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If God knows all past/present/future, How can one have free will..
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   Author  Topic: If God knows all past/present/future, How can one have free will..  (Read 3893 times)
Lukian The Wizard
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If God knows all past/present/future, How can one have free will..
« on: 2002-06-11 07:16:01 »
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Up for discussion, It's to help a friend out.

If God knows all past/present/future,
How can one have free will?
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rhinoceros
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My point is ...

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Re:If God knows all past/present/future, How can one have free will..
« Reply #1 on: 2002-06-11 10:29:17 »
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There are several possible answers. TMHO they are all equally valid, because we cannot test them.

1. We don't have free will.

2. We have free will. It is just that we can't understand God's ways.

3. There is no God.

4. God does not know shit.
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Re:If God knows all past/present/future, How can one have free will..
« Reply #2 on: 2002-06-20 00:55:21 »
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David Lucifer
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Re:If God knows all past/present/future, How can one have free will..
« Reply #3 on: 2002-06-20 01:16:34 »
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Maybe god knows all possible futures.
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redcane
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Re:If God knows all past/present/future, How can one have free will..
« Reply #4 on: 2002-06-25 07:54:11 »
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rhinoceros
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Re:If God knows all past/present/future, How can one have free will..
« Reply #5 on: 2002-06-25 09:56:56 »
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Poor God... Trapped in his (her?) own omniscience without a free will...

But there is still hope: Parallel universes, so that all possible futures really happen, and God having a foot in each and every one of them. So, omniscience could be retained, although rendered totally useless.

Now, this is a really hard problem: Sorting out your good and evil selves from different parallel universes and sending some of them to paradise and some of them to hell.
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Re:If God knows all past/present/future, How can one have free will..
« Reply #6 on: 2002-06-25 11:20:31 »
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I believe the 'official' doctrinal position is one that has been omitted; god is omniscient but refrains from exercising that ability. Of course, any particular piece of asinine nonsense is possible when considering theology. Almost by definition it is awash with get-out clauses, in much the same way as sci-fi fans are adept at inventing plausible explanations for continuity errors in their favourite series. Now, there's a novel analogy....
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Re:If God knows all past/present/future, How can one have free will..
« Reply #7 on: 2002-06-27 03:51:11 »
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Tesumseh
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Re:If God knows all past/present/future, How can one have free will..
« Reply #8 on: 2004-01-28 21:18:48 »
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David Lucifer
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Re:If God knows all past/present/future, How can one have free will..
« Reply #9 on: 2004-01-29 09:04:04 »
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Dan Dennett recently came out with a great book Freedom Evolves in which he claims to reconcile free will with determinism.
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Re:If God knows all past/present/future, How can one have free will..
« Reply #10 on: 2004-02-02 16:16:44 »
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Just done some reading up on Dennett. There's a particularly informative, if sceptical review at:

http://human-nature.com/nibbs/03/dennett.html


My own views on this subject are somewhat mixed, and that is partly due to the many different ways one can actually define "free will". It seems to me every argument I seem to read on the subject, seems to look at the question backwards: it says 'yes' or 'no', makes an argument, and then defines it by telling the reader what it thinks free will is.

Until one can truly define what one means by the question "is our will 'free'", then we can't answer it meaningfully.


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Re:If God knows all past/present/future, How can one have free will..
« Reply #11 on: 2004-02-28 20:08:08 »
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Re:If God knows all past/present/future, How can one have free will..
« Reply #12 on: 2004-02-29 04:15:55 »
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Jim McGrath
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Re:If God knows all past/present/future, How can one have free will..
« Reply #13 on: 2004-03-07 19:11:31 »
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romanov
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Re:If God knows all past/present/future, How can one have free will..
« Reply #14 on: 2004-03-09 19:16:03 »
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I've been giving a lot of thought to this question recently.

I think part of what makes the idea of free will, in the sense of causal indeterminism, so attractive to many people is that they don't truly want to believe that they are in any way predictable.

The idea that we may just be a mechanistic process cuts into our deeply held, innate prejudices about our existence. I know I don't like the thought that an analysis of my past and my DNA would mean I was essentially predictable. My sense of individuality and my sense of purpose rebel at the idea.

But I can't help thinking about two basic truths.

Firstly, that we are at the mercy of our own brain processes. A sufferer from schizophrenia can't stop the malfunction of his abstract thoughts through sheer will. An aphasia sufferer can't make the affected language centre regenerate spontaneously. That we possess the ability to make choices, it is due to an evolved faculty of our mind.

That we possess the ability to make choices I don't question. But can we honestly say that this brain mechanism is somehow unaffected by the rules of cause and effect? That these choices are totally 'free' in the sense that our past and genes don't make us more likely to make one choice over another?

The second truth is one that is under our noses most of the time, and consequently is very hard to spot: if human beings were truly causally indeterminable, we wouldn't be able to exist as social beings. Think it through for a moment- would the law be able to deter wrongdoing? Would advertisers be able to sell products? Would conmen be able to con their marks? Would politicians know what to say in speeches?

All our theories about the world are based on models of consistent human behaviour. This consistency is the enemy of causal indeterminism.

Of course, as I stated earlier on this thread, it really is a matter of how you define free will. If you believe the definition of free will is simply that you, and not some other conscious, morally responsible agency is actively controlling you or influencing your choices (as in the case of chemical brainwashing or having a gun held to your head), then sure- I can't argue with that, and wouldn't want to.

Anything more, ie the idea that humans, alone of all the entities in the universe are somehow completely unaffected by the flow of cause and effect is to me just anthrocentric and unscientific pandering to prejudice.


Feel free to disagree (pun intended).



romanov
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