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  #1  
Old 08-06-2013, 05:35 AM
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Default Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

So my wife and I were discussing this and I thought I would pose it here to get a wider set of responses.

Imagine a world where everything was pre-destined (I happen to subscribe to this. Things have happened to me that led me to believe this.)

Every day, I have choices and make them. I believe that no matter what choice I end up making, it was pre-destined to be that way. So to me, I still retain free will.

My wife disagrees and says that they are mutually exclusive. Either you have free will, or things are pre-destined.

Does anyone have any opinions on this?
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:21 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

Destiny can subvert freewill, but freewill can change one's destiny.

They are both neutral in and of themselves though.

That's just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:23 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

Larry, this is treading in dangerous water. Look: if our lives are pre-destined, then the obvious question is: pre-destined by whom?

For what it's worth, I don't buy it. The pre-destined part, I mean.

Okay, I don't buy the "by whom" part either.
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:35 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

If my life has been pre-destined, then my will is not "free" at all. How can it be?
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:46 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

If you look to a certain "flavor of the month" brand of physics, you'll realize that every microsecond of the existence of our universe is happening simultaneously in as many dimensions over the top of each other. So, basically, the results/consequences of every "free will" choice you make have happened/are happening/will happen, all at the same time. "Free will" and "predestiny" are simply man-made terms used to describe abstract concepts from our own finite human perspective, much like the concepts of heat, color, and smell.

There is no such thing as free will or predestination, except for that which we have formulated in our own minds...
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:50 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/problem/

Here, go nuts.

The "Problem of Free Will" has been an age old chestnut that philosophers have thought over since we started thinking. I remember it just blowing my mind when I first learned about it in one of my college Philosophy courses.

If you want to really get deep then ponder what purpose a petitionary prayer, that is a prayer that asks for something, will have on an all-knowing God. Good stuff.
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Old 08-06-2013, 07:26 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

No. ....................
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Old 08-06-2013, 07:28 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

By virtue of how the question has been phrased, no. There can be an 'illusion' of free will, but pre-determined existence necessitates that regardless of any semblance of choice, nothing can vary from the destined course.
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:22 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

Neurology has plainly demonstrated that we are not the author of our thoughts and actions. Our inability to observe subconscious processes creates the illusion of free will.
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Old 08-06-2013, 01:57 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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Originally Posted by con struct View Post
Larry, this is treading in dangerous water. Look: if our lives are pre-destined, then the obvious question is: pre-destined by whom?

For what it's worth, I don't buy it. The pre-destined part, I mean.

Okay, I don't buy the "by whom" part either.
I'd say this but Con struct already did.
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Old 08-06-2013, 02:23 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

I like to think of it as the "snowball" effect. One action leads to another action. One thought leads to another thought. There is reason for action and a reason for thought however is it destiny that brings you to that first action or first thought? This is way to philosophical for me in the morning without my coffee. This in turn makes you want to think is there a higher power that controls all or does HE let you control your own choices. If HE lets you control your own path I would say it is your destiny. If HE controls everything then pre-destined. No one knows this answer so it is definitely a philosophical question that just scrambled my brain for the day. Thanks Larry!

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Old 08-06-2013, 02:55 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

Larry, if I hadn't read your post, I'd be doing something else, that may or may not have consequences leading to other things. So no.
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Old 08-06-2013, 03:19 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

'Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the entire organization of her tapestry'.

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Old 08-06-2013, 03:21 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

We live in a world where pre-destiny exists. We are all pre-destined to die.

Our path to that destiny is not pre-determined. That's where free will enters the equation.

I believe in chaos theory. I believe in entropic destiny. I understand the concept of the 'giant hand', and I do not believe that it is attached to an entity in any form, especially an anthropromorphised one.

What confuses most people is that, while we do have free will that is constrained by entropic destiny, so do those around us. The effects their choices have on us can appear to be evidence of our own destiny, but they are not.
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Old 08-06-2013, 03:58 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

Absolute freewill and pre-destined futures are definitely mutually exclusive.

However, whether our lives are pre-destined or not, we certainly have the illusion of freewill. Not knowing the broad consequences of our actions make our choices and life experiences seem independent and serendipitous, but they very well could be part of some master plan. There is really know way to know.

It could be both. For a long time I believed we all had a finite set of possible paths and destinies predetermined by *insert omnipresent being of you choice*. Though an individual's choices and freewill, he/she would follow one of these paths to one of his/her possible destinies. EDIT: By "destiny", I mean the "place" in your life, the state of you person, that you settle into as life progresses... call it your socio-economic status, actualization, nirvana, or whatever. Obviously death is the last thing we will all experience, but that fact we are all going to die has nothing to do with the choices we make, let alone freewill, its just life.
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:25 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

With my limited mind, this stuff is over my head, it seems to me that Milt is saying that they co-exist...."we do have free will that is constrained by entropic destiny"

This seems to make sense to me, but with my free will, I admit that I am very new to the subject.

Interesting answers. I see a few "no's". Do the people who answered no subscribe to pre-destiny?

I'd like to relate a story that led me to believe in pre-destiny.
When I was a small child, between 5 and 10 years old, I had a frequent recurring dream. This dream placed me in what I describe as a "red room". I was sitting on the floor, the carpet was red, next to me there was a red chair, someone was sitting in it and had it leaning up against the wall, and even the light was reddish.

Fast forward to age 14. I had tried an illegal herb twice before with no results. The 3rd time I tried this substance, it worked. Shortly afterwards, I found myself sitting on the floor in a basement that had a red carpet, I was next to a red chair, with someone sitting in it and leaning back on 2 legs against the wall, and the plastic lens on the fluorescent lights were spray painted red. Holy crap, THIS was the red room I had dreamed about years prior. Well, I had the mother of all Deja Vu's. I freaked out silently to myself. FREAKED OUT. THIS was the recurring dream I had. Wow. I was floored for life.

Now when I first had this dream, this house wasn't even built yet. To try and reconcile this with myself, I concocted a theory that I subscribe to. I think that while asleep, your mind has the ability to travel into the future, pick out events and dream about them. Then when you catch up to those events in real time, well, that's what Deja Vu is...according to me. So how can my mind wander into the future and select events to dream about, if the future is not pre-determined? This made perfect sense in my limited understanding of things.

OK it's not scientific at all, but it makes sense to me, so I adopted it. Can anyone explain my recurring dream about the red room when it did not even exist yet? The dream was spot on to what I experienced for real.
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

This is a fascinating topic. My feeble brain can't wrap around it with any sort of clarity but this is what I sort of think.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Milt Hathaway View Post
We live in a world where pre-destiny exists. We are all pre-destined to die.

Our path to that destiny is not pre-determined. That's where free will enters the equation.
...

Last edited by dmacc; 08-06-2013 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:54 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Interesting answers. I see a few "no's". Do the people who answered no subscribe to pre-destiny?
No, my original "no" was an answer to the question "Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists." My answer would remain no whether I believed in pre-destiny or not, simply because of the way the question was asked.
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:59 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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Can anyone explain my recurring dream about the red room when it did not even exist yet? The dream was spot on to what I experienced for real.
I guess my question is WHY must there be an explanation for everything? It could be called foreshadowing, premonition, coincidence, predestiny...whatever but humans seem to feel the need to label everything. Cool experience...nuff said sometimes, I think.

Personally, to live a life that is totally predestined would suck the life right out of me. How awful knowing that nothing you did, no choice you made, would matter. Why would anyone care?

And if life is predestined then I want to talk to the being who decided I was only allowed to be a mediocre drummer!!!!!
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:59 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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No, my original "no" was an answer to the question "Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists." My answer would remain no whether I believed in pre-destiny or not, simply because of the way the question was asked.
Yes, I realize that a "no" answer doesn't automatically mean that pre-destiny is subscribed to. I am also curious if the majority subscribes to pre-destiny or free will. So I guess I am also looking to see where people stand on the issue, as well as if it is felt that they are, or are not, mutually exclusive.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:06 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

One of my favorite subjects, and one I've had the good fortune to discuss with some very brilliant people in my lifetime. I don't have answers, but I can tell that a particularly brilliant friend pointed out the fallacy in my thinking that free will and destiny were mutually exclusive. He explained that they can co-exist. I'm still not sure I entirely get that now, but back when he talked me through it, it made sense.

One of my favorite things to contemplate is called Determinism.

http://www.informationphilosopher.co...terminism.html

I came up with a concept much like this in my own mind before I realized that such a thing had been discussed and given a name a long, long time ago. I'm not saying I subscribe to it, but it's fun to contemplate.

I think the bottom line is that a background in science, where a study of what is truly a random, unpredictable event at a sub-atomic level, is essential to really "getting" this stuff.

But it's fun for hacks like me to ponder, regardless.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:10 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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Yes, I realize that a "no" answer doesn't automatically mean that pre-destiny is subscribed to. I am also curious if the majority subscribes to pre-destiny or free will. So I guess I am also looking to see where people stand on the issue, as well as if it is felt that they are, or are not, mutually exclusive.
Like Milt Hathaway, I believe in free will, within a certain framework of universal rules or laws, which we don't understand and may never understand.

As far as your dream - anecdotal evidence about something you remember will never convince me of pre-destiny. Memory is a very slippery thing, and it has been proven that we can create memories or remember things incorrectly even when we think we remember them exactly. There are entire fields of study about memory, and what I've taken from it is that you just can't trust it in many cases. Combine that with the human mind's incredible ability to construct connections and meaning where none necessarily exist, and you'll perhaps understand why I'm a skeptic.

I don't rule anything out, really, but I believe what I believe until I see irrefutable evidence that changes my mind.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:11 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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I guess my question is WHY must there be an explanation for everything?
Because I want to know dammit! It could be a male thing too. I have a pressing need to understand HOW things work, it's just my nature. I question a lot because I don't understand a lot. So this is me trying to understand this subject. How can we see all that is in front of us and NOT ask why and how? I am not built like that, although I would probably be happier if I didn't care.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:24 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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Because I want to know dammit! It could be a male thing too. I have a pressing need to understand HOW things work, it's just my nature. I question a lot because I don't understand a lot. So this is me trying to understand this subject. How can we see all that is in front of us and NOT ask why and how? I am not built like that, although I would probably be happier if I didn't care.
You can care, and still not get an answer! You have to be able to accept that, too. At, least, I have to be able to accept that, because I think there are simply things beyond our understanding.

Newton's laws got us to the moon, but some today say they are wrong. Just because a construct works doesn't mean it's right.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:27 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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As far as your dream - anecdotal evidence about something you remember will never convince me of pre-destiny. Memory is a very slippery thing, and it has been proven that we can create memories or remember things incorrectly even when we think we remember them exactly.
And I am in agreement with you, basically. If 19 people witness an event, you will have 19 different stories about what happened. So peoples perceptions are unique. It's just that this dream was so vivid, and I experienced it many, many times, so it was burned into my brain.
When I experienced the dream in real life, my mind was blown.
Hearing my story and experiencing my story, very different. So it's hard for me to remain unbiased, even though I know how fallible memory and perception are. I really like your responses. I realize that I won't get a definitive answer here, because as of 2013, I feel it is beyond our capabilities to actually know the mechanics of the universe. But I did want to discuss it and gain a larger perspective from the minds here.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:35 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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I realize that I won't get a definitive answer here, because as of 2013, I feel it is beyond our capabilities to actually know the mechanics of the universe. But I did want to discuss it and gain a larger perspective from the minds here.
Yeah, it is certainly fun and worthwhile to discuss, despite not getting a definitive answer.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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So I guess I am also looking to see where people stand on the issue, as well as if it is felt that they are, or are not, mutually exclusive.
I don't believe in any deterministic philosophies. We are all free to live life however we choose. We live with the mistakes we make, and we accept the consequences of our actions, both good and bad. The thought that my achievements and my burdens were assigned to me by some metaphysical force is sickening to say the least. I'm with MaryO, living a predetermined life would simply be hell.

Larry, tend to side with IDD. Granted we didn't experience what you experienced, but memory is slippery, and so is dream recollection.

Btw, having a burning curiosity to know how things work is a wonderful thing. However, don't confuse wanting an answer with wanting to uncover the truth. Its wicked fun to discuss, but yea.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:43 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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It could be both. For a long time I believed we all had a finite set of possible paths and destinies predetermined by *insert omnipresent being of you choice*. Though an individual's choices and freewill, he/she would follow one of these paths to one of his/her possible destinies. EDIT: By "destiny", I mean the "place" in your life, the state of you person, that you settle into as life progresses... call it your socio-economic status, actualization, nirvana, or whatever. Obviously death is the last thing we will all experience, but that fact we are all going to die has nothing to do with the choices we make, let alone freewill, its just life.
Further thought on the "paths" we take...Perhaps our fate is pre-destined, but our free agency decides which path we take to get there. Making a series of bad choices followed by good ones can theoretically get you to the same point, but making all the "correct" choices (whatever those might be) can get you to the same point quicker - but you may not have learned as much along the way.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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Because I want to know dammit! It could be a male thing too. I have a pressing need to understand HOW things work, it's just my nature. I question a lot because I don't understand a lot. So this is me trying to understand this subject. How can we see all that is in front of us and NOT ask why and how? I am not built like that, although I would probably be happier if I didn't care.
I think we are definitely coming at this from two different angles. It's not that I don't care it's just that I think when we, as humans, can't find the answer we find the NEED to label it. Sure, look for answers but maybe we shouldn't label it until we actually FIND the answer. It can tend to be misleading and also lead us to STOP looking for those answers since we've already labeled it, why look further? I think it's okay (and necessary) to say "I don't know" sometimes.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

I still believe we are destined. And the free will I think I have is probably an illusion. But it's a pretty vivid illusion. Like today, If I so chose, I could murder someone, say Phil for instance lol. Or not. That's a big choice with a lot of fallout. But no matter what choice I end up making, it was meant to be that way, because it happened. I subscribe to the notion that if it actually occurs...if it actually takes place and comes to pass....it was meant to be. Because it happened. So while I retain a certain amount of free will, I have no control over the larger picture.

Topics like this really stretch the wrinkles out of my brain.
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:22 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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I still believe we are destined. And the free will I think I have is probably an illusion. But it's a pretty vivid illusion. Like today, If I so chose, I could murder someone, say Phil for instance lol. Or not. That's a big choice with a lot of fallout. But no matter what choice I end up making, it was meant to be that way, because it happened.
That's funny, because when I was younger a gypsy palm reader told me that I would be murdered in my 30s by a man who went by LarryAce, but whom I would refer to as Jerkstore. I thought it was hogwash at the time, but now, the similarities of the prediction to real life are astounding. I guess you're predestined to do it, free will tossed aside...
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Old 08-06-2013, 07:27 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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Larry, if I hadn't read your post, I'd be doing something else, that may or may not have consequences leading to other things. So no.

There you have it in a nutshell -)
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Old 08-06-2013, 07:37 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

As a Christian, I believe some things are destined to happen. Certain events I believe will happen regardless of what we do. On the other side, we have a choice to do right or wrong, to be a success or failure. If you believe there is no free will, it means killers cannot refrain from murder. That alone is a bad thought.
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Old 08-06-2013, 07:39 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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Originally Posted by caddywumpus View Post
That's funny, because when I was younger a gypsy palm reader told me that I would be murdered in my 30s by a man who went by LarryAce, but whom I would refer to as Jerkstore. I thought it was hogwash at the time, but now, the similarities of the prediction to real life are astounding. I guess you're predestined to do it, free will tossed aside...
But I really don't want to kill you Phil...although the thought of it makes for a nice daydream. But I would never! Your poor kids and wife! And all those people who depend on your healing touch. Plus this place would be the poorer for it. Steve would have to arrest me. And Mary would never speak to me again. So the gypsy palm reader was a charlatan. You're life is safe from me Phil. And I like the name jerkstore. It's cool. Maybe I can get Uncle Larry changed to jerkstore. I'd be down with that.
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:05 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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Originally Posted by slowrocker View Post
As a Christian, I believe some things are destined to happen. Certain events I believe will happen regardless of what we do. On the other side, we have a choice to do right or wrong, to be a success or failure. If you believe there is no free will, it means killers cannot refrain from murder. That alone is a bad thought.
God, in His very nature exists outside of time. He created day and night (which is interpretted as the passing of time). Do you believe He created the world and just let it run amok, or did He create ALL of existence from the beginning of the universe as we know it until the end? "He knows the plans that He has for you" hints at a sense of predestination, or whatever is in store for you is already set in motion, without your intervention. Or, rather, your intervention was planned for in advance. So, all of those right and wrong choices one can make, they are already accounted for. We are simply marching in this parade, seeing merely what we can see from our perspective, and God is watching the entire thing from his blimp.

Sweet dreams tonight. :D

Note: this is meant to be a philosophical take on the Christian God, not a discussio, persay, of religion itself.
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

The voices in my head make all my decisions for me...not sure if thats free will or pre destiny...one of the voices is louder....sometimes...
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:32 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

My doctor doesn't think so. He keeps telling me to lose weight. I told him if I knew I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of my self. This concept borders on science and religion so tread very carefully. But why would I try to make decisions if I thought it didn't matter
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:34 PM
Otto Otto is offline
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

the concept of "absolute free will" and "absolute pre-destiny" are mutually exclusive.

causal inversion(effect before the cause) is not a macro-world confirmed state...

..."free will" independant of cause of the chemical states invoking it is also not a confirmed macro world state.

...The problem lay within the question...as is the case with most "either/or" questions.

specifically, within the definitions of "free will" and "pre-destined".
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:45 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

Perhaps what is destined is not our outcome in life (minus death), but our ability to choose freely. We are destined to choose our own path in life, and this is overwritten only by our will to accept others input and choose their ideas over our own. But that is still a choice. No one can make you do anything you don't want to do, no matter how persuasive or forceful they may be.
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:49 PM
tamadrm tamadrm is offline
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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Originally Posted by con struct View Post
Larry, this is treading in dangerous water. Look: if our lives are pre-destined, then the obvious question is: pre-destined by whom?

For what it's worth, I don't buy it. The pre-destined part, I mean.

Okay, I don't buy the "by whom" part either.
I agree with this also,nor do I believe that everyone on the planet is simply a meat puppet,being controlled by a supernatural force.

Steve B
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