Free Will Argument
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26-02-2014, 11:51 AM (This post was last modified: 26-02-2014 01:24 PM by Zephiel16.)
Free Will Argument
So we were covering the "problem of evil" in my philosophy class, and the professor was discussing one of the theists' explanations for why evil exist if God does, which is that God lets evil occur because he doesn't want to affect our free will.

Now since free will is the reason, the professor jumped to talking about whether or not we truly have free will. His argument was something along these lines:

1. If God is omniscient, then he knows everything, including the future.
2. If he knows everything then he cannot be wrong about anything, including the future.
3. Therefore if God can't be wrong about the future, the future is predetermined.
Conclusion: If God is omniscient, then the future is predetermined, thus we have no free will

My Professor's whole argument (which I agree with) is that if God knew everything that was going to happen even before we were created, and he can never be wrong, then things could not have gone differently from the way he knew it was gonna happen, nothing could be different, therefore the future is predetermined. Thus we really have no free will, because we cannot do anything other than what God has predicted.

Now the theists in the class came up with some pretty ridiculous counters to this logic. The dumbest being that the Universe and our fates are like a book, and God just knows what happens in the book, which has two problem: 1. The characters in books have no free will, they do what the author wants them to do, and 2. Who wrote this book if not God. They were also claiming that #3 is false, which is a difficult claim to make if you accept #1 and #2 as true.

So I'd like to know what you guys think, mostly I'd like to know if any theists have a proper counter to this argument.
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26-02-2014, 02:31 PM
RE: Free Will Argument
This has been discussed many times here. If you search, I'm sure you can find other threads about it.

I'm not a theist, but there was a time when I was one. Reaching back to those days, my answer to this would have been as follows:

Knowledge of the future is not the same as it being predetermined. God simply knows what choices you will make because he can see into the future to see what you will do. He is not making you choose things and you do have the freedom to choose them yourself. But he simply knows beforehand what choices you will make.

Of course, I don't believe this today. I also think the whole idea of seeing into the future is ludicrous. But if you believe in an omnipotent, omniscient god, then you would believe this ability is possible and the whole idea of future knowledge without infringing upon free will becomes easy to accept.

Welcome to the forum by the way. Smile

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26-02-2014, 02:45 PM (This post was last modified: 26-02-2014 02:52 PM by IndianAtheist.)
RE: Free Will Argument
(26-02-2014 11:51 AM)Zephiel16 Wrote:  Conclusion: If God is omniscient, then the future is predetermined, thus we have no free will
This was my exact reply to free will argument @alla didn't reply to me to this day Tongue

All she had in reply was that God is not capable of knowing our future but still was somehow omnipotent&omniscient.

And btw Infant Cancer doesn't even contradict free will and somehow God can't be bothered to cure this?

Dreams/Hallucinations/delusions are not evidence
Wishful thinking is not evidence
Disproved statements&Illogical conclusions are not evidence
Logical fallacies&Unsubstantiated claims are not evidence
Vague prophecies is not evidence
Data that requires a certain belief is not evidence
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26-02-2014, 03:03 PM
RE: Free Will Argument
Magic man chose a universe specifically, so things will play out as it has.

He could have chose a world where a child wasn't molested, but nah. He could have chose a world where you weren't an alcoholic, but nah. He could have chose a world where religion resulted in a utopia on earth, but nah.

As for the religious answer, "God works in mysterious ways."
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26-02-2014, 03:19 PM
RE: Free Will Argument
This one of the first things I started thinking about when I began to doubt my faith. Why did I even bother praying? Was it an expectation that God would break the laws of physics, enter our world just for me, and change something to suit me more to my liking?

And if he did, then what happens to his perfect plan? Unless the plan was for me to ask, for him to deliver, which then means I never really had free will to begin with. So then if everything is predetermined, then that would include evil, and if its from God, then is evil bad? If I'm supposed to accept God, then I have to accept the evil that came from him and part of his plan right (and plenty of people seem to accept the idea of killing first born sons and drowning the world...)?

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26-02-2014, 03:22 PM
RE: Free Will Argument
(26-02-2014 11:51 AM)Zephiel16 Wrote:  So we were covering the "problem of evil" in my philosophy class, and the professor was discussing one of the theists' explanations for why evil exist if God does, which is that God lets evil occur because he doesn't want to affect our free will.

Now since free will is the reason, the professor jumped to talking about whether or not we truly have free will. His argument was something along these lines:

1. If God is omniscient, then he knows everything, including the future.
2. If he knows everything then he cannot be wrong about anything, including the future.
3. Therefore if God can't be wrong about the future, the future is predetermined.
Conclusion: If God is omniscient, then the future is predetermined, thus we have no free will

My Professor's whole argument (which I agree with) is that if God knew everything that was going to happen even before we were created, and he can never be wrong, then things could not have gone differently from the way he knew it was gonna happen, nothing could be different, therefore the future is predetermined. Thus we really have no free will, because we cannot do anything other than what God has predicted.

Now the theists in the class came up with some pretty ridiculous counters to this logic. The dumbest being that the Universe and our fates are like a book, and God just knows what happens in the book, which has two problem: 1. The characters in books have no free will, they do what the author wants them to do, and 2. Who wrote this book if not God. They were also claiming that #3 is false, which is a difficult claim to make if you accept #1 and #2 as true.

So I'd like to know what you guys think, mostly I'd like to know if any theists have a proper counter to this argument.
First it's important to note the reason that critics make the argument against free will. The idea is that, if we don't have free will, then it is unjust for god to judge us.

I'm not sure where your classmates were going with the book analogy, but I use it myself sometimes. You're right that the characters in the book have no free will. If god's omniscience means that our every thought is predetermined by god, then we are characters in a book written by god. No one claims it's unjust if a character in a book is judged or has something bad happen to them, because a character in a book has no rights to just treatment. Same with us if our very thoughts are predetermined. Another way to look at it is that it's been said, "I think, therefore I am." If omniscience means what your professor claims, then we don't think, and are not, i.e. we are not autonomous beings with rights to just treatment.

A more common counter is that "future" is meaningless with respect to an omniscient being, and so the whole argument falls apart.

Another is that the definition of free will used in the argument is based on possibility of alternative outcomes, but free will can also be defined in other manners, such as by processes. An interesting exercise is to try to make the argument using classical logic.
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26-02-2014, 04:17 PM
RE: Free Will Argument
(26-02-2014 11:51 AM)Zephiel16 Wrote:  So we were covering the "problem of evil" in my philosophy class, and the professor was discussing one of the theists' explanations for why evil exist if God does, which is that God lets evil occur because he doesn't want to affect our free will.

Now since free will is the reason, the professor jumped to talking about whether or not we truly have free will. His argument was something along these lines:

1. If God is omniscient, then he knows everything, including the future.
2. If he knows everything then he cannot be wrong about anything, including the future.
3. Therefore if God can't be wrong about the future, the future is predetermined.
Conclusion: If God is omniscient, then the future is predetermined, thus we have no free will

My Professor's whole argument (which I agree with) is that if God knew everything that was going to happen even before we were created, and he can never be wrong, then things could not have gone differently from the way he knew it was gonna happen, nothing could be different, therefore the future is predetermined. Thus we really have no free will, because we cannot do anything other than what God has predicted.

Now the theists in the class came up with some pretty ridiculous counters to this logic. The dumbest being that the Universe and our fates are like a book, and God just knows what happens in the book, which has two problem: 1. The characters in books have no free will, they do what the author wants them to do, and 2. Who wrote this book if not God. They were also claiming that #3 is false, which is a difficult claim to make if you accept #1 and #2 as true.

So I'd like to know what you guys think, mostly I'd like to know if any theists have a proper counter to this argument.

This argument demonstrates to me that if such a God exists then Free Will is impossible.

But ... since this God does not exist, then Free Will becomes possible.

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26-02-2014, 04:25 PM
RE: Free Will Argument
(26-02-2014 04:17 PM)Free Wrote:  This argument demonstrates to me that if such a God exists then Free Will is impossible.

But ... since this God does not exist, then Free Will becomes possible.
Actually there are non-religious arguments against free will too.
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/determinism-causal/
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26-02-2014, 04:46 PM
RE: Free Will Argument
(26-02-2014 04:25 PM)alpha male Wrote:  
(26-02-2014 04:17 PM)Free Wrote:  This argument demonstrates to me that if such a God exists then Free Will is impossible.

But ... since this God does not exist, then Free Will becomes possible.
Actually there are non-religious arguments against free will too.
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/determinism-causal/

Yeah ... seen them all for both sides. 6 of 1 ... ya know?

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26-02-2014, 06:10 PM
RE: Free Will Argument
(26-02-2014 03:22 PM)alpha male Wrote:  First it's important to note the reason that critics make the argument against free will. The idea is that, if we don't have free will, then it is unjust for god to judge us.

Absolutely........ Wrong.

For your statement to have any merit, you still have to be arguing from a position that god exists.

This argument really is merely another demonstration of why the concept of god is absurd and self contradictory.

Apologetics still have yet to come up with a good answer.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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