Re: The lot is cast ...

Chuck Noren (
Wed, 10 Dec 1997 12:35:23 -0500 (EST)

On Wed, 10 Dec 1997, Adrian Teo wrote:

> Chuck Noren wrote:
> > Suppose you have before you two closed boxes that you cannot se
> > inside of:
> >
> > Box A -- This box holds $10,000.
> > Box B -- This box either holds $20,000 or nothing.
> >
> > You are given the following options. You may choose box B
> > or you may pick both boxes (A and B). In addition, you are told
> > that God had placed the $10,000 in box A and had placed the
> > $20,000 in box B depending on what He thought you would do:
> > nothing would be in box B if God thinks you would choose the
> > two boxes, or $20,000 would be in box B if God thinks you would
> > only choose box B.
> >
> > Question: what would you do? Does God have the ability to
> > predict with complete accuracy what you would do? Gardner
> > then posed the question if God is able to always accurately
> > predict what your action is here, then do you have free will?
> This is an interesting question. Since God transcends time and space,
> could it be possible that immediately after we have made our decision,
> God alters the content of the boxes accordingly? Does that both offers
> us free will and control of the outcomes to God ultimately?

This is an interesting approach. In essence, are you saying that
God could not predict the outcome? Could we detect God's tampering
with the experiment by enclosing a recording device, or have some
other person note the contents of the box before the experiment begins?
Perhaps God God would alter the recording device or the memory of
the observer to be consistent with the outcome that God manipulated.
A couple of issues come to mind. First, this kind of God would
manipulate things to give the appearance of a God with perfect
foreknowledge. This reminds me of the YEC arguments of creating
the universe with the appearance of age. Secondly, this seems to
make God a deceiver. In my mind, if things turn out to appear
that God has perfect foreknowledge, why not follow Occam's Razor
and accept the simpler explaination?

This leads to another question. What is the definition of free
will? You seem to imply an essential feature of free will is that
human action has to be in principle unpredictable, at least
to some degree. Is that an essential characteristic of free will?

Chuck Noren
Marietta, GA (home) / (work)