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8 Year Olds, Free Will, and Baptism


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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

It is not a mistaken belief, it is what the church teaches, even when they also believe in the compensation for "the numbers" in the Spirit World: a person who chooses baptism is choosing one life which precludes another life. (And when not relying on the premise that the church is correct, the latter can be the life that would bring them closer to God.)

And this is not a mistaken belief: Mormonism does not accept alternate routes, only accepting in an ex-post facto manner delays to the same general route. 

The LDS Church doesn't teach anything.  That is the pathetic fallacy.  People preach particular points of view about the Gospel.  Those very few converts who choose baptism are doing so not because they know anything about LDS theology, but rather because they have prayed about it and have received confirmation from the Spirit.  This is especially the case with new members and with 8-year-olds.  They have no sophisticated understanding of the Gospel, and are not likely ever to acquire it.  Faith in that sense is not informed by reason and logic, but only by the Spirit.  This is true of most members of the LDS Church.  We should not expect otherwise.

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

Additionally it can be explained in many ways.  It is simply the case, for sake of argument, you don't get to control your wants.  You just want.  And you choose based on what you want.  Going back to the previous example of choosing to know Christ.  Your desire there is but built into you over time, as you witness and observe that which has been in front of you.  You look back and think, perhaps, you could have chosen something different, which sounds good theoretically, but is also an unproven notion.  We can't play that game, because no one can reframe the scenario with every sequence back in place, we can only imagine it.  The issue is, when your choice is made on any given something, at that very moment of decision everything that caused that decision has already played out, including every memory or thought your brain has.  

(I like this example) Pick a city.  Try to follow what's happening in your head as you decide on a city.  What is happening in your brain may be something like this--you immediately start to see cities' names in your head.  But you don't have a list of every city before your mind's eye and then you randomly select it.  You may have a few cities and those just appear in your psyche.  They may have stood out to you due to your experience for some reason or another.  And as you decide which city to pick, you're doing so on the basis of firing synapses happening simultaneously.  You're thinking "I just decided".  Part of it is when did you decide.  Another part is about how did you decide.  if it can be shown that your decision has happened before you are even aware of your decision, perhaps that explains it.  

Enter:

https://www.nature.com/news/2008/080411/full/news.2008.751.html

Our decisions are determined before we even are aware of them.  Its not really us deciding.  It's us thinking we are deciding--that's the illusion of course.  

Yes, our stream of consciousness.  Our awareness and constant autobiographical narrative are really ex post facto.  We think we have decided something consciously, when the decision took place before we were even conscious of it.

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Baptism is not totally complete until sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. That could be from the day someone is baptized to moments before death. A good example is a wife getting baptized for the sole reason that her husband wants her to. She has no testimony of the restored gospel, or even of Jesus Christ. So her baptism is for the wrong reason. It could be years later that she gains that testimony and takes on the responsibility of be being a disciple of Christ. When she affects that mighty change of heart, that is when the Holy Spirit of Promise seals the baptismal blessings on her.

The same with a child. They may do it because of family pressure. However, a child usually knows right from wrong by 8 years old, and so that is the age of accountability.

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13 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The LDS Church doesn't teach anything.  That is the pathetic fallacy.  People preach particular points of view about the Gospel.  Those very few converts who choose baptism are doing so not because they know anything about LDS theology, but rather because they have prayed about it and have received confirmation from the Spirit.  This is especially the case with new members and with 8-year-olds.  They have no sophisticated understanding of the Gospel, and are not likely ever to acquire it.  Faith in that sense is not informed by reason and logic, but only by the Spirit.  This is true of most members of the LDS Church.  We should not expect otherwise.

Proclaiming the gospel is teaching. 

The church sends out thousand of missionaries to teach its principles.

The church calls teachers in its local units to teach regular classes to all members and visitors.

The church organises general conferences every six months to teach globally.

The church publishes magazines, manuals, and webpages to teach its principles.

Obviously people do have their personal perspectives and you may have a unique testimony of the meaning of the LDS gospel. However, there are things about the church which we can verify.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

This doesn’t make sense to me since the vast majority of children never have the chance to be baptize and God appears to be okay with that since he has not constantly restored the gospel in every corner of the earth when it has been lost. 

Agreed.  His view is far too linear. 

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16 hours ago, bluebell said:

And free will, or agency, is what allows us to be responsible for our choices.  Without free will, no one is responsible for anything (something most people would not want to argue).

If you believe in a God that knows the end from the beginning, a God that can tell you which path will be best for your life, a God that knows you so well that He can predict what you will choose than at most you are a compatibilist. If someone can know you well enough to predict your future decisions, that person is the equivalent of Laplace’s demon in a deterministic universe  

 

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9 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

@Robert F. Smith, I was under the impression that compatibilism was still the consensus position. Didn't know that strict determinism had taken over.

Either way, call me a Luddite if you will, I'm not ashamed, but that sort of stuff represents to me a dark well of inescapable nihilism. If choice is nonexistent, what right have we to punish the criminal?

The great benefit of course is to learn and realize what goes into crime.  A murderous psychopath simply has all the key elements built into him, and his life, his where and when and environment, is simply forced upon him.  By the time murder happens, he can't help it.  The destiny is fulfilled.  If you were him, with every molecule exchanged, then you'd be him.  Every thought, every movement of the brain, including the environment that tends its causes, you'd have too.  How would murder be escaped?  We'd like to think we wouldn't murder, but that's because we are us, and we have a whole other world from which we see, and a whole other make up of our bodies, including our brains.  

Our desire to punish people is kind of pointless.  The good we can do is lock people up because they are a danger, not because they deserve our wrath.  Our vengeful need seems put upon us, at least in some measure, from a religious input.  As if people deserve to be punished for doing tat which their lives inevitably led them to do. 

9 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

What right have we to enforce law? What does a right, or the right, even mean anyway? This is verging on the classic quote from Jurassic Park: "Your scientists [or philosophers or theoreticians] were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." 

In any case, if it were true, we'd never know it. We can't lift the lid to look in on the inner workings of our consciousness, not if we were to make a complete human connectome and fMRI dataset. This will always remain conjecture. The illusion of choice and consciousness, if it is in fact an illusion, will go on whether or not we think of it as an illusion. Meanwhile, at the will of the experts, I'm supposed to take the most basic and foundational fact of my existence and call it illusory. Seems like a waste of time in the end.

The fine implication is precisely what you mention.  People don't deserve our wrath.  We can look upon each other with greater love and concern and less desire to see a vengeful god send people to the firey pits, as we sit comfortably in some exalted chair, put above others.  

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2 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

The great benefit of course is to learn and realize what goes into crime.  A murderous psychopath simply has all the key elements built into him, and his life, his where and when and environment, is simply forced upon him.  By the time murder happens, he can't help it.  The destiny is fulfilled.  If you were him, with every molecule exchanged, then you'd be him.  Every thought, every movement of the brain, including the environment that tends its causes, you'd have too.  How would murder be escaped?  We'd like to think we wouldn't murder, but that's because we are us, and we have a whole other world from which we see, and a whole other make up of our bodies, including our brains.  

Our desire to punish people is kind of pointless.  The good we can do is lock people up because they are a danger, not because they deserve our wrath.  Our vengeful need seems put upon us, at least in some measure, from a religious input.  As if people deserve to be punished for doing tat which their lives inevitably led them to do. 

The fine implication is precisely what you mention.  People don't deserve our wrath.  We can look upon each other with greater love and concern and less desire to see a vengeful god send people to the firey pits, as we sit comfortably in some exalted chair, put above others.  

That's what Jesus would do!

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23 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

If you believe in a God that knows the end from the beginning, a God that can tell you which path will be best for your life, a God that knows you so well that He can predict what you will choose than at most you are a compatibilist. If someone can know you well enough to predict your future decisions, that person is the equivalent of Laplace’s demon in a deterministic universe  

 

Knowing what someone will do doesn't mean you made them do it.  

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9 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I didn't say that these neuroscientists are correct, but they are making a very strong case for the illusion of choice, and John Calvin would be saying "See?"  If that is so, it may very well be that this life is valuable for the experience it gives us, not that it actually is crucial which choices we make.  This life may be no more than a simulation.  The only place in which true agency could then be expressed would be back in heaven, when our full intelligence could be expressed.  And I'm not talking I.Q.

And Pragmatism and Phenomenology say that since we cannot know the difference, it is irrelevant.

Neuroscience is not philosophy, thank God. 

That view of alleged "reality" takes us back to the dark ages of metaphysical dualism, presenting as "reality" a realm beyond what we can experience.

That's turtles all the way down. ;)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtles_all_the_way_down

 

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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41 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Knowing what someone will do doesn't mean you made them do it.  

William James likened God to the world's best chess player who knew all the moves before you were going to take them, yet clearly you made your own choices.

I like that image because it is a naturalistic view of God which places him in the same immanent World in which we live, just with far more intelligence.

 

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1 hour ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

If someone can know you well enough to predict your future decisions, that person is the equivalent of Laplace’s demon in a deterministic universe  

Please stop insulting my wife!!

;)

 

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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

Knowing what someone will do doesn't mean you made them do it.  

Sure. For Latter-day Saints, God didn’t create our “intelligence” and is this not responsible for our actions. That said, if God can predict the future, then the future is determined. This negates libertarian free will and leaves you as a compatibilist. 

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

Our desire to punish people is kind of pointless.  The good we can do is lock people up because they are a danger, not because they deserve our wrath.  Our vengeful need seems put upon us, at least in some measure, from a religious input.  As if people deserve to be punished for doing tat which their lives inevitably led them to do. 

Aside from preventing future crime from that individual, jail serves as a deterrent even in a deterministic world view. Fewer people will commit crimes if they know there will be significant consequences for their actions. 

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22 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Aside from preventing future crime from that individual, jail serves as a deterrent even in a deterministic world view. Fewer people will commit crimes if they know there will be significant consequences for their actions. 

Sure.  Good point.  

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52 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

That said, if God can predict the future, then the future is determined

There is no argument for or against your position here, all you are doing is re-asserting it.

God may or may not know what you're going to do but that doesn't mean he makes you do it. You have said nothing to refute that position, but just reasserted it.

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

The great benefit of course is to learn and realize what goes into crime.  A murderous psychopath simply has all the key elements built into him, and his life, his where and when and environment, is simply forced upon him.  By the time murder happens, he can't help it.  The destiny is fulfilled.  If you were him, with every molecule exchanged, then you'd be him.  Every thought, every movement of the brain, including the environment that tends its causes, you'd have too.  How would murder be escaped?  We'd like to think we wouldn't murder, but that's because we are us, and we have a whole other world from which we see, and a whole other make up of our bodies, including our brains.  

Our desire to punish people is kind of pointless.  The good we can do is lock people up because they are a danger, not because they deserve our wrath.  Our vengeful need seems put upon us, at least in some measure, from a religious input.  As if people deserve to be punished for doing tat which their lives inevitably led them to do. 

The fine implication is precisely what you mention.  People don't deserve our wrath.  We can look upon each other with greater love and concern and less desire to see a vengeful god send people to the firey pits, as we sit comfortably in some exalted chair, put above others.  

Your focus on "the fine implication" obscures the strident moral dilemma at play here. Whether it is done for our own protection or as retribution, locking someone up still constitutes a harm. By what right do we do that? By what right do we hurt other people, even in self-defense? If both of us, the injured and the injurer, are just hurtling down the same temporal slope, what right to I have to enforce my good over theirs? What is a right, anyway, and what does the concept of "right" even mean in a world where all choice is fated? What's good about love or concern when they only imply a predetermined tendency?

Put it another way. Say you cook up an absolutely devastating argument against the Church. It's so devastating that Daniel Peterson throws up his hands and resigns his membership upon hearing it. Just absolutely nuclear. Conventionally speaking, I would be in violation of an epistemic duty to just ignore it and go on my way. But do I have any epistemic duties if all my beliefs are fated anyway? If everything I do was fated, then I am responsible for none of it. Would my total disregard for your argument even be wrong under such circumstances?

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1 hour ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Sure. For Latter-day Saints, God didn’t create our “intelligence” and is this not responsible for our actions. That said, if God can predict the future, then the future is determined. This negates libertarian free will and leaves you as a compatibilist. 

How does knowledge determine the future?  I don’t understand how that works. 

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42 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Sure. For Latter-day Saints, God didn’t create our “intelligence” and is this not responsible for our actions. That said, if God can predict the future, then the future is determined. This negates libertarian free will and leaves you as a compatibilist. 

I think the problem gets murkier.  if God knows for instance that one of us will murder another, long before we conceive of doing such a thing, then it appears we are determined to do just as He already knows.  Mormonism might preach some degree of free will (which isn't really free will) it simply doesn't work with the philosophy of the religion.  If one says God doesn't really know that you will murder another, He just knows its potentially true that you could, and then when you do murder, it wasn't all just your choice. It would have to be that God knows all the steps that lead to the murder, and you do not.  You are merely taking steps, moving along in life until at some point you feel compelled to murder.  But God conceived of the whole thing long before you did.  Thus, the origin of your murder was not found inside you, but inside God's conception.  Unless God conceives of such a thing, you won't murder.  

Murder may seem like an extreme example, and it is.  But such is true of anything.  Playing into the notion that GOd will punish you if you do that which He conceives of you doing and you only do that which He conceives of you doing, then it's at least as much His fault as yours, if not more so.  On the God proposition, you simply can't do anything unless God has already conceived of you doing it.  If it were true that God only conceived of you and all of us, of doing something good and not evil, then we would only be able to imagine, ourselves, of doing something good.  If on Mormonism we are to say that our murder was conceived by us long before coming to earth, then we still have a major problem.  This would suggest the origin of the murderous act was with us as spirits and when born we were to forget it all and start afresh.  But if our murder on earth was determined by our conceiving of murder before earth, and God knew what we conceived of, then is he at fault for sending us to the place to commit the act of murder?  

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3 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Your focus on "the fine implication" obscures the strident moral dilemma at play here. Whether it is done for our own protection or as retribution, locking someone up still constitutes a harm. By what right do we do that? By what right do we hurt other people, even in self-defense? If both of us, the injured and the injurer, are just hurtling down the same temporal slope, what right to I have to enforce my good over theirs? What is a right, anyway, and what does the concept of "right" even mean in a world where all choice is fated? What's good about love or concern when they only imply a predetermined tendency?

Love and concern are the good in themselves.  If we are to love and feel concern simply so we can get some heavenly reward, then they aren't good in themselves.  Yeah...I'm not following your train of thought with all the "right" talk.  

3 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Put it another way. Say you cook up an absolutely devastating argument against the Church. It's so devastating that Daniel Peterson throws up his hands and resigns his membership upon hearing it. Just absolutely nuclear. Conventionally speaking, I would be in violation of an epistemic duty to just ignore it and go on my way. But do I have any epistemic duties if all my beliefs are fated anyway? If everything I do was fated, then I am responsible for none of it. Would my total disregard for your argument even be wrong under such circumstances?

No.  I'm not saying those who believe the Church are wrong for believing.  I'm only pointing out that the reason to believe doesn't hold up.  They can still do whatever it is they will do.  

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2 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Love and concern are the good in themselves.  If we are to love and feel concern simply so we can get some heavenly reward, then they aren't good in themselves.  Yeah...I'm not following your train of thought with all the "right" talk.  

No.  I'm not saying those who believe the Church are wrong for believing.  I'm only pointing out that the reason to believe doesn't hold up.  They can still do whatever it is they will do.  

But it actually does hold up.  You're just saying it doesn't.  And because I know it holds up... because even when you say it doesn't hold up and I get confirmation from God, again, and therefore my reason continues to hold up... I pretty much just tune you out as someone who doesn't know what the heck you are talking about when you say it doesn't hold up when in fact it actually does.

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2 minutes ago, bluebell said:

How does knowledge determine the future?  I don’t understand how that works. 

Knowledge doesn’t determine the future. But if I can determine the future based on the present state of the world, in what sense is the future not determined?


How do you define free will? I’m working from the position that any meaningful definition of free will must include the ability of an agent to have done/chosen otherwise. If an entity can predict with 100 percent certainty what I will choose or do, in what sense could I have chosen otherwise? 

Consider a comet falling through space. If I know it’s center of mass and momentum, as well as the center of mass and momentum of other celestial objects I can predict with certainty its trajectory in the past and future. Can the comet choose to go right or left? 


Again, If I can determine the future based on what I know of the present, in what sense is the future not determined?

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31 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

There is no argument for or against your position here, all you are doing is re-asserting it.

God may or may not know what you're going to do but that doesn't mean he makes you do it. You have said nothing to refute that position, but just reasserted it.

That’s because I’m not arguing for the position that God makes anyone do anything. Free will doesn’t hinge on whether or not God forces us to act, it hinges on whether or not we could have acted differently. If God (using what he knows of the laws of the universe as well as the present state of the universe) can predict with 100 percent certainty what each and everyone of us will do, in what sense could we have chosen otherwise? In this case, clearly we are all just following the predetermined laws of the universe which are (apparently) known to God. 

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4 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Knowledge doesn’t determine the future. But if I can determine the future based on the present state of the world, in what sense is the future not determined?


How do you define free will? I’m working from the position that any meaningful definition of free will must include the ability of an agent to have done/chosen otherwise. If an entity can predict with 100 percent certainty what I will choose or do, in what sense could I have chosen otherwise? 

Consider a comet falling through space. If I know it’s center of mass and momentum, as well as the center of mass and momentum of other celestial objects I can predict with certainty its trajectory in the past and future. Can the comet choose to go right or left? 


Again, If I can determine the future based on what I know of the present, in what sense is the future not determined?

You should also consider knowledge of the past as well as the present. 

And think in terms of knowing what people will do based on what they have done before in similar circumstances, as well as what might make them do something different.

When you really know someone it isn't very difficult at all to predict what they will do.  Do you really know anyone?  You just need to think some more about this, I think.

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6 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

That’s because I’m not arguing for the position that God makes anyone do anything. Free will doesn’t hinge on whether or not God forces us to act, it hinges on whether or not we could have acted differently. If God (using what he knows of the laws of the universe as well as the present state of the universe) can predict with 100 percent certainty what each and everyone of us will do, in what sense could we have chosen otherwise? In this case, clearly we are all just following the predetermined laws of the universe which are (apparently) known to God. 

Looks to me like you're saying our choice is somehow being taken away.   God simply knows what we will choose when he knows what we will do. 

Maybe there are some times when God doesn't know what we will do because something is totally new to us unlike anything else we have ever considered, but in most cases he knows based on how well he knows us.

Personally, I like holding on to the idea that I may be able to surprise God, sometimes.  And maybe even get him to say "Wow would you look at that!"  every once in a while.

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