June 2nd podcast
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05-06-2015, 03:48 PM
June 2nd podcast
I just finished listening to June 2nd podcast and I would like to comment on it. I thought that Dr Coyne's dismissal of defining the subject he was speaking about as mere semantics showed a lack of serious thought. Redefining words as you go along is a classic sleazy debating trick.

His medieval clockwork approach to human behavior ignores the electrochemical nature of the human brain and his ignoring of the possibility of randomness is just shallow.

Of course, if he is correct, I have no choice but to write this email and criticize him and he has no chance of changing anyone's mind who wasn't going to change it anyway. This way lies madness.

He seemed to be backing off of his position when he talked about teaching convicted criminals a lesson, but since he won't define what he is talking about there is plenty of wiggle room.

The only practical way to live life is to assume that we have the power of choice and therefore bear responsibility for our actions.
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05-06-2015, 04:38 PM
RE: June 2nd podcast
Well that's what I call diving head first into the community! Laugh out load

No introduction?

Yes, I found the discussion of free will a real mind bender, but clearly it hit a nerve with you.
There's a great Phillosophy section and Science section here (depending on which angle you take) where I am sure this will generate some intersting discussion.

However, not to be the bearer of bad news, but this isn't an email you're sending! Tongue

Also, your chances of Seth actually appearing and replying to this thread are sadly very slim.

Maybe you should send him a message via the TTA facebook page?

Either way, welcome & I hope you stick around! Shy

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too"? - Douglas Adams Bechased
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05-06-2015, 04:42 PM
RE: June 2nd podcast
That makes two podcasts so far that I had to stop listening to. There have been a few others I struggled through but over all I like the show and the guests. Some of the callers, not so much.
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06-06-2015, 06:36 AM
RE: June 2nd podcast
A few ideas about this podcast.

(1) Criminal Energy

Here in Germany they often note the "criminal energy" required to commit a crime. I am not sure if it is a formal juridical term or just an informal phrase used when formulating the reasoning behind the level of punishment. I think it is a formal term. For example they'll note that the sentence is particularly long because it was premeditated and required great "criminal energy." It is my understanding that the punishment increases with the amount of "criminal energy" required to commit the act, the planning, thought, action and premeditation that goes into it. So...

a) picking up a wallet off the sidewalk and taking out the money

...gets you less punishment than

b) walking across the street and reaching through an open car window and taking a wallet off the seat and taking out the money

...and that gets you less punishment than

c) breaking the care window to steal the money from the wallet

...over and above the additional crime of damaging the car. The act of breaking the window is not only breaking the window, but adding "criminal energy" to the act of stealing the money from the wallet.

Is there a comparable term in American jurisprudence?

(2) Death for Breaking and Entering

I don't think anyone - even the most fanatical pro-death-penalty person - thinks that someone who is unarmed and breaks into a house to rob the jewelry deserves the death penalty. When pro-gun or pro-self-defense people talk about shooting an intruder it isn't about punishing the intruder and giving the intruder what s/he deserves. It is solely about protecting the residents. If that results in the death of the intruder, that was a risk that the intruder took. It resulted from the uncertainty and justified safety concerns of the resident. It wasn't the "punishment" inflicted on the intruder by the resident. I think this is Seth's position as well.

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06-06-2015, 07:38 AM
RE: June 2nd podcast
I have to agree with the OP. I know what Jerry was getting at and he is a bit casual with his definitions.

I watch the conference he was talking about (with Dennett and Weinberg et al) and I find Dennett's description of free-will i.e. volition, to be satisfactory.

But he's right that all were agreed about Determinism (as opposed to Indeterminism).

Jerry Coyne is focusing on what Dennett refers to as the Physical Stance and not the Intentional Stance.

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07-06-2015, 07:50 AM (This post was last modified: 07-06-2015 07:58 AM by cactus.)
RE: June 2nd podcast
It seems to me that this whole "determinism" thing really doesn't have any practical application whatsoever. It's just an interesting philosophical discussion.

I feel like I have free will, and that's good enough for me. Maybe that's just because I have low standards, but I could probably learn way more about free will (in a practical sense) by talking to a marketing analyst than I could by thinking about the (possibly... maybe... we don't really know at all) indeterminate nature of quantum mechanics.

If we came from dust, then why is there still dust?
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07-06-2015, 02:36 PM
RE: June 2nd podcast
(07-06-2015 07:50 AM)cactus Wrote:  I feel like I have free will, and that's good enough for me.

I feel like I don't, and that's good enough for me. Tongue

With contemporary brain scanning technology, other scientists in 2008 were able to predict with 60% accuracy whether subjects would press a button with their left or right hand up to 10 seconds before the subject became aware of having made that choice.

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem. - Camus
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