Author Topic: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?  (Read 44213 times)

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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #812 on: March 09, 2012, 06:29:05 AM »
There's also a bigger, more fundamental problem with your approach to this.  You're basically saying, "if you do X to a person, they will do Y, therefore they are not responsible for Y because you are responsible for X".  So, what about the person who did W, which caused you to do X?  Doesn't that mean that that person is responsible instead of you?  Except then we have the person who did V to the person who did W, and so on.  In other words, the responsibility gets deferred indefinitely - it's always someone else's fault.  And that approach is actually worse than the one we have now, because you can always pass the buck.  "I'm a greedy, conniving business tyrant?  Blame my parents for raising me that way!"

In other words, you won't end up with a society where everyone thinks before they do something because the blame can fall on them for what someone else does as a result, you'll end up with them doing the same thoughtless actions and passing the blame up the line, because they'll have the perfect out - blame the guy who caused them to do it.
....
Do you see the problem with this approach now?

Nope.  Because I'm not advocating in any way that anyone can use "it wasn't my fault" as a means of escaping any punishment - or, I should say, rehabilitation.

If the killer kills because of his previous environment, then I'm advocating that in the first instance he is removed from society, since clearly if left loose he will kill again.  What I am advocating is that prison becomes only minimally (if at all) concerned with punsihment, and mostly (or entirely) concerned with rehabilitation. 

Similarly, I wouldn't take it as an "oh, well that's okay then" excuse for someone to say "I'm a git - but its all my parents fault".  Maybe it is their fault - but that doesn't escape the fact that you are a git, and that needs to be changed.

Does that mean "prison" for people who break no laws, but whose actions take no account of (and deliberately hurt) the humans involved?  .........  Yes, I guess that IS what I'm advocating.  Again, not to punish them, but to change their learned responses so that they "stop being a git". 
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #813 on: March 09, 2012, 10:06:34 AM »
Nope.  Because I'm not advocating in any way that anyone can use "it wasn't my fault" as a means of escaping any punishment - or, I should say, rehabilitation.

If the killer kills because of his previous environment, then I'm advocating that in the first instance he is removed from society, since clearly if left loose he will kill again.  What I am advocating is that prison becomes only minimally (if at all) concerned with punsihment, and mostly (or entirely) concerned with rehabilitation. 

Similarly, I wouldn't take it as an "oh, well that's okay then" excuse for someone to say "I'm a git - but its all my parents fault".  Maybe it is their fault - but that doesn't escape the fact that you are a git, and that needs to be changed.

Does that mean "prison" for people who break no laws, but whose actions take no account of (and deliberately hurt) the humans involved?  .........  Yes, I guess that IS what I'm advocating.  Again, not to punish them, but to change their learned responses so that they "stop being a git".
First off, perhaps you can tell me if you think the conclusion that free will is an illusion is necessary in order to implement this system you discuss here?  Because I was sure under the impression that the judicial system, as it now exists, is intended not to exact retribution, but to discourage future occurrences of the behavior in question.  There's some exceptions to this rule, of course, but the system as a whole is designed to penalize offenders with loss of property or privileges in order to discourage the behavior they're being punished for (and to compensate the other person for their losses).

It seems to me that your idea that free will is an illusion will work at cross purposes with your purpose of rehabilitating people.  The problem isn't that people are shaped by their experiences and affected by circumstances outside their control, because that's a given.  The problem is that you're saying that there's nothing but those experiences and circumstances involved at all, that it's just a really complex variation of "pull lever A, get reaction Z".  The problem is, it doesn't quite work that way, except perhaps at the atomic level (and as I showed with solidity earlier, the fact that something doesn't exist at the atomic level doesn't mean that it doesn't practically exist at our level, provided we define it correctly).

Note that I'm not suggesting some "decision-making entity" like the common conception of the soul.  What I'm suggesting is something more like our awareness of the fact that we can make decisions influences those decisions and gives us the option to make a different choice if we want to.  There's a lot of people who say they have no choice but to do something, for example, but I don't think that's true.  What they really mean is that there's no choice that they're willing to accept but the one they've already chosen.  Take someone who's about to commit a crime who uses that logic - it clearly isn't true, because they can choose not to commit the crime up until they actually do it.  Yet they believe it is, and so commit the crime even though they could have stopped themselves at any point prior to doing it.

Yet, your argument is (or at least it comes across as) that they had no choice but to do what they did, that if they could have done differently they would have, so therefore any "choice" they had was an illusion and thus the fault lies with external circumstances and experiences, not with them.  Except then you punish (rehabilitate) them anyway by restricting their movements and actions, in order to make sure they won't do it again.  In other words, you treat them exactly as if they are a robot who can only do what they actually do, and who just needs to be "reprogrammed" in order to not do those things which are harmful to other people.  The problem is that you appear to be assuming you can change someone if you just apply enough pressure from the outside, which has been demonstrated to be fairly ineffective.  If the person doesn't decide to go along with it from the inside, what you'll end up with is someone who can talk the talk, but who won't walk the walk unless someone's there watching him.  And yet, your approach does not have an "inside", it just has various levels of "outside", because it treats the "inside" as an illusion.
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #814 on: March 10, 2012, 08:55:19 AM »
.....I was sure under the impression that the judicial system, as it now exists, is intended ..... to discourage future occurrences of the behavior in question.  ..... the system as a whole is designed to penalize offenders with loss of property or privileges in order to discourage the behavior they're being punished for .....
.....
The problem is that you appear to be assuming you can change someone if you just apply enough pressure from the outside, which has been demonstrated to be fairly ineffective.  If the person doesn't decide to go along with it from the inside, what you'll end up with is someone who can talk the talk, but who won't walk the walk unless someone's there watching him. 

Wait....does our current judicial system work for rehabilitation, or not?

Broadly, you seem to be saying that people will only change if they "want to".....that external manipulation doesn't work?  I suspect that the advertising/marketing industry would beg to differ - as to would any half-successful cult.   ;D

I am absolutely convinced that the right type of pressure, correctly applied, will end with people doing things as a result of that pressure.

And it's popularist, but here's an example...



<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/YTYILlSNfY8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #815 on: March 11, 2012, 09:12:49 AM »
Our judicial system is intended to rehabilitate.  In practice, it doesn't work all that well, but that's a complicated issue and does not have that much to do with what the system's intended to do.

I was not saying that people could not be influenced from the outside, but that you can't force someone to do something with only external pressure.  For example, advertisers are generally based around making their product seem desirable for various reasons, which may or may not have anything to do with the actual product.  Yet they can only succeed in selling the product if some of the reasons they give for buying it resonate with the customer.  For example, alcohol commercials often imply that an alcohol drinker is alternately rich, gets interest from the opposite sex, has lots of friends, and other things as well.  Those are general enough that they appeal to a fairly wide range of people, but it doesn't work without the internal willingness to accept those reasons as valid and that they apply to alcohol.  Cults generally operate along the same principles, in that they try to lure people in with the idea that belonging to the cult will ultimately get them things they want, but only people who buy into that reasoning actually join the cult.
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #816 on: March 12, 2012, 06:00:12 AM »
.....it doesn't work without the internal willingness to accept those reasons as valid.....

Where does that internal willingness come from?  How are your preferences arrived at?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline screwtape

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #817 on: March 12, 2012, 08:57:47 AM »
I was not saying that people could not be influenced from the outside, but that you can't force someone to do something with only external pressure. 

If you know what buttons to push, you don't have to use force.

http://www.amazon.com/Predictably-Irrational-Hidden-Forces-Decisions/dp/006135323X
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #818 on: March 12, 2012, 01:03:26 PM »
Where does that internal willingness come from?  How are your preferences arrived at?
Preferences are formed because of external experiences, of course.  If I eat something, and I like it, I have a preference for it; similarly, if I dislike it, I have a preference against it.  The experience makes me aware of the preference and gives me the opportunity to decide whether I am satisfied with the preference or not.  If I'm not, I can change it, albeit through hard work and perseverance.  It's a neat little system that lets us become more than just the sum of our experiences, more than just the external influences on us.

If you know what buttons to push, you don't have to use force.

http://www.amazon.com/Predictably-Irrational-Hidden-Forces-Decisions/dp/006135323X
Right.  I can think of two examples offhand.  Reverse psychology is obvious, and while I don't know the formal name of the second one, it's when you try to prove someone wrong because of dislike or something like that.  An example is if someone makes a prediction about how I'll react, and as a result, I predictably react in some other way just to prove them wrong.

Of course, the irony of this discussion is that no matter who's ultimately correct, we're not going to be able to convince each other.  If Anfauglir is correct, I have no choice about disagreeing with him.  If I'm correct, then I'm trying to get him to do something he doesn't agree with, which is pretty much doomed to failure unless I do some psychological trick, which kind of defeats the purpose in my opinion.  I'm not (or at least no longer) trying to convince him that I'm correct, but rather I'm using the opportunity to hone my argument skills (since you can't get better by practicing with people who are dramatically less skilled, which describes the majority of theist visitors here), and it gives me the chance to formulate and solidify my own reasoning from an emotional feeling to something that can stand up on its own.
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #819 on: March 12, 2012, 01:12:39 PM »
Where does that internal willingness come from?  How are your preferences arrived at?
Preferences are formed because of external experiences, of course.  If I eat something, and I like it, I have a preference for it; similarly, if I dislike it, I have a preference against it.  The experience makes me aware of the preference and gives me the opportunity to decide whether I am satisfied with the preference or not.  If I'm not, I can change it, albeit through hard work and perseverance.  It's a neat little system that lets us become more than just the sum of our experiences, more than just the external influences on us.

He didn't ask how you gain knowledge of your preferences; he asked how they came to be.  Did they form randomly, or were they caused?
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #820 on: March 12, 2012, 02:07:19 PM »
Ah, sorry, I thought that was obvious.  They're caused (by comparison with existing experiences, probably), though probably affected by random chance.  The point I was trying to make is that the mind can cause those preferences to change if one tries hard enough at it.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #821 on: March 12, 2012, 04:43:34 PM »
Will the mind do that, if it doesn't prefer to do so?
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #822 on: March 12, 2012, 06:33:07 PM »
Given that the mind is part of the gestalt that makes up a person, and a person can choose to change their preferences, I would say yes.  Though they have to work hard at it and persevere if it isn't something they'd prefer to do.  It isn't just some mechanical process where a person has to already want to do something or have something happen to create that want, else they're helpless to change it.  It just takes a lot of effort to change something that goes against the grain.

*shrug*  I used to bite my nails a lot.  Now I don't.  And I stopped not so much because I wanted to (I wanted to stop for years before I actually did, but "I don't want to do this because it's irritating" was never able to overcome "I want to do this because I'm used to doing it" sufficiently to maintain the effort needed to actually break the habit), but because I decided that I was going to stop, and that tipped the balance.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #823 on: March 13, 2012, 05:24:55 AM »
Where does that internal willingness come from?  How are your preferences arrived at?
Preferences are formed because of external experiences, of course.  If I eat something, and I like it, I have a preference for it; similarly, if I dislike it, I have a preference against it.  The experience makes me aware of the preference......

Every time? 

Given that the mind is part of the gestalt that makes up a person......

And how does your mind set its initial preferences?  Once those preferences are set, how does the mind - unaided - change itself away from its preferences?

This is the next stage of argument up from the purely mechanistic.  You've argued that it is impossible to change a mind if it doesn't want to do so.  So how DOES that mind go from wanting to be in one state, to wanting to be in another?

You said re: nails "I decided that I was going to stop".....okay.  Where did that decision come from?  Was it a random spark that just appeared?  Or was it the gradual shifting of your preferences, as a result of experiences received, that led to that decision on that day?

Or, if you prefer, why didn't you "decide you were going to stop" three weeks and six hours earlier?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #824 on: March 16, 2012, 02:31:57 PM »
To be honest, I'm a little tired of discussing this.  No matter how many times we go around, neither of us are likely to change our minds, for the reasons I gave above.  I'd just as soon let it lapse.  Also, your tendency to only respond to specific sentences of mine, meaning that I have to constantly go back and refer to older posts just to make sure I have the thread of my argument, gets a little tiresome.

Every time?
I don't see how this matters.

Quote from: Anfauglir
And how does your mind set its initial preferences?  Once those preferences are set, how does the mind - unaided - change itself away from its preferences?
Who said it was unaided?  My point is not that someone can snap their fingers and change their preferences with no effort, but that they can make choices to change them upon seeing how those preferences actually work out, provided they're willing to put in the effort needed.

Quote from: Anfauglir
This is the next stage of argument up from the purely mechanistic.  You've argued that it is impossible to change a mind if it doesn't want to do so.  So how DOES that mind go from wanting to be in one state, to wanting to be in another?
No, I said it was impossible to force them with just external pressure.  I've studied enough of martial arts to know quite a bit about applying physical pressure to weak points, and I've found that it's never just about the external pressure I'm applying to them that does the trick.  It's the internal decision to give up rather than keep struggling that does it.  That's not to suggest that the external pressure wasn't part of it, because it clearly was, but it wasn't all of it and it wasn't enough on its own.

Quote from: Anfauglir
You said re: nails "I decided that I was going to stop".....okay.  Where did that decision come from?  Was it a random spark that just appeared?  Or was it the gradual shifting of your preferences, as a result of experiences received, that led to that decision on that day?

Or, if you prefer, why didn't you "decide you were going to stop" three weeks and six hours earlier?
You seem to be suggesting that this decision was deterministic/random because it was influenced by my experiences.  I'm not arguing that those experiences didn't matter, or that the simple choice that I wanted to stop biting my nails was nearly enough on its own.  I'm arguing that those experiences and other factors wouldn't have been enough if I hadn't also decided that I wanted to quit doing it, and stuck to that decision.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #825 on: March 16, 2012, 04:29:13 PM »
Jaim, the sticking point here is this:  What about your decision is a non-physical process?  Because if your decision is a physical process, then it is not different in-kind from any of the other inputs that you've agreed to be deterministic.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #826 on: March 19, 2012, 05:31:20 AM »
Quote from: Anfauglir
And how does your mind set its initial preferences?  Once those preferences are set, how does the mind - unaided - change itself away from its preferences?
Who said it was unaided?  My point is not that someone can snap their fingers and change their preferences with no effort, but that they can make choices to change them upon seeing how those preferences actually work out, provided they're willing to put in the effort needed.


Quote from: Anfauglir
You said re: nails "I decided that I was going to stop".....okay.  Where did that decision come from?  Was it a random spark that just appeared?  Or was it the gradual shifting of your preferences, as a result of experiences received, that led to that decision on that day?

Or, if you prefer, why didn't you "decide you were going to stop" three weeks and six hours earlier?
You seem to be suggesting that this decision was deterministic/random because it was influenced by my experiences.  I'm not arguing that those experiences didn't matter, or that the simple choice that I wanted to stop biting my nails was nearly enough on its own.  I'm arguing that those experiences and other factors wouldn't have been enough if I hadn't also decided that I wanted to quit doing it, and stuck to that decision.

Like Az says - what part of your decision making process ISN'T mechanistic?

But as regard the decision to quite.....I ask again, by what reason were you able to come to that "decision" at a particular point, rather than a week, two week, three weeks earlier?  If you are capable of making a decision that is not deterministic, exactly why did it take so long?

For me, the answer is simple: you didn't make that "decision" before, because you couldn't make it before: the right balance of experiences and circumstances hadn't arisen.  The determinist answer is easy, even if I can't put numbers and values on all the variables.

For the "free will" position, the answer is much more difficult, which is why I posed the question.  Why DOES it take so long for someone to make that "choice"?  And, to return to Az's point, what part of that process is not physical?

Or, if you like, to return to my save game universe, by what means can a person who has exactly the same life experiences to that point, in exactly the same circumstances, come to a "decision" that is not random, and not determined?  What IS this other option, and how does it work?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #827 on: March 20, 2012, 10:32:36 AM »
Azdgari:  It's no sticking point at all.  Let's take an electron, in orbit of a hydrogen atom.  The electron is deterministic, in the sense that it will always orbit the hydrogen atom without some external force interfering with it.  Yet, it is impossible to determine where the electron is in its orbit at any given time without observing it, which interferes with it.  And you cannot predict its future movements nor extrapolate its past movements from that observation.  Even if you take multiple observations, you still cannot determine the path the electron took between them, because each observation interferes with the system.

So, the electron is deterministic, because it will always orbit.  But the electron's path is not deterministic.  Similarly, the mind is deterministic, in the sense that it cannot help but think.  Even when the mind is sleeping, it still thinks.  I admit that I don't know for sure if the thoughts produced by the mind are deterministic or not.  What I do know, though, is that the electrical impulses produced by the brain (which generate the thoughts of the mind) are formed of electrons, and since you can't determine an electron's path (either future or past) from its current state, it's impossible to determine where a given electron in an impulse came from, or where it will ultimately end up.

So the fact that my decision used the physical processes of thought in no way means that the decision was determined in advance.

Like Az says - what part of your decision making process ISN'T mechanistic?
Explained above.

Quote from: Anfauglir
But as regard the decision to quite.....I ask again, by what reason were you able to come to that "decision" at a particular point, rather than a week, two week, three weeks earlier?  If you are capable of making a decision that is not deterministic, exactly why did it take so long?
If I had made the decision earlier, you would undoubtedly now be asking me why I didn't make it at some other different time.  The thing is, that's an easy question to ask about an event in the past, because the past can't be changed.

Quote from: Anfauglir
For me, the answer is simple: you didn't make that "decision" before, because you couldn't make it before: the right balance of experiences and circumstances hadn't arisen.  The determinist answer is easy, even if I can't put numbers and values on all the variables.
I mean no offense here, but this sounds a lot to me like a theist's argument of "God did it, even though I can't explain how precisely".  I don't trust "easy" answers that seem intuitive, especially if you can't back them up with anything but logic.  It's too easy to go wrong with something that seems logical (especially if it also seems simple, ala Occam's razor) but that you can't back up empirically.  That way lies Olivianus's path of "divinely revealed objects of knowledge", and other such fallacies.

Quote from: Anfauglir
For the "free will" position, the answer is much more difficult, which is why I posed the question.  Why DOES it take so long for someone to make that "choice"?  And, to return to Az's point, what part of that process is not physical?
I already said that I'm not arguing for free will, in the sense that theists mean.  For that matter, I'm not arguing for the traditional definition of free will (an unconstrained decision) either.  I know that decisions are constrained by various factors, and it's impossible to ignore those constraints.  But within those constraints, it's usually possible to choose one of several options, and until they make the decision to choose one, what they will pick is not determinable.

Quote from: Anfauglir
Or, if you like, to return to my save game universe, by what means can a person who has exactly the same life experiences to that point, in exactly the same circumstances, come to a "decision" that is not random, and not determined?  What IS this other option, and how does it work?
If a person has several choices for what to eat for supper, they can pick between them.  But their specific choice is not determinable in advance.  If you "save" right before they choose, while they're still looking in their freezer, then I think you can determine that they will pick one of the choices (as opposed to, say, ordering out), but you cannot determine exactly which one they will pick.  In any case, until you can actually perform the experiment in reality, it isn't something that can be checked, one way or the other.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #828 on: March 20, 2012, 11:44:33 AM »
But the electron's path is not deterministic. 

Isn't it?  Could it be deterministic but not currently predictable by people because we don't know how?  Like a roulette wheel.  It is totally deterministic, but even with a big calculator, you cannot predict the number
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #829 on: March 20, 2012, 01:04:24 PM »
Azdgari:  It's no sticking point at all.  Let's take an electron, in orbit of a hydrogen atom.  The electron is deterministic, in the sense that it will always orbit the hydrogen atom without some external force interfering with it.  Yet, it is impossible to determine where the electron is in its orbit at any given time without observing it, which interferes with it.  And you cannot predict its future movements nor extrapolate its past movements from that observation.  Even if you take multiple observations, you still cannot determine the path the electron took between them, because each observation interferes with the system.

So, the electron is deterministic, because it will always orbit.  But the electron's path is not deterministic.  Similarly, the mind is deterministic, in the sense that it cannot help but think.  Even when the mind is sleeping, it still thinks.  I admit that I don't know for sure if the thoughts produced by the mind are deterministic or not.  What I do know, though, is that the electrical impulses produced by the brain (which generate the thoughts of the mind) are formed of electrons, and since you can't determine an electron's path (either future or past) from its current state, it's impossible to determine where a given electron in an impulse came from, or where it will ultimately end up.

So the fact that my decision used the physical processes of thought in no way means that the decision was determined in advance.

Granted.  But what's free about that?  By your reasoning, an electron has free will.  That's an odd way to describe it, IMO.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #830 on: March 22, 2012, 06:32:33 AM »
Jaime, we seem to be at cross-purposes here.  I've never claimed that a person's choice will be predictable, and I'm pretty sure I've specifically said so.  But simply because something is not predictable does not mean that there is a choice of possibilities.

You've cited the case of electrons, whose orbits are deterrministic, but upredictable because observation alters its orbit.  Yes indeed, no arguments there.  But just because it can't be predicted, does that mean it could be two or more different things?  Sure - observation will change what it would be doing.....but are you saying that if we had two identical and parallel universes, in which the same electron were observed in exactly the same way, that the electron would be changed in a different manner in both universes?  Because that's what it sounds like - that identical circumstances can lead to non-identical outcomes.

I'm on board with the fact that random fluctutations at the teeny-tiny level can mean differences in outcome - yes, of course they do.  And, to be completely correct, that means that the universe is NOT deterrministic, but rather a stochastic one where determined aspects and random events combine.

We seem, in fact to be fairly close to agreement:

I already said that I'm not arguing for free will, in the sense that theists mean.  For that matter, I'm not arguing for the traditional definition of free will (an unconstrained decision) either.  I know that decisions are constrained by various factors, and it's impossible to ignore those constraints.  But within those constraints, it's usually possible to choose one of several options, and until they make the decision to choose one, what they will pick is not determinable.

I've coloured the above: the blue bits are where I believe we are in agreement.  What we are at odds over is the bit in red - that one can "choose" within constraints.

How?

Flawed it may be, but this is where the save-game hypothesis (subject to the caveats on observation) seeks to nail this down.  Assuming it WERE possible to precisely mirror two (or more) different sets of circumstance, where every factor in the universe was the same, my point is that you'd get the same outcome, even if that outcome could not be predicted beforehand, subject to any random sub-atomic events.  And if that is indeed the case, then the conclusion when we look at just one universe, is that there is only one deterministic "choice" that can be made.....though that may vary through random factors.

What I honestly don't get is how you believe that in one fixed set of circumstances, there is the possibility for more than one non-random outcome - or even if you are arguing that at all! 
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?