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 Post subject: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 7:19 pm 
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https://youtu.be/zpU_e3jh_FY

I usually like her stuff (except her music videos) about physics, but I’m not sure what to think about this...

She tries to make the case that based on the laws of nature/physics, that we don’t actually have free will.

Now I know we do [have free will], but I can’t find the flaw in her thinking....except its purely naturalistic?

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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:08 pm 
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You have correctly identified the problem. Thought cannot be a simply physical process.

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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:55 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
You have correctly identified the problem. Thought cannot be a simply physical process.


You have taught me well master.

Thank you.

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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:32 pm 
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The quickest refutation to this is the execution of Michael Servetus, who was burned at the stake in Geneva for preaching that man has free will.

Think about it. Michael Servetus was either right or wrong. If he was right, he shouldn't have been burned. If he was wrong, he had no choice -- and shouldn't have been punished.

The existence of punishment, from making a child stand in the corner to life imprisonment for murder, is a testimonial to the fact that we DO have free will.


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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:19 pm 
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In the spirit of intellectual honesty, your argument doesn't work. Your argument looks something like this

1. For any judgment to be just, the charged must be guilty
2. For the charged to be guilty, the charged must be culpable
3. For the charged to be culpable, they must have free will
4. But there is no free will
5. Therefore, no judgment may be just
6. If any judgment is not just, then its related sentence is unjust
7. No unjust sentence ought to be carried out
8. Thus, no sentence ought to be carried out

In a little more conversational language, you're saying that without free will, the guilty aren't really "guilty" -- that our very language of innocence and guilt presumes free will. More, that saying that we can punish someone for any crime presumes that they had free will. So in Servetus' case, he was charged "guilty" because those who charged him presumed the very free will they purported to deny. But in denying free will, that would mean that there was no justification for calling him guilty.

There are lots of problems with this.

First, that's a misunderstanding of both Servetus' position as well as the position of those at Geneva. But set that aside. On this view, it may well follow that there's no such thing as justice per se, but then, it would not follow that you "ought not" to punish someone. Your whole argument presumes that we ought only to punish if there is real guilt. Now that's true, so I understand the argument. But it doesn't follow within the framework of the assumptions we're dealing with. If there is no such thing as justice, then there's no such thing as a just OR an unjust punishment. There's no such thing as what we "ought" to do. You'd do better by making an argument that what we "ought" to do presumes free will than by pointing out any supposed hypocrisy in Servetus' punishment.

But finally, and most severely, the person who denies free will can simply set aside the entire question of justice and say that the reason you punish people who don't have free will is because punishment results in a preferred consequence. By way of analogy, animals certainly don't have free will in the same sense as we do (if we do at all, on their argument), and yet you certainly would put down a dog or a bear that kills a person. Why? Because whether or not the animal has free will, killing them prevents them from hurting others. Moreover, even if I lack free will, the act of punishment itself might rather literally force me to act in ways that the state wants me to act. Just so, refusing to punish me for some act the state does not like might end up in my behaving in just that way (so imagine training an animal here).

Bottom line: there may be, on their worldview, reasons to punish or reward that have nothing to do with justice and free will. So pointing to the injustice or hypocrisy in Servetus' case says absolutely nothing to the underlying metaphysical question of whether or not we actually have free will. To make that argument, you have to deal with the "oughtness" of the question. Or you have to approach it the way Peetem does. Something like that.

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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:59 pm 
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That indicates that those who punished him believed he had free will (maybe; perhaps they considered him a public nuisance). It doesn’t show that they were right.

#laconic

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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 6:32 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
That indicates that those who punished him believed he had free will (maybe; perhaps they considered him a public nuisance). It doesn’t show that they were right.

#laconic

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Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one. . . as we are one" (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. ~ Pope Paul VI, Gaudium et Spes 24.3


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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 6:50 pm 
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FWIW, I hadn’t seen your reply when I typed mine.

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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:57 pm 
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Slightly less laconically, now that I'm on a computer instead of a phone:

Nearly all disputants will agree that people act as if they have free will, and that most people who have not engaged in weird philosophy believe that they have free will. Those who deny that the will is free seek to explain why people experience the illusion of freedom.

BTW, my impression is that Servetus's unusual views on the Trinity were what got him executed as a heretic, not anything to do with free will.

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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:29 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
FWIW, I hadn’t seen your reply when I typed mine.

I don't know if that makes it better or worse. :shock: :?

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Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one. . . as we are one" (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. ~ Pope Paul VI, Gaudium et Spes 24.3


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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:13 pm 
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No, we do not have a free will.

Any will to be totally free must have an ability to choose unhindered, that is, it must be free from all external and internal causes which would hinder it from making a fully logical and fully comprehending choice, knowing fully and completely the outcomes of all those choices. Only then could one say that the will is completely free to make the choice which is essentially free.

On earth, there are the external delusions to such a choice: false teachers, cognitive impairment such as lack of I.Q., lack of understanding as in educational deficiencies, pursuasion of evil spirits, etc. Internally there is the corruption of the human nature by the Fall.

To say that any man has a free will is akin to saying that you can take a man who is trained as a runner, strap 10 pound weights on each ankle, and then say that he is "free" to win a race. It won't happen.

We do have a will, and we have a limited ability to exercise it in a manner which appears to be free, that is, we are not under compulsion as would be a robot, but the above mentioned external and internal constraints hardly make it "free."


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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:16 pm 
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Jim dies and goes to heaven (I know it’s a long shot), but instead of the pearly gates, there’s a fork in the road, and a sign pointing down each path. One sign says ‘Believers in Determinism’ and the other says ‘Believers in Free Will’. Jim has always believed in predestination, so he goes down that road. He eventually comes to a big door with the word ‘DETERMINISM’ written over the top. He knocks, and an angel opens the door and says, ‘Why have you come to my door today?’ Jim says, ‘Well, there were these two signs, and I chose the one that said determinism.’ The angel says, ‘You chose it? Then you cannot come in here,’ and slams the door. Jim’s confused. Finally he trudges back to the crossroads and goes down the other road. Eventually he comes to another large door that says ‘FREE WILL.’ He knocks and another angel opens the door and says, ‘Why did you come this way?’ And Jim says, ‘I had no choice!’

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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:35 pm 
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Determinism =/= predestination. But it's a good joke anyhow.

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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 11:00 pm 
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Light of the East wrote:
No, we do not have a free will.

Any will to be totally free must have an ability to choose unhindered, that is, it must be free from all external and internal causes which would hinder it from making a fully logical and fully comprehending choice, knowing fully and completely the outcomes of all those choices. Only then could one say that the will is completely free to make the choice which is essentially free.

On earth, there are the external delusions to such a choice: false teachers, cognitive impairment such as lack of I.Q., lack of understanding as in educational deficiencies, pursuasion of evil spirits, etc. Internally there is the corruption of the human nature by the Fall.

To say that any man has a free will is akin to saying that you can take a man who is trained as a runner, strap 10 pound weights on each ankle, and then say that he is "free" to win a race. It won't happen.

We do have a will, and we have a limited ability to exercise it in a manner which appears to be free, that is, we are not under compulsion as would be a robot, but the above mentioned external and internal constraints hardly make it "free."

You are in disagreement with all of Christian tradition, in part because you are following a very modern idea of what it means to be "free."

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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:34 am 
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Light of the East wrote:

To say that any man has a free will is akin to saying that you can take a man who is trained as a runner, strap 10 pound weights on each ankle, and then say that he is "free" to win a race. It won't happen


You are mixing definitions - free will as a "physical potential" of the body versus free will as a "choice" of the will.

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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:01 am 
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I strongly suspect that this has to do with universalism.

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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:18 pm 
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Doesn't everything?

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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:07 pm 
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I see what you did there.

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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:31 pm 
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Peetem wrote:
Light of the East wrote:

To say that any man has a free will is akin to saying that you can take a man who is trained as a runner, strap 10 pound weights on each ankle, and then say that he is "free" to win a race. It won't happen


You are mixing definitions - free will as a "physical potential" of the body versus free will as a "choice" of the will.


Physical potential of the will and emotional potential of the will. Same thing...different forms. Either way, the ability, the potential, is severely handicapped by not being completely free from outside interference.


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 Post subject: Re: We don’t have free will?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:36 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I strongly suspect that this has to do with universalism.


I don't remember mentioning that word at all. We are talking about the idea of man having a "free-will."

When I was back in the hippie days of the 1960's and had given myself over to drugs, booze, and fornication, did I make a truly "free-will" choice, or was my choice influenced by the following factors:

1. No religious upbringing of any decent sort. Parents were nominal (if that) church goers.

2. Spiritual influences. I honestly believe, looking at my past behavior, that I was either demon possessed to do what I did, or severely demon obessed.

3. No influence of the Euchairst or the Sacraments of the Church to counter # 2.

4. No external formation of conscience by external forces such as a priest or spiritual director.

5. External influences for evil, such as Playboy magazine, the so-called "Sexual Revolution" which was all over the place urging us to act on our disordered passions.

6. My human nature corrupted by the Fall and therefore naturally leaning towards evil and sin!

Was I really "free" in the truest sense of the word? If you think this is freedom, you have a very strange idea of what freedom means.


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