1. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    12 Jan '06 05:47
    I have read several times on this forum the claim that "anything that began to exist must have had a cause". Since the universe began to exist, it must therefore have a cause according to that statement. The person generally then goes on to assume that this cause is the God described by Christianity, but that's not really relevant to my point.

    What about our choices? For example, suppose I choose to eat an apple instead of a pint of ice cream. The decision to eat the apple did not always exist, and therefore began to exist at some point. Doesn't that mean it must have had a cause according to the above claim? If our decisions are caused by something, they aren't truly free, are they?
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    12 Jan '06 10:13
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    If our decisions are caused by something, they aren't truly free, are they?
    I think the only "freedom" that exists from a Christian viewpoint is whether to submit to God's or not. Given that refusal to do so is disadvantageous, to say the least, and that acceptance of the Great Loving Authority leads to an exalted form of bondage, free will remains a chimera.
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    12 Jan '06 10:39
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    I have read several times on this forum the claim that "anything that began to exist must have had a cause". Since the universe began to exist, it must therefore have a cause according to that statement. The person generally then goes on to assume that this cause is the God described by Christianity, but that's not really relevant to my point.

    Wh ...[text shortened]... he above claim? If our decisions are caused by something, they aren't truly free, are they?
    Your choice to bite an apple, no doubt, was directly a result from your body craving food. You could have had several fruits to choose from, but chose the apple because you like apples better than oranges. That would be free will. However, the reason you prefer apples can be attributed to the fact that the apple may contain nourishment that your body needs, or because you eat apples before oranges out of habit (in either case it is no longer free will).

    Your thought, thus, did not spring into existence without a cause. Neither can I imagine God or universe springing to existence without a cause. Philosophically, the only acceptable explanation for universe, God and the beachbuggy is the circle of eternity.

    So, yes, your conclusion (as far as I'm concerned) is correct. We do not have free will.

    Consider the apple/orange example when talking religions, and you pretty much got it. I think.
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    12 Jan '06 11:33
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    I have read several times on this forum the claim that "anything that began to exist must have had a cause". Since the universe began to exist, it must therefore have a cause according to that statement. The person generally then goes on to assume that this cause is the God described by Christianity, but that's not really relevant to my point.

    Wh ...[text shortened]... he above claim? If our decisions are caused by something, they aren't truly free, are they?
    God supposedly gave us free will and created a worm that can burrow through a child's head and send them blind.
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    12 Jan '06 23:02
    I heard a theory that the universe is just a "vaccuum fluctuation," which does not require a cause.
  6. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    12 Jan '06 23:32
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    I heard a theory that the universe is just a "vaccuum fluctuation," which does not require a cause.
    Theoretically, the universe doesn't require a cause. Causes only apply to things within the universe. Thus, the universe could 'just be'. There was no before the universe. The concepts of 'before' and 'after' only came into existance with the universe because they can only exist within the universe.
  7. Standard memberColetti
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    12 Jan '06 23:42
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    I have read several times on this forum the claim that "anything that began to exist must have had a cause".
    ...
    If our decisions are caused by something, they aren't truly free, are they?
    I think the "first cause" argument (as given by Aquinas) is begging the question. We can not assume there must be an ultimate cause or starting point.

    As for the decision, was it not caused? The question is, what caused it.
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    12 Jan '06 23:481 edit
    Originally posted by Coletti
    I think the "first cause" argument (as given by Aquinas) is begging the question. We can not assume there must be an ultimate cause or starting point.

    As for the decision, was it not caused? The question is, what caused it.
    Not entirely what I'm saying. It's kind of a super-version of the Anthropic principle saying that the universe must have had a cause, and then drawing a conclusion that god must be responsible. Or even that because science can't explain how the universe started, means that science is wrong and religion is right. Both these scenarios are stretching the interpretation of the data beyond breaking point. Wouldn't it be ironic if the universe (as we know it) is merely the result of a huge cosmic 'accident', the equivalent of an oil spill or similar? This concept is just as likely as god as an ultimate cause. On the origin of the universe we will never know - we just know that we are here (which is proof of nothing more than we are here). It can be said that the properties of our universe i.e. time, cannot be used outside the universe. It's impossible to know what was before the universe, since 'before' didn't exist.
  9. Standard memberColetti
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    13 Jan '06 00:01
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    Not entirely what I'm saying. It's kind of a super-version of the Anthropic principle saying that the universe must have had a cause, and then drawing a conclusion that god must be responsible. Or even that because science can't explain how the universe started, means that science is wrong and religion is right. Both these scenarios are stretching th ...[text shortened]... e. It's impossible to know what was before the universe, since 'before' didn't exist.
    I agree with you on this as far as what empirical science can tell us. Even if one accepted the "big bang theory", then what came before the bang? So either there is a start, or time and matter/energy has no beginning. Why not assume time extends infinitely into the past? It's just as much an assumption as saying that there must have been a beginning point. In other words, God only knows if there was a beginning. 🙂
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    13 Jan '06 01:201 edit
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    I have read several times on this forum the claim that "anything that began to exist must have had a cause". Since the universe began to exist, it must therefore have a cause according to that statement. The person generally then goes on to assume that this cause is the God described by Christianity, but that's not really relevant to my point.

    Wh he above claim? If our decisions are caused by something, they aren't truly free, are they?
    Depends on what you think "truly free" means. Even if all events can at some level be shown to be physically determined, is that really incompatible we my saying, truly, "I chose to eat an apple"?

    Does that not just mean - nobody forced me, I did not have a gun to my head, etc.?

    Incidentally, one interesting way of phrasing the question you are asking is: "Can I cause things to happen that would not otherwise have happened"?, and asking what that means.
  11. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    13 Jan '06 03:23
    Originally posted by dottewell
    Depends on what you think "truly free" means. Even if all events can at some level be shown to be physically determined, is that really incompatible we my saying, truly, "I chose to eat an apple"?

    Does that not just mean - nobody forced me, I did not have a gun to my head, etc.?

    Incidentally, one interesting way of phrasing the question you are askin ...[text shortened]... use things to happen that would not otherwise have happened"?, and asking what that means.
    Yes, but you're always limited by the environment - unless you are choosing to eat a snoozleburgerhamandcheese fruit right now.
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