Why there is no free will

tross0924
tross0924 Posts: 913 Member
If you believe in God there can not be free will.

Let's take something that seems random like the weather. I can't tell you exactly where the next tornado is going to strike. I can't tell you the exact path it will travel or the exact damage it will cause.

But that is because I'm limited in my knowledge. If I knew everything there was to possibly know, the temperature, moisture content, speed, direction, electrical charge, and a dozen other things about every molecule of air, I could. With enough computing power and knowledge the exact location of the tornado's path could be calculated day or even years before hand.

In the same vein, if enough is known about a person their actions can be predicted days weeks or years beforehand. The variables are infinitely more complex (everything from how much sleep you got, what your dreams were during that sleep, and is being called fat in 3rd grade going to be remembered at that exact instant it becomes relevant), but an omniscient God would know all these things and be able to predict your behavior. And since it's not possible for God to be incorrect, it's not possible for you to make any other choice.

If you walk past a piece of chocolate cake, God knows whether you will stop and eat a slice, steal some of the icing, or walk on by. You think you have a choice in the matter, but in reality you can make no other choice contrary to what God has predicted. Therefore your choice is just an illusion in a completely predestined world.

Replies

  • soldier4242
    soldier4242 Posts: 1,368 Member
    In a recent discussion I had in the thread "why doesn't god like amputees" I asserted that free will cannot exist in the same reality as omniscience. Treetop pointed out that the omniscience could know the script without being the author of the script. Basically the omniscience would know all the choices that you are going to make but you are still the one making the choices.

    I asserted that if that is the case then the freewill that we would have would be irrelevant because the omniscience would know our entire story from beginning to end prior to our spawning in to existence.

    Potatocar actually has some pretty potent arguments asserting that free will cannot exist even in the absence of omniscience.

    I freely admit that the only reason I am still looking for freewill is because of the ramifications. If we don't have freewill then we don't have any agency. Without freewill I do not see the point in anything we are doing.
  • Laces_0ut
    Laces_0ut Posts: 3,750 Member
    i agree but ill play devil's advocate.

    if i was God and wanted to create a universe filled with free will i could create it with a bunch of random generators built in. and since im all powerful i could take off line my ability to see all possible futures.

    then i set the Universe in motion and watch the events unfold and if i feel so inclined make adjustments along the way.
  • Lone_Wolf70
    Lone_Wolf70 Posts: 2,820 Member
    The argument would be you are thinking about this on a human plane, when the way God designed it, it is impossible for us to understand. Yes, I know that can be construed as a cop out, but faith is based on making that leap.
  • Laces_0ut
    Laces_0ut Posts: 3,750 Member
    it would be funny if all of our reality is just a computer simulation or if it was created by some scientist in a lab.
  • soldier4242
    soldier4242 Posts: 1,368 Member
    The human plane is the only one we can know exists. If we are assuming that an omnipotent god exists and that god created us then we have no choice but to believe that this being wanted us to draw all of our conclusions using only what we have available to us in the hear and now.

    If we are to make any truth statements regarding this god then we have to conclude that this god can be understood by us. If it is completely impossible for use to understand this being then we are by design left with no reason to draw any conclusions about this being whatsoever. Not even the bible would serve as an acceptable means out of it because if the being is not able to be understood why are we to concluded that those bronze age middle easterners got it right?

    Also to address Laces_0ut I don't think it would work for go to switch off his omniscience. Because the fact that he isn't looking at the next page is irrelevant. That next page would be written in the mind of god and he could look at it at any time. The freewill of humanity would be just as irrelevant because we would be incapable of making any choices that fall outside of that.
  • Laces_0ut
    Laces_0ut Posts: 3,750 Member
    Also to address Laces_0ut I don't think it would work for go to switch off his omniscience. Because the fact that he isn't looking at the next page is irrelevant. That next page would be written in the mind of god and he could look at it at any time. The freewill of humanity would be just as irrelevant because we would be incapable of making any choices that fall outside of that.

    thats why i put the random generator part in there. he actually doesnt know what is next. for example he wouldnt know if a comet would wipe out most life on Earth giving primates a chance.

    in a way this like asking the age old question...can God microwave a burrito so hot that he cant eat it.
  • treetop57
    treetop57 Posts: 1,599 Member
    But that is because I'm limited in my knowledge. If I knew everything there was to possibly know, the temperature, moisture content, speed, direction, electrical charge, and a dozen other things about every molecule of air, I could. With enough computing power and knowledge the exact location of the tornado's path could be calculated day or even years before hand.

    That was believed to be true about 100 years ago. Since then, quantum physics has found that complete knowledge of the present state of a system of atoms is not just unknown, it is fundamentally unknowable. That's the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.
  • soldier4242
    soldier4242 Posts: 1,368 Member
    Also to address Laces_0ut I don't think it would work for go to switch off his omniscience. Because the fact that he isn't looking at the next page is irrelevant. That next page would be written in the mind of god and he could look at it at any time. The freewill of humanity would be just as irrelevant because we would be incapable of making any choices that fall outside of that.

    thats why i put the random generator part in there. he actually doesnt know what is next. for example he wouldnt know if a comet would wipe out most life on Earth giving primates a chance.

    in a way this like asking the age old question...can God microwave a burrito so hot that he cant eat it.

    The question can god create a rock too heavy for himself to lift is supposed to demonstrated that omnipotence is logically impossible. Basically if we can do things that God does not expect we can surprise God. God will think we are going to do one thing and we instead do another. This definition allows for free will but it does not allow for God to be omnipotent or omniscient.
  • Espressocycle
    Espressocycle Posts: 2,245 Member
    Who says (the Christian) God is omniscient anyway? As far as I can tell from my limited knowledge of the Bible, God is powerful, but not ALL powerful. He gets mad when humans don't act like he thinks they should, is jealous when they worship other gods... he's really more like a parent -he created us, but he can't control us. Thus, he must use rewards and punishment to make us stop wasting our lives.
  • treetop57
    treetop57 Posts: 1,599 Member
    All orthodox Christian denominations assert that God is all-powerful. Witness the Nicene Creed:

    "We believe in one God the Father Almighty . . ."

    "Credimus in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem . . ."

    "Pistenomen eis ena Theon Patera pantokratora . . . "
    The most common translation of Pantocrator is "Almighty" or "All-powerful". In this understanding, Pantokrator is a compound word formed from the Greek words πᾶν, pan (gen. pantos), i.e. "all" and κράτος, kratos, i.e. "strength", "might", "power". This is often understood in terms of potential power; i.e., ability to do anything, omnipotence. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_Pantocrator

    The Creed doesn't say anything about omniscience in particular, but (to me) "knowing" is a subset of all powers, so an all powerful being would necessarily be all knowing.
  • soldier4242
    soldier4242 Posts: 1,368 Member
    Who says (the Christian) God is omniscient anyway? As far as I can tell from my limited knowledge of the Bible, God is powerful, but not ALL powerful. He gets mad when humans don't act like he thinks they should, is jealous when they worship other gods... he's really more like a parent -he created us, but he can't control us. Thus, he must use rewards and punishment to make us stop wasting our lives.

    That is a very forgiving metaphor. If we are referring to the god of the christian bible I think it would be more like a mob boss than a parent.
  • Gilbrod
    Gilbrod Posts: 1,216 Member
    Most religions have that free will argument within themselves. I could care less. Whether my life is scripted or it is what I make it, it won't stop me from living the way I want. If I don't have the power to change it, what does it matter anyway? Death is an absolute. What happens afterwards, we won't know until we get there.....
  • Mr_Cape219
    Mr_Cape219 Posts: 1,373 Member
    it would be funny if all of our reality is just a computer simulation or if it was created by some scientist in a lab.

    According to Douglas Adams, our life, and the lives on Earth is created by two little mice who are trying to answer the universal question of "why?".

    Edit: Sorry I didn't have anything to contribute, but these arguments are awesome. Keep going.
  • maab_connor
    maab_connor Posts: 3,957 Member
    *disclaimer, i do not believe in an omnicient being*


    it's a question of quantum physics. the ONLY way that omnicience and free will could co-exist would be in a multiverse. every choice you take is yours to take - but at the same time, every choice is taken. therefore, you have the choice of what lays in front of you. your consciousness will branch into a new universe w/in the multiverse - but you have the life and the mind and the consciousness of the free choices you have taken. while at the same time an omnicient being knows all choices.

    which is really interesting, b/c i have argued that this same set of circumstances supports "personal god theory" wherein you create the universe as well as the mulitverse yourself as you live and make choices. and it's also very parallel to quantum suicide / quantum immortality.
  • Mr_Cape219
    Mr_Cape219 Posts: 1,373 Member
    *disclaimer, i do not believe in an omnicient being*


    it's a question of quantum physics. the ONLY way that omnicience and free will could co-exist would be in a multiverse. every choice you take is yours to take - but at the same time, every choice is taken. therefore, you have the choice of what lays in front of you. your consciousness will branch into a new universe w/in the multiverse - but you have the life and the mind and the consciousness of the free choices you have taken. while at the same time an omnicient being knows all choices.

    which is really interesting, b/c i have argued that this same set of circumstances supports "personal god theory" wherein you create the universe as well as the mulitverse yourself as you live and make choices. and it's also very parallel to quantum suicide / quantum immortality.

    I've always found multiverse theory to be fascinating (Bioshock Infinite gave my mind a raging hardon), but I always wondered that if it went around full circle? For example, Cape from an alternate world would likely be completely different from myself. But can Cape from the alternate universe come to the same point I am some time in the future?
  • maab_connor
    maab_connor Posts: 3,957 Member
    *disclaimer, i do not believe in an omnicient being*


    it's a question of quantum physics. the ONLY way that omnicience and free will could co-exist would be in a multiverse. every choice you take is yours to take - but at the same time, every choice is taken. therefore, you have the choice of what lays in front of you. your consciousness will branch into a new universe w/in the multiverse - but you have the life and the mind and the consciousness of the free choices you have taken. while at the same time an omnicient being knows all choices.

    which is really interesting, b/c i have argued that this same set of circumstances supports "personal god theory" wherein you create the universe as well as the mulitverse yourself as you live and make choices. and it's also very parallel to quantum suicide / quantum immortality.

    I've always found multiverse theory to be fascinating (Bioshock Infinite gave my mind a raging hardon), but I always wondered that if it went around full circle? For example, Cape from an alternate world would likely be completely different from myself. But can Cape from the alternate universe come to the same point I am some time in the future?

    interesting question!

    my knee-jerk reaction would be to say no. b/c the more choices the two of you make, the more the world in which you exist changes. so even if you, as a person, were to come to a crossroads wherein you and Cape.2 were faced w/ the same choice and took the same road - you could not merge into a single being again b/c the wolrlds would not be able to merge the same way.

    but maybe that's deja vu? you and that other you making the same choice? a quick flash of sameness between a once-single consciousness in two universes?

    however, personal god theory would lend itself to that being POSSIBLE even though not PROBABLE b/c the entire universe is a reflection of you as a single consciousness.

    BUT - since you and your double would have seperate paths to get to that point, could the two consciousnesses possibly merge w/o causing maddness from the memories of two lives? we are our memories. so i'm leaning more towards the initial knee-jerk reaction in that.
  • Mr_Cape219
    Mr_Cape219 Posts: 1,373 Member
    *disclaimer, i do not believe in an omnicient being*


    it's a question of quantum physics. the ONLY way that omnicience and free will could co-exist would be in a multiverse. every choice you take is yours to take - but at the same time, every choice is taken. therefore, you have the choice of what lays in front of you. your consciousness will branch into a new universe w/in the multiverse - but you have the life and the mind and the consciousness of the free choices you have taken. while at the same time an omnicient being knows all choices.

    which is really interesting, b/c i have argued that this same set of circumstances supports "personal god theory" wherein you create the universe as well as the mulitverse yourself as you live and make choices. and it's also very parallel to quantum suicide / quantum immortality.

    I've always found multiverse theory to be fascinating (Bioshock Infinite gave my mind a raging hardon), but I always wondered that if it went around full circle? For example, Cape from an alternate world would likely be completely different from myself. But can Cape from the alternate universe come to the same point I am some time in the future?

    interesting question!

    my knee-jerk reaction would be to say no. b/c the more choices the two of you make, the more the world in which you exist changes. so even if you, as a person, were to come to a crossroads wherein you and Cape.2 were faced w/ the same choice and took the same road - you could not merge into a single being again b/c the wolrlds would not be able to merge the same way.

    but maybe that's deja vu? you and that other you making the same choice? a quick flash of sameness between a once-single consciousness in two universes?

    however, personal god theory would lend itself to that being POSSIBLE even though not PROBABLE b/c the entire universe is a reflection of you as a single consciousness.

    BUT - since you and your double would have seperate paths to get to that point, could the two consciousnesses possibly merge w/o causing maddness from the memories of two lives? we are our memories. so i'm leaning more towards the initial knee-jerk reaction in that.

    Hm, that does make sense. The question came from the idea in Bioshock Infinite where the protagonist had killed a enemy, entered an alternate universe, and the same enemy (now alive) was having a mental and physical break down with a bloody nose because at that same point in time, they remembered by dead and the alternate universe them felt that echo. If you listened to them rambling they kept saying things like "Two...memories... one is mine... who is this?" and "I saw myself die.. it still feel dead" and such. I know its a game, but it got me thinking lol.
  • FearAnLoathingJ
    FearAnLoathingJ Posts: 337 Member
    The part that gets me is do we have free will, or does god have a plan? It seems that those that believe are quick to point out gods will,or mans free will in the same sentence . If god has a plan why pray? If man has free will why pray? Makes no sense
  • lour441
    lour441 Posts: 543 Member
    God says you have free will so if you if believe in God then you have free will.
  • Brunner26_2
    Brunner26_2 Posts: 1,152
    The things that make me question our degree of free will are all the things going on in our brain that we're now aware of that influence our behavior. I'm not talking about consciously decided which shoes to wear today. Stuff like our instincts, reflexes, hormonal responses, how we respond to visual and auditory cues, etc.