quote: We are here in 2015. Assume that God exists, but the world is exactly as it is now (God doesn't seem to interfere, no objective evidence, no one can "prove" God...) Let's say that in 2025, I'm going to have a choice. The choice in front of me is to go left or right down a hiking path I'm taking a leisurely walk on. Let's say that the fork in the road joins up again later so my final destination will be the same. God looks ahead in time ('cause He can do that) and sees that my free-will choice will be to go left. God never tells me about it. God never tells anyone about it.
I don't see how that removes my free-will choice.
My view is probably not quite the same as the one you are arguing against, but this is how I see it.
For your decision to knowable it must be fixed, inevitable before you even exist.
It would seem that it is fixed by the creation of the universe, and therefore an inevitable consequence of the creation of that universe.
If that it is true then God must know that IF he creates THAT universe then you will necessarily choose the left path.
Therefore God has knowingly dictated that you will choose the left path.
I'm personally not interested in what that means for free will (because I don't think that it means anything for that) but it does mean that God has responsibility for your decisions - and everyone's. Adam's (if there was such a person) Herod's, Hitler's...
quote: Limits of God's foreknowledge is one possibility
It seems to be the only one that works for you.
quote: It is also possible that God's foreknowledge of an event is obtained by God's direct intervention to remove other possibilities
That would be limited foreknowledge AND dictating the outcome in a way that more obviously interferes with free will.
quote: Or maybe God has the ability to invoke foreknowledge or to not bother with it at his whim
But even potential foreknowledge is a problem so this doesn't help much
quote: Or maybe God only cares about large overall patterns and does not sweat the small stuff unless it becomes of interest
Again, inevitability is a prerequisite for foreknowledge.
quote: Or maybe God works like a giant calculator and calculates the outcome of events based on looking at their current states.
Which doesn't help if you assume determinism, and limits foreknowledge if you assume (relevant) indeterminism.
quote: You have one model and your model requires that God know everything at all instants
Not at all. I don't for instance, make ANY assumptions about how foreknowledge is possible or bother with any particular view of free will.
Now I grant that I assume that God does know the consequences of the act of creation, but refusing to consider the consequences of your actions is not sufficient to absolve anyone of responsibility. So even that assumption is dispensible.
quote: I am going to describe one possible viewpoint. I submit that it is a view under which your suppositions are incorrect.
quote: The creation of a universe that includes the possibility of free will inevitably involves good and bad events. And with respect to the tiny part of the creation that is earth, very often man himself is the author of his own misfortune, other times accident and misfortune befall us. But overall, creation is a positive thing. The only alternative is non creation.
I would say that that is only a practical certainty, not a logical certainty. And omnipotence is only limited by logical certainty.
Worse, you have not established that the only choice God has is to create this universe or create nothing. That would be quite a big restriction - but you need to rule out the possibility that God could make anything better tan our universe for your argument to work at all.
And even then you will not have adequately answered my argument because the alternatives open to God at creation are not a part of it.
quote: Do such limitations mean that the creator is not really omnipotent? Well, given that none of us can conceive of a way to create any kind of universe with living beings in it at all, I think that's a rather silly question. If some of us starve on a world that can feed everyone, is that somehow God's fault? Is it God's fault that our sun is only going to last a few billion years? I don't see any of those things as something with which to find fault with God.
Omnipotence doesn't mean only "really, really powerful". Omnipotence is power limited only by the absolute impossibilities of logic. So, if you are alleging that God has limitations beyond that you are indeed suggesting that God is less than omnipotent.
So, skip the waffle and just admit that you are proposing a God that is less than omnipotent.
quote: I understand that such an understanding is incompatible with some expectations of omniscience and omnipotence. But quite frankly I think the understanding lots of people have about those things are kind of comic booky. What's more, I'm pretty sure that you yourself don't actually possess those beliefs. Instead you are extending what you believe must be the conclusions of people who do believe in an omnipotent God who cares about them in particular.
And you are wrong again. I am pointing out what I believe are the consequences of certain beliefs. I am taking a serious philosophical view, not a "comic-booky" one. I don't assume that the average believer has worked out the consequences of their beliefs or even really thought about the issues.
Finally I'll point out that I haven't invoked omnipotence. Granted it makes my position much stronger but I only rely on God being able to have perfect knowledge of the future (and that only within our universe) and God creating our universe.
So we come back to your initial assertion:
I am going to describe one possible viewpoint. I submit that it is a view under which your suppositions are incorrect.
And we have seen that that is false since you have failed to address my suppositions at all.
quote: Let's add God to the Schrodinger's Cat experiment. You put the cat, the poison, radioactive sample, the Geiger counter, etc. in the trunk. Before you open the trunk, God tells you that the cat is dead. Does that mean that there actually is some mechanism for making a particular atom decay? Does the prediction require that some particular atom did decay? Not necessarily. I maintain that it is still possible that atomic decay is non deterministic despite God's ability to know what happened.
Since God has stated that the cat *is* dead this is not an example of foreknowledge. God could have worked that out simply be observing that the cat was dead.
Even if you turn it into a prediction it doesn't matter. All your methods either assume that the cat will inevitably die (agreeing with my argument) or that God deliberately arranges it (which is even worse for you). Even the suggestions that God is unable to tell which atom will decay is irrelevant.
So no, nothing there of any value to the discussion.
If you're trying to deny God's responsibility for an event, having God directly arrange it only makes it more obvious that God IS responsible
quote: Yes, but the issue is whether the death of the cat could be said to be inevitable before God's prediction. You claim that such must be the case. But clearly some of the cases I provided, do not require any such thing.
Some of them deny the sort of foreknowledge usually attributed to God, yes. So what ? We've already got that far.
quote: Again, I have yet to see any defense from you that foreknowledge implies that an outcome must have existed at all times.
I'm not claiming that limited foreknowledge based on arranging particular events or lacking the ability to see the entire future is necessarily a problem. However I have defended my actual claim. As I've already pointed out, genuine foreknowledge of an event has the inevitability of an event as a prerequisite. Omniscience is usually taken to includes certain foreknowledge of the entire future, and therefore the entire future must be fixed from the moment of creation. Got that ?
quote: This discussion is hypothetical. I am simply exploring the possibilities of free will existing along side foreknowledge. If there are consequences of that, so be it. The situation still presents an alternative to what you are saying is required.
Only by assuming limits to foreknowledge. So you're still adding nothing to the discussion that hasn't already been said.
quote: But what I am suggesting is that an unexercised ability to see the entire future does not necessarily do so
Then objections which assume that God lacks the ability to see the entire future are hardly relevant, then.
Instead you are arguing against the position that to be knowable a truth must actually be true.
quote: The act of exercising the ability may require converting a portion otherwise non-deterministic universe into a deterministic one.
Which is not really the ability to know the future, just the ability to coerce the future. Limiting omniscience and making all prediction very much a matter of deliberate choice.
quote: you see "the future" as impossible to view for any being at any time... then yeah, you're right... there's no "looking ahead" that's going to make any sense at that point.
To view "the future" there must be a singular "the future" rather than a big mess of "might-be"s. And that's the point.
quote: However, if you see "the future" as something that just hasn't happened yet... then you start to allow the possibility of some omniscient being knowing what's going to happen by simply viewing the future as we view the past.
Which is what I was describing. The future must be as fixed as the past for it to be possible to view it.
quote: Perhaps there is a big mess of "might-be's" that are perfectly within the capabilities of an omniscient creator to know all of them... and which ones will be taken given the starting conditions.
Knowing which ones "will be" WOULD be knowing "the future". So no.
quote: I'm just saying that I don't see why your way of viewing the future must be the way things actually are.
It's the only way to view "the future", because you can't view something that doesn't exist. And that's all that matters to my position.
I won't go into the free will stuff because my views are quite different from those who are making free will arguments.