The Instigator
piymonk
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
J.Kenyon
Con (against)
Winning
33 Points

If omniscient beings exist, there cannot be free will.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/9/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,703 times Debate No: 13116
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (31)
Votes (5)

 

piymonk

Pro

I abstain from saying God because it is impossible for him to be omniscient and omnipotent. If x being is omniscient, then it knows the future. If it knows the future and, (let's assume x being is not fallible) is never wrong, then it knows y event will happen. For example, if I decide to go to Gamestop and buy an fps game, I will choose between Medal of Honor and Modern Warfare 2. Seeing that Mw2 sucks, I choose Medal of honor. Technically, I chose to get MOH, however was it really possible to get Mw2? Because x being is not fallible, and it knew that I was going to get MOH, then it was not possible to get Mw2. Inevitably I will get MOH. If I did get mw2, it would mean that MOH was not the x event that y being knew was going to happen.

/discuss.
J.Kenyon

Con

Thanks, PRO, for instigating the debate challenge. This will be an interesting exercise in Devil's advocacy for me since I don't actually believe in God. However, I *do* believe that divine foreknowledge and free will are *not* logically incompatible.

====================
C1 - Foreknowledge does negate free will
====================

Suppose Amy has an exam tomorrow morning. Given sufficient knowledge of the relevant factors, such as the difficulty of the test, Amy's motivation to succeed, her knowledge of the course material, etc., hypothetically, one could predict with perfect accuracy if she will study tonight. Whether or not such a prediction is made has no bearing on her choice. Either she had free will both before and after the prediction was made, or she never had free will at all. Therefore, it's absurd to believe that the additional element of an omniscient being would have any effect on her decision making process either.

====================
C2 - Molinism
====================

Many contemporary theists hold to a view called Molinism.[1] Standard Molinism is based on the view that God has middle knowledge of contingent truths called counterfactuals. A counterfactual looks like this:

If any agent X were in any situation Y, X would freely do Z.

If this seems confusing, here's a real world example:

If Joe were at Taco Bell, he would freely choose to order a crunch wrap instead of the nacho supremes.

Middle knowledge refers to the timeframe of creation. According to the standard Molinist model, it went like this:

1. God's knowledge of necessary, logical truth.
2. God's middle knowledge of contingent truth, such as counterfactuals.
--- Creation of the world ---
3. God's free knowledge.

God's middle knowledge of counterfactuals influences the type of world that he actualizes. Knowing how all free agents will behave in all possible situations, God (hopefully) creates the best possible world. Thus, God 's free knowledge (including foreknowledge) is contingent upon both middle knowledge and the ontology of the created world.

====================
C3 - A simple argument for compatibilism
====================

Hard determinism is the view that if any agent X performs action Y, that agent could not have done other than Y in those circumstances. In order for this to be correct, there must not be any definition of "could" by which an agent X could do other than Y when he actually did Y.

Returning to the analogy my opponent gives regarding video games. G.E. Moore uses the example of a ship.[2] It is one thing to say that that a ship is going 15 knots but *could* go 20, while it is quite another matter to say the ship is going 10 knots because it *cannot* go 15. Thus, in many circumstances, it's clear that in *some sense* X *could have* done other than Y, therefore hard determinism is false and free will exists.

The resolution is negated.

-- References --

1. http://plato.stanford.edu...
2. http://www.mnstate.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
piymonk

Pro

You say that it is one thing for a ship to go 15 knots, while it could go 20, and for a ship to go 10 knots because it cannot go 15.

If God knows that the ship will go 15 knots, and because he is not fallible, is it truly possible for the ship to go 20 in that same trip? If it did go 20, then that would render God fallible. Yes, the ship is capable of going 20 knots, but is it possible with the divine intervention of a God? In this case, God knew that the ship would go 15 knots and it does. I see that in this case, it was not possible for the ship to go 20 knots since God knew that it would go 15.

Of course even if God exists and this applied, then we would still define the choice of going 15 as free will.
J.Kenyon

Con

Let me begin by rectifying a slight error I made in the first round: C1 should read "Foreknowledge does *not* negate free will."

PRO has not addressed my first contention regarding foreknowledge, nor has he responded to my second contention regarding Molinism, either of which would be sufficient to negate the resolution. However, for the sake of the discussion, I'll respond to his objection regarding Moore's ship analogy.

======================
C3 - A simple argument for compatibilism
======================

Suppose, as my opponent believes, that there is only one meaning of the word "could." If we assume that there is no distinction between the ship that is travelling 10 knots, but could go 20 and the ship that is going 10 knots because it could *not* go 15, our conclusion is not only absurd, but self-contradictory. "Could" would then only be used to refer to the action that any agent actually performs!

Consider this simple argument [1] by philosopher Michael Huemer:

1. With respect to the free-will issue, we should refrain from believing falsehoods. (This is not arguable)
2. Whatever should be done can be done. (I'll explain shortly)
3. If determinism is true, then whatever can be done, is done. (definition of "could")
4. I believe in free will. (given)
5. With respect to the free-will issue, we can refrain from believing falsehoods. (from 1,2)
6. If determinism is true, then with respect to the free will issue, we refrain from believing falsehoods. (from 3,5)
7. If determinism is true, then free will exists. (from 6,4)
8. Determinism is true.
:. Therefore, free will exists. (from 7, 8)

Premise 2 is derived from Immanuel Kant's "ought implies can" principle.[2] That is, it is erroneous to say that one "ought" to do something they cannot actually do. For example, if your car breaks down and you're late for work, it would be ridiculous for me to say "well, then you should have flown to work like Superman does!"

The resolution is negated.

-- References --

1. http://home.sprynet.com...
2. http://plato.stanford.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
piymonk

Pro

piymonk forfeited this round.
J.Kenyon

Con

Thanks fer' playin'
Debate Round No. 3
31 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by m93samman 6 years ago
m93samman
seems like pro doesn't read comments at all
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
I will tomorrow morning. It's ridiculously late here and I was just about to go to bed.
Posted by piymonk 6 years ago
piymonk
Could you simplify C2 for me.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
Actually, I might. I'm still working on that one. Either way, it's not necessary for that to be the case in order for free will to exist.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
Neither do I.
Posted by piymonk 6 years ago
piymonk
If all the events leading to that are the same under the same circumstances, then I do not believe person y would change his/her choice.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
Also, theLwerd (or anyone else for that matter), if you want to help Kinesis out, please do it in PM so my opponent doesn't get any ideas.
Posted by popculturepooka 6 years ago
popculturepooka
"Premise 2 is derived from the "ought implies can" principle"

Kant! I'm very sympathetic towards a lot of his ideas...
Posted by Kinesis 6 years ago
Kinesis
Thanks, I'll read that.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
I seemed wrong to me too at first. Maybe the guy who came up with it can help: http://home.sprynet.com...

(obviously I would have cited it had I used it in the actual debate)

Admittedly, it's not the strongest argument I have for free will. I'm saving them for possible future debates with TheSkeptic, theLwerd, or Vi_Veri ; )
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