An Attempt at Debunking the Biblical God
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09-09-2012, 11:09 AM
RE: An Attempt at Debunking the Biblical God
(09-09-2012 08:48 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  http://www.theassc.org/files/assc/Primin...orASSC.pdf

http://www.frontiersin.org/consciousness...00106/full

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inferring_self-agency

http://psych.princeton.edu/psychology/re...Powers.pdf

http://www.yale.edu/acmelab/articles/Bar..._final.pdf

http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/workshop...lusion.pdf

http://web.gc.cuny.edu/cogsci/private/Ha...ark-CC.pdf
Reading all that is going to take a while for sure. The question I'm asking myself is, is this really worth debating about or is it just mental masturbation? To me, it's like I said previously in this thread. Whether or not there is an unconscious influence on some of our decisions is completely irrelevant in practice, because what it comes down to is this: Christians who argue for free will have an agenda. I don't. They usually want to use it in order to prove something like "Those who end up in hell are responsible for it, because they had the choice of believing in god. They have free will after all." Now, would you go as far as saying that your choice of belief/non-belief is not made consciously? That everday life decisions are not made consciously?

The experiments I've seen so far have all been about short-term decisions with usually two or more options in a lab experiment. These tests are completely redundant if they don't tell you anything about an actual situation that actually happens during someone's life. The difference between these specific examples and actual decisions is so big that it's absurd to claim that we are unable to control them consciously in general based on the results of those. There is such a major difference between the decision of pressing on a Yes or No button within 5 seconds compared to any task you do outside of a lab. Take for example talking to someone. You actually have to think about what you're going to say, the thought process behind the choice of your words can't even remotely be compared to the experiments.

Now, I don't claim that there is no unconscious influence on our decisions at all, I'm saying that it has yet to demonstrated, that complex or creative processes, such as communication, painting, making music, writing, creative thinking, or genereally speaking, things you do everyday are not controlled consciously. That is what free will is all about.

Anyway, since you said you don't want to argue about it anymore, I'm not going to force it. I don't have the necessary tools to make a profound rebuttal of these hypotheses, I don't have a lab with the required machines and the volunteers to make all the testing. But what I do have is a healthy sense of skepticism, which is exactly why I won't accept the results without knowing exactly how the experiments were conducted, what the circumstances were, who and what kind of people participated, etc. It takes a a bucketload of evidence to covince someone that free will, in the sense that I'm talking about it, doesn't exist.
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09-09-2012, 09:29 PM (This post was last modified: 10-09-2012 06:15 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: An Attempt at Debunking the Biblical God
(09-09-2012 11:09 AM)Vosur Wrote:  They usually want to use it in order to prove something like "Those who end up in hell are responsible for it, because they had the choice of believing in god. They have free will after all." Now, would you go as far as saying that your choice of belief/non-belief is not made consciously? That every day life decisions are not made consciously?

a. Maybe the fundie Christians talk about a "choice" for belief in god(s), but mainline sects do not say people of no faith are going to hell for non-belief, if it is genuine non-belief. That's not how Christians invoke this concept. (In their system, faith is a gift of their holy spirit, (a virtue)). If you don't get the gift, it doesn't necessarily mean you go to hell. Free Will is never, (to my knowledge), invoked here, except by extreme, fundie groups.
b. Free Will is used , NOT with respect to long term, considered positions of belief, or non belief, or other long term intellectual positions. They use Free Will in the context of individual sinful acts, and presume that an individual act is freely, consciously made, with a 100 % conscious decision process as the immediately preceding cause of the individual act. (That has been proven false), thus Free Will in the religious context of "sinful acts" is debunked. (See the Wegner/Harvard studies above),
c. No one is talking about Free Will in the case of long term, carefully considered positions of belief, or non belief, and NONE of the studies deal with that. That's not what Christians talk about in this context, and neither do the Neuro-scientists.
d. You can define it anyway you want. If you want to address the concept in the context it's used by religion, you have to use their definitions, and assumptions for debunking the idea.

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10-09-2012, 10:46 AM
RE: An Attempt at Debunking the Biblical God
(09-09-2012 09:29 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  a. Maybe the fundie Christians talk about a "choice" for belief in god(s), but mainline sects do not say people of no faith are going to hell for non-belief, if it is genuine non-belief. That's not how Christians invoke this concept. (In their system, faith is a gift of their holy spirit, (a virtue)). If you don't get the gift, it doesn't necessarily mean you go to hell. Free Will is never, (to my knowledge), invoked here, except by extreme, fundie groups.
b. Free Will is used , NOT with respect to long term, considered positions of belief, or non belief, or other long term intellectual positions. They use Free Will in the context of individual sinful acts, and presume that an individual act is freely, consciously made, with a 100 % conscious decision process as the immediately preceding cause of the individual act. (That has been proven false), thus Free Will in the religious context of "sinful acts" is debunked. (See the Wegner/Harvard studies above),
d. You can define it anyway you want. If you want to address the concept in the context it's used by religion, you have to use their definitions, and assumptions for debunking the idea.
Fair enough, I stand corrected. Yes

(09-09-2012 09:29 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  c. No one is talking about Free Will in the case of long term, carefully considered positions of belief, or non belief, and NONE of the studies deal with that. That's not what Christians talk about in this context, and neither do the Neuro-scientists.
Today I had two free lessons at school and I decided to use them to think about the experiments made so far. Is there not one fundamental flaw with them to begin with? I asked myself: "What if one of the participants decides to, for example, punch the machine in front of him, instead of pressing a button? Would you be able to predict that, judging by the brain activity?" It seems weird to me that the volunteers in the experiment are limited to a few options whereas free will is about not being bound by such limits, it means that you can do whatever you want (within the physical boundaries). Sure, the tests were supposed to prove that short-term decisions are partly/mostly guided by unconscious processes and I would be able to agree with that, though it seems to me that it wasn't executed properly. This leads me back to Daniel Dennett's argument that free will exists because we have the ability to act against all expectations.

Any thoughts on that?
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10-09-2012, 03:01 PM
RE: An Attempt at Debunking the Biblical God
(10-09-2012 10:46 AM)Vosur Wrote:  
(09-09-2012 09:29 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  a. Maybe the fundie Christians talk about a "choice" for belief in god(s), but mainline sects do not say people of no faith are going to hell for non-belief, if it is genuine non-belief. That's not how Christians invoke this concept. (In their system, faith is a gift of their holy spirit, (a virtue)). If you don't get the gift, it doesn't necessarily mean you go to hell. Free Will is never, (to my knowledge), invoked here, except by extreme, fundie groups.
b. Free Will is used , NOT with respect to long term, considered positions of belief, or non belief, or other long term intellectual positions. They use Free Will in the context of individual sinful acts, and presume that an individual act is freely, consciously made, with a 100 % conscious decision process as the immediately preceding cause of the individual act. (That has been proven false), thus Free Will in the religious context of "sinful acts" is debunked. (See the Wegner/Harvard studies above),
d. You can define it anyway you want. If you want to address the concept in the context it's used by religion, you have to use their definitions, and assumptions for debunking the idea.
Fair enough, I stand corrected. Yes

(09-09-2012 09:29 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  c. No one is talking about Free Will in the case of long term, carefully considered positions of belief, or non belief, and NONE of the studies deal with that. That's not what Christians talk about in this context, and neither do the Neuro-scientists.
Today I had two free lessons at school and I decided to use them to think about the experiments made so far. Is there not one fundamental flaw with them to begin with? I asked myself: "What if one of the participants decides to, for example, punch the machine in front of him, instead of pressing a button? Would you be able to predict that, judging by the brain activity?" It seems weird to me that the volunteers in the experiment are limited to a few options whereas free will is about not being bound by such limits, it means that you can do whatever you want (within the physical boundaries). Sure, the tests were supposed to prove that short-term decisions are partly/mostly guided by unconscious processes and I would be able to agree with that, though it seems to me that it wasn't executed properly. This leads me back to Daniel Dennett's argument that free will exists because we have the ability to act against all expectations.

Any thoughts on that?

You probably could predict that response, but you'd have to do some prior study of where that response is located, and if it could be differentiated between others. Its possible, in a PET scan, or an MRI, to see what lights up, and either before, see where that is, and make some predictions. ((In this case, it might be more complex, as it could involve an action "not on the menu", and THAT in itself, besides the actual action, (punching), might be harder to locate, and time)). The "act against all expectations", still has unconscious precursors, (which are still limited BTW). One does not really have the ability to "act against ALL expectations", (also "expectations" needs definition, .."all expectations = 99 % improbable ?? is not "impossible, and exists on a range, which is subject to the already present knowledge of the brain involved. The decision probably could be "tracked", and "timed'. So yeah, I bet you could predict it.

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13-09-2012, 10:23 AM
RE: An Attempt at Debunking the Biblical God
(10-09-2012 03:01 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  You probably could predict that response, but you'd have to do some prior study of where that response is located, and if it could be differentiated between others. Its possible, in a PET scan, or an MRI, to see what lights up, and either before, see where that is, and make some predictions. ((In this case, it might be more complex, as it could involve an action "not on the menu", and THAT in itself, besides the actual action, (punching), might be harder to locate, and time)). The "act against all expectations", still has unconscious precursors, (which are still limited BTW). One does not really have the ability to "act against ALL expectations", (also "expectations" needs definition, .."all expectations = 99 % improbable ?? is not "impossible, and exists on a range, which is subject to the already present knowledge of the brain involved. The decision probably could be "tracked", and "timed'. So yeah, I bet you could predict it.
Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I suppose when someone expects you to do nothing and someone else expects you to do something, you couldn't possibly act against all expectations. But I think you got the gist of it. Either way, there's not much to discuss anymore, since we agree on the basics. I guess we're done here. Tongue
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13-10-2012, 05:23 PM (This post was last modified: 13-10-2012 05:41 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: An Attempt at Debunking the Biblical God
I'm thinking I may be changing my mind about the long term position now also. We ARE not "free" to choose anything. We are 100% constrained to what our brains have experienced in our personal past.

This is the link which deals with Psychology :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDGd3DAyY...el&list=UL

There are 5 other in the series on YouTube

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