Pretty good article on free will
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09-03-2012, 07:37 AM
Pretty good article on free will
http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/for...52317624/1

what do you guys think.
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09-03-2012, 08:42 AM
RE: Pretty good article on free will
Its a bit scattershot. My own opinion, for what its worth, is that our subconcious mind is as much a part of what we understand to be our individual freewill as our concious mind. And even if our subconcious is much more influenced by historical and environmental data than our concious is - the decisions reached by us individually as a biological entity are ours alone
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09-03-2012, 08:45 AM
RE: Pretty good article on free will
Interesting article. Brings me back to the things Sam Harris was talking about on his website.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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09-03-2012, 09:32 AM
RE: Pretty good article on free will
I love the article and think it's dead-on, but still unconvincing to someone who wants to believe in free will.

The hard part is defining it. I love this definition more than any other I've heard: "A practical test of free will would be this: If you were put in the same position twice — if the tape of your life could be rewound to the exact moment when you made a decision, with every circumstance leading up to that moment the same and all the molecules in the universe aligned in the same way — you could have chosen differently." Not everyone would agree with this definition, though, and many that would agree with it also accept the author's criticism of his own thinking, where he states that there's no way to prove it for certain without being able to rewind time.

The debates I've had on this topic have been unproductive. I don't enjoy arguing about free will anymore because all of our premises and conclusions are drawn from educated guesses and philosophy. I understand that the brain's responses can be judged scientifically, but if you believe in this amorphous spiritual nonphysical "human soul" calling the shots for real, you could still accept that it is still affecting the brain, but simply doing it earlier than we thought before. From experience, this whole debate is still just a dead end, and not one that I've ever walked away from thinking "I made my point."

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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09-03-2012, 10:13 AM
RE: Pretty good article on free will
From the article:
"True "free will," then, would require us to somehow step outside of our brain's structure and modify how it works. Science hasn't shown any way we can do this because "we" are simply constructs of our brain. We can't impose a nebulous "will" on the inputs to our brain that can affect its output of decisions and actions, any more than a programmed computer can somehow reach inside itself and change its program."

Hmmmm. There are inputs that change the program. No doubt. Tongue
After the author talks it over with his favorite bartender, maybe he should stop over to The Official Cannabis Thread and re think that part.

It's all in your head, because there is no other place it could be.
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09-03-2012, 10:52 AM
RE: Pretty good article on free will
I have always thought of free will as an illusion. We make decisions based on our life up to that point, millions and millions of previous thoughts, emotions and assumptions interacting to help us reach what we think might be the correct decision. This will obviously be different for every individual. The variety and sense of self create the illusion of free will, when in reality it is just the accumulation of everything we have learned so far.

In your example star about being put in the same position twice, I think that the person would always do the same thing. They could hypothetically decide differently, but they wouldn't. The decision was made based on their life so far and their character, if their life and character was identical in every way then the same conclusions would be drawn and the same decision made.

"Belief means not wanting to know what is true"
Friedrich Nietzsche
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09-03-2012, 10:59 AM (This post was last modified: 09-03-2012 11:25 AM by satan69.)
RE: Pretty good article on free will
i always said if ted Bundy was born in donald trumps family would he be a serial killer or someone who had access to the best of everything and graduate from the wharton school. would donald trump jr born with ted bundy's family and genes become a serial killer.
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09-03-2012, 11:15 AM
RE: Pretty good article on free will
I think that free will is like evolution, a compilation of experiences guide the orientation of our choices, but there's this randomness element that makes impossible to predict a decision, making every decision slightly independent of determination. As long as we can't predict a decision the debate is moot, because we can't show conclusive evidence for either side of it, and there's valid supportive evidence for both sides, so we're uncertain whether we are free or not, in any case we must consider one thing, the knowledge of a determined future affects that future? if so, does that makes the future unknown again? until science defines better the notion of time we're trapped in this conundrums

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