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Featured Does Free Will Exist?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Trailblazer, May 24, 2019.

  1. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    This 15 minute video, Why Free Will Doesn’t Exist, was posted to me by an atheist I have been posting to on another forum. I do not agree with him that we do not have free will. Below is the gist of his argument. The first two paragraphs below are a summary of what is in the video and the last paragraph is this atheist’s personal opinion.

    What makes free will an illusion is that the choice you make will always be either the choice to do what you most want to do (even when it overrides your wanting to do something else) or the choice you don't want to make but are forced to make.

    We like to think that we have free will, that we could make choices other than the ones we make. However, free will -- the ability to have acted differently -- is an illusion. No matter what choice you ever made, you never really had the ability to have chosen differently.

    Since free will is an illusion, it's also nothing but a lame excuse for certain problems that theists run into, for example, why a good god would allow evil to exist.​

     
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  2. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    Free Will is just a made-up religious term.
     
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  3. Enoch07

    Enoch07 It's all a sick freaking joke.
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    It's an extremely weak argument.

    What he is saying is you don't have the a ability to make other choices, because you made the choice you made.....

    Well yes, and had I chosen the other option the exact same thing could also be said.

    If there was no free will I couldn't make any other decision than the first option.

    So it defeats itself because in stating the above statements you have just shown you can chose between the 2 and therefore have free will.

    It's not as lame as other atheist arguments that we don't have free will because we cannot chose to shoot laser beams out of our eyes. So I'll give it a D grade for at least trying to be serious.
     
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  4. David1967

    David1967 Well-Known Member
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    Going forward yes, in hindsight no.
     
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  5. dianaiad

    dianaiad Well-Known Member

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    define 'free will.'

    As far as I am aware, 'free will' is the ability to choose between the options available to you. It does NOT mean the ability to do anything you want without having to deal with the consequences of your choices. It does NOT mean you have the ability to flap your arms hard enough to fly.

    As long as there is any choice available, there is free will.

    Even the guy tied up to a post about to be shot has a choice; does he stick out his tongue? Close his eyes? Curse his executioners?

    Free will is proven by this:

    People attempt to coerce others into doing what they want. If we didn't have free will, there would be no kidnapping, with the 'send us the money or we kill the kid."

    There would be no rewards or punishments. There would be no need for them.
     
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  6. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    It does not matter what you call it.
    The question is, do you think we can make choices?
    I am not suggesting we can choose to do anything we want to do, just that we have the ability to make choices.
     
  7. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    Making choices has more to do with karma than free will, as we are pretty much directed by cause and effect anyways.

    It's why I don't put much thought into the concept of free will.
     
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  8. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    I thought that karma was the result of choices that we make.
    What causes us to make one choice instead of another?
     
  9. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    The man in the video said that there are only 2 reasons you ever do anything:

    1. You WANT to, or

    2. You are forced to

    He says that you cannot control your WANTs and maybe that is true.

    I cannot control what I WANT but I can control what I DO about what I WANT. And that is the definition of free will, the ability to make choices between more than one option and act upon one of those choices.

    My will can override what I WANT and then I will do what I feel I should do at any given time.

    My desires do not control me. My beliefs which instill moral values in me control what I do.

    The whole purpose of religion is to instill values into us so we have control over our lower selfish nature, what Christians call our sinful nature.

    Free will does not mean you can do whatever you WANT to. Nobody can do whatever they WANT to do. Sometimes you can do what you WANT to do and sometimes you can’t. Sometimes you can act out of principle but sometimes free will is thwarted by something that precludes action.

    I do a lot of things I do not WANT to do because I think they are the right things to do. I do them because I put aside my own selfish desires for a higher purpose.
     
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  10. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    The video makes an assumption that people always do what they WANT to do. There is no reason to believe that, because people do things they do not WANT to do all the time. For example, people go to work even though they do not WANT to. Going to work does not fall under the category 2. You are not forced to go to work. Even if your boss shows up at your door and puts a gun to your head and orders you to go, you still have a choice, get shot or go to work.

    Did anyone ever see the move The Fugitive? Deputy Gerard corners the fugitive Richard Kimble at the edge of a cliff and tells Richard to put the gun down and get down on his knees and surrender. Kimble chooses not to do that and instead he jumps off the cliff into the rushing water in the dam below. Most everyone assumes Kimble is now dead because nobody could survive such a fall, but Gerard keeps looking for Kimble. As it turns out, Kimble did survive and he is still on the run.

    But just for the sake of argument, let’s say that there are two WANTS, the first one and the second one. It is entirely possible that the first WANT is the one you wanted most but you went with the second WANT because you believed it was the moral thing to do. Going with a work example, your first WANT (what you really wanted to do most) was to sleep in and NOT go to work, but you decided instead to go to work because you have a family to feed so you needed the money.

    The salient point is that if there are two WANTS, the first and the second, you made a choice between the first and the second WANT, and you used free will to make that choice.

    The only time you can be forced to do something is if you are incarcerated or in a mental hospital where you are subject to complete control. Even the fugitive had a choice to be taken in by Gerard and be executed or jump off that cliff and risk probably dying anyhow. At that moment in time he made the choice with his free will to jump off the cliff.

    The salient point is that there is a first WANT and a second WANT and you choose between the two WANTS. In other words, there was a thought process going on.

    It is the thought process that determines what you choose to do, so if you change your thoughts, the next time the same circumstances arise you will act differently. But if your thought process remains the same you will probably always choose to do the same thing under the same circumstances.

    It is not the circumstances that dictate how we will act; it is the thought process, because the thought process is what causes us to act. Of course under a different set of circumstances we will always act differently, but we might also act differently under the same set of circumstances if we change our thought process.

    God allows people to do evil things because there would be no way to stop people from doing evil things unless God overrode their free will whereby they choose to do evil things. In that case God would take away human responsibly for choices and the repercussions for actions, which would make no sense at all because it would turn people into robots under God’s control.

    God does not want a bunch of robots. God wants us to develop our own character. Humans develop their character by the choices they make and actions that result from those choices. That is essentially the reason God gave us free will. When we do good deeds we improve our character, but when we do evil deeds we destroy our character.
     
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  11. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Avatar Change Imminent
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    We must be responsible for our actions regardless of some pinball machine effects.

    We still have the ability to decide what is right and wrong. That's all the free will that is needed.
     
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  12. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    Some people's wills is freer than others. If a person is virtuous they have the freedom to do virtue actions. If a person is caught up in vice they tend to be slave to vices.

    Ultimately it comes down to choosing virtue over vice as to the level of freedom one is going to have. If someone is not taking virtue seriously, nor affected by its profound sensibility, they won't take it to heart. So they might end up taking vice to heart, and be a slave to those circumstances.

    It doesnt matter what words you use for it, there are two paths of choice lawfulness is virtue, lawlessness is vice. Virtue is the road to freedom. Vice is the road to slavery and oppression. I really can not think of any other paths of motivation and action. To be unmoved by virtue is really to be attached to vice.

    There seems to be this grey area people live in where actions are neither good nor bad they are just cause and effect playing out their deterministic fall of events.

    But the more i study virtue the more i come to realize there really is good and bad. Desensitizing one's self to all of that you won't see the forest from the trees, and you might consider yourself just another leaf falling from the tree with no hope of being anything different.

    But what if there is a whole realm of cause and effect that is totally unrealized that exists within you. Awaken it and its yours to consider, choose it and its yours to live.

    Profoundly seeking its truth you will come to its door. Passively not caring about it one bit and fall into blindness. Or perhaps just being passive to virtue as if its just silly romantic notions that do not bear any significance to reality, you might find yourself caught up in the everyday struggle of life being totally superfulous to it all.

    Yet i would say anything that you take to heart is going to show up in reality, and anything you dont take to heart is not going to become anything in your life whatsoever. Such is virtue and vice. And therein lies the power of free will.

    Before ever taking an action your heart is free to decide betwixt the two. Free will.

    And but what you love to do you are going to do, and that love is an act of choice. To love something is to say yes to it. To blow it off is to be ambivalent to it. To hate it is to reject it. I know myself to have these capacities so why not other people.
     
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  13. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    Karma isn't caused by just people. There's environmental karma as well that forces our choices to be limited.
     
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  14. KelseyR

    KelseyR The eternal optimist!

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  15. KelseyR

    KelseyR The eternal optimist!

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    In simpler terms the atheist noted is saying that free will doesn't exist because either a decision is made or it is forced. This illustrates that particular atheist's willingness to corrupt reason- all so that he can feel more confident about attacking that which he foolishly hopes to disprove.

    I mean, what's he going to say to his bride? "I'm not really choosing to marry you. It's just something that's happening to me."?
     
    #15 KelseyR, May 24, 2019
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  16. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    That would be a decent definition of free will; however, as pointed out in the video there is no such thing as choice or choosing, so the concept of free will fails because of the necessary existence of something that does not exist: choosing.

    And because choice and choosing are empty concepts there is no free will.

    Why not? People do what they do because they cannot do otherwise. If a person has been caused to try to kidnap someone he cant help but try to do just that.

    Rewards and punishments exist because we operate under the illusion that free will exists and therefore they are appropriate, mistaken as we may be.---in a sense it's a fools world we live in---and we do so because we can't do otherwise.

    .

    .
     
    #16 Skwim, May 24, 2019
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
  17. AT-AT

    AT-AT Well-Known Member

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    We have the freedom to make choices and accept the consequences of our choices. However, in me stating this, I'm not taking it a step further and implying I believe in the Christian concept of Hell.
     
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  18. AT-AT

    AT-AT Well-Known Member

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    Welcome back.
     
  19. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    But who caused him to do that?
     
  20. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Of course. It's the only way the sin and salvation of Christianity makes sense, so the Christian must champion it to retain the validity of his religion.

    Another illusion that doesn't exist: choosing/deciding. We come to the conclusion that X is right or wrong because we can do no differently. To do differently the causal events leading up to the conclusion would have to have been different. BUT THEY WEREN'T, hence our conclusion had to be what it was.

    .
     
    #20 Skwim, May 24, 2019
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
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