Free Will

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Free Will
« on: March 09, 2007, 09:05:13 PM »
What are your opinions on whether or not humans have free will?

In a sense, I think it's an illusion.  I think about it this way: at any time that we are making a decision, our brains have an exact chemical makeup.  Based on the stimuli received by our five senses as well as our other cognitive processes operating based on prior experience, memory, etc., I think we are bound to decide whatever we end up deciding in that situation.  Even if we think over the decision for a long time, whatever causes us to finalize our decision was taken in by our senses or suddenly realized, which I believe was bound to happen when it did, due to chemical interactions in your brain.

Simply put, given the same exact situation twice (hypothetically sent back in time to the exact situation with no memory and the same exact brain chemistry at the time), I believe you would respond identically both times.

In that sense, everything can only happen a single way.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2007, 09:07:20 PM by The Philosopher »

Re: Free Will
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2007, 09:27:32 PM »
I say it doesn't matter. I don't care if my cognition is entirely chemically explainable. It doesn't matter to me, and shouldn't. I live now; it doesn't matter if everything is predetermined by exact structure of atomic particles. I think it is possible we do and possible we don't have free will. I think it is impossible to prove that consciousness is entirely physically based; I also don't think we should care to find out, it simply doesn't matter and. So, basically: don't know, don't care. It is impossible to know if there is material predetermination, though, without being infinite yourself; and if one was infinite then there would not be material predetermination for that one -- so again, doesn't matter. Any hypothesis on the matter will be purely speculation and belief, no evidence or reasoning, as there is nothing to work with.

The only time an argument about free will makes sense is in regards to the Christian concept; which is retarded. (There can't be free will if an omniscient, omnipotent god created the universe.)
« Last Edit: March 09, 2007, 09:29:03 PM by Erebos »
How? when? and whence? The gods give no reply. Let so it is suffice, and cease to question why.


Re: Free Will
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2007, 09:43:32 PM »
I say it doesn't matter. I don't care if my cognition is entirely chemically explainable. It doesn't matter to me, and shouldn't. I live now; it doesn't matter if everything is predetermined by exact structure of atomic particles. I think it is possible we do and possible we don't have free will. I think it is impossible to prove that consciousness is entirely physically based; I also don't think we should care to find out, it simply doesn't matter and. So, basically: don't know, don't care. It is impossible to know if there is material predetermination, though, without being infinite yourself; and if one was infinite then there would not be material predetermination for that one -- so again, doesn't matter.
I agree, it shouldn't matter in how you live your life or anything, but that doesn't mean you can't have an opinion about it.  I just think it makes for an interesting discussion.

Quote
Any hypothesis on the matter will be purely speculation and belief, no evidence or reasoning, as there is nothing to work with.
Philosophy is largely based on speculation and belief, but these are rooted in reasoning and, in an abstract sense, evidence as well.  This isn't concrete evidence as is obtained in science, as it is often in the form of a general hypothetical situation, which is used as an example to support a rationalized conjecture, thus justifying it to some degree.

Re: Free Will
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2007, 09:47:01 PM »
Everything is determined. I have not observed anything that functions outside of nature. So, why are we so special?
ah.

*

beast

  • 2997
Re: Free Will
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2007, 10:01:53 PM »
I think it really depends on what you mean by free will.  I would say that on the level of the decisions we make, we clearly have free will, however it's also clear from the scientific research, that what decision we make is based on our environment and genetics.  You could call this an illusion of free will but I disagree, I think we do have free will, it's just that if you knew all the details, you could still predict what choices we are making.  Being predictable at a quantum level does not mean we still are not free to choose what we do.

Re: Free Will
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2007, 10:46:30 PM »
So, even if it is predictable it's still OUR choice, as long as we are unaware of what our choice will ultimately be? Elaborate, I am a bit confused.
ah.

Re: Free Will
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2007, 04:43:10 AM »
What are your opinions on whether or not humans have free will?

In a sense, I think it's an illusion.  I think about it this way: at any time that we are making a decision, our brains have an exact chemical makeup.  Based on the stimuli received by our five senses as well as our other cognitive processes operating based on prior experience, memory, etc., I think we are bound to decide whatever we end up deciding in that situation.  Even if we think over the decision for a long time, whatever causes us to finalize our decision was taken in by our senses or suddenly realized, which I believe was bound to happen when it did, due to chemical interactions in your brain.

Simply put, given the same exact situation twice (hypothetically sent back in time to the exact situation with no memory and the same exact brain chemistry at the time), I believe you would respond identically both times.

In that sense, everything can only happen a single way.

You can choose to toss a coin and go by the choice that the coin shows you. Do you think many creatures could leave their decision up to the toss of a coin? Further more you can choose to make the wrong decision even if you know it is the wrong decision.
Quote from: BOGWarrior89

I'm giving you five points for that one


Re: Free Will
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2007, 08:47:28 AM »
You can choose to toss a coin and go by the choice that the coin shows you. Do you think many creatures could leave their decision up to the toss of a coin? Further more you can choose to make the wrong decision even if you know it is the wrong decision.

I never said we're not the most intelligent form of life on this planet (most likely), but something within your brain chemistry caused you to decide to flip a coin instead of making the decision for yourself, whether that was seeing a coin or being fed up with trying to decide.  The coin then leaves your finger with a certain velocity, caused by however much force you put into it (which I also attribute to brain chemistry), and it lands based on the properties of physics.  In the same way, you choose to make the wrong decision for some reason, which arises in past experience, memories, etc, so you can say that given the same circumstances over again (with no memory of your prior experince), you would STILL make that wrong decision.

Re: Free Will
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2007, 11:30:41 AM »
You can choose to toss a coin and go by the choice that the coin shows you. Do you think many creatures could leave their decision up to the toss of a coin? Further more you can choose to make the wrong decision even if you know it is the wrong decision.

I never said we're not the most intelligent form of life on this planet (most likely), but something within your brain chemistry caused you to decide to flip a coin instead of making the decision for yourself, whether that was seeing a coin or being fed up with trying to decide.  The coin then leaves your finger with a certain velocity, caused by however much force you put into it (which I also attribute to brain chemistry), and it lands based on the properties of physics.  In the same way, you choose to make the wrong decision for some reason, which arises in past experience, memories, etc, so you can say that given the same circumstances over again (with no memory of your prior experince), you would STILL make that wrong decision.

I agree with the Philosopher on this one, everything is a reaction to something else, so (in theory) if you have all the variables you could determine what would happen. That way you could see the future, and change the decision that you where meant to take. The problem here is that then it was meant that you could see the future and that way the changed decision is the decision that you where meant to take. That concludes that everything is deastent. So free will is an illusion.
An interesting point is that if you can see every variables and in that way see the future, you can make decisions that benefit yourself. That is power and if you use it you are deastent to power.
Now, the decisions you make are still our own, even if they are deastent. Cus everyone is different, so you make your own choices as a reaction off the variables.

Free will is deastent.

(Pardon my English)
 
The Bird of the Hermes is my name,
eating my wings to make me tame.

Re: Free Will
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2007, 12:54:45 PM »
What are your opinions on whether or not humans have free will?

In a sense, I think it's an illusion.  I think about it this way: at any time that we are making a decision, our brains have an exact chemical makeup.  Based on the stimuli received by our five senses as well as our other cognitive processes operating based on prior experience, memory, etc., I think we are bound to decide whatever we end up deciding in that situation.  Even if we think over the decision for a long time, whatever causes us to finalize our decision was taken in by our senses or suddenly realized, which I believe was bound to happen when it did, due to chemical interactions in your brain.

Simply put, given the same exact situation twice (hypothetically sent back in time to the exact situation with no memory and the same exact brain chemistry at the time), I believe you would respond identically both times.

In that sense, everything can only happen a single way.

You can choose to toss a coin and go by the choice that the coin shows you. Do you think many creatures could leave their decision up to the toss of a coin? Further more you can choose to make the wrong decision even if you know it is the wrong decision.

This isn't a type of thing that you need to or even should do that about, it just doesn't matter. We should live as we would without any influence by the concept of predetermination or "free will," that is just stupid. The only way I see it as partially rational is when an individual ascribes beliefs in something that dictates dogma of "free will" or "destiny" or the like, such as the ignorant modern religions.
How? when? and whence? The gods give no reply. Let so it is suffice, and cease to question why.


Re: Free Will
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2007, 01:06:13 PM »
This isn't a type of thing that you need to or even should do that about, it just doesn't matter. We should live as we would without any influence by the concept of predetermination or "free will," that is just stupid. The only way I see it as partially rational is when an individual ascribes beliefs in something that dictates dogma of "free will" or "destiny" or the like, such as the ignorant modern religions.


I agree, but donít you think itís an interesting discussion?

(Pardon my English)
The Bird of the Hermes is my name,
eating my wings to make me tame.

Re: Free Will
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2007, 06:57:23 PM »
This would make evolution make absolutely no sense. Why would humans develop higher reasoning capabilities if chemical states were all that determined the decision making process.

And if you think that humans don't operate outside of nature, then i suggest that you have a misunderstanding of nature.

I don't see how this would interfere with evolution... Also I'm not sure what you mean by humans developing higher reasoning capabilities or humans operating outside of nature.  Care to elaborate?

?

cadmium_blimp

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2007, 07:18:16 PM »
Unless nature doesn't actually know what's good for herself.

Quote from: Commander Taggart
Never give up, never surrender!

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cadmium_blimp

  • 1499
  • funny, you thought I'd convert, didn't you?
Re: Free Will
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2007, 07:34:58 PM »
I was kind of being metaphorical...

Quote from: Commander Taggart
Never give up, never surrender!

Re: Free Will
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2007, 08:19:40 PM »
Evolution occurs when a random genetic mutation yields an improvement in the survival mechanisms of an animal (basic theory of evolution). The more of the animal with that trait survive the more that trait gets passed on. So in theory, the trait of having higher reasoning capabilities (emotion, complex decision making process, etc.) would need to confer some sort of survival advantage in order for it to be passed on. Why would humanity develop the ability to put so much thought into a decision making process if the decision would be made automatically by chemical states of the brain? It seems that if you hold to darwinian evolution that this theory wouldn't make a whole lot of sense.
Emotion, complex decision making et cetera would all be beneficial.  They allow a person to analyze situations to a greater depth, from different points of view, etc.  These changes would also mean that the brain chemistry of that individual was different, in that your brain would have to be wired for those processes.  Therefore they would prove advantageous to survival, but would still be comprised of biological structures, and the chemical interactions within, which could only act in a single way as time proceeds and information is continuously taken in, analyzed, and recalled.

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Also, I don't mean to say that humans operate outside of natural law (which I'm fairly certain is what you meant to say) but that they operate outside of the nature. Humans support the sick and weak, change the environment to suit their needs, war upon each other, etc. If humans operated in line with nature they would be far less likely to take these lines of thought (as they would be predisposed to do by the chemical states of their brain as would be determined by genetic make up, wiring of the brain, nutritional variables etc)
Im not positive, but I think you're talking about what separates humans from all other animals, which is an extremely complex idea in and of itself.  I personally think this has to do with our seemingly "conscious" state, and whatever brought us to such a state.  In my opinion, a few of the most important aspects of consciousness are the ability to take ourselves out of the present moment with the help of language (being able to think and talk with others about the past and future), the recognition that we can keep our thoughts to ourselves (which led to lying, deception, and egocentrism), and the ability to empathize.  If we're going to continue on this tangent we should probably start a new thread for it.

Also, the chemical state of our brain includes all our past experiences, genetic outline for how the brain will evolve over time, current stimuli, cognitive processes, and all other functions the brain controls.  This is all based on the assumption that our minds arise solely within our brains.

*

beast

  • 2997
Re: Free Will
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2007, 09:58:07 PM »
Contrary to what Dann claims, all the scientific evidence suggests that we evolved our emotions and our sense of morality.  There is so much scientific evidence in support of this, that it is hard to pick one of the many sources.  Marc Hauser, Richard Dawkins, Marvin Minsky, Daniel Gilbert, Stephen Pinker, Nicholas Humphrey and Eric R Kandel are all scientists who have studied the scientific nature of our brains and evolution.  Eric Kandel won a Nobel prize for his work, and the others are all very influential as well.

Having opinions without evidence supporting those opinions is ridiculous.

Re: Free Will
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2007, 10:15:58 PM »
I will choose to believe that we have free will.

If I am right, well, then I am right.
If I am wrong, then it wasn't my fault.
quot;Pleasure for man, is not a luxury, but a profound psychological need."
-Nathaniel Branden

Re: Free Will
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2007, 10:44:03 PM »
To the idiot who thinks that humans have metaphysical thoughts:

You're an idiot. Go learn about evolution. Evolution encompasses us. Remember, it's RANDOM MUTATIONS. It took 4 billion years to get here, I think that's plenty of time, don't you think?
ah.

Re: Free Will
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2007, 10:47:26 PM »
If humans don't have metaphysical thoughts, then where do metaphysics come from?

(Metaphysics are an expression and creation of humanity, the thoughts exist, regardless of whether or not they have any meaning outside of natural processes.)
quot;Pleasure for man, is not a luxury, but a profound psychological need."
-Nathaniel Branden

Re: Free Will
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2007, 10:54:13 PM »
You're stupid as fuck. There is no evidence for metaphysics, there is tons of evidence for human thought being natural. One of those things is this: Have YOU ever seen anything behaving outside of nature? I haven't.
ah.

Re: Free Will
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2007, 11:15:20 PM »
Of course not.  If I observed it, it is clearly within nature, as it is observable.

But the human mind is capable of distracting itself with things that are not observable.
quot;Pleasure for man, is not a luxury, but a profound psychological need."
-Nathaniel Branden

Re: Free Will
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2007, 11:32:30 PM »
Of course not.  If I observed it, it is clearly within nature, as it is observable.

But the human mind is capable of distracting itself with things that are not observable.

Negative truth? That's nonsense.
ah.

Re: Free Will
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2007, 08:02:36 PM »
Who mentioned negative truth?

I simply stated the obvious fact that one can think *about* God without there needing to be a god.

quot;Pleasure for man, is not a luxury, but a profound psychological need."
-Nathaniel Branden

Re: Free Will
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2007, 10:23:38 PM »
Consider the following:

In order to "know" anything at all, there has to be an entity doing the "knowing", ie; a narrative center of gravity or 'observer', if you will. 

Quantum physics poses the theory that nothing really exists in the traditional sense and there really is no such thing as matter, but more like wave-particles (energy?) randomly popping in and out of existence.

So its plausible to consider that we don't really exist as matter either.  But what is this thing we call "consciousness"? 

Simple:  It is a "sensation".  An evolutionary tool to make you seem as though you have control.  That there is even a "YOU" at all.

The only reason that any living entity has a consciousness, or any sense of reality at all is for the sheer fact that it must represent its reality internally in order to interact with the environment at all. 

So the world "out there" is really "in here". 

Everything that we experience is a sensation.  A REPRESENTATION of reality that enables us to make sense and interact with the world around us.   

But now we're back to square one:  Nothing exists. 

After studying quantum physics and psychology at a pretty detailed level, I would venture to say that we are all parts of the same "energy".  An energy that does not exist at a material level, but manifests a sensation thereof.  It's more of a universal consciousness that takes a million different viewpoints (those viewpoints being us, of course!)  Being all part of the same energy explains certain phenomena such as remote observing, mind-reading, de-ja-veux (sorry, bad spelling), synchronicities.... okay you get the point. 

So that was my introduction.
It might sound convoluted because I have a thousand things to say, but I don't want to loose your interest. 

I invite anyone to tell me your thoughts, questions, rants, raves, etc. so that I may entertain some pleasurable discussion in the nights to come. 

   


Re: Free Will
« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2007, 10:56:49 PM »
Probably going to catch hell for this but, someone said christians do not believe in free will.  I don't know what christians you know but I'm catholic and everything relies on free will.  The whole idea that life is a test, choose wisely or you burn in hell, fear of god stuff, etc.  In my limited knowledge of science and religion I tend towards this very simple generalization as I tend to over simplify things.  Science is a quest for truth.  Religion is a quest for truth.  It is my opinion and hope that science will prove religion one day.  Since I was brought up believing in God, to pose the possibility that there is no God honestly scares me a little.  That would imply we are all here by chance and ultimatly our lives have no meaning, therefore our actions have no meaning, therefore why choose to do "good" things over "bad" things, like killing someone as an example is "bad".  Without a right and wrong how are moral decisions made?  If I had no fear of consequences I'd be having a field day right now robbing banks, stealing cars, living fast, die young and leaving a big fat corpse!  Whats to stop all that?  Prison?  I'd die in a fire fight before getting carted off to prision.  This all leads to chaos there is no order, which scares me.  Make any sense?   

Re: Free Will
« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2007, 11:05:06 PM »
This song sums up my sentiment about God.  It not horrible christian music its racer x for the win.



And the lyrics

http://www.musicsonglyrics.com/R/racerxlyrics/racerxtimebeforethesunlyrics.htm

I finally interpert this song as telling me our lives are what we make it.  If we don't like something we go change it, to say we have no free will is depressing, why do anything if it doesnt matter becuase we have no control?  If this is just an illusion of power, ignorance is bliss.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2007, 11:16:08 PM by cmhmp10sd »

Re: Free Will
« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2007, 11:51:42 PM »
Consider the following:

In order to "know" anything at all, there has to be an entity doing the "knowing", ie; a narrative center of gravity or 'observer', if you will. 

Quantum physics poses the theory that nothing really exists in the traditional sense and there really is no such thing as matter, but more like wave-particles (energy?) randomly popping in and out of existence.

So its plausible to consider that we don't really exist as matter either.  But what is this thing we call "consciousness"? 

Simple:  It is a "sensation".  An evolutionary tool to make you seem as though you have control.  That there is even a "YOU" at all.

The only reason that any living entity has a consciousness, or any sense of reality at all is for the sheer fact that it must represent its reality internally in order to interact with the environment at all. 

So the world "out there" is really "in here". 

Everything that we experience is a sensation.  A REPRESENTATION of reality that enables us to make sense and interact with the world around us.   

But now we're back to square one:  Nothing exists. 

After studying quantum physics and psychology at a pretty detailed level, I would venture to say that we are all parts of the same "energy".  An energy that does not exist at a material level, but manifests a sensation thereof.  It's more of a universal consciousness that takes a million different viewpoints (those viewpoints being us, of course!)  Being all part of the same energy explains certain phenomena such as remote observing, mind-reading, de-ja-veux (sorry, bad spelling), synchronicities.... okay you get the point. 

So that was my introduction.
It might sound convoluted because I have a thousand things to say, but I don't want to loose your interest. 

I invite anyone to tell me your thoughts, questions, rants, raves, etc. so that I may entertain some pleasurable discussion in the nights to come. 

   



Interesting, but existentialism makes more sense than solipsism. Even though, QM does sort of support it.
ah.

Re: Free Will
« Reply #27 on: March 12, 2007, 12:20:48 AM »
Probably going to catch hell for this but, someone said christians do not believe in free will.  I don't know what christians you know but I'm catholic and everything relies on free will.  The whole idea that life is a test, choose wisely or you burn in hell, fear of god stuff, etc.  In my limited knowledge of science and religion I tend towards this very simple generalization as I tend to over simplify things.  Science is a quest for truth.  Religion is a quest for truth.  It is my opinion and hope that science will prove religion one day.  Since I was brought up believing in God, to pose the possibility that there is no God honestly scares me a little.  That would imply we are all here by chance and ultimatly our lives have no meaning, therefore our actions have no meaning, therefore why choose to do "good" things over "bad" things, like killing someone as an example is "bad".  Without a right and wrong how are moral decisions made?  If I had no fear of consequences I'd be having a field day right now robbing banks, stealing cars, living fast, die young and leaving a big fat corpse!  Whats to stop all that?  Prison?  I'd die in a fire fight before getting carted off to prision.  This all leads to chaos there is no order, which scares me.  Make any sense?   

It is scary to go against what our upbringing tells us; we base our expectations of the world on prior experience and to venture into the unknown creates uneasiness.  My mother is Pentecostal, if anyone has heard of this, they basically believe everything in the bible verbatim - in the most literal way.  It's interesting that in our spiritual rhetoric with eachother, we often end up agreeing on certain truths, but by employing different mechanisms.  I think that the human mind will always find solace in control.  It doesn't matter who's in control (God, myself, science), but so long as there is an illusion of it, it feels okay.

People have other reasons for refraining from doing 'immoral' acts other than religion.  You might want to begin with reading some of Lawrence Kholberg's work.  He was a psychologist who theorized several different stages of moral reasoning.  Also, it is a known fact that across every single culture or civilization that has every lived, there are several particular values that people all agree on, regardless of religion.

There is definately an evolutionary advantage to promote your species by not killing eachother and helping one another.  What we think of as "altruistic"  might very well be an evolutionary mechanism.

And one final note; Science requires faith just as much as religion does.  Did you ever stop to think that pretty much everything you do requires faith to some degree?  Going to bed at night requires faith that you will wake up tomorrow safe and sound.  There's no guarantee, but you have faith that you will.  You also have faith that the sun will come up tomorrow, if you didn't, then you would have no reason to live. 

God gave you an amazing brain with the capacity to question Him.  As far as I'm concerned, to not use it would be blasphemous.

My mother constantly preaches to me about the bible and her beliefs and I most of the time welcome them.  She sometimes gets exhausted and just resorts to the old "isn't it better to be safe than sorry?"  My answer to that is always the same:

Getting me to belief that Jesus was God incarnate would be the same as holding a red pen in front of me and telling me it's blue.  I would look at it with my own eyes and say, "no....it's red", and they would say, "just trust me....it's blue".  I cannot defy my own cerebral processes.

All the things in this world that God wants for me to see, He will make apparent. 

(By the way..... so far as my personal beliefs are concerned, I am God.  So are you.)

Re: Free Will
« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2007, 12:37:19 AM »
Interesting, but existentialism makes more sense than solipsism. Even though, QM does sort of support it.

Well, I wouldn't say that I subscribe to solipsism because I do not believe that my mind is the only one.  I believe in yours and everyone elses, too.  I would lean more towards "epiphenomenalism" ( the idea that mental states are produced by physical events but only by happenstance) if you were to categorize me... but I still wouldn't fall into this category because this would imply that there is no causal connection when I invariably believe that there is a causal role between mental states and physical events.  In fact, I think that we create them!

So..... essence precedes existence, not the other way around.

Please, elaborate on how existentialism makes more sense.... you could very well be right and I'd like to hear your thoughts.  (or read them, as chance would have it... oh there I go again with the chance business.... I love quantum mechanics)

Re: Free Will
« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2007, 12:47:01 AM »
I also love QM. Existentialism essentially says: "Everything is absurd."

There is no relationship between nature, and ourselves. We are all alone. At least, that's how I've had it taught to me via reading/professors.

I could be wrong. Look it up a bit.
ah.