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Reinforcements for the Free Will Defense

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  1. Abstract.
  2. Logic is a perfectly fine tool until it is applied using nebulous concepts.
  3. Mackie's coup de grace seems to come when he asks why God can't just let people will whatever they wish.
  4. It can be a characteristic of will though because an infant must start with only the potential to develop reason.
  5. To return to the worker metaphor, it is important to realize that someone is not simply being hired for a job which we know is going to be completed.
  6. The ability to act freely and rightly is learned in childhood not gained by designation or luck.

Here I shall argue against objections raised by J.L. Mackie and Nelson Pike to the Free Will Defense. These philosophers want to know why an omnipotent and wholly good God could not create a world in which everybody acts freely and rightly. I shall show that this condition is logically impossible because it requires that people have a developed will which chooses these things. However, since people start as children with undeveloped wills the ability to always act rightly and freely would then have to be innate (which would defeat the freely part) or would have to be gained in a sufficiently nurturing environment. But if God interfered with the environment then he would soon have to interfere with nearly everything and our wills would be practically useless because of Holy subversion. So it is not possible for God to create only those people who will always act rightly and freely because everyone is potentially one of those people but to make everyone one of those people would involve constant policing by God.

[...] So if the original God was wholly good and omnipotent he would not simply instantiate an entity with free will out of thin air. Instead the creation of a free willed entity involves a gradual process that starts from the ground up. In the case of humans, this process begins with infancy. While it is not logically necessary that an infant commits a morally wrong action, if Mackie found a randomness in free wills which would stumble upon wrong actions, this is where it would be found. [...]


[...] Rather, this seems like a restatement of the Free Will Defense position: evil exists because of the free will of men. Unless his objection is that the sacrifice of experiencing evil is too high a price to pay for the moral awareness brought about by a freedom of will, there is no way he can condone the intervention of God because then the most minor evil thoughts would have to be regulated and this would not allow a person to examine consequences and motives in a rational way. [...]

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