Free will?
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09-01-2018, 12:50 PM
Free will?
What's your rebuttal to the whole "free will" concept? I'm having trouble fully understanding what exactly it is in the first place... But it just seems like a big fat miserable excuse as to "why there's evil in the world".
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09-01-2018, 01:31 PM
RE: Free will?
God is like the feather Dumbo the flying elephant held in his trunk. It's something people believe in and believe has magical qualities, but in reality, they were acting out of their own merit and on their own behalf the entire time.
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09-01-2018, 01:40 PM (This post was last modified: 09-01-2018 01:46 PM by Robvalue.)
RE: Free will?
Scientifically, I don't think it's a well-defined concept. I'm not aware of any meaningful falsifiable criteria for it.

As for a theological excuse for "evil", it fails miserably. God could have given everyone the ability to choose, but limited us to actions which don't harm anyone else. That wouldn't render us "robots". We could still choose whether to kiss his ass, or not.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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09-01-2018, 01:45 PM
RE: Free will?
(09-01-2018 12:50 PM)elsie1901 Wrote:  What's your rebuttal to the whole "free will" concept?

As far as an apologetic, the trick is to run this all the way down the rabbit hole. It sounds like a clever answer to the problem of evil, but a better question is "why is free will more important than people not being killed/raped?"

The answer to that question always ends up being something like "God needs to know who his real friends are" and "God doesn't want robot friends.". This leads to a conclusion that (for some reason) God has to let us do horrible things before he knows that we're horrible, and that his narcissistic need for "real friends" is more important than our mental and physical well being.

"Sorry you got raped/killed, Joe! At least you were a real friend. But not that jerk who raped/killed you!"


In short, the free will answer is really an implicit rejection of the "all good" part of the problem of evil. So, the answer to "wence commeth evil?" is "God's a dick".
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09-01-2018, 01:50 PM (This post was last modified: 09-01-2018 02:01 PM by Robvalue.)
RE: Free will?
Interestingly, the Quran seems to pretty much squash the idea of free will, heavily suggesting that we have no choice. God will punish those it has chosen in advance, and there's nothing they can do about it.

If we informally define free will as being impossible to predict, this contradicts the popular notion of God being "all knowing", as well. If it knows what I'll do before I do it (and indeed before I was even born), then I'm entirely predictable. I have no real choice, just as in the Quran.

[Edit: on reflection, I should say that being impossible to predict is a necessary component of free will.]

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09-01-2018, 02:02 PM
RE: Free will?
Romans 9 says that free will doesn't matter for election.
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09-01-2018, 02:09 PM
RE: Free will?
In Moral Theology, "Free will" means that humans are able ("free to") choose to do something, or not do something. The underlying assumptions include that all the elements are in a conscious mind, and "available" for consideration, at the time of the choice. So we know the assumptions are false. Most of the elements in a choice are unconscious. Habit, psychology, training, emotional state are all elements that play a part, and are not controllable. Then there is the fact that science has discovered that decisions are made about 6 seconds before we are aware consciously of the choice we make.
https://www.nature.com/news/2008/080411/...8.751.html
So the classical religious notion of Free Will is totally false. Whether we are free to make long term changes based on "choices", (like the choice to get an education), probably is more like the old notion of free will.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein It is objectively immoral to kill innocent babies. Please stick to the guilty babies.
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09-01-2018, 02:12 PM (This post was last modified: 09-01-2018 02:22 PM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Free will?
(09-01-2018 12:50 PM)elsie1901 Wrote:  What's your rebuttal to the whole "free will" concept? I'm having trouble fully understanding what exactly it is in the first place... But it just seems like a big fat miserable excuse as to "why there's evil in the world".

The concept of free will is indeed used by religious apologists to explain why there's evil in the world, but it certainly doesn't explain "natural evils" like earthquakes, parasites, tsunamis, cancers, etc. which God would indeed be responsible for if he was all-powerful. (The Bible attributed such things to the fall of man, but not as many people do so today since they take into account our scientific understandings of such things.) Further, God (being all-powerful) would still be responsible for not intervening when people get out-of-hand with the exercise of their free will. No responsible parents, for instance, would knowingly allow their kids to run out into traffic, no matter how much they wanted the kids to learn on their own.

These problems all point to the fact that God as usually defined (all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly good) doesn't exist.
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09-01-2018, 02:20 PM
RE: Free will?
(09-01-2018 02:12 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  The concept of free will is indeed used by religious apologists to explain why there's evil in the world, but it certainly doesn't explain "natural evils" like earthquakes, parasites, tsunamis, cancers, etc. which God would indeed be responsible for if he was all-powerful. (The Bible attributed such things to the fall of man, but not as many people do so today since they take into account our scientific understandings of such things.) Further, God (being all-powerful) would still be responsible for not intervening when people get out-of-hand with the exercize of their free will.

I've talked to people who believe that, despite what we know about science. I've had people tell me straight up that the fall somehow corrupted our DNA. We've heard the Pat Robinsons of the world blame natural disasters on gay people.

Never underestimate the ability of an apologist to double down.
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09-01-2018, 02:21 PM
RE: Free will?
(09-01-2018 02:09 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  In Moral Theology, "Free will" means that humans are able ("free to") choose to do something, or not do something. The underlying assumptions include that all the elements are in a conscious mind, and "available" for consideration, at the time of the choice. So we know the assumptions are false. Most of the elements in a choice are unconscious. Habit, psychology, training, emotional state are all elements that play a part, and are not controllable. Then there is the fact that science has discovered that decisions are made about 6 seconds before we are aware consciously of the choice we make.
https://www.nature.com/news/2008/080411/...8.751.html
So the classical religious notion of Free Will is totally false. Whether we are free to make long term changes based on "choices", (like the choice to get an education), probably is more like the old notion of free will.

No, the underlying assumption is that consciousness plays an important role in decision-making, even if it is only to exercise its veto power over unconscious impulses. Nor has science proved there is no such ability. See for instance the critiques in the book Free: Why Science Hasn't Disproved Free Will by philosopher Alfred R. Mele.
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