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Does Man have free will?

Shura Balaganov
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Joined: Apr 22, 2002
Posts: 664
Originally posted by Anthony Villanueva:

For physics in general and quantum mechanics in particular, the saving grace is its mathematics, which more or less relieves us of the burden of sustaining the science with comforting physical imagery which may be more imaginative than correct, like electron orbits or tiny spinning marbles. (Heck, it doesn't really even spin like an ordinary marble). But when it comes to theology, it's history is proof of how far it has fallen short of delivering its claims.
I mean, I don't see a forum thread here debating on whether or not two bound electrons can have the exact same set of quantum eigenvalues, do you?

Great to see a specialist in quantum mechanics joining us.
In fact, we could discuss how many times math and physics fell short of delivering their promises. But we won't.
What I see as a problem, is that science has been always based on certain fundamentals or laws, would it be axioms in mathematics or basic physics laws. These base concepts are usually taken as given, and then futher discussions are based on fact that opponents agree to follow these main concepts. Not so in theology, since base principles there are based on very shaky concepts called "believe" and "perceive". Therefore, with no common ground, it is only possible to merely suggest theories.
The funny thing is, most of the people don't really care that much about quantum mechanics, physics or math. Theology, on the other hand, is one way or other connected to everyone.
Consider even the concept of "knowing". It's a timebound concept. There is a point in time when I not aware of, say, fact A, and then later on, in another point in time, I now become aware. And this constitutes (in a very rash simplification) "knowing". Can we gracefully extract this intuition of a linear progression in time from the concept of "knowing" and still have a usable concept that somehow still captures the essence of "knowing"?

Anthony, I like this train of thought, but not sure what you mean by "extract the intuition of linear time and still have a usable concept"? If you mean that let's assume time to be non-linear, I still fail to see why the essence of "knowing" would chage. Can you "know" and "don't know" at the same time? Why not? Can you "know" and "forget"?
Shura


Any posted remarks that may or may not seem offensive, intrusive or politically incorrect are not truly so.
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Jim Yingst
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Let's take space of all Integers. Let's define a + operator (we will call it "plus") where a+a=2a+1, for any given integer a.
Then 2+2=5. Voila.

That's very deep, Shura. I could, with equal validity, decide to define the symbol "Shura" to represent a banana. And now, since it seems rather pointless to respond to a post from a banana, I'm going to go read for a while. Cheers.
[ June 18, 2002: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]

"I'm not back." - Bill Harding, Twister
Shura Balaganov
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Joined: Apr 22, 2002
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I understand your disguise, Jim. The trick I've done here is used to produce lots of useful things. For instance, that's how non-Euclidian geometry was started - the Fifth axiom was changed. I was just merely demonstraing the power of math, hehe
Another example, the + operator is defined differently for Imaginary numbers. This plays well into the concept of Free Will
I guess you mean that these examples do not apply to real life. I give you one that does. Let's assume that speed of light C is a speed limit. Let's look at Mass. Since our measurements are limited by the value of error (we assume that the smallest we can measure has value of 1), our scale is actually mimics Integer scale, with only difference that we don't have the same distance between numbers, because on a scale from 0 to C Mass values will be in a range from 0 to infinity. Now, for our measurements, the only valid values of + operator are the ones represented on our scale, therefore a+b=int(a+b) - closest value. So, for the simplisity of the case, we can assume that the distance between 0 and 1 is 3, between 1 and 2 is 2.5, between 2 and 3 is 2.1, etc. It is easy to see, how in this physical system 2+2 could actually be equal 5.
Ouch, this was waaaay off topic.
Shura
[ June 18, 2002: Message edited by: Shura Balaganov ]
Jim Yingst
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Actually what I meant was that this was an irrelevant tangent. Your newly defined + symbol has no significant relationship with the one Jason used. While you could probably make a self-consistent system proceding from this new definition, and that would be of mild interest to some mathematicians I'm sure, it wouldn't alter the fact that 2 + 2 = 4 using the symbols as Jason obviously intended them. Consequently I feel my new axiom "Shura == banana" seems to have at least as much chance of revealing some profound new truth.
At the risk of encouraging further discussion of this matter, I am mildly curious what the speed of light has to do with your latest example. I mean yes, I know relativistic mass is related to velocity in an equation that involves the speed of light, but as you didn't mention velocity either I don't see what this has to do with anything. Perhaps you were starting to talk about something else and changed your mind?
Jason - OK, that all seems reasonable. But it still seems to me you're choosing rather arbitrary rules for what is "possible" and what is not. I can agree that making 2 + 2 = 5 is impossible (at least in the manner you obviously intended), but I don't see why God is limited by the stricture that "you cannot create something from nothing" but is nonetheless able to transcend time. I accept that it is possible that these are both true for God, but submit that it's hardly self-evident. You're just making guesses - somewhat reasonable guesses, but guesses nonetheless - about what is and is not possible for God. Which is fine, but it's hardly going to convince me there's something inaccurate about me making different guesses.
All right, let's go with the assumption that God can indeed view all timespace - perhaps because he is timespace itself (or however many additional dimensions God requires) or maybe just because he has a really, really good crystal ball. Absolute preditive ability. In this case, does God himself have any free will? To me, the idea of God looking out at a set of points on a line implies that the points are already there. It sounds like there's really not much for God to do at this point if it's all set in stone. (Or graph paper as the case may be.) Does he have any goals or desires? Any ability to act on them? For me, absolute predictive ability would imply predestination, lack of freewill, and ultimately, irrelevance of individual choices or even thought - not just for humanity but also for God himself. So I'm curious how this model would work for the believers in the crowd.
Anonymous
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let's go with the assumption that God can indeed view all timespace - perhaps because he is timespace itself (or however many additional dimensions God requires) or maybe just because he has a really, really good crystal ball. Absolute preditive ability. In this case, does God himself have any free will? To me, the idea of God looking out at a set of points on a line implies that the points are already there. It sounds like there's really not much for God to do at this point if it's all set in stone. (Or graph paper as the case may be.) Does he have any goals or desires? Any ability to act on them? For me, absolute predictive ability would imply predestination, lack of freewill, and ultimately, irrelevance of individual choices or even thought - not just for humanity but also for God himself. So I'm curious how this model would work for the believers in the crowd.
I'm not necessarily a believer, more of an amused bystander.
To a believer, I imagine that the hypothetical divine entity would be able to alter the 'fixed path'. This, it seems to me, would be the only way to get round the idea that the hypothetical divine entity has no free will, and maintain consistency with the fact that he/she/it is omnipotent. Similarly, given the fixed nature of the past, an omniscient and omnipotent being would also be able to alter the perceived past.
It sounds like fiction to me, but if you are willing to believe in something that you have no proof of, why not believe in that unfounded flight of fancy too?
Jim Yingst
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Can we gracefully extract this intuition of a linear progression in time from the concept of "knowing" and still have a usable concept that somehow still captures the essence of "knowing"?
Sure, why not? Saying "I know" does not necessarily imply "once I did not know, but now I do". It may imply "I have always known". There's nothing about the concept of knowledge that is temporally bound - it's just that the idea of knowledge is usually framed in the context of temporally bound humans who started out knowing essentially nothing, and grew in knowledge from that point. But that's just the default assumption - it's not inherent to the concept of knowledge itself, IMO.
I mean, we haven't even decided if we can only know purely from experience, or if there is a priori knowledge.
Well, I'm going with the latter here. At least, it's certainly possible to imagine the possibility, which seems sufficient to "extract the concept".
I mean, I don't see a forum thread here debating on whether or not two bound electrons can have the exact same set of quantum eigenvalues, do you?
Hey, sounds like fun. Shura and I did sorta raise the issue here, but were unable to generate a controversial argument out of it.
BTW, I have forgotten Adam's sly dig at Paley's watch.
You have forgotten it, yet somehow manage to bring it up?
Anselm's ontological proof can be beguilingly persuasive.
If you say so. I just got a NullPointerException, myself. :roll: Maybe I need more wine...
And hey, we were nowhere even near about talking about what we mean by "will", much less, "free will"...
Hey, speak for yourself. I may not have questioned those definitions yet, but I am at least trying to keep them in the scope of the conversation.
[ June 19, 2002: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
Ashok Mash
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Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936
Originally posted by Cindy Glass:
..I just don't believe that there will be mice in heaven.

Did you mean there are people walking around (or driving Mercs or Cadilacs) in Heaven? That is quite different viewpoint, I should agree.
Not that I do not respect that belief or yours, it is just that I am too curious to keep quite. How can one imagine ultimate happiness as something that you could earn with earthly enjoyments? Is heaven just the best holiday resort? Is that all it is? I guess I would prefer hell then (for the adventure loving side of mine).
It was on tele here the other day, a Palestine extremist, strapped with explosives, ready to kill as many Israelis in one go, explaining his vision of heaven, before departing for the kill. He said there would be nice music, and he will be treated as a hero/martyr. God will give him food, wine and 40 beautiful wives.
Is that heaven all about? What about the pain he will have in his genitals after dealing with 40 girls, for god?s sake? Who will control his greed? Will a man be ever satisfied if he just keeps all his wishes happening? Won?t he get bored of that happy-life?
And about the 'Mice in heaven' situation, according to my imagination, there will be only souls in Heaven, mice, man or any such differentiations. (Heaven? Is there a place, with a gate reading "Heaven - Gate #1. Entry Restricted, Trespassers will be prosecuted"? :roll: ).
Talking about emotions, even plants have emotions. It is clinically proven fact they can react to some type of music.
Anyway, we can only disagree to such clashing point of views, and stick on to our own beliefs, if we are looking for a trouble free, peaceful life with our society. Let us just believe what our neighbour thinks and keep the locals happy. :roll:
[ June 19, 2002: Message edited by: Ashok Manayangath ]

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Fyodor Myshkin
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Originally posted by Shura Balaganov:
Great to see a specialist in quantum mechanics joining us.

He also has great potential as a technical writer


"And remember, when you look into the pit, the pit looks back into you."<br /> -- Anonymous INTERCAL hacker
Anthony Villanueva
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Then 2+2=5. Voila.

I think you're missing the point. Jason was referring to the canonical + operator, not a user-defined one. Heck, any C++ programmer (much less God) can make a binary operator like f(a,a) = 2a + 1 on Integer objects.

God can only do that which is possible and that which does not cause contradiction. Neither can God make 2+2=5, nor can he make square circles.

Contradictory with respect to what? To nature? Do you suppose a man coming back to life (in all respects a spectacular violation of the second law of thermodynamics) doesn't qualify as contradictory?
Contradictory with respect to logic? Even quantum particles do not follow the classical law of the excluded middle. ("Either it went in hole A OR...."). Some statements are undecidable in the Godelian sense, e.g. Russell's superset paradox. How can we be even sure that classical logic accurately reflects reality? Ever since Hume, we're really not sure if causality is an inherent property of reality or merely a category of the human mind. Who's to say that a non dice-playing God is laboring under the same handicap?
Create something from nothing? In total vacuum, virtual particle pairs are created and destroyed, all in accordance with the energy-time uncertainty relations. There's even the Casimir effect which is an experimental validation of this.
There is indeed more to heaven and earth, my friend, that is contained in your philosophy.
Jason Menard
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Posts: 6450
Originally posted by Anthony Villanueva:
Contradictory with respect to what? To nature? Do you suppose a man coming back to life (in all respects a spectacular violation of the second law of thermodynamics) doesn't qualify as contradictory?

Actually I do not consider a man coming back to life as positively contradictory per se (as opposed to coming back to life as an iguana, which would be). Extremely improbable? Definitely. Outside our abilities to reproduce? In the strictest sense, but modern medicine has many examples of the seemingly dead being revived. So how dead is dead? I will grant that a corpse that has been in the ground several years isn't particularly viable (although I believe hair continues to grow for some time), but a person that has been dead a relatively short period of time still has a host of biologic processes that continue, naturally depending on the cause of their demise. The second law of thermodynamics also seems to contradict the theory of evolution (which I pretty much subscribe to) by the way.
Ever since Hume, we're really not sure if causality is an inherent property of reality or merely a category of the human mind.

Aquinas seemed to have a definite opinion on the subject.
Anthony Villanueva
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He also has great potential as a technical writer

What gave me away?

There's nothing about the concept of knowledge that is temporally bound - it's just that the idea of knowledge is usually framed in the context of temporally bound humans who started out knowing essentially nothing, and grew in knowledge from that point. But that's just the default assumption - it's not inherent to the concept of knowledge itself, IMO.

Obviously, I disagree here, but let me try to discuss my point here further (sans convenient allusions which seem to make people uncomfortable -- yes, I got the hint Fyodor and Jim). I feel that knowing something presupposes a lot of things. One, something is "sensed". Second, these raw sensations are placed in some sort of "order". At least, I suppose we agree that a sensation and a concept are related but distinct things, yes? Third, these ordered sensations, these "concepts" are placed in relation with other concepts. So it seems (to me at least) that there is an inherent temporal progression in the act of knowing.
From another perspective, you can imagine knowing as discursive, that is, instead of immediately knowing all the consequences of a single factual statement, we progress from point to point using syllogistic reasoning. Euclid's 5 postulates may seem self-evident, but it seems difficult to believe that anyone (or at least one human being) will immediately grasp (or KNOW) all its antecedent theorems, corollaries, now and forever.

I mean, I don't see a forum thread here debating on whether or not two bound electrons can have the exact same set of quantum eigenvalues, do you?
Hey, sounds like fun. Shura and I did sorta raise the issue here, but were unable to generate a controversial argument out of it.

The point I wished to make (ineptly it seems) is that a lot of fundamental questions in physics have been resolved in a reasonable manner, so much so that it seems justified to talk of "progress", unlike fundamental theological or philosophical questions, which may have been already asked in an ancient Greek agora and still being resurrected/posted on an Internet site.
Does it pass the time while we take amusing (or not) intellectual potshots at each other? Yes. Do we actually have a shot on solving this thing now in this forum? You tell me.
Anthony Villanueva
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Joined: Mar 22, 2002
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Actually I do not consider a man coming back to life as positively contradictory per se (as opposed to coming back to life as an iguana, which would be).

Well I meant a guy being dead as the proverbial doornail. Let's go to the extreme: a decapitated man. Can God resurrect such a man without involving Himself into a contradiction?
(In some religions though, going back as an iguana may seem reasonable and fitting for certain individuals. Where would that leave us?)

The second law of thermodynamics also seems to contradict the theory of evolution (which I pretty much subscribe to) by the way.

No, the second law is a statistical law. In a particular subsystem, entropy may be decreasing, but in an overall closed system, entropy >= 0.

Aquinas seemed to have a definite opinion on the subject.

Yes, that knowledge of a thing depends on the capability of the knower, not of the perceived thing. That God is eternal, in full possesion of the present, so there is no future or past, unlike a (possibly) perpetual world that fleets from moment to moment. That mere perception of the present as is does not affect causality (but according to quantum mechanics etc etc). Ergo...
But my objection nevertheless is that when we use terms/concepts (that are perfectly fine when used in a familiar context) and project them in as region where the validity of their use is uncertain, an entire chain of reasoning based on these terms/concepts may be possibly inaccurate. Science has a self-correcting mechanism. Theology does not. If you review Aquinas' proofs on the existence of God, one of them being:
if A causes B, then something must have caused A, and so on ad infinitum, unless we posit an entity which is inherently uncaused.
(and then Aquinas goes on to prove that that entity is necessarily God)
One could ask that: can we apply the law of causality in the context of an infinite chain of events? In mathematics, when we deal with normal addition in the context of an infinite series, there are very definite rules which say when a series converges to a definite sum or not. Can someone demonstrate this with equal logical rigor with the law of causality?

Not so in theology, since base principles there are based on very shaky concepts called "believe" and "perceive". Therefore, with no common ground, it is only possible to merely suggest theories.

Aquinas would disagree. Divine revelation is considered as definite knowledge, "scientific" knowledge. Furthermore, in "Summa Contra Gentiles" he argued that one should believe in God on purely reasonable grounds.

The funny thing is, most of the people don't really care that much about quantum mechanics, physics or math. Theology, on the other hand, is one way or other connected to everyone.

I find that sad, because I think people who go professionally into these fields do so because of an unfailing sense of wonder that somehow invariably fails to convey itself to the lay person. And going back to Aquinas, for him, there is an natural progession of knowledge from physics to metaphysics to theology. That is, the conclusions of physics should be the foundations of metaphysics, which deals with all reality, seen and unseen.
[ June 19, 2002: Message edited by: Anthony Villanueva ]
Cindy Glass
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Originally posted by Ashok Manayangath:
Did you mean there are people walking around (or driving Mercs or Cadilacs) in Heaven?

What are you talking about? I said that I didn't think that there would be mice in heaven. I did NOT say that there would be ANYTHING material in heaven. We were talking about souls. :roll: The material stuff was your invention.
I only think that there will be souls or spiritual energy or whatever you call it in heaven. I just don't think that there will be mice souls in heaven. Or cockroach souls, or ameoba souls or yeast souls or bunny souls etc.
Of course since I question whether all the human souls will end up in heaven - this is not a difficult stretch.
That is a basic foundation of Christianity - that not every human soul is going to make it. And that left to our own devices NONE of us is going to make it. Therefore we need to get our souls as aligned with God as possible so that when the time comes we WILL cross over to wherever it is that God is hanging out. There is ALOT of debate over what it takes to do that.


"JavaRanch, where the deer and the Certified play" - David O'Meara
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
Jason - OK, that all seems reasonable. But it still seems to me you're choosing rather arbitrary rules for what is "possible" and what is not. I can agree that making 2 + 2 = 5 is impossible (at least in the manner you obviously intended), but I don't see why God is limited by the stricture that "you cannot create something from nothing" but is nonetheless able to transcend time.

Not being able to create something from nothing isn't a limiting factor as I see it, but it would be a contradiction. I only mentioned "creating something from nothing" to establish a heirarchy that seemed relative to the topic about creating the rock. Let me try again...
1. Something cannot be created from nothing.
2. Before the universe, there was nothing but God, who is all powerful.
3. God created the universe.
4. Since there was nothing but God, and you can't create something from nothing, the universe must be of God's essence. You could think of the universe as coming from a part of God, maybe therefore being somehow a subset.
5. The universe is therefore less than God. It cannot be equal to God, nor can it be greater than God. God is therefore more powerful than the universe.
6. The above would follow for anything God created. Therefore God cannot create anything which is equal to or greater than God.
7. God could not create a rock which he could not lift because the rock would have to be more powerful than God.
I accept that it is possible that these are both true for God, but submit that it's hardly self-evident. You're just making guesses - somewhat reasonable guesses, but guesses nonetheless - about what is and is not possible for God. Which is fine, but it's hardly going to convince me there's something inaccurate about me making different guesses.

You are correct, of course. What we would need to do is establish a definition of God, which we haven't. We kind of jumped right in to divine foreknowledge and free will first. Defining God would be quite a lengthy thread in its own right I'm sure.
All right, let's go with the assumption that God can indeed view all timespace - perhaps because he is timespace itself (or however many additional dimensions God requires) or maybe just because he has a really, really good crystal ball. Absolute preditive ability. In this case, does God himself have any free will? To me, the idea of God looking out at a set of points on a line implies that the points are already there. It sounds like there's really not much for God to do at this point if it's all set in stone. (Or graph paper as the case may be.) Does he have any goals or desires? Any ability to act on them? For me, absolute predictive ability would imply predestination, lack of freewill, and ultimately, irrelevance of individual choices or even thought - not just for humanity but also for God himself. So I'm curious how this model would work for the believers in the crowd.

According to many of the "deep thinkers", God does not predict, he knows. The philosopher Boethius describes God's knowledge as a totum simul, in which basically all moments in time are seen as simultaneously present in a single divine perception. So you could look at this not as foreknowledge of future events, but knowledge of an eternal present.
But that still doesn't say much about free will. Let's say you decide at T1 to take some action X, and this action plays out at T2. We can view this as a conditional necessity. If you decide to take action X at T1, then when X is occuring at T2, it is necessarily true that X occurs at T2. Your free will is evident at T1, and the results of your free will evident at T2.
Taking into account the aforementioned regarding God's perception of time, God does not have knowledge at T1 the action that will unfold at T2, since that would imply temporality. Instead He has knowledge of events at T1 and T2 simultaneously in some kind of eternal NOW.
As for God's free will, goals, and desires, I think this is established failry clearly in the Bible, and cannot see any contradicition with anything else that has been said here.
[ June 19, 2002: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
Ashok Mash
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Originally posted by Cindy Glass:

...I said that I didn't think that there would be mice in heaven. I did NOT say that there would be ANYTHING material in heaven. We were talking about souls. :roll: The material stuff was your invention.

All right, I think I got you wrong when I read, "I just don't believe that there will be mice in heaven." Sorry for that.
Peace
Ashok.
Jason Menard
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Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by Anthony Villanueva:

Let's go to the extreme: a decapitated man. Can God resurrect such a man without involving Himself into a contradiction?

I would see resurrecting a man who had been decapitated as a contradiction. Decapitation is one of those things which in the field of emergency medicine is referred to as a "definitive sign of death". But hey, who knows what wonders medical science may someday achieve.
But my objection nevertheless is that when we use terms/concepts (that are perfectly fine when used in a familiar context) and project them in as region where the validity of their use is uncertain, an entire chain of reasoning based on these terms/concepts may be possibly inaccurate. Science has a self-correcting mechanism. Theology does not.

I don't disagree. However, I don't think science is a be all end all in that science is only what we understand it to be. Science is a tool Man uses to describe the universe as he knows it. Think how much our understanding of science has changed throughout the last several centuries and you will realize that even scientific certainty can only be so certain.
I do think it is theoretically possible to explain pretty much anything through science, but I believe our present vocabulary is too limited. There's much we think we know, but I am certain there is far more that we don't know. So while I believe that theoretically God may be described scientifically, it will be quite some time before we get to that point.
Shura Balaganov
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Posts: 664
Originally posted by Anthony Villanueva:

...And going back to Aquinas, for him, there is an natural progession of knowledge from physics to metaphysics to theology. That is, the conclusions of physics should be the foundations of metaphysics, which deals with all reality, seen and unseen.

And I agree with Aquinas on this. More fundamental concepts ofsciences are tied up with metaphysics. Let's even take space-time in physics: two distinct concepts still exist, Galilean Space-Time and Minkowski Space-Time. One argues for absolute time, the other, which subscribes to the theory of special relativity, excludes faster-than-light speeds a priori. Here's an interesting link suggesting that light can actually travel faster than light speed:
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/astronomy/light_speed_000530.html
If this proves to be the case, and light can carry information faster than speed of light, then the consequences are enormous. For instance, that would mean that the results of an event can happen before event itself....And that will turn our understanding of the world upside down.
As far as scientifically proove theology... There's a reason Theology (and metaphysics for that matter) are above sciences. Sciences still failed to model simple human things like cloud or stream. I believe science would need to build a lot stronger foundation, and produce a number of break-throughs before anyone can talk about defining concepts like "God", "Time" and "Will".
Nevertheless, I would like to remind people that this is a Meaningless Drivel forum, and no scientific proof was meant to be uncovered here in the first place...I guess scientific proof might even be prohibited here
Shura
Anthony Villanueva
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I agree with you there too. (that physics is a foundation for theology, and that the sciences need more information before it can satisfactorily explain God, will, etc.) The problem, I see, however, is when there is a revolution in science, it will impact on the subsuming metaphysics. To be more concrete, it will affect the ethical codes embraced by society, possibly in a negative way.
For example, during the medieval period, the earth was the literal center of the universe. Man was special, a created being fixed in God's image. We were the "star" on God's stage, the main actor in this divine comedy.
A few hundred years later, earth was a planet in a galaxy of a billion stars in a universe with a billion galaxies, and man was a highly evolved primate, a product of natural selection. We are now the dubious products of (possibly) blind evolution, living in a tiny corner of a vast and enigmatic universe. How can an act of a (possibly insignificant) individual meaningfully "echo in eternity"?
Surely this loss of status -- this Fall -- has disconcerted a lot of people, and science, being the messenger of ill tidings, well...
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Ashok Manayangath:
[QB][/QB]

will some one tell me ...
when you say soul, then what do you mean ??
Jim Yingst
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The point I wished to make (ineptly it seems)
No, you did fine. I got your point, and I agree with it. I was also mildly amused by the mental image of people trying to debate the exclusion principle in MD, so I made a small joke. A joke, I say, a joke, son. Welcome to MD.
Does it pass the time while we take amusing (or not) intellectual potshots at each other? Yes.
No potshot at you was intended in my comment joke about debating Pauli. I've taken shots at some of the ideas of Shura and others, but they seem to have survived, hardy souls that they are. The intent was generally to dispense with weak or irrelevant arguments, or to get clarification on concepts that seemed too ambiguous to me.
Hmmm... not sure what you're reacting to, so I looked through some of my other comments. My response to your comment about Paley's watch was intended as an indication that I honestly had no idea what you meant to say there. My comment about Anselm's argument simply meant that I didn't find anything 'beguilingly convincing' about it; it sounds like nonsense to me. The wine comment was unnecessary I suppose. Perhaps I just need to read Anselm's argument from a better source - this one had such needlessly convoluted grammar it was difficult to take seriously.
Do we actually have a shot on solving this thing now in this forum? You tell me.
Solve it? No, I don't think we ever did. Doesn't mean we can't discuss it to share ideas to better understand what others think, and possibly revise some of our own.
[ June 19, 2002: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
Shura Balaganov
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Originally posted by me:
I guess you mean that these examples do not apply to real life. I give you one that does. Let's assume that speed of light C is a speed limit. Let's look at Mass. Since our measurements are limited by the value of error (we assume that the smallest we can measure has value of 1), our scale is actually mimics Integer scale, with only difference that we don't have the same distance between numbers, because on a scale from 0 to C Mass values will be in a range from 0 to infinity. Now, for our measurements, the only valid values of + operator are the ones represented on our scale, therefore a+b=int(a+b) - closest value. So, for the simplisity of the case, we can assume that the distance between 0 and 1 is 3, between 1 and 2 is 2.5, between 2 and 3 is 2.1, etc. It is easy to see, how in this physical system 2+2 could actually be equal 5.
-------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
...I am mildly curious what the speed of light has to do with your latest example. I mean yes, I know relativistic mass is related to velocity in an equation that involves the speed of light, but as you didn't mention velocity either I don't see what this has to do with anything. Perhaps you were starting to talk about something else and changed your mind?


Yeah, both. To my defense, it is not very wise to build mathematical models at 2 in the morning... :roll: I was using word "speed" instead of "velocity". The idea was that velocity is a finite interval between 0 and C, and Mass, dependent on velocity, at the same time is on infinite interval from 0 to infinity (because Mass goes to infinity when velocity approaches speed of light). The fact that we have to fit "infinite interval" into a finite looks like a series with a limit C, therefore producing pattern of integer values with uneven, decreasing "distance". Then + operator is applied to distances, not to numbers themselves. For Integers it would make no difference, because distance between the two is always 1. but in my case distance is decreasing towards 0. I guess I am mumbling for too long again... :roll:
Shura
Shura Balaganov
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You know they say "this person has a strong will". Do they mean he/she also has a Free Will?
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Originally posted by Ravish Kumar:
when you say soul, then what do you mean ??

SOUL, n. A spiritual entity concerning which there hath been brave disputation. Plato held that those souls which in a previous state of existence (antedating Athens) had obtained the clearest glimpses of eternal truth entered into the bodies of persons who became philosophers. Plato himself was a philosopher. The souls that had least contemplated divine truth animated the bodies of usurpers and despots. Dionysius I, who had threatened to decapitate the broad- browed philosopher, was a usurper and a despot. Plato, doubtless, was not the first to construct a system of philosophy that could be quoted against his enemies; certainly he was not the last. "Concerning the nature of the soul," saith the renowned author of _Diversiones Sanctorum_, "there hath been hardly more argument than that of its place in the body. Mine own belief is that the soul hath her seat in the abdomen -- in which faith we may discern and interpret a truth hitherto unintelligible, namely that the glutton is of all men most devout. He is said in the Scripture to 'make a god of his belly' -- why, then, should he not be pious, having ever his Deity with him to freshen his faith? Who so well as he can know the might and majesty that he shrines? Truly and soberly, the soul and the stomach are one Divine Entity; and such was the belief of Promasius, who nevertheless erred in denying it immortality. He had observed that its visible and material substance failed and decayed with the rest of the body after death, but of its immaterial essence he knew nothing. This is what we call the Appetite, and it survives the wreck and reek of mortality, to be rewarded or punished in another world, according to what it hath demanded in the flesh. The Appetite whose coarse clamoring was for the unwholesome viands of the general market and the public refectory shall be cast into eternal famine, whilst that which firmly through civilly insisted on ortolans, caviare, terrapin, anchovies, _pates de foie gras_ and all such Christian comestibles shall flesh its spiritual tooth in the souls of them forever and ever, and wreak its divine thirst upon the immortal parts of the rarest and richest wines ever quaffed here below. Such is my religious faith, though I grieve to confess that neither His Holiness the Pope nor His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury (whom I equally and profoundly revere) will assent to its dissemination."
Ashok Mash
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Originally posted by Ravish Kumar:

will some one tell me ...
when you say soul, then what do you mean ??

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Shura Balaganov
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No Free Will for you. Go do some work for change!
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Randall Twede
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soul eh....motown....aretha...the supremes


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Michael Ernest
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I refuse to have free will, and no one can make me have it, ever.
Michael Ernest
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I'm not persuaded that foreknowledge and free will are mutually exclusive. Given that God knows everything that we will do, it does not have to follow that this knowledge is granular and deterministic. It could simply be an greater awareness that can calculate all variables that define our own limits. It could be the perspective of a meta-consciousness that knows definitively the bounds of the fishbowl we all live in.
I infer this from racquetball. Let's say I am standing outside the court this game is played in. There are two players inside. When the game is in progress, person one is waiting to hit the ball, while person two is waiting for it to be hit.
From the perspective of person two, the ball can go "anywhere" his own perception and ability allow him to determine. Person is "free" to hit the ball as he chooses. The walls promote limits, but the number of possible directions the ball can travel remain infinite. Neither is there a loss of freedom inasmuch as these confines were freely chosen to promote the efficiency of the game and a different infinitude than, say, the parking lot.
From those choices, I the human overseer can anticipate most outcomes a few seconds before they occur. But the players are not in any way bound or "fated" by my perspective.
If I am the overseer God, I too see all possibilities in the game; furthermore, not only can I foretell all possible results at once, I divine the result that will occur, even given infinitude of the confined dimensions of court space and this one thread of forward-moving time.
God's perfection lets Him see what will occur, and He sees this without error. Person one is nonetheless free within the limits of his own perception; God's consciousness, as the set all of perceptions, sees outside that frame. He does not consider person one not-free, but fated to choose freely in a smaller set of circumstances than His. God, as a transcender of dimension, also sees forward to events where person one's conscious might in fact expand, and through that expansion chooses 'illogically' (from person two's perspective) to disrupt the game, quit without explanation, refuse to pay the court fee and maybe even steal some towels. God is just ahead of the game plan, but he is not by that fact pre-determining events.
The idea that God cannot create a rock He cannot lift seems to me a smugly human concept. God is not bound by this Law because, so far as we can tell, he IS that Law. Divine power is not defined by the power to usurp onesself. The idea that God must confound Himself to satisy us of His power is itself a human attempt to destroy a rock that cannot exist.
Free will, I would therefore submit, is not random. It is chaotic; and even chaos betrays patterns within itself.
[ June 20, 2002: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
Jim Yingst
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The idea that God must confound Himself to satisy us of His power is itself a human attempt to destroy a rock that cannot exist.
Perhaps so, in general. My own motivation in bringing up this argument was to attack the notion of absolute "perfection" as a useful determinator of what God can or can not do. (E.g. does he transcend time itself or not.) I didn't really mean it for serious consideration beyond that.
Your own description of God's knowledge of the future sounds more like an infallible predictor who exists in the present moment, rather than a being utterly unbound by time. Or maybe I'm misinterpreting here. In this context I can agree that humans have free will from their own perspectives. It seems that from God's perspective, they behave deterministically. Maybe this is as "free" as free will gets. It seems a reasonable way to define free will - unknowable to anyone else except God. Works for me. To go beyond this, someone would probably have to suggest another definition of free will (as Anthony mentioned a while back). I don't have another off the top of my head, so let's see what others come up with...
Cindy Glass
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
I infer this from racquetball.

So I am really just a racquetball to God
Michael Ernest
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
[b]
Your own description of God's knowledge of the future sounds more like an infallible predictor who exists in the present moment, rather than a being utterly unbound by time. Or maybe I'm misinterpreting here.

Well now, if I could describe God perfectly, who would I be? I think your inference is reasonable, and not at odds with what I intended. From here, though, I could only speculate that for God, knowledge of the future amounts to existence outside of time. He can "move" to such events in His consciousness at will with utter certitude and experience them before they happen to us.
"Infallible prediction" would better express the distortion and ignorance informing my own view than it would God's true nature, but then again I can only work with what I got.
Michael Ernest
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Originally posted by Cindy Glass:

So I am really just a racquetball to God

Not you, dear. Racquetballs is for reg'lar people. You'd be more like a perpetual-motion superball in an aluminum shoebox.
Tony Alicea
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But there is no god; so what's the doubt or question?


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Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Tony Alicea:
But there is no god; so what's the doubt or question?

The question was:
Given that God exists and has divine foreknowledge of everything we will think, say, or do, does Man have free will?
It is simply a conditional problem: (Man's free will | God exists).
Whether or not God does exist is another question. There are many good arguments supporting either position. You state an absolute yet give no convincing argument one way or another.
Otto Drunkencoder
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:

The question was:
Given that God exists and has divine foreknowledge of everything we will think, say, or do, does Man have free will?
It is simply a conditional problem: (Man's free will | God exists).

Recht formula is:
(God exists) -> (Man has free will)
which is equivalent to
NOT ((God exists) AND NOT (Man has free will))
Now we know that 1) God doesn't exists and 2) from a false statement any conclusion can be driven (that's how -> function is defined). So
(God exists) -> (Man has free will) - TRUE
(God exists) -> (Man doesn't have free will) - TRUE
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:

7. God could not create a rock which he could not lift because the rock would have to be more powerful than God.
As a friend of mine says, not only can God create a rock that He can't move but in fact He has created a rock that He can't move... the human heart.


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Anthony Villanueva
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Well, actually, I think no one has shown to anyone's satisfaction here that
(God exists) -> (Man has free will)
so we can't claim yet that this conditional is true. Furthermore, as Jason pointed out already, the price of admission for playing is assuming (hypothetically) that God exists.
Hm. Rocks and raquetballs seem to be unconvincing evidence to most people. I dusted off my Bible this weekend, and lo ye people: in all 4 Gospels, there is the story of Jesus predicting Peter's thirce-fold denial of Him "as the cock crows". Peter of course, protested, but as divine foreknowledge foretold, Peter ditched Him the moment things got hot.
Had Peter a choice to actually do otherwise?
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Anthony Villanueva:
Had Peter a choice to actually do otherwise?
Of course! Foreknowledge of which choice one will make does not exclude free will. God knows everything that will happen because unlike us, God is not subject to time. He does not experience one thing occurring after another thing. For God, all things have happened, are happening, will happen.
Jason Menard
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Had Peter a choice to actually do otherwise?
He did have a choice to do otherwise, however by the time he received foreknowledge, it was a done deal. The chain of events and circumstances necessary for this eventuality to occur had already taken place so by the time Peter was aware of it, it was too late to do anything about it.
For example, if you decide to take your car out on some winding highway going 110 mph at night, and God pops into the passenger seat next to you and tells you that a bridge 100 feet ahead of you is out and you're going to wreck your car and die, there isn't much you can do about it. You have foreknowledge, but the events you chose to set into motion (excessive speed, driving under poor visibility, worn tire tread, etc...) added to circumstances such as a bridge being out, make the outcome inevitable. You could have done several things to avoid this outcome, but you didn't, and by the time you were aware of the outcome, it was too late.
Jamie Robertson
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I'll be pissed off if we don't have free will and I don't get into heaven. That would mean that God chose to send me to Hell because he caused me to do all that sinning...
or does he let everyone in because he determined everyone's future?
Anyways, he should at least feel remorse for making people sin, then not letting them into heaven based on the fact that they sinned!
 
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subject: Does Man have free will?