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1
Hey,

I thought of this today and want to give it a go here.  I challenge someone to demonstrate that I exist, ontologically, using only philosophical arguments and no actual direct evidence.

To complicate the challenge a little, I want you to prove that I, who is in their late thirties, who is a single dad and lives in Ontario Canada exists (not just "Johan Biemans" that is posting in the forums, because I could be a bot, or I could be someone with different characteristics living in a different place, etc).

Can anyone actually complete this challenge ?  I am really curious to know the process for how you would accomplish it.

You know/think you think and therefore you are.

i.e. 1.) you had a thought 2.) in a context 3.) where you could recall and know you had.

There is therefore the cross referencing of 3 independent aspects. i.e. as it says in the bible everything is established by 2 or more witnesses.

2
So any arguments against the value of libertarian free will?

I'm not asking here if people think it could work, or make sense as a concept. For this thread, assume that the concept of libertarian free will makes sense. The question is then: would it be a valuable kind of freedom to have? Should you be saying, "Well even if the concept makes sense, I still wouldn't want that kind of freedom"?

Let me consider one possible objection here. Let's say that the personality you have, your dispositions, and strong reasons, all incline you to choose A rather than B in a particular situation. So let's imagine that you indeed choose A. It may be objected, that the freedom to choose the alternative B would be no kind of freedom worth wanting. All that would mean, it could be suggested, is a "freedom" to act against your character and the reasons you have that would strongly incline you in the other direction. So a freedom to choose something that all your reasons tell you not to choose.

Couple of replies here. Firstly, although it may not be plausible that you would ever choose B in the situation, there may be more plausible alternative possibilities open in the situation. So you may delay making any decision at all. Or you may delay acting on a decision. Perhaps that kind of ability has some value.

Secondly, imagine if we rewind time a minute, and have a live replay of your choice. We do this a thousand times, to see what choice is being made. Every single time, you always choose A rather than B.

But now let's imagine that we rewind time by 20 years, and then start things off as a live replay. What is going to happen? Well if things aren't all determined to play out exactly as they did before, then quite likely, the person will never reach the exact same decision to make. You will just have a different timeline, that will have gone in different directions, and they will never be in that exact same scenario. But nevertheless, although they may be, e.g., living in a different place, and surrounded by different people, we can imagine them having to make a similar type of decision, even though they will never be in the exact same scenario. And could they choose the equivalent of B in this new scenario? I think so, if say their character has developed in a different way over the 20 years. If their character is quite different, then different reasons will motivate them. They can choose differently.

Should we want that kind of freedom?

Again, assume that people would be genuinely free and responsible for their actions here. So they have real control as an agent.


Don’t you need to define what you think libertarian free will actually is first. Whether it is a coherent concept rather makes a difference to whether it would be valuable or desirable.

It a bit like asking a question about whether the moon being made of cheese would be desirable. Or do you think the colour white is valuable and desirable while remembering that it is also black.

Although I believe in freewill (quite fundamentally actually) I am not sure if I am a signatory to what I can gather is meant by libertarian freewill. Which seems to be that our decisions are “entirely free” from ourselves and others – and the modern trend would be to have this unconstrained by physical nature as well, so I can be and become whomever I want to be – maybe an elephant (or is that the elephant in the room of the argument).

If our decisions are not subject to ourselves in some fashion then I don’t see how they can be decisions which “we” are responsible for. Spiritually speaking we are a growing collection of decisions. If there is any coherence to our persons and worth of our characters, then each decision ought to have some coherence to the last – its reason or its excuse. Only then can “you” be forgiven should you decide to request it.

Freewill is the freedom as a “whole person” to be able to become responsible for something. (and as a creature this can never mean entirely responsible for the event in the existential sense, it is always some kind of combination) At minimum it needs a person and one alternative choice to be working which that person can act on. This Adam had amongst the trees and the one single sin in the garden, and this we still have amongst the many forms of sin and one single non sin (for the Calvinists out there) that we are free to act amongst.

So then if libertarian freewill really implies (due to its elephant in the room) I am not a coherent and consistent person over time (which I think it does) then it is not a good desirable or workable thing.

But freewill, the power to become personally responsible for something, is the only way to be a coherent person who can relate to other persons. This is the only creation worth having, and is therefore worth the risk of freewill, as long as the risk is fully mitigated. (i.e. not that the risk can’t happen, that would be to undo freewill, but that it can be freely fixed). The Christian gospel is the story of that mitigation.


3
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Question of the week 656
« on: February 15, 2020, 10:52:51 am »
To discuss--

https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/was-god-deceiving-his-people-by-raising-jesus/


This is an issue I have mentioned before,  so now that Craig has done a response to it...

"I think it is far more plausible to think that God has the sovereign freedom to do something new and unexpected in Jesus than to think that He has the character of a Deceiver such as you describe."


But the "character of a deceiver" is just going off what the Bible itself says! Why is it then "implausible" to take the Bible seriously on the issue when it says that God may test his people with false prophets that can give signs? Also, why not blame Christians here *for allowing themselves to be deceived* rather than blame God as being a deceiver? I mean, is God even a "deceiver" if he warns people first that they may be tested in this sort of way?

Craig denies that Christians follow a different God as you would expect, but he says nothing about the fact that Christians have gone away from the Mosaic law. Call it "fulfilled" if you like, but Christianity has abandoned it. So Christianity has done one of the exact things the Bible warns Jews *not to do* when it warns about false prophets.

Would God have the "sovereign freedom" to do something "new and unexpected" in Jesus?

Personally, I don't think God sensibly would have such a freedom, if that means contradicting the scripture already given. It would be like giving a warning to people in scripture-- don't follow any supposed prophet that comes along wearing a pink hat; and then sending a prophet in a pink hat to give some new revelation. You have set things up, such that the new revelation will be ignored by your followers if they are properly following the scripture. And in fact, if anything, God trying such a thing would make God a "deceiver" if he was really trying to give new revelation in that sort of contradictory way.

I know someone else posted a response to Craig (how I found out about the question of the week that Craig did on it), or posted a link to a response anyway. Haven't read that yet.

St Paul deals with the question you are raising most profoundly in Romans ch9 to ch11, where paul is worrying over exactly the same issue on behalf of the Jews because he had to come to terms with the same problem himself. i.e. the Gospel superficially looks like God is being unfaithful to the Jews.

His conclusion is in ch11 v28 & 29 - and the whole section i.e ch 9-11 needs to be interpreted in the light of this conclusion - which means most Christian commentators have been completely wrong on this because they go off at a tangent thinking it was introducing reprobation, and that God can do just what the hell he likes - which isn't entirely true for he must be true to his character which includes faithfulness.

Ch11 v28 creates a resolution by concluding that the elected Jew's calling was primarily a historical one (and with which God therefore has a much freer and deterministic hand over because of its terms). meanwhile the gospel is in fact the establishment of a separate distinct spiritual calling and which the separate Jewish calling was used to historically establish, but which was always intended to be the form of the "freewill" relationship between God and man, from Adam onwards.

The gospel is not a new thing therefore, it is just the proper establishment of the spiritual reality which was always going to be the main event and to which the law and the Prophets also testified.

The Jewish calling is a deterministic one, the gospel calling depends on the freewill response of those being called (i.e everyone).

4
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Gods eternal attribute
« on: February 15, 2020, 05:09:43 am »
according to what ive been listening to on the podcasts, God is eternal, so cannot experience 1 moment after another because that would be linear consecutive events hence time. so he experiences everything at once all the time.
so does that mean he has already experienced the the new earth and heaven along with everyones afterlife?

God eternal attribute does not necessarily mean all at once like something in a fixed stasis - it could also be a grand circle which would better explain the ability of God to act/or change while remaining the same.

In addition time based or linear emanations or creations from that grand circle, could then effect the life of that grand circle, and in effect add everlasting life to its base eternal life. The divine live would then be a kind grand circle with an everlasting spiral emanation - with re-creations of the linear spiral lining up with the recreative mode of the grand circle.

Although its relation to the creations was that it still knew all of its beginning from its end this would not necessarily be determinative, especially if freewill and the ability to adapt is given to the creation. For what happened in the creation (and therefore how God knew all of it) would then significantly be dependent on its linear progression based on its own free adaptions and freewill.

5
So far no-one seems to have read what I wrote properly.

Let me re phrase the basic point.

Can something exist which cannot be seen or sensed by any other means in any way?

Hello thank you for your post. If you were totally blind  you could not possibly know what a blue color looks like and never get to really know it because of your disabillity, you could not sense it or see it but it actually exists, If you say that knowledge is the  ''awareness gained by experience of a fact or situation'' and  Existence as ''The fact of having an objective reality'' a totally blind person could never get to the point of really state the existence of colors at all because the reality of colors is subjective for someone who is totally blind, and even so colors do exist, and we who are not totally blind can state it because we gained this awareness ''by experience '' of the fact that we can perceive and differentiate light spectra. But, for a totally blind people it would be valid to belive us or not ?  Of course it would, because that person knows that exists other people who are not blind and can perceive color, so looking at this way why we could believe someone who states the existence of God, many men on the bible have gained awareness'' by experience of a fact or situation'' and they experienced his presence and saw with their eyes part of Him, What is the difference from a totally blind person that cannot perceive color and some of us that cannot sense God? Just because we cannot sense it or see it God does not exist? This shows us that even if we cannot sense or see something, it can actually exists and if we are dealing with the existence of a God, a supernatural being, I would say that the chances are even higher of his existence being not perceived by many of us, and  because some of us have already sensed God and seen part of him it shows us that maybe we are not so different than the totally blind individual who cannot experience color recognition and neither get the knowledge of the existence of color at all because colors are part of a subjective reality and cannot be sensed or seen by  this person as God is for some of us, but not for all of us, many of us claim to experience God in many ways, not to see him, for that is impossible for us, but sense him, yes many of us have.
Thank You,
Lucas H.

Lucas

I think you have missed the point. The fact that a blind man can't see the moon is not the relevant comparison. The point is, does it exist if nothing and no-one can sense it.

We can of course propose such an idea, but not notice that the proposition is itself a sensing of it.

When one thinks of the basis of existence I think the problem is significant. From a theistic perspective I think it means that the only coherent God hypothesis is a trinitarian one, because to self exist he still requires the references, world or context of at least 3 to make existence possible.

I can't see yet what the implication is for a atheistic perspective, as their basis of necessary existence and reality is so uncertain anyway.

6
So far no-one seems to have read what I wrote properly.

Let me re phrase the basic point.

Can something exist which cannot be seen or sensed by any other means in any way?

I don't see why not. It is not hard to come up with models of such things in physics. Of course that assumes reality is mind-independent etc. Which it probably is, but who knows, maybe that's wrong.

But you point is self contradictory - a physics model of something is a form of sensing it. Implicit in the idea of the model is a context of space and time or the abstraction of mathematics by which we make a parallel or hypothesis about the supposed something - it is not therefore alone or singular in its own world.

The implication seems to be that to exist, something needs a context (or a world) in which to exist. i.e. existence cannot be singular or maybe a singularity. For the something to be in a world, and not actually just be in effect entirely coincident with that world (taking it back to a singularity) it needs a third independent context, so both the something, and the something in the world can be known.

7
So far no-one seems to have read what I wrote properly.

Let me re phrase the basic point.

Can something exist which cannot be seen or sensed by any other means in any way?

8
Choose Your Own Topic / Is the moon really there if you can't look at it?
« on: February 09, 2020, 05:47:42 am »
Here is something on existence I have been worrying about which might be of interest to you guys, and I would be glad for your opinions on whether the basic logic is ok.
 
It similar to the question of whether the moon is really there when you are not looking at it, except it changes it to the question is the moon really there if it’s not possible to look at it.

I think it is relevant to first cause and basis of reality considerations. i.e. what would the nature of a creator God have to be like, but also what would the nature of the singularity and/or the whole show have to be like if you were trying to construct an atheist narrative.


Knowledge: awareness gained by experience of a fact or situation

Existence: The fact of having an objective reality


1.   Something can be known to exist in a world or context if it is possible to have an awareness of its objective reality in that world or context.

2.   Awareness of an objective realty comes from the sensory perceptions available to that reality. (In our world this would be all those sensory perceptions afforded to and which could be measured by space and time, but in addition possibly abstractions as abstractions (maybe abstractions are a different world and should be treated separately - as they just come into existence when you think of them?))

3.   If it is not possible to have an awareness of a proposed something in any world, because that something is a singular thing (i.e. there is no context of perception or awareness available to it) in a proposed world unto itself – then that proposed something cannot have an objective reality in any world.

4.   Something which cannot have an objective reality in any world, cannot exist.


I am afraid that my current personal circumstances mean my further engagement will be  quite limited.

9
Kurros’ response about his bubbles is entirely inadequate. He is either breaking
•   the 1nd law by saying that bubbles can obtain masses of new low entropy energy from no- where and then big bang into new sub universes.
•   or breaking the 2nd law by saying a cold expanded universe can re accumulate low entropy energy for a new big bang for a new sub universe. But It is only if all the energy is re-accumulated (which would break the 2nd law) that this would avoid kicking the can of heat death down a series of big bangs, rather than just the classical single one.
•   or he is saying that that the universe is not a closed system. But then what on earth is on the outside, which can pump more timey whimey stuff in to blow the bubbles with. Surely we must define the universe as all the timey whimey stuff wherever it is.

Nope, none of the above. Energy is not so simple as that in General Relativity. And this is also where the concept of a "zero energy" universe comes in, as described by Hawking and others. But don't take my word for it, here is an explanation of it from Alan Guth:

"The increase in mass probably seems strange at first, because it sounds like a gross violation of the principle of energy conservation. Mass and energy are equivalent, so we are claiming that the energy of the matter within the patch increased by a colossal factor. The reason this is possible is that the conservation of energy has a sort of a loophole, which physicists have known at least since the 1930s,R. C. Tolman, Phys. Rev. 39, 320 (1932).but haven't talked about very much. Energy is always conserved; there are no loopholes to that basic statement. However, we normally think of energies as always being positive. If that were true, then the large amount of energy that we see in the universe could not possibly have gotten here unless the universe started with a lot of energy. However, this is the loophole: energies are not always positive. In particular, the energy of a gravitational field is negative. This statement, that the energy of a gravitational field is negative, is true both in the context of the Newtonian theory of gravity and also in the more sophisticated context of general relativity.

So, during inflation, total energy is conserved. As more and more positive energy (or mass) appears as the patch expands at constant density, more and more negative energy is simultaneously appearing in the gravitational field that fills the region. The total energy is constant, and it remains incredibly small because the negative contribution of gravity cancels the enormous positive energy of the matter. The total energy, in fact, could very plausibly be zero. It is quite possible that there is a perfect cancellation between the negative energy of gravity and the positive energy of everything else."
https://counterbalance.org/cq-guth/howdo-frame.html

So that deals with your point 1; energy conservation is obeyed. As for point 2, the bubbles each individually undergo heat death eventually (or collapse on themselves in a Big Crunch type scenario), so that point is out also. And point 3 doesn't apply either because the universe is still a closed system in eternal inflation (well it could also be infinite in extent, but that is not important. We can assume it is closed for our purposes).

Kurros

Thanks for the link.

Nice to see that you wish to preserve conservation and the 2nd law and consider the universe to be closed.

Another part of the article from Alun Guth said :-
 “Whenever a normal material expands its density goes down, but this material behaves completely differently. As it expands, the density remains constant. That means that the total amount of mass contained in the region increased during inflation by a colossal factor.
The increase in mass probably seems strange at first, because it sounds like a gross violation of the principle of energy conservation.”

Instinctively this is a gross violation, you can’t say one thing and then do the opposite. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck! There is therefore not enough in the explanation.

The only way to avoid a gross violation is to suggest that the energy of the universe as a whole (including the gravitation field or space time) remains constant. That is the universe is finite both in space and imaginary time. This means that it cannot go on expanding for ever. Whatever it is robbing to maintain dark energy density in the expansion periods will eventually run out. This is what Hawking suggests in his boundary proposal http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html  . He then goes on to speak of a lumpy collapse when the dark energy density finally breaks down, which is not a reversal of the arrow of time/entropy.

Heat death still therefore looks rather likely even if it is down the track of a cascade of lessor collapse/ big bangs cycles from these lumps which kick the can down the road. Presumably the now perforated energy density would have to be locally reset in these sub cycles, for expansion to re-occur in these gradually decreasing sub universes.

Although the math is well beyond me I think the common sense principles of the 1st and 2nd laws still hold good and are directive, and my argument still holds good. Anybody implying a gross violation of these principles has a lot of explaining to do.

In addition the “no boundary idea” kind of illustrates what I am saying, i.e. in the sense that there is no south below the south pole which seems to be the imagery which Hawking is using. It seems that the stuff of the universe turn up out of no-where, with no space time boundary and yet they were not always in existence. Otherwise again we would already be at heat death. So there is as such no boundary to designate a first cause - the whole thing just turns up already moving.

Nature therefore provides evidence that it cannot explain itself.






10


I may be the odd man out here among the naturalists because I agree that God's foreknowledge would not necessarily rule out free will. I am however quite skeptical of the coherence of the concept of libertarian free will anyway. I do hold to a sort of compatiblist (sp?) idea of free will though.  Maybe we agree more on this topic than we would have thought before this point.

Tom

I am afraid that libertarian, compatibilist and in-compatibilist are all in effect frameworks of thinking which are asking the wrong question, and you therefore get wrong answers. It is a bit like the tautology of free-choice which always gets mixed up in these discussions. Either a choice is free or its not a choice. The use of the phrase free-choice just shows that people are barking up the wrong tree.

There is also the issue of making it a binary choice around God's sovereignty, but who is to say he might stick his spanner in some events and not others. In fact the bible seems to suggest such. Some things are determined by him and so God is responsible and other things are not.

Again there is the common imposition of a binary choice between A & B series of time, but maybe both are possible depending on whether an observer sits within or without time. Foreknowledge derived from outside of time is emphatically not deterministic, because it avoids the logic of time which would make foreknowledge deterministic.

The key thing about freewill, is that it means the ability to have responsibility for something over and against another's will.

Designating freewill over and against a creator God (who has designed everything) is not as straight forward as designating it between creatures, but most discussions assume a creaturely position, and bring God down to that level as well.

Like I said I'm OK with the idea that foreknowledge does not contradict free will and agree it has to do with the idea of observing things from outside of the temporal framework. I'm not sure such a thing is possible, let alone actual, but if it is then, it makes sense to me that God could from outside time see what a person will freely choose to do within time.

I can think of some sense in which a decision can be a choice even though it might not be free choice. That is if there is a deliberative process where alternatives are weighed, yet the outcome of the process is determined by causes which ultimately extend beyond anything within a persons control. Actually, I believe this is the case. Yes, the process that determines the outcome is mediated by faculties within the person's brain, but the nature and character of the faculties are determined by things largely if not completely beyond the person's control. To my way of thinking personal responsibility is simply something that there are social and psychological imperatives for us to assume even if it is a kind of "useful fiction."

This is why freewill is primarily about obtaining responsibility and not the quality of the choice as in "its total freedom from other influences" (which is a fairy tale). We all live in a web of other influences which partly affect or determine things for us - none the less we are responsible for our own part in this as we will into it. i.e. we can also determine things and we are responsible for those bits.

Distinguishing a creatures will from a creators will is rather more tricky, and to my mind requires a special decision with special consequences. This is where the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of Calvary come in in establishing a coherent Christian view on freewill.

11
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Genesis 1-11 as Mytho-Historical
« on: October 07, 2019, 05:28:56 pm »
Hello all!

I'm a little new to all this, but I've binged Defenders 3 starting at the beginning of this year, and it's been fascinating. I'm also very interested in the current topic in the series regarding Genesis 1-11.

Here's my question:
Is there a place I can go to find more resources regarding Genesis 1-11 as mytho-historical? Specifically both something exploring further the reasons why one might read it that way, and something exploring the implications of reading it that way (If it's mytho-historical, what things are true from it?). I know he went over it a little in the series, but I found a lot of it pretty confusing as far as how he got to that point, specifically when he switched from examining the Hebrew Myth (i.e, Egyptian Influence) way vs this Mytho-Historical way. Google is no help, as it mostly brings up a bunch of pages from YEC organizations talking about why they think he's wrong to read it that way. Most of my Christian friends are YECs and I get grilled frequently about why I'm not one and what I believe instead. It was easier when I was a day-age creationist but I've recognized some problems with that (specifically how even if the days are long, they don't necessarily line up with solid scientific evidence) and am really interested in where WLC goes with this.

If this isn't the right place to ask this, let me know so I can ask it in the right place.

You need to read it that way because that is the only way to reconcile it with reality. It is also probably the only way to reconcile it internally as well. If God is both creator of the earth and inspirer for scripture they must align. What this means is that where a scientific hypothesis is as good as proven (unlike the extrapolation of adaption to evolution) it describes what the creator of the world has done.

Most Young earth creationists are hung up on inerrancy. Inerrancy is a biblical doctrine which only necessarily applies if you believe in an entirely deterministic God. If you take any worthwhile position on freewill then inerrancy becomes unnecessary.

The problem with Inerrancy is that it is irrelevant anyway because you still have to interpret scripture, it is not a straight manufacturer’s manual on life, it is more like stories about people struggling to understand life and God’s involvement in their lives. So in practice inerrancy actually becomes a power play statement that my interpretation is right, to work out who is in and who is out, and no doubt hence your grilling.

So to do Mytho history you probably can’t be a determinist, and probably not an in-errantist either (although WLC thinks he is, but I think he has to say this to keep his credentials up with the in crowd which is a shame i.e most basis of faith in church organisation would have such a statement or similar and so it would be difficult to obtain/retain a job without at least notionally signing up to it).

What comes out of Mytho history is a story whose literal reality is irrelevant to the key truth it is trying to assert. This is a bit like the classic picture of a physical element with its protons and neutrons in the middle and electrons flying in orbits around it. This is not entirely true or not the whole story, it is a pictorial representation of some truth – it is a mytho-picture of the truth about physical elements.

You then of course need to interpret it (and not by effectively tearing pages out – it is still all the inspired word of God) to get your key truths out which help with the overall biblical narrative. In the end it does not matter if you don’t get it right to begin with – as long as you have an ongoing conversation, seeking – you will eventually find. What you will find, is that in the end the journey is the thing, for there is no end point to get to, just an ongoing purpose to grow into God’s image and so interact with him in your own special way.

The key truths for early genesis are IMO
1.   God is creator and made everything good. He made the spaces of air, land and sea and then filled them. This is not a scientific description.
2.   God is also plural. Let “us” make man in our image.
3.   Adam and eve are made in God’s image, both individually and together in representation of God’s plurality. (They are probably set aside human beings breathed with the breath of self-consciousness – rather than just a higher animal consciousness – who then brought that self-consciousness back to the wider population when they were kicked out of the garden)
4.   Adam is meant to be God’s repair man on earth – tending the garden.
5.   Freewill as opposed to autonomy (and therefore self-consciousness)
6.   The existence of the devil
7.   The fall
8.   God expects diversity and growth
9.   Also a number of other stories and details whose prime purpose is to reflect the character of God in whose image we have been made, so we can work out what we are meant to be becoming.

12
Tom

Please note the re-write of my scheme in my response to keith.

The truth of the original point 6 (now point 8 ) is not contingent on an infinity of time past (the argument needs to avoid infinite regress), I said an “effective infinite” by which I mean time for all possible change to have occurred.

This is the closed set of “necessary existence plus all changes to heat death”. If the closed set of the changing universe has “always” been around then there would have been time for “all” possible changes already.

But as is evidently the case as we are not at heat death because all possible change has not yet occurred. The Universe has not therefore “always” been around. This then begs the question of where it comes from given that energy can neither be created nor destroyed.

The point of the argument is to try to formalise the problems created by the two most fundamental scientific laws for a purely naturalist explanation of existence. Between them the two laws notionally describe everything (if only we knew the detail) as both science and naturalism try to do, there is no gap, and yet the two laws undermine each other as part of a purely natural explanation for existence. If there is no natural gap then how can this be reconciled? Of course usually by secretly undermining either of these two laws as Kurros did.

Kurros’ response about his bubbles is entirely inadequate. He is either breaking
•   the 1nd law by saying that bubbles can obtain masses of new low entropy energy from no- where and then big bang into new sub universes.
•   or breaking the 2nd law by saying a cold expanded universe can re accumulate low entropy energy for a new big bang for a new sub universe. But It is only if all the energy is re-accumulated (which would break the 2nd law) that this would avoid kicking the can of heat death down a series of big bangs, rather than just the classical single one.
•   or he is saying that that the universe is not a closed system. But then what on earth is on the outside, which can pump more timey whimey stuff in to blow the bubbles with. Surely we must define the universe as all the timey whimey stuff wherever it is.

For Naturalism to work it needs to define a necessary basis for existence to avoid infinite regression. To do this it needs the 2nd law to not always apply, but all the evidence so far is that this is implausible.

This argument is seeking to avoid the difficulty of first cause arguments which ignore the idea of necessary existence as the only proper basis for existence, which I think is ultimately the more important issue. It is of course strengthen in that it is grounded in real laws and not just metaphysics.


13


I may be the odd man out here among the naturalists because I agree that God's foreknowledge would not necessarily rule out free will. I am however quite skeptical of the coherence of the concept of libertarian free will anyway. I do hold to a sort of compatiblist (sp?) idea of free will though.  Maybe we agree more on this topic than we would have thought before this point.

Tom

I am afraid that libertarian, compatibilist and in-compatibilist are all in effect frameworks of thinking which are asking the wrong question, and you therefore get wrong answers. It is a bit like the tautology of free-choice which always gets mixed up in these discussions. Either a choice is free or its not a choice. The use of the phrase free-choice just shows that people are barking up the wrong tree.

There is also the issue of making it a binary choice around God's sovereignty, but who is to say he might stick his spanner in some events and not others. In fact the bible seems to suggest such. Some things are determined by him and so God is responsible and other things are not.

Again there is the common imposition of a binary choice between A & B series of time, but maybe both are possible depending on whether an observer sits within or without time. Foreknowledge derived from outside of time is emphatically not deterministic, because it avoids the logic of time which would make foreknowledge deterministic.

The key thing about freewill, is that it means the ability to have responsibility for something over and against another's will.

Designating freewill over and against a creator God (who has designed everything) is not as straight forward as designating it between creatures, but most discussions assume a creaturely position, and bring God down to that level as well.


14
The principle of sufficient reason says there has to be a reason why. I don't have a problem with placing the locus of that reason proximally in some faculty proper to the person, but something has to determine the nature and/or character of that faculty. The scientific hypothesis is some combination of (genes) nature and (environment) nurture. Religion can add  Q/H, but what determines the nature of the Q/H. The PSR demands that there is a reason why one Q/H (possibly with modification from nature and nurture) will lead to obedience and another disobedience.

Gödel's first incompleteness theorem gives us a slight exception here. Sufficient reason (proofs) to establish a truth cannot always be achieved according to the theorem. This doesn't invalidate the PSR, but it restricts those conditions in which the PSR applies.

Quote from: Tom
And WLC is suggesting that God determines that only disobedient souls (or ones that would have be disobedient in the GofE) will be created? This seems to be grasping at straws. It's just ad hocery piled on ad hocery. What reason is there to think God would do any such thing outside of trying to rationalize the dogma? What reason is there to even think that LFW makes any sense?

Again, if we had a lab where an Everett multiverse evolved in our lab, we could extract a person from that multiverse where that person freely chose certain choices. We already know that person's essence. For example, if we extracted Charles Manson from our lab, we pretty much know what that person would do if put in a community. We are not impinging their free will by extracting them.

The point is not to address the likelihood of this scenario, but whether it can address the objections concerning LFW.

Actually, asking whether there is any reason to believe a hypothesis is true outside of whether it solves a problem for a particular theory (in this case a dogma) is very pertinent because it is exactly the question you need to ask to determine whether one is reasoning or rationalizing. With reason one starts with evidence and looks for the best explanation of the evidence, with rationalization one starts with the explanation and then tries to find ways to make the evidence fit.  Rationalization is not always illegitimate. If one has a well-established theory that has stood the test of time and them finds some seeming counter evidence, it probably makes more sense to try and find how the evidence actually fits with or without some slight modification of the theory rather than to scrap the theory. However, if it requires an endless series of ad hoc rationalizations to maintain the theory, then one should begin to question whether the theory is sound.

IMO, the doctrine of original sin/ the fall is already an ad hoc rationalization, i.e, a rationalization of the problem of evil (not God's fault, due to human disobedience) and this hypothesis of WLC looks just like an ad hoc rationalization of an ad hoc rationalization.

If it weren't for the fact that the church had a strangle hold on western thought for centuries with the questioning of their ad hoc rationalizations being punishable by torture and/or death, we wouldn't even still be debating such things. What evidence is there for these doctrines outside of a story which is quite obviously fabulous? It just makes no sense that an all-powerful and perfectly good being would create such an imperfect world with so much apparently gratuitous suffering in it, and the attempt to somehow blame it on one of God's creatures. It makes no sense. It's prima facie absurd to think that there is an all-powerful creator and that it is not ultimately responsible for everything, and I've yet to see one explanation of how that could be that cuts the mustard.

Tom

So if you manufacture mattocks for clearing and tilling the soil, to help grow crops, and then some idiot uses it to kill his neighbour, are you responsible for that killing?

I would be if I created the idiot also.

I am sorry Tom that doesn’t wash.

Yes you have clarified that my question actually involves 2 aspects:

1.   A Mattock designed and meant for tilling the soil, but which could be used for other things.
2.   A man who is designed and meant to work the garden, but who has freedom to do other things.

But I do not see how pointing out that there is a second thing in my system which can be used for or do other things changes the question, and makes a difference to “responsibility” for a particular action.

The fact that you would seem to have both the manufacturer and the designer of the mattock in court as being responsible for someone using it as a weapon is perverse. You would not use such a measure in a human court it requires Mens Rea. Why then do you not apply this to God? His Mens Rea for the Mattock is tilling the soil, and that for the Man is working the garden. In addition to avoid the charge of recklessness both products had the standard McDonalds apple pie warning (to change the metaphor slightly) caution contents hot!

Tom, you seem to be suggesting that an all powerful God could have alternatively (and should have) created a puppet world, where this conversation would be either impossible or God saying to himself “That’s the way to do it!” “Oh yes he did, Oh no he didn’t!”

No, in fact, WLC's argument that is the subject of the OP refutes that argument. It postulates that because of God's foreknowledge he could choose amongst possible humans only those who would freely disobey. Ignoring for sake of argument that I don't believe LFW is a coherent concept, if what WLC argued is true, then God could have chosen only those soul whom he knows would freely choose to obey. In fact, I've made this argument before myself. Why not? Why on earth create a world where everyone would be guilty of original sin if put in Adam's place requiring him, allegedly, to have to become human and suffer a horrible death in order to redeem these bad souls? Why not choose to create only the freely obedient souls, have a world free of sin and all the suffering brought on by the fall? How in the world could the former be seen as the more reasonable choice for a omnipotent and omni benevolent being.

Quote
Of course you might prefer the atheistic alternative where this conversation would be quite literally meaningless, because any meaning from it cannot survive a heat death big bang cycle.

This has got nothing to do with what I might emotionally prefer. I'm just dispassionately trying to figure out what is most likely true.
Tom

 I agree that WLC’s Molinism is still a deterministic system. While Calvinism undermines freewill directly, Molinsim seems to do so in a complicated round about way through circumstance. The arguments are as tortuous as atheist’s schemes to avoid contradicting the 2nd law. But fail due to the way WLC seems to have God’s foreknowledge working along the corridor of time, rather than from the outside of time.

Although I admire WLC’s instinct and work to preserve freewill over and against mighty Calvinism, which in many ways still holds sway in biblical interpretation, I can’t agree that it works.

This however does not mean that a hypothesis which aligns men’s freewill with God foreknowledge is not achievable. So theism does not necessarily eliminate freewill as the OP suggests.  But I do not think this would be in the exact form of standard LFW either, which from what I know seems to be more about the quality of choices rather than the ability to be responsible.


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1.   The 2nd law of thermodynamics states that overall all natural change processes move from thermodynamic order to disorder. Notionally it exists as a complete natural explanation of all natural processes, as it potentially describes all intervening thermodynamic states in any change process.
2.   The 2nd law, acknowledged as the queen of laws by Einstein, is known to apply to every single scientific process and informs our understanding of them, both at the classical and quantum level.
3.   Gibbs free energy is a measure of whether such a change process will occur naturally and spontaneously.
4.   In a fixed system the arrow of the 2nd law will eventually lead to heat death where Gibbs free energy is negative. There will then be no more meaningful change processes and therefore also time will stop.
5.   By definition of its name the universe is a fixed system.
6.   If the universe has always existed, that is necessarily exists, then there has already been an effective infinite amount of time for the heat death of 3.) to have occurred.
7.   Because the heat death of 3.) has not occurred then either a) the universe does not necessarily exist and we must look for something else as the basis of existence, or b) the 2nd law does not always apply.
8.   Given 2.), 7b.) would seem implausible.
9.   Nature by the fact of the 2nd law therefore gives evidence that it cannot account for existence.

Any thoughts?

I don't see why you conflate an infinite past with necessary existence in 6. Those are completely different things. I am also not sure that there is an upper bound on entropy. In something like an eternally inflating universe we can get new universe bubbles forming forever, constantly increasing entropy. The bubbles might all die in heat deaths individually, but there are always new bubbles forming. The problem with that scenario is that it seems to need a beginning, but it is no problem if it continues forever.

Given that you can't have an infinite past, "necessary" becomes an alternative description to always existed. But if a closed system of constant change (which will eventually wear out to no change) has "always" existed then you would expect the change processes to have had "time" to complete.

Your bubbles (assuming they are actually possible) are just kicking the can down the road and make no difference to the eventual heat death of the closed system, unless the 2nd law is contradicted.

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