The Instigator
xXCryptoXx
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
Domr
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

An Omniscient God and Human Free Will are Incompatible

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
xXCryptoXx
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/27/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,815 times Debate No: 60895
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (31)
Votes (2)

 

xXCryptoXx

Con

Framework

This is a debate about God, and the concept of foreknowledge and how it relates to free will. I will be defending that free will and omniscience are compatible, that is that they can both exist without contradiction. My opponent will be arguing they are incompatible, that is that they cannot both exist without contradiction.

My opponent will have the burden of proof in this debate since he is attacking a proposition and since he is arguing against the status quo.

Rules

1. This debate should be impossible to accept. If anyone finds a way to accept this without my permission it will result in a full forfeit of my opponent.

2. First round is not for acceptance. Whoever accepts this must post their argument in Round 1, and not post anything in the final round.

3. Definitions will be used in context of the debate.

4. No Kritiks. It may be tempting to call a kritik on "free will," but that is not permissable by any means. Free will, like all definitions are to be used in context of the debate resolution.

5. Standard conduct applies. This is a serious debates; no trolling.

6. 7 Point Voting System and a minimum ELO of 2000 to vote.

Definitions

Free Will - The ability to make a conscious and contingent decision.

Omniscience - Having complete and total knowledge. In regards to time it would also mean posessing all knowledge of both past, present, and future.

God - For the sake of this debate God does not need to be strictly defined. All that needs to be defined is that God is a conscious being that is omniscient.


Domr

Pro

Thank you for inviting me to take part in this debate.

I am arguing that since God IS Omniscient, Human free will is not possible.

To Reiterate.

Free Will - The ability to make a conscious and contingent decision.

Omniscience - Having complete and total knowledge. In regards to time it would also mean possessing all knowledge of both past, present, and future.




*Contingent - subject to chance [1]



God, by being Omniscient, has perfect foreknowledge of every event in the past, present, and future. He knows everything we have done and will do with 100% accuracy.



While I agree we make conscious decisions, these decisions are not contingent as there is no chance to them. Everything we do is already known by God. Chance no longer exists if the outcome is known (by God).

As contingency is a prerequisite for Free Will, it cannot truly exist, or be compatible, with an Omniscient God.


This argument alone proves the incompatibility of an Omniscient God and Free Will.

[1] https://www.google.com...
Debate Round No. 1
xXCryptoXx

Con


Dispute Over Definition


My opponent has taken the definition of free will and disputed it. He has chosen my usage of contingent and defined it to mean subject to chance. This definition of contingent fails to be appropriate in context of the definition free will.


Free will as I have defined is the ability to make a conscious and contingent decision. However, if we define it as my opponent has, free will would mean the ability to make a conscious decision that is subject to chance. However, chance implies a lack of conscious control over the subject of the decision.


Allow me to provide an example.


If I flip a quarter, there is a chance that it may land on heads or tails. I have no conscious decision in what the quarter lands on, for what the quarter lands on is subject to chance, and not on a conscious decision. The concept of free will meaning subject to chance does not make sense, for that is not free will at all. Considering my usage of conscious in the definition, my opponent’s definition of contingent fails.


Rather, when I speak of contingent, I mean not necessary.


For example, if there is a Coke and a Pepsi and front of me, and I choose to drink the Coke, it was not necessary that I chose the Coke since in a conceivable situation I could have chosen the Pepsi.


Begging the Question


My opponent’s argument begs the question on two points:


- Whether foreknowledge causes actions


- Whether actions are necessary because of foreknowledge


As my opponent has the burden of proof, he must show both of these to be true. If he does not, his argument fails to be supported logically and he therefore loses this debate.


Misunderstandings


My opponent’s argument could be put as follows:


P1. Necessarily, if God foreknows X, then X will happen.


P2. God foreknows X.


C1. Therefore, X will necessarily happen.


The problem with this argument is that the conclusion does not logically follow from the premises. As stated earlier, the conclusion begs the question as to whether foreknowledge causes actions (as opposed to actions causing foreknowledge) and whether actions are necessary because of foreknowledge.


Both of these things assume that foreknowledge has some sort of causality. However, this does not make sense since the concept of foreknowledge and the future are abstract and therefore cannot cause. The assumption that these abstract concepts can cause stems from a misunderstanding of what these abstract concepts are.


The future is defined as what will come to be. The definition essentially states that what the future is depends on what actions will take place. This is important because my opponent’s argument is that the future determines actions, but by the definition of future it is clear that the future depends on what actions will take place, as opposed to actions taking place because of what the future is.


In other words, action X determines future Z. This means that whatever action X may be, Z is determined by that action.


Let’s say I am in a situation where I can only choose either Coke or Pepsi, and whatever I will choose is the future. My choice of Coke or Pepsi represents action X. Whatever I will choose represents future Z. If I will choose Coke, then consequently future Z is that my choice will be Coke. However, action X is subject to change. If I will choose Pepsi, then consequently future Z is that my future choice will be Pepsi.


This is what is meant when I argue that choices are contingent. It is not necessary that I will choose Coke over Pepsi, because there exists a conceivable situation where I could choose Pepsi over Coke. Whatever this decision will be determines what the future is.


A better formulation of the same argument would follow:


P1. Necessarily, if God foreknows X, then X will happen.


P2. God foreknows X.


C1. Therefore X will happen.


Although strikingly similar to my opponent’s argument, it leaves out the main component to my opponent’s position, which is that X must necessarily happen. Unless actions happen necessarily, my opponent’s argument fails. If actions are both contingent (which I have argued) and conscious (which is assumed for the sake of this debate), then free will therefore exists and is compatible with God’s omniscience.


Domr

Pro

I have not disputed the definition of free will. I have merely clarified part of the definition you gave. There is no context for free will yet as I am the one starting the debate arguments. Therefore I a use the context of the first argument in this debate (mine) to better define any words that are not yet put into context.

In actuality, Con is attacking my definition of contingient and trying to change. Violating his OWN rule.



We do not need to know if foreknowledge causes action, or if those actions are necessary because of foreknowledge. Neither of these questions apply to this debate.


Pro has stated the Omniscient God knows every event in the future. He knows every decision we will make.



In the coin flip scenario, you are correct, you do not have a choice on what the quarter lands on. However, my definition does not fail.

Con is trying to make you assume my definition of chance states that we can make a mid-air decision on which side of the coin will land face up. This is wildly innacurate. Here is how the scenario needs to interpretted for this debate context.


You flip a coin. Your decision was to flip that coin. God knows you are when you are going to flip the coin. Your "choice" to flip the coin does not have any chance in it because God knew you would flip it. The outcome of which side lands face up is irelevant to this debate. Your concious choice is to flip the coin, not choose the outcome. Trying to state you have any concious decision in the outcome is absurd.

Therefore my definition of contigient clearly stands as the first argument of the debate showed the context of the word, and your example failed to refute it.


In the Coke/Pepsi scenario, if you choose Coke, and then decide to drink half, put it back, and then drink half of the Pepsi, God knows this will happen. He knows every time you will "change your mind" because he has all knowledge of the future.

My opponent has failed to refute my argument, as the choices we make are not contingent, thus not allowed free will to be compatible with an Omniscient God.

Debate Round No. 2
xXCryptoXx

Con


Dispute Over Definition


First off, this is my debate. As the Instigator I reside the sole authority over definition. My rule stated that all definitions are to be used in context. Your definition is not in context of the resolution, and I already demonstrated why that it is last round (which you didn’t even respond to). I then clarified the context of contingent, which is supported by the definition of free will. You also failed to respond to that.


My opponent’s definition has become dangerously close to calling a Kritik on free will, which is against my rules. I supported the definition I gave for contingent within context of the debate, something my opponent failed to do. As my opponent is trying to push for a noncontextual definition of contingent, it is actually he who is violating the rules I set out for this debate.


Contradiction


My opponent gives an analogy supporting his use of the word contingent, but the analogy does not support his definition at all; it actually supports my definition.


My opponent definition of contingent – Subject to chance


My definition of contingent – Not necessary


“You flip a coin. Your decision was to flip that coin. God knows you are when you are going to flip the coin. Your "choice" to flip the coin does not have any chance in it because God knew you would flip it. “


This is exactly what I am arguing against. I already responded to this last round. Me arguing against this is an example of my definition of contingent. That is, it is not necessary that person A choose action B because of future C.


“The outcome of which side lands face up is irelevant to this debate. “


That is what I am arguing, but your definition of contingent implies that events subject to chance (such as a coin flip), are relevant to this debate. This is why I disputed your definition in the first place. I argued that free will is not just something subject to chance, it is also conscious. Something subject to chance implies that there is no conscious process in the action.


“Your concious choice is to flip the coin, not choose the outcome. Trying to state you have any concious decision in the outcome is absurd.”


Failure


My opponent focused almost his entire response on the definition of contingent, which honestly isn’t even that big of a deal and after analyzing his analogy it would almost seem as if he agrees with my position.


Pro literally uses one sentence to respond to my entire argument. His sentence is an analogy and it is just a reiteration of what I have already argued against.


“In the Coke/Pepsi scenario, if you choose Coke, and then decide to drink half, put it back, and then drink half of the Pepsi, God knows this will happen. He knows every time you will "change your mind" because he has all knowledge of the future.”


As argued earlier, I am not saying that God does not have foreknowledge of actions. What I am arguing is that actions are conscious and unnecessary (and therefore are actions of free will). You, as the bearer of the burden of proof must show that humans do not have free will when they are making choices. In order to do that you must prove the follow:


- Foreknowledge causes actions


- Actions are necessary because of foreknowledge


You have not done either, therefore failing to uphold your burden of the proof, nor have you disputed my argument at all.


You have stated that God has foreknowledge of actions, but you have not connected this notion with what is necessary to argue in order to prove that that humans do not have free will.


Domr

Pro

There is no dispute of definition.

Co does not understand "subject to chance" in actions means there is a "chance", meaning you will decide to do one thing over another. (There is a chance you could do this, or do that.)

Since my arguments, definitions, and analogies are going misunderstood, I must re-word my argument. So at this point, I apologize, but disregard all of my previous arguments.


*Side Note: Con keeps pointing out things I NEED to prove. However, If I am Pro, the one supporting the resolution, I may succeed in my BoP in many other ways. So voters, please ignore when Con says I need to prove the follow:

"Foreknowledge causes actions- Actions are necessary because of foreknowledge"

My BoP lies solely in the resolution: An Omniscient God and Human Free Will are Incompatible

As Pro, I am supporting this resolution and may choose to do this in any way I see fit.

Nevertheless, instead of going back and forth, you seem so headstrong on your definition. To move the debate along, I concede my definition of contingent(chance) in regards to free will and go to yours listed in Round 2:

"Rather, when I speak of contingent, I mean not necessary."

"Not necessary" means your actions are not required. Clarified: It is not necessary for me to perform an action. I may choose another action.


Again, Omniscient simply means having total/all/perfect knowledge of ALL events in the past, present, and FUTURE.
"Having complete and total knowledge...."

Con has already admitted God knows everything in the future. This means he knows all of our actions. Every breath we take, every step we take, He knows how and when it will happen.

This means God cannot be wrong about our future. He already knows what we will do, per Con's definition.




Arguments

I will continue with our Coke or Pepsi analogy, but I will reword it, to hopefully be more clear.

Scenario:
-You can only choose only one can of soda: Coke or Pepsi.
-You choose Coke.

*Con is arguing that your choice, Coke, is not necessary. Meaning, You are not forced to make a choice.

But, God has complete and total knowledge of every event in the future. This is the definition for Omniscient by Con.

This means, for example, during the US Civil War (years 1861-1865) God knew that in the present day, when you were handed with the choice I just gave you, God KNEW with 100% total and complete knowledge of the future, that would pick Coke.

***For this scenario the depicted choice is Coke. God could never have been wrong about your choice of Coke.
But, if you somehow picked Pepsi then God would have been wrong.



If God is wrong, He cannot be Omniscient as stated by Con because he did not have "complete and total knowledge. In regards to time it would also mean possessing all knowledge of both past, present, and future."


If God's complete and total knowledge of the future was wrong, this logically contradicts the omniscience.


To plainly express the incompatibility, or contradiction...


-If God is Omniscient, he knows every decision we make before we make it. This means our actions are necessary in order to maintain God's knowledge of the future is total and complete.

-If our decisions are not necessary, this means we can make any decision, including one that is different from God's total and complete knowledge of the future. This means God would not be considered Omniscient.


This contradicts the definition of Free will being a conscious AND contingent (not necessary) decision and/or the definition of Omniscience. Per Con's definition.




Thus proving an Omniscient God is incompatible with Human Free Will.


Debate Round No. 3
xXCryptoXx

Con


Reiteration


Pro repeats an argument which I already responded to. His argument can be summarized with the following:


P1. Necessarily, if God foreknows X, then X will happen.


P2. God foreknows X.


C1. Therefore, X will necessarily happen.


However, I already spent my entire Round 2 showing why this argument was flawed. I will reiterate my response.


The problem with this argument is that the conclusion does not logically follow from the premises. As stated earlier, the conclusion begs the question as to whether foreknowledge causes actions (as opposed to actions causing foreknowledge) and whether actions are necessary because of foreknowledge. Since the argument begs whether these two things are true, it is necessary that Pro prove these statements in order that his argument be true. Simply put, Pro at no point argued in favor of these and therefore loses this debate since he failed to uphold his burden of proof.


Besides my opponent failing to argue in favor of the syllogism he uses (which alone wins me the debate since he has the BOP), I provided arguments against the syllogism.


I argued that by definition of future, which is what will come to be, it is more reasonable that actions cause the future. That is, whatever action X is determines future Y. So if action X is that I will choose a coke, then future Y is that I will choose a coke. However, if action X is that I will choose a Pepsi, then future Y is that I will choose a Pepsi. The point is that action X is not necessary, and can follow to be any action since actions cause the future, not the future causing actions.


Why I Win


Pro failed to uphold his burden of proof. He had to prove that foreknowledge causes actions and that actions are necessary because of foreknowledge; he failed to prove either and therefore loses. In addition to that though, I also provided arguments against him which he too failed to give a proper rebuttal to.


Thank you Pro for this debate. Please remember to post "no round as agreed upon" in your next response since you do not get a final argument as per the rules.


Debate Round No. 4
31 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by adeptdebate 3 years ago
adeptdebate
Thank you for clarifying your viewpoint, Spedman.
Before the Big Bang happened, there was nothing, i.e. no THING. Nothing material. Then all at once there was a huge explosion of matter in the forms of gases, energy, light, heat, etc. If scientists claim to be rational, how can they deny that all of this stuff came from something or somewhere that preExisted matter? Any reasonable mind looks at this best theory of the origin of the physical universe and quickly concludes that matter came from something NONmaterial. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that whatever this other nonthing is (call it spirit energy, or God, or whatever) it must have the power and potential of matter within IT. Yet IT is not matter! THEREFORE, SPIRIT ENERGY MUST BE MORE REAL THAN MATTER. And yet... none of our five senses can detect or perceive it. What does that tell us? I will let you decide for yourself.
Posted by xXCryptoXx 3 years ago
xXCryptoXx
Please remember to post "no round as agreed upon" in your next response since you do not get a final argument as per the rules.
Posted by Spedman 3 years ago
Spedman
@Adept
Everyday on this website there are at least several debates having to do with religion. I am a Christian, but I understand why some people don't believe in God. I admire science and scientific research, but in my eyes I do not think simple cells and molecules could have designed the universe and our planet on their own. Out of all the monotheistic religions I prefer Christianity. However, unlike a lot of Christians I focus on the teachings of Christ and what his message was to the world. Most of the Old Testament in my opinion is irrelevant as far as teaching is concerned.
I do not mind Atheism, but I cannot stand Anti-Theism in any form. In my eyes it isn't enough for Anti-Theists to disagree with Theists. They try and find anyway possible to limit the practice of religion which is a constitutional right. To me that makes Anti-Theists fascists in a lot of ways. Like I said in the previous comment Christianity has contributed to a lot of good things, but they also have contributed to bad things as well. The same goes for Atheists, they do both good and bad things for the world.
I am not being defensive I am trying to get it across both Atheists and Christians that going at each other back and forth is pointless and we should find a way to coexist in a healthy environment. I see many issues like this happening all the time in our country. I am agitated with both groups nothing more, and I am not forcing anything down anyone's throat. They have the right to decide for themselves whether to listen to me or not. Or to believe me or not. People should think for themselves.
Posted by adeptdebate 3 years ago
adeptdebate
Domr, It doesn't look like Con is going to show. That is unfortunate, as this is a good debate issue. "CON COME BACK WE NEED YOU!"
Ignore my added "best educated guess" and assume I am using the same def of omni. I am interested to learn how Con believes that there is a conflict.
It doesn't bother me in the least that there may be things God doesn't know absolutely. For if he did, then everything would be PREDETERMINED. As such, we could hardly be held responsible for any of our actions in life, now could we.
But since God gave us our freedom, then he willingly sacrificed some small degree of his omniscience, and is none the worse off because of it.
Thank you for your participation in this endeavor of understanding, Domr!
Posted by Domr 3 years ago
Domr
Adept, your definition is different.

"TOTAL knowledge of the past present AND FUTURE". Is the definition listed for this debate.

Your definition states 'total knowledge of the past and present, and the best "educated guess" for the future".

Either God knows EVERYTHING, or he does not know everything. Everything includes the future.

So for the purposes of this debate and the definition provided by my opponent, God can be considered a 100% successful psychic.

Now as I previously mentioned, I agree with you wholeheartedly on YOUR definition. I believe in human free will. I am a Christian who believes God when he says he gave us free will. I do not believe there is a contradiction between omniscience and free will. However, I am playing devil's advocate in this debate, and am abiding by the clear definition Con has posted for "omniscient".
Posted by adeptdebate 3 years ago
adeptdebate
Hello Spedman, it seems to me that your posture suggests that you may be trying to ram down others' throats your own attitude about religion. If all you ever see on this website are religious issues, then perhaps you would be happier venturing into any one of the OTHER several dozen topics instead. You seem to be altogether defensive and up-tight. Do you have some religious issues you'd like to discuss?
Posted by adeptdebate 3 years ago
adeptdebate
Domr, my definition of omniscience comes from the unabridged dictionary and in no way contradicts it. I don"t have a different definition. Basically God knows everything, since "best educated guess" is often all that he has access to. He can be resting on the fringes of your brain, totally aware of everything you're thinking, feeling, and doing, but still not know PRECISELY what you are going to think/feel/do next. That is the nature of the free will gift he has given you.
Consider this; any claim to possess total knowledge BEFORE an event takes place in the Here & NOW " whether that be an event in the world, or inside a person " can only be regarded as bogus because for free will to be truly FREE, it can neither be subject to predeterminism nor an all-knowing God. That is, it can"t be contingent upon anything other than its own thought mechanism and processes.
God created the universe with a broad flourish of his cosmic paint brush, i.e. the Big Bang. That our life inhabitable planet happened to have all the right conditions, was a matter of chance. Chance is a legitimate form of knowledge and construction, even for a God!
Posted by Domr 3 years ago
Domr
Adept, like I said, I agree with you.

But the definition in this debate is clearly stated, so we all need to abide by that definition of "all knowledge past, present and future." If you have a different definition and would like to argue, i suggest making your own debate. and I wish you luck if you do.
Posted by adeptdebate 3 years ago
adeptdebate
By definition of free will, then for all practical purposes God knows ALMOST EVERYTHING, and what little he does not know has little to no significance. However, inasmuch as "He" has indeed created freedom of choice for humans, then He is just as baffled as you are to know ahead of time which of the two popsicles you will choose, the strawberry or the orange. Thus it is, that omniscience must needs be redefined, because even God Himself can only GUESS which popsicle you are most likely to select, since you have not yet CHOSEN. Even after you choose one, you could do a turn-around and grab the other one instead. Just to be contrary. Now God, knowing that you have been contrary before in 333 instances in your life, might well decide that you have a 47% likelihood of doing your contrary thing again... but God's knowledge, even absolute as it might be, does not and cannot violate the FINAL DECISION which is yours and yours alone. Thus, there are indeed things that even God does not know, and yet this fact does not in any way detract from or contradict his omniscience or Godhood.
Posted by Domr 3 years ago
Domr
I agree with you Adept. However, per the definition of omniscience in this debate you are wrong.

Omniscience - Having complete and total knowledge. In regards to time it would also mean posessing all knowledge of both past, present, and future.

This says "possessing all knowledge of....future" Not 'best informed' as you state.

meaning its not an educated guess, there is no chance.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Phoenix61397 3 years ago
Phoenix61397
xXCryptoXxDomrTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con sufficiently proved his assertion. I don't feel that Pro proved his position, that omniscience necessitates an action rather than predicts it. Con's argument logically followed, while pro's didn't quite get there.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 3 years ago
9spaceking
xXCryptoXxDomrTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro could not really prove a connection between lack of free will and forehand knowledge. (And that the knowledge can cause the actions which lead to lack of free will) As con suggests, if you know your friend is going to choose coke with 100% reliability, that does not mean your friend does not have a choice, it only means he likes the other choice better, which you just happen to know, which does not mean free will does not exist.