Free will
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
31-08-2011, 04:47 PM
Free will
Christianity seems to rest or fall on the notion of God giving free will, in a one life scenario, to his creations. All creations, one would assume, would be given opportunities to reach the standards required to join the club
In this scenario we would have the cripple competing with the ultra fit, the village idiot competing with Augustine and other ridiculous anomolies.
In early Christianity,reincarnation was taught, so in this case 'future lives' may have been considerd. Then again inO.T Isiah the corpses jump and dance from their graves.
But back to free will. Could it exist if it required following rules,albeit rules that may lead to some better, even blissfull state? A person could be free to follow the rules but not to question their intrinsic quality which rested firmly in the hands of God. The question that god could have simply created automatons begs the question: what point would that have served? Free will does not follow from this.
The best we can really come up is free will, for a determined cosmic few (in relation to the impossibility of reaching a total number within infinity)
If we must have gods, supernatural forces,why must they be so damned powerful
perfect and such knowalls? Could there not be an ever evolving force of creativity working in a ultra subtle way, not yet recognized by science, through which "we" might evolve in some spiritual way. Please note this is a question not an affirmation.
Within the cosmos an infinite number of things are possible.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
31-08-2011, 05:26 PM (This post was last modified: 31-08-2011 05:29 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: Free will
The trouble with infinity is, it takes forever to reach.
It's true we don't know a whole lot about what-all is out there in the billions and billions of galaxies, and it's also true that the people who made up the god story knew a good deal less than we do. They are hardly in a position to instruct us on the operating principles of the universe.
Jehova wasn't the best of gods, even then. It's unfortunate that some intervening generations of priests, drunk on superlatives, Sangria Christi and political power, elevated him to omnipotent, omniscient creatorhood: neither he nor they are qualified to back up the claim.

The Free Will thing is a red whale. White herring.

Father said: "Don't touch the candy."
The old bastard put it in an open dish on the coffee table, and left a two-year-old alone in the room. Kid eats the candy... of course he does: his untrained self-control was unequal to the temptation. A four-year-old might hold out longer, and be more circumspect: take only a few pieces. An eight-year-old might be sneaky: take a couple of pieces and put the wrappers back. Father will beat them all and lock them in the basement without food. The toddler will survive longest, coz he ate the most candy.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
31-08-2011, 05:42 PM
 
RE: Free will
(31-08-2011 05:26 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  The trouble with infinity is, it takes forever to reach.

or, at the least, a VERY long time!

Big Grin
Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Zatamon's post
31-08-2011, 11:47 PM
RE: Free will
(31-08-2011 05:26 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  The trouble with infinity is, it takes forever to reach.
It's true we don't know a whole lot about what-all is out there in the billions and billions of galaxies, and it's also true that the people who made up the god story knew a good deal less than we do. They are hardly in a position to instruct us on the operating principles of the universe.
Jehova wasn't the best of gods, even then. It's unfortunate that some intervening generations of priests, drunk on superlatives, Sangria Christi and political power, elevated him to omnipotent, omniscient creatorhood: neither he nor they are qualified to back up the claim.

The Free Will thing is a red whale. White herring.

Father said: "Don't touch the candy."
The old bastard put it in an open dish on the coffee table, and left a two-year-old alone in the room. Kid eats the candy... of course he does: his untrained self-control was unequal to the temptation. A four-year-old might hold out longer, and be more circumspect: take only a few pieces. An eight-year-old might be sneaky: take a couple of pieces and put the wrappers back. Father will beat them all and lock them in the basement without food. The toddler will survive longest, coz he ate the most candy.

I like your candy analogy.
I sometimes wish I never thought about infinity etc
Heard of a bloke who allegedly had minor brain haemhorrages.
He was said to be sitting up all night studying logic.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
01-09-2011, 11:50 AM
RE: Free will
Unusual headline: Insomniac Killed by Logic.


Actually, i wasn't altogether facetious there. I really think the discussion of free will is unproductive and ultimately meaningless. Every creature experiences autonomy - options and volition - to the degree its development allows.

A newt, on its way to scooping up a juicy worm, changes course and ducks into a crevice when it sees the shadow of a hawk. It makes a choice. So what if the choice is reflexive and instinct-driven? The newt's little mind processes the sequence as a unique event, where the protagonist assayed a situation, weighed the options and decided on a course of action.
Newts haven't had to change substantially for millions of years, because their responses match their environment.

Wolves have to make a thousand decisions every day - in hunting strategy, pack organization, the defense of territory, the raising of young, the apportioning of food, whether to sit out on the mesa and sing or find a dry burrow... A wolf has a large and complex brain and her actions are the result of observation, communication, priorities, training, analysis - all aimed toward a specific outcome. She experiences her thoughts as intent, volition and decision. She doesn't question or worry about free will; she exercises it vigorously and without inhibition.

Humans have brains so involuted, and sensory organs so well co-ordinated, that they're constantly aware of a huge range of options. And so much spare brain capacity that they can't accept anything simple and self-evident. They're infatuated with cause-and-effect chains - which is very cool when planning a moon-mission. But unproductive when applied to intent, volition and decision as they experience it from minute to minute. It gets them all tangled up in genes and hormones, history and environment, nature vs. nurture... "... so how do I know which is me and which is the animal/robot? Eh, eh?"
Not content to drive themselves buggy with that lot, they had to invent a deity with the power to confer free will upon man - so that everything he chooses to do or not do is subject to external judgment, rewarded or punished. "It doesn't have to make sense - it's what God wants!" "But it's bad for me." "No, in the long run what's bad for you is good for you." Way to paralyze the big brain!
And all the while they argue over whether their will is free, they keep threatening their kids with loss of allowance or tv time, if the kid does this or that - exactly as if the kid had free will!

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
01-09-2011, 12:02 PM
 
RE: Free will
Whenever I hear the word “free”, I always ask: “free from what”, “free for what?”

Applying this to the concept of “free will”, we may ask: free from our genetic inheritance? Free from the minute-by-minute influences that shaped our lives?

Not likely.

The other question of “free for what”? is even more confusing. Is it asking for a license to do things that are bad for us or bad for others? Because we shouldn't have to protest our freedom when we want to do good things. As an example consider the battle cry of the Tea Partyists in the US: “Free from big government!” They never specify how big is BIG or, how much freedom they want or, what they want to do with their freedom once attained.

The concept of ‘freedom”, “free will” are examples of undefined, emotional clichés that can mean anything to anybody. What bugs me is that the protester (of freedom) always assumes that I agree with whatever he means by that, supposing he knows it himself.

And I have not touched on religion yet.

But I don’t have to because Peterkin covered it admirably.
Quote this message in a reply
01-09-2011, 08:45 PM
RE: Free will
I concur with Peterkin she is making lots of sense on here =p

There is no point to discussing our will because it doesn't change. We will react to the world similarly either way. In all of our fights to attain freedom we have continously found that seeking freedom brings you to about the same place as never thinking about it.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-09-2011, 09:31 PM
 
RE: Free will
I was going to start a new topic, but it seems like a better idea to just bump this one.

I've realized that, as a Christian, I never understood the notion of supernatural free will. An apologist line that I used to believe was that without God there would be no free will (with the implication that atheism is scary and depressing, same as every other statement beginning with the words "Without God there would be no..."). If it needs God for it to exist, then this free will can't be something that can come about through natural, deterministic laws - it's supernatural. As a Christian, I never gave this idea any scrutiny, just like every other vague, fuzzy religious idea I accepted. Now I would like to give it scrutiny. What is free will?

So far, the only answer to this that I've come up with is a magic random number generator. Can the idea be understood in another way? Is there some philosophical explanation of free will that is coherent and explicit, but can't be shown to be completely random?

I've heard it defined as something like "the ability to make a choice other than the one you made in a given situation." This doesn't make sense to me, how would a person be able to do that? I've only figured out one way to work this out:

Suppose that we can run an experiment where we give a person input(i.e. sensory information, memories, mental state, etc.). We can control every variable in this experiment except for their "free will." We then run multiple trials where we give the person the exact same input, and see what the results are. If the free will variable did not exist, then we would expect to see the same results every single time. If it did exist, however, we would expect to see different results with the same input.

Does this make sense? And if it does, do you see what I'm getting at? If the results varied, and therefore there was some free will variable completely independent of every other factor, wouldn't it follow that it's random? The only other option is that it's completely dependent on the factors we controlled, and therefore not supernatural.

This seems like something that would be fairly easy to prove logically, which makes me wonder why it's still debated unless I'm missing something, which I probably am. Can anyone help me out here?

PS - This is completely unrelated to my personal feelings about free will. I understand it in a more deterministic sense, as I posted in another topic a while ago. My behavior is governed by the various traits that make up who I am, and these are what govern my behavior along with instincts and other lower level impulses. I simply don't get as depressed as apologists by the idea that it is all deterministic. I'm purely interested in the apologist idea of free will, and how people like Craig manage to rationalize these. Either they haven't done this, they have and I'm missing something important, or my thinking is flawed.
Quote this message in a reply
06-09-2011, 11:48 AM (This post was last modified: 06-09-2011 11:55 AM by Peterkin.)
RE: Free will
People often characterize free will as some kind of substance that exists outside of the creatures that exercise it; something that can be conferred onto us - or is floating around, getting snagged on the odd passing mind.

Think of locomotion. There was Adam, sitting on a rock, rooted to it, couldn't move. God comes along, zaps him full of locomotion, so now he can walk, go to forbidden places and be clouted for it. Or sight, or a sense of smell or a sex drive or musical talent. Some are easier to measure scientifically than others, but they're just attributes of living things, not independent things.

Why free will, anyway? Is there some other kind? Tethered will? Imprisoned will? Conditional on selling my old will will? Or just plain unflavoured will?

The first organism discovered, through trial and error, that the warm end of the puddle was more pleasant than the cool end. But there was more food in the cool end. So he had to swim over there to eat and over there to sleep. That's all we've been doing, in bigger and more complicated loops, ever since.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
06-09-2011, 11:53 AM
 
RE: Free will
(06-09-2011 11:48 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  Why free will, anyway? Is there some other kind? Tethered will? Imprisoned will? Conditional on selling my old will will? Or just plain unflavoured will?

Brilliant post, as usual.

Just as I asked before: "free from what?" -- "free for what?"
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: