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Do we have freewill?

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Commodus

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 2004
8,139
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We do and we don't, I'd say.

In a sense, everything has been dictated by interactions that started with the Big Bang. There's nothing strictly stopping deviations, though, and we might not ever really know if our thoughts are changing things beyond the "script" that physics dictates.

Besides, from a philosophical standpoint we have to act as if there is free will. We know people aren't predestined to believe the things their parents did, or to pursue a certain career. Otherwise, we'd never try to live up to our potential or challenge outdated ways of thinking.
 

MrSquished

Diamond Member
Jan 14, 2013
8,942
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The amount of freewill one has is often determined by economics. And depending where you live, by race, creed and gender.
 

MrSquished

Diamond Member
Jan 14, 2013
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The amount of freewill one has is often determined by economics. And depending where you live, by race, creed and gender.
 

PowerEngineer

Diamond Member
Oct 22, 2001
3,253
297
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Outside influences certainly determine the number of options open to you to choose from, but not whether or not you can make a choice.

It seems to me that people who believe in heaven and hell must want to believe in the concept of free will too. Otherwise their all-seeing and all-knowing god will have predestined some of them to commit the sins that condemn them to eternal hellfire. 🙄

The possibility of free will may find a haven in the quantum mechanical realm?
 

Ajay

Diamond Member
Jan 8, 2001
8,207
3,137
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It seems to me that people who believe in heaven and hell must want to believe in the concept of free will too. Otherwise their all-seeing and all-knowing god will have predestined some of them to commit the sins that condemn them to eternal hellfire. 🙄
The permissive will of God puts an end to most of the predestination stuff. It's like a parent letting their child pull some boneheaded move, even though they could have intervened; that way the child experiences the consequences of stupid choices and learns from the experience (hopefully).

Other than that, God should have just created robots - would have been way easier. But then we would't have a world built on love, sacrifice and fealty - a far more dynamic and creative world where mankind has the opportunity to interact with each other as God does with us. (Cliff notes version).
 
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brianmanahan

Lifer
Sep 2, 2006
20,740
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Other than that, God should have just created robots - would have been way easier. But then we would't have a world built on love, sacrifice and fealty - a far more dynamic and creative world where mankind has the opportunity to interact with each other as God does with us. (Cliff notes version).
that's an increasingly popular view in some denominations. everyone does what they do specifically because god made them do it, but then they take the blame for it.

it seems akin to programming a robot to kill someone, and then throwing the robot in prison when it gets caught.
 

highland145

Lifer
Oct 12, 2009
40,999
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that's an increasingly popular view in some denominations. everyone does what they do specifically because god made them do it, but then they take the blame for it.

it seems akin to programming a robot to kill someone, and then throwing the robot in prison when it gets caught.
Poor programming.

;)
 
Nov 29, 2006
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If we didn’t have free will and god predetermined all this, do you think he’d program us to question free will at all, or even if he exists? that would be a silly thing for a god to do. So yes, we have free will and no gods exist.
 

PlanetJosh

Golden Member
May 6, 2013
1,519
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The Calvinist part of Christianity, a tiny percent of Christians, don't believe in free will. They think a predetermined number of people are going to heaven. But some scientists believe god may have planned or in a sense predetermined everything so that humans have free choices essentially a free will. God I love the latter view so much more.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
45,160
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I would argue that it's Free Will vs. Free Agency. With Free Agency, we get the choice for how to act & react:

1. How you think
2. How you speak
3. How you act (physically, with your body)
4. How you manipulate the resources you have access to

We get a limited time on earth (an earth "lease", so to speak). Over the course of our time on this rock, we are subject to the foundational core law of the universe:

* Actions have consequences

We are free to choose our actions, but we aren't free to choose our consequences. We can jump out of an airplane without a parachute, but we're not free to bypass the consequences of that action. So the question is, given the opportunities in your life each day, your choices, good or bad, right or wrong, are up to you. You are a free agent who can choose how to act or react to whatever situation you're in using your brain, your words, and your body, and to affect change on the resources you have access to. The bottom line is that within our particular daily situations, we have option choices about what to do, which means that throughout our lives, we have our free agency to choose either our actions (or our consequences) based on how we want to act in a situation, or react to a situation. I think a big part of this is because we can't see the future:

 

PowerEngineer

Diamond Member
Oct 22, 2001
3,253
297
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The permissive will of God puts an end to most of the predestination stuff. It's like a parent letting their child pull some boneheaded move, even though they could have intervened; that way the child experiences the consequences of stupid choices and learns from the experience (hopefully).
And to continue with your analogy, the parent (god) can rightfully condemn the child who fails to learn to eternal damnation? 😳 Okay, I'll stop...
 

Ajay

Diamond Member
Jan 8, 2001
8,207
3,137
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And to continue with your analogy, the parent (god) can rightfully condemn the child who fails to learn to eternal damnation? 😳 Okay, I'll stop...
Well, in Catholicism, that's not our understanding of how it works; but I don't have a cliff notes version of that, so I'll stop too.
 

Scarpozzi

Lifer
Jun 13, 2000
25,024
942
126
I just exercised free will on this Zoom call I'm on. Someone was asking about writing a report that merges a list of exiting clients with a list of known clients so they could keep a running list of just the current ones. Someone on the call said, "That can only be done with Vlookup..." I could write the sql query for that in seconds, but have had bad experiences working with the person asking for it...so I didn't correct anyone. I'm on the call, but have my camera off and am radio silent. Free will.
 
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TheELF

Diamond Member
Dec 22, 2012
3,204
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Just a simple question. Do humans have freewill? If we replayed the past would everything line up exactly the same way, or can we change it? Can we change our destiny thru awareness?
That's where the idea of parallel universes comes from, because you can choose freely you will make all the decisions that are possible to you, in this dimension it was whatever it was and in all the others it was all the other choices.
If everything is predetermined all parallel universes will be the same.
Christians will say that god gives us freewill, and that we are given choices. Are we really given a choice though? Look at religion. The main factor in determining your religion is your DOB, and zip code. An Indian born in India will be a Hindu. An Aztec born during the height of the Aztec empire would had been worshipping the sun. A Lakota Sioux born on the plains of North America would had been worshipping spirits, and the great buffalo. My point is these people did not have free will. Is freewill an illusion?
There are people that are born in an area code to become christians and still went out and slaughtered all the native americans and there were native americans that never heard about christ but felt deeply bad about having to kill even animals and would repent and ask forgiveness right there and then. Being born into some religion doesn't make you a good or a bad christian, following the 10 commandments, even without knowing it, will.
And to continue with your analogy, the parent (god) can rightfully condemn the child who fails to learn to eternal damnation? 😳 Okay, I'll stop...
Well it wouldn't be eternal, only until the second coming when good and evil will duke it out for good to determine the fate of everything, all residents of hell would fight for evil while all residents of heaven would fight for good, after that everything will be either good or everything will be evil.
 

KeithP

Diamond Member
Jun 15, 2000
5,620
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Just a simple question. Do humans have freewill?
And the answer is just as simple, yes, we do have freewill by any reasonable definition.

Christians will say that god gives us freewill, and that we are given choices. Are we really given a choice though? Look at religion. The main factor in determining your religion is your DOB, and zip code. An Indian born in India will be a Hindu…
You seem to be conflating those things which influence our decisions and whether or not we can make a decision. Those are separate things. By example…
Christianity is India's third-largest religion after Hinduism and Islam, with approximately 27.8 million followers, constituting 2.3 percent of India's population (2011 census).
-KeithP
 

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