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8 Year Olds, Free Will, and Baptism


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15 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Because membership in the church has requirements which preclude other righteous life choices. I've explained it in detail already if you follow the quote chain.

And that "if" is very important too, of course

That LDS baptism precludes  any righteous life choices is simply not true. If anything, it encourages those choices. 

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Meadowchik, what are some of the righteous life choices you see as being precluded by being a Saint?  I am not seeing many moral choices limited to certain religious beliefs. For example, many religious faiths promote being faithful to marriage vows, caring for your children, serving others. 

Edited by Calm
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21 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Doesn't appear anyone is serious with thei ideas on this matter--its strawman after strawman.  Fine by me.  I enjoy the topic but I suppose it's more interesting either those who wish to engage rather than attempt to knock down strawmen.  Have a good one Ken.  

:rolleyes:<_<  I'm probably going to regret asking, but, what straw men am I incinerating?  Others who are extremely well-grounded in philosophy (e.g., MF Bukowski, Robert F. Smith, OG Hoosier, etc.) have attempted to engage you on the topic, yet you seem determinedly dismissive of them and of their viewpoints, as well.  Are they simply incinerating straw men, also?  Or might it just be possible (however unlikely you consider the prospect) that they might've considered your point of view or that of (an) other(s) which is (are) very similar, and made an informed choice to reject that point of view for reasons that you, by contrast, haven't troubled yourself to try to understand??????

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12 minutes ago, mrmarklin said:

That LDS baptism precludes  any righteous life choices is simply not true. If anything, it encourages those choices. 

 

Just now, Calm said:

Meadowchik, what are some of the righteous life choices you see as being precluded by being a Saint?  I am not seeing many choices limited to certain religious beliefs. For example, many religious faiths promote being faithful to marriage vows, caring for your children, serving others. 

Well you're probably both correct if you define righteous as following the LDS prophet. And you're also of course both correct if righteousness is not possible if someone rejects the opportunity to be baptized in the LDS Church.

However, if you both agree that it's possible to be righteous as a non-member, including as someone who had the opportunity and rejected it, then I think I can show you that my point still stands.

So, what say ye?

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4 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

So now consider an eight-year-old who does trust you who is guided by you. Are you willing to consider that baptism at age eight might not be the best choice or the only good choice for their lives?

I would do the baptism myself.  I have no compunctions about it at all.  But I would be very solicitous about the opinions and desires of that 8-year-old.

I recall being in a synagogue next to the market Mahane Yehuda late on the Friday evening Sabbath in Jerusalem.  That synagogue had a great wall of glass on one side looking toward the Old City, back in the day before the Jews could go to the Old City.  As we all sang from the Hebrew Prayer Book (young boys, their fathers and grandfathers all together) we watched people on the street outside hurrying and scurrying to get home or to a synagogue before dusk.  I recall especially the smiles of joy on the faces of the young boys with yarmulkas singing for all they were worth.  They were just Orthodox Jews, not ultra-orthodox, and they had a powerful sense of community.  I felt the same power of God there that I feel in LDS congregations.

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24 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I would do the baptism myself.  I have no compunctions about it at all.  But I would be very solicitous about the opinions and desires of that 8-year-old.

I recall being in a synagogue next to the market Mahane Yehuda late on the Friday evening Sabbath in Jerusalem.  That synagogue had a great wall of glass on one side looking toward the Old City, back in the day before the Jews could go to the Old City.  As we all sang from the Hebrew Prayer Book (young boys, their fathers and grandfathers all together) we watched people on the street outside hurrying and scurrying to get home or to a synagogue before dusk.  I recall especially the smiles of joy on the faces of the young boys with yarmulkas singing for all they were worth.  They were just Orthodox Jews, not ultra-orthodox, and they had a powerful sense of community.  I felt the same power of God there that I feel in LDS congregations.

So what are your answers to my questions?

It sounds like you're saying that a Mormon child and a Jewish child are each fine in their respective traditions, and that there are no spiritual problems in raising either of the them with their respective religions as the ultimate standard of good for their lives, though you might hesitate if a child protested.

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21 hours ago, stemelbow said:

I already explained that.  One could very well grow exacerbated by another's choice because the one doesn't understand what went into the decision.  It's quite likely the chooser doesn't understand all that went into the decision. .  

Why should that make a difference?  It doesn’t matter what went into the decision, because the decision is the o lot possible outcome.  No point in getting exacerbated over the why’s, it won’t change anything.

21 hours ago, stemelbow said:

That's not true.  

Determinism doesn't mean there's no cause and effect nor no consequence.  

I never suggested otherwise.  I suggested that moral responsibility/accountability doesn’t make sense in determinism.

Edited by pogi
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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

you both agree that it's possible to be righteous as a non-member, including as someone who had the opportunity and rejected it, then I think I can show you that my point still stands.

Of course it is possible to be righteous if not a Saint.  There is nothing in our doctrine that suggests otherwise, imo. Please give examples of righteous behaviour that can’t be performed in similar ways as a Saint.  (I am not saying there aren’t even if I can think of anything that can’t be adapted to live in the Gospel, I just want to see what you are thinking).

Edited by Calm
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45 minutes ago, pogi said:

Why should that make a difference?  It doesn’t matter what went into the decision, because the decision is the o lot possible outcome.  No point in getting exacerbated over the why’s, it won’t change anything.

It helps us move forward.  If e are able to determine why people think or do what they do we can influence each other to do good.  

45 minutes ago, pogi said:

I never suggested otherwise.  I suggested that moral responsibility/accountability doesn’t make sense in determinism.

I disagree.  Quite a lot.  Many cases have been made to show that it does.  

  

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52 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

It helps us move forward.  If e are able to determine why people think or do what they do we can influence each other to do good.  

  

Question for stem:  If our behaviour is fully determined, how does this make humans different from machines that are programed to respond to certain stimuli in certain ways?

Edited by Calm
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39 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I disagree.  Quite a lot.  Many cases have been made to show that it does.    

They will all fall flat.  One cannot be morally responsible if one cannot do other than what they do.  It’s an old and enduring philosophical problem.  If it was solved, that would be BIG news.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/problem-of-moral-responsibility

But please feel free to explain how it is possible.

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19 hours ago, stemelbow said:

Why do you assume that?  As I see it, it completely matters.  

I disagree, as per the explanation I've offered and.  The one no one responded to. 

It doesn't feel you have a good grasp of determinism.  Determinism requires consequences are meaningful, it's part of the input given us, filling our future fateful choices.  Its precisely why we attempt to teach and guide our kids.  They learn based on what's put in front of them.  

It's ok.  The arguments certainly hold up anyway.  

I disagree.  Learning and growing is our grand design.  It is determined as our fate.  We must accept what's before us and build on it.  

Perhaps I don't have a good grasp of determinism, or at least not as you understand it. 

Under determinism there are no choices! There is no such thing! That which we perceive as "choice" is just another event in a long causal chain stretching back into an infinite regress, turtles all the way down. How can there be meaning in such a scenario that is anything other than an illusion? There is no "why", only "how." There's no "why we attempt to teach and guide our kids", we just do it, it is as meaningful as the relentless beat of the tides and nothing more. You are using the language of will, choice, and meaning while entirely disclaiming those concepts, and thus I cannot understand you. 

You are serenely confident that the evidence bears out determinism. I am not. And I do not consider it my duty to just accept it and move on, because if I don't, well, I was fated to do that and am absolved of all responsibility. For everything. There's no such thing as "we must" any more. To imply responsibility or necessity of action implies the concept of obligation, which implies the existence of alternatives, which implies choice. 

 

Edited by OGHoosier
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3 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Perhaps I don't have a good grasp of determinism, or at least not as you understand it. 

Under determinism there are no choices! There is no such thing! That which we perceive as "choice" is just another event in a long causal chain stretching back into an infinite regress, turtles all the way down. How can there be meaning in such a scenario that is anything other than an illusion? There is no "why", only "how." There's no "why we attempt to teach and guide our kids", we just do it, it is as meaningful as the relentless beat of the tides and nothing more. You are using the language of will, choice, and meaning while entirely disclaiming those concepts, and thus I cannot understand you. 

You are serenely confident that the evidence bears out determinism. I am not. And I do not consider it my duty to just accept it and move on, because if I don't, well, I was fated to do that and am absolved of all responsibility. For everything. There's no such thing as "we must" any more. To imply responsibility or necessity of action implies the concept of obligation, which implies the existence of alternatives, which implies choice. 

 

I am not satisfied with leaving it at this. Let's go deeper into the nature of truth in a determinist paradigm. It cannot exist. 

Under determinism all our thoughts are simply constellations of atoms. The nature of abstraction has gone all the way from existing in a Platonic third realm to simply existing as a constellation of matter in our brains. How can we say, then, that any of our ideas are correct or even reflect the world around us? The process of inquiry that brought us this "knowledge" itself is just a chain of accidents and therefore, what does the concept of truth even mean? What does reason even mean? You can't use "aligns with reality" as a measure of truth because you would have no way of knowing if it did or if it didn't: it's just a construct, just a model, that you have no power to change. Claiming that reason proves hard determinism is thus incoherent. 

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37 minutes ago, Calm said:

Question:  If our behaviour is fully determined, how does this make humans different from machines that are programed to respond to certain stimuli in certain 

It's a question of can AI be realized.  Not sure it ever will. Some say it's close and will happen someday.  If its achieved it really brings your question forward.  As of now consciousness.  

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6 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

It's a question of can AI be realized.  Not sure it ever will. Some say it's close and will happen someday.  If its achieved it really brings your question forward.  As of now consciousness.  

You haven’t really answered the question though, unless you are suggesting consciousness is undetermined.  If our consciousness is essentially a result of biological programming and internal and external environmental stimuli, it isn’t significantly different from nonconcious determinants as both are determined by something besides agency or independent will, correct?
 

My question is what makes us different than having a very, very complicated program if all of our behaviour is determined?

Edited by Calm
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26 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Perhaps I don't have a good grasp of determinism, or at least not as you understand it. 

Under determinism there are no choices! There is no such thing! That which we perceive as "choice" is just another event in a long causal chain stretching back into an infinite regress, turtles all the way down. How can there be meaning in such a scenario that is anything other than an illusion? There is no "why", only "how." There's no "why we attempt to teach and guide our kids", we just do it, it is as meaningful as the relentless beat of the tides and nothing more. You are using the language of will, choice, and meaning while entirely disclaiming those concepts, and thus I cannot understand you. 

You are serenely confident that the evidence bears out determinism. I am not. And I do not consider it my duty to just accept it and move on, because if I don't, well, I was fated to do that and am absolved of all responsibility. For everything. There's no such thing as "we must" any more. To imply responsibility or necessity of action implies the concept of obligation, which implies the existence of alternatives, which implies choice. 

 

I'm guessing we have some talking past each other too because of how we view what free will is.  There are many ways to view it. Choice happens its simply a matter of choice not being free.  A choice is made because of every single individual cause that has bearing on it.  Meaning and purpose is found in our betterment, progress, survival,and devotion to each other.  That comes with our consciousness.  I speak of illusion because we feel ourselves deciding, but I'd suggest our decision is wholly dependent on every factor going into it and we simply cant change any choice, and most often aren't conscious of every factor going into our choice.  But it simply is an effect of previous causes.  I certainly would need more space to explain myself. I'm intending to be brief.

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1 minute ago, stemelbow said:

we simply cant change any choice,

If we can’t change our choices, can we stop ourselves from killing someone if we have made the choice to kill them?

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3 minutes ago, Calm said:

If we can’t change our choices, can we stop ourselves from killing someone if we have made the choice to kill them?

Studies have been done which demonstrate, even from a neurological point of view,  that "free won't" exists. Even Benjamin Libet, the guy who pioneered the original experiments which demonstrated that readiness potential for an action spikes before the subjective decision is registered, went on the record supporting the concept of "free won't."

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2 hours ago, Calm said:

Of course it is possible to be righteous if not a Saint.  There is nothing in our doctrine that suggests otherwise, imo. Please give examples of righteous behaviour that can’t be performed in similar ways as a Saint.  (I am not saying there aren’t even if I can think of anything that can’t be adapted to live in the Gospel, I just want to see what you are thinking).

I don't want to answer  the question you pose to Meadowchik, but I do have a related question.  Do you think a person outside the Church could still be righteous if they smoke?  Or drank alcohol?  Or never went to church?  Or didn't study the scriptures?  Or didn't believe in Christ?  Or had a gay companion? Or had tattoos?  Or swears?    I guess my question really is, do you think that members of the church have a different meaning to what it means to be righteous?  

Edited by california boy
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44 minutes ago, california boy said:

I don't want to answer  the question you pose to Meadowchik, but I do have a related question.  Do you think a person outside the Church could still be righteous if they smoke?  Or drank alcohol?  Or never went to church?  Or didn't study the scriptures?  Or didn't believe in Christ?  Or had a gay companion? Or had tattoos?  Or swears?    I guess my question really is, do you think that members of the church have a different meaning to what it means to be righteous?  

Someone is righteous imo when they live by the law they are given and do no harm to the best of their knowledge and ability. 
 

To use the example of smoking...I don’t think the sin is in smoking in that they are not given the WOW, but if they have knowledge of the harm it does, than that would be sinful much like driving a car too fast for weather conditions knowing one might be in a collision and kill someone and not caring. 

Edited by Calm
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On 8/20/2020 at 12:27 PM, MiserereNobis said:

In another thread, someone's son chose to leave the LDS church and said that his decision to be baptized was an 8 year old's decision and he was not bound by it.

How much free will does an 8 year old really have when it comes to choosing baptism?

It seems to me that an 8 year old is just choosing to do what his or her family wants done. I have a hard time imagining a child raised in a strong LDS home saying he doesn't want to be baptized.

I've heard criticism of Catholic baptism based on the fact that infants can't choose. We obviously acknowledge that -- hence there is confirmation around ages 14-16 when there can be more of an active choice.

What do you think? Do 8 year olds have enough autonomy to actually choose? Do you know any 8 year olds raised in strong LDS families that said no?

Haven't read the thread. So I'm sure someone will say something otherwise. I think it depends on how you raise the kids. Some parent support autonomy moreso than others....insomuch that if that child was 14, I'd still question how much it was their decisions. Heck I knew someone whose mother was super controlling and I questioned her autonomous decision making well into her 20's. When families support and foster children making informed decisions I think a child can make a decision at 8. Does that mean he/she will know exactly what that means and entail for their life? No. I don't know that for myself in my 30's. But It can still be a meaningful decision. 

My friend's son, held off baptism because he didn't feel ready for the step. She wanted him to feel ready and thoroughly understand what it would and wouldn't mean for him. After a couple months he decided he was ready. They're both very active LDS and a good family in general.

 

With luv,

BD 

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2 hours ago, Calm said:

If we can’t change our choices, can we stop ourselves from killing someone if we have made the choice to kill them?

You mean after you already killed?  Huh?  If you're asking if someone can change their mind, then of course.  

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2 hours ago, Calm said:

You haven’t really answered the question though, unless you are suggesting consciousness is undetermined.  If our consciousness is essentially a result of biological programming and internal and external environmental stimuli, it isn’t significantly different from nonconcious determinants as both are determined by something besides agency or independent will, correct?
 

My question is what makes us different than having a very, very complicated program if all of our behaviour is determined?

Lots of things, starting with consciousness.  But uhmm.  Our flesh, our organs, mortality.  

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2 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

I am not satisfied with leaving it at this. Let's go deeper into the nature of truth in a determinist paradigm. It cannot exist. 

Under determinism all our thoughts are simply constellations of atoms. The nature of abstraction has gone all the way from existing in a Platonic third realm to simply existing as a constellation of matter in our brains. How can we say, then, that any of our ideas are correct or even reflect the world around us? The process of inquiry that brought us this "knowledge" itself is just a chain of accidents and therefore, what does the concept of truth even mean? What does reason even mean? You can't use "aligns with reality" as a measure of truth because you would have no way of knowing if it did or if it didn't: it's just a construct, just a model, that you have no power to change. Claiming that reason proves hard determinism is thus incoherent. 

I'm not following how you arrived at your concluding statement.  I'd hope with the moral landscape explanation that sam Harris offers for starters.  Our morality is a consequence of our inherent desire for well being.  

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3 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

So what are your answers to my questions?

It sounds like you're saying that a Mormon child and a Jewish child are each fine in their respective traditions, and that there are no spiritual problems in raising either of the them with their respective religions as the ultimate standard of good for their lives, though you might hesitate if a child protested.

Yes, and more than that, I would be deeply respectful of a young boy who might take up the saffron robes for awhile, going about with a begging bowl, and spending his time with the Sangha.  Time well spent.  I can't help smiling broadly and even laughing whenever I think of the Dalai Lama.  I can even hear those deep Tibetan horns blowing if I listen carefully.

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