Free Will and Morality Debate

Sorry folks, my reply panel is not working correctly and I’m having to bring this debate to the front page.  For those of you who would like to follow along we are coming from the post entitled “Christianity Kills” further down on this page.

Hi QBOA thanks for your reply.

You write:
>>”The problem or issue iwth science is that it makes bad philosophers. Science studies efficient cause in an organized way. Final cause (the why of things) is excluded.”<<

Well, philosophers study such things as existence, truth, knowledge, justice, mind, language, and validity using reasoned argument. I would argue that science is looking for the same things.  They wrestle with the problem of existence by looking at our human beginnings, they are constantly looking for truth and knowledge and the science of language looks for any knowledge pertaining to its beginnings.  Just looking for and describing what and how things happen usually gives us a why.  There is no need for any other kind of ‘why’

You write:
>>”How is it possible to descern good or evil in people then based on your experience? The problem with science is the belief that everything can be known in the causal system of the processes of nature; there are no nonphysical elements.”<<

Humans have the ability to discern good from evil…well, except for mentally disturbed people.  We also seem to have a built in sense of morality despite many religious people thinking we do not.  The “Golden Rule” seems to have evolved in most societies quite independent from each other and independent from religion. Confucius wrote of it about 500 years before Christ.

You write:
>>”To extend this false assumption(which it is, becuase there is no science to back such a thing up) one has to draw the logical conclusions from it. Free will is an illusion, then morality is also an illusion, because it is concerned only with free choices; an act is not immoral if it couldn’t have been otherwise. Indeed science is an illusion because everything in domain of space-time concepts is based on laws of science. My body is simply an assembly of carbon, H2O and some other elements with chemical reactions. And they will be reprocessed after I die.”<<

Church theosophers have been arguing free will and morality and such for over 2000 years. The Bible hints that we do, and do not, have free will.  Which side is right? I don’t care because I can live my life, and make moral choices all on my own, and be perfectly happy and well adjusted without any feedback from religion. I think that today’s society lays out morality for the common person in the laws that we now have. In early times there was no body of laws laid out and followed that protected us from evil people. The Hebrews were just early on trying to protect the commoner. As for your body elements and chemicals, yes you are right, of course, that’s exactly what happens.

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About the word of me
Interested in family and friends,grandchildren, photography, darkrooms, history, archaeology, scuba diving, computers, software, fast cars, journalism, writing, travel, ecology, news, science, and probably most other subjects you could think of. Did I mention family and friends?? I require iced tea or cold brewed coffee and a internet connection to be fully functional. Sometimes there are just so many words in my head they spill out.

5 Responses to Free Will and Morality Debate

  1. “I would argue that science is looking for the same things. They wrestle with the problem of existence by looking at our human beginnings, they are constantly looking for truth and knowledge and the science of language looks for any knowledge pertaining to its beginnings. Just looking for and describing what and how things happen usually gives us a why. There is no need for any other kind of ‘why’”

    No offense, but as I said science makes for bad philosophers.
    Science hasn’t come close to discovering our human beginnings. They certainly have made the effort to uncover our material/physical line, but no nothing of our spiritual makeup. Science doesn’t seek nor is it able to uncover truth. Truth is defined as declaring something morally right or morally wrong. Science discovers physical facts and data to form theories that may or may not explain the data. Science can’t determine if its valid to kill a child, or rob a bank, or fight for one’s country.

    “Humans have the ability to discern good from evil…well, except for mentally disturbed people. We also seem to have a built in sense of morality despite many religious people thinking we do not. The “Golden Rule” seems to have evolved in most societies quite independent from each other and independent from religion. Confucius wrote of it about 500 years before Christ.”

    Shocked (really) you would admit that. You realize that you’ve stated exactly why all man are held libalbe for their actions before God.

    “Romans 2: 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.”

    “The Bible hints that we do, and do not, have free will.”

    Well small point its explicit, but the reformation removed those books from the bible.

    I can’t believe that you think that western civ. has progressed. Gov’t are approaching the ability to control individuals thoughts and behaviors aka 1984 and you think we’re free?

  2. thewordofme says:

    Hi QBOA, thanks for writing back.

    You write:
    “No offense, but as I said science makes for bad philosophers.
    Science hasn’t come close to discovering our human beginnings. They certainly have made the effort to uncover our material/physical line, but no nothing of our spiritual makeup. Science doesn’t seek nor is it able to uncover truth. Truth is defined as declaring something morally right or morally wrong. Science discovers physical facts and data to form theories that may or may not explain the data. Science can’t determine if its valid to kill a child, or rob a bank, or fight for one’s country.”

    I beg to differ with you on the statement that science hasn’t come close to discovering our human beginnings. Our beginnings were walking the earth a million years ago, and I’m sure they had a name for themselves, but we don’t know what it was, so we now call them: s
    • Homo habilis
    • Homo rudolfensis
    • Homo ergaster
    • Homo georgicus
    • Homo erectus
    • Homo cepranensis
    • Homo antecessor
    • Homo heidelbergensis
    • Homo rhodesiensis
    • Homo neanderthalensis 250,000ya
    • Homo sapiens 200,000ya
    • Archaic Homo sapiens (Cro-magnon) 50,000ya
    • Homo floresiensis ?
    I’m sure there’s some I’ve forgot, but this gives an idea.

    As for scientists discovering the truth; I like the starred definition below from Wiki’

    “Meanings for the word truth extend from honesty, good faith, and sincerity in general, to *agreement with fact or reality in particular.* The term has no single definition about which a majority of professional philosophers and scholars agree, and various theories of truth continue to be debated. There are differing claims on such questions as what constitutes truth; how to define and identify truth; the roles that revealed and acquired knowledge play; and whether truth is subjective, relative, objective, or absolute.” From Wikipedia Here
    I also kind of like the objective and absolute versions above.

    Agreement with fact or reality. Science finds this all the time, so they are not strangers to the truth. I would argue that the Catholic Church is a stranger to the truth though. Think of all the saints with questionable credentials, statutes leaking ‘blood’, exorcisms, ‘infallible’ proclamations, etc. I think science has an incredibly strong grip on the truth.

    You write:
    “Science can’t determine if its valid to kill a child, or rob a bank, or fight for one’s country.”

    Of course these are moral choices, that is, if your country gives you the right to choose. The Golden Rule covers these situations adequately. And the Golden Rule did not need God to come up with it.

    “The Bible hints that we do, and do not, have free will.”
    “Well small point its explicit, but the reformation removed those books from the bible.”

    “All people living on the Earth will worship [The Devil], except those whose names were written before the creation of the world in the book of the living which belongs to [Jesus].” Revelations 13:8 NIV

    “It does not therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed on all the earth.” [Exodus 9:16]

    Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” ” Romans 9:16-19

    The above passages, just a couple out of many, clearly show Him doing with us whatever He pleases

    You write:
    “I can’t believe that you think that western civ. has progressed. Gov’t are approaching the ability to control individuals thoughts and behaviors aka 1984 and you think we’re free?”

    Yea, it is kinda’ like the book isn’t it? At least we still have some. For instance we can both write what we do in a public forum such as this. We can write an angry diatribe against our government. We can still move anywhere in the country without checking in with the police or getting permission from some government dweeb. Bush really screwed over our civil protections though. Nowadays if you complain too much to your government representatives, I’m sure you get on some watch-list. There’s probably some room in the world for another revolution or two.
    twom

  3. “I beg to differ with you on the statement that science hasn’t come close to discovering our human beginnings. Our beginnings were walking the earth a million years ago, and I’m sure they had a name for themselves, but we don’t know what it was, so we now call them”

    I think you must have glanced over the next sentence “They certainly have made the effort to uncover our material/physical line, but no nothing of our spiritual makeup.”

    If you believe that Humans are strickly physical beings, then yes science has discovered humans. Humans only came into existance when God gave Adam a spiritual soul. That’s why evolution isn’t in conflict with the Catholic church on this. Your permitted to believe in evolution as long as you accept that God created humans with a spiritual soul. The physical process by which the body developed is interesting but that’s it.

    Your very Hegeliam in your concepts.

    Humanist Manifesto 1 (1933), declared, “There is no God and there is no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or moral absolutes.”

    There is no justification for you to believe in absolute truth if you denie God.

    But its absurd to say this because your claiming an absolute truth “there is no God” while proposing that truth is relative even if you seem to think you aren’t.

    It just like when someone says to me that its wrong for you to impose your morals on me. When in fact they are attempting to impose their morals on me.

    “Of course these are moral choices, that is, if your country gives you the right to choose”

    WOW, now your really worrying me. I understand that you don’t believe in God, but your statement implies that its the right of the state to provide you with the right to chose? Surely you don’t accept that do you? Wait don’t answer that one its political and off topic.

    “The above passages, just a couple out of many, clearly show Him doing with us whatever He pleases”

    You are a moving target. Now your support John Calvin and Irresistible Grace. I would answer that Efficacious grace & sufficient grace provide one with the ability to response or reject God grace, yet perserve mans free will. In scripture and tradition all mankind receives sufficient grace to come to faith in God. However many will reject this grace. Now God could provide grace enough to overcome mans free will, but what would be the point, then they no longer have free will.

    On Former president Bush, well I’m a Ron Paul fan. Democratics are communists willingly and Republicans are socialist grudingly;>)

  4. thewordofme says:

    Hi QBOA, thanks for writing and I’m sorry to take so long to reply. Business interferes occasionally.

    You write:
    “I think you must have glanced over the next sentence “They certainly have made the effort to uncover our material/physical line, but no nothing of our spiritual makeup.”

    Sorry if I missed a pertinent point there. I don’t think science is really able to look into our spiritual makeup except perhaps finding artifacts that point to a religious belief in with the bones of whatever specimen they are working on. There is a good probability that the really early Homo sapiens (200,000+-ya) were way too busy trying to survive that they had no time to invent a religion. Although, there may have been a rather unformed hazy thinking about gods of the animals or sun or such. About 50,000 years ago, according to the many scientists who’s work with such matters, humans entered a phase of awakening and faster developing of new tool kits and survival techniques. Many think this is when real languages developed. Knowledge could be disseminated and understood so much better and faster and IQ’s probably soared tremendously.

    You write:
    “If you believe that Humans are strictly physical beings, then yes science has discovered humans.”

    No, I think science has only discovered that humans were on the earth faaaar longer than anyone in Biblical time could have ever imagined. That of course really messes up the Flood story as many people have figured out the Flood was supposed to have occurred X number of generations after Adam and Eve. Taking into account whatever chronology can be sucked out of the Bible and the human species timeline that science imposes on us, You would have to have Adam and Eve moved further back another 196,000 years. All this fooling around with figures and times just drives one crazy. To me the story stands at a point where science really does refutes the ‘Biblical’ story as currently explained by religion. Adam and Eve could not have happened 6,000 years ago…as we now understand the story progression.

    You write:
    “Your very Hegelian in your concepts.”

    I never read much Hegel when in school, or later for that matter, as I found him very hard to follow. However as I currently understand him; I would be a Left Hegelian mostly. Fits me perfectly, as I am left handed. 🙂

    You write:
    “There is no justification for you to believe in absolute truth if you deny God.”
    O.K.

    You write:
    “It just like when someone says to me that its wrong for you to impose your morals on me. When in fact they are attempting to impose their morals on me.”

    Are they in fact imposing their morality just by saying this to you…or are they trying to tell you how to live? I find that Politics enters into this area by imposing laws upon us that are religiously inspired; a good example would be the morality laws of the last century. Although I do not advocate homosexuality, I find the governments intrusion into bedrooms more offensive than the act itself. And in America we know where these laws came from.

    You write:
    “WOW, now you’re really worrying me. I understand that you don’t believe in God, but your statement implies that it’s the right of the state to provide you with the right to chose? Surely you don’t accept that do you? Wait don’t answer that one it’s political and off topic.

    What I was saying here is that some countries don’t allow you to make independent choices…you follow the line or you die…kinda’ like religious rule in the dark and middle ages.

    I have no grace…my wife tells me I’m dangerous on the dance floor. 🙂

    Isn’t Ron Paul a former Baptist preacher? I trust the Baptists about as much as I trust a lawyer. 🙂
    twom

  5. Hi TWOM,

    Well if you study very early civilizations do you notice that they “develop” along the lines that something outside of themselves is actually in control and that some type of sacrifice is needed to appease or get in good graces with the god?

    The culture then moves towards some type of blood sacrifice be it animal or human. The difference btwn all of them is that Christianity states that God actually does the sacrifice for mankind, He doesn’t require nor would He accept human sacrifice of His creatures. Its wired within us.

    On the figures for when Adam & Eve were created is strickly something from the protestant groups who hold a wooden literalism to scripture and the concept of sola scriptura. If one just adds up the various ages of the Old Testament persons and comes up with 6,000 + years they are missing the meaning of what scripture is imparting. The key item about the ages is that after Adam sinned man increasingly commits more violent and more frequent sins, hence their life spans become shorter and shorter with each generation with a few godly men exceptions. Its not intended to say when “Adam” was created literally only that he was created by God. So science doesn’t in any way shape or form refute the bible, but it does refute those who interpret the bible with wooden literalism.

    ” You quoting me:
    “There is no justification for you to believe in absolute truth if you deny God.”

    “You write: O.K.”

    Well if you agree with that statement then not only is God not really, but everything else including science and your self is an illusion as well.

    “I find that Politics enters into this area by imposing laws upon us that are religiously inspired; a good example would be the morality laws of the last century.”

    Come on TWOM, in order to make any choices one has to discriminate AGAINST something, example – you chose marriage and I chose rape, you chose abortion and I to raise the child, you chose war and I chose peace etc. All individuals and all nations make moral choices for something and against another.
    Why there is a moral choice in painting the dividing line on a road. The state is morally restricting my freedom to drive on the left side of the road in order for society to travel safer for everyone.

    Ron Paul is a doctor and the only congressman that has never accepted a pay check from the gov’t for his services as congressmen. He is known as “Doctor No” in congress (for his voting record), because when he speaks he has a simple message when congress attempts to pass a law, he asked where do we get the authority to pass such a law, its not in the constitution. He has great appeal with the college kids, but is rejected by the establishment of both parties because he is a threat to both their power bases. He was talking about the economic problems we face today 20 years ago.

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