What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
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18-09-2013, 11:20 AM
What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
There's been a lot of chat about free will lately. Free will is often used in debates to absolve a god of any responsibility for its creations.

Rapists? Simply exercising free will. God will not interfere.
Murderers? Simply exercising free will. God will not interfere.

I'm wondering how, exactly, a theist defines free will, since it's such an important component of their worldview. I think that the value and power of free will often gets exaggerated in order to strengthen an argument. For example, what I want to do is not always an option. I'm stuck with having to accept what I can do. In that case, my 'will' is not free, but is instead a compromise between what I want and what I can realistically do.

I personally define free will as the following:
The ability to perform an action based on your available options and personal abilities.

I give it the following limitations:
1. Free will can be taken away by the strong;
2. Free will is not equal among individuals;
3. Free will does not mean unlimited choices;

I always struggled with the following:
1. God allows the free will of the strong to take precedence over the free will of the weak;
2. God determines the limitations of your free will (for example, children cannot overpower an adult attacker);
3. Preventing an attacker from harming someone else would be an infringement on the free will of the attacker;
4. Giving a victim the temporary superhuman ability to escape an attacker would also an infringement on the free will of the attacker;
5. To quote Hitchens (I think): Free will cannot be 'given,' or else it's not actually free will;

Is free will really that great? If free will is simply the option to chose between available options (which you have no control over), why is it such a favorite argument for theists?

This all, of course, ignores neuroscience suggesting we have no free will at all!

If Jesus died for our sins, why is there still sin? If man was created from dust, why is there still dust? If Americans came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?
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18-09-2013, 12:31 PM (This post was last modified: 18-09-2013 12:50 PM by absols.)
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
free will in truth is the mean, urself mean about smthg truly existing

like free mean is the will, what objectively is clearly real positively, it is a superior will like a positive source

will and mean is one identity of free true existence

but of course god mean to reverse everything in forcing opposites as the only justifications of existence

so for theists, free will is ur dream of getting from things that god could if u r lucky making ur illusions of getting to live through

so it is about to separate u from ur freedom right, like the mean is when u realize ur will being objective existence, how u r free from everything while anything could b a true value when u as present conscious would realize it

only what is free is true and only what is true exist

so what is free is never about a taste in seeing things, free is true which means there is nothing at all there, so a thing u would realize it entirely, bc truth is the exclusive existence so else is always present, freedom values are everywhere theoritically

god is strong mostly from being able to get many different positive incomes from forcing a fact

like it is his way of existing when he forces humans to want smthg positive to b by possessing for a time, so he becomes the mean life, so objective reasons and realities
while those free wills are forced of course according to his existence freedom while of course the pleasure of it is to play it fake so never existing in real of his presence nor fact of his will

through that god get all for free, he doesnt have to spend any
so regular incomes for sure that is how he become rich too

the idea of free existence, is what in truth the only way of meaning smthg alone since being conscious so u would necessarily mean smthg alone, the only way is through superior perspectives so positive present which is u would b constant, and superior perspectives are objective when only truth exist

but to say it more limitatively or simply, alone u cant but b a mean while also alone u cant but mean plus so true absolute positive mean

everyone is weak towards being positive bc existence is the mean and existence is about being positive, but superiority is the only way of positive constant so existence

so alone if u dont realize smthg of value u cant b positive so actually u look not existing

it is god that reverse it, the more u r shit the more u appear yelling laughing all is ur steps and voice
the more u r intelligent and truly positive the more u r killed in worse ways as if u never was there and they will say for sure all lies about what u were for god pleasures

and that is what god kills, for the sake of turning everyone to slaves that never exist, slaves that are happy to live of shit even an instant as if they never were there
while it is them that are supporting their reality of being and having to stay sane conscious individual with so many others and crazy stuffs and negative ends easily everywhere
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18-09-2013, 12:41 PM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
[Image: Confused-Spock.jpg]

If Jesus died for our sins, why is there still sin? If man was created from dust, why is there still dust? If Americans came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?
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18-09-2013, 01:05 PM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
unfortunately there is no extraterrestres that would come to save any right from that everlasting nightmare
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18-09-2013, 01:59 PM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
I never bothered to think about the concept of “free will” until a few years ago. It didn’t seen important a concept to me outside of religions. I have thought about the Christian’s concept of it a little, as it seems very problematic when adding “God” to the equation, but outside of religion, I just thought of it as actions we choose or choose not to take. Not a great mystery.

Then, a few years back I randomly started thinking about it in real life. The more I thought about it the more it seemed it couldn’t be real, but would still seem to feel real nonetheless. These where my basic thoughts.

Take any choice you’ve ever made in your live, no matter how small. In fact smaller ones are simpler to consider, because there’d be less to consider. I’ll use the example of a choice to purchase a package of pencils. I chose one over the other then took them and paid for them. Why did I pick package “A” over package “B”, and more importantly, did I really have a choice over it.

The answer seems to be an obvious, “yes, of course I had a choice”. But If I had it to do over again would I have made a different choice? Could I have even been able to make a different choice? Well, if I go to the store tomorrow then yeah, but what if I was in that exact same situation, I would be making a different choice under different conditions? To consider whether or not we really have “free will” we have to consider whether we can make a different choice in the exact same situation. What if every single factor in the universe was exactly the same as it had been at that moment. Every atom in the exact same place and all energy doing exactly the same thing as it was doing at that exact moment. Every atom of my body and every structure of my brain right down to the electrons in the exact same place. Exactly the same thoughts I had been thinking just prior to picking that package “A”. Every thought and experience I had had up until that moment in lead me to choice package A. The neurons in my brain were firing in a way that led me to pick package “A”.

The only way I could have made a different choice is if at some point, from the scenario of the universe being exactly as it was, at least one thing was different. A neuron didn’t fire, or an extra one did (just as an example). But even in that example the only way those neurons could have fired, or not fired would depend on the events that preceded them, but those would all be exactly the same as in the original scenario, so they couldn’t have fired in any different way. If in that exact same moment I could only have done exactly what I did. We all realize this really. We think sometimes, “If I could just relive that moment in my past I would have done it differently, said something else”. But if we got to relive that break up with that girlfriend or boyfriend, or that fight we go into with a coworker, or whatever it is to you, we would only have been able to do anything different if we could bring our current day thoughts and understanding of that situation, as we know it right now, back into that moment in the past. But that would be a different situation, not the same. If we were in the exact same situation we would do the exact same thing, and we know that because it’s what we did it already.

If you imagine a future you, reflecting on a choice you will make tomorrow for use, but in the past for him, that future you would realize that exact same thing about his past, your future, tomorrow. That choice you make tomorrow is the only choice you will make because given the conditions, it’s the only choice you can make.

It doesn’t matter too much though, as it all still feels like choices we make. We can’t tell a difference and as long as it feels like free will it doesn’t really make a difference.




There is on exception to this I've considered which is effected by quantum physics, but it will take more room to type out, and still lives you without actually having "free will". Makes no real difference.

...
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18-09-2013, 02:04 PM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
Free will is what I call a dead word (or, in its case, a dead phrase). It's basically a semantic handle that's become so overwhelmed with alternate meanings and connotations that no one knows what the speaker or writer actually means by it. You have to ask for clarification every time you hear it.

I came up with the notion of dead words as a teenager. At the time, it seemed like a pretty nifty way of arguing "God is dead" and actually basing it on semantic logic rather than any theological statement. I was also making the word "dead" dead, which I thought was kinda cool. ... I was a weird sort of teenager. At the time, I thought the only reasonable thing to do with a dead word was to stop using it, because it was no longer good for anything.

Ah, youthful naivete. I now know that the best use for dead words is in a con job, where you bait with one meaning of the word and then switch in another. Double points if you get people's time, energy, money, votes from it, or if you prank them into believing super-weird stuff or get them to actually do crazy rituals or whatever.

... Religion, of course, gets the top score.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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18-09-2013, 02:08 PM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
(18-09-2013 11:20 AM)guitar_nut Wrote:  There's been a lot of chat about free will lately. Free will is often used in debates to absolve a god of any responsibility for its creations.

Rapists? Simply exercising free will. God will not interfere.
Murderers? Simply exercising free will. God will not interfere.

If God interferes with rapists and murderers only, then some people have 100% free will and some don't. Very few philosophers, religious or atheist, say it's some and not all or none of humans as a class. That's why this is a straw man IMO.

Quote:I'm wondering how, exactly, a theist defines free will, since it's such an important component of their worldview. I think that the value and power of free will often gets exaggerated in order to strengthen an argument. For example, what I want to do is not always an option. I'm stuck with having to accept what I can do. In that case, my 'will' is not free, but is instead a compromise between what I want and what I can realistically do.

I personally define free will as the following:
The ability to perform an action based on your available options and personal abilities.

I give it the following limitations:
1. Free will can be taken away by the strong;
2. Free will is not equal among individuals;
3. Free will does not mean unlimited choices;

I think I agree with all the above.

Quote:I always struggled with the following:
1. God allows the free will of the strong to take precedence over the free will of the weak;

Why? That isn't a struggle for creatures without god. That's the way it should have evolved.

Quote:2. God determines the limitations of your free will (for example, children cannot overpower an adult attacker);
3. Preventing an attacker from harming someone else would be an infringement on the free will of the attacker;

See above re: level free will and naturally/physically/mass/weight/leverage stronger creatures impose on smaller creatures.

Quote:4. Giving a victim the temporary superhuman ability to escape an attacker would also an infringement on the free will of the attacker;

God grants such gifts at times. Watch a movie and see. Smile Or read about people who through "surges of adrenalin" lift cars off trapped children with their hands.

Quote:5. To quote Hitchens (I think): Free will cannot be 'given,' or else it's not actually free will;

That sounds great but what does it mean or imply? God gave us EXACTLY the free will you outlined.

Quote:Is free will really that great? If free will is simply the option to chose between available options (which you have no control over), why is it such a favorite argument for theists?

But there are certainly also options one has control over. For example, you just said you object that "god" allows a strong person to impose THEIR WILL over the weak. So how did they do so without exercising THEIR WILL? Are you saying some hurt the weak by accident or fate?

Quote:This all, of course, ignores neuroscience suggesting we have no free will at all!

And it also ignores science that suggests we indeed make conscious and subconscious and even unconscious choices.

I'm not sure I will participate on this thread beyond this post. If I don't, I chose to not post, just as I read your first post, and thought about not posting, and then changed my mind...!

I will add, in response to your question, that SOME theists rely on free will (KC is a clear exception, right?) because it allows that while god is an accessory to everything, god is not the prime agent responsible 100% for everything. Just as we prosecute a shooter and assign only some peripheral blame to a gun manufacturer (we want them to feel guilt sometimes, even if we don't think we should persecute them) we may say god is partly responsible for men's free will action.

PS. Jesus died for god's sin, so he paid for which he is culpable.
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18-09-2013, 02:12 PM
 
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
(18-09-2013 02:08 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  If God interferes with rapists and murderers only, then some people have 100% free will and some don't. Very few philosophers, religious or atheist, say it's some and not all or none of humans as a class. That's why this is a straw man IMO.

If a murderer intends to kill his potential victim, regardless of whether God intervenes or not, someone's free will is going to be broken.
If he does intervene, the murderer's free will will be broken, and if he doesn't, the victim loses both free will and life.
So, why does God choose the latter? Consider
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18-09-2013, 02:17 PM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
(18-09-2013 02:08 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  ...I'm not sure I will participate on this thread beyond this post. ...

YEEAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

...
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18-09-2013, 02:20 PM
RE: What, Exactly, is "Free Will?"
Theists usually say "What? So we're just a bunch of things running around responding to stimuli, making predictable choices?"

To which I respond, "You obviously haven't worked in advertising." Drinking Beverage

If Jesus died for our sins, why is there still sin? If man was created from dust, why is there still dust? If Americans came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?
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