1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Featured we have no free will - prove me wrong!

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Eddi, Jan 23, 2019.

  1. Eddi

    Eddi Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2016
    Messages:
    234
    Ratings:
    +96
    Religion:
    God
    Been doing some thinking...

    “Everything we do and everything that happens has a cause” is true

    Therefore we can say that all things that happen are determined/caused by things that have happened in the past

    Therefore there is no free will as it is impossible to carry out any action that does not have a cause – all actions have and must have a cause

    Free will would require being able to act without a cause, which I think would be impossible. No matter how complex the human mind is, its workings are still governed by cause and effect, by things both external and internal to it

    Free will is therefore an illusion, as things that come about by “free will” are truly caused by the past

    I still believe we have wills, just not free wills!

    I like the idea of having free will so please, prove me wrong :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. syo

    syo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2016
    Messages:
    2,345
    Ratings:
    +577
    Religion:
    Religious
    No way. That's not free will. Free will is having choices.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  3. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    Messages:
    24,670
    Ratings:
    +9,182
    Religion:
    Agnostic
    You're absolutely correct. Free will is no more than an illusion spurred on by need. A concept that arises and survives for several reasons. For Christians it is necessary for the confirmation of the validity of sin and salvation, so it's highly doubtful any Christian will ever agree with us. Therefore, as I've found out from similar discussions here on RF, if any do reply to you be ready for a lot of unreasoned, unexplained, and specious responses. Don't expect many thoughtful, well reasoned replies.

    .
     
  4. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    Messages:
    9,945
    Ratings:
    +9,159
    Religion:
    Non-theist
    I'm forced to disagree with you.

    But before we start, what, precisely, do you mean by the term 'free will'?
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • Creative Creative x 1
  5. Eddi

    Eddi Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2016
    Messages:
    234
    Ratings:
    +96
    Religion:
    God
    OK, what do I mean by free will?

    I would define it as the ability to perform mental functions (e.g. agency, creativity, decision making) in a manner that is not determined by things that have already happened, i.e. the past

    I believe this is impossible, hence I don’t believe in free will
     
  6. Eddi

    Eddi Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2016
    Messages:
    234
    Ratings:
    +96
    Religion:
    God
    How we make our decisions regarding our choices (and how we imagine our choices) is determined by past events, so even if free will is defined as having choices I'd still say it's still an illusion
     
  7. bobhikes

    bobhikes infinitologist
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    7,732
    Ratings:
    +1,785
    No!
     
  8. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    Messages:
    9,945
    Ratings:
    +9,159
    Religion:
    Non-theist

    Hmmm...but don't we expect our decisions to be based on our personalities? And aren't those aspects of the past? So, aren't you really asking for a complete personality break when making some decision?
     
  9. Eddi

    Eddi Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2016
    Messages:
    234
    Ratings:
    +96
    Religion:
    God
    I’d say that the formation of our personalities is achieved by deterministic means and that the workings of the mind/personalities are determined by both past mental states and past external events acting upon the mind, which are processed according to mechanisms that are also shaped by the past
     
  10. wellwisher

    wellwisher Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2018
    Messages:
    364
    Ratings:
    +151
    Religion:
    Catholic
    Free will is the ability to make choices without psychological or emotional cost. This is why it is called "free" will. For example, if there is an apple and orange on a table and I asked you to choose one or the other, if you like apples, but hate oranges, you cannot freely choose the orange, since it will cost you discomfort. You can force yourself to choose the orange on a dare. You still have willpower and choice, but it is not free choice, since you will pay a price. Although if you gain enough approval from the dare, to offset the cost, it may add to free.

    Free will in not something we are born with, but rather it is a developed skill. We are born with the free will to develop free will. Being open minded and moderate in all things gets one used to spreading your choices in all directions, until there is no psychological or emotional cost for any choice. If you are linear, addicted or compulsive in your choices, you lack free will since your choices are already made for you. Your choices are predetermined by unconscious and mass minded causes.

    An Atheist does not have free will when it comes to Creation, nor does a Creationists have free will for science. In their mind, it is one or the other since they assume these are mutually exclusive. Neither has figured out a way to resolve the inner and mass mind conflicts, which maintain a lingering cost and prevent free will.

    Free will in terms of the symbolism of Genesis was connected to making choices apart from natural human instinct. Instinct makes choices for an animal based on long term patterns that evolve and become engrained on the DNA and brain.

    Adam, in paradise, could transcend the limits of human instinct and make additional choices without physical and psychological cost. In paradise, much of the free will was connected to extrapolation of natural instinct into new parallel paths. The omnivore can eat all types of food, even new things in new places. The body will accept this since it is still good taste and nutrition.

    The choice to eat of the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was not exactly based on free will, since it had a huge hidden cost. In terms of hidden cost and free will, free will can cause one to be opened minded enough to try anything, but not all things are good for you. Free will, when taken to the limit, can bring us to our physical, psychological and emotional limitations; have a hidden cost. From this interaction with our limits, we develop a deeper understanding of cause and affect from which reason appears.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    Messages:
    9,945
    Ratings:
    +9,159
    Religion:
    Non-theist
    And I agree. But why is that inconsistent with free will? It seems to me that 'free will' means *I* am free to make decisions among the possibilities. And, in each case, the past events that determine the choice are all inside of my brain and hence are 'me'.
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  12. Stevicus

    Stevicus Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    5,982
    Ratings:
    +2,893
    Religion:
    Agnostic
    I tend to agree with you that free will is an illusion.

    If there was such a thing as free will, there would be no such thing as insomnia.

    Or, as a point raised in another thread about the unreliability of human memory, how can anyone say we have free will when we don't have control over our minds and memory processes?

    I think the concept of "free will" is rooted in some kind of human sense of "justice" which leads to the notion that good choices always lead to good consequences and bad choices always lead to bad consequences. Humans want to believe this, so it fits in to the basic premise behind "free will."
     
  13. Eddi

    Eddi Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2016
    Messages:
    234
    Ratings:
    +96
    Religion:
    God
    An interesting perspective, and I do want to believe in free will :)

    But there’s a nagging voice in me telling me to say that “I” and “me” are constructs of the broader physical world and are only illusions

    It seems to me that the physical world is one gigantic system and that we cannot meaningfully isolate parts of it and declare those “me” or “I”

    I acknowledge that this does sound counter-intuitive to me but then that’s how I’ve been wired to think!

    However: Three things have occurred to me:

    1) God the unmoved mover – if such a being exists (I believe it does) then we can say we all have a divine spark and that that spark allows us to carry on unmoved actions?

    2) Randomness – are some things random? But is randomness truly without cause?? Perhaps there’s free will, determinism, and randomness?

    3) Complexity – a system (e.g. a mind) that is sufficiently complex could perhaps take on a life of its own and have some kind of free will, albeit a constrained free will?

    I don’t know, those are just some thoughts :confused:
     
  14. Thief

    Thief Rogue Theologian

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Messages:
    39,008
    Ratings:
    +2,942
    and you chose every word you posted.....

    no one twisted your arm....
     
  15. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    Messages:
    9,945
    Ratings:
    +9,159
    Religion:
    Non-theist
    Well, when I talk about the chair in my room as a separate entity, that doesn't deny its interaction with the rest of the universe. But it is meaningful to isolate the chair as an entity partly because it moves as a unit under the conditions we generally use it in.

    In the same way, 'I' and 'me' are, mostly, located within our brains. While it is true they interact strongly with the rest of the world (senses are important for making decisions in the real world), I don't think that fact alone makes it meaningless to say that 'I' and 'me' can be considered an entity.


    Well, some quantum events are random in the sense of being uncaused. But I'm not at all convinced that helps with the free will question. The reason is that quantum events are only really relevant on the small scale and when there isn't a large population of the relevant quantum systems. otherwise, the randomness 'averages out' and we get a type of determinism.

    An analogy: even if each flip of a coin is 'random', if you flip a billion coins, the number of heads will be very close to 50% of the total. The determinism comes from many random systems averaging out.


    Complexity, in the sense of sensitive dependence on initial conditions, is certainly an aspect of our brains. It also affects deeply the decision processes within the brain, making it inherently difficult or even impossible to predict outcomes even given good data on initial conditions.

    Once again, the crucial physical events for making a 'decision' happen within the brain. And since it is 'my' brain, I am literally the entity making the decision. Furthermore, I am doing so from a list of possibilities that I have been analyzing.

    That seems to me to conform to the concept of 'free will'. yes, even if the system is deterministic.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  16. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    Messages:
    9,945
    Ratings:
    +9,159
    Religion:
    Non-theist
    Well, the point is whether that choice was pre-determined by the conditions that existed, say, a day ago.
     
  17. Thief

    Thief Rogue Theologian

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Messages:
    39,008
    Ratings:
    +2,942
    but the opportunity came.....and he chose to post

    he could have held his peace
     
  18. Eddi

    Eddi Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2016
    Messages:
    234
    Ratings:
    +96
    Religion:
    God
    Maybe, but I have to wonder: was it truly a free choice?

    Perhaps if this morning I got out of bed on the other side, or perhaps if I'd had toast for breakfast instead of cereal then I'd never have chosen to make the post due to the day working out differently?

    And I'm sure the factors at work in determining what side of bed I got out of and what I had for breakfast are complex and multiple although granted, much of this may have happened in my head so could be attributed to me

    ...I don't know!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Epic Beard Man

    Epic Beard Man Bearded Philosopher

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Messages:
    6,304
    Ratings:
    +2,793
    Religion:
    Agnostic-Monotheist
    Free will requires agency...This thread is proof of that
     
  20. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    11,245
    Ratings:
    +7,536
    Religion:
    None

    The cause of me checking out yet another ''free will' thread was my free will thinking 'oh, not another free will thread, should i bother or not'.

    I used my free will to click the link just to see if it was a clone of previous free will threads.
     
    • Like Like x 1
Loading...