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Robert Harris

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The Free-Will Defense
« on: March 14, 2011, 09:39:32 am »
I have read a lot about how ahtheists hate the free will defense. "...and don't give me any of that free-will defense garbage." I have read numerous times, or have read something to the same affect.

Why is it so hated? I think it is logical and rational but cannot understand why an ahtheist would have problems with it. I can understand if they didn't think it was good or valid, but they don't say that. They say 'they don't want to hear anything about it.' Why is that?

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belorg

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The Free-Will Defense
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2011, 10:22:15 am »

RobertH wrote: I have read a lot about how ahtheists hate the free will defense. "...and don't give me any of that free-will defense garbage." I have read numerous times, or have read something to the same affect.

Why is it so hated? I think it is logical and rational but cannot understand why an ahtheist would have problems with it. I can understand if they didn't think it was good or valid, but they don't say that. They say 'they don't want to hear anything about it.' Why is that?


The free will defense works if we assume some very unlikely facts.
Firstly: the FWD a-only works is libertarian free will is possible, which is not even accepted among Christians. Moreover, it is proposed by a proponent of molinism, which already entails an important reduction on what libertarian free will is.
And finally:  the free will defense may work for some generic God who is 3-omni, but it does not work for the God of most varieties of Christianity, because it fails to give a reason why heaven is such a good place although people's free will is violated there.

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Robert Harris

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The Free-Will Defense
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2011, 10:35:14 am »
belorg wrote:
The free will defense works if we assume some very unlikely facts.
Firstly: the FWD a-only works is libertarian free will is possible, which is not even accepted among Christians. Moreover, it is proposed by a proponent of molinism, which already entails an important reduction on what libertarian free will is.


Unfortunately, what you have stated is just not accurate. Libertarian free will does not have to be assumed. Can you tell me why it has to be libertarian free will?

How is Libertarian free will "not even accepted among Christians"? I am a Christian and I accept it and I know a bunch of Christians that are not self-defined molinists, arminians, or calvinist.


And finally:  the free will defense may work for some generic God who is 3-omni, but it does not work for the God of most varieties of Christianity, because it fails to give a reason why heaven is such a good place although people's free will is violated there.


What "most varieties of Christianity" are you talking about? What are these varieties? Can you support your claim that Heaven violates people's free will or is it just a bare assertion?

It's fine that the free will defense can work for a "generic God." How does this count against it being useful?

---
I want to draw your attention to the main thrust of my question: Why do ahtheists not even want to hear the FWD? They act like it is some cheap shot and I do not understand why that is.
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belorg

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The Free-Will Defense
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2011, 01:39:50 pm »

RobertH wrote:
Quote from: belorg

The free will defense works if we assume some very unlikely facts.
Firstly: the FWD a-only works is libertarian free will is possible, which is not even accepted among Christians. Moreover, it is proposed by a proponent of molinism, which already entails an important reduction on what libertarian free will is.


Unfortunately, what you have stated is just not accurate. Libertarian free will does not have to be assumed. Can you tell me why it has to be libertarian free will?


Because under compatibilist free will, God can determine every outcome He wants without violating people's free will. So, He can create a world in which no-one will ever choose evil  and He cannot use free will as 'a morally significant reason for allowing evil'.

How is Libertarian free will "not even accepted among Christians"?


Sorry, my mistake. What I wanted to say is that not every Christian denomination accepts LFW.

I am a Christian and I accept it and I know a bunch of Christians that are not self-defined molinists, arminians, or calvinist.


Yes, of course. But Calvinists do not believe in LFW.


And finally:  the free will defense may work for some generic God who is 3-omni, but it does not work for the God of most varieties of Christianity, because it fails to give a reason why heaven is such a good place although people's free will is violated there.


What "most varieties of Christianity" are you talking about? What are these varieties?[/QUOTE]

Most varieties that accept heaven as a place with no evil.


Can you support your claim that Heaven violates people's free will or is it just a bare assertion?


Maybe heaven does not violate people's free will, but then there is no morally significant reason for God to allow evil.
Heaven is defined (by most Christians, that is) as a place without evil and with free will (although not every Christian accepts the 'free will' in heaven.
But if it is possible for God to create a world in which people freely choose not to do evil, there is no reason why God should choose to create a world in  which people freely do choose to do evil.
And if there is no free will in heaven it's vary herd to see why God would value free-will more than absense of evil, if the place where every Chrsitian wants to go to does not have free will.

It's fine that the free will defense can work for a "generic God." How does this count against it being useful?


It may be useful in that it suggests there might be a very far-fetched possibility for some kind of tri-omni God to co-exist with evil. So, that way, if sound (which I still very much doubt), the FWD is a defense against the logical PoE, which says that no type of tri-omni God can co-existt with evil, but it does not work against the types of Gods most Christians believe in.
---
I want to draw your attention to the main thrust of my question: Why do ahtheists not even want to hear the FWD? They act like it is some cheap shot and I do not understand why that is.


Oh, I do not know whether that is true. I don't find the FWD convincing in any sort of way, but I wouldn't say I don't want to hear it.
And I wouldn't call it a cheap shot. Personally I would call it a weak argument, but not 'a cheap shot'.

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Robert Harris

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The Free-Will Defense
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2011, 02:18:52 pm »
You talk about Calvinism, ok, that is one thing. But don't make a strawman and narrow your responses to a perceived calvinist problem. Calvinism =/= Christianity; Calvinism = some portion of Christians.

Maybe heaven does not violate people's free will, but then there is no morally significant reason for God to allow evil. Heaven  is defined (by most Christians, that is) as a place without evil and  with free will (although not every Christian accepts the 'free will' in  heaven. But if it is possible for God to create a world in which  people freely choose not to do evil, there is no reason why God should  choose to create a world in  which people freely do choose to do evil. And  if there is no free will in heaven it's vary herd to see why God would  value free-will more than absense of evil, if the place where every  Chrsitian wants to go to does not have free will.


You are conflating Earth and Heaven. You just don't know how things will be in Heaven; how it will be free from evil/pain/suffering/etc.

It doesn't matter if you think the FWD is a bad one. You have to give reasons why it is. But this is really detracting from what I am getting at. I can understand when people like you say "it's a weak argument." That's fine, that is a debatable point. But I do not understand why ahtheists say, "don't give me any of that FWD garbage." I have read it on these forums and seen it on youtube videos and other places. It has just been moving around in my mind for a while now and wanted to bring it up.

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Archsage

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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2011, 02:26:38 pm »
Honestly, if there is free will (will without any causal restraint) that does not line itself with the the Will of God, then there is bound to be 'clashes'. I thought this was common knowledge already...
“It is of dangerous consequence to represent to man how near he is to the level of beasts, without showing him at the same time his greatness. It is likewise dangerous to let him see his greatness without his meanness..."  –Blaise Pascal

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belorg

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The Free-Will Defense
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2011, 12:48:52 am »

RobertH wrote: You talk about Calvinism, ok, that is one thing. But don't make a strawman and narrow your responses to a perceived calvinist problem. Calvinism =/= Christianity; Calvinism = some portion of Christians.


Well, you asked me to explain why the FWG requires libertarian free will.



You are conflating Earth and Heaven. You just don't know how things will be in Heaven; how it will be free from evil/pain/suffering/etc.


Of course I don't know how it will be free from..., but  that doesn't matter. If Heaven is free from evil and has free will then the FWD fails for any sort of tri-omni God who created Heaven
And if there is no free will in Heaven, then free will cannot be used as 'a significant moral reason for allowing evil'

It doesn't matter if you think the FWD is a bad one. You have to give reasons why it is. But this is really detracting from what I am getting at. I can understand when people like you say "it's a weak argument."
That's fine, that is a debatable point. But I do not understand why ahtheists say, "don't give me any of that FWD garbage."


Probably because theists use the FWD as a champion argument, and most people do not even know what the FWD is really about, and also because all objections against the FWD have been repeated ad nauseum, and the FWD still keeps coming up.




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Robert Harris

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The Free-Will Defense
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2011, 08:54:26 am »
belorg wrote:

Of course I don't know how it will be free from..., but  that doesn't matter. If Heaven is free from evil and has free will then the FWD fails for any sort of tri-omni God who created Heaven
And if there is no free will in Heaven, then free will cannot be used as 'a significant moral reason for allowing evil'


Of course it matters how things will be in Heaven! Not to mention that Christians believe when we have our resurrection bodies we will not desire the things sinful things we lust in the bodies we have now!


Probably because theists use the FWD as a champion argument, and most people do not even know what the FWD is really about, and also because all objections against the FWD have been repeated ad nauseum, and the FWD still keeps coming up.


Theists think the FWD is a great argument. But, theists also think that the cosmological, teleological, moral, Resurrection, and Ontological are great arguments too but the ahtheist doesn't say, "don't give me that _____ argument garbage either."
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belorg

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The Free-Will Defense
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2011, 10:28:14 am »

RobertH wrote:
Of course it matters how things will be in Heaven! Not to mention that Christians believe when we have our resurrection bodies we will not desire the things sinful things we lust in the bodies we have now!


Which proves my point.
Christians believe that Heaven is a perfect place, or, at least, a place where they long to be.
So God can create a perfect place for humans (or human souls) where they have free will and  do not desire sinful things and where, as a result, evil does not exist.
Or God can create a perfect place for humans (or human souls) do not have free will and do not desire sinful things and where, as a result, evil does not exist.

In both cases, there is no need for 'a sufficnient moral reason to allow evil' and the FWD fails.


Probably because theists use the FWD as a champion argument, and most people do not even know what the FWD is really about, and also because all objections against the FWD have been repeated ad nauseum, and the FWD still keeps coming up.


Theists think the FWD is a great argument. But, theists also think that the cosmological, teleological, moral, Resurrection, and Ontological are great arguments too but the ahtheist doesn't say, "don't give me that _____ argument garbage either."
[/QUOTE]

I do not know whether lots of ahtheists say those things, unless  by "garbage" they mean "a very weak argument", in which case they will probably also say the same about the KCA, the OA, the resurrection argument etc.

One reason why they might be more inclined to use it against the FWD could be that it's one of the most popular defenses in theism, in the non-academic world, that is. How often don't we hear the "God does not want robots" mantra? Sometimes this can get quite annoying, hence, perhaps this reaction.

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Robert Harris

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The Free-Will Defense
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2011, 10:54:18 am »
belorg wrote:
Which proves my point.
Christians believe that Heaven is a perfect place, or, at least, a place where they long to be.
So God can create a perfect place for humans (or human souls) where they have free will and  do not desire sinful things and where, as a result, evil does not exist.
Or God can create a perfect place for humans (or human souls) do not have free will and do not desire sinful things and where, as a result, evil does not exist.

In both cases, there is no need for 'a sufficnient moral reason to allow evil' and the FWD fails.


It didn't prove your point; you missed the point. We are humans desiring sinful things, that is what we are. In other words, that is our nature: sinful human nature. When the believers go to Heaven their faith in God is rewarded, in part, by resurrection bodies. As we both admitted to previously, we do not know how this causes us not to lose the desire sin, but the believer's nature is changed to  (according to Christian theology, of course) so that this is no longer a problem.

What you are trying, I think, to get at is if God could change people's natures then why He can't just do that now and there would be no reason for sin, evil, etc. But God doesn't just change people's natures, He doesn't just change who people are. He only changes those that want to be with Him and try to faithfully follow Him. If He just changed ever person He would be violating people's free will which would be evil itself and God cannot do that.


I do not know whether lots of ahtheists say those things, unless  by "garbage" they mean "a very weak argument", in which case they will probably also say the same about the KCA, the OA, the resurrection argument etc.

One reason why they might be more inclined to use it against the FWD could be that it's one of the most popular defenses in theism, in the non-academic world, that is. How often don't we hear the "God does not want robots" mantra? Sometimes this can get quite annoying, hence, perhaps this reaction.


Heh, there are certainly a lot of things that can get quite annoying! I am sure we would both agree to this. I dispute your claim that it is a popular layman defense but not something popular in the academic world. Hasn't Plantinga done a ton of work on this? Also, I know I have heard WLC use it/discuss it.

--
I think part of the problem here is that I am failing to communicate what I really want to say. Perhaps I should just spend some time and find some of the quotes I was talking about and share that. Then maybe you would see my point.

Of course people could just say, "don't give me ____ garbage" and by saying that they are implying that it is a weak argument/cliche/boring/rebutted/whatever else. But, that doesn't mean there are not counter-rebuttals or other things.

This thread isn't really supposed to be about whether the FWD is a good defense or even good philosophy. It is just about the narrow claim "Don't give me the FWD garbage." I want to know what that means and why a lot of ahtheists say it; I do not hear it being said regarding other arguments/theological points. This leads me to believe there is some non-philosophical reason for the claim "Don't give me the FWD garbage."

Btw, am I making myself clear at all? I hope I am not babbling to you
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belorg

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The Free-Will Defense
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2011, 11:50:25 am »

RobertH wrote:

What you are trying, I think, to get at is if God could change people's natures then why He can't just do that now and there would be no reason for sin, evil, etc. But God doesn't just change people's natures, He doesn't just change who people are. He only changes those that want to be with Him and try to faithfully follow Him. If He just changed ever person He would be violating people's free will which would be evil itself and God cannot do that.


If I want to be a bird, then God violates my free will by not lettiong me be a bird?



Heh, there are certainly a lot of things that can get quite annoying! I am sure we would both agree to this. I dispute your claim that it is a popular layman defense but not something popular in the academic world. Hasn't Plantinga done a ton of work on this? Also, I know I have heard WLC use it/discuss it.


I didn't mean it wasn't popular in the academic world, but that the otherv arguments are not so popular in the non-acadelic world.
Plantinga's version e.g. is so sophisticated hardly anyone in the non-academic world  actually knwo what it's about. Most of them haven't even read it.
--

I think part of the problem here is that I am failing to communicate what I really want to say. Perhaps I should just spend some time and find some of the quotes I was talking about and share that. Then maybe you would see my point.


I think I do see your point, and there are atheists who  wouol say it's garbage, jus as there are theists who says such things about atheist's arguments. But is it really such a big problem.

Of course people could just say, "don't give me ____ garbage" and by saying that they are implying that it is a weak argument/cliche/boring/rebutted/whatever else. But, that doesn't mean there are not counter-rebuttals or other things.


No, of course that does not mean that there are no counter-arguments. I don't think Plantinga's FWD is particularly weak e.g. but I do think the popular 'God wants no robots' defense is extremely weak. I do not call peaople's arguments, no matter how poor or weak they are, garbage.

This thread isn't really supposed to be about whether the FWD is a good defense or even good philosophy. It is just about the narrow claim "Don't give me the FWD garbage." I want to know what that means and why a lot of ahtheists say it; I do not hear it being said regarding other arguments/theological points.


I have heard it about the KCA, e.g., and about the ontological argument too.


This leads me to believe there is some non-philosophical reason for the claim "Don't give me the FWD garbage."


Does any non-theistic philosopher say this? I would think this is something non-philosphers would say.

Btw, am I making myself clear at all? I hope I am not babbling to you


No, you are not babbling. But I cannot give you a straight answer, because, honestly, I do not really know the answer.

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Robert Harris

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« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2011, 11:59:03 am »

If I want to be a bird, then God violates my free will by not lettiong me be a bird?


lol.

That isn't one of the options
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Archsage

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« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2011, 03:00:17 pm »
Wanting and Willing are two completely different things.
“It is of dangerous consequence to represent to man how near he is to the level of beasts, without showing him at the same time his greatness. It is likewise dangerous to let him see his greatness without his meanness..."  –Blaise Pascal

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belorg

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The Free-Will Defense
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2011, 01:18:29 am »

Archsage wrote: Wanting and Willing are two completely different things.

OK, I will to become a bird.

Satisfied now?

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Archsage

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« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2011, 05:23:17 pm »
OK, I will to become a bird.

Satisfied now?

See, now you have free will! You can will whatever you want -- it doesn't mean that you will get it. I can will for world peace... but is it going to happen because I will for it? Of course not. But my will is still free.

You understand?
“It is of dangerous consequence to represent to man how near he is to the level of beasts, without showing him at the same time his greatness. It is likewise dangerous to let him see his greatness without his meanness..."  –Blaise Pascal