1. Standard memberknightmeister
    knightmeister
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    10 Mar '08 22:21
    We know the timelines of thousands of people who are now dead. We know the choices they made and the directions their lives took. We can see it all laid out in front of us.

    We know what Alexander the Great will do with his life , we know his life choices and in a very real way we know what future choices he will make through his life.

    Ok , so if his choices were free choices or determined choices how would we know the difference? His timeline might look the same either way. There's no way we can say for certain that because Alexander came to power then it was inevitable and determined that he came to power.

    Why can we not say this? It's because if Alexander had a potentially different future that was possible then we would not know anything about it. If he had no potentially different future then we also would not know either.

    The results that history gives us only tell us what happened , but they cannot be conclusive either way as to whether these events were inevitable. In a sense we know what Alexander's future holds for him. We could say that because Alexander came to power then it was always going to happen. But we could also say that maybe he might have also been anonymous just as easily.

    So we know all these timelines and historical figures but there is no proof in the world we can draw from this knowledge. We cannot say "ah but if alexander had had free will then things would look different " because there is only one alexander and how would they look different? What would be the difference between a history riddled with free will and a determined history? If there was a difference we could not know it because we have no comparison , there is only one history we can know - and that's what happened -free or otherwise.

    My point is that God being eternal and outside time knows our timelines. To him our lives are history already. So what? This proves nothing . If I am free to choose my future he is bound to know it because he is not in the same position as me in time. Whatever Alexander had chosen to do (if he had free will) I was always going to know his future because of my position in time in relation to him. But me simply knowing what he did proves nothing. God knows my timeline , I know Alexander's timeline. God was always going to know my future whatever I do. I can choose A B C or X but nothing will prevent Him knowing my future. Nothing could have prevented me from knowing Alexander's future either. He could have done numerous things with his life but the result was always going to be that I would know his future. It had nothing to do with determinism and I did not need to foresee his actions in any way. My relationship to him in time gave me an advantage and this advantage says nothing about whether he had free will or not. He may not have done but my knowing proves nothing at all. So why does God knowing my timeline prove that I can't have free will?
  2. Cape Town
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    11 Mar '08 09:40
    So we know all these timelines and historical figures but there is no proof in the world we can draw from this knowledge.
    That is where you are wrong. See my analogy below as posed in the time travel thread. The fact that we know history, sets it in context and removes all 'potentiality'. It does not rule out other contexts, but within this context it does enable us to draw conclusions.

    My point is that God being eternal and outside time knows our timelines. To him our lives are history already. So what? This proves nothing .
    It proves that our timeline is a single context and thus tells us a lot about it that we did not previously know, including removing potentiality and therefore disproving your concept of free will.

    As posted in the Time travel thread:

    The easiest way to visualize it is via the computer program analogy.
    Let me take you through it, and I want to know which parts you do not understand.

    1. A computer program cannot generate a random number without external input.

    2. External input is dependent on context. By this I mean that on each run of the program, different random numbers might be inserted, and therefore different outcomes may result. But on any given run, only one outcome may result.

    3. So if we know the context ie the computer program has been run and recorded, with a given random number as the input then the input ceases to be random. The point at which the 'random' number was inserted, which was, prior to the run, a 'choice', ceases to be a choice.

    4. When we look at the generic program in isolation without reference to a given context or 'run' then we see 'choices' where random number input is possible and where we can correctly say there are multiple 'potential futures'.

    5. However, if we look at the program in context, ie on a recorded run, there are no 'choices' and to talk of 'potential futures' is wrong, as the did not occur on this run.

    6. To take the analogy back to reality, if we are part of a single unique run, then to talk about potential futures is to pretend the existence or possibility of multiple runs and therefore meaningless in this context.

    7. Either there are multiple runs - and your God model is therefore wrong - or your talk of free will and potential futures is incoherent.
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    11 Mar '08 10:39
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    We know the timelines of thousands of people who are now dead. We know the choices they made and the directions their lives took. We can see it all laid out in front of us.

    We know what Alexander the Great will do with his life , we know his life choices and in a very real way we know what future choices he will make through his life.

    Ok , so ...[text shortened]... nothing at all. So why does God knowing my timeline prove that I can't have free will?
    You have a serious epistemic flaw and I wish you would get over it. God has the power to decide what your future is, he knows what your future will be, he set that future in motion. Only an idiot would claim to have free will when his choices are predetermined in such a way. Your knowing about it or not makes no difference to the fact that it exists in such a way. Japan doesn't cease to exist just because I have never seen it.
  4. Cape Town
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    11 Mar '08 11:07
    Originally posted by Starrman
    Your knowing about it or not makes no difference to the fact that it exists in such a way. Japan doesn't cease to exist just because I have never seen it.
    I don't think you have understood his argument. The issue is not whether knowledge dictates facts but whether or not knowledge 'proves' facts. Knightmeister claims that knowledge of the nature in question, does not prove anything. I claim that it does.
    For example, the fact that you have seen Japan, proves that Japan existed at the time you saw it.
    I claim that the fact that God knows the future, proves that there is only one unique future and therefore talk of alternative futures is incoherent and knightmeisters concept of free will is incompatible with his concept of Gods omniscience.
    Whether or not God made that future is also contested but irrelevant to the current issue.
  5. Standard memberknightmeister
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    11 Mar '08 11:281 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    That is where you are wrong. See my analogy below as posed in the time travel thread. The fact that we know history, sets it in context and removes all 'potentiality'. It does not rule out other contexts, but within this context it does enable us to draw conclusions.

    [b]My point is that God being eternal and outside time knows our timelines. To him our therefore wrong - or your talk of free will and potential futures is incoherent.
    It proves that our timeline is a single context and thus tells us a lot about it that we did not previously know, including removing potentiality and therefore disproving your concept of free will. ---whitey---

    The problem here is this - you cannot say that potentiality has been removed because you can only see one timeline. The reason for this is that you are only ever going to be able to see one timeline anyway. If alexander chooses A you will never know choice B and vice versa. The fact that you do not know choice B does not mean that potentially choice B could not have been made. It might do , but it might not. Nobody knows because there is only one alexander in our timeline.

    Another way of looking at it is this . An uncertain quantum event must by definition have more than one possible outcome (if not then it is a determined event) . If you know the outcome of a past quantum event does that suddenly make it a certain event or could it have been potentially different? For it to be an uncertain event it had to have had at least more than one outcome (eg A or B) , but we are only ever going to know one of them . Does that prove that the one outcome we know of (eg A ) is the only outcome that could ever have occurred? Of course it doesn't.
  6. Standard memberknightmeister
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    11 Mar '08 11:43
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I don't think you have understood his argument. The issue is not whether knowledge dictates facts but whether or not knowledge 'proves' facts. Knightmeister claims that knowledge of the nature in question, does not prove anything. I claim that it does.
    For example, the fact that you have seen Japan, proves that Japan existed at the time you saw it.
    I cl ...[text shortened]... .
    Whether or not God made that future is also contested but irrelevant to the current issue.
    I claim that the fact that God knows the future, proves that there is only one unique future and therefore talk of alternative futures is incoherent ---WHITEY---

    I think it's you that missunderstands! The fact that God knows the future proves that there is only one future out there. This I do not dispute. What it DOESN'T prove is that that one future is the only future that could ever have existed. You cannot prove that there was no potential for any other futures just because those futures do not exist any more than you can prove that because Alexander came to power proves that it was inevitable that he did.

    NB*******-- The thing you have done is make a circular argument for yourself. If the universe is totally deterministic then your proof holds because that one "unique" future out there has to happen via a series of determined events. BUT - it doesn't work if we accept the possibility of free will. So what you are saying in effect is "I is right cos I is" because you have taken a pre-assumed position that determinism is correct. You are entitled to this belief but don't pretend it's a proof because the universe may or may not be totally deterministic. If you pre-assume it is then your proof works , if you don't indulge yourself in priori assumptions then it can't work.

    One thing we do know is that it is possible to know the one and only outcome of an uncertain quantum event without it neccessarily affecting the uncertainty of that event.
  7. Standard memberknightmeister
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    11 Mar '08 11:461 edit
    Originally posted by Starrman
    You have a serious epistemic flaw and I wish you would get over it. God has the power to decide what your future is, he knows what your future will be, he set that future in motion. Only an idiot would claim to have free will when his choices are predetermined in such a way. Your knowing about it or not makes no difference to the fact that it exists in such a way. Japan doesn't cease to exist just because I have never seen it.
    But no Christian believes this so your argument is a strawman. Just because God has the power does not mean he used it.

    God relinquished his power to control our futures. He "let go" of his creations.

    How does you knowing Alexanders future prove his choices were determined? Please explain........... if you can
  8. Standard memberknightmeister
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    11 Mar '08 11:50
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    That is where you are wrong. See my analogy below as posed in the time travel thread. The fact that we know history, sets it in context and removes all 'potentiality'. It does not rule out other contexts, but within this context it does enable us to draw conclusions.

    [b]My point is that God being eternal and outside time knows our timelines. To him our ...[text shortened]... therefore wrong - or your talk of free will and potential futures is incoherent.
    5. However, if we look at the program in context, ie on a recorded run, there are no 'choices' and to talk of 'potential futures' is wrong, as the did not occur on this run---whitey----

    Potential futures do not have to exist in order to remain potentially possible. The fact that on any given run X happened and Y did not happen does not prove that Y could not have happened. It only proves that X happened and that's all. The rest is in your mind.

    Why is this so hard to grasp for you?
  9. Standard memberknightmeister
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    11 Mar '08 12:031 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    That is where you are wrong. See my analogy below as posed in the time travel thread. The fact that we know history, sets it in context and removes all 'potentiality'. It does not rule out other contexts, but within this context it does enable us to draw conclusions.

    [b]My point is that God being eternal and outside time knows our timelines. To him our therefore wrong - or your talk of free will and potential futures is incoherent.
    6. To take the analogy back to reality, if we are part of a single unique run, then to talk about potential futures is to pretend the existence or possibility of multiple runs and therefore meaningless in this context. ---whitey----

    And so you say ...but can you PROVE that it's meaningless. I'm not pretending that there are mutliple runs or potential futures. There might be , there might not be.

    The fundamental issue here is that you claim that knowledge of a single run (eg alexander's timeline) PROVES that there can only ever have been ONE run and ONE run only. Surely it is YOU that is pretending that there can be no potential timelines. Your proof depends upon this pretence being 100% correct.

    ALL I AM SAYING IS THAT THERE IS NO PROOF THAT ALEXANDER COULD NOT HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY AND THEREFORE THERE IS NO PROOF THAT KNOWING HIS TIMELINE MAKES IT A DETERMINED TIMELINE.

    The possibility of potentially different futures for alexander cannot be ruled out by knowing his future , but neither can it be ruled in . It's just not conclusive either way and you know it.

    Consider past uncertain quantum events . They have only one "run" and only one unique future (which we know and are aware of). Does the fact we know of that one unique "run" prove that Heisenberg was wrong? Of course not.
  10. Cape Town
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    11 Mar '08 12:201 edit
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    The problem here is this - you cannot say that potentiality has been removed because you can only see one timeline. The reason for this is that you are only ever going to be able to see one timeline anyway. If alexander chooses A you will never know choice B and vice versa. The fact that you do not know choice B does not mean that potentially choice B ...[text shortened]... might do , but it might not. Nobody knows because there is only one alexander in our timeline.
    This is getting frustrating. Do you refuse to see what I am saying or do you simply lack the intelligence?
    What on earth do you mean when you say:
    "I am going to choose A but I may potentially choose B" ?
    Can you or can you not see that the above statement is incoherent? Or do you mean something else by the word 'potentially'? I have asked for a definition before, and you rephrased it without really answering the question.

    I refer you back to my computer program analogy as it highlights the issue of potentiality.
    Take the program:
    x = 2 + y
    Potentially y may be 3 therefore x will be 5, or potentially y may be 6 therefore x will be 8. So x potentially can be 5 or 8.
    But if I tell you that y is 3 then there is no potentiality for x as x must be 5. So if God knows that y=3 then x can be nothing other than 5, and to say that it could potentially be 8 is incoherent nonsense.
  11. Cape Town
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    11 Mar '08 12:23
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    Potential futures do not have to exist in order to remain potentially possible. The fact that on any given run X happened and Y did not happen does not prove that Y could not have happened. It only proves that X happened and that's all. The rest is in your mind.

    Why is this so hard to grasp for you?
    So, please demonstrate your ridiculous claim. Show me the print out of a program in which, on a given run X happened, Y did not happen, yet Y did happen. Either you can demonstrate that, or you are wrong, and there is no 'potential' for Y happening.
  12. Standard memberknightmeister
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    11 Mar '08 21:38
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    So, please demonstrate your ridiculous claim. Show me the print out of a program in which, on a given run X happened, Y did not happen, yet Y did happen. Either you can demonstrate that, or you are wrong, and there is no 'potential' for Y happening.
    I could show you a print out where X happened and all this would prove is that X happened. For all I know Y might have happened but didn't or it could be that Y might never have happened. You need to show your proof that an alternative timeline has to exist in reality rather than just be a potentiality.

    If it was a quantum event then it would be uncertain whether X would happen or Y would happen. However, if X DID happen then I would not be able to say that Y was never on the cards. I would not be able to be conclusive about it just because X happened. So either Heisenberg is wrong or you are wrong. I will place my bets on Heisenberg.
  13. Standard memberknightmeister
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    11 Mar '08 21:491 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    This is getting frustrating. Do you refuse to see what I am saying or do you simply lack the intelligence?
    What on earth do you mean when you say:
    "I am going to choose A but I may potentially choose B" ?
    Can you or can you not see that the above statement is incoherent? Or do you mean something else by the word 'potentially'? I have asked for a defini ...[text shortened]... n be nothing other than 5, and to say that it could potentially be 8 is incoherent nonsense.
    This is getting frustrating. Do you refuse to see what I am saying or do you simply lack the intelligence?
    What on earth do you mean when you say:
    "I am going to choose A but I may potentially choose B" ?---whitey--


    What I mean is that although the future is known it is not set in front of me it is set as I am going along in the present moment. At the moment of choosing A or B are both possible but I will choose one or the other (A) and A is known by God because that's what I chose in the end. If I chose B then B would be known by God. A or B will be known one way or the other. One will become reality and the other will be consigned to potentiality and will not be known.


    Overall , I see your point of view but what I don't see is any conclusive proof. You have made the claim that God knowing A proves that B could never have happened and A was inevitable. I am not seeking to prove the opposite because you might be right. What I am seeking to do is to get you to stop talking as if it's an open and shut case purely based on the data available.

    If knowing a past event (A) had occurred was a definite and conclusive proof that A was completely inevitable then it would also be a proof that Heisenberg was wrong because we know the outcome of some quantum events. I have to believe that Heisenberg would have thought of this. Apparently he saw no problem with still saying these known past events are uncertain thus implying that event A might have potentially been event B
  14. Standard memberknightmeister
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    11 Mar '08 22:00
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    This is getting frustrating. Do you refuse to see what I am saying or do you simply lack the intelligence?
    What on earth do you mean when you say:
    "I am going to choose A but I may potentially choose B" ?
    Can you or can you not see that the above statement is incoherent? Or do you mean something else by the word 'potentially'? I have asked for a defini ...[text shortened]... n be nothing other than 5, and to say that it could potentially be 8 is incoherent nonsense.
    Take the program:
    x = 2 + y
    Potentially y may be 3 therefore x will be 5, or potentially y may be 6 therefore x will be 8. So x potentially can be 5 or 8.
    But if I tell you that y is 3 then there is no potentiality for x as x must be 5. So if God knows that y=3 then x can be nothing other than 5, and to say that it could potentially be 8 is incoherent nonsense.
    ---whitey-------

    But how does this model relate to time and the universe? This may work as a mathematical model that is strictly deterministic but unless you can prove that the universe is strictly deterministic then your model may or may not apply. It's like I said before about having a preassumed position. "The universe works deterministically because I think it does " This is not a proof but just a circular statement. How can you prove that your X= 2+y model is the correct model for the universe and men's choices?
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    11 Mar '08 23:37
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    But no Christian believes this so your argument is a strawman. Just because God has the power does not mean he used it.

    God relinquished his power to control our futures. He "let go" of his creations.

    How does you knowing Alexanders future prove his choices were determined? Please explain........... if you can
    Bull. God putting his power on hold to allow apologists to confirm their positions is a load of baloney. God's either omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent, or he's not. If he is, you're predetermined.

    Knowing Alexander's future proves his choices were predetermined or his future could not be known. If I know his future I know what the processes that brought him from point A to point B are, if those choices are still up for grabs, the future is not known. Why can't you see this? Lets try in clearer terms.

    Either:

    I know what will happen before it happens
    What I know happens
    _______________________________
    What happens is predetermined.

    Or:

    I know what will happen before it happens
    What I know doesn't happen
    ______________________________
    What happens is predetermined.

    The premises in 2 directly contradict each other. It's not possible to know what happens if what happens isn't what happens; it's just nonsense. If you are in the position of argument 1 you cannot have the false conclusion or the premises, being true, would invalidate it and you get a nonsense argument again.
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