Free Will

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Free Will

Postby wizzard » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:40 pm

Not sure exactly which section this belongs in, but it relates somewhat to religion, so I figure I'll stick it here.

Warning: This is basically going to be a long ramble, just throwing some thoughts out there and seeing what kind of responses I get.

So, recently my friend has gotten me thinking about the concept of free will. I was extremely religious until I went away for college, at which point I began questioning the beliefs I was brought up with. I'm still trying to figure it out. However, I have come to the following conclusions:

1. As far as science can tell, everything in the physical world follows laws, such that every action cause theoretically predictable reactions. An atom does not "decide" to bond with another atom, it's just the result of immutable laws.

2. Anything composed entirely of parts that follow predictable, immutable rules will also follow predictable immutable rules.

3. Taking 1 and 2 together, if we assume that people are entirely physical, then people simply follow these rules, and therefore have no free will.

4. If, therefore, we conclude that people have free will, we must conclude that there is something non-physical, which can nevertheless influence the physical world.

This non-physical, interactive "thing" is what I think most religions would call the soul. If we accept that this "thing" exists, what kind of thing is it? Why and How do people (or animals, depending on who you talk to) have this and not, say, rocks and trees? And if this non-physical, yet physically influential, thing exists, suddenly the idea of things like mind over matter seem a lot less crazy.

This is just what's been bouncing around in my head, and my logic could be completely whacked, please tell me if it it. However, for the life of me, I cannot see how one can believe in free will without believing in this "thing".
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Postby locke » Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:15 pm

This is a perspective I'd never considered, and one that is pretty fascinating to ponder.

I've sort of been idly looking at complexity, specifically complex systems, with multiple non-consistent variables interacting simultaneously it's sort of fascinating how many human creations (such as the economy) are more organic and living than they are physical, following immutable laws. In some ways our creative impulse is one of the most important expressions of our free will. It's interesting how anything we create that's physical, like paint, sculpture, buildings etc has to follow physical laws. But the things we create that are ideas or imaginary (existing in the ether so to speak) such as money, stories, government don't have to follow physical laws, but we impose restrictions and laws on them anyway.

Of course, there's the other argument that even our irrational behaviors are absolutely following indisputable physical laws and we're simply too ignorant or willfully blind to understand that. That we lack the perspective to understand the rationality underpinning irrationality.

dunno if that's related, but your post sort of sparked those ideas off. :-P
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Re: Free Will

Postby jotabe » Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:07 am

1. As far as science can tell, everything in the physical world follows laws, such that every action cause theoretically predictable reactions. An atom does not "decide" to bond with another atom, it's just the result of immutable laws.
It doesn't quite work that way. The probability of the different outcomes can be perfectly known, but we cannot know, for a single case, wether a certain event will happen or not. Put two hydrogen atoms together: we know the probability of a bond to happen, but we do not know if this particular pair of atoms will bond in this moment, because the bonded and the non-bonded states coexist.

This indetermination vanishes at macroscopic levels... when you consider short times after the initial moment; they are complex systems, though, and the microscopic indetermination will pile up for long-time predictions.

So, microscopic interactions are not deterministic, and macroscopic systems which depend on microscopic interactions (for example, our brains), are not deterministic either.
4. If, therefore, we conclude that people have free will, we must conclude that there is something non-physical, which can nevertheless influence the physical world.
If "something", no matter how bizarre their properties are, influences the physical world, then it's because this influence is measurable (non-measurable influences do not exist). As you are talking about an ongoing process and not a singularity (a miracle), this measurable influence will determine its properties through experimentation, becoming a physical entity for science.

Still, why should we try to find something "exotic" to explain the soul? Brain is a hugely complex system: densy, and heavily auto-interacting (10^11 neurones, and 10^14 conections between neurones). From the simplest of complex systems in nature, peculiar and ordered behaviours arise. I don't think that is too far-fetched to think that from our brain, things like will and self-awareness can spring naturally.
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Re: Free Will

Postby starfox » Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:09 pm

4. If, therefore, we conclude that people have free will, we must conclude that there is something non-physical, which can nevertheless influence the physical world.
Ah, but how do you conclude people have free will? Whether you actually had free will or were "following the script," would it not appear the same to you?

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Re: Free Will

Postby wizzard » Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:22 am

4. If, therefore, we conclude that people have free will, we must conclude that there is something non-physical, which can nevertheless influence the physical world.
Ah, but how do you conclude people have free will? Whether you actually had free will or were "following the script," would it not appear the same to you?
That's part of the problem, I'm still not sure where I stand on the matter... although if I conclude that I don't have free will, then that's obviously the only conclusion I can come to, because there is no free will. :P

The way I see it right now is sorta Pascal's Wager-ish: I will act as if there's free will, cause if there is, I'm right, and if there's not, I have no choice in the matter anyways.

The original post here was not meant to be "here's the way things are" but rather "here's some interesting thoughts that popped into my head while considering this problem."

Jota: Like I said, my logic could be way off, and I don't really have a solid grasp of microscopic physics. Is it really that there is no way to predict whether two molecules will bond, or just that modern science is incapable of doing so?

I didn't really start this train of thought as "hey, let's look for a scientific explanation for the soul". It unfolded in my head in pretty much the same order I presented it in my post. It was until after I started thinking about what "causes" free will that I connected it with the concept of a soul.
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Postby wigginboy » Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:23 pm

My take on free will is that it is the original sin. In the garden of Eden, God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. The serpent told them that if they ate from the tree they would be like God's. So right there, they had the choice to do good or do evil and they chose evil. thus, we had the choice to make our own decisions to begin with. this is if you follow the Judeo-Christian ideologies. So now, anything that we do is of our own volition and whether we choose to do good or do evil is our will. When we do evil, or sin, that is the original sin at work. sorry if this seems choppy. my keyboard isnt working properly and my brain isn't functioning at the right speed.

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Re: Free Will

Postby jotabe » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:00 am

Jota: Like I said, my logic could be way off, and I don't really have a solid grasp of microscopic physics. Is it really that there is no way to predict whether two molecules will bond, or just that modern science is incapable of doing so?
The current conception in Quantum Mechanics is that the process is intrinsically random. That there isn't any "hidden" internal process that will trigger the bonding or not, depending on some "hidden variables" we simply don't know (as Einstein hypothesized). Experimental evidence also strongly points to the inexistence of those hidden variables.

The fact is that our thought processes aren't well suited to confront the microscopic reality. The intuitive physics we have in our mind is strongly suited for a macroscopic world, where bodies have definite positions and momenta (that is, they have definite trajectories). Truth is that particles do not possess those properties, you can only define them as averages over time.

(Pet peeve of mine is that this is strong evidence for our brain being product of evolution: our mind is ready to think about positions and momenta because we observe them in our everyday life, and having an intuitive grasp of those concepts definitely helps about survival... for example, think about a president being able to dodge an incoming shoe because his brain has been able to intuitively calculate a trajectory. On the other hand, the true properties of particles are quite puzzling for our intuition; we simply can't handle that kind of concept, same as we can't handle particles not being neither particles nor waves: the true nature of physics isn't apparent to us, and we have to deal with it by sticking to the maths.
Were our mind, our brain, specially created by God, we certainly would have the ability to intuitively process the physical nature of particles same we can process the physical nature or macroscopical bodies.)
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Postby Taalcon » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:52 am

My take on free will is that it is the original sin. In the garden of Eden, God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. The serpent told them that if they ate from the tree they would be like God's. So right there, they had the choice to do good or do evil and they chose evil. thus, we had the choice to make our own decisions to begin with.
I strongly disagree that Free Will (or 'Agency') is a sin in any way shape or form. Free Will allows (and allowed) not only Disobedience, but Obedience. Free Will was and is granted whenever an oppositional option was or is presented.

I personally believe there are two types of Free Will/Agency, 'Standard Agency', which is the ability to choose, and 'Moral Agency', which is the ability to distinguish and choose between Good and Evil. One can have Standard Agency (little children) without having Moral Agency.

Free Will allows us to make sinful choices, it's true, but without it, there couldn't be any loving obedience, either. I strongly believe that Free Will (both aspects of it) is a necessary part of fulfilling Our Purpose, and obtaining a fulness of Joy.

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Postby starlooker » Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:23 pm

OT:

Weird. I saw the title of this thread and I suddenly imagined someone named Will who ought to be freed. Like, "Free Will." "Why? Is he locked up?" That was literally the first thought.
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There's another life out there...

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Postby locke » Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:45 pm

and that tempts me to make a dobie "Free Wil" thread. :D it's been a while since we've had dobies around.
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby wizzard » Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:29 pm

My take on free will is that it is the original sin. In the garden of Eden, God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. The serpent told them that if they ate from the tree they would be like God's. So right there, they had the choice to do good or do evil and they chose evil. thus, we had the choice to make our own decisions to begin with. this is if you follow the Judeo-Christian ideologies. So now, anything that we do is of our own volition and whether we choose to do good or do evil is our will. When we do evil, or sin, that is the original sin at work. sorry if this seems choppy. my keyboard isnt working properly and my brain isn't functioning at the right speed.
I agree with Taal on this one. Theologically speaking, free will is not a sin. In fact, neither good nor sin can exist without free will. What makes a sin a sin is that we have knowingly chosen to do something evil, and what makes a good action* good, is that we have chosen to do something good.

(Pet peeve of mine is that this is strong evidence for our brain being product of evolution: our mind is ready to think about positions and momenta because we observe them in our everyday life, and having an intuitive grasp of those concepts definitely helps about survival... for example, think about a president being able to dodge an incoming shoe because his brain has been able to intuitively calculate a trajectory. On the other hand, the true properties of particles are quite puzzling for our intuition; we simply can't handle that kind of concept, same as we can't handle particles not being neither particles nor waves: the true nature of physics isn't apparent to us, and we have to deal with it by sticking to the maths.
Were our mind, our brain, specially created by God, we certainly would have the ability to intuitively process the physical nature of particles same we can process the physical nature or macroscopical bodies.)
That's an interesting point, I hadn't thought of that before.






*Why do we have the word "sin" meaning "to do something evil", but no word that means "to do something good"? Silly English.
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Postby wigginboy » Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:53 pm

Sorry i did not make myself clearer. As I said, my mind has been elsewhere for a while. I did not mean (although I said) that original sin is free will. What I meant was that the ability to use free will to do what we want in life can be used the wrong way. The way Adam and Eve used free will to serve their own purposes in the Garden constituted original sin. Therefore, we are haunted by that first instance of using free will for naught, so to me the use of free will to do evil is a sin. Free will itself is NOT a sin, because God gave us the ability to choose between good and evil. It is the choice that is or is not a sin. Sorry for the mix-up. I need more sleep. Going thru a lot in my life right now and havent been sleeping much, thus the lack of thinking.

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Postby Azarel » Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:19 pm

Etymology

The word sin derives from Old English synn, recorded in use as early as the 9th century.[1] The same root appears in several other Germanic languages, e.g. Old Norse synd, or German Sünde. There is presumably a Germanic root *sun(d)jō (literally "it is true").[2]

But in the biblical Hebrew, the generic word for sin is het. It means to error, to miss the mark. It does not mean to do evil.[3]

The Greek word hamartia (ἁμαρτία) is usually translated as sin in the New Testament. In Classical Greek, it means "to miss the mark" or "to miss the target" which was also used in Old English archery.[4] In Koine Greek, which was spoken in the time of the New Testament, however, this translation is not adequate.[5]
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Postby wigginboy » Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:33 pm

but in modern speech the word has been taken to mean 'to do evil'. if you ask anyone on the street what 'sin' means, they will likely tell you it means to do wrong or 'evil'. even the word evil can be taken in different ways. it might just mean wrongdoing, or it might have a more sinister meaning. i could get into a lot of different words and their original meanings, but what is being discussed is the modern interpretation of a very old word. it might not mean the same thing when you parse it like that, but in this context, 'sin' means to do wrong.

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Postby jotabe » Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:48 am

Free will itself is NOT a sin, because God gave us the ability to choose between good and evil. It is the choice that is or is not a sin.
Gave us free will to chose, but not knowledge of good and evil. So, disobeying god was an impossibly evil action. Humanity only had 2 choices, without the guide of knowing what was good and bad: we either disobeyed, exercising our free will, or we simply neglected that gift, that is why we were made to his image and likeness.

Choice wasn't between good and evil, but between being happy but ignorant, and suffering, but being truly free, being truly human. Because freedom can't happen without the possibility of suffering.

I think that god expected us to disobey, to prove we were worthy and autonomous creations. It wasn't our "fall", but our "ascent".
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Re: Free Will

Postby elfprince13 » Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:37 pm

Not sure exactly which section this belongs in, but it relates somewhat to religion, so I figure I'll stick it here.

Warning: This is basically going to be a long ramble, just throwing some thoughts out there and seeing what kind of responses I get.

So, recently my friend has gotten me thinking about the concept of free will. I was extremely religious until I went away for college, at which point I began questioning the beliefs I was brought up with. I'm still trying to figure it out. However, I have come to the following conclusions:

1. As far as science can tell, everything in the physical world follows laws, such that every action cause theoretically predictable reactions. An atom does not "decide" to bond with another atom, it's just the result of immutable laws.
you studied chemistry or biology and not physics, am I right? We live in a universe, which at the most fundamental level is not governed by causal relationships.
2. Anything composed entirely of parts that follow predictable, immutable rules will also follow predictable immutable rules.

3. Taking 1 and 2 together, if we assume that people are entirely physical, then people simply follow these rules, and therefore have no free will.
This depends on if you subscribe to the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics, or Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation. Under the Copenhagen interpretation particle behavior is essentially probabilistic, meaning we have no one set of rules you can use to predict what a particle will do, and so it wouldn't be too hard to argue that even on a purely physical level free will is still possible, or that its on this level that someone's soul exhibits control over their will. If however you accept the Many Worlds interpretation (which is particularly popular with sci-fi writers), we can't possibly have free will, because every possible permutation of the universe is being played out in some universe, and even if the events we experience seem to be random, we're just the result of a giant computer bruteforcing possible answers to the worlds largest combo-lock.
This non-physical, interactive "thing" is what I think most religions would call the soul. If we accept that this "thing" exists, what kind of thing is it? Why and How do people (or animals, depending on who you talk to) have this and not, say, rocks and trees? And if this non-physical, yet physically influential, thing exists, suddenly the idea of things like mind over matter seem a lot less crazy.
As a Christian I believe that humans specially have a soul, because God created us in His image, part of which is being fundamentally creative in nature (creativity can not exist without free will); as well as to love Him and be in a relationship with Him, and it would be impossible for us to love Him if we can't choose to do so. Read the story of Aulë and the creation of the dwarves (its in the Silmarillion).


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Postby Azarel » Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:31 am

but in modern speech the word has been taken to mean 'to do evil'. if you ask anyone on the street what 'sin' means, they will likely tell you it means to do wrong or 'evil'. even the word evil can be taken in different ways. it might just mean wrongdoing, or it might have a more sinister meaning. i could get into a lot of different words and their original meanings, but what is being discussed is the modern interpretation of a very old word. it might not mean the same thing when you parse it like that, but in this context, 'sin' means to do wrong.
Language develops, I understand that. But think about the original word for a moment...

...to miss the target...

If the world decided to universally agree on that meaning once more, what would that mean? Well it might mean that people begin to ask just exactly WHAT the target IS...

In doing that, they might decide to AIM for that target and that would an exercise of freewill that would be positive. It might not always result in positive results ALL the time, but it would be a start.

I give you an example now of modern day definitions of old words that is simply criminal to the language...

Person 1: "Did you sleep with him?"
Person 2: "Yes, what are you getting at?"

What opinion are you forming about person 1? Sleep is the natural state of bodily rest BUT in today's society we take the question "Did you sleep with him?" to mean "Did you spend the night having sex with him?".

Which is ridiculous because it IS actually possible to be in the same bed with someone, fall asleep and not engage in any sexual activity.

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Postby locke » Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:03 am


Person 1: "Did you sleep with him?"
Person 2: "Yes, but I didn't sleep with him"
fixed that for you. ;) as errm I've heard and had that conversation before.

Actually you're making a great point and this is a fascinating conversation, carry on. :D
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby wizzard » Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:27 am

Language develops, I understand that. But think about the original word for a moment...

...to miss the target...

If the world decided to universally agree on that meaning once more, what would that mean? Well it might mean that people begin to ask just exactly WHAT the target IS...

In doing that, they might decide to AIM for that target and that would an exercise of freewill that would be positive. It might not always result in positive results ALL the time, but it would be a start.
The problem with this, that I see, is that if you talk about "sin" as "missing the target", then you have just two options, missing the target, or hitting it. There's no neutral ground. The modern definition, however, allows for more shades of meaning. Just because you aren't sinning doesn't mean you are doing something good, and vice versa. I think this is a valuable distinction to have.
I give you an example now of modern day definitions of old words that is simply criminal to the language...

Person 1: "Did you sleep with him?"
Person 2: "Yes, what are you getting at?"

What opinion are you forming about person 1? Sleep is the natural state of bodily rest BUT in today's society we take the question "Did you sleep with him?" to mean "Did you spend the night having sex with him?".

Which is ridiculous because it IS actually possible to be in the same bed with someone, fall asleep and not engage in any sexual activity.
There are countless examples in every language of just this sort of thing. It's called euphemism. It's a way of maintaining a level of dignity or politeness, and in most cases, this one included, there is nothing wrong with it. Any native speaker of English knows exactly what you mean when you say "Did you sleep with him?". There's no real ambiguity or confusion.
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Postby Taalcon » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:20 am


The problem with this, that I see, is that if you talk about "sin" as "missing the target", then you have just two options, missing the target, or hitting it. There's no neutral ground. The modern definition, however, allows for more shades of meaning. Just because you aren't sinning doesn't mean you are doing something good, and vice versa. I think this is a valuable distinction to have.
I believe very much that there are two options. You are either acting in a manner that will lead you to the 'target' (IE, Eternal Life), or you are walking away from the target.

Many seemingly mundane things, like going to work and working honestly, are a way of 'walking towards the target'. Spending time with family, and expressing love towards them is 'walking towards the target'. Some people make greater strides towards than others, and ther take greater strides backwards.

And yes, I believe if you're not actively doing something good when you could be, you are missing the mark. There's things called 'sins of omission'. I tend to be far more guilty of those these days than sins of commission. ;)

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Postby lyons24000 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:53 am

And yes, I believe if you're not actively doing something good when you could be, you are missing the mark. There's things called 'sins of omission'. I tend to be far more guilty of those these days than sins of commission. ;)
That is an interesting point, one of which I haven't given thought but I can see your point. If you take this very literally...
"Really, then, as long as we have time favorable for it, let us work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to us in the faith.-Galatians 6:10
then I could see that point. However, if you have free time after an entire week of work, spiritual activities, familial responsibilities, (which would all be a part of your worship if you are doing them honestly), God does not always expect us to fill our lives doing something good towards others, if that is indeed what you are talking about. We can have some type of R&R.

Really, what it does is raise the question of what you mean by "doing good". Do you mean the absence of bad? Of course, this is a prime of example of how I completely over-analyze stuff!
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Postby Taalcon » Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:00 am

There's a great talk given in a General Conference a year or so ago that discussed this very point, the difference between Good, Better, and Best in a gospel context. It's a good general discussion, and terminology use aside, I think there is very little in there that would make the topic discussed just LDS specific.

Keeping oneself sane through personal recreation is a very incredibly important thing that, when prioritized and proportioned correctly, is 'doing good'.

In addition: "...See that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order." (Mosiah 4: 27)

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Postby Lusitania_Fleet » Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:56 am

Thats a really good way of thinkign about it. I have never even considered that logical thought process. The laws of nature as boundaries limitign free will...Well played. Well played.

Though it seems to me that the laws of nature are like the laws of society. They merely state what cannot be done, we have the ability to do anything that does not break said laws. Deciding between turkey andh am is technically free will
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Re: Free Will

Postby Lusitania_Fleet » Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:21 pm

1. As far as science can tell, everything in the physical world follows laws, such that every action cause theoretically predictable reactions. An atom does not "decide" to bond with another atom, it's just the result of immutable laws.

2. Anything composed entirely of parts that follow predictable, immutable rules will also follow predictable immutable rules.

3. Taking 1 and 2 together, if we assume that people are entirely physical, then people simply follow these rules, and therefore have no free will.

4. If, therefore, we conclude that people have free will, we must conclude that there is something non-physical, which can nevertheless influence the physical world.
Did you come up with this on your own? Because if not, I would like to know where you found this theory. I plan on using an expansion of this argument for a term paper or two in the future.
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Postby Boothby » Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:34 pm

Here's another layer to add to the discussion:

"Free Will" implies that there is a "you" (a spirit, a soul, or--at a minimum--a "self") that makes a decision and then acts upon it. It implies that we are not just a series of knee-jerk, Newtonian physics (billiard ball) reactions.

But the deeper question is this: what is it that this "you" bases your decisions ON?

Are your decisions based on previous experience? This points towards a purely Newtonian, purely predictable, non-free-will universe.

Are your decisions based on randomized inputs? Then maybe you can make the argument for "free will," but if it's all random, does it really MATTER?

Are your inputs fixed, variable, or random?

Are the processes that you pass those inputs through in order to make your decisions fixed, variable, or random? If they are fixed (they are not), then how did they get there? Nature? Nurture? If they are random (for most of us, they are not), then who cares? "Free Will" is meaningless. If they are variable, then what causes them to vary? (DANGER! You are about to enter into an INFINITE LOOP)

What is the part of YOU that acts on inputs in a way that goes against the assumption that your inputs (for your entire life) are "fixed" and your rules of operating on those inputs are fixed? And where does that aspect of YOU come up with this (supposedly) INDEPENDENT means of thinking?

Can you ever make a decision that is NOT based on who you are (predictable, supposedly), or randomness?

Discuss.

In other words: Just because you call the soul or sense of self a "thing" (original post), you still need to determine where it gets its decisions from--why it makes the decisions it does! Calling it a soul doesn't really take away from the question (just like calling the thing that caused the universe to exist "God" doesn't really answer the question of how the universe came into being)
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Postby zeroguy » Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:03 am

Discuss.
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Postby jotabe » Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:21 am

If they are variable, then what causes them to vary? (DANGER! You are about to enter into an INFINITE LOOP)
But don't be afraid of infinite loops. Brain neurone patterns, our true self, is a system with very heavy feedback processes. Paths are reinforced and inhibited all the time. It's flexible, yet this flexibility also lessens with time.

In the end, asking if we have free will is as meaningless, or meaningful, and even equivalent to, as asking if we are intelligent. We have a highly complex computing hardware to process data and to integrate data as part of the hardware. The fact that this hardware is capable to learn from analysis mistakes, and make up for those errors, without ourselves being fully aware of how these corrections happen is what we call being intelligent. The fact that we can make independent* decisions based on the data we have integrated is what we call having free will.

At the end, it's just macroscopic simplifications of microscopic phenomena, just like the concepts of momentum and position. If after studying quantum mechanics you tend to believe that momentum and trajectory really doesn't exist, try and put yourself in the trajectory of an incoming ball... you're in for a shock. :lol:

*by independent i mean taking decisions based on "what is better" than "what i am told to do"... though they might happen to be the same. It's more likely than you think.
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Postby Crazy Tom: C Toon » Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:54 pm

1. Anything in existence has only the will to do what his nature allows. Even God does not have free will because he cannot sin.
2. Because of Original Sin and the Fall of Adam, Mankind has become inherently evil, and now it is in mans nature to do evil, and he can do no good
3. All good comes solely from God, who, through his common grace, causes everyday acts of kindness.
4. Man has free will, but only the will to do evil.
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Postby CezeN » Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:10 pm

1. Anything in existence has only the will to do what his nature allows. Even God does not have free will because he cannot sin.
2. Because of Original Sin and the Fall of Adam, Mankind has become inherently evil, and now it is in mans nature to do evil, and he can do no good
3. All good comes solely from God, who, through his common grace, causes everyday acts of kindness.
4. Man has free will, but only the will to do evil.
1. God can do anything. As is dictated by his "omnipotence". Technically, he sent Jesus to take our sins upon his shoulder, so technically he had sin. Meaning, he could sin if he so chose.

2. Actually, man is inherently evil in the sense that sin is passed on through the flesh. However, being inherently evil does not mean that all actions taken by the person are evil.
Especially since actions can be categorized independent of the person who committed them, and reason committed.

3. I disagree.

4. This one contradicts number one. Either way, man can choose between what type of action he wants to take.

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let's dissect the word free will:
We of course know what free means.
Will-
noun 1. the faculty of conscious and especially of deliberate action; the power of control the mind has over its own actions: the freedom of the will.
Your will is your conciousness. Free will (how I interpret it) basically means that you're conciously able to do what you want to do. The fact that you could choose meant you had it.
Now, deliberate:
adjective 1. carefully weighed or considered; studied; intentional: a deliberate lie.
Meaning, the actions you chose too do, the choices you made, you did because you had the ability to analyze and weigh them.
[Why I usually ignore the "your environment, nature, and whatever makes your choices for you" argument and determinism. Those are all factors that you analyze and weight to make your decision, which is important to free will]

Again-
free will
n.
The ability or discretion to choose; free choice: chose to remain behind of my own free will.
Discretion: –noun 1. the power or right to decide or act according to one's own judgment; freedom of judgment or choice: It is entirely within my discretion whether I will go or stay.
Now, how exactly does the fact that your experiences shape you go against free will?
According to the definition, those factors are an important component in free will - for they give you the ability to make your own judgment(aka analyzation) based on them. In the end, you're making your choices using your own "discretion" with those experiences, that knowledge, and other factors as a guidline.

Not having free will would be like the concept of a zombie. A host using others bodies to do what it wants, without the person having a concious decision over his own choices and actions.
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Postby Crazy Tom: C Toon » Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:16 pm

point 4 does NOT contradict point 1. The idea is that because man has a fallen nature, he is only able to sin unless God intervenes.

Also, saying that God could sin if he so chose is blasphemy. God is perfectly Holy. He could never act outside of his nature to sin. saying that he is all powerful is describing that he has ultimate authority in the universe. Nothing happens outside of his will.
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Postby CezeN » Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:40 pm

point 4 does NOT contradict point 1. The idea is that because man has a fallen nature, he is only able to sin unless God intervenes.

Also, saying that God could sin if he so chose is blasphemy. God is perfectly Holy. He could never act outside of his nature to sin. saying that he is all powerful is describing that he has ultimate authority in the universe. Nothing happens outside of his will.
Yes it does.
The fact that he is only able to sin until God intervenes, means he/we are bound by our nature.
Number 1 says that the fact that we are bound by our nature means we don't have free will. :$
The fact that it's through God we can go against that nature still means that we can't do it on our own, meaning still no free will.

Also, I don't know what beliefs you follow, but under mine Jesus is God. And, Jesus had his perfect holiness tainted to the point that God judged him and left him... So, yes that holiness can be tainted.
Also, him being allpowerful means he can do anything. This is further supported by all the miracles Jesus did, and the fact that he can defy logic and be 3 beings, and yet one God, not to mention Jesus being fully human and fully divine at the same time.

Last, since omnipotence is part of his nature, the fact that he could be restricted from doing whatever he wants because it's outside of is nature is contradicting his allpowerful nature. :wink:
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Postby Crazy Tom: C Toon » Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:49 pm

Yes, Jesus is God, but God wasn't punishing him, he was setting events in motion which would eventually lead to the salvation of the elect. the death of the son was absolutely necessary for that to happen.
Also, him being allpowerful means he can do anything. This is further supported by all the miracles Jesus did, and the fact that he can defy logic and be 3 beings, and yet one God, not to mention Jesus being fully human and fully divine at the same time.
I agree that he can do all of these things. It is not outside of HIS nature, just outside of OUR nature. Good for you for knowing that he is 100% man and 100% God, though.

When I say that man has free will only to do evil, that MEANS that he has no free will. It is not a contradiction.

Last, I do believe I defined All-Powerful as nothing can happen outside his will.
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Postby CezeN » Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:01 pm

Yes, Jesus is God, but God wasn't punishing him, he was setting events in motion which would eventually lead to the salvation of the elect. the death of the son was absolutely necessary for that to happen.
Also, him being allpowerful means he can do anything. This is further supported by all the miracles Jesus did, and the fact that he can defy logic and be 3 beings, and yet one God, not to mention Jesus being fully human and fully divine at the same time.
I agree that he can do all of these things. It is not outside of HIS nature, just outside of OUR nature. Good for you for knowing that he is 100% man and 100% God, though.

When I say that man has free will only to do evil, that MEANS that he has no free will. It is not a contradiction.

Last, I do believe I defined All-Powerful as nothing can happen outside his will.
My point was that his son need to take sin before that plan could happen. As in, the sin of the whole world. Thus his nature changed or at least tainted.

His doing all those things support the all-powerful/omnipotence that the world, the dictionary goes by; and not your own definition... not to mention, yours doesn't allow for free will. The one that the Devil displayed when he went against God's will and rebelled. The one that Adam and Eve displayed when they went against God's orders. Ect
When I say that man has free will only to do evil, that MEANS that he has no free will. It is not a contradiction.
So you're saying that "has free will" means the same as "doesn't have free will", and there has been no contradiction in your posts? Ծ_Ծ
Okay....
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Postby Rei » Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:49 pm

1. Anything in existence has only the will to do what his nature allows. Even God does not have free will because he cannot sin.
2. Because of Original Sin and the Fall of Adam, Mankind has become inherently evil, and now it is in mans nature to do evil, and he can do no good
3. All good comes solely from God, who, through his common grace, causes everyday acts of kindness.
4. Man has free will, but only the will to do evil.
I find point one the most interesting, actually (and the rest following from that one, of course).

The question you are effectively bringing up is what is meant by nature. You state in points two and four that mankind's nature, while it was created good, due to the fall has changed to be evil. And you state that God cannot do evil, because it would be contrary to God's nature.

I, however, argue that evil is the nature of neither God nor man, but rather that evil is the transgression of one's nature. If God's nature is good, and if God created man and called his creation good, then our nature is good. In that case, our lives become not a struggle against our natural tendencies (and indeed against our very nature), but rather against our unnatural tendencies.

All good then still comes from God alone, for we are created by God and all good in us is by his grace and any ability to listen to our nature is due to how well we can hear and reflect the goodness of God. We are like mirrors which have been made filthy and without God to clean the mirror we cannot reflect his image and the goodness of his light.

So yes, I believe we all have the free will to do good or not to good, even God. However, as fallen creatures we tend to act contrary to nature by doing evil, and God does not act contrary to nature (and indeed would cease to be God if he did).
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Postby Crazy Tom: C Toon » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:13 pm

Hmmm. I suppose I would argue that Adam and Eve were the only humans ever created with perfect free will, and because they botched it, and sin is passed on seminally, that caused the fall of man's inherent nature.

Cezen: I am dying to know where you have ANY Biblical support for ANY of this BS about God being able to sin. Christ did not ACCEPT our sins as his own, he offered his life in exchange for them. And I still cannot believe you think God is anything but Holy.
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