1. Standard memberknightmeister
    knightmeister
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    07 Dec '06 23:25
    Dr Who is sitting reading his history book in the year 2006 . He's reading the chapter on Christopher Columbus sailing the ocean blue. He gets the idea that he would like to travel back in time to see Columbus decide to cross the ocean and find the new world . He gets into his time machine and travels back in time but sets the dial wrong and ends up in Portugal 100 years too early in the timeline. He meets a man in a remote bar and talks to him about Columbus and the new world he decides to set out for.

    Man : “So you are a time traveller then? “

    Dr Who “Yes , I am from the year 2006”

    Man “ Ok, I'm curious , Columbus discovers ...America..is that what you call it?”

    Dr Who “ Yes , that's right that's what he decided to do”

    Man : “ Ok , now I'm a bit of a philosopher see , and I'm wondering whether you think Columbus has free will”

    Dr Who “ I'm not sure why you are asking me , I suppose he might do “

    Man “ Well I am asking you because surely if you already know what Columbus is going to do in the future then he is predetermined to sail the ocean blue , it cannot be any other way , therefore he cannot have any kind of free will , it is predestined that he will make that choice”

    Dr Who “ Hmmm ...I don't know about this one because I only know that Columbus sailed the ocean blue , it's because it's written in history books , for all I know he might have decided to set up a carpentry shop instead. “

    Man “ But surely now you know what is going to happen in the future Columbus is not free to do anything else? “

    Dr Who “ Well you could say that but technically I don't know what Columbus WILL do. That is not my primary source of information about Columbus . I can only be certain about Columbus' choice because that's what he DID do in the past. If he had set up a carpentry shop instead then I would now be here telling you about his wonderful carpentry. You see my knowledge is dependent on Columbus' choice not the other way round. “

    Man “ But from my perspective Columbus is predetermined to sail the ocean blue and he CANNOT ever be free to set up a carpentry shop!!”

    Dr Who “That's totally true but why does that prove he can't have free will? I have no idea whether the choice he made was free or determined. All I can tell you with certainty is that that is what he DID choose to do. If he hadn't done it then I wouldn't know. My knowledge depends on his choice . I have no way of knowing whether that choice was free or otherwise”

    Man (scratches head a minute) “ But he can't have free will it's impossible. He's going to sail the ocean blue , I know it , you know it , it can't be any other way!!! Don't you see that it has to be logically pre destined and pre determined!!”

    Dr Who “ AHHH ...but you have missed something here...it can't be any other way NOW but. surely if you are to prove catagorically that Columbus has no free will then you don't JUST have to show that the future can't change you ALSO have to prove that the future could never have been anything else “

    Man “ What??”

    Dr Who “Well , if you assume that there can only be one timeline and parallel universes don't exist then in order to show that without a doubt free will cannot exist you need to show NOT ONLY that there is one timeline but ALSO that no other timeline could ever have existed in it's place”

    Man “ What's a parallel uinverse?”

    Dr Who “ Sorry I forgot we were in 14th Century Portugal. Anyway back to timelines , let me give you an example. If Columbus had decided to set up a carpentry shop instead of sailing the ocean blue then I would be reading in some history book about what a wonderful craftsman he was. For all I know that's what could have happened. “

    Man “ But he isn't going to and you know that he isn't , it's predestined”

    Dr Who “ No , all I know is that he didn't do that , it may have been because it was predestined or it may not be , but if he had free will then the knowledge I would have would still be the same...I would know what he did. You see with predestination there is only one time line and with free will there is only one time line also. Columbus cannot make two contradictory choices , he has to make one of them. Even if he does nothing or commits suicide that will be his time line. Both predestination and free will give you the same result ... ONE timeline that is known by me because I am not restricted by time , but I have no way of knowing whether it's predestined or not. There is nothing in the information that I have that proves to me that Columbus either does or doesn't have free will , so I guess it is at least possible to know the future without it being NECCESSARILY predestined if you have a time machine like me. “
  2. Standard memberEAPOE
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    08 Dec '06 04:44
    I very much like the way you have constructed your argument.. . .and use of language. . . The most dominant question you must have ( filtering away the time travel element) is of the nature or validity of free will.. . . Do we have it?. . . .

    I would not suggest that we do. . . There is a large rapidly growing body of neurological information that does nothing to support the idea of choice.

    Can a person generate a random number in their mind. . . .?

    There are obvious limitations on free will. . . We cannot choose to live and not breath. . . We cannot choose to be singular and stay sane. . .We cannot choose to love and not feel pain.

    Can we make a free choice when at any one point in time when our minds are in a particular hard wired physical state of being.. . .

    I try to remain positive as there is so much we do not know.

    No one person alive can say anything scientifically meaningful about consciousness, or what it is to experience the colour red.

    E.A.Poe. . .

    How about a game. . .will send you a challenge.
  3. Cape Town
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    08 Dec '06 06:14
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    Dr Who “ AHHH ...but you have missed something here...it can't be any other way NOW but. surely if you are to prove catagorically that Columbus has no free will then you don't JUST have to show that the future can't change you ALSO have to prove that the future could never have been anything else “
    Most of your argument including the above sentence assumes that there is a time line external to the universe, which is meaningless as time is a property of the universe. To have two possible histories with a free choice between them you must have a separate time line on which at one point the histories don't exist and two options are available and at the next point one is set in stone.
  4. London
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    08 Dec '06 10:23
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Most of your argument including the above sentence assumes that there is a time line external to the universe, which is meaningless as time is a property of the universe.
    Actually, time is a "property" of the observer.
  5. Cape Town
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    08 Dec '06 12:05
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    Actually, time is a "property" of the observer.
    And space is not? Please explain.
  6. London
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    08 Dec '06 12:57
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    And space is not? Please explain.
    I didn't say space wasn't. What are you asking an explanation for?
  7. Standard memberknightmeister
    knightmeister
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    08 Dec '06 17:08
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Most of your argument including the above sentence assumes that there is a time line external to the universe, which is meaningless as time is a property of the universe. To have two possible histories with a free choice between them you must have a separate time line on which at one point the histories don't exist and two options are available and at the next point one is set in stone.
    Like all analogies this one works on some levels and not on others. All I am trying to show is that it's theoretcally possible that you can know someone's future without it neccessarily eliminating free will. It's a counter to the Atheist argument that if the future is known it MUST be predetermined.

    "To have two possible histories with a free choice between them you must have a separate time line on which at one point the histories don't exist and two options are available and at the next point one is set in stone."TWHITEHEAD

    1)This is a statement not an argument , you have said you MUST but not said why you MUST.

    2) Why does a timeline have to exist in time (and not just in the mind of Columbus) order to for it to be an option in free will? If I think of two pictures but only draw one , then only one exists , the other doesn't , but I could have drawn either.
  8. Standard memberknightmeister
    knightmeister
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    08 Dec '06 17:13
    Originally posted by EAPOE
    I very much like the way you have constructed your argument.. . .and use of language. . . The most dominant question you must have ( filtering away the time travel element) is of the nature or validity of free will.. . . Do we have it?. . . .

    I would not suggest that we do. . . There is a large rapidly growing body of neurological information that does not ...[text shortened]... to experience the colour red.

    E.A.Poe. . .

    How about a game. . .will send you a challenge.
    I personally do not subscribe to the idea that we are constantly free and that there are no times when our actions are determined. Infact I think that maybe 50% of the time we are not free , so I don't see it as an either/or question.But as long as there is some free will then love is possible.

    I would like a game thanks , as long as it is predetermined that I win! LOL
  9. SubscriberBigDoggProblem
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    08 Dec '06 19:22
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    Dr Who is sitting reading his history book in the year 2006 . He's reading the chapter on Christopher Columbus sailing the ocean blue. He gets the idea that he would like to travel back in time to see Columbus decide to cross the ocean and find the new world . He gets into his time machine and travels back in time but sets the dial wrong and ends up in ...[text shortened]... CCESSARILY predestined if you have a time machine like me. “
    And now, a complimentary thread to Thread 57320. This time, we'll consider only omniscience, and leave out omnipotence. 😞
  10. Standard memberspruce112358
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    08 Dec '06 21:37
    Originally posted by EAPOE
    Can a person generate a random number in their mind. . . .?
    THAT's the key. I had this very argument about 15 years ago and we arrived at the same point.

    Are there events for which the probability is not 0 or 1, given all possible knowledge about the situation? Maybe at the sub-atomic level? But is that enough to free our brains from predestination?

    What about this -- I feel hungry, but I know I should lose weight. Two different parts of the brain are in conflict. Will I snack, or won't I? My experience tells me that sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. The emotional drive would not appear to be free will if I choose to follow it blindly, but what about reason? Is reason "more free"?

    Finally, if I have all the semblance of free will (or decline to do or permit the measurements to say whether I do or don't) -- does it matter in the end? Do I have empirical free will?
  11. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    08 Dec '06 23:10
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    THAT's the key. I had this very argument about 15 years ago and we arrived at the same point.

    Are there events for which the probability is not 0 or 1, given all possible knowledge about the situation? Maybe at the sub-atomic level? But is that enough to free our brains from predestination?

    What about this -- I feel hungry, but I know I should los ...[text shortened]... to say whether I do or don't) -- does it matter in the end? Do I have empirical free will?
    Are there events for which the probability is not 0 or 1, given all possible knowledge about the situation?

    Yes. In fact no event has 0 or 1 probability, but in our macroscopic world most events approach these values in probability so closely as to make the difference insignificant.
  12. Standard memberknightmeister
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    09 Dec '06 12:35
    Originally posted by BigDoggProblem
    And now, a complimentary thread to Thread 57320. This time, we'll consider only omniscience, and leave out omnipotence. 😞
    There's no pleasing some people eh? I've done a follow up thread (part 2) to look at omnipotence as well and I have also offered to consider your points on the other thread. If you look at part 2 you'll find that I have raised the issue of Atheistic pedantry.

    How about you make a proposition of your own instead of knocking other people's efforts.???? This might give me an idea of what point you are trying to raise. Constructive criticism would be nice.

    You sound incredibly perfectionist to me. Debating these issues is a messy business and nobody gets it right all the time.

    I get the feeling if someone offered you a carrier bag full of cash you would complain that it wasn't in a briefcase!!!
  13. SubscriberBigDoggProblem
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    09 Dec '06 16:16
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    There's no pleasing some people eh? I've done a follow up thread (part 2) to look at omnipotence as well and I have also offered to consider your points on the other thread. If you look at part 2 you'll find that I have raised the issue of Atheistic pedantry.

    How about you make a proposition of your own instead of knocking other people's efforts. ...[text shortened]... offered you a carrier bag full of cash you would complain that it wasn't in a briefcase!!!
    You're the one starting the threads, and allegedly trying to counter atheist arguments regarding free will. You have failed to consider the combined attributes of omniscience and omnipotence, leaving out the most basic part of the argument. Then, when I insist you get the basics right, you accuse me of pedantry. 🙄

    Why should I concern myself with your inane personal attacks? My interest is only in the issues. If you've nothing interesting to say about them, then I will stop participating in your threads.
  14. Standard memberknightmeister
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    09 Dec '06 16:55
    Originally posted by BigDoggProblem
    You're the one starting the threads, and allegedly trying to counter atheist arguments regarding free will. You have failed to consider the combined attributes of omniscience and omnipotence, leaving out the most basic part of the argument. Then, when I insist you get the basics right, you accuse me of pedantry. 🙄

    Why should I concern myself with ...[text shortened]... you've nothing interesting to say about them, then I will stop participating in your threads.
    I apologise if you are offended , I thought a bit of friendly banter was part of the deal on these threads. I mean nothing by it whatsoever. I'm very much from the school of thought which says it's ok for opposing sides in a debate (eg house of commons ) to lay into each other and then go and have a pint together in the parliament bar. Anyone who has ever played rugby will know that you can beat the crap out of each other and then be best of mates afterwards. You either get this or you don't.

    Anyway...."You have failed to consider the combined attributes of omniscience and omnipotence, leaving out the most basic part of the argument."BIGDOGG

    If you explain what this argument is then maybe I can respond. You see I'm not the one who has the problem with God being ominpotent and omniscient and there being free will at the same time. If you read Dr who part 2 you will see exactly why.

    But I will have a go...

    I don't see that if God chooses to relinquish his omnipotence and omniscience to a certain extent in order to allow for our free will and for things to happen that he can't totally predict that that therefore means he is not (in any meaningful sense of the word) omnipotent/omniscient anymore. If he is able at any moment regain full ominpotence/omniscience then he is still in control.

    For example , if I break into a shop to get some bandages and medicine that I need to save you from bleeding to death then I am a shop lifter/ robber and I may be a law breaker depending on how pedantic the laws were in the country I did this. Technically this is so. But in any meaningful sense of the word I am not a law breaker or shop lifter or looter for that matter and a judge would see the bigger picture.

    Omnipotence and free will are a bit like when I am arm wrestling with my 8 year old son. He "beats" me sometimes because I deliberately put my arm in an awkward position to give him a chance but ultimately I could thrash him anytime I wanted because I'm still just as strong as ever really. Omniscience is like this because sometimes I really don't know whether I will win or not when I do this , the outcome relies partly on him. But if I could travel in time I might?
  15. SubscriberBigDoggProblem
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    10 Dec '06 03:57
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    I apologise if you are offended , I thought a bit of friendly banter was part of the deal on these threads. I mean nothing by it whatsoever. I'm very much from the school of thought which says it's ok for opposing sides in a debate (eg house of commons ) to lay into each other and then go and have a pint together in the parliament bar. Anyone who has ...[text shortened]... I do this , the outcome relies partly on him. But if I could travel in time I might?
    Letting your kid beat you in arm-wrestling is not really relinquishing your power; it is just choosing not to exercise it. A minor point, but you know how us pedants get about those.

    The problem with the dad-son analogies is that dad is not omniscient. He does not know how things will turn out in the future. God must know, if he is omniscient.

    The Dr. Who/Columbus analogy has the opposite flaw; Dr. Who is not omnipotent. It is quite possible that Columbus will take actions that he is powerless to prevent, even when he knows them in advance.
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