Does free will exist?
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09-05-2016, 09:28 AM
RE: Does free will exist?
(09-05-2016 07:49 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(09-05-2016 05:04 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  The question is, did the people who built the criminal justice system have any choice in the matter? Could they have built it any different?

If the serial killer had no choice but to murder, then couldn't we say the same about the people who punish him? If the serial killer is not culpable, then neither is person (or criminal justice system) who kills him.

I don't see any meaningful difference. If we have free will, the murderer got what he deserved, if not, and he can't be held responsible, then neither can those who inflict punishment upon him. With no free will, the punishers had no choice but to punish.

I actually like retribution. I want serial rapists, murderers, and child molesters to suffer. I don't really care if they're free agents or not.

Knowledge. Knowledge, as always, is the key. Once you're made aware of just how illusory free-will is, then that knowledge should have an affect on future considerations and decisions. It makes the idea of retributive justice even more of an appalling oxymoron than it already was.

Yeah, child molestation is a terrible and devastating crime. But in light of what we currently know about neurology, what really separates me from a child molester? Well, I was lucky enough to be born into a set of circumstances (not impoverished, decent education, loving parents, etc.) that helped guide my along a relatively normative path with a capacity for empathy. All of the circumstances that have shaped me along this journey, that helped form me into a non-child molester? All entirely out of my conscious control. Big picture here, from the point of view of the universe, sheer luck and happenstance had me born into relative privilege (chatting here on this forum instead of dying of eye parasite in sub Saharan Africa). In light of this sobering knowledge, it's hard to hold on to hate for an individual for the circumstances of their life. If they've done wrong or otherwise pose a threat, then for the good of others action must be taken; but at no point does this realization justify a desire for revenge or stoke the embers of hatred.

I agree. People who harm others do need to be removed from society so they cannot continue to harm others. I don't believe in punishment though. I think they should be given very modest accommodations and be able to earn improvements just like everyone else. There are countless ways to put them to work on computers. They can earn their TVs and creature comforts like every one else.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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09-05-2016, 10:19 AM
RE: Does free will exist?
(09-05-2016 08:31 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(09-05-2016 07:49 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Knowledge. Knowledge, as always, is the key. Once you're made aware of just how illusory free-will is, then that knowledge should have an affect on future considerations and decisions. It makes the idea of retributive justice even more of an appalling oxymoron than it already was.

Yeah, child molestation is a terrible and devastating crime. But in light of what we currently know about neurology, what really separates me from a child molester? Well, I was lucky enough to be born into a set of circumstances (not impoverished, decent education, loving parents, etc.) that helped guide my along a relatively normative path with a capacity for empathy. All of the circumstances that have shaped me along this journey, that helped form me into a non-child molester? All entirely out of my conscious control. Big picture here, from the point of view of the universe, sheer luck and happenstance had me born into relative privilege (chatting here on this forum instead of dying of eye parasite in sub Saharan Africa). In light of this sobering knowledge, it's hard to hold on to hate for an individual for the circumstances of their life. If they've done wrong or otherwise pose a threat, then for the good of others action must be taken; but at no point does this realization justify a desire for revenge or stoke the embers of hatred.

The problem is that we can make the exact same argument for a person (or system) who is punishing a rapist. The punisher only punishes as a result of the circumstances that shaped him. "The punisher knows not what he does" I guess you could say.

It's weird to me that you want accountability for the criminal justice system, but not for murdering psychopaths.

If the child molesters have no choice but to molest, then people who punish molesters have no choice but to punish. It's weird that you only point the finger at the punishers.

Because once you have knowledge, you cannot help but have your decisions be informed by it. I don't expect every transgressor to be aware of this, but I would hope the people and the systems we put in place to protect us would be cognitive of it.

Forgive me for expecting better from the professionals in charge of safeguarding us.

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09-05-2016, 02:04 PM
RE: Does free will exist?
(09-05-2016 09:28 AM)Dom Wrote:  
(09-05-2016 07:49 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Knowledge. Knowledge, as always, is the key. Once you're made aware of just how illusory free-will is, then that knowledge should have an affect on future considerations and decisions. It makes the idea of retributive justice even more of an appalling oxymoron than it already was.

Yeah, child molestation is a terrible and devastating crime. But in light of what we currently know about neurology, what really separates me from a child molester? Well, I was lucky enough to be born into a set of circumstances (not impoverished, decent education, loving parents, etc.) that helped guide my along a relatively normative path with a capacity for empathy. All of the circumstances that have shaped me along this journey, that helped form me into a non-child molester? All entirely out of my conscious control. Big picture here, from the point of view of the universe, sheer luck and happenstance had me born into relative privilege (chatting here on this forum instead of dying of eye parasite in sub Saharan Africa). In light of this sobering knowledge, it's hard to hold on to hate for an individual for the circumstances of their life. If they've done wrong or otherwise pose a threat, then for the good of others action must be taken; but at no point does this realization justify a desire for revenge or stoke the embers of hatred.

I agree. People who harm others do need to be removed from society so they cannot continue to harm others. I don't believe in punishment though. I think they should be given very modest accommodations and be able to earn improvements just like everyone else. There are countless ways to put them to work on computers. They can earn their TVs and creature comforts like every one else.

So, would you prefer that Osama Bin Laden was comfortably browsing the web somewhere right now? And if he's a good boy he can have steak and lobster for dinner on Friday night while watching HBO?

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09-05-2016, 02:10 PM
RE: Does free will exist?
(09-05-2016 08:31 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  If the child molesters have no choice but to molest, then people who punish molesters have no choice but to punish. It's weird that you only point the finger at the punishers.

Punishment is *collectively* undertaken by society in the name of some sort of "justice". I prefer not to add torture to the list of things I approve of. As long as the problem person is removed from society / rehabilitated as appropriate, I don't see the point of further punishment. It's not going to teach them anything.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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09-05-2016, 03:16 PM
RE: Does free will exist?
(09-05-2016 02:04 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  So, would you prefer that Osama Bin Laden was comfortably browsing the web somewhere right now? And if he's a good boy he can have steak and lobster for dinner on Friday night while watching HBO?
Who care's what Osama would be doing as long as he isn't a threat to society.

Now, if we "reward" criminals with free room and sky/cable tv, pool table, weights, friends, movies etc then they might find prison preferable to making a life for themselves on the outside. This might entice them to commit crimes in order to get taken care of on the inside.

So of course "prison" ought to be somewhat undesirable. Also, I'm not too keen spending my tax money on these people, so for certain types I am happy for death penalty, but in many countries death penalty comes with years of government funded top notch lawyers etc and can cost more than life imprisonment.
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09-05-2016, 07:26 PM
RE: Does free will exist?
(09-05-2016 03:16 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(09-05-2016 02:04 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  So, would you prefer that Osama Bin Laden was comfortably browsing the web somewhere right now? And if he's a good boy he can have steak and lobster for dinner on Friday night while watching HBO?
Who care's what Osama would be doing as long as he isn't a threat to society.

Now, if we "reward" criminals with free room and sky/cable tv, pool table, weights, friends, movies etc then they might find prison preferable to making a life for themselves on the outside. This might entice them to commit crimes in order to get taken care of on the inside.

So of course "prison" ought to be somewhat undesirable. Also, I'm not too keen spending my tax money on these people, so for certain types I am happy for death penalty, but in many countries death penalty comes with years of government funded top notch lawyers etc and can cost more than life imprisonment.

Life in prison or death should be a choice. (I would choose death myself). Bare necessities should be provided, all else has to be earned with work, just like we all have to do it.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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10-05-2016, 12:58 AM
RE: Does free will exist?
(09-05-2016 03:16 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Also, I'm not too keen spending my tax money on these people, so for certain types I am happy for death penalty, but in many countries death penalty comes with years of government funded top notch lawyers etc and can cost more than life imprisonment.

If you want to kill them, by what right will you do it? You pay a fee to live in a safe society. Now you want to use the fact that you've paid that fee to justify killing someone? How did money suddenly give you the right to end someone else's life?

I ask these questions but I don't have answers myself. I guess maybe sometimes we just admit that yes we are nasty, not logically consistent people and kill the fuckers anyway.

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If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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10-05-2016, 05:33 AM (This post was last modified: 10-05-2016 05:44 AM by Matt Finney.)
RE: Does free will exist?
(09-05-2016 02:10 PM)morondog Wrote:  
(09-05-2016 08:31 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  If the child molesters have no choice but to molest, then people who punish molesters have no choice but to punish. It's weird that you only point the finger at the punishers.

Punishment is *collectively* undertaken by society in the name of some sort of "justice". I prefer not to add torture to the list of things I approve of. As long as the problem person is removed from society / rehabilitated as appropriate, I don't see the point of further punishment. It's not going to teach them anything.

Punishment can be used as a deterrent. For example, Islamic extremists have no fear of death. They see martyred death as an instant ticket to special heaven filled with 72 virgins. For us to kill Islamic extremists probably isn't much of a deterrent, they're happy to die. But, if we made these terrorists go through 50 years of hell (by torture), perhaps that would be more of a deterrent. That would be the practical benefit. The other benefit is giving people the satisfaction of knowing that the criminal received a punishment fitting of the crime. Why not have punishment fit the crime?

Again, I would point to the fact that if the violators (rapists, terrorists, etc.) have no choice but to violate, then wouldn't the punishers (people doling out the punishment) also have no choice but to punish?

Do the punishers have some sort of free will that the violators lack?

If we look at rape and murder and say "well that's just humans doing what humans sometimes do", then wouldn't we say the same thing about punishment. Sometimes humans commit rape, and sometimes humans punish rapists.
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10-05-2016, 05:37 AM
RE: Does free will exist?
(09-05-2016 03:16 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(09-05-2016 02:04 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  So, would you prefer that Osama Bin Laden was comfortably browsing the web somewhere right now? And if he's a good boy he can have steak and lobster for dinner on Friday night while watching HBO?
Who care's what Osama would be doing as long as he isn't a threat to society.

Now, if we "reward" criminals with free room and sky/cable tv, pool table, weights, friends, movies etc then they might find prison preferable to making a life for themselves on the outside. This might entice them to commit crimes in order to get taken care of on the inside.

So of course "prison" ought to be somewhat undesirable. Also, I'm not too keen spending my tax money on these people, so for certain types I am happy for death penalty, but in many countries death penalty comes with years of government funded top notch lawyers etc and can cost more than life imprisonment.

Who cares? Lot's of people care. I care.

Why not make someone like Osama suffer? Why not torture someone like him in order to extract information that might be able to prevent future attacks?

And you're right about death penalty sometimes being more expensive, but that's a totally separate problem. In certain cases when there is no disputing guilt, the death penalty should cost nothing more than a single round of ammo.
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10-05-2016, 05:42 AM
RE: Does free will exist?
State sanctioned murder eh. Hmmmm?

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