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Jo


Jo

member
Location: Sheffield, England

Total posts: 517
Posted:Ok, another psychological hot potatoe this one. Basically if proven a lot of good lawyers could get a lot of dangerous people released from prison, which is why it has not yet become a 'mainstream' concept.



IMHO! wink



Whenever you do anything - ANYTHING! - your concious self has not used free will at all to make that decision.



Actually, your subconcious has decided to do it.



You can then, if you wish, execute 'free won't'.



How many times did you realy have no reason to reach over there? Failed free won't execution.



Ever hit someone? Shouted?......... smile



Jo.


Educate yourself in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear

Total posts: 4693
Posted:you'd ponder freewill as you ponder gods existance i suppose, especially considering people use it to say god does/doesnt exist.

i'd be inclinded to agree what what you say firetom, but are you saying we'd have to be omnipotent to have freewill? becaues we would need to know EVERYTHING?


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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Patriarch917
SILVER Member since Oct 2005

Patriarch917

I make my own people.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Total posts: 607
Posted:I'm inclined to agree with jeff(fake) on this one, but I would take it even further than he does. To have a truly free will, it would not only have to not be bound by the laws of the physical universe, but would have to have no constraints whatsoever. In other words, to be truly free, you would have to actually be capable of doing anything. You would need to be omnipotent.

Conversation between Dilbert and Dogbert:

"Do you think the chemistry of the brain controls what people do?"

"Of course."

"Then how can we blame people for their actions?"

"Because people have free will to do as they choose."

"Are you saying 'free will' is not part of the brain?

"Of course it is. But it's the part of the brain that's out there just being kind of free."

"So, you're saying the 'free will' part of the brain is exempt from the natural laws of physics."

"Obviously. Otherwise we couldn't blame people for anything they do."

"Do you think the 'free will' part of the brain is attached or does it just float nearby?"

"Shut up."

-Scott Adams


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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear

Total posts: 4693
Posted:it floats nearby, and smacks us in the back of the head when we do something stupid wink

"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:oops my last post got crunched to bits and bytes...

I would say we already know everything that we need to know to encounter free will. It's not about more knowledge, neither of a bad memory (forgetting the conditions of the past in order to see beyond the programming)

It's a matter of whether or not we want to practice free will or not, to approach every situation as new and unique. This is not easy...

As patriarch quoted the conversation between Dilbert and Dogbert: "Do you think the chemistry of the brain controls what people do?", the question surfaces: What is the mind? Is the mind a part of me, or am I a part of the mind (just the executive). Who, or what is behind "mind"?

If choice is determined by the past, it can never be "free".

Besides - to me - it is notalways necessary to choose "freely" but more important to do make the "right" choice... Now what is that?


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
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Total posts: 4693
Posted:ooooooo, are you talking about morals firetom?

"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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shen shui
SILVER Member since Jan 2005

shen shui

no excuses. no apologies.
Location: aotearoa

Total posts: 1799
Posted:think toms dancing about with buddhism. wink

those that know, dont say. those that say, dont know.

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:well - if we don't have free will and we make a choice according to the past - at least we should try to make it a comforting one...

morals... *shakes head* - pick one that suit you... shrug your choice... wink

No - buddhism is really not appealing to me that much... yeah I have to say shrug I indulge life much - faaaar too much that I could possibly ever be freed from desire.. hence I cease to suffer from unfullfilled desires.... and play poi.... tongue

PS: Loving cherries doesn't involve eating the bush... wink


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
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Total posts: 4693
Posted:bush? i have a tree!

"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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FireTom


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Total posts: 6650
Posted:suits you right.... biggrin

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear

Total posts: 4693
Posted:and i do love cherries, but the birds ate them all frown still, i suppose they need them more than me

"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Nope, nearly_all_ gone, that only happens if you create (or take the) the deterministic processes in cerebral cortex.

Even people with philosophy degrees can evolve wink


cheers smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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nearly_all_gone
SILVER Member since Aug 2004

nearly_all_gone

Pooh-Bah
Location: Southampton

Total posts: 1626
Posted:Written by: Stone


Even people with philosophy degrees can evolve



Not outside of the laws of the known universe, no. All I am saying, fairly uncotraversially I would have thought, is that there is no reason to assume that the causal processes of whe entire known universe are not somehow suspended just for humankind. I am suggesting that, whatever your belief in spirit, or anatomy, that there is some cause for every action, regardless of whether or not you're always aware of what that cause is.



I would like one of the advocates of free will to describe to me, if it is the ability to choose free from any coertion of thoughts, beliefs or desires to the contrary, what is valuable about it?



And also, is it not simply a random element if you choose wholly freely, without any form of belief or desire affecting the decision?



My belief is that it is impossible to make any choice or decision free of the mental framework you have. In a limited sense I am saying that I cannot choose to fly, because I have never learnt how.



In purely theoretical cases you can argue "free will", but in practice it is either impossible, or a random element, which is therefore no more "free" than anything else - indeed, it is likely to be more damaging than something founded on reason, belief and desire.

Written by: dream


Can only possibly be true in basic mechanical determinism... I press a switch which causes a light to turn on etc



When you have a multiplicity of casual factors engaged in rhizomatic structures, which themselves are held in a constant state of flux (we are complex adaptive systems), you engage in non-linear determinism.



Your millions of linear factors which are predictable is cute but falls apart when you realise you aren't dealing with a static model, and when you look at emergent phenomena; which cannot be simulated or predicted through reductionist methodologies.



I don't agree. I believe, that with a proper understanding of the workings of the universe, rhizomatic structures (good word, haven't heard the plant reference used in this debate before) and emergent phenomena do not pose any problem. They only present a problem at present due to a lack of the understandings of the universe, which, as I said, the human mind could almost certainly never grasp. The whole ripple effect alone would take many millions of brains to adequately understand on a practical level, I imagine. I am not proposing we can make reductive claims about the effect of determinism, because we could never truly understand it well enough to do so. But what I am saying is that we can make reductive claims that, if every element we can know has a cause, the fact we seem to be eternally confused as to whether or not our thoughts and actions have prior causes, rejecting physicalist accounts of an anatomic basis for consciousness as we so readily (and egotistically, as I have previously stated) do is simply indefensible.



Every event we know of (excluding, for the sake of argument, our own consciousness) has a cause.

We assume we are free of causal determinations in making decisions.

We have an egotistical/emotional benefit in doing so.



To me, that seems wrong.



Determinism is linear, regarldess of emergent phenomena which has not been predicted by someone who does not have a perfect understanding of the universe. I propose that science is the only thing in a constant state of flux, and that it will continually revise its opinions in order to integrate deeper understandings of new structures, their behaviour etc, and will never graspe evrything. I think that certain overarching principles can be determined, however, and for me the foremost of these is that everything has a cause. Obviously it is part of a continual process of branching development, that's a given. I'm not suggesting anything "cute" like your notion of a light switch. There are a million factors in just that example, by the way, which render your use of it just as "cute" as you branded my argument.



I claim that for anything to be different from the way it is, there would have to have been some difference in the original state of things, or the original cause. To talk of counterfactuals (ie I could have picked red, but I picked blue) is nonsense, because for you to have picked red would have meant a difference in the initial cause, what I would brand the most important cause, in order that things conspired in the world to make you pick red over blue. To talk of a free choice, or free will, is to assume that you are not governed by beliefs and desires which you have developed over time.



Anyone here heard of the notion of the holographic universe? That every element of the universe has information on every other part of the universe, like every... I don't know what it's called, bit of a hologram has information on the rest of it in order to function.. that's my belief. Nothing could be as it is without information on every other part of the universe. It is due to every element of the universe so far that everything is as it is, and it is due to the total state of the universe this moment that everything in the entire universe that follows will follow. Human awareness may have no access to this information (I say "may" carefully there), but that does not mean that every cell in the body cannot have data on every other element of the universe (in what allows it to have structure, interaction with other elements etc if nothing else). I don't claim to be an expert on any of this, and haven't read as widely on it as I would like to yet, so I hope I'm not misrepresenting anything.



Another quick point - if you truly believe in free will, then surely free will can have no cause. Correct?



So, I assume you all chose to be born? And for your parents, grandparents, great grandparents etc to breed until you existed?



That, if nothing else, is a cause for supposed "free will". And if it could not exist without a cause, I don't really think of it as any freer than the lightbulb coming on when the switch is flicked.



If free will evolved, at what point in evolution did we become free from the deterministic processes that surround us?

EDITED_BY: nearly_all_gone (1138974860)


What a wonderful miracle if only we could look through each other's eyes for an instant.
Thoreau

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dream
SILVER Member since Jul 2003

dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 493
Posted:Written by:
I propose that science is the only thing in a constant state of flux



confused

Perhaps we live in different universes. Otherwise thats just plain wrong.


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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Patriarch917
SILVER Member since Oct 2005

Patriarch917

I make my own people.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Total posts: 607
Posted:If there actually is no free will, then one cannot decide to believe that there is no free will. Rationality has no place in a deterministic materialistic worldview. All views are equally valid, since they are all ultimately linked to the same cause. People do not choose to believe something because it is correct based on their observations. They are forced to believe whatever they believe merely by the chemistry in their head.

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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted:Written by: Patriarch917

If there actually is no free will, then one cannot decide to believe that there is no free will. Rationality has no place in a deterministic materialistic worldview. All views are equally valid, since they are all ultimately linked to the same cause. People do not choose to believe something because it is correct based on their observations. They are forced to believe whatever they believe merely by the chemistry in their head.

Utterly wrong. You are confusing free will and ordinary will. Whilst the out come of your choice is predestined, you still have a choice.


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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Patriarch917
SILVER Member since Oct 2005

Patriarch917

I make my own people.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Total posts: 607
Posted:Written by: jeff(fake)

Written by: Patriarch917

If there actually is no free will, then one cannot decide to believe that there is no free will. Rationality has no place in a deterministic materialistic worldview. All views are equally valid, since they are all ultimately linked to the same cause. People do not choose to believe something because it is correct based on their observations. They are forced to believe whatever they believe merely by the chemistry in their head.

Utterly wrong. You are confusing free will and ordinary will. Whilst the out come of your choice is predestined, you still have a choice.



Isn't a "choice" just another word for "small parts of my brain doing things in accordance with natural laws." It would seem that this could be thought of as an outcome in and of itself.

Is a though (even one that we would commonly refer to as "making a choice") not merely a physical action that is similar in many ways to, say, digestion?


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FireTom


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Total posts: 6650
Posted:Written by: nearly_all_gone
I would like one of the advocates of free will to describe to me, if it is the ability to choose free from any coertion of thoughts, beliefs or desires to the contrary, what is valuable about it?



Although I do not consider myself an "advocate of free will" - the idea of free will (whereas I really like to call it "freedom of choice" as it describes more the effect than the cause) is in opposition to "we-are-all-products" (of our environment).

If there is no free will, then what is all this about? As a policeman/ soldier, I do not even hold the potential to refuse an (inhumanitarian) order, but I am bound to it. (this also is a methaphore). "Insight" is nothing than a process of determination and therefore just learning a lesson.

Patterns are inflicted upon us by society/ family, we're only products without a chance to change.

This I do not experience myself. I do hold a certain freedom of choice. Some choices are more likely than others, due to circumstances and programming. But if I take the time to sit down to take a proper action - to think about all pro's and con's, causes and possible effects - I might (and sometimes even most likely will) choose differently, or at least carry it out in a very different manner. Let's say: more graceful (which sometimes makes a big difference)... it's like you say: I really appreciated your help very much and it did a great deal of difference to me, rather than just saying: thanks - which is basically the same... ?

Written by:
And also, is it not simply a random element if you choose wholly freely, without any form of belief or desire affecting the decision?



To me it's not just random... I put forth the example before: it's about taking the "right decision" at the "right time" (as in: the most appropriate to the situation)... To get to the point where every choice is made according to the (real) circumstances and not soleyly based upon the individual programming.

Written by:
My belief is that it is impossible to make any choice or decision free of the mental framework you have. In a limited sense I am saying that I cannot choose to fly, because I have never learnt how.



And to answer it simply: If you feel the desire to fly - why not going and try to learn it. You may not be able to overcome the laws of physics and biology, but you may find ways to get pretty close to it and at least experience the motion.

Written by:
In purely theoretical cases you can argue "free will", but in practice it is either impossible, or a random element, which is therefore no more "free" than anything else - indeed, it is likely to be more damaging than something founded on reason, belief and desire.



And this I do want to oppose strongly. Because if you base your actions only on "reason, belief and desire" you just act according to your mental framework - which might not be accurate always, but is giving you a good deal of excuse, if the decision was harmful or inappropriate.

Whatever "rhizomatic" means... rolleyes wink

Written by:
...because we could never truly understand it well enough to do so.



And this yet has to be investigated: whether or not the human brain is capeable of understanding "the whole"... I find it kind of disenchanting, when people do turn away from the entire concept, rather than to try and make an attempt or showing ways to maybe point in the direction.

Of course the light bulb (assuming it to have a consciousness) might say: "it was my free will to shine" - whereas it in fact was the switch turned from someone else - which may lead to the lightbulb saying: "It certainly was someoone else switching me on, but I (magically/ sub/ unconsciously) made someone turn on the switch in order for me to shine" - what do you say then? umm

Written by:
...in order that things conspired in the world to make you pick red over blue. To talk of a free choice, or free will, is to assume that you are not governed by beliefs and desires which you have developed over time.



And EXACTLY this is what it is all about. You follow the plot and therefore the "plotter". If one wants to make a "free" choice, one needs to disgovern the self from the conditions.

Written by:
Anyone here heard of the notion of the holographic universe? That every element of the universe has information on every other part of the universe, like every (...) bit of a hologram has information on the rest of it in order to function.. that's my belief.



And this also comes very close to mine... Yet it doesn't conclude that one does NOT hold the potential to choose free. Of course there is not sign up (who want's to become a brain-cell?) but maybe it's just a giving in (ok, I have the potential and it's just as good as being a bone). Confusion in making a decision or taking a radical action leads (in this context) to deformations, disabilities and cancerious results within the organism.

But remember - the entire body came from a SINGLE cell holding ALL the necessary informations.

Written by:
Another quick point - if you truly believe in free will, then surely free will can have no cause. Correct?



This sounds contradictory - besides a "will" doesn't need a cause if you refer to it as a thought... If you're talking about "free action" I'd agree - it doesn't need a (n obvious) cause.

Written by:
So, I assume you all chose to be born? And for your parents, grandparents, great grandparents etc to breed until you existed?

That, if nothing else, is a cause for supposed "free will". And if it could not exist without a cause, I don't really think of it as any freer than the lightbulb coming on when the switch is flicked.




And this is exactly it: Instead of saying "I did NOT choose to come to this world/ it was NOT MY CHOICE/ I do hold no responsibility for my parents and therefore (if I like) I can blame them for each and everything, I am a victim of circumstances" - why NOT take the responsibility (back) in your own hands and say: "I CHOSE TO BE HERE!"

But anyways it's not necessary to make the ancestors breed until one gets born... to explain this process from my model would take a little longer.

Personally I (evidentially) come to this conclusion more and more, therefore (espacially in times of trouble) am also able to see fate (and life) as a chance to change - rather than a burden that was put on my shoulders by just someone else and that I have to give in to...

Written by:
If free will evolved, at what point in evolution did we become free from the deterministic processes that surround us?



Well, personally I do not say that we actually do hold the ability to choose freely, but we certainly hold the strong potential to come to a point, where free will is possible.


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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nearly_all_gone
SILVER Member since Aug 2004

nearly_all_gone

Pooh-Bah
Location: Southampton

Total posts: 1626
Posted:Written by: Patriarch917


Isn't a "choice" just another word for "small parts of my brain doing things in accordance with natural laws." It would seem that this could be thought of as an outcome in and of itself.



Is a though (even one that we would commonly refer to as "making a choice") not merely a physical action that is similar in many ways to, say, digestion?



Well, yes and no, as your thoughts are primarily based upon the way which your life (and every influence upon you, and every influence upon those influences etc etc) has been up to that point. In principle there is a linear process being made, and the outcome of your choice is predetermined by the initial state, but this does not mean that you don't have the act of decision-making to participate in.



You are the thing which is acting, but you act along a rigid course which is set up by the state of the universe and your history. This isn't a reason not to act, or not to consider your actions. A hasty decision may still be the wrong decision. I think that given a full knowledge of a person along the lines I've spoken, we could know that it would occur to them that they could act hastily in a given situation, and would know whether or not they would choose to accept this impulse. Our own thoughts are motivators to us, as much (probably more) a part of the landscape along which we move as external factors. I believe that they have their basis in external factors, that they arise due to a certain arrangement of the external factors in your life (in which I'm including your anatomy, including genetic predispositions to certain kinds of action).



To say that people don't choose what they believe is clearly wrong, because people do so every day, when they find out new information which renders an old belief false or something like that. They may get to their new belief by thinking something through when they have previously not done so. My point is that, if we had known enough about them, and the universe etc we could predict that, at that precise moment, they would be changing their beliefs.



So people can choose to believe in free will in a deterministic system, and they can be incorrect. And by hearing the arguments for determinism, which I am very badly putting forward in this thread, aspects may occur to them which hadn't previously, and show them that their previous belief was based on groundless assumtions.



Of course, I may well be wrong, but I am yet to hear an argument FOR free will which isn't full of wholes, whereas I feel my position on determinism is wholly defensible. That's why I choose to believe in determinism. If someone came up with a new argument for free will, I would try and find a flaw in it, and if I couldn't, I'd gracefully accept free will.



However, I doubt that will happen any time soon.



Dream - my comment on science, what don't you agree with? Whenever a new scientific discovery is made, science changes to incorporate it. This will continue to be the case until we know everything about everything. 1000 years ago the greatest minds on the planet believed the sun revolved around the earth, and that the earth was flat. I'm sure in another millenium our science today will look equally laughable, but it will be understandable due to our lack of knowledge of all the things we're to learn in the next 1000 years. But one thing which I think we can safely say without fear of making a claim that will be ridiculed at a later date is that every effect has a cause, which equally has a cause of its own.



And FireTom - I like the way you think, and unfortunately I don't have time to come up with a reply which will do your post justice at the moment. Just thought I'd say that you've given me lots to think about smile

EDITED_BY: nearly_all_gone (1139077006)


What a wonderful miracle if only we could look through each other's eyes for an instant.
Thoreau

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dream
SILVER Member since Jul 2003

dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 493
Posted:Written by:
I propose that science is the only thing in a constant state of flux



A proposal that the only thing that is constantly changing is human understanding of the natural world means necessarily that everything else is fixed and static. This is not true. I find it incredibly hard to believe that you need a detailed explanation of why.

Written by:
one thing which I think we can safely say without fear of making a claim that will be ridiculed at a later date is that every effect has a cause, which equally has a cause of its own.




Close but no cigar.

Now if you'd have said

one thing which I think we can safely say without fear of making a claim that will be ridiculed at a later date is that every effect has a multiplicity of interdependent networked causes, which equally have a multiplicity of causes of their own.

then i wouldn't disagree

but i would add

These complex causal networks are themselves constantly in a state of flux.


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted:Written by: dream

Written by: nearly all gone

one thing which I think we can safely say without fear of making a claim that will be ridiculed at a later date is that every effect has a cause, which equally has a cause of its own.




Close but no cigar.

Now if you'd have said

one thing which I think we can safely say without fear of making a claim that will be ridiculed at a later date is that every effect has a multiplicity of interdependent networked causes, which equally have a multiplicity of causes of their own.

then i wouldn't disagree

but i would add

These complex causal networks are themselves constantly in a state of flux.

I would disagree with that as well. There is no reason why causality would always hold true just because it seems common sense to the limited human mind. I dare say there are a myriad of effects in quantum dynamics to which there was no cause. And unless you invoke a continuous series of causes then the very creation of the universe must have had an ultimate cause which its self would have no cause.

Causality is not an immutable law. It just happens to hold true in our day to day lives.


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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FireTom


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Total posts: 6650
Posted:What makes you quote an entire post, if it's right above your own?



@all: so IYO is free will possible, or not?

EDITED_BY: FireTom (1139418029)


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted:Written by: FireTom

What makes you quote an entire post, if it's right above your own?


To avoid any chance of confusion and the possibility that someone might post while I'm writing.


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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dream
SILVER Member since Jul 2003

dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 493
Posted:Written by:
I dare say there are a myriad of effects in quantum dynamics to which there was no cause.



Doesn't the EPR experiment suggest that everything is in fact interconnected and therefore at a quantum level everthing can or is causing everthying else?Just because this causality is not understood by limited scientific knowledge - which may be connected to limits of the human mind - doesn't make them random - in fact it suggests the opposite.

Written by:
And unless you invoke a continuous series of causes then the very creation of the universe must have had an ultimate cause which its self would have no cause.




??? only if in the beginning there was nothing. And then a transcendent god created something - ie the universe.

eek frown


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted:Written by: dream

Written by: jeff(fake)

I dare say there are a myriad of effects in quantum dynamics to which there was no cause.

Doesn't the EPR experiment suggest that everything is in fact interconnected and therefore at a quantum level everthing can or is causing everthying else?Just because this causality is not understood by limited scientific knowledge - which may be connected to limits of the human mind - doesn't make them random - in fact it suggests the opposite.

The EPR experiment only applies to particles which have undergone Quantum Entanglement.
Written by: dream
Written by: jeff(fake)

And unless you invoke a continuous series of causes then the very creation of the universe must have had an ultimate cause which its self would have no cause.



??? only if in the beginning there was nothing. And then a transcendent god created something - ie the universe.
eek frown

But where did god come from? That's my point. At some stage there had to be a cause with no reason.


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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dream
SILVER Member since Jul 2003

dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 493
Posted:Written by:
At some stage there had to be a cause with no reason



only if there was nothing beforehand. if there has always been some form of matter/thing/god then there seems no need for a cause without prior causation.

unfortunately the answer to that question is well beyond us. so whether or not there was an 'ultimate cause' or not is fairly wild speculation.

post-big bang however (where we can have a slightly better understanding of the universe) a network of causality seems to work.


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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nearly_all_gone
SILVER Member since Aug 2004

nearly_all_gone

Pooh-Bah
Location: Southampton

Total posts: 1626
Posted:Written by: dream

A proposal that the only thing that is constantly changing is human understanding of the natural world means necessarily that everything else is fixed and static. This is not true. I find it incredibly hard to believe that you need a detailed explanation of why.



OK, perhaps "only" is an overstatement, I would imagine a perceptible one on your part, which was part of a figure of speech. Of course other things change, but I would equally suggest certain things are fixed and static, namely certain physical laws, amongst which causality is the one I happen to feel negates the possibility of free will.

Your notion of causal states being in a state of flux seems totally incoherent to me. Of course there are a multiplicity of causes on any one event. But each individual cause has its own individual effects, just as every individual effect has its own individual causes. Certain conditions give rise to further conditions with the advance of time. To argue that this is simply a "flux" rather than a logical progression is to not understand the nature of causality at all, it seems to me.


What a wonderful miracle if only we could look through each other's eyes for an instant.
Thoreau

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Dut
SILVER Member since Mar 2002

lurker
Location: Nashville, TN

Total posts: 380
Posted:this thread is very long. does anyone address the question -- what does the poster think "will" is supposed to be "free" of, and where did he get that idea?

-- dut


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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:free willy?

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Dut
SILVER Member since Mar 2002

lurker
Location: Nashville, TN

Total posts: 380
Posted:here's some "answers" to what i've read so far (might be repeats, but i'm on lunch break so i get to type more than i read) --

1) there are no causes, only effects. defining an event's "causes" is merely defining the limits of your perception and imagination -- a very handy thing to do when trying to figure out life's patterns, at any rate. but not so good for basing cosmologies.

2) effects (and thereby "causes") don't happen in singly connected, linear, or even a necessarily time-forward fashion. this is the crux of the chaos theory that gives rise to the pure randomness our illusions of "free will" clings to.

3) "will" (aka volition) CANNOT be "free" of physics, and never could be without invoking a form of "spirit" (or metaphysics). this is usually a copout for immortality and not wanting to admit (5).

4) "will" CAN be "free" of intervention by other "wills", only in relation to how "unfree" of intervention it can be. or in other words, some will can be freer than others, but no will is free of iteself. (kill the eg0. break the mind of logic.) true story.

5) and yeah. any of it that deserves the name "will" happens way below the scenes of "consciousness".

SUMMARY - i really think it comes down to defining "free" and "will" as they're actually found in nature, rather than idealizing an infinite "free" and a perfect "will". peace.

-- dut


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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:nearly_al_ gone, Ive done exercises where people choose freely, without any thought. Though choosing to fly is a bit difficult, because humans dont have the structure to fly.

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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