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KneeLess
November 12th, 2004, 11:08 AM
I propose something of which the conclusions must be that either God does not exist, or there is no such thing as free will. Let me begin.

Fate is a pretty simple concept. It holds that everything in the universe is predecided, of which nothing can be altered. If God exists, fate must exist. In fact, my whole premise is based upon that, so I must defend it adequately. We can safety say that God knows everything that has happened before, is happening now, and is going to happen. If he didn't he wouldn't be omnipotent, and therefore not God as we know it. With that aside, I think it is somewhat obvious how free will ties into this.

The Bible, tells us that when God created us he endowed us with free will. But, if he knows what every single outcome is going to be how can we make a choice that isn't predetermined? The truth is that we can't. "Well KneeLess, what if God simply knows every possible out come of every single choice you have to make?" Slightly more complicated, but same exact problem: If God knows the outcome(s) beforehand it is impossible for that choice to exist. I believe this is simple logic to see this.

Therefore we can conclude one of two things: God does not exist, or the Bible has lied to us about free will.

AuspiciousFist
November 12th, 2004, 11:13 AM
there's a difference between knowing what choice someone is going to make and forcing them to make a certain choice.

We have the ability to make any choice we want, God just knows which one we will choose to make.

Dionysus
November 12th, 2004, 11:17 AM
...We have the ability to make any choice we want, God just knows which one we will choose to make.

Can someone make a choice that differs from what God knows?

Zhavric
November 12th, 2004, 11:18 AM
The Bible, tells us that when God created us he endowed us with free will. But, if he knows what every single outcome is going to be how can we make a choice that isn't predetermined? The truth is that we can't. "Well KneeLess, what if God simply knows every possible out come of every single choice you have to make?" Slightly more complicated, but same exact problem: If God knows the outcome(s) beforehand it is impossible for that choice to exist. I believe this is simple logic to see this.

Not so.

Let's back up a bit.

If it is the case that god does exist (which is not, but let's play like it is) and it is the case that god knows everything before it happens, the first thought on my mind is "so what?" So the big guy knows I'm going to have beef for dinner tonight instead of chicken... I still think I'm making the choice... my perception is that I have a choice... so what does it matter to me wether or not god knows?

The only answer I can possibly see coming from this is, "Well, if god knew that I was going to get hurt by something at random, why would he let me? Why would he let me child fall through a sinkhole in the earth that I had no way of detecting?" The answer starts in with some ridiculousness about god's love is "tough" love and that the "lord works in mysterious ways"... listen to the right theist and they'll be able to convince you that god's "plan" involves Fyshhed putting babies on spikes with Eddie Izzard.

The circular reasoning is air tight. Everything points back to everything. God can know everything, you can still have free will, and your baby can be impaled by an agnostic and it's all part of "god's plan".

Please.

KneeLess
November 12th, 2004, 11:33 AM
So the big guy knows I'm going to have beef for dinner tonight instead of chicken... I still think I'm making the choice... my perception is that I have a choice... so what does it matter to me wether or not god knows?
Well, I can't tell you what matters to you. What I can tell you is that a choice with only one option is not a choice. This is slightly more confusing if you don't get what I mean. There are two types of choices: virtual choices, and actual choices. They are often (almost, if not 100% of the time) not decernable from each other. Let's say there are three cards laying face down. God knows that you're going to pick the leftmost card. You have three virtual choices, but only one actual one. You're going to pick the leftmost one no matter what. Fate and choice are anomalies, only one can exist.

The only answer I can possibly see coming from this is, "Well, if god knew that I was going to get hurt by something at random, why would he let me? Why would he let me child fall through a sinkhole in the earth that I had no way of detecting?" The answer starts in with some ridiculousness about god's love is "tough" love and that the "lord works in mysterious ways"... listen to the right theist and they'll be able to convince you that god's "plan" involves Fyshhed putting babies on spikes with Eddie Izzard.
This is off-topic, we're not here to discuss God's intentions.

Dionysus
November 12th, 2004, 11:47 AM
Here's little ditty from another site I frequent. This is NOT my material, it is a quote:

Axioms

A1.) A person can choose between A and B if and only if he has free will.
A2.) A person cannot choose between A and B if and only if he is an automaton
A3.) If a person has free will, he cannot be an automaton, and vice versa.
A4.) If a person chooses A, he cannot chose B, and vice versa.
A5.) If God knows a person will choose A, then the person will choose A
A6.) If a person cannot choose A, or cannot choose B, then he cannot choose between A and B
A7.) God knows a person will choose A

Inferences:

F1.) The person will choose A. (From A7 and A5.)
F2.) He cannot choose B (From F1 and A4)
F3.) He cannot choose between A and B. (From F2 and A6)
F4.) He is an automaton (From F3 and A2)
F5.) He cannot have free will. (From F4 and A3)

Zhavric
November 12th, 2004, 11:48 AM
Well, I can't tell you what matters to you. What I can tell you is that a choice with only one option is not a choice. This is slightly more confusing if you don't get what I mean. There are two types of choices: virtual choices, and actual choices. They are often (almost, if not 100% of the time) not decernable from each other. Let's say there are three cards laying face down. God knows that you're going to pick the leftmost card. You have three virtual choices, but only one actual one. You're going to pick the leftmost one no matter what. Fate and choice are anomalies, only one can exist.

Ah, you're not arguing "choice". You're arguing with regards to pre-determination.

Did god say, "On November 12th, 2004, I will COMMAND The Zhavric to pick up the center card of the three."

... or ...

"On November 12th, 2004, I have FORESEEN that Zhavric will be faced with a CHOICE. He will make a DECISION that I WILL NOT infliuence... but I will KNOW the choice he makes now here at the beginning of time because I'm god."

Is it all set out for us and we're just going through the motions or do we actually have choices?

Clearly, we have choices... or rather, we have the perception of choices which is all that matters.

Perception versus pre-determination... it's kinda like The Matrix.

What does it matter that you're actually body is a battery and the world around you is computer generated? If you cannot perceive the situation, it doesn't matter to you. It's the same way with choices: you can claim that there are "actual" and "virtual" choices, but until you can find a way to perceive if god is influencing those choices it doesn't matter.

You have the perception of choices. By definition, you have choices.

Dionysus
November 12th, 2004, 11:53 AM
Are you saying that if one <i>perceives</i> that they are Napoleon, that they are, by definition, Napoleon?

KevinBrowning
November 12th, 2004, 11:56 AM
God is supertemporal. Time does not affect Him, and thus, He knows what choices we make before we make them, because He knows them all at once. This does not mean that He makes those choices for us.

Zhavric
November 12th, 2004, 12:00 PM
Are you saying that if one <i>perceives</i> that they are Napoleon, that they are, by definition, Napoleon?

Yes, but there are some big qualifyers here.

1) There is a HUGE difference between perception and pretending. Any idiot can put on a French officer's hat, stick one hand in his jacket and declare himself emperor of France. That doesn't make you Napoleon. On the other hand, if when you open your eyes you see French troops on a European battleground a couple hundred years ago, hear cannons, taste imperial victory, can touch the officer's saber that you always wear and smell defeat at Waterloo then how would you know that you WEREN'T Napoleon? Sure if you grew up as John Doe and woke up one day on a horse surrounded by generals speaking French, you'd be a little confused... But that's hardly the point.

2) One's perception and the perceptions of others don't always match. If one contracts a mental abnormality / disease that causes one to believe one is Napoleon then one is left wondering why the men in the nice white suits won't let you out of the padded cell to defeat Europe. YOUR perception makes YOU Naopoleon to YOU... not necessarily to anyone else.

Dionysus
November 12th, 2004, 12:26 PM
God is supertemporal. Time does not affect Him, and thus, He knows what choices we make before we make them, because He knows them all at once. This does not mean that He makes those choices for us.

When did I say he does?

Dionysus
November 12th, 2004, 12:27 PM
Yes, but there are some big qualifyers here.

1) There is a HUGE difference between perception and pretending. Any idiot can put on a French officer's hat, stick one hand in his jacket and declare himself emperor of France. That doesn't make you Napoleon. On the other hand, if when you open your eyes you see French troops on a European battleground a couple hundred years ago, hear cannons, taste imperial victory, can touch the officer's saber that you always wear and smell defeat at Waterloo then how would you know that you WEREN'T Napoleon? Sure if you grew up as John Doe and woke up one day on a horse surrounded by generals speaking French, you'd be a little confused... But that's hardly the point.

Hardly.


2) One's perception and the perceptions of others don't always match. If one contracts a mental abnormality / disease that causes one to believe one is Napoleon then one is left wondering why the men in the nice white suits won't let you out of the padded cell to defeat Europe. YOUR perception makes YOU Naopoleon to YOU... not necessarily to anyone else.

Oooookay...

How does this answer the question?

KneeLess
November 12th, 2004, 12:48 PM
Ah, you're not arguing "choice". You're arguing with regards to pre-determination.
And I thought fate was a synonym with predetermination. Silly me. The point I'm trying to make is that if something is predetermined then in essence, the fact that the choice (the virtual choice, if you remember) exists is completely irrelevant. You're going to make this decision no matter what.

God is supertemporal. Time does not affect Him, and thus, He knows what choices we make before we make them, because He knows them all at once. This does not mean that He makes those choices for us.
This is a strange straw man, because I explicity stated in the first post what you said.

Yes, but there are some big qualifyers here.
What you're arguing for is subjectivism as opposed to objectivism, which is really counterinituative considering subjectivism is directly inverse (graph wise, that phrase is an oxymoron :p) of what it seems you're arguing for, fate. I've tried arguing subjectivism before, and it's not as easy as it might seem at first glace; I hope you succeed where I have failed. :)

Meng Bomin
November 12th, 2004, 02:42 PM
We can safety say that God knows everything that has happened before, is happening now, and is going to happen. If he didn't he wouldn't be omnipotent, and therefore not God as we know it. A small quibble about terminology. Omnipotent simply means all-powerful. What you should have used was omniscient, which means "all-knowing".

God is supertemporal. Time does not affect Him, and thus, He knows what choices we make before we make them, because He knows them all at once. This does not mean that He makes those choices for us. This actually reinforces KneeLess's point. If God knows all that is happening and will happen, his knowledge necessitates fate. If God knows every event and every effect, then he knows exactly what will happen until the end of time. This means that everything will happen a certain way and that our 'choices' can only go one way. Thus we would have no free will.

However, even if God didn't exist, that would not mean that free will exists. Just because no one holds knowledge of an event does not mean that it has the possibility of occuring another way. This instance would be 'blind fate' in that it is not guided by a supernatural mind.

DeviantNorm
November 13th, 2004, 08:34 PM
I'm new here; bear with me as I clumsily enter my first response...

I feel that if God is all-knowing and all-powerful, that (insert prefered gender here) should have been able to foresee the conseuences of giving man free will in the first place. Therefore, can it be man's fault that he is the way he is? (from this perspective, anyway...I have my own non-God views). Free will gives man the choice between good and bad. If God controlled our will, there would (presumably/hypothetically) be no wrong.

Meng Bomin
November 13th, 2004, 08:41 PM
I think that this entire debate centers around the word all-knowing or omniscient. Does it mean knowing all that has happened, is happening, and will happen, or does it just mean that one has to know the past and the present? I would argue that it entails knowing the consequences of every action, which would mean the former rather than the latter is the case. If it were the case, free will could not exist, because there would be one path that could be taken. Hence, fate.

Galendir
November 14th, 2004, 01:57 AM
A4.) If a person chooses A, he cannot choose B.Interpretation: Once a choice is made, it cannot be other than it is.


F1.) The person will choose A.Then it is in fact a choice.

F2.) He cannot choose B (From F1 and A4)A4 references the point of the choice, F1 references a point prior to the choice. They are not the same, therefore F2 does not follow from the premises. It is true, however, that he will not choose B.


Foreknown != Predetermined

Presume for a moment, that person F has genuine freewill and is able to make genuinely free choices.
Introduce entity K. K can travel backward and forward through time observing F's reality but being wholly unable to affect it in any way (Heisenberg uncertainty principle disregarded).
K observes F making free choices.
K travels backward in time thus knowing what choices F will (from his current temporal reference point) make.
What has changed about F so that his free choices are no longer free choices?
Nothing.

It may be impossible for genuine free will to exist.
It may be impossible for a foreknowing entity to exist.
BUT, if it can be supposed that neither is of itself necessarily impossible, how does the existence of one preclude the other?
The above example would seem to demonstrate that it doesn't.

Vorketh
November 14th, 2004, 03:56 AM
I'd like everyone to know that they have free will, whether the Christian God exists or not. Think about it - God made is omniscient, right? Well, that means that he has to have one gosh darn great hold of mathematics and probability, right? Okay. Well, God knows everyone personally - religion teaches you that. That's key. He knows how you are LIKELY to behave in any given situation. He knows how external factors are LIKELY to alter your decisions. He knows that whether or not you have beef tonight makes no difference to him, or you, because it has no effect on his great plan. That's the kicker. He knows all that will be, right? That is a pretty vague reference, and I would hazard a guess that all he truly foreknows (nice made up word) is how everything will end up after Christ comes again and whatnot. As obvious as it is, I'll state it - the very end is a controlled thing. When Christ comes, and right before it, all that lovely stuff in Revelation happens - a very controlled series of actions. It is said in the Bible that God knows of every sparrow (or whatever bird it was) that falls from the sky. This does not elude to a foreknowledge of when it was going to happen, but rather, every instant that something does happen, God is aware of it. THAT is omniscience. You have your choice, God knows you, he knows what you are likely to do, how that will change things, what other people's likely decisions will cause them to do, how that will affect you, etc. My whole point is that God has no set knowledge of every minute aspect of your life and how you'll live it. He is fully aware of every action you take and every thought you think at the very instant it takes place, and he made a good guess based on probability for all of them.

I'm prepared for the, YOU'RE WRONG onslaught...

FruitandNut
November 14th, 2004, 04:12 AM
The onslaught will not come from me Vorky.
It is mooted that God knows us so well and also the way that the 'laws of nature' unfold, that He knows all about the future, our futures and fates included. Even though we do have limited 'free will', it is because He knows us so well that He also knows the decisions we will make and their outcomes.

Iluvatar
November 14th, 2004, 06:41 AM
Vorketh, I'll go for the onslaught. :)

Omniscience=Knowing everything.
If an being doesn't know something, than it's not omniscient. If god only has a good idea of what's going to happen (Zharv's dinner= 20.2% beef, 14.666...% ravioli, 12.54% mushroom soup, etc), then he doesn't know the outcome of that decision. "he doesn't know". That would mean that he's not omniscient, as he doesn't know something, in this case, what zhav is going to have for dinner. Furthermore, I don't think god (assuming one exists) goes through time normally like we do:

If god was unitemporal (or monochronic, perhaps), as we are; moving at a set speed through time, then he'd have problems. If he knew everything, he'd know the outcome of his own decisions, which creates some strange paradoxes that you usually see in time-travel stories. He'd have no free will, virtual, or real, since he would know himself what he was going to choose. I think that if a god exists, he is omnitemporal, or omnichronic, or transtemporal. This means that he exists at all points in time, at the same time. This would eliminate the paradoxes, but would mean that he is truly omniscient, as he would be able to know our actions at all points in time.

As for the original discussion, here's the way I see it.

1)God exists (a given for this discussion)
2)Therefore he is omniscient
3)If he knows everything, he must know each of our decisions
4)If an action is known with certainty before it is committed, then the person who committed had no real choice, only the illusion of it.
5)If god knows everything anyone will ever do, then we have no real choice in the matter, thus, no free will.

Now, we do have the illusion of free will. As we will not likely meet god here on earth, we are not too likely to have our illusion broken. So, although in reality, we have no free will, it doesn't really matter, for all intents and purposes, we might as well.

Now, as for the individual attacks on specific points here. Galandir, you seem to be attacking point 4 here. "What has changed about F so that his free choices are no longer free choices? Nothing." hat has changed is that he no longer has them. He still has his illusion, but he has no real choice. I would contend this: A person has a choice, he can choose A or B. I know that he will choose B. Therefore, he cannot choose A. Ha has only one option, therefore. This means he has no choice in it, although it looks to him like he does.

"Free will gives man the choice between good and bad. If God controlled our will, there would (presumably/hypothetically) be no wrong."
Welcome, DN. This is, however, a slightly different topic. You talking more about fate's effects on morality. This is more of Fate's effects on free will.

DeviantNorm
November 14th, 2004, 07:01 AM
God may know us well, but doesn't the Bible tell us we can't know God? (I seem to recall that from my Christian days).

Iluvatar
November 14th, 2004, 07:04 AM
God may know us well, but doesn't the Bible tell us we can't know God? (I seem to recall that from my Christian days).It may, I couldn't say. If we could truly know god, we'd be in trouble. If we could sit down and have a normal conversation with him, we'd loose even our illusion of free will.

Vorketh
November 14th, 2004, 09:03 AM
Vorketh, I'll go for the onslaught. :)

Omniscience=Knowing everything.
If an being doesn't know something, than it's not omniscient.

That's where you are wrong. If something has not yet occurred, it does not exist - not in reality, not in another dimension, not anywhere on some Star Trek space-time continuum, nowhere. The future is a concept, not a reality. There can be no knowledge of something that does not exist (see the wonderful thread Theory of Nothing). Therefore, God cannot have a knowledge of something that is not. He can only have a perfect understanding of what was and what is, which allows him to guess perfectly as to what will be. There can be no knowledge of something that does not exist. This in no way reduces the omniscience of a God.

Iluvatar
November 14th, 2004, 09:39 AM
If something has not yet occurred, it does not exist - not in reality, not in another dimension, not anywhere on some Star Trek space-time continuum
Time is a dimension. In a theoretical grid, you've got your x-axis, y-axis, z-axis, and what is often referred to as your n-axis, which is time (Usually n is varied over that time period). In real life, any given point has a position up/down, left/right, forward/backward, and a position in time. An object can have width, length, height, and duration. We move at a fixed speed through our duration, except when you move through the other dimensions, so that relativity comes into play.

Time is simply another direction in which we exist. There are quite a few more dimensions, but they are not so easily identifiable, or understandable. Simply because we cannot see directly from one point in time to another does not mean that other points don't exist. That would be like locking yourself in a box, and declaring that the outside world does not exist. Other areas in those dimensions (up/down, left/right/, and forward/backward) still exist, even if you exist only in one position in them.

Vorketh
November 14th, 2004, 10:07 AM
Time is a dimension. In a theoretical grid, you've got your x-axis, y-axis, z-axis, and what is often referred to as your n-axis, which is time (Usually n is varied over that time period). In real life, any given point has a position up/down, left/right, forward/backward, and a position in time. An object can have width, length, height, and duration. We move at a fixed speed through our duration, except when you move through the other dimensions, so that relativity comes into play.

Time is simply another direction in which we exist. There are quite a few more dimensions, but they are not so easily identifiable, or understandable. Simply because we cannot see directly from one point in time to another does not mean that other points don't exist. That would be like locking yourself in a box, and declaring that the outside world does not exist. Other areas in those dimensions (up/down, left/right/, and forward/backward) still exist, even if you exist only in one position in them.
According to what you say, the existance of a God is completely irrelevant to whether or not we have free choice. According to your definition that the future has already been established on the dimension of time, we are without choice regardless. This is completely without regard to whether or not a God exists. This is fine for me, and I suppose both of us would now agree that God has no influence on whether or not we actually have free choice. Therefore, I'll move on and we can discuss whether or not, according to your interpretation of science, we can have free choice.

There are two possibilities of reality concerning your interpretation of how a dimension of time acts, physically speaking, and how it plays in with free choice.
1) The mind, perceiving that it is capable of making decisions, refuses to understand a concept which restricts its ability to choose between 'A' or 'B', however, regardless of what is to blame, choice is in fact nonexistant
2) There is actually free choice, and the future has yet to have been created, therefore, for God to not have a knowledge of it, it in no way reduces his omniscience.

I would argue to you that the x-y-z physical dimensions act much like the forward moving point on a line in respect to the dimension of time. Meaning, consider that you could reduce the magnitude of the x/y/z dimensions of the entire universe to a point. This line we call time contains an infinite number of physical points on it that represent the state of the universe at a given point in time, naturally. A line grows toward infinity at an infinitely fast rate, enlarging an infinitely large amount every infinitely small instant. No matter how fast it progresses forward, if you stop its motion to take a peek (meaning every present instant), the next one is yet to exist. Backwards knowledge is possible because those points do in fact exist. Forward knowledge is impossible because there is physically nothing there to know.

This follows the school of thought that says if you were able to progress through time faster than others, and then 'waited' for everything to catch up, you would notice that only things that move through time as fast as you exist - everything else just isn't there yet. This preserves your notion that time, as a dimension, is traversable (though we are yet to accomplish that), but the future, though the dimension of time is there, is a void until things pass through it.

Iluvatar
November 14th, 2004, 03:33 PM
What your referring to (in the top of your post) would be predestination; that the future is fixed. Now, if there is no god, then I would contend that the future, while existing, can be changed. It is not fixed until it has become present or past, because as of now, I don't think the past has changed to much on us. If there is a god, then it couldn't be changeable, as he wouldn't be able to know it.

"A line grows toward infinity at an infinitely fast rate" No, a line (in the real sense, not a line segment) is already infinite in length. No matter how far down it you look, you will never find an end. We are on this line, and moving forward. There is some evidence in the idea that the future exists already. I believe a few sub-atomic particles have been shown to move faster than the speed of light, thus going backwards in time. Since we can see them now, it stands to reason that if they are moving backwards, they came from forwards. Thus, they came from the future, which must then exist. For more info, see your local quantum physicist.

Slipnish
November 14th, 2004, 05:00 PM
Iluvatar states:
1)God exists (a given for this discussion)
2)Therefore he is omniscient
3)If he knows everything, he must know each of our decisions
4)If an action is known with certainty before it is committed, then the person who committed had no real choice, only the illusion of it.
5)If god knows everything anyone will ever do, then we have no real choice in the matter, thus, no free will.

The above is true only in the instance in which God chooses to interact and/or negate choices of humanity. However, a god that does NOT intefere, but simply knows what will happen, certainly negates this argument.

If you know that the stove is hot, but allow a child to touch it, they have learned an important lesson, and they have free will, even though you KNOW the result.

Iluvatar
November 14th, 2004, 05:18 PM
The above is true only in the instance in which God chooses to interact and/or negate choices of humanityI disagree. If we could deviate from the future that god knows, then he would not really know it. Thus, we ccannot deviate from it, and have no free choice.


If you know that the stove is hot, but allow a child to touch it, they have learned an important lesson, and they have free will, even though you KNOW the result.I'm not sure that I follow the analogy. As near as I can tell, a more apt one would be if you knew exactly if, when, and in what manner the child would touch the stove. In such a case, he would have no choice in the matter.

DeviantNorm
November 14th, 2004, 05:19 PM
The above is true only in the instance in which God chooses to interact and/or negate choices of humanity. However, a god that does NOT intefere, but simply knows what will happen, certainly negates this argument.

If you know that the stove is hot, but allow a child to touch it, they have learned an important lesson, and they have free will, even though you KNOW the result.

Do you then slap the child on the hand for doing what you allowed them to do?

Iluvatar
November 14th, 2004, 05:22 PM
On a quick, and totally unrelated topic, DN, what is your avatar?

DeviantNorm
November 14th, 2004, 05:26 PM
An inverted scan of my eye. I wanted to enlarge it; I'm afraid I only succeeded in screwing up the pixilation.

Vorketh
November 14th, 2004, 06:05 PM
"A line grows toward infinity at an infinitely fast rate" No, a line (in the real sense, not a line segment) is already infinite in length. No matter how far down it you look, you will never find an end. We are on this line, and moving forward. There is some evidence in the idea that the future exists already. I believe a few sub-atomic particles have been shown to move faster than the speed of light, thus going backwards in time. Since we can see them now, it stands to reason that if they are moving backwards, they came from forwards. Thus, they came from the future, which must then exist. For more info, see your local quantum physicist


Two things - First, the whole line thing can be argued both ways. However, I'll use your description and explain to you that it has no effect on my hypothesis. I claim that the universe can be related to a single point moving forward on the dimension of time (for the complete description of what I mean by this, re-read my previous post). Regardless of how the line of time exists, the point has yet to get to 4, if it's at 3 right now. I don't want to restate what I said, so just re-read it and consider it again, disregarding behavior of a line, realizing that it doesn't matter.

Concerning the experiment, you can see what you are talking about: here (http://science.howstuffworks.com/news-item6.htm)

Nevertheless, back to the point of the discussion.

I propose something of which the conclusions must be that either God does not exist, or there is no such thing as free will

So are we in agreement that the existance of God is irrelevant to whether or not free will exists? You say that if there was no God, that the future could be changed. How does the existance of a God alter that? The only way that would be is if God forced things into action to force an outcome - that contradicts the Christian description of the behavior of God. God is separate from time meaning that he has no control over time, he is bound to it as well - otherwise immortality would not be a neccessary attribute for him. So what I am proposing, as I've proposed before, is that yes, things are in fact capable of moving forward in the dimension of time. That does not prove that things that move at the 'normal' speed of time exist where it went. Only electric signals and light have been able to go into the future by breaking the speed of light - nothing of mass. Since going forward in time has no bearing on the x-y-z axes, it's location would remain a constant relative to everything it existed with in our time. So they bring no answer with them as to whether or not everything else existed in the future. I contend that they don't, because they haven't been there yet. We move forward in time, and every instant becomes the past. Forward and backward motion is possible, I'm not arguing with that, I am simply arguing that going forward will reveal that things going the 'normal' rate of time do not exist there. Therefore, God, nor anything, can have a knowledge of that which does not exist, such as things in the future. He is omniscient because he has a knowledge of everything that was and is, and the very instant that it is. Refer to my post to remind yourself of the rest of this.

KneeLess
November 14th, 2004, 07:07 PM
So are we in agreement that the existance of God is irrelevant to whether or not free will exists?
Absolutely not, in fact, God existing or not existing is the cornerstone of my arguement.

You say that if there was no God, that the future could be changed. How does the existance of a God alter that?
Iluvatar explained this a few times, I'll just clairify. God is omniscient, and thusly knows everything. He knows what I did ten minutes ago, he knows what I'm doing now and he knows what I'm going to be doing in ten minutes, which is something I can't know explicitly. If I could deviate from what he knows I'm going to do he wouldn't be omniscient, and therefore not the God we know. If I can't deviate, I don't have free will.

God is separate from time meaning that he has no control over time, he is bound to it as well - otherwise immortality would not be a neccessary attribute for him.
I believe Iluvatar said it best, "If god was unitemporal (or monochronic, perhaps), as we are; moving at a set speed through time, then he'd have problems. If he knew everything, he'd know the outcome of his own decisions, which creates some strange paradoxes that you usually see in time-travel stories. He'd have no free will, virtual, or real, since he would know himself what he was going to choose. I think that if a god exists, he is omnitemporal, or omnichronic, or transtemporal. This means that he exists at all points in time, at the same time. This would eliminate the paradoxes, but would mean that he is truly omniscient, as he would be able to know our actions at all points in time."

Therefore, God, nor anything, can have a knowledge of that which does not exist, such as things in the future. He is omniscient because he has a knowledge of everything that was and is, and the very instant that it is
If we use time as on the n-axis, like Iluvatar said, then why is time exluded from this omniscience? What is so special about that?

CliveStaples
November 14th, 2004, 08:00 PM
God is omniscient, and thusly knows everything. He knows what I did ten minutes ago, he knows what I'm doing now and he knows what I'm going to be doing in ten minutes, which is something I can't know explicitly. If I could deviate from what he knows I'm going to do he wouldn't be omniscient, and therefore not the God we know. If I can't deviate, I don't have free will.

This just doesn't make sense to me.

"If I could deviate from what he knows I'm going to do he wouldn't be omniscient, and therefore not the God we know. If I can't deviate, I don't have free will."

Your interpretation presupposes that God's foreknowledge of events is somehow imperfect. That, somehow, God's knowledge of future events means that the choices that create that future and those future events were not made freely. This just seems faulty to me. Does my knowledge of past events mean that every event in the past was set in stone, and that people in the past had no free will, being bound to the past (my past, their future) that I know to be true? Here's a hypothetical: You see before you paths A through Z. You choose to follow path B. At the end of path B, and only path B, God set up a lemonade stand for you. Is your free agency in the choice of paths somehow limited by God's ultimate knowledge of your choice?

It is possible to take the idea of God's omniscience and suppose that fatalism and determinism are inherent in the Bible. However, most Christians I know reject this philosophy, and with it most of Calvinism. This rejection isn't because they fail to understand the concept of any number of nuanced and intelligent arguments against Christianity, but because they reject the logic, the reasoning. To me, your argument seems like an example of a non-sequiter, or perhaps circular reasoning. "Supposing that God's will binds my decisions to a certain outcome, God then, ontologically, denies free will." True. I don't disagree with the WARRANT of your argument, but with the CLAIM.

Meng Bomin
November 14th, 2004, 08:15 PM
The existence of a truly omniscient God automatically renders free will as an impossibility. If God knows what will happen past, present, and future, then there is only one path that can be taken. Therefore, every choice you make is not a matter of probability, no matter how much it seems that way to you, but rather a certainty.


Foreknown != Predetermined Forknown does not equal predetermined by that person (or entity). However, it does meant that there is one path that can and will be taken. Thus choices are not free choices. Thus free will does not exist. The real cause is not the fact that events are foreknown, but rather, why they are foreknown. If an event is foreknown, there must only be one path. The one path is the cause, not the effect.

He knows how external factors are LIKELY to alter your decisions. You are making the assumption that decisions are a matter of probability. Without knowledge of all factors, everything can come down to probability. However, when you flip a coin in the air, the conditions which you either do not know or do not understand determine which side the coin will land on. This conditions include but are not limited to: the manner in which your hand moves when flipping the coin, the initial position of the coin, air currents, one's effect on air currents, the texture of the ground, ect.. If you were to know and understand all the factors invovled, I think you could know without a doubt which side on which it would land. Who's to say the firing of neural impulses doesn't work in a similar manner. Not understanding all of the factors involved (there are even more in this case), one is left guessing, while the response may be predetermined, not necessarily by an intelligent force, but simply by the combination of all circumstances.

Galendir
November 14th, 2004, 10:14 PM
"What has changed about F so that his free choices are no longer free choices? Nothing." What has changed is that he no longer has them. He still has his illusion, but he has no real choice.The presumption is that F's freewill is genuine and not merely an illusion. This means that he is ultimately the sole agent of his choices--they are not ultimately determined by something external to the self.
The introduction of K has no effect on the nature of F, thus no effect on the nature of F's choices.
There is no mechanism introduced by the presence of K that has any impact whatsoever on the nature of F and how F chooses, therefore IF his choices are free and real apart from the existence of K, they are just as free and real with the existence of K.

Those of you who insist that it is foreknowledge itself that precludes the existence of freewill, please address my example and show how IT is flawed.
Reproduced here:

Presume for a moment, that person F has genuine freewill and is able to make genuinely free choices.
Introduce entity K. K can travel backward and forward through time observing F's reality but being wholly unable to affect it in any way (Heisenberg uncertainty principle disregarded).
K observes F making free choices.
K travels backward in time thus knowing what choices F will (from his current temporal reference point) make.
What has changed about F so that his free choices are no longer free choices?
Nothing.

It may be impossible for genuine free will to exist.
It may be impossible for a foreknowing entity to exist.
BUT, if it can be supposed that neither is of itself necessarily impossible, how does the existence of one preclude the other?
The above example would seem to demonstrate that it doesn't.

Meng Bomin
November 14th, 2004, 10:29 PM
K observes F making free choices. This assumes that the choices are free to begin with.

Vorketh
November 15th, 2004, 03:37 AM
Absolutely not, in fact, God existing or not existing is the cornerstone of my arguement.

Iluvatar explained this a few times, I'll just clairify. God is omniscient, and thusly knows everything. He knows what I did ten minutes ago, he knows what I'm doing now and he knows what I'm going to be doing in ten minutes, which is something I can't know explicitly. If I could deviate from what he knows I'm going to do he wouldn't be omniscient, and therefore not the God we know. If I can't deviate, I don't have free will.

I believe Iluvatar said it best, "If god was unitemporal (or monochronic, perhaps), as we are; moving at a set speed through time, then he'd have problems. If he knew everything, he'd know the outcome of his own decisions, which creates some strange paradoxes that you usually see in time-travel stories. He'd have no free will, virtual, or real, since he would know himself what he was going to choose. I think that if a god exists, he is omnitemporal, or omnichronic, or transtemporal. This means that he exists at all points in time, at the same time. This would eliminate the paradoxes, but would mean that he is truly omniscient, as he would be able to know our actions at all points in time."

If we use time as on the n-axis, like Iluvatar said, then why is time exluded from this omniscience? What is so special about that?
Two things, Kneeless - the whole time thing was a side debate with Iluvatar. It should've been handled on a separate thread, because it had little to do with God. My debate with you and everyone else was as follows:



I'd like everyone to know that they have free will, whether the Christian God exists or not. Think about it - God made is omniscient, right? Well, that means that he has to have one gosh darn great hold of mathematics and probability, right? Okay. Well, God knows everyone personally - religion teaches you that. That's key. He knows how you are LIKELY to behave in any given situation. He knows how external factors are LIKELY to alter your decisions. He knows that whether or not you have beef tonight makes no difference to him, or you, because it has no effect on his great plan. That's the kicker. He knows all that will be, right? That is a pretty vague reference, and I would hazard a guess that all he truly foreknows (nice made up word) is how everything will end up after Christ comes again and whatnot. As obvious as it is, I'll state it - the very end is a controlled thing. When Christ comes, and right before it, all that lovely stuff in Revelation happens - a very controlled series of actions. It is said in the Bible that God knows of every sparrow (or whatever bird it was) that falls from the sky. This does not elude to a foreknowledge of when it was going to happen, but rather, every instant that something does happen, God is aware of it. THAT is omniscience. You have your choice, God knows you, he knows what you are likely to do, how that will change things, what other people's likely decisions will cause them to do, how that will affect you, etc. My whole point is that God has no set knowledge of every minute aspect of your life and how you'll live it. He is fully aware of every action you take and every thought you think at the very instant it takes place, and he made a good guess based on probability for all of them.


The American Heritage Dictionary defines omniscience as "knowing everything". That was the key to my argument that God does not have to know the future to be have a knowledge of everything, because the future does not exist, and therefore is not something, so God still knows everything. My reference to the time axis is simple - you must believe in one of two philosophies:

1)The stamp
This states that the outcome of everything, irrespective to a deity, for all times in all places of the universe is predetermined for whatever reason, and therefore, everything that was, is, and will be are set AND traversable AND knowable.

2)Real Time Mode
This states that we leave what could be compared to trail as the universe passes through the time axis. The x-y-z coordinates of anything do change as they move, and that is the difference between one instant on the time axis and the next. For instance, (5,3,z) has the same x and y coordinates whether or not z is 2, or 6, or a million. Same goes for (5,3,2,time). Unless the object at those coordinates was moved, it remains at those coordinates. This shows how physical presence at a given point of time is independent of time itself. It exists in previous times because it existed...... redundant but you know what I mean. However, I don't know about you, but I'm not 33 yet, that's 15 years from now. I have not existed 15 years from now.

Whether or not you buy into what I am saying is completely dependent on whether you believe in the Stamp or Real Time thoughts. If it is Stamp, it doesn't matter who knows it, it's all set in stone anyway. Real Time says that we are moving through time, and only where we have been have we defined all the variables to create an image at that set period of time, otherwise, it is a void until we get there.

When replying, please reply to both this argument and my original in my quote.

Galendir
November 15th, 2004, 10:43 AM
This assumes that the choices are free to begin with.
Yes, The point I am addressing is the claim that it is foreknowledge itself (or the possibility of such) that precludes the existence of freewill. If freewill is impossible irrespective of a foreknower, the question is moot.

Iluvatar
November 15th, 2004, 11:34 AM
Well, there's a lot I need to say, and I'm sure I'll forget some of it.

Vorketh,
When a particle goes faster than light, it goes backwards in time. If we see a particle now going faster than light, it must have come from the future. I would think that this supports the idea that the future exists.

"The American Heritage Dictionary defines omniscience as 'knowing everything'."
I take this to mean EVERYTHING. This does not merely refer to what is. I'm sure that god knows what 2 + 2 is. '2' and '2' are not physical objects, that exist right now. They are hypothetical concepts. If I had 5 apples, and stole 3 more from Vorketh, I'd have 8. I know this. God knows this. This has not occurred, but we still both know it. God has knowledge of that which has not happened. By your interpretation of omnipotence, god would not know anything about such hypothetical situations. As it is, god knows EVERYTHING, not just what exists now.


Your interpretation presupposes that God's foreknowledge of events is somehow imperfect.No, we're saying that it IS perfect. Look at it this way:
Joe can have beef or pizza for dinner tonight. God knows that Joe is going to choose beef. Therefore, can Joe choose Pizza? Of course not, God, being omnipotent, knows that he will choose beef. God's not changing anything, or making him choose beef, he simply ha foreknowledge that beef will be chosen. When you cannot choose any other choice than one (beef, in this case), you have no choice. Thus, Joe had no say in what he was going to have for dinner.


However, most Christians I know reject this philosophyGood for them. Invite them here, and we'll debate with them about it. As it is, you're debating, not them. Be careful to avoid and ad pop here.


hose of you who insist that it is foreknowledge itself that precludes the existence of freewill, please address my example and show how IT is flawed.I would ask you to show how our claim is flawed. Your pointing at the conclusion of a process and saying that it's wrong. Well, show us where the process is faulty.


Yes, The point I am addressing is the claim that it is foreknowledge itself (or the possibility of such) that precludes the existence of freewill.If there is no being that knows the future, than the future may very well be mutable. If there is an omnipotent being, then he knows what will happen for all eternity, and thus, we are unable to change it.

FruitandNut
November 15th, 2004, 11:44 AM
Yes, The point I am addressing is the claim that it is foreknowledge itself (or the possibility of such) that precludes the existence of freewill. If freewill is impossible irrespective of a foreknower, the question is moot.

Matt 24:36
'But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son (Jesus), but the Father alone'

Is God to be limited by time, or does His span go beyond? If this is so He must know everything that will happen within time.

1/ The Calvanist argument looks more to God's predestination.
2/ Amninianism looks more to man's freewill.

How can they be reconciled? Perhaps the answer is that they both stand as Truth - it is just that as we are confined within the unfolding of time and limited to 'the natural laws' - we are ill equipped to see or understand it. It is a square circle, so-to-speak and therfore a paradox.

Thank goodness scripture does not require an understanding of any interrelation there may be in order to be 'saved'.

Slipnish
November 15th, 2004, 04:07 PM
I disagree. If we could deviate from the future that god knows, then he would not really know it. Thus, we ccannot deviate from it, and have no free choice.

How is that not free choice? We have a choice, but He knows what it is. How is knowledge preclusive of someone else's intent? That's the question.


I'm not sure that I follow the analogy. As near as I can tell, a more apt one would be if you knew exactly if, when, and in what manner the child would touch the stove. In such a case, he would have no choice in the matter.

The child makes the choice, your knowledge does NOT preclude his ability to decide.

Slipnish
November 15th, 2004, 04:08 PM
Do you then slap the child on the hand for doing what you allowed them to do?

No. I suspect this is fundy baiting, and I won't buy it. ;)

Meng Bomin
November 15th, 2004, 04:17 PM
Yes, The point I am addressing is the claim that it is foreknowledge itself (or the possibility of such) that precludes the existence of freewill. If freewill is impossible irrespective of a foreknower, the question is moot. The fact that it is possible means that there is a set path to begin with. There cannot be a truly 'free choice' if there is a set path. So, a foreknower is actually just a mere indicator that there is a set path, meaning it is not the foreknower itself, but rather the fact that there is the possibility of a foreknower. In a universe where free will exists, foreknowers cannot exist.

Vorketh
November 15th, 2004, 05:27 PM
Well, there's a lot I need to say, and I'm sure I'll forget some of it.

Vorketh,
When a particle goes faster than light, it goes backwards in time. If we see a particle now going faster than light, it must have come from the future. I would think that this supports the idea that the future exists.

"The American Heritage Dictionary defines omniscience as 'knowing everything'."
I take this to mean EVERYTHING. This does not merely refer to what is. I'm sure that god knows what 2 + 2 is. '2' and '2' are not physical objects, that exist right now. They are hypothetical concepts. If I had 5 apples, and stole 3 more from Vorketh, I'd have 8. I know this. God knows this. This has not occurred, but we still both know it. God has knowledge of that which has not happened. By your interpretation of omnipotence, god would not know anything about such hypothetical situations. As it is, god knows EVERYTHING, not just what exists now.

Argh... you have such a knack for leaving out half of my argument. Obviously, this leaves it open to attacks such as yours, but that leaves me with the position of proving you wrong :P.

Ok, let me explain to you how physics works. When any particle approaches the speed of light, time slows down for it, meaning, as you progress, it disappears from your existance. However, when anything goes faster than the speed of light, it goes goes into the future. If you read the article I posted a link to, then this would explain how at the moment they pulsed the light, it disappeared, exited the chamber, then entered. Basically, it slowed down (relative to time), so it disappeared, then, it went faster than light and ended up in the future, and then went backwards in time - explaining how you see it leave, then enter.

Now, with respect to my argument. I clearly stated that yes, the future exists. I never refuted that. I simply stated that things that have not yet been to that point in time do not exist there. The light went into the future, yes, but that does not prove whether or not anything else existed there. Get what I'm saying?

How do you say that I said that God would have no knowledge about mathematical comments? Please quote me saying that, because that is a false extrapolation from my argument. Concepts are just intellectual facts - no matter to them, just facts. Surely God knows all these. That was not in question. God is surely aware of all the things you could possibly do. I never argued that. He is also aware, of which one you are going to pick, only because he understands the probability based on your personality and outside factors influencing your decision. This thought preserves God's omniscience, because he still 'knows' what you will do, it preserves your freedom of choice, and it preserves the notion that that which has yet to occur does not exist, solely because it has left no 'footprint' in time as of yet, and therefore, is subject to change by what WE think it will be. I'm 100% assured that if God does exist, that his assumption as to what the future is is 100% accurate.

Meng Bomin
November 15th, 2004, 05:56 PM
I simply stated that things that have not yet been to that point in time do not exist there. Why not?

He is also aware, of which one you are going to pick, only because he understands the probability based on your personality and outside factors influencing your decision. If he knows, then there is a probability of 100% that you will carry out that action and there is a 0% chance that you will do anything differently. How can free will fit into this?

Fyshhed
November 15th, 2004, 06:14 PM
You have a choice.

Do something, Do something else, or Do nothing.
Any of these 3 choices you CAN make.
One of these 3 choices you WILL make.
If God knew which one you were going to make, and did not stop you and make you do another, you still have free will.

Meng Bomin
November 15th, 2004, 06:41 PM
Any of these 3 choices you CAN make. CAN is loosely used here, since there is a certainty that you will make that one choice, provided there is foreknowledge. You may have "will" but if foreknowledge is possible, you have no "free will", since your choices are bound by initial conditions. However, if our choices were a matter of pure chance, you still wouldn't have control, so I guess it is pointless whether our will is free or not, besides determining if parallel universes exist.

Fyshhed
November 15th, 2004, 08:02 PM
CAN is loosely used here, since there is a certainty that you will make that one choice, provided there is foreknowledge. You may have "will" but if foreknowledge is possible, you have no "free will", since your choices are bound by initial conditions. However, if our choices were a matter of pure chance, you still wouldn't have control, so I guess it is pointless whether our will is free or not, besides determining if parallel universes exist.
Choice is also irrelevant because one will be made no matter what the circumstances, even if the choice is to not make a decision. There is at least one definite temporal path, and assuming this is the only one, it gives some credence to the free will/omniscient god(s) argument.

Just because the choice you will eventually make is known, does not mean you do not make that choice.

Meng Bomin
November 15th, 2004, 08:11 PM
Just because the choice you will eventually make is known, does not mean you do not make that choice. True but he debate is over whether or not it's a free choice (not that that means much beyond whether or not an omniscient, omnipotent god would go against his will).

Fyshhed
November 15th, 2004, 08:29 PM
True but he debate is over whether or not it's a free choice (not that that means much beyond whether or not an omniscient, omnipotent god would go against his will).
And the answer is yes, the choice is free, and decided by you. The deity just happens to know ahead of time which one you'll make.

Meng Bomin
November 15th, 2004, 08:31 PM
And the answer is yes, the choice is free, and decided by you. That depends on your definiton of 'free choice'.

Dionysus
November 15th, 2004, 08:40 PM
And the answer is yes, the choice is free, and decided by you. The deity just happens to know ahead of time which one you'll make.

At least the perception is that the choice was made by you, however, your statement suggests that one could make a choice that is contrary to what God already knows. Besides that, perception does not equal actuality.

Fyshhed
November 15th, 2004, 08:57 PM
At least the perception is that the choice was made by you, however, your statement suggests that one could make a choice that is contrary to what God already knows.
Not really. The implication is that when all is said and done, and you changed your mind to fool God, he still knew you were going to try to fool him and take B instead of A. Consider it time travel 10 minutes ahead of all points of time. It leaves the possibility for interference with free will, but why should I argue that? I don't even believe in God. :D

Dionysus
November 15th, 2004, 09:00 PM
Not really. The implication is that when all is said and done, and you changed your mind to fool God, he still knew you were going to try to fool him and take B instead of A.

That's right, therefore your fooling him was never a possibility and thus, never an option.


Consider it time travel 10 minutes ahead of all points of time. It leaves the possibility for interference with free will, but why should I argue that? I don't even believe in God. :D

Yeah, why would you?

Meng Bomin
November 15th, 2004, 09:00 PM
It leaves the possibility for interference with free will, but why should I argue that? I don't even believe in God. Because that's what this thread's about: whether, assuming the existence of an omniscient God, free will can exist.

Fyshhed
November 15th, 2004, 09:05 PM
That's right, therefore your fooling him was never a possibility and thus, never an option. You chose to TRY and fool God, but he knew ahead of time that you would do so. It's only not free will if he stops you. Don't confuse free will with the ability to elude omniscience ;)


Because that's what this thread's about: whether, assuming the existence of an omniscient God, free will can exist.
Omnicience is a non-factor. Whether he knows it or not, what is relevant is whether he can affect it. What you choose is KNOWN but not necessarily ACTED UPON. Start arguing omnipotence and maybe you'll have something to work with :lol:

Dionysus
November 15th, 2004, 09:17 PM
You chose to TRY and fool God, but he knew ahead of time that you would do so. It's only not free will if he stops you. Don't confuse free will with the ability to elude omniscience ;)

I'm not. I'm merely pointing out the logical contradiction. Either ALL the options are possibilities or they are NOT. If they are not possibilities they are NOT options.

Meng Bomin
November 15th, 2004, 09:19 PM
Omnicience is a non-factor. No, it's a factor. It is an indicator that th universe has a single path, thus one doesn't have the ability to make decisions other than those caused by other factors. Coupled with a God who is omnipotent, I would argue that free will can't exist.

FruitandNut
November 15th, 2004, 11:44 PM
Ancient man had some quaint ideas and hypotheses about God and Creation - then Newton came along and put Theory to gravity - then Maxwell saw the magnetic effect of lightning and married the two in the Theory of ElectroMagnetism - then Einstein came into view and joined these together with light and time in his Theories of Relativity - now we have Chaos Theory, String Theory and a Theory of Everything - are we about to end up at the beginning, ready to swap those hypotheses on God and Creation (and our very nature) with Theories that will stand the test of time?

mustang5
November 16th, 2004, 08:32 AM
I propose something of which the conclusions must be that either God does not exist, or there is no such thing as free will. Let me begin.

Fate is a pretty simple concept. It holds that everything in the universe is predecided, of which nothing can be altered. If God exists, fate must exist. In fact, my whole premise is based upon that, so I must defend it adequately. We can safety say that God knows everything that has happened before, is happening now, and is going to happen. If he didn't he wouldn't be omnipotent, and therefore not God as we know it. With that aside, I think it is somewhat obvious how free will ties into this.

The Bible, tells us that when God created us he endowed us with free will. But, if he knows what every single outcome is going to be how can we make a choice that isn't predetermined? The truth is that we can't. "Well KneeLess, what if God simply knows every possible out come of every single choice you have to make?" Slightly more complicated, but same exact problem: If God knows the outcome(s) beforehand it is impossible for that choice to exist. I believe this is simple logic to see this.

Therefore we can conclude one of two things: God does not exist, or the Bible has lied to us about free will.

I believe somebody is using your statements as if they were theres. Anyway, somebody else once said the exact same thing to me, almost word for word, and after several replies back and forth, stubborn will prevailed. When you try to come up with some angle as if you have caught God in a delima, or maybe your smarter than God and find his will illogical, you will lose everytime. Is there some reason why you must know all the answers? Is it a knowledge quest? Either you believe or you don't. You obviously don't because you are trying to discount a simple known fact to Christians that God is all knowing. Let's say God knows the outcome. You say that because he knows you don't have a choice. Your still making a choice, regardless of the fact that he is smarter than you and knows what choice your going to make. blah blah blah

CliveStaples
November 16th, 2004, 01:32 PM
Does God make the decision for you? No. Does He know what decision you are going to make? Yes. That means that you are going to decide to do what you choose to do. Your choices are limited in that you are bound to decide to do whatever it is that you decide to do.

KneeLess
November 16th, 2004, 02:58 PM
The presumption is that F's freewill is genuine and not merely an illusion. This means that he is ultimately the sole agent of his choices--they are not ultimately determined by something external to the self.
The introduction of K has no effect on the nature of F, thus no effect on the nature of F's choices.
There is no mechanism introduced by the presence of K that has any impact whatsoever on the nature of F and how F chooses, therefore IF his choices are free and real apart from the existence of K, they are just as free and real with the existence of K.
This is really interesting, too bad it's either a straw man or a red herring, I can't decide which. I say this because K is not omniscient as God is, and that does affect it considerably. God can and has affected F; we cannot understand his nature. And we're not arguing about that.

And for purely arguement's sake, consider the following. I can make a choice let's call this choice A. In choice A I am completely free to choose anything. Now introduce God, who knows that for choice A, you're going to pick the first choice. Now, it is impossible to choose any other choice than the first choice of A. In fact, I'm going to call this new choice B, because it only has one option: the first choice of A. If I can't choose something, then it obviously can't be a choice. If there is only one option then surely it is not a choice, therefore I never make choices and ergo, don't have free will.

Does God make the decision for you? No. Does He know what decision you are going to make? Yes. That means that you are going to decide to do what you choose to do. Your choices are limited in that you are bound to decide to do whatever it is that you decide to do.
Straw man, I never claimed any of that. I simply am saying that if God knows what you're going to do in advance, you can't make a free decision. Check out some other posts in this thread if you want a good arguement for this.

CliveStaples
November 16th, 2004, 03:47 PM
Straw man, I never claimed any of that. I simply am saying that if God knows what you're going to do in advance, you can't make a free decision. Check out some other posts in this thread if you want a good arguement for this.

So my post wasn't about the impact of foreknowledge on free will/choice? Maybe you should read it again. Those questions I asked are known as "rhetorical" questions.

Fyshhed
November 16th, 2004, 03:57 PM
No, it's a factor. It is an indicator that th universe has a single path, thus one doesn't have the ability to make decisions other than those caused by other factors. Coupled with a God who is omnipotent, I would argue that free will can't exist.
There is a path, and all factors play a part in it. This means that you play your part in the big picture. The concept is that God knows how the big picture would look at all times. You have a choice. You make the choice, then you proceed to make more choices.

Show me the link to where the fact that you decide something means you did not have a choice.

Then show me how this links to non-interfering foreknowledge of what your choice will be.

It's like you're throwing up omniscience as a means of trying to say you did not have the opportunity to decide otherwise. The point is, you CAN decide otherwise, God just knows you'll do that too.

Being independent of time does not encroach on the path time makes of its own accord. Seeing a picture and painting a picture are completely separate.

Meng Bomin
November 16th, 2004, 06:20 PM
Show me the link to where the fact that you decide something means you did not have a choice. An omnipotent deity has control over a universe with a single path. thus everything happens in the will of the deity.

Galendir
November 16th, 2004, 06:50 PM
The fact that it is possible means that there is a set path to begin with.This implies that the path is set irrespective of the choices that define it, but I've heard nothing to support that this is so.

There cannot be a truly 'free choice' if there is a set path.It is the truly free FUTURE choices* that determine what the path will be.

So, a foreknower is actually just a mere indicator that there is a set path, meaning it is not the foreknower itself, but rather the fact that there is the possibility of a foreknower.Look again at the universe in my example. What is it that is setting the path? It is the free choices made by F. The argument you are are presenting reduces to: F cannot choose other than he chooses therefore his choices aren't.

In a universe where free will exists, foreknowers cannot exist.Perhaps, but you haven't shown it to be so. At what step in my scenario do I introduce a logical impossibility, or a mutually exclusive state of affairs? If events up until time t were not predetermined but were only determined at the point of time at which they occured--that is, at each step of the way choices were freely made, how does moving an observing, non-interfering entity from t to t-2 transform the fundamental nature of choices made at t-1? Why can we not posit an observer within a different temporal frame of reference that could travel from t to t-n? Specifically, what is it about the fundamental nature of choices that define the course of events through t that itself prevents such travel by an observer?



*Assuming that truly free choices are not intrinsically impossible.

Meng Bomin
November 16th, 2004, 07:01 PM
This implies that the path is set irrespective of the choices that define it, but I've heard nothing to support that this is so. The choices are merely part of the path.

What is it that is setting the path? The set of interactions between various sections of matter and energy. Unless there is an omnipotent deity, in which case, he or she or it sets the path.

If events up until time t were not predetermined but were only determined at the point of time at which they occured--that is, at each step of the way choices were freely made, how does moving an observing, non-interfering entity from t to t-2 transform the fundamental nature of choices made at t-1? Well, in order for this entity to do so, there would have to be a single path, in which case there would be no choice that could possibly go another way, making that choice into simply a complex set of interactions, similar to finding out where a bouncy ball will end up after bouncing of the floor, ceiling, and walls of a room numerous times.

Why can we not posit an observer within a different temporal frame of reference that could travel from t to t-n? Specifically, what is it about the fundamental nature of choices that define the course of events through t that itself prevents such travel by an observer? Well, if I define a choice as an action that has more than one possibility (given perfect and complete knowledge), then there would not be a single path, but multiple paths. Therefore, it would be impossible to predetermine the state of the universe, since there would be more than one path, meaning more than one potential universe.

Galendir
November 16th, 2004, 07:27 PM
This is really interesting, too bad it's either a straw man or a red herring, I can't decide which. I say this because K is not omniscient as God is, and that does affect it considerably.In the only relevant aspect to the question, their foreknowledge is essentially the same. I have constructed the example to remove superfluous elements which do not directly speak to the question of how foreknowledge(or the possibility thereof) of choices ITSELF prevents those choices from being truly free. To this issue, I have constructed about as pure an example as I can. This question is not about God's omnipotence per se, or his own freewill, or his direct interference in the affairs of men, etc. THOSE are red herrings. If you take the position that (the possibility of)foreknowledge of choices ALONE prevents those choices from being truly free, you need to demonstrate how my example is flawed.

God can and has affected F;Whatever capacity to which God has affected F is irrelevant to the Omniscience/Foreknowledge vs Freewill/Free choices question.
we cannot understand his nature. And we're not arguing about that.Who's nature F's or God's? The only question about F's nature is that of his freewill, or how his freedom of choice is impacted by external foreknowledge of his choices, and that certainly IS the subject under debate. If you mean God's nature, I don't see your point.


And for purely arguement's sake, consider the following. I can make a choice let's call this choice A. In choice A I am completely free to choose anything. Now introduce God, who knows that for choice A, you're going to pick the first choice. Now, it is impossible to choose any other choice than the first choice of A. In fact, I'm going to call this new choice B, because it only has one option: the first choice of A. If I can't choose something, then it obviously can't be a choice. If there is only one option then surely it is not a choice, therefore I never make choices and ergo, don't have free will.This is a horribly worded paragraph, but to your point let me ask you this: Why does God know that you are going to pick the first choice? What has determined that you will choose so? Is it not the choice itself that rules out other choices? It is not God's knowledge of your choice that prevents your choice from being different, it is the fact of your choice that makes it what it is and not what it is not.

FruitandNut
November 17th, 2004, 01:52 AM
Perhaps the 'Strawman' in attempting to prove or refute God and Creation is science itself. If science is contained within Whitton's '11 dimentions' - then God could be the 12th.
While human knowledge is limited to those 11 dimentions it would then seem nonsensical and a futile exercise to attempt to judge, know or define the mind and the purpose of the Creator. All we will be looking at are those String Theory 'mirrors'(ref. Whitton's 1995 lecture).

Vorketh
November 17th, 2004, 03:38 AM
An omnipotent deity has control over a universe with a single path. thus everything happens in the will of the deity.
Feel free to live your life believing that you are controlled. This leads to many people who do all of NOTHING because they feel, well, God makes my decisions for me, and no matter what I do, I'll end up exactly where I was supposed to. I've attempted to provide logical responses to your questions, but you simply return them with unprovable things such as God did it, or God said so, or God knows it. God is a horrible argument, because believers will still believe, and disbelievers won't. It's been said before, and I'll say it again:

The agnostics are right.

Galendir
November 17th, 2004, 07:59 PM
The choices are merely part of the path.But they are the only aspect of what determines the path that is relevant to this discussion.

The set of interactions between various sections of matter and energy. Unless there is an omnipotent deity, in which case, he or she or it sets the path.Interactions between matter and energy that affect how events transpire through time that are not part of the action of choosing are irrelevant to the question of the nature of free choices, and whether or not such could ever be foreknown. Surely you acknowledge that the action of choosing must in some way affect(effect, really) the course of one's future. If not, you belie your entire argument. If so, you must accept that choices themselves are what plot the course to one's destiny, and so arguments that "the path is set" do not preclude that it is choices that set it.

Well, in order for this entity to do so, there would have to be a single path,But there is always only one path leading backwards from t (regardless of how many potential paths lead forward from t). The path that brought you from where you were yesterday to where you are today has been set. It can't be other than it is. If the clock were to be rewound, it wouldn't bring us back to a past different than that which was experienced.

Well, if I define a choice as an action that has more than one possibility (given perfect and complete knowledge), then there would not be a single path, but multiple paths.Again, there would not be multiple paths leading backward, only forward, so you still haven't provided an adequate answer. At the point of every choice, all other choices are eliminated.

Therefore, it would be impossible to predetermine the state of the universe, since there would be more than one path, meaning more than one potential universe.Suppose the universe begins temporally a t=0. At every successive moment in time every potential event occurs, and a multitude of parallel universes branch out--one for every unique set of events. At every point that F makes a choice, several more universes are spawned--each one realizing a different potential choice by F. In this way, there is no unique set path, but an infinitude of paths--each one ultimately realized in some universe. It seems that such a state of affairs would not preclude F from making free choices as you have defined them; rather, such a state of affairs seems to be required if an observer who were to travel backward in time were not to necessarily know what future path would be realized as he again travelled forward.
If, however, such an observer could navigate through the various branches, he could effectively determine which universe he would ultimately realize (relative to him). In this way, he would not only know the future, he could, in a sense, predetermine the(his) future, and all without interfering with freewill.

(Cool, I didn't expect to arrive at that conclusion. Perhaps you can show me were I have erred.)

Dionysus
November 17th, 2004, 10:30 PM
I'm beginning to see both sides of this discussion with more clarity and honestly, I find my grip on my current position (that of freewill being limited due to God's foreknowledge) has grown somewhat tenuous. It is seems quite reasonable to conceive of a being who can possess ineffective foreknowledge of events. This being's knowledge can be had without directly influencing the decision-making process of any free agent. But consider this:

Time, as we experience it, is linear and very one dimensional. We can only remember the past and suppose the future. The present is all we can actively experience. Thus, to us, the present is all that exists. The past is no longer, the future is not yet and our ability to choose in the present does not seem to be driven by any outside forces. In fact, there is a school of thought that says it is logically impossible for any clear-minded free agent to make a choice that he/she does not prefer to make.

Fair enough.

IF _there were a being that had the ability to possess foreknowledge, this would be a being to whom the past, present and future would exist as a single unified event. The past, present and future would be irrelevant. Does this being's simply knowing a thing have any direct influence on said thing? It would seem not. At least not in the sense that it would cause a clear-minded free agent to make a choice that he/she did not prefer to make.

Again, fair enough.

BUT__ God is described as both all-powerful and all-knowing. If this is truly the case, would it be possible for God to KNOW a free agent's future choice, spontaneously inform the free agent of said choice, and the agent still be able to choose from the available options? Or would the agent still be bound to God's foreknowledge and be forced to choose what God said he would? Is God subject to the consequences of his own actions? Could God choose to inform a free agent of a decision he/she will make with the reasonable expectation that his foreknowledge would remain true? Is an all-powerful being free of consequence?

It seems that the ONLY way freewill/foreknowledge could work would be for the fore-knower to remain completely separated from the free agent, since any interaction on the part of the fore knower could result in altered or contrary foreknowledge. This would appear to place a limitation on what God can do, thus thwarting his being all-powerful.

Of course, it could be argued that God knows if he would do such a thing and being all-knowing, would know every altered outcome and on and on, ad infinitum. But this seems to be a somewhat circular bit of reasoning.

To me, the notion of both properties (all-powerful and all-knowing) existing within a single being seems illogical and self-contradicting when coupled with the concept of freewill.

FruitandNut
November 17th, 2004, 10:58 PM
I contend that if my 'definition' of the nature of God is true, that the definition is not circuitous - it just appears to be for us. - This is the point at which our 'rational thought' is at its most stretched, or most confused. - It is the point where, at least for the moment, curiousity, belief and scepticism still hold the battleground. We can only see as far as 11 bridges (Whitton's 11 dimentions?) , God stands astride the 12th. 'A bridge too Far', for our minds.

Galendir
November 17th, 2004, 11:08 PM
Somebody swat that fly.

FruitandNut
November 18th, 2004, 02:58 AM
May this blowfly suggest that rational conjecture irritates you Galendir - beware, it is unscientific to allow yourself be irritated by possibilities, and in reflex to close off your mind. The best scientists are always curious and aware that even 'science' seems to be 'forever' producing questions and paradoxes out of its 'Pandora's Box'.
Blasphemy to you today may well become your tomorrow's truth.
Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Fyshhed
November 18th, 2004, 10:33 AM
Blasphemy to you today may well become your tomorrow's truth.
Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
It is too often the case this this applies to religion ;)

*swat*