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View Poll Results: Can the two statements 1. and 2. as set out in this post be true about one person?
Yes 10 26.32%
No 20 52.63%
Don't know 2 5.26%
On Planet X nothing is true. 6 15.79%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 30th November 2022, 10:34 AM   #81
Thermal
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Originally Posted by Olmstead View Post
You're basically arguing that free will must exist, because the alternative would be too horrible/unpleasant/annoying to contemplate. That's not a very good starting point.
Your assessment is factually untrue. My starting point is Cogito Ergo Sum, baby. The very words 'to think' carry free will. I await some evidence that this most fundamental foundation of existence is an illusion.

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What else other than environment and genetics is there?
The ongoing process of consciousness.

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You're arguing for some sort of soul, something that would make a serial killer bad for the choices he has made, and a selfless samaritan good. What is it that makes one person perform the worst atrocities, and another person the greatest heroics?
The process of consciousness is not a soul. That's a pretty outlandish projection. It's got nothing to do with the good/bad dichotomy.

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One of them surrendered to his base instincts, while the other transcended everything ... because? Because nothing. The more one thinks about this, the more it becomes apparent that free will doesn't make sense.
I note 'reason' doesn't factor into your considerations. I wonder why?

Interestingly, the no-free-will argument is actually very religious. Everything in its place and in order. Must be very reassuring to you. The majority of us are fine with embracing the chaos that free will results in, warts and all.

And you present nothing by way of demonstrating...well, anything. You rely entirely on criticizing others. So what do you have by way of evidence? I do so hope you will fall back on the 'press the button when you feel compelled to' experiment. That one's a hoot.
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Old 30th November 2022, 10:40 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Optical and auditory illusions are working on different principles than free will. We could just as well proclaim gravity is an illusion and put up an MC Escher stair pic as a 'proof'. It doesn't prove anything.

Free will is generally understood as something like 'the capacity of agents to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded', or to have independent agency over your fate. Legal systems worldwide function on whether an individual has free will, otherwise they could not be held accountable, as they had no choice. Even yea verily this very forum would serve no purpose, as argumentation would be pointless. We could not agree or disagree, or even change our minds without free will.

So to claim that we don't have free will is pretty much a fringe belief, that needs the proverbial extraordinary evidence. Can anyone provide what they consider solid evidence that this commonly understood state doesn't exist? No changing the subject, or passing the buck, or shifting the burden, or other word games. And toying with 'unencumbered' choice doesn't mean anything; we are all influenced by environmental/genetic factors. Those may predispose us to a particular conclusion or increase the probability of reaching one, but it does not negate free will.
Why should there be any point to anything?
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Old 30th November 2022, 10:40 AM   #83
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I have my right hand out with my thumb and forefinger extended. If I choose to put down my thumb then one new universe comes into existence with just my forefinger extended. If I chose to put down my forefinger, then another, different universe comes into existence. That is free will.
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Old 30th November 2022, 10:45 AM   #84
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Why should there be any point to anything?
Pick anything you like. Eating, say. The point is to nourish the body, satiate hunger, and/or derive pleasure from the sensations.

Should we be endeavoring in activities that are entirely random and serve no purpose?
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Old 30th November 2022, 11:09 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Pick anything you like. Eating, say. The point is to nourish the body, satiate hunger, and/or derive pleasure from the sensations.

Should we be endeavoring in activities that are entirely random and serve no purpose?
I would say there is no evidence that there is any purpose to reality, it simply is.
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Old 30th November 2022, 11:21 AM   #86
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The issue is with definition. No decision is unimpeded. First it's impeded by the choices given. Then it's impeded by your past experience. Your free will for the most part chooses the best available choice based on prior experience. What do mean by "free" in this context ?
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Old 30th November 2022, 11:29 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I would say there is no evidence that there is any purpose to reality, it simply is.
Holup: a purpose to reality sounds like a meaning of life gig. That's not where I am going.

It just 'is', agreed. What I am thinking is that we can exist independently through reason. 'Thinking' does not suggest working through some higher power.
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Old 30th November 2022, 11:34 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
The issue is with definition. No decision is unimpeded. First it's impeded by the choices given.
Which are not entirely out of your control, within practical limits. Sure, I can't choose to have cocktails this evening on Mars. but my choices of refreshments and where to enjoy them are not much encumbered, except by my own choices of what is worth the effort.

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Then it's impeded by your past experience. Your free will for the most part chooses the best available choice based on prior experience. What do mean by "free" in this context ?
I beg to differ. Most of my choices are very poor, and rarely are the best, and often relating to experiences that are entirely imaginary. Kind of sucks for me, but makes the point here.
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Old 30th November 2022, 11:36 AM   #89
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Which are not entirely out of your control, within practical limits. Sure, I can't choose to have cocktails this evening on Mars. but my choices of refreshments and where to enjoy them are not much encumbered, except by my own choices of what is worth the effort.



I beg to differ. Most of my choices are very poor, and rarely are the best, and often relating to experiences that are entirely imaginary. Kind of sucks for me, but makes the point here.
So how do you choose ? My guess is you simply don't know. Is that "free" ?
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Old 30th November 2022, 11:48 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I would say there is no evidence that there is any purpose to reality, it simply is.

Deep Thought would beg to differ... it is 42!!!
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Old 30th November 2022, 11:50 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by grunion View Post
I have my right hand out with my thumb and forefinger extended. If I choose to put down my thumb then one new universe comes into existence with just my forefinger extended. If I chose to put down my forefinger, then another, different universe comes into existence. That is free will.

WOW... that must be god speaking... no???

I think you have all this universe gig wrong... including how powerful your fingers are.
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Old 30th November 2022, 12:04 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
So how do you choose ? My guess is you simply don't know. Is that "free" ?
Through reasoning, that handy byproduct of a running consciousness. Said reasoning may be Mr Spock rational, or I may be feeling aggressive and choose a sledgehammer approach. My choice may be based on my experience, or made to satisfy another agenda that I might imagine. I am free, although subject to influence, how I frame my decision making.
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Old 30th November 2022, 12:13 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Optical and auditory illusions are working on different principles than free will.

No they do not! It is all the product of physical processes within the grey cells in the brain.



Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
We could just as well proclaim gravity is an illusion and put up an MC Escher stair pic as a 'proof'. It doesn't prove anything.

Well.... let's have a look at this statement of yours more closely....
  1. We did not know that gravity existed for most of our lives
  2. Many people still deny it
  3. We still do not really understand it despite the most brilliant minds trying
  4. If you never go into outer space you would never feel it
  5. And the illusion is ... that you do not even know it exists... that is the illusion... the illusion is that despite spinning at 1000 mph and at the same time hurtling through space at 68,000+/- mph you have absolutely no idea that is hapenning
  6. Christians burned people alive for discovering the above facts because they could not believe their god could do that

So your analogy fails.... gravity is an illusion that has been dispelled by facts of physics.... just like free-will.


Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Free will is generally understood as something like 'the capacity of agents to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded', or to have independent agency over your fate. Legal systems worldwide function on whether an individual has free will, otherwise they could not be held accountable, as they had no choice. Even yea verily this very forum would serve no purpose, as argumentation would be pointless. We could not agree or disagree, or even change our minds without free will.

Yes we can.... because our decisions are an INTERACTION with outside influences at that instant as well as the STORED SUM TOTAL of our previous INTERACTIONS and trajectories taken due to those interactions... as well as the the genetic makeup ... which itself is the sum total of INTERACTIONS made by other gene bags.


Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
So to claim that we don't have free will is pretty much a fringe belief, that needs the proverbial extraordinary evidence.

Yes the extraordinary evidence is called Neurobiology... Chemistry... Physics... microbiology... and Genetics... DNA... etc. etc. etc.

Rejecting that is akin to the Catholic Church rejecting Heleocentricity.


Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Can anyone provide what they consider solid evidence that this commonly understood state doesn't exist?

The problem with commonsense... is that it is common... not to mention it is an ad populum fallacy....

The catholic church also asked the same question of Galileo Galilee while they were burning Giordano Bruno and Banning the writings of Kepler and Copernicus.


Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
No changing the subject, or passing the buck, or shifting the burden, or other word games. And toying with 'unencumbered' choice doesn't mean anything; we are all influenced by environmental/genetic factors. Those may predispose us to a particular conclusion or increase the probability of reaching one, but it does not negate free will.

We are sure the brain is physical and its neuronal firings are physical and they are the result of the DNA that made all the lipids and proteins in it and the chemicals it has acquired from the blood which has acquired them from the environment.

What we are not sure about is how we store the memory that we use as a feedback mechanism (see image below) to influence the firing process in addition to the chemicals.

But those are the sum total of all the previous firings due to previous firings and chemicals.

At every instant the brain is at a state that has been set by previous states and current environmental factors (see image below)

None of this is freely willed by the definition of this term.

Where one is born ... at what era of time... to whom ... and how... is a random set of environmental factors that start a trajectory jump off point that is not in anyway under the control of the person being born

And from that point onwards each neuronal firing is the result of a feedback mechanism that depends on the environment at the moment of firing as well as the state of the brain which is the result of the previous states.

A path of which not a single point is freely willed.



Click on the image to view it in a better resolution
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Old 30th November 2022, 12:27 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
The squares you are so convinced are demonstrating something can easily be shown to be the same color.

And that is precisely the point....
  1. if I had shown the image to many people with common sense who have not been told this is an illusion they would have had no idea that the squares are of the same color.
  2. even after telling people that it is... they cry balderdash
  3. even after I show them they are in doubt

You are doing the same thing for the "free-will" illusion.


Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Just block out the surrounding elements with your hands till the two blocks are in view, with a bit of the adjoining blocks shown. Without the visual confusion, it is pretty clear that they are the same color.

Precisely... if only you could do the same with the "free-will" illusion and remove that confusion.


Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Now do the same with free will. Go on, demonstrate it. What you have been doing is skipping the 'demonstration' step and jumping straight to the 'conclusion' step.

Yes the "fingers" are called Neurobiology... Chemistry... Physics... microbiology... and Genetics... DNA... etc. etc. etc.

Rejecting those "fingers" blocking out the confusion is akin to the people who still cry out balderdash even after the "fingers" have dispelled the illusion.


Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
All you are showing is that optical illusions exist and can be convincing. That is not an argument for or against free will.

Yes it is an argument against yet another illusion that you cannot see how the "fingers" of science can dispel the confusion about.

You just need to use the right "fingers"... but you need to read about those "fingers" and in depth and lots and lots of reading.... many people are not able or willing to do so... and prefer to go with the ad populum common sense.
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Old 30th November 2022, 12:30 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Pick anything you like. Eating, say. The point is to nourish the body, satiate hunger, and/or derive pleasure from the sensations.

Noooo.... the sensation of pleasure from the eating is yet another way the brain tricks itself.... the sensation is entirely a byproduct of the drive to eat to survive and the sensation of having done that is a FEEDBACK mechanism of the control system.... see Figure 16.3 in the above post.


Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Should we be endeavoring in activities that are entirely random and serve no purpose?

This question stems from lack of understanding of what evolution is... and control systems ... and feedback control systems.... as well as what random is.
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Old 30th November 2022, 12:35 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Your assessment is factually untrue. My starting point is Cogito Ergo Sum, baby. The very words 'to think' carry free will. I await some evidence that this most fundamental foundation of existence is an illusion.

I boil therefore I exist ... says a kettle... the very fact that I boil shows free will says the kettle.
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Old 30th November 2022, 12:43 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Through reasoning, that handy byproduct of a running consciousness. Said reasoning may be Mr Spock rational, or I may be feeling aggressive and choose a sledgehammer approach. My choice may be based on my experience, or made to satisfy another agenda that I might imagine. I am free, although subject to influence, how I frame my decision making.

A robot also makes choices through reasoning... this reasoning is called an Algorithm In its CPU.... do you say it has free will???


Our brains are just as programmed through our genes and the trajectory through space-time and the sum total of all our previous programmed responses to INTERACTIONS.

Humans are running a self-referential self-adjusting algorithm... where the algorithm is the genes and the self-adjusting is done by memory and feedback through the self-referential search through memory for successful responses to previous interactions... and in the higher level algorithms in some people even the unsuccessful interactions too. (See Figure 16.3 in the post above)
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Old 30th November 2022, 12:50 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
The ongoing process of consciousness.
Which is based on your genetics and your environment. There is no "you" separate from genetics and the environment. Where would it have come from? You were given your genetic makeup, and then the the environent shaped you. Any choices you have made to turn yourself into what you are were made because of those two things, and are therefore just part of them. To argue anything else would mean that there is a "you" that is separate from your body, a "you" who has the "will" to do something other than what your body was always going to do.

Your real problem is that you don't like that idea. It makes everything you have done in your life meaningless, because it wasn't you who did it, it simply happened, just like a chemical reaciton always happens in the right circumstances.


Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
The process of consciousness is not a soul. That's a pretty outlandish projection. It's got nothing to do with the good/bad dichotomy.
If it's not a soul, it's part of the body, which is formed by genetics and the environment. Hence, there is nothing else.

Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
I note 'reason' doesn't factor into your considerations. I wonder why?

Interestingly, the no-free-will argument is actually very religious. Everything in its place and in order. Must be very reassuring to you. The majority of us are fine with embracing the chaos that free will results in, warts and all.
You're kididng, right? This is the gangrenous limb of philosophy that gets hacked off whenever it comes up because it brings everyone down.


Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
And you present nothing by way of demonstrating...well, anything. You rely entirely on criticizing others. So what do you have by way of evidence? I do so hope you will fall back on the 'press the button when you feel compelled to' experiment. That one's a hoot.
I can find the experiments with split-brain patients who were completely convinced that they were freely choosing to do something for one reason, even though it was obvious that they were doing it for a completely different reason.

But here's the problem. No matter what is discovered, no one can completely prove a negative. Free will might still be hiding somewhere vague, just like God might still be hiding somewhere vague. No matter the evidence, there is always a way out.

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Old 30th November 2022, 01:51 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
WOW... that must be god speaking... no???

I think you have all this universe gig wrong... including how powerful your fingers are.
My point being the question is too trivial. Don't you think God has power over my fingers if there is any intention to be assumed?
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Old 30th November 2022, 02:01 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by grunion View Post
My point being the question is too trivial. Don't you think God has power over my fingers if there is any intention to be assumed?

gods do not exist... and consequently are nothing... and have nothing to do with a discussion about free-will... unless you contend that there is one... then you have to demonstrate that it exists and can have any relevance.
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Old 30th November 2022, 02:05 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Through reasoning, that handy byproduct of a running consciousness. Said reasoning may be Mr Spock rational, or I may be feeling aggressive and choose a sledgehammer approach. My choice may be based on my experience, or made to satisfy another agenda that I might imagine. I am free, although subject to influence, how I frame my decision making.
How can you tell if those decisions are free or not ? How would you test it ?
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Old 30th November 2022, 02:42 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
gods do not exist... and consequently are nothing... and have nothing to do with a discussion about free-will... unless you contend that there is one... then you have to demonstrate that it exists and can have any relevance.
I'd say it differently .. free will concept has no relevance outside theist discussion. It can't be tested, it can't be defined, it doesn't affect anything else .. it's simply irrelevant.
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Old 30th November 2022, 03:30 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
I'd say it differently .. free will concept has no relevance outside theist discussion. It can't be tested, it can't be defined, it doesn't affect anything else .. it's simply irrelevant.

I agree!!!

It is all a ruse to smuggle in a deity as the installer of the program of "free-will" in our moist-flesh-robotics...

The rub is if this deity is in fact one of the numerous ones in the Buybull then there is a litany of buybullical evidence that it denies free-will anyhow.... but of course... they need it to absolve this deity of the responsibility for the harm its robots cause.
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Old 30th November 2022, 08:53 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
No they do not! It is all the product of physical processes within the grey cells in the brain.
There are many different processes within the brain. surely you are aware that they are not all identical?

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Well.... let's have a look at this statement of yours more closely....
  1. We did not know that gravity existed for most of our lives
  2. Many people still deny it
  3. We still do not really understand it despite the most brilliant minds trying
  4. If you never go into outer space you would never feel it
  5. And the illusion is ... that you do not even know it exists... that is the illusion... the illusion is that despite spinning at 1000 mph and at the same time hurtling through space at 68,000+/- mph you have absolutely no idea that is hapenning
  6. Christians burned people alive for discovering the above facts because they could not believe their god could do that

So your analogy fails.... gravity is an illusion that has been dispelled by facts of physics.... just like free-will.
None of the above had the slightest relevance to what you quoted.

You held up an optical illusion and said 'this proves that free will does not exist'. Your error is very fundamental, here.

Quote:
Yes we can.... because our decisions are an INTERACTION with outside influences at that instant as well as the STORED SUM TOTAL of our previous INTERACTIONS and trajectories taken due to those interactions... as well as the the genetic makeup ... which itself is the sum total of INTERACTIONS made by other gene bags.

Yes the extraordinary evidence is called Neurobiology... Chemistry... Physics... microbiology... and Genetics... DNA... etc. etc. etc.
You seem to think there is a scientific consensus on free will.

There is not. Far, far from it. Which again makes your arguments...a little odd.

Quote:
Rejecting that is akin to the Catholic Church rejecting Heleocentricity.

The problem with commonsense... is that it is common... not to mention it is an ad populum fallacy....

The catholic church also asked the same question of Galileo Galilee while they were burning Giordano Bruno and Banning the writings of Kepler and Copernicus.
Yet again...you seem to be confusing this with another discussion?

Quote:
We are sure the brain is physical and its neuronal firings are physical and they are the result of the DNA that made all the lipids and proteins in it and the chemicals it has acquired from the blood which has acquired them from the environment.

What we are not sure about is how we store the memory that we use as a feedback mechanism (see image below) to influence the firing process in addition to the chemicals.

But those are the sum total of all the previous firings due to previous firings and chemicals.

At every instant the brain is at a state that has been set by previous states and current environmental factors (see image below)

None of this is freely willed by the definition of this term.

Where one is born ... at what era of time... to whom ... and how... is a random set of environmental factors that start a trajectory jump off point that is not in anyway under the control of the person being born

And from that point onwards each neuronal firing is the result of a feedback mechanism that depends on the environment at the moment of firing as well as the state of the brain which is the result of the previous states.

A path of which not a single point is freely willed.



Click on the image to view it in a better resolution
...It's like really eerie how you are not even loosely understanding what we are talking about...
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Old 30th November 2022, 09:02 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
Noooo.... the sensation of pleasure from the eating is yet another way the brain tricks itself.... the sensation is entirely a byproduct of the drive to eat to survive and the sensation of having done that is a FEEDBACK mechanism of the control system.... see Figure 16.3 in the above post.

This question stems from lack of understanding of what evolution is... and control systems ... and feedback control systems.... as well as what random is.
You seem pretty convinced that making bald assertions over and over with great confidence and declaring that you have won is an effective argument. Pigeons and chessboards spring to mind.

Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
I boil therefore I exist ... says a kettle... the very fact that I boil shows free will says the kettle.
Kettles, last I checked, did not have consciousness. Picture a scarecrow...
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Old 30th November 2022, 09:09 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by Olmstead View Post
Which is based on your genetics and your environment. There is no "you" separate from genetics and the environment. Where would it have come from? You were given your genetic makeup, and then the the environent shaped you. Any choices you have made to turn yourself into what you are were made because of those two things, and are therefore just part of them. To argue anything else would mean that there is a "you" that is separate from your body, a "you" who has the "will" to do something other than what your body was always going to do.

Your real problem is that you don't like that idea. It makes everything you have done in your life meaningless, because it wasn't you who did it, it simply happened, just like a chemical reaciton always happens in the right circumstances.




If it's not a soul, it's part of the body, which is formed by genetics and the environment. Hence, there is nothing else.



You're kididng, right? This is the gangrenous limb of philosophy that gets hacked off whenever it comes up because it brings everyone down.




I can find the experiments with split-brain patients who were completely convinced that they were freely choosing to do something for one reason, even though it was obvious that they were doing it for a completely different reason.

But here's the problem. No matter what is discovered, no one can completely prove a negative. Free will might still be hiding somewhere vague, just like God might still be hiding somewhere vague. No matter the evidence, there is always a way out.
You make some very strange assumptions and bald assertions. Very little in the way of answering the questions or providing evidence for your claims, though. Oh, and your claimed mind-reading honks on Bobo, to put it nicely.
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Old 30th November 2022, 09:12 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
How can you tell if those decisions are free or not ? How would you test it ?
Cogito suffices. I can think of no reason to test if 'thinking' is real, nor what it would prove if it was in any way possible.

Both propositions are unfalsifiable, based on our current state of knowledge.
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Old 30th November 2022, 11:27 PM   #108
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I should have looked at this thread before the other one, and will therefore repeat here what I said there.

Even if there is no free will, even if everything is strictly determined, it makes sense to behave in all ways as though there is free will, because in such a deterministic universe the illusion of free will is so strong that in all ways it seems real.

I'll elaborate. I can acknowledge in such a deterministic universe that free will is not real while behaving in all ways as though it is. So in the end it doesn't matter whether it is really real or not. I will live my life as though it is.

ETA: The poll doesn't strictly reflect my view, so I voted for Planet X.
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Old 30th November 2022, 11:33 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I should have looked at this thread before the other one, and will therefore repeat here what I said there.

Even if there is no free will, even if everything is strictly determined, it makes sense to behave in all ways as though there is free will, because in such a deterministic universe the illusion of free will is so strong that in all ways it seems real.

I'll elaborate. I can acknowledge in such a deterministic universe that free will is not real while behaving in all ways as though it is. So in the end it doesn't matter whether it is really real or not. I will live my life as though it is.

ETA: The poll doesn't strictly reflect my view, so I voted for Planet X.
Well, yeah, I think we all choose to live as though it were true. Not sure if it would be possible to live any other way, really. Which is exactly why I am fascinated by the No Free Will advocates. We couldn't function without making free will choices. So why imagine otherwise? I think it speaks to how we view everything. Not to be too grandiose, I trust.
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Old 1st December 2022, 01:49 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
... free will concept has no relevance outside theist discussion.
Dr Daniel Dennett, atheist and philosopher, has argued several times with Sam Harris and other atheists about the existence of free-will.

Dennett believes that we have free-will **because** of our genes, not in spite of them. He believes that there is evolutionary value in having a brain capable of free-will which is why we evolved that way. He describes it as being able to make decisions that 'avoid' the future. He believes free-will is a question of evolutionary biology rather than one of physics.

Here is a long Youtube video (1 hour 26 mins) where he lays out his view which is called "Dr. Daniel Dennett — Freedom Evolves: Free Will, Determinism, and Evolution"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg-9k1uAHCo

The description reads:

Quote:
Can there be freedom and free will in a deterministic world? Renowned philosopher and public intellectual, Dr. Dennett, drawing on evolutionary biology, cognitive neuroscience, economics and philosophy, demonstrates that free will exists in a deterministic world for humans only, and that this gives us morality, meaning, and moral culpability.
I recommend starting at about 21 mins, where Dennett discusses the "Life Physics" game in describing the evolution of free-will.

Is it possible for the human brain to have evolved to have a 'free-will engine'? If so, then there is no reason to call what we do as an illusion of free-will; it really is free-will.

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Old 1st December 2022, 02:13 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Can a sufficiently complex robot be programmed to have free-will? I think it can.
A sufficiently complex robot can be programmed to appear to have free will by incorporating a random number generator into its programming.

Otherwise, every bit of code it executes and every "decision" it makes is the result of the way its combinational and sequential circuits have been put together. It will have an identical response to identical stimuli and that is the opposite of free will.
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Old 1st December 2022, 02:29 AM   #112
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
A sufficiently complex robot can be programmed to appear to have free will by incorporating a random number generator into its programming.
True. Random decision making is not an expression of free-will.

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Otherwise, every bit of code it executes and every "decision" it makes is the result of the way its combinational and sequential circuits have been put together. It will have an identical response to identical stimuli and that is the opposite of free will.
What would happen if the robot had free-will? Would you expect a different decision each time? Or maybe a probability spread of decisions, with some more likely than others?

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Old 1st December 2022, 03:00 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
What would happen if the robot had free-will?
Even for a human being that question would be moot - unless part of the human programming came from outside of the universe or if more than firing synapses were involved in human decision making.

Neither of these apply to robots so the question is even mooter.
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Old 1st December 2022, 03:06 AM   #114
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Dr Daniel Dennett, atheist and philosopher, has argued several times with Sam Harris and other atheists about the existence of free-will.

Dennett believes that we have free-will **because** of our genes, not in spite of them. He believes that there is evolutionary value in having a brain capable of free-will which is why we evolved that way. He describes it as being able to make decisions that 'avoid' the future. He believes free-will is a question of evolutionary biology rather than one of physics.

Here is a long Youtube video (1 hour 26 mins) where he lays out his view which is called "Dr. Daniel Dennett Freedom Evolves: Free Will, Determinism, and Evolution"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg-9k1uAHCo

The description reads:



I recommend starting at about 21 mins, where Dennett discusses the "Life Physics" game in describing the evolution of free-will.

Is it possible for the human brain to have evolved to have a 'free-will engine'? If so, then there is no reason to call what we do as an illusion of free-will; it really is free-will.
That is not free will .. that is just "a will". Even completely deterministic will would serve the same purpose.
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Old 1st December 2022, 03:46 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Even for a human being that question would be moot - unless part of the human programming came from outside of the universe or if more than firing synapses were involved in human decision making.
Let's assume that part of the human programming came from outside of the universe. How does that make it free-will? Doesn't it run into the same problem? Programming is programming, whether inside or outside of the universe.

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Neither of these apply to robots so the question is even mooter.
I was more focused on the idea of what would be the "opposite" of free-will. If having an identical response to identical stimuli is the opposite of free-will, would you expect different responses to identical stimuli if there were free-will? Why?

Expecting different responses has implications on the "will" part of "free-will". "Will" implies a determination to act a particular way, and "free" means that the person is not constrained in carrying out his will.

But the conversation around free-will often seems to make "will" the opposite of "free", in that any determination to choose some action means we are not free to choose some other action and thus "not free", which to me is illogical.

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Old 1st December 2022, 03:47 AM   #116
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
That is not free will .. that is just "a will". Even completely deterministic will would serve the same purpose.
Dennett would agree, except he'd see it as "free-will" existing in that deterministic universe.
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Old 1st December 2022, 04:21 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Let's assume that part of the human programming came from outside of the universe. How does that make it free-will? Doesn't it run into the same problem? Programming is programming, whether inside or outside of the universe.
No, once you start invoking the super natural, the rules of secular programming no longer apply. The presumption becomes that humans have free will because God gave them free will.

Originally Posted by GDon View Post
I was more focused on the idea of what would be the "opposite" of free-will. If having an identical response to identical stimuli is the opposite of free-will, would you expect different responses to identical stimuli if there were free-will? Why?
How a human responds to stimuli is depending on the state of their mind at the time. If the (free will) state of their mind changes then you could get a different response to otherwise identical stimuli.
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Old 1st December 2022, 04:34 AM   #118
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
You make some very strange assumptions and bald assertions. Very little in the way of answering the questions or providing evidence for your claims, though. Oh, and your claimed mind-reading honks on Bobo, to put it nicely.
Do you think the following is evidence of the brain creating an illusion of free will? (In a split-brain patient, the left and right hemisphere cannot communicate.)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4204522/
Quote:
In another experiment, researchers instructed the right hemisphere of a split-brain patient to stand. After the patient stood, experimenters asked the patient why he did so. Again, instead of admitting that he did not know why he stood, the speaking left hemisphere created an explanation, insisting he was thirsty and wanted a drink (see Gazzaniga and Miller, 2009).

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Old 1st December 2022, 09:25 AM   #119
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Originally Posted by Olmstead View Post
Do you think the following is evidence of the brain creating an illusion of free will? (In a split-brain patient, the left and right hemisphere cannot communicate.)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4204522/
Ok, this is your strong evidence? Let's stay with it for a bit. No changing the subject, if you please.

The PubMed article you cite does not draw any conclusions regarding free will, or even refer to it at all, nor is it the original study. In the original, people with lobotomies were subjects in studying the specialization of the hemispheres.

Relating to your snippet, the left hemisphere (receiving information from the right eye) was found to handle language processing. The left also 'filled in blanks and gaps'. The right was more involved in truth. In your quip, they fed the information to the right hemisphere (by covering one eye) and gave a written instruction, then asked verbally "why did you stand?", which the left hemisphere would have handled. But since the left couldn't communicate with the information from the right, it 'filled in the gap' by inserting another explanation. Which was true, by the way. The subject was actually thirsty. But it was unable to communicate with the part of the brain that received the original information.

So what does this show? The important findings were the specialization of the hemispheres. It also showed that if you **** up how the brain works, you get ****** up operation. That's...uhhhh...pretty straightforward stuff. What it does not show is that the subjects did not have free will, especially considering that their brains were basically damaged.

But wait...why should you and I debate what the split brain experimenters concluded? Let's find out what my home boy Mikey Gazzaniga, who ran the ******* things, has to say about it.

If you don't have the time to get into it, the bullet points are:

Quote:
It’s tempting to believe that further research will eventually demonstrate that physical properties of the brain fully control the human mind. But neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga argues we already have enough data to conclude that human behavior is not fully predetermined.
https://dianerehm.org/shows/2011-11-...-science-brain

So, over to you. You dispute the findings of the man himself?
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Old 1st December 2022, 10:07 AM   #120
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Ok, this is your strong evidence? Let's stay with it for a bit. No changing the subject, if you please.

The PubMed article you cite does not draw any conclusions regarding free will, or even refer to it at all, nor is it the original study. In the original, people with lobotomies were subjects in studying the specialization of the hemispheres.

Relating to your snippet, the left hemisphere (receiving information from the right eye) was found to handle language processing. The left also 'filled in blanks and gaps'. The right was more involved in truth. In your quip, they fed the information to the right hemisphere (by covering one eye) and gave a written instruction, then asked verbally "why did you stand?", which the left hemisphere would have handled. But since the left couldn't communicate with the information from the right, it 'filled in the gap' by inserting another explanation. Which was true, by the way. The subject was actually thirsty. But it was unable to communicate with the part of the brain that received the original information.

So what does this show? The important findings were the specialization of the hemispheres. It also showed that if you **** up how the brain works, you get ****** up operation. That's...uhhhh...pretty straightforward stuff. What it does not show is that the subjects did not have free will, especially considering that their brains were basically damaged.
I'm not going to disprove free will. As I've said, no one can prove a negative. I'm asking you if this specific experiment counts as an example of the brain creating an illusion of free will in the patient. The patient was never going to stand up without the instruction. When they didn't know why they did it, they didn't say they don't know, they had a reasonable scenario ready.

So, if it can be proven that a certain patient thinks he did something for one reason, but clearly did it for another, does that count as the brain creating the illusion of free will in that specific context?

Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
But wait...why should you and I debate what the split brain experimenters concluded? Let's find out what my home boy Mikey Gazzaniga, who ran the ******* things, has to say about it.

If you don't have the time to get into it, the bullet points are:


https://dianerehm.org/shows/2011-11-...-science-brain

So, over to you. You dispute the findings of the man himself?
I wonder if you have had time to get into it? Gazzaniga doesn't claim what you say he claims. In that very interview, his position can be summarised as "You must be responsible for your actions, because otherwise our society doesn't work":

Quote:
Right. Well, thanks for the question because I'd like to clarify that. I'm taking the position that the brain is going to be, someday, completely understood in a mechanistic way. And that therefore this concept of free will is -- should be abandoned. It's just simply isn't relevant to the discussion.

But I do not give up the concept of responsibility because I think what we've humans have done is kick that up to the social level and we're accountable to the social group within which we live. And so it's -- we can go ahead and continue on our ways in determining the nature of the brain and that it is not going to put us in a downward spiral about this essential human value which we love, which is to be responsible to our social group.
He basically agrees that there is no free will, but doesn't like opening that Pandora's box.
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