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"The existence of Free Will"?


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#1    AztecInca

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 05:50 AM

Debate suggestion by Stellar.

The existence of Free Will? Does it exist or not?

We are looking for 2 participants. One to debate that yes free will does exist and another to debate that it does not exist.

This will be a 1v1 formal debate.
An Introduction, 5 bodily posts and a conclusion from each participant. No Flaming, bad manners or profantities will be tolerated. Please make sure you quote ALL your sources!

Please be aware that:

There is a point deduction for debaters who fail to make a post within the 7 day time frame. The deductions will be 2 points for every day the participant fails to post after the 7 days.

This is to ensure that debates continue in a timely fashion. If for any reason you cannot post within the 7 days, please ensure that you let myself or Lottie know to avoid having the points taken off your debate.

If, however the participant does not then attempt to make a post for up to 2 weeks after the 7 day rule has started an immediate disqualification will occur.

Good luck Aztec.

Edited by AztecInca, 24 February 2006 - 06:03 AM.


#2    Glacies

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 06:17 AM

I'm in, for debating free will does in fact exist.

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#3    AztecInca

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 10:50 AM

^Thank-you Galcies.

We are now looking for one member to debate against the existence of free will.


#4    raddbj03

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 09:57 AM

i will debate against free will



#5    Glacies

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 04:41 AM

excellent! welcome aboard!
Introduction
The concept of free will is truly an enigmatic one, with numerous descriptions, definitions, and explanations. however, with the plethora of terms, analogies and attempts to describe it, the concept itself becomes more and more hazy in regards to its overall definition and existence.
I will in my argument clarify this confusion, and state once and for all the existence of free will is irrefutable.
the main points that must be addressed when arguing for the existence of free will, are of course, what is free will, how does it work, and of course, how can god and free will exist simultaneously?
free will in itself is a concept best defined as the culmulation of all the choices one makes in their lives. pro free will arguments all circulate around the principle that nothing is decided, nothing is for certain, and that people have the choice to live their lives as they see fit. that definition is quite accurate as it doesn't need to use analogies or comparisons to try to explain itself. usually analogies are used to ease the comprehension process, however, when talking about a concept as abstract as free will, analogies only serve to muddy up the understanding process.
Free will works with the understanding that nothing is ultimately decided upon, and there is sway room which will allow for decisions to be made last second, and have serious sway over the outcome of a persons life.
wait though, some argue, how can the concept of free will exist with an omniscient omnipotent god? that is a tough question, one which will most likely be brought up in this debate. numerous theories have been proposed, such as the watchmaker theorem, or the equally believeable theory of god instilling free will, knowing the end outcome, and watching the varying routes through which said outcome is reached. but still, how can free will exist, that is to say, how can god know what will happen, and yet the path not be a preprogrammed one? well, god as a watcher could know what will eventually happen, and how you got there, but it doesn't mean he/she affected the overall options you had made to get there. this is why the debate is soo difficult and should be alot of fun, but as you can see so far, the concept of free will has more than enough strength behind it to prove it's validity.  thumbsup.gif

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#6    AztecInca

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 08:09 AM

Well you have jumped the gun a little there Glacies, but it is great to see such enthusiasim for debating.

So just quickly Glacies will be debating for the existence of free will while raddbj03 will be debating against the existence of free will.

Good luck!


#7    Glacies

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 06:41 PM

Quote


Well you have jumped the gun a little there Glacies, but it is great to see such enthusiasim for debating.

So just quickly Glacies will be debating for the existence of free will while raddbj03 will be debating against the existence of free will.

Good luck!

didn't mean to be overly anxious, just didn't want to miss my chance and get a reminder to post, it's kinda embarrasing.  blush.gif won't happen again  thumbsup.gif

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#8    raddbj03

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 08:53 PM

I will be debating against free will.  now, i realize that most debates go through a thorough examination of the topic at hand.  however, my logic to a debate is different.  in my eyes, a debate exists because there are two sides to one story, both believable yet unclear in the end.  obviously, there are people who thoroughly believe in free will, and those that are hardcore against the idea (and the all the ones in between).  i believe that my definition of free will cannot exist, but i will also demonstrate how free will and non-free will can exist within each other and the reasons why even though ultimate free will may/cannot exist, it isn't such a bad thing.


#9    Glacies

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 05:00 AM

Post 1
You are correct in most debates two sides do occur separate and both legitmately arguable and capable of coexisting until the final verdict decides which argument is better, however, in this situation, no such co-existence occurs. I feel that this debate states free will does, or does not exist, as such with such completely polar opposite standpoints, this debate must be approached quite differently from your normal debate.
In this point, I shall tackle the first hurdle, taking this debate literally one step at a time until the figurative 'finish line', said hurdle being what exactly is free will and how does it affect us?
Free will, as I'd stated in my opening, is the concept that upon facing an option in life, no matter how trivial the choice may be, ie ketchup or mustard, the choice exists and will lead to a different outcome entirely upon venturing down that path. while I'd said I'd try to avoid metaphors, my muse has stirred, and I feel the best way to emphasize this is to state;
consider life to be a race if you will, with numerous routes to take and ways of reaching the single finish line. to believe in free will, you state that the available roads are infinite in option, meaning you have any number of ways to face any decision or fork in the road. while certainly a more positive outlook, the seemingly more pessimistic or limiting view point is that of a complete lack of free will. in it, there is only one route you can take, no matter what choices you seem to make, none of them really have any affect on you, as you yourself aren't making them, instead you are compelled to.
this may seem very forgein, but it is certainly a legitimate argument, however it is my goal to emphasize the legitamacy of my own argument.
How can one philosophical argument be more accurate than the other? well, one cannot prove a philosophical theory easily with science, and certainly blinding you with bs wouldn't serve to sway you either, so I must state opinion, with, of course back up arguments to help my case.
however...science is trying to answer this question, and one of the best concepts of free will, or at least proof that not all things are plotted out and predetermined, would of course be the numerously mentioned quantum physics models in which particles seem to exist in two states until observed. while arguable by anti free will advocates, that the end observable outcome was 'fated' to occur, free will is clearly present as the uncertainty, were there to be no free will, there would be no moments of dual existence and nonexistence.
Ironically however, this is the very state our current debate is in, hovering between pro and anti, both yet neither, until the end result is observed. super!

Edited by Glacies, 06 February 2006 - 05:00 AM.

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#10    raddbj03

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 08:23 AM

i understand these debates are supposed to have legitimate arguments using sources and numerous points to prove oneself right.  however, my arguments will not derive from pure science, but merely the exact opposite.  to me, this argument must be proven using logic and reason, because the existence of free choice is in my opinon not observable.  what i mean by this is that one cannot go out into the world to try to find free will under a rock, or floating in the air (as an empiricist would).  rather, since free will is an idea, the only way to come about a conclusion is to confirm or deny the validity of the idea.  in the end, free will cannnot exist in a world with an omnipotent, omniscient god (or being).  however, it is more complicated than this.


#11    Glacies

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 02:38 AM

Excellent, I love a speedy debate!
You are correct, and while I wanted to save the god topic for my last post, I might as well get it out of the way here, since you brought it up. it is true that god cannot perform two mutually exclusive actions, the best example being creating a mountain so huge he cannot move it, in this case, the two actions being all knowing, and yet still able to coexist with free will. however if you think that I am going to argue that there is no god, and yet there is free will, I must correct that train of thought. I am not overly religious, as I believe I've said, however, I do believe in a god. wait, youre saying, youre going around in circles here. okay you got me, I am. sorry. it is quite hard to state a definitive absolute answer when you are dealing with theories so abstract as god and free will.
my favourite theory that has been proposed is that a god of some sort created everything (hypothetically speaking for the atheists in the crowd) and then left us to our own devices, stepping in from time to time to help with a difficult decision, maybe point out another option, but that is the extent of god's control. Similar to a parental figure, guiding and giving advice but leaving the decisions ultimately to you. how then, you ask, is god all knowing. well, is knowing what will happen necessarily controlling it? no, not really in my opinion, however, I am unable to please everyone with my opinion, either free will exists or god is omnipotent, and saying, no wait, both are true! is a cop out. so since I am arguing free will exists, I will have to nod to god, apologize and say, 'either you accept that youre a watching deity, aware of all, though not determining what happens, or stop reading my debates.'
Back to your statement however, that you cannot observe free will happening, I must respectfully disagree. it is true watching someone make a conscious decision is a bit difficult to say the least, quantum physics defines moments in which particles can exist in two states at once, and it is according to the observer which occurs, thus shattering the theory that all things are predetermined by some greater force. I'll touch more on these experiments next time, as I'm sure youre all waiting to hear about them!
Though I have to agree with raddbjo3, this debate is certainly going to be difficult. what fun!

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#12    raddbj03

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 10:14 AM

I myself am not hardcore religious neither.  in fact, some that know me might even say that i am anti-religious.  but, of course, i am not.  i believe in god-the christian god-and i believe that he is all knowing and all powerful.  this, to me, means he knows EVERYTHING and can do EVERYTHING.  now, can god make a rock too heavy to lift?  the answer is obvious- yes.  can god control all of our actions, down to the most discrete ones - yes.  

But does he do this?  does this god control all of our actions?  i don't believe so at all.  god is COULD be in control, but decides due to the perfection of his nature that he will not control every action.  however, hand in hand with this perfect nature is knowing all.  this means that he may not control every action, but he knows every action and every choice, and this also means he knows which one will be chosen and the outcome.  

Now, is free will the power to choose without any external force or influence?  maybe, and i believe this could be a decently primative definition.  so, if i go to the grocery store and buy the whole wheat loaf of bread instead of the white bread, i don't believe god had any influence on this decision at all.  free choice?  hmmmm.....no external influences and a decision that has been made = seems all but obvious i had the free choice to take whichever one i wanted.  or did i?  the real question is perspective.  perspective is the key to this entire argument.  where do you stand relative to the choice and the choice maker.  i will expand more on this point later to clarify my stance.


#13    Glacies

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 04:15 AM


While it is not in my nature to nit pick (who am i kidding, of course it is...) god cannot do two mutually exclusive things, ie make a rock to heavy to lift, and then lift it.
furthermore, while it is a logical theory, you describe that god doesn't control every single action, that argument itself is actually better suited for the existence of free will, for even if god were to let humankind make a single choice, that choice is proof of free will.
I must agree with you though on your last point, this debate is entirely up to perspective! there is no way to absolutely prove free will exists, as there is no way to absolutely prove that it doesn't! It seems that in this neverending display of circular logic, one must stand out and say, on the balance of evidence, I say that free will does exist! which is just what I am doing in this debate.

The concept of determinism (anti free will) places all decision making powers upon a pre fated course of events plotted out by a higher power or god. and just as every argument, (including the existence of free will btw!) this issue has it's flaws. how could said god control the actions of atheists? moreover, how could the plotted out path lead one to sin? would the higher power not want that action, and plot otherwise? of course all I am doing here is arguing philosophical issues, but in a debate of this nature, said issues are the only ones which could be raised.

though I am not saying god doesn't exist, instead, as I'd said in previous posts, god can exist and know the end outcome, but not know the decisions required to get there, thereby limiting god, and proving the existence of free will. and as we've seen with the mountain question, there are just some things god has issues dealing with, free will certainly is one of them. yes.gif

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#14    raddbj03

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 11:50 PM

(all of my arguments are under the premise that an all knowing, all powerful god exists)

"God cannot do two mutually exclusive things..." - why not?  if god created our world, then god in fact created the realm of knowledge human beings are capable of.  god's perfect being reaches beyond the realms of human understanding - meaning he is not bound to the semantic laws of a human created language, and therefore not bound to the world of human logic.  can god lift a rock too heavy to lift?  if anyone can, god could.  just because its illogical to me or i don't know how doesn't mean it cannot be done.  

When i stated earlier that i believe god does NOT control every action, you Glacies and most others may take this as an argument FOR free will.  However, you also agreed with me that this argument is all about persepective.  But I shall elaborate on this, as to show that although god may not control every action, this isn't an automatic route toward the existence of free will.

Here's a situation -

Person "A" and person "B" are sitting in a resturant wondering what to order.  A recalls yesterday, when he visited the infamous fortune teller.  This fortune teller is never, ever wrong (always right).  A asked this fortune teller what B was going to order tomorrow when they went out to eat.  The fortune teller tells A that B will order a burger.  The teller also tells A that he will order a steak.  Back to today, we find B sanning the menu wondering what to order.  He doesn't know what to get because so many things look good.  He finally makes up his mind and orders a burger.  A knew it!  But now its A's turn to order, and he orders a salad.  After they order, B says that it was a tough choice, but he went with the burger.  

Analysis - Did B have the free will to order a burger?  From B's persepective, yes!  But from A's perspective and from the fortune tellers (ones who are more informed), no because it was already known what he would order.  Therefore, looking at it from A and the tellers perspective, B DIDN'T  have a choice.  Nobody controlled this action...God didn't control this action, but a choice wasn't made because one didn't exist.  Another question - How did A order a salad and get away with his free choice?  The fortune teller told him he would order a steak fully knowing he would order a salad.  A believed he had a choice, even though he thought he knew what was "supposed" to happen.  But from the tellers mind, the ultimate knowledge source, A nor B had any choice but to order what he knew they would.

My conclusion - Because i believe an ultimate source of knowledge exists that is never wrong (that being god), I dont see any evidence of an ultimate free will.  Free will requires choices, but if some being or entity already knows every "choice" that will be made by everyone, then what choice did we have?  None.  And if no choice exists, free will would cease to exist.  
"there are just some things god has issues dealing with..." - thats one perspective, but i believe that the human mind has troubles dealing with fathoming God's actual power, along with what reality really is.  In reality, there is something that knows what you are doing and going to do.  Scary - yes, hard to comprehend- yes, but false - no.  

(i am aware that i have not defended my ultimate solution/stance on the topic, but that is yet to come...critique away Glacies)


#15    Glacies

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 03:27 AM

finally some meat to your argument! and it tastes like a seventy five dollar steak! excellent points, stating that while god may not control fate, fate/determinism is truly a real factor while free will isn't. brilliant counters! and your suggestion of a hypothetical situation specifically dealing with with the issue of perspective being the greatest factor in this debate, a stroke of genius! I am afraid I cannot criticize this argument you have made, as it is in fact neutral, neither proof of or against free will.
At times, one sees free will existing, at other moments, no free will is demonstrated, man A clearly shows that his actions are not fated to be, proves the teller wrong, and chooses something else. however, man b, with his choice, prooves the teller right. again however, we have the issues of mutual exclusiveness, the teller cannot be always right, and wrong at the same time, therefore the moment A chose salad, B's selection was merely a coincidental demonstration of free will or choice.
all this boils down to as we've said time and again, (we must sound like broken records..) is perspective, however, how can a believer perceive that their god would have any sway over the outcome of a non believers life? why would one god concern himself with those that don't concern themselves with god? finally, there are simply too many issues to be had with the concept of an all knowing, all powerful god. ie, the evil paradox, or the free will paradox which we are just discussing. with this torrent of counter evidence, and questions without answers, it is difficult to put too much faith into an all knowing god, if one puts all questions into consideration. as such, belief tends to occur as blind eyes are turned to the more distressing questions. I am in no way trying to turn this into a 'god doesn't exist' debate, because that is skirting the issue, however, if blind eyes were openned, and the true nature viewed, this god couldn't be 'all knowing', and moreover, couldn't let, nevermind make, bad things happen to his followers. thusly the only logical explanation for believers and nonbelievers alike, is that god exists, but doesn't control fate, similar to a watchmaker, setting things up, and leaving, returning intermittently to take a quick check over things.
this is shaping up to be a great debate. keep it coming, I look forward to seeing where this ends!
(ps. 500 posts woot!)

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