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Free Will?


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I'm going to react to the ball, one way or another. Other preceeding factors in addition to the impact of the ball determine exactly what that reaction will be. I may be a generally angry person, but this week I've turned over a new leaf, so even though I immediately want to throw the ball, I stop and rethink it. I walk away proud of my ability to make free decisions about my behavior, knowing that if that had happened last week I would have reacted differently. But we ignore the fact the a particular set of circumstances, many of which we are completely oblivious to, led us to make that decision in that moment. If say, our breakfast that morning wasn't very good, so we didn't eat it and we're grumpy, so even though we're trying to be nicer, we forget that fact long enough to lauch the ball back.

 

Again, I could attribute that to influence and not actual cause.

 

Free will is merely the ability to not do x at a certain point in time. So, if it was determined that I would walk away from the ball when I was hit then I would have no choice but to walk away from the ball when I was hit regardless! That is fatalism.

 

If I have a choice, and the future is shaped by that choice...then the path isn't quite set because it hasn't happened yet.

 

It's a complex chain of cause and effect so all encompassing that it overwhelms us. We couldn't possibly see every cog in the machine for what it is (except maybe on acid) so we go about doing what we "choose" to do.

 

Unless there are no causal relationships and everything is random with the appearance of causal relationships.

 

More to the point, you are fated to respond however you respond because of everything that has happened to you up to and including the ball whacking you.

 

But that's not the fatalist idea. Of course you're going to respond, that's a ridiculous notion that you wont respond to stimuli, especially a ball smacking you between the eyes. The fatalist idea is that you WILL do a specific action at a specific time and you have no choice in the matter.

 

Yes, but your choice was determined by previous events. It's not as if every choice is a first cause.

 

Your choice could be influenced by previous events.

 

The fact that I can go out and change my life into almost anything gives me the illusion that I have free will. The fact that I am living this one makes me wonder.

 

Like I said, it's completely unsupportable whether or not we are fatalistically determined or whether our actions our influenced. The only thing we can be sure of is volition. We make choices, and whether or not those choices are free are entirely irrelevant.

 

An uncaused contingent event would be a quantum event.

 

I think the most important factor in this issue is whether or not the universe is finite or infinite.

 

To accurately predict any given event, one must know all of the variables involved. When you consider the butterfly effect and the idea that the entire universe is inter-connected (as quantum theory suggests), then 100% accuracy is only possible in a finite universe. In an infinite universe there would be an infinite number of variables constantly interacting with each other all of the time. Short term predictions on a macro-scale would be possible (even easy in some cases), but the further into the future you try to "see" the more indeterminate reality becomes. That infinitely large number of infinitesimally small variables will always untimately lead to unpredictable results.

 

I think you use infinite too much.

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Here's my simple analogy, sure it's not novel, but I think it beats all the long-winded and eye-straining philosophical essays on the topic.

Fate is a river. In the river you have a fish. The fish represents free will. The fish is ultimately limited by the bounds of the river. The river flows, the river gets deeper, gets shallower, gets wider, gets narrower. The fish is pushed about by the currents of the river. However, the fish may swim whereever it wants to in the river. If the fish stopped swimming and let its course up to fate. It would probably get banged around on the rocks, eaten by a predator, or wash up on the bank somewhere and die. The fish's future depends on the condition of the river very much, but the fish can change its own future. It can also change the river to some extent. A super intelligent fish can change the river quite a bit.

In this sense, free will is intelligence. Simply reacting to the environment is surrendering to fate.

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Guest tigg13
I think the most important factor in this issue is whether or not the universe is finite or infinite.

 

To accurately predict any given event, one must know all of the variables involved. When you consider the butterfly effect and the idea that the entire universe is inter-connected (as quantum theory suggests), then 100% accuracy is only possible in a finite universe. In an infinite universe there would be an infinite number of variables constantly interacting with each other all of the time. Short term predictions on a macro-scale would be possible (even easy in some cases), but the further into the future you try to "see" the more indeterminate reality becomes. That infinitely large number of infinitesimally small variables will always untimately lead to unpredictable results.

 

 

 

I think you use infinite too much

 

 

 

Well, I did say I consider infinity to be the most important factor.

 

With infinity all events are governed by probability, no one can be omniscience and free will becomes possible.

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Crunk Bishop:

i guess my position is sort of a "soft" determinism... i make the choices on some psychological level but the choices i make are very limited by both internal and external factors that are often out of my control.

 

You and HuaiDan (fish in the river example) said it best for me.

 

For me, this sums up the teachings of Christianity on free will. "We have free will. We just aren't supposed to use it."

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Not to be the uber-geek that I am, but I have to quote the person that I feel is the wisest being to ever live.

 

"Hard to see, the future is."

 

That's right, I brought Yoda into this!

 

Yoda also says at various other points in Star Wars that the future is always changing depending on our choices. I have to agree with that, all beings have the ability to make choices and every choice affects the future.

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Well, I did say I consider infinity to be the most important factor.

 

With infinity all events are governed by probability, no one can be omniscience and free will becomes possible.

 

Why?

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Guest tigg13

If free will is not free, if it is fated or predetermined, then it must be predictable. If you were hit in the face with a ball and you chose to throw the ball back, was that choice predictable? Could you have predicted that you would have taken this action before the ball was thrown? Could you have predicted it several hours beforehand? Several weeks? Several years? Can you predict how your throwing the ball is going to effect the next 5 minutes? The next 5 days? The next 5 centuries?

 

If you happen to be an omniscient being and we are living in a closed, finite universe, your answers would all be 'yes'. Because you would be aware of every single variable, the position, speed and trajectory of every single sub-atomic partical, every possible thought, idea and dream in existance. Reality would be like a book with every single event already decided and put into print and no way to escape from the conclusion.

 

But in an infinite universe, its not possible to know all of the variables. Its like trying to count all of the numbers; no matter how many you count there will always be a whole bunch more you haven't gotten to yet.

 

Weather forecasting is another good example. The local weather person can be fairly accurate in predicting what the weather is going to be like over a particular area for the next hour or two. Ask them about tomorrow's weather and they can still give you a rough idea that's usually not to far off. Ask them about what its going to be like on Christmas Eve...over at my house...at 8:22 pm...in the year 2012 and they'll probably just laugh at you. Oh sure, better measuring devices, better computers, more skill at interpreting the data is going to increase accuracy. But perfect accuracy will always be unattainable.

 

When you extrapolate back ten years, a hundred years, a thousand years - and you consider all of the events that had to take place just for you to exist let alone find yourself at the exact point in the ball's path at the exact time the ball reaches you for you to even have the opportunity to choose what to do about it, sooner or later you're going to reach a point where the number of variables involved becomes to great to measure. At that point, the future becomes unpredictable, undetermined and free to be whatever you make of it.

 

Now, as to when one reaches this unpredictable point, let me give you a hint: How many times can you divide a momont of time in half?

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Now, as to when one reaches this unpredictable point, let me give you a hint: How many times can you divide a momont of time in half?

Depends on how long time you're talking about.

 

The shortest time that exists, because of quantum mechanics, is a Planck Time. From 1 PT to 0 PT you can't divide time anymore. It's either or. Time and space jumps from one indivisible state to the next. Planck's Time is about 5x10^-44 s. So 1 second we be roughly 2x10^43 PT, and with binary division that would come out to be about 143 times you can divide it in two.

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Now, as to when one reaches this unpredictable point, let me give you a hint: How many times can you divide a momont of time in half?

Depends on how long time you're talking about.

 

The shortest time that exists, because of quantum mechanics, is a Planck Time. From 1 PT to 0 PT you can't divide time anymore. It's either or. Time and space jumps from one indivisible state to the next. Planck's Time is about 5x10^-44 s. So 1 second we be roughly 2x10^43 PT, and with binary division that would come out to be about 143 times you can divide it in two.

Smart ass...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

:HaHa:

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Hehe, I know. But it so happens to be the answer to the Zeno's Time Paradox too. ;) (Or rather, one of them. It's not the answer to the paradox, but to the problem why our world doesn't fall into infinite locked time loops it can't get out from.)

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If free will is not free, if it is fated or predetermined, then it must be predictable. If you were hit in the face with a ball and you chose to throw the ball back, was that choice predictable? Could you have predicted that you would have taken this action before the ball was thrown? Could you have predicted it several hours beforehand? Several weeks? Several years? Can you predict how your throwing the ball is going to effect the next 5 minutes? The next 5 days? The next 5 centuries?

 

If you happen to be an omniscient being and we are living in a closed, finite universe, your answers would all be 'yes'. Because you would be aware of every single variable, the position, speed and trajectory of every single sub-atomic partical, every possible thought, idea and dream in existance. Reality would be like a book with every single event already decided and put into print and no way to escape from the conclusion.

 

But in an infinite universe, its not possible to know all of the variables. Its like trying to count all of the numbers; no matter how many you count there will always be a whole bunch more you haven't gotten to yet.

 

Weather forecasting is another good example. The local weather person can be fairly accurate in predicting what the weather is going to be like over a particular area for the next hour or two. Ask them about tomorrow's weather and they can still give you a rough idea that's usually not to far off. Ask them about what its going to be like on Christmas Eve...over at my house...at 8:22 pm...in the year 2012 and they'll probably just laugh at you. Oh sure, better measuring devices, better computers, more skill at interpreting the data is going to increase accuracy. But perfect accuracy will always be unattainable.

 

When you extrapolate back ten years, a hundred years, a thousand years - and you consider all of the events that had to take place just for you to exist let alone find yourself at the exact point in the ball's path at the exact time the ball reaches you for you to even have the opportunity to choose what to do about it, sooner or later you're going to reach a point where the number of variables involved becomes to great to measure. At that point, the future becomes unpredictable, undetermined and free to be whatever you make of it.

 

Now, as to when one reaches this unpredictable point, let me give you a hint: How many times can you divide a momont of time in half?

 

Entirely irrelevant since a God with maximal knowledge would know the variables.

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Guest tigg13
Entirely irrelevant since a God with maximal knowledge would know the variables.

 

And you call yourself an atheist!

 

Ok. I'll admit it. You got me.

 

A being with infinite knowledge would know an infinite number of variables.

 

I'm tempted to ask you to prove that such a being could exist, but then you could just ask me to prove my infinite universe and then I'd really be up the creek. (And I hate being up the creek.)

 

I will, however, continue to cling to the illusion of a free and random universe.

 

So there!

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Entirely irrelevant since a God with maximal knowledge would know the variables.

 

And you call yourself an atheist!

 

Ok. I'll admit it. You got me.

 

A being with infinite knowledge would know an infinite number of variables.

 

I'm tempted to ask you to prove that such a being could exist, but then you could just ask me to prove my infinite universe and then I'd really be up the creek. (And I hate being up the creek.)

 

I will, however, continue to cling to the illusion of a free and random universe.

 

So there!

 

 

Well, this thread is about God and free will.

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This question is what put the wheels of deconversion into motion for me.

 

How can we have freedom of choice when our choices are already predetermined? That makes no since whatsoever...

 

In order to believe that God gives Free will we would have to believe that he just created the universe and then let it rip...Ergo, not butting into the affairs of mortals...

 

So why would you create something that you have no intention of dealing with?

 

This is what makes me teeter on the brink of atheism...

 

*sigh*

 

It is so mind boggling.

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This question is what put the wheels of deconversion into motion for me.

 

How can we have freedom of choice when our choices are already predetermined? That makes no since whatsoever...

 

In order to believe that God gives Free will we would have to believe that he just created the universe and then let it rip...Ergo, not butting into the affairs of mortals...

 

So why would you create something that you have no intention of dealing with?

 

This is what makes me teeter on the brink of atheism...

 

*sigh*

 

It is so mind boggling.

 

Unless God has no knowledge of the future.

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So why would you create something that you have no intention of dealing with?

Curiosity. Need to know if you can do something. Why do scientists smash atoms together? Why do mathematicians invent new ways of dealing with problems no one have heard about? Why did Andrew Wiles spend years and years to solve the Fermat's last theorem, considering it doesn't have any particular or meaningful purpose in reality or science besides math? As humans we love to learn and understand and know things, if the Bible is right and we would be of the same nature as God, isn't it possible that this Bible God have the same curiosity?

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I FOUND IT!

 

I know how Christians can live with these two seemingly incompatible theories! My fiancee told me that one time she asked a pastor and she told her that we all have free will as long as it is what God has willed, saying that there were tons of ways to get to Florida.

 

I found this a curious explaination.

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I FOUND IT!

 

I know how Christians can live with these two seemingly incompatible theories! My fiancee told me that one time she asked a pastor and she told her that we all have free will as long as it is what God has willed, saying that there were tons of ways to get to Florida.

 

I found this a curious explaination.

 

That's fucking stupid.

 

God can't will everything, vampyre. Logic is objective and God cannot be an irrational being.

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Hey, I'm just parroting here Asimov. Although I don't neccecarily see why a diety cannot be irrational.

 

I wasn't targeting you, Vampyre.

 

A deity cannot be irrational because logic is objective. God cannot make square circles, or make himself not God, or he can't be God and not God at the same time, he can't not exist, he can't make a four-sided triangle, or make 1+1=4.

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