Author Topic: Is free will invalid?  (Read 3646 times)

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Offline Babdah

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Is free will invalid?
« on: March 28, 2012, 12:52:48 PM »
 I ask this because of cause and effect?  For instance, a generic serial killer and his choice to comment his last murder was determined by neuropsychology events in his brain which was intern caused by prior event in his life such as a bad childhood or car alarm that did not let him sleep or something.  Yes he probably could of change the outcome but was it really free will or was it the event of cause and effect?

I ask this because I finished reading Sam Harris’s book called Free Will. This just made wonder how true it is or is this just an excuse. I personally have not made my own mind up but the argument sounds solid though.
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Offline Omen

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2012, 01:03:11 PM »
I don't see it as being representative of anything that could be understood.  Imagine that you had two black boxes, one had random chance and the other had free will, how would you determine them apart from the results of choices that come out of the boxes?  For christianity it's like a magic answer for anything and everything, with little more explanation than its citation.
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Offline Tinyal

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2012, 01:26:31 PM »
I've recently read the following mini-book on just this subject - I'm a big follower of anything Sam Harris writes, and I found this write up to be very well done, well written, and (in my view) makes an excellent case that 'free will' doesn't exist.  This is not to say that choice doesn't exist, a difference I find Sam elucidates quite well.

At 3.99 it's well worth it.

http://www.amazon.com/Free-Will-ebook/dp/B006IDG2T6/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1?_encoding=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2
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Offline Death over Life

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2012, 08:33:51 PM »
This to me is actually a great topic! Just yesterday as a matter of fact, I was discussing with one of my best friends about this (he's theist, I'm atheist), yet we both had opposing views on it, yet, we both pretty much just spoke to the choir sort to speak.

I forgot the main crux we went on about other than the part where I was arguing for just how predictable the human race is, while he was agreeing with me to an extent, yet also said that random occurances can happen that completely goes against the predictability of the people. The term used for that would pretty much be "snapping".

I then remembered I was arguing that even in the most subtle ways about snapping, humans are able to give off signs of what they are going to do, before they even do it, and not even realize they are giving away the very signs of their nature. Other than this, I don't quite remember the full extent of the conversation, although I think we also went into metaphysical concepts.

Either way, it started with this video that I agreed 100% with while my theistic friend who believes in free will, disagreed with. It's just funny though that all of his arguments however, did not go against what Varg said here.



It's reasons like this video why I love the black metal and extreme metal genres, because they tend to make you think and question. To me at least, very thought provoking.

Offline joebbowers

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2012, 11:34:35 PM »
You have free will to do what you want[1], but what you want is not yours to decide.

It's like looking at a menu. You can order anything, but what you actually do order is heavily influenced by biochemistry, social and other environmental factors.

You have free will within a narrow range of predetermined options.
 1. Provided that it is possible.
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Offline plethora

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2012, 05:44:47 AM »
After a lot of research into the subject of "free will", I reached the conclusion a couple of years back that there is no such thing as "free will". We have will, but its not free. Freedom of will is, at best, an illusion.

The universe has deterministic elements (cause & effect) and stochastic elements (completely random events[1])... both of which, by definition, we have no control over.

We are our brains. The choices/decisions our brains make are the result of several things that we have absolutely no hand in such as our brain configuration, our brain state at the time of the choice, external stimuli, past experiences, desires and preferences.

Note: I am not saying we do not have the ability to choose between A or B. I am arguing that the choice between A or B is not a free choice. It is the result of our will, which is not free. A computer can choose between A or B but its choice is subject to its programming and external stimuli which it has no hand in.

Our brain configuration is imposed on us by the genes in our DNA. We do not get to choose this any more than a computer can choose its programming. Our brain configuration determines our preferences and desires. For example, I prefer Vanilla over Chocolate. I didn't choose this preference, it was imposed on me by my brain configuration. I cannot change this preference.

Our brain state is not something we choose either. When presented with options A or B our choice might be very different depending on our brain state at the time. Your brain state isn't the same throughout the day. You might choose A if you just woke up, but prefer B if it is later in the day. In both cases your preference is the result of a brain state that you did not choose.

We don't get to choose the circumstances that surround us either. We don't get to choose our parents. We don't choose the time/place/society/culture/language we are born and raised in either. So who we are is determined by a vast number of things we have no hand in.

External stimuli makes our brains do things that it does not choose to do all the time. If I say "Don't think about a pink elephant", you can't help but think of a pink elephant even if only for a brief moment.

Every choice we make and action we take can be traced back to a number of causes we had no hand in ... whether these causes are deterministic or random in nature.

Some argue that consciousness is what gives us "free" will. That we make conscious choices. Well here's a video that proves scientifically that our brains make those choices well before they even enter our consciousness:




Still think our will is "free"?  If you do, I challenge you to argue your position.
 1. such as atom decay
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Offline plethora

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2012, 07:30:32 AM »
Its worth watching this video as well (it's 1 hour and 18 mins long):


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Offline z2

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2012, 10:50:45 PM »
Granted, there is many psychological studies of stimulus-> response (cause and effect) in human behavior.

But that doesn't rule out the possibility of an element of choice in any human response.  In fact, it is more likely that for every stimulus, there is a spectrum of choice from 0 to 100%.  Since we are all influenced by our past, as well as our genes, probably we will never have a "100%" fresh clean choice in our lifetime.  But neither is this likely 0%.

Our conscious and unconscious processes present data to a region in our brain demonstrated by functional MRIs dealing with the self.  It is may be that this final region of neurons, (or group of neurons), is where our will resides.  In this case, it probably takes that data, and depending on the situation,  either deliberates a great deal, or not at all (automatically)-- the former representing more of a "choice" paradigm, in which the S->R predictability becomes unreliable.

As far as your website title is concerned, thus, because there is some evidence of the "self", and therefore of choice, this might give a hint as to why your "poster child" amputee isn't provided magically with a new limb. 

Pure atheism is fascinating in that there are only a few choices, but these are easily dismissed:
1) The universe (single, multiple, or infinite universes) was, is, and continues to be created (and perhaps destroyed) spontaneously (which is the same concept as conceding divinity, and also defies conservation). 
2) The universe always existed (defying entropy).
3) Nothing really exists, (defying reason).

The other most common options are, of course:
polytheism (whose only logical explanation leads to an infinite sequence of finite gods),

or monotheism, of which there are three common models:
deism (belief in an infinite, but maybe "mechanical" being)
pantheism (belief that everything is the supreme being)
eutheism (belief in a benevolent, intelligent, immanent, infinite being)

Why does eutheism make sense?  Because an infinite, creating, being must have infinite intelligence.  If that weren't the case, then we would be extremely lucky at this point in infinite time to live in this accidental universe with all its immutable laws of physics.  We'd won the infinitely impossible lottery!  It's much more likely that this universe of order was designed by somebody infinitely smart.  There is some evidence for this.  For example, the chances of the strong nuclear force being exactly at its constant value is astronomically (or should I say atomically) small.  The chances for the first proteins to develop RNA sequences that led to reproducible life is likewise incredibly small.

Why would an infinite intelligent being care about us?  He would care about every atom he'd make. If he didn't care for those atoms, their existence wouldn't be sustained.  In fact, because he is infinite, the amount of that care would be infinite, thus he would have infinite love for all his creation, including us.

There are more pieces of evidence that seem to point to this conclusion, but never prove it.  The reason is that an infinite being who made such an intelligent creature as ourselves, would not want to take away this faculty we have of "self".  The moment He would ever prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt (such as for the amputated conditions that you demand) we would lose our gift of choice, that which defines us as unique, special, something like Himself (who also must have free Will), more than moving organic material that responds to environmental cues and laws. 

Imagine if this supreme being gave us God-like powers of on-demand miracles.  With one prayer: "poof", a new limb is created. 
In fact, don't stop there.  Let's make it that all bad things needing fixed get "poofed"...in a few centuries, we'd have paradise on earth.
No more hunger, no more pictures of starving children for your forums.  But deep inside, even in this paradise, we wouldn't be or feel free. 

Imagine in this paradise that someone would somehow still have a choice to do bad.  "Poof", someone would change that person instantly with just a quick a prayer.  So in that world, we would eventually lose ourselves, our identities.  Imagine doing these "poofs" to your own children, then you'd understand.  Ironically it would end up being much sadder world than ours today.

What's wonderful for you is that miracle that you are looking for as proof of God's existence is just around the corner anyway!  As we learn to work together for the common good of all, medical science will eventually (soon) reveal the DNA sequencing needed for our own stem cells to lead to limb regeneration, (organ, brain, or spinal cord regeneration for that matter--we'll have to be careful though to avoid cancer as a side effect).

As our technology advances, more and more miracles will occur, including the final victory over poverty and war.  Our longevity will eventually  increase more than a year, each year, leading to incredible lifespans.  Cancer and many major diseases will be conquered.  This is all probably going to be within a few generations, for sure.  Would those be true miracles influenced by a supreme being?  You decide.  You have that freedom and intelligence.

The real miracle would be to one day achieve all things you ask for, including limb regeneration, without losing your free will.

So what's the big deal?  It's what atheists are missing out on: the chance to grow by connecting to this infinite being.  This takes a lifetime, it takes a great deal of humility to get started too.  After all, you've been flying solo--it's easy to see why you wouldn't want somebody to influence you just now.  But imagine the infinite possibilities.  There is nothing to lose, and everything to gain!






Offline inveni0

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2012, 12:03:09 AM »
I ask this because of cause and effect?  For instance, a generic serial killer and his choice to comment his last murder was determined by neuropsychology events in his brain which was intern caused by prior event in his life such as a bad childhood or car alarm that did not let him sleep or something.  Yes he probably could of change the outcome but was it really free will or was it the event of cause and effect?

I ask this because I finished reading Sam Harris’s book called Free Will. This just made wonder how true it is or is this just an excuse. I personally have not made my own mind up but the argument sounds solid though.

My wife works with special needs children for public education.  I've seen a lot of these kids, and she certainly learns from them every day.  They clearly have intense chemical and physical imbalances in their brains, but there is one thing that remains true with nearly every child: these issues can be overcome.  <- Stick with me here...

I have a nephew who has been diagnosed with a number of mental disorders--all wrongly, in my opinion.  I'm told that he doesn't have the ability to control his actions, yet he can feed himself.  He can catch a ball, play soccer (football), sing a song, and read a book.  For all of these actions, each requiring different levels of control, he functions with ease.  None of these actions are difficult for him to perform.  So, if he can control his arms and legs, then why is he not responsible for his actions?

Of course, there are situations in which he gets wound up and "triggered".  But I have seen him, with effort, overcome these intense urges to act inappropriately.

That is free will at work.

On the other hand, there are people who literally can not control themselves.  For them, free will is a storybook.
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Offline Death over Life

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2012, 12:08:08 AM »
I am just going to assume this wasn’t a drive-by post and respond to it as an actual post.

As far as your website title is concerned, thus, because there is some evidence of the "self", and therefore of choice, this might give a hint as to why your "poster child" amputee isn't provided magically with a new limb. 

Yet, if you are advocating a god, why do we heal amputees on our own without the need of a god, yet god can’t or won’t heal amputees? Is god not omnipotent as it is claimed? Why is it science has led us to the ability without a god to regenerate limbs?

Pure atheism is fascinating in that there are only a few choices, but these are easily dismissed:

1st off, atheism isn’t a specific belief or idea. It is simply a lack of belief in gods. Any and all theories about the cosmos is simply from either science, or from other personal sources, not from a belief in atheism.

eutheism (belief in a benevolent, intelligent, immanent, infinite being)

Why does eutheism make sense? 

To begin with, eutheism does not make sense. Since we seem to be on differing ends and you have not spouted which god you worship, it may be of help, which god or goddess do you worship?

It will be much easier to explain why eutheism doesn’t make sense if I discuss about an actual described god rather than just generalize magic out of thin air.

Because an infinite, creating, being must have infinite intelligence. 

Before you can give attributes to such being, you have to show us if this “being” even exists or is even a living creature to begin with.

If that weren't the case, then we would be extremely lucky at this point in infinite time to live in this accidental universe with all its immutable laws of physics. We'd won the infinitely impossible lottery!

Forgive me, but I would personally classify myself as a naturalist aka, a belief that everything happened naturally and would have happened no matter the circumstances, since that is what nature does. None of this was by a slim chance.

It's much more likely that this universe of order was designed by somebody infinitely smart.  There is some evidence for this.  For example, the chances of the strong nuclear force being exactly at its constant value is astronomically (or should I say atomically) small.  The chances for the first proteins to develop RNA sequences that led to reproducible life is likewise incredibly small.

Invalid evidence. To begin with, just because you say something doesn’t make it true. For evidence claims to be taken seriously, you need to show us step-by-step of such theories and provide links that helped you draw the conclusions that you have come to.

In addition, none of these evidences show evidence that your scizophrenic mirage created anything. They are evidence of, well, pretty much nothing. As mentioned before, just because you say it doesn’t make it true. You need way more to validate your evidence.

Why would an infinite intelligent being care about us?  He would care about every atom he'd make. If he didn't care for those atoms, their existence wouldn't be sustained.  In fact, because he is infinite, the amount of that care would be infinite, thus he would have infinite love for all his creation, including us.

First off, how do you know this intelligent being is even a he? From there, if this “he” is infinite, hi’s infinity contradicts the idea of a beginning, or a creation, depending on which “god” you are invoking. Choose your god wisely, because if the “he” you are advocating is the “he” I think you are talking about, you are going to be in for a serious challenge.

There are more pieces of evidence that seem to point to this conclusion, but never prove it.  The reason is that an infinite being who made such an intelligent creature as ourselves, would not want to take away this faculty we have of "self".  The moment He would ever prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt (such as for the amputated conditions that you demand) we would lose our gift of choice, that which defines us as unique, special, something like Himself (who also must have free Will), more than moving organic material that responds to environmental cues and laws. 

Which god are you invoking? If this is the Judeo-Christian god, then you have contradictions all over the place with this paragraph.

However, even without Judeo-Christianity, some of the claims are quite easy to refute. In just about every religion out there that invokes of an almighty mono-god, they all claim that the god itself has come to this Earth, in the flesh no less, and have provided many miracles that he is who he is, and does what he says he does. If He proves beyond the shadow of a doubt, like it was in the past, how come we lose our gift of choice, when it was not so for the very people he showed himself to? Isn’t this showing god playing favorites as opposed to benevolence?

Ah, what the hell why not? If you are talking about the Judeo-Christian God, you do know in the Genesis account, you do know God did not create us with free will? Adam and Eve had to sin in order to obtain this free will and be like god, exactly as the serpent claimed, and God lied about said fruit, and punished Adam and Eve because of the serpent telling the Truth. It is quite funny you mention organic material that responds to environmental cues and laws, as that is exactly how the god wanted us to be. This is why god is trying to undo us obtaining the free will to begin with according to the Christian Bible. That is why God stresses obedience and punishes humans for the free will that was obtained through the forbidden fruit.

Imagine if this supreme being gave us God-like powers of on-demand miracles.  With one prayer: "poof", a new limb is created. 
In fact, don't stop there.  Let's make it that all bad things needing fixed get "poofed"...in a few centuries, we'd have paradise on earth.
No more hunger, no more pictures of starving children for your forums.  But deep inside, even in this paradise, we wouldn't be or feel free. 

Maybe so, but at least beyond the shadow of a doubt, we would have evidence of a god, which atm, there is none. You need to prove the god itself before we can really delve more into the concept of free will.

Imagine in this paradise that someone would somehow still have a choice to do bad.  "Poof", someone would change that person instantly with just a quick a prayer.  So in that world, we would eventually lose ourselves, our identities.  Imagine doing these "poofs" to your own children, then you'd understand.  Ironically it would end up being much sadder world than ours today.

I actually agree with this statement, which is why I am completely against the indoctrination of our children with religious drivel. Every religious person does what you said to their own children, and what Hell of a Hell you religious ones have created on this planet Earth for those who do not adhere to what you believe.

What's wonderful for you is that miracle that you are looking for as proof of God's existence is just around the corner anyway! 

The evidence we are asking for worked for the Jews, worked for the 12 disciples, worked for the Greeks. Why are we not allowed to experience the same things? Is it god doesn’t love us anymore, or is it that you are right and that shows he has never existed to begin with?

As we learn to work together for the common good of all, medical science will eventually (soon) reveal the DNA sequencing needed for our own stem cells to lead to limb regeneration, (organ, brain, or spinal cord regeneration for that matter--we'll have to be careful though to avoid cancer as a side effect).

This is not evidence of a god. This is evidence of science.

As our technology advances, more and more miracles will occur, including the final victory over poverty and war.  Our longevity will eventually  increase more than a year, each year, leading to incredible lifespans.  Cancer and many major diseases will be conquered.  This is all probably going to be within a few generations, for sure.  Would those be true miracles influenced by a supreme being?  You decide.  You have that freedom and intelligence.

Evidence of science, not religion. Otherwise, I may need to thank Epona for the miracles it gave to horses to become centaurs in the future! I am going to be thanking Ishtar for the miracle of Easter today! Ishtar created a great holiday indeed! I shall also be thanking Vishnu for giving us babies with 8 arms as well! Sadly, none of those gods exist and it was just a creation from the human mind. If not, got evidence?

The real miracle would be to one day achieve all things you ask for, including limb regeneration, without losing your free will.

We already have that, with no help from god by the way.

So what's the big deal?  It's what atheists are missing out on: the chance to grow by connecting to this infinite being.  This takes a lifetime, it takes a great deal of humility to get started too.  After all, you've been flying solo--it's easy to see why you wouldn't want somebody to influence you just now.  But imagine the infinite possibilities.  There is nothing to lose, and everything to gain!

Yet, you have been discussing this as if you are the only one who knows the enlightened path. So z2, what makes you think you have the “One True Way” as opposed to a Muslim, or a Zoroastrian, or a Hindu, or Norse Pagan?

And for finishing that off, I don’t delve in possibilities unless it is about philosophical ideologies. For reality, I prefer facts, not possibilities, and Pascal’s Wager is one of the worst arguments any theists of any religion could ever use!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but until you provide proper evidence of whatever god you are advocating, this isn’t really a good subject for you to delve in to explain theism.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2012, 09:34:45 AM »
Imagine in this paradise that someone would somehow still have a choice to do bad.  "Poof", someone would change that person instantly with just a quick a prayer.  So in that world, we would eventually lose ourselves, our identities.  Imagine doing these "poofs" to your own children, then you'd understand.  Ironically it would end up being much sadder world than ours today......So what's the big deal?  It's what atheists are missing out on: the chance to grow by connecting to this infinite being.  This takes a lifetime, it takes a great deal of humility to get started too.  After all, you've been flying solo--it's easy to see why you wouldn't want somebody to influence you just now.  But imagine the infinite possibilities.  There is nothing to lose, and everything to gain!

Hello z2.  Just one question: what happens in heaven?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline z2

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2012, 04:46:22 PM »
Thank you "Life over Death", you might try bursting ego bubbles, but it's not me you should be after, but the topic.
The whole website is dedicated to answering the question about amputees, so I am on topic, besides, the question of free will is an integral part to this answer.

Yet, if you are advocating a god, why do we heal amputees on our own without the need of a god, yet god can’t or won’t heal amputees? Is god not omnipotent as it is claimed? Why is it science has led us to the ability without a god to regenerate limbs?

We can only conjecture on what might be the reason for all of the apparent problems in the world, such as loss of limbs.  But we might infer that, because He is a benevolent being, and yet these problems still exist, somehow these problems remain for a bigger purpose we don't understand.  Still, it is obvious that he has given us intellect and drive.  It could be that this supreme Being is influencing our discoveries through such processes as serendipity in order to help solve some of these problems (which we're doing a great job of so far).  The "unheard" prayers for proof many on this forum talk of may have been answered after all, but not as one would wish for as in "I dream of Jeannie"--i.e. a wish + 2 blinks = "poof", your answered prayer.

Is god not omnipotent as it is claimed? Why is it science has led us to the ability without a god to regenerate limbs?

You ask for proofs.  What proof do you have that science alone led to any of our discoveries, without some type of help from God?

Also, to say that an omnipotent being must intervene in a more direct way is, by definition, limiting that omnipotence.  That is, an omnipotent being can do whatever He wants, He doesn't have to conform to our limited concept of what the universe should be like.

1st off, atheism isn’t a specific belief or idea. It is simply a lack of belief in gods. Any and all theories about the cosmos is simply from either science, or from other personal sources, not from a belief in atheism.

A belief isn't necessarily a religion, but can also be a strongly held opinion.  All beliefs about a cosmos that comes from thin air, or has never been created, comes from an atheistic stance, not science.  There is no scientific proof for or against this, just common sense.  It's like saying "Prove 1+1=2".  There is no proof one way or another.  It just makes sense.  In a similar fashion,  it doesn't make sense that the universe always existed, yet we still have burning stars all around us.

Still, just as we can conceive of the meaning of the word "no" which brings up many ideas, we can conceive of the absence of God, which is an idea, or many ideas.

To begin with, eutheism does not make sense. Since we seem to be on differing ends and you have not spouted which god you worship, it may be of help, which god or goddess do you worship?

That is like saying "Which "infinity do you believe in? There are many!"
Well, there are only three possibilities, an infinite being, an infinite series of beings, or nothing.  So it's the first one, since it makes the most sense.

It will be much easier to explain why eutheism doesn’t make sense if I discuss about an actual described god rather than just generalize magic out of thin air.

The concept of "1+1=2" really doesn't come out of thin air.  One orange and one apple make two fruits.  Yet one is not equal exactly to the other, still we can conceive of these "ideal" fruits adding up to two in our mind, thanks to our intellect and perception.  And for the same reason,  when we perceive the entire universe, and get a feel for infinite time, we can symbolize its creator with the "alt+236" (the infinity sign).  That doesn't mean we understand it, but we know it didn't come from thin air.


Before you can give attributes to such being, you have to show us if this “being” even exists or is even a living creature to begin with.

I can't show you definite proof, only He can, and then it would be a profoundly personal experience, probably in a way that wouldn't take your free will away.  But since you demand 100% obvious proof, or should I say "poof", that's the moment you would lose your free choice.  Do you really want that?  Sounds innocuous, but in such scenarios, we'd end up no more than this supreme Being's puppets. 


Forgive me, but I would personally classify myself as a naturalist aka, a belief that everything happened naturally and would have happened no matter the circumstances, since that is what nature does. None of this was by a slim chance.

It is possible that, for example through evolution, there is an organized series of events that depend on previous processes.  But to say the very first "protein soup" close to a oceanic volcanic vent, for example, simply developed an extremely complicated process of cell replication by accident is possible, but extremely improbable.  I don't have numbers, but a statistician who has a grasp of DNA formation could probably give you the number--I'd venture to say it is around one in 10^exp(100++), even over a few billion years.


Invalid evidence. To begin with, just because you say something doesn’t make it true. For evidence claims to be taken seriously, you need to show us step-by-step of such theories and provide links that helped you draw the conclusions that you have come to.

Ok, I found a number: one in 4^300: http://www.science20.com/stars_planets_life/calculating_odds_life_could_begin_chance

Ok, multiply this by this number, the chances of having a planet that could provide life in the first place, from the Rare Earth formula (which an atheist astronomy teacher taught me:

N = N* × fp × fpm × ne × ng × fi × fc × fl × fm × fj × fme is also on the order of 10exp(-12)
http://www.npl.washington.edu/AV/altvw102.html

In fact, "9.0 x 10 ^-12 is the probability that an intelligent civilization other than ours exists in our galaxy"
http://eo.ucar.edu/staff/dward/sao/dward617project.pdf

Not very big.
But I suppose in an infinitely old universe: no problem...except for the problem of entropy.  In an infinitely old universe, all energy will have been expended; only chaos would remain (after give or take a few trillion years). 

In addition, none of these evidences show evidence that your scizophrenic mirage created anything. They are evidence of, well, pretty much nothing. As mentioned before, just because you say it doesn’t make it true. You need way more to validate your evidence.

Why schizophrenic?  Sounds like you have a little pain associated with this topic.

There is a famous "proof" of the existence of God by DesCartes, but since it involves no "poofs", rather, "proofs", you probably wouldn't accept it.  I won't reinvent the wheel.

You'll just have to be patient for your own personal proof, I'd keep praying--everyone has a seed in us that seeks meaning, that needs to grow, but must be watered and taken cared for before it sprouts.  You've heard of such miracles that aren't necessarily "poofs", just strong personal experiences that make you feel in your heart that this Being is really alive, and personally interested in your interaction with him.

First off, how do you know this intelligent being is even a he? From there, if this “he” is infinite, hi’s infinity contradicts the idea of a beginning, or a creation, depending on which “god” you are invoking. Choose your god wisely, because if the “he” you are advocating is the “he” I think you are talking about, you are going to be in for a serious challenge.

He, she, it, unpronounceable symbol,  it matters little.  "He" by tradition.
You are right, being infinitely powerful and unbound by time, the universe, or infinite universes and dimensions, could have existed forever as well, who knows.  But not by themselves.  But by that token, if "He" wished, it could have started, for example, with the "Big Bang".  His choice.

Which god are you invoking? If this is the Judeo-Christian god, then you have contradictions all over the place with this paragraph.

Judeo-Christian, Zeus, caveman SunGod or gods, it makes no difference.  Since you want a name, call him "Infinite one".

However, even without Judeo-Christianity, some of the claims are quite easy to refute. In just about every religion out there that invokes of an almighty mono-god, they all claim that the god itself has come to this Earth, in the flesh no less, and have provided many miracles that he is who he is, and does what he says he does. If He proves beyond the shadow of a doubt, like it was in the past, how come we lose our gift of choice, when it was not so for the very people he showed himself to? Isn’t this showing god playing favorites as opposed to benevolence?

Well, let's say an obvious miracle happened.  Let's say the Sun God came to Earth 20,000 years ago and made a dead person came to life.  You might say his heart simply restarted after he was in a coma, and his brain cells somehow were able to survive without oxygen due to some process of suspended animation.  If this God made somebody blind person suddenly see, it could be due to "emotional" release.  In fact, it would make sense that this God used natural processes to make these miracles--it's His universe, why wouldn't he?  Still, an atheist could scientifically explain all these miracles away anyway, even instant cell regeneration.  This resistant atheist would say "the Being was really an advanced alien and planted a tactile working holograph in the stump, there has to be an explanation!", or something like that.

Ah, what the hell why not? If you are talking about the Judeo-Christian God, you do know in the Genesis account, you do know God did not create us with free will? Adam and Eve had to sin in order to obtain this free will and be like god, exactly as the serpent claimed, and God lied about said fruit, and punished Adam and Eve because of the serpent telling the Truth. It is quite funny you mention organic material that responds to environmental cues and laws, as that is exactly how the god wanted us to be. This is why god is trying to undo us obtaining the free will to begin with according to the Christian Bible. That is why God stresses obedience and punishes humans for the free will that was obtained through the forbidden fruit.

Well, I'm not a biblical scholar, but I do know that most agree that this "Adam and Eve", (whoever the first humans to achieve this relation with God were) had a choice, and so the story goes, they chose to be independent of God, rather than to be very close and dependent on Him completely.  That's the stuff of free will.  Probably 100% of us would have done the same with some type of desire to obtain "more" of whatever we would have wanted, be it knowledge, independence, power...Still, they had the choice first, rather than after that incident. 

My understanding was that it wasn't so much a punishment, but a consequence.  It was like they went outside of a protected, beautiful home, into a terrible blizzard or storm, because they wanted the taste of complete freedom, or whatever they sought.  It must have been something very, very desirable.  They probably knew the consequences would involve all of us as well.  But these consequences weren't what God wanted.

Perhaps suffering still existed all around them, but their "paradise" was to clearly understood all of it instead as natural and beautiful, (not unlike the North American tribal views of nature).  Maybe that's what they lost. 

Yet, many religious traditions involve some type of hope to regain this lost relationship with the creator after some type of fall.  This would logically involve some type of uncomfortable process, such as obedience, which doesn't feel "good".   In "paradise", it wasn't "obedience", it was probably more like "communication".  So, it's not that God demands retribution, rather this is the only way back to Him.

Maybe so, but at least beyond the shadow of a doubt, we would have evidence of a god, which atm, there is none. You need to prove the god itself before we can really delve more into the concept of free will.

That's the point.  Because we have free will, you can't have definite proof of God.  Probably definite proof of God would make your spirit leap out of your body to meet Him, because it would be too beautiful to resist.  Probably only seeing God himself would suffice.  Something tells me this is something like what Adam and Eve probably wanted too, and as a consequence lost whatever paradise they had.  Maybe they lost of degree of their free will with the small amount of knowledge they gained about God, and now we are all paying for it.  But this is conjecture. 

Still, because we infer that because God loves us (as I concluded before), he wants us to be free.  Providing absolute proof would take your freedom away, which is bad in itself,

Perhaps one day we will have this proof of God's existence in a way that doesn't interfere with free will, but we just aren't ready for this somehow neither as individuals, nor as a race.

I actually agree with this statement, which is why I am completely against the indoctrination of our children with religious drivel. Every religious person does what you said to their own children, and what Hell of a Hell you religious ones have created on this planet Earth for those who do not adhere to what you believe.

Sorry, you didn't understand the analogy, or I didn't make it clear.  Imagine you as God.  You see one of your children, one of us, about to do something very bad.  To correct it completely, you would have to change the memories, brain cells, or whatever to make sure this doesn't happen in this or other circumstances.  This changes the very essence of your child.  We only can begin to imagine the infinite value this God has for all of us when we think he could do this magic (but doesn't)  to, say, some warlord in Africa that prevents food from reaching the starving children.  Still, this is only a guess to why he doesn't obviously crush these evil people in an instant.  I would, but he is God, not me. 

As far as all the suffering, there must be an answer as to why this is permitted.  I don't think he causes the suffering, but again, by our relationship and cooperation with this God, one day we will do away with it. 

But as far as educating our children to love God and to love others...Why not?  I'd venture to say it is psychologically healthy to provide this frame of mind for their mental well being anyway. 

The evidence we are asking for worked for the Jews, worked for the 12 disciples, worked for the Greeks. Why are we not allowed to experience the same things? Is it god doesn’t love us anymore, or is it that you are right and that shows he has never existed to begin with?

I'd say don't ask for such hard evidence.  It won't come in our lifetimes, anyway.  Instead ask for some insight, something like "1+1=2".  There is no proof, but you implicitly know it's right.  But if you get this insight, don't stop there.  Work to build your relationship with this God.


This is not evidence of a god. This is evidence of science.

If I help you cut your grass, and you didn't see me, there is no proof the grass was cut.  It might have spontaneously been cut by some strange flux in the universe, or some synchronous biological flaw in each blade of grass at the same time causes them to fall. But you'd make the easier, more logical conclusion that a human did this with a lawn mower. 

When someone finds the cure for cancer, or poverty, or global peace, that this won't be by human effort alone--the chances are so against us.  It will be more logical that we will be inspired to obtain this.  The real miracle is that such smart persons such as Pasteur had the circumstances in his life that allowed him to finally achieve things like Pasteurization. When we go with God's flow, things just happen.  In fact, I just found this about him, from his son-in-law:

"Absolute faith in God and in Eternity, and a conviction that the power for good given to us in this world will be continued beyond it, were feelings which pervaded his whole life; the virtues of the gospel had ever been present to him. Full of respect for the form of religion which had been that of his forefathers, he came simply to it and naturally for spiritual help in these last weeks of his life."

I'm not sure what life is like in Godless countries.  But his plans don't depend on our beliefs in him either.  So it's possible that even in China, for example, good things can come from their works and discoveries too.  But their personal relationship with Him is what they are missing.


Evidence of science, not religion. Otherwise, I may need to thank Epona for the miracles it gave to horses to become centaurs in the future! I am going to be thanking Ishtar for the miracle of Easter today! Ishtar created a great holiday indeed! I shall also be thanking Vishnu for giving us babies with 8 arms as well! Sadly, none of those gods exist and it was just a creation from the human mind. If not, got evidence?

Again, these are insights that you yourself would probably have with acceptance of something as simple as "1+1=2", rather than absolute proof.

Yet, you have been discussing this as if you are the only one who knows the enlightened path. So z2, what makes you think you have the “One True Way” as opposed to a Muslim, or a Zoroastrian, or a Hindu, or Norse Pagan?

Sorry, I am not a prophet.  I just use reason and common sense; even young children end up with these very same conclusions on their own. 

And for finishing that off, I don’t delve in possibilities unless it is about philosophical ideologies. For reality, I prefer facts, not possibilities, and

If God himself came and showed you proof, you'd still ask for more.  There will always be a reason not to believe, because your free will is and always will be there.  Only a Beatific Vision will finally suffice, but this leads to instant death.   Look for simple answers.  They are in front of your nose.

By the way, Christians believe God himself came here and performed miracles.  Some eyewitnesses believed, some didn't, miracles or not!  So free will remained in tact for all. 

If this incarnation were repeated today, people 100 years from now, or especially today, would still doubt in any of these miracles, no matter how obvious.  Any bets? 

Pascal’s Wager is one of the worst arguments any theists of any religion could ever use!

Pascal's Wager is not a proof, but a logical choice, which all atheists should side with at first, until their hearts open until that one moment of revelation they are waiting for comes to them.  You still have a choice to believe in nothingness, but it is a dark, lonely choice.  There's better.




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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2012, 04:51:56 PM »
Pascal's Wager is not a proof, but a logical choice,

Since your quoting skills are less than good, I've decided to reply only to this little "gem" here.
Pascal's Wager, assuming for the sake of argument that one can choose to believe in something, is an egocentric "argument" based on the assumption that only one's god(s) is/are real. Newsflash: There are thousands of religions and tens of thousands of gods.

which all atheists should side with at first, until their hearts open until that one moment of revelation they are waiting for comes to them.

Many of us are former believers. Your condescending behaviour will get you nowhere.

You still have a choice to believe in nothingness, but it is a dark, lonely choice.  There's better.

Who believes in nothingness? :S
You do know that atheism is not nihilism, right? Even nihilism is not belief in nothingness. The very concept is idiotic.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
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Offline z2

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2012, 04:53:02 PM »
Imagine in this paradise that someone would somehow still have a choice to do bad.  "Poof", someone would change that person instantly with just a quick a prayer.  So in that world, we would eventually lose ourselves, our identities.  Imagine doing these "poofs" to your own children, then you'd understand.  Ironically it would end up being much sadder world than ours today......So what's the big deal?  It's what atheists are missing out on: the chance to grow by connecting to this infinite being.  This takes a lifetime, it takes a great deal of humility to get started too.  After all, you've been flying solo--it's easy to see why you wouldn't want somebody to influence you just now.  But imagine the infinite possibilities.  There is nothing to lose, and everything to gain!

Hello z2.  Just one question: what happens in heaven?

Hmmm...I believe that once we have the Beatific Vision, there will be no more choice.  We probably will make that one last choice when we confront the Creator at our deaths.  Those who have enough humility will give up their choice.  Those too proud will not want to lose this, no matter the cost (thus, they will turn away from Him one final and last time).  Pure conjecture though. 

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2012, 04:56:09 PM »
Who believes in nothingness? :S
You do know that atheism is not nihilism, right? Even nihilism is not belief in nothingness. The very concept is idiotic.

Thanks. 
Belief in no God is belief in nothing.  That everything came from nothing.  Yes, idiotic indeed.

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2012, 04:57:49 PM »
Belief in no God is belief in nothing.

Lack of belief is not belief in non-existence. Enormous difference there.

That everything came from nothing.

Can anyone say "non-sequitur"?

Yes, idiotic indeed.

Truly.

By the way, why did you ignore the fact that Pascal's Wager is full of shit?
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2012, 05:02:12 PM »
-Moderator Note-

z2, welcome.

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Though you quoted correctly in your last post, the long post where you responded to Death over Life was done incorrectly. When quoting is not done right, it causes confusion. Please read the instructions on how to quote in the link below if you are still unclear on how to correctly quote and insert multiple responses throughout a post rather than just the end.

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,16778.0.html


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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2012, 05:10:56 PM »
Thanks. 
Belief in no God is belief in nothing.  That everything came from nothing.  Yes, idiotic indeed.

You are lying in this post.  Why?
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Offline Aaron123

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2012, 05:13:32 PM »
Thanks. 
Belief in no God is belief in nothing.  That everything came from nothing.  Yes, idiotic indeed.

Belief in no Santa Claus is belief in nothing.  That presents came from nothing.  Yes, idiotic indeed.
Being a Christian, I've made my decision. That decision offers no compromise; therefore, I'm closed to anything else.

Offline Alzael

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2012, 05:28:24 PM »
  That everything came from nothing.  Yes, idiotic indeed.

Yet this is your belief. You believe that god created the universe out of nothing.

Take note. Trying to be a smart ass only works if you can do it from a superior position than the one you're trying to criticize.

It also helps to not intentionally misrepresent the other side to form the basis of your comment.
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Offline z2

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2012, 05:30:17 PM »
Belief in no God is belief in nothing.

Lack of belief is not belief in non-existence. Enormous difference there.

That everything came from nothing.

Can anyone say "non-sequitur"?

Yes, idiotic indeed.

Truly.

By the way, why did you ignore the fact that Pascal's Wager is full of shit?

Hope I'm using the quotations right this time, my apologies.

Yes, belief is not a religion in your sense of the word.  It is just a strongly held opinion. 
An atheist's strong opinion is that there is no God.

That means there is no belief in God, or gods, granted, which is a lack of belief, right.

But it also means there is a belief, a strong opinion, that the universe came from nothingness.
It is not that you don't believe in the universe's existence, but rather, in it's creator, "nothingness",
which is just a step removed from nihilism.

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2012, 05:33:48 PM »
Yes, belief is not a religion in your sense of the word.  It is just a strongly held opinion. 
An atheist's strong opinion is that there is no God.

No. Atheism is the lack of belief in deities.

But it also means there is a belief, a strong opinion, that the universe came from nothingness.
It is not that you don't believe in the universe's existence, but rather, in it's creator, "nothingness",
which is just a step removed from nihilism.

Non-sequitur. I've said this already.

EDIT: Once again, why are you ignoring the fact that Pascal's Wager is BS?
« Last Edit: April 08, 2012, 05:40:51 PM by Lucifer »
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline Aaron123

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2012, 05:36:19 PM »
But it also means there is a belief, a strong opinion, that the universe came from nothingness.
It is not that you don't believe in the universe's existence, but rather, in it's creator, "nothingness",
which is just a step removed from nihilism.

How many times does it needs to be explained to you?  Atheists do not believe the universe came from "nothingness".


Beside, isn't that the position of the bible?  That there was "nothing" at first until god made "something".

You're projecting.
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Offline Emily

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2012, 05:42:08 PM »

But it also means there is a belief, a strong opinion, that the universe came from nothingness.
It is not that you don't believe in the universe's existence, but rather, in it's creator, "nothingness",
which is just a step removed from nihilism.

I like what Linus Torvald said about the universe:

"I find that people seem to think religion brings morals and appreciation of nature. I actually think it detracts from both. It gives people the excuse to say, 'Oh, nature was just created,' and so the act of creation is seen to be something miraculous. I appreciate the fact that, 'Wow, it's incredible that something like this could have happened in the first place.'"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus_Torvalds#Personal_life

This is probably a typical view of atheists, and it doesn't sound like nihilism to me.
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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2012, 06:36:24 PM »
But it also means there is a belief, a strong opinion, that the universe came from nothingness.
It is not that you don't believe in the universe's existence, but rather, in it's creator, "nothingness",
which is just a step removed from nihilism.

Would you please stop trying to put words in other people's mouths?  Atheists can believe all sorts of different things about the creation of the universe. The only thing they ALL have in common is that they don't think a god was involved.  I, myself, am an agnostic atheist, and I do not claim to know exactly how the universe came to be, but I do believe it was a completely natural and as yet unexplained event.  No deity required.  I believe this way because nothing in our current universe requires the presence of a god to understand how it works.  I am completely fine accepting that this is something I don't yet know. 

Is that simple enough to understand?  Please stop saying this 'you believe in nothingness' bullshit.  It's stupid. 
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Offline Death over Life

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2012, 09:29:08 PM »
Thank you "Life over Death", you might try bursting ego bubbles, but it's not me you should be after, but the topic.
This is really how you are going to start a rebuttal? By not even knowing how to properly quote or by not even mentioning my name properly? What are you 12? If you want me to take you seriously, you better put your head on straight, and start by calling me by my proper name.

We can only conjecture on what might be the reason for all of the apparent problems in the world, such as loss of limbs.  But we might infer that, because He is a benevolent being, and yet these problems still exist, somehow these problems remain for a bigger purpose we don't understand. 

Yet, you seem to understand all to well. So, how can you come here telling us that “god works in mysterious ways” while you are trying to tell us about this mysterious god, and in such intricate detail at that, pertaining to free will?

Still, it is obvious that he has given us intellect and drive.  It could be that this supreme Being is influencing our discoveries through such processes as serendipity in order to help solve some of these problems (which we're doing a great job of so far).  The "unheard" prayers for proof many on this forum talk of may have been answered after all, but not as one would wish for as in "I dream of Jeannie"--i.e. a wish + 2 blinks = "poof", your answered prayer. 

Once again, using natural means to prove a supernatural god. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. If you wish to prove your supernatural god, you need supernatural evidence, not evidence where there clearly is no evidence for a god. Saying god is responsible for your intelligence is like saying you are stupid because you can’t think for yourself. Saying god is responsible for Science is like saying Santa Claus is responsible for the presents underneath the Christmas Tree on Christmas Day. It is simply bullshit.

Also, to say that an omnipotent being must intervene in a more direct way is, by definition, limiting that omnipotence.  That is, an omnipotent being can do whatever He wants, He doesn't have to conform to our limited concept of what the universe should be like.

Can this omnipotent being create himself a rock so heavy he can not lift it?

If you can come up with this answer in a logical way, I may be able to take you more seriously.

To begin with, eutheism does not make sense. Since we seem to be on differing ends and you have not spouted which god you worship, it may be of help, which god or goddess do you worship?

That is like saying "Which "infinity do you believe in? There are many!"
Well, there are only three possibilities, an infinite being, an infinite series of beings, or nothing.  So it's the first one, since it makes the most sense.

So, I take it you can’t answer the question? I did not ask which form of theism you believe in, which is mono. I asked which SPECIFIC GOD do you worship? Do you worship Jesus Christ? Do you worship Allah? Do you worship Ahura Mazda? Do you worship the Muffin Man? Tell us which SPECIFIC GOD you worship please.

I can't show you definite proof, only He can, and then it would be a profoundly personal experience, probably in a way that wouldn't take your free will away.  But since you demand 100% obvious proof, or should I say "poof", that's the moment you would lose your free choice.  Do you really want that?  Sounds innocuous, but in such scenarios, we'd end up no more than this supreme Being's puppets. 

Running around in circles aren’t we? Chasing your own tail it seems. You have mentioned earlier:

The real miracle would be to one day achieve all things you ask for, including limb regeneration, without losing your free will.

So what's the big deal? It's what atheists are missing out on: the chance to grow by connecting to this infinite being. This takes a lifetime, it takes a great deal of humility to get started too. After all, you've been flying solo--it's easy to see why you wouldn't want somebody to influence you just now. But imagine the infinite possibilities. There is nothing to lose, and everything to gain!

So, if this god is omnipotent, why doesn’t he just do this real miracle claim that you claim he does anyway instead of playing games, kind of like what you are doing?

So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is you have some sort of “divine revelation” about knowing about this all-knowing mystery god that just in the snap of the fingers can change everything in one snippet of evidence, that as you said, is just around the corner, so we ask for it, and you turn around and say he can’t show it the way you are describing or us asking?

Speaking of Being’s Puppets, you do realize you are His puppet right? We atheists are the ones with free will where you need to bow down to your puppet master’s wishes, otherwise you wouldn’t even be bothering arguing with us about this supreme being, because you want us to be his bitch as well, and yet you are upset that we aren’t buying it.

News flash for you btw. In the Bible, God has 100% poof proved himself to a great many people, and people STILL chose to rebel against Him. Please show us how him “poof proving” His existence will take away from free will when it clearly didn’t in the Bible’s past? In addition, you yourself are limiting God’s omnipotence by saying and I quote you:

But since you demand 100% obvious proof, or should I say "poof", that's the moment you would lose your free choice. 

So, we can’t not lose free will if God poof proves to us of His existence? You realize if what you said is True, then your god is not omnipotent do you?


Invalid evidence. To begin with, just because you say something doesn’t make it true. For evidence claims to be taken seriously, you need to show us step-by-step of such theories and provide links that helped you draw the conclusions that you have come to.

Ok, I found a number: one in 4^300: http://www.science20.com/stars_planets_life/calculating_odds_life_could_begin_chance

Ok, multiply this by this number, the chances of having a planet that could provide life in the first place, from the Rare Earth formula (which an atheist astronomy teacher taught me:

N = N* × fp × fpm × ne × ng × fi × fc × fl × fm × fj × fme is also on the order of 10exp(-12)
http://www.npl.washington.edu/AV/altvw102.html

In fact, "9.0 x 10 ^-12 is the probability that an intelligent civilization other than ours exists in our galaxy"
http://eo.ucar.edu/staff/dward/sao/dward617project.pdf

Not very big.
But I suppose in an infinitely old universe: no problem...except for the problem of entropy.  In an infinitely old universe, all energy will have been expended; only chaos would remain (after give or take a few trillion years). 

You have missed the claim that I was asking evidence for. Let me recap for you:


It's much more likely that this universe of order was designed by somebody infinitely smart. There is some evidence for this. For example, the chances of the strong nuclear force being exactly at its constant value is astronomically (or should I say atomically) small. The chances for the first proteins to develop RNA sequences that led to reproducible life is likewise incredibly small.

I maybe wasn’t specific enough so I’ll cut you some slack here. I was asking evidence for: It's much more likely that this universe of order was designed by somebody infinitely smart.

The problem is, you gave me evidence for: For example, the chances of the strong nuclear force being exactly at its constant value is astronomically (or should I say atomically) small. The chances for the first proteins to develop RNA sequences that led to reproducible life is likewise incredibly small.

This time I won’t knock on you, but I am asking for evidence this universe of order was designed by somebody infinitely smart.


Why schizophrenic?  Sounds like you have a little pain associated with this topic.

No. I’m just down-to-earth, and I call it by what it is. If it is not schizophrenia, then it must have been drugs and hallucinations. If it is none of the above, then it must be real. The difference between real and drug hallucinations/schizophrenia, reality provides evidences for the claims it makes, as it is the evidence that allows us to scientifically test the evidence to validate or invalidate a theory that helps us better understand the universe, where as drug hallucinations and schizophrenia rely solely on faith and delusions for it to be valid. Reality can prove something is real. Hallucinations, who needs proof when you have faith? Why do you think we call those criminals crazy and deluded when they say “God/Satan told me to kill my children.”?


He, she, it, unpronounceable symbol,  it matters little.  "He" by tradition.
You are right, being infinitely powerful and unbound by time, the universe, or infinite universes and dimensions, could have existed forever as well, who knows.  But not by themselves.  But by that token, if "He" wished, it could have started, for example, with the "Big Bang".  His choice.

Now, you are playing the logical fallacy of special pleading. You agree that with there being a god, existence itself could never have had a beginning, but you say it has to have a god. So, why does our universe have to have a god in order for the universe itself to never have a beginning?


Judeo-Christian, Zeus, caveman SunGod or gods, it makes no difference.  Since you want a name, call him "Infinite one".

Well, this makes discussing with you about this “infinite one” much easier to discuss with!  &)


Well, I'm not a biblical scholar, but I do know that most agree that this "Adam and Eve", (whoever the first humans to achieve this relation with God were) had a choice, and so the story goes, they chose to be independent of God, rather than to be very close and dependent on Him completely.  That's the stuff of free will.  Probably 100% of us would have done the same with some type of desire to obtain "more" of whatever we would have wanted, be it knowledge, independence, power...Still, they had the choice first, rather than after that incident. 

The reality is no they did not. Good and evil did not exist in their time until it was after the eating. Because there was no good and evil at the time, there was no concept of reaction for the action, and there was no concept of consequences, simply because sin never existed at that time. If there was no such, then how could they chose to, being that they weren’t given the knowledge or ability to be able to comprehend or understand what is going on to make a logical, reasonable, and informed choice? This would equate Adam and Eve to that of a baby, which can not sin according to many theists, yet God wishes to punish 2 babies for their “sins” that they have committed.

I also wanted to acknowledge before Adam, Eve, and God, it was Zeus and Prometheus with Prometheus teaching us about Fire and how to create and use it, where Zeus punishes us for learning.


My understanding was that it wasn't so much a punishment, but a consequence.  It was like they went outside of a protected, beautiful home, into a terrible blizzard or storm, because they wanted the taste of complete freedom, or whatever they sought.  It must have been something very, very desirable.  They probably knew the consequences would involve all of us as well.  But these consequences weren't what God wanted.

I like the analogy because it goes hand in hand with what I said above. They aren’t responsible for it because they did not have the ability to understand consequence, because good and evil did not exist until after the fall. They could not have known about the consequence because they didn’t know, and consequence didn’t exist, and they couldn’t have known that it would involve all of us because it wasn’t until after the sin did they say they would procreate. But I like how you agree with me that God was about suppressing us and not allowing us to experience this “free will” that you are speaking of.


Yet, many religious traditions involve some type of hope to regain this lost relationship with the creator after some type of fall.  This would logically involve some type of uncomfortable process, such as obedience, which doesn't feel "good".   In "paradise", it wasn't "obedience", it was probably more like "communication".  So, it's not that God demands retribution, rather this is the only way back to Him.

The only way? I thought you said earlier:


Also, to say that an omnipotent being must intervene in a more direct way is, by definition, limiting that omnipotence. That is, an omnipotent being can do whatever He wants, He doesn't have to conform to our limited concept of what the universe should be like.
So, if this omnipotent being can do whatever He wants, He doesn't have to conform to our limited concept of what the universe should be like, then why did you say that this is the only way back to Him? You are once again limiting your omnipotent “infinite one”.


Still, because we infer that because God loves us (as I concluded before), he wants us to be free.  Providing absolute proof would take your freedom away, which is bad in itself, 

So, please show us then how this God is a loving god, because all evidence that would exist shows us otherwise.


But as far as educating our children to love God and to love others...Why not?  I'd venture to say it is psychologically healthy to provide this frame of mind for their mental well being anyway. 

Why not? Well, come to one of the Bible Belt states like Mississippi or Texas or Florida or North Carolina, and you will see why not.

Why not is all about loving god btw, not about loving others.


I'd say don't ask for such hard evidence.  It won't come in our lifetimes, anyway.  Instead ask for some insight, something like "1+1=2".  There is no proof, but you implicitly know it's right.  But if you get this insight, don't stop there.  Work to build your relationship with this God.

I know why you don’t want me to ask for hard evidence. It is because you know yourself god doesn’t exist and you know because if god were real, hard evidence would be there, and hard evidence shows you that you can and are indeed wrong, so it upsets you. Only an evil tyrant dictators will say don’t question me as that 1 sentence did.


When someone finds the cure for cancer, or poverty, or global peace, that this won't be by human effort alone--the chances are so against us.  It will be more logical that we will be inspired to obtain this.  The real miracle is that such smart persons such as Pasteur had the circumstances in his life that allowed him to finally achieve things like Pasteurization. When we go with God's flow, things just happen.  In fact, I just found this about him, from his son-in-law:

You say when we go with God’s flow, things just happen. You are right, when we go with God’s flow, things just happen, like the entire annihilation of civilizations because of God’s chosen ones. Things just happen, like people dying, like enslavement, like oppression. Nowadays, God’s chosen ones have decided that women alone deserve death just for existing. To me, I think God’s chosen are just upset that women had the brains to say no to them. But then again, with God’s flow, things just happen, like rape, whether it’s a gang rape on a woman, or a priest with some little boys, things just happen!


I'm not sure what life is like in Godless countries.  But his plans don't depend on our beliefs in him either.  So it's possible that even in China, for example, good things can come from their works and discoveries too.  But their personal relationship with Him is what they are missing.

Very valid question, thought actually. If you wish to know what Godless countries are like in the world, they are ranked among the most intelligent, most happy, most environmentally friendly, and most free economically ranked countries among the entire planet Earth. Examples? Denmark for #1, Switzerland for another, Sweden for another, Canada for another, and I think nogodsforme mentioned Japan in another thread.

Want to see where religion reigns supreme? We have the Middle-East as a supreme example. We have places in South America for example like Chile. Mexico is another great example!


If God himself came and showed you proof, you'd still ask for more.  There will always be a reason not to believe, because your free will is and always will be there.  Only a Beatific Vision will finally suffice, but this leads to instant death.   Look for simple answers.  They are in front of your nose.

Theists ALWAYS say this! Well, if this is true, let God show us and prove it, and then we will see if I’ll ask for more. Still waiting for god to do as such.


If this incarnation were repeated today, people 100 years from now, or especially today, would still doubt in any of these miracles, no matter how obvious.  Any bets? 

People in general are stupid. There are those who don’t even believe in Hitler, WWII, or the Holocaust despite all the empirical evidence we have for it, whether it was the rubble and uniforms in museums, or whether it is the video footage of the times when this occurred, or we could just ask Hitler’s very relatives like his nephew, and ask them why they need to live their lives in hiding from the planet.

Pascal's Wager is not a proof, but a logical choice, which all atheists should side with at first, until their hearts open until that one moment of revelation they are waiting for comes to them.  You still have a choice to believe in nothingness, but it is a dark, lonely choice.  There's better.

Everybody already answered this, so no need for me to bother. However there’s better? You mean like roasting over an open fire like I’m some sort of barbeque?

Oh yeah, you should know that if you are incorrect about your god, which is a very 99.99% chance you are, if you die and you are incorrect, all these posts and witnessing and enslavement you are doing for your god are in the end, worthless, and you will go down in history as one of the biggest fools on the planet! Pascal’s Wager reversed!

Offline z2

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2012, 09:47:26 PM »

But it also means there is a belief, a strong opinion, that the universe came from nothingness.
It is not that you don't believe in the universe's existence, but rather, in it's creator, "nothingness",
which is just a step removed from nihilism.

I like what Linus Torvald said about the universe:

"I find that people seem to think religion brings morals and appreciation of nature. I actually think it detracts from both. It gives people the excuse to say, 'Oh, nature was just created,' and so the act of creation is seen to be something miraculous. I appreciate the fact that, 'Wow, it's incredible that something like this could have happened in the first place.'"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus_Torvalds#Personal_life

This is probably a typical view of atheists, and it doesn't sound like nihilism to me.

It seems some are content to think universe just exists, and nothing else, and refuse to think beyond this.
 
Yes, the universe is something, not nothing, that's right.

But either it was always there, or it came from nothing.

The first defies what we know of nature, that order eventual succumbs to entropy.  Stars eventually run out of energy.
In fact, an infinitely old universe would be void of energy, and the temperatures of any remaining matter would reach almost zero Kelvin.

The second choice is that it came from nothing.  First, we don't see evidence of spontaneous creation.  Second, if we did, probably this could be attributed to a deity anyway.

No one says atheists don't respect nature.  That wasn't the point. 

Morals: a broad, relative topic.  In short, I think some atheists probably are more moral than many theists, no doubt.
There are universal morals that all agree on, atheists or not.  And from an evolutionary point of view, this guarantees our species continues successfully if we cooperate with, help, and protect each other.  So atheists, though they don't have to worry about "judgement", can still feel attachment and duty to others. So, point taken. 



Offline Aaron123

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2012, 09:56:31 PM »
It seems some are content to think universe just exists, and nothing else, and refuse to think beyond this.
 
Yes, the universe is something, not nothing, that's right.

But either it was always there, or it came from nothing.

The first defies what we know of nature, that order eventual succumbs to entropy.  Stars eventually run out of energy.
In fact, an infinitely old universe would be void of energy, and the temperatures of any remaining matter would reach almost zero Kelvin.

The second choice is that it came from nothing.  First, we don't see evidence of spontaneous creation.  Second, if we did, probably this could be attributed to a deity anyway.

Here's another possibility to consider: we don't have all the answers.

If we don't fully understand something, then the best respond is to say "we don't fully understand something".  Saying "my magic man went *poof* and made everything" is shitty thinking.  It is non-thinking.  If you're going to claim than a supernatural being exists and made everything, you better damn well have evidence to back this up.  That has to be more than "ooh, look at the stars!  I just can't believe it 'just happened'!"
Being a Christian, I've made my decision. That decision offers no compromise; therefore, I'm closed to anything else.

Offline JeffPT

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2012, 10:08:42 PM »
 
Yes, the universe is something, not nothing, that's right.

But either it was always there, or it came from nothing.

Or it came from a completely natural phenomena that we don't yet understand or have evidence for.  Maybe 2 other universes crashed together and spawned ours?  Maybe the big bang was just a giant supernovae?  Why do you keep saying that there are only 2 options when there are literally an infinite number of options, most of which will never even be considered?
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT