Free Will
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29-01-2013, 06:41 PM
RE: Free Will
(29-01-2013 05:49 PM)Chaosss Wrote:  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.
In what way is it up to us though? People like to think that we have some say in things but I don't see how they come to that conclusion. We are all the result of the law of cause and effect, just like everything else, how would we be any different?

The fact that the brain is complex enough system to generate consciousness tends to bring people to the conclusion that we are different than everything else somehow. Well how is that?

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29-01-2013, 07:38 PM (This post was last modified: 29-01-2013 07:43 PM by fstratzero.)
RE: Free Will
I don't know if free will exists or not. I do know there is evidence suggesting that free will does not exist. However I'll need more evidence than is currently available before I adopt the no free will stance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroscienc...s_illusion
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will#Neuroscience



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30-01-2013, 12:34 AM
RE: Free Will
I like Hitchen's explanation for why he thought we had free will.

" I believe in irony. I say that we do have free will, because we have no choice. But the theist says that we have free will because the boss told us we have to have it."
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30-01-2013, 04:25 AM (This post was last modified: 30-01-2013 04:36 AM by Chaos.)
RE: Free Will
(29-01-2013 06:41 PM)Aspchizo Wrote:  In what way is it up to us though? People like to think that we have some say in things but I don't see how they come to that conclusion. We are all the result of the law of cause and effect, just like everything else, how would we be any different?

The fact that the brain is complex enough system to generate consciousness tends to bring people to the conclusion that we are different than everything else somehow. Well how is that?

I didn't meant to say that it is up to us in a conscious manner, we are just interacting with the environment and the environment is interacting with us. We live in a kind of symbiotic relationship, so when we choose to do something is because of the favors we might get, or because there's a biological mechanism that drives us to choose something, also in turn, we could influence others to do or to become something, based on the same principles. I hope I haven't been ambiguous this time. So yeah, I am hardcore determinism, I don't believe in free will at all. Actually, the main reason I become an atheist is because I realized that we have no free will. It's interesting because I feel like I'm on autopilot almost all the time - except when I'm not thinking about it. Don't know if others do feel the same. Consider

I also find it interesting how some folks easily trust in the theory of evolution but they can't deal with the fact that we are made of flesh machines. It is kind of contradictory, IMO.

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Benjamin Franklin
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30-01-2013, 08:13 PM (This post was last modified: 30-01-2013 08:16 PM by Adenosis.)
RE: Free Will
(30-01-2013 04:25 AM)Chaos Wrote:  So yeah, I am hardcore determinism, I don't believe in free will at all. Actually, the main reason I become an atheist is because I realized that we have no free will. It's interesting because I feel like I'm on autopilot almost all the time - except when I'm not thinking about it. Don't know if others do feel the same. Consider

Yeah I get what you meant now. Exactly, we are the result of what happens in nature, we convert the input of nature into output based on the programs we run.

Yeah I notice myself on 'autopilot' a lot. Especially when I'm doing something I do often, the subconscious part of the brain is able to just take over and I don't have to pay attention at all. I Can be off thinking about something without actually stopping the task at hand. An example is when driving a familiar route, and you get in a conversation with someone. The conscious mind is focused on the conversation, and the subconscious takes over the driving. It's really fascinating when we stop to study ourselves and realize that things aren't as they might seem at first glance.

This is why I think everyone should familiarize themselves with mindfulness meditation. Just because I say so doesn't mean anyone has to Tongue But if anyone is interested in consciousness then it's a good thing to look in to. It has nothing to do with anything supernatural, it just focuses on your mind. I don't remember if I linked this before, probably but oh well.





(30-01-2013 04:25 AM)Chaos Wrote:  I also find it interesting how some folks easily trust in the theory of evolution but they can't deal with the fact that we are made of flesh machines. It is kind of contradictory, IMO.

Exactly. Some people make fun of theists for thinking their so special, yet it seems like even these people think their special in some way, slightly hypocritical.

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30-01-2013, 08:54 PM
RE: Free Will
"Exactly. Some people make fun of theists for thinking their so special,
yet it seems like even these people think their special in some way,
slightly hypocritical."

No, we're human. Women who like casual sex with strangers are special.

Getting back on topic. We don't know how consciousness works yet... that doesn't mean we think it's magic.
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30-01-2013, 09:02 PM
RE: Free Will
(30-01-2013 08:54 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  No, we're human.

Well I'm glad we agree here. Big Grin

(30-01-2013 08:54 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  Getting back on topic. We don't know how consciousness works yet... that doesn't mean we think it's magic.

You might not see it as magic, but that's how I see the idea of free will.

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31-01-2013, 08:23 AM (This post was last modified: 31-01-2013 08:26 AM by Chaos.)
RE: Free Will
(30-01-2013 08:13 PM)Aspchizo Wrote:  This is why I think everyone should familiarize themselves with mindfulness meditation. Just because I say so doesn't mean anyone has to Tongue But if anyone is interested in consciousness then it's a good thing to look in to. It has nothing to do with anything supernatural, it just focuses on your mind. I don't remember if I linked this before, probably but oh well.

Sorry to ask, but what's this good for? It was a bit awkward seeing Sam Harris preaching this.

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Benjamin Franklin
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31-01-2013, 10:26 AM (This post was last modified: 31-01-2013 10:44 AM by Adenosis.)
RE: Free Will
(31-01-2013 08:23 AM)Chaos Wrote:  
(30-01-2013 08:13 PM)Aspchizo Wrote:  This is why I think everyone should familiarize themselves with mindfulness meditation. Just because I say so doesn't mean anyone has to Tongue But if anyone is interested in consciousness then it's a good thing to look in to. It has nothing to do with anything supernatural, it just focuses on your mind. I don't remember if I linked this before, probably but oh well.

Sorry to ask, but what's this good for? It was a bit awkward seeing Sam Harris preaching this.
People are typically always thinking about something, so it's easy to overlook some of the most basic parts of our experience as conscious beings. It helps you better understand the conscious mind (helped me at least) and it helps with attention and concentration. You would be surprised how hard it is to sit comfortably and to not get lost in thought. I notice my mind is really clear after a meditation session. I think it has a lot to do with training the mind not to analyse or over-analyse every thought that appears in consciousness, clears up a lot of RAM Wink

It's hard to get into, because everyone is going to think "Why would I waste time doing absolutely nothing", which I get, because I had the exact same problem. It's not doing absolutely nothing though, it's focusing on the sensations and thoughts that arise in consciousness while trying to not get lost in thought. I think we tend to get so caught up in the external experiences that we don't take the time to understand ourselves to the extent we could.

It kind of closes the illusory gap between the infamous 'I' and the physical body. I don't know how many people feel/felt this way, but for my whole life it felt like I was somehow separate from my body, not really an result of it. It wasn't related to a belief in anything supernatural because I still felt this way when I became an atheist, it's just when I started meditating that the gap dissolved.

Does that make sense? Tongue

EDIT: I think (90% sure Tongue) I remember Sam saying it was really good for people that have suffered loss (I can find where he says this if someone wants). To some people this will sounds cold, but you'll get over it. Thoughts constantly arise in consciousness that are relevant to current situations and experiences. If someone like a spouse dies, you can be sure in most people that thoughts of them will constantly be pushing into consciousness, which makes them feel depressed. All you really have to do is refuse to entertain the thoughts that arise that relate to that person, focus on something else. The rest of the brain eventually catches on that stimulating consciousness with these thoughts is pointless and so it stops. Now this might seem obvious but it doesn't seem like anyone actually does this, they wait for weeks/months to get over it or never do. Now i've never had anyone close to me die, so I can't say I've tried this, but when someone near me does die I will be able to relate.

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31-01-2013, 10:51 AM (This post was last modified: 31-01-2013 11:10 AM by Chaos.)
RE: Free Will
(31-01-2013 10:26 AM)Aspchizo Wrote:  Does that make sense? Tongue

Yep. I kinda understand the purpose behind it. I've always been suffering of over thinking which is not always a good thing, sometimes my mind is wandering in different places, different thoughts arise giving rise to other questions. It's a damn stress. Many times I even avoid reading books because it makes me think too much. I have no idea why such thing is happening, in a while I was thinking maybe I could suffer of ADD. Therefore, I think meditation would be recommended for me, but just wondering - isn't that a regress? It seems to me like a kind of hibernation. Sorry for offtopic. Unsure

Edit: do you think that thinking less, you could be more rational?
If I remember well, Sam Harris talked also about the perception of right and wrong which could be altered by this train of thoughts. Maybe this is why meditation is recommended. Consider

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