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Author Topic:   Free Will and Biblical Prophecy: Are They Mutually Exclusive?
PaulK
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Posts: 17852
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 14 of 227 (494539)
01-16-2009 6:25 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Stile
01-16-2009 11:15 AM


Re: God's Smart
Here's a thing to think about. If someone is told what they are going to do, can they change it ? Under any circumstances ? If not, then how could we be said to have free will ?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Stile, posted 01-16-2009 11:15 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by Buzsaw, posted 01-16-2009 7:32 PM PaulK has not replied
 Message 19 by Stile, posted 01-17-2009 10:05 AM PaulK has replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17852
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 26 of 227 (494660)
01-17-2009 3:04 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by Stile
01-17-2009 10:05 AM


Re: God's Smart
Unlike Buz, at least you have answered the question to an extent.
quote:
My arguement is that it is possible for this answer to be "yes", and in such cases Free Will is still intact. Perhaps it takes a certain kind of person...
If it took a particular sort of person then I'd have to say that only that sort of person could really have free will.
Nevertheless the whole idea is worth thinking about, since it should provide insights into how prophecy could interact with the flow of events, For instance any "yes" answer implies that either God an be wrong or that the future can change.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by Stile, posted 01-17-2009 10:05 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by Stile, posted 01-17-2009 8:18 PM PaulK has replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17852
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 34 of 227 (494726)
01-18-2009 4:59 AM
Reply to: Message 31 by Stile
01-17-2009 8:18 PM


n
quote:
I am not claiming that the Free Will I'm describing that can exist with immutable prophecy is some sort of universal generality. I'm quite explicitly stating that it's an extreme special case.
The issue here is that the theological and apologetic uses of free will pretty much require us all to have free will, not just a special few.
quote:
Why would a "yes" answer imply that God could be wrong or the future can change?
If the future is fixed and God is always right it is impossible that anyone could do other than God predicted they would. A "yes" answer denies that.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by Stile, posted 01-17-2009 8:18 PM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 36 by Stile, posted 01-18-2009 9:45 AM PaulK has replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17852
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 40 of 227 (494755)
01-18-2009 10:11 AM
Reply to: Message 36 by Stile
01-18-2009 9:45 AM


Re: Generals and Specifics
quote:
But I am providing a definition of Free Will that is for all of us. You're taking the special case that my definition accounts for and then trying to say that should be a generality. This isn't how it works.
No, I am not. You claim that only a few people have the capability to go against prophecy - and you also agreed that the lack of this capability indicated a lack of free will.
quote:
Free Will: The ability to get what you want from the situation presented with absolutely no interference from any external entity.
Therefore if I am given a prediction I will do something I should in principle have the ability to do otherwise - if I have free will. If I want to invalidate the prophecy then I should be able to do it by your own definition. But you suggest that only a few special people can do it.
quote:
The special case this definition allows for is that an immutable prophecy may be in place and it is still possible for Free Will to be intact. The caveat is that the prophecy must exactly match the true free desires of the decision maker, at the point of the decision, given absolutely no interference from any external entity.
What you are ignoring is the possibility that being given the prophecy may change the "true free desires" of the subject by the time the predicted decision is made.
I'm disappointed that my invitation to think more deeply has lead to such a shallow defence - one that ignores the basic point that it all depends on HOW prophecy and time work.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by Stile, posted 01-18-2009 9:45 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 56 by Stile, posted 01-19-2009 9:29 AM PaulK has replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17852
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 63 of 227 (494869)
01-19-2009 1:55 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by Stile
01-19-2009 9:29 AM


Re: Generals and Specifics
quote:
I'm pretty sure I only claimed that it was "possible" for a few people to have the capability to go against prophecy.. and if they did, then their Free Will will be removed.
No, you suggested that only a few people HAD the free will that gave them even the possibility of going against prophecy
Message 31
I am not claiming that the Free Will I'm describing that can exist with immutable prophecy is some sort of universal generality. I'm quite explicitly stating that it's an extreme special case.
quote:
However, if the prophecy can be made in such a way that this situation does not exist then Free Will is not removed.
However, that does not address my original question. The issue is whether there is the possibility of going against prophecy. Even compatibilist formulations of free will would allow that much. In suggesting only a few people have that capability you are very much going against the whole concept of free will.
If that possibility is not there, then it does not matter whether the prophecy is conveyed in a way which does not change our desires, since our desires do not truly control our decisions, which are fated not chosen.
quote:
I am most certainly not ignoring such a thing. And I fully admit that if even the mere presence of the prophecy alters the "true free desires" of the subject.. then Free Will is removed.
Yet your post did not truly consider the consequences. If that occurs free will demands that we must be able to act otherwise. If we cannot then free will is not removed- since we did not have it in the first place.
quote:
You have yet to show anything that I am ignoring, you simply didn't give me credit for thinking about something I hadn't explicitly typed out yet. My posts are long already... if
But you are still failing to consider my basic point that thinking about these unusual cases lets us consider what may be going on "behind the scenes"

This message is a reply to:
 Message 56 by Stile, posted 01-19-2009 9:29 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 65 by Stile, posted 01-19-2009 2:56 PM PaulK has replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17852
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 67 of 227 (494878)
01-19-2009 3:25 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by Stile
01-19-2009 2:56 PM


Re: Back to definitions
quote:
Are you saying that "the ability to go against prophecy" is part of the inherent definition of Free Will?
I am being more specific than that.
The fact of the prophecy is additional information. If we have free will of any sort at all it must be possible in principle for that additional information to change the decisions we will make. If that is utterly impossible then we cannot have free will.
Oh, and I don't have any formal training either. I have, however, read a fair amount around the subject and considered it fairly deeply on some occasions.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by Stile, posted 01-19-2009 2:56 PM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 77 by Stile, posted 01-20-2009 7:38 AM PaulK has replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17852
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 81 of 227 (495051)
01-20-2009 2:51 PM
Reply to: Message 77 by Stile
01-20-2009 7:38 AM


Re: Back to definitions
quote:
I totally agree. That's why I insist that in order for Free Will to remain intact, the prophecy must exactly match the actual desires of the decision maker given no outside interference. This takes into consideration the "additional information" of the prophecy itself and ensures that the principle you speak of is included.
OK, but the question here is whether we have Free Will to violate. Carefully wording prophecies so that they could coexist with Free Will is not enough. This is why I keep saying that we must think about what is going on.
If we accept the possibility of prophecy is it a genuine vision of the future or an extrapolation ? If the former what is the effect of intervention ? After all, all prophecy is intervention. If it does not somehow change the future foreseen, what good is it ?
quote:
I just want to quote this part again to point out the important section. I do not find "the possibility to change the decision we will make" to be the important part. I only find "the desire to change the decision we will make" to be important. Given no external interference or restrictions, of course.
You're pretty much saying that you don't care if we HAVE Free WIll so long as prophecies are worded so that we can't tell that we don't have it. I'm much more interested in the first question, and consider the second relatively unimportant.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 77 by Stile, posted 01-20-2009 7:38 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 90 by Stile, posted 01-21-2009 1:55 PM PaulK has replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17852
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 91 of 227 (495198)
01-21-2009 2:08 PM
Reply to: Message 90 by Stile
01-21-2009 1:55 PM


Re: Back to definitions
quote:
Why is the question now whether we have Free Will to violate? I thought you said the questino was whether we have the Free Will to violate in principle? If the principle is present, why do we actually require the physical possibility?
You are wrong on both points. If we do not have free will the idea that we might have had it in principle serves only to make the problem worse.
quote:
No good to me, I just said it was possible to have immutable prophecy and Free Will at the same time. I never said it was useful.
If God is locked into a fixed course of action, unable to use His knowledge of the future to change the course of events by intervening then God is in a sorry state.
quote:
No. I very much care if we HAVE Free Will. I just think that the principle of Free Will is much more important then the actual 'going through the motions' of it. And, if the principle is present, then however the motions are made is irrelevent.
Then your arguments are very confused. Wording the prophecies so they do not change the course of events is possible whether we have Free Will or not. Yet if it is not possible even in principle to go against prophecy then we do not have Free Will at all.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 90 by Stile, posted 01-21-2009 1:55 PM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 94 by Stile, posted 01-21-2009 3:31 PM PaulK has replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17852
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 95 of 227 (495224)
01-21-2009 4:57 PM
Reply to: Message 94 by Stile
01-21-2009 3:31 PM


Re: Back to definitions
I can make no other sense of "having free will in principle" other than "might have had free will". After all it must be distinguished from simply having free will - and more limited than having free will.
quote:
I totally agree. Which is why I specifically state that the possibility must exist in principle or we do not have Free Will.
Then it is more important than whether a prophecy is worded so as not to affect the decisions of those who read it or not. But you argued otherwise.
quote:
You say I'm wrong and that my arguements are confused.. and then you make statements that exactly match my arguements.
That match SOME of your arguments and disagree with others. THat is WHY I say that you are confused.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 94 by Stile, posted 01-21-2009 3:31 PM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 100 by Stile, posted 01-22-2009 7:22 AM PaulK has replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17852
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 112 of 227 (495418)
01-22-2009 2:29 PM
Reply to: Message 100 by Stile
01-22-2009 7:22 AM


Re: Back to definitions
quote:
It is distinguised... between the two definitions I've been trying to show the differences between.
My definition of Free Will:
The ability to get what you want from the situation presented given no outside interference from any external being.
The phrase "no outside interference" requires that the principle of free will is included, nothing about "might have"... only "must".
So what is the difference between having free will "in principle" from simply having free will ?
quote:
Don't place that on me... it maches SOME of my arguements that you correctly say I say... and it doesn't match the other arguements you make up and say that I say... which I don't actually say at all. If you're going to use a strawman, that's your problem.
It's no strawman Message 77
If we have free will of any sort at all it must be possible in principle for that additional information to change the decisions we will make.
I just want to quote this part again to point out the important section. I do not find "the possibility to change the decision we will make" to be the important part. I only find "the desire to change the decision we will make" to be important.
Message 90
No. I very much care if we HAVE Free Will. I just think that the principle of Free Will is much more important then the actual 'going through the motions' of it.
That's a complete reversal of your position.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 100 by Stile, posted 01-22-2009 7:22 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 115 by Stile, posted 01-22-2009 3:01 PM PaulK has replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17852
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 118 of 227 (495429)
01-22-2009 3:16 PM
Reply to: Message 115 by Stile
01-22-2009 3:01 PM


Re: Back to definitions
quote:
I can't find one.
So when you said that you were explaining the distinction you meant that there wasn't one. But it was you who introduced the idea of having free will "in principle" rather than simply having free will. Do you see why I say that your arguments are confused ?
quote:
What are you talking about?
The complete reversal of your position. If we do not have the possibility of acting contrary to prophecy even in principle then we do not have free will at all. Yet you said that that was "not the important part". But then you insist that you "very much care" about whether we do in fact have free will. There's the contradiction.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 115 by Stile, posted 01-22-2009 3:01 PM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 125 by Stile, posted 01-23-2009 7:57 AM PaulK has replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17852
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 140 of 227 (495581)
01-23-2009 1:24 PM
Reply to: Message 125 by Stile
01-23-2009 7:57 AM


Re: I'll show the example, then
quote:
Yes. I've told you that this is very confusing if we are not careful of the context we're using and because of the different definitions of free will here. That's why I've been asking you to propose an example so we can see things more clearly.
How would my providing an example help you remember what YOU meant ? Because that is what we're talking about here.
quote:
"In Principle" definition: Free will is the ability to get what you want from the presented situation given no interference from any external being.
But that is the definition you insist on using for plain "free will". And it's certainly not clear that it deserves the "in principle" label. So there is really no way I could hope to work that out - if that is what you meant.
quote:
Originally, I meant that there is a distinction between the General definition of free will, and the In Principle definition.
That would be the distinction that you described so poorly that even you couldn't see it ?(Or, apparently remember it, to correct yourself).
quote:
Depends on the context of how you're using the word "possibility" and which definition of "free will" you're using. You can't just use whatever you want at any time... of course you'll get confused.
Then the fact that I'm not doing that may be the reason why I'm NOT confused.
quote:
n the context that "possibility" is Carl's free will when viewed by his point A decision.... then it doesn't matter what definition of free will you use. They are both violated if some interference is preventing Carl from freely choosing any of the 3 alternatives.
But now let's talk about the context of "possibilities" for Carl's future point B decision. Carl is still at point A. However, Odin can see the future and knows (after Carl has made the decision in the future) that Carl will freely choose #4 from the 5 alternatives.
If we look at this from Carl's point A reference point, Carl is going to choose #4 (given no interference from Odin)... there are no other possibilities. Now it matters which definition of free will we're using. If you use the General definition, there is no free will because there are no alternatives. So, in this sense, whenever one has "no possibilities" they have no General free will.
I see the problem. YOU are getting the context wrong.
In the actual context the situation is this:
At point A Odin sees that Carl will take choice #4 at point B
Odin then intervenes to tell Carl that he will take choice #4 at point B.
Given that the situation has now changed is it possible for Carl to choose differently ? Or is he locked into taking choice #4, no matter what ?
quote:
Please remember the context you're discussing in and which defintion of free will you're talking about.
Good job I did that. Shame you didn't.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 125 by Stile, posted 01-23-2009 7:57 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 143 by Stile, posted 01-23-2009 2:10 PM PaulK has replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17852
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 144 of 227 (495590)
01-23-2009 2:18 PM
Reply to: Message 143 by Stile
01-23-2009 2:10 PM


Re: I'll show the example, then
quote:
In the scenarios I'm describing, no. Carl is not locked into taking choice #4. It is also possible for Carl to choose differently.
There are an infinite number of scenarios where Carl may want to choose differently... and if he cannot then his free will, even In Principle, is removed.
Your scenarios leave out the crucial point of Odin telling Carl, and your idea of "possibility" is not the one relevant to the point.
Your response is non-productive, completely ignoring the issue under discussion.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 143 by Stile, posted 01-23-2009 2:10 PM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 145 by Stile, posted 01-23-2009 2:32 PM PaulK has replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17852
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 147 of 227 (495594)
01-23-2009 2:53 PM
Reply to: Message 145 by Stile
01-23-2009 2:32 PM


Re: I'll show the example, then
quote:
But I do not leave out the crucial point of Odin telling Carl.
YOUR scenarios did.
quote:
Are you saying that Odin telling Carl is what restricts Carl's decisions?
I did not say that anything restricted Carl's decisions.
quote:
I am saying that Odin tells Carl what you say Odin tells Carl... but this does not restrict Carl's decision.
In that case Carl could - because he was told what he would do - decide to do otherwise, invalidating the prophecy, is that not so ? Are are you proposing that he cannot for some other reason ?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 145 by Stile, posted 01-23-2009 2:32 PM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 149 by Stile, posted 01-23-2009 3:06 PM PaulK has replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17852
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 150 of 227 (495606)
01-23-2009 3:39 PM
Reply to: Message 149 by Stile
01-23-2009 3:06 PM


Re: I'll show the example, then
quote:
I'm proposing that Carl cannot choose something other then what he chooses.
Unless you are saying that Carl cannot act other than Odin has seen even though the circumstances have changed through Odin telling Carl what he will do, your answer fails to address the issue. IS that what you are saying ?
quote:
Odin sees that Carl chooses #4 freely and without interference.
Carl cannot choose something other then what he chooses.
"What he chooses" is #4.
Therefore: Carl cannot choose something other then #4.
So - since you say that you are not leaving out the fact that Odin tells Carl what he will do even though you do not mention it - you are indeed saying that Carl is locked into making the choice that Odin has seen despite the change in circumstances.
Is that correct ? Or have you decided to drop the fact that Odin tells Carl, evne knowing that it is a crucial point ?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 149 by Stile, posted 01-23-2009 3:06 PM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 172 by Stile, posted 01-26-2009 1:09 PM PaulK has replied

  
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