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Friday, February 14, 2014

Stupid 'Atheist' Tricks VII

I link, without further comment, to Nick J (who sometimes comments here): How to disprove ANY free will argument in 2 easy steps --

"1. Ask the free will believer to give an example of a choice they consider to be freely willed.

2. Ask the free will believer to say whether or not that choice was caused.

Congratulations; you’ve won!
If the free will believer says the choice was caused, the causal regression makes free will impossible.
If the free will believer says the choice was uncaused, that would mean the choice was random. Random thoughts are not what we mean when we say we believe a thought is freely willed.
You can easily apply this two-step refutation to any, and all, free will arguments
"

11 comments:

Nick J said...

You had no choice but to post this! :)

Ilíon said...

Nick, there is no one in the world -- including you (*) -- who believes for a minute that human beings are not free. That state of everyone's belief does not mean, of course, that we *are* free; but it does mean that all you deniers of the freedom of the will are liars, and frequently hypocrites, for you are asserting what you do not believe and, indeed, cannot believe.

Let us pretend that your method is not built of equivocation and question-begging (and, likely, other logical fallacies). That is, let us pretend that you (**) have constructed and presented a sound and valid argument against the proposition and belief that human beings are free agents. Then what? if the conclusion is the truth about our natures, then grasping the argument and seeing that truth cannot convince anyone that it is true -- only if the conclusion is false can anyone be even momentarily convinced by the argument that the conclusion is true.

(*) and as witness, I call you, yourself, and your above post.

(**) you alone, of all the deniers of freedom who have ever lived.

Nick J said...

Ilion, there is no question that it is nearly impossible to not feel that you have free will. So, in our everyday lives, no one is a full-fledged determinist. I have never stated anything contrary to that. But feeling that one has free will is not the same thing as actually having it (in something more than the ordinary meaning of making choices and having the mental capacity to understand the consequences of those "choices").

What we can do on an intellectual level is reason from the law of causality that applies to everything else and then apply that law to ourselves.

We can "deduce" determinism, but can we notice it through our experiences? Only in a very limited way, if at all. But that's not a very strong argument for free will.

planks length said...

In a determinist universe, there ought to be no prisons... in fact, no law. After all, no one would be responsible for his actions. How could we possibly call anyone guilty of a wrongdoing, if there is only "doing"?

Nick J said...

Strange reasoning, planks length. Lack of libertarian free will doesn't mean that person (rapist, murderer, armed robber) didn't commit the act. They can still be held as dangerous to society, just as those who commit terrible things but are found "not guilty by reason of insanity" are locked up if they remain insane and their insanity makes them a threat to others.

Drew said...

Our prison system doesn't exist to punish. It exists to implement the Humanitarian Theory of Punishment.

Ilíon said...

... as does our whole "justice system", which is why I mock it as a "justice system". It isn't about serving justice, it's about the system and serving the interests of the functionaries of the system.

Ilíon said...

Though, to be clear, when C S Lewis wrote of "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment" he meant *exactly* deserved punishment, that is, justice, rather than the modish therapy or "rehabilitation". His thesis was that these modern attempts to avoid doing actual justice dehumanize the inmates, whereas just punishment acknowledges the humanity and personhood of the inmates.

Ilíon said...

"Ilion, there is no question that it is nearly impossible to not feel that you have free will."

Are we talking about feelings (what! are we women?), or are we talking about truth-claims, which is to say, propositions, which can be rationally evaluated according to the strictures (more on this, anon) of logic?

When people speak of "free will", they have in mind one of three things (or frequently more than one simultaneously, for people often do not speak and think with precision):
1) the capacity to choose something or other;
2) the act of choosing something or other;
3) the actor who acts in choosing something or other.

Strictly speaking, despite that everyone phrases it that way, we don't "have free will" -- as though free-will were like a hand or a foot, that could be struck off, yet leaving us still ourselves intact. Rather, we *are* free-wills; to speak of free-will is just to speak of the self itself with a focus on the self's capacity to will this or that.

And, because we are free-wills, to deny the reality of the free-will *just is* to deny the reality of the self -- you may recall that I have argued that a logically consistent denial-that-God-is entails the denial that one's own self exists ... and that thereby, we know that atheism is false, which is to say, we thereby know that God is; which is to say: *you* are the proof that God is.

"So, in our everyday lives, no one is a full-fledged determinist. I have never stated anything contrary to that."

Don't you find it curious that Christians can't live up to our ideals, whereas (most) 'atheists' can't live down to theirs? (and thank God for that!)

Is there some other life than "our everyday lives" that we are living? Since, "in our everyday lives, no one is a full-fledged determinist", should that not, at the very least, cast doubt on determinism? Should that not, at the very least, prompt you to examine your (faulty) assumptions?

"But feeling that one has free will is not the same thing as actually having it ..."

Other than using feelings-talk (of which habit you really need to break yourself), did I not say that the fact the we all -- even you and all other deniers of free-will -- believe that we are free does not even begin to establish that we are indeed?

At the same time, if we were not free, we could not believe that we are.

Ilíon said...

"But feeling that one has free will is not the same thing as actually having it (in something more than the ordinary meaning of making choices and having the mental capacity to understand the consequences of those "choices")."

What in the Hell! The "ordinary meaning of [consciously/knowingly] making choices" is exactly what people have in mind when they speak/think of "having a free will" (pointing out again that no one "has free will", but rather *is* a free-will).

So, let's take a moment to reflect --
1) Your desideratum is to get rid of God -- a foolish hope, but well and fine;
2) But, to get rid of God, you had to get rid of free-will;
2a) which is to say, you had to get rid of yourself;
3) But to get rid of free-will, you had to get rid of the meaning of the term ... by trying to assert that unless 'free-will' is more than what it is, then it is an illusion;
3a) you can't even begin to define what this "something more" that is lacking is (for that is what does not exist);
3b) and even if you could it's not what people mean, or have ever meant, by the term/concept;
4) This attempt to define free-will out of existence (by insising that it cannot be real unless it is more than it is) goes far beyond the equivocation of the OP on your blog.

What you deniers of freedom are asserting (for there is no argument you can make) is that unless one can choose 'A' and 'not-A' simultaneoulsy, then no one is free; that unless one can choose 'A' but not the consequenses of 'A', then no one is free. What you deniers of freedom are asserting is that unless the world is irrational, then no one is free. But this is absurd.


"What we can do on an intellectual level is reason from the law of causality that applies to everything else and then apply that law to ourselves."

What you mean is that we can engage in question-begging. What you mean is that we can ignore the only evidence we know directly -- our own mental states and such mental entities as we know without reference to physical/material states -- and having purposely ignored the evidence that contradicts the claim that all of reality is deterministic, pretend to have concluded the falsehood about ourselves that we actually assumed.

Ilíon said...

"We can "deduce" determinism, ..."

It's fitting that you put 'deduce' in scare-quotes, for to deduce or reason is the very thing that an un-free entity cannot do.

You are asserting (while pretending to argue) that we are wholly determined by prior (generally or entirely) physical/material states.

I am asserting (and arguing) that we are *not* wholly determined by prior (generally or entirely) physical/material states.

IF your assertion about us were true, then neither of us is doing what we are doing because having deduced a certain proposition to be true, we believe it to be true, and believing it to be true seek to convince the other to also believe that it is true. IF your assertion about us were true, than both of us are meaninglessly and non-rationally doing what we are doing merely as the out-working of our prior physical/material states.

IF your assertion about us were true, then I cannot convince you to my position, nor can you convince me to yours -- however, it could be that one or the other of us might write some totally nonsensical text, the reading of which will change the physical/material state of the other, such that he suddenly begins to assert the total opposite of what he had been asserting.

"Gi goo, gack doi. Tomo!"

As I said at the start of this section (and have show above), reasoning is utterly impossible for un-free entities. You God-deniers love to pose as the Epitomes Of Reason, but *everything* you do and say related to God-denial repudiates reason and rationality. One simply cannot maintain rationality while denying the reality of God (this is because rationality is grounded in God).

"... but can we notice it through our experiences? Only in a very limited way, if at all. But that's not a very strong argument for free will."

A universalist assertion is overturned -- is proven false -- by just one contrary fact. The denial of free-will -- the assertion of universal determinism -- is a universalist assertion. That we "notice ... through our experiences" that we do not find ourselves to be wholly determined is the only contrary fact we need to prove the denial of free-will (the assertion that we are wholly determined by prior states, that we cannot ever freely choose to move from one state to another) to be false.

So, rather than being "not a very strong argument for free will", the fact that "we notice ... through our experiences" that the assertion of universal determinism is "limited" when applied to our own selves is that one little fact that wholly overthrows the assertion of universal determinism.

The world doesn't need to be irrational for us to be free; it need merely be the case that we are not wholly determined by prior states, it need merely be the case that we can create (or initiate) new states.