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This forum is open discussion between atheists and all theists to defend and debate their views on religion or non-religion. Please respect that this is a Christian-owned forum and refrain from gratuitous blasphemy. VERY wide leeway is given in range of expression and allowable behavior as compared to other areas of the forum, and moderation is not overly involved unless necessary. Please keep this in mind. Atheists who wish to interact with theists in a way that does not seek to undermine theistic faith may participate in the World Religions Department. Non-debate question and answers and mild and less confrontational discussions can take place in General Theistics.


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A Plea for Understanding

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  • Doug Shaver
    replied
    Originally posted by 37818 View Post
    God cannot be wrong.
    I'll keep that in mind if he ever says anything to me. But as long as all I hear is people talking about him, I'm going to have my doubts.

    Leave a comment:


  • Soyeong
    replied
    Quote tags come in pairs of [quote] and [ /quote] and you need to put them at the beginning and end of what you want to quote. For instance:

    [quote]I've been trying for about 20 minutes now to no avail.[ /quote]

    If I removed the space before the "/" in the second quote tag, then it would appear like this:

    I've been trying for about 20 minutes now to no avail.
    If you want to give the name of the person you are quoting, then make the first quote tag look like [quote=Shaney777]

    Originally posted by Shaney777
    I've been trying for about 20 minutes now to no avail.
    Last edited by Soyeong; 02-06-2014, 01:24 PM.

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  • Shaney777
    replied
    Could someone please tell me how to quote individual pieces of a post? I've been trying for about 20 minutes now to no avail.

    Leave a comment:


  • seer
    replied
    Originally posted by David Hayward View Post
    I agree with Feser (and you) on this, but would point out that in my admittedly few probings of atheists on TWEB the atheists have (nearly always) demonstrated they have views rather nearer to that of the moderate everyman than to those of Rosenberg type eliminative materialist extremists.
    So we agree, my point, having been in this debate before - I have never seen, logically, how significant human freedom could be possible if materialism is correct. I recently read Thomas Nagel "Mind and Cosmos" - at least twice, he kept coming up to the point of some form of interactive dualism, but never would actually embrace it. I believe some type of dualism would be necessary for genuine human freedom. If not it is turtles all the way down.

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  • David Hayward
    replied
    Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
    ...seer's view that the Mechanistic biological determinism of evolution science cannot explain the possibility of Free Will...
    @seer: One authentic Christian viewpoint is that God could have/did set the mechanistic biological determinism of evolution in motion precisely in order to achieve people with free will -- see 'Shadow to Light' blog here, also several of the following half-dozen entries -- so mechanistic determinism is not necessarily a valid objection to free will (or to a creator God.)

    Originally posted by seer View Post
    ...yes I do maintain that if materialism is correct, free will is not possible. Some scientists do agree, others don't. But for those who don't I would like to see an argument as to how freedom of the will could be even theoretically possible with materialism.
    Edward Feser is prominent among those who agree with you that any consistent materialism is an eliminative materialism, is Scientism, and denies free will. See his ten-blog scathing comments on Alex Rosenberg's "The Atheist's Guide to Reality", the parts of which are conveniently linked to from Feser's roundup (and here for links to his comments on Scientism in general.) I agree with Feser (and you) on this, but would point out that in my admittedly few probings of atheists on TWEB the atheists have (nearly always) demonstrated they have views rather nearer to that of the moderate everyman than to those of Rosenberg type eliminative materialist extremists.
    Last edited by David Hayward; 02-01-2014, 03:12 AM.

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  • Tassman
    replied
    Originally posted by seer View Post
    No, I did not shift anything. And yes I do maintain that if materialism is correct, free will is not possible. Some scientists do agree, others don't. But for those who don't I would like to see an argument as to how freedom of the will could be even theoretically possible with materialism.
    …as do several significant branches of Christianity and for the same basic reason, namely the idea that every event is necessitated by antecedent events together with the laws of nature and/or an omniscient God.

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  • seer
    replied
    Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
    I do not think so. You have to follow the original series of posts. The problem is a little more fundamental in seer's view that the Mechanistic biological determinism of evolution science cannot explain the possibility of Free Will, therefore . . . He may be apparently shifting his argument (a little?) from his original position, but I doubt it.
    No, I did not shift anything. And yes I do maintain that if materialism is correct, free will is not possible. Some scientists do agree, others don't. But for those who don't I would like to see an argument as to how freedom of the will could be even theoretically possible with materialism.

    Leave a comment:


  • shunyadragon
    replied
    Originally posted by David Hayward View Post
    I can agree with that, seer, but can also agree with shunyadragon:

    Are you guys arguing past each other?
    I do not think so. You have to follow the original series of posts. The problem is a little more fundamental in seer's view that the Mechanistic biological determinism of evolution science cannot explain the possibility of Free Will, therefore . . . He may be apparently shifting his argument (a little?) from his original position, but I doubt it.

    Originally posted by seer
    Whag, I want to flesh out this idea of freedom of thought a bit more. You are an evolutionist correct? You don't believe in a God or an immaterial soul - right? How can free thought exist in your world view? Are we not then biologically determined in how we respond to stimuli and think or come to our conclusions? Where is the freedom in that?
    Actually, those scientists that propose no 'Free Will' will obviously not cite religious Christian sources for any support, but the Calvinist view is still very much a part of the Protestant view of Free Will.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 01-31-2014, 06:10 PM.

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  • David Hayward
    replied
    I can agree with that, seer, but can also agree with shunyadragon:

    Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
    It has been well documented the determinism was believed in Calvinism long before some recent scientists proposed it today.
    Are you guys arguing past each other?

    Leave a comment:


  • seer
    replied
    Originally posted by David Hayward View Post
    I'm very happy to add my voice to shunyadragon's, to support what I consider his reasonable and moderate position in this thread.

    Like him, I think it is a mistake to assume that those who are locked into the extreme position that is free-will-denying Scientism speak for scientists in general; or to assume that scientists speak with the same voice: they don't, and they don't.
    But I never claimed that all scientists hold this view. Only that this view, in this present time, is being put out there by scientists - and some very popular scientists like Sam Harris.

    Leave a comment:


  • David Hayward
    replied
    I'm very happy to add my voice to shunyadragon's, to support what I consider his reasonable and moderate position in this thread.

    Like him, I think it is a mistake to assume that those who are locked into the extreme position that is free-will-denying Scientism speak for scientists in general; or to assume that scientists speak with the same voice: they don't, and they don't.
    Last edited by David Hayward; 01-31-2014, 01:58 PM.

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  • seer
    replied
    Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
    I am not saying it is you, but your view is in error. The view that there is no 'Free Will' is first a religious view as old at least Augustine, and later defined as Calvinism. Some scientists and philosophers today support absolute determinism and others do not. It is not necessarily an atheist thing either,
    Yes, and all the church fathers until Augustine (some 400 years) believed in free will - when they spoke about the subject. As the vast majority of Christians do today. But in the present culture these ideas are coming primarily from science. I don't see Calvinists being quoted in these popular publications.

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  • shunyadragon
    replied
    Originally posted by seer View Post
    But it is not me that is bring these ideas us. It is the scientists.
    I am not saying it is you, but your view is in error. The view that there is no 'Free Will' is first a religious view as old at least Augustine, and later defined as Calvinism. Some scientists and philosophers today support absolute determinism and others do not. It is not necessarily an atheist thing either,

    Originally Posted by David Hayward

    "How does Benjamin Libet's experiments provide evidence against Free will?"

    The philosopher Daniel Dennett is a hard eliminative materialist who has written a book called "Consciousness Explained" but which critics have apparently mockingly re-titled "Consciousness Ignored" and "Consciousness Explained Away"; and he is also a prominent New Atheist. These are reasons why we might expect him to conclude from the Libet experiment what Alec Welsh could not be budged from, namely the denial of free will; but Dennett does no such thing, and in his book, "Freedom Evolves" argues that no clear conclusion about volition can be derived from Benjamin Libet's experiments supposedly demonstrating the non-existence of conscious volition.

    So a prominent hard-core eliminative materialist acknowledges the evidence is weak.

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  • seer
    replied
    Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
    Yes, of course, I am taking you to task on you views on the idea of determinism.
    But it is not me that is bring these ideas us. It is the scientists.

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  • shunyadragon
    replied
    Originally posted by seer View Post
    Again Shuny you are the one who took me to task for bringing up the idea of determinism - when it is the scientists themselves that are using these terms, and suggesting that free will is an illusion. And I never said that all scientists agree, all scientists seldom agree on anything. Just that these ideas, like free will being an illusion, or that we are deterministic beings, are coming from science.
    Yes, of course, I am taking you to task on you views on the idea of determinism. By the way 95+% of all scientist agree fully on evolution. It has been well documented the determinism was believed in Calvinism long before some recent scientists proposed it today.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 01-31-2014, 06:23 AM.

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