Free Will
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26-04-2010, 08:55 PM
Free Will
In the Omnithread, Ceryle made the following statements, and I figured that it was time that free will got its own thread here anyway.

(26-04-2010 08:32 PM)Ceryle Wrote:  I think that the possibilities of a humans actions, are restricted by their environment, evolutionary capacity, and universal constraints. Otherwise, anything within those boundaries is free game.

(26-04-2010 08:44 PM)Ceryle Wrote:  What I am saying is that free will, exists for a human within those boundaries. Outside of that and it becomes effectively impossible for a human to navigate; i.e. a human is not capable of acting outside of its nature; else it would no longer be human.

Now, before we start, I think I should state my position on free will: it doesn't exist.
I'm a determinist. Everything in this universe has a cause. Everything is governed by laws, up to and including quantum events (even though the laws at a quantum level concern probability). Because everything in this universe has a cause, that precludes free will.
Human brains are incredibly complex machines, but they work through electrochemical reactions, and these reactions, like everything else in the universe, are causal. Humans are simply stimulus-response machines that work with exceedingly fine levels of stimulus.
Ceryle's posts caught my eye as an argument for free will that I hadn't seen before, and I thought we should talk about it here, as it's extremely interesting. Anyone else who wants to weigh in on the subject is free to do so, of course.
So let me start it off. Ceryle, what exactly is your opinion on free will? Could you explain the way it works for us?

"Sometimes it is better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness."
- Terry Pratchett
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26-04-2010, 09:13 PM
 
RE: Free Will
(26-04-2010 08:55 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  In the Omnithread, Ceryle made the following statements, and I figured that it was time that free will got its own thread here anyway.

(26-04-2010 08:32 PM)Ceryle Wrote:  I think that the possibilities of a humans actions, are restricted by their environment, evolutionary capacity, and universal constraints. Otherwise, anything within those boundaries is free game.

(26-04-2010 08:44 PM)Ceryle Wrote:  What I am saying is that free will, exists for a human within those boundaries. Outside of that and it becomes effectively impossible for a human to navigate; i.e. a human is not capable of acting outside of its nature; else it would no longer be human.

Now, before we start, I think I should state my position on free will: it doesn't exist.
I'm a determinist. Everything in this universe has a cause. Everything is governed by laws, up to and including quantum events (even though the laws at a quantum level concern probability). Because everything in this universe has a cause, that precludes free will.
Human brains are incredibly complex machines, but they work through electrochemical reactions, and these reactions, like everything else in the universe, are causal. Humans are simply stimulus-response machines that work with exceedingly fine levels of stimulus.
Ceryle's posts caught my eye as an argument for free will that I hadn't seen before, and I thought we should talk about it here, as it's extremely interesting. Anyone else who wants to weigh in on the subject is free to do so, of course.
So let me start it off. Ceryle, what exactly is your opinion on free will? Could you explain the way it works for us?

Before I chime in, You mentioned Yahweh in the previous post, Some said God, can we clarify what God or god we are talking about. Easier for me if we said the God of the Bible.
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26-04-2010, 09:15 PM
RE: Free Will
Yahweh is the god of the Bible, if I'm not mistaken.

"Sometimes it is better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness."
- Terry Pratchett
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26-04-2010, 09:22 PM
 
RE: Free Will
(26-04-2010 09:15 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  Yahweh is the god of the Bible, if I'm not mistaken.

You are right, but it is spelled YHWH, but is that the God everyone else is talking about?
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26-04-2010, 09:27 PM
 
RE: Free Will
Quite simply, I hold that humanity is capable of free will, within the constraints of its existence.

What this entails is that free will, or the ability to perform a given action, is contingent upon an organisms universal boundaries. For a simplified example, I will choose a squirrel. A squirrel is not able to perform an action that it is not capable of doing, for to do so, would mean that it is no longer a squirrel, as we know it. A squirrel is not able to uproot a fully grown tree, it biologically is incapable in doing so. Similarly, when winter draws near, the squirrel is constrained by its environment in its options. It may horde provisions for the coming harsh months, as has been proved an intelligent course of action through evolutionary means; or, it may not horde provisions. Technically, it is capable of either of these choices. Though choosing the later will mean that it is likely to die, thus limiting its genetic reproduction and producing an ever diminishing possibility for a member of its species to choose this option. Lastly, an unaltered squirrel is not capable of traveling at super-luminal speeds, for to do so would defy the laws of the universe as we know them today.

As I'm certain everyone will agree, a squirrel is capable of remembering and thinking about things. It is not capable though, of thinking about advanced theoretical concepts. Thus my contrast comes to a close.

A human, though having a much higher boundary as the squirrel in terms of possible choices, is never-the-less still restricted by the constraints that border its existence.
Yes Martin, I am referring to Yahweh, or YHWH as you put it, I merely spelled it out entirely.
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26-04-2010, 09:33 PM
RE: Free Will
(26-04-2010 09:22 PM)martinb59 Wrote:  
(26-04-2010 09:15 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  Yahweh is the god of the Bible, if I'm not mistaken.

You are right, but it is spelled YHWH, but is that the God everyone else is talking about?

Yep.

(26-04-2010 09:27 PM)Ceryle Wrote:  Quite simply, I hold that humanity is capable of free will, within the constraints of its existence.

What this entails is that free will, or the ability to perform a given action, is contingent upon an organisms universal boundaries. For a simplified example, I will choose a squirrel. A squirrel is not able to perform an action that it is not capable of doing, for to do so, would mean that it is no longer a squirrel, as we know it. A squirrel is not able to uproot a fully grown tree, it biologically is incapable in doing so. Similarly, when winter draws near, the squirrel is constrained by its environment in its options. It may horde provisions for the coming harsh months, as has been proved an intelligent course of action through evolutionary means; or, it may not horde provisions. Technically, it is capable of either of these choices. Though choosing the later will mean that it is likely to die, thus limiting its genetic reproduction and producing an ever diminishing possibility for a member of its species to choose this option. Lastly, an unaltered squirrel is not capable of traveling at super-luminal speeds, for to do so would defy the laws of the universe as we know them today.

As I'm certain everyone will agree, a squirrel is capable of remembering and thinking about things. It is not capable though, of thinking about advanced theoretical concepts. Thus my contrast comes to a close.

A human, though having a much higher boundary as the squirrel in terms of possible choices, is never-the-less still restricted by the constraints that border its existence.

So what is your reaction to what I said about causality forcing the organism to behave a certain way? What mechanism bypasses this?

"Sometimes it is better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness."
- Terry Pratchett
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26-04-2010, 09:37 PM
RE: Free Will
I've talked about this before, I agree with Unbeliever. I have no reason to suspect that we have anything in our brains that can escape the law of causality.

I don't believe Jesus is the son of God until I see the long form birth certificate!
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26-04-2010, 09:46 PM
 
RE: Free Will
There really isn't. My view is not so terribly different from yours. If only from a different perspective. A human is not capable of thinking unlike a human, redundant as that is, however it is capable of the full breadth of intellectual freedom, within that domain.

What I am getting at is that humanity has evolved past a certain point in evolutionary and biological terms, wherein it becomes possible to subvert various reactions. Case in point, religion.
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26-04-2010, 10:54 PM
RE: Free Will
The thing I'm asking is "How far does that domain extend?" What is a human capable of thinking? What determines which of those options the human takes? How does it do this?

"Sometimes it is better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness."
- Terry Pratchett
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26-04-2010, 11:09 PM
 
RE: Free Will
The domain extends as far as it is possible for you to conceptualize a scenario wherein you perform a plausible action. You are capable of thinking, about anything that you are capable of thinking about...there really isn't so much of a barrier here, which is why I pointed it out earlier, as a kind of evolutionary subversion of baser principles.

The action a human will take, is dependent upon a plethora of factors, beginning from the origin of the universe, all the way up until that action occurs. How does it happen? Connective logic and causality from here on out really.

...I'm doing short answers here and not really explaining in depth due to fatigue. It's one here. >_<
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