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The Naturalist Worldview Cannot Justify a Belief in Man's Freedom to Will

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/10/2019 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 262 times Debate No: 122644
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The Naturalist Worldview Cannot Justify a Belief in Man's Freedom to Will

My name is Clayton Weaver. Welcome to this debate. The first order of business will be to define the terms of the main premise.

The Naturalist: The naturalist is the person who presupposes that all that exists in the universe is nature. More clearly, That all that exists are the natural processes of the universe which can be examined with natural sciences (atoms, Molecules, Energy, Etc. ). The naturalist presupposes that anything that is believed to be above nature (miracles, For example) are impossible, Because there cannot be anything beyond nature.

Worldview: A worldview, Simply put, Is a person's view of the world. It's ones belief system about reality. And yes, Even atheists have worldviews, Because they posit a claim in reality (the claim that God does not exist or that there's not enough evidence for God to exist).

Cannot Justify: This is a tricky phrase, But the meaning is simply that, According to the worldview of naturalism, You cannot logically conclude that free will exist. A similar usage would be, If you are an Orthodox Christian, You cannot Justify a belief in Atheism, Because the worldview itself requires a belief in God. Simply put, It means that there is no logical foundation for such a belief. Another example would be if someone was a naturalist but believed in supernatural apparitions. That would be an unjustified belief.

Man's Freedom to Will:There's two parts here to examine. First, There's the freedom. I would define freedom as the uncoerced decision of the individual. For example, If someone has a gun to their head, And their told to denounce their country, This isn't a free statement, Because they were forced to make it. In naturalism, The individual is imprisoned to the natural cause and effect machinery of the universe. There is no true free will, As atheists like Sam Harris believe. This belief is called determinism. Imagine your favorite ice cream is vanilla. Why is it your favorite? Did you choose to like vanilla? Or is it simply a culmination of the arrangement of the taste buds of your mouth? Is naturalism, Every single event can be explained by natural processes. So, Logically, Every single decision is illusory.
To define will, I'd like to use an analogy from Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. Imagine a man is walking on a bridge and he sees a drowning man. He instantly is confronted with two conflicting instincts: the instinct of self-preservation, And the herd instinct, Which naturally explains for altruism even in animals. The man is stuck between these conflicting instincts, But ultimately he must make a choice. He cannot do neither. He must follow one or the other. He chooses. The will is that part of the individual that chooses between the two. The will cannot be either of the two instincts, But something above them. Just like there are different keys on the piano, But only one pianist who chooses between the notes.

Now, The question the skeptic asks at this point is, Why is it that naturalism cannot account for the third "thing, " the will that chooses between the instincts?

The answer is that the nature of nature is that it is predictable. It is a system of cause and effect. That is the very foundation of scientific knowledge. Knowledge is realizing the cause of an effect. Every effect has a cause. The naturalist believes that people are highly evolved meat computers. This means that all of the functions that a person does are determined by the programming in their brain, Not by the free choice of the "person" itself.

Usually, Super naturalists like myself will argue that naturalism cannot account for morality, Personality, Etc. , But I've chosen to simply focus on free will, Though, If my opponent wishes, We can focus on those side-subjects too.



I agree that a naturalistic, Or more correctly a hard deterministic, Worldview would preclude a belief in "free will" as you define.

This is not evidence AGSINST naturalism- it simply means you find it distasteful.

Nothing on your argument disproves naturalism, Nor does it prove "free will" exists.
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Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Social_experiments 2 years ago
Why do people think that you can't believe in free will if you are a naturalist. Free will is natural. If you only do what the bible says than you do not believe in a free world and only follow the writing of a person you don't even know and was probably on some form of hallucinogen when writing it. How are these thousands and thousands of years old delusions still in today time. Why is that a mindset. Refuse proof refuse anything that contradicts your view.
Posted by Wizofoz 2 years ago
No problem.

Quantum indertminancy is naturalistic, Yet means hard determinism isn't necessarily a given.
Posted by claytonweaver 2 years ago
Sorry, I expected debate. Org to send me an email when someone replied. I stopped checking the actual site since there wasn't a reply for a few days. Wizofoz, Would you be willing to redo the debate?

I'd be fine with continuing here in the comments.

It seems like your reply didn't contend with my argument. I wasn't trying to prove that naturalism is impossible, Or prove that free will exists; I was trying to show that if you adopt the philosophy of naturalism, You're forced to be a determinist.
Posted by Wizofoz 2 years ago
Great article. Doesn't definitively answer the question, But certainly has some insights. I like an approach Stephen Hawkins subscribed too- behavior is deterministic, But so complex it might as well be "free will".
Posted by missmedic 2 years ago
check this "The Paradox of Free Will"
www. Scienceandnonduality. Com/article/the-paradox-of-free-will
Posted by missmedic 2 years ago
To say there is no free will is to suggest that we are not authors of our own thoughts.
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