. It's even implied that the Q exist outside of normal space-time and he makes pocket dimensions at will, indicating that reality warping can also make smaller realities instead of necessarily reshaping the greater whole.
In fact, Q seems to be limiting himself constantly so as to allow other beings to provide for his own amusement, which is why he doesn't force Riker to join the Continuum or why he doesn't force Picard to admit to being wrong on behalf of humanity and its failings. He uses his powers consistently to put the crew in situations where there own abilities and personalities dictate the outcome, and he eventually leaves on his own.
Pretending to be unable to lift a rock isn't proof of creating one even he couldn't lift. The omnipotence paradox is very explicit in this matter. What you described is cheating the test. Omnipotence is essentially an illogical conundrum created by people who never truly understood the full implications of ascribing such an attribute to a theoretical god-entity.
Being able to get on Picard's nerves.
Nope, it's not. Quinn also states that the aren't truly omnipotent either.
Yes, and the fact that other Q are capable of overriding his abilities is unquestionable proof of his (only)nigh-omnipotence, not absolute omnipotence.
You're missing that it is entirely a semantic argument, and requires context on what level of "omnipotent" you're insisting upon. My answer was one that does not preclude Q's evident powers, but does preclude the possibility of him existing in a contradictory nature, by having the ability to change the rules which bind him and others at will. I'd like to point out that this is actually something he does on a constant basis.
If you want to apply the definition of omnipotent as being something other than a paradox (such as say, a being with control over reality on a level equal to that we would ascribe to a godlike figure) then Q definitely qualifies. If you get bogged down in semantic hogwash in an attempt to move the goalposts, then you're missing the point - Q can do whatever Q wants, so long as another Q isn't intervening.
Individual Q have absolute control over space, time, reality, and matter. You could accurately say they can die, which I grant you. And that they cannot be all things all the time. That I also grant you. But for all intents and purposes, they have omnipotent power levels and how they can apply them (or how they think) is pretty much beyond us. Even their civil war could not be perceived accurately by humanoid minds and was perceived as a complex illusion of sorts.
Last edited by Stealth Moose on Dec 21st, 2013 at 04:17 AM
Which is why I specifically mention in my previous post that the abilities demonstrated by the Q so far border on nigh-omnipotence, not literal omnipotence. Which is I believe is also what your description matches with in reference to Q's abilities, or at least your intent does, even if you don't mention it exactly in that manner in your post.
Literal omnipotence is a state of being which essentially defies logic itself, so for a truly omnipotent being to exist, it would have to be beyond the usual rules of logic that human beings understand.
No, it's absolute simply by human standards, and based on the Q's own arrogant belief that it is far above all other life forms in the universe. That's essentially narrative hyperbole. They don't have omnipotent powers, what they have demonstrated so far descriptively matches with reality warping(universal-scale), which hardly qualifies as omnipotent power, unless one is a simpleton perceiving such abilities.
It couldn't be perceived by humans at all though. That illusion of them dressed as confederate and union soldiers was them modulating the appearance of the continuum so the lower species(humans) could perceive it without going mad or something like that.
We seem to be encountering a semantic issue here, not so much an inability to see eye-to-eye.
IF you see omnipotence as the ability to exist as all things at all times due to the power to do anything, THEN it seems logical to disregard this idea because of its inherent contradiction.
IF you see omnipotence as the ability to change the rules of reality at any point in history, even in direct contradiction to the rules you enacted previously, THEN Q qualifies.
Well, if you take the definition of omnipotence as I described it above, and then you look into the evidence at hand, what you expect is what you get.
- Q has demonstrated the ability to literally manipulate reality on many levels, including those that violate science and physics at will. He even jokes about changing the gravitational constant of the universe as something of a gag.
- Q can only be harmed/checked by other Q. This is very evident and no exceptions are given throughout the course of TNG, DS9, or VOY.
- Riker, when infused with the essence of Q, which was given to him despite his knowledge level and biology, was innate and allowed him do pretty much manipulate whatever he wanted. He materialized life forms out of thin air, changed the physical makeup and chemistry of Wesley Crusher, and brought back the dead.
So really, can you provide an instance which I've somehow overlooked that counters this?
Nah, it's not a case of semantics here though. Unless you want to subscribe to the version of the term "omnipotence" which modern fiction creators have raped and mutilated beyond all recognition, then no, there isn't much to discuss or disagree upon here, since what we're talking about is basically the same thing: that Q as a universal scale reality warper is merely a nigh-omnipotent being.
None of the above listed feats make him omnipotent though. Majority of these are feats that comic book reality warpers have achieved on a whim, and these characters are either batshit insane(Scarlet Witch, Sir James Jaspers, Jamie Braddock) or close to being functional retards(Franklin Richards). And none of said reality warpers can actually be described as being omnipotent in the same sense in which the term is ACTUALLY utilized. Not our personal takes on the definition of the word(which are irrelevant anyways), but the actual meaning of such a state of being.
That's not a paradox: that's a pseudo-tautology. It has the form and structure of philosophical logic but, when investigated with any degree of seriousness, fails to meet any reasonable criteria set for philosophical logic structure.
It's something people like to say to sound smart, basically.
There is a very simple answer which gets its origins from particle physics: an omnipotent being can do both at the same time. Were the omnipotent being able to do one but not the other, it would not be omnipotent.
The question is linguistically nonsensical when broken down. Like most "omnipotence" paradoxes, it requires nonsensical use of language to be considered.
Way to miss the point of me posting that link in the 1st place.
If you're referring virtual particles randomly popping in and out of existence as the supposed answer, stop right there.
No, it isn't really linguistic nonsense when one takes into consideration the (theoretically)infinite range of the powers and abilities possessed by a (theoretically)omnipotent being. An actual quantitative infinity simply cannot exist, and omnipotence is an actual quantitative infinity.
If you want to dodge the implications of the paradox, then yeah, the answer should indeed be a "nonsensical" one(though apologists generally don't tend to resort to nonsensical logic, as much as they prefer dismissing the query posed before them entirely).
So you mean to tell me that you can't even discern what posting a link to a parody home-made cartoon video means?
That's disappointing as sh1t, ddm. Guess I gave you more credit than you're worth.
Then please enlighten me as to what is it that you're referring to here.
One needs to have a degree in philosophy in order to be "educated" with that argument in an "academic way". Neither you nor I have such a qualification, so I guess it really isn't linguistic nonsense at all, as far as our discussion is concerned. At least not when considers the inherently paradoxical(and "nonsensical", lol) implications of the existence of an actual quantitative infinity.
You mean to tell me you were not aware that that quote is an actual idea spouted by pseudo-intellectuals and you shouldn't be shocked to see it show up in a shitty parody??
Edit - Also, that quote is supposed to be the atheists' "shitty omniscience" argument, which is why you got so extremely butthurt by my observation. Come, now, don't act like an evangelical Christian regarding your beliefs.
No thanks. It's pretty obvious what I'm talking about.
Keeping knocking down those strawmen. Let me know how that works out for you.
Last edited by dadudemon on Dec 27th, 2013 at 06:52 PM