There's no God? How boring!

There’s no God? How boring!

I showed my high school students the movie Expelled by Ben Stein, where he claims that intelligent design proponents have lost jobs, lost tenure and had their reputations smeared. One of the memorable scenes of the movie featured William Provine, Cornell University Professor and outspoken atheist, articulating the implications of Darwinism. If Darwinism is true, says Provine, then there is no God, life after death, purpose, objective morality, or free will. According to Provine, they are all illusions fostered on us by our genes and environment.

Provine also criticizes intelligent design for being boring: “Can you imagine anything more boring? The boredom attached to ID is supreme. It is so boring that I can’t even be bothered to think about it for a second. It’s just utterly boring.” He said this with utter contempt for the claims of intelligent design and for the implications that there may be a God.

The more I think about this quote the more I am convinced that Provine has it exactly backwards. Intelligent design is not boring, atheism is! I’m not saying that atheists are boring, for that would be an ad hominem fallacy. I have many atheist friends who are incredibly interesting people. In fact, some are far more thoughtful and engaging than many of my Christian friends. I am not criticizing atheists, but atheism. Atheists are often interesting people, not because of their philosophy, but in spite of it.

So why is atheism boring?

One problem with atheism is that humans are purely physical machines lacking free will (as Provine so clearly articulated). Thus, people are simply cogs in the materialistic universe dragged along by physical, social, and biological forces. Humans are simply puppets of nature acted upon by external forces in the environment rather than free beings that make meaningful decisions.

If naturalism is true and there is no free will, then there can be no real character development in life or in drama since people are helpless victims of their environment. This is why film professor John Caughie says that naturalism is boring when applied to movies (Television Drama: Realism, Modernism, and British Culture, p. 96-97).

Why do we enjoy movies? The simple answer is that we are drawn to characters that choose good over evil, hope over despair, and forgiveness over revenge. Yet if atheism is true, characters are driven entirely by the inexorable physical laws of nature—they don’t make any choices at all. Thus, Luke didn’t really choose to battle Darth Vader and the Dark Side—his genes did it for him. Rocky didn’t really go against the odds to be the Heavyweight Champion of the World—the laws of physics did it for him. How boring!

An example of naturalism in drama is Anton Chekhov’s The Three Sisters. The primary desire of the three sisters is to escape small-town life and move to Moscow. The entirety of the play involves them talking about moving but never actually doing it. They simply cannot escape from social expectations and family customs. What a great depiction of naturalism. Naturalistic films provide no dramatic escape from the environment because people are trapped behind their environment. These kinds of plays or films are frustrating, depressing, and anti-climactic. And yet they portray naturalism accurately. Again, how boring!

Ultimately, the deterministic worldview of atheism fails to capture life as we truly experience it. In her excellent book Saving Leonardo, Nancy Pearcey sums up the problem determinism poses for film:

“A deterministic worldview produces characters that are not true to life. In reality, people do make genuine decisions. Much of the drama of human life stems from wrestling with wrenching moral dilemmas. Though naturalism was an offshoot of realism, we could say its greatest flaw was that is was not realistic enough. We all experience the moment-by-moment reality of making choices. The experience of freedom is attested to in every human culture, in every era of history, and in every part of the globe” (p. 152).

A test for every worldview is if it can describe the world as we actually experience it. If a worldview fails to explain a universal human experience (such as free will) then it is inadequate. Professor Provine may choose to deny the existence of free will, but since he is made in the image of God, his life will betray that conviction.

In Expelled he tells his story of rejecting Christianity because of the compelling evidence for Darwinism. Ironically, one of the reasons he tells this is because he’s trying to persuade people to follow the same course. Yet if people are determined then they can’t choose otherwise. In fact, people can’t choose anything! Provine didn’t really even choose to reject Christianity—his genes did it for him. As sincere as Provine may be, I doubt he really believes this.

Again, my critique is aimed not at atheists but at atheism. Provine strikes me as an eminently interesting person that I would enjoy getting to know. Nevertheless, I just can’t think about it any longer. It’s simply too boring.


Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author of over 15 books, an internationally recognized speaker, and a part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.

For more articles like There’s no God? How boring! visit Sean’s site SeanMcDowell.org

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41 replies
  1. Andy Ryan says:

    ” Thus, Luke didn’t really choose to battle Darth Vader and the Dark Side—his genes did it for him.”

    Sean, I wouldn’t be so reductive as to say ‘we are our genes’ but they are a part of us. Saying “Oh, that was just my genes” is kind of missing the point. And why is that any more boring than saying “Oh that was just part of God’s plan”?

    “Rocky didn’t really go against the odds to be the Heavyweight Champion of the World—the laws of physics did it for him”

    So I guess when athletes thank God after their victories, we should find their exertions boring as that means they didn’t really compete – God did it for them.

    “Yet if people are determined then they can’t choose otherwise”

    That’s like saying that if God knows in advance what choices you’ll make then you can’t choose otherwise. Think about it – God knows whether you’ll choose Coke or Pepsi, and whichever choice you make, it’s the one he know you’d make all along. So you can’t possibly choose differently. Does that mean you ‘can’t choose anything’?

    Nancy Pearcey: “In reality, people do make genuine decisions”

    How does Nancy know this? How would it feel different if she was making ‘determined decisions’ compared to the ‘free decisions’ she believes she is making?

    “We all experience the moment-by-moment reality of making choices. ”

    You’ve not shown that the supernatural is necessary for us to experience this. Perhaps she’s just describing what it feels like to have a consciousness arising from a brain obeying the laws of physics. And how would the supernatural allows us to escape the cause and effect of determinism anyway? You can’t just say ‘It’s magic so therefore we have freewill’.

    “These kinds of plays or films are frustrating, depressing, and anti-climactic”

    Sean, I hate to break it to you but The Three Sisters got much better reviews than God is Not Dead 2!

    Reply
    • Kevin Haug says:

      Andy,

      Your argument about God “knowing” in advance the choices we will make as somehow a limitation of free will is spurious. As a parent, I know my son will choose pizza over chicken nuggets or a hamburger at any restaurant we frequent. Does my knowledge limit his free will or choice? Does my knowledge mean that he cannot do differently? Hardly. The logic does not follow. There are better arguments to use if you wish to accuse theists of being determined–please use them.

      Kevin

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        Kevin, I was pointing out that the determinism argument offered by Sean is no better. And you suspecting you know what your son will eat isn’t the same as God knowing absolutely every move you will ever make, such that it is literally true that you cannot possibly make a choice differently to the ones he knows you will make.

        Reply
        • Louie says:

          What you are saying is true here, you cannot make a decision that God did not know you were going to make. God is outside of space and time, so he does not see your decisions as you make them, he just sees them.

          Reply
        • Kevin Haug says:

          It isn’t the exact same situation, but it is quite similar. For knowing isn’t determining. This is where your argument falls flat. I know my son so much so that at this juncture, I know he will not choose anything other than the pizza in any given restaurant. I haven’t determined that. I simply know. His choice is not dependent upon my knowing; rather my knowing has to do with the level I understand and know my son. That God unequivocally knows what choice we will make does not mean God has determined that choice. This is quite unlike those biologists and physicists who claim that all of our actions, behaviors, and feelings are subject to our biology or the physical laws of nature. (I do not believe every atheist believes this, btw.). In their view everything is determined yet unknown.

          Reply
          • Luke says:

            Kevin,

            I think you misunderstood. No one is saying that G-d knowing something means that G-d has determined something.

            The argument is that since G-d knows what Sylvia will do, when Sylvia makes choice there is only one thing she can do and if there is only one thing Sylvia can do, Sylvia is not free.

            Your son may one day surprise you — none of us would be shocked by that. But G-d can’t be wrong, so Sylvia only has one choice.

            A person with only one choice is not free.

            Thanks,

            Luke

          • Louie says:

            Luke – I disagree. The choice is the persons choice, whether God knows the outcome or not. God knows what I will do tomorrow, but all the choices I make are mine and I have to account for them. God is outside of space and time, hence His ability to tell what will occur in what we call the “future”. To God, it just is.

          • Kevin Haug says:

            Perhaps it is the limitations of language that prevent your argument from having substance:

            “when Sylvia makes a choice…”

            Choice demands options. Sylvia chooses. She can opt one way or the other. You suggest that because God knows which choice Sylvia will make, she has no choice. That is hardly the conclusion one can draw from the scenario unless God is actively controlling the choice being made.

            Sylvia’s choice is not dependent upon God being wrong. My son can surprise me because I do not know all the given factors that will enter into his choice. You are correct, I can be surprised. If God knows all factors impacting any decision, He will obviously know the outcome–not because He is orchestrating the event, but because of His thorough knowledge.

            Kevin

  2. Luke says:

    Dr. McDowell said: [On atheism] “people are simply cogs in the materialistic universe dragged along by physical, social, and biological forces. ”

    Wait… so on a theistic worldview, people are free from physical, social, and biological forces

    Dr. Mcdowell said: “Why do we enjoy movies? The simple answer is that we are drawn to characters that choose good over evil, hope over despair, and forgiveness over revenge. Yet if atheism is true, characters are driven entirely by the inexorable physical laws of nature—they don’t make any choices at all. Thus, Luke didn’t really choose to battle Darth Vader and the Dark Side—his genes did it for him.”

    Why does this make watching Star Wars more boring? It’s not as if the audience knows what decision he will make due to those forces. I’d like to understand your point, but it makes no sense to me.

    Here is an analogy for what Dr. McDowell’s paragraph is saying: Flipping a coin is boring. If physics and gravity, etc. are real, then the outcome of the coin flip is determined entirely by the laws of physics. Boring. Boring. Boring.

    That’s silly.

    It’s true, of course, that the result of a coin flip is entirely determined by physical forces (inputs) and physical laws.

    Are you suggesting that if coin flipping somehow added a random element (something is either a predictable effect of a cause or it is random), then coin flipping would somehow become more exciting?

    How?

    Thanks,

    Luke

    Reply
    • Bonnie Phillips says:

      There is another realm that you do not mention. God operates outside of time. He sees your first breath on earth and your last.
      He gives us choices. We choose. Atheism does not allow choice. God does.
      ” For the gifts of God are irrevocable…Romans 11:29 -even if you choose not to exercise them.

      Reply
        • Holt says:

          If you actually study science and multidimensional theories, God makes perfect sense.

          We live in a 4 dimensional world, time, length, width, height. We are 4 dimensional beings and we perceive the passing of time and the shape of objects. However we can only work in 3 dimensions, we cannot move backwards or faster forwards in time.

          However, a higher dimensional being could move forwards and backwards in time as easily and we manipulate 3d objects. Such a being could exist on a dimension we can’t perceive.

          The existence of God is not something science can disprove, and in fact current scientific theories have show the existence of God to be possible.

          Reply
  3. James Archbold says:

    We fall in love because of our biological need to survive to the next level. We seek justice for ourselves and our fellow men because in doing so we maximise our chances of future survival as a species…Much if not all of what we believe to be the results of free will is an illusion driven by our biological need to progress as a highly evolved and evolving being..But it is a glorious and fantastic illusion and one we all gladly embrace..It doesn’t matter if you think its boring or lacking in morality or that in order of significance in regard to the universe you share the same status as a mushroom. It only matters if its true or not.

    Reply
    • Kevin Haug says:

      And so you must now ask yourself several questions:

      How can you say that it is true if biology is simply trying to make sure you survive? In quite a few cases falsehood is a much better adaptation for survival.

      Why does it matter that you post such things here or anywhere? Were you determined to do so? Did biology and the natural law determine that you would sit down at your computer and type the exact words that you did? And for what reason? You certainly will not change anyone’s mind by your argument since they are already determined to believe as they believe and do as they do. So, your post is essentially meaningless and you are simply an automatron hammering away at something you have no control over trying to convince others you cannot convince. That is, if you really believe such a thing to be, well, true. 🙂

      Reply
      • Luke says:

        Kevin,

        You said:“You certainly will not change anyone’s mind by your argument since they are already determined to believe as they believe and do as they do.”

        I’m sorry to again say that you have misunderstood how this works. To say that something is determined does not mean that it is unaffected by any inputsit’s the exact oppositethe inputs will determine the outcome.

        Think back to the coin flip analogy I mentioned above. The result of coin flip is entierly deterministic and based on the laws of physics. This does not mean that you cannot affect the outcome by blowing as hard as you can on the coin as it flips through the air!

        It means precisely because it follows physical laws that by blowing, you can affect the coin, because the air you move will alter one of the factors determining the result of the coin flip. (Note that you are not the only input, so just because you can affect the coin, does not mean you can control the coin.)

        In fact, the problem is the reverse of what you imagine. Because on determinism every thought and action is in some way a reaction to stimulus, what we say to people, or how we treat them is certain to affect how they will act — it’s inescapable! (Granted, some of those effects will be small, other may be big.)

        It is in the type of free will posited here that allows decisions to be divorced from inputs, therefore you can never be sure if your words will have any impact on someone. On this view, people are like an undetermined coin, ignoring the moving air you’re generating, and simply doing what it will.

        (For some reason it’s always confused me that people don’t seem to grasp this point naturally. Please let me know if it makes sense to you now.)

        Thanks,

        Luke

        Reply
          • Luke says:

            Hi Kevin,

            I’ve actually answered this very question in detail (it’s quite a long post). It’s on a post called “Can Evolution Account for Rationality” and it is the second of my long comment there. (The post begins with: “Now onto the choices we make:” so you can search on that phrase and find it.)

            Thanks,

            Luke

          • Kevin Haug says:

            Okay. So, if I understood your post correctly, your deep seeded beliefs led you to post on this forum, and given the circumstances, you could not do otherwise. Am I right so far?

            Kevin

  4. Luke says:

    Hi Kevin,

    You said:“If G-d knows all factors impacting any decision, He will obviously know the outcome–not because He is orchestrating the event, but because of His thorough knowledge.”

    First of all, if the factors/inputs determine the decision (one can know the decision, if they know the inputs), that’s determinism! Second of all, how is what you said here in any way different than what I said?

    You said:Choice demands options. Sylvia chooses. She can opt one way or the other. You suggest that because G-d knows which choice Sylvia will make, she has no choice. That is hardly the conclusion one can draw from the scenario unless G-d is actively controlling the choice being made.”

    You also said: “Perhaps it is the limitations of language that prevent your argument from having substance: Choice demands options.”

    So let’s start with the language. Webster defines choice as “the act of picking or deciding between two or more possibilities”

    So for Sylvia to “choose” she needs to have more than one option that is possible.

    Here is the logic that argues that any choice other than the one she made is not possible.

    1. G-d is omniscient.
    2. It is not possible for G-d to be wrong (follows from 1)
    3. G-d knows Sylvia will choose X over Y.
    4. If Sylvia chooses X, G-d is right.
    5. If Sylvia chooses Y, G-d is wrong.
    6. G-d cannot be wrong, therefore it is not possible for Sylvia to choose Y (follows from 2, 3, and 5).

    Since it is not possible for Sylvia to choose Y (or anything but X), then Sylvia does not have any possibilities other than X.

    Having one possibility, is by definition, not a choice.

    Does this make sense?

    To say that Sylvia has a choice, you’d need to either change the dictionary definition of the word choice, or argue that G-d is fallible.

    To look at it a different way, you said:“[Sylvia] can opt one way or the other.”, but this requires you to say “G-d could either be right or wrong!”. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    (Because if G-d can’t be wrong, then Sylvia can’t choose anything else.)

    Thanks,

    Luke

    Reply
      • Luke says:

        According to the logic and definitions in the post, Sylvia has no choice, so I’m not really sure what you mean. I apologize. Can you try to ask another way?

        Thanks,

        Luke

        Reply
        • Kevin Haug says:

          It is fun when the haze of internet argument is lifted after being away from the screen for some time.

          Of course you see that the logic shows that Sylvia has no choice, but I will argue that choice is built into the argument. And, since choice is built into the argument, the conclusions are actually quite wrong and the argument isn’t an argument at all.

          Let’s look at the argument point by point:

          1. God is omniscient. Assuming there is a God and that God is omniscient, then this stands.
          2. It is not possible for God to be wrong. Based upon number 1, agree.
          3. God knows that Sylvia will choose x over y. Okay. No problem, but this point ASSUMES there is an x. It ASSUMES there is a y. It ASSUMES that Sylvia has the choice between the two. Therefore, there should be a 2a. Sylvia has a choice between x and y. Cleverly omitted, the argument counts on the reader overlooking these assumptions. In order to show that Sylvia has no choice, the argument must present that there is only x or only y.
          4. If Sylvia chooses x, God is right. Okay.
          5. If Sylvia chooses, y, God is wrong. Okay.
          6. God cannot be wrong, therefore…

          The conclusion is not that Sylvia is unable to choose y. The conclusion is that Sylvia chooses x. In fact, one could easily omit numbers 4 and 5 and do no damage to the logical progression.

          Reply
          • Luke says:

            Do you agree that if Sylvia were to choose Y, G-d would be wrong?

            Do you agree that G-d being wrong is not possible?

            Thanks,

            Luke

          • Kevin Haug says:

            If Sylvia were to choose y, then God would be wrong, but that part of the argument is actually moot. God would have known she would choose y. Point number three in the logical progression would have had to be changed to: God knows Sylvia will choose y.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            The reason I bought up the ‘God knows our choices negates free will’ argument is that I see it as pretty much the same as the argument presented by apologists that ‘Our brains obey the laws of physics negates free will’.

            To say after someone makes a choice ‘God knew you would make that choice, therefore you literally couldn’t have chosen differently’ is the same as saying after someone makes a choice ‘Your brain was obeying the laws of physics, therefore you couldn’t have chosen differently’.

            They’re both true only in a pedantic, semantic way. Neither means that when the person was faced with the decision, they couldn’t actually weigh up their options and make the choice that they wanted to make, which to me is the only free will you actually need. The free will that some theists talk about seems to be a nonsensical concept. As Luke has pointed out, introducing the supernatural doesn’t get you any closer to it. The alternative to cause and effect isn’t free will, it’s chaos and randomness.

          • Kevin Haug says:

            Andy,

            The argument I have is that the argument, from the theistic side, is not true. I’ve pointed out the logical fallacy above. I am skeptical from the atheistic side that free will is negated even though there are some famous atheists who suggest that we have none. That is more of a metaphysical claim and not scientific–IMO.

            Kevin

          • Andy Ryan says:

            Kevin, my point is that people who claim that free will is impossible under atheism should accept one could make a very similar argument for it being impossible under theism too. I disagree with both arguments (or at least think neither argument makes any difference to how we live or should live) but believe the apologists should be consistent.

          • Kevin Haug says:

            I will second that, Andy. And it really depends upon the apologist just like the atheist. Those with a strong Calvinistic background will be strong determinists (or predestinists if you want to be technical) :-). While those with a more Catholic background will emphasize free will. My quibble is not with the fact that there are theists who believe in determinism, but with the argument presented about omniscience somehow limiting free will. If you give God the omnipotent attribute, then you have a whole other argument.

            Kevin

  5. Luke says:

    Kevin said:“Okay. So, if I understood your post correctly, your deep seeded beliefs led you to post on this forum, and given the circumstances, you could not do otherwise. Am I right so far?”

    Hmmm… it doesn’t really sound like it. I would definitely not say that based on what I wrote there that “my deep seated beliefs led me to post”. That’s not to say deep seated beliefs are no part of such a decision, but I would say a very small part at best, in this case.

    For example, I said: “I think the criteria we’re trying to satisfy shift constantly.” so I’m giving most of the power to short-term inputs. I do think that long term, deep beliefs, certainly have some impact on some decisions, but carry different levels of importance. (For example, for me deeply help beliefs have more impact on voting, then on a decision like whether to respond to a post.

    I did mention “long held needs” which I see as different from beliefs. For example, a belief (to me) is something like “there is a G-d” or “The Beatles made amazing music” or “He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him”. I see needs as “the need to be happy” or “the need for human interaction” or “the need for cookies!”. So what I was trying to get across in that post was that the decision was a calculation of how to best satisfy those long term needs, based on momentary needs, possibilities, and a calculation of the predicted outcomes of different actions. (In other words, I have the need to be happy, and I think that replying will make me happier than not replying, given what is going on in this moment. That’s too simple, but it’s the basic idea.)

    On this specific question, I struggle to find a place for deep seated beliefs. I don’t dismiss that idea outright, but just really thinking through the decision, I see little to no place for it. (My thought on it is: “surely it has some small place, but it seems insignificant, and I can’t put my finger on where it fits in.”)

    I hope that’s helpful. I’ll be glad to try to explain another way, but, unfortunately it seems obvious that we’ve experienced some combination of my unclear writing and your misunderstanding.

    Thanks,

    Luke

    Reply
    • Kevin Haug says:

      Again, let me see if I can clearly grasp your ideas. You posted on this website because you “calculated”

      1. Satisfying long term needs.
      2. Satisfying short term needs.
      3. Momentary possibilities.
      4. Calculated outcomes (let me use probable outcomes as you seem to be doing some form of probability assessment, if that is fair.)

      Given what your brain calculated–as a rather sophisticated probability machine–you were going to post and really had no free will in the process.

      Is this a fair articulation?

      Kevin

      Reply
      • Luke says:

        HI Kevin,

        You said:“You were going to post and really had no free will in the process. Is this a fair articulation?”

        You’re now getting to a difference between a working theory of determinism, and my personal beliefs. I, Luke, personally, believe in free will, so as far as what I personally believe, that’s close, but not correct. (There’s some discussion in that thread, but I’d say I largely subscribe to a pretty strong version of indirect doxastic volunteerism. So I, personally, believe that my free will impacted some of those inputs, but in a somewhat indirect way.)

        But overall, sure, that’s pretty close both to what I believe, and a solid working theory of how most compatibilists view determinism.

        Thanks,

        Luke

        Reply
  6. Luke says:

    Hey Kevin,

    If I can just add a bit of a comment. Combatibilists would say that the process that you and I described here is free will. Labels are helpful and nice most of the time, but they can also be confusing some of the time; I think we’re at that point here. So I’d just say that’s the description of a process, and you’re free to agree or disagree about whether that is what goes on, but I think applying a blanket label tends to be unhelpful. In other words, if I described that process in the faculty lounge of my local philosophy department, most people would say “you’ve just described free will, not a lack of it”. You seem to believe (I think) that this process is leaves no room for free will. So I think it’s a bit too confusing to say that process is a rejection of free-will. It may be that for you, but it’s not to most. So I suggest we stick to process, not labels.

    Thanks,

    Luke

    Reply
  7. Luke says:

    Kevin said:“The argument I have is that the argument, from the theistic side, is not true. I’ve pointed out the logical fallacy above.”

    With all due respect Kevin, you’ve not yet shown a logical fallacy.

    What you did do is add premise 2a, stating that Sylvia had a choice. You did this to form an argument to show that Sylvia had a choice. This is an actual logical fallacy called begging the question. Wikipedia defines it thusly: [begging the question] is an informal fallacy, in which an arguer includes the conclusion to be proven within a premise of the argument.

    Now, I’ll agree that I am using the word “choose” loosely in my questions and in the argument. You could play word games with this to say “gotcha”, but I think you understand the meaning and I hope you won’t do that.

    So, you’ve answered one of my questions, what of the second? Do you agree that G-d being wrong is not possible?

    Also, I should have asked this more clearly: Earlier you said: “If G-d knows all factors impacting any decision, He will obviously know the outcome–not because He is orchestrating the event, but because of His thorough knowledge.”

    Do you believe that by knowing all the factors impacting a decision, one can know what the decision will be?

    Thanks,

    Luke

    Reply
    • Kevin Haug says:

      Actually, Luke, what I pointed out is that the argument itself already had choice built into it. I added nothing but only pointed out the assumptions behind point 3. 2a is the logical assumption built into point 3. Do you not deny this? It’s not a word game at all. It’s not a “gotcha” moment either. How does God know that Sylvia will choose x over y if Sylvia has no choice to begin with?

      Yes, I believe God being wrong is not possible.

      Third, yes, I believe if we knew all the factors impacting a particular decision, including the thought processes of the one making the decision, we would know the outcome.

      Kevin

      Reply
  8. Luke says:

    I. Kevin, let’s just say that it is true that premise 3 includes your premise 2a, do you at least agree that the argument does not show that Sylvia has a choice, because the argument begs the question? We can continue to examine whether this 2a is actually in premise 3 (I contend it is not).

    II. Okay. So you have accepted these two premises:

    1. If Sylvia were to choose Y, G-d would be wrong.
    2. It is not possible for G-d to be wrong.

    I will add: therefore: “Sylvia choosing Y is not possible”, which follows from 1 and 2.
    Do you agree with this so far?

    Kevin said:“Third, yes, I believe if we knew all the factors impacting a particular decision, including the thought processes of the one making the decision, we would know the outcome.”

    Then why do you not consider yourself a compatibilist (or do you, and I’ve misunderstood?)?

    Thanks,

    Luke

    Reply
    • toby says:

      I will add: therefore: “Sylvia choosing Y is not possible”, which follows from 1 and 2.

      Also consider that choosing requires time. At one time there was no decision, at another there is. What does this even mean for a god that has no time? Frank once said somewhere on this site that god sees time all at once. If you consider this to be the case it doesn’t help the argument for free will. Everything has already happened even if we don’t know it yet. Decisions we haven’t made yet are already seen and made.

      Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      They always drop out when it gets interesting.

      If you’re bored, Google for videos by Jeffery Jay Lowder. A good one is where he destroys William Lane Craig’s claims about objective morality under theism, which is effectively destroying Frank and Tim’s arguments too, as they basically echo WLC.

      Look for ‘jeffery jay lowder naturalism theism moral ontology’, though best not put in the speech marks.

      Reply
      • TGM says:

        Good stuff Andy! I checked out some of those videos. The one I watched was simply a narration of a powerpoint presentation on the flaws in WLC’s moral argument. Not so exciting, but its value comes from showing how sophisticated the moral argument really gets. WLC’s version neglects every important line of reasoning, relies on questionable implicit assumptions, or appeals to our intuitions that don’t hold up under rigorous scrutiny.

        Why people should think that 2-line syllogisms are enough to explain any worldview baffles me.

        Reply

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