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I don't feel like giving the same old full blown argument today, but if one wants to argue along the lines of whether it is morally acceptable to kill a fetus then I think they should have to explain why murder is normally considered wrong first, and then argue whether those conditions are satisfied by killing a fetus or not, rather than blindly making assertions about right and wrong.
For a while I thought I was conservative, but I realize that some of my views are liberal and some are conservative, while other views are in between, so I prefer not to label my political beliefs so that people don't assume things that aren't true.
I don't see how atheism drastically affects most political beliefs responsibility etc. Conservative values don't only come from religion.
"It's not predetermined, it's just already happened from the timeless perspective, just like the past has already happened from the perspective of someone in the present. Knowing the past from a time-bounded perspective is not reason to dismiss free-will, so why is knowing the past from a perspective that is not time-bounded reason to dismiss free-will?"
You do make a good argument here, which I might need to think more about. If it was possible for a time bound being to know the future, I think this would have to go against free will. It would show that our decisions are bound by fate, and that the future is set. I think if there was a being not bound by time, it would immediately mean that free will is cancelled, at least for us time bound beings, because it would be possible for all moments on the timeline to exist 'simultaneously,' and therefore not be changeable by us time bound beings.
"The point of the dinner analogy was that knowing what someone will do and informing them of their course of action doesn't cause the actor to lose free-will."
It doesn't cause the actor to lose free will, it just proves to them that they never had it. Either the person who informs them of what will happen is wrong, so never truly knew, or they were right, and then the actor will find that they have no choice. It doesn't seem you could inform them without them being able to change their actions so maybe it isn't possible to tell somebody what they will chose.
"The reason I'd think our decisions would be meaningful is because they'd affect our conscious experience and those within our reality. Admittedly though, if there were infinite realities then there would be an infinite amount of both positive and negative experience, regardless of our actions. In this case, I still think that the ratio of negative to positive experience would be significant. To elaborate, either infinite heavenly planes or infinite hellish planes would both have infinite amounts of pleasure and suffering, yet an infinite number of heavens are preferable to an infinite number of hells."
I get what you're saying here.
I might be a happier person if I had a strong faith in God. I want to believe that there is life after death. The thing is, I don't believe there is sufficient evidence to do so, and I personally think it would be immoral to 'lie' to myself.
I don't believe that there is no sort of deity, because there is insufficient evidence for that too. I just lack belief in any deity. I think we are in similar, but opposite, situations.
Thank you for that. I am glad that it comes across that I am more concerned about truth than making myself seem better than others. You saying this does mean something to me. It is encouraging, and I wish more people here would compliment each other like that.
I think I can guess who gave the five down-votes to this argument.
I answered the question, you told me to stop asking for proof, and I told you why it didn't make sense to tell me that. If anything you were the one who strayed from the question first by telling me to stop asking for proof. I think I am allowed to counter points that you make, otherwise it isn't much of a debate.
Maybe it's possible. But where might this thing inside me have come from? Did God put it there? If so, it seems kind of mean to make it so that I can't believe him, and silly if he wants a relationship with me as I often hear. And if I really can't see the truth, nobody can blame me.
I'm not sure what your argument is. Could you phrase it differently?
When one defines 2, +, =, 4, and 5 as normally defined in maths, then 2+2=4, not 5. Then, the guy who holds that 2+2=5 is just wrong. His brain isn't thinking right. How does God's existence affect this?
His brain waves are controlled by nature, yes, that is called thinking. What do you think your brainwaves are controlled by? Or are they not controlled?
How does the addition of God make it so that we aren't deterministic machines?
To say we would be non-thinking doesn't really make sense. I don't see where you get that from. If we don't have free will it doesn't mean that we are incapable of using our brains, it just means that the way we use our brains is predetermined.
"that merely does what the laws of science compel you to do when confronted with environmental stimuli in keeping with your biological makeup."
That's kind of what thinking is. I do agree with you that this means we don't have free will.
"Philosophical naturalism has its downside."
I don't see a downside to lacking free will. I'm still doing what I want to do aren't I? So what if it's predetermined? It does make things like moral responsibility complicated, I'l give you that, hard to blame someone who can't help their actions, which is why I try not to.
Regardless, if everything you said was perfect, it's not like we get to choose what the truth is. Maybe everything does suck if there is no God (though I think it doesn't), but the fact that something sucks doesn't make it untrue. What I'm saying is, what's your point? Why make this debate?
Also, you title the debate as "Atheists are Determinist Machines," indicating that you believe atheists are determinist machines, and then you say "Atheists, if atheism is true, then you are nothing but a deterministic machine." The combination of these two statements would suggest that you believe atheism to be true.
Also it doesn't make sense to say "atheism is true" because atheism is a lack of belief in any and all deities. To say a lack of belief is true doesn't make sense.
Proof is not some subjective idea. Proof is something that shows beyond doubt that something is true. If you can make an argument which shows that God must exist beyond doubt, then that will be proof of God. You don't necessarily have to utilize scientific evidence, as long as there is a coherent, logical, and valid argument that concludes with the existence of God.
"It's only happened already if you go outside of time itself. I can see why beings bound by time such as us would view it as deterministic, however it'd be like looking back on the past and retroactively saying it was predetermined because we now know how it plays out."
I understand your point here but I'm not sure it's quite satisfactory, I think that since every moment (except the very beginning, but that's weird) is in the future from some point in time, and if the future is knowable, everything is predetermined. I don't really know how else to say it.
"The future is malleable when acting within the present, but when the future has already happened it cannot be changed (or perhaps it can when acting outside of time). It's just like the past cannot be changed by a being in the present."
This doesn't really make sense to me. The future may seem malleable when acting in the present, but if from a timeless perspective it has already happened it is equivalent to the past - unchangeable.
"I'd have thought that a timeless God would know the effect of telling you your future, as, existing outside of time, he would already have told you before he told you. In other words, the God of my first line of reasoning would know how telling you what your potential future would be like would change the future (because it already happened). It's perfectly possible that I'm wrong because I have no idea how a timeless God's actions would affect the flow of events, or the manner in which they perceive things. What do you think about the manner in which a timeless entity might influence a time-bounded plane? Would a timeless God know the result of their actions on a time-bounded plane before or after doing them?"
Maybe this means that if a timeless being were to interact with us alternate timelines would be created - one were it does interact, one were it doesn't? Or maybe this means a timeless being can't interact with the world affected by time - time doesn't affect it, and it can't affect time? I don't have any idea either really.
"I meant if they read the signs that you were about to eat like cooking food and setting the table. Of course you are right they cannot know for certain, though I can't think of many times that I've seen people cook and set the dinner table without eating."
Yes, but an omniscient being would have to know things for certain, not just read the signs, and I thought an omniscient being was the analogy.
"God presumably would."
This means God might have free will, but I don't think it affects us...
"We might lose the illusion of free-will but, assuming we do have free-will, would it actually detract from our ability to freely make decisions?"
Well, if we didn't have free will in the first place we couldn't lose it, but if the prediction was correct, we would understand that we don't have free will. We'd just be stuck doing what we will, it might feel like deja-vu. This seems silly, so maybe it isn't possible for such a prediction to be made known to beings stuck in the present.
"We know that the actions of characters within a book were determined by the author's pen strokes. We have no such knowledge of what determines our actions; since characters in a book are (presumably) not conscious beings I don't think the analogy fits. I believe that the past is more analogous; simply knowing what happened does not mean we can ascribe deterministic causation and does not preclude that the actors had free will."
Maybe it's not such a good analogy, but I would view God as the author in that analogy -
Creating the universe knowing what would happen. Not sure about the consciousness thing.
"As long as free-will didn't come into play they would presumably know the result."
Say the coin had free will to decide which side landed up, would the timeless one know then?
"I disagree, as we discussed in depth before I believe that one's conscious experience is deeply meaningful."
I meant to say the decisions we make would be meaningless, because there are infinite others making the same decision or the opposite. Maybe that's not right though.
"Perhaps a timeless being would see, from any point in time, a multitude of possible futures. The reason for this would be that exerting free-will can cause any number of potentialities to come into being."
"From God's perspective the future would simultaneously have happened already while being yet to happen and the same applies to the past. I don't see a better way to think about timelessness, perhaps you can offer one?"
I suppose you're right there.
"If we existed outside of time then we would be yet to exert our free will while simultaneously having exerted it already. It's like if we existed out of time we would be yet to act while having acted already. In the same way that we cannot envision a tesseract: a 4d cube, it is also difficult to think about timelessness. It would be set in stone, yet we would already have exerted our free will when operating in our 3D world bound by time."
I look at it this way. I think we are constrained by fate. We live in the present, we aren't timeless. If there is a timeless being, or lets say a timeless book that lists every decision I will ever make, which exists before during and after my existence, my fate is sealed. If the future has already happened and cannot be changed, then from my perspective of a being living in the present I have no free will, it is just an illusion. Maybe I make the same decisions I would have with free will, but I am bound by fate, and therefore lacking free will. I don't know if the attainability of the knowledge in the book affects this. I think for free will to exist the future has to be malleable, not set in stone. Is that wrong?
"First of all, I think that if someone told you that you would do X, you would probably purposefully do Y. "
Maybe, but if God were to tell me I would do X and I then changed my actions he would have been wrong and therefore not all knowing, and if I couldn't change my actions I wouldn't have free will.
"Secondly, just because someone knows what will happen does not preclude free will, if someone knows that you are about to eat dinner and informs you of this, you still eat the dinner of your own accord (assuming free will of course)."
But they don't really know I'll eat dinner if it is possible for me to choose not to, which it is if I have free will.
"In the same way that knowing past events does not preclude free will, coming from a dimension where where the future is equivalent to the past does not preclude free will."
I think I understand this argument, but we don't come from this dimension. If we were told of our future as if it were our history, then we would lose even our illusion of free will because we are stuck in the present.
"When you say that they will do the same thing, you're looking at things from a perspective constrained by time. From a timeless perspective it would be accurate to say they already did the action (and were yet to do the action, and currently performing it)."
But we are constrained by time, we are like characters in a book, we exist in our own present throughout the story but we lack free will. All the times in the book are happening simultaneously from the reader (or the writer? - God's) perspective, but for the character living in the present, what they will do was always fixed, their fate is sealed. Maybe from the reader's 'timeless' perspective it seems as if the characters make free decisions in the book, in the past present and future, but they could never have chosen differently, the book was always written (You have to imagine the book being eternal, never having been written over a period of time for the analogy to make more sense).
"I completely disagree, knowing everything that could happen is incredibly useful. We use far less sophisticated methods to make decisions as humans."
You're right that it can be useful.
"I'm perfectly fine with agreeing that "true omniscience" isn't possible under my second line of reasoning. I don't like the idea of dismissing knowing everything that it's possible to know as incomparable to omniscience though. I think that knowing everything that it's possible to know is a kind of omniscience, especially if this is the only omniscience that's attainable."
Maybe, but it just doesn't satisfy me to think of an omniscient being that can't predict the future. If it is impossible to know the future outcome of something, then the timelessness thing doesn't make sense. How can one exist before, during, and after a coin toss, yet not know what side lands upwards, only that it is heads or tails? If every possible outcome actually happens, then everything is kind of meaningless (which could be the case), but if only one outcome happens I don't see why a timeless being couldn't know what will happen, especially God.
Your essay/letter is well written in my opinion, though I know next to nothing about history so I can't say if it is accurate. The school system here in New Zealand is very lacking in history actually.
I think the line: "To “prove” their assertion, they argue that (amongst other violations) that, your Majesty has refused to comply with laws necessary for the public good..."
should be changed to "To “prove” their assertion, they argue that (amongst other violations) your Majesty has refused to comply with laws necessary for the public good..."
(you say the word "that" twice around the "(amongst other violations)" which I don't think makes sense, and the comma following seems unnecessary. Just nitpicking grammar though.
I don't know how the system works, but if they run your essay through a plagiarism checker it isn't going to lead them to this page and the conclusion that you have stolen your essay from xMathFanx on createdebate.com (even though that's you)? That would worry me.
With regards to the role playing debates, it sounds fun. You could just make a two sided debate in which you explain that participants must make an argument for the side they oppose, rather than have a whole section. Ban people who don't comply. I would participate in some.