Assuming that the word 'god' refers to the 'creator of everything' and is 'perfect' (the majority of definitions) then the existence of 'free will' (if it does, indeed, exist) precludes the existence of such a god.

If I have free will, it stands to reason that I am able to apply it to creating something that did not exist before as a direct result of the unfettered choices I have made within the non-confines of that free will (In other words, a god would not have had any control of those choices and, therefore, also have no authorship of the creative result.)

Therefore, I would have created something that was not created by god.

Therefore, everything would not have been created by god.

Therefore, god would not exist as defined, i.e. creator of everything.

Therefore, god can only exist if there is no free will.

Therefore, if there were a god, there could be no sin (imperfection), since everything would be his doing.


**** addendum


This is a fascinating discussion of 'free will' - but much misses the irony of my point - in that it poses an argument in favor of atheism based on a standard argument used by Abrahamic believers - that god created everything - except he didn't. Actually, they are stuck with a tremendous paradox we, as atheists, are not. Because, if god created free will - he made it possible and, therefore, certain, that some things are NOT of his creation - but if he didn't create free will, then he is pre-damning many people to hell (which JW's and Calvinists sort of agree on.)

Of course, as an atheist, if there is no real random number (a no-cause cause), we also have a problem because that suggests (albeit on a chaos theory level) that everything is still pretermined by a hyper-complex multi-chain of causality and, in a way, suggests a 'Master Plan' of sorts (albeit it without an actual 'Master' behind it.).

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There is no "free will" and there is no god. There is a perception of freedom that comes from the set of available choices at any given moment, however these choices are a closed set and any and all decisions(including the decision to postpone deciding) made are fully-caused reactions to external and internal stimuli, past and present. I don't see how a naturalistic worldview is in any way compatible with the concept of "free will". Maybe I'm missing something.
No one said free will is unlimited or that it should be in order to be such. Free will is freedom of agency within the confines of the options available at any given moment - for the most part as a result of our previous actions, which in their turn were the result of our exercising our freedom of agency, and so on and so forth, in a continuous loop. In Old Norse mythology that's the idea behind the notion of wyrd, an idea of fate that is not shaped by higher powers but one in which the outcome of our actions in the past and our freedom to undertake them now largely depends on how we have acted in the present and is bound to affect our possibilities in the future. Kind of like karma if you like, but without reincarnation.

Personally I think that the most effective argument to be made against god using free will is that it is fundamentally incompatible with the idea of divine omniscience.
Free will is freedom of agency within the confines of the options available at any given moment...

Where does this "free will" arise? Is its exercise the result of fully caused neurological response to stimuli, past and present? If so, where's the freedom? The will doesn't arise on its own, outside of naturalistic processes. The will is determined by genetics and experience.

Our unique behavior is the result of a cause-and-effect chain of events. Freedom of the will is illusory. This does not mean that we're fated or destined on a path. Fatalism is predictory- what ever is destined to happen will happen no matter what happens between now and then. Determinism simply states that, in hindsight, we can see that what happened happened as the result of a chain of events(fully-caused). It was not immutable, like fate or destiny. That's just the way things turned out. Had an event in the chain been different, a different outcome would have resulted. In contrast, fate suggests that it doesn't matter what we do, we're on a path that can't be altered.

Karma is nonsensical superstition, unless by the term you're referring to the real consequences of actions. There's no moral ledger being kept that will, in the end, be perfectly balanced.
hi nate =)

nice to see you on my side of the free will debate again!

Did you get some of these ideas from me, come up with them yourself, or read them somewhere?

If you did, I'd love a book recommendation!
Sorry, Johnny, I didn't get them from you, however I have enjoyed reading your thoughts on the subject.

Tom Clark's Center for Naturalism is a great resource.

http://www.centerfornaturalism.org/

Daniel Dennett, Susan Blackmore and Thomas Metzinger are some of the other great minds over there.

It's the only worldview that makes sense to me. I'm open to changing my mind. Of course, if I do so, that will be a fully caused event. :)
thanks! I'd like to hear an established, published opinion on this. haven't encountered one yet.
In that case, you'll love the Center for Naturalism and its related Naturalism.org.

Ajita Kamal has a Naturalism group here on A|N as well(http://www.atheistnexus.org/group/naturalism). There's even a Free-Will DNE(Does Not Exist) group(http://www.atheistnexus.org/group/freewilldne). Enjoy!
Not sure why you see an unsolvable contrast between our actions being a response to stimuli and the notion of free will. Our actions and thoughts are the results of neurological processes, I'm the first to acknowledge that, but we are our brain and not separate from it. Of course our actions come as responses to stimuli, but stimuli can trigger a variety of reactions and the particular way in which we react at any given time requires an awful lot of computation on our part, only a limited part of which we are aware of. Free will exists - limitedly to the options available at each instance -, yet the main limit is in our sense of awareness of all the processes taking place in our brain.
Of course our actions come as responses to stimuli, but stimuli can trigger a variety of reactions and the particular way in which we react at any given time requires an awful lot of computation on our part, only a limited part of which we are aware of.

I could not agree with you more, Fabio. It's in this nebulous unkown that we falsely perceive free will. All of our reactions are completely understandable when we operate with the benefit of full awareness of their causes. Of course, we enjoy no such full awareness.

I'm sincerely not getting where the free will comes into play, but don't give up on me yet.
Nate: All of our reactions are completely understandable when we operate with the benefit of full awareness of their causes. Of course, we enjoy no such full awareness.

Please rephrase that part. If the second sentence is true, how can the first be anything more than an unsubstantiated guess?
Yes. I see the problem in my phrasing. Thanks.

All of our reactions would be completely understandable if able to operate with the benefit of full awareness of their causes.
Hmmm, I still have an ontological problem with that statement.

Assuming there aren't uncaused causes (except for an hypothetical First Cause, Big Bang, whatever), and assuming everything is (even remotely) causally related to everything else (if only because of that initial singularity), I can't see how being fully aware of the causes of one's own reactions is any different of being "fully aware" (with no qualifiers, i.e., omniscient).

But a fully aware and sentient being would have to process more information than the universe itself contains (the universe as data, plus a bit of software). So to me, this full awareness you're talking about is not unachievable because of our own human limits, but because of a logical impossibility.

So, in other words, the condition in your statement is meaningless to me. I think "All of our reactions will never be completely understandable, because the universe can't contain more than itself." sounds much better ;-)

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