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Author Topic:   Free Will and Biblical Prophecy: Are They Mutually Exclusive?
Straggler
Member (Idle past 178 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 222 of 227 (497215)
02-02-2009 3:30 PM
Reply to: Message 219 by Stile
02-02-2009 12:08 PM


Re: I'll show the example, then
The observed future on which the prophecy is made is not THE future because it does not actually occur. Because no prophecy is present in that observed future........
THE future, in the event of a prophecy, involves a future where the prophecy and it's effects are necessarily present.
Thus in the event of a prophecy a unique previously un-observed situation occurs and free-will is denied.
EXAMPLE
Tomorrow morning I eat bacon for breakfast.
Odin/God/whoever observes this.
An immutable prophecy is made that I will eat bacon for breakfast tomorrow.
Tomorrow comes but as much as I love bacon my desire to piss on the fire of immutable prophecy is the overriding factor in my decision.
Do I eat bacon because an immutable prophecy allows nothing else (i.e. is my free-will denied)?
Or do I defy the prophecy because it was not actually immutable (in which case any idiot could make prophecies on the basis that they might come true)?
At the end of the day the question is - Does Odin/God/whoever see possible futures or THE future?
Which is it?
And how is this compatible with free-will/prophecy?
Basically, I'm saying that if a being would freely choose something... and then someone "restricts" them to sticking with that choice... even though they'ed stick with that choice with the knowledge of the restriction anyway... then the still have free will.
Strictly definition-wise, I can see how "immutable prophecy" is diametrically opposed to "free will." However, given such a unique situation above, I can see how it is possible for an "immutable prophecy" to not (in a practical sense) alter the free-will decision... in which case you could say that free will still exists with the immutable prophecy.
Either Odin sees the future situation where the prophecy does not exist in which case the situation is different to that actually faced by Carl.
OR
Odin observes the future whcih includes the prophecy which itself restricts Carl's actions.
THERE IS NO WAY THAT THIS CAN BE PHRASED OR CONCEIVED SUCH THAT ODIN CAN KNOW WHAT CARL FREELY WANTS TO DO IN THE EXACT SITUATION THAT CARL WILL ENCOUNTER.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 219 by Stile, posted 02-02-2009 12:08 PM Stile has seen this message but not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 178 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 223 of 227 (497491)
02-04-2009 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 218 by Stile
02-02-2009 11:57 AM


Final Refutation of Stile's Position
Myself and Stile have been getting frustrated with each other. As such I have decided to summarise my position and leave it at that.
INTRODUCTION
Stile has taken an interesting angle on the notion of free-will in the face of prophecy by attempting to re-define free-will as “The ability to get what you want from the situation presented” regardless of any restriction in choice. He fully accepts that prophecy defies conventional definitions of free-will (involving choice) but argues that by redefining free-will in this way it is possible for free-will and prophecy to co-exist peacefully.
Ultimately this attempt is flawed as Stile's arguments have been found to contain various inconsistencies and contradictions. Here is a final summary of the problems:
PROBLEM 1 - "THE" FUTURE
Throughout this discussion Stile has consistently stipulated that Odin (our omniscient being) bases his immutable prophecies on THE future. Not a possible future. Only THE future. Even this simple criteria falls at the first hurdle in the event of a prophecy.
Odin views “THE” future such that he can make his prophecy. In this observed future no prophecy exists.
Odin now makes his prophecy.
Thus the observed future, the prophecy-free, future never actually exists and is never actually experienced or encountered by Carl (our hapless agent of free-will).
Carl will only ever experience the future that contains the prophecy.
Thus "THE" future originally observed by Odin and "THE" future actually experienced by Carl are not the same future.
It cannot therefore meaningfully be claimed that Odin makes his prophecies based on observing THE future.
Thus we see the first inconsistency in Stile’s argument
PROBLEM 2 - WHAT WE WANT
We have already seen above that the mere existence of a prophecy itself results in an inconsistency in Stile’s argument. But what effect does this have on free-will as defined by Stile himself?
Stile writes:
Free Will: The ability to get what you want from the situation presented when there is absolutely no control on your decision from any external being.
Wants and desires uniquely arise from situations and knowledge. If the situation and knowledge contained within the future observed by Odin are not the same as those actually encountered by Carl then free-will is indisputably compromised by not allowing Carl to make a choice in the unique circumstance that he actually faces. Consider the following example to demonstrate this
EXAMPLE
Odin wishes to make a prophecy regarding that which Carl will eat for breakfast tomorrow.
Odin views the future and sees that Carl eats bacon.
Odin makes this immutable prophecy and reveals it to Carl.
On the morning in question Carl must choose what to eat for breakfast. His overwhelming desire, above and beyond that for his love of bacon, is his desire to prove the prophecy wrong. Carl wants to choose sausage.
But the prophecy is immutable so Carl has no ability to “choose” anything other than bacon.
Thus in terms of Stile’s own definition of free-will i.e. “what Carl wants to do” the discrepancy between the initially observed future and the future in which the prophecy exists as actually experienced by Carl, gives rise to a denial of free-will.
In the above example this is made obvious but the point applies more generally. The fact that the situation under which the choice was observed and the eventual “choice” is made are different gives rise to a denial of free-will by Stile's own definition.
Stile writes:
Free Will: The ability to get what you want from the situation presented when there is absolutely no control on your decision from any external being.
It can never be known what Carl would freely choose to do in the precise situation he actually experiences.
Thus we see that Stile’s argument fails even in terms of his own definition of free-will.
PROBLEM 3 - INDEFINITE DEFINITES
Finally Stile's whole concept is founded a self contradicting set of statements.
  • Carl’s future is freely shaped by Carl’s choices.
  • Odin can look forward from a point in time and see Carl’s future.
    At first glance these two statements do not appear to be contradictory. But they are.
    Is Carl’s future defined such that Odin can know it from a prior point in time? Or is Carl’s future not yet defined thus allowing Carl to freely define it as time progresses?
    Carl’s future cannot be both defined and undefined simultaneously. That is just illogical contradictory nonsense.
    So which is it?
    Well Stile has bee unable to say. There has been talk of the statements being axiomatic and accusations of me misrepresenting his position. There has also been attempted justification in the form of indisputably circular reasoning applied along the way (see Message 185 for details. But ultimately this innate contradiction remains exposed and unchallenged by any counter-argument.
    Thus we see that the founding principles of Stile’s argument contain an innate and inherent contradiction.
    CONCLUSION
    Stile’s argument is interesting but flawed. Analysis has shown it to contain inconsistencies, contradictions and circular reasoning.
    Some of these inconsistencies can be overcome by changing Odin’s perspective from within time looking into the future to instead “outside” of time where the terms “past”, “present”, “future” or “now” are meaningless. This perspective resolves the issue of Odin passively knowing Carl’s “future” but still does not allow prophecy and free-will (by any definition) to logically to co-exist. I have been unable to adequately explain this perspective to Stile (and quite possibly anyone else). That remains my failing rather than his.
    Regardless - Using the terms and perspective stipulated by Stile himself his argument has been shown to be innately flawed and his attempted redefinition of free-will must therefore be considered a contradictory failure lacking in either freedom or will.
    Edited by Straggler, : Minor spelling and tidying up.

  • This message is a reply to:
     Message 218 by Stile, posted 02-02-2009 11:57 AM Stile has replied

    Replies to this message:
     Message 225 by Stile, posted 02-04-2009 12:53 PM Straggler has not replied

      
    Straggler
    Member (Idle past 178 days)
    Posts: 10333
    From: London England
    Joined: 09-30-2006


    (1)
    Message 226 of 227 (497524)
    02-04-2009 2:33 PM


    Immutable Prophecy and Free-Will Are Mutually Exclusive
    None of the advocates of biblical prophecy have been able to reconcile immutable specific prophecy and free-will successfully.
    Given Christianity's emphasis on both the notions of man's free-will and God's ability to make immutable prophecies this would seem to be quite a failing on the part of the Christian position.
    If anyone fancies taking a shot at this Message 171 provides the sort of detailed step by step analysis that needs to be considered.

    Replies to this message:
     Message 227 by straightree, posted 02-28-2009 5:26 PM Straggler has not replied

      
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