fate and whatnot
Old 09-27-2011, 07:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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who here believes in fate? state your reasons. and do you think that if someone believes in fate, they in turn must believe in god and vice versa? once again, state your reasons.

imo fate or in other words destiny does exist, yet i also believe that god and fate can be two separate things. fate doesnt have to necessarily have to be due to some(thing/one) planning it but rather the meshing of personalities. i believe there is one other personality out there, built through nature or nurture (whichever you prefer) which will coexist with yours perfectly, like two pieces of a puzzle. the reason im asking this is because this topic came up in english class and we got some interesting points laid out.

what's your take?
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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One thing I have to ask is what we mean by fate. Two common interpretations might be that fate is:

1) When all events are determined by a causal prior chain of events, or
2) When the outcomes in your life are beyond your control.

I would say that believing in either type of fate does not require a belief in god. Physicalists, perhaps described as those who believe quite literally everything is matter in motion, typically do not believe in a god, instead seeing everything bound by physical laws and being a part of a deterministic chain of causes.

I'm not entirely sure where I stand on this. I feel like the concept of free will is very fuzzy and has some neuroscience counting against it, and I see some credibility to fate of the second kind. However, I'm not sure about fate of the first kind. Some people feel like quantum mechanics provides a way out of hard determinism but I honestly haven't paid each side their due attention.
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You know what kills me? When something really bad happens (like a loss of job, an accident, whatever) and someone says "things happen for a reason." Uhh yeah - you lost your job because of budget cuts or because you weren't good at it, etc. That's the reason it happened - and now you're fucked.
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Old 09-28-2011, 07:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I believe in coincidence.
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Old 09-28-2011, 09:52 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by fancylad View Post
You know what kills me? When something really bad happens (like a loss of job, an accident, whatever) and someone says "things happen for a reason." Uhh yeah - you lost your job because of budget cuts or because you weren't good at it, etc. That's the reason it happened - and now you're fucked.
Ya I agree 100% dude. Same as the expression "everything will work out in the end" ya tell that to the homeless or people in poverty.

As for fate, no I don't believe in fate, or god for that matter. My life is not predetermined it's just what I make it.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Ya I agree 100% dude. Same as the expression "everything will work out in the end" ya tell that to the homeless or people in poverty.

As for fate, no I don't believe in fate, or god for that matter. My life is not predetermined it's just what I make it.
This sums it up for me. I think that if someone gets hit by a bus it's because they weren't looking, not because it was supposed to happen. Growing up, my mother always said things like "it just wasn't meant to be"....." Everything works out in the end"..... I always found it to be a bunch of bullshit. You have your life, you only get one and it's what you make of it.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Damn your mother for using a bunch of cliche sayings to try and comfort and soothe her child.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:24 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Damn your mother for using a bunch of cliche sayings to try and comfort and soothe her child.
Oy

She was great, I just didn't believe in it the same way she did. And it's not just a cliche with her, she believes in that stuff. I've always just thought that life is what you make of it. She thinks your life is basically maped out for you. She's also religious which I'm not. What I've always loved about her is that she never tried to push me into religion. She's not a churchy person at all but she believes in god.

Last edited by jeffb; 09-28-2011 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Perhaps I should expand on my thoughts a little bit.

First, to clarify the two types of fate on my mind a bit further. There may be other conceptions of fate, but these are the two that are most relevant, I believe.

1) Fate is when every state of the universe, which includes the state of all objects within the universe, is completely determined by the immediately preceding state of the universe. At any given time, there is only one possible state of the universe. There is no free will, volition, or even randomness. If one had the necessary information, they may be able to predict every future state of the universe.
2) Fate is when the state of your life is beyond your control. You may believe this because everything is following a divine plan, or you might have a naturalistic account of the world that does not include free will.

The second is what I think is mostly being discussed here, and I think it is more tenable than some others seem to. Take, for example, jeff's example of getting hit by a bus.

You begin with the question: Why did you get hit by a bus? Well, you didn't see it. Why didn't you see it? You were looking elsewhere. Why were you looking elsewhere? Because your attention was drawn to something else. You can keep going backwards and propose causes for each preceding event, constructing a story wherein there is actually no need to propose what is sometimes called contra-causal free will.

There is additional evidence against free will from neuroscience. Starting with Benjamin Libet, and recently confirmed by John-Dylan Haynes, we have seen that on a simple question such as "Choose to move your left hand or right hand", your response can be predicted from your brain state with fMRI as much as 6 seconds prior to your having consciously made the decision. A potential implication of this research is that consciousness is like a shallow reflection of deeply deterministic and strictly causal processes which drive your every decision, in such a way that "you" (your consciousness) are not making a decision in the way we often explain it. You're not driving the bus; you are the bus.

Granted, this implication is not yet confirmed. Many neuroscientists and philosophers of mind argue that there is an important distinction between low-level processes and higher-level thinking. They argue that there is little similarity between choosing left vs right and choosing between, say, competing economic interests. Simple thinking like left vs right underlies the more complex thinking, wherein free will does actually reign supreme. However, when I take a broad historical perspective, it looks to me like a case of free will retreating to ever smaller quarters, explaining ever fewer states of mind.


Also, on the second type of fate from a religious perspective, it seems comforting to some to believe that there is some ultimate cosmic reason why things are happening the way they are ("It's all for the best"). However, that seems like wishful thinking until I really have reason to believe otherwise. It's a bit too Panglossian.

Last edited by Ligeia; 09-28-2011 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 10-02-2011, 12:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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A good and relevant article:

Neuroscience vs philosophy: Taking aim at free will : Nature News
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