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Author Topic:   Free Will and Biblical Prophecy: Are They Mutually Exclusive?
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2774 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 196 of 227 (496749)
01-30-2009 9:54 AM
Reply to: Message 189 by Straggler
01-29-2009 10:54 AM


Re: What is Free Will?
Hi, Straggler.
Straggler writes:
Sorry if I was a bit vague about my intentions with that post.
Don't you love it when you accuse somebody of something, and, in the process of accusing them, you do exactly what it is you're accusing them of?
Isn't that ironic?

-Bluejay/Mantis/Thylacosmilus
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 189 by Straggler, posted 01-29-2009 10:54 AM Straggler has not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 142 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 197 of 227 (496759)
01-30-2009 10:49 AM
Reply to: Message 195 by Stile
01-30-2009 8:59 AM


Re: I'll show the example, then
traggler writes:
When Odin initially saw Carl make the choice in question was the prophecy in place?
No. But, in thinking about this, I don't see what difference it would make... especially if Carl's decisions are not restricted by the prophecy (or Odin) in any way.
It makes all the difference in the world!!
Carl makes his initially observed choice in one set of circumstances i.e. without the prophecy in place.
Now, with the prophecy in place, Carl is faced with new information, a new situation and thus a different choice.
Stragggler writes:
Now that Carl is aware of the prophecy is it fair to say that Carl's knowledge, and therefore Carl's timeline, has changed from the one that Odin was passively observing?
No, this is not fair.
Carl now has new knowledge. The situation in which he confronts h choice is most definitely not the same as that originally observed by Odin. In this new situation he may not wish to make the same choice he did in the absence of the prophecy.
For example his desire to prove the prophecy wrong may override any previous basis on which he made the decision in question.
I would agree that Carl's knowledge certainly has changed.
If we do not base our choices on our knowledge then what on God's Earth do we base them on?
A change of knowledge is fundamental to the circumstances under which the choice was made.
And I would agree that Carl's timeline may change, given that he has different information then he had before. However, if Carl still makes the same decision any, and still makes every future decision the same as he would have without this different information...
Well given the existence of an immutable prophecy how can Carl do anything other than that prophecised? He obviously cannot.
Thus his actions are observed in one circumstance.
Then the circumstance is changed by the mere existence of the prophecy where it did not exist before.
Then the existence of the prophecy denies him the opportunity to do anything but that originally observed even though the circumstances under which the choice is being made are now different.
Thus prophecy indisputably denies free-will.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 195 by Stile, posted 01-30-2009 8:59 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 202 by Stile, posted 01-30-2009 1:22 PM Straggler has replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2774 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 198 of 227 (496760)
01-30-2009 10:52 AM
Reply to: Message 193 by Stile
01-30-2009 8:25 AM


Re: What is Free Will?
Hi, Stile.
Stile writes:
Your paraphrase is incorrect.
You're right: it was a bit facetious.
-----
Stile writes:
In what I'm talking about we most certainly DO have alternatives, just as we all do each and every day.
That's not what you said here:
Stile, post #176, writes:
If we have an Odin who can see THE future (the choices we all freely make), then free will is removed in General (no more alternatives) however it remains In Principle (no one interferes with our choices in any way).
-----
Stile writes:
However, that does not make my thoughts circular, or illogical, especially since I am quite plainly listing my given assumptions. You are simply refusing to go along with my given assumptions
I have been trying to show (as has Straggler), from the beginning, that the implications of each of your assumptions violates the other assumption. In other words, the way I see it, your assumptions are (1) Carl has free will, and (2) Carl does not have free will.
To me, refusing to go along with these assumptions is the only logical position I can take, and I don't understand why you think my objections aren't relevant to the logical validity of your argument.
Sure, we can say, "what if..." whenever we want (I do it all the time as a sci-fi writer). But, to me, this "what if" scenario is identical in form to, "What if there was a unicorn that was both pink and invisible?" What else can I say to it except, "It defies logic"?

-Bluejay/Mantis/Thylacosmilus
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 193 by Stile, posted 01-30-2009 8:25 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 203 by Stile, posted 01-30-2009 1:28 PM Blue Jay has not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 142 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 199 of 227 (496762)
01-30-2009 11:03 AM
Reply to: Message 192 by Stile
01-30-2009 8:08 AM


Circuclarity
I think you're taking this thought exercise too far into reality. We are not attempting to create a real, working mechanism for what we're talking about. We're talking about omnipotent beings who have whatever powers I abscribe to them. How can such a thing actually exist?
The flaw in your argument has nothing to do with it being real or otherwise. Your whole argument is theoretically and intrinsically flawed.
Your whole argument is circular.
See Message 185 for detail but in brief.....
Odin sees the future.
The future is the future portion of Carl's timeline.
The future portion of Carl's timeline is shaped by Carl's choices.
Straggler: "How can Odin know Carl's future choices?"
Stile: "Because he can see the future portion of Carl's timeline"
But if the future portion of Carl's timeline IS made up of Carl's choices then you are in effect saying that Odin knows Carl's choices by means of knowing Carl's choices.
Odin must know Carl's choices such that he can know Carl's choices.
This is circular.
I am having trouble expresiing this any more clearly but if we work through it step by step as per Message 185 I can absolutely guarantee that the circularity in your thinking will become self evident.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 192 by Stile, posted 01-30-2009 8:08 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 204 by Stile, posted 01-30-2009 1:35 PM Straggler has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 142 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 200 of 227 (496764)
01-30-2009 11:08 AM
Reply to: Message 194 by Stile
01-30-2009 8:35 AM


Re: What is Free Will?
What I mean by "If Odin can see the future..." is to have such an ability granted for the sake of the discussion so that we can use our imaginations to talk about what kind of things such a scenario would result in.
I certainly agree that "seeing the actual, real future" most likely is impossible, and most certainly is not very intuitive. However, this does not prevent us from using our imaginations to think of the "what if..." scenario and moving on from there.
I am not concerned with reality any more than you are. I am not arguing as to whether anybody actually could see the future or not.
I am arguing that if someone can see the future then this necessarily compromises free-will. Both in theory and in practise.
In purely theoretical terms your arguments are flawed in the sense that prophecy provides actual contradictions with regard to any notions of free-will.
The two are wholly incompatible.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 194 by Stile, posted 01-30-2009 8:35 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 205 by Stile, posted 01-30-2009 1:41 PM Straggler has replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17838
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 201 of 227 (496770)
01-30-2009 1:21 PM
Reply to: Message 190 by Stile
01-30-2009 7:40 AM


Re: I'll show the example, then
quote:
Odin tells Carl the information.
Carl has an entirely new free choice to make.
It's quite possible for Carl to freely choose to stick to the prophecy of his own free decision in which no one interferes.
It's quite possible that Carl freely chooses any of the other options.
Odin can see the future.
Odin knows what choice Carl makes.
If Odin sees that Carl freely chooses to stick to the prophecy anyway... how is Carl's free decision removed?
If Odin sees that Carl freely chooses to stick to the prophecy anyway... how is Odin wrong all along?
If Odin sees that Carl freely chooses to stick to the prophecy anyway... how can the future change? If it does change... then Odin can't really see the future and we're not discussing the same scenario
Are you ONLY considering the scenario where Carl chooses to follow the prophecy ?
If so. why aren't you looking at the other possibilities ?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 190 by Stile, posted 01-30-2009 7:40 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 206 by Stile, posted 01-30-2009 1:49 PM PaulK has replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 120 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 202 of 227 (496771)
01-30-2009 1:22 PM
Reply to: Message 197 by Straggler
01-30-2009 10:49 AM


Re: I'll show the example, then
It makes all the difference in the world!!
Carl makes his initially observed choice in one set of circumstances i.e. without the prophecy in place.
Now, with the prophecy in place, Carl is faced with new information, a new situation and thus a different choice.
I see what you meant. I thought you meant "in place" as in the prophecy was made, but Carl had no knowledge of it. If you meant Odin had told Carl about it... then the answer is simply "no." But, well, I just thought that was obvious since the whole scenario (if you were following PaulK's discussion with me) was about before and after Odin talked to Carl. Sorry for the confusion.
If we do not base our choices on our knowledge then what on God's Earth do we base them on?
A change of knowledge is fundamental to the circumstances under which the choice was made.
I agreed completely with this. And still do.
However, if the same decision is made, I would say that Carl's decision timeline was not changed, regardless of what knowledge Carl had.
The point of the timelines is to track our freely made decisions. Adding in additional content (like the knowledge used for those decisions) only adds unnecessary confusion to what I'm trying to identify through the use of a "timeline."
Well given the existence of an immutable prophecy how can Carl do anything other than that prophecised? He obviously cannot.
No one argues this.
What I'm saying is that there are 2 different methods in which Carl can do exactly what is prophesized.
1. Someone external (Odin or otherwise) can be restricting Carl from choosing alternatives... free will (General and In Principle) is obviously removed.
2. Carl can freely choose to do what the prophecy says. Free will In Principle is obviously retained. However, if someone can see the future, then they'll know Carl is choosing this (in this case), and then there are no other options. General free will disappears even though free will still exists In Principle.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 197 by Straggler, posted 01-30-2009 10:49 AM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 209 by Straggler, posted 01-30-2009 6:14 PM Stile has seen this message but not replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 120 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 203 of 227 (496773)
01-30-2009 1:28 PM
Reply to: Message 198 by Blue Jay
01-30-2009 10:52 AM


Re: What is Free Will?
Bluejay writes:
I have been trying to show (as has Straggler), from the beginning, that the implications of each of your assumptions violates the other assumption. In other words, the way I see it, your assumptions are (1) Carl has free will, and (2) Carl does not have free will.
To me, refusing to go along with these assumptions is the only logical position I can take, and I don't understand why you think my objections aren't relevant to the logical validity of your argument.
Sure, we can say, "what if..." whenever we want (I do it all the time as a sci-fi writer). But, to me, this "what if" scenario is identical in form to, "What if there was a unicorn that was both pink and invisible?" What else can I say to it except, "It defies logic"?
I am not saying Carl has free will and doesn't have free will at the same time. I am quite specifically showing a difference between free will in General (simply "no alternatives") and free will In Principle (the ability to make our own decisions). Then applying those definitions to the scenario where someone can see the future.
For the one making the decisions... they have free will in General and In Principle (assuming the one seeing the future doesn't interfere in any way).
For the one seeing the future... they know what Carl is going to pick. There are no alternatives. Free will in General disappears. Free will In Principle, however, is still there just fine.
There is no defying logic here unless you remove my contextual explanations and start just using a single definition of free will. I have been very careful to distinguish between the two definitions I've been using to show my point since the beginning.
I am saying that Carl has free will In Principle and that never changes.
I am saying that if we use the definitino of free will in General... we end up with the confusion situation you're talking about above.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 198 by Blue Jay, posted 01-30-2009 10:52 AM Blue Jay has not replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 120 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 204 of 227 (496775)
01-30-2009 1:35 PM
Reply to: Message 199 by Straggler
01-30-2009 11:03 AM


Re: Circuclarity
Your whole argument is circular.
No it's not.
I am having trouble expresiing this any more clearly but if we work through it step by step as per Re: Stile's Circularity (Message 185) I can absolutely guarantee that the circularity in your thinking will become self evident.
There is no "step by step". It's a given assumption, an axiom. There is no explanation, there is no methodolgy.
Odin sees the future.
The future is the future portion of Carl's timeline.
The future portion of Carl's timeline is shaped by Carl's choices.
Straggler: "How can Odin know Carl's future choices?"
Stile: "Because he can see the future portion of Carl's timeline"
But if the future portion of Carl's timeline IS made up of Carl's choices then you are in effect saying that Odin knows Carl's choices by means of knowing Carl's choices.
Odin must know Carl's choices such that he can know Carl's choices.
Here, let me use the human-nose smelling like dog-nose analogy:
Human nose can detect smells like a dog's nose.
A dog's nose can detect more than a human's nose can.
The human nose can detect more than a human's nose can.
Straggler: "How can a human nose detect more then a regular human nose is capable of?"
Stile: "Because it can detect smells like a dog's nose"
But if the dog's nose can detect smells that a human nose cannot, you are in effect saying that a human nose can smell things that a human nose cannot.
A human nose can smell more than is possible for a human nose to smell.
...see how ridiculous that sounds?
It's not circular. There is no explanation. It's an axiom. You cannot argue with an axiom. You can either accept it and move on, or refuse it and refrain from making any following conclusions.
That's the entire defintion of a "what if..." idea.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 199 by Straggler, posted 01-30-2009 11:03 AM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 208 by Straggler, posted 01-30-2009 5:58 PM Stile has seen this message but not replied
 Message 211 by Straggler, posted 01-31-2009 4:46 AM Stile has replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 120 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 205 of 227 (496776)
01-30-2009 1:41 PM
Reply to: Message 200 by Straggler
01-30-2009 11:08 AM


Re: What is Free Will?
Straggler writes:
I am not concerned with reality any more than you are. I am not arguing as to whether anybody actually could see the future or not.
Then you have nothing to talk to me about. I am saying "If someone can actually see the future..." and then moving forward. I have been doing this all along. I have stated so over and over again.
If you are going to stop at "such a thing is impossible," that's fine, but then you don't get to talk about any following conclusions.
I am arguing that if someone can see the future then this necessarily compromises free-will. Both in theory and in practise.
How can you say this? You just said that seeing the future was impossible. How can you make any conclusions at all if you say it's impossible in the first place?
And, of course, it's only compromised if we use your definition of free will (General) that free will is the ability to choose between available alternatives. It most certainly is not compromised if we define free will (In Principle) to be "the ability to get what you want from the situation presented given no interference from any external being."
In purely theoretical terms your arguments are flawed in the sense that prophecy provides actual contradictions with regard to any notions of free-will.
Only if we use your definition (General) of free will.
If we use a different definition (In Principle), this most certainly does not occur.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 200 by Straggler, posted 01-30-2009 11:08 AM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 210 by Straggler, posted 01-30-2009 6:23 PM Stile has seen this message but not replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 120 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 206 of 227 (496777)
01-30-2009 1:49 PM
Reply to: Message 201 by PaulK
01-30-2009 1:21 PM


Re: I'll show the example, then
Are you ONLY considering the scenario where Carl chooses to follow the prophecy?
Yes. Well, as in it's the only scenario I'm discussing. Carl certainly could choose the other ones (it's his free choice, afterall) but this is the only one I'm looking at.
If so. why aren't you looking at the other possibilities?
I'm assuming that the other possibilities are rather boring to look at because we would both agree that free will exists and there would not be much to discuss.
The whole point of this defense of mine is that people have been telling me that free will no longer exists at certain points. I don't see why that is necessarily so. So I provided an example (the one we're talking about) where I think free will still exists (Carl makes his decisions on his own) and everyone else tells me that it does not (Odin sees the one path of the future, therefore "no alternatives").

This message is a reply to:
 Message 201 by PaulK, posted 01-30-2009 1:21 PM PaulK has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 207 by PaulK, posted 01-30-2009 1:56 PM Stile has replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17838
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 207 of 227 (496778)
01-30-2009 1:56 PM
Reply to: Message 206 by Stile
01-30-2009 1:49 PM


Re: I'll show the example, then
quote:
Yes. Well, as in it's the only scenario I'm discussing. Carl certainly could choose the other ones (it's his free choice, afterall) but this is the only one I'm looking at.
So if Carl exercised that free choice to reject the prophecy, then either Odin would have been wrong or the future changes ?
quote:
I'm assuming that the other possibilities are rather boring to look at because we would both agree that free will exists and there would not be much to discuss.
The point of the scenario was to think about how prophecy would work - as I told you when I introduced it. The scenarios where Carl chooses differently are the INTERESTING scenarios.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 206 by Stile, posted 01-30-2009 1:49 PM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 219 by Stile, posted 02-02-2009 12:08 PM PaulK has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 142 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 208 of 227 (496795)
01-30-2009 5:58 PM
Reply to: Message 204 by Stile
01-30-2009 1:35 PM


Re: Circuclarity
Straggler writes:
Your whole argument is circular.
No it's not.
Let's see:
IF Carl's future is defined by Carl's future choices.
THEN Odin can know Carl's future choices by means of knowing Carl's future.
To know the future we must know the choices. To know the choices we must know the future.
Indisputably circular.
Straggler writes:
Your whole argument is circular.
No it's not.
I am afraid that it is. Whether you realise it or not.
There is no "step by step". It's a given assumption, an axiom. There is no explanation, there is no methodolgy.
Calling it an axiom does not eliminate the inherent internal contradiction within your argument.
If you say that the future is both knowable and the product of free-will then there is an inherent internal contradiction. The two are logically irreconcilable.
Here, let me use the human-nose smelling like dog-nose analogy:
Human nose can detect smells like a dog's nose.
A dog's nose can detect more than a human's nose can.
The human nose can detect more than a human's nose can.
Straggler: "How can a human nose detect more then a regular human nose is capable of?"
Stile: "Because it can detect smells like a dog's nose"
Or because it is not a "regular human nose". Thus the circle is broken.
There is no such qualifying statement available when it comes to the discrepancy between free-will and knowing the future.
But if the dog's nose can detect smells that a human nose cannot, you are in effect saying that a human nose can smell things that a human nose cannot.
A human nose can smell more than is possible for a human nose to smell.
...see how ridiculous that sounds?
Very ridiculous. Which is why I would not say it and which is why it is not relevant.
The qualifying statement breaks the circularity.
It's not circular. There is no explanation. It's an axiom. You cannot argue with an axiom. You can either accept it and move on, or refuse it and refrain from making any following conclusions.
Calling something an "axiom" does not excuse it from inherent and internal contradictory logic.
That's the entire defintion of a "what if..." idea.
There is no inherent internal contradiction in the "what if a human nose can smell as well as a dog's nose can".
There is inherent internal circularity if you say that Carl's choices can be known by virtue of knowing a future which is itself defined by Carl's choices.
"What if Odin can know Carl's future choices by viewing the future portion of Carl's timeline that is defined by Carl's as yet un-made future choices"
Call it a "what if" statement, call it an "axiom" - Either way it is internally and inherently circular.
Odin can either prescribe Carl's future by narrowing the future section of the timeline to a single path or he can allow Carl free-will by allowing his choices to define that path.
But the two cannot logically both occur together. It is logically impossible.
Unless circular reasoning is employed. As you are unwittingly but rather forcefully and consistently doing here.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 204 by Stile, posted 01-30-2009 1:35 PM Stile has seen this message but not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 142 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 209 of 227 (496799)
01-30-2009 6:14 PM
Reply to: Message 202 by Stile
01-30-2009 1:22 PM


Re: I'll show the example, then
Straggler writes:
If we do not base our choices on our knowledge then what on God's Earth do we base them on?
A change of knowledge is fundamental to the circumstances under which the choice was made.
I agreed completely with this. And still do.
Thus the situation under which a choice is made is completely different depending on the absence or existence of a prophecy because the knowledge in each case is different.
Apparently you agree.
Straggler writes:
Well given the existence of an immutable prophecy how can Carl do anything other than that prophecised? He obviously cannot.
No one argues this.
So in the event of a prophecy there is no choice.
Apparently we agree.
So in the event of a prophecy we have both a unique and unobserved set of circumstances and no choices.
So by either of our definitions there is no free-will.
Carl can only make the choice that he was observed to make under very different (prophecy-free) circumstances.
2. Carl can freely choose to do what the prophecy says. Free will In Principle is obviously retained. However, if someone can see the future, then they'll know Carl is choosing this (in this case), and then there are no other options. General free will disappears even though free will still exists In Principle.
Emphasis added by me.
See which future? The prophecy-free future that Carl never actually faced? Or the prophecy-laden future where Carl had no choice?
Where is the free-will by any definition?
You are contradicting yourself here.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 202 by Stile, posted 01-30-2009 1:22 PM Stile has seen this message but not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 142 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 210 of 227 (496802)
01-30-2009 6:23 PM
Reply to: Message 205 by Stile
01-30-2009 1:41 PM


Re: What is Free Will?
Stile writes:
What I mean by "If Odin can see the future..." is to have such an ability granted for the sake of the discussion so that we can use our imaginations to talk about what kind of things such a scenario would result in.
I certainly agree that "seeing the actual, real future" most likely is impossible, and most certainly is not very intuitive. However, this does not prevent us from using our imaginations to think of the "what if..." scenario and moving on from there.
I am not concerned with reality any more than you are. I am not arguing as to whether anybody actually could see the future or not.
I am arguing that if someone can see the future then this necessarily compromises free-will. Both in theory and in practise.
In purely theoretical terms your arguments are flawed in the sense that prophecy provides actual contradictions with regard to any notions of free-will.
The two are wholly incompatible.
Then you have nothing to talk to me about. I am saying "If someone can actually see the future..." and then moving forward. I have been doing this all along. I have stated so over and over again.
If you are going to stop at "such a thing is impossible," that's fine, but then you don't get to talk about any following conclusions.
I simply meant that even your "what if" contains internal contradictions regardless of the possibility or reality of the "what if" in question.
Your argument is equivalent to saying - What if Santa Claus both exists and does not exist simultaneously.
That kind of logical contradiction.
Whether you yet see it or not this remains terminally true..........
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 205 by Stile, posted 01-30-2009 1:41 PM Stile has seen this message but not replied

  
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