I'm going to weigh in on mhaberlings side for a couple points here.....
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
Mhaberling is, we are all aware, a believer. So if he had just started a thread on free will, we would have swiftly gone down the "god and predestination and omniscience" debate. I've got no problems with him wanting to discuss "our"
version of the universe rather than re-hash his own. We often chastise believers for telling us "what atheists think" - shouldn't we be pleased that this one believer wants to find out what we think rather than telling us?
Of course, this may all be a long-winded preface to a "Bam! You atheists can't believe in free will without god by the rules of your godless universe, so if you believe in free will you HAVE to believe in god!!!" sucker punch. I don't think its mhaberling's style, to be honest - and as a non-believer in free will that punch holds no worries for me anyway! - but I can see why it could be a fear. Personally, I'm happen to run this entire thread on the basis that there is no god.....or, to put it anothere way, "the real world".
So I will ask you again... Can you show me that there are truly random events in nature??
no no no.... No you haven't shown me there are truly random events in nature you have told me...
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.
Mhaberling's point, I believe, is "how do we KNOW that these allegedly random events are indeed random, and not following some specific causal rules that we are currently unable to determine?" To take the dice analogy, I'm sure there was a point way back when when we thought the roll of a dice was random, as opposed to completely causal and predetermined, albeit unpredictable. I confess I'm not up enough on quantum theory as I might like - is there an "idiot's guide" that shows how it is provably random?
I think to be honest you are both on the same page - from where you say "Random means unpredictable, not uncaused. Yes, everything has a cause, but some of those causes are unpredictable in one way or another". I believe that that is the point he was making - that there are quantum events that are singularly unpredictable, but that if we could "go back in time" to the same point, would that quantum event happen differently? Or, if you prefer, can a particular quantum event potentially happen in two or more different ways, or can it ONLY happen in one specific (but completely unpredictable) way?
(Bolded that bit because (a) I don't know the answer(!), and (b) I think its crucial to the argument. I thought the answer was "two or more", but from what you said I'm now not sure!)
My summary: my position was that 99.999% of things were causal, with (perhaps) some potentially TRULY random quantum level things being put into the mix which would make prediction imposible, even were some mechanism for prediction possible. I may now have to change that to EVERYTHING is causal, including quantum happenings, but it all remains unpredictable due to limitations on what we can calculate.
Either way, I see no "free will" aspect to things. Causal or random, I still am unable to undestand where "choice" (in the "I could do different things in identical circumstances, in a way that is directed by 'me' rather than being the result of 'non-me randomness' ") comes into play.