Can Omniscience and Freewill co-exist?

Tarpan
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Can Omniscience and Freewill co-exist?

I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I didn't see anything. I have been arguing this for a couple days with someone and I just wanted to find out what other people thought.

Assuming god is Omniscient...then it knows all.

It knows the future, and knows every decision I will make.

So even if I have free will to make a decision, god already knows what that decision will be.

So regardless of my motivation, I would have no ability to alter the future because the future is already written even if I don't know about it.

The problem is that the argument I'm receiving suggests that I have the ability to make changes. He agrees that god knows what those changes are already...but that I can still make changes. This to me makes 0 sense. If god already knows the decision I'll make, then no matter what I do end up deciding in life I'd ultimatly just be living into the pre-written script of my life.

The ultimate defence that he uses is that I just can't comprehend omniscience and free will co-existing because I have not accepted Jesus (o rly?) which of course just makes my eyes roll. I agree that I don't comprehend how these co-exist, because waht is free will if you don't have the ability to affect the future?

Please note that I'm not suggesting that god 'controls' the decisioin in this case, just that if god is omniscient that I'm just living out my pre-written life regardless of who controls the decisions.


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Apotheon wrote: The

Apotheon wrote:

The answer to the title of this thread is yes. For a quick explanation, I will use an analogy. Analogies are not perfect, but they do illustrate certain truths.

Suppose you are standing on a mountain top facing north. There is a one lane road at the bottom of the moutain that goes around its circumference. You look down at the road on your right. You can see a car moving north. Then you turn your head and look down at the road on your left. There is another car headed north. You see from your vantage point of perception that both cars are headed on a collision course, but they don't see the other car approaching because they don't have the same perception you have, being on top of the moutain looking down. The fact that you foresee an inevitible collision between the two cars, does not violate the free will of the drivers.

That's how it is with God. He sees things from a completely different perspective then us. But His foreknowledge does not in anyway rob us of our free will.

That's a brief explanation. For a fuller treatement on this subject, read Systematic Theology (volume 1), by Dr. Norman Geisler.

 

I already wrote off this argument.  You assume that they will, you see it as a likely scenario.  But either car could stop and turnaround at any point.  You don't know for fact, with 100% certainty, what will happen. 


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Apotheon wrote: Actually,

Apotheon wrote:
Actually, its a very good analogy. But it requires that one have the intelligence to grasp it. It has been accepted as very logical by philosphers. But hate theists (oops, I mean atheists) have bull shit answers for everything. They're bias and ignorance obstructs their ability to see things in a reasonable way.

Based on the fact that I wrote off your argument as insufficient without much thought would indicate to me that those philosophers are grasping for explaination and want to accept a truth before actually knowing the truth.


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Archeopteryx wrote:

Archeopteryx wrote:
Eloise wrote:

And so?

It would produce something, whether it's new is extraneous if the point is to externalise it.

Before computers were made all the necessary computational theory was known and the impending results of machine augmented computation were well within our conception. We didn't build them because there was an absence of conception of the results, we built them because those known results were yet unrealised.

 

Yes, they were unrealized, but when we built them, we built them to achieve a certain end.

Yes, the end which was a realisation of the known consequences.

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The proposed God, however, is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.

Therefore, there would be no reason for god to create anything (thinking about it from an engineering point of view, for example) because God would have nothing to accomplish.

and I am saying we don't even have to take such a narrow view of accomplishment, even in matters of engineering (as I attempted to demonstrate with the mention of computers) an achievement of new knowledge (or new substance) and the self-satisfaction of creating something bringing something into being (doesn't have to be new, just yours) are two different points on the compass of worthwhile pursuits.

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The creation of the universe could not possibly help him in any way.

And if he is those things omnipotent and omniscient, then the practical helpfulness of an enterprise is clearly of no consequence. I mean, why presume that what an omni-being does needs to be practically useful to begin with? It's a very narrow view of purpose, really, and if it was at all right or absolute we'd live in a black and white world of squares and straight lines. Art, beauty, ornament the purpose of those is not practical but, simply, to be.

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That concept of a deity

That concept of a deity relies heavily on a speculative and undefined concept of meaning: Neither A nor B, in a choice between A and B, but something nonetheless... somehow. There could be that third space for this undemonstrated thing, but I can hear the limb cracking at the base and I think I should turn back now. For me, omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence equates to an undifferentiated state; a complete state of balance. At the very least, there would have to be a place where a god is not, a thing that a god is not, for the concept to have any potential meaning. 


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Quote:

Quote:
Quote:

 

Yes, they were unrealized, but when we built them, we built them to achieve a certain end.

Yes, the end which was a realisation of the known consequences.

The point is that when we created them, we created them to advance ourselves in some way. We didn't create them simply because the idea was floating around. We created them because doing so was not only beneficial, but informative as well.

God would have had no use to build something for the same reasons. If he built anything at all, it would have to be for completely different reasons or for no reason at all.

Also, we built them from material that already existed.

Therefore, the computer analogy is a false one and cannot be used.

 

Quote:
Quote:

The proposed God, however, is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.

Therefore, there would be no reason for god to create anything (thinking about it from an engineering point of view, for example) because God would have nothing to accomplish.

and I am saying we don't even have to take such a narrow view of accomplishment, even in matters of engineering (as I attempted to demonstrate with the mention of computers) an achievement of new knowledge (or new substance) and the self-satisfaction of creating something bringing something into being (doesn't have to be new, just yours) are two different points on the compass of worthwhile pursuits.

Are suggesting that god had some kind of an aesthetic motivation?

Well, why does anyone create art then? For one, they can create it to say something about something else, which couldn't have been God's motivation since there WAS nothing else; or they can create it for the satisfaction of having been able to create the thing, which also wouldn't work for god, because there is nothing he can't do and there would have been no doubt. God feeling accomplished for creating the universe would ostensibly be like me smiling with satisfaction and a feeling of accomplishment every time I exhale. Every exhalation of carbon dioxide is special and mine, but I don't feel anything special about it because it's such a mundane and easy thing.

So would such a creation have been for a being with unlimited power and knowledge. A being with such infinite capacities would be infinitely impossible to impress.

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The creation of the universe could not possibly help him in any way.

And if he is those things omnipotent and omniscient, then the practical helpfulness of an enterprise is clearly of no consequence. I mean, why presume that what an omni-being does needs to be practically useful to begin with? It's a very narrow view of purpose, really, and if it was at all right or absolute we'd live in a black and white world of squares and straight lines. Art, beauty, ornament the purpose of those is not practical but, simply, to be.

I think I answered this above.

Art is a human phenomenon.

See my response to Apotheon further up the page. All attempts to explain God have anthropocentric roots. That doesn't make sense at all. 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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Archeopteryx

Archeopteryx wrote:
Quote:
Quote:

 

Yes, they were unrealized, but when we built them, we built them to achieve a certain end.

Yes, the end which was a realisation of the known consequences.

The point is that when we created them, we created them to advance ourselves in some way. We didn't create them simply because the idea was floating around. We created them because doing so was not only beneficial, but informative as well.

No we merely justified ourselves to our sense of judgement with some arbitrary 'advance' hypothesis, why we did it was because we could, we wanted to, and we hadn't "yet".

 

Quote:

God would have had no use to build something for the same reasons. If he built anything at all, it would have to be for completely different reasons or for no reason at all.

Yes, I agree.

Quote:

Also, we built them from material that already existed.

Therefore, the computer analogy is a false one and cannot be used.

It's not false as far as we are concerned with the 'knowledge of how'.

 

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:

The proposed God, however, is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.

Therefore, there would be no reason for god to create anything (thinking about it from an engineering point of view, for example) because God would have nothing to accomplish.

and I am saying we don't even have to take such a narrow view of accomplishment, even in matters of engineering (as I attempted to demonstrate with the mention of computers) an achievement of new knowledge (or new substance) and the self-satisfaction of creating something bringing something into being (doesn't have to be new, just yours) are two different points on the compass of worthwhile pursuits.

Are suggesting that god had some kind of an aesthetic motivation?

Well, why does anyone create art then? For one, they can create it to say something about something else, which couldn't have been God's motivation since there WAS nothing else;

There was God, and his infinite knowing to say something about.

Quote:

or they can create it for the satisfaction of having been able to create the thing, which also wouldn't work for god, because there is nothing he can't do and there would have been no doubt. God feeling accomplished for creating the universe would ostensibly be like me smiling with satisfaction and a feeling of accomplishment every time I exhale.

Yep, Bingo Arch. Gee you are quick. Smiling

 

Quote:

Every exhalation of carbon dioxide is special and mine, but I don't feel anything special about it because it's such a mundane and easy thing.

Compared to absolute nihilo?

Quote:

So would such a creation have been for a being with unlimited power and knowledge. A being with such infinite capacities would be infinitely impossible to impress.

but it's not about impressing oneself, it's about expressing oneself LOL.

 

Quote:
Quote:
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The creation of the universe could not possibly help him in any way.

And if he is those things omnipotent and omniscient, then the practical helpfulness of an enterprise is clearly of no consequence. I mean, why presume that what an omni-being does needs to be practically useful to begin with? It's a very narrow view of purpose, really, and if it was at all right or absolute we'd live in a black and white world of squares and straight lines. Art, beauty, ornament the purpose of those is not practical but, simply, to be.

I think I answered this above.

Art is a human phenomenon.

See my response to Apotheon further up the page. All attempts to explain God have anthropocentric roots. That doesn't make sense at all.

All human attempts to explain any form of sentience has antropocentric roots, so what? And besides, God and man are supposed to be alike, the only question is of how.

 

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Eloise wrote: but it's

Eloise wrote:

but it's not about impressing oneself, it's about expressing oneself LOL.

The idea that a perfect being would need or want to express itself (or want / need anything) seems to contradict the definition of perfection since God would want or need something external to himself. 

And if God is not perfect, then who's to say we're simply not a mistake or pawns of some other entity that's just more advanced than we are. Simply having infinite knowledge isn't enough. 

Eloise wrote:

All human attempts to explain any form of sentience has antropocentric roots, so what? And besides, God and man are supposed to be alike, the only question is of how.

Supposedly alike and actually alike are two different things. If man were to create a God, I'd expect him to think we were made in his image.  

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Veils of Maya

Veils of Maya wrote:

Eloise wrote:

but it's not about impressing oneself, it's about expressing oneself LOL.

The idea that a perfect being would need or want to express itself (or want / need anything) seems to contradict the definition of perfection since God would want or need something external to himself.

In this case what he "wants" externalised is his own perfection. It only indicates that perfection must be something worth duplicating.

Quote:

And if God is not perfect, then who's to say we're simply not a mistake or pawns of some other entity that's just more advanced than we are. Simply having infinite knowledge isn't enough.

Any of those things could be perfection. It's a subjective term. LOL.

But really, a lot of these problems are quite exclusive to the creationist contradictions about God and I have no intention of defending those ideas. If God is perfect and his creation is perfect then perfect in gods terms equals the good, the bad the ugly and dangerous all sifted together to create something unique.

 

 

Quote:
Eloise wrote:

All human attempts to explain any form of sentience has antropocentric roots, so what? And besides, God and man are supposed to be alike, the only question is of how.

Supposedly alike and actually alike are two different things. If man were to create a God, I'd expect him to think we were made in his image.

Well yes, how, on the condition that it's actual we are in gods image. Yet ...

if God is all (omnipresent), and the actual world is the monistic interdependent schotastic system of energy, and that system is non-locally entangled, and man is part of that system, then the definition of man is the same as the definition of God.

If God is All knowing (omniscient) and knowledge is information, and information is energy, and energy is all there is in the system which defines man - then man is in Gods image.

If God is all powerful (omnipotent) and power is potential energy, and potential energy is stored in the state space of the system which defines man as the system which defines man, then man is God.

But, man is a non-local entangled schotastic system.

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Eloise wrote: Veils of


Eloise wrote:
Veils of Maya wrote:


The idea that a perfect being would need or want to express itself (or want / need anything) seems to contradict the definition of perfection since God would want or need something external to himself.



In this case what he "wants" externalised is his own perfection. It only indicates that perfection must be something worth duplicating.



Which would mean God felt the need or want to have more of his perfection exist. A perfect being would be perfectly sufficient in the amount of perfection that currently exists. It would be at equilibrium. Having more or less of the same perfection would have no impact on anything.

Eloise wrote:
Veils of Maya wrote:


And if God is not perfect, then who's to say we're simply not a mistake or pawns of some other entity that's just more advanced than we are. Simply having infinite knowledge isn't enough.



Any of those things could be perfection. It's a subjective term. LOL.

But really, a lot of these problems are quite exclusive to the creationist contradictions about God and I have no intention of defending those ideas. If God is perfect and his creation is perfect then perfect in gods terms equals the good, the bad the ugly and dangerous all sifted together to create something unique.



Perfection would hinge being omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent.

If God was not omnipotent, he may know what the right action would be, but might not have the ability able to take it. If God was not omniscient, he may be able to take any action, but not know the right action to take. If God was not benevolent, he could know and be capable of taking the right actions, but may simply decide to do something else instead.

We do not learn by experience, but by our capacity for experience.


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Veils of Maya

Veils of Maya wrote:

Eloise wrote:
Veils of Maya wrote:


The idea that a perfect being would need or want to express itself (or want / need anything) seems to contradict the definition of perfection since God would want or need something external to himself.



In this case what he "wants" externalised is his own perfection. It only indicates that perfection must be something worth duplicating.



Which would mean God felt the need or want to have more of his perfection exist. A perfect being would be perfectly sufficient in the amount of perfection that currently exists. It would be at equilibrium. Having more or less of the same perfection would have no impact on anything.

 Don't you think that things like impact, advancement, purpose etc as a the global measure for the value of action are anthropocentric themselves? The rest of the natural world is whimisical and spontaneous how come our arbitrary values are the right ones?

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Eloise wrote: Veils of

Eloise wrote:


Veils of Maya wrote:

Eloise wrote:
Veils of Maya wrote:


The idea that a perfect being would need or want to express itself (or want / need anything) seems to contradict the definition of perfection since God would want or need something external to himself.



In this case what he "wants" externalised is his own perfection. It only indicates that perfection must be something worth duplicating.



Which would mean God felt the need or want to have more of his perfection exist. A perfect being would be perfectly sufficient in the amount of perfection that currently exists. It would be at equilibrium. Having more or less of the same perfection would have no impact on anything.



Don't you think that things like impact, advancement, purpose etc as a the global measure for the value of action are anthropocentric themselves? The rest of the natural world is whimisical and spontaneous how come our arbitrary values are the right ones?



While I see where you're headed here, I'm not promoting a particular set of values over another. I'm questioning the notion that a perfect God would value anything.

For the duplication of perfection to have any value, there must be some shortage of perfection. Otherwise, having more perfection is completely irrelveant. If you can't have too much perfection, then there is an infinite gap of non-perfection that could be filled. Just as if a light can shine brighter, there must be darkness that has yet to be illuminated.

Saying an omniscient, omnipotent, perfect God would want or need anything is like saying God created us so he'd have someone to watch football with - after having created football since he wanted to be entertained. His power and knowlege makes everything equally possible, yet equally unnessary.

If anything, I'd say the idea that God would find value in anything is an anthropomorphic view of the universe

We do not learn by experience, but by our capacity for experience.


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This happens to be one of my favorite 'arguments'

I have done the 'free will vs. omniscient God' argument with people who are religious and generally they don't like it because you cannot logically support both conclusions. I have a lot of fun with this one, because, invariably, you get people who will misunderstand the argument because they don't like the inescapable conclusion. I've been doing this for probably a couple of years.

Notwithstanding whether you believe in God, still, from a religious standpoint it's basically acceptable to argue that there is an omniscient God who knows everything, or you can argue that people have free will. But you cannot argue both simultaneously because they contradict each other.

As far as all of your arguments are, I think you're on solid ground. What I sometimes get from people when I point out that if someone knows your entire life from before you were born until after you die, then you have no capacity to make independent choices; you do not have free will.

They'll sometimes try to argue that God doesn't make people do anything. And I point out that I never said She did (and that one there often gets them upset!) I simply stated that if one's entire life is predetermined then one cannot have free will.

To misuse a few metaphors, making such an argument here is probably pointless because you're preaching to the converted!

 

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Please excuse this message.

When I posted this comment the system gave me an error message indicating the comment did not go through.  So I backed up and tried again, and it gave me the same error.  But the system told me I had 'another 4 points' so I gather it posted it twice.  So I've replaced the second one with this filler.

 

"Above all else... We shall go on..."
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Tarpan wrote: I'm sure

Tarpan wrote:

I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I didn't see anything. I have been arguing this for a couple days with someone and I just wanted to find out what other people thought.

Assuming god is Omniscient...then it knows all.

It knows the future, and knows every decision I will make.

So even if I have free will to make a decision, god already knows what that decision will be.

So regardless of my motivation, I would have no ability to alter the future because the future is already written even if I don't know about it.

The problem is that the argument I'm receiving suggests that I have the ability to make changes. He agrees that god knows what those changes are already...but that I can still make changes. This to me makes 0 sense. If god already knows the decision I'll make, then no matter what I do end up deciding in life I'd ultimatly just be living into the pre-written script of my life.

The ultimate defence that he uses is that I just can't comprehend omniscience and free will co-existing because I have not accepted Jesus (o rly?) which of course just makes my eyes roll. I agree that I don't comprehend how these co-exist, because waht is free will if you don't have the ability to affect the future?

Please note that I'm not suggesting that god 'controls' the decisioin in this case, just that if god is omniscient that I'm just living out my pre-written life regardless of who controls the decisions.

determinism does not require an omniscient being to be true.  By physical laws, and the makeup of our senses and the way we reason because of our minds and our upbringing, we are determined regardless of God.

To know that one is determined, and to see that the choices one makes are the most rational choices possible is what the rational thinker means to be free.  To be free to be determined by reason is the only freedom worth having.


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For my thoughts are not your thoughts...

I totally agree that it would served us well to remember that we're only finite beings trying to understand an infinite concept. Remember too this is what God tells us about himself: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said Jehovah. For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Perhaps the reason we don't understand is because we're trying to fit God in a box of what we think God should be?


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Great minds think alike?!

 Pile - I like your style and your answer as it mirrors my own thoughts - along with Sam Harris' it would seem see his current blog post. Also, I felt I should tell you that I have plagiarized your comment wholesale where applicable on another forum thread as it is just so damn well done. I hope you don't mind - if you do, just say and I will go back and delete it.

 


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Thanks!

Pile wrote:

I don't see any conflict with the idea that one being can be omniscient and another can have free will.

Free will is more of an abstraction any way. I don't believe free will in any pure form exists in the first place. It's an illusion, totally subjective, like "love" or "perfection".

Additional insight into this can be revealed by studying how the human brain processes and reacts to information. We have a series of neurons and dedrites in our brain, which store and link amongst themselves using electrical pulses that are keyed to various combinations of stimuli. Any particular stimuli, whether it's a feeling, word, emotion, sound, action or a combination of several, is referenced in our brain by a unique array of links between cells.

What makes us "think" is a process of how our brain decodes the resulting triggering of memory cells based on a previous array of input. This array is called a "neural network." I have written software that emulates A.I. and neural networks and what's most amazing about neural networks; what makes them so special and powerful, is the decisions made by the network are always definitive and instantaneous... if there is any more substantive processing going on, it is more in the programming/learning area, and almost never in the decision/reaction area. For this reason, I do not believe there is such a thing as "free will" in the first place because our brains are effectively programmed to process stimuli instantly and definitively.

If we ever mull over something, this is usually not contemplation over the original decision, but a conflict that has been created as a result of new, additional programming. This is my theory. I think it makes sense. Often what we consider to be rumination over a decision, is not actually trying to figure out what we want to do, but rationalizing the implications of a decision our main has subconciously made, instantly.

Let's say you're a college student. You are in your senior year. You get a phone call with a really excellent job offer, but you'd have to quit school to take advantage of the offer.

What do you do?

Do you mull over the options and use your free will to make a decision?

I say no. You never had any free will to begin with.

The moment a choice was identified, your mind made a decision. A decision that was based on the neural programming you have in your brain. This decision centers around the weighted values in the neural network of your concept of the value of both sides of the offer. You instantly made a decision as if you were a train on a track, and that track is your past, your experience, the programming of your mind up until this point.

You may think you have to contemplate the issue, but ultimately you don't. You may not consciously recognize the decision has been made, but it has, and the contemplation you go through is merely reconciling the decision that's already been made.

I say there's no free will. When you really get into it, there isn't that much difference between the human mind and a computer. The output is determined by the input and it's very predictable depending upon how much you're paying attention to what's going in and out.

 

Brilliantly said! I have never thought of it like that, and I thank you for sharing your ideas with us all.


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hmm

 Earlier someone asked why hardly anyone is posting on here counter arguing the omniscience vs free will argument. It's cause most Christians (I'll assume most people arguing for the Christian God's Omniscience, our free will coexisting with that, and God's benevolence, would claim to be Christians) know that they'll win few battles on forums and generally on the internet. For the time it takes to post a good logical argument, 20 more people will just post counter arguing the Christian's post and everyone will forget about it with few exceptions. 

I could post why I believe that God is Omniscient, Omnipotent, and benevolent while we still have free will, and trust me, it's not blind belief. I've gone through countless arguments in my head and with people until I found out why I should believe and there are good logical points to back it up. But I'll just say this: Satan is the King of Lies, and many of the arguments against God are spun by him, and they sound so good and are so hard to argue with because they are half true! Are we living in a predetermined storybook written by a God who doesn't care about the evil in the world? Yes and no. The lies: God doesn't care. Half truth, predetermination.

Beliefe in a God as a loving person comes from just that, Belief with a capital B. The Predetermination thing is a product of our own time oriented minds. God knows the future because He exists outside time. He allows evil because he cannot see a future that doesn't exist. http://www.heavensfamily.org/ss/e_teachings/2008/gods-regrets-mans-free-will, this link will explain that last point. Yes we are going to end up either in heaven or hell and God knows the path we'll take, but He does not decide it. We do. And this shouldn't be an excuse to be amoral and write off God as uncaring. In fact, knowing that you choose your own path should do the exact opposite! but Satan corrupts every good thing he can get his hands on.... anyways, I really hope and pray you don't write me off and that something of this makes it through to someone. If nothing else, read the article in that link. It's good stuff and it may just convince you. It convinced me.


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Here is another way of

Here is another way of looking at it: Picture a road that stretches for miles and miles 

On this road are turn-offs and crossroads, and on the crossroads are branching paths,etc.

The road is a person's life, and the forks and crossroads are decisions that a person makes throughout their life.

 

What if God knows the future by virtue of the roads?  When a person arrives at a crossroad, God lets them make the decision (but at the same time knowing the future of each road)

This allows for freewill and omniscience.

 

Please reply and tell me what you think

 (However, if you say that this is ridiculous and ignorant, please explain why)

 

 


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Sure, that works if you

Sure, that works if you imagine God as observing an essentially infinite number of intersections and branches that represent a person's life. He would arguably not be omniscient though, as he would not know the future, only all possible futures.

 

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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butterbattle wrote:Sure,

butterbattle wrote:

Sure, that works if you imagine God as observing an essentially infinite number of intersections and branches that represent a person's life. He would arguably not be omniscient though, as he would not know the future, only all possible futures.

 

Right. I pointed that out myself on another thread.

There is something he still doesn't know in advance, ie, your decision, therefore he doesn't know everything, IOW he is not omniscient, he doesn't know the actual future. But he is also supposed to beyond time, so why would his knowledge be limited to the present or earlier? Another aspect of the problem.

Maybe every possible future actually happens, as per the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.

So only those versions(?) of yourself which make the right decisions go to heaven, or to the matching version of heaven...

Can someone show me where in the Bible it explains how this is supposed to work?

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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bfish
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omniscient implies not bounded by time

Suppose, for a moment, that it is possible to capture "everything that happens" using a special "catch it all" (CIA, isn't that a great acronym?) camera.  While we are at the fantasy, let's make the camera invisible and operated by thought, so that no one would know it was there or would have any idea that I was operating it.  I know that this is a stretch, but I'm thinking that the whole idea of omniscience is a stretch, so hopefully this all hangs together.

Please allow my filming debut with the CIA wherein I use the camera to capture action outside my favorite local atheist cafe.  After viewing the output of my camera, I would be omniscient about the events recorded.  Surely, no one would argue that by virtue of employing the camera I had forced the events recorded by the camera to occur (or, if you would, please quote this section and make your argument).  I go on assuming that (contrary to quantum physics) viewing an action does not effect it and, even further, that the act of omnisciently recording events does not dictate their outcome.

Suppose, now, that I have a very large collection of these cameras and install them such that all of history is recorded everywhere I care to record it (this can be on a group of people or on a world or worlds or whatever).  At any moment in time, I could conceivably replay any moment of history that was recorded previously and, thus, know everything that occurred without having effected anything (in a much smaller way and with much more editing, this is what happens when we view a film).

Now suppose that these cameras were placed "at the beginning of time" (lets be loose with that and just go with it) and that they ran until "the end of time" so that all of history was recorded.  I think this is consistent with omniscience insofar as the boundaries of time would be a good range for knowledge of everything.  Now, suppose that one watched this recording in its entirety from beginning to end.  Again, it is reasonable at this point (quantum physics aside) to argue that one knows everything that happened without effecting free will.

As a final step, whomever this newly omniscient person is, s/he just has to time travel with the knowledge garnered from the end of time and s/he is omniscient for all time without effecting free will.  Even though omniscient for all time was not mentioned in the topic header, I think it is a reasonable extension.

In conclusion, I think it is reasonable to argue that it is conceivable (however unlikely) that one could both be omniscient and not effect free will (with the possible exception of the person who is her/himself omniscient).  Whether there is such a person, however, is a completely different consideration.  To the extent that time travel is precluded, I think it is reasonable to preclude omniscience.  The argument about whether or not one has free will when one can time travel is a whole different predicament (hence my potential exception for the individual experiencing omniscience).

Some possible objections:

1)  Time travel is ridiculous -- OK, but physics allows for it and I'm thinking that if you are prepared to argue about the presence or absence of omniscience, you've already stepped beyond/over/through the "ridiculous" argument.

2) It would take a "long time" to watch the video and would be impossible to store -- Both very good arguments, but they are really going at the mechanics of the argument as opposed to the heart of the argument.  So, as for the "long time"--our time traveller is someone who lived before the start of time and after the end of time, so a "long time" is probably not meaningful and, to the extent it is, well, there is plenty of it and the time traveller can just watch "forever" and then go back in time.  Sadly, that argument probably leaves a worse taste in your mouth then when you started.  As for a lot of space, well, you are right and I concede the point that knowing all of the events in time would take up a lot of space, so perhaps my device has gotten in the way of the argument.  Extrapolate, if you can, that the camera is simply the "eye" of our omniscient being who lives outside of time so that s/he can see all of time at a glance in all of its detail.  Since the omniscient being is outside of time, whether doing this takes an instant or an eternity is moot.  As for storage, well, the individual is omniscient, so it has to be stored someplace, if you want to preclude the ability to store omniscience it is an interesting argument, but side-tracks whether omniscience effects free will.

3) My God is omiscient and I believe, so we don't need your argument.  Well, good, hope you enjoyed reading what I wrote Smiling.

4) Only a god could be omniscient, I have no god, so there can be no omniscience.  OK, but hopefully you see how circular that argument is.  I think that it is possible that the omniscient person could have no other god-like ability, so I'm not claiming godhood for someone who is omniscient.

5) Free will is not possible because the actions are recorded.  Recording is a post-facto operation and free-will is a pre-facto operation.  To the extent that we understand causality, recording, by definition, could not generate a pre-facto cause (except, perhaps, in the case of quantum dynamics),  Thus, recording cannot induce or exclude free will; the choice (freely made within the bounds of the possible) is simply noted.  Moreover, our direct experience with recording events teaches us that recording those events does not inhibit free will.

6) I invoke the quantum mechanics exception.  Ahhh...that sucks.  OK, well, the quantum mechanics argument is that you are in multiple states at the same time until such time as the wave form collapses and only one path is traversed.  I think that the very possibility of quantum mechanical states for human beings precludes the concept of free will (you do not take one path, but you take all paths simultaneously, so there is no free will and you do not directly control the collapse of the wave form).  So, if you take the quantum mechanics option, then this argument is moot as there is no free will to be inhibited by some omniscient being.


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Once you allow travelling

Once you allow travelling backward in time, you allow the possibility of affecting the course of events, which means either that your possible effect on events was already taken into account when you recorded it, so you could have seen your act of travelling back in time, so you would already be confronted with the paradox that either you didn't have the 'free will' to decide not to go, or there would be two time-lines splitting off from your intervention, which both happened. So 'free-will'  implies that someone 'outside of time' could only know all of an all-but-infinite number of possible histories.

To travel back in time without being able to interact with the world of the past is not really travelling, it is exactly the same as simply watching the tape. But once you interact, you either have to surrender free-will, or accept a Many Worlds interpretation, which means there could be an infinite number of recordings.

There would be no unique course of events to 'know'. This is the implication of a 'true' free-will, or any other non-deterministic process, such as quantum uncertainty. So non-deterministic 'free-will' is the equivalent of purely random choice, which is consistent with the idea that if your choice is not influenced by any consideration or knowledge, ie it can only be the equivalent of coin-flipping.

Once we introduce Quantum uncertainty, and even nonlinear feedback, which lead to chaotic indeterminacy, the reality is that with or with-out 'free-will', the specific course of events we will experience is not knowable in advance. And the only way this could be accounted for in a multi-dimensional perspective, where time is just one 'dimension', is for some version of the Many Worlds Interpretation to be the case.

Which would leave a God in that situation with nothing to do. Everything that can physically happen, happens.

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Free Will can exist while time travel exists

bfish wrote:

In conclusion, I think it is reasonable to argue that it is conceivable (however unlikely) that one could both be omniscient and not effect free will (with the possible exception of the person who is her/himself omniscient). 

BobSpence1 wrote:

Once you allow travelling backward in time, you allow the possibility of affecting the course of events, which means either that your possible effect on events was already taken into account when you recorded it, so you could have seen your act of travelling back in time, so you would already be confronted with the paradox that either you didn't have the 'free will' to decide not to go, or there would be two time-lines splitting off from your intervention, which both happened. So 'free-will'  implies that someone 'outside of time' could only know all of an all-but-infinite number of possible histories.

OK, so your argument is two-fold:  If there is time travel then either an omniscient person can have free will or an omniscient person can effect events that have occurred back in time.  I'd like to address each as well as the argument that one can have both free will and time travel.

1) Time travel without changing events

BobSpence1 wrote:

To travel back in time without being able to interact with the world of the past is not really travelling, it is exactly the same as simply watching the tape.

It is slightly different (being "present" in a current time and knowing everything that both did and could happen is what I considered the definition of omniscient) in my opinion, but if you concede that simply to have watched the tape is the same as omniscience then I think I carry the argument that there can be both omniscience and free will.

The many wolds argument does not carry.  The presumption of the many worlds argument is that the world on a grand scale plays by the same rules as the world on a quantum scale.  If that is so, then any given action (however minute) is taken in all of its myriad possibilities, until one action results (the wave collapses).  As an example, Shrodinger's (sp?) black cat is only both alive and dead until someone observes the current state of the cat at which point it is one or the other (the wave collapses).  Quantum physics only gives rise to a many-world scenario as a temporary construct until the wave collapses.  Given that the state of the world has been observed at the end of time, I think it is safe to say that the wave has collapsed and resolved into the choice we actually made and not just all of the possibilities we could have made.  If the wave has not collapsed, then one makes a mockery of the construct which gives rise to the many worlds themselves.  Or, at least, that is my understanding.  If your understanding is different, please share Smiling

2) Time travel with changing events

You offer the option that either our omnipotent person knows an infinitely (actually slightly smaller) vast collection of possible scenarios (which you argue well is really knowing nothing) or the omnipotent person does not have free will.  Since you offer a choice, I will choose the latter:  free will exists for everyone except the omnipotent.  I'm happy to concede to you that an omnipotent person does not experience free will, but would make the counter-argument that since some free will still  exists (in the tiny portion of existence that is not omnipotent) omnipotence and free will can co-exist.  From that perspective, I would like to argue once more that I carry the argument that there can be both omniscience and free will.

3) Time travel with changing events with free will for all

Time travel itself implies a rather difficult to comprehend distortion of time.  Among the initial assumptions (implied originally and stated during the objections):

bfish wrote:

...the omniscient being is outside of time...

 

If this assumption holds water (and it is kind of necessary for seeing all of time) then an omnipotent would not be constrained by time in the same way you and I are.  The concept of time would no more be a constraint to that person then linear distance is to us.  We think nothing of going back and forth in space.  Hopefully you are familiar with "Flatworld" which is an examination of what life would be like in a two dimensional environment, to some extent interacting with a three dimensional environment (what follows is a description of that world, not a quotation from Mr. Abbott, the author):

Imagine a flat plan on which exists a line.  A three dimensional object could touch the line at two distinct points simultaneously (say, using two different fingers) while appearing to be two places at once to the line itself (which cannot perceive three dimensions).  There is no magic here, the ability to do this is inherent to the three dimensional object.

Using the same sort of extrapolation, since the omnipotent is not constrained by time, the concept of doing one thing and then another is anathema...time is not a constraint.  Thus, someone omnipotent could both watch and do without being constrained by time (either the interval between the actions or the necessity for one to "precede" the other in a sense recognizable to the omniscient.  There is no paradox in being two places at once for a three dimensional creature in a two-dimensional space and there is no paradox for a person not bounded by time to be doing two things "at once" in different ranges of time.  I hope I have described this well.  If the presumption is that the omniscient is not constrained by time, then it is unreasonable to apply a time-based construct to understand that being's free will.  More importantly, our understanding of one does this and then that (causality) would not necessarily apply to the omniscient.  Just as we can slide our finger along the plane and effect life within the plane or lift our finger on and off the plane to effect life, so, too, could an omniscient interact with our understanding of the world.  Its just that the rules would be different.  I hope you see how this carries the argument for an omniscient to have free will (although the nature of that free will would not be the same as ours since our concept is time dependent).

 

Have I misunderstood or misrepresented your arguments?


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I am not sure you understand

I am not sure you understand my point. If there is 'true' free-will, or quantum uncertainty, or chaotic systems. then a being 'beyond time' can only see the space of all possibilities. Since all of those apart from 'free-will' do exist, and free-will is only consistent as a random choice anyway, a being beyond the realm of temporal perception could only see such a 'simultaneous' manifestation of all possibilities.

For such a being to see only one sequence of events, 'he' would have to be constrained within that time-line, therefore if he truly could influence events at any point along that timeline, he could not have free-will, since he would have to exist within a context where his intervention was already part of the total sequence, where he was unable to change it.

I was referring to a persistent 'many-worlds' interpretation of the implications of quantum indeterminacy, where all the possible alternate paths actually exist in a higher-dimensional 'space', but the less-likely paths fade into insignificance as they are traced, so that the total 'space' is finite, dominated by the more likely trajectories. This is at least what I took away from reading (on-line) the book "Schrodinger's rabbits, the Many Worlds of Quantum.' It was only free online for a limited introductory time, but I did manage to read through it in that time.

Discussing this stuff is tricky, but I see no room for 'true' omniscience, or 'free will', in the naive sense conceived of by theology, which I don't believe deserves to be taken seriously.

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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Maybe I do?

BobSpence1 wrote:

I am not sure you understand my point.

You are right...It seems to me that your point is that neither omniscience nor free will are possible, so whether one excludes the other or not is moot.  Did I get it?

I am mildly puzzled (if I got your point) why this topic is interesting to you.

For me, I think omniscience is highly unlikely and impossible to prove, but its presence does not seem like a problem for free will.  I thought that a premise of the discussion was that both could exist and that one precluded the existence of the other, so I was just working within the initial assumptions without pulling the rug out from the whole discussion.

Would it forward the discussion to concede the point on Many-Worlds with the hand-waving explanation that I consider it another form of religion (it is a useful idea, but cannot be tested as far as I can tell--I would put forward that the double slit experiment where light travels in every possible path within this world would suggest that many-worlds has some holes)?  So, I would concede that if reality is indeed a many-worlds model, then neither omniscience nor free will are possible and the discussion would be moot (that is kind of like saying, I'm willing to concede that if there is a heaven, then there is a god, but can we move forward and analyze with THIS world is like without the presupposition that a heaven exists).  Then move forward recognizing that many-worlds is but one possible explanation for the world as we know it and is not even a theory (it is referred to as an "interpretation" ) at this point?


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Omniscience is not really a

Omniscience is not really a coherent concept. I would rather not use the term, I would rather refer to specific categories of knowledge. The language of the omni-attributes is neither coherent or logically necessary, any more than the idea of a 'perfect', 'infinite' being is coherent or necessary in a posited conscious creator entity. Those ideas derive from the confused nonsense of Platonic idealism and other early naive, metaphysical crap.

In this context, I refer to potential knowledge of all possible paths that could be taken by the world, forking at each quantum collapse point, at each critical point in chaotic systems, at each random ( 'free-will' ) decision. Which is definitely all that some 'observer' outside a specific time-line, or 'time' itself, could 'see'.

An 'interpretation' is more than just hand-waving, every modern theory of particle physics and quantum mechanics is really only defined in mathematics, and requires an 'interpretation' to translate it into some model that our minds can grasp in some form. Each interpretation captures some part of the reality, but not the whole, just as we still have to think in both wave and particle terms in contemplating quantum phenomena. The double slit experiment is not really about a particle traveling "all possible paths", it is about each photon behaving as if it was a wave, in which some part of it does travel all paths to the point of detection. A particle traveling all possible paths would not generate an interference pattern.

MW is a very useful interpretation of a solidly confirmed mathematical model of some very fundamental properties and behaviors of matter and energy.

A pity that book on the MWI is not freely accessible, but even that took quite a lot of words to describe just one model of QT, so it is hard for me to convey in a few posts what I found made that interpretation a very useful model to me. Theories are ultimately models of reality, which do not necessarily describe 'ultimate' reality, but rather a framework which models the phenomena they are addressing with a highly useful degree of accuracy, to allow prediction and support for other related theories.

'If there is a heaven"?? An even more fuzzy, ill-defined concept than 'God'.

The strange concepts of physics are driven by the results of empirical investigation of reality, and continually refined as we get more data. They continually get further away from our intuitions. Not what happens in a religion.

'God', 'Heaven', the 'soul', are vague early concepts driven by our instincts and intuitions, which became ingrained in various forms in various traditions, which now feel they need to be defended in the face of evidence pointing in very different and counter-intuitive directions. They are very early 'theories' which should have been discarded long ago, but instead we have ever more convoluted 'logic' being devised to try and defend them in the face of a very different and deeper understanding of the phenomena they were originally invented to explain.

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

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Lining things up

BobSpence1 wrote:

Omniscience is not really a coherent concept. I would rather not use the term, I would rather refer to specific categories of knowledge. The language of the omni-attributes is neither coherent or logically necessary, any more than the idea of a 'perfect', 'infinite' being is coherent or necessary in a posited conscious creator entity. Those ideas derive from the confused nonsense of Platonic idealism and other early naive, metaphysical crap.

In this context, I refer to potential knowledge of all possible paths that could be taken by the world, forking at each quantum collapse point, at each critical point in chaotic systems, at each random ( 'free-will' ) decision. Which is definitely all that some 'observer' outside a specific time-line, or 'time' itself, could 'see'.

You seem like a pretty smart guy so I'm a little confused at how your arguments don't really reference any of mine, it makes it hard for me to link them up.  

If I understand correctly, here, it seems like you posit a multi-verse where new universes are created (out of nothing) instantaneously as a copy of current state zillions (OK that is an approximation) of times a second in response to quantum collapse (that is consistent with the many worlds model--I used this as my reference http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-manyworlds/), at each critical point in chaotic systems (this doesn't seem to be anywhere, but maybe it is part of the book you reference), and at every conceivable decision point.  It feels like you want to make the many worlds interpretation the only one that should be considered:

BobSpence1 wrote:

An 'interpretation' is more than just hand-waving, every modern theory of particle physics and quantum mechanics is really only defined in mathematics, and requires an 'interpretation' to translate it into some model that our minds can grasp in some form. Each interpretation captures some part of the reality, but not the whole, just as we still have to think in both wave and particle terms in contemplating quantum phenomena. The double slit experiment is not really about a particle traveling "all possible paths", it is about each photon behaving as if it was a wave, in which some part of it does travel all paths to the point of detection. A particle traveling all possible paths would not generate an interference pattern.

MW is a very useful interpretation of a solidly confirmed mathematical model of some very fundamental properties and behaviors of matter and energy.

A pity that book on the MWI is not freely accessible, but even that took quite a lot of words to describe just one model of QT, so it is hard for me to convey in a few posts what I found made that interpretation a very useful model to me. Theories are ultimately models of reality, which do not necessarily describe 'ultimate' reality, but rather a framework which models the phenomena they are addressing with a highly useful degree of accuracy, to allow prediction and support for other related theories.

for what it is worth, I wasn't saying that I thought that MW was just hand-waving:

bfish wrote:

Would it forward the discussion to concede the point on Many-Worlds with the hand-waving explanation that I consider it another form of religion (it is a useful idea, but cannot be tested as far as I can tell...

I was saying that I'll concede the point without explanation (just hand-waving) and the general idea that I consider MW another form of religion because it is not testable.  I'll grant that it may be very useful for mathematics, or very useful for explanation, but until it is testable, one can only have it on "faith."

BobSpence1 wrote:

'If there is a heaven"?? An even more fuzzy, ill-defined concept than 'God'.

Wow...that was an example not a testimony of faith or belief.  I may have touched a button, sorry.  Again, what I was trying to say is that I'll grant that MW precludes both omniscience and free will.  I will not grant that MW is definitely the structure of the world as we know it.  I will grant that it could be the structure of the world as we know it and, to the extent it is correct, neither omniscience nor free will has meaning.

BobSpence1 wrote:

The strange concepts of physics are driven by the results of empirical investigation of reality, and continually refined as we get more data. They continually get further away from our intuitions. Not what happens in a religion.

I think you are grabbing hold of a lead balloon when you suggest that religion coincides with intuition.  I think, equally, that science is not "more valid" because it diverges from intuition.  I think science is valid because it relies on testable theories--THEN TESTS THOSE THEORIES.  I think that gives science credibility in a way that is comforting and good.  Some physics is strange (quantum physics comes to mind) and some physics is obvious (the flight of an arrow).  We can intuit easily where the arrow will go and physics gives us good explanations for why our intuitions are correct.  After all, plenty of archers existed long before a correct explanation of the physics behind archery was brought forward.

BobSpence1 wrote:

'God', 'Heaven', the 'soul', are vague early concepts driven by our instincts and intuitions, which became ingrained in various forms in various traditions, which now feel they need to be defended in the face of evidence pointing in very different and counter-intuitive directions. They are very early 'theories' which should have been discarded long ago, but instead we have ever more convoluted 'logic' being devised to try and defend them in the face of a very different and deeper understanding of the phenomena they were originally invented to explain.

Well, maybe these are concepts driven by your instincts and intuitions, but I have a feeling that a lot of people on this board are going to find hearty disagreement (for them religion is counter-intuitive).  On this topic, however, the argument is irrelevant.  The question of whether or not omniscience precludes free will does not necessarily involve religion at all.

So, at this point, I argue by virtue of previous posts that omniscience does not preclude free will (and vice-versa)

If MW is true, then neither omniscience nor free will exists and this debate becomes meaningless a priori.  Unless you would care to argue that MW is the ONLY valid model of the world in which we live, I'm not sure what a further discussion of MW brings to the topic.


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bfish, assuming that your

bfish, assuming that your definition of free will is coherent and accurately describes reality, how does it solve the problem of evil?

This is slightly off topic, but I think it is ultimately the reason for most discussions concerning omniscience and free will.

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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Definition of free will

butterbattle wrote:

bfish, assuming that your definition of free will is coherent and accurately describes reality, how does it solve the problem of evil?

 blech.

 

OK, so I didn't have a particular definition of free will in mind, but your post got me thinking about what a reasonable definition is.  So here are some answers to your question:

* In this topic I have to admit that I was thinking of free will as some option other then following a pre-programmed script without a whole lot more thought to it.  In the case of Many-Worlds, I had to concede that taking all choices was tantamount to not having made any choice at all and I did see that as eliminating free will.  Frankly, I am worried about what quantum effects on a grand scale would do.  I do reject persistent (I'm inclined to reject non-persistent as well on largely the same basis, but it has a little more grab to me as nothing is really created) Many-Worlds out of hand as the thought of a multi-verse with multiple versions of me seems unfair to the multi-verse and the concept of the entire universe "splitting" has the ring of creating matter/energy from no where and the ability to replicate state instantaneously seems perversely like magic.  Of course, "spooky action at a distance" (quantum entanglement) has the ring of magic as well and I've been forced to accept it as reality by the number of honest experiments that can reproduce it.  So, while I reject MW as an objective reality I completely accept it as an interpretation of the mathematics that facilitates moving forward with experiments.  I am partial to the concept of string theory, but I have not been able to work through the math involved and, like quantum mechanics, far too much of it seems rooted in probability for my comfort (hopefully the new collider will be able to do some experiments that will validate/eliminate string theory as a candidate).  I live near a major university and a retired physics professor who really wants to walk through the mathematics of string theory, so maybe we will get a chance to do it together.

* I think that a more nuanced description of free will involves the concept of fate.  That one is not bound to a certain course.  I have to admit that historical actions ring of having been bound to a certain course (those historical actions cannot be altered, so they seem "fated" ).  So it is probably necessary to build in some kind of exception for actions already taken.  There probably also needs to be some sort of exception for a sequence of actions that are beyond the control of the individual (a person cannot decide to stop falling mid-fall and the failure to have that ability doesn't seem to impinge on free will to me).  It seems to me that free will is probably also not impinged by choices not considered (doh!  I could have had a V-8), although I can see room for argument there.

* Perhaps a more complete understanding of free will would involve what a choice is and what it means to not be able to make a choice.  I normally think of a choice as selecting from available options but my kids have taught me that there is always an option I never considered (I'll take both!).  Suppose you simply cannot see the color red.  If someone offers you a choice of three cars (one of which is completely red) has this person knowingly inhibited your free will by taking advantage of your inability to see red?  On the other hand, do you still have the choice ("I'll take the red one!" seems great if there actually is a red car there, but appears odd at best if no red car is present) even if you don't realize it?

Is that enough fodder?  Do you have a more complete definition that takes into consideration all of this kind of stuff and others I haven't even considered?  I'm perfectly open to being wrong about what free will entails.

So, assuming that definition of free will is adequate...uhm...I don't see how it solves evil at all.

Classic definitions of evil tie the nature of evil to morality.  I think that generally those who espouse and follow a specific belief system believe themselves as ethical.  Those who go further and believe that their belief system is right and proper for the embetterment of mankind, go on to describe their system as moral.  So (assuming those rickety understandings are correct) it seems to me like evil is present anywhere one moral system is in conflict with any other moral system.  Since free will allows and even facilitates those kinds of interactions, my guess is that it not only doesn't solve the "problem" of evil, it creates it.  I'm willing to go further and say that free will creates evil because without it, it wouldn't be possible to step out of whatever moral system is pre-programmed.

A broader definition of evil (e.g. wicked, mean, bad) is still in no way "solved" by free will.  I can imagine someone who exercises choices purely at random and hence (just on the laws of probability) ends up doing something evil.  In this case, it does not even involve interactions between moral or ethical systems (I think that a true analyst would identify our random chooser as amoral and not evil in the classical sense).  It seems like even at the edge cases with the broadest definitions, free will does not solve evil.

So, from the posts in this thread, I think the following conclusions are possible:

1) Omniscience and Free Will are not precluded by each other when both are possible.

2) In the MW view, there is neither omniscience nor free will.

3) Free will does not solve the problem of evil, rather it creates the possibility for evil.


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I see where you may be

I see where you may be missing my point about many worlds.

I no more imagine full-blown new 'worlds' being created at every multiple option than that they exist prior to 'quantum collapse', where the state of the cat or the path of the photon is still undetermined, and is thought of as being in a 'superposition' of states.

What I imagine is that, in some sense, the 'collapse' never actually occurs, at least from a totally 'timeless' perspective. What can be thought of is that our awareness goes down one of the possible paths. Or perhaps a version of our awareness goes down each path, but somehow share the available total multi-dimensional 'space' so that there is no multiplying of total 'reality', because each time-line has less than 100% probability.

This is still just an 'interpretation', a way to think od what the math seems to be telling us, not a new 'theory'.

It is in some way more 'conservative' than te way you referred to the photon going through each slit simultaneously.

=========

I did not say religion coincides with intuition - it is derived from our non-rational intuition, instincts, common desires, etc, reinforced by the well-established tendency of our mind to perceive agency behind anything we don't understand, which is why it is so widespread and so inconsistent with the counter-intuitive but well-established of much of modern science.

It is a "d'uh" statement that more obvious and easily and often observable phenomena are in accord with our intuition. That is because our intuitions are formed from such repeated observations, not the other way round. Even then, they were often wrong, such as about heavier objects always falling faster than light objects, or the Earth being the center of the Universe. Even about projectiles, where their flight was too fast for our eye to follow easily, where it was thought that the cannon-ball travelled in a straight line until it 'ran out of momentum', then fell. Galileo delighted in showing people the errors of many 'intuitions' about the motion of objects.

The tests of science don't always generate comfort, by any means. The fact that they are, at any point, shown to be what is maximally consistent with objective reality, until something better is thought of and demonstrated, is what forces us to live with them, and regard the ever more grand and strange reality they point to with awe and wonder.

========

The concepts of 'God', 'Heaven', the 'soul', are definitely intuitive, that is obvious from the way so many Theists talk about them. They cannot imagine them not being true, despite the absence of empirical evidence for them. They cannot conceive that anyone could really doubt them, often insist we are in denial, and really 'know' God exists, but hate him.

These are all hallmarks of instinct/intuition based ideas, 'wired-in' to our brains.

I honestly don't see any sense in that last paragraph.

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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"the problem of evil" is

"the problem of evil" is only a problem in an objective moral frame of reference.  In a strictly academic thought exercise you may have omniscience, also purely navel gazing, free will, defined as making choices without being restrained, with a superficial introspective in the concept of "restrained", could be awkwardly "forced" into working.  One can add MW, time travel, extra dimensions, and a number of other academic elements to create such a possible world.  The argument will be question begging at best, if logically consistent.  Also, it will have no contingency on reality and has no merit versus any other conclusion when filtered through Ockham's razor type of economic devices to evaluate it's worth.

 

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Getting some place

BobSpence1 wrote:

What I imagine is that, in some sense, the 'collapse' never actually occurs, at least from a totally 'timeless' perspective. What can be thought of is that our awareness goes down one of the possible paths. Or perhaps a version of our awareness goes down each path, but somehow share the available total multi-dimensional 'space' so that there is no multiplying of total 'reality', because each time-line has less than 100% probability.

This is still just an 'interpretation', a way to think od what the math seems to be telling us, not a new 'theory'.

It is in some way more 'conservative' than te way you referred to the photon going through each slit simultaneously.

I'm having trouble envisioning a state where the 'collapse' never actually occurs and new matter is not created.  It seems to me like at some point either new matter has to be created (there is no collapse) or new matter is never created and a collapse of superposition occurs at some point (there is an ability to factually determine the resolution state).

Living our lives as a probability stream also seems horribly unsatisfactory.  It would seem that at some point each and every stream would resolved to wholly improbable and simply disappear, right?  Or, perhaps, the more probable streams recombine at some point?  Is that collapse?  I dunno.

While this 'interpretation' may have a lot of value in trying to think about the math, I think it falls apart when merged with other things all around us.  For example, physics suggests that the black cat is both alive and dead.  I think that is just a matter of not waiting long enough.  If you wait long enough (5 years, 50 years, 1000 years) the cat is definitely dead and superposition simply doesn't matter--there is no world, no matter how bizarre where that cat is alive.  The math doesn't capture that--math will tell you the cat is in superposition on matter how long you wait.

BobSpence1 wrote:

I did not say religion coincides with intuition...

excellent.

BobSpence1 wrote:

It is a "d'uh" statement that more obvious and easily and often observable phenomena are in accord with our intuition...

that is why I made it.

BobSpence1 wrote:

The concepts of 'God', 'Heaven', the 'soul', are definitely intuitive, that is obvious from the way so many Theists talk about them. They cannot imagine them not being true, despite the absence of empirical evidence for them. They cannot conceive that anyone could really doubt them, often insist we are in denial, and really 'know' God exists, but hate him.

These are all hallmarks of instinct/intuition based ideas, 'wired-in' to our brains.

I don't see any value in agreeing or disagreeing with you on this point.

BobSpence1 wrote:

I honestly don't see any sense in that last paragraph.

This is the last paragraph:

bfish wrote:

If MW is true, then neither omniscience nor free will exists and this debate becomes meaningless a priori.  Unless you would care to argue that MW is the ONLY valid model of the world in which we live, I'm not sure what a further discussion of MW brings to the topic.

can you be more specific?  It makes a lot of sense to me and I can only think that you are referring to something else?


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BobSpence1 wrote:The

BobSpence1 wrote:

The concepts of 'God', 'Heaven', the 'soul', are definitely intuitive, that is obvious from the way so many Theists talk about them.

Do you think that's an accurate description, of the intuitions of modern humans, Bob?

It's understandable that the intuitions of prehistoric man might lead them to have very muddled ideas and suspicions about existence, levels of existence/dimensions etc... but I don't think it can be parallel to adults born and raised in 1st world countries.

I can most certainly attest to never, ever having any such intuitions about a 'soul', or the possibility of an afterlife, or any sentient being/force being present in any way.

BobSpence1 wrote:
They cannot imagine them not being true, despite the absence of empirical evidence for them. They cannot conceive that anyone could really doubt them, often insist we are in denial, and really 'know' God exists, but hate him.

I have such a hard time with this. As much as I somehow would like to actually give theists the benefit of the doubt, and think that on many levels they sincerely don't think in those absolute terms, but merely 'strive' to 'achieve' that level of belief, in order to feel like a 'Good Christian' (or whatever).....I must accept the possibility that they really feel that way, through and through, which I can't help but feel truly sad for.

That's why I value hearing from all the ex theists on this forum. It's so uplifting to hear how richer their lives are after having evolved past that dogmatic, and prejudiced method of viewing atheists, and reality in general.

 

edit *  Welcome to the forums, bfish.

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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Not everyone has the

Not everyone has the particular intuitions/instincts, or not at such a strength, which drive people to perceive a 'higher power' behind things, and that our 'self' is some separate entity from our body and physical brain, and so on. Recent research seems to further support the idea that such thought patterns are largely genetically determined. Some people feel them strongly, others, like you and me, feel them little or not at all.

I also see our intuitions as a combination of ancient, evolutionary-derived ones, sort of like instincts but with a more 'intellectual' content, plus new ones derived from our own experience of life, where repeatedly observed correlations and 'cause-effect' sequences become incorporated at a similar level where we no longer have to consciously reason them out.

I remember hearing a guy interviewed on our ABC radio network (equivalent to BBC in the UK), on a program which discusses 'spiritual' issues in a broad, not just in a religious, sense.

The things he said conveyed that feeling of being totally unable to conceive of there not being a God, that I described, so strongly. When asked about why he believed, he started with a sort of bemused chuckle, which said volumes about how he could hardly work out how to respond to such a question.

I'm sure there are other categories of believer, as you describe, but after hearing that interview, I fully realized for the first time that belief can be so deeply 'wired-in', whether by genetic inheritance or the environment of early childhood, or a combination of both.

I have encountered people, on and off this board, who seem to have a similar attitude.

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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bfish wrote:BobSpence1

bfish wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

What I imagine is that, in some sense, the 'collapse' never actually occurs, at least from a totally 'timeless' perspective. What can be thought of is that our awareness goes down one of the possible paths. Or perhaps a version of our awareness goes down each path, but somehow share the available total multi-dimensional 'space' so that there is no multiplying of total 'reality', because each time-line has less than 100% probability.

This is still just an 'interpretation', a way to think od what the math seems to be telling us, not a new 'theory'.

It is in some way more 'conservative' than te way you referred to the photon going through each slit simultaneously.

I'm having trouble envisioning a state where the 'collapse' never actually occurs and new matter is not created.  It seems to me like at some point either new matter has to be created (there is no collapse) or new matter is never created and a collapse of superposition occurs at some point (there is an ability to factually determine the resolution state).

If matter is 'created', it must have already occurred in every non-collapsed state, for more than one version of 'reality', such as both a live cat and a dead one, to both exist, so it has nothing to with the collapse.

One way I can conceive of what happens at the 'collapse', is that our mind interacts with the 'uncollapsed' entities and goes down both paths, but the 'version' of our awareness on any one path is only aware of that one particular outcome.

To repeat, I am not saying new matter is created, but if it was, it would have to occur before 'collapse'. The multiple paths, or 'many worlds' only make 'sense' from a multi-dimensional point of view, which we can only handle by analogy, just as with the General Relativity version of gravity as a distortion of space-time. Hnece the need for these 'interpretations'.

Quote:

Living our lives as a probability stream also seems horribly unsatisfactory.  It would seem that at some point each and every stream would resolved to wholly improbable and simply disappear, right?  Or, perhaps, the more probable streams recombine at some point?  Is that collapse?  I dunno.

But we don't "live our lives that way" in any perceptible sense. But my idea of MW does indeed suggest that the more improbable paths simple fade to insignificance, and also that in other cases two or more roughly equal probability paths merge again further down the track.

Quote:

While this 'interpretation' may have a lot of value in trying to think about the math, I think it falls apart when merged with other things all around us.  For example, physics suggests that the black cat is both alive and dead.  I think that is just a matter of not waiting long enough.  If you wait long enough (5 years, 50 years, 1000 years) the cat is definitely dead and superposition simply doesn't matter--there is no world, no matter how bizarre where that cat is alive.  The math doesn't capture that--math will tell you the cat is in superposition on matter how long you wait.

I don't really like the cat-in-the-box scenario. For a start, a cat can be legitimately considered an observer itself, so it 'should' collapse the state immediately. IOW it 'knows' the outcome. What if it was a human being in the box?

It is only from our point of view that the uncertainty persists while the box is closed.

<.....>

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

I honestly don't see any sense in that last paragraph.

This is the last paragraph:

bfish wrote:

If MW is true, then neither omniscience nor free will exists and this debate becomes meaningless a priori.  Unless you would care to argue that MW is the ONLY valid model of the world in which we live, I'm not sure what a further discussion of MW brings to the topic.

can you be more specific?  It makes a lot of sense to me and I can only think that you are referring to something else?

I have thought about this.

Free will and omniscience could exist in MW, but what is 'known' by the omniscient entity could only be the 'truth' from that 'timeless' perspective, ie all the possible sequences of events, and their probability. That is my basic point. Even without 'free will', that still holds, due to Quantum indeterminacy and Chaotic complexity. Due to those two factors alone, MW, in some sense, does exist. A unique sequence of events, when viewed from 'outside time', would simply ignore the reality and implications of Quantum Mechanics.

EDIT: In case you are wondering about all the words I put in quotes, they are ones which either have no clear meaning in this context, or not quite the one they usually are though to have, but are the closest I can find for what I am trying to refer to.

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

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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BobSpence1 wrote:Not

BobSpence1 wrote:

Not everyone has the particular intuitions/instincts, or not at such a strength, which drive people to perceive a 'higher power' behind things, and that our 'self' is some separate entity from our body and physical brain, and so on.

Agreed. But there are many naked assertions, and baseless arguments from theists, that it's 'nature', not 'nurture'.

BobSpence1 wrote:
Recent research seems to further support the idea that such thought patterns are largely genetically determined. Some people feel them strongly, others, like you and me, feel them little or not at all.

I think that that is entirely possible. That at some subconscious level, these kinds of things could be 'inherited', whether it be a feeling (fear, hope, suspicion ect..) that there is/are invisible 'agents' (for lack of a better generic 'catch all' term for supernatural agents), or even something like a fear of flying.

I myself now suffer from mild vertigo, which I never had as a child and teen, so I question where and how something like that occurs, and how I've 'evolved' to become that way.

It's not really a 'fear' of heights that I have in my conscious mind, it's that I suffer from vertigo, and I can't figure it out. The thing that I wonder about (in my case) is that at some point, I started having dreams where I'd fall off cliffs, or run off cliffs, and I'd also have dreams where I can float, and even fly!

W E I R D

And of course, it works the other way around, where people 'lose' a previous aspect of their 'makeup'.

BobSpence1 wrote:
I also see our intuitions as a combination of ancient, evolutionary-derived ones, sort of like instincts but with a more 'intellectual' content, plus new ones derived from our own experience of life, where repeatedly observed correlations and 'cause-effect' sequences become incorporated at a similar level where we no longer have to consciously reason them out.

It's funny, but, when I relect back over my 'development', I strongly suspect that my love of reading, science, and hobbies that required lots of science and technical knowledge shaped my thought patterns to virtually ignore emotions when analyzing any issue, or grappling with a problem.

I see 'personality' traits and 'signatures' in peoples' thought 'proccesses'.

When I hear certain people 'think', I actually 'resonate' along with them, while when I hear others.... it's very dissonant. When I try to 'see' as they describe, I feel like I go cross-eyed, and it almost seems like they're drunk.

 

I also strongly suspect that there could be 'major' differences in brain structure, chemistry (or pathways in the brain) between high IQ and low IQ, that will be uncovered as science starts mapping the brain better, because I don't always see a direct correlation between knowledge, experience, and intelligence.

 

 

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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Sequential thinking vs. Parallel thinking

redneF wrote:

I also strongly suspect that there could be 'major' differences in brain structure, chemistry (or pathways in the brain) between high IQ and low IQ, that will be uncovered as science starts mapping the brain better, because I don't always see a direct correlation between knowledge, experience, and intelligence.

I have reason to believe that you are quite correct.  My wife thinks much differently then I do and her memories are stored in a way to which I cannot relate.  I've done a lot of wandering around NIH trying to figure it out and the best answer that I can come up with is an analogy to programming (I'm a programmer):

I think sequentially.  I call this "logically" and get into all kinds of trouble, but I mean it logically in the sense of a syllogism (e.g. If A then B).

My wife thinks in parallel.  Somehow, she is able to take a fact and associate with a ton of other information and "sense" a conclusion.  Her "sense" of a conclusion is not a "feeling" or a "guess" but a logically drawn conclusion based on the whole of her experience.  It does not lend itself to "If A then B" so if she tries to explain her reasoning to me, I'm constantly misunderstanding or drawing conclusions from her reasoning that she did not.  

It just isn't possible to apply sequential terms to parallel processing.  When she describes her reasoning to someone else who thinks the same way, that person says, "Oh, yeah!" and I say, "WHAT?"  Of course, this is vice-versa as well.  My wife is remarkably intelligent and we often come to the same conclusion, but in ways we cannot (for half a lifetime of trying) explain to one-another.

My wife suspects that her mode of thinking engages both hemispheres more effectively then mine does (so, of course, finds her method superior).  I think that she is probably right in that her mode of thinking involves both sides more effectively.  The left side of the brain naturally pursues syllogisms more easily.

FWIW, this has not been a necessarily male/female thing.  Most of the parallel thinkers I have met (and there are a small number) have been women, but there are a couple of men in there.  From what I've been able to find out about Memory, this also effects how memories are stored, but that is a much more complicated discussion (as if this one was simple)


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I find it so amusing how

I find it so amusing how people with a relatively "high IQ" put so much FAITH in such a subjective and superficial measurement.  As humans, we are the sum of our abilities, and as a whole we are relatively equal with insignificant variations from the median.  Everything is relative, and everything is a matter of perspective.

I used to be just as guilty of the superiority complex that can arrive from dedicating a significant amount of energy to pure thought, but if you put that into perspective, how is that more beneficial over someone dedicating the same amount of energy into building a highly useful stretch of highway?  Or how does that weigh relative to any significant quotient?  We pride ourselves as being critical thinkers, and I like to describe myself as rational, but rationality often suffocates genius.  Genius is looking at things from a completely irrational perspective, looking at the .0001% probability that any rational person will dismiss.  

Over the years I've come to look at the "intelligent" elitists as one other facet of our consumerist society.  I have come a long way from the teenager that used to love IQ tests when I scored high, and find the reasons or excuses of scoring lower on others.  I have also come a long of from the young person that used to classify people into intelligent and stupid.  The sheer ambiguity and false dichotomy makes it ironic that we have a group of self professed intelligent people promoting such idiocy. 

I like to rate people as worth or quotient relative to the frame of reference dictated by the situation at hand.  I find it much more intellectually honest to humble myself in a situation that I'm not familiar with, and far less likely to underestimate people.  

The whole idea of IQ is laughable. 

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Differences in Brain Structure independent of IQ

redneF wrote:

 ...between high IQ and low IQ...

doh.   You can tell where I sit, I got so distracted by "differences in brain structure" that I neglected to realize that the comment had been made relevant to a distinction between high and low IQ.  Sigh.  I think that there are real differences in brain structure, PERIOD.  The high and low IQ part aren't really relevant.  I didn't mean that I thought the differences in the way we think are a reflection on our IQ, but a difference in brain structure that inhibits communication.

 

Thanks for you comment Kthulu, I agree with you that IQ is a pretty meaningless concept.  It turns out it is a relatively good predictor of reading ability and that is about it.  


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Hi OPIE

The question is wrong. Can God be sovereign and omnipotent with freewill? The answer is no no no.

The pagan notion of free will eliminates God's Sovereignty. When you talk to Christians about this, they short circuit and have a nervous break down usually ending in spiritual seizures.

Good eye. Free will by definiton is not christian and contradicts Biblical Christianity.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

A Rational Christian of Intelligence (rare)with a valid and sound justification for my epistemology and a logical refutation for those with logical fallacies and false worldviews upon their normative of thinking in retrospect to objective normative(s). This is only understood via the imago dei in which we all are.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).


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Hi OPIE

No they can't. But the real question, can omnipotence and free will co exist? The issue here is that the pagan non Christian notion of freewill elminates God's Sovereignty. When you ask a Christian this question he shorts circuits and has spiritual seizures. lol.

Very good. I enjoy you seeing the inconsistencies of some idiotic Chistians. This was issued in first via the Synod of Dort in 1610. It's hard being consistent today with people becoming so stupid. But atheism has inconsistent atheists, and a lot of them or most of them i would say.

This is why i'm a consistent Chrisitan. Just be true. If you claim A then live A. If you're an atheist, go kill your grandma and be consistent. Since this won't happen just accept the logical system of Christianity.

I mean. let's get real.

But yes, free will is UnBiblical and WRONG!!!

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

A Rational Christian of Intelligence (rare)with a valid and sound justification for my epistemology and a logical refutation for those with logical fallacies and false worldviews upon their normative of thinking in retrospect to objective normative(s). This is only understood via the imago dei in which we all are.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).


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Omnipotence and Free Will

Jean Chauvin wrote:

The question is wrong. Can God be sovereign and omnipotent with freewill? The answer is no no no.

 

So, running with the concept that omnipotent = unconstrained and free will ==> being able to chose from a variety of valid options, what happens when the two intersect?

I would propose that an omnipotent being could simply make one of your potential choices an invalid option if s/he was inclined to prevent one from choosing something.  Nobody argues that my free will is inhibited if I opt to fly into the air and I cannot.  By the same token, if one desires to run a marathon an omnipotent being has many, many ways to stop you (cancel the marathon, paralyze you, cause your application to join the marathon to be lost, etc) without revoking free will (although that is a choice as well).  To say that an omnipotent being could not grant free will is to limit the omnipotent being, which is also a problem.  I think that, by this logic, it is required that free will and omnipotence be able to co-exist or the concept of omnipotence is fundamentally flawed.

As for the concept of free will not having a place in the Bible, I beg to differ.  The Hebrew word for free will is "ratsown" which is variously translated as favor, good will, acceptance, desire, and self-will.  A very good example of where the Bible calls for one to do something based on one's own desire (or free will) and not because God has pre-ordained that it should happen is found in Leviticus 1:3.  Indeed, it is a requirement that the action be taken by choice and not by force.

Sovereignty as I understand it means wielding supreme and independent power within a domain.  I would like to argue first that anyone who is omnipotent would also be able to exert sovereignty (or, once again, the definition of omnipotence is compromised).  Further, I would argue that there is a difference between sovereignty and being a puppet-master (one may wield supreme and independent power without ever actually using it, although I get that this is a stretch; no more so, however, then the argument that in order to be sovereign one must also be a puppet-master).  

Surely the ability to grant or remove eternal life would be the ultimate exercise of sovereign power over a mortal and surely that could happen independent of the free will of the mortal involved.

I don't see the conflict that you suppose.  Omnipotence cannot be limited by free will nor sovereignty.  Free will can exist with an omnipotent being.  Sovereignty is not compromised by free will.

 


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The standard logical

The standard logical conflict is the idea of man being able to do anything contrary to the will of an omnipotent being, which really is a contradiction.

But since there is no logical necessity for a God having any omni-attributes, or necessarily be a 'loving' being toward us, and the Bible is entirely consistent with a non-loving God who has no problem deceiving us, for his own incomprehensible purposes, especially when you include the OT, even if you allow the faint possibility that there is such a being, it is all academic.

 

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No contradiction

BobSpence1 wrote:

The standard logical conflict is the idea of man being able to do anything contrary to the will of an omnipotent being, which really is a contradiction.

 

The presumption here, however, is that the omnipotent being has granted free will to man.  Having done so (which is unquestionably an omnipotent power) it could be revoked, but that seems unnecessary.  Since free will has been granted, the ability to do anything within the realm of that which is available to man has been allowed (even something that an omnipotent being would prefer not happen).  An omnipotent being, however, has plenty of options to stop man from doing anything that being chooses to prevent.  I put forth the assertion that there is nothing that a man could choose to do as a result of using free will that an omnipotent being could not stop in some way other than revoking free will.  As an example, suppose a man wanted to run a marathon, an omnipotent being could thwart that activity by paralyzing the man or cancelling the marathon or a dozen other things that come to mind immediately.  

I think there is NO situation where it is necessary for the omnipotent being to resort to removing free will in order to prevent something that is contrary to his/her will.  I cannot think of such a situation and I defy anyone to identify one.

Therefore, free will and omnipotence can coexist without any contradiction.


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bfish wrote:BobSpence1

bfish wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

The standard logical conflict is the idea of man being able to do anything contrary to the will of an omnipotent being, which really is a contradiction.

 

The presumption here, however, is that the omnipotent being has granted free will to man.  Having done so (which is unquestionably an omnipotent power) it could be revoked, but that seems unnecessary.  Since free will has been granted, the ability to do anything within the realm of that which is available to man has been allowed (even something that an omnipotent being would prefer not happen).  An omnipotent being, however, has plenty of options to stop man from doing anything that being chooses to prevent.  I put forth the assertion that there is nothing that a man could choose to do as a result of using free will that an omnipotent being could not stop in some way other than revoking free will.  As an example, suppose a man wanted to run a marathon, an omnipotent being could thwart that activity by paralyzing the man or cancelling the marathon or a dozen other things that come to mind immediately.  

I think there is NO situation where it is necessary for the omnipotent being to resort to removing free will in order to prevent something that is contrary to his/her will.  I cannot think of such a situation and I defy anyone to identify one.

Therefore, free will and omnipotence can coexist without any contradiction.

It has nothing to do with whether man is 'granted' free will, or God choosing to constrain or thwart man's will in any particular case, whatever that really means. Our 'free will' is not the issue.

It is simply about the impossibility of anything happening that an omnipotent being really doesn't want to happen, whether we have 'free will' or not.

Of course a being may choose to allow things to happen which he doesn't care about absolutely either way.

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Omnipotence and Free Will

BobSpence1 wrote:

Of course a being may choose to allow things to happen which he doesn't care about absolutely either way.

 

I think a full stop is needed after "happen."  Since the topic here is free will and omnipotence, arguing that free will is not the issue seems to be sidestepping the whole topic.


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bfish wrote:BobSpence1

bfish wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Of course a being may choose to allow things to happen which he doesn't care about absolutely either way.

 

I think a full stop is needed after "happen."  Since the topic here is free will and omnipotence, arguing that free will is not the issue seems to be sidestepping the whole topic.

That is really my point - the more I think of it, the conflict is more with omniscience. The classic dilemma about omnipotence is not so much about man's free will, but the concept of 'sin', if that is defined as going against God's will. He could stop any action or resultant harm (which he would also know, if omniscient), otherwise 'omnipotence' is meaningless, but apparently decides not to, which has to imply that he is not absolutely against such actions or their consequences.

These arguments always devolve into such ultimately pointless discussions, since the concept of omni-qualities are not really coherent, and not necessary attributes of the posited creator being. They are the equivalent of the child's idea of wanting his favorite hero to be 'really really powerful', epitomized in the absurdity of the Ontological Argument.

'Free will', in the doctrinal sense, is also ultimately empty and naive.

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

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Seems pretty done

I feel as though this topic has been rather thoroughly exhausted.  Thanks for responding...it has been a good discussion for me, I hope it has been for you as well.


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Omnicient?

Why do we get the idea that "all knowing" means knowing the future. God can know our hearts, minds, everything that has happened and is happening. In other words, we can't hide things from Him. But if He knows the future, why are there instances in the Bible where He changes His mind? What is the purpose of prayer? Etc.

Anyone with a rational mind can reason that a "future knowing" God cannot coexist with free will. All that, he knows what we will choose, but does not force us to choose it is crap. This idea is similar to the "If God can do anything, can He make a boulder big enough that He Himself cannot lift it?" In other words, this "future knowing" God would be incapable of creating anything with variables.

And for you deep thinkers. If God knew the future, He Himself would know His own future. This implies that God does not have a free will and cannot make decisions, But that he is just acting out what He already knows He is going to do. He would be in the same boat as us robots.

Time is a metaphor; an abstract thing that is not real. We use it to establish a completion and ordering of events. Things just are. God is not outside of time looking in and seeing it all. There is no time!

 

Think about it