Brian called with the "free will" bomb, which got me thinking about that issue again.
He was concerned about having to talk to his pastor and mentioned it as an issue that might come up "in the principal's office."
I started a thread on this in "new arguments" several years back. I noticed some theists like to claim that a materialistic universe cannot account for free will. We went back & forth on whether we should even discuss free will, but didn't quite get to a good, clear response we could use.
I think I have one now, based on the very real notion that, ultimately, theists don't provide a "solution" to the issue of free will either. They just claim that "god makes it possible," without saying how god does so. Proof by fiat, "goddidit" all over again.
The funny thing is, it was a theist's post on the Usenet that actually identified what I think is the central weakness in the strongest terms.
It was a response to the notion, stated by each of you at least once and by most of you many more times than once, that there is no "free will" when an "omniscient god" already knows what you're about to do (or ever gonna do).
The theist responded that it's still free will because the PERSON doesn't know what's about to happen.
In other words, theistic "free will" is just a perception. Which makes it no better than materialistic free will.
Sorta like the "first cause" argument - if god can exist without a cause, why not the universe? If "free will" is a matter of human perception, so what if it's materialistic?
Haven't had a chance to "try it out," but I'll keep working on it just the same.