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Author Topic:   Free will vs Omniscience
Sarah Bellum
Member
Posts: 729
Joined: 05-04-2019


Message 873 of 1406 (879749)
07-21-2020 3:07 PM
Reply to: Message 871 by Phat
07-21-2020 1:06 PM


Re: Introducing An Old Argument Revisited
The problem is in the statement "he [god] had to allow the possibility of autonomy..."

An omniscient god cannot "allow" anything. If I build a robot and set it off to do its job, even though I may have programmed it perfectly, it could still encounter unforeseen circumstances (a solar flare, chewing gum left on the sidewalk...) and not do as it was built to do.

But an omniscient god cannot be the victim of "unforeseen circumstances"! Therefore you, the descendant of the original "build" back in the garden of Eden, will do as the builder foresaw you would. You have no autonomy.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 871 by Phat, posted 07-21-2020 1:06 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 874 by Phat, posted 07-21-2020 3:20 PM Sarah Bellum has responded

  
Sarah Bellum
Member
Posts: 729
Joined: 05-04-2019


Message 876 of 1406 (879754)
07-21-2020 3:43 PM
Reply to: Message 874 by Phat
07-21-2020 3:20 PM


Re: Introducing An Old Argument Revisited
Of course there are (if you postulate an omniscient god) no "unforeseen circumstances"!

If an omniscient god (allegedly) created a universe that ticks away like a perfect clockwork, then, in answer to the topic, there is no free will.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 874 by Phat, posted 07-21-2020 3:20 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 877 by Phat, posted 07-21-2020 3:57 PM Sarah Bellum has responded

  
Sarah Bellum
Member
Posts: 729
Joined: 05-04-2019


Message 878 of 1406 (879759)
07-21-2020 4:22 PM
Reply to: Message 877 by Phat
07-21-2020 3:57 PM


Re: Introducing An Old Argument Revisited
If I write a book and on page 1 a character insists they have free will and later, on page 10, they say, "I choose scrambled eggs for breakfast, instead of bangers and mash" you would never say that there was actually a creature that had the free will that that character claims.

So it is with an omniscient god creating the universe.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 877 by Phat, posted 07-21-2020 3:57 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 879 by Phat, posted 07-21-2020 5:56 PM Sarah Bellum has responded

  
Sarah Bellum
Member
Posts: 729
Joined: 05-04-2019


(1)
Message 892 of 1406 (879781)
07-22-2020 1:15 PM
Reply to: Message 879 by Phat
07-21-2020 5:56 PM


Re: Introducing An Old Argument Revisited
I don't see us as characters in a book written by some all-knowing author. There has been some speculation into whether or not we live in a "computer simulation" created by someone or something else, but the question of how to determine if that is the case is a knotty problem, if it is even solvable at all!

But those who postulate an all-knowing, all-powerful deity that created our universe have set us up as a fully written story from the beginning. If I plant a tree, I don't know for certain what will happen, how tall it will grow, what day it will drop its fruit, etc. But if I write a story about a tree, I have full control and there is no possibility of surprise. If god is all-knowing and all-powerful then our universe is like the second tree. Not really a tree at all, is it?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 879 by Phat, posted 07-21-2020 5:56 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 897 by Phat, posted 07-23-2020 12:52 PM Sarah Bellum has responded

  
Sarah Bellum
Member
Posts: 729
Joined: 05-04-2019


Message 899 of 1406 (879837)
07-23-2020 1:39 PM
Reply to: Message 897 by Phat
07-23-2020 12:52 PM


Re: Introducing An Old Argument Revisited
Perhaps the dilemma for the First Couple was to eat of the fruit and gain the knowledge but be tossed out of the Garden . . .

or

. . . stay in the Garden but have nothing to talk about.

Seriously, though, I wasn't talking about the "story" of the scriptures or the "tree" in the Garden at all. I was instead using them as images for something created or written or planted by an intelligent being.

The problem for believers in a deity is that if that deity is all-knowing and all-powerful then there cannot be "choice". If a human has a child then, even though the child has been "made" by the parents those parents will not know what the child may do when given a choice. If a human runs a very simple computer program (say, to add two numbers) the human will know what the result is. It may require a bit of work with pencil and paper for the human to figure out what the result should be and there is always the possiblity of hackers or power surges or yadda yadda yadda messing up the computer's result, but in no sense does the computer have "choice"!

Since the deity is (allegedly) all-knowing and all-powerful, we are in the position of the programmed computer, not the child, and have no free will.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 897 by Phat, posted 07-23-2020 12:52 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 900 by Phat, posted 07-23-2020 7:22 PM Sarah Bellum has responded
 Message 915 by Stile, posted 07-27-2020 1:29 PM Sarah Bellum has responded

  
Sarah Bellum
Member
Posts: 729
Joined: 05-04-2019


Message 901 of 1406 (879864)
07-23-2020 7:25 PM
Reply to: Message 900 by Phat
07-23-2020 7:22 PM


Re: Introducing An Old Argument Revisited
I don't know whether or not you're a believer.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 900 by Phat, posted 07-23-2020 7:22 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 902 by Phat, posted 07-23-2020 7:43 PM Sarah Bellum has responded

  
Sarah Bellum
Member
Posts: 729
Joined: 05-04-2019


(1)
Message 903 of 1406 (879868)
07-23-2020 7:48 PM
Reply to: Message 902 by Phat
07-23-2020 7:43 PM


Re: Introducing An Old Argument Revisited
I'll go along with C. S. Lewis who said that anyone who accepts the Christian doctrine (or professes to, for how can we see into any man or woman's heart?) is a Christian.

And similarly for other faiths.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 902 by Phat, posted 07-23-2020 7:43 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Sarah Bellum
Member
Posts: 729
Joined: 05-04-2019


Message 916 of 1406 (880006)
07-27-2020 5:14 PM
Reply to: Message 915 by Stile
07-27-2020 1:29 PM


Re: Introducing An Old Argument Revisited
This is really the question of whether an all-knowing god knows everything about that god itself. If, as you say, God does not know all the choices we are going to make, then makes the universe, and only then can see the future of the universe, that means the god didn't know what kind of universe was going to be made and so was not all-knowing.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 915 by Stile, posted 07-27-2020 1:29 PM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 917 by Stile, posted 07-28-2020 8:18 AM Sarah Bellum has responded

  
Sarah Bellum
Member
Posts: 729
Joined: 05-04-2019


Message 926 of 1406 (880083)
07-29-2020 10:02 AM
Reply to: Message 917 by Stile
07-28-2020 8:18 AM


Re: Introducing An Old Argument Revisited
quote:
a God that didn't know such things before the universe existed, but does know all such things after the universe existed
But if a god creates a universe how is it possible the god doesn't know all the details a minute before it is created but does know the details a minute after it is created?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 917 by Stile, posted 07-28-2020 8:18 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 929 by Stile, posted 07-29-2020 10:27 AM Sarah Bellum has responded

  
Sarah Bellum
Member
Posts: 729
Joined: 05-04-2019


Message 930 of 1406 (880088)
07-29-2020 11:43 AM
Reply to: Message 929 by Stile
07-29-2020 10:27 AM


Re: Introducing An Old Argument Revisited
But
quote:
it is possible for there to be a being that creates the universe, is all-knowing, and us humans within that universe still have free-choice
encompasses a contradiction. If I create something, whether is is building a machine or writing a computer program or planting a garden, I don't know all the details. Even with the computer program I can't foresee such things as power surges that might change the program's output. Because I don't have enough knowledge about the situation.

When you say we humans have free-choice you're thinking of a god in that situation, perhaps like a parent who sends a child out into the world and cannot predict what their child will do.

But an all-knowing god does have enough knowledge about the situation. Such a god could take out a piece of paper (either a minute before, or a minute after creating the universe) and write down, in detail, what choices you will make on 29 July, 2020 and give the reasons, down to the chemical reactions in the brain that result in the words you say and the direction you turn your footsteps.

How can you say you have free-choice any more than water flowing down a slope in the grip of gravity chooses to run downhill?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 929 by Stile, posted 07-29-2020 10:27 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 933 by Stile, posted 07-29-2020 1:31 PM Sarah Bellum has responded

  
Sarah Bellum
Member
Posts: 729
Joined: 05-04-2019


Message 945 of 1406 (880163)
07-30-2020 9:56 AM
Reply to: Message 933 by Stile
07-29-2020 1:31 PM


Re: Introducing An Old Argument Revisited
You wrote
quote:
By limiting the "all-knowing" part to only be referring to within our universe. For at least the moment of creation of our universe, anyway.
Let us suppose that a god is going to create a universe at 9:00 tomorrow morning. Suppose we ask that god, at 8:00, a question about an event that will take place in that universe at some time in the future. For example, when the first sentient being in that universe comes to a place where two roads diverge in the woods. We ask the god to write down which path, left or right, the being will choose.

How could that being have a free choice? The universe the god has produced is merely a clockwork that will perform exactly as the god has decided in advance.

If you don't like the fact that the answer was written at 8:00, before the creation, instead ask the god to write it down at 9:01, long before the sentient being ever has a chance to make a "choice".


This message is a reply to:
 Message 933 by Stile, posted 07-29-2020 1:31 PM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 946 by Phat, posted 07-30-2020 10:31 AM Sarah Bellum has responded
 Message 948 by Stile, posted 07-31-2020 9:05 AM Sarah Bellum has responded

  
Sarah Bellum
Member
Posts: 729
Joined: 05-04-2019


Message 951 of 1406 (880243)
07-31-2020 11:00 AM
Reply to: Message 946 by Phat
07-30-2020 10:31 AM


Re: Introducing An Old Argument Revisited
But a "choice" in which one of the two options is impossible is not a choice, is it?

You remind me of a card trick that uses a "force". The magician fools the subject into thinking they have the pick of any card from a deck, but, in reality, they end up with what the magician has already written on a sheet of paper tucked in a locked box that they gave an innocent member of the audience at the beginning of the performance.

Just because the subject thinks there is a choice, doesn't mean there is, any more than the murderer in a paperback mystery has a choice about whether or not to commit the crime, however much they may say they agonize over the decision to do so.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 946 by Phat, posted 07-30-2020 10:31 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 952 by Phat, posted 07-31-2020 11:56 AM Sarah Bellum has responded

  
Sarah Bellum
Member
Posts: 729
Joined: 05-04-2019


Message 956 of 1406 (880282)
07-31-2020 7:01 PM
Reply to: Message 952 by Phat
07-31-2020 11:56 AM


Re: Introducing An Old Argument Revisited
That's it! That's the question we have to consider, the interaction of free choice and foreknowledge. Traditional religion has treated the deity and the worshippers as parent and child. The parent sends the child out to make their way in the world, make their own choices. The parent, being wise, knows what choices the child will make but does not interfere.

But in that analogy, a parent cannot be a perfect parent (in the sense of having perfect knowledge). We have to allow for the possibility that the parent might be wrong, otherwise we don't have a parent/child relationship in any meaningful sense: the child is more of an android programmed by an inventor than an autonomous being.

But this results in a contradiction if you assume the deity has too much knowledge. For the ancient polytheistic deities this wasn't a problem: the gods on Olympus were merely powerful beings inhabiting a universe along with humans. There were oracles that made predictions, but there was no sense that those oracles created the human beings that were going to do what was predicted.

But if a deity creates the whole universe (which, it seems, Zeus and the other Olympians didn't) and knows every detail of someone's life long before they are even born, how is that situation different from that of the inventor and the android?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 952 by Phat, posted 07-31-2020 11:56 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 959 by Phat, posted 08-01-2020 2:19 PM Sarah Bellum has responded

  
Sarah Bellum
Member
Posts: 729
Joined: 05-04-2019


Message 957 of 1406 (880283)
07-31-2020 7:22 PM
Reply to: Message 948 by Stile
07-31-2020 9:05 AM


Re: Introducing An Old Argument Revisited
But "clockwork" and "free will" are a perfect example of opposites.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 948 by Stile, posted 07-31-2020 9:05 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 973 by Stile, posted 08-04-2020 9:37 AM Sarah Bellum has responded

  
Sarah Bellum
Member
Posts: 729
Joined: 05-04-2019


Message 962 of 1406 (880328)
08-02-2020 9:06 AM
Reply to: Message 959 by Phat
08-01-2020 2:19 PM


Re: Introducing An Old Argument Revisited
A minute after an all-knowing deity creates our universe, that deity already knows the trajectory of every single proton, neutron and electron from then until any point in the future you please. They, and everything else in the universe, can only follow the path prescribed by that all-knowing deity when it created the universe. It is all a great clockwork.

You, I, every living creature is part of a clockwork created by that deity and we act only along the prescribed path that the deity has set out at the beginning. We have no more choice than the wooden cuckoo has to pop out of the clock and chirp every hour.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 959 by Phat, posted 08-01-2020 2:19 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 963 by Straggler, posted 08-02-2020 3:57 PM Sarah Bellum has responded
 Message 964 by Phat, posted 08-02-2020 4:03 PM Sarah Bellum has responded

  
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