Principle of sufficient reason and free will

Forgive me ladies and gentleman if this has been covered before, but I wondered if the principle of sufficient reasoning, negates free will.

So, one argument put forward by theists in support of a creator/ intelligent designer, is that everything must have a cause… they will usually deny or reject eternal universe cosmology as it fails when faced with the principle of sufficient reasoning.

But in the same breath, we are told that humans have been bestowed with free will from this all powerful and all knowing ‘God’.

I ask, is it plausible to have free will if the principle of sufficient reasoning is valid?

Intuitively, at least in my mind, that would mean my very thought and actions must have reasons or causes to them, which would appear to be deterministic.

Forgive me if I’m wrong, just something that crossed my mind.

What’s so “free” about it?

First, there’s a “cost” either way -
give up this life in “servitude” to their god of choice OR give up promised, un-evidenced life to come (usually with the added pleasure of eternal torments).

Robber holds gun to head -
“You have a choice… either give me your money and I let you live, OR I shoot you”
Once you give over your money, can the robber claim you were a “willing” participant, gifting him some cash? After all - you were given a “choice”…

Nah - the idea is somewhat nice “free will” …exists mostly in a person’s head. Reality dictates otherwise.


If there is a god …

Then that god is all powerful, and all-knowing. Because it is all-knowing, then on the instant of creation, it knew exactly what would happen. If it knew what would happen at the instant of creation, then everything, every action and decision was predetermined.

We would not be exercising free will, we would be following a predetermined script. We may believe we are exercising free will, but even those thoughts we predetermined.

Thats how I feel, I live and act as if I have free will but acknowledge that I believe this reality is material and deterministic.

One major sticking point on this universe being deterministic is that after the big bang, there was turbulence. The universe did not expand as a homogeneous phenomena.

Because we constantly witness chaos, from irregular heartbeats to the weather, to the expansion of the universe, I lean towards chaos.

The deterministic nature of systems does not make them predictable.

There are countless examples of unpredictable chaos, but I can not think of any examples of precise deterministic outcomes.

I liken this to a coin flip. We cannot predict with certainty what any one flip will generate, but if done millions of times, the overall outcome is predictable.


Without a clearly stated, agreed upon, definition of “sufficient reason”, no discussion is possible.

Sadly all we have are dictionaries, and according to you no definitions are to be found in these.

Be a dear, and help us out by sharing your reference point for word definitions.


…ain’t my thread…

I will wait for the OP to provide such.

(how do you pronounce Kiribati ? )


Plus you have no other reference, and made a claim about a word that is roundly contradicted by it’s definition, and have been using evasion and bullshit to try and save face ever since.

I think you will find that level of dishonesty lowers your stock on here irretrievably if you are not man enough to cough to an error.

Your claim that disbelief is a claim that no deity exists is laughably erroneous, but not as hilariously idiotic as your claim that dictionaries don’t offer definitions.


The “Principle of Sufficient Reason” has already run into the buffers on several grounds. In the case of propositions within formal axiomatic systems, Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem throws a huge spanner in the works with respect to this matter, courtesy of the fact that his theorem proves that there exists, for any sufficiently expressive formal axiomatic system, at least one proposition that cannot be proven true or false within that system. Indeed, Gödel’s proof of this constructed a proposition of the required nature for elementary number theory.

His proof was particularly subtle, and relies upon the fact that one can devise a mechanical procedure for converting the symbol strings of any given proposition into a natural number. This number is known as the Gödel Number for the proposition in question. For any given number n, we can construct (as Gödel did in his proof) a function S(n), which returns true if n is the Gödel number of a proposition provable within the formal system of interest (in his case, elementary number theory). Therefore ~S(n) returns true if the number n is not a Gödel number for a proposition provable within the formal system in question.

Gödel then proved that it was possible to choose a special number, b, such that b was the Gödel number of the proposition ~S(b). Which leads to a contradiction, unless [1] the formal system is ultimately inconsistent, or [2] the formal system is consistent, but the proposition in question is not provable within that system.

It has since been proven that the same restriction upon provability of propositions applies to any formal axiomatic system possessing at least the same expressive power as elementary number theory. At which point, the moment one constructs using Gödel’s method, a proposition P of the form given above, one is left with no other option, but to adopt P or ~P as an axiom of a new, extended formal system, which then falls into the same trap, and so on recursively ad infinitum.

As for concrete as opposed to abstract entities, well, quantum physics has pretty much tossed classical causality into the bin. The wave function for a given quantum system in Hilbert space may have multiple solutions for a given set of quantum operators, and ultimately only informs us of the probability of a given outcome, not whether that outcome will actually take place. I’ve already devoted space elsewhere to the matter of entanglement, how that is related to the commutator for quantum operators acting upon the wave function of a system, and how this places restrictions upon what information can be extracted via measurement of a system within which entangled operators are acting.

As a corollary, it is impossible to assign a “cause” in the classical sense, to certain quantum phenomena. Experimental tests of Bell’s Inequality pretty much seal the deal.



(copying whiny shit from the robot…Body seems unclear, is it a complete sentence?)

Doesn’t predetermined mean reversing cause and effevt?

From Oxford Languages:


  1. established or decided in advance.
  2. (of an outcome or course of events) determined in advance by divine will or fate; predestined.

My personal interpretation of #1 is an outcome determined by external factors. For example, get a large enough cloud of hydrogen gas in deep space, and eventually the effects of gravity will determine it will eventually collapse and form a sun.

#2 is hoo haw to me since I lack a belief in the supernatural. IMO religious types just use it as an excuse when “shit happens”. Or they pack their youngest daughter off to a convent because they believe they must.

Free will can be interpreted ambiguously. The way I see it, whatever is considered as “impedence” or “coercion” of willed actions must be something from outside the very mind that wills them. Hence I think we do have free will.

It doesn’t have to be entirely deterministic. At some level there could be truly random events.

The way the word deterministic is typically used in physics and mathematics; you can’t have both randomness and determinism. If anything is random, everything is. It is because you can basically amplify this randomness with say a huge bomb. Put your bit of randomness as the trigger for the bomb and now whether or not you and your friends have a future as living beings, is random.

But practically we do have a deterministic model upto some point, after which we can’t say anything about it yet.
So does that make it more likely that it’s Not random at any level? Could randomness “settle” into determinism?

Deterministic models tend to have very strange things in them; like information traveling faster than c.

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God, creation and free will are not mutually exclusive.

God can choose to know the effects of every minute adjustment he makes to the universe - however he refrains from doing so.

In such a way - each and every minute change to the Universe is a Creative act that overrules determinism.

God could have created a predetermined universe - maybe he has before - maybe he didn’t like it. Maybe the next one will be predetermined.

God influenced every minute adjustment leading to the evolution of sentient beings. And then he spawned the Devil to test them.

Man is generally good by nature. But he can be evil - and usually - given the opportunity to do good - he chooses the easiest path (which tends to be at the expense of his fellow man. Ie. the rich versus the poor. War and plunder - etcetera).

Since God is Omnibenevolent every minute change he makes to the universe is good as well.

God took seven days to create the universe. He only decided that it was good after creation. He couldn’t have known before because he would have refrained from predicting the outcome. But God can never make a mistake - unless he means too.

When he created us, he created good. He saw that we were good. It was the Devil who was required to make use of our free will - testing us to see where we might go wrong.

When we fail - God gives us another chance. If we continue to fail - perhaps God sends us to Hell for a while. Who knows. He has set the wheel in motion with all the checks and balances in place. But he has not predetermined it.

Any kind of self improvement or spiritual growth requires many hours of time with occasional insights here and there. The devil is a good man who wants us to succeed but is tasked with giving us a very steep learning curve. If we fail miserably - if we become murderers or drug lords or slave owners who subjugate our fellow man (see: the rich versus the poor) - then there is a penalty to be paid after death.

Those who learn to tune out the Devils lies - to live a humble life - to speak the truth - to give to the poor - to never subjugate his fellow man - then the reward is two fold - a) he is happy in this life and b) he is happy in the next.

That is the only way morality can function. Without Divine Invention - there is no consequence for immorality unless it is handed out by men upon men. The others who live an entire life subjugating the poor (etc.) must face a consequence after death. Morality means nothing else wise. Free will is the challenge to be wise and virtuous in an otherwise evil world.

I’m an atheist and don’t believe in god(s), the soul, the supernatural, demons, angels, heaven hell, psychics , mountain trolls, dragons or fairies at the bottom of my garden. All for the same reason; a lack of empirical evidence.

Nor do I accept that god can be argued into or out of existence. I demand empirical evidence and will accept nothing less.

Unless I’ve simply misunderstood, your post consists of a list of unfounded claims with the odd false dichotomy.

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Empirical evidence consists of anything seen, heard, smelled, tasted, or touched.

I have seen, heard, and verily I have known God. For me, I have all the evidence required to make an empirically based conclusion.

Of course, I cannot pass any of those observations to you directly and my confessions are likely of little importance.

What I can do is argue God into existence by a) clearing misconceptions about Who he is and b) defining the human condition in such a way that the only reasonable conclusion is that God Created this world.

For example, we have free will. It was God’s choice and act to make us free beings. We exist in a world occupied by constant decisions and courses of action which we freely chose to take or not take.

And then from free will we have the problem of evil. We have a condition in the world where the virtuous man avoids evil because it would disturb his peace of mind.

And we have the second man who lacks a conscience and acts, speaks, and thinks in a variety of ways which aim to profit (him) at the expense of another.

The good man suffers on account of the evil man. The evil man prospers on account of the good man. There is no justice unless we accept that there is a reward for exercising free will for good and there is a punishment for exercising free will for evil.

God has given us shame and virtue. The virtuous man burdens under the yoke of his evil oppressor knowing that he has done no wrong and will inherit happiness.

The evil man sits on his throne of lies not knowing his own fate. Wandering aimlessly through life never knowing if his treachery will come back to haunt him.

If the evil man lives in comfort his whole life without fearing for his soul, while the good man labours day and night without knowing happiness, then what is the purpose of morality?

What is the benefit of morality without God?