Unitheist Fellowship
Faith By Reason Contents




Chapter 2 ~ Determinism

IN a world of clockwork forces, determinism is intuitive. Everything appears to have a cause, and physical laws seem capable of accurately predicting any outcome.

While it had been suspected that even the apparent indeterminacy introduced at the quantum level was at deepest analysis determinate, it has since been demonstrated that the universe is at heart— at its most fundamental level— inherently indeterminate, eliminating even theoretic precise-prediction and subsequent determinacy.

Now consider the statement, “What’s going to happen will happen.” This is based on a conception of time that regards future as past-to-be.

For example it would seem that at a particular upcoming moment a certain individual will either be at a specific location or not, just as at a particular prior moment that same person was either at the location or not.

But past and future have different natures— the former, already set by the passage of the present; the latter, yet to be traversed and locked by that means. To think of the future as either/or will happen as described above is to think of it as the past already, in which either/or actually has happened, rather than the future.

Therefore by this reasoning instead of saying, “What’s going to happen will happen,” we should say, “Not ‘till something’s happened has it happened.”

Now consider the statement, “You can’t change what’s meant to be.” Even more easily dismissed, as it wrongly assumes, “What’s going to happen will happen.” A rare exception for which the latter statement is true would be something like an unalterable macro-process, such as a cosmological event, or on a lesser scale, a major impending storm front.

Generally though our actions are free, not predestined. Let’s party.

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© 1999-2007 Warren Farr — revised 9/26