Response to Facebook Conversation

Just a few points that I really want to clear up.  I've edited the list down extremely and these are the most important things, I think.
"Unfortunately it seems to be impossible, either by intelligent design or evolution, to eliminate the possibility of evil choices."  
Please show your work.  Since you have exactly one (1) observable reality from which to draw your inferences and nothing to compare it to.  I'm curious as to how you came to this conclusion.  Also, and I know I've harped on this point, but Intelligent Design only suffers from that problem if the designer is not omnipotent.  An omnipotent designer would not be preventable from creating such a reality by definition, regardless of the way that things seem to be in the reality we're in.
'By definition "free will" includes the ability to want to do anything.'  
I think that you're right, that I focused a little too much on one particular part of the argument.  However, I think the spirit of my contention was still right as you are defining Free Will in a way which is not consistent with the evidence; that is, that Free Will it is not limited or influenced by anything.  This is patently false and I don't see how you could justify it.  At the very least, you have to concede that our capacity for choice is limited by our physical brains, as well as whatever physical laws happen to exist within this Universe.  I think that I can clear up one of the big sticking points between us.  In the example which I give for a Universe in which humans can not harm one another, I am referring to a different set of 'physical laws' in which this would be the case.  I hope that resolves the conflict.
"This is honestly why I have such a hard time continuing these discussions with you. You have the ability to key on a tiny part of the discussion, ignoring completely the discussion as a whole, and try to say that because I poorly worded one statement the entire discussion we just had is moot."
It appeared to me that the statement that I was focusing on was far too important and that the rest of your argument couldn't be addressed until it was clarified.    I apologize for not pointing it out right away, but that certainly does not make the point any less valid.
"No, as we have discussed over and over again the ability of humans to choose is not limited by logic, physical laws, or ability to accomplish the choice."
You asserted it, but you did not demonstrate it, and as a ludicrous claim I expect at least 'extraordinary' evidence for it.

Since it came up several times, let's take a second to talk about evidence.

Since the current scientific understanding is that the brain draws on the finite amount of information compiled over an individual's life (to date, of course) in order to make what appears to be a 'free' decision, I can already account for the idea that we have finite choice capability without appealing to anything which hasn't already been demonstrated sufficiently.  Furthermore, I can easily provide mountains of evidence to support this.

"If God limited our choices then the definition "free of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or by divine intervention" would not apply."

Since you cherry-picked one definition out of 4 which happens to contain the caviat that supports your argument, I don't accept that that is the best and most accurate defintion of Free Will, especially considering the fact that we wouldn't be able to determine the difference if it were influenced by a divine being.  Within the confines of the reality which I've defined, the humans of that reality would be capable of making every possible choice, just as we are.  It's just that those possibilities would be different.

"My claim is tested constantly, every day. ....... My proof are the real choices made trillions of times a minute."

Actually...  it isn't.  It's never been tested.  Those don't actually prove the claim that we can choose literally anything, nor are they inconsistent with the notion that Free Will may be an illusion (again, not claiming that it is, just that it's one of the possibilities).  These kinds of observations would only ever demonstrate the specific choices that people are capable of making.  By way of analogy, it is true that the 'Sun Rises' each and every day, and it would be correct to assume that this is likely to continue; however it would not follow that this must then continue into perpetuity.  As it turns out, it won't, even though it might appear that it potentially could based on all of the past observations of sunrises, especially if you are ignoring all of the other evidence which bears on this, such as orbital mechanics, gravitational attraction, nuclear forces, etc.

"I will turn your own requirement of proof back on you. Prove to me that our ability to choose is finite by giving me an example of something we can't conceive of."

The burden of proof does not shift from the claimant, no matter how badly they need it to.

However, even though I do not bear the burden of proof, it just so happens that I do have the example that you're looking for.  This is exactly why I brought up Graham's Number to begin with.  We know that it has to be a real number (because Math), but we cannot even conceive the number of digits in the number.  It doesn't matter that we can assign it a character or placeholder, it remains true that there is a real number which we cannot possibly conceive, and it is exactly because of physical limitations.

I asked "How have you confirmed that our conceivable options aren't finite since, by definition, we wouldn't know it?"  Your response was "And we are getting completely bogged down in minutia here."   I don't think that was very fair since my whole point was that you were claiming something which you can't even know, much less assert.

Freedom of choice is perfectly fine without resorting to some crazy appeal to infinity.  It's that crazy (as in unjustified, extraordinary) appeal to infinty that I have a problem with, not the freedom of choice part.

"And your ignoring the fact that you do not, in fact, have all the facts and are proposing a scenario that is illogical and based on the ignorance of not knowing all that God knows."

I can only make determinations based on the information that I have available.  If I had to wait until I had literally 'all of the facts' before making a determination, I could never even decide to go to the bathroom.  I can only make determinations about 'Gods' based on the descriptions which believers in said 'Gods' have given me, or what I have read myself in the holy books which these mutually exclusive 'Gods' have allegedly inspired.  Please forgive me for basing all of my beliefs on the information that I have available.  What do you propose as a better solution?

"Limitless means beyond yours or my ability to comprehend."

If it does mean just that, then using such a defined God to explain anything is impossible, because you yourself cannot possibly construct an argument based on what 'God' can or cannot do.  Nor could you ever truly accept intelligent design, since you can't know if the proposed 'God' is even capable of such a thing.  Any claims about what the proposed 'God' has done, or could ever do, or wants, or needs, or hates, would be eternally without merit, regardlesss of the content.  For consistency's sake, you would have to withold any and all belief which relates to such a defined 'God', and since you can never hope to understand it (by definition), then you could never move beyond a position of non-acceptance, which is where I happen to be currently sitting.

"And of course you are judging His decisions"

I don't think my argument can be considered a 'judgement' on anyone's decisions except for yours (since it is literally just the non-acceptance of your claim), but even if I had - So what if I judge the decisions of what I perceive to be a fictional character?  Being consistent, I also negatively judge the decision of Emperor Palpatine to give Luke Skywalker a Convert or Die "choice".  It has nothing to do with the discussion, but I'll gladly 'own up' to that.

"Yet on this subject such proof, either way, does not exist. And I could tell you the same thing about your claim regarding free will."

... but my 'claim' regarding 'Free Will' is that your version of 'Free Will' has not been demonstrated as accurate, and that, perhaps more importantly, there is evidence which falsifies it.  Unless you are willing to actually learn what Science has discovered about the nature of our ability to make decisions, I doubt that I can never 'convince you' of anything different.  Again, I just said that I don't accept your claim, I did not make a claim of my own.  This wasn't a situation of 'No evidence for either side', it's a situation of 'Your assertion's burden of proof has not been met'.

As further justification for why I don't accept this - Asserting as truth something whose truth value cannot even be determined is patently dishonest, and in Advertising would be considered legally fraudulent.  Perhaps you will consider this the next time you are so incredulous about my skepticism.


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