Free will and god?
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23-11-2013, 11:10 AM
RE: Free will and god?
(23-11-2013 06:10 AM)Chippy Wrote:  Physical determinism is the idea that the laws of physics--i.e. the behaviour of the physical universe--are/is entirely deterministic. That was the prevailing view of the universe prior to quantum mechanics. The prevailing analogy was of clockwork, that if you knew all the relevant laws and the initial conditions you could--at least in theory--predict all subsequent events. There is no such thing as randomness--i.e. non-determinism--in a clockwork universe. According to Laplace, randomness was only apparent and was in actuality a product of human ignorance.

According to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics--the most common and "standard" interpretation--physical determinism is false and randomness is an objective feature of the physical universe.
Monster_Riffs
One doesn't have to be a determinist in order to reject free will. A realisation that quantum events are predictably random and never controlled by a person's conscious will is enough to realise that a person cannot will physical events to occur. Our ability to control physical events is entirely constrained by our ability to manipulate the forces governing existence. e.g. to turn a light bulb on we must physically make an electric circuit. We can't merely "will" electrons to move, or will chemical reactions to occur.
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23-11-2013, 11:45 AM
RE: Free will and god?
(23-11-2013 02:06 AM)Chippy Wrote:  
(23-11-2013 01:15 AM)Stevil Wrote:  Whereas you also made a claim but refused to back up your own claim.

No, I didn't. The problem there was that you are too stupid to understand the evidence I presented. That isn't my problem and there is nothing I can do about that.
Just for the record


(02-11-2013 06:33 PM)Chippy Wrote:  
(02-11-2013 10:26 AM)Stevil Wrote:  Please present you link to the study of the quality you demand of Mark that supports your statement "Whatever benefit--if any at all--can be realised by just taking them at the RDA."

All of the data that the RDA is based on is evidence for my claim. I'm not going to to cite you a paper for every single nutrient. Name one and I'll cite you the papers that show that the RDA is adequate.

(03-11-2013 03:29 AM)Stevil Wrote:  The Recommended Daily Allowance is for normal people, in normal situations, it does not address particular states of illness.

Provide the evidence backing your claim.

(03-11-2013 10:52 AM)Stevil Wrote:  
(03-11-2013 05:37 AM)Chippy Wrote:  The burden of evidence always falls on the claimant.
I am so happy that we both agree.
You made the claim
Whatever benefit--if any at all--can be realised by just taking them at the RDA.

You demanded of Mark evidence in the form of double-blind placebo controlled clinical trials
Now instead of being a weasel I am again offering you an opportunity to become a man.
Provide the evidence backing your claim. (Man up!)

(04-11-2013 12:28 AM)Stevil Wrote:  
(04-11-2013 12:21 AM)Chippy Wrote:  I could educate you by telling you that the burden of proof always rests on the claimant.
I absolutely agree, so please provide evidence to back up your claim
Whatever benefit--if any at all--can be realised by just taking them at the RDA.

(04-11-2013 02:18 AM)Chippy Wrote:  
(04-11-2013 01:23 AM)Stevil Wrote:  Whatever benefit--if any at all--can be realised by just taking them at the RDA.

That is the null hypothesis and it is the null hypothesis because no evidence has been produced that those with MDD need to be overdosed on any nutrient.


So no evidence was provided, just a weasle out. Oh well.
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23-11-2013, 03:36 PM
RE: Free will and god?
(23-11-2013 06:10 AM)Chippy Wrote:  
(23-11-2013 02:41 AM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  so could you point me in the right direction for a layman's overview of explanations for the more commonly accepted arguments please?

Dennett's books on the topic are perhaps the most accessible:

Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting
Freedom Evolves

I advise you ignore all of the posts of the people that have stated that free will doesn't exist where they have not defined what they mean by free will (which in this case is all of them). Those posts are semantically hollow--they mean nothing. Bollocks-talk is customary on this forum and erudition is routinely denigrated. The idea that someone may have read books and academic papers on a topic is an alien notion to many here. "I'm an ignorant fuckhead so you too must be an ignorant fuckhead" is the operative logic of non-contributors such as FSM_scot, Stark Raving, Stevil etc. Notice that no one besides Girly Man responded to your request for introductory philosophical material in your thread. I haven't responded because I wanted to see what the outcome will be and it was as I have expected. So apparently you don't need even an introductory level education in philosophy to pronounce that there is no such thing as free will. This is the taxi-driver phenomenon: human progress is hindered by the fact that everyone that knows how to fix the world is driving a taxi.

One of the major problems in the free will vs. determinism debate is defining what free will actually consists in. Also, the most common position on the matter amongst philosophers--that also happens to coincide with laypersons intuitions (when the key terms are soundly defined)--is that determinism is compatible with free will. This view is termed compatibilism and is defended by Dennett in the above books.

Another exciting development in this field are the so-called two-stage models of free will. The most interesting of these are based in neuroscientific results. Of note is Martin Heisenberg's short essay in Nature Is free will an illusion? (attached because it is behind a paywall). It is a well-established result that neurons display non-deterministic behaviour, e.g. random opening and closing of ion channels and random discharges. Heisenberg argues that this randomness can form the basis of originary behaviour. Heisenberg also cites his studies of Drosophila as supportive of his thesis. The two-stages refers to the non-deterministic origination of thoughts followed by a deterministic selection from the perceived options. This idea is analogous to evolution by natural selection: random variation followed by deterministic environmental selection. This neurological flexibility would have evolved for the same reasons that the generative mechanism of evolution by natural selection evolved and has been preserved--because it facilitates adaptation to a changing environment. Heisenberg's model is also a type of compatibilism.

Quote:Could anyone give me a clearer explanation of physical determinism?

Physical determinism is the idea that the laws of physics--i.e. the behaviour of the physical universe--are/is entirely deterministic. That was the prevailing view of the universe prior to quantum mechanics. The prevailing analogy was of clockwork, that if you knew all the relevant laws and the initial conditions you could--at least in theory--predict all subsequent events. There is no such thing as randomness--i.e. non-determinism--in a clockwork universe. According to Laplace, randomness was only apparent and was in actuality a product of human ignorance.

According to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics--the most common and "standard" interpretation--physical determinism is false and randomness is an objective feature of the physical universe.

Thank you SO MUCH for this. It's a lot of information to get through. I've never got around to Dennett's books.I'll get them and try and get to grips with them. The two steps to free will stuff paralleled with evolution makes sense on a surface level. I've had a long day so I'll reread it a few times tomorrow. ... And yeah, girly got straight on that and helped me out straight away! I appreciate all you guys trying to help a guy execute my ignorance Smile

A man blames his bad childhood on leprechauns. He claims they don't exist, but yet still says without a doubt that they stole all his money and then killed his parents. That's why he became Leprechaun-Man

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23-11-2013, 03:44 PM
RE: Free will and god?
(23-11-2013 11:10 AM)Stevil Wrote:  
(23-11-2013 06:10 AM)Chippy Wrote:  Physical determinism is the idea that the laws of physics--i.e. the behaviour of the physical universe--are/is entirely deterministic. That was the prevailing view of the universe prior to quantum mechanics. The prevailing analogy was of clockwork, that if you knew all the relevant laws and the initial conditions you could--at least in theory--predict all subsequent events. There is no such thing as randomness--i.e. non-determinism--in a clockwork universe. According to Laplace, randomness was only apparent and was in actuality a product of human ignorance.

According to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics--the most common and "standard" interpretation--physical determinism is false and randomness is an objective feature of the physical universe.
Monster_Riffs
One doesn't have to be a determinist in order to reject free will. A realisation that quantum events are predictably random and never controlled by a person's conscious will is enough to realise that a person cannot will physical events to occur. Our ability to control physical events is entirely constrained by our ability to manipulate the forces governing existence. e.g. to turn a light bulb on we must physically make an electric circuit. We can't merely "will" electrons to move, or will chemical reactions to occur.

Thanks for the input mate. I don't think you and I are defining free will from the same starting point. My idea of free will is freedom of thinking, choices, controlling of ones own destiny within the confines of reality. As opposed to fate or a predetermined destiny.

To clarify, I have the choice to switch a light on or off within the parameters of reality. Just because I can't do it telepathically doesn't mean I don't have free will, surely? That's if I've understood you correctly? Smile

A man blames his bad childhood on leprechauns. He claims they don't exist, but yet still says without a doubt that they stole all his money and then killed his parents. That's why he became Leprechaun-Man

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23-11-2013, 05:40 PM
RE: Free will and god?
(23-11-2013 03:44 PM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  Thanks for the input mate. I don't think you and I are defining free will from the same starting point. My idea of free will is freedom of thinking, choices, controlling of ones own destiny within the confines of reality. As opposed to fate or a predetermined destiny.

To clarify, I have the choice to switch a light on or off within the parameters of reality. Just because I can't do it telepathically doesn't mean I don't have free will, surely? That's if I've understood you correctly? Smile
I'm saying that you are merely a conscious observer.
That there is no ghost in the machine.

The machine being the physical mechanisms of your brain and body.
"The ghost" being an ability to control the machine (brain and body) without being confined to the natural forces acting on the brain. This ghostly ability is akin to supernatural powers.

If you think the mind can make choices then you are making a claim that the "mind" can choose the path of an electron or it can choose a chemical reaction to occur.Because the brain operates via moving electrons and chemical reactions. So in order to move your hand, your brain must send electric signals to the muscles of your hand.
Can you really choose the path of an electron or does the electron only move because it must, because of the natural forces operating on it?
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24-11-2013, 02:32 AM
RE: Free will and god?
Thanks for the clarification Stevil, I think I have a better idea of what you.are getting at now but I think where you and I differ at our starting point, in terms of defining free will. Don't forget I am a mere layman and new to this topic so please forgive in advance the following clumsy explanation Smile

You're essentially saying that because our 'will' can't control things outside of reality, ie: I can't turn a light on with my mind, that it is limited and therefore not free?

Here is my stance, everything only exists within reality therefore this is all I need to concern myself with.I fully accept that my will only functions within the confines of the laws of physics so telepathic acts, like switching a light on with my mind would be cool but has no bearing on reality or my free will.

Of course I fully accept that my brain creaes neural pathways without choice, moving my hand, but this isn't relevant to free will. Your stance seems to be, free will can't do x, y and z, therefore free will can't do anything. I can't accept this, it makes no sense, I can't ride to the moon on my mountain bike, this doesn't mean my mountain bike ceases to exist. (If I go to the garage this morning and it's gone Stevil, I hold you personally responsible haha). This is where I have a problem with your thinking mate. To say free will can't do some things doesn't mean it therefore can't do anything.

Free will exists where everything else does, in reality and functions freely within it. Making choices doesn't mean that electrons are plucked from nowhere. Like any electronic device on standby, the brain already has a current in it, when I make a choice, does the current go down a predetermined pathway, most of the time yes. It has been predetermined neurologically and psychologically based on my experience of interacting with reality. I still make a choice (freedom to choose and making decisions to be my understanding of free will) the logistics of it are inconsequential. Also, if I learn something new, a part of my brain dedicates itself to make a new neural path way, it will use old ones as reference, your thing about moving the hand, my new one the hand learns to play piano, the free will part would lie in the decision to learn to play the piano.

For now mate, this is the best stab at an answer I can make, any further in to it and it would be speculation about neuro science and I'm not willing to go down that road. I am going to read up loads on free will though, the subject has really caught my interest. Smile

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24-11-2013, 03:30 AM
RE: Free will and god?
(23-11-2013 05:40 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I'm saying that you are merely a conscious observer.

What is an observer of what?

Quote:"The ghost" being an ability to control the machine (brain and body) without being confined to the natural forces acting on the brain. This ghostly ability is akin to supernatural powers.

You are your brain, you can't treat it as an external entity. There is no you that is separate from your brain. You are impiicitly appealing to a mind-body dualism. It is you that is making a supernatural claim.

Quote:If you think the mind can make choices then you are making a claim that the "mind" can choose the path of an electron or it can choose a chemical reaction to occur.

There is no such thing as a mind (noun); mind is what the brain does, it is a properly a verb. Szasz suggested that we should say "minding" to always keep it clear that it is an activity of the brain and not a thing. There is no mind acting on the brain so your argument is meaningless. There is only the brain operating and there is good evidence that it does not operate entirely deterministically. Most of its actvity is deterministic but some of it is indeterministic.

Quote:Because the brain operates via moving electrons and chemical reactions. So in order to move your hand, your brain must send electric signals to the muscles of your hand.

Yes and that has no bearing on human free will unless you arbitrarily define human free will as being synonymous with contra-causal free will.

Quote:Can you really choose the path of an electron

Who is you? Again you are implicitly appealing to a mind-body dualism. Also what specifically do you mean by "choose"?

Quote:or does the electron only move because it must, because of the natural forces operating on it?

Neural activity can be both deterministic and indeterministic. Free will doesn't depend on somehow evading "natural forces". The evasion of natural forces is contra-causal free will and that is an incoherent concept that has no bearing on human agency. Who decided that human free will means contra-causal free will? Why would a supernatural concept serve as a meaningful test for human agency? Your referencing of contra-causal free will is introducing supernatural concepts into the discussion.

If human free agency is to be equated with contra-causal free will then why not also equate human communication with telepathy and say that talking is not real communication because we are using our vocal cords and mouth? On what grounds are you privileging contra-causal free will? Where have you seen contra-causal free will? Who or what has contra-causal free will such that it deserves to be a standard or test?
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24-11-2013, 12:03 PM
RE: Free will and god?
(24-11-2013 03:30 AM)Chippy Wrote:  
(23-11-2013 05:40 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I'm saying that you are merely a conscious observer.

What is an observer of what?
I'm saying that the "thinking self", "the mind", is not in the driver's seat. It is merely an observer.

(24-11-2013 03:30 AM)Chippy Wrote:  
Quote:"The ghost" being an ability to control the machine (brain and body) without being confined to the natural forces acting on the brain. This ghostly ability is akin to supernatural powers.

You are your brain, you can't treat it as an external entity. There is no you that is separate from your brain. You are impiicitly appealing to a mind-body dualism. It is you that is making a supernatural claim.
Nope, my position is that there is no Ghost, that the "mind" is merely a conscious observer. That for "free will" to exist there needs to be a Ghost controlling things via Supernatural powers. But I do not believe in free will, there is no Ghost, there are no supernatural powers.

(24-11-2013 03:30 AM)Chippy Wrote:  
Quote:If you think the mind can make choices then you are making a claim that the "mind" can choose the path of an electron or it can choose a chemical reaction to occur.

There is no such thing as a mind (noun); mind is what the brain does, it is a properly a verb. Szasz suggested that we should say "minding" to always keep it clear that it is an activity of the brain and not a thing. There is no mind acting on the brain so your argument is meaningless. There is only the brain operating and there is good evidence that it does not operate entirely deterministically. Most of its actvity is deterministic but some of it is indeterministic.
I'm not arguing for dualism, I am not arguing that the mind is anything other than and abstract conceptual view of the brain. But a person that believes in "free will" must believe that the "mind" has control and can exert force on the physical thus being a cause. I do not believe in free will.

(24-11-2013 03:30 AM)Chippy Wrote:  
Quote:Because the brain operates via moving electrons and chemical reactions. So in order to move your hand, your brain must send electric signals to the muscles of your hand.

Yes and that has no bearing on human free will unless you arbitrarily define human free will as being synonymous with contra-causal free will.
This has every bearing on free will. If the "mind" is merely a conscious observer then it has no ability what-so-ever to make any decisions. It merely thinks it is making decisions. Which is why it is often described as the "illusion of free will".
So without contra-causal free will we are no more capable of making any choices then a rock is capable of making any choices. The difference between us and the rock is that we think we are making choices where-as the rock is not fooled into this thinking.

(24-11-2013 03:30 AM)Chippy Wrote:  
Quote:Can you really choose the path of an electron

Who is you? Again you are implicitly appealing to a mind-body dualism. Also what specifically do you mean by "choose"?
The metaphysical "self", the "conscious mind" is incapable of making choices, incapable of controlling the brain. Thus we are merely meat based machines, the only "choices" we can make are very similar to the choices a computer program makes. In reality a computer program cannot make any choices it merely obeys its programming.
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24-11-2013, 12:21 PM
RE: Free will and god?
Somebody give this guy a Turing test. Dodgy

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24-11-2013, 12:39 PM
RE: Free will and god?
(24-11-2013 02:32 AM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  Thanks for the clarification Stevil, I think I have a better idea of what you.are getting at now but I think where you and I differ at our starting point, in terms of defining free will. Don't forget I am a mere layman and new to this topic so please forgive in advance the following clumsy explanation Smile

You're essentially saying that because our 'will' can't control things outside of reality, ie: I can't turn a light on with my mind, that it is limited and therefore not free?
No, I'll try again. This time with an analogy.

Let's say you are playing a computer game. There is a joystick in your hand, a computer and a monitor. When you move the joystick left, your character moves left, when you move it right your character moves right, when you press the button your character throws knives.

You think you are doing pretty well in the game, until a friend points out to you that your joystick is not plugged into the computer (its not a bluetooth or infrared transmitting joystick either).
So now you are thinking WTF, how come the joystick works?

Your friend points out another cable that is plugged into the computer but is also plugged into the back of your head.
You say "Cool, I'm controlling the game with my thoughts"
But then your friend points out that the cable is plugged into the output terminal of the computer, this means that signals are going from the computer to your brain, but not from your brain to the computer.

"WTF" you say as you realise that you aren't controlling the game, that instead it is the computer that is controlling your "mind" making you think it is you that is making the choices, making you "think" that you are controlling the game.

This is what Chippy is referring to as "contra-causal" free will.
He recognises that "contra-causal" free will does not exist, because it is the machine that controls rather than the "mind".
But it seems Chippy sees value in describing the "free will" of the character in the game, as if the character has the ability to choose to go right or left, or if something is forcing it to go in only one direction e.g. an unbeatable monster with big laser guns to the left.
But as we know the character makes no choices, there is a program controlling the character. This program includes rules e.g. if likelihood of death to the left then go right. If right and left are valid options then run "random generator" sub program to decide which direction to go. The choice is thus already made because the program was written long ago. There is no spur of the moment decision being made instead the character is merely following the rules.
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