2 comments

  1. Nice video Christopher!

    For me, the Self-driving (autonomous) vehicle shows how computers/robots do make choices.

    Software programmers often divide programs into two parts: the “Basic Flow” and “Alternative Flows”. A “Basic Flow” would include a systems-check at start-up. If all system-checks process without issues, the “Basic Flow” then moves to a wait-state. The system waits for the end-user to input a “Target” location for the car to reach.

    What happens next is similar to Google-maps when one asks the system for directions from “Start” to “End” point. The system scans all possible routes and makes “IF-THEN” choices about every possible intersection. While reaching an intersection which requires turning left vs. turning right – the system does make such choices.

    But since computers exist within a fully determined world, these choices are not “Libertarian”, but rather “Compatibilist” choices. Each choice is compatible with that choice being determined by factors outside of the system’s control.

    Peter Van Inwagen’s consequence argument – framed for Theological Determinism is very helpful

    If Universal Divine Causal Determinism is true:
    1) Our every thought, choice, desire, and action, are the consequences of divine decrees which occurred at the foundation of the world – having been determined at a point in which we do not yet exist.

    2) Additionally those thoughts, choices, desires, and actions are framed within the boundaries of nature, which exist at the time in which they are actualized in our lives.

    3) But then it is not UP TO US what immutable decrees were established at the foundation of the world before we were born.

    4) And neither is it UP TO US what attributes of nature – including our own – exist at any time.

    5) Therefore, the consequences of these things are not UP TO US

    So yes – the Theological Determinist (aka Calvinist) can see people making choices in scripture. But his interpretation of those choices (if logically consistent) – are that they are choices that are determined in advance *FOR* the creature by immutable decrees. In Determinism nothing (including choices) is not UP TO the creature. Because everything without exclusion is solely determined (i.e. UP TO) the THEOS.

    The ongoing problem of logical inconsistent Calvinists (i.e., most of them) is that while they claim to reject Libertarian choice making – they have psychological/moral needs for certain things to be UP TO people. And the conflict between these and their theology makes them double-minded.

    Rational discernment for example inherently entails making a choice like: is [X] TRUE or FALSE. If an external mind makes that choice *FOR* you, then that external mind has rational functionality – but you don’t. And Calvinists want to see themselves as being able to discern TRUE from FALSE.

    So Calvinists rejecting Libertarian choice become like horse-back riders who claim horses don’t exist. :-]

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