Articles i found interesting, things that are funny for me, my beliefs, philosophy in life and other things about me.
Determinism for me is irrational. Here's why.
Published on February 9, 2004 By EFalgui In Philosophy
I have been thinking about the reasons why I am so against determinism. For me determinism is just plain wrong in the sense that we have no choice in anything that we do. Another thing is that if everything is already plotted out then doesn’t that destroy the point of taking responsibility for our actions.

People argue that if God is all knowing then how would it be possible for people to have free will. My response to this is that God knows all the paths that are possible. Because there is more than one possible path to life, we have the power to choose our own way without taking Gods omniscience into question. Anyway I have been thinking of some more arguments and these are a few I found against determinism.

Determinism is self-defeating. A determinist insists that both determinists and non-determinists are determined to believe what they believe. However, determinists believe self-determinists are wrong and ought to change their view. But "ought to change" implies they are free to change, which is contrary to determinism, since how can one change what is already determined. =P

Determinism is irrational. C.S. Lewis argued that naturalistic, complete determinism is irrational. For determinism to be true, there would have to be a rational basis for their thought. But if determinism is true, then there is no rational basis for thought, since non-rational forces determine all. So, if determinism claims to be true, then it must be false. Do you get it?

Determinism destroys human responsibility. If God is the cause of all human actions, then human beings are not morally responsible. One is only responsible for a choice if there was free will to avoid making it. All responsibility implies the ability to respond, either on one's own or by God's grace. Ought implies can. But if God caused the action, then we could not have avoided it. Hence, we are not responsible.

Determinism renders praise and blame meaningless. Similarly, if God causes all human actions, then it makes no sense to praise human beings for doing good, nor to blame them for doing evil. For if the courageous really had no choice other than to show courage, why reward it? If the evil had no choice but to commit their crime, why punish them? Rewards and punishment for moral behavior makes sense only if another did not cause the actions.

Determinism leads to fatalism. If everything is determined beyond our control, then why do good and avoid evil? Indeed, if determinism is right, evil is unavoidable. Determinism destroys the very motive to do good and shun evil.

Determinism is unbiblical. Theistic opponents to determinism offer several objections from Scripture. Defining free choice as "doing what one desires" is contrary to experience. For people do not always do what they desire, nor do they always desire to do what they do (Romans 7:15-16).

These counter arguments are what the major reason as to why I believe determinism is as real as the trolls in our nightmares. I don’t know why determinism is such a popular concept since it removes all responsibility from the actions that we do whether we do harm to others or help others.

For me the only possible time determinism would be possible is when humans already know everything. At that time we wouldn’t be humans anymore of course. At this point we would altogether be something totally different from what we are today that we might as well be a different race. But I think this will never become reality since the universe is full of mystery. Whenever we find an answer to a question a dozen or so of answers springs up as a result.

Although we can never be sure whether we are free or not, the only thing I can say is that as long as I believe that I have the power to choose my own path in life I am content.

Comments (Page 1)
on Feb 09, 2004
The upshot of this is the mystery you mention; the only determinism is embedded in the universe. The free will you speak of is extrapolated from a preconceived determinism to form decrees and dogma, such as the will to power like the creep that killed the little girl in Florida, or in the abstract determinism of the aministration to feel a need for war.
on Feb 09, 2004
you may be interested in this essay:

http://tomkenyon.com/hathors.htm


"W e want to be very clear here. The path of the spiritual master requires that one take the higher pathway, even if the collective is moving downward. And whether you recognize yourself as a spiritual master or not, you are, at least from our perspective. For you have chosen embodiment at this extraordinary evolutionary moment. You are on the front lines. You are the ones who have the courage to be here. And we bow to you. Whether or not you are experiencing your life the way you wish it to be or not, is not the question. But that you are even alive in a body localized in time and space during these times of immense evolutionary pressure, these point to your mastery. For only a master would dare undertake such a task.

A nd understand that those who you might call tyrants are also masters. And in a very real way, what is happening on earth at this time is a confrontation between the masters of life (by life, we mean open-ended evolution) and the masters of death (by death, we mean close-ended evolution). The friction between those who live for and strive for the higher human destiny, and those who live for and strive for the limitation and the imprisonment of the human race--this friction, is an evolutionary agent."


on Feb 09, 2004
The flaw in your arguement is that if god DOES know everything....omniscience....then he already knows WHICH path you are going to chose, making all the other paths impossible.

on Feb 09, 2004
the thing is because he created humans with free will, he has given us a choice to choose which path it is we would take, without his intervention. besides if he knew everything then why the heck would he even need to create a world where he already knows the outcome of whatever is in the future.
on Feb 09, 2004
Hey Jeff you read those new age articles too? i like to read those things but i never really believed in any of them. i only take whats helpful and useful and dump all the i am god and you are god and we are all god stuff. i never really feel at home with thinking that the next step of the human evolutionary ladder is all of us becoming gods. it just creeps the hell out of me.

Me i have a bad enough time dealing with my normal day to day existence without having to think about turning myself into god or something. Nice article though. i kinda understand the part about the tyrants and the other side. i believe though that there are more to it than just two sides to this thing he is talking about.. mediators are the true powers they onlly follow their own rules and they mostly make those two sides metioned in the article follow the rules whether they like it or not. hahah just kidding im not really into this stuff im just playing. think about it though in real life there are more than just two sides to everything.

anyway thanks for the link it was a nice read. kinda refreshing to read something like that.
on Dec 06, 2004
Mistaken assumptions:

1. "...determinists believe self-determinists are wrong and ought to change their view. But "ought to change" implies they are free to change, which is contrary to determinism, since how can one change what is already determined."

--While it is true that hard determinists believe self-determinists are wrong, it doesn't automatically follow that they think others ought to change their minds or that if they wanted someone to change their mind it goes against Determinsm. Determinism simply implies causality. Determinists are caused to believe what they do because of everything in their lives up to that point has caused them to do so. Just because someone doesn't currently believe in determinism. it doesn't follow that they can't change their mind. Determinism would suggest that any change of belief would simply be caused by some prior influence, such a compelling discussion by a determinist.

2. "But if determinism is true, then there is no rational basis for thought, since non-rational forces determine all."

--Determinism isn't irrational nor does it promote the belief that thought has no rational basis. Quite the opposite. Determism says all thoughts and actions are reactions to all prior thoughts, actions and events--very rational indeed. Indetermism (the opposite of determinism) is the belief that some things "just happen" for no reason at all. That, according to a determinist, IS irrational. Determinism negates the belief in Free Will and Moral Responsibility, not the existence of rational thought.
on Dec 06, 2004
R said it right

In my opinion, you're looking at determinism in the wrong way.

I wouldn't consider myself a determinist, but I used it as my main demonstration of the flaws in the Bible and why I see it as nothing but a “fun story.”

At the core of Christian beliefs are that God is omniscient and omnipresent. This simple believe can NOT “play nice” with the believe that people have free will.

If you take the first belief, that God knows all, then he knows what choices you’ll make. The common believe is that God stands outside our concept of “time and space’ and he sees the path that you’ll take through your life. As soon as you believe that a being exists that knows everything (including what choices you’ll make), you’re not really making ‘choices.’ This doesn’t mean that God is putting his hand in the mix and making the choice for you, it just means that he KNOWS what you’ll do.

I myself am an Agnostic. I spend a good deal of my life reading, thinking, and trying to figure out the meaning of life, but I, unlike most people I know, have the ability to say, “I don’t know.” That doesn’t mean I don’t WANT to know, and that I don’t try really hard to figure out the answers. It just means that I don’t know, and I don’t believe anyone does… as of yet.

BUT, if you believe in a God that knows all, determinism is the only logical course… which gets rid of your free will

Some of your arguments are the most common arguments against determinism that I hear. People respond, “Well, if everything is already determined, and I can’t change them…” <--- That last part of that statement is where they’re logic falls apart. Determinist s believe that everything that happens is a result of seemingly endless amount of things that affected the final result. You CAN affect what will happen. That you will want to, or not want to, affect something’s outcome is also a result of another seemingly countless amount of things affecting you.

The concept of “random” is a good example of this. A determinist doesn’t believe that random exists, and it’s pretty easy to see why. If you flip a coin, it’s very easy to understand that which side lands up is not really random. It’s based upon wind, the strength you applied, gravity, etc… All of those smaller parts are decided based upon other things like: amount of trees and mountains in your area, if you work out, how large our planet is, etc… Those are based upon: What the soil is like, and how much rainfall your area gets, if you had many role models that worked out, who knows

This list goes on and on and on and on, but they’re all based upon something, i.e. random isn’t real.
on Dec 06, 2004
Wow, this is really crazy, because I was really considering writing an article on determinism, and then I found this one!

Anyway, I'm not yet sure how I feel about determinism. I find it to be scientifically very compelling, and yet I tend to lean away from it. I think that's possibly just caused by the impacts of determinism- no one is responsible for their actions because they can never choose their genetics, environments, or previous experiences. While that is rather frightening, I'm not sure it really disproves determinism.

Currently I'm leaning towards a different but similar theory. I'm not sure if it has a name, but it was explained to me by the same friend who introduced me to determinism. This philosophy basically argues that all of the components that determinism argues create the action we will take actually only increase the probability of a certain action.

I don't think determinism can be entirely true because I think that sometimes, when put in the same situation, a person can make a different choice. If I go to an ice cream store, I may like chocolate and vanilla equally, and I may have had both of them countelss times before and loved them each time, but one day I may choose one flavor, and the next day, another. But at the same time, this could probably be explained by something else scientific.

So I'm really not sure how I feel about determinism.
on Dec 07, 2004
Molly,

If you find fault with the concept of Determinism or one of its basic supports, no problem. Just don't turn off to it because you don't like the conclusions that it reaches. That's just lying to yourself because it's comforting and safe.
Personally, I'm not completely happy with the conclusions either (no moral responsibility, value systems rendered pointless and the non-existence of God), but I cannot find a single good reason to disagree with the overall concept.
Knock it down because it's weak, not because it's right.

-R
on Dec 07, 2004
My own article about determinism is also forthcoming. At this point, the basis of my philosophical thought on the subject is this: Don't mess with my free will.
on Dec 07, 2004
Molly,

If you find fault with the concept of Determinism or one of its basic supports, no problem. Just don't turn off to it because you don't like the conclusions that it reaches. That's just lying to yourself because it's comforting and safe.
Personally, I'm not completely happy with the conclusions either (no moral responsibility, value systems rendered pointless and the non-existence of God), but I cannot find a single good reason to disagree with the overall concept.
Knock it down because it's weak, not because it's right.

-R


Right, I completely agree. It's like I don't want it to be right, and I have a "feeling" that it's wrong, but I can't find any reason why. It's very frustrating. Just intuitively, it seems like humans have to have some sort of choice and free will, but I don't know why that's true.
on Dec 07, 2004
Right, I completely agree. It's like I don't want it to be right, and I have a "feeling" that it's wrong, but I can't find any reason why. It's very frustrating. Just intuitively, it seems like humans have to have some sort of choice and free will, but I don't know why that's true.


I think in the case of free will, the burden of proof lies with whoever argues against it. I can point to the fact that I could have either eaten an apple or a banana, and chose the apple. However, all of the arguments against free will that I can think of begin with the phrase "but what if..."
on Dec 08, 2004
I think in the case of free will, the burden of proof lies with whoever argues against it. I can point to the fact that I could have either eaten an apple or a banana, and chose the apple. However, all of the arguments against free will that I can think of begin with the phrase "but what if..."


I disagree.

When it comes to proof, people who argue for it use logic to show their point (see most of the post above). Most of the arguments for free will contain of of the following lines: "God said so", "It just doesn't feel right", or just can't stand the thought that it might be true.

I can point to the fact that I could have either eaten an apple or a banana, and chose the apple.


This doesn't really prove or disprove anything.
on Dec 08, 2004
Right, I completely agree. It's like I don't want it to be right, and I have a "feeling" that it's wrong, but I can't find any reason why. It's very frustrating. Just intuitively, it seems like humans have to have some sort of choice and free will, but I don't know why that's true.


I think in the case of free will, the burden of proof lies with whoever argues against it. I can point to the fact that I could have either eaten an apple or a banana, and chose the apple. However, all of the arguments against free will that I can think of begin with the phrase "but what if..."


I don't think you default to either side because one can't be proven. The thing about determinism is that is does have a lot of scientific proof. In that case, I think we should be trying to prove why it isn't true. That's the concept that I"m struggling with. I don't want it to be true.... but I don't find any good reason for that.


As for the apple and the banana, determinism would argue that you can't choose what your tastebuds happen to like better, and that your liking the apple better is based on past experience that you've processed. Pretty much everything can be explained by some sort of chemical process that I don't really understand, which is probably why I find it so hard to argue.
on Dec 08, 2004
One of the supports FOR Determinism is that of ignorance. Since we don't fully understand all of Nature's immutable laws (like the Grand Unified Theory) and don't have complete knowledge of the state of things (exactly where each electrib is at any given time) and don't fully understand our own Complexity, we can't fully know how every factor helps determine our motivations. That doesn't deny the existence of these motivations, just our ability to know them completely.

So, one doesn't choose to have a banana over an apple (or vice-versa). Everything that you've been, done, experienced, etc. up to that moment "determines" your selection of one over the other. The feeling that you have a choice is really just ignorance of the factors involved in determining your selection.