The Instigator
Rational_Thinker9119
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
DakotaKrafick
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points

The Idea of an omniscient God contradicts the idea of human free will

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
DakotaKrafick
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/25/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,380 times Debate No: 21494
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)

 

Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

First round for acceptance.

DakotaKrafick

Con

I accept. Sorry it took so long to post this; I was just, uh, building up dramatic tension. Yeah, that's it.

Anyway, over to you, Rational Thinker. Good luck; let's see if you live up to your bold name.
Debate Round No. 1
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

My argument is very simple so I don't think it's necessary for me to go into a lengthy explanation, however if need be I will use up all my space when it times for rebut my opponent's refutations of my argument.

My argument:


Can an all powerful being exist if free will exists?

P1: In order for free will to exist then there must be the possibility of at least two options to freely chose from.

P2: If there is an all knowing being, then he knew I (along with every other human being) was going to do one specific set of actions and not another before I existed and had a chance to chose for myself.

P3: If God knew I was going to do action A before I was born, this means it's not possible for me to do action B after I begin to exist without the all knowing God being wrong.

P4: If God knew something was going to happen before hand that didn't actually occur in reality, then God's establishment of knowledge was false, therefore it's not true that God is all knowing.

P5. If it was only possible for me to do one action and not another, this means I never actually had free will because free will requires the possibilties to chose more than one path. This means free will doesn't exist, if action B is not possible then that means I had to do action A because only it is possible if God's forknowledge is 100% accurate.

P6: Since doing action A would be an act with the constraint of necessity (because it was necessary for me to do in order for God not to be wrong), then this means that free will would be impossible if an all knowing God exists.


"free will









Noun:




The power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion."







http://oxforddictionaries.com...

P6: Either an all knowing God exists but free will doesn't, or free will exists but an all knowing God doesn't.



Conclusion:

The Idea of an omniscient God contradicts the idea of human free will


Source(s)

http://oxforddictionaries.com...





DakotaKrafick

Con

Thank you, Rational Thinker, for your argument. I must admit, it's clear to see where the argument falls, but tricky to articulate why. Let's begin by examining the validity of each premise.

P1: In order for free will to exist then there must be the possibility of at least two options to freely chose from.

I have no qualms about this premise. One must be able to choose his/her actions or lack-thereof in order for that being to be considered to have free will.

P2: If there is an all knowing being, then he knew I (along with every other human being) was going to do one specific set of actions and not another before I existed and had a chance to chose for myself.

This is also true. Surely an omniscient deity would have known you would go to Wal-Mart next Tuesday to pick up eggs and milk long before your ancestors were even walking on two legs.

P3: If God knew I was going to do action A before I was born, this means it's not possible for me to do action B after I begin to exist without the all knowing God being wrong.

This premise is technically true, but leaves the conclusion invalid. I will go into more detail on this later.

P4: If God knew something was going to happen before hand that didn't actually occur in reality, then God's establishment of knowledge was false, therefore it's not true that God is all knowing.

Of course this premise is true and was granted upon the acceptance of this debate. It, therefore, might as well be absent, as all it states is a reiteration of the fact that our hypothetical omniscient deity is, in fact, omniscient.

P5. If it was only possible for me to do one action and not another, this means I never actually had free will because free will requires the possibilties to chose more than one path. This means free will doesn't exist, if action B is not possible then that means I had to do action A because only it is possible if God's forknowledge is 100% accurate.

This is the problem with my opponent's argument (tying this back into premise three). He says "If it was only possible for me to do one action and not another, this means I never actually had free will". This is true, but never did either of us say it was only possible for him to do one action. The closest thing to it is premise three which states it's only possible for him to do one action with God's foresight remaining accurate. Of course, God's foresight is always accurate, so it may be tempting to say that this one particular action God knows I will do is the only one which I can actually do, but this is not the case.

The logical fallacy my opponent is committing is Reversing Causation [1], which occurs when someone confuses cause and effect. My opponent seems to think that because an omniscient God knows X, X must necessarily happen, when in reality (or, at least, in our hypothetical reality) the reverse is true. Because X will happen, an omniscient God must necessarily know X.

In no discernible way does knowing what will happen equate to causing what will happen.

For instance, have you ever found yourself in a conversation with a close friend or family member and knew how he/she would respond to a question before you even asked it? You can have intimate knowledge of a person's personality and behaviors, and therefore find that person's actions predictable, without being the cause of that person's actions.

Similarly, you can know that an object will fall toward the Earth when you drop it (and even understand why) without being the cause of the object falling. The cause, in this case, is gravity; you merely have knowledge of gravity and therefore know how it will effect certain objects.

An omniscient God would be comparable to this. It has a vast understanding of each human being's psychology, and therefore knows how each human being will respond to its circumstances without necessarily being the cause of those responses.

Source
[1] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

Rebutting my opponent's refutation


"The logical fallacy my opponent is committing is Reversing Causation [1], which occurs when someone confuses cause and effect. My opponent seems to think that because an omniscient God knows X, X must necessarily happen, when in reality (or, at least, in our hypothetical reality) the reverse is true. Because X will happen, an omniscient God must necessarily know X."

I think it's fair that the above represents the main point behind my opponent's refutation, he seemed to agree with me on most of my contentions. Anyway, the ironic part about me being accused of committing a fallacy, is my opponent is committing the common logical fallacy of confusing cause and effect.



***Confusing Cause and Effect is a fallacy that has the following general form:

  1. A and B regularly occur together.
  2. Therefore A is the cause of B.
This fallacy requires that there is not, in fact, a common cause that actually causes both A and B.***

http://www.nizkor.org...


My opponent is under the assumption that my position is God knowing person 1 will do X [A] is the cause of it being certain that person A Does X [B], and he is claiming that his position is that the certainty of person 1 doing X [B] is the cause of God knowing person 1 will do X [A]. The problem is he is neglecting to see the cause of both A and B (which the fallacy requires), which is the exact information regarding the past, present, future being available in the first place (without this, God could not be omniscient, and this information could not exist if free will did).

Basically, my opponent doesn't comprehend the fact that if free will exists, then the information regarding the future should not exist and be available to God.

Re-Cap:

There is a correlation between:

The fact that person 1 will do X [B], and God knowing Person 1 will do X [A]

The cause of both A and B is the information of X being available before X actually happens. If the information wasn't available, God couldn't know it, and the action wouldn't be set in stone. Therefore, my opponent has indulged in the common fallacy known as confusing cause and effect.

I believe I have adequately rebutted his refutation to my argument.


Reiteration of certain points

Con makes the fatal mistake in this debate by ignoring the fact that whatever happens before I exist is not based upon my free will while I exist, it's based on the information of the future existing to be abailable to a this being to know in the first place.
Basically,God could have all the capacity to be omniscient but without the information of the past, present, and future existing, he wouldn't be..And the only way this information could exist is if free will didnt exist.


In theory, from the second I was born every act I engaged myself in was with the contstraint of necessity if this information was available to God before hand.




Definition of free will re-hashed

Noun:
The power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion."

http://oxforddictionaries.com...


Re-Cap

If free will exists, then God would have the restraint of not having access to the information (which couldn't exist if free will did) which would then make him omniscient. If free will didn't exist, then it would be plausible for the information to exist which would then make God omscient.


Conclusion:

1) My opponent's claim that I committed the logical fallacy of "reversing causation", was false

2) My opponent commited the logical fallacy of "confusing cause and effect" (reasoning in conclusion 3)

3) The fact that person 1 will do X [B], and God knowing Person 1 will do X [A] = A and B

a) A and B are both caused by the information of the past, present, and future existing (which my opponent neglected to acknowledge)

Sources

[1] http://www.nizkor.org...
[2] http://oxforddictionaries.com...
DakotaKrafick

Con

Thank you for your response, Rational Thinker. Since it has become a tradition by now to accuse the other of a logical fallacy, members of the audience, my opponent has committed the lack-of-imagination-or-understanding-of-the-subject-matter-at-hand fallacy. This dryly-named fallacy occurs when someone has a lack of imagination and/or understanding of the subject matter at hand.

It's okay, Rational Thinker, I'll explain.

X; therefore, omniscient God knows X (duh)

To say that "Because X will happen, an omniscient God must necessarily know X will happen" is in no way incorrect. I might as well have said "Because X exists, an omniscient God must necessarily know X exists". Since an "omniscient" God would have to know everything in the past, present, and future in order to be considered "omniscient", then he would necessarily have to know everything (including X happening and X existing and anything else A through Z).

My opponent objects by saying X happening is not the cause of God knowing X will happen, but both have a common cause (the information somehow being available beforehand). This may be the case, but God having knowledge of everyone's actions beforehand does not necessarily have to contradict free will.

In other words, it is conceivable that God could have this knowledge beforehand through means B without B contradicting free will.

1. Intimate Understanding of Everything

My opponent ignored this point from my last round, but it is conceivable that God could have an intimate understanding of everything, including the laws of nature and human psychology and behavior. He would, therefore, know everything you and I and everyone else would do given their respective circumstances in life.

This is not to say we have lost our precious two-or-more options (those necessary for free will). You still have the choice to either work as a bank teller or rob the bank teller, and you have the freedom to choose between those options. But an omniscient God would know you are not the criminal type, and He would know working at a bank is your life-long dream, and He would know everything else about you, from the things you shout on the rooftops of skyscrapers to the things you don't dare whisper to yourself.

2. The Ground Hog's Day/Majora's Mask Mystique

Anyone like the movie "Ground Hog's Day"? In 1993, Bill Murray got to play a partial omniscient God on the big screen. His character find himself reliving the same day over and over and over, presumably into the hundreds or even the thousands. After waking up on the same morning for the umpteen time, he could accurately predict every single event that was going to happen for the course of the next 24 hours.

He knew what all the answers to the new episode of Jeopardy were; he knew when a certain someone was going to come up bothering him; he could even count down from ten so that a waitress in the café dropped her tray of dishes on the floor when he reached one. He spent many of his repeated days talking to a certain female, trying to woo her. He failed over, and over, and over. Eventually, he knew everything she was going to say or do in response to anything he would say or do to her.

Now, in this movie, Bill Murray only relived one day in one city, but through that he gained an encyclopedic knowledge of all the events in that city on that day. Our hypothetical omniscient deity could be much like this but extrapolated to far more impressive heights. He could have relived every day in history countless times over from every perspective in the cosmos possible (He could even still be in the process of doing so), thus inevitably gaining a comprehensive knowledge of everything in existence.

(Note: I couldn't help but to include the subtitle "Majora's Mask" as it, too, exemplifies my point here. Link, in Majora's Mask, relived the same three days over and over and, eventually, the player could know the lives and actions of all the people and creatures in the world during those three days.)

3. Existing outside of Time

Much different than my second conceivable scenario is this: an omniscient deity could exist outside of our own time and space. By not being restricted to our rigid past/present/future nonsense, this God would have access to all of our universe's history at all times.

Our universe could conceivably be compared to a Blu-Ray to this deity, where He can fast-foward and re-wind time on his divine PS3, thus being able to see the choices we've made and the choices we will make at the press of an L2 or R2 button.

Do these scenarios contradict free will?

None of the above conceivable scenarios contradict the idea of human free will in any tangible way. In each of them, we can safely say that human beings can indeed have choices to make in their own lives and the freedoms to choose between them, while a deity concurrently has access to the knowledge of which choices every human being will choose. Therefore, in none of the above scenarios are human beings' actions restricted to necessity due to the information being available to the omniscient deity beforehand.

Conclusion

It is conceivable that an omniscient God could somehow have knowledge of everything beforehand without this knowledge contradicting free will.
Debate Round No. 3
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

"To say that Because X will happen, an omniscient God must necessarily know X will happen is in no way incorrect"


Definition of free will re-hashed


Noun:
The power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion."


My opponent seems to have put himself in a bind here, if God is acting with the constraint of necessity (an omniscient God must necessarily know X) then by definition God would not have free will.

Since it's not logical to claim that a being without free will could chose to create beings with free will, then the very claim that God must know out of necessity due to being omniscient contradicts the very idea of free will if God is omniscient.

"He could have relived every day in history countless times over from every perspective in the cosmos possible (He could even still be in the process of doing so), thus inevitably gaining a comprehensive knowledge of everything in existence."

How can an all knowing being, gain knowledge? Hubert's Hotel is a good example of why this line of thinking isn't 100% sound.


DakotaKrafick

Con

Thanks for your response, Pro. Disappointingly, though, pretty much everything you said in this round was irrelevant to the debate at hand.

"My opponent seems to have put himself in a bind here, if God is acting with the constraint of necessity (an omniscient God must necessarily know X) then by definition God would not have free will."

So maybe this God doesn't have free will. This is unrelated to the proposition: "The idea of an omniscient God contradicts the idea of human free will."

"Since it's not logical to claim that a being without free will could chose to create beings with free will, then [...]"

No one is claiming this God created human beings and never was it a condition of the debate. Again, this is unrelated to the topic.

"How can an all knowing being, gain knowledge?"

You misrepresent what I said. Once He is all-knowing, He (of course) cannot gain anymore knowledge. What I was saying was that He could have spent a very, very long time gaining knowledge until it got to the point when He knew everything.

I'm not even going to entertain my opponent's allusion to Hubert's Hotel, because he didn't bother explaining what it is or how it relates to his arguments at all, and I really don't feel like making my opponent's arguments for him and then debating myself.

To conclude, I have refuted my opponent's unrelated arguments and his objection to my second conceivable scenario. Please note that he chose to ignore my first and third scenarios. Thanks for the debate. Vote Con.

Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 5 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
I knew I lost after the first refutation of my argument (I never really had that refutation explained to me that well before), I just basically came up with whatever I could to stay in the game instead of forfeiting lol God job Con.
Posted by DakotaKrafick 5 years ago
DakotaKrafick
Luckily, Dave, this hypothetical deity is not necessarily the Christian God. I am glad you and Elysian enjoyed it :)
Posted by Dave_82 5 years ago
Dave_82
I wish I could vote, but sadly I cannot. My take on this is free will cannot exist where blackmail is involved, and that is what the Christian theology is based on. So, if this "hypothetical omniscient deity" is the Christian God, then free will is impossible.
Posted by Elysian 5 years ago
Elysian
This is a pretty good debate, pity I cant vote :(
Posted by MikeyMike 5 years ago
MikeyMike
u did it again Dakota...
Posted by DakotaKrafick 5 years ago
DakotaKrafick
Could you change the voting period from three days to, say, one or two weeks?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by KeytarHero 5 years ago
KeytarHero
Rational_Thinker9119DakotaKrafickTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: I gave conduct to Con because Pro ignored or misrepresented a number of Con's arguments and Con deftly rebutted Pro's arguments. Con simply had the stronger arguments.
Vote Placed by FourTrouble 5 years ago
FourTrouble
Rational_Thinker9119DakotaKrafickTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: In every single Round of this debate, Con quickly located and articulated the incoherence of Pro's arguments. To be honest, it was some of the clearest, most direct and logical, refutation I've seen on this site.
Vote Placed by KRFournier 5 years ago
KRFournier
Rational_Thinker9119DakotaKrafickTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments were more convincing as Pro just couldn't quite show a necessary logical contradiction. Pro's last round seemed to be a rather desperate attempt to save the debate. Pro also struggles with his formatting, so I gave that point to Con as well.