Determinism Is Self Defeating
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15-07-2013, 07:06 PM
Determinism Is Self Defeating
I have always considered determinism to be completely irrational for the following reason:

If a determinist is trying to convince me to change my mind and accept determinism, then he or she is accepting that I have free will and can choose between accepting the two theories.

In other words, they fail their own test of logic.

It's like someone talking to you, saying "you can't hear anything" - well if I can't hear then why are you talking to me? Doesn't that make you completely irrational?

It's as simple as that, to win a debate with a determinist you just need to let the determinist talk.

The only reason why I think determinists have this position is not because of logical effort, (A child can tell you that an animal is different from a rock.) But it's more than likely that determinist believes this to avoid responsibility for their actions, and let's face it, that's very attractive to some people.
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15-07-2013, 07:47 PM (This post was last modified: 15-07-2013 08:05 PM by ridethespiral.)
RE: Determinism Is Self Defeating
(15-07-2013 07:06 PM)Koolay Wrote:  I have always considered determinism to be completely irrational for the following reason:

If a determinist is trying to convince me to change my mind and accept determinism, then he or she is accepting that I have free will and can choose between accepting the two theories.

In other words, they fail their own test of logic.

It's like someone talking to you, saying "you can't hear anything" - well if I can't hear then why are you talking to me? Doesn't that make you completely irrational?

It's as simple as that, to win a debate with a determinist you just need to let the determinist talk.

The only reason why I think determinists have this position is not because of logical effort, (A child can tell you that an animal is different from a rock.) But it's more than likely that determinist believes this to avoid responsibility for their actions, and let's face it, that's very attractive to some people.

You can have free will for practical purposes, but it is an illusion created by your brain. You and your brain are the sum of experience, dictated by environments past and present, interactions with others, and a whole slew of chaotic factors. Your decisions, much like the weather, are the sum of a great number of factors and I cannot predict them accurately. However perhaps the strong wind of reason might be enough to turn your sails (although I doubt it), and so debate is still valid. Even a computer cannot generate a random number, and we my friend are biological computers, everything about us is hardwired at the genetic level, your brain is an emulator for free will in the same way that rand() is but a suitable substitute based on minute clock cycles for creating random numbers.

This is a really simple deterministic system but it is still very difficult to predict the motion of the pendulum from after the initial event.
[Image: Double-compound-pendulum.gif]

Now imagine the universe (3 × 1050 kg of mass, light, energy...), it starts from a single point the size of an atom but by the time we get on the scene it is beyond predictability. You and your illusion of free will are just the products of a very, very large deterministic universe.

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15-07-2013, 09:34 PM
RE: Determinism Is Self Defeating
It's certainly true that in a strongly deterministic universe, it's pointless to try to convince anyone of it - but then, one has no choice but to try to do so in the first place!
Big Grin

One might perhaps draw the distinction between strong determinism (all actions are deterministic and predictable) and weak determinism (all actions are deterministic).

There is certainly very good reason to believe the latter is in fact true. It is suggested by all of modern physics. Quantum mechanics deals with probabilities only - but it is deterministic in the sense that what those probabilities are, and how they interact, these things are known exactly (well - exactly within the confines of the theory, to which improvements are always being made). Additionally, as ridethespiral alluded to, a sufficiently complicated system becomes chaotic, which means, in a physics context, that it is too complicated to be predictable. And the human brain is nothing if not chaotic!

And - hmm...
(15-07-2013 07:47 PM)ridethespiral Wrote:  everything about us is hardwired at the genetic level...
Neurological development is far from hardwired - the initial parameters certainly are, but epigenetic and environmental factors (which, er, you mentioned) have a profound effect...

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16-07-2013, 11:48 AM (This post was last modified: 16-07-2013 11:52 AM by ridethespiral.)
RE: Determinism Is Self Defeating
(15-07-2013 09:34 PM)cjlr Wrote:  It's certainly true that in a strongly deterministic universe, it's pointless to try to convince anyone of it - but then, one has no choice but to try to do so in the first place!
Big Grin

One might perhaps draw the distinction between strong determinism (all actions are deterministic and predictable) and weak determinism (all actions are deterministic).

There is certainly very good reason to believe the latter is in fact true. It is suggested by all of modern physics. Quantum mechanics deals with probabilities only - but it is deterministic in the sense that what those probabilities are, and how they interact, these things are known exactly (well - exactly within the confines of the theory, to which improvements are always being made). Additionally, as ridethespiral alluded to, a sufficiently complicated system becomes chaotic, which means, in a physics context, that it is too complicated to be predictable. And the human brain is nothing if not chaotic!

And - hmm...
(15-07-2013 07:47 PM)ridethespiral Wrote:  everything about us is hardwired at the genetic level...
Neurological development is far from hardwired - the initial parameters certainly are, but epigenetic and environmental factors (which, er, you mentioned) have a profound effect...

Correct. It's those initial factors that largely dictate how experiences will shape the thought process, and it's natural selection and both internal and external selection pressure that shapes those initial factors. I'm not arguing for the exclusion of nurture from nature v. nurture. Just that your brain is the product of your DNA, after which point it is shaped by environment and interactions, and that the environment and interactions are also shaped by greater forces (from the cosmic level right down to the DNA of the others around you) and that the decisions you make (while still decisions) have a lot to do with your programming and the changes made to your programming through experience. A dog that was kicked around is more likely to be fearful than a dog who was not.
...We exist in an ocean of chaos but that does not mean there was no tap.

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16-07-2013, 12:46 PM
RE: Determinism Is Self Defeating
(15-07-2013 07:47 PM)ridethespiral Wrote:  
(15-07-2013 07:06 PM)Koolay Wrote:  I have always considered determinism to be completely irrational for the following reason:

If a determinist is trying to convince me to change my mind and accept determinism, then he or she is accepting that I have free will and can choose between accepting the two theories.

In other words, they fail their own test of logic.

It's like someone talking to you, saying "you can't hear anything" - well if I can't hear then why are you talking to me? Doesn't that make you completely irrational?

It's as simple as that, to win a debate with a determinist you just need to let the determinist talk.

The only reason why I think determinists have this position is not because of logical effort, (A child can tell you that an animal is different from a rock.) But it's more than likely that determinist believes this to avoid responsibility for their actions, and let's face it, that's very attractive to some people.

You can have free will for practical purposes, but it is an illusion created by your brain. You and your brain are the sum of experience, dictated by environments past and present, interactions with others, and a whole slew of chaotic factors. Your decisions, much like the weather, are the sum of a great number of factors and I cannot predict them accurately. However perhaps the strong wind of reason might be enough to turn your sails (although I doubt it), and so debate is still valid. Even a computer cannot generate a random number, and we my friend are biological computers, everything about us is hardwired at the genetic level, your brain is an emulator for free will in the same way that rand() is but a suitable substitute based on minute clock cycles for creating random numbers.

This is a really simple deterministic system but it is still very difficult to predict the motion of the pendulum from after the initial event.
[Image: Double-compound-pendulum.gif]

Now imagine the universe (3 × 1050 kg of mass, light, energy...), it starts from a single point the size of an atom but by the time we get on the scene it is beyond predictability. You and your illusion of free will are just the products of a very, very large deterministic universe.

Well, except for the inconvenient fact that the universe appears to be probabilistic, therefore not deterministic.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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16-07-2013, 03:00 PM
RE: Determinism Is Self Defeating
(16-07-2013 12:46 PM)Chas Wrote:  Well, except for the inconvenient fact that the universe appears to be probabilistic, therefore not deterministic.

Chas...always raining on my parade. Sure there may be some quantum uncertainty involved especially in the early universe but that doesn't make a grand unified theory any less possible....It just ads more chaos to the system making it even harder to extract from reality said deterministic equation.

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16-07-2013, 03:18 PM
RE: Determinism Is Self Defeating
(16-07-2013 03:00 PM)ridethespiral Wrote:  
(16-07-2013 12:46 PM)Chas Wrote:  Well, except for the inconvenient fact that the universe appears to be probabilistic, therefore not deterministic.

Chas...always raining on my parade. Sure there may be some quantum uncertainty involved especially in the early universe but that doesn't make a grand unified theory any less possible....It just ads more chaos to the system making it even harder to extract from reality said deterministic equation.

Careful now; probabilistics and chaos are two rather different concepts.

Quantum mechanics is uncertain insofar as it is probabilistic in nature, but as I mentioned, its evolution is still deterministic - known factors interact in known ways to produce known probabilities.

Chaos is something that emerges from a sufficiently complicated system - a dependence on initial conditions so strong that prediction is impossible. Once again this is generally deterministic - all the interactions involved can be known (that is to say, known of at the very least), but it remains impossible to make predictions.

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16-07-2013, 03:24 PM
RE: Determinism Is Self Defeating
(16-07-2013 03:18 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(16-07-2013 03:00 PM)ridethespiral Wrote:  Chas...always raining on my parade. Sure there may be some quantum uncertainty involved especially in the early universe but that doesn't make a grand unified theory any less possible....It just ads more chaos to the system making it even harder to extract from reality said deterministic equation.

Careful now; probabilistics and chaos are two rather different concepts.

Quantum mechanics is uncertain insofar as it is probabilistic in nature, but as I mentioned, its evolution is still deterministic - known factors interact in known ways to produce known probabilities.

Chaos is something that emerges from a sufficiently complicated system - a dependence on initial conditions so strong that prediction is impossible. Once again this is generally deterministic - all the interactions involved can be known (that is to say, known of at the very least), but it remains impossible to make predictions.

I get it, I used the wrong choice of words being a layman but I believe we are on the same page.

...Do me a favor and battle Chas for me? I swear debating him is like writing a research paper and it's 5:00 here on the East Coast.

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16-07-2013, 05:10 PM
RE: Determinism Is Self Defeating
(16-07-2013 03:24 PM)ridethespiral Wrote:  
(16-07-2013 03:18 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Careful now; probabilistics and chaos are two rather different concepts.

Quantum mechanics is uncertain insofar as it is probabilistic in nature, but as I mentioned, its evolution is still deterministic - known factors interact in known ways to produce known probabilities.

Chaos is something that emerges from a sufficiently complicated system - a dependence on initial conditions so strong that prediction is impossible. Once again this is generally deterministic - all the interactions involved can be known (that is to say, known of at the very least), but it remains impossible to make predictions.

I get it, I used the wrong choice of words being a layman but I believe we are on the same page.

...Do me a favor and battle Chas for me? I swear debating him is like writing a research paper and it's 5:00 here on the East Coast.

Hmmm. Consider

I don't think knowing the probabilities makes it deterministic.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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16-07-2013, 07:48 PM
Determinism Is Self Defeating
(15-07-2013 07:47 PM)ridethespiral Wrote:  
(15-07-2013 07:06 PM)Koolay Wrote:  I have always considered determinism to be completely irrational for the following reason:

If a determinist is trying to convince me to change my mind and accept determinism, then he or she is accepting that I have free will and can choose between accepting the two theories.

In other words, they fail their own test of logic.

It's like someone talking to you, saying "you can't hear anything" - well if I can't hear then why are you talking to me? Doesn't that make you completely irrational?

It's as simple as that, to win a debate with a determinist you just need to let the determinist talk.

The only reason why I think determinists have this position is not because of logical effort, (A child can tell you that an animal is different from a rock.) But it's more than likely that determinist believes this to avoid responsibility for their actions, and let's face it, that's very attractive to some people.

You can have free will for practical purposes, but it is an illusion created by your brain. You and your brain are the sum of experience, dictated by environments past and present, interactions with others, and a whole slew of chaotic factors. Your decisions, much like the weather, are the sum of a great number of factors and I cannot predict them accurately. However perhaps the strong wind of reason might be enough to turn your sails (although I doubt it), and so debate is still valid. Even a computer cannot generate a random number, and we my friend are biological computers, everything about us is hardwired at the genetic level, your brain is an emulator for free will in the same way that rand() is but a suitable substitute based on minute clock cycles for creating random numbers.

This is a really simple deterministic system but it is still very difficult to predict the motion of the pendulum from after the initial event.
[Image: Double-compound-pendulum.gif]

Now imagine the universe (3 × 1050 kg of mass, light, energy...), it starts from a single point the size of an atom but by the time we get on the scene it is beyond predictability. You and your illusion of free will are just the products of a very, very large deterministic universe.

You are correct in that ones decisions are from many unpredictable factors...however there is a negative aspect to all of that, this negative aspect has a lot to do with choice therefore is productive.

We can choose to forget, exaggerate certain memories, suppress certain memories, forget on accident etc etc. That is where free will comes from, not from the positive aspects of our brain but from the negative parts of our brain.

We can see the same documentary and write a different paper about it because of what I said above.
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