Oddly, if an all powerful creator being, separate from its creation, maintains almighty control of creation (Master Plan) - free will does not exist.

If, on the other hand, the level of unpredictably (or pseudo-chaos) is so high as to at least approach an asymptote of actual chaos, then virtual free will - with no insubstantial interactions* (supernatural events) - could be indistinguishable from actual free will.

I think that, just because religions are fond of positing the existence of free will (frankly, as a means of exonerating their god from the 'sins' of its creation) not only does not, necessarily tie it to insubstantial interaction - but makes it impossible in this particular model of substantive dualism.

I am not actually claiming that free will even exists at this high level of virtuality. But I wonder how a monotheist can buy into it within the framework of their belief in a Master Plan while an atheist can insist that its non-existence is actually pertinent and must be supernatural.

Keep in mind, a computer cannot generate an actual random number. It may be nearly impossible to work backward from the string to the algorithm that generated it - but that algorithm is there and is known. Whereas, chaos theory has shown that very simple equations can generate highly unpredictable results in their iterations due to a minute displacement of the 'starting point.' Thus, the so-called butterfly effect.

Therefore, one fairly valid response to the statement 'free will does not exist' is 'so what?"

*insubstantial interaction (supernatural) - anything without substance that, nevertheless, is said to interact with substantive reality. For example, if a ghost is not a physical thing (composed of atoms, etc.) then how could it be detected with the senses at all, since senses respond to substantive stimuli?

Views: 117

Replies to This Discussion

"I am not actually claiming that free will even exists at this high level of virtuality. But I wonder how a monotheist can buy into it within the framework of their belief in a Master Plan while an atheist can insist that its non-existence is actually pertinent and must be supernatural."

Theists, of both mono or poly varieties, often rationalize irrational beliefs, so there is no surprise that they are able to do so with free-will.

The type of free-will that naturalists (and this term is carefully chosen to remove the distraction of the term 'atheist') denounce is contra-causal free-will. This is a supernatural concept. The term implies a lack of causality, which is supernatural as you have pointed out with the example of a computer randomization program.

Regarding why it matters, or as you put it "so what?", here are some articles you may be interested in reading:

http://www.naturalism.org/freewill.htm

In particular, please read these:
http://www.naturalism.org/choice.htm
http://www.ethicalfocus.org/index.php?mpage=34/Free_Will.htm
http://www.naturalism.org/SommersCh5.pdf
http://www.naturalism.org/revolution.htm
http://www.naturalism.org/determinism.htm



And finally, you may be interested in this interview:
http://www.pointofinquiry.org/tom_clark_scientific_naturalism_and_t...

There have been many more arguments pointing out how the belief in CCFW makes us behave in immoral ways. One of my favorite speakers on this is Sue Blackmore. You may be able to find her talks online.

Cheers.
How can CCFW make us behave in immoral ways? Or, to be more clear, if CCFW is going to make us behave in particular ways, there is nothing we can 'choose' to do to change it. If there is no free will - there is no morality. In fact, we cannot choose how we act at all. No free will = no responsibility. Our behavior, lacking free will, is inevitable.

Now, if you buy into the 'so what?' variety of free will (let's call it existentialist free will) then, I guess, you can begin to speak of some level of reason to even have the word 'denounce' in your vocabulary. Otherwise, you might as well 'denounce' a hurricane.
"How can CCFW make us behave in immoral ways? Or, to be more clear, if CCFW is going to make us behave in particular ways, there is nothing we can 'choose' to do to change it. If there is no free will - there is no morality."

Did you actually read the articles? You are confusing fatalism with naturalism.

Morality is always about agreement between subjective minds. There is a logical incoherence in deriving it from any interpretation of natural law. What we can derive from natural law are the facts about suffering and the causes of our actions. What we do with that is subjective, and that is what constitutes morality. Read up on David Hume's is-ought problem and the naturalistic fallacy.
What we do with that is subjective ...

If what we do is determined, in advance, by previous causes - nothing we do is subjective ... we are simply objects acted upon by causes which, in turn, become further causes, ad nauseum. Unless we can introduce cause from no previous cause, are actions are no more subjective than that of a hurricane. We can't even 'agree' in anything but an illusory way - because our agreement is determined by previous causes etc. With determinism - the die is cast.

The only difference I can see between determinism or naturalism, and fatalism is that the determinist/naturalist clings to an existential idea that, because he cannot process all the information necessary to correctly predict all possible outcomes, despite the fact that they are, indeed set within the overall gestalt of causation, we must act as if we actually have a choice.

I'm fine with that. I agree with that. This is why 'so what?' when applied to the idea that - on an absolute level - free will is an illusion - virtually allows responsibility to have any meaning. But it is an existential meaning - an aesthetic - not an actual meaning. If there is nothing but cause and effect - there is no actual meaning. There is no self. The entire system we call the universe is moot.

And, when you compare the scale of a human life to the scale of the universe - that's not a stretch.
Howard, I simply do not have the time to go into this in detail. Others have put serious thought into this, and I have pointed you towards their writings. You have ignored them and are making assertions that they have dismissed in their articles, multiple times and with evidence. I have no interest in continuing on such a debate where the facts are going to be consistently ignored.
Adios.

RSS

Support Atheist Nexus

Donate Today

Donate

 

Help Nexus When You Buy From Amazon

Amazon

 

© 2014   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service