A Case Against Miracles & Freewill

the way it is

written & read by Michael Scott Earl

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  1. Tom

    I became an agnostic for the very purpose of enjoying the liberating experience of freewill. As a believer, I came to realize that an omniscient god would know all of my future decisions and actions, indeed the infinite future, and this knowing gave it form–a certainty just as factual as the past. And so it seemed pointless and depressing to live a life that was merely following a script, going through the motions, no matter how independent I felt in my decision making. And now in my search for liberation from the oppression of a determinative deity, I discover that I am, after all, a billiard ball in the unwavering machinery of the universe! The heartbreaking irony of it all!

  2. Paine

    Damn. You need a pulpit and a BIG GLASS MEGA-CHURCH.

  3. Rob

    I would suggest you are exhibiting the Materialist’s Fatal Flaw. In order to demonstrate this let me ask some straightforward questions:
    1. Is your assertion that there are fixed ‘Laws of Nature’ a scientific fact or an assumption? If it is the former, what is your evidence for this (is it a testable theory? Is it falsifiable? What evidence would falsify it?)? If it is the latter might it be reasonable to suggest that we don’t possess the full picture and that your assumption may be mistaken?
    2. How do you know that the ‘Laws of Nature’ are fixed and not evolutionary?
    3. How does the universe remember the ‘Laws of Nature’? Did they exist prior to the big bang and if so, where?
    4. Is your belief in Materialistic Determinism determined by unconscious processes in your brain that are a result of a chain of cause and effect that can be traced back to the beginning of the universe? Does this strike you as somewhat strange? What part does reason, evidence and choice play in all this?
    5. If a human being who is ‘unwilling to change his or her mind’ (see ‘The Fundamentalist’s Fatal Flaw’) is, for all intents and purposes, ‘dead’ to the world, and you assert that free will is an illusion – that is, the ability to willingly choose one set of beliefs over another is non-existent, does that mean you (and I, and all of us) are essentially dead?
    6. Is nature purposeless? If yes, how do you know this? Is it an assumption? If no, how do you explain where purpose arises from? Is there any evidence that the entire evolutionary process is purposeless or is it an assumption?
    7. Is your belief in the conservation of matter and energy an assumption or a scientific fact? Is dark matter conserved? Is it possible that dark energy may be continuously created as the universe expands?
    8. Is your belief that consciousness is an emergent property of the physical brain an assumption? If consciousness was a non-physical element of the universe, on what level do you imagine it might interact with physical matter? Does your assertion that quantum indeterminateness has no effect whatsoever on how humans behave ignore quantum theories of consciousness?
    9. Is your belief that the operation of free will would involve a physical transfer of energy an assumption? Even if all physical to physical causation involves transfer of energy, do we have the right to assume that all mental to physical causation does? Is your assumption not based on the prior assumption that mind is reducible or identical to matter? Might this assumption be incorrect and also, is this not an awful lot of assumptions you’re making?
    10. Do you accept that morality only makes sense in a world in which people can make conscious choices? If not, please explain.
    11. Do you believe it is important whether or not free will exists? How do you think such beliefs might effect people? Of course, if you are correct and it doesn’t exist then it will make no difference whatsoever and people’s thoughts and behaviours are determined, but if you are wrong…

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