The free will fallacy
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16-07-2017, 09:16 AM
RE: The free will fallacy
For christians who believe an omniscient god who knows everything, every choice, every event and every outcome....even before the omniscient god started the creation process...then free will is an illusion and a lie. If god doesn't know everything he's not much of a god.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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16-07-2017, 09:39 AM
RE: The free will fallacy
(16-07-2017 09:16 AM)dancefortwo Wrote:  For christians who believe an omniscient god who knows everything, every choice, every event and every outcome....even before the omniscient god started the creation process...then free will is an illusion and a lie. If god doesn't know everything he's not much of a god.

The free will excuse is generally used as an apologetic for the problem of evil/suffering. It's just hand-waving though, it does not excuse a god that allows evil/suffering, it just attempts to shift the blame for evil/suffering to humans while at the same time causing interminable problems with their god concept. All of a sudden their omnipotent god is constrained by human choice, all of a sudden their omniscient god is incapable of predicting basic outcomes such as Adam eating an apple. All of a sudden their god is buried under a pile of unfalsifiable assertions and constraints that completely undermine every omni-characteristic of their alleged god.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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16-07-2017, 11:19 AM
RE: The free will fallacy
(16-07-2017 04:43 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I've noticed a fallacy being made time and time again, even by very prominent debaters. No one ever seems to pull anyone else up on it. I'm naming it the "free will fallacy". Let's say free will means there is some genuine sort of agency available, rather than determinism or simply random chance. Or else, we're calling random chance agency and not considering it to be random for the sake of argument.

The fallacy appears in this kind of form:

"If (we discover) it's the case that we don't have free will, then we should/shouldn't [do X].”

This is a contradiction in terms. The language "should/shouldn't" implies some sort of choice; an imperative, a desirable path, or a moral obligation. It's suggesting that this argument should persuade someone to use some sort of free agency to change how they would have acted. But it's being stated quite clearly that this isn't possible, as a premise.

It would more correct to say, "If we discover that we don't have free will, then this may/will logically lead people to [do/not do X].”

Let me show you a common example that I see:

"If it's the case that we don't have free will, we shouldn't hold people accountable for their actions. We shouldn't put them in prison."

The contradiction here is that it's suggesting there is some group of judges who have the free will to make a genuine decision, presiding over people who don't have free will and as such are excluded from responsibility. But the judges are humans, just like the judged. So either they all have free will, or none of them do. And if they don't, "should" becomes meaningless.

It's actually the fallacy of the stolen concept. Making use of the concept of choice while denying free will. It's a textbook case.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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17-07-2017, 01:10 AM (This post was last modified: 17-07-2017 01:22 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: The free will fallacy
Ah yes, I was wondering if that would apply. Thanks Smile

Why the fuck does no one notice this in debates? I believe people are going around writing books and shit about the "moral implications" of finding out there is no free will. There aren't any. We'd just be discovering that our morality is entirely out of our control. We couldn't "change" it if we tried, if we have no free will. Not in the way they are suggesting. We could only get it wrong in fact, by making a genuine change using agency we really do have, while falsely concluding that we have none (hypothetically).

I'm not entirely sure, but I suspect even Sam Harris is up to this in the Moral Landscape when he tries to conflate values and measurements.

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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18-07-2017, 05:31 AM
RE: The free will fallacy
(16-07-2017 05:32 AM)Gwaithmir Wrote:  
(16-07-2017 05:12 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  So how did the Catholics define free will? Perhaps the religious definition is why so many atheists oppose the idea.

> If I remember my indoctrination classes correctly, free will is defined as the power of the will to determine itself and to act of itself, without compulsion from within or coercion from without.

> This is, or course, impossible. If our decisions are the results of intelligence and rational thinking, we must consider our options, motivations and consequences before making them. This, of necessity, involves compulsion from within and coercion from without. Consider

I think it's what they call; "the burden of being real".
Fictional characters have it easy.
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18-07-2017, 08:07 AM
RE: The free will fallacy
At base level; yes, I believe we all do possess what's loosely defined as "free will". It's just that all too often it's subsumed by the "free will" of our chosen society's laws, morals and ethics.

So we have the free will to conform with society, or to not conform. Murderers don't, I do.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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18-07-2017, 08:55 AM
RE: The free will fallacy
(17-07-2017 01:10 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Ah yes, I was wondering if that would apply. Thanks Smile

Why the fuck does no one notice this in debates? I believe people are going around writing books and shit about the "moral implications" of finding out there is no free will. There aren't any. We'd just be discovering that our morality is entirely out of our control. We couldn't "change" it if we tried, if we have no free will. Not in the way they are suggesting. We could only get it wrong in fact, by making a genuine change using agency we really do have, while falsely concluding that we have none (hypothetically).

I'm not entirely sure, but I suspect even Sam Harris is up to this in the Moral Landscape when he tries to conflate values and measurements.

I've come to believe that the reason this fallacy is so common and is not even noticed is the general lack by the majority of people of any kind of coherent idea of what knowledge is and how it's acquired. It's a lack of any kind of understanding of concepts and how they are formed and how they fit together in a logical structure. So they make use of concepts without considering the concepts that they rest upon.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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18-07-2017, 10:53 AM
RE: The free will fallacy
Beyond the point the jail system and style of punishment/judgement should be improved

I never got the notion we shouldn't jail of they had no free will sensible because the point is still to quarter them for their and societies protection.

Plus who is to say if it were a deterministic fate they had, that jail punishment doesn't positively affect their brains to do things elsewise. (Apart from actual stats on prison impact and such going back to my first line)

Could we change things if discovering there's no free will... well if little impacts of thought in a robotically known way of how we interact infect us, yes. Telling people that's how they actually work could change society in ways like discovering anything from how gravity works or that the ground rotates beneath you. Maybe it makes society less harmful or improved the fields of psychology to helpful ways... or disastrous ways as we currently see it if chemical brain therapy takes off in dark ways.

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18-07-2017, 12:50 PM
RE: The free will fallacy
I have thought for a long time that free will is an illusion that provides humans with a stable sanity.

However, if I want to live in a civilized society within its rules, etiquette and laws, then I must act as if I do have free will and am able to make the "right" choices.

I discovered that I do not accept the concept of free will after a very long debate with a young Christian who was trying to force me to acknowledge God or abandon the concept of free will. The dialogue did not end up where he expected it to.

I am still not sure why one must accept that free will comes along with a creator deity...

"If you accept that you have free will, then you must accept God." ??

What does one have to do with the other?

"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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18-07-2017, 02:25 PM
RE: The free will fallacy
(18-07-2017 12:50 PM)Jeanne Wrote:  I have thought for a long time that free will is an illusion that provides humans with a stable sanity.

However, if I want to live in a civilized society within its rules, etiquette and laws, then I must act as if I do have free will and am able to make the "right" choices.

I discovered that I do not accept the concept of free will after a very long debate with a young Christian who was trying to force me to acknowledge God or abandon the concept of free will. The dialogue did not end up where he expected it to.

I am still not sure why one must accept that free will comes along with a creator deity...

"If you accept that you have free will, then you must accept God." ??

What does one have to do with the other?

They don't have anything to do with each other, just ask your friendly neighborhood Calvinist. Big Grin

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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