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Is God Painting Through This Girl? Grib takes a look at the doc, MY KID COULD PAINT THAT

Hey folks, Harry here... I like this story. It asks you what you believe. If you believe the Bible. God used to grant visions all the time. Today, not so much. Here we have this child, that apparently began painting visions of God, Heaven and more... beginning at the earliest of ages. Raised by Athiests, self taught in the form of art - and her work is amazing. SO - what do you believe? From the mouths of babes? Well, at least from this one's brush. I'm very anxious to see this film. Not just that, I'm anxious to see more of this kid's work as she progresses. -- As for what I believe. In faith, I'm Christian, but not a church goer. I don't know, I've only seen news footage of this girl's work. It's amazing. My nephew has scared his parents (both not religious) by talking very accurate Christian Jesus stories - although he has no contact with people that would tell him those stories, and when asked, he claims Jesus told him. In his bedroom. As a result, he's now in Catholic school. If he's going to be interested, he should understand the stories and be given access to people that can answer his questions. Of course, my nephew also fights invisible zombies and believes there's an evil version of himself that takes him over to do bad things, leaving him to deal with the results... and he's never seen HEROES. Well - enough of that, on to Grib and his look at the fascinating documentary... MY KID COULD PAINT THAT

Hey, Harry, Grib here with a review of "My Kid Could Paint That," a fascinating Sundance documentary: In what is shaping up to be my favorite Sundance, I saw a great documentary tonight, one that defined what the genre is all about and presented a host of challenging questions. It is called "My Kid Could Paint That," and it chronicles the meteoric rise and fall of a little girl with prodigious painting talent, Marla Olmstead of Binghamton, New York. In 2004, Marla burst onto the world art scene at the tender age of four when the New York Times picked up a story from the Binghamton paper about a young girl who was churning out abstract expressionist masterpieces that reminded seasoned experts of Kandinsky and Pollock. Soon a local gallery was putting on a show of Marla's work that sold out quickly, sparking worldwide interest in her paintings. Individual works from her oeuvre commonly fetch over $20,000. The director, Amir Bar-Lev, is granted intimate access to the Olmstead home and is able to record the changes in the family's routine as phone calls start streaming in from all corners of the globe asking for pieces of Marla's noteriety: at one point Crayola asks for Marla's participation in an ad campaign (the family refused this request). Bar-Lev's cameras also capture the surreal sight of a packed gallery opening at which the artist runs around at the clamoring adults' feet, playing with other children, largely oblivious to the spectacle she has wrought. Marla's mother, Laura, is hesitant to throw her daughter into the global spotlight before kindergarten, but she defers to her husband, Mark (who dabbles in painting himself but works the night shift as a manager in a Frito Lay plant), who wants it all for his daughter. The Olmsteads swear they haven't touched the hundreds of thousands of dollars in Marla's "college account" (that's going to be one heck of an education). One begins to wonder if her father isn't motivated at least in part by the almighty dollar. For her part, Laura repeatedly states that she would be perfectly happy if all the fame went away. But she never puts her foot down, and the ball keeps rolling. Until it stops suddenly and unexpectedly one night: the family is gathered to watch a "60 Minutes" piece on Marla. It starts out as planned, with collectors and critics gushing about Marla's work, but then host Charlie Rose questions noted child psychologist Ellen Winner, who has some doubts about whether Marla's work is entirely her own. Winner bases her suspicion on her review of footage of Marla in action, which, she says, does not feature the "rage to master" that other child prodigies display. Rather than dancing about the canvas in Pollock-like reverie, Marla is "just pushing paint around" as any child would. It is fascinating to watch Marla's parents react to this report; all is going so well and then it comes crashing down in a matter of seconds. The fallout from this report is disastrous; the demand for Marla's work dwindles to nothing, and her parents are left bewildered, protesting to all who will listen that Mark had nothing to do with Marla's painting, that she loves to paint and that these masterworks are all her own. 60 Minutes agrees to install a hidden camera in the Olmsteads' basement to record Marla at work (her parents posited that she gets nervous on camera and can't produce top-notch work), but Winner is not impressed, even after viewing several hours of tape. She notes that several of Marla's paintings are very professionally "polished," while the work she produced on the hidden camera lacks such flair. On a tense drive home from Binghamton one night, Bar-Lev confides to his camcorder that, although he has become close with the Olmsteads, he is beginning to doubt whether Marla's work is all her own. He admits that he now feels conflicted in his role as documentarian; he will have to remain objective even as the Olmsteads try to convince him that Marla is a legitimate prodigy. They now see the documentary as a way to salvage their reputation. Filming in their home becomes a tense tapdance; in one particularly poignant scene, Laura looks at the camera and says "I really need you to believe me." There are more surprises in store for Marla and her family, but I will let you see them for yourself. I don't want to spoil the emotional rollercoaster that this film takes the viewer on. So many fertile questions are raised: where is the line between nurturing a child's precocious talent and exploiting it? How can one truly evaluate abstract art when a four-year-old can approximate the work of the masters of the form? (Bar-Lev enlists the help of a New York Times art critic in unpacking the puzzle that is modern art; these conversations are equal parts mindbending and illuminating.) Is the value of art purely market-driven? How can a documentary filmmaker remain objective when he begins to have doubts about whether his subjects are telling him the truth, yet he is still filming in their home? In the postfilm Q&A, Bar-Lev admitted that he still has not made up his mind about the veracity of Marla's art. He explained that he came to approach the making of the film in much the same way that the abstract expressionists focused on the process of representing an object rather than the object itself: by presenting both sides of the story and not taking sides, Bar-Lev reaches the core of what documentary analysis is---a search for the truth using the facts available to the filmmaker. While the filmmaker as artist inevitably shapes the reality he is presenting by making necessary editing choices, if objectivity is the goal, the filmmaker must try not to edit such that the facts are slanted one way or another. Bar-Lev has done a wonderful job of giving the viewer both an inside look at the Olmsteads' story and a fair representation of both sides of the debate about Marla's work, and he leaves it to the viewer to decide. This is a fascinating film even if you know nothing about art. It is a study of human nature and of our culture's fascination with seemingly divine childhood gifts.

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 25, 2007, 12:46 a.m. CST

    first-a-matic

    by unmask

    It does feel good to get to the virgin first, but this does sound like a great doc-. I saw the 60 Minutes episode in question and I for one was inclined to accept the notions of the show, and now feel bad for not believing that this girl could have done it.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 12:50 a.m. CST

    I doubt your kid could paint that...

    by ccchhhrrriiisssm

    ...but I seriously think that God paints much better than that too. Anyone ever seen the Grand Canyon? :P

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 12:58 a.m. CST

    Instead of preventing cancer or child-rape...

    by Some Dude

    ... this god chooses to paint. Makes sense to me.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 1:09 a.m. CST

    a 4 year old splatters some paint...

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    on a canvas and suddenly God is talking through her? you christians will believe ANYTHING

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 1:10 a.m. CST

    I just took a shit that looks EXACTLY like Liza Minnell

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    ...i think God is trying to tell me something

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 1:11 a.m. CST

    liza minnelli

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    had to correct that typo

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 2:07 a.m. CST

    shogun-gunslinger....

    by damagedinc

    have you even seen what this girl's paintings? i don't if this is legit or not, but when God wants to be heard He'll use the most unlikely of people. There is another phenomenon in the Eastern world where Muslims are being converted by dreams of Jesus. These are in areas that aren't exposed to the public discourse that would prompt something like that. Step outside the post-Enlightenment closed system of thought and there is more room for possibility. The mindset, with all its claims to objectivity, is a created mental construct. Many folks are quick to harmonize odd phenomenon with an ideology (faith-based or not) when the appropriate reaction might be a shrug. There is a God. He doesn't need to be believed in to exist.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 2:45 a.m. CST

    damagedinc...

    by DinoBass

    so when God reveals himself, it's to show Muslims that their beliefs are wrong?

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 3:41 a.m. CST

    Is God Painting Through This Cat?

    by TheNorthlander

    http://www.monpa.com/wcp/

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 3:49 a.m. CST

    Damn good film

    by MrCere

    I saw the film at Sundance and there is NOTHING religious about it except for one phrase where somebody mentions that the girl might be channeling something. It is an off-hand remark. But, the film is pretty damn good and raises a lot of questions about not the girl but all the people around her, including the director. Sony purchased it for $2 million for world-wide release. I definitely think it is worth seeing. This site http://www.marlaolmstead.com/ is a counterpoint to 60 minutes, made by the parents of course......................I personally think God finds abstract art boring and beneath him!

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 3:50 a.m. CST

    Guy above

    by kingoflight

    ahhh ahaha i saw this book called why cats paint in a shop its was one of those small ass novelty book but it seamed funny i never knew it was real though. i trust the cats more than god, as for the little girl, if god did exist he'd be doing other things that painting a'la ski ball !

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 3:58 a.m. CST

    kingoflight

    by TheNorthlander

    well I suppose it COULD be fake too. I mean, if you check out the quicktime movies on that site that shows the cat painting, they COULD be doing the "Skippy the Bush Kangaroo" routine with a paw-on-a-stick and the animal in between the stick and the camera, then just move the paw-stick and it'll look like the cat is painting.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 3:59 a.m. CST

    ...or I guess....

    by TheNorthlander

    ...maybe the cat is channeling God or something, if you'd rather believe that.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 4:26 a.m. CST

    Why isn't Grib writing for this site?

    by Zarles

    That was the most coherent review I've read on here in a while. Good job.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 4:44 a.m. CST

    MrCere.

    by Gilkuliehe

    Thanks for that. I was confused about the subject matter of this film, mainly because of the headline and Harry's introduction... But yeah, it does sound like a great film. (And good job too, reviewer)

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 6:01 a.m. CST

    damagedinc: conversely..

    by Some Dude

    God doesn't have to exist to be believed in.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 6:02 a.m. CST

    see also...

    by Some Dude

    Santa, the boogey man, Xenu, etc.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 6:28 a.m. CST

    Wait a minute...

    by Tin Snoman

    So Jackson Pollock was channeling God? I'm confused. Maybe I should have watched that Ed Harris movie.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 7:17 a.m. CST

    I'd rather see...

    by TheNorthlander

    ...Harry's Nephew VS Bumblebee.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 7:25 a.m. CST

    "In what is shaping up to be my favorite Sundance"

    by triplefive

    i've read that its more lackluster than normal this year. hm-mm. the wonderful world of opinions

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 7:42 a.m. CST

    I hate pseudo-mystic crap like this!

    by Kid Z

    Better you watch something like the recent Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN where they basically took that real life "psychic" that they based the character in Medium on, and ripped the charlatan a new one! These people (in this case, the little girl's father, not her) are parasites and need to be exposed for the scam artists they are.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 7:43 a.m. CST

    An explanation for Harry's nephew...

    by Kid Z

    ... obviously, it's the midichlorians!

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 7:48 a.m. CST

    Happy belated birthday to Mr. Ernest Borgnine

    by Borgnine JR

    It was yesterday!

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 8:22 a.m. CST

    Harry, have you mistaken one child painter another?

    by mysteryperfecta

    Akiane Kramarik is the girl who is child prodigy painter with once-athiest parents, who paints actual portraits and scenery (as opposed to abstract garbage). This may have been the girl you saw a news feature on, and not the girl in this documentary. None of our kids could paint what this Akiane girl could paint.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 8:26 a.m. CST

    Harry confused the two painter kids...

    by Kid Z

    ... his nephew musta used a Jedi Mind Trick!

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 8:47 a.m. CST

    It's always the abstract stuff...

    by half vader

    If you want proof of genius the barometer should be literal depictions (but not copies of other paintings) of human figures. Even Picasso's stuff was a (monumental) progression from figurative work. Abstract stuff is more easily cheated and I don't mean to come off as an anti-modern snob, but if a kid can turn out amazing portraits then there's not much doubt nor argument about the level of skill, is there? <p> Oops Mystery obviously overlooked your post - while I wouldn't call abstract stuff 'garbage' (let's save that for the performance artists!), I'll hafta check it out. <p> The other thing I was going to say was that America seems obsessed with the idea that the next wunderkind is "one of our own". It's this weird neurosis tied in with proving "we're the greatest nation in the world" or something. Not being anti-patriotic or anything, just always wondered WTF was up with that.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 9:15 a.m. CST

    Can I sling some paint on a canvas...

    by kisaoda

    ...and expect someone to make a doc about me, a "prodigy"? I mean, it's only the select elite in art who can -really- get down those slops and sprays and have it mean anything. Everything else must be three. Except Marla, anyway.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 9:39 a.m. CST

    abstract art

    by huserzem

    Thanks for this AICN now I have more ammo in my "abstract art is pointless and dumb" arguments i have with my art teacher girlfriend on a regular basis

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 10:09 a.m. CST

    I just got off the phone with Bob Ross

    by Pound Sand

    And he said this girl can paint "Happy Trees" like nobody's business.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Mystery...

    by Gilkuliehe

    Thanks for solving the, hum, mystery. I knew Harry couldn't be THAT off base.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 10:11 a.m. CST

    Are you there Michael Moore???

    by Prague23

    .."he came to approach the making of the film in much the same way that the abstract expressionists focused on the process of representing an object rather than the object itself: by presenting both sides of the story and not taking sides, Bar-Lev reaches the core of what documentary analysis is---a search for the truth using the facts available to the filmmaker. While the filmmaker as artist inevitably shapes the reality he is presenting by making necessary editing choices, if objectivity is the goal, the filmmaker must try not to edit such that the facts are slanted one way or another." Or is Sicko going to sizzle like F.9/11 in the hell of lying lies and the liars who tell them? I hope not.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 10:12 a.m. CST

    Some Dude

    by Quin the Eskimo

    Oh NO....You did NOT just compare my Lord and Savior to SANTA!

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Indiana Jones and the ....

    by kinghenryVIII

    This is the most boring shit ever.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 11:17 a.m. CST

    I highly doubt...

    by jimmy_009

    ...God would get his message out by having some kid ape abstract impressionist artists.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 11:18 a.m. CST

    or abstract expressionist for that matter

    by jimmy_009

    oops.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 12:11 p.m. CST

    THIS is the girl Harry is referring to...

    by mysteryperfecta

    Her official website: http://www.artakiane.com/ Her paintings are literal (as opposed to abstract), and pretty amazing.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 12:22 p.m. CST

    Interesting

    by sleepy holloway

    Does this have anything to do with the Virgin Mary appearing on the grilled cheese?

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 12:23 p.m. CST

    My Kid Could Taint That

    by Dick Nicely

    Sorry folks.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Caution: Wet Taint

    by Dick Nicely

    Don't touch it.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 12:36 p.m. CST

    Taint at the Barbizon School

    by Dick Nicely

    I am reminded of a passage in the play (and film) Six Degrees of Separation, in which a character sees the "masterpieces" of a second grade class. The first graders and third graders paint like kids, but the second graders are "Matisses, every one." He asks the teacher why, and she says the kids aren't geniuses, she just knows when to take their paintings away from them.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 1:21 p.m. CST

    dinobass and somedude

    by damagedinc

    DinoBass...I'm just pointing out a phenomenon that I can't totally understand. Whether or not it's totally real prompts serious questions. Somedude... You've got a point. All I'm saying is that something can exist whether or not that thing is known to exist. Lots of folks say they don't believe in God. Others say that there is no God, and there is a difference between the two. ...(shrug)

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 1:31 p.m. CST

    and for the record...

    by damagedinc

    i'm not a big fan of this girl's paintings. i've seen her book in stored and some seem really really new age-y and really, really "anglicized".

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 1:35 p.m. CST

    Kid Z

    by Some Dude

    If you enjoyed Anderson Cooper's expose on Sylvia Browne, then you should take a look at www.randi.org . It will be right up your alley.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 1:55 p.m. CST

    God?

    by stvnhthr

    So what does this have to do with God? The review just makes it sound like she is a child prodigy and not recieving visions. Abstract art is very subjective; it is sort of the Emperor's New Clothes when people are told it is good and start buying it without even understanding the work.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 2:05 p.m. CST

    Kid Z: or you can try...

    by Some Dude

    www.stopsylviabrowne.com

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 3:20 p.m. CST

    yes, i HAVE seen her paintings

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    and theyre trash...fingerpainting is more refined. and honestly, im glad i dont worship a God that sits around and paints rathe than takes care of more important matters...here's hope'n the tribulation years will be kick ass and full of zombies

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 3:25 p.m. CST

    visions from god

    by maxwell's hammer

    I don't know anything about visions sent by God of heaven, but from a purely artistic standpoint, Marla's art is fascinating. I know art is subjective, and no single person's opinion means much, but as someone who creates (paints, draws, writes...) I find her work to be compositionally beautiful, and not something a 4-year old should be able to create. I kind of got chills looking at it.<BR> <BR> There is a lot more in those paintings than random colors being thrown on a canvas. Whatever the truth is, I'd like to believe Marla is capable of such creations.<BR> <BR> Actually, forget everything I just said. I'm thinking the AICN talkback forum isn't the best place to have a serious discussion about art.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 3:58 p.m. CST

    Abstract art is a bunch of shit....

    by Angry Mean Panda

    I find it hilarious that there are genuinely talented starving artists out there cable of creating an almost lifelike scene from nothing but watercolors, but shitting in pastels on a canvas can lead to worldwide acclaim.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Angry Mean Panda

    by TheNorthlander

    it's all about the promotion. what you describe can also be said about really good movies that doesn't reach their audience versus The Phantom Menace.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 5:25 p.m. CST

    I'm with you Angry Mean Panda

    by alienindisguise

    I myself being an artist, become infuriated when bullshit like that sparks undeserved attention and wealth. I could see if the kid was painting like davinci or michaelangelo but give me a fucking break.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 5:31 p.m. CST

    Exactly what I said but also like I said save your rage

    by half vader

    for the 'performance artsts'. Useless fuckers!

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 5:34 p.m. CST

    And paintings of harlequins - those things shit me

    by half vader

    but the painting of the dogs playing pool is genius. Anyone can see that.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 6:02 p.m. CST

    PRETTY PAINTINGS

    by WISEBLOOD

    Not god-like, or even particularly compelling, but when viewed as being created by a small child, I find them very powerful. That being said, I think many children, if provided the same level of quality materials and supportive atmosphere, would be capable of similar work.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 6:11 p.m. CST

    AKIANE, ON THE OTHER HAND

    by WISEBLOOD

    Is a fuckin GENIUS. Her stuff is amazing all ready, but when she gets more mature, I'll bet we see some work from her that's going to blow some minds. BUT...her painting "The Prince of Peace" looks like Kenny Loggins.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 9:05 p.m. CST

    Drawings

    by Cobbio

    As an atheist, I don't think God has anything to do with the girl painting her visions. She's obviously a creative type, likely a wunderkind with good DNA giving her brain lots of stuff to translate into patterns and colors on paper. I find the artistic process fascinating, so I'm not taking anything away from her. It sounds like a cool film.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 9:04 p.m. CST

    Harry has clearly screwed up with his intro

    by MrCere

    Let me say it again: THIS MOVIE HAS NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH RELIGION OR GOD!!!! It is about the art world, the media, exploiting kids, truth vs. lies and is Dad painting abstract art for the 4-year-old? The paintings she does, are pretty remarkable, unless she doesn't do them. DAMN GOOD FILM. http://www.deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,650225656,00.html

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 9:24 p.m. CST

    God can't paint

    by smackfu

    Painting as we know it is as much controlled by what the painter *can't* paint as what he *can* paint. Your limitations define your style. If God is real and omnipotent than he has no flaws, ergo could not produce the type of art that his human children produce.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 9:29 p.m. CST

    God-Visions or not..

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    i call BULLSHIT. i want to see this kid paint something with someone there filming.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 9:35 p.m. CST

    not bullshit

    by smackfu

    I'm sorry, but kids can't keep secrets. This kid would have spilled the beans long ago if it wasn't her painting the paintings.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 9:37 p.m. CST

    religious coverup

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    last time i saw a 0 year old talk about god this much was from those brainwashed kids in Jesus Camp. and her "hourglass" painting looks like a binder cover from gradeschool

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 9:41 p.m. CST

    her "hourglass" painting looks like a binder cover

    by smackfu

    ya, that kid is a fucking hack...

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 9:46 p.m. CST

    God is a sadist, not a painter:)

    by S-Mart shopper

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 9:44 p.m. CST

    i think so too smackfu...

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    i think so too. are you into this kid or soemthing? why are you so defensive? go catch a screening of Hounddog

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 10:37 p.m. CST

    Smackfu: Kids can't keep secrets?

    by Some Dude

    What about all the kids raped by god sellers? Many of them kept quiet about it for decades.

  • Jan. 25, 2007, 10:41 p.m. CST

    Smackfu: Also consider this...

    by Some Dude

    You say that a god couldn't do these paintings because they are imperfect. If one of the definitions of a god is omnipotence, then it should be able to do anything. That omnipotence claim is one of the best arguments against the existence of a god. Try this chestnut: can a god make an object so big it can not lift it?

  • Jan. 26, 2007, 12:18 a.m. CST

    Looks like someone needs to go back to logic class

    by PhillipMarlowe

    Wrong Some Dude,the omnipotence claim holds up if you state that God is only able to do what is LOGICALLY possible...You can't say God can make a square circle, just as you can't say an object so big it cannot be lifted...it doesn't even make sense...They are meaningless statements...Really it just illustrates the problems of language...God is not dead!!

  • Jan. 26, 2007, 12:39 a.m. CST

    God is not....

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    real. suprise, suprise

  • Jan. 26, 2007, 12:45 a.m. CST

    PhillipMarlowe: Right you are...

    by Some Dude

    Something can not be dead if it never existed. Anyway, your square-circle example is a straw man. What is nonsensical about one making an object so big that it can not be lifted by the maker? I can do it. Why can't your god?

  • Jan. 26, 2007, 1:25 a.m. CST

    Keep the Faith Dude!!

    by PhillipMarlowe

    Ah, yes, and also, not all that exists is alive...Yes, the square-circle is a straw man...but created by YOUR side, just as is the "object/rock" example! They are both nonsensical claims. By creating an object that he cannot lift, he would be thereby by doing something that he cannot do...Do you understand? He would be violating his omnipotent nature and it would therefore be...illogical...It's the same thing as asking: "If God is omnipotent, he should be able to stop existing." Understand? And seriously, dude, no offense, but you're not an infinite being, but merely a geek, so it's probably fairly easy for you to find something you cannot lift (but didn't make, of course...right?)

  • Jan. 26, 2007, 1:30 a.m. CST

    Let me correct something

    by PhillipMarlowe

    That sentence should read: "It's the same thing as asking: 'If God exists, he should be able to stop existing'" It's unclear what is even meant...

  • Jan. 26, 2007, 1:34 a.m. CST

    This is a better analogy than what I could come up with

    by PhillipMarlowe

    "A genius is so smart that he should be able to successfully pass any test, including a test that would qualify him as an idiot." Also, "pretending" to be an idiot doesn't count.

  • Jan. 26, 2007, 5:35 a.m. CST

    PhillipMarlower: Calm down and think.

    by Some Dude

    Yes, not all that exists is alive, for example: thoughts, ambition, cars, etc. Though these things are not alive, we do have evidence of them so we can safely say that they exist. As for your god, we have no evidence that it exists. We do have evidence that the idea of gods exists, but that is not the same things as evidence of a living god. The same could be said of a cartoon character. ----------- The square-circle is a straw man of the unliftable object example (not of your god), because it does not function the same way. One is a physical challenge, the other merely involves redefining words. Let's stay focused on the object, since redefining words is a losing proposition for either participant in a debate. ------------ Yes, by asking an omnipotent being to make an object too big for it to lift, we see the problem with omnipotence. It can not exist. And no, I take no offense to not being an infinite being. The reason it is easy for me to construct something that I can not lift is because I am real, not imaginary. Being a geek is preferable to not existing. ----------- Oh, thanks for clearing up that last sentence, snicker... You are correct, yet again: if someone exists, then it should be able to stop existing later. Any being is subject to this, except for imaginary ones (until the imaginer dies). ----------- As for your "better" analogy... please try again. First, why limit the genius's arsenal of tricks? Pretending or lying is fairly commonplace among humans, not only geniuses, who wish to get what they want (see courtrooms, poker tables, cads, etc). So the genius could pass this test. But we'll play by your rule, even though it arbitrarily limits a skill-set that a genius, and many dim-bulbs, would otherwise wield. Here goes... The definition of genius makes no claim as to one's ability to pass all tests. Unfortunately for "your side," the definition of omnipotent does make claims about having unlimited power. Any limit then exposes the lie of omnipotence. Thus unlimited power, so far, has not been evidenced any where except in fictional scenarios. -------- I think this would be a good time to go back to talking about the film. If the dad can't provide evidence that his daughter did the paintings... well, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I'll probably end up seeing this. Oh, and fuck Sylvia Browne.

  • Jan. 26, 2007, 9:18 a.m. CST

    Dude, you still do not understand

    by PhillipMarlowe

    It's not a physical claim, because the sentence itself is meaningless. Do you still not see this? It is the same thing as calling a square circle, because it is defining God as all-powerful, and then saying there is something that God cannot do. In other words, you are defining something about God's "essence" or "substance" and then saying that he is not that way. It's idiotic. I'm sorry if you do not see this. Also, with regard to the genius test--"pretending" to pass the idiot test, would mean that he is not really an idiot, and that is point of the analogy...In other words, the whole point of the test is to show that someone is really an idiot. If he "pretends" to be an idiot, he is actually not an idiot, then the test is wrong. Seriously, go take a logic class. Also, this doesn't have anything to do with actual people...It's all a thought experiment. Furthermore, if we assume that God is infinite, what would be that thing that God create that he could not lift? Or, what does it even mean for a God to "lift" something? Do you see how stupid your example is? And I am calm, thank you.

  • Jan. 26, 2007, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Again

    by PhillipMarlowe

    If God stopped existing he would no longer be God, so he can therefore not stop existing...Because God cannot be not God...Do you see? Also, I'm not trying to make a claim for God's existence, I'm merely pointing out the stupidity of the sentence structure!

  • Jan. 26, 2007, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Great

    by ProziumJunkie

    not only are there grammer police on this site now there's logic police, WTF!

  • Jan. 26, 2007, 2:32 p.m. CST

    Marlowe: it is you who does not understand.

    by Some Dude

    If the concept being decribed has certain qualities ascribed to it, but a simple test reveals a hole, then the concept must be false. In your very flawed analogy (remember the definition of genius part), the genius can pass the test. Your god can not pass the test, because the concept of omnipotence is illusory. It is a word that sounds like it means something, but when tested it is revealed to be a logical conundrum. This also applies to the concept of god and all the logical troubles this brings up (see theodicy, for one). All of this is more-or-less stated in my previous posts so reread them until you get it. All this prattling is useless and is just for fun, until you actually have a single piece of evidence for a god. Until then, I am just humoring you as I would a child who insists Batman is real. I am sure we are annoying other posters so start talking about the movie... Uh, art is cool.

  • Jan. 26, 2007, 2:34 p.m. CST

    does or do? It has been a long day.

    by Some Dude

    oops

  • Jan. 26, 2007, 4:07 p.m. CST

    Funny, I feel the same way about you...

    by PhillipMarlowe

    The simple fact of the matter is you think you're right, and I think I am...Whatever...If you will not be convinced by my logic, I suppose I will appeal to authority...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omnipotence_paradox No one accepts your argument save first year philosophy students who are atheists...In other words, I know of no credible philospher who accepts that argument...If you can show me, I'll be amazed.

  • Jan. 26, 2007, 4:10 p.m. CST

    Also, I get your posts...they are simply wrong

    by PhillipMarlowe

    It is you who continues to harp on my analogy, without grasping what it entails...Oh well, arguing with people on AICN is ultimately a futile endeavour...

  • Jan. 26, 2007, 4:14 p.m. CST

    "A word that sounds like it means something,

    by PhillipMarlowe

    but when tested it is revealed to be a logical conundrum." This is the sound of me laughing at you....It's a logical conundrum only if you don't understand logic...

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 8:14 a.m. CST

    About God and the bible

    by BendersShinyAss

    I just want to say that unless you've actually sat down and studied the bible, you'll never have any authority on it.<p> likewise, If all you do is sprout off dogma which has been 'preached' to you, then you are a fool of the worst kind.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 3:22 p.m. CST

    Is GOD playing xylophone through this girl?

    by smackfu

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgH1cIqLd4I&NR The answer may surprise you...

  • Jan. 28, 2007, 8:23 a.m. CST

    Jehovah Gotta Eat

    by poutineman

    Wow. So much emotion on this board. I think what we all are forgetting is that, until solid evidence is found (and I mean solid), God *IS* a theory/myth no matter how you look at it. Therefore, any take on creationism, the existence or status of God in any form, blahblahblah has to be considered as opinion based on faith, interpretation of information, or popular perception. The point is, it doesn't matter whether you believe in God or want like hell to get your point across that you are right and someone else is wrong, NO ONE is wrong and NO ONE is right, except for themselves. Personally, I believe God in the Judeo-Christian sense is illogical, but I won't try to belittle someone directly if they truly believe otherwise. I also can't prove beyond a doubt that God isn't real, so I choose to leave it out of my life since the one thing I do know is that my choices (cause & effect) alone determine my future and I'll be dead & feeding maggots in less than another 40 years, so it doesn't matter either way in the end. Then again, this is Talkback, so uncontrolled emotion & self-righteousness takes place over acceptance & tolerance more often than not, so whatever. Nipples on Jeebus! LOL.

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