The dumbest and best argument against free will...

Sapient
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The dumbest and best argument against free will...

If I have free will, why can't I fly?

Because I can't fly, God clearly has placed restrictions on free will, and since he has why did he not restrict free will in such a way so that evil didn't have to exist?

He restricted us from flying, but didn't restrict us from murdering? Loving? I think not.

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Ciarin
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Brian37 wrote:Sapient

Brian37 wrote:

Sapient wrote:
If I have free will, why can't I fly? Because I can't fly, God clearly has placed restrictions on free will, and since he has why did he not restrict free will in such a way so that evil didn't have to exist? He restricted us from flying, but didn't restrict us from murdering? Loving? I think not.

Why point out inconsistancies? That makes the theists heads explode.

 

My head has yet to explode, chief.


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Zaq wrote:No, I'm not

Zaq wrote:

No, I'm not assuming that.  I don't know where you got that from.

 

The uncertainty principle destroys the first interpretation of determinism.

Ah, I was under the impression that the uncertainty principle was established due to lack of explaination for the seemingly random movements, and not established due to the knowledge that nothing can possibly ever explain the movements.

Would you agree?

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It's the non-explosive

It's the non-explosive aspect to a theist's head that is its greatest weakness, capable therefore as it is of absorbing great volumes of garbage.

 

Those of us with potentially exploding heads tend to adopt a more selective attitude to the data we absorb and at least ask where it's been before it is allowed in, especially data which purports to "explain" fundamental truths concerning us as people, life and its many aspects - or worse, attempts to influence our subsequent ability to rationalise or question that very data's validity.

 

Personal wonder, the application of imagination and the ability to think are three commodities way too valuable to be wasted on gibberish.

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Enigma wrote:Zaq wrote:No,

Enigma wrote:

Zaq wrote:

No, I'm not assuming that.  I don't know where you got that from.

 

The uncertainty principle destroys the first interpretation of determinism.

Ah, I was under the impression that the uncertainty principle was established due to lack of explaination for the seemingly random movements, and not established due to the knowledge that nothing can possibly ever explain the movements.

Would you agree?

That doesn't seem to be a very accurate understanding of the Uncertainty Principle.

From here:

Quote:

At the heart of quantum mechanics—the mathematical theory of the structure and behavior of atoms—lies a certain degree of unpredictability. As first stated by the German physicist Werner Heisenberg, the uncertainty principle says you can't simultaneously measure both the position and velocity of a particle with perfect accuracy. This means that no one can ever predict precisely the future behavior of a particle because it’s impossible to measure the particle’s current state exactly.

       The uncertainty principle does not simply state that scientists don’t yet have the proper equipment to measure positions and velocities: instead, the very process of performing the measurement changes those quantities. The uncertainty principle implies that space can never truly be empty. In reality, the quantum vacuum is filled with particles and antiparticles that briefly appear and then disappear just as quickly.

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BobSpence1 wrote:Enigma

BobSpence1 wrote:

Enigma wrote:

Zaq wrote:

No, I'm not assuming that.  I don't know where you got that from.

 

The uncertainty principle destroys the first interpretation of determinism.

Ah, I was under the impression that the uncertainty principle was established due to lack of explaination for the seemingly random movements, and not established due to the knowledge that nothing can possibly ever explain the movements.

Would you agree?

That doesn't seem to be a very accurate understanding of the Uncertainty Principle.

From here:

Quote:

 

At the heart of quantum mechanics—the mathematical theory of the structure and behavior of atoms—lies a certain degree of unpredictability. As first stated by the German physicist Werner Heisenberg, the uncertainty principle says you can't simultaneously measure both the position and velocity of a particle with perfect accuracy. This means that no one can ever predict precisely the future behavior of a particle because it’s impossible to measure the particle’s current state exactly.

       The uncertainty principle does not simply state that scientists don’t yet have the proper equipment to measure positions and velocities: instead, the very process of performing the measurement changes those quantities. The uncertainty principle implies that space can never truly be empty. In reality, the quantum vacuum is filled with particles and antiparticles that briefly appear and then disappear just as quickly.

 

I was wrong, then. My apologies.

"Measuring positions and velocities changes them" is an interesting hypothesis. I'll have to read up more on that.

Thanks, Bob.

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Sapient wrote:If I have free

Sapient wrote:
If I have free will, why can't I fly? Because I can't fly, God clearly has placed restrictions on free will, and since he has why did he not restrict free will in such a way so that evil didn't have to exist? He restricted us from flying, but didn't restrict us from murdering? Loving? I think not.

Free will might be more accurately phrased freedom to make decisions. That's not as catchy, though.

What you're talking about is a common theological subject, the "Problem of Evil." I believe it's pretty simple. God desired to expand the love that existed within the trinity - to have a family, if you will. Love needs to be reciprocal, and it can't be reciprocated if it isn't a choice. Therefore we had to be capable of choosing not to love God, therefore we had to be imperfect.

Some see this as cruel, permitting us to be capable of injustice. I see it as God giving me a legitimate chance to love him. A relatively short mortal life of discomforts is a small price in view of eternity.


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But the point is that the

But the point is that the uncertainty principle places fundamental limits on measurement.  We can't know both the exact position and exact momentum of a particle, and unlike thermodynamics it's not just a practical limitation of our methods.  Satisfying the "if" clause of the strong determinism claim would violate the uncertainty principle, and thus the claim amounts to "if our universe were different, there would only be one possible future," which isn't at all useful in a discussion about how our universe actually functions.

 

Edit:  Replied before realizing there was a second page.  But yeah, physicists see the uncertainty principle as fundamental to nature.  For real trippiness see the quantum eraser experiment, which "erases" the effects of a measurement by using the uncertainty principle to eliminate any information gained by the measurement.  It's like measuring momentum in order to eliminate the effects of a previous position measurement (exept in actuallity they typically use polarized light).

 

Here's a cool experiment you can try at home.  I used it for a presentation my senior year of high school

 

Equipment: 1 flashlight, 3 polarized sunglass lenses (separated from the glasses)

Step 1: Place the first polarized lens in front of the flashlight.  Notice how it blocks off about half the light

Step 2: Place the second polarized lens after the first and rotated 90 degrees with respect to the first.  Notice how all light is blocked by the two lenses

Step 3: Place the third polarized lens after the first two and rotated 45 degrees with respect to the first.  Notice how all the light is still blocked

Step 4: Keeping the same relative rotation, move the third lense between the first two.  Notice how some light now gets through, even though all lenses have the same relative rotation.  The uncertainty principle is needed to make sense of this result.

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How can u be an atheist?

Atheism is the belief that there is no God.

In order to know this for a fact you would have to know everything.

Every bit of knowledge in the universe.

No one can possibly learn, and retain all of this knowledge, no one ever has.

So i ask you again,     How can you be an atheist?


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Free will is, according to the dictionary, free and independent choice, a voluntary decision.

This doesnt mean that your superman and 'can' do anything.

Just b/c its not possible for u to jump into the air (w/o machinery) and fly, doesnt mean that u dont have free will.

That means that your limited by your knowledge.

You have the 'free will' to learn how to build a jet pack and go make one.

You have the free will to use a jet pack to fly.

But free will has nothing to do with your weaknesses


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Curious wrote:How can u be

Curious wrote:

How can u be an atheist?

Atheism is the belief that there is no God.

In order to know this for a fact you would have to know everything.

Every bit of knowledge in the universe.

No one can possibly learn, and retain all of this knowledge, no one ever has.

So i ask you again,     How can you be an atheist?

So by that argument, you must believe in all the Gods and myths ever thought of that you can't actually disprove...

And of course the famous china teapot orbiting the nearest star...

There are an infinite number of vaguely possible things that might exist, but we have no way of disproving, so this is a very stupid argument

Its simple, we don't know 100% that there is not something that we would see as a God, we just believe that it makes no sense to believe in something for which we see no evidence. The further away the idea is from things we can experience and observe and detect, like the Earth, horses, clouds, electricity, the emotions of love and happiness, etc, etc, the more unambiguous and strong evidence we would need.

It isn't about being able to 100% prove God doesn't exist, its about you being able to give us evidence that justifies even a few percent likelihood that he does...

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Curious wrote:How can u be

Curious wrote:

How can u be an atheist?

Atheism is the belief that there is no God.

In order to know this for a fact you would have to know everything.

Every bit of knowledge in the universe.

No one can possibly learn, and retain all of this knowledge, no one ever has.

So i ask you again,     How can you be an atheist?

 

If atheism is the belief that there is no god, then theism is the belief that being ignorant is smart.

 

Atheism is disbelief in god, not belief in no god.

 

- Brian Sapient


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Sapient wrote:then theism is

Sapient wrote:
then theism is the belief that being ignorant is smart.

 

UR DUM


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To me, the best argument

To me, the best argument against free will is the fact that psychology is a working science. People exposed to similar variables come to similar outcomes. It disproves free will because it shows that we are all bound by the way our brains are programmed. If we truly had free will, then psychologists would be unable to predict what kind of adults we may become based on childhood experiences. Just turn on your radio and listen to Dr Drew, some girl might call in and say she's a slut, he'll respond by saying ,"oh, you we're raped at 13 and your father never hugged you." 90% of the time, he hits the nail on the head. Sure you can argue that some girl might have been raped at 13 and her father never hugged her, yet did not become a slut, but that simply means that other variables were there that prevented her slutness. It's a complicated programming but there's no denying that it's there. If free will truly existed, then why do we share certain traits and habits with our parents and grandparents, etc? Sad but true, you're not your own person, you're simply programmed to think that you are.

Free your mind.


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My best argument against

My best argument against freewill is the same as my best argument against God.  I've never heard either defined coherently enough to attempt proof.  Therefore, the default position is non-existence.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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 You actually do have the

 You actually do have the power NOT to do evil things - have some self respect. 

 

If free-will didn't exist, then good and evil wouldn't exist either: 'good' and 'evil' are 'human' terms that rely on free-will to have any meaning at all... 

So your little bitch about God making you 'evil' doesn't mean much (unless you're willing to say that you have free-will, which, according to you, you don't. You're being hypocritical here). 

 

But anyway, did it ever occur to you that God might have created good and evil so that you could perceive one thing as different to another and so that you could have free-will? Why couldn't that be part of God's plan. Maybe he wanted something that had the choice to be an asshole, or to be good; someone that could choose to believe in him, and not do it out of necessity. MAybe God's knowledge of the future is simply this "I don't know what is going to happen in the future."... which would offer no contradiction to free-will. That definition of God you are using was pulled out of the BIBLE, an ancient text that has who knows how many errors, and probably is based on a fairytale. 

 

God doesn't have to be the old angry guy with a beard.  Use your brain. he could be more evil or less evil, but you wouldn't know. 

 

If everyone was able to fly, or do whatever the hell they wanted, then some people would be wanting to kill, and others would be wanting to live. But, they can't ALL have absolute freedom (some would die and some would live - which isn't very free), so your definition of FREE-WILL is a tad selfish, since you ALONE would have to havre this skill, and nobody else. 

What? You think God would make a world just for you, with no-one else in it who could have free will? 

MAybe God wanted a way for us to all have free-will, so you wouldn't get lonely as the only personn who could defy the laws of nature. Get pretty boring up there, wouldn't it, if you had nothing real to share it with. If you were in a lucid dream, flying, killing, or doing whatever you like without having anyone stop you. 

 

NAture is there so that we ALL have free-will, and so that no mystical bullshit ninja could compromise everybody else's. 

It's called your mind - creativity. 

You can imagine whatever the hell you want. 

And you can do anything you want within the laws of nature. 

 

You do have free-will. 

It's plain to see. 

And if we don't, then don't bitch at christians because by that definition of life (deterministic), it's not their fault they believe in a God. 

 

In fact, if there is no free-will, then don't talk about good and evil at all, since you can't logically argue your belief in it. 

 

Get a better argument. 

 

And I'm not trying to tell you this is all true- what I've been rambling on about. 

But you might want to think about your definition of 'GOD' and 'FREE WILL' and "GOOD AND EVIL' before you start talking about it again. 

 


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'Good' and 'Evil' are not

'Good' and 'Evil' are not dependent on 'Free will' to be meaningful.

We only need to be able to recognise whether an action leads to great suffering or avoids it, or better, leads to entirely positive feelings such as happiness.

Reward and punishment, to encourage the good and discourage evil, also does not depend on whether 'free will' is a valid concept. In fact, 'deterministic' ideas explicitly do strongly justify the application of reward and punishment.

 

The concept of 'free will' only becomes even potentially relevant if we wish to apply blame, or consider motivations for actions.

Introducing the idea of a God just introduces total uncertainty into everything, since we have no way of actually knowing what the ultimate nature or motives of such a being would be, how it really 'wants' us to behave, or why. What purports to be the 'word of God' could well be a subtle exercise in confusing and misleading us for unfathomable motives. We would literally have no way to distinguish the intentions, altho the many contradictions, confusions, and general inconsistencies in the Bible do point toward a 'prankster' God, if anything, playing with us for its own mysterious purposes.

If a God is considered to define Good and Evil, in terms of obedience or not to his will, we effectively have 'Might makes Right', rather than anything truly resembling morality/ethics.

 

 

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

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Jedi. wrote:'good' and

Jedi. wrote:
'good' and 'evil' are 'human' terms that rely on free-will to have any meaning at all...

They're human terms, but they don't rely on free will.

Jedi. wrote:
And if we don't, then don't bitch at christians because by that definition of life (deterministic), it's not their fault they believe in a God.

In fact, if there is no free-will, then don't talk about good and evil at all, since you can't logically argue your belief in it.

Why not?

Jedi. wrote:
But you might want to think about your definition of 'GOD' and 'FREE WILL'

I would suggest that you think about free will too, and, if you don't believe in 'souls,' consider at what point your thoughts and actions are not determined by your brain chemistry.

Edit: Or, since you're just appealing to consequences, answer this question. How would you be able to tell the difference between people that had free will and people that didn't?

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Sapient wrote:If I have free

Sapient wrote:
If I have free will, why can't I fly?

No, that's not a good argument at all.  You are completely free to choose to fly.  Whether or not you have the capability to translate your choice into action is another matter altogether.  Will is not about the ability to perform but, rather, about the ability to choose.

Reality is the graveyard of the gods.


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By the way, the question of

By the way, the question of whether or not there is true randomness in the universe is utterly irrelevant to the free will debate because randomness is not freedom -- it's merely randomness.  If anything, the concept of volition relies on the universe being more-or-less predictable. 

Reality is the graveyard of the gods.


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free will does not entitle

free will does not entitle humans to do whatever they want to.  free will gives us the choice to decide what we want to do, but only if other options are available.  those options cannot simply be "imagined" but they have to actually be possible.  we can't fly because of gravity and evolution, not because god had some glitches in the idea of free will


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 God has given us the

 God has given us the ability to fly.  In fact, I think I'm going on a trip south this winter and how will I get there? Probably on a Boeing 747


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Ok, I will start this with

Ok, I will start this with the fact that I am somewhat ignorant of determinism in regards to how decisions are made etc. If I understand it correctly it functionally says that while I make decisions my schemas for doing so, my internal balancing scales, are already established due to previous actions and experiences, IE my decisions I make are based on what happened to me already/what I have already learned and experienced. While I agree with this concept, I don't fully see how it would negate free will.


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Anonymou wrote: God has

Anonymou wrote:

 God has given us the ability to fly.  In fact, I think I'm going on a trip south this winter and how will I get there? Probably on a Boeing 747

Oh you mean planes that man created with scientific advancement.  God isn't good with them.  When 19 men hijacked planes on 9-11 and God was supposedly blessing America he failed... in fact the 19 men were committing their crimes in the name of Allah.  So unless you believe in Allah we have a problem.

It doesn't matter though, you know and I know that I was talking about flying without a plane, I want to be able to jump up and fly away.

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Hambydammit wrote:My best

Hambydammit wrote:

My best argument against freewill is the same as my best argument against God.  I've never heard either defined coherently enough to attempt proof.  Therefore, the default position is non-existence.

 

This is such a bad argument, though. Concepts like consciousness and intelligence are similarly difficult to pin down and yet we accept that they describe something valid. I wouldn't attempt to claim that there is a best or even good argument against the existence of a god either, just a rational justification for not assuming ones existence. For this I apply Occam's razor. An omnipotent entity could do literally anything, including create a universe with no rational trace of its existence within it. Likewise an omnipotent being could easily be exempt from being consistent within this universe and it's consistency, or at least observed consistency within the universe which serves as the basis for logic. But the point is that all we ever observe in this universe is consistency.  From the position of recognizing ourselves as fallible it becomes prudent to rely on objective sources of information (preferably verifiable ones) to determine what is true.  This means going by what we observe and not assuming things we never observe.  Since we always observe the universe being consistent its reasonable to assume the universe is consistent so logic is justifiable.  Complexity is clearly apparent within the universe but there is no evidence that complexity requires intelligence (and every reasons to believe undirected processes are better able to generate complexity).  As a result there's no reason to assume that an intelligent entity is necessary to explain our observed universe.  There is likewise no direct line of evidence that such an entity exists, like him coming down here and hanging out with us on a regular basis and essentially making his existence known to us in an undeniable way Christians would claim he has done this I won't go into my objections to that here).  So lacking direct evidence that the existence of a God is an axiom, and lacking a justification why making the assumption that such an entity exists is necessary for purely explanatory purposes there's no reason to include the assumption in the axiomatic systm from which I derive my understanding of existence.

 

Free Will, however, as a concept doesn't fail this test.  It has value as an explanatory concept.  It is lacking in a well developed definition, this is true.  However what are the natural consequences of a universe in which all of our decisions are predetermined?  What does such an assumption offer us that is of any value?  To argue for strict determinism is to argue against accountability.  How can we actually be accountable for our choices if it isn't possible we could have chosen differently?  There is certainly a role that randomness plays in everything, and I would argue that this is especially true of consciousness.  It isn't even necessarily constrained to random firing of synapses.  There also seems to be (at least apparently from other posts I read as I was scanning this thread) confusion about certain other concepts.  For instance there was, especially in the beginning a lot of asserting that if free will is constrained it isn't free.  This was followed by the assumption that if free will is constrained and not free we should assume determinism.  This fails because it ignores the possibility of varying degrees of freedom.  We see this in die rolls.  The outcomes are random but very strictly constrained.  You will never roll a 7 on a 6 sided die, for instance.  So the objection that having free will doesn't mean we should be able to fly is perfectly reasonable.  We can easily be free to make decisions within the constraints of what is possible without having to reject free will and assume determinism.  We can't fly because it is not within the range of what is possible for us.  It's not an option.  We still have copious other options how do you prove that we aren't free to decide any one of them?  How do you prove that the decision we ultimately make was predetermined?

 

In short I reject the existence of a god because it is neither directly proven nor adds anything useful to my axiomatic system for understanding existence.  I have to reject the assumption that Free Will doesn't exist because it can neither be directly proven nor does it add anything useful to my axiomatic system for understanding existence.  Conversely there is the fact that the assumption that there is free will as it is intuitively understood (by m at least) does add useful explanatory tools to my understanding of the universe.  For instance I can use it to understand why people subject to similar circumstances as myself differ so dramatically in the decisions they make when presented with similar options to myself.  I can also use it to explain why people who receive a similar education to myself would have a different understanding about what was learned than myself.  Determinism, as an omnipotent entity, has the ability to concisely explain anything, of course.  "It's the way it is because it's pre-determined" (or it's the way it is because an all powerful entity made it that way!).  The explanation adds nothing useful, though, and it isn't falsifiable, so it faces the same shortcomings.


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Sapient wrote:If I have free

Sapient wrote:
If I have free will, why can't I fly? Because I can't fly, God clearly has placed restrictions on free will, and since he has why did he not restrict free will in such a way so that evil didn't have to exist? He restricted us from flying, but didn't restrict us from murdering? Loving? I think not.

That is not true. He gave Vick the ability to fly and Vick flew right over the Skins and crapped all over them. SON OF A BITCH!

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giving them a whole new

deleted

 


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"free will" in the sense

"Free will" in the sense theists think of it is an empty concept. They only use it to attempt to justify a benevolent and just God punishing us for making decisions against HIS will, which is logically impossible in the case of an omnipotent being.

WTF is the meaning of a choice or decision not based on anything at all, not our personal tastes, preferences, desires, memories, etc??? All of the those are determining factors.

A real free choice is simply one not made under duress from other people.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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quantum mechanics, stupid

 everyone here should read about quantum mechanical indeterminacy, heisenberg's uncertainty principle, the particle-in-a-box theory, and wave-particle duality. that should clear things up for whichever side you're on.