Free Will
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16-01-2013, 07:05 PM
RE: Free Will
"That doesn't relate at all."

It's a metaphor. It doesn't need to be analogous. The act of traveling north and south at the same time is a logical contradiction, as is having choice and no choice at the same time.

"It's not irrelivant and I'l get to that in the part where you compare a human pilot to a predator drone."

It is irrelevant to the topic of conversation. We either have choice or we don't, regardless of how much past input we store or ponder as a part of our choice.

"This is how I think of the brain. Self awareness that is so tied in with
he programming of the brain that it gives the illusion of free will."


Can you elaborate?

"Lol, good one. No what I mean is that we respond to input(situations)
based on past inputs(experience) and being aware of some of this
activity gives the illusion of a decision."

The illusion of a decision? If you choose chocolate over vanilla ice cream, are you not sure you're not eating vanilla? I know what I've chosen and, while that choice is no doubt predicated on past experiences and other factors... it is non the less a choice.

"On a side note, bombs have been dropped by human pilots that killed many innocent children, even an atomic bomb - Paul Tibbets in Hiroshima. We didn't see him refuse the order."


So you're saying that unlike computers... human beings have a choice and can (and do) even choose an immoral choice on occasion? It sounds to me as though you're saying that a computer's actions are fore ordained but a humans are not.

"If the brain that individuals consciousness resides in kills people, that being is punished by being put in jail."

So if I do something I had no choice of doing, how am I responsible?

What experience do you have with being punished for things you didn't know were bad?
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16-01-2013, 08:20 PM (This post was last modified: 16-01-2013 08:30 PM by Adenosis.)
RE: Free Will
(16-01-2013 07:05 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  It is irrelevant to the topic of conversation. We either have choice or we don't, regardless of how much past input we store or ponder as a part of our choice.

No, since this is what I am using to explain the lack of free will.

(16-01-2013 07:05 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  "This is how I think of the brain. Self awareness that is so tied in with
he programming of the brain that it gives the illusion of free will."


Can you elaborate?

Yeah actually I worded that terribly. Our conscious mind is the small fraction of the total activity of the brain that we are aware of, it is basically an information loop. This information contains things like our senses, emotions, potential actions ('choices') and past actions/experiences (memory). This could be called an introspection loop. I call it a loop because it is continuous (with the exception of sleep when you could say the loop breaks). This loop serves as a recorder for the memory, things that are not fully conscious are rarely remembered.

So basically the conscious mind is a recorder and the rest of the brain is what actually converts the input to a beneficial or safe output. The conversion of input to output is based on past experience. The process of recording makes the recorder assume it is making the 'decisions' it records.

I think if you knew all the variables that effected the conversion from input to output of a brain, you would know exactly how it would respond to a specific situation.

How you are raised depends upon your parents, those experiences determine who you are, each experience you have adds to who you are, and these experiences are what is shapes the brain and in turn determine future decisions the brain will make. I think who you are is really out of your control, we never change for no reason, there is always a reason. Always some experience that shapes the way we think about something which makes us change.

Wikipedia Wrote:Determinism is a metaphysical philosophy stating that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given those conditions, nothing else could happen.

We are the result of our genes experiences and environment, those three things make up who we are. Nothing else could happen other than what is going to happen. I don't think that can be considered free will. Hence the illusion of decision.

(16-01-2013 07:05 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  So you're saying that unlike computers... human beings have a choice and can (and do) even choose an immoral choice on occasion? It sounds to me as though you're saying that a computer's actions are fore ordained but a humans are not.

The 'choice' is dependant upon genes, environments and experience. The individual flying the plane would be someone that has experience taking and following orders, this experience shapes who they are and how they will act in situations in which they receive an order from a authority.

(16-01-2013 07:05 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  So if I do something I had no choice of doing, how am I responsible?

Since were pointing out things that are irrelivant...
This isn't on the topic of the question of the existence or non-existence of free will.

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17-01-2013, 12:04 PM
RE: Free Will
"No, since this is what I am using to explain the lack of free will."

So your proof (or part of it at least) that we have no free will is that we have a memory?

"Yeah actually I worded that terribly.~"

Brain function doesn't stop when we sleep. Dreams take place in the subconscious and some of them or parts of some of them are retained in the conscious mind when we awake.

"I think if you knew all the variables that effected the conversion from
input to output of a brain, you would know exactly how it would respond
to a specific situation."

We haven't enough evidence to prove or disprove that proposition but let's assume that's true, because it's a major point of contention within this debate. In that case, human beings are nothing more than complex assemblies of carbon, differing from rocks only in that complexity. Further, determinists also argue that complexity doesn't matter, since everything is causal and causality cannot be broken. Thus, if human beings are no different than rocks or lions or daffodils, then what we perceive as choice is merely an illusion... which you've asserted. If we continue this examination of determinism and take it to its logical conclusion, we find that morality, love and virtue are also merely illusions over which we have absolutely no control. e.g. I'm my wife simply because of past experiences in my life, one of which being that not unlike two rocks colliding, we ran into each other at some point and had no choice but to spend the next 27 years together. I might think that I'm with her because we're in love but in reality, we don't have any choice but to be together and thus, love is a mere illusion. As virtue goes... when a man intervenes and saves a woman from being raped, he isn't performing a virtuous act since he is only doing so because of causality. He may think he is scared of being killed by the rapist and he may think he is the hero in this situations but again, reality tells us that he had no choice in the matter and thus, the virtue of his action is illusory. Moreover, getting back to a point I've already made, since there can be no virtue, there can be no vice. Since there can be no love, there can be no hate. Since there is no choice, there can be no responsibility. So in the end, all the things we humans have been doing, from helping others to saving money to inventing new technologies to murdering one another is merely a giant conglomeration of uncontrollable, unchangeable effects of causality. This is the point at which determinists get "religious", in my experience. To clarify, I accept that I cannot understand how or why human consciousness functions. Scientifically, we know it does so we know it exists but, since we don't understand it we must simply say, I don't know. I've never heard a determinist say "I don't know" or, provide a cogent explanation of how human consciousness follows the exact same rules that a rock does but at the same time, defies them (north south dichotomy). I'm not saying it can't be explained away logically and (some day) scientifically, I'm merely saying that I've never heard it.

And yes, how we are raised has an incredible amount to do with who we are as adults. People say this all the time and then they turn around and treat their children like chattel slaves or rented property and then wonder why they turn out the way they do. But that's yet another topic of conversation.

"Since were pointing out things that are irrelivant...

This isn't on the topic of the question of the existence or non-existence of free will.
"


On the contrary, this is the single most relevant affect on humanity writ large in its entire history, if determinism is indeed true.
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18-01-2013, 07:29 PM (This post was last modified: 18-01-2013 07:34 PM by Adenosis.)
RE: Free Will
(17-01-2013 12:04 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  "No, since this is what I am using to explain the lack of free will."

So your proof (or part of it at least) that we have no free will is that we have a memory?

No I never said it was proof, I said it helps explain why we do what we do without free will. memory of experience is the main part of why we do what we do.

(17-01-2013 12:04 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  Brain function doesn't stop when we sleep. Dreams take place in the subconscious and some of them or parts of some of them are retained in the conscious mind when we awake.

Again your misunderstanding. I never said brain function stoped, I said concsiousness stops. With the exception of dream states such as lucid dreams. Normal dreams are at the most not fully conscious.

(17-01-2013 12:04 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  "I think if you knew all the variables that effected the conversion from
input to output of a brain, you would know exactly how it would respond
to a specific situation."

We haven't enough evidence to prove or disprove that proposition but let's assume that's true, because it's a major point of contention within this debate. In that case, human beings are nothing more than complex assemblies of carbon, differing from rocks only in that complexity. Further, determinists also argue that complexity doesn't matter, since everything is causal and causality cannot be broken. Thus, if human beings are no different than rocks or lions or daffodils, then what we perceive as choice is merely an illusion... which you've asserted. If we continue this examination of determinism and take it to its logical conclusion, we find that morality, love and virtue are also merely illusions over which we have absolutely no control. e.g. I'm my wife simply because of past experiences in my life, one of which being that not unlike two rocks colliding, we ran into each other at some point and had no choice but to spend the next 27 years together. I might think that I'm with her because we're in love but in reality, we don't have any choice but to be together and thus, love is a mere illusion.

I agree with most of that yep, the difference between rocks, worms, lions and us is complexity. No, love is not an illusion, it is an emotion that arose thanks to evolution as a tool to continue that species. Love makes sure you take care of who it is your having sex with so you then also take care of the children that follow. Love is an emotion and it is not an illusion, it is the result of the 'programming' of the brain.

(17-01-2013 12:04 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  As virtue goes... when a man intervenes and saves a woman from being raped, he isn't performing a virtuous act since he is only doing so because of causality. He may think he is scared of being killed by the rapist and he may think he is the hero in this situations but again, reality tells us that he had no choice in the matter and thus, the virtue of his action is illusory.

A virtue is a positive trait deemed to be morally good, it doesn't matter if he has free will or not, he is still performing a virtuous act.

(17-01-2013 12:04 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  Moreover, getting back to a point I've already made, since there can be no virtue, there can be no vice. Since there can be no love, there can be no hate.

And again, your connecting things to this that have nothing to do with free will. A lack of free will imples none of the things you are pointing out, and the attempt to make it look like this makes it clear that you are not fond of the idea that free will is an illusion.

(17-01-2013 12:04 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  Since there is no choice, there can be no responsibility. So in the end, all the things we humans have been doing, from helping others to saving money to inventing new technologies to murdering one another is merely a giant conglomeration of uncontrollable, unchangeable effects of causality.This is the point at which determinists get "religious", in my experience.

Lack of free will doesn't imply that a person can not change. Punishments for actions like murder and stealing are factors in the mind of a person that help prevent them from doing one of those things. Responcibility is the awareness that there are consequences to actions, and this doesn't change if there is free will or not.

Yes, in my opinion the system known as earth is a mass function of cause and effect, thinking otherwise implies that we believe ourselves to be above the physical laws of the universe. Which reminds me of religion, the arrogant belief that we are special in some way beyond material law.

(17-01-2013 12:04 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  To clarify, I accept that I cannot understand how or why human consciousness functions. Scientifically, we know it does so we know it exists but, since we don't understand it we must simply say, I don't know. I've never heard a determinist say "I don't know" or, provide a cogent explanation of how human consciousness follows the exact same rules that a rock does but at the same time, defies them (north south dichotomy). I'm not saying it can't be explained away logically and (some day) scientifically, I'm merely saying that I've never heard it.

Yes we don't understand how it functions, and to assume we have free will based on an incomplete understanding is rather silly.

Well the dichotomy is false, nothing can happen in the universe except follow the laws the universe has in place. The same rules that apply to the rock apply to a human being, just because it's vastly more complex you assume there is a difference.

(17-01-2013 12:04 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  On the contrary, this is the single most relevant affect on humanity writ large in its entire history, if determinism is indeed true.

The implications of either side being true actually are not on the topic of whether free will exists or not. Society and people will not change if we determine that free will really is an illusion. The only thing that may result short term is the people that hate the idea of determinism may riot then claim they had no choice in the matter, then we'll throw them in jail for being stupid Smile
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18-01-2013, 09:50 PM
RE: Free Will
"The same rules that apply to the rock apply to a human being, just
because it's vastly more complex you assume there is a difference."

No, determinists claim there is no difference between a rock and a human. I ask, "but what about complexity?" and they say "COMPLEXITY DOESN'T MATTER!". I then say that since complexity doesn't matter, a human can be no more responsible for his actions than a rock is for its actions and they say "well, humans are different". Then I say, how are they different? And they say, well, just because humans can choose doesn't mean they have a choice. Humans can only think they choose.

And then I say WTF!?!?!

If you'll excuse me now, I've got to pee and I have no choice but to choose which bathroom I pee in. Shocking
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18-01-2013, 10:14 PM (This post was last modified: 18-01-2013 10:18 PM by Adenosis.)
RE: Free Will
(18-01-2013 09:50 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  "The same rules that apply to the rock apply to a human being, just
because it's vastly more complex you assume there is a difference."

No, determinists claim there is no difference between a rock and a human. I ask, "but what about complexity?" and they say "COMPLEXITY DOESN'T MATTER!". I then say that since complexity doesn't matter, a human can be no more responsible for his actions than a rock is for its actions and they say "well, humans are different". Then I say, how are they different? And they say, well, just because humans can choose doesn't mean they have a choice. Humans can only think they choose.
Good for them? I couldn't care less what they have to say. Just because they say they are determinists doesn't make them some kind of authority. There are many people that fit the label theist but they don't all agree.

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18-01-2013, 11:38 PM
RE: Free Will
I agree. It bugs the hell out of me when people who are part of a group defend every fool thing other group members say simply because they have something in common.

However... "~just because it's vastly more complex you assume there is a difference."

Well, no I don't. I take logic claims at face value. You say there is no difference and I take that claim to its logical conclusion. That conclusion being that humans are no more responsible for their actions than rocks. You then claim that we are different but you have not provided any logical hypothesis for how, nor any empirical evidence supporting your claim. You simply say we're different. Right after you say we're not different.

And to clarify, you admit that we shouldn't jail rocks for crashing into our cars, nor lions for eating our pets but you maintain that humans are no different than rocks or lions, except that we are moral agents and they are not. In order to avoid hypocrisy and conjecture, you must explain the difference. And I'm not asking for empirical evidence... at this point, a valid hypothesis would suffice.

And yes, the moral implications of determinism are the most important consequence to consider. The world runs on morals, not on neurons. Why do you think it is that the ten commandments have lasted for thousands of years and the science of the human brain is a topic which puts most people to sleep?
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19-01-2013, 12:41 PM
RE: Free Will
(15-01-2013 06:35 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  You can look up the Libet Experiments. There are many articles about that and videos as well.

^That.

(15-01-2013 10:53 PM)Aspchizo Wrote:  EDIT: The difference between my position and that of a theist, is that I don't care If I'm proven wrong. If someone can give me a rational reason to accept free will, I will. It is absolutely not a way to throw away responsibility. From what I know thus far, I just don't accept the idea of free will.

Me neither. Doesn't mean I'm not responsible, just means that which I think I am is not in charge the way it thinks it is.

(15-01-2013 10:53 PM)Aspchizo Wrote:  
(15-01-2013 07:00 PM)Chas Wrote:  We certainly have the appearance of having free will.

Indeed we do. I think we can all agree on this.

And from a purely practical perspective, that's all that really matters anyways.

I am us and we is me. ... bitches.
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21-01-2013, 12:07 PM (This post was last modified: 21-01-2013 12:11 PM by Adenosis.)
RE: Free Will
(18-01-2013 11:38 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  You then claim that we are different but you have not provided any logical hypothesis for how, nor any empirical evidence supporting your claim.

Is this entire conversation going to you putting words in my mouth? I'm pretty sure I made it clear there is a difference, but they do follow the same fundamental laws. The difference is the complexity of the system which includes how it is wired.
Do you think the brain follows a different set of physical laws?
Do you have any examples of times when the laws of physics were broken?
Perhaps a object falling away from the earth instead of towards it?

And I already said it doesn't matter if there is free will or not, there is still a sense of responsibility. It doesn't matter if it's different from the sense you are thinking of, if determinism is true which cannot be proven at this time, then you'll have to get over it and stop whining about responsibility. The mind is aware of punishments, most minds were raised this way, and this helps prevent behaviour that ends it up getting punished such as being thrown in jail. If you do something bad, and you have a conscience then you will feel bad about it. There are no major changes in this view, so if you'd like to stop throwing around responsibility, the generic determinism counter argument, that'd be nice, because this is really reminding me of a theist that is complaining about the lack of morality that follows with lack of a god. Those types of comments are not much worth the time it takes to respond to them.

Why would we jail rocks for crashing into cars when rocks don't take into account past experiences? The possibility of jail does nothing to effect a rocks route through space and time.

I never claimed this to be true, I asked for opinions, so why would I be required to give empirical evidence? This is not a debate. There is no evidence that proves either position.

(18-01-2013 11:38 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  Why do you think it is that the ten commandments have lasted for thousands of years and the science of the human brain is a topic which puts most people to sleep?

How does this have anything to do with the topic? This thread also wasn't intended to be about the consequences of there being free will or not, it was meant to be about individual opinions and the reason for that opinion. Hence why my question in the first post was

Quote:Do you think we have Free Will, and Why?

Is your only reasoning for there being free will that you think there would be no responcibility without it?

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29-01-2013, 05:49 PM (This post was last modified: 29-01-2013 06:22 PM by Chaos.)
RE: Free Will
Maybe there's a misunderstanding of the act of choosing with the freedom to act. Indeed, we do make choices, but that's not entirely up to us. From the moment we are born, we grow up in a certain family - some of us are unlucky, like the children from Africa or other poor countries or families, others have the opportunity to grow in a sane environment, with rich, intelligent or caring parents, helping to their personal growth, to the attainment of knowledge and moral values, later in life. Looking in depth, there's not only the environment, a determining role plays the genetic inheritance, so if you're unlucky - meh, there's another term for the lack of free will - you could be born with lots of 'flaws' you have no control over them. The christian hypocrisy goes farther in its dissonance and teaches that flaws are sins inherited from our ancestors and that we are responsible for what we become later in life.

These flaws/sins or virtues are simply tools of nature which makes us strive to carry our genes, or just die fighting. So, there's a tough battle no one wins. Laughat

At least, this is how I see it. Sorry for my English. Blush

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Benjamin Franklin
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