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Do we have Free Will or is there only Determinism?





The Philosopher Princess
Do you believe in Free Will? If so, why? If not, why?

What do Free Will and Determinism even mean?

Is it possible that we have free will at one level, but everything is actually determined at another level? (Or vice versa?)

There seems to be a strong correlation between (1) believing in God and believing in free will, as well as (2) being an atheist and believing in determinism. Can you share any evidence against these correlations?

Challenge for Group #1: If there exists an omnipotent and omniscient God, why do humans even need free will? Having an all-powerful and all-knowing God seems to be precisely the situation where everything in the universe, including in human life and human actions, is taken care of by God, so there seems to be no purpose for human free will. If God knows what we’re going to do, isn’t that essentially the same as it has been determined?

Challenge for Group #2: If there’s no God and everything’s determined, then by whom and/or how did it get determined? If determined means everything that happens was caused by something else, then how did the “big deterministic machine” get set into motion?

If you don’t fit Groups #1 or #2, please set for us your own context.

You don't need to answer everything to participate here. Offer what you can. Asking each other questions is, of course, encouraged.
Saber
Quote:
If God knows what we’re going to do, isn’t that essentially the same as it has been determined?


God is outside of time. Seeing all at the same time, God can know what we will do in the furture and that has nothing to do with forcing someone to do something.

So no its not at all the same thing as having things determined.
Bondings
I define free will as the ability to do what I want. Whether I am determined to want it or not doesn't matter in this case.

I see reality as the calculation or simulation of itself. One state doesn't necessarily invoke another one. The possibility of something happening itself makes it real. The observation of reality ties is down to one state of all possibilities. What we see/undergo as reality is a combination/row of observations.

This implies that reality is a combination of all possibilities with no beginning nor end. No need for something to start the "big deterministic machine" or end it, it just exists, always existed and always will.
SunburnedCactus
Free will to me is illusionary, the assumption that we have total control of our lives is deceitful. Whilst it may appear that the choices we make are entirely our own, the fact is that each choice you make is governed by an infinite amount of environmental variables. To truly have that control, one would have to escape from the boundaries of conventional life, which is rarely practical in the modern world.

That said, I think fate is a load of ****.
Vrythramax
I don't know as I believe in "free-will", my understanding of it is as Bondings described....being able to do what you want. In this day and age, the ability to actually do what you really want to do is severly curtailed by the current laws and legal structure, not to mention the concepts of morality that some people use as a hammer to beat someone else into thier mold of thinking. Granted, there are some things that we are free to chose from, but even those are limited by certain standards we all seem to have to follow. It seems to me that alot of our choices are made for us by our parents even before we are born (or shortly after) and we grow up believing that we made that choice for ourselves.

I also don't believe in destiny, life is what we make of it given the options we have to chose from. I do believe in God, but I do not think that God really cares what we do in life as we are living it, as we are [alegedly] judged after we die.

I don't really know what "Determinism" is, so I can't comment on that.

This would make an interesting poll.
The Philosopher Princess
The following is offered as definitional rather than assertively.
~~~~~~~~~~
Vrythramax wrote:
I don't really know what "Determinism" is, so I can't comment on that.

Let me give you a simplistic definitional explanation to at least get you to a point where you can compare/contrast determinism somewhat with what you’re already saying and thinking. There will be other competing definitional explanations.

Consider how you scratch where you itch and you don’t scratch where you don’t itch. You could say that itches cause scratches, a case of what could be called Cause and Effect. But, the determinist says, you don’t just get itches for no reason, so something else causes the itches. And then, something else causes that something else, and so on, and so on. (Of course, it’s more complicated, because, as determinists might say, it’s not just one thing that causes something else, but a whole set of circumstances.)

When one considers all the things that happen (all the effects) in the universe, and they believe that there are none without causes, then they could be called a determinist.

Then when we consider this determinism model with regards to a given human, the question is:
(1) Are all the things that human does because of causes external to that human? or
(2) Does that human make at least some choices that were not caused by a combination of (a) the external world around them, and (b) their genetic “code” (which was caused external to them)?

In this particular explanation, a person who believes #1 is a determinist, while a person who believes #2 is a free willer.
Valleyman
Saber wrote:
Quote:
If God knows what we’re going to do, isn’t that essentially the same as it has been determined?


God is outside of time. Seeing all at the same time, God can know what we will do in the furture and that has nothing to do with forcing someone to do something.

So no its not at all the same thing as having things determined.


Yes it is. If God can see the entirety of time at once, it must be there for him to see, and was thus determined before hand. Even if you take the view that we make our own decisions based on the information we have you still except God as having predestined us, because he can control the information we have and what random events affect us. Thus, he ultimately controls us.

Now, that isn't the view I subscribe to. I believe that the wonderful computer that is our brain decides what we will do based on the information available to it and certain predispositions of genetics and previous decisions. Thus, if one knew all the variable and understood perfectly the way in which the brain functioned, and could of course compute all this, one could predict someone's actions. This is of course irrelevant as it is not possible to know all the variables, much less be able to compute them. Thus: free will, though not of the romanticized spiritual sort that many subscribe to.
mike1reynolds
The Philosopher Princess wrote:
There seems to be a strong correlation between (1) believing in God and believing in free will, as well as (2) being an atheist and believing in determinism. Can you share any evidence against these correlations?

The correlation opposing determinism against theism is flawed. It is usually the other way around for example creationists are determinists and evolutionists believe in random natural selection. Evolutionists aren’t atheists, but themes of randomness and futility play a major role in atheistic existential literature, like Camus and Satre.

The most interesting example is when Einstein argued against Niels Bohr’s philosophical implications of a random universe painted by Quantum Mechanics: he retorted, “God does not role dice with the universe!” Ultimately Einstein was proven right with the Gauge Theory which stipulates that all four forces of the universe (gravity, EM, strong, weak) are transmitted by virtual particles. So, although interactions in Quantum Mechanics are random, they are controlled by the unseen deterministic layer of virtual particle interactions. The visible random layer is a second order layer, but the primary layer is deterministic, according to science. So Einstein was right, God really doesn’t play dice with the universe.

The Philosopher Princess wrote:
Challenge for Group #1: If there exists an omnipotent and omniscient God, why do humans even need free will? Having an all-powerful and all-knowing God seems to be precisely the situation where everything in the universe, including in human life and human actions, is taken care of by God, so there seems to be no purpose for human free will. If God knows what we’re going to do, isn’t that essentially the same as it has been determined?

Not necessarily, recognizing statistical trends does not predefine anyone’s future. God can’t escape the Halting Problem in computer science, the only way to know whether or not the code will halt is to run it, it is mathematically impossible to come up with a halt detection program that doesn’t just run the code. So people have free will and the outcome of their choices can’t be predicted, yet at the same time all of the peoples’ choices as a whole have a certain obvious flow and predictability about them, just as gas particles move randomly yet gases have very predictable dynamics. This was the theme of Asimov's Foundation trilogy, a branch of mathematics that could predict the future with probablistic trends, and what that branch did.
Che
Ah I am surprized to see a topic on Free Will. I actually wrote an essay on the topic of freedom in Aristotle's temrs...

I'd figure that about 1/20 people who see this post will actually read all of what is said in here... so for all those lazy readers here is the thesis: one has freedom as the capacity to exercise choice, only when one’s voluntary actions are completed after a process of deliberation. In the absence of deliberation, one’s choices are influenced by feelings and/or habit, thus, one has no freedom of choice.

Now if you want to find out how is that true... read the rest Very Happy

Here are some of the main thoughts summary:

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In the study of human actions, we come to realize that one has freedom as the capacity to exercise choice, only when one’s voluntary actions are completed after a process of deliberation. In the absence of deliberation, one’s choices are influenced by feelings and/or habit, thus, one has no freedom of choice.

It is necessary to understand that every human action is determined through thought, feeling and habit. One must also understand that one deliberates using thought, and that deliberation cannot occur through feeling or habit. Consequently, actions determined through thought are performed after a process of deliberation; actions determined by feelings and habit lack of process of deliberation, unless the habit itself is to deliberate.

For example, imagine an alcoholic who knows that drinking is unhealthy. If he goes and drinks because alcohol simply brings him pleasure, his action is determined by his feelings, thus, there is no deliberation involved. In a similar panorama, if the drunkard simply drinks because this is what he is used to, it is what he sees all the time, his action is automatically influenced by his habit of doing/seeing, thus lacking in deliberation. Yet, if the same person comes to the conclusion that he shouldn’t drink because it could later hurt his health, and after doing so, he doesn’t drink, we could agree that this person reflected upon his action and, consequently, there is a process of deliberation involved in his decision.

Here then, we can visualize how not every action involves thought; the alcoholic man who drinks due to habit doesn’t necessarily think about his action, he simply does it. In addition, as Aristotle explains, “not everything voluntary is object of choice” (V.2 - 1112a.14). Thus, the fact that the alcoholic man is drinking voluntarily doesn’t indicate that he is necessarily choosing to do so.

Since actions done through feeling and habit are voluntary actions, with no deliberation involved, one could say that not every action involves choice, “for choice involves reason and thought” (V.2 - 1112a.14). Furthermore, if freedom is the capacity to exercise choice, yet not every action involves choice, we don’t exercise this capacity through every action. Thus in the absence of deliberation, one has no freedom of choice.

It is then reasonable to proclaim that no human being has freedom of choice unless he/she deliberates about the actions they intend to commit. However, although one’s actions are occasionally caused by habit, one’s upbringing will determine whether one becomes a morally weak or strong person. Furthermore, the most proper upbringing is that which provides the person with proper information and also creates the habit of deliberating about one’s own actions; this will then allow one to have freedom of choice.
------------------------------------

Enjoy...
Lennon
I believe God knew how we'd behave and placed us in the world order to best suit that behaviour so as to bring out the best in people according to His design. We all play our role in deciding how we play our our own life, but God has placed us in a set time and place to best bring out that role. God then laid the plans in Intelligent Design before our existence, knowing ahead what would happen. Then the universe unfolded, and we came about doing what we want and what God expected. In His Almighty Omnipotence, His design is perfect, with laws of nature and physics and psychology all focused on our Eternal Happiness in his presence.
The Philosopher Princess
Vrythramax wrote:
This would make an interesting poll.

Just to let you know, I did think about that, but realized that when people are starting out in a conversation with different understandings of the important terms for that conversation, then taking a poll will generate results that are not very accurate. I’d rather take a poll after we’ve talked about it awhile.

I think you agree and understand, but just to give an example anyway: My use of determinism was kind of new to you. I’m hoping with my previous post, here, you’ll come back and share your views on that. But it surely wouldn’t have made sense for you to respond to a poll when you weren’t yet familiar with the term.
~~~~~~~~~~
All: I am thrilled at the very high quality of posts here. I can’t remember seeing such sincere thinking -- and only that -- on one thread.

FYI my plan is to stay as Facilitator on this one, rather than getting into my own opinions [%%]. Therefore, I’m free (Smile!) to ask both (all) sides’ probing questions -- in order to draw them out, rather than assert myself.

[%%] Within reason. Someone claiming that humans are actually plants not animals will be treated differently. Smile
~~~~~~~~~~
I will be out of town for a couple days but look forward to delving into this one.
Pietertje
Our freedom of choice is almost infinite ...I believe.
We have to answer calls of nature of course, but there's a lot of room left to play and to postpone.

We often choose to stay with the herd though ...which narrows our freedom of choice a lot.
ocalhoun
Anybody recognize this quote?
"... youv'e already made the choice, what your'e here to do is to figure out why you made the choice..."
The Philosopher Princess
ocalhoun wrote:
Anybody recognize this quote?
"... youv'e already made the choice, what your'e here to do is to figure out why you made the choice..."

Was it from one of The Matrix movies?
ocalhoun
Indeed it was.
I took just the quote, because explaining the entire philosophy behind it would be tiresome.



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I beleive in free will, but I also realize that one's capacity to use it is severely limited. The brain is a computer, and if you know enough about how it works, you can predict it's output based on any given input.

You have the freedom of choice, but would you make choices that hurt you just to prove it?

Do animals have freedom of choice? In one of my earlier threads, the poinion on that seemed to be mostly negative.
Vrythramax
@The Philosopher Princess...

Thank you for taking the time to explain this to me so eloquently. Your right about the poll of course, to many people make comments while not being properly informed. This all has me thinking and I will be searching and reading up on the subject, so I may be able to comment properly Smile

Good looking out.
The Philosopher Princess
Here are a few tangential comments. (Still haven’t finished my deeper analyses Sad.)
~~~~~~~~~~
The bringing up of The Matrix by ocalhoun was very relevant. I just borrowed a friend’s taped copy, and jotted down the following transcriptions (from 2 different scenes):

The Matrix movie wrote:
Morpheus: “Do you believe in fate, Neo?”

Neo: “No.”

Morpheus: “Why not?”

Neo: “Because I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life.”

Morpheus: “I know exactly what you mean.”

Interesting that the Neo character admits he doesn't believe based on evidence, but because of his wishes for how he would like things to be. It's an approach to beliefs that we all might be subject to.

The Matrix movie wrote:
Morpheus: “Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?”
~~~~~~~~~~
(In my quest to track down support for my belief that The Matrix’s agent’s voice totally copies Carl Sagan’s, I found the following.)

From http://university.imdb.com/title/tt0081846/quotes:
Quote:
Carl Sagan: The cosmos is interesting rather than perfect, and everything is not part of some greater plan, nor is all necessarily under control.

I wonder what he offered us to back up that assertion.
~~~~~~~~~~
And, I wonder if our own Frihost mOrpheuS is an expert on some of these issues. Question (I'll have to do some research. Smile)
mike1reynolds
The second movie went into it again when the Architect tells Neo about the problems with the other matrices and how the Oracle came up with the solution. She used subconscious agreements: even if people don't know what is going on, if they subconsciously agree to it then the Matrix was stable. So we have free will, but for most people it is tremendously fettered by these kinds of subconscious contracts. It’s like they are hard-wired into the Matrix, they are robots that are really just extensions of agents. But being hard-wired is not a binary thing, some people are more hard-wired and robotic than others.
Soulfire
The Philosopher Princess wrote:
Challenge for Group #1: If there exists an omnipotent and omniscient God, why do humans even need free will? Having an all-powerful and all-knowing God seems to be precisely the situation where everything in the universe, including in human life and human actions, is taken care of by God, so there seems to be no purpose for human free will. If God knows what we’re going to do, isn’t that essentially the same as it has been determined?

The answer is, we don't need it, but we have it. God wanted us to choose to follow Him, not force us, God wanted us to come to Him on our own, so life is really a test. So, in essence, you are right, there's no need for it, but we have it anyway.

And yes, God does determine what we do, but it can always change in the blink of an eye. Think of God's plan as a tentative schedule, subject to change at His will.
ebkari
i believe in free will. fate is a load of crap.

and

for all those fate believers, you still have free will even if i'm wrong; there is more than one path to the same destination.
mOrpheuS
Determinism is very attractive.
It is a theory that can never be refuted. There cannot be a proof to the contrary.
Because that's how it was meant to be. Wink


But being a firm believer of science, I can't be convinced by that.
The basic method used by science, especially physics, to better understand/explain something is that of modelling the system.
If the model's behaviour is in agreement with the system itself, we can say that we finally understand the system.

I believe that if all the significant environmental variables (aka "the system") can be modelled, and my behaviour accounted for by some method (human psychology) ... my actions can be reproduced/explained, but only with a finite precision.


I believe I'm free to make my choices, even though my range of choices can be bound by the parameters imposed by the system.
In that sense, it's my free will within the "big deterministic system".

And, in my opinion, this "big deterministic machine" which determines the course of the system(including my actions) is nothing but the system itself.
The origin of which, scientists more qualified than me are working hard to figure out.


I guess I differ from the group#1 and group#2 of your first post because I don't believe in god or determinism in its absolute sense.
I believe I am a part of the "big deterministic machine" and that I have the power ("maybe" not absolute Rolling Eyes ) to determine the system's actions. The "control" is not just one-way.
Which is my understanding of free will.



The Philosopher Princess wrote:
And, I wonder if our own Frihost mOrpheuS is an expert on some of these issues. Question (I'll have to do some research. Smile)

Evidently, I'm not.
And that's because my nickname has not much to do with my nick-namesake movie character. (if that's what made you assume my expertise on the subject)
My nick, morpheus - the greek god of sleep, was given to me by my friends when I made a habit of sleeping through exams. Razz
mediadar
Quote:
The answer is, we don't need it, but we have it. God wanted us to choose to follow Him, not force us, God wanted us to come to Him on our own, so life is really a test. So, in essence, you are right, there's no need for it, but we have it anyway.

And yes, God does determine what we do, but it can always change in the blink of an eye. Think of God's plan as a tentative schedule, subject to change at His will.


What about the bush tribes who have no knowledge of god, how and when do they get to choose? If they are exposed to religion via missionaries then one can conclude that any decision to convert would be predicated by the imposition and opinions of external forces, not much of a choice, is it?

Another argument that comes to mind is the nature/nurture, are we predisposed to certain behaviours and all it takes is the slightest bit of nurturing to trigger a behaviour.

just a thought.... No matter what choice you make, there will always be a reason for making that choice and if you reason there will be determining factors. We reason based on knowledge and passed experience.


Dar.
DoctorBeaver
Quote:
There seems to be a strong correlation between (1) believing in God and believing in free will, as well as (2) being an atheist and believing in determinism. Can you share any evidence against these correlations?


I think Moslems may disagree with that statement. They are devoutly religious & believe that the will of Allah determines everything.

My opinion lies between free-will & determinism. I believe there are 2 things in our lives that are pre-determined - our birth & our death. What we do in between is up to us. However, the nearer we are to 1 of those fixed points, the less choice we have.

An analogy would be making a journey by car. You have to set off from a given point at a given time, and arrive at your destination at a given time. The only thing you cannot do is take a route that takes you nearer to your origin (that would be the equivalent of moving backwards in time). When you first set off, your choice of direction may be very limited - say, left or right. As you move away from your origin, the wider your scope becomes. However, as you get closer to your destination, so your choices again become more limited.

You can also view it as 2 trees end-to-end with their branches inter-twined. You have to start from the root of 1 and end at the root of the other. In between there are many possible routes (branches) that you can take. But gradually those choices become more and more limited.
anthonygerbils
yes we have free will in a way as we can say what we want and think what we want but rules and religion obstruct this as if we are ment to woriship a god how is that free will and if the law says we cant do something then that is an obstical in the way of free will and this is only my opion but is a strong opion of mine
Gieter
It depends on how you interprete "determinism." I find that humans are very predictable, if you would have enough studies you would be able to predict which choice someone would make. You'll have to take a lot of factors into account, but I think we can exactly predict human behaviour (in theory at least.)

We are determined by a bunch of factors: culture, parents, social background, friends (which is largely determined by social background), our DNA, the country and the time we were born...

We have a free will, I interprete this as follow: we can do what we like in a limited extend, but we're always determined by some factors and we're predictable. That's my opinion on the subject at least.
mike1reynolds
Gieter wrote:
We have a free will, I interprete this as follow: we can do what we like in a limited extend, but we're always determined by some factors and we're predictable. That's my opinion on the subject at least.

This sounds exactly like Sri Ramakrisha, who compared free will to a teathered cow. She has a limited freedom of movement around the teather, but is not free to go anywhere she wants.
make_life_better
This is a really tough one. I have pondered it many times and it is (for me) the biggest paradox. It's a very good topic for a discussion. Lets hope for some solid thinking and not just the usual trite one-liners.

I certainly feel like I have free will - I could move a finger or not, apparently at will. I also don't believe in fate. So I guess that at a macroscopic scale, I don't believe in determinism.

However, I am also coming from a strong physics background, so (in theory) if we knew every particle's position and speed and all the forces at any time in the universe, we should be able to predict the complete future with absolute accuracy. I acknowledge Hiesenberg etc., so we could never know this information, and solving the many-body problem for all the particles in the universe is probably a bit hard too (especially given that the brains and/or machines we would use are actually part of the problem); but that doesn't stop the argument that it is certainly possible that at a given instant in time every particle did have a position and velocity and every force did have a value and a direction. In which case, the future must be completely deterministic. Quantum mechanics might give us a get-out clause though - some quantum states might be truly superpositions, and some quantum processes might be truly random (they might also be deterministic, but we might not be able to detect or prove that determinism). It is also (of course) hard to define what a unique instant in time is/was everywhere in the universe.

Somewhere, I feel that the micro-determinism must give over to (something that feels like) macro-scale free will. But how or why I have no idea.

Logic tells me that if everything was completely determined from the subatomic level up, then we couldn't tell if everything was deterministic or not anyway; even my thoughts in writing this could actually have been completely predetermined billions of years ago, but I couldn't know that. Its just that we don't know the starting conditions and the sums are too hard.

On the other hand, it feels really quite scary to even consider such total determinism. What does that imply for my actions or those of others? Does that excuse the actions of criminal or evil people? - they had no choice but to do what they did because it was predetermined?

Relating belief (or not) in determinism to belief (or not) in a god is an interesting variant. My own views seem to go against the correlation you propose - I am not religious but still find myself beliving in (at least, micro) determinism too. But I can't reconcile a purely deterministic viewpoint with how I actually percieve the world and my (apparent) free will.

I don't have any really good answer. For me this is a real hard paradox. I just have to live with it.
thpn
Well, say you have two freinds okay? One friend has chosen to be your friend and you two are very close. The other friend has no choice, she either must be your friend or be shunned forever. Which one brings your spirits up? God wants us to choose whether or not we want to follow him and allow him to take our lives into his power. If he forced you to obey him and take his word to be true whether you liked it or not, he wouldn't feel the same way. He knows it would be your choice to follow him and that makes him happy. He doesn't want his people to be enslaved, if he did he wouldn't have saved us from sin by giving his won son so we can go to heaven.
Bazza_Ballistic
A lovely debate on free will/determinism... thanks all!

I generally subscribe to a sort of soft determinism. Where on the one hand we are products of our genetics, environment and circumstance. Therefore we are not entirely free. However, we can exercise a degree of freedom in our choices. Hopelessly non-commital I know Smile

My real concern however...

What are the implications for morality if we accept hard line determinism?

Does anyone else wonder how responsibility can work in a determined universe? How can we be held accountable? We have no choice but to commit the crime and accept the punishment.

This just doesn't wash with me, how about you?

Cheers
shadedflame
Fate, God all things that can't be proven as stated in the matrix, "I don't want to believe I"m not in control of my life" is the exact same way I feel. The last thing I did before I decided to denounce my fate in 'god' was to look into it more and fight for a religous cause, you know try to porve god exists via science...little did I know that was impossible because like the concept of fate there is nothing to prove it...and I know people who beleive in karama, fate and god all at the same time...and its like theyre contridicting thier every move. WHat I found interesting however has soulfires comment on the fact that 'god' gave us free will when we didn't need it...thats like a kick in the a** ? don't you think, Thats like building something and putting something in it that makes it malfunction, if this 'entity' you speak of is so kind why would he give us the will to choose, to screw up and to learn if we have eternal life already.
shadedflame
DoctorBeaver wrote:

I think Moslems may disagree with that statement. They are devoutly religious & believe that the will of Allah determines everything.

its muslim, and allah or الله‏
is just 'god' in arabic.
dark_lard
I think the fundamentals about the statements of free will are inherently paradoxical. I also think that our universe cannot function without paradox. I.E. almost everything about theism requires a paradox; as well does the “science” atheistic views. (not that they can’t coexist.) I also think it was designed that way, mostly to prove that science didn’t create itself but had a creator that was greater than that said science.

With that said.
Knowing something does not determine it. Ex. If I drop something it will fall to the ground. The preset laws determined it not my knowing it. And yes God would have made those laws so how could we choose independently of him? We cant it’s a paradox.
Lets see if I can elaborate as to not make myself look foolish.

Morality is the best example here. There are LAWS of morality, and I know that some would like to debate that but I think your wrong if you disagree, and that’s okay. These laws are like the laws of gravity. However you are allowed to break these laws. So a predetermination based on laws of morality is not set in stone. For example john would not murder someone because it is against the law of morality. John murders someone. He did so outside of the laws of morality making it his choice. Now God knowing that john was going to do so did not make him do so. It is now that one would have insert a fact that God chooses not to interfere in things directly. So, against the set up laws someone does something of his own choices. God knows it because he is omniscient. Now the paradox here is whether the laws of morality that were broken also predetermined john to do what john did.
Man I hope I explained that well…

Then there are delves into the multidimensional views in which everything happens and that’s what Gods knows, everything. So in our dimension we would choose of a free will. Or would that be the necessity of generating all possibilities?

I would also imagine that upon thinking about it… that being the key, the ability to think about it, we would then deduce that we must have free will because we are able to think about it. But the evolutionist don’t like that theory because it demands that we would be “outside the box” of evolution.

In conclusion it’s all a paradox! And that’s okay.

p.s. this does not exactly 100% reflect my views but as I am a man of religion / spirituality I think it's lame to just say, and that's how it is. although EVERYONE has to in some part or another for almost everything regardless of beliefs.
Idoru
First I have to confess that i didn't read all of the threads in the discussion, for I was to eager to reply. I guess i used my free will to just scroll through it Wink


Well, I have to turn this question around a bit, for my answer doesn't really fit in the model. First, though, as I guess many of you know, there is a classical philosophical answer to the first question asked; If there is an omnipotent god that is good, how can there then be evil in the world? And the theological (christian) philosopher's answer is the free will.

Now, for my opinion, that is based on action and consequence. I'd say that our every little action generates some consequence. Sometimes we can predict where, when and what is affected, but very seldom we get the whole picture. That makes it tricky to talk about free will, but still, I'd say there is one. Thogh it often pulls us so far from the first action that the consequence seem to be un-controllable and not in any way linked to something we've done. To grasp it at all and spare our selves, we call it fate or destiny, and add that there was nothing we could have done to change it, when in fact, it was our selves that started it!

I hope you get what I'm saying, but to simplifiy it I can say that it's all a kind of 'butterfly-effect' Idea
smartbei
Bondings wrote:
I define free will as the ability to do what I want. Whether I am determined to want it or not doesn't matter in this case.


Well said. As an atheist, I would fall into group 2, if I believed in determinism. Fortunately, I do not and so cannot be stereotyped Smile.

On a serious note, it only matters if everything is determined or not if we not only know about it, but also know it. If we know that everything has been set beforehand, but do not know what everything has been set too, then it is as if we know nothing at all, and we act in inherent (even if really not) free will. Assuming "god" has set everything already and he isn't telling us about it, than it is as if he didn't set anything at all; it is of no use to us to just know that everything has been set, we need to know what is has been set to.
mugglesquop
i tihnk we do have free will to a extent. We are free to do what we want, but it has to be within the laws govening us. sometimes this is good, as it stops some stuff happening, imagine if there were no laws. There would be nowhere to run and hide. We would end up being ruled by someone or something. as far as determination is cncerned, i think everyone has it, but does not use it to the full potential. Anyways everyone is free to say what they want. Within reason.

peace~
DarthSilus
I must say, that some people who beleive in God don't beleive in Free Will.

If god knows what's going to happen already, can you avoid fulfilling His knowlege??

Also, when people do soemthing bad, they say, "The Devil mad me do it." When they do something good, they say "God allowed me to do it, without Him I'm nothing."

Personally, I beleive that a lack of free will is just a way for people avoid responmsibility for their actions.

I believe that our abilities and personality determine likely ways in which to interact with the Universe, but ultimately the choice is yours. That, and the reason God know's the future is because he's already there. So, that sepeartes Him temporallly, so down here in linear time, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Determinism may give us stability in our lives, but ultimately its a crutch. Free will is a burden we all must carry.
DeFwh
In america everything is determined from the minute your born. What you want to do? Want you want to be? Where you poop and pee? Where you go to have fun and how you can have it? What OS you use on your computer? and practically everything else and this is because of FEAR of change and waht it will do to that perfect state of harmony. America is a determinest nation and will always be becuase we learn from an early age and by the time we are adults we are swayed by peer pressure , politics, websites, and wahtever else we encounter. We all have freewill but the influence of freewill only goes so far. You may believe u have freewill but then why is there a consitition in every state and nation or not all and theyre just on the dictator ship plan. Tryyany no is not that cause but still FEAR is the case because of its special power of its own freewill expressed by the masses which forces determinism into ourlives and keeps pushing.
simplyw00x
I believe in scientific determinism, i.e. that a sufficiently complete knowledge of the world around us will allow to predict how events will turn out, as there is no truly random factor, and all current (apparently) random things like quantum are just patterns waiting to be discovered ("God does not play dice").
DarthSilus
Yes, the famous "God does not play dice." I'm a fan of that phrase myself.

One thing I might point out is that this is a root in a philosophy (and being a philosophy, it can't be proven) that the Universe can be explained entirely by math.

That's a philosophy--not "science" as in we think of it--and therefore can NOT ever be proven.

So, it comes down to pschology. Do you personally beleive in mystery and choice or do you beleive in determinism?

So, I say again, determinism is NOTHING BUT AN EXCUSE FOR BEHAVIOR. "Nature made me do it," basically. Under dterminism, punishment becomes obscure and useless, as accountibility is useless.

Determinism is, than, an unprovable wishy-washy religion. The scientist/mathematician becomes not only the Seer, but also God, because you have no choice but to accept what he says. Crap. Crap. Crap.
nexusads
everyone has free will, as long as they give themselves permission to do so Very Happy
noman_namon
I believe in "Free Will" to a certain extent. But this depends on how you define it. A more interesting question is how do we come to our belief? When we say we BELIEVE in free will, how do we come to that believe? I think attempting to answer that question can be the beginning of a profound spiritual journey.

> There seems to be a strong correlation between (1) believing in God
> and believing in free will, as well as (2) being an atheist and believing
> in determinism. Can you share any evidence against these
> correlations?
I am not sure this is true. First of all, Christianity is but one religion among many other major religions. While they may not have coined the word "free will", the same question essentially exist. For example, in Buddhism, it is believed that our lives are determined to a large extent by past karma, and yet, it is not totally pre-determined. There is a possibility of breaking through the chained of conditioned existence. Conditioned existence is actually predeterminism, because conditioned actions determined the retribution one reaps, depending on the nature of such actions, whether they are virtuous, harmful, or neutral. Without a certain extent of free will, it is not possible to break out of the chain of conditioned existence. So this is an example of a non-Christian in for which free will and determinism are not totally exclusive.
jeffleo
I am a christian myself ( Though I'm not really sure I am. O.o ) And what I have to say might contradict my religion? Erm...

I believe we determine our own lives. Though we determine our own lives, our death has already been set. As in, the date. So in between Born and Death, we get to decide what to do with our lives. Nothing is fated to be, nothing is planned for you. You write your own stories, and no one can write it for you.

If everything was pre-determined. If everything was already planned out for you. Then what's the point of living? We live to see through the plan? Do we live to die in the end accomplishing nothing? I don't think so... Do you?
nopaniers
When Einstein said "God does not play dice with the universe", his idea of how the universe works was wrong, as Bell's inequalities prove.

To quote from Hawking's public lecture which is online at http://www.hawking.org.uk/lectures/dice.html:

Quote:
Einstein was very unhappy about this apparent randomness in nature. His views were summed up in his famous phrase, 'God does not play dice'. He seemed to have felt that the uncertainty was only provisional: but that there was an underlying reality, in which particles would have well defined positions and speeds, and would evolve according to deterministic laws, in the spirit of Laplace. This reality might be known to God, but the quantum nature of light would prevent us seeing it, except through a glass darkly.

Einstein's view was what would now be called, a hidden variable theory. Hidden variable theories might seem to be the most obvious way to incorporate the Uncertainty Principle into physics. They form the basis of the mental picture of the universe, held by many scientists, and almost all philosophers of science. But these hidden variable theories are wrong. The British physicist, John Bell, who died recently, devised an experimental test that would distinguish hidden variable theories. When the experiment was carried out carefully, the results were inconsistent with hidden variables. Thus it seems that even God is bound by the Uncertainty Principle, and can not know both the position, and the speed, of a particle. So God does play dice with the universe. All the evidence points to him being an inveterate gambler, who throws the dice on every possible occasion.


Bell's experiment do not prove determinism or not. For example you can do away with you ideas of locality (I am over here, and you are over there and we can't transmit information faster than the speed of light) and there is no problem... But it does at least show that Einstein's idea of how the universe worked is wrong.

Personally I do not know if the universe is deterministic or not. I am depressed if I think that it is, but not sure that I am right when I think that it isn't. I do not have enough evidence to prove one way or the other, but it is interesting to think about both ways. I hope that one day it will be an experimentally testable proposition.
Elephantman
I didn't want to read all the comments because it would have taken all day. And I didn't want that. At all....
I have an opinion but it's pretty hard to fit into either of the categories.
Umm. Let's see. I don't think it's determined by anything because that seems to have something to do with the God category, and I don't know why you even divided it. I think the world is round and that everything grows and dies and while it's growing it's shaped by experience and conflict. We're just like trees, maturing like the bark on the pine tree or the redwood or any other tree. We bloom like flowers. Our emotions are like the waves of the ocean. I don't know if there's a god or not but I don't believe in conflict (although I'm a human being and I can't help it if I get into a fight. you know.) I don't think there are methods, systems, rules or regulations to like. becuase life is hard and beautiful not at once but at different times and undetermined. It's all by chance and nothing matters for emotions are just another blooming substance. so if we someone die we feel for that person and that becomes a dying rose or whatever.the brances that makes us are what we HAPPENED to be around when we were being condition by society and the people we were around.
KNow what I mean/ It's all chance. And there is only a god for the weak to have a crutch to lean on. Even though people die horrible deaths and my opinion is stated silently but show unsubtly every day throughout the news and in Iraq. Everywhere. Exclamation
wimvpetegem
In my opinion we have got all a free will (, given by God).
This free will makes us able to choose for God or against God, to love Him or to love Him not.
But God will see the totally image of our lives, He stands outside the time.
We only see the history and the present, we are not able to get a complete image of the future, but God is able.
And that is were I'm very happy with, I can trust on Him.
conicon
On one side of things religion has too many answers that contradict each other and on the other side of things philosophy has only contradicting questions and no answers. Any way that you slice open this pandora's box of worms you are not going to get an answer. You may get many different answers that attempt to answer these questions but then the questions that arise from those answers will start to contradict the original questions and thus that is why I am writing this and you are reading it.

I would like to quote "Freewill" by Rush, "If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice." By that they are saying that your choice was to abstain and that can have disastrous effects, like republicans winning elections. Anyway you cannot not do something, like there is no complete silence, there is always some kind of vibration flowing through the air that you can hear. btw... If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, it does make a sound. If someone asks you how you know this just ask them how do they know it fell.

Anyway getting back to the subject at hand. Let me give you another example from music. Someone wants to listen to something "new and different" maybe something that you don't hear on the radio, something they think they can call their own, but how are they hearing it. The question I'm asking is how was this new and different music possibly made if someone out there didn't already think that not only was it good but good enough to market to a consumer. So is this "new and different" music buyer really listening to anything "new and different". Maybe to that listener and their friends but also remember that somewhere out there are more people just like them.

Here is another more biologically founded example. The human species is a social being, and survived because it realized that there are strength in numbers, so those who were anti-social human beings did not live very long. So when the essence of survival, our most basic survival instinct, is to conform to the group, it is hard to believe that there is such a thing as free will. However, as long as it is within the confines of society, I do believe that there is freewill but you cannot break out of the box even if you found a way, and as you can see right there I'm on my way to contradicting myself. So happy debating, I hope this shed some light on something.
nopaniers
I'm a Christian, and I'm puzzled by what I read in the Bible about this:

- We all choose our own actions, which means there's free will.
- God knows in advance what will happen, which means there isn't.

Do we choose God, or does God choose us?

I freely admit that I'm confused about it, and don't understand, even when it patiently explained to me by a well meaning pastor for the fifth time...

Strangely I find exactly the same paradoxes appearing when I think about physics.
tony
every action or thought we do or have is a result of chemical reactions in the brain which are ultimately the result of the laws of physics. what you think 1 second after you read this post is already going to happen. we are destined to have a single future. choice is only an illusion...unless we have souls.
Kaneda
nopaniers wrote:
Bell's experiment do not prove determinism or not. For example you can do away with you ideas of locality (I am over here, and you are over there and we can't transmit information faster than the speed of light) and there is no problem... But it does at least show that Einstein's idea of how the universe worked is wrong.


Indeed. Bell's experiments (without getting into a lengthy explanation of the experiments themselves - I'm sure Google can help) show that we have to do away with one of three assumptions about our world:

1. Basic logic works (because our (Einstein et al.'s) predictions of the outcome of the experiment are based on logic, and those predictions were wrong). Or...

2. Particles have properties even if we don't measure them. Or as Einstein supposedly put it, the moon exists even when noone is looking at it. That's the equivalent of "hidden variables". We know - from quantum mechanics - that particles behave unpredictably - not deterministic, but some scientists like to think that some hidden law/variable lies beneath the uncertainty. Or...

3. The particles making up the universe don't - and can't - communicate instantly with each other - or at least they can't communicate faster than the speed of light (which is a cornerstone in the theories of relativity). That's the "locality" bit. Things happen locally. If I look at a particle here, it doesn't instantly influence a particle in the other end of the universe.

Bell's experiments show one of those three to be wrong. Logic - quantum mechanics already shaked the basis of that one a bit, by making supposedly complementary statements ("the electron is a wave", "the electron is a particle") be both "kinda true" and "kinda false" at the same time. And Gödel famously showed that "logical proof" is inferior to "truth". But let's just look at the other two...

Probably the less radical (but maybe not) assumption to get rid of is locality. So, sure, we can live with entangled particles communicating instantly with each other, wherever each of them is (well, Einstein couldn't, but we can Wink). Extrapolating from that: OK, the entire universe is probably connected. That can easily lead to religious thought, so let's call it "the religious solution to quantum physics". Wink

I find getting rid of hidden variables much more interesting, i.e.: No, nothing in the universe has a state until we (as conscious beings) observe it. In general terms, it might not even exist. And the moment we observe it, we disturb it. Wheeler said there were no observers, only participators. And also: "The universe gives birth to communicating participators. Communicating participators give meaning to the universe". Let's call that "the humanistic solution to quantum physics".

I prefer the "humanistic" solution. If it would ever get proven, it would also prove free will, because the universe itself isn't determined. We determine it.

This also addresses what tony said:

tony wrote:
every action or thought we do or have is a result of chemical reactions in the brain which are ultimately the result of the laws of physics.


... since the laws of physics include the uncertainty principle, which, while being statistically "cancelled out" on a macro scale, certainly applies to the micro level of the chemical/electrical processes of the brain. Maybe you could call that "souls".

But in the end, as Bondings said first and very succinctly, what matters is that we feel we have free will. Whether we actually do is irrelevant, as long as we don't know for sure that we don't.

EDIT: Oh, and yes, I'm an agnostic who believes in free will. And I know a lot of atheists who do the same. And I know religious people who believe God decided every tiniest thing in advance (but don't base their decisions on it). So the split into "religious+free will" and "atheist+determinism" doesn't quite ring true for me. Quite the contrary.
photon
to me, free will is simply being able to make a choice for myself. whether the choice was predetermined does not matter. like i never chose to be born in this world. there was no freewill to choose who my parents are, where i was born etc.. but are these the choices that i made in my past life???

assuming that god's will is already predetermined, what does he leave us to decide. i think god gives us a broad view of what is wrong and right and leave the decision to us. and that is free will. you know what you can do, and you choose it accordingly. everyone knows that killing someone is wrong. but there are so many murderers in this world. it is only because they chose to commit the crime, and not because it was predetermined. ..
eckbert
I think free will and determination are just both real. Therefore, to come back to the first statement, I would'nt join the first group and neither the second one.
My oppinion is, that we're living in a world with defined and absolute nature-laws. But that's the only thing which is absolute, all other things in our life, can be free choosen and created by ourselfes.
But those, how I called it, "defined nature-laws", I think they are a synonyme to god, allah, budha etc. We decide how we call it, but anybody, who takes his life in his own hands, needs something like that in his wold which is absolute, at least for orientation and explanation of our daily life.
Now, for example some scientific people would say that this is wrong and that they don't need and don't have an "replacement for god". But what is sience? It's exactly what I'm talking about, science tries to creates those "natural-laws" which are accepted as the absolute truth (like allah is accepted as the one and only god in islam e.g.).
So I don't know if it's just a brain-virus by myself Rolling Eyes or if anybody else could reconstruct and understand that theorie, but if so I would be pleased to read it here Very Happy
Gieter
simplyw00x wrote:
I believe in scientific determinism, i.e. that a sufficiently complete knowledge of the world around us will allow to predict how events will turn out, as there is no truly random factor, and all current (apparently) random things like quantum are just patterns waiting to be discovered ("God does not play dice").


I agree with you, I think I posted this before but the way you formulate it is better! I've spoken about this to some people, like a doctor, and she says you never can predict what humans will decide/do, because of something with the structures of the brains.

I believe in scientific determinism, but you're also determined by several other things, like the place where you were born, your DNA, parents, your looks,...

But people still have a free will, although this "free will" is determined by scientific determinism. You can call this free will, but you also can't.
nopaniers
Kaneda wrote:

2. Particles have properties even if we don't measure them. Or as Einstein supposedly put it, the moon exists even when noone is looking at it.

I find getting rid of hidden variables much more interesting, i.e.: No, nothing in the universe has a state until we (as conscious beings) observe it. In general terms, it might not even exist. And the moment we observe it, we disturb it. Wheeler said there were no observers, only participators. And also: "The universe gives birth to communicating participators. Communicating participators give meaning to the universe". Let's call that "the humanistic solution to quantum physics".


I agree. Getting rid of logic seems wrong, considering the proven success of science and quantum mechanics, and getting rid of locality violates relativity (not to mention causality) which are principles that I certainly believe are true... and that only leaves realism.

I don't agree with your interpretation of the observer though. I don't think that humans, or any consciousness being plays a special role in the universe. We are just collections of atoms and molecules, and we too should be described by quantum mechanics. I think a measurement device, whether someone is looking at it or not should be described in the same way... and that leads me to either an interpretation based on decoherence or on some type of relative state (many worlds) interpretation. Of course, in the relative state interpretation, the universe is deterministic, but it's not in the Copenhagen picture. So we're still left with the same dilema...

I still wondering if we can come up with an experiment which would test or limit determinism or not.
Epistis
I've been ping-ponging back and forth with this question for quite a few years. I don't know exactly if there's free will or predestination, or a mix between them, but I know that in the end, it doesn't matter.

Even if free will is an illusion, for us it's very real.
Even if everything is predetermined, we can't feel it. We are the Players on the Stage. We can however understand the Structure, and view Synchronicities for what they really are, and therefore we become able to align our Will (Free or Otherwise) with the Universal/Supreme/Ultimate Will.

Ah well, I think too much. Razz

--Epistis/Epistathai/Epistalotus, call me what you Will. Wink
Kaneda
nopaniers wrote:
I don't agree with your interpretation of the observer though. I don't think that humans, or any consciousness being plays a special role in the universe. We are just collections of atoms and molecules, and we too should be described by quantum mechanics.


With that, I agree, actually. Conscious beings make no difference on an objective scale. We do make a difference on a subjective, observing scale, though, because in the end, our measurements of particles have no meaning other than what we give to them. It's just interpretations of something we can't actually describe - electrons are both particles and waves when we describe them, but in reality they're ("probably") neither.

So, it's not the measurement itself that makes the difference, it's the interpretation of what we measured, which converts it into our own mindset. Which is why relative states, decoherence etc. all describe the same results, without either of them being provable as "the right one" - they're just mindsets. That's how we give meaning to the universe - we don't actually change it, except from our subjective point of view, which is what matters (since we don't have any other reference).

Which somehow reminds me of Bohr's horseshoe (don't know if that story is known outside Denmark - probably is, though). Bohr was asked by a journalist who saw a horseshoe over the door at his summer residence, if he, as a scientist, actually believed in the superstition? To which he answered (paraphrased) "Certainly not, but they say that it brings luck whether you believe in it or not".

To be clear, Wheeler's thoughts are just one interpretation of the original Copenhagen interpretation, which itself gives no explanation of the wavefunction collapse. I prefer decoherence, myself (probably because it's the least classically explained, most vague of the modern interpretations Wink).

The more important part (of the Copenhagen interpretation) is that of removing determinism - or at least the claim of irreducability of quantum mechanics (= there are no hidden variables).

Quote:
Of course, in the relative state interpretation, the universe is deterministic, but it's not in the Copenhagen picture. So we're still left with the same dilema...


Well, from the observer's point of view it makes no difference, does it? Smile We can't prove either experimentally as far as I can tell, but I'm not a scientist Wink

But studying (humanities albeit) at the place where complementarity was brought up in the first place, living 500 meters from the Niels Bohr institute, and daily walking the same streets and gardens as he did, I guess I'm just prejudiced towards the vagueness of his interpretation - probably, I'm trapped in his mindset Wink
benatkinson610
I think that we do and dont have free will because

1.There is the law
inc rules

2. But if we do our own thing there is a chance we can get away with it and also theres a chance that you go to prison

So my conclusion is that

We dont have our free will in crimnes and thyings but in ordinary tasks we do.
zxr750
Life all depens on karma my friend. What goes around comes around as they say.
famarama
I'm a new member who came to the forum merely to fulfill the requirements to qualify for webspace. Fortunately, I stumbled first on this discussion. Now I'm hooked.

This discussion is, I believe, about one of the fundamental aspects of humanity. I think it is one of the most difficult questions that we as homo sapiens sapiens face. I am impressed with the variety and depths of opinions expressed here.

As a "scientist" and one who taught argumentative writing to college students for many years, I expect some level of "provability" from any claim.

Yet, as a "humanities" person, I am well aware of the shortcomings of science and logic, so tend to enjoy the philosophical considerations of any question. Consider this:

In her best selling novel, The Time-Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffeneger (see my blog http://51stcentury.blogspot.com/) has her main characters engage in a discussion of just what happens when he travels back and forth in time while she remains in the present.

She is afraid that he will be killed in the past, or somehow alter events so that they will not be married in the present. But his argument is that the past is the past, and that nothing he can do there can alter anything that will happen in the future. This flys in the face of that old science-fiction saw that a change in the beat of a butterfly's wings can alter history.

On the other hand, his trips into the future have the potential to alter their present, and thus future lives. For instance, he can observe future stock market activity, return to the present and purchase stocks based on that information. It may take a while, but they can eventually become wealthy.

But this doesn't work the other way. He can't go back to the past and buy Microsoft stock, because he didn't do that in his own past, and that past is unchangeable.

I'll have more to say later. Thank you all for creating this community.
nopaniers
Kaneda wrote:
Well, from the observer's point of view it makes no difference, does it? Smile We can't prove either experimentally as far as I can tell, but I'm not a scientist Wink

But studying (humanities albeit) at the place where complementarity was brought up in the first place, living 500 meters from the Niels Bohr institute, and daily walking the same streets and gardens as he did, I guess I'm just prejudiced towards the vagueness of his interpretation - probably, I'm trapped in his mindset Wink


You're right. It doesn't make any difference to the observer. It's strange that two pictures which seem so different can't be told apart. I'm not sure which interpretation is right. This is real the reason why I'm agnostic about determinism or not. Personally I want to believe in free will, but I am not convinced. I'm sure that there's more to come in this story in the next couple of decades, but I don't know yet what it will be.
famarama
OK, consider another aspect, again from humanities rather than science/logic.
A short story by Josip Novakovich from his extraordinary collection Infidelities: Stories of War and Lust called "The Bridge Under the Danube."

During an anti-war meeting at a Baptist church in a Balkan town, the attendees are attacked by a Serbian mob. The police are summoned and the members of the congregation are allowed to leave. Relieved, one of the women, Milka, wonders at the miracle of deliverance:

"...somebody's prayer worked. Whose prayer could have done this? Who could pray that good? Or maybe God didn't need prayers; he acted when people could not take more misery, so they could get refreshed, so the new misery would hurt doubly once it came. And she censored herself for thinking so."

Not so long ago, a statement like that would have brought Mister Novakovich a horrible death by torture for heresy. Thank goodness for scientists, who eschewing superstition, are only engaged in making life better for the rest of us.

Except that scientists invented machine guns, mortars, bomber aircraft, land mines, napalm, chemical and biological weapons, atomic/nuclear bombs, etc.

Was that determinist? Or was it free will?
elincinerador
Saber wrote:
Quote:
If God knows what we’re going to do, isn’t that essentially the same as it has been determined?


God can know what we will do in the furture and that has nothing to do with forcing someone to do something.


that's right. everything you do is up to you, and in that way everything you do has it's consequences.. this is not only applied to religion, on everyday's life we make desitions.
SNES350
Even if God knows all of the choices you make in advance, it still is you making the decisions based on what YOU want. God just happens to be omni-everything. You could go a step further with that and say that, if God created everything, he effectively made everything predetermined, but does that matter? The choices are still your choices.
romaop
Let's write some lines about this determinism / free will subject. It's a hard one. I don't know the answers, but if I knew them it would be a determined world with laws for everything, admiting the answers are constant and clear. So if you go to a particular cinema, there is a set of rules that determined your decision. For instance, women like shopping more than men. There must be a law that states that.
Right now you are reading these words because you want. Or is there a law for that? You are still reading? Ask yourself why?

Have a nice day!
Hogwarts
Personally I believe in free will. Things would not have happened if it were all determined by god before hand (I don't really understand the question of such, so correct me if I'm wrong please), because if it were determined beforehand by god. Say, if it were determined by god why would god determine if many people died in September 11, for instance.
Huubske
Free Will?? Isn't that a movie about a little guy and a Orka? It is a good movie by the way.

Quote:
Personally I believe in free will. Things would not have happened if it were all determined by god before hand (I don't really understand the question of such, so correct me if I'm wrong please), because if it were determined beforehand by god. Say, if it were determined by god why would god determine if many people died in September 11, for instance.


I think Hogwarts is right
Gieter
Huubske wrote:
Free Will?? Isn't that a movie about a little guy and a Orka? It is a good movie by the way.

Quote:
Personally I believe in free will. Things would not have happened if it were all determined by god before hand (I don't really understand the question of such, so correct me if I'm wrong please), because if it were determined beforehand by god. Say, if it were determined by god why would god determine if many people died in September 11, for instance.


I think Hogwarts is right


You're mixing up with Free Willy, which is the best movie of the 20th century in my opinion. Very Happy
xintai
Free will is the personal belief or the philosophical doctrine that holds that humans have the power to choose their own deeds. (The concept has also been extended on occasion to animals or artificial intelligence in computers.) Such a belief has been supported as important to moral judgment by many religious authorities and criticized as a form of individualist ideology by writers such as Spinoza and Karl Marx. As typically used, the phrase has both objective and subjective connotations, in the former case indicating the performance of an action by an agent that is not completely conditioned by antecedent factors, and in the latter case the agent's perception that the action was incepted under his or her own volition.

The principle of free will has religious, ethical, psychological and scientific implications. For example, in the religious realm, free will may imply that an omnipotent divinity does not assert its power over individual will and choices. In ethics, free will may imply that individuals can be held morally accountable for their actions. In psychology, it implies that the mind controls some of the actions of the body. In the scientific realm, free will may imply that the actions of the body, including the brain, are not wholly determined by physical causality.

The existence of free will has been a central issue throughout the history of philosophy and science.
immoralist
Free will is a nice idea, but as someone who has studied psychology and biology for a large number of years now I know what a large amount of human behaviour is controlled by primitive instinct rather than conscious thought. It's a bit depressing really. There is probably even a good biological reason why we delude ourselves that we have free will.
dragonflame
I think this is an interesting topic. What purpose would it server God to map out everything till the end of creation? Wouldnt that be boring (assuming God can get bored) and predictable?

I think it's like God is watching a movie, and were the actors. He wont control us (but he could if we wanted to). But it's like were playing out a script, we act according to reason/intellect that we were given.

We might also be a giant computer built to figure out the question to 42 Smile
DecayClan
There is no such thing as "free will"
I believe that free will is just an illusion, that our minds have created for us.
Every decision that we will take, every single, small step in our lives, could be calculated, if we had some data, and an extremely compex machine to calculate them.
The breakfast that you will choose to eat, is pre-determined.Some of the the factors of your decision will be:
1.The available breakfast options
2.What you have eaten the last days
3.What your body needs
4.The food that people in the place that you live in usually eat
5.The atmosphere of the room that you are in
6.How you slept
7.What you saw in your dream
8.The prices of each option
9.If any of these options, smell to you
10.If you have seen any comercial lately about any of them.
11.Your taste(which depend on some things that can't be developed here)
12.The available free time that you have for breakfast
13.What you usually eat
14.Your childhood
15.Your genes.
16.If you are in a mood for preparing a complex breakfast
17.MUCH much more..

I found 17 factors(and there are many many more) which will determine your choice.YOU WILL NOT CHOOSE.THE FACTORS WILL LEAD TO THE OUTCOME, WHICH DOES NOT DEPEND ON YOU.THE ONLY PART THAT DEPENDS ON YOU, is your DNA and childhood, which has nothing to do with free will though...
If we had a machine that could calculate all these, we would know the future...

Free will is an illusion...Want it or not, believe it or not...
Gieter
I think that, before you can answer this question, you have to define the exact meaning of 'free will'.

DecayClan, may I point you at the fact that the factors 2,3,6,7,9,11,12,13,16 may have (partially) to do with your free will, or is a result from your previous actions?
Kaneda
DecayClan wrote:
If we had a machine that could calculate all these, we would know the future...


You know, scientists believed that too until quantum mechanics entered the picture. If we knew the position and direction/speed of every single particle in the universe, we would know the future, because we could calculate where each particle would be at every single moment from that point on. And since our brains consist of those same particles, we would be able to predict behaviour just as easily as anything else.

But then it turned out that we can't know the position and direction/speed of just one single particle. This is not just a matter of limitations in our technology. Actually, to this day it seems to physicists that the particle doesn't have a specific position or direction until the moment we measure it - and at that point we've lost the possibility of finding one of them (the one we didn't measure). It's still unclear exactly why this happens, re. nopaniers' and my discussion earlier.

So, even if everything is predetermined (and everything we've learned since Bohr and Heisenberg points towards it not being so), science has stopped believing in us ever knowing it since the mid-1920's.

Also, your own signature gives the other point. Whether everything is predetermined or not, we have free will. Since reality doesn't matter. Only what we know and can understand (actually, I'd prefer to say, that is reality).
snjripp
The element of unpredictability in particle physics operates at a different aspect of the questions than the two statements put forth by the Princess. IF God is outside of time and other dimensions of which we conceive, unpredictability is moot. However, whether or not God engages creation is not moot.

I, however, happily/gratefully place God in time and space. Changability is much more vital than being all knowning.
DarthSilus
I think its pretty arrogant to think determinism is true.

Basically, views like these are matters of philosophy, and to say your philosophy is the only one that's good, or the only one period, is technically religion.

So atheists beware! You're following a religion. (assuming atheists beleive this idea.)

And as far as religious lack of free will... well, its the lazy man's religion.

Determinism is wishful thinking.

Take responsibilty. What happens will happen because of what you do or fail to do.

So, I say that determinism is a negative philosophy.
MWANGI
The Philosopher Princess wrote:
Do you believe in Free Will? If so, why? If not, why?

What do Free Will and Determinism even mean?

Is it possible that we have free will at one level, but everything is actually determined at another level? (Or vice versa?)

There seems to be a strong correlation between (1) believing in God and believing in free will, as well as (2) being an atheist and believing in determinism. Can you share any evidence against these correlations?

Challenge for Group #1: If there exists an omnipotent and omniscient God, why do humans even need free will? Having an all-powerful and all-knowing God seems to be precisely the situation where everything in the universe, including in human life and human actions, is taken care of by God, so there seems to be no purpose for human free will. If God knows what we’re going to do, isn’t that essentially the same as it has been determined?

Challenge for Group #2: If there’s no God and everything’s determined, then by whom and/or how did it get determined? If determined means everything that happens was caused by something else, then how did the “big deterministic machine” get set into motion?

If you don’t fit Groups #1 or #2, please set for us your own context.

You don't need to answer everything to participate here. Offer what you can. Asking each other questions is, of course, encouraged.


Well I belong to group 2 and you gave us a challenge. Well I do not know what determined what in the beginning as well but I believe that it can be explained mathematically. These are the times that i wish albert Einstein was here because he would have given us a simple formula such as E=mc^2.

However I think I can answer the challenge by saying that everything is a cycle so you cannot say that one came before the other. it is somehow like asking which came first? the egg or the chicken so people should stop looking at history in a heirachy way and look at it in a circular way.

What do you think about that. I am sure Albert Einstein would be very proud of me for posting this message on his behalf.I have also attained $frih for representing him.

Gravity is not responsible when people fall in love!!(A. Einstein)
Wyvern666
No one made us, we may not be alive, we could be random thought processes of some degenerate "prehistoric" man dreaming. The fact of the matter is to have fun, live life to the full, do whatever you want. Your beliefs are yours and no one else so don't enforce onto others
Gieter
MWANGI wrote:
The Philosopher Princess wrote:
Do you believe in Free Will? If so, why? If not, why?

What do Free Will and Determinism even mean?

Is it possible that we have free will at one level, but everything is actually determined at another level? (Or vice versa?)

There seems to be a strong correlation between (1) believing in God and believing in free will, as well as (2) being an atheist and believing in determinism. Can you share any evidence against these correlations?

Challenge for Group #1: If there exists an omnipotent and omniscient God, why do humans even need free will? Having an all-powerful and all-knowing God seems to be precisely the situation where everything in the universe, including in human life and human actions, is taken care of by God, so there seems to be no purpose for human free will. If God knows what we’re going to do, isn’t that essentially the same as it has been determined?

Challenge for Group #2: If there’s no God and everything’s determined, then by whom and/or how did it get determined? If determined means everything that happens was caused by something else, then how did the “big deterministic machine” get set into motion?

If you don’t fit Groups #1 or #2, please set for us your own context.

You don't need to answer everything to participate here. Offer what you can. Asking each other questions is, of course, encouraged.


Well I belong to group 2 and you gave us a challenge. Well I do not know what determined what in the beginning as well but I believe that it can be explained mathematically. These are the times that i wish albert Einstein was here because he would have given us a simple formula such as E=mc^2.

However I think I can answer the challenge by saying that everything is a cycle so you cannot say that one came before the other. it is somehow like asking which came first? the egg or the chicken so people should stop looking at history in a heirachy way and look at it in a circular way.

What do you think about that. I am sure Albert Einstein would be very proud of me for posting this message on his behalf.I have also attained $frih for representing him.

Gravity is not responsible when people fall in love!!(A. Einstein)


I don't think you can solve the problem of whether we're determined or not simply by a formula. Actually, you can, but it's not the way to go.

I think that if we're determined (and everything is determined), there isn't a machine or a system behind all that. It's just logic: cause and effect. It's an infinite (or maybe a finite) chain reaction. It's all logic, there is no thing that really has determined "this will happen then." Everything would be determined by laws of nature.
Smue
Philosophy and science, although interesting, are methods created by human beings to understand the events which take place around us. We are meaning-making machines, and have taken it upon ourselves to place a label on everything. In reality everything just is. We then attach language and meaning onto it.

So in this respect, you could say that my actions are predetermined, that i was alwas going to write this, down to the tiniest detail such as spelling 'always' without a y (as above). But you'd really just be playing with language. You might be able to prove something indefinately through the medium of language and reason, but any conclusion you arrive at is your own projection. There is no truth. Not even this post. Exclamation
The Philosopher Princess
Hi, Smue! I follow your first part. Good! I’d like to make a definitional objection to your second part.

As you say:
Smue wrote:
In reality everything just is.

And I agree. So, what if we were to call “everything [that] just is” by the term of the truth? Then, the following would not be true:
Smue wrote:
There is no truth.

Instead, I’d say this:

Everything that just is, is true. Everything that just is not, is not true.

Do you follow me? This is important because only by getting common terminology can we get to discussing more complex assertions. If you don’t follow, I’d like to take another stab at it, and can only do so if you give a clue as to your thinking after reading this. (And, by the way, welcome to Frihost! Smile)
LeviticusMky
I apologize in advance, because I don't have the time to read all the posts leading up to this point, and if I repeat what has been said I did not mean to.

I think that we can all agree that determinism is the most LOGICAL description of physical phenomena, even though it cannot be PROVEN correct.

Now, Determinism has one main fault, as the Princess has shown; that the "machine" had to get started somehow, and if that's the case, that something had to be precursor to it.

Well, that's true, but there's a larger question here: How come the human interperetation of time has to be applied to the surrounding universe?

We see things as having a beginning and an end, having duration. We are given this sense from our memory, as we are able to record a certain amount of data in our mind. However, this does not mean that things actually work this way. Our memory is a very misleading tool, in that it suggests to us that time is linear, from start to finish, or from point A to point B. However all of the "major questions" about the way existence works seem to conflict with this view.

Determinism conflicts with "human time" because we see our actions as a consequence of our personality and our conciousness, as determined by our memory.

However, it does not conflict with a universe absent of time.

What I mean by that is; when you remove the variable of memory, what you are left with is a pervasive atomic flowering that is happening simultaneously and permanently. Memory is able to record states of this flowering and suggest that it has duration, when it it more likely that its duration is zero.

In other words, the universe is in a constant state of "present time," it has no past, no future, it is a function of itself.

Imagine that the universe is a marker. Now imagine that memory is a peice of paper. Now move the piece of paper around on the marker. The marker creates an impression on the paper, but it exists as one point, whereas the paper records a series of points, creating a line. The line is the illusion of memory, crafted from the singular changing universe.

I'll stop, suffice to say that determinism need not have a starting point if we remove the human definition of time from the picture. It becomes a law of the universe, like gravity or the speed of light.
Smue
Hi princess, thanks.

I get what you're saying. I was just discrediting the use of language and the meanings which we attach to the things that happen. I'm aware that saying this also invalidates everything i say. I just wanted to share this with the forum as its an interesting way to look at things, especially in argument or conflict. Exclamation [/quote]
mati_aki
Q. Do You Believe in GOD?
A. There has to be a GOD, Otherwise none of us would e here.

Q. Do you believe GOD is omnipotent and that people have free will?
A. Yes, GOD is Supreme and that’s standard stuff for GOD.

Q. If GOD is omnipotent wouldn’t he know the future?
A. Yes,

Q. If GOD knows what he future holds, the all our choices are already made, aren’t they? Then free will must be an illusion?
A. God let us determine our future using our free will.

Q. Then GOD doesn’t know the future?
A. But he must prefer not knowing.


Well u can answer any of questions according to your free will …………. And even u can ask any question. Well I wait for your reply


<<<<<<<<<,thnaks mAti>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Aredon
Bondings wrote:
I define free will as the ability to do what I want. Whether I am determined to want it or not doesn't matter in this case.

I see reality as the calculation or simulation of itself. One state doesn't necessarily invoke another one. The possibility of something happening itself makes it real. The observation of reality ties is down to one state of all possibilities. What we see/undergo as reality is a combination/row of observations.

This implies that reality is a combination of all possibilities with no beginning nor end. No need for something to start the "big deterministic machine" or end it, it just exists, always existed and always will.


I have a similar view of the continueum, I view the timeline as more of a web, each choice and action causing a split in the timeline to two seperate timelines. We witness this one because we are unaware of the other timeline's exsistance. Just as two people in seperate rooms do not know of the other person's presence unless otherwise informed. This implies to me that God actualy exists outside of the continueum and views all the possible outcomes of your actions. Therefore, leting him "know" what you will do. Becuase of which if you exist on one timeline it could be argued that becuase you witness only the choices made on that plane of the continueum, that the choices are "pre-determined" by that timeline's path, so in that way it could be viewed as determinism. Even though every choice you make is your own, you would still be tied to only one timeline of witness. My views on the world always seem to be overly complexe and often times I can't find all the words I need to describe them. I hope I described this well, feel free to post any questions about it Wink

I will also agree with LeviticusMky, in the sence that I have often thought that the laws we use to "define" our universe, could very well only exist in the small area that we are able to actualy observe, for all we know the laws of gravity, light, sound, time, etc. bend and/or change outside our galaxy. On that note perhaps the laws we use to define our universe came into existance when we thought them up. Maybe gravity is here becuase when we were born everyone else was on the ground so our universe became limited just as their's Wink
~H out
sponguy
The truth is arguments can support both determinism and freewill, depending on their interpretation. My spin is that freewill exists only in the moment, absolutely. There is no free will beyond this, but at the same time the "moment" is not something that we have any consciousness. We can sit in the moment and say, so this is the moment. because of this impossibility, we invent freewill as a neccessary condition of our cognition and the awareness of the moment, as an undeniable actuality, insofar as we are convinced there was that which came before it, and that which followed it. And so if there is a "moment" in which we exist or have existed, it is in this "moment" that we act, and thus exercise "freewill". Unfortunately though, it is a fiction to our perception, which is what we base our realities upon, and so we question if we are correct in assuming this "freewill". But the logical continuum that defines space and time, and the inbetween that is where we exist, but cannot percieve, only reflect upon, asserts a free will, but not in any traceable form that can be experienced. Love to go on but this is a book and then some.
sponguy
In my previous response, I missed God. An omnipotent God has the power to determine everything, and if omnipotent, by definition, knows all that will occur. Unfortunately, this does not preclude the possibility that he merely knows how every possible being will exercise they're free will. Also people interpret determinism to mean acted upon to create an outcome, or merely known in advance, without the possibility of deviation. This discrepancy causes a fair bit of confusion between arguing parties on either side. Either way is entirely a possibility, but only one denies freewill, and this same one happens to impose some notion of an omnipotent God, or at least pretty damn potent. However, the notion of an omnipotent God does not assure this idea of determinism. What it really comes down to is how any individual who believes in god, pictures that god. A discussion such as this really requires the participants to sit down and define every term before the confusion that arises where this lacks compounds and makes any advancement in the discussion impossible.
mati_aki
Ok this all about Free Will and GOD

What about religion?
DO we people are able see which religion is right or the religion all about or just it is a help us in daily life.
How we decide to follow religion & which religion?
Is important to follow a religion or NOT!
Gieter
You should read about the different religions and pick the one out which feels the best for you. That should do it. Smile I don't think you will burn in hell if you chose the 'wrong' religion. There is no wrong religion.

Of course, some religious people will not agree with me. But that's what I think about it. Wink
mati_aki
I GOT iT
Let’s say that you and I decide to travel separate to the same place. You have a map that is blue and I have map that is green. Neither map shows all the possible routes, but both maps shown acceptable yet different route o the destination. If we both take our trips and return safely, we would spread the word of our successful maps to others.
I would say that my green map is perfect and I warm people that to avoid all others map , and you would feel the same about your map.
Religions are like different maps whose routes all lead to the collective good society.

…… But who make these maps……………….?????
…… I think there should some reasons behind these maps
The Philosopher Princess
Hi mati_aki and Gieter! Let's try to keep this particular topic only for things relevant to free will and/or determinism. Talk about religion is fine only as long as it's in this context. I believe there are many other Frihost topics for general religion talk and ones discussing which religion is the right one. Okie dokie? Thanks a lot! Smile
Demo
i like to think their is a god but he only helps the one in real need, my mom was in a horrible car accident when i was in the 3rd grade the doctors didn't expect her to survive so i think their is a god and their for it's it's 50/50Free Will and Determinism
Aredon
The true fact of the matter is we can theorise for centries and never get any closer to an answer. This answer to this question, is, just as all others, a matter of perspective. If something in your life has caused you to believe something to be true, you will believe it and no one will ever change your mind. I personaly have had to many encounters with... unexplained phenomenon to believe that the world is a random and chaotic happening. However, I am not about to say that my world is pre-destined. I believe there are to many coinsidences in the world to believe that it is an acsidental happening. So in this light I fully and completely believe there is a God, and I believe he wants us to ponder these questions. I think that is why he gave us free will; so that we could ponder the universe he had created. Like a father giving a puzzle-like toy to his child, naturaly the toy needs to be put together a certain way, and it only works a certain way, but the child can not possibly comprehend how to put the toy together correctly. So the child will fumble with it for a long while, puting pieces in the wrong places, and sometimes getting something that could work, but doesn't. As the child ages and grows they begin to figure out more and more of how the toy is put together properly. In the end it could be almost exaclty correct, but it would never look exactly like the picture on the box. Humanity has been searching their world for answers since the dawn of time. Though you might argue time is a creation to aid our understanding, and that perhaps it doesnt even exsist. You must understand that the confining universe in which we live is bound by laws that we are capible of understanding. This could mean both we have grown to understand them in that sense, or perhaps that the universe exists the way it does, becuase we are able to understand it that way. Whether or not our existance is predestined by some master plan, i do not fully know, but i can tell you that if it was predestined then there would be no purpose for choice, and choice, is one of the most fundimentaly important factors in human existance, without choice, there is nothing.

Just remember the real rule of the universe: It is a never ending puzzle, with every question answered, two more will arise.
The Philosopher Princess
Gieter wrote:
I think that if we’re determined (and everything is determined), there isn’t a machine or a system behind all that. It’s just logic: cause and effect. It’s an infinite (or maybe a finite) chain reaction. It’s all logic, there is no thing that really has determined "this will happen then." Everything would be determined by laws of nature.

I’m not following you, but I would like to. Are you familiar with the mathematical/computer-science model of finite state machines? They of course are not machines in the mechanical-gadget sense, but they are machines in the logical sense. Within a very particular scope, cause-and-effect is equivalent to these state machines, and everything in them is determined.

With these state machines, as “time progresses”[%%] , the machine must be followed (paths must be traversed) based on the initial input into the machine. Until the data “has been used up”, there will be “future” states that are fully determined yet haven’t happened yet.

[%%: The phrase time progresses is admittedly very abstract, but it makes sense in this context, as does future, etc.]

My explanation of state machines here is very poor. There’s a lot more to them. I strongly advise anyone who does not understand them already to study them on your own, or ask your math/c.s. teachers for help. No matter what your current thinking is on free will vs. determinism, I fully believe that understanding this kind of machine modeling will help you improve the clarity of your final answer. It will also help you with other subjects.
~~~~~~~~~~
So, for someone who can think in terms of these state machines, the bigger question is: Is there one gigantic finite state machine in existence?

And if not, then, why does cause-and-effect work sometimes but not all the time?
Aredon
Those machines work under the implication that determinism is 100% real, yes it is a possibility, but as we cannot create machines that can make real life choices yet, we have no way of realy knowing if the machines will all make the same choice no matter what. To quote the matrix "We can not see past the choices we don't understand"
The Philosopher Princess
Aredon wrote:
Those machines work under the implication that determinism is 100% real, yes it is a possibility, but as we cannot create machines that can make real life choices yet, we have no way of realy knowing if the machines will all make the same choice no matter what. To quote the matrix "We can not see past the choices we don't understand"

Yes, Aredon, but the question, as I see it, is not whether we are making state machines for ourselves, but whether there is a state machine that is external to our control. In other words, if we have free will, then there are no finite state machines concerning us. But if we do not have free will, then there is a state machine whose (pre)determined cause-and-effects we follow.

Let me remind everyone -- including myself, because it’s easy to get diverted: This particular topic is not as much concerned with determinism of the whole universe, but determinism or free will of human beings. For example, if there is a God who has free will, then there’s still the issue/question of whether or not humans have free will, because theoretically a God could have created us in either way. And, for example, if there is no God, and the universe exists for whatever reason, then there’s still the issue/question of how would we recognize whether we, as humans, do everything because of external-to-us cause-and-effects, or whether there is something left to make truly-optional decisions on.
Aredon
True, but for what reason would this omnipotent being create a one-way pre-destined universe were every action had only one possible outcome. Why would God give us the illusion of free will but no actual will by which to choose. What i mean to say is, why would god make the universe so simple? Without free-will the universe becomes a fundimentaly pointless place. Of course, once again the arguement lies in whether or not God exsists, if you believe in a Omnipotent Creator, then more than likely you also believe in Free Will and the ability to influence the timeline that we exsist in. If you believe that the world is a random chaotic happening, then it is very possible that you believe in determinism. Personaly i feel it is highly unlikely that the world is pre-determined. Of course, one could argue that this is merely my perception of the world, my mind telling me that the world is the way it is becuase its easier to understand that way.
dogphilosopher
Kinda interesting that this topic has gone on so long. Kinda intersesting too that everybody from every imaginable point of view wants their own two cents on the matter(me too by the way). It seems to me there are a couple of political agendas being advanced under either the camoflogue of presumed indeterminacy or determinacy. In my simple opinion, who gives a flying fornication. The distinction is a false one.

Something can only be said to be determined if it can be said that a set of conditions are necessary to cause a particular event. In science its called the operant cause. This is to say that for something to be determined you've got to be able to point to those particular occurances that will necessarily bring about said occurance. For example, a,b,c, will necessarily bring about d. When you start talking about people being caused to do one thing or the other you are setting yourself up as the person who can tell just exactly what must occur for somebody to do x, y, or z.

How about this: The universe has infinite causes and infinite effects. You can always find some set of causes that will generally bring about a particular set of effects. However, the universe itself is indeterminate. The Christians got it right when they said that we are created in God's image. We are all of us just little chunks of the universe. But the whole universe ain't caused by one thing anymore than the universe causes just one thing. Get used to the fact that you exist in a state of flux. If you're looking for causes you can only look as far as your imangination can go and reality goes way beyond that. You want to be determined, join the crowd. You want to be free, you might want to consider breaking away from it.
sonam
Yeah, I am in both groups. I think that we haven’t "Free Will" if is our actions determinate with thoughts from past or future. If I am doing something with thoughts (good or bad) from past I am living in the past. The same is with the future and I haven’t "Free Will" because I am bondage with past or future. Only if I live in NOW, and if my actions come out from now, without judging from past or future, I have "Free Will". In that case our reaction is not determinate, and we are one with universe, cosmic love, God, etc., and "Free Will" is part of our life. Very Happy

Sonam
atin
The Philosopher Princess wrote:
Do you believe in Free Will? If so, why? If not, why?


Do I believe in free will?

- I'll believe in anything you tell me to , princess!
LA Ridge
This subject of course can never be fully understood. The great mystery of life, the inherent thought of God in each person is ever present. The "fruit" of the gods of course is free will. Yes, we do have free will, because even in the most horrendous of conditions (prisoner of war, etc.) the captor can only manipulate the thought process, yet they cannot own your thoughts. So, even under the harshest of conditions, a person can still live in harmony with themselves. Free will exists regardless of condition. While it is true that massive doses of manipulation can detour ones ability to choose, they can still live in their own reality. Which is free will in essence. The ability to live in your own dream regardless of circumstance.
wheatypetey
I simply do not undrstand why people insist on bringing God into subjects concerning free will and such it doesn't make sense free will is something of your own it is something you control, you and you alone. So when peolple say things like "God controls how things you do" i say thats hoopla! Wink
aerialdreams
my class actually had a discussion on fate vs. free-will the other day. The way I see it is fate/determinism and free-will go hand in hand. This might sound weird to some people, but I really do believe that they are intertwined. I think fate affects free-will, but free-will can also change fate; I think anyone can determine their own destiny. I am a Christian, and some people say that goes against my religion, but I say otherwise. God put people on this Earth, and gave people free-will by his will (does that make sense?? Confused ). God knows what will ultimately happen if we keep on living the way we do, but if we decided to change some aspects of it then we can, and God will know what will happen too. He is there as a guide, not as a dictator who controls our lives.
Aredon
I think you missunderstand the meaning of determinism.
SNES350
DecayClan wrote:
There is no such thing as "free will"
I believe that free will is just an illusion, that our minds have created for us.
Every decision that we will take, every single, small step in our lives, could be calculated, if we had some data, and an extremely compex machine to calculate them.

...
I found 17 factors(and there are many many more) which will determine your choice.YOU WILL NOT CHOOSE.THE FACTORS WILL LEAD TO THE OUTCOME, WHICH DOES NOT DEPEND ON YOU.THE ONLY PART THAT DEPENDS ON YOU, is your DNA and childhood, which has nothing to do with free will though...
If we had a machine that could calculate all these, we would know the future...

Free will is an illusion...Want it or not, believe it or not...


What has happened to you shapes your personality, and your "free will" depends on your personality to determine what you desire the most of the possibilities. I believe that to be free will. Any other definition is impossible; we would have to be mindless drones, uninfluenced by anything, to have free will by that definition. We would not be able to learn, and the choices would be entirely random, with no influences bearing on our decision making.

A machine able to accurately calculate a person's decisions all the time would need EVERY bit of information about that person's life. For most decisions, all events in the given person's life have an influence, large or small.
anilsarwal
God has preknowledge of what will be. For instance we know that sun will rise in the East. But we are not the cause of sunrise. Same way, God knows what our destiny is, but we are the actors. We have the free will to act the way we want and we should make use of it for social good and development of the world including self development.
dz9c
ocalhoun wrote:
Anybody recognize this quote?
"... youv'e already made the choice, what your'e here to do is to figure out why you made the choice..."

yesh lol very familiar
kam311
Determinism is a bunch of crap. If it were true, none of us would be accountable for our actions and therefore we wouldn't need conciences(sp?) or a judical system derived from that. We have free will, we make our own decisions, and we should learn to take responsibility for our actions. End of story.
nopaniers
kam311 wrote:
Determinism is a bunch of crap. If it were true, none of us would be accountable for our actions.


That's is true, but not a logical argument against free will. You cannot say that just because something is undesirable that it is not true. It's like saying "That my grandparents are dead is a bunch of crap. If it was true, then I would be very sad." They are dead, if I like it or not.

I agree that determinism is a pretty depressing mindset though. It's hard to see much meaning in a life which you have no control over.
nopaniers
The Philosopher Princess wrote:
Are you familiar with the mathematical/computer-science model of finite state machines? They of course are not machines in the mechanical-gadget sense, but they are machines in the logical sense. Within a very particular scope, cause-and-effect is equivalent to these state machines, and everything in them is determined.


I think that's a great example of a deterministic system. The question is if the universe really behaves that way. For example it is impossible to get a finite state machine to produce a truly random number...

I'm showing my bias again, but what you need is not a finite state machine, but some type of quantum finite state machine, which is capable of mimicking the physics of the universe. We know that when we use quantum mechanical can solve some problems much faster than a normal computer... and this at least indicates that there is a difference between the computing power of the universe and finite state machines (although every problem which can be solved on one can also be solved on the other, except for perhaps random numbers). And potentially quantum mechanics gives us a genuine random number generator...

We should be asking what computational model the physics gives us... It's (surprisingly to me) not the same as what computer science assumes.
rasputinrockband
The illusion of free will can be explained under several schools of thought. In observation of the religious fundamentals of free will, I would have to say that it is in itself a contradiction. If it is one's contention that God in whatever form one chooses to beleive, is all knowing, then free will is an impossible subject. If God knows every action that an individual will participate in, and knows the events of the infinite future, how can an individual go against God's knowledge? If God says that in three years I will get a job working for a bank for example, what choice do I have in the matter? The events that occur in the "God foreseen future" would in turn be predetermined, destroying any reality of "Freewill".

In observation of a scientific explanation, one could argue that all of our actions are predetermined by the settings of our environments, be it physical, social, chemical, or by experience. Every behavioural action is a result of previous experiences of reinforcement and punishment. The inclinations created by our DNA also have a massive influence on our personalities and emotional dispositions. There are very few choices made by human beings that behavioural scientists, or genetic therapists could not come up with a probable cause for.

In conclusion, it is my opinion that free will only exists in the domain of theory, and is a product care based philosophies. One must think about the things that influence their decisions before they can say that they made them on their own recognisance.


Rasputin
DarthSilus
Determinism is delightfully arrogant, wouldn't you say?

Some people just HAVE to beleive it's possible to know everything--including the future and ourselves. This is a lack of maturity, basically. They want to feel in control, they want to "play God."

I, on the other hand, have respect for mystery, and unsolveability. I can say confidently that it is in doscovery that we gain meaning... so, take away the magic and difficulty of discovery, and you make life not worth living. People will beleive in mystery even if you PROVE determinism.

Which goes to say, its all about philosophy. Truth is not a philosophy, it is a part of a philosophy, the part that motivates it.

On the opposite end, you have relavatism. That we can't know anything. (I beleive it is an equally inefficient philosophy.) Some idiots probably believe in both determinism and relavatism.

Its all arrogance. Challenge this and you prove my point.
DarthSilus
nopaniers wrote:

I think that's a great example of a deterministic system. The question is if the universe really behaves that way. For example it is impossible to get a finite state machine to produce a truly random number...

I'm showing my bias again, but what you need is not a finite state machine, but some type of quantum finite state machine, which is capable of mimicking the physics of the universe. We know that when we use quantum mechanical can solve some problems much faster than a normal computer... and this at least indicates that there is a difference between the computing power of the universe and finite state machines (although every problem which can be solved on one can also be solved on the other, except for perhaps random numbers). And potentially quantum mechanics gives us a genuine random number generator...


Well said. We should also look at the experiment of Schrodenger's Cat. Qunatum Mechanics tells us that if it can happen, it will happen. All possibilities are happening--the Universe is infinite.

Not to mention that math sucks at explaining most (if not all) human processes. Ultimately, a person's behaviour does not always require a specific stimulus to cause a reaction. Its called being random.

Basically, the created theory can not explain the creator, because, as Einstein said, you have to solve a problem on a higher level. As randomness occurs in humans, on a higher level, just think how mysterious that realm must be!

Don't be arrogant.
alexdomps
God has free will: WE have tainted will
wimvpetegem
God has a free will and we have got a free will too.
But our free will will not dominate Gods free will.
But otherwise also not, if we say "no", God will not force us to say "yes".
Aredon
Yes, but there are many instances where god can influence you to make a certain desision, this is not changing the choice that will ulitimately be made, thus it does not affect free will. The main belief for free will is that God has a plan for us, and what choices we make to complete his plan are up to us. Some often say that we will fufill his plan, i call that hipocracy. I say we are fully capible of not completing gods plan for us by making choices that will lead us astray from the final destination. You can argue all you want and i will never believe that god can force you to conform to his plan, or even that he would if he was able. Determinism isn't arogant, if your around math and science enough you begin to see patterns. Determinism is no more than the belief that the universe directly effects the outcome of any and all possible choices. The problem is these paterns are yet beyond human understanding, we are incapible of duplicating them in the form of a formula or equation. We can only estimate. Perhaps this is becuase science and math cannot fully predict human action, which, in itself suggests that their must be a variable unacounted for. That variable is Free Will.
nopaniers
Is it ever even possible to "know" everything?

At first I assumed it wasn't possible, because I figured there wouldn't be enough resources to store everything about the universe in the universe...

But then, you can compress data, and the universe isn't at maximum entropy (that is, it's not completely disordered) and so it must be possible to compress... and therefore could be stored in less space than the universe.
Sebaci
Quote:
Is it possible that we have free will at one level, but everything is actually determined at another level?

That's right.

Everything what is written a thousands years ago in bible Code happens today. Everything was determined, but not by God at all, but by... destiny. Destiny is confirmed by scientist. The world is built with atoms. And the place of every atom in the future can be calculated when we have some informations of the atoms like vector direct (I don't know if it's properly in english), speed of the atom etc. And when we have all the info we can forcast the position of each atom. If nothing was determined, the forecasting wouldn't be possible
Aredon
True in the area of atoms, false in the area of thought. Simply becuase you can predict something will happen a certain way. Does not mean that it will. Human choice is still a variable that is unacounted for in the "equation". However, i will agree that it is possible for everything to be planned, but i will not agree that we are bound to that plan and that every choice we make is not our own but in fact has only one outcome.
romaop
It's too crowdy to answer. I have no objections to all views here pointed out because I think I don't have the slightest clue. I can only leave questions. Here they go:
Is culture, religion, ... influencing your opinions?
Who and what is God?
Is God good or are we wanting he/she/... to be good?
God always existed?
When did the world started? What existed before?
What's the world?
What's time?
God is trying to make a perfect world? What's a perfect world anyway?
Is God inside of us?
...

Perhaps your view is the accuratest one.
Or maybe not.
In any case, have a nice day!
nopaniers
romaop wrote:
What's time?


Time is what clocks measure.
Aredon
nopaniers wrote:
romaop wrote:
What's time?


Time is what clocks measure.
Time is a factor placed into creation by god to give the universe a sence of order, so that it would be easier for humankind to understand Wink Rolling Eyes
sistahgeek
This is something I've thought about for a long time, and the only conclusion I have is no conclusion, LOL. I'm still out to lunch on it. I'm from the deep South - the Bible belt. The first funny memory I have is something that happened in church when I was around 3 or 4 years old, so I was darn near raised in the church building.

In church, we were taught that God had our lives and futures planned out before we were born. The scripture to support that is somewhere in the book of Isaiah. But, at the same time, we were being taught that God gave everyone choice and free will.

I think these two teachings are mutually exclusive and that by people trying to believe and hold to both there are a lot of cases of cognitive dissonance in play. Why? You can't believe in predestination and determinism (free will) at the same time - they are polar opposites. Then the question turns to if God gave us choice and free will, why will we be punished if we don't do what he wants us to do - what he's planned for us since before we were born?

I think this is a topic that every person is going to have to decide on for themselves. There are no answers... just more questions.
dyrtyrice
I believe in freewill over determinsm. Also I believe these philosophies, as most are not mutually exclusive. Just because they are opposites does not entail, that both cannot exist simultaneously. To argue that determinism does not exist simply because freewill does in fact exist, is fallacy. Freewill exists but is determined by ones beliefs and their respective mindsets. Not to knock religion, but it is true that prescribing to an orthodox and organized point of view, created by man or a group of men, automatically surrenders a certain amount of freewill. The proof that people discuss things such as this, proves that freewill exists. The fact that we may be killed in car crashed tommorow or whatever irrelevently random event, does not disprove freewill. Humans, in general love to conform to something which is common as the greatest denominator of society. Humans love to give away their freewill and be given labels, they love to judge others as well, and even label themselves. These things incite the belief of determinism, whether it seems that way or not. Deternimism can be a reality for many, because buying into prescribed destiny is easier than going the wave of insui (flowing water). It is much more comforting to feel like we all fit in somewhere, into a grand design. We are in fact writing away are own consent when we piss our lives away on the couch, watching what we are told to watch and buying what we are told to buy. This posting really isn't an answer to anything, just a perspective on determinism of free will. The fact is, that they both exist simultaneously and there are differing amounts in all people. Of course, there are certain destinies which we all must face. Life and death. These qualities are not as simple as beginning and end, these qualities in fact, should be completely abstained from pondering when questioning determinism, being that these things happen to us all. It's ironic when people write that god created man in his own image, and that god gave use freewill. This is ironic becuase I believe these things to the converse of what is actually being stated. We give away our freewill be prescribing to notions set forth by others, we also personify god according to our own egos. Is this not natural? Most people in fact, judge others based on themselves, as they also do with the elusive god figure. I believe that humans attribute godliness to themselves when pondering god, for they believe that in this istance, it is the one thing they are certain of, this holiest of things. Ironic, humans are faulty, but when it comes to god they are spot on. Interesting.
adiutrix
Personally, I think there is freewill but on a limited basis. It is like a computer game or programe. It is designed for vast possibilities but in the end there are limits and rules. Those limits aredestiny. What is done in the game is freewill.
Aredon
Be very carefull, when you begin to live life bound by rules such as a game. Then you bind each of your choices to those rules, therefore removing your rights to free will. As he said a lot of people give up their free will so that they can conform to society, or becuase they are unable to make choices for themselves. Some people are like this, true, but it is their CHOICE to lose their right to choose. Ironicaly enough. I think determinism and free will are indeed exact opposites. You cannot have one and the other, however i think that there can be a moderate/reformed version of determinism, as in some things can be planned to happen, and no matter what you choose they will, but do not think that this is determinism... its close, but it isnt.
dwcnps
SunburnedCactus wrote:
Free will to me is illusionary...

I agree. Given exactly the same circumstances and conditioning we will always react in the same way. Free will like consciousness is some we feel but determinism means it is not real.

Re fate: if we know all the inputs to a precise level then we can know what will happen (if that is fate). But, the universe is so chaotic (or most parts of it) that it is difficult to predict the future.

On the other hand to most people "fate" means some sort of "outside" (supernatural) force that forces something to happen no matter how hard entities on the "inside" may try to avoid it. Personally I do not believe in supernatural forces as there is no evidence of them.
Aredon
ahh, but where would we be if scientists never believed in bacterium, there was never evidence that they exsisted.. where would we be today if they had simply not believed they were there becuase there was no EVIDENCE of them. I must say that it is rather silly to say something doesn't exist based on the fact that there is no evidence of its existance..
perfect examples are:

  • Darkmatter
  • Black Holes
  • Plasma
  • Super Conductors
  • Friction
  • The earth orbiting around the sun rather than vise versa.
  • Atoms

all these things were believed in before there was evidence of their existance. Does that make them any less real? I don't think so.
romaop
Earlier I made this question: What is time?
Some people gave answers.
As some of you might know, Einstein found a new concept of time: it is no longer an absolute thing, it depends on the velocity. That means a big revolution of concepts. Keeping with this scientific scope, universe laws are far from being discovered. So I keep asking "What is time?"

Has anyone ever hear about string theory. It's a theory that tries to unify universe laws. And it has a lot of new concepts too. Is it a good theory? Is something missing there?

And what about religion? And miracles?
Is everything determined by laws?

More and more questions arise...

If you've got answers, fine. If not, have also a nice day!
NemoySpruce
go open your underware drawer. if you have all boxers, or all briefs... then you do not have free will. If you a girl, you probably have free will... i would bet not even God himself knows what you will decide to wear. Very Happy
nerdmaster128
I don't honestly KNOW the answer, and I don't think anyone does. But my idea, being a Catholic and believing in God, is that there is the ILLUSION of free will. Please, no one take it as an insult, or as something that is meant to get people angry, but really, if you believe that God is omniscient and knows exactly what will happen, and how, then how CAN you have free will? The only other possible explanation that I have ever been able to come up with is that God sees things in choices, and knows what will happen depending on what choices you make. It's possible, but I don't think it's necessarily true.
Aredon
Becuase It is again a factor of "what is time" it is beyond human understanding and to often is it thought of as linear. Time is in no way linear, it is closer to a web than anything, splitting at every choice. If you had a string that split at the end into 2. You would witness the place where it parts, and the ends of the seperate parts. Thus is it so with your choices, God knows your choices, and the outcomes. This is brought down to human understanding.... and is a theory. In fact the only proof you need that there can be free will and yet god knows your choices is that god exists OUTSIDE of the timeline and is unaffected by it.. Therefore he is in the future, the past, and the present. Just as you view the string at all ends, so does God, simply becuase he knows what choice you will make, does not mean you are not still free to make it.

Even then acourding to my theory you in fact make all choices simultainiusly.. yet you witness the one that is tied to the timeline of witness that you "stand" upon. Therefore you can make free choices, but God knows all outcomes.
ltbennett
well this is a dificult subject but if i had to choose one i would say no i dont because i dont like the idea thet your lifes alredy planed out for u from the momant your born to the moment you die but u sort of feel theat somthings there u know.

bennett
The Philosopher Princess
ltbennett wrote:
well this is a dificult subject but if i had to choose one i would say no i dont because i dont like the idea thet your lifes alredy planed out for u from the momant your born to the moment you die but u sort of feel theat somthings there u know.

bennett

So, you are answering the question of the veracity or falsity of something, based on what you want the answer to be?
arniingi
I belive that the Universal creator gave a fractions of him self into the creation
and abandoned him self from it and gave it free will .
To choose whatever and be creators of our own lifes,eventualy I think
those fractions or souls will find its way home,because universe vont last
it will come to an end, but the soul as the fraction of the infinite spirit
will life forever and become one with its sorce.

But I think from the creators point of view we have equal amount
of free will as ve give to our children on the playground,
its all just a play. Wink
spinifex
I belive that we are all just mere humans going about our daily business on a little organism we like to call Earth. We have accidentally been set up with a perfect Life-sustinant planet and intelligent minds that sometimes work against us. We have got total control over what we do and our intelligence is what has caused us to create these notions such as gods and led us to pose such questions querying the meaning of our existence.

The fact that we are here in this seemingly endless black abyss floating on a tiny ball of rock that just by coincidence happened to end up with all this water and oxygen, somehow leading to the advent of life as we know it - should be proof enough to those who pose the questions.

But these people have been brought up believing in gods that were invented in the early stages of humanity, by people who had no idea about modern science, and no other way to explain life and how it came about.

Thats my theory anyway.
Aredon
should be proof of what? A god? To me what you just posted is incomplete... maybe thats just me.. You theory sounds more like fact, we do in fact live on this infintesimal speck of rock called earth at just the right distance from the sun to suport life with just the right tilt to have seasons and just the right amount of oxygen to dampen UV radiation. What is your belief exactly, that earth is a living thing? Please tell me more about your theory/belief.
nico
What if God wanted us to experience being individuals with free will just for a laugh and then say :"Alright guys fun is over! You obviously can't manage this free will thing yet...I'll try again later...maybe." ? Hum...possible...

Or more seriously what if it was part of the evolution of manking to experience free will and all the problems and possibilities this brings about?

And God in all this? you might ask, well, God is not for me the old dude sitting on the big cloud watching us from above.
God represents for me all the spiritual reality that we call coincidences, dream life, chance, fate, angels, meaning of life, higher consciousness, after death, 'paradise', 'hell'...
So you see, it is a bit difficult to connect God with free will in just a few sentences but I am (free) willing to try if people want.
tingkagol
our conventional views of freewill and god (especially) makes it impossible to reconcile these two things. if you do think it can be reconciled, you need to make assumptions (or redefinitions) on things like time, freewill, and god.

determinism however is pretty wicked. it is a circle. enclosing the universe in it.
The Philosopher Princess
In the course of some other research, I came across the following, which fits on this thread.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_paradox

Quote:
Control paradox
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The control paradox states that a conscious, living human being will always be controlled either by others or by himself. In this way, control is being exerted upon him. Clearly, human beings need a certain number of biological control systems in order to remain alive, but this paradox does not address the underlying biology of man. It speaks to the paradoxical interplay of freedom and control, noting that, even with the full autonomy of free will, some kind of control is being exerted regardless.

It could easily be rephrased: No human is free from freedom, because even when they are free from the control of others, they are under their own control.

The idea of exactly what it means to be "free" or to have "free will", when modern science tells us that the states of the mind are dictated by physical processes, has been discussed extensively by the philosopher of science Daniel Dennett.

On the one hand, this could be a context switch on reasonable definitions of free will. On the other hand, if the control of oneself by oneself includes/implies the “underlying biology” that was created outside of oneself, then it could be reasonable.
hazaramat
Quote:
Control paradox
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The control paradox states that a conscious, living human being will always be controlled either by others or by himself. In this way, control is being exerted upon him. Clearly, human beings need a certain number of biological control systems in order to remain alive, but this paradox does not address the underlying biology of man. It speaks to the paradoxical interplay of freedom and control, noting that, even with the full autonomy of free will, some kind of control is being exerted regardless.

It could easily be rephrased: No human is free from freedom, because even when they are free from the control of others, they are under their own control.


I totally agree with that point.
More roughly, I would have said: my only freewill is to choose rice or pasta for lunch, that's all. We are all totally determined, and I don't mean by God, or repressing "others"; I mean by ourselves (if I may call "myself" the sum of my childhood traumas, family habits, cultural uses, second socialisation, etc.).
Being free would mean getting mad, facing the infinite complexity of reality. We need boundaries and filters to survive in compexity, which we cannot control just because it would be too much -just as we need "automatic" biological mechanisms to back us up, which we don't control neither.

Is social determination as acceptable as "underlying biology" for lighting up our almost-total determinism?
thim
No, I have no free will whatsoever. I dunno about others but I'm practically a robot. On the positive side, robots have been known to get down.
Blackangel
I hate to admit this, and I always have the illusion that I have free will. But what I believe is that deep down, what makes us act in a specific way or decide what to do depends on what we call "character" or "Personality"
But after all all these, aren't defined by the genomes that in sequence define the way we grow up and build up our bodies, and characters?
And this is a matter of complete chance of combination at the very start of our life. So is the parents eachone has. Its completely diffrent for me if i'm born in a starving family in Middel africa, or if I'm born in a high class Western civilization one. So it does not have to do with God some call it fate.. I think Fate and luck are different views of the same thing.
By the way a REALLY interesting book on this topic is STRAW DOGS. I dont remember the writter right now, but i was shocked, depressed, relieved and finally, much more sceptic when i read it. I sugeest it strongly.
curnow
well im atheist according to documents i've readand dictionary it dunt say anything about determinism and all it says is this:
atheist

adj : related to or characterized by or given to atheism; "atheist leanings" [syn: atheistic, atheistical] n : someone who denies the existence of god
do you see anything about determinism in there? anyway things are determined by other peoples free will in relation to other actions for example people will inevitably get pissed because of this post so this post has determined their mood. there is no one person who has determined whole existence or time. time is not kept as a record time is only a measure of how long ago something happened or time of day. its more of an expression. since this is true about time nothing is set in stone in life but determined by other peoples actions.
hazaramat
just for the anecdote:
I live right now in Afghanistan. This country is located in central asia, between Iran, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
This country is ruled under an islamic republic: it means that islam is the official religion, and even more, than islam is the only religion. Profess that you belong to another religion, or that you are atheist, and you become an outlaw. Anyway.

Discussing with locals, I heard about their beliefs: determination rules their lifes (more or less). A lot of things and events are considered as previously forecasted, and this goes up to the number of eye blinks everyone has to blink before death!

Thereby, in Afghanistan we found a new way to suicide: keep blinking your eyes. You'll reach your death within a few days.
atiwary
Combination of both that I believe works like this:

At this exact moment, every single thing is determined until the end of time. However, with our free will we are able to change that destiny. The use of our free will can result in forward progression or backwards progression in our overall development. However, I think with time...some development automatically occurs as we evolve through the lifestyle and work that has been given to us.
randy
With the definition that is usually used for it, "free will" is an oxymoron. Let me explain.

First, people will usually say that free will is the ability to do what you want. However, they do not readily admit that this is not the full extent of the definition in their minds. Usually people assume that this means that such actions are not forced, that they at any moment could make any decision. The fact is that these ideas do not follow from one another. They are actually contradictory. The first is deterministic in nature, while the second is anti-deterministic. Frankly, it can not be both. They are mutually exclusive. If your actions are a product of your "will", then the "freedom" to make any choice is removed. There is a certain decision which will be made based on the will (the motivation to perform that action). Even if we were able at any time to make any decision, it would be necessary for this to be an entirely anti-deterministic situation. There could be no input for the system. Our "decisions" would not actually be decisions; they would be entirely random. Every event would generate spontaneously. The "free" and the "will" can not coexist.
katalysator
I absolutely cannot believe in a deterministic world view. At the most basic level, our free will allows us to choose not only how we impact the world around us (especially now, in this electronic age, where we can share our thoughts and desires with people all over the world), but how we allow the world to affect us.

Take for instance your daily commute. When frustrated in traffic, you have the choice of allowing others to anger you, or you can move past your own rising anger and refuse them that power. Your choice in that moment may impact the rest of your day, and that of others around you. This example may not make sense to everyone, and for that I apologize.

There is a book, called "The Tipping Point", which has the central thesis that great changes were catalyzed by seemingly trivial events. No matter how small we are, we have the power to incite change, knowingly or not.
Lviter
I believe God gave us free will, but there is a bigger plan behind our life we can't understand in this life.
The Conspirator
Our decisions are braced on our personality and beliefs and the situation's we are in, our belief are based on what ideas we've been exposed to and when we where exposed to them, our personality's are based on our genetic personality traits and our past experiences, our experiences and the situation's we get in are based on out actions and the actions of countless others.

Thats my conclusion any way.
multypersonality
im in group 1 Smile
im going to put it simple..
imagine you have a road that splits into two paths, its YOUR decision which path to go, whatever you choose God knows what its in the end of each path.
so you've got your free will, and God KNOWS what you are going to do but he wont interfere in your choice, its an all-knowing God not a all-controlling God..
did i explain myself??
The Conspirator
If God knows what your going to do its ether been fated or determined thus you do not have free will.
The Philosopher Princess
multypersonality wrote:
im in group 1 Smile
im going to put it simple..
imagine you have a road that splits into two paths, its YOUR decision which path to go, whatever you choose God knows what its in the end of each path.
so you've got your free will, and God KNOWS what you are going to do but he wont interfere in your choice, its an all-knowing God not a all-controlling God..
did i explain myself??

Yes. Next, consider this example, if you will. Smile

Imagine that I carve a longish groove in a piece of wood that starts as a single groove and then forks into 2 grooves. I can tilt the wood such that the end of the single groove is up and the ends of the 2 grooves are down. I can place a metal ball at the top of the single groove and the ball will roll down the groove.

If I have tilted the wood slightly to the left, the ball will take the left fork path. If I have tilted the wood slightly to the right, the ball will take the right fork path. Once I’ve tilted the wood and let go of the ball at the top, I do not move anything (until the ball has hit the ground).

Here are some things we could say about this situation:

Arrow Once the ball gets rolling (i.e., has been let go at the top of the single groove), if it has a will, it can do anything it wants because I am not interfering with its decision.

Arrow Despite my non-interference, I know what path the ball is going to take.

Arrow Because I’m not interfering, if the ball can have free will, it does have free will.

Arrow We know that I never interfere once the ball is let go. In the bigger context, however, because I am the one who has created the ball’s world, the ball’s world is determined. In other words, even if the ball has free will at the smaller context, it does not have free will in the bigger context.

Can you see my analogy between the ball and its world, and us and our world? In that light, and if God created the world and put it in motion, do we still have free will in the bigger context? If we do, where does the analogy not fit? Smile
multypersonality
so if God has made all of our world why do evil exists and why do people get into drugs and stuff that hurts them???
cause they want to,
i believe in a God of love so he cant lead you to wrong paths, It is you to decide which path to take to be nearer to God everyday or to go further from him.
its everyones choice,
Deuc
God did indeed make the entire world. He did not however create evil. In fact the definition of evil is that which goes against what God wants.

It is true that the will and people's choices have led them astray. In that, we are perfectly in agreement. The decision however to be nearer to God does not work so well. remember that the Lord Jesus said, "Remember you did not choose me, I have chosen you." Although I am not one to normally pull things out of context, the ancient Christian understanding is that no one comes to Jesus by their own will. It is the Lord who before time began shows who would be saved.

With all of that being said, what would appear as a deterministic world is really a world of free will. But let me clarify that the truth lies somewhere in between. We do have free will, but a limited free will. it would be nice if we were born as a tabula rasa, a blank slate.

We are however born inherently evil. I know many will disagree with this, but no child needs to be taught how to be selfish. In fact we spend most of our lives trying to teach others to live according to the Golden Rule.

This very difficult topic leaves you in some sort of middle ground where many things are a completely free choice, then there are others that have been determined for you.
alancolfer
just because a person is atheist doesn't mean that they don't believe in free will. just that people are too limited by society in what they can and can't do, either by laws or taboos. can seem like a hassle to do something when everyone else against you.
cloudship
i don't understand clearly your puzzle. Everyone with some basic knowledge of statistics and chemistry knows that, the fact that a group has a certain fixed behavior does not mean every particle inside tends to the same behavior, however eventually the result of the group behavior turns to be in accordance.

The benifit of belief in God in my opinion is that, if we have something temporarily unsolvable in science, we could contribute it to God.

As said by Einstein, the more you know, the more you know you do not know. Thus, the more we know in science, the more we know the God knows.
palavra
http://en.fgulen.com/content/view/671/4/


No one is a victim of Destiny. God does not destine our acts; rather, He creates whatever we will to do. Destiny's decrees or verdicts are based on Its consideration of our free will.

We are directly responsible for whatever happens to us. If we experience misfortune, it is either because we have misused our free will or because, as with Prophets, God wills to promote us to higher ranks. For example, the sun is absolutely necessary for and indispensable to life. If we stay outside too long and die of sunstroke, can we blame the sun? Of course not, for we could have gone inside or taken sufficient precautions. In the same way, our free will (not Destiny) is responsible for any misfortune that comes our way. Blaming Destiny only causes the misfortune to worsen.

To cite another example: God Almighty created and endowed us with certain faculties or powers, one of which is lust. If we use this power improperly and thus harm ourselves, it can only be our fault. God gave us this power so that we may reproduce the species in the proper manner and be promoted to higher spiritual ranks by resisting our carnal self's illicit suggestions. It is the same with anger. God Almighty gave it to us so that we can defend ourselves and our religious and social values, not to hurt others. Therefore, if an uncontrolled burst of anger causes us to kill someone, it is our fault, not Destiny's.

Destiny relates to both the cause and the effect simultaneously. If we judge only by considering the effect, usually we make mistakes. For example, if we accuse a father of abusing his daughter while he only is trying to discipline her because he likes her or so that she may reform herself and learn how to behave properly, we would be wronging the father. We should consider all related information while judging any event. If we will cannot see any good in it, we should tell ourselves that whatever God does is good either in itself or in its consequences, and never accuse Destiny. This is what is meant by: It may be that you dislike a thing although it is good for you, and love a thing although it is bad for you. God knows but you know not (2:216).
randy
Could someone please define free will? This is getting a little annoying having everyone use a different definition. Could we seperate the concepts of practical free will (the ability of a person to make a decision that is not predetermined) and religious free will (the ability of a person to make a decision that is not predetermined by God). We also might want to come up with a term for the more anti-Calvinist free will (the ability of a person to make a decision in which God does not interfere in the short term). With this definition, God could have set up the universe beforehand but does not continue to interfere by causing people to act in a way inconsistent with their previous character and circumstances. Of course there is also the "people make choices" definition, but most people who use this have actually attached additional qualities to their definition without realizing it.

I, however, believe that with the first two of these definitions free will does not exist. The first is an oxymoron. The second requires that there is no God or that God is not the omnipotent, omniscient creator. The third is naught but a matter of Christian doctrine (only to be addressed by a discussion of the personal preferences of said divine being and of menial importance compared to such basic considerations as determinism in the universe). This definition also implies that God does not cause people to believe, heal them, etc., which can cause many problems for the rest of Christian dogma. The fourth is a vague smokescreen, nebulous at best.
bojangles
While it is that we do have free will, to do what we choose, it remains that.
God is in control; He is sovereign. He does whatever pleases Him and determines whether we can do what we have planned.

I know O Lord, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.
Jer 10: 23 Smile

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD. Proverbs 21:30

Who can speak and have it happen if the LORD has not decreed it?
Lamentations 3:37

We make plans, but those plans can succeed only when they are consistent with God's purpose. No plan can succeed against Him. No one can straighten what He makes crooked or make crooked what He has made straight. No emperor, king, supervisor, teacher, or coach can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not first decreed to either make it happen or permit it to happen. No one can say, "I will do this or that," and have it happen if it is not part of God's sovereign will. Smile
bojangles
While it is that we do have free will to make our own choices and decisions.
Perhaps the clearest biblical statement that God does sovereignly influence the decisions of people is found in Proverbs 21:1, " The kings heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases." Charles Bridges, in his exposition of Proverbs, states, "The general truth [of God's sovereignty over the hearts of all people] is taught by the strongest illustration - his uncontrollable sway upon the most absolute of all wills - the king's heart. "
Quote:
In our day of limited monarchies in which kings and queens are largely figureheads, it may be difficult for us to appreciate fully the force of what Charles Bridges is saying when he speaks of the king's heart as the most absolute of all wills. But in Solomon's time the king was an absolute monarch. There was no seperate legislative body to make laws he wouldn't like or a Supreme Court to restrain him. The king's word was law. His authority over his realm was unconditional and unrestrained.
Yet God controls the king's heart. The stubborn will of the most powerfull monarch on earth is directed by God as easily as the farmer directs the flow of water in his irrigation canals. The argument, then, is from the greater to the lesser - if God controls the king's heart surely He controls everyone else's. All must move before His sovereign influence.

Excerpted From -
Trusting God even when life hurts
by Jerry Bridges
anders aka sensei
good question.....
I have just had about the vietnam war in school combined between history and religion...
Who should you blame for going crazy and killing everyone in a village....raping, torturing and other evil things....Was it the american soldiers free will or was it the leaders and president who effected them..determinism!
I still think that it was the soldiers faulth, because as Sátre said, there is always a last way out and that is suicide......everyone has a free will, even though the body is effected of the situation in your mind, then you would have the free will to effect with!

Anders aka Sensei
randy
anders aka sensei wrote:
Who should you blame for going crazy and killing everyone in a village....raping, torturing and other evil things....Was it the american soldiers free will or was it the leaders and president who effected them..determinism!


That is not really determinism. Determinism is the belief that (or state of the universe such that) all events have a cause and that that cause necessarily leads to that effect. Telling someone to do something may or may not contribute to the cause of the event of that person performing that action, but it is unlikely to be the entire cause (no, this does not prove free-will or disprove determinism- if you think it does, think harder). This is a matter of politics and psychology, not meat for a substantial discussion of determinism.
The Philosopher Princess
@ Everyone

Thanks for some truly excellent posts on free will and determinism! Though I haven’t commented on most posts, I have nevertheless monitored everything along the way -- and, saved it for posterity for later review, as a matter of fact.

Today is my last day here but the topic will continue to be open for more people’s thinkings.

Enjoy! Very Happy
Will Howard
I personally hate the thought of "destiny" or "fate". I hate being manipulated and the thought that there is an all powerful God who reaches down from the Heavens and pulls metaphorical strings turns me off the Christian views of God immediately. I prefer to think of God as more of a concept or a feeling rather than an all powerful being.

But about fate, or determinism, or whatever you want to call it... As with all things concerning religion, it comes down to a personal choice. I know that some people find great comfort in the belief that God has a plan for them.

Quote:
He does whatever pleases Him and determines whether we can do what we have planned.


If that is not the opposite of free will, I honestly don't know what is.
The Conspirator
Fate and determinism are different things. Fate means that every thing is predestined, thus when something happens, it happens and there is no way to change it. Determinism means that things have been determined by the things that happened before, thus the future is not written if you change one of the factors the outcome is deferent then if you hadn't.
randy
The Conspirator wrote:
Fate and determinism are different things. Fate means that every thing is predestined, thus when something happens, it happens and there is no way to change it. Determinism means that things have been determined by the things that happened before, thus the future is not written if you change one of the factors the outcome is deferent then if you hadn't.


Yes, but in an entirely deterministic universe, none of the factors may be "changed" because they are all entirely dependent on other existent factors.
Cyberius
I know something about her. Let's Start. First of all I want you to open yor bible in Genesis and read 1:27. It should say something like this:

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

notice how it says "Male and "female created he them"

Later in the same book, but this time in chapter 2, article 18 it says:

"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him."

So...¿What happened with the first female of chapter one article 27??? It seems that suddenly Adan Was left alone so he needed another company, so god created Eve from his rib. But the real first women was created just like him from dust. You may read the bible yourselves and see the mismatch in the story.

In cahpter one god command the men (man and woman) to go be fiructiferus and populate all the earth. Later in cahpter two he created another female after adan has named all the creatures.

This misconcordance is the origin of the myth of lilith Adan's first wife. A medieval reference to Lilith as the first wife of Adam is the anonymous The Alphabet of Ben-Sira, written sometime between the 8th and 11th centuries. Lilith is described as refusing to assume a subservient role to Adam during sexual intercourse and so deserting him ("She said, 'I will not lie below,' and he said, 'I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. For you are fit only to be in the bottom position, while I am to be the superior one.'"). Lilith promptly uttered the name of God, took to the air, and left the Garden, settling on the Red Sea coast. As a side note, this places Lilith in a unique position, for she left the Garden of her own accord and before the Fall of Man, and so is untouched by the Tree of Knowledge. However, according to legend, she also knows the "true name of God". To know the true name of God is to have power over him, this story is similar to Isis and the Secret Name of Ra.

Lilith then went on to mate with Asmodai and various other demons she found beside the Red Sea, creating countless lilin. Adam urged God to bring Lilith back, so three angels were dispatched after her. When the angels, Senoy, Sansenoy, and Semangelof, made threats to kill one hundred of Lilith's demonic children for each day she stayed away, she countered that she would prey eternally upon the descendants of Adam and Eve, who could be saved only by invoking the names of the three angels. She did not return to Adam.

The background and purpose of The Alphabet of Ben-Sira is unclear. It is a collection of stories about heroes of the Bible and Talmud, it may have been a collection of folk-tales, a refutation of Christian, Karaite, or other separatist movements; its content seems so offensive to contemporary Jews that it was even suggested that it could be an anti-Jewish satire [4], although, in any case, the text was accepted by the Jewish mystics of medieval Germany.

The Alphabet of Ben-Sira is the earliest surviving source of the story, and the conception that Lilith was Adam's first wife became only widely known with the 17th century Lexicon Talmudicum of Johannes Buxtorf.

In the late 19th century, the Scottish Christian author George MacDonald incorporated the story of Lilith as Adam's first wife and predator of Eve's children into a mythopoeic fantasy novel in the Romantic style.
Rowenna
What you seem to be saying is that the existence of God implies that He takes care of human actions.

I think God is something different from the idea we have of Him. He may be the "universal mind" that is the Origin of all that is and therefore his involvement with humans is not direct.

Some people believe that we all have guides that are directly involved with us -not God. These "guides' are in charge of our education as evolving souls. As learners we have choices to make and usually our guides leave us to make them. In that sense there is "free will" However this kind of belief also accepts that certain aspects of our lives are pre-determined before we come to earth when we make the choices as souls.
And then there is karma.... that sends us back to earth to take the same lessons over and over again until we learn better... Surprised


[quote] Question
"Challenge for Group #1: If there exists an omnipotent and omniscient God, why do humans even need free will? Having an all-powerful and all-knowing God seems to be precisely the situation where everything in the universe, including in human life and human actions, is taken care of by God, so there seems to be no purpose for human free will. If God knows what we’re going to do, isn’t that essentially the same as it has been determined?"
Josephwweaver
God wants his best for us, and he predestined everything from the beginning of time, however, he gave us free will, and Gods outcome doesnt change, but the our outcome changes because we dont listen to God and ignore his will and do things our way instead of his.
tingkagol
think about this:

Freewill is determined.

think about it. don't have time later to further elaborate.
baronblod2007
I think that humans have free will... Im an atheist, and I dont believe in anything other than what I can see and touch. Wink

I think that anything "miracle-like" is all a just some random event.
If lightning kept hitting the same place over and over again and the sky turned purple, I still wouldnt believe in God.

No offence to the believers or such Wink
slchap5
i think that we all have free will because we all make decisions everyday that afect everyone else around you. but somethings have already been set in stone and you cannoy change. so it is really up to yoou to decide how to live your life
Fanghai44
lol i never thought it'd come to this: free will rules! i mean if you are livign in a country that allows ppl to be free and do whatever tehy want (i assume y'all live in teh USA since u all speak english), then whats there to be left? i mean if in a few years something bad happens and George Bush does something else that is not very smart, then the security of our country could be at stake here and then our country might now even be safe not to mention give everyone their own free will...but still
i believe that free will is very essential in the world.
XxeroxX
fate
fate

it is what drives a person into doign something and/or chooses their destiny. when you think of fate, you think of how a person will end up. Will he end up getting shot by his mom for no apparent reason when he's 30? Will he end up failing school and getting into the mafia and getting shot there? will he end up like that homless guy on the street and get killed by a driving truck racing at 90 mph at a local street? Or will he just die a normal death like everyone else? calm...and death of age...

take that story "ambush" by tim Obrien for example. It is a clear story between if you can change the fate of someone. Story goes like this: soldier walks down the road, Tim sees him, throws a grenade and kills the soldier. later, he regrets about throwing the grenade because he believed that he has just changed the fate of the soldier. but what he has got to realize is: people's fates have been set since the first day they were born. that soldier was destined to die and he did. so theres nothign you can change about fate.


-XX
khunia
what choices do we really have? We are bombarded every day with "don't do this" and "don't do that" my govt tells me I am free and then proceed to tell me what I can and cannot do. I am censored every where I go, you can say this and you can't say that, you can watch this but you can't watch that. How free are we? even on the internet you are censored about what you can and cannot say.
Yet to say that everything is predetermined is wrong also, because time is finite, it exists only because we do, so before "man" came to be what was there "nothing" just "stuff". So if there is no "time" then there is nothing, the only reason people believe in "fate" is because of "time", so if time doesn't really exist then neither can fate. Confused me too didnt quite come out the way i meant it too lol.
Now as for "God" or an omnipotent being I can't say that we as rational beings can say that "God" exists, however humans are not rational beings, look at everything we have done to each other throughout history, Are these the actions of rational beings?, I think not.
I don't believe in God, I do believe there is something out there that watches us, whether we are some crazy experiment on a universal scale, or some kind of sick joke, or the result of the dreams of some godlike being, who really knows.
So really we are not free and this is by our own design and nothing is predetermined as this is an invention of our own design. So what are we? well thats easy......We are all prisoners, and that is by our own design.
trousersalive
[quote="

Challenge for Group #1: If there exists an omnipotent and omniscient God, why do humans even need free will? Having an all-powerful and all-knowing God seems to be precisely the situation where everything in the universe, including in human life and human actions, is taken care of by God, so there seems to be no purpose for human free will. If God knows what we’re going to do, isn’t that essentially the same as it has been determined?

.[/quote]

If 'god' is truly omnipotent then he knows everything including your every move hence there can be no true free will, only apparent free will. Some people try to cop out of this by saying that the future is unknowable, even by god but this seems a bit lame and reduces gods power.

But as long as it seems like free will whats the difference anyway. Just like being in the matrix, if your happy who cares.
trousersalive
[quote="

Challenge for Group #2: If there’s no God and everything’s determined, then by whom and/or how did it get determined? If determined means everything that happens was caused by something else, then how did the “big deterministic machine” get set into motion?

[/quote]

And with regards to this, it depends on your definition of determinism. just because everything is caused by something else (which is obviously true), does not mean there has to be some greater reason for it all or a controling force. If you had a computer that could model every molecule in the universe you could easily predict with 100% accuracy what any person will do next due to all molecules following strict and predictable rules (with maybe the exception of quantum particles). Thus there would be no free will. Although we still perceive it as such because we will ever be able to model such things.
Indi
trousersalive wrote:
And with regards to this, it depends on your definition of determinism. just because everything is caused by something else (which is obviously true), does not mean there has to be some greater reason for it all or a controling force. If you had a computer that could model every molecule in the universe you could easily predict with 100% accuracy what any person will do next due to all molecules following strict and predictable rules (with maybe the exception of quantum particles). Thus there would be no free will. Although we still perceive it as such because we will ever be able to model such things.

Determinism has only one definition. It has nothing to do with a controlling force. Determinism means that every effect in the universe must be caused by events within the universe acting in consistent ways. It does not imply that anything is actually guiding them (because, in fact, that would be the opposite of determinism).

PP's question is based on the idea that determinism itself is inconsistent, because if every event in the universe is caused by preceding events, then there must be an infinite chain of events. But then, looking at the entire chain - what caused the entire chain to exist? i believe she was channelling an argument from Clarke - a version of the cosmological argument for the existence of a god that he used - but you would have had to ask her to be sure. i'm not sure why she did it, because she actually veered off-topic with that question, but i imagine she just wanted to corner atheists as well as theists (because it is so easy to stump theists with the free will problem, and so hard to do the same atheists - an atheist has no intrinsic problems with saying there is no free will, because they are not slaves to a theology that requires one).
trousersalive
Indi wrote:
Determinism means that every effect in the universe must be caused by events within the universe acting in consistent ways. It does not imply that anything is actually guiding them (because, in fact, that would be the opposite of determinism).


Theological determinism?
Indi
trousersalive wrote:
Theological determinism?


The Philosopher Princess wrote:
... There seems to be a strong correlation between... being an atheist and believing in determinism.

...

If there’s no God and everything’s determined...


Does it really seem to you like she was talking about theological determinism, and not simply determinism?

Determinism has only one definition. Theological determinism is an entirely different beast. Just because two things have similar names does not mean that they are in any way related.
toasterintheoven
this question can't be answered unless you specify whom you're asking and in what reference, for instance, if we know for a fact that everything that has happened in the past up until the present has indeed happened, then such a question would be yes if you're asking whether or not determinism is real from some archimedean point/perspective, external to the known universe.
I think free will certainly exists when it comes to society, we impose on one another all the time, but it's very easy to see how causation plays a role in everything that we do and everything that occurs, there are exceptions, for instance, why do certain diseases, like psychophysiological ones, multiple sclerosis, namely, occur? There's too much to consider to prove determinism, but it certainly exists from a point outside of the system
jeffryjon
There's also the possibility that we have free will AND determinism. Accepted of course that for that to work, we would have to prove reincarnation which could be difficult.

At point zero, I could have free will, though whatever I choose to 'do/not do' has a ripple effect.

Try and imagine your life as a book (not a new concept I know). What if you start out with a bunch of blank pages and every action/inaction creates a set of consequences that have an effect on the lines on the pages that are yet to be written. You start out with free will - by the time you get to the pages at the end, they're almost totally filled in. Free will AND determinism - cause and the sequences that come with each cause (con-sequence).
Bikerman
jeffryjon wrote:
There's also the possibility that we have free will AND determinism. Accepted of course that for that to work, we would have to prove reincarnation which could be difficult.

At point zero, I could have free will, though whatever I choose to 'do/not do' has a ripple effect.

Try and imagine your life as a book (not a new concept I know). What if you start out with a bunch of blank pages and every action/inaction creates a set of consequences that have an effect on the lines on the pages that are yet to be written. You start out with free will - by the time you get to the pages at the end, they're almost totally filled in. Free will AND determinism - cause and the sequences that come with each cause (con-sequence).
This analogy is flawed. In the case of the book, free will is the ability to choose the next word at any point in the text. Once the text has been written then it is history and the question of free-will no longer arises.
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
There's also the possibility that we have free will AND determinism. Accepted of course that for that to work, we would have to prove reincarnation which could be difficult.

At point zero, I could have free will, though whatever I choose to 'do/not do' has a ripple effect.

Try and imagine your life as a book (not a new concept I know). What if you start out with a bunch of blank pages and every action/inaction creates a set of consequences that have an effect on the lines on the pages that are yet to be written. You start out with free will - by the time you get to the pages at the end, they're almost totally filled in. Free will AND determinism - cause and the sequences that come with each cause (con-sequence).
This analogy is flawed. In the case of the book, free will is the ability to choose the next word at any point in the text. Once the text has been written then it is history and the question of free-will no longer arises.


Not at all flawed. The concept displayed would mean that the pages which are written in advance or your arrival were written as a consequence of your free will at a previous point in time. Free will in the holistic sense, leading to determinism in future moments in time. What you sow, so shall you reap, karma, whatever you want to call it. Of course if we extend the debate beyond the individual, we could argue that free will isn't free at all because we're constrained by a set of rules that hold us to account for our actions - this would of course mean accepting the concept of reincarnation because we all know people to whom life seems unfair.
Bikerman
Err, if the exercise of freewill by entity E at time t leads to, as well as the understood ourcome, another deterministic outcome at time t+x, then unless E was aware that this was the case there is no free-will involved regarding the outcome at time t+x, since free-will requires knowledge of the available alternatives.
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
Err, if the exercise of freewill by entity E at time t leads to, as well as the understood ourcome, another deterministic outcome at time t+x, then unless E was aware that this was the case there is no free-will involved regarding the outcome at time t+x, since free-will requires knowledge of the available alternatives.


Yes that's right. Allowing another being to do exactly as he chooses is a very limited 'free will', which by definition means it's not totally free. I'd covered that already. In the wider sense, there is no free will, there is only a freedom within the confines of cause and consequence. It's a bit like you being free to roam across UK and go anywhere you choose, but not free to roam the world until the government sees fit to grant you a passport. Once you have the passport, you can visit any country that is prepared to accept you, though you wouldn't yet have an interplanetary passport - not yet - until the governing bodies of interplanetary travel allow you such (presuming they exist of course)
Bikerman
jeffryjon wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Err, if the exercise of freewill by entity E at time t leads to, as well as the understood ourcome, another deterministic outcome at time t+x, then unless E was aware that this was the case there is no free-will involved regarding the outcome at time t+x, since free-will requires knowledge of the available alternatives.


Yes that's right. Allowing another being to do exactly as he chooses is a very limited 'free will', which by definition means it's not totally free. I'd covered that already. In the wider sense, there is no free will, there is only a freedom within the confines of cause and consequence. It's a bit like you being free to roam across UK and go anywhere you choose, but not free to roam the world until the government sees fit to grant you a passport. Once you have the passport, you can visit any country that is prepared to accept you, though you wouldn't yet have an interplanetary passport - not yet - until the governing bodies of interplanetary travel allow you such (presuming they exist of course)

Yes, I see what you are proposing - If a choice made now means that a choice cannot be made in future, then at that future moment there is no choice and therefore no chance to exercise freewill. It isn't a matter of being constrained/restricted - it doesn't exist at all. That outcome is pre-determined - ie deterministic.
HJowever, we have a normal understanding of cause and effect but you seem to be proposing some further constraining principle - karma or whatever - that is outside that. Without knowing the mechanisms of this karma then it may well be that all future outcomes are contingent on a single decision or choice.
I am happy to argue that there is no such thing as free-will and I can make a scientific case rather than just a philosophical/conjectural case, but I don't see why we are invited to believe that there is such a thing as this 'karma' you speak of.
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Err, if the exercise of freewill by entity E at time t leads to, as well as the understood ourcome, another deterministic outcome at time t+x, then unless E was aware that this was the case there is no free-will involved regarding the outcome at time t+x, since free-will requires knowledge of the available alternatives.


Yes that's right. Allowing another being to do exactly as he chooses is a very limited 'free will', which by definition means it's not totally free. I'd covered that already. In the wider sense, there is no free will, there is only a freedom within the confines of cause and consequence. It's a bit like you being free to roam across UK and go anywhere you choose, but not free to roam the world until the government sees fit to grant you a passport. Once you have the passport, you can visit any country that is prepared to accept you, though you wouldn't yet have an interplanetary passport - not yet - until the governing bodies of interplanetary travel allow you such (presuming they exist of course)

Yes, I see what you are proposing - If a choice made now means that a choice cannot be made in future, then at that future moment there is no choice and therefore no chance to exercise freewill. It isn't a matter of being constrained/restricted - it doesn't exist at all. That outcome is pre-determined - ie deterministic.
HJowever, we have a normal understanding of cause and effect but you seem to be proposing some further constraining principle - karma or whatever - that is outside that. Without knowing the mechanisms of this karma then it may well be that all future outcomes are contingent on a single decision or choice.
I am happy to argue that there is no such thing as free-will and I can make a scientific case rather than just a philosophical/conjectural case, but I don't see why we are invited to believe that there is such a thing as this 'karma' you speak of.


Not sure what interpretation of the word karma you're referring to. I'm using it, as another way to describe 'as you sow, so shall you reap'. Every cause has a set of consequences, each of which when we examine independently of its 'creating cause', would seem to be causing something(s) else. We may call it chain reaction, though since most people think of a chain as a thread/linear type thing, we may be better to call it the ripple effect. Unfortunately both descriptions are inadequate ways to describe the concept. Let's look at another example that provides a very limited insight.

I made a post in the forum to which you responded. Based on what little I know of you, the fact that you responded was highly predictable - the content of your response was less predictable, though none the less, I'd written something in the post and that wrote a metaphorical sentence in my future. So many factors could have affected that response and many of which I would probably be unaware, though the factors did exactly as they should and caused me to receive a response from you in this case. It could be argued that I could have chosen to ignore the email sent to be notifying me of a response - in that sense a limited amount of freewill exists, though if we accept the website doing what it's supposed to (for this analogy at least) the email landing in my inbox was predetermined by my previous free-willed action.
Bikerman
This sounds like Compatabilism again...yes?

Here's an interesting rebuttal......
http://bikerman.co.uk/compatibilism.html
dapopeyoh
Well as for me I think I believe in free will because I don't think that some people are destined to go to hell while others to heaven. It is the choices that we make while we are alive that decides where we will go when we are dead. Bus there are some things around us that influences our decisions and also there are some things that cannot change too. But we get to make our own choices ourselves.
Bikerman
So, consider a hypothetical (but not ridiculous) case =- partly based on someone I know and partly fiction.

Young David is brought up by a drunken father and a mother who is too busy going nightclubbing to take much notice of him. When he starts school he is already well behind the other children and is very poorly socialised. Unfortunately he lives in a neighbourhood where the only school has been judged 'failing' by inspectors and teachers are so busy ticking boxes and preparing for re-inspection that very little attention is paid to David and he slips through all the safety nets supposed to catch him.
By the time he is 12 he rarely attends school. He can read a little but can barely write his name. He frequently stays away from home for days on end to avoid his drunken and violent father. His mother occasionally gives him a few pounds for food, and he spends a lot of time with a couple of older boys hanging round the local park, smoking pot, drinking strong lager and generally being a nuisance to everyone. He is already known by the local police for a number of minor offences - shoplifting, graffitti, stealing a bike etc. His only ambition is to get in with the local drug dealer so that he can earn some money the only way that seems possible, and before long he is running deals of cocaine and weed to a number of the dealer's customers.
This gives him enough money to keep himself supplied with weed and he begins to do some cocaine every now and again. Pretty soon he is snorting all the money he makes and has to sell more simply to pay the dealer back. He starts cutting the cocaine with talcum powder to make up the difference that he has taken himself.
The dealer soon learns about this and after arranging for David to be given a real kicking, he decides to use him as a mule for a delivery of cocaine and heroin from Amsterdam. David - now 15 - is almost inevitably arrested coming back through UK customs with condoms full of cocaine and heroin in his stomache.

He is put into care pending trial and is assigned to a secure children's home. He is a bit of a hero at the home because his story made the front pages of the local newspapers, and he decides he has to be a hard-nut to be 'cool' and keep the 'respect' of the other kids. He therefore acts hostile to the social workers and refuses to join the education sessions and other activities. His trial comes up and he is sentenced to 6 years in Juvenille custody which he serves in a young-offender secure institution. Whilst inside he learns how to burgle & hot-wire cars, and he becomes friends with a gang-leader from a nearby City.....

.....I won't continue but you get the picture....his life is one long round of prison, gangs, drugs, back to prison, round and round, until he is killed in a gun shoot out between two gangs at the age of 32.

So, my two questions are:

a) How much choice do you really think he had in life?
b) Is he going to hell?
jmi256
Bikerman wrote:
So, consider a hypothetical (but not ridiculous) case =- partly based on someone I know and partly fiction.

Young David is brought up by a drunken father and a mother who is too busy going nightclubbing to take much notice of him. When he starts school he is already well behind the other children and is very poorly socialised. Unfortunately he lives in a neighbourhood where the only school has been judged 'failing' by inspectors and teachers are so busy ticking boxes and preparing for re-inspection that very little attention is paid to David and he slips through all the safety nets supposed to catch him.
By the time he is 12 he rarely attends school. He can read a little but can barely write his name. He frequently stays away from home for days on end to avoid his drunken and violent father. His mother occasionally gives him a few pounds for food, and he spends a lot of time with a couple of older boys hanging round the local park, smoking pot, drinking strong lager and generally being a nuisance to everyone. He is already known by the local police for a number of minor offences - shoplifting, graffitti, stealing a bike etc. His only ambition is to get in with the local drug dealer so that he can earn some money the only way that seems possible, and before long he is running deals of cocaine and weed to a number of the dealer's customers.
This gives him enough money to keep himself supplied with weed and he begins to do some cocaine every now and again. Pretty soon he is snorting all the money he makes and has to sell more simply to pay the dealer back. He starts cutting the cocaine with talcum powder to make up the difference that he has taken himself.
The dealer soon learns about this and after arranging for David to be given a real kicking, he decides to use him as a mule for a delivery of cocaine and heroin from Amsterdam. David - now 15 - is almost inevitably arrested coming back through UK customs with condoms full of cocaine and heroin in his stomache.

He is put into care pending trial and is assigned to a secure children's home. He is a bit of a hero at the home because his story made the front pages of the local newspapers, and he decides he has to be a hard-nut to be 'cool' and keep the 'respect' of the other kids. He therefore acts hostile to the social workers and refuses to join the education sessions and other activities. His trial comes up and he is sentenced to 6 years in Juvenille custody which he serves in a young-offender secure institution. Whilst inside he learns how to burgle & hot-wire cars, and he becomes friends with a gang-leader from a nearby City.....

.....I won't continue but you get the picture....his life is one long round of prison, gangs, drugs, back to prison, round and round, until he is killed in a gun shoot out between two gangs at the age of 32.

So, my two questions are:

a) How much choice do you really think he had in life?
b) Is he going to hell?


a. Quite a lot. We are all dealt a raw deal, but many people make different choices and end up in different outcomes. I know quite a few people who had similar (but quite as extreme) circumstances growing up and were able to escape the cycle of poverty/drugs/incarceration. It’s tough, but not at all impossible. And it all starts with the choice to not be a statistic and instead determine your own course in life.

b. It depends on what your criteria is for going to hell/getting into heaven. From a Christian perspective, I would say he has a pretty good chance of getting into heaven: as good of a chance as anyone else. It’s like the old saying: Salvation exists for sinners, not for saints. Other religions may have different ideas, but I’d let those more familiar with those let their opinion known.
Bikerman
Hmm....a I said this is partly real and patly fiction. In the real case the lad was what we then called ESN (Educationally Sub Normal) - nowadays Special Needs - which meant in this case he had an IQ of 80-85ish.
I accept that such an upbringing does not necessarily predetermine the future but my own view is that it takes an exceptional person to overcome such a start, whereas it only takes an average person to progress much better from a better start. I suppose I'm saying that David could be a much better person than a majority of middle-class kids/young adults who never get into any serious trouble...
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
Hmm....a I said this is partly real and patly fiction. In the real case the lad was what we then called ESN (Educationally Sub Normal) - nowadays Special Needs - which meant in this case he had an IQ of 80-85ish.
I accept that such an upbringing does not necessarily predetermine the future but my own view is that it takes an exceptional person to overcome such a start, whereas it only takes an average person to progress much better from a better start. I suppose I'm saying that David could be a much better person than a majority of middle-class kids/young adults who never get into any serious trouble...


On a worldly physical level the kid could be doomed - destined to live his physical life in a hell of sorts. Imagine if the lad's caught in some kind of psychological 'island' in which he's unable to find a boat to another existence. We could say that these are his choices - he's made his bed and he has to lie in it - alternatively someone could intervene and present a new set of opportunities, but some would regard that as interfering with his rights as an individual - even if the options were presented by a good-hearted soul, rather than a religion, there would be those who'd say that the damn do-gooders are interfering again. My approach would be to show the lad a 'door' which leads to somewhere other than where he's heading - if he was willing to listen (not necessarily take on board what I'm sharing), I'd describe the life that's available through the door - I'd even open it for him and probably make sure the door was somewhat left 'in his face' for a brief period to allow him the opportunity to walk through it. Ultimately the 'choice' is still made by either his own free will or his 'programmed perception' and to that extent the question remains unanswered.
Bikerman
The question was to what extent the person in the example had choices, not what you would do.
Choices are only choices if they can be made. Without knowledge that they can then there is no choice. Likewise where the 'choice' is constrained then it is not free. If the lad in the example wishes to eat and survive then his choices, as he perceives and makes them, are rational.
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
Choices are only choices if they can be made. Without knowledge that they can then there is no choice. Likewise where the 'choice' is constrained then it is not free. If the lad in the example wishes to eat and survive then his choices, as he perceives and makes them, are rational.


Totally agree.

Thing is without cause - and consequences of that cause - the riddle may be even harder to solve. If a cause does not create a con-sequence then one thing never affects anything else - we'd live in a universe made of zillions of totally independent occurrences. I hope we can both agree this is not a safe assumption of fact. If we can, then it may be asked whether there are degrees of free will, only one of which can be considered absolute and the rest being confined by the limitations of the originating free will.
Bikerman
This is discussed in depth in the article I cited above.
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
This is discussed in depth in the article I cited above.


Yes - a very good read.
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