Author Topic: Is free will invalid?  (Read 3771 times)

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Offline learnin

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2012, 10:24:25 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.

I think this is right on.

Offline z2

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #30 on: April 09, 2012, 12:10:46 AM »
 
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?

Good point.  But it's the same thing.  The two other universes that crashed had to have
a) come from nothing
b) been around since infinity
c) been created

Infinite universes, dimensions, etc.
a) came from nothing
b) been around since infinity
c) been created.

A harder challenge for sure. 
It's like saying:  Why not an infinite amount of parallel but infinite Gods?

All I can say is that it defies the bounds of imagination that we have.
But there's a rule of thumb for the universe we do know about: the simplest answer is the answer (per Occam)

Quantum physicists can explain the math behind the possibility of an infinite number of parallel universes. 
And anyone who can draw a minus sign in front of a "t" can show you that negative time is possible on paper. 
Still, it's not observed (except perhaps on a quantum, subatomic level).
But to say this happens on a cosmic level...our even a molecular level for that matter.....hmmm.

But lets say there are an infinite number of universes...parallel with ours.  I haven't heard of unparallel universes.
I assume parallel means they have the same age?  My understanding is that they all at one point were the same.
Before that point...I think I understand that they were just one universe.  So, we're back to where we left off.

But if there are an infinite number of unparallel universes...
Just multiply the same reasoning above times infinity.
Each had to have a start, or come from nothing.

Both scenarios are a lot of work for God!  But that's his choice.

So to wrap up,
No God still = nihilism in the end, no matter how you look at it, because for atheism, there remain these scenarios alone:

a) before the universe or multiverse existed, there had to be nothing, nil. 
b) the uni or multiverse always existed but will eventually become nil (probably the favorite choice of most atheists)
c) the uni or multiverse will keep going forever due to spontaneous creation powered by the god "nil".

Other scenarios, such as having an infinite set of universes or multiverses each spawning their following generations of universes...
that's saying finite things have the capacity for creation, which defies reason as well.  The god "nil" makes as much sense.

Am I missing any more scenarios that at least make a little bit of sense?



Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #31 on: April 09, 2012, 12:22:52 AM »
I saw this thread earlier, but got distracted.  I think z2's opinions are not based on actual knowledge, but based on his belief system.  He apparently hasn't spent a lot of time actually analyzing his own beliefs, and so his responses are not based on anything particularly solid.

I don't have time to do a point-by-point rebuttal of his posts (especially since there's several now), but as his posts are generally based on the same ideas he presented in the initial one, I shouldn't need to.

First off, he states that pure atheism is fascinating, but states that it's limited to a few choices, easily dismissed.  Except that his "choices" aren't accurate, and represent his own ideas rather than a reasoned analysis of what atheism is actually about.  Atheism is simply belief in no gods, and it makes no conclusions about the universe or where it came from.  As for his choices, even leaving aside the logical flaws in the ones he actually put, the fact is that there are other explanations, such as naturalism.  The fact that he gives three logically invalid choices for atheism (the universe defies conservation, or defies entropy, or defies reason) instead of two does not prevent this from being a false dilemma.

For example, take a black hole.  It has enough mass that light itself is trapped within a certain distance and prevented from escaping.  But the practical effect of that gravity on the matter and energy is what makes it interesting; a black hole also compresses matter and energy to the point where it is degenerated past any limits, effectively meaning that it's compressed to a single point.  While black holes do emit a small amount of thermal radiation, it's been shown that most black holes take in much more energy than they emit.  For example, a black hole of a single stellar mass emits approximately 100 nano-kelvins (approximately one ten-millionth of a degree above absolute zero), which is far less than the 2.7 kelvins of the cosmic microwave background.  In other words, a black hole of that size will naturally grow even if there is nothing in its vicinity to draw in; and, since the Big Bang likely involved a singularity, that gives one explanation for how the universe could keep "restarting" (even if we don't currently know how that would work).  Black holes violate neither conservation nor entropy, and they are eminently reasonable considering the consequences of general relativity, therefore there is at least one option that z2 failed to consider that an atheist could choose instead of his three.

Moving on, he posits that eutheism is the most likely variety of theism, based on the strong anthropic principleWiki.  I think he is massively overstating the presumed "fine-tuning" of the universe, however.  Before humans evolved the intelligence to inquire into the origins of the universe, the question would have been moot.  His argument only makes sense in any case if we presume that the universe happened so that humans (or some other intelligence) could come to be, and that puts effect before cause, violating causality.  The absurdity of his argument is aptly illustrated by having to give this eutheos multiple infinite attributes in order to explain how it created the universe - it is itself infinite, it must have infinite intelligence to create the universe exactly the right way, it has an infinite amount of love and care to sustain the existence of atoms, etc.  The fact that he has to give it all these infinite properties for it to make sense strongly argues that it is not a good explanation, since first, the universe is not infinitely large, and second, there are not an infinite number of atoms in the universe.

His argument then turns to this eutheos not wanting people to lose their sense of self by giving them on-demand miracles.  However, there are other alternatives besides poofing miracles into existence on demand, and letting people live short, brutal lives of suffering but letting them keep their sense of self.  For example, making it so that the world is overall pleasant, with natural controls on reproduction to prevent rampant overpopulation (and thus to ensure ample living space for everyone), no severely dangerous predators or diseases which could kill people en masse, etc.  All of these could be done by a being with infinite intelligence in such a way as to seem perfectly natural, while still allowing people room for personal and societal growth, without requiring constant "miracle" fixes.  Yet, the world we live in is eminently not that way; instead, we have all the problems I mentioned and many more besides.  It is not reasonable to expect that a being which cares and loves, never mind it being "infinite", would not have done anything to resolve some of the most obvious problems that we face.

I'm sure he thinks his ideas about this eutheos are great and wonderful, but the problem is, he's automatically precluded any means of determining whether they're actually valid by definition.  The things that he talks about at the end of his post are all things that humans accomplish, and he acknowledges this, then claims that atheists are only missing out on the chance to connect with this eutheos - that doesn't actually want people to have unquestionable proof that it exists.  It would be a matter of child's play for this eutheos to have recorded a personal message to each and every person that is engraved in their memories for all their lives so they can know without a doubt that there is such a being, yet makes it clear that we won't get everything handed to us on a platter and that it's our responsibility to make something positive of our lives.  Such a thing would be undeniable proof of the eutheos's existence without leading to rampant wish-fulfillment.  But again, nothing like that happens.  Assuming (hypothetically) that this eutheos actually exists, it leaves us to grope blindly in our short time on this earth, with hundreds of generations of people dying for stupid, pointless reasons, and every single one of those unnecessary deaths preventable or at least mitigate-able by a being with the incredible power he attributes to it.

And then he wonders in later posts why nobody buys it.

Offline CutePuppy

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2012, 05:32:04 AM »

Good point.  But it's the same thing.  The two other universes that crashed had to have
a) come from nothing
b) been around since infinity
c) been created

Infinite universes, dimensions, etc.
a) came from nothing
b) been around since infinity
c) been created.

A harder challenge for sure.

Why is that a harder challenge? Harder compared to what? Say there's 1 infinite universe that has always existed that spawns universes. What is so hard(er) about that?

Quote
All I can say is that it defies the bounds of imagination that we have.

It doesn't seem to defy the bounds of imagination of most theists, including you. After all, you believe in an almighty/infinite god that can do anything: including creating and supporting said infinite number of universes where each of them spawn an infinite number of universes. Don't you? Or is your god limited in the number of universes it can create (out of nothing)? Please do tell. I'm interested in the limitations of your god.

Quote
But there's a rule of thumb for the universe we do know about: the simplest answer is the answer (per Occam)

An all powerful, infinite god is the most complex answer of all. As I just said, everything you just considered "hard" to accept is something your god can do on a whim. That means your god is, logically, the hardest challenge to comprehend, because it can do all the "harder challenges" you can think of and more, infinitely. Please give me an answer how your god is able to do all these things.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2012, 08:12:14 AM »
An all powerful, infinite god is the most complex answer of all. As I just said, everything you just considered "hard" to accept is something your god can do on a whim. That means your god is, logically, the hardest challenge to comprehend, because it can do all the "harder challenges" you can think of and more, infinitely. Please give me an answer how your god is able to do all these things.
First off, in reference to z2, Occam's razor doesn't mean that the simplest answer is the answer, it means that the simplest answer is the most likely to be correct because it has the least number of component parts that have to fit the facts.  Humans tend to think that "God" is a simple answer, because it's simple to conceive of a being that could do all of this, but that's a failure of logic.  The moment you start trying to explain how "God" does all of this, the simplicity breaks down completely.  Instead of one component part('God"), you have several ("God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, omni-whatever"), and each one spawns several more in the effort to explain them, and so on until you end up with a ridiculously complex answer, to the point where it makes even the abstruse equations that approximate physical laws look, well, simple by comparison.

So, far from being simple, God is actually the most complicated answer of all.

Online Azdgari

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2012, 08:16:19 AM »
^^ It gets even worse when you add intent to the mix.  If God wants X, Y, and Z to be true of its creation, then that's 3 more data-points that have to be assumed in the "God" hypothesis.  If everything is the will of God, then that means that every attribute of every particle of the universe is a data-point that has to be assumed in the "God" hypothesis as well.  That's unimaginably complex.
I have not encountered any mechanical malfunctioning in my spirit.  It works every single time I need it to.

Online One Above All

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #35 on: April 09, 2012, 09:20:13 AM »
Occam's Razor states that between n options, the one with the least assumptions is the best. It has nothing to do with being simple or complex.
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 jaimehlers

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #36 on: April 09, 2012, 09:43:03 AM »
Something with less assumptions is usually simpler, though, whereas something with more assumptions is usually more complex.  That's why you get the more common form of Occam's razor.

Online One Above All

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #37 on: April 09, 2012, 09:48:48 AM »
Something with less assumptions is usually simpler, though, whereas something with more assumptions is usually more complex.  That's why you get the more common form of Occam's razor.

And that's why it's wrong. In this case, is not the answer "invisible magic fairy did it" more simple than "particles with mass distort space and time around them, which gives the illusion that they're attracting more particles, increasing the effect almost exponentially"?
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.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One/Orion.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #38 on: April 09, 2012, 09:54:02 AM »
And that's why it's wrong. In this case, is not the answer "invisible magic fairy did it" more simple than "particles with mass distort space and time around them, which gives the illusion that they're attracting more particles, increasing the effect almost exponentially"?
Nope.  Because "the invisible magic fairy did it" is not actually a simple explanation.  It packages a lot of not-simple concepts together in a way that makes them look simple if you don't look too closely.  By analogy, it's like saying that a room where all the trash and clutter has been stuffed under the bed or in the closet where it's not immediately visible is cleaner than a room with less overall clutter, but the clutter isn't hidden from immediate view.

Offline CutePuppy

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #39 on: April 09, 2012, 09:55:48 AM »
Something with less assumptions is usually simpler, though, whereas something with more assumptions is usually more complex.  That's why you get the more common form of Occam's razor.

And that's why it's wrong. In this case, is not the answer "invisible magic fairy did it" more simple than "particles with mass distort space and time around them, which gives the illusion that they're attracting more particles, increasing the effect almost exponentially"?

I see you point, but I agree with jaimehlers: the answer isn't actually simple: the approach is simple. The answer is near meaningless. By that logic "it has always been there" or "it just is" is even "simpler". "It doesn't require you to think more on it" doesn't equal "it makes sense" (and even that it false, because it does require you to think more on it, theists just don't do it and call that simple).
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 09:59:13 AM by CutePuppy »

Online One Above All

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #40 on: April 09, 2012, 10:10:52 AM »
My example being acceptable is irrelevant.[1] The point is that one can understand "simpler" and, as you put it, "simpler approach" as being the same.
Is Occam's Razor not usually brought up as a counter to argumentum ad ignorantiam[2]? To state Occam's Razor in its most commonly used (yet wrong) form would be supporting said fallacy.
 1. Although I acknowledge your point.
 2. Argument from ignorance/incredulity.
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.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One/Orion.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #41 on: April 09, 2012, 10:23:39 AM »
Something that seems simple but hides complexity is not simple.  That's the point.

Online One Above All

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #42 on: April 09, 2012, 10:25:54 AM »
Something that seems simple but hides complexity is not simple.  That's the point.

And wouldn't it be easier and potentially less confusing to the theists if you stated that outright rather than say something that supports[1] their argument?
 1. From their PoV.
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.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One/Orion.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #43 on: April 09, 2012, 10:40:11 AM »
And wouldn't it be easier and potentially less confusing to the theists if you stated that outright rather than say something that supports[1] their argument?
 1. From their PoV.
Well, I was saying that all along, though not as clearly as I could have said it (which could have led to misunderstandings).  So your point is taken.

Offline CutePuppy

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #44 on: April 09, 2012, 10:44:28 AM »
Something that seems simple but hides complexity is not simple.  That's the point.

And wouldn't it be easier and potentially less confusing to the theists if you stated that outright rather than say something that supports[1] their argument?
 1. From their PoV.

Proper application of Occam's Razor should be encouraged, I agree. Although my response to him was on the "god did it is the simplest answer" rather than the "this is Occam razor" part.

Offline relativetruth

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #45 on: April 09, 2012, 03:56:16 PM »

Infinite universes, dimensions, etc.
a) came from nothing
b) been around since infinity
c) been created.

A harder challenge for sure. 
It's like saying:  Why not an infinite amount of parallel but infinite Gods?


Why is that such a stupid suggestion?
Why can you be soo sure that there is only one god?

If there existed a god that created the universe and a different god that interacts with humans on a day to day basis and another one that creates earthquakes and such.

How would you know the difference?

Maybe NONE of these gods are OMNI-anything they are just pretty smart aliens.

How do you know that the supernatural beings talking to you and to all theists for the last 5000 years are really as powerfull and knowlegible as they claim to be?
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 04:04:17 PM by relativetruth »
God(s) exist and are imaginary

Offline Strawman

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #46 on: April 09, 2012, 04:26:39 PM »
You have free will to do what you want[1], but what you want is not yours to decide.
 1. Provided that it is possible.
That is very well put. I get confused by what people expect from free will. Do you want the freedom to act completely randomly? That would surely be an extremely dangerous mindset. Every decision we make is based on prior knowledge, therefore -- providing all your previous knowledge and the structure of your brain is known -- you are entirely predictable.
The way I view free-will is freedom of thought: being free to draw your own conclusions without being oppressed by anyone. You may have freedom of thought but you cannot be free from your own cognitive processes, that would be even beyond insanity!
So imagine we can make infinite copies of the universe as it is right now, in every universe you would make the same decisions because you have the same inputs and prior knowledge.

I don't see why our predictability scares people, true it means we could be manipulated, but are the manipulators not vulnerable to the same manipulation? I think people presume that predictable means dull, that's not the case, we can be extremely exciting and spontaneous but every action has a reason behind it.
If God exists at all he clearly wishes to reside exclusively in the imagination.

Offline relativetruth

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #47 on: April 09, 2012, 05:02:29 PM »
I don't see why our predictability scares people, true it means we could be manipulated, but are the manipulators not v pre-ulnerable to the same manipulation? I think people presume that predictable means dull, that's not the case, we can be extremely exciting and spontaneous but every action has a reason behind it.

I agree.

But, even if what we do and what we think might be pre-determined by cause and affect since the Big Bang will still have choices at an individual level and must be held responsible for the outcomes resulting from those decisions.

Having said that , I do not think that there is any scientific proof that 'cause and affect' has existed unchanged since the beginning of the universe.

With the "randomness" associated with Quantum Mechanics, and DNA mutations are also statistically random ,maybe, if we replayed the origins from the beginning we would never get the same result no matter how many times we did it!
God(s) exist and are imaginary

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #48 on: April 09, 2012, 05:36:47 PM »
I think calling it "free will" is a misnomer.  That's too easily confused with the concept of religious free will.  We have the ability to make decisions without those decisions being determined in advance, before we ever conceive that there will be a decision, but those decisions are constrained by our previous experiences and decisions, as well as things that are currently happening.  So our ability to decide things is limited, which is anything but "free".

I personally think that randomness and determinism combine in our minds to give us flexibility in how we make decisions (due to the interconnectedness of the brain's neurons).  That flexibility is what we commonly think of as 'free will".  Without it, we'd either be automatons, only able to move along a predetermined path, or we'd be chaotic, unable to determine any path at all.

Offline z2

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #49 on: April 09, 2012, 06:05:00 PM »
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Way too much quoted material. Please do not repost large amounts of text - use only the smallest amount needed

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Hawking's energy doesn't seem to violate the laws of conservation.  Even if it did, the universe would demonstrate loss of mass, rather than a gain in mass.  Given enough time, the universe therefore should disappear, which in an infinitely old universe, doesn't make sense.  In a created universe, that's a different story.

Anyway, http://www.universetoday.com/84006/astronomy-without-a-telescope-black-hole-entropy/
might show how conservation is conserved.  Still, if there is a net loss or even a gain, it probably is compensated for in some way in other dimensions anyway.   We'll have to ask physicists what they think.

It seems atheists in this forum struggle the most not so much with these intuitive proofs, but rather with the idea of suffering.  Suffering doesn't disprove a deity.  Deists have no problem with a god that allows suffering.  Deists would only be validated with a god who doesn't reveal himself to atheists.  And by the sounds of it, many "atheists" on this forum are actually deists because they seem to believe in the god of nothing, the nothing god that created the universe.  There is no difference.

One would think that a Eutheos, as you call him (I think it means "immediate" in Greek, not "good God", but let's run with it today), shouldn't create suffering and death, at least with our finite understanding.  The ultimate "meaningless" life would be one, therefore, that is terminated early, that hadn't even had a chance to grow mentally or spiritually.  How could a Eutheos ever do this?  And what about natural tragedies? 

A theologian explained to me once that somehow God is not responsible for the evil in this world, not just by human hands, but by natural disasters, famine, disease, etc.  In fact,  it may be that He is stopping most of them all the time, who knows.  But if they are, indeed, evil, then definitely the source wasn't Him.  Could it be there is a powerful unseen set of beings he created that have free will, but choose to go against His Will? Seems to fit the model.  Those on this forum talk about spontaneous creation, parallel universes and black holes and such.  To think there are finite beings on a different spiritual plane (or dimension) that are more powerful than us isn't much off base than this!

Another question is, if he allows or creates an earthquake, is it actually good?  If a wolf eats a deer, is it good? For some, it seems cruel, godless. But our Indian tribe friends seem to take all of Nature is a beautiful thing, even the death of prey.  So why not earthquakes and hurricanes?  After all, they have a purpose.  We'll only have this answer when He decides it's time for us to know. 

But one thing we know for sure, he allows our evils, only because we have free will.  This we do know about, and should concentrate on. 

Still, we can look to the future.  We probably won't enjoy the optimal world our Eutheos has planned in our lifetime.  This future might even have suffering and death as well.  But what we might regain, that once was lost, will be a great understanding of it all, and therefore tremendous peace, and a close communication with the Eutheos, that most likely will bring a great deal of true happiness as well, despite any (hopefully not) shortcomings.

We should all work together towards His final plan, so it comes as soon as possible, and not impede it.  Then eventually we might even have all our proofs, all our answers. They'll come.  In the meantime, even though this final plan isn't complete yet, doing this work still provides much meaning, with a measure of peace, happiness, spiritual growth, but yes, frustration, pain or even death for others.  Still, our world is a testimony to the progress we've made so far.  A lot of neat things have come up even in the last couple of decades.  So there is a ton of hope.

There is also the possibility of an after-life.  A Eutheos would delight in this for us, wouldn't you?  Then use your logic, and your heart.  An after-life gives one a sense of meaning to all that suffering (granted, not a complete explanation-- not yet).  Face to face with the Eutheos, then for sure, 100% proof, all the answers will be ours.  But what a trivial goal.  There's so much more that we can enjoy and share right here on Earth, before heaven.  This is done through spirituality.

This spirituality on our Earth is so lacking (for theists like us, even more so--we have even more responsibility in this lifelong process that we have keep working at, and perhaps we share more of the blame for its hampered progress than we would care to know).   It's the teamwork the Eutheos wants us to have so that He becomes more and more present in our hearts, with its byproduct of producing a better world altogether.  But because of our free will, it is up to each of us how much to open this spiritual faucet, so to speak.  This is a contagious and synergistic process. In other words, the more people who allow God in their lives to work in and through them, the more His Kingdom is present right here in our world. 

What's cool is that on the way to this Kingdom on Earth, together with the Eutheos, we can knock out some big problems this forum keeps addressing, and rightly so: poverty, injustice, you name it, because these act as impediments to our spirituality, and these must go! There's much more beyond just the elimination of these things that's waiting for us!  With a freed up spirituality highway, it will be so much easier and better for the next one joining in this Kingdom to enjoy its fruits, and work along with us to make it each time better.  (Stragglers can enjoy it too.  But the more helping out, the sooner it will come, and the better their personal lives will be for it too.)

Finally, everyone, especially theists, wants "proof".  I would love to see major and minor miracles over and again.  But don't wait for miracles.  Even if the sun danced in the sky for you and thousands of others as your witnesses,  it wouldn't change your life much at all.  In fact, most would still have doubts, no matter how big the miracles, no matter how often they came.   But if you got your own miracle (and I hope and pray you do, if that's the only barrier that you forced between yourself and God) that would be just a small start.  The real question is what would you do after that miracle that you wouldn't do right now anyway?
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 06:09:38 PM by HAL »

Offline Ice Monkey

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #50 on: April 09, 2012, 06:49:02 PM »

Hawking's energy doesn't seem to violate the laws of conservation.  Even if it did, the universe would demonstrate loss of mass, rather than a gain in mass.  Given enough time, the universe therefore should disappear, which in an infinitely old universe, doesn't make sense.  In a created universe, that's a different story.

Anyway, http://www.universetoday.com/84006/astronomy-without-a-telescope-black-hole-entropy/
might show how conservation is conserved.  Still, if there is a net loss or even a gain, it probably is compensated for in some way in other dimensions anyway.   We'll have to ask physicists what they think.

It seems atheists in this forum struggle the most not so much with these intuitive proofs, but rather with the idea of suffering.  Suffering doesn't disprove a deity.  Deists have no problem with a god that allows suffering.

And I don't have a big problem with people who say that God started the ball rolling with a shove, but hasn't touched it since.

 
Quote
Deists would only be validated with a god who doesn't reveal himself to atheists.  And by the sounds of it, many "atheists" on this forum are actually deists because they seem to believe in the god of nothing, the nothing god that created the universe.  There is no difference.

One minor difference.  A matter of 1 extra step, really.

Quote
One would think that a Eutheos, as you call him (I think it means "immediate" in Greek, not "good God", but let's run with it today), shouldn't create suffering and death, at least with our finite understanding.  The ultimate "meaningless" life would be one, therefore, that is terminated early, that hadn't even had a chance to grow mentally or spiritually.  How could a Eutheos ever do this?  And what about natural tragedies?

How would you explain that to someone who lost a child after 1 day?

Quote
A theologian explained to me once that somehow God is not responsible for the evil in this world, not just by human hands, but by natural disasters, famine, disease, etc.  In fact,  it may be that He is stopping most of them all the time, who knows.

That sure begs more questions than it answers.  A swing and a miss, but at least he stepped up to the plate.

Quote
But if they are, indeed, evil, then definitely the source wasn't Him.

Cake and eat it, too.  You can't have it both ways.

Quote
Could it be there is a powerful unseen set of beings he created that have free will, but choose to go against His Will? Seems to fit the model.

Only if he wills it, ultimately.  Hey, "all-powerful" isn't my term.

 
Quote
Those on this forum talk about spontaneous creation, parallel universes and black holes and such.  To think there are finite beings on a different spiritual plane (or dimension) that are more powerful than us isn't much off base than this!

No.  You're right.  Drop the unnecessary magical thinking and we're there.

Quote
Another question is, if he allows or creates an earthquake, is it actually good?  If a wolf eats a deer, is it good? For some, it seems cruel, godless. But our Indian tribe friends seem to take all of Nature is a beautiful thing, even the death of prey.  So why not earthquakes and hurricanes?  After all, they have a purpose.  We'll only have this answer when He decides it's time for us to know. 

But the suffering isn't necessary.  Can god create a place where suffering doesn't exist?  He claims he already has.  If you believe in heaven, you believe he can do it.

Quote
But one thing we know for sure, he allows our evils, only because we have free will.  This we do know about, and should concentrate on.

He doesn't allow or disallow anything, so yes, let's focus the onus on us, holding each other responsible for our actions.

Quote
Still, we can look to the future.  We probably won't enjoy the optimal world our Eutheos has planned in our lifetime.  This future might even have suffering and death as well.  But what we might regain, that once was lost, will be a great understanding of it all, and therefore tremendous peace, and a close communication with the Eutheos, that most likely will bring a great deal of true happiness as well, despite any (hopefully not) shortcomings.

Or we'll just rot in the ground, making this lone lifetime we have all the more valuable, and not one that should be wasted serving lords that don't exist.

Quote
We should all work together towards His final plan, so it comes as soon as possible, and not impede it.

I'll let him work on his plan, and I'll work on mine.  They don't seem compatible.


 
Quote
Then eventually we might even have all our proofs, all our answers. They'll come.  In the meantime, even though this final plan isn't complete yet, doing this work still provides much meaning, with a measure of peace, happiness, spiritual growth, but yes, frustration, pain or even death for others.  Still, our world is a testimony to the progress we've made so far.  A lot of neat things have come up even in the last couple of decades.  So there is a ton of hope.

In the meantime, I suggest we both live our lives as if there is no god.

Quote
There is also the possibility of an after-life.  A Eutheos would delight in this for us, wouldn't you?  Then use your logic, and your heart.

They often don't give the same answers, so I'll use my logic, which suggests that this is the only life we're gonna get, and it could end tonight for any one one us.

 
Quote
An after-life gives one a sense of meaning to all that suffering (granted, not a complete explanation-- not yet).  Face to face with the Eutheos, then for sure, 100% proof, all the answers will be ours.  But what a trivial goal.  There's so much more that we can enjoy and share right here on Earth, before heaven.  This is done through spirituality.

I'll take an ugly truth over a beautiful lie.

Quote
This spirituality on our Earth is so lacking (for theists like us, even more so--we have even more responsibility in this lifelong process that we have keep working at, and perhaps we share more of the blame for its hampered progress than we would care to know).   It's the teamwork the Eutheos wants us to have so that He becomes more and more present in our hearts, with its byproduct of producing a better world altogether.  But because of our free will, it is up to each of us how much to open this spiritual faucet, so to speak.  This is a contagious and synergistic process. In other words, the more people who allow God in their lives to work in and through them, the more His Kingdom is present right here in our world. 

What's cool is that on the way to this Kingdom on Earth, together with the Eutheos, we can knock out some big problems this forum keeps addressing, and rightly so: poverty, injustice, you name it, because these act as impediments to our spirituality, and these must go! There's much more beyond just the elimination of these things that's waiting for us!  With a freed up spirituality highway, it will be so much easier and better for the next one joining in this Kingdom to enjoy its fruits, and work along with us to make it each time better.  (Stragglers can enjoy it too.  But the more helping out, the sooner it will come, and the better their personal lives will be for it too.)

Finally, everyone, especially theists, wants "proof".  I would love to see major and minor miracles over and again.  But don't wait for miracles.  Even if the sun danced in the sky for you and thousands of others as your witnesses,  it wouldn't change your life much at all.

Try me.

 
Quote
In fact, most would still have doubts, no matter how big the miracles, no matter how often they came.   But if you got your own miracle (and I hope and pray you do, if that's the only barrier that you forced between yourself and God) that would be just a small start.  The real question is what would you do after that miracle that you wouldn't do right now anyway?

Been asked many times what would convince me there is a god.  I have no idea, but an all-knowing god would. 
Religion. It's given people hope in a world torn apart by religion." -- Charlie Chaplin

Offline Death over Life

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #51 on: April 09, 2012, 06:51:43 PM »
***

Way too much quoted material. Please do not repost large amounts of text - use only the smallest amount needed

***


Given the overboard of the last ones, I’ll take it.

It seems atheists in this forum struggle the most not so much with these intuitive proofs, but rather with the idea of suffering.  Suffering doesn't disprove a deity.  Deists have no problem with a god that allows suffering.  Deists would only be validated with a god who doesn't reveal himself to atheists.  And by the sounds of it, many "atheists" on this forum are actually deists because they seem to believe in the god of nothing, the nothing god that created the universe.  There is no difference.

It isn’t the idea that suffering alone occurs that is the problem. The problem of suffering is incompatible with an all loving benevolent god, because suffering in the realm of the morality theism projects, is evil by definition. The problem of suffering contradicts many of the aspects of God, unless it is an evil, vindictive God. By the same standards you use on God, you call Hitler evil. The question is, why do you scrutinize Hitler for all the suffering he caused to humanity, but plea for us to wipe God’s suffering under the rug for worship? Why do you call Hitler evil, and God good, when god has done far more crime against humanity than Hitler could have even dreamed of?

The other problem is, you speak about us as if you know us more than we do, which is complete bull. Until you grasp the concept that a-(non) theism (belief in god) means we do not believe in a god and that’s it, you will continue to have problems here.

We should all work together towards His final plan, so it comes as soon as possible, and not impede it.  Then eventually we might even have all our proofs, all our answers. They'll come.  In the meantime, even though this final plan isn't complete yet, doing this work still provides much meaning, with a measure of peace, happiness, spiritual growth, but yes, frustration, pain or even death for others.  Still, our world is a testimony to the progress we've made so far.  A lot of neat things have come up even in the last couple of decades.  So there is a ton of hope.

All we need to work together to achieve a greater potential than we have, is for you theists to get out of the way. Back on my last post, I would like a response to this statement I made:

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.

If you want us to work together, then you will need to explain why it is better to have a system like the Bible Belt as opposed to that of Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, or Canada.

What's cool is that on the way to this Kingdom on Earth, together with the Eutheos, we can knock out some big problems this forum keeps addressing, and rightly so: poverty, injustice, you name it, because these act as impediments to our spirituality, and these must go! There's much more beyond just the elimination of these things that's waiting for us! 

Do you not realize it is people like you that are causing this poverty, injustice, and you name it to begin with? Everywhere today and throughout history where there’s a god, there’s destruction, hatred, and chaos.
Finally, everyone, especially theists, wants "proof".  I would love to see major and minor miracles over and again.  But don't wait for miracles.

So, it’s better to just have faith right? &)

Even if the sun danced in the sky for you and thousands of others as your witnesses,  it wouldn't change your life much at all.  In fact, most would still have doubts, no matter how big the miracles, no matter how often they came.   

Once again, speaking for us when you have no right to. How do you know?

But if you got your own miracle (and I hope and pray you do, if that's the only barrier that you forced between yourself and God) that would be just a small start.  The real question is what would you do after that miracle that you wouldn't do right now anyway?

I would go see a doctor and have my head examined! :)

Online ParkingPlaces

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #52 on: April 09, 2012, 06:52:51 PM »
It seems atheists in this forum struggle the most not so much with these intuitive proofs, but rather with the idea of suffering.  Suffering doesn't disprove a deity.  Deists have no problem with a god that allows suffering.  Deists would only be validated with a god who doesn't reveal himself to atheists.  And by the sounds of it, many "atheists" on this forum are actually deists because they seem to believe in the god of nothing, the nothing god that created the universe.  There is no difference.

I won't apologize for not worshipping something that doesn't give a flying fuck about me. I realize I should think him pretty amazing, even as he doesn't do diddley squt for me here on earth. But that's how I roll.

His ability to mimic all the false gods and stay just as invisible and ineffective is pretty impressive, unless you think about it.

And the heaven thing? Yea right. Live forever with the same guy who didn't give a shit about me here on earth. No thanks. If he were real, he would get no respect, let alone devotion, from me. He's not, so I don't worry about it. The folks that think he is real and want to make my life miserable because of their beliefs? Them I worry about.

And how come your version doesn't care. Many christians come here and tell us how much he loves us and how good he will be to us if we just start believing. That seems to contradict your personal version of god's perfect word. He's not very good at that part, is he. Being perfect, I mean. Not if he comes in versions 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 ad infifuckinnitum.

Get this 'god of nothing' out of our frickin' head. There is no such thing as nothing. And no such thing as a god. If you guys can have an frickin' infinite superior being whose existence you comfortably accept without question, we have have energy and matter just as infinite, and at least we can measure what we think is true while we're here.

This universe is clearly not infinite. But the environment our universe exists in may well be. I am so sorry that we don't have all the answers, but I'm even sorrier that you, with even less information, think you do. That is sad.

If in a hundred years all the unknowns you discussed in this post are answered to the satisfaction of science, you will come up with more unknowns, because there will always be some. We do that for your convenience. That way you can always take the high ground. You have to make it up, but you have it.
Jesus, the cracker flavored treat!

Offline Strawman

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #53 on: April 09, 2012, 06:55:45 PM »
But, even if what we do and what we think might be pre-determined by cause and affect [sic] since the Big Bang will still have choices at an individual level and must be held responsible for the outcomes resulting from those decisions.
So you are saying, even though our personal decisions may be pre-destined, we must still be held accountable for our actions? That raises a lot of interesting questions about morality, human consciousness and criminal justice. Are we truly responsible for our actions if they are inevitable?

What if a new brain-scanning technology was developed that could accurately predict the likelihood that you'll commit murder, based on your personal experience and brain functions; what if the results showed that your committing murder was an inescapable certainty? Would you be guilty of murder before the act, because you are powerless to prevent it? Should you be locked up until your mind can be altered enough to prevent murder? What if you are never "cured" and spend your life in prison without having committed any actual crime? (Maybe you are yet to even think of murder.) Would your incarceration be justified?

With the "randomness" associated with Quantum Mechanics, and DNA mutations are also statistically random ,maybe, if we replayed the origins from the beginning we would never get the same result no matter how many times we did it!
(You would eventually produce a duplicate universe but I follow your meaning.) There must be a layer of predictability otherwise we wouldn't be able to predict anything. Now does the underlying chaos pervade the human mind? I don't think it would make sense that something physically stable could also be metaphysically unstable, unless you believe the mind is metaphysical in nature and not an illusion of our biological processes.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #54 on: April 09, 2012, 10:23:15 PM »
Hawking's energy doesn't seem to violate the laws of conservation.  Even if it did, the universe would demonstrate loss of mass, rather than a gain in mass.  Given enough time, the universe therefore should disappear, which in an infinitely old universe, doesn't make sense.  In a created universe, that's a different story.

Anyway, http://www.universetoday.com/84006/astronomy-without-a-telescope-black-hole-entropy/
might show how conservation is conserved.  Still, if there is a net loss or even a gain, it probably is compensated for in some way in other dimensions anyway.   We'll have to ask physicists what they think.
Yes, this is how it works.  There is neither a net loss nor a net gain, mass is conserved.  However, the conclusions drawn by that article are incomplete; it ignores the fact that as I stated in my earlier post, black holes of at least a stellar mass take in much more energy than they lose to Hawking radiation, from the CMBR (the 2.7 kelvin microwave radiation background that permeates the entire cosmos); such a black hole is only 'emitting' 100 nano-kelvins of Hawking radiation, so it would consistently grow over time.

Quote from: z2
It seems atheists in this forum struggle the most not so much with these intuitive proofs, but rather with the idea of suffering.  Suffering doesn't disprove a deity.  Deists have no problem with a god that allows suffering.  Deists would only be validated with a god who doesn't reveal himself to atheists.  And by the sounds of it, many "atheists" on this forum are actually deists because they seem to believe in the god of nothing, the nothing god that created the universe.  There is no difference.
This is both illogical and incoherent.  Atheists are deists because they believe in a god of nothing?  A "nothing god" is just a fancy way of saying a god that is nothing, in other words, a nonexistent god.  It makes no sense to claim that atheists worship a god that not only does not exist, but that they know does not exist.  In other words, this is pure sophistry, an attempt to confuse the issue.  And while the existence of suffering may not disprove a deity, it does a serious number on your concept of eutheism, belief in a benevolent deity.  A being who you state has an infinite amount of care and love, who somehow sustains each and every atom with love, yet somehow has no problem with allowing suffering to exist and keep existing, who apparently expects people to deal with suffering on their own, exactly as they would have to if the being didn't exist at all.

Quote from: z2
One would think that a Eutheos, as you call him (I think it means "immediate" in Greek, not "good God", but let's run with it today), shouldn't create suffering and death, at least with our finite understanding.  The ultimate "meaningless" life would be one, therefore, that is terminated early, that hadn't even had a chance to grow mentally or spiritually.  How could a Eutheos ever do this?  And what about natural tragedies?
"Eutheos" is a linguistic construct formed from joining the Greek terms eu, for good, and theos, for god.  You should have had no trouble recognizing the root word for theism (as you did something similar with eutheism), so I am a little confused as to why you somehow thought I meant "immediate".

Quote from: z2
A theologian explained to me once that somehow God is not responsible for the evil in this world, not just by human hands, but by natural disasters, famine, disease, etc.  In fact,  it may be that He is stopping most of them all the time, who knows.  But if they are, indeed, evil, then definitely the source wasn't Him.  Could it be there is a powerful unseen set of beings he created that have free will, but choose to go against His Will? Seems to fit the model.  Those on this forum talk about spontaneous creation, parallel universes and black holes and such.  To think there are finite beings on a different spiritual plane (or dimension) that are more powerful than us isn't much off base than this!
I do not think you realize just how bad this argument is.  First you say that this eutheos isn't the source of evil things in the universe, and then you posit the existence of beings which it created which chose to be evil.  This is contradictory.  If it created these beings, who chose to be evil, and it maintains them through love, then it bears responsibility for them.  There is no way around it.  And as far as that goes, you have to be able to demonstrate evidence of such things for it to be reasonable to believe in them.  Whether it's this eutheos or the beings it created which turned to evil, the fact that you can conceive of such things in no way proves that they are actually real.

Quote from: z2
Another question is, if he allows or creates an earthquake, is it actually good?  If a wolf eats a deer, is it good? For some, it seems cruel, godless. But our Indian tribe friends seem to take all of Nature is a beautiful thing, even the death of prey.  So why not earthquakes and hurricanes?  After all, they have a purpose.  We'll only have this answer when He decides it's time for us to know.
Earthquakes and hurricanes are not evil, though, nor are they good.  We only assign such things a "moral" value when they affect us, either positively or negatively, but in actual fact they have no intrinsic moral value of their own.  Furthermore, they are wholly natural and do not require the intervention of an actor to cause or prevent them.  Earthquakes happen because of plate tectonics; hurricanes happen because of weather patterns.  They aren't created to cause harm to people (although if someone invented an earthquake machine or a hurricane machine and started using them on people, that would be an evil action, and other people would have an obligation to stop it, not sit on their hands for fear of taking away the evil person's free will or ending their existence).

Quote from: z2
But one thing we know for sure, he allows our evils, only because we have free will.  This we do know about, and should concentrate on.
This presupposes that this eutheos exists.  You have no evidence of this except for your unsubstantiated opinion, which is based on a faulty chain of logic, as I demonstrated in my earlier post.

Quote from: z2
Still, we can look to the future.  We probably won't enjoy the optimal world our Eutheos has planned in our lifetime.  This future might even have suffering and death as well.  But what we might regain, that once was lost, will be a great understanding of it all, and therefore tremendous peace, and a close communication with the Eutheos, that most likely will bring a great deal of true happiness as well, despite any (hopefully not) shortcomings.
Again, this presupposes that such a being exists in the first place.  The mere fact that you can conceive of such a thing in no way shows that it actually exists.

Quote from: z2
We should all work together towards His final plan, so it comes as soon as possible, and not impede it.  Then eventually we might even have all our proofs, all our answers. They'll come.  In the meantime, even though this final plan isn't complete yet, doing this work still provides much meaning, with a measure of peace, happiness, spiritual growth, but yes, frustration, pain or even death for others.  Still, our world is a testimony to the progress we've made so far.  A lot of neat things have come up even in the last couple of decades.  So there is a ton of hope.
It doesn't matter how often you assume that such a thing exists because you thought of it, you still have to demonstrate clear evidence of its existence to convince others of it.  That does not mean that if you get others to believe in it too, that you have therefore provided such evidence.  In addition, I would like to point out that this is progress we have made.  Not some eutheos which has a "plan" that it nonetheless does not act on except in ways that can be confused with purely natural events, and apparently relies on people to further its plan.

Quote from: z2
There is also the possibility of an after-life.  A Eutheos would delight in this for us, wouldn't you?  Then use your logic, and your heart.  An after-life gives one a sense of meaning to all that suffering (granted, not a complete explanation-- not yet).  Face to face with the Eutheos, then for sure, 100% proof, all the answers will be ours.  But what a trivial goal.  There's so much more that we can enjoy and share right here on Earth, before heaven.  This is done through spirituality.
An appeal to emotion is a logical fallacy.  In fact, this whole idea of a eutheos is based on a subtle appeal to emotion.  The problem with appeals to emotion is that they invariably override reason and common sense with emotional "feel-good" sensations.  The problem with "feel-good" is that you then have a reason to continue to suspend your reason and common sense when it comes to them.

Quote from: z2
This spirituality on our Earth is so lacking (for theists like us, even more so--we have even more responsibility in this lifelong process that we have keep working at, and perhaps we share more of the blame for its hampered progress than we would care to know).   It's the teamwork the Eutheos wants us to have so that He becomes more and more present in our hearts, with its byproduct of producing a better world altogether.  But because of our free will, it is up to each of us how much to open this spiritual faucet, so to speak.  This is a contagious and synergistic process. In other words, the more people who allow God in their lives to work in and through them, the more His Kingdom is present right here in our world. 

What's cool is that on the way to this Kingdom on Earth, together with the Eutheos, we can knock out some big problems this forum keeps addressing, and rightly so: poverty, injustice, you name it, because these act as impediments to our spirituality, and these must go! There's much more beyond just the elimination of these things that's waiting for us!  With a freed up spirituality highway, it will be so much easier and better for the next one joining in this Kingdom to enjoy its fruits, and work along with us to make it each time better.  (Stragglers can enjoy it too.  But the more helping out, the sooner it will come, and the better their personal lives will be for it too.)

Finally, everyone, especially theists, wants "proof".  I would love to see major and minor miracles over and again.  But don't wait for miracles.  Even if the sun danced in the sky for you and thousands of others as your witnesses,  it wouldn't change your life much at all.  In fact, most would still have doubts, no matter how big the miracles, no matter how often they came.   But if you got your own miracle (and I hope and pray you do, if that's the only barrier that you forced between yourself and God) that would be just a small start.  The real question is what would you do after that miracle that you wouldn't do right now anyway?
This is pretty clearly Christian rhetoric.  The problem is, it is based on at least two fallacies, that such a being exists in the first place despite the utter lack of unambiguous evidence, and the fact that it is designed specifically to appeal to the emotions.  They're called fallacies for a reason, because they're failures in logic, and are thus not convincing to someone who can think critically about them.

I'm sure this line of reasoning works great with people who are prepared to believe without evidence anyway.  But it fails spectacularly with people who have the "show me" trait, because they expect evidence and sound reasoning to support arguments.  And your line of reasoning not only does not provide such things, it cannot; it is based not on evidence, but on emotions.  So it is actually worse than doing nothing, because it causes them to become suspicious, and more suspicious the more often you try to use it on them.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #55 on: April 10, 2012, 08:36:35 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......

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. 

But you were at pains to point out how bad things would be here if we had no free will......and yet apparently in heaven - the greatest place there is - there is no free will?  Sorry, but you'll have to explain that a bit more.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #56 on: April 10, 2012, 08:53:35 AM »
But, even if what we do and what we think might be pre-determined by cause and affect [sic] since the Big Bang will still have choices at an individual level and must be held responsible for the outcomes resulting from those decisions.
So you are saying, even though our personal decisions may be pre-destined, we must still be held accountable for our actions? That raises a lot of interesting questions about morality, human consciousness and criminal justice. Are we truly responsible for our actions if they are inevitable?

The legal system already does this, in a way.  Otherwise any defence that began "well, I was drunk/high...." would immediately result in an acquital......because how can we hold someone responsible when they had no control over their actions?

What if a new brain-scanning technology was developed that could accurately predict the likelihood that you'll commit murder, based on your personal experience and brain functions; what if the results showed that your committing murder was an inescapable certainty? Would you be guilty of murder before the act, because you are powerless to prevent it? Should you be locked up until your mind can be altered enough to prevent murder? What if you are never "cured" and spend your life in prison without having committed any actual crime? (Maybe you are yet to even think of murder.) Would your incarceration be justified?

Yup.  Because - and here's the crucial thing - someone else would not have been murdered

Of course, that all relies on it being possible to completely predict what someone will do, which I don't t think anyonw has agreed is possible, even were the computing power available.  It may however be possible to predict whether it is most likely what someone will do......the kind of scrutiny that you normally do on a probation board - "will he offend again?"

In those circumstances, the panel is saying "knowing what I do about this person, will they commit a(nother) crime?".....and that person is (kept) incarcerated until they believe the likelihood is they will not.

So if we had enough information about the person, what argument is there for waiting until they have committed their first crime, before asking those questions?
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Offline Whateverman

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Re: Is free will invalid?
« Reply #57 on: April 10, 2012, 09:39:17 AM »
I haven't read beyond the first few responses here, so I apologize if this is redundant. 

Discussions like this always break down as soon as you try to define "free will".  Everything we perceive/think is filtered through perceptions that are flawed.  Our actions are often governed (in part) by the chemicals flowing through our system.  There is no model of decision-making that is uninfluenced by factors having nothing to do with "choice".

Myself, I don't favor any definition of the term, so I try to approach topics like this cautiously. 

I don't believe there's EVER a clear line between cause and effect (IRT human behavior).  If a serial killer claims his crimes started with some traumatic event of his childhood, he might be right, but that doesn't completely justify his behavior.  The only question in my mind is how we humans should reward and punish this person (eg), and how much should we consider the things that motivated him...
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