Question about free will??
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14-02-2012, 10:40 AM
RE: Question about free will??
(14-02-2012 09:50 AM)Jeff Wrote:  
(14-02-2012 08:54 AM)DLJ Wrote:  The evidence points to a predictable universe.

What is the evidence?

Also, what evidence would disprove your assertion?

That was Superliminal's line, not mine.
I think there is predictability in terms of actions/reactions or actions/consequences. See my earlier post re. the uber-computer.

Cheers
DLJ
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14-02-2012, 11:33 AM
RE: Question about free will??
A computer could never model the universe because of the operative word; model. George EP Box once said that all models are wrong, but some are useful. This is because a model is an abstraction of reality, not reality itself. It is necessarily incomplete. A 100% accurate model is the thing it is modeling. So if we created a computer that created a 100% accurate model of our universe, we would have created a complete new universe. To accomplish that, our computer would require more computational power than exists in the universe, which is impossible. Even if we could do such a thing, we'd have to observe it in real time. So say we use this perfect model as a predictor (say it runs in real time 30 seconds ahead of us), the very fact that we're observing it alters our reactions. If I see a truck about to hit me, I'll dodge it. Plus there's uncertainly principle stuff that I don't even grasp. Even if the computer can predict our reactions to seeing our fates play out, then all we'd be doing is watching the preview of what is simple destiny, reducing the image we view in the computer to a document that is simply recorded before the fact rather than after it. The computer would be functionally useless. So we can make a computer model that is not complete and use it to make certain predictions, but in the end, all predictions are divination, not determinants.

Hey, DLJ.

I don't know what consequentialism has to do with this conversation (I had to look it up Cool ) but to clarify, Harris is more of a polyp on the anus of humanity than he is a consequentialist. But I digest.

Also, I don't actually know the answer. So I wasn't so much prescribing anything as I was running through the list of complications that a simpleton like Harris glosses over in his rhetoric fuelled ideological rants Cool

Intuitively, causality seems silly. It's far too simplistic to offer us any true insight. I'm sure that the ping pong game of atoms limits our choices (I'm in a very specific part of the universe with specific energy and specific restrictions and specific abilities) but my intuition tells me that within those restrictions lies room for choice. But hey, I still think there's a central me, so what the fuck do I know? But the day that causality is proven, I'm going on a crime spree because why the fuck not? I couldn't not do it and it wouldn't be my fault.

As for this study, something just hit me. Of course response has to precede awareness of response. It couldn't be any other way. But using the evidence that supports that conclusion to say that our conscious mind does not play a part in decision making is ├╝ber premature because we don't understand the conscious mind.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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14-02-2012, 11:58 AM
RE: Question about free will??
(14-02-2012 11:33 AM)Ghost Wrote:  A computer could never model the universe because of the operative word; model. George EP Box once said that all models are wrong, but some are useful. This is because a model is an abstraction of reality, not reality itself. It is necessarily incomplete.

That's why I'm saying "free will" should be seen as just a name for a model. It's like, yeah we could work it all out if we had the ultimate tools but fuck it, too much like hard work so let's just call it free will. I see the pro-god brigade doing just that... fuck it, too hard to learn about biology, cosmology etc. so let's just call it god(s)

(14-02-2012 11:33 AM)Ghost Wrote:  I'm going on a crime spree because why the fuck not? I couldn't not do it and it wouldn't be my fault.
That's what I meant previously by actions/reactions and actions/consequences. Enjoy your spree of crime and be ready to face the consequences: secular (social or financial or moral) penalties or for the believers, devine (moral) penalties.

So, yes, sure it's not your fault in the same way as a rose opening its petals at dawn can't be blamed for behaving that way but it might by being excessively beautiful, have to face the consequence of being plucked by some romantic fool who needs a dead roman catholic to remind him to love someone.

Sorry, bad analogy, just trying to be topical.

I'm enjoying this, it's an interesting discussion.
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14-02-2012, 12:52 PM
RE: Question about free will??
(14-02-2012 10:40 AM)DLJ Wrote:  That was Superliminal's line, not mine.

I fixed it, thanks.
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14-02-2012, 01:17 PM
RE: Question about free will??
(14-02-2012 09:50 AM)Jeff Wrote:  
(14-02-2012 08:54 AM)SuperLuminal Wrote:  The evidence points to a predictable universe.

What is the evidence?

Also, what evidence would disprove your assertion?

The evidence is our best understanding at this point of how quantum mechanics work, you can go read all the articles yourself. Every time two things interact at the quantum level(i.e. the electrons, atoms, and chemicals that make up your brain) they behave predictably. If we had a way to be able to detect exactly where every subatomic component was and what it was doing without altering it, we could predict even better.

Just because we can't yet detect everything we would need to to make 100% accurate predictions of the universe doesn't mean things don't have a set path. To argue against this(going back to my pool table analogy), would be to say that somehow because you turned your back on the pool table, the 8 ball would stop behaving with mathematical predictability based on it's angle of approach when it bounced off the side, just because you weren't looking at it.


Evidence against this would be the discovery of sub-atomic particles or processes or other yet unknown phenomena that somehow manage to function as a part of the known universe without having predictable behaviors: i.e. if something smashes into an electron in the exact same way(in every possible way - velocity, energy, environment, etc) two times, you get two different results for no measurable reason. Again, this wouldn't necessarily mean you are suddenly in control, just that things are random.


Think of the way your brain works. Something happens in front of you. You see it because photons of light hit your eyes, and they do so because they HAD to follow that path towards you, they couldn't just suddenly take a left turn and avoid being detected by you. We know this, because we know how photons work.

Next, those photons strike your receptors in your eyes. The energy, amount, and angle with which they hit at that moment will always produce the exact same response(at that moment) from your receptors, and they will always send the exact same signal(at that moment) to your brain.

As the electro-chemical signal heads along your neural wiring toward your brain, it will always go to the same spot(at that moment), stimulate the exact same cells in your brain(at that moment), and you will always make the exact same decision(at that moment.) To argue that (at this moment) you would make a different decision would be to argue that somehow the photons, atoms, electro-chemical signals, or cells in your brain would magically behave differently for no reason in the EXACT same moment of time and space with the EXACT same situation. With our current understanding, we mostly know this is not true, otherwise the universe would not function as we see it around us.

However, a billionth of a second later, all your electrons, atoms, etc will be in a different place, and the whole thing could play out differently.

Also, I certainly do not know where you think that I implied there was some divine being guiding all this. The universe does not need anything like that to function, it is just math.
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14-02-2012, 05:42 PM
RE: Question about free will??
Ghost, you're completely right about not being able to make an accurate model of the universe.

But just because particles on the quantum level can't be predicted with great accuracy, doesn't mean we can't predict people's actions with near certainty. If I launch a projectile in a vacuum and measure it's velocity and position to as much accuracy as allowed by the uncertainty principle, I can predict where it's going to end up with a precision that is quite practical as a useful prediction.

A human isn't on the quantum level, and our brains predictability, while related to the predictability of the whole universe or the predictability of quantum level particles, is just as different in predictability as it is in scale.

If I flip a coin once, I can't predict very well what the results will be. If I flip a coin 1.00000x10^10000000 times, I can predict with very good precision that the results will be 5.00000x10^1000000 tales and 5.00000x10^1000000 heads.

Besides, incomplete predictability is no evidence of free will in the sense of being able to make a choice other than the one you have made. It simply means you are now the puppet of random chance rather than deterministic rules.

Free will may indeed by a real thing as it relates to our subjective experience of reality, but the pieces from which we are made are the same pieces from which that projectile in the vacuum are made of, and are just as predictable as it.

Our decisions are like the 1.00000x10^10000000 coin flips. They're the result of a huge number of quantum coin flips that when averaged give us a model from which we can make a useful prediction.
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14-02-2012, 06:17 PM
RE: Question about free will??
(13-02-2012 10:42 PM)satan69 Wrote:  I was watching a video with Sam Harris on YT. He says that we really don't have free will. What we think is a conscience decision most of the time is really our subconscience that already decided it. I am kind of confused. Can anyone elaborate on this. I do believe whatever we are at this moment is a accumulation of our life experiences that we had no control over. For example, who your parents are, where you were born, are you raped, rich, poor,IQ.... the list is long. All of those things are out of your control. The people you meet throughout your life are out of your control.Everyone and everything shaped you, but he takes that philosophy to a very literal moment as what hand I decide to move.

I think his view, though supported by experimental data, is over-simplified. Overlooked is all of the feedback of previous intention. A simple action may be 'decided' several milliseconds before the conscious thought, but prior conscious thought may have set things in motion for this action.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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14-02-2012, 06:33 PM
RE: Question about free will??
(14-02-2012 06:17 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(13-02-2012 10:42 PM)satan69 Wrote:  I was watching a video with Sam Harris on YT. He says that we really don't have free will. What we think is a conscience decision most of the time is really our subconscience that already decided it. I am kind of confused. Can anyone elaborate on this. I do believe whatever we are at this moment is a accumulation of our life experiences that we had no control over. For example, who your parents are, where you were born, are you raped, rich, poor,IQ.... the list is long. All of those things are out of your control. The people you meet throughout your life are out of your control.Everyone and everything shaped you, but he takes that philosophy to a very literal moment as what hand I decide to move.

I think his view, though supported by experimental data, is over-simplified. Overlooked is all of the feedback of previous intention. A simple action may be 'decided' several milliseconds before the conscious thought, but prior conscious thought may have set things in motion for this action.

They're up to like 7 seconds in advance now. "The unease people feel at the potential unreality of free will, said National Institutes of Health neuroscientist Mark Hallett, originates in a misconception of self as separate from the brain." Libet's own interpretation of "free won't" accommodates prior training and feedback loops.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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14-02-2012, 06:58 PM
RE: Question about free will??
(14-02-2012 06:33 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(14-02-2012 06:17 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(13-02-2012 10:42 PM)satan69 Wrote:  I was watching a video with Sam Harris on YT. He says that we really don't have free will. What we think is a conscience decision most of the time is really our subconscience that already decided it. I am kind of confused. Can anyone elaborate on this. I do believe whatever we are at this moment is a accumulation of our life experiences that we had no control over. For example, who your parents are, where you were born, are you raped, rich, poor,IQ.... the list is long. All of those things are out of your control. The people you meet throughout your life are out of your control.Everyone and everything shaped you, but he takes that philosophy to a very literal moment as what hand I decide to move.

I think his view, though supported by experimental data, is over-simplified. Overlooked is all of the feedback of previous intention. A simple action may be 'decided' several milliseconds before the conscious thought, but prior conscious thought may have set things in motion for this action.

They're up to like 7 seconds in advance now. "The unease people feel at the potential unreality of free will, said National Institutes of Health neuroscientist Mark Hallett, originates in a misconception of self as separate from the brain." Libet's own interpretation of "free won't" accommodates prior training and feedback loops.

As they admit, there's plenty of uncertainty in the results. The experiments don't model complex decision making. In the 60's and 70's, S-R was all the rage in psychology (D. O. Hebb, et al.) While the research and results at these low levels are necessary and useful, they are only pieces of a larger puzzle.

I'm not (free) willing to throw in the towel on free will yet.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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14-02-2012, 07:59 PM
RE: Question about free will??
(14-02-2012 06:58 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(14-02-2012 06:33 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(14-02-2012 06:17 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(13-02-2012 10:42 PM)satan69 Wrote:  I was watching a video with Sam Harris on YT. He says that we really don't have free will. What we think is a conscience decision most of the time is really our subconscience that already decided it. I am kind of confused. Can anyone elaborate on this. I do believe whatever we are at this moment is a accumulation of our life experiences that we had no control over. For example, who your parents are, where you were born, are you raped, rich, poor,IQ.... the list is long. All of those things are out of your control. The people you meet throughout your life are out of your control.Everyone and everything shaped you, but he takes that philosophy to a very literal moment as what hand I decide to move.

I think his view, though supported by experimental data, is over-simplified. Overlooked is all of the feedback of previous intention. A simple action may be 'decided' several milliseconds before the conscious thought, but prior conscious thought may have set things in motion for this action.

They're up to like 7 seconds in advance now. "The unease people feel at the potential unreality of free will, said National Institutes of Health neuroscientist Mark Hallett, originates in a misconception of self as separate from the brain." Libet's own interpretation of "free won't" accommodates prior training and feedback loops.

As they admit, there's plenty of uncertainty in the results. The experiments don't model complex decision making. In the 60's and 70's, S-R was all the rage in psychology (D. O. Hebb, et al.) While the research and results at these low levels are necessary and useful, they are only pieces of a larger puzzle.

I'm not (free) willing to throw in the towel on free will yet.

I'm not throwing it in either, brother. Just rethinking it. What if the entire ship is what's autonomous and the pilot's job is just to avoid the icebergs and it gets priority interrupt and elevated attention only by virtue of the import of that task. ... This reminds me of some SciFi series where they were all stowaways on some giant space whale and the pilot was this tiny totally vulnerable sickly little blue thing. ... It also makes me consider that I am likely much, much more than I imagine myself to be ... and that there's someone in my head but it's not me.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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