The problem of free will

Joker
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The problem of free will

I was reading some arguments and I found a rather interesting discussion involving free will. Free will is usually used as a dodge for Christians to explain why the world is so fucked up, now they also say that God is incapable of doing evil due to the nature of their god. Now I disagree about their gods nature, but let's assume for the sake of argument that they are correct. This leads to some problems in regards to free will, as it is two aspects. Aside from the question of how free will is gained, IE what we had beforehand since free will is really just the ability to make choices there is a problem that free will provides. If your god is incapable of comitting an evil act due to nature then your god can't really be said to have free will, so how could a creator provide a trait that they themselves lack. Or to put it another way, if man is made in the image of your god then why would your god give man things that god him/her/itself does not possess? But it also leads to a bigger problem. A beings nature determines what it does, if it is my nature to, say only eat pancakes then my eating pancakes isn't really a matter of choice, it's my nature. I might not think that pancakes are superior to other foodstuffs, I might not even be able to make such an assertion, just having my nature that I will eat pancakes and pancakes alone. If God is only capable of 'doing good' then when you have a flawed humanity that can do good or evil and choose good even in cases where it might be to their benefit to choose evil then in reality such people would in fact be morally superior to this god entity. I'm curious as to what the response would be from you christians or other theists out there.


Teralek
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digitalbeachbum

digitalbeachbum wrote:

Teralek wrote:

I'm not sure if you understood what I meant...

Your refutal just proves what I've said - absolute free will does not exist.

However what I'm trying to say is that free will is the qualitative difference between being in jail and being powerful enough to do whatever you want to (within your mental construction). As I've said, absolute free will is nonsense.

Free will is also inner motivation.

So, just to clarify, you don't believe in "absolute free will" but you do believe in a "free will" with conditions?

Yeah sort of!  There is no such thing as absolute free will. Free will is the ability to act upon your motivations, or not. It's the free choice in a limited extent.

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"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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I'm new at this so let me

I'm new at this so let me give it a shot. Who determines good and bad? If there is no God then I would say that good and bad does not exist. If Christianity is correct then bad would be going against God. Therefore God is not capable of going against Himself, while humans would have that ability.


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buddyd wrote:I'm new at this

buddyd wrote:

I'm new at this so let me give it a shot. Who determines good and bad? If there is no God then I would say that good and bad does not exist. If Christianity is correct then bad would be going against God. Therefore God is not capable of going against Himself, while humans would have that ability.

Boy, you sure dove into a drawn out thread for your first post, but that's cool.

As an Atheist, from my point of view, good and bad are just relative terms with no line to be drawn in between.  Logically a christian would have to say there is only good and evil and there is a line. But their whole premise is bogus from the git-go because their  God is always going against himself. And some nutbag christians will tell you that a "true Christian" is not capable of going against god, therefore they cannot go against themselves since the Holy spirit is in them. This is nothing short of retarded. And is also how they justify the actions of all the criminals like David, Solomon, and the list goes on and on.

 

"...but truth is a point of view, and so it is changeable. And to rule by fettering the mind through fear of punishment in another world is just as base as to use force." -Hypatia


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It's true you can't honestly

It's true you can't honestly say "a Christian says this, or a Christian believes that" because there are so many Christians that believe different things. With that said the Holy Spirit guides people it doesn't force people to do this or that. The Holy Spirit did not indwell people in the Old Testament (people like David and Solomon). He began to indwell people at Pentecost in the New Testament (Acts chapter 2). But once again He doesn't force people to do right or wrong, so they still have their freewill.


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buddyd wrote:It's true you

buddyd wrote:

It's true you can't honestly say "a Christian says this, or a Christian believes that" because there are so many Christians that believe different things. With that said the Holy Spirit guides people it doesn't force people to do this or that. The Holy Spirit did not indwell people in the Old Testament (people like David and Solomon). He began to indwell people at Pentecost in the New Testament (Acts chapter 2). But once again He doesn't force people to do right or wrong, so they still have their freewill.

Consider this website a test, not of your faith, but of your ability to reason.

Why do you believe free will exists?

Do you believe free will is absolute?


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I would say "I think

I would say "I think therefore I am". So I assume since I am thinking I am doing it on my own (freewill). Now with that said I also would say that God at times, for His own reasons, has manipulated people's thoughts, emotions, and actions for His own will. So I guess in that since it is not always "free will". I do not believe that I am a robot (determinism) or that God created the world and then just left it alone (Deist).


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buddyd wrote:I would say "I

buddyd wrote:

I would say "I think therefore I am". So I assume since I am thinking I am doing it on my own (freewill). Now with that said I also would say that God at times, for His own reasons, has manipulated people's thoughts, emotions, and actions for His own will. So I guess in that since it is not always "free will". I do not believe that I am a robot (determinism) or that God created the world and then just left it alone (Deist).

Are you doing your thinking by your own free will?!  Do you have the option of not thinking?

Anyways, just for the record I'm inclined to follow Kant on ethics. 

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


buddyd
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Teralek wrote:buddyd wrote:I

Teralek wrote:

buddyd wrote:

I would say "I think therefore I am". So I assume since I am thinking I am doing it on my own (freewill). Now with that said I also would say that God at times, for His own reasons, has manipulated people's thoughts, emotions, and actions for His own will. So I guess in that since it is not always "free will". I do not believe that I am a robot (determinism) or that God created the world and then just left it alone (Deist).

Are you doing your thinking by your own free will?!  Do you have the option of not thinking?

Anyways, just for the record I'm inclined to follow Kant on ethics. 

 

That's why I said I assume I am thinking on my own, because it's impossible to say anything for sure


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((Hey again everyone, I have

((Hey again everyone, I have GOT to remember to come here more often, amazed to see how far its gone and what directions its travelled in))

buddyd wrote:

I'm new at this so let me give it a shot. Who determines good and bad? If there is no God then I would say that good and bad does not exist. If Christianity is correct then bad would be going against God. Therefore God is not capable of going against Himself, while humans would have that ability.

Well, that gives some of an answer, but then it brings up some other questions. The first one would then be if that would mean that in essence

What God Loves=Good

What God doesn't love=Bad

 

The problem with this though is that for one thing it makes morality rather subjective, in that your deity could change its position on something (see also contradictions in the bible) which would mean that an action that was formerly moral is no longer. There's also the rather troubling issues in the area of Divine Command, since in essence if we (humanity) take all of our morality from an ancient book then we leave our moral compasses in the hands of the interpreters, which we can see don't agree on very much at all givne the rather grand plethora of sects of Christianity. This doesn't even factor in the problem of other religions possibly being the correct one as well. I'd also comment that if we accept my formula as accurate (it may not be what you mean, if so clarification would be helpful) we then can go back to the Euthyphro to see a problem. Is something good because God loves it or does God love it because it's good. If somethings inherent goodness or evil is dependent on Gods feelings for it at that time then we either have to believe that morality is inherently very plastic and based entirely on deific whim and the new words of prophets or we have to agree that in fact slavery, child abuse, etc. are good and moral things. If something is loved by God because it is good then that would make the concepts of good and evil disconnected from God, or at least God him/her/itself would not be necessary for such concepts to exist.

As to morality existing independently of a divine being that isn't all that difficult. You could use the argument of enlightened self preservation where I don't harm you because doing so could put me at risk and because I don't want you or those connected to you to decide to harm me. I could point to animals in the wild that pursue altruistic behavior as a means of advancement within their group, implying that altruism and things we might view as 'good' are in fact evolutionary traits that helped humans get to their position in the environment.

Now, also, more than humans would have to have the ability to go against God, as the snake in the garden was apparently able to as well. If we follow Christian doctrine that the snake was the devil then that in turn would imply that evil existed before 'the fall' and that other beings had free will. If Angels and other such beings lack free will then apparently what happened was not sinful or bad behavior which kind of throws your whole genesis thing for a loop. Now if you look at it as more a metaphor for something, that's fine, but at the very least the story has some rather large problems if you want to make a coherent morality tale out of it.


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Teralek

I believe that free will is Absolute because every one has the
Freedom of choice to do good (positive) or to do evil (negative).
In Genesis, Adam and eve were created with free will. They were
Not created robots that only do what they are programed to do .
Adam and Eve used their free will and rebelled against God. Today,
Humanity still has free will. The choice to follow Jesus or the choice not to
Follow Jesus. What ever choice we decide, God will accept it. One leads
To life and the other leads to nothing. The choice is a simple one. It is humanity that corrupts the decision and makes it hard to understand.

appeal to ignorance is an argument for or against a proposition on the basis of a lack of evidence against or for it. If there is positive evidence for the conclusion, then of course we have other reasons for accepting it, but a lack of evidence by itself is no evidence for a no God. 


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Jimenezj wrote:I believe

Jimenezj wrote:
I believe that free will is Absolute because every one has the Freedom of choice to do good (positive) or to do evil (negative). In Genesis, Adam and eve were created with free will. They were Not created robots that only do what they are programed to do . Adam and Eve used their free will and rebelled against God. Today, Humanity still has free will. The choice to follow Jesus or the choice not to Follow Jesus. What ever choice we decide, God will accept it. One leads To life and the other leads to nothing. The choice is a simple one. It is humanity that corrupts the decision and makes it hard to understand.

One of my missions here is to remove all mythology from any scientific or philosophical discussions. Free will and many other discussions often associated with religious thought are perfectly defensable by deductions based on first principles alone.

Biblical accounts are mythology. People who defend themselves with mythology when faced with scientific or philosophical problems are just fooling themselves, and have little or no sense of reality.

My defense of free will as solely a state of relative freedom still stands. I don't believe in the determinism of human consicience, it doesn't make any sense when I analyse my self, my thoughts and my behavior.

Absolute free will is just a non logical concept even in theoretical terms.

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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.

According to the Christian version of Eden, free will is not free but comes at a price.

 


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Jimenezj wrote:I believe

Jimenezj wrote:
I believe that free will is Absolute because every one has the Freedom of choice to do good (positive) or to do evil (negative). In Genesis, Adam and eve were created with free will. They were Not created robots that only do what they are programed to do . Adam and Eve used their free will and rebelled against God. Today, Humanity still has free will. The choice to follow Jesus or the choice not to Follow Jesus. What ever choice we decide, God will accept it. One leads To life and the other leads to nothing. The choice is a simple one. It is humanity that corrupts the decision and makes it hard to understand.

Did you have free will to choose your parents? If so did you choose your parents because of their DNA? Their parents? Their wealth?

Did you have free will to choose what you ate this morning? Or were you limited to what was in the kitchen? If you decided to eat what was in the kitchen was it free will to be lazy? or because you didn't have a car and you might have had to walk to the store in the snow? If you weighed all those options and others was it your genetics which said "man I'm hungry screw going to the store" or was it your up-bringing which made you say the same thing? or maybe it was your experiences in college which taught you handle your time in a different more efficient manner?

Free will is an illusion.

 

Free will is an illusion. People always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

-Scott Adams


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digitalbeachbum

digitalbeachbum wrote:

Jimenezj wrote:
I believe that free will is Absolute because every one has the Freedom of choice to do good (positive) or to do evil (negative). In Genesis, Adam and eve were created with free will. They were Not created robots that only do what they are programed to do . Adam and Eve used their free will and rebelled against God. Today, Humanity still has free will. The choice to follow Jesus or the choice not to Follow Jesus. What ever choice we decide, God will accept it. One leads To life and the other leads to nothing. The choice is a simple one. It is humanity that corrupts the decision and makes it hard to understand.

Did you have free will to choose your parents? If so did you choose your parents because of their DNA? Their parents? Their wealth?

Did you have free will to choose what you ate this morning? Or were you limited to what was in the kitchen? If you decided to eat what was in the kitchen was it free will to be lazy? or because you didn't have a car and you might have had to walk to the store in the snow? If you weighed all those options and others was it your genetics which said "man I'm hungry screw going to the store" or was it your up-bringing which made you say the same thing? or maybe it was your experiences in college which taught you handle your time in a different more efficient manner?

Free will is an illusion.

 

 

In reading this I start to think that what we really need is a concise definition of free will.


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Joker wrote:digitalbeachbum

Joker wrote:

digitalbeachbum wrote:

Jimenezj wrote:
I believe that free will is Absolute because every one has the Freedom of choice to do good (positive) or to do evil (negative). In Genesis, Adam and eve were created with free will. They were Not created robots that only do what they are programed to do . Adam and Eve used their free will and rebelled against God. Today, Humanity still has free will. The choice to follow Jesus or the choice not to Follow Jesus. What ever choice we decide, God will accept it. One leads To life and the other leads to nothing. The choice is a simple one. It is humanity that corrupts the decision and makes it hard to understand.

Did you have free will to choose your parents? If so did you choose your parents because of their DNA? Their parents? Their wealth?

Did you have free will to choose what you ate this morning? Or were you limited to what was in the kitchen? If you decided to eat what was in the kitchen was it free will to be lazy? or because you didn't have a car and you might have had to walk to the store in the snow? If you weighed all those options and others was it your genetics which said "man I'm hungry screw going to the store" or was it your up-bringing which made you say the same thing? or maybe it was your experiences in college which taught you handle your time in a different more efficient manner?

Free will is an illusion.

 

 

 

                   I always understood the religious definition of free will was; god favers the free will of murderers to kill when they want and totally disreguards the free will of victoms not to be killed. It works the same way with other crimes as  weell.

 

In reading this I start to think that what we really need is a concise definition of free will.

"Very funny Scotty; now beam down our clothes."

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Fair enough Jeffrick, but I

Fair enough Jeffrick, but I also meant more generally, IE what we mean when discussing it outside a religious context. Since the problem with how I've seen determinism explained seems to imply that in essence our choices and actions are entirely predetermned, but then again that's probably just me not understanding it properly.


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More to the point, if the

More to the point, if the christian god created a being capable of committing evil acts, then wasn't the act of creating this being an act of evil?

 

Also, I feel I should point out that "deterministic" seems to have been double-loaded here.  Physics is "deterministic" in the sense that the future is determined solely by natural laws + previous state of the system.  However, it happens that some of these natural laws involve randomness, so physics is not "deterministic" in the sense that a given state of the system necessitates a unique set of future states.  The latter is what philosophers tend to mean when they say "determinism," though I prefer to call it "pre-determinism."

 

@Teralek.  You should do some serious thinking about the nature of self-analysis before using self-analysis to make conclusions about free will.

Consider for example the case of a computer attempting to determine whether or not it has free will in its response to the call of an algorithm that generates a pseudo-random number.  By what series of querries could this computer determine whether the algorithm represents a choice on the computer's part, a pre-determined process that the computer was simply unable to predict, or a truly random process over which the computer has no control?  What possible self-observations would exclude the second and third possiblities?

Questions for Theists:
http://silverskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/03/consistent-standards.html

I'm a bit of a lurker. Every now and then I will come out of my cave with a flurry of activity. Then the Ph.D. program calls and I must fall back to the shadows.