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Author Topic:   All Knowing God proves problematic
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2806 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 10 of 82 (491062)
12-11-2008 10:49 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Chessmaster
12-07-2008 6:24 PM


This is always a confusing thing to talk about.
But, to me, it seems obvious that there is a dysjunct between the person who has the foreknowledge and the person who performs the action. In other words, God's knowledge of what somebody does before they do it doesn't mean that God made them do it.
The weatherman can "know" what will happen tomorrow, the spy can "know" where the Nazis are going to bomb tomorrow, an alligator can "know" where the zebras are going to cross the river, and I can "know" that my baby is about to take off walking across the room while my wife isn't looking, but none of these imply that the observer's knowledge has any control over the actor's actions.
Granted, these are all incomplete predictions based on present observations, and not the perfect foreknowledge that God is supposed to have, but the principle is still the same: in all cases, the observer does not act (except in those theologies where God uses His foreknowledge to actively manipulate the future to His ends, which is mostly outside of my personal theology). Where the foreseer does not influence the actor, you simply cannot say that the knowledge has anything to do with the cause of the action.
Conflating the foreknowledge with the action foreseen is equivalent to blaming the weatherman for the snowstorm.

-Bluejay
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Chessmaster, posted 12-07-2008 6:24 PM Chessmaster has seen this message but not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by Percy, posted 12-11-2008 11:15 AM Blue Jay has replied
 Message 15 by straightree, posted 12-11-2008 5:46 PM Blue Jay has replied
 Message 67 by Phat, posted 07-21-2014 1:43 PM Blue Jay has not replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2806 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 16 of 82 (491114)
12-11-2008 6:45 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Percy
12-11-2008 11:15 AM


Hi, Percy.
Percy writes:
You can't equate knowledge by an omniscient (all-knowing) God with a prediction by a person with incomplete (*not* all-knowing) knowledge.
Why not? In my understanding, knowledge and prediction are the same phenomenon with different degress of certainty. Do you have a better definition?
-----
Percy writes:
You're confusing knowledge with other things that have nothing to do with the conundrum, like responsibility and overt actions.
I’m not the one who’s confusing them, Percy. Asserting that there is a conundrum assumes a causative link. Foreknowledge can only be said to violate free will if it is acting in some way to force compliance with what has been foreseen.
Otherwise, how can there be a conundrum?

-Bluejay
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Percy, posted 12-11-2008 11:15 AM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by Percy, posted 12-11-2008 7:47 PM Blue Jay has replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2806 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 17 of 82 (491115)
12-11-2008 6:58 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by straightree
12-11-2008 5:46 PM


Re: determinism and free will
Hi, Straightree.
straightree writes:
Therefore, to think that God, being omniscient, knows what the actions of men, that he has made free, will be, has no sense.
Personally, I don't necessarily believe in God's perfect foreknowledge, either.
But, the thread isn't about personal theologies, it's about the contradiction that might exist if free will and perfect knowledge were both realities.

-Bluejay
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by straightree, posted 12-11-2008 5:46 PM straightree has not replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2806 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


(1)
Message 21 of 82 (491171)
12-12-2008 10:56 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by Percy
12-11-2008 7:47 PM


Hi, Percy.
Percy writes:
Bluejay writes:
Why not? In my understanding, knowledge and prediction are the same phenomenon with different degress of certainty. Do you have a better definition?
Do you predict your past? Or would you say you know your past?...
. He knows your future in the same way you know your past, not as a prediction but as knowledge.
Okay. I’ll buy that argument. Knowledge is direct observation, and prediction is not. Clearly, there is a difference.
-----
Percy writes:
Bluejay writes:
Asserting that there is a conundrum assumes a causative link.
No it doesn't
Yes, it does.
-----
Percy writes:
The claim is that omniscience and free will cannot exist in the same universe.
This is the second time you’ve repeated this.
I know what the claim is.
But, the claim is inherently an issue of culpability. Foreknowledge, per se, must cause the downfall of free will, and vice versa, or there is no contradiction between the two.
I argue that foreknowledge is just a special case of knowledge (as defined in your previous post). Like any other (observation-based) knowledge, foreknowledge is inherently reactive in nature, not proactive: it doesn’t determine the outcomes, it only “activates” in response to them. There is no feedback mechanism whereby foreknowledge directly interferes with free will.
Without such a feedback mechanism, there is no way for foreknowledge to determine the outcome of an event, which leaves the field wide open for other factors, such as free will, to be the causative agents in the events that play out.
So, foreknowledge, by itself, simply doesn’t undermine free will. Therefore, logically, the two can coexist.
Edited by Bluejay, : Syntactical clarification.

-Bluejay
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by Percy, posted 12-11-2008 7:47 PM Percy has not replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2806 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 36 of 82 (491280)
12-13-2008 1:03 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by Percy
12-13-2008 10:05 AM


Determinism
Hi, Percy
I think I understand what you’re saying. Omniscience can only exist in a universe that is completely deterministic, and free will is antithesis to determinism. Is this correct?
Edited by Bluejay, : I just read your message about your power outage. I'm sorry to hear that, and I look forward to continuing our discussion when you get back online.

-Bluejay
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Percy, posted 12-13-2008 10:05 AM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 42 by Percy, posted 12-15-2008 8:40 AM Blue Jay has replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2806 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 43 of 82 (491397)
12-15-2008 3:20 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by Percy
12-15-2008 8:40 AM


Re: Determinism
Hi, Percy.
Now that I've had a couple days to think about it, I realize that this topic is a bit over my head. I'm not sure I fully agree that knowledge of the future can only exist under conditions of determinism, but I lack the technical expertise to make a case out of it.
To me, limitless intelligence (if not "knowledge" per se) and familiarity with the players (His creations) would give God the capacity to predict the future with 100% accuracy, even if He couldn't directly observe the future as it will play out. I argue that the difference between this and "true" knowledge would be largely academic (even though it would technically still mean that I lost the debate).
You'd also have to consider the possibility of God's universe existing outside of ours and thus, having a totally different set of rules where logic works differently, but, for the sake of not turning myself into an obstinate, apologist prick, I'll let somebody else try their luck with that.

-Bluejay
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 42 by Percy, posted 12-15-2008 8:40 AM Percy has not replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2806 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 57 of 82 (491617)
12-18-2008 11:47 AM
Reply to: Message 53 by caldron68
12-17-2008 7:46 PM


Re: a simple hand-wave
Hi, Caldron.
caldron68 writes:
After reading all of the posts in this thread it is clear to me that if there is a God, then that God simply set the clock in motion and has no control over what is actually going to happen. i.e., a truly compassionate, loving, personal God cannot be omniscient and allow man to die in truly awful ways unless he has no control over how things are going to work out.
Does this mean that you agree that omniscience and free will can coexist? In principle, I mean.

-Bluejay
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by caldron68, posted 12-17-2008 7:46 PM caldron68 has not replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2806 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 59 of 82 (491687)
12-19-2008 1:39 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by Stile
12-18-2008 1:15 PM


Re: Another thought
Hi, Stile.
Stile writes:
In thinking about it in reverse, I would say that the antithesis of Determinism is "totally random occurance with no guidance".
But I certainly do not feel comfortable thinking that my Free Will is "totally random occurance with no guidance".
I think, in some ways, I'm with you on that. I have always seen determinism and chaos as opposites, where chaos is unpredictability.
It seems, from what I’ve seen other people write, that the determinism concept is really an issue of centralization. Under a purely deterministic system, all “decisions” are dictated by a common source (typically thought of as a single, causative event of which all subsequent events are just inevitable consequences). Under this system, Initial Cause becomes an issue (i.e. how did it all get started if all events are just consequences of prior events?).
On the other hand, under a purely free-willed system, each event would be instigated by a separate causative agent. In this system, the future could not be known with certainty because there is no inevitable sequence of events. Any step along the way, having its own, independent impetus, could result in a number of potential outcomes, whereas, in the deterministic system, there is only one possible outcome of each event.
-----
In our universe, I’m sure neither extreme is completely true. Former EvC member Syamsu liked to argue for a purely free-willed universe, wherein every course adjustment of a planet’s motion along its orbital path was a “decision” that the planet made, and not an inevitable consequence of the interaction between the gravity of the primary and the pre-existing motion of the planet. To me, such a phenomenon is better explained as deterministic. But, when I decide to wear the red tie instead of the blue tie, I am completely unable to comprehend how that could possibly be deterministic.
Obviously, the fact that we are born with elements of a natural personality is a good indication that all the decisions we make are not purely randomized. I am not extroverted, charismatic nor self-confident enough to want to be a salesman, so that is one decision that it clearly was not hard for God to foresee. Likewise, I have an incessant desire to be different from everybody else, which likely made it easy for God to foresee the name that I picked for my son, as well as my choice to pursue a career studying spiders.
So, clearly, there is a possibility that we could be making independent, free-willed choices, and still drawing towards a future that was, for all intents and purposes, inevitable.
-----
When speaking of this, I still feel like something is missing from the explanation, though. Both deterministic and free-willed systems rely heavily on a concept of sequential chronology. Where a God is proposed to exist “outside” the requirement for sequentiality, what sorts of interactions or observations are possible between the two modes?
I'm not so sure that anybody can really answer that.
Edited by Bluejay, : Addition
Edited by Bluejay, : Addition.

-Bluejay
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by Stile, posted 12-18-2008 1:15 PM Stile has seen this message but not replied

  
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