Author Topic: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...  (Read 8308 times)

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Offline fishjie

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #29 on: December 28, 2012, 01:57:37 PM »
In a universe with god, there is no free will either.     An omnipotent god does not allow free will.   If god can not control our actions, he is not all powerful.   Likewise, an omniscient god does not allow free will.    Such a god already knows everything that's going to happen.     If we could choose our actions, then such a god is not all knowing.

Also, if you see in the bible, you can see pharaoh's heart being hardened, judas predicted to betray jesus, and esau being hated from birth because god is a douche.

Finally, I don't see the problem with not having free will.   We have the illusion of free will, which is good enough.    Personally, I don't think that humans have free will.     Consciousness is the result of our biology, and biology obeys the deterministic laws of physics.    Even the uncertainty at the  quantum  does not imply WE have control over what state an electron is in.      It just means that random stuff happens, not that we can choose the outcome of said random stuff.   

Offline mhaberling

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #30 on: December 29, 2012, 03:18:01 AM »
We have the illusion of free will, which is good enough.
An atheist being satisfied with an illusion, Well I never thought I'd see the day....
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Offline bertatberts

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #31 on: December 29, 2012, 08:46:26 AM »
We have the illusion of free will, which is good enough.
An atheist being satisfied with an illusion, Well I never thought I'd see the day....
What the hell is wrong with that?

An Illusion  is an image or conception of something Real or factual that causes the mind to view it in an abnormal or distorted manner. Whilst Illusions distort reality, they are usually shared by people in general. Why would you think it odd?
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Offline The Gawd

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #32 on: December 29, 2012, 11:50:18 AM »
We have choices based upon our surroundings... for example Cain didnt choose to shoot Abel because he had no pistol. f that myth were to occur today it very well may end up quite different. The very possibility of having a pistol these days affects our choices.

George Washington couldnt choose to have McDonalds for lunch. I cant choose to hunt wooly mammoths. People in California cant choose to shop at Jewel-Osco. Our available choices proves free will.

I don't understand where you're going with this.  I agree with the first pragraph - that our environment will constrain the choices we make (I can't play the flumpethorn until it has been invented), but I don't see how it then follows that a restricted set of choices proves free will.  Or is your point that invention of alternate choices proves free will?  I'd disagree <grin>, but I could see how that argument would go.
Yes, absolutely. Invention that gives you options does prove free will. It gives you choices (or more choices) when you had none (or less). People didnt choose to go to 5 Guys for burgers before there were 5 Guys burger joints. Once the choice came to be people began to choose it.

Offline mhaberling

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #33 on: December 29, 2012, 12:30:08 PM »
We have the illusion of free will, which is good enough.
An atheist being satisfied with an illusion, Well I never thought I'd see the day....
What the hell is wrong with that?

An Illusion  is an image or conception of something Real or factual that causes the mind to view it in an abnormal or distorted manner. Whilst Illusions distort reality, they are usually shared by people in general. Why would you think it odd?

Well an atheist that with no real evidence accepts something that could very well not be real because its comforting instead of demanding evidence is strange to me...
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Offline mhaberling

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #34 on: December 29, 2012, 12:33:35 PM »
We have choices based upon our surroundings... for example Cain didnt choose to shoot Abel because he had no pistol. f that myth were to occur today it very well may end up quite different. The very possibility of having a pistol these days affects our choices.

George Washington couldnt choose to have McDonalds for lunch. I cant choose to hunt wooly mammoths. People in California cant choose to shop at Jewel-Osco. Our available choices proves free will.

I don't understand where you're going with this.  I agree with the first pragraph - that our environment will constrain the choices we make (I can't play the flumpethorn until it has been invented), but I don't see how it then follows that a restricted set of choices proves free will.  Or is your point that invention of alternate choices proves free will?  I'd disagree <grin>, but I could see how that argument would go.
Yes, absolutely. Invention that gives you options does prove free will. It gives you choices (or more choices) when you had none (or less). People didnt choose to go to 5 Guys for burgers before there were 5 Guys burger joints. Once the choice came to be people began to choose it.

The premise of the argument is that Randomness does not exist in nature, only causation. So any decision we make is based off a crazy complex chain reaction that started in the beginning of the universe. Since our thoughts would simply be directly controlled by things that came before them we wouldn't have free will. Everything that we ever do is predetermined.
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #35 on: December 29, 2012, 12:54:10 PM »
 If God knows what you are gong to do,when you are going to do it,how is that different? When believers think that he saves 2 people out of 120 people in a plane crash,does God change the predetermined path he had the survivors on? When he allows the teacher to sacrifice herself to makes sure 25 kids don't die in a hail of bullets is that him changing her path?,the children's?

 God can either give you the path you choose or answer your prayers,not both.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 01:02:03 PM by 12 Monkeys »
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #36 on: December 29, 2012, 01:08:34 PM »
 Some believers also think he is punishing the USA with storms and earthquakes for the very use of freewill,you say he holds so important that he won't show himself. Gay marriage,sodomy,adultery,all free choices people can make,in which God will punish them for.
 
 These crazy thumper's make all believers look bad
 
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Offline mhaberling

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #37 on: December 29, 2012, 02:20:54 PM »
If God knows what you are gong to do,when you are going to do it,how is that different? When believers think that he saves 2 people out of 120 people in a plane crash,does God change the predetermined path he had the survivors on? When he allows the teacher to sacrifice herself to makes sure 25 kids don't die in a hail of bullets is that him changing her path?,the children's?

 God can either give you the path you choose or answer your prayers,not both.
I am going to say this one more time... Read the OP... If you have a constructive opinion to share about freewill in a Godless universe please do... If not why are you posting on this thread...
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Offline 3sigma

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #38 on: December 29, 2012, 04:55:24 PM »
The premise of the argument is that Randomness does not exist in nature, only causation. So any decision we make is based off a crazy complex chain reaction that started in the beginning of the universe. Since our thoughts would simply be directly controlled by things that came before them we wouldn't have free will. Everything that we ever do is predetermined.

You’ve already been shown that your premise is false. Quantum uncertainty generates randomness in nature. Your argument is based on a false premise and therefore is unsound. Your conclusion that everything we do is predetermined is false. Why are you continuing to state a false conclusion?
A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence. – David Hume 1711–1776

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #39 on: December 29, 2012, 04:59:41 PM »
God or no God freewill is a construct of theists. There is no right,there is no wrong,just popular opinion of right and wrong. I can give examples if you wish.

 To have freewill,there has to be something to go against doesn't there?  There has to be a wrong choice you can make that angers a deity. Godless freewill would just be choices,no?
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 05:03:22 PM by 12 Monkeys »
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #40 on: December 29, 2012, 05:28:49 PM »
I agree with your conclusion for the reasons you give, except to say that there are random events but these, being random and tiny, do not affect the will.

There is, in fact, no free will; there is merely massively complex and incalculable determinism - in fact, it is so complex and incalculable that the illusion of free will may as well be free will... but it isn't
If it's massively complex and incalculable, as you put it, then it can't be true determinism in the sense you mean.  Determinism requires that for a given set of conditions, only one outcome can happen.  But due to it being massively complex and incalculable, you can't necessarily show that there is only the one outcome.  Thus randomness.

In any case, I don't really like the term "free will" anymore, because it doesn't have a clear and concise definition.  It means a number of different things, depending on who you ask, and even the people who believe in it can't agree on a definition.  So I prefer "self-determination" now - the ability of an individual to make choices based on the options they have available.

Offline mhaberling

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #41 on: December 29, 2012, 06:48:36 PM »
However, there is no natural way to create a random event. f you drop a dice the exact same way onto the exact same surface from the exact same height it will always give you the same value. Random does not exist in nature, it is a purely human concept that more refers to our inability to predict.

That just isn’t true. As jaimehlers noted, quantum uncertainty creates randomness in nature. The molecules in the air around you are bouncing off each other randomly due to quantum effects. A reverse-biased transistor will generate random events due to quantum tunnelling of electrons through the band gap. One of the most effective random event generators is nuclear decay. I remember years ago being shown radioactive tubes in Ericsson telephone exchange equipment that were used to randomly select routes for calls. There are even quantum random number generator services available on the Internet.

There is randomness in nature so the argument against free will you make in your OP is based on a false premise.

Great, give me a reason to believe that... You are claiming that quantum uncertainty transcends causation, So back up your argument... Why does it transcend causation??

12 monkeys this is now just a question, did you actually read the OP because you are having a completely disjoint conversation...
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Offline bertatberts

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #42 on: December 29, 2012, 07:16:06 PM »


12 monkeys this is now just a question, did you actually read the OP because you are having a completely disjoint conversation...
Oh do come on! You use the term Godless in your OP and then say it isn't about a God and free will, if it were true then you would have called the thread "A thought on the universe and its implications on free will" And you also finish your opening statement with "So in conclusion I would contend that in a Godless universe there is no free will" why not say "So in conclusion I would contend that in the universe there is no free will" and remove the God indicators all together.

Don't you think if you wished God to remain out of it you should have put it in Science.

You are your own worst enemy.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 07:28:29 PM by bertatberts »
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Offline dloubet

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #43 on: December 29, 2012, 07:24:36 PM »
We are born with a nature that we do not choose. That nature determines our wants and values. We can only act according to that nature. Any attempt to change one's nature is either an internal desire to change brought about by our nature, or an external change outside of our control. We cannot escape our natures.

Thus we are robots. Slaves to our imposed natures.

But luckily, the universe is not deterministic. Although the universe operates in a mechanical manner, it accommodates random input in the form of events such as atomic decay. As I understand it, these are capital R Random events -- absolutely unpredictable -- and they affect the future progress of the universe. This clearly means the future is not written in stone. The future is open.

So I view us as robots marching into an open future. One where our mechanical decisions make a difference because the future is not set.

But free will? No. No such thing. Our wants are imposed upon us. They are part of our natures, and not of our choosing. If you choose one thing over another, it is merely due to the desires imposed by a nature that you did not choose.

Given those limitations, I will make the best of the nature I've got -- like a good little robot -- and march into the best future I can muster.

As an aside: Atomic decay is not causal due to its very nature. The measure of a half-life depends on atomic decay being absolutely random. If atomic decay was not random, the measure of a half-life would be invalid.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 07:34:28 PM by dloubet »
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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #44 on: December 29, 2012, 07:56:12 PM »
what do you mean, leave god out of it? was he ever in it? we have free will without him now. some in society need a crutch to lean on, tell them to do the right thing, be good or you'll burn forever, or they could turn into rotten people, some are like that. some are not, and do just fine, being good, upstanding citizens of the world, with feelings, and a heart, and sympthathy, and love...all without the threats. i don't need a god to tell me to be a good person. i just am, because that's who i am, i couldn't be any other way.

Offline 3sigma

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #45 on: December 29, 2012, 07:59:27 PM »
Great, give me a reason to believe that... You are claiming that quantum uncertainty transcends causation, So back up your argument... Why does it transcend causation??

Let’s examine your OP again and I’ll point out where you are wrong.


However, there is no natural way to create a random event.

This is wrong. I showed you right there in that post of mine you quoted that there are natural ways to generate random events. Thermal noise and radioactive decay both generate random events.


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Random does not exist in nature, it is a purely human concept that more refers to our inability to predict.

This is wrong. Randomness does exist in nature, as I’ve already explained. You also appear to be confusing randomness with causation. Random doesn’t mean uncaused; it means unpredictable.


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This then implies that every thing that has ever happened is the effect of previous events. There is no chance.

This is wrong. There is chance. It is due to the randomness caused by quantum uncertainty.


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The entirety of human history is defined by how the big bang went of and how the hydrogen came together into the original stars.

This is wrong. The entirety of human history is not defined by a chain of unbroken events extending back to the big bang. Quantum uncertainty causes random events right now—every second—and some of those events affect human affairs and your decisions every day.


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Every thought you are currently happening has no meaning it is simply a chemical reaction and a result of previous events.

This is wrong. Those chemical reactions and electrical impulses that form your thoughts are influenced to some extent by thermal noise, a random process. It could determine whether individual neurons fire or not. In cases where two choices have equal potential, it could influence your choice.


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So this brings us to free will, every action you have and will take has been predetermined by nature. You can try and break that by doing something random, but you are unable it is simply action and reaction. We cannot change the future, because the future is already been determined.

This is wrong. Your actions have not been predetermined by nature. You probably make random choices every day without even being aware of it. However, whether some choices are random or not is not the issue. The question is how do you define free will? I define it as the ability to make a conscious decision. We make conscious decisions every day. How do you define free will?

EDIT: Actually, I think a better definition of free will is the ability to act at one’s own discretion. If you don’t have the ability to act on your choices then you don’t have free will.

« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 09:05:54 PM by 3sigma »
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Offline mhaberling

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #46 on: December 29, 2012, 09:37:23 PM »
3sigma... Your argument relies on the idea that random means impossible to predict. That is true in a everyday use of the word. What I am saying is that a truly random event is not possible, An... Doesn't matter if it can be predicted or not thermal noise is the effect of previous events... Extrapolate that back to the big bang, and we have a singular event that has caused all other events... What I am saying is that since everything that happens is the cause of something else, in the Assumption of a Godless universe it is impossible for us to divert from the path, because everything that happens is an effect of something that came before... So unless you can show me that things like thermal noise are infact TRULY random... and are outside of the grasp of causation... Even then this discussion was destined since the beginning of the universe. We would not have free will, because we are simply a cause and effect. What happens tomorrow can't be changed by anyone because there is no random chance... 

So I will ask you again... Can you show me that there are truly random events in nature??
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Offline mhaberling

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #47 on: December 29, 2012, 09:41:37 PM »
Oh do come on! You use the term Godless in your OP and then say it isn't about a God and free will, if it were true then you would have called the thread "A thought on the universe and its implications on free will"

Bertaberts... The entire argument in this thread operates under the assumption of a lack of god. That is why its called "A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will
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Offline 3sigma

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #48 on: December 29, 2012, 10:33:54 PM »
Your argument relies on the idea that random means impossible to predict. That is true in a everyday use of the word.

So unless you can show me that things like thermal noise are infact TRULY random... and are outside of the grasp of causation...

So I will ask you again... Can you show me that there are truly random events in nature??

Yes, my argument relies on the idea that random means impossible to predict because that is what it means.

All you are doing here is what we’ve seen religious believers do time and time again. You are trying to redefine words to suit your own argument. Show us any dictionary that defines random as “outside of the grasp of causation”. Can you do that? No, of course you can’t because you are simply making it up to suit yourself.

I’ve already shown you that there are truly random events in nature. Your problem is that you are denying reality.

You still haven’t defined what you mean by free will. I think free will means the ability to act at one’s own discretion. Tell us what you think free will means. Show us that your definition is reasonable. Then you can try to demonstrate why it is impossible in a godless universe.
A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence. – David Hume 1711–1776

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #49 on: December 29, 2012, 11:39:47 PM »
God or no God freewill is a construct of theists. There is no right,there is no wrong,just popular opinion of right and wrong. I can give examples if you wish.

 To have freewill,there has to be something to go against doesn't there?  There has to be a wrong choice you can make that angers a deity. Godless freewill would just be choices,no?
Answer the Question in A Godless universe the word freewill is replaced by the word choice....yes or no?
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Offline mhaberling

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #50 on: December 30, 2012, 04:00:14 AM »
Your argument relies on the idea that random means impossible to predict. That is true in a everyday use of the word.

So unless you can show me that things like thermal noise are infact TRULY random... and are outside of the grasp of causation...

So I will ask you again... Can you show me that there are truly random events in nature??

Yes, my argument relies on the idea that random means impossible to predict because that is what it means.

All you are doing here is what we’ve seen religious believers do time and time again. You are trying to redefine words to suit your own argument. Show us any dictionary that defines random as “outside of the grasp of causation”. Can you do that? No, of course you can’t because you are simply making it up to suit yourself.

I’ve already shown you that there are truly random events in nature. Your problem is that you are denying reality.

You still haven’t defined what you mean by free will. I think free will means the ability to act at one’s own discretion. Tell us what you think free will means. Show us that your definition is reasonable. Then you can try to demonstrate why it is impossible in a godless universe.
no no no.... No you haven't shown me there are truly random events in nature you have told me...  You could tell me that a purple elephant named Phil sells the best hotdogs in town but until you show me I have no reason to believe it...

I have done no shifting of definitions... It is clear from my argument that by random I don't mean rolling a dice, I mean without cause... Free will means that what you do is a decision and is not predetermined.... My argument is that in a godless universe it is.

I am not denying reality you are, demonstrate that the human mind operates outside of causation or admit to the logic, your choice
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Offline Skinz

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #51 on: December 30, 2012, 04:20:41 AM »
MH, you can you ask for proof of an event with no cause? There is no such event, as far as I am aware... Everything has a cause. Random mutations in DNA are caused by proof reading errors and radiation. They are not random, but their matrix of probability is well outside of the calulatory power of our current technology.
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Offline 3sigma

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #52 on: December 30, 2012, 07:56:21 AM »
no no no.... No you haven't shown me there are truly random events in nature you have told me...  You could tell me that a purple elephant named Phil sells the best hotdogs in town but until you show me I have no reason to believe it...

I’ve already given you a link to the quantum random number generator service offered by the Department of Physics at Humboldt University in Berlin. They explain how they use truly random events in nature to generate random numbers. So it isn’t just me telling you, it’s university physicists as well and they have the physical proof. You can even download random numbers generated by their device. You only need to Google for “quantum random number generator” and you’ll find plenty of them and papers explaining how they work.


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I have done no shifting of definitions... It is clear from my argument that by random I don't mean rolling a dice, I mean without cause...

Then please stop calling it random because that isn’t what random means. Random means unpredictable, not uncaused. Yes, everything has a cause, but some of those causes are unpredictable in one way or another. For example, radioactive decay is caused by the interaction of fundamental forces in the nuclei of unstable atoms, which releases energy in the form of an ionising particle at a random point in time. Reverse biasing a transistor causes some electrons to quantum tunnel through the band gap and emerge at the base. Quantum tunnelling is a truly random event.


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Free will means that what you do is a decision and is not predetermined.... My argument is that in a godless universe it is.

I am not denying reality you are, demonstrate that the human mind operates outside of causation or admit to the logic, your choice

The gist of your argument in the OP is that every decision we make is predetermined by a chain of events extending back to the big bang so there is no free will. What if some of our thoughts, decisions or actions are based on or caused by random (unpredictable) events that occur in the present? Would you allow that to be called free will? If so, I can probably give you examples of such events.
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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #53 on: December 30, 2012, 08:04:36 AM »
This discussion doesn't have much point, unless you believe in hell.

There is no need for a god to preside over any particular type of universe. There is no decent evidence that the Christian god can predict the future, although it's possible that a god could know the result, and that would be the objective for doing it. Also possible that the god doesn't know the result, and that is the a reason for doing it. Either way, any god can mess with its creation, ad hoc.

We don't know if this universe has degrees of freedom, so it's pointless starting with the presumption that you know which it is. Your OP starts with a presumption, but since you have no defined theology, there can be no useful argument.
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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #54 on: December 30, 2012, 01:09:16 PM »
So how exactly does the existence of an omniscient entity in charge of virtually everything make it a better universe for free will to exist in?
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 carstensenscott

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #55 on: December 30, 2012, 01:43:22 PM »
WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY?

Why does using what you know to enhance your experience (memory of instance), seeing the end result before you navigate (recalling the instance), and seeing yourself navigate that situation (building confidence by seeing the end result of instance and repeating) turn in to "free will". What does the
OP even want to know.
The conundrum of reading the OP and getting to the part about....

Every thought you are currently happening has no meaning it is simply a chemical reaction and a result of previous events. So this brings us to free will, every action you have and will take has been predetermined by nature.

That means it was known that I was going to copy paste this segment and was predetermined, as was your post, as was my clicking my bookmark to WWGHA, as was ...........rediculous.

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #56 on: December 30, 2012, 06:26:17 PM »
Outside of humanity,freewill is nothing. To the Antelope,who is victim to the Lion,to the fruit-fly trying to mate in the 48 hours in which it is alive,nothing,to dog that runs into the street and killed by a car,nothing.

Freewill is a construct in which,without a punisher (God) is also meaningless,it means nothing,unless of course there is punishment for using it. So how would you define it,determinism,random acts that string into unknown results? Freewill without a punisher (God) is a pointless premise.
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

keeta

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Re: A thought on a Godless universe and its implications on free will...
« Reply #57 on: December 30, 2012, 07:51:03 PM »
boy you people are nit picky lmao!! everyone needs to chill...stress levels about a 9 on the ol'ricter scale.
hahahahahaha!! ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D