Jeremy Christian's Take on Free Will


(Jeremy Christian) #21

I disagree. If you’re capable of behaving contrary to God’s will, then behaving in line with God’s will is your choice.

Augustine asked the same thing. What’s the point of living if you have no willful control? The difference would be like the difference between a movie and a video game. A game you have input into the outcome, a movie always ends the same way and can’t be altered.

Free will makes us active participants in life. No free will then you are only a passive observer.

What would be the point of going through the motions of life if you had no input in what happened?

Just the ability to make a decision is not free will. All life makes decisions. If your dog began making decisions that caused it to behave unlike other dogs, then you might be onto something.

Unless you think your dog is capable of evil, your dog does not have free will.

There’s like a dozen commands in Genesis 1, including the ones given to humans. History shows homo sapiens did exactly as the humans in Gen1 were commanded. So Adam is the first to break a command.

(Jeremy Christian) #22

indeterminism - the doctrine that not all events are wholly determined by antecedent causes.

How is that different than free will? If an event isn’t wholly determined by antecedent causes, then what else is the cause?

(Jeremy Christian) #23

I agree. This model addresses all of those issues and beyond.


determinism (noun)

(philosophy) a philosophical theory holding that all events are inevitable consequences of antecedent sufficient causes; often understood as denying the possibility of free will

(Jeremy Christian) #25

That’s how I understand it

(John Harshman) #26

No, it just isn’t free will.

(John Harshman) #27

What does “willful choice” mean? We can agree that a choice by free will can’t be determined, that is that there’s no causal chain leading to it. We can also agree that it can’t be random, i.e. undetermined by any causal chain. What’s the third possibility, the one that result in a free will choice?

(John Harshman) #28

How is that relevant?

(George) #29


I suspect that the push-back on free will is purely due to a concern about you think you can do with the concept.

I have had lots of debate on the Genealogical Adam concept… and free will has not once popped up in a useful way.

So how do you think free will has any bearing?

(George) #30


There is no reason to believe the pre-Adamites lack free will. So the difference between them, if there is a difference, cannot be free will.

(Neil Rickert) #31

For me, “free will” is just our ordinary ability to make decisions. And, yes, I’m a compatibilist.

(Neil Rickert) #32

Yes, I agree with that.

Well, strictly speaking, I don’t know your dog. And I don’t even know that you have a dog. But I do see dogs and other animals as having some sort of free will.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #33

It’s relevant in terms of understanding the level of agreement he can expect from you. You aren’t going to agree with him, for example, that God exists, at least not any time soon.

(John Harshman) #34

For sure, but is that necessary to the discussion of free will? Of course if he actually does define it as “having the capability to act against God’s wishes”, I could see your point.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #35

It does become important in this context. You are a compatibilists, just as am I, holding that determinism and free will are not in conflict. There is an extra wrench thrown in if God is in the mix. This gets to the whole debate about predestination and free will.

Perhaps I was wrong, but I was sensing some confusion from him arising because of things you were saying that he couldn’t make sense of because he didn’t know you were an atheist. One way around that is to change your title. I think I’ll call you an Atheist Avian Phylogenist. Does that work for you?

(John Harshman) #36

Sorry if I gave that impression, but no. I think compatibilist free will should have another name, because it isn’t what people who believe in free will mean by the term.

No. That’s not how I think of my identity. There are all manner of other things in line before “atheist”. Maybe the proper solution would be for people to stop making unwarranted assumptions.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #37

So give me another name. This is how it works. What do you prefer?

(John Harshman) #38

I prefer the one I had before. Avian Phylogeneticist is fine.

(Jeremy Christian) #39

Cannot? I don’t understand. Why?

(Evan) #40

Slightly off topic, but I found this small thread helpful clearing up an objection to libertarian free will