Author Topic: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?  (Read 17202 times)

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Online Azdgari

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #116 on: December 19, 2011, 06:45:17 PM »
Gnu (or Gill, if he wants to answer),

If we have metaphysically-free will (as in, not bound by physical cause-and-effect), then that raises an important physical question.

See, our decisions affect our actions (obviously).  Our choices end up having a definite physical effect, once they work their way out into affecting our behaviour.  If they are non-deterministic, though - in a way that is different from non-conscious matter - then brains, for example, must be the site of some causality-breaking events.

For example, say your neurons are all set up to produce a decision X, that would result in physical behaviour A.  But - through free will - you decide to make decision Y instead, which will result in physical behaviour B.  How does that change things?  Do the neurons fire differently?  Are they blocked, with the free decision masking their activity and producing a different result somehow?

How does it work?  Because something has to happen to create the difference between behaviours A and B.  Where does it happen, and what's the difference?  How far back can we trace it?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2011, 06:46:48 PM by Azdgari »
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Offline JeffPT

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #117 on: December 19, 2011, 07:27:37 PM »
Jeff:
Quote
At what point in our lives do we get free will, Gill?
Free will (or the illusion of it, if you will) goes hand in hand with morality and conscience, which develop slowly in our formative years.

Hmm. I think this may be a definition issue here.  How can you 'learn' to have the ability to make a choice about things?  For me, Free will literally means the ability to make a choice independent of deterministic factors.  I can see the ability to 'learn' morality (as it is somewhat of a learned behavior) and 'develop' a conscience over time (as it is also somewhat of a learned behavior) all due to exposure to reality, but how do you learn to have the ability to make a choice?  As we get older,  the only difference is that the process becomes more complex... though it's still deterministic.  There's just more factors at play.  Free will (the ability to make a choice independent of deterministic factors) I believe, is an either / or.  It's an ability like seeing or hearing, not a learned thing.  When I open my eyes, can I choose not to have the ability to see?  No, you can't.   It's something you have, or you don't have. 

Does a fetus have the free will to suck it's thumb inside the womb or does it do it because of deterministic factors?  Does a baby have the free will to put his foot in his mouth?  Do I have the free will to write these words here?  For me, all of the answers are no.  The difference is that the process is more complex when I'm older, because my brain becomes more complex, and there are more factors at play, but it's still the same process. 

I think of it this way...  When we are a baby, we are like a stream flowing down the side of a hill.  We make decisions easily and without contemplation, much like the stream... straight and steady, following the path of least resistance.  Further along down the hill, things become a little rocky (as I learn more about the world and develop morals and a conscience), and I'm forced in different directions, but still flowing downhill following the path of least resistance.  At the bottom, it's full of sharp, jagged rocks and I am going all over the place (because there are so many factors I have to take into consideration) but I'm still flowing down the hill, following the path of least resistance.  All the same forces are at play, it's just more complex with age because there are a lot more rocks for us to navigate around. 

Does that make sense? 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline Gill

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #118 on: December 19, 2011, 08:04:31 PM »
Gnu (or Gill, if he wants to answer),

If we have metaphysically-free will (as in, not bound by physical cause-and-effect), then that raises an important physical question.

See, our decisions affect our actions (obviously).  Our choices end up having a definite physical effect, once they work their way out into affecting our behaviour.  If they are non-deterministic, though - in a way that is different from non-conscious matter - then brains, for example, must be the site of some causality-breaking events.

For example, say your neurons are all set up to produce a decision X, that would result in physical behaviour A.  But - through free will - you decide to make decision Y instead, which will result in physical behaviour B.  How does that change things?  Do the neurons fire differently?  Are they blocked, with the free decision masking their activity and producing a different result somehow?

How does it work?  Because something has to happen to create the difference between behaviours A and B.  Where does it happen, and what's the difference?  How far back can we trace it?

Ok, I'd say yes, there's a change in the neurons firing if the decision is changed.   

In any case, there's only a small percentage of neurons firing at any one particular time.  This is because the brain can be thought of as a filter of consciousness, not the producer of it.

The consciousness itself, would be indefinite, the brain reduces the consciousness down to a definite awareness of something.

So you could measure changes in physical activity, but you wouldn't be measuring the whole of consciousness itself.

Offline jetson

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #119 on: December 19, 2011, 08:09:33 PM »
Gill, you're nothing if not persistent.   ;D


Offline Gill

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #120 on: December 19, 2011, 08:13:03 PM »
Jeff:
Quote
At what point in our lives do we get free will, Gill?
Free will (or the illusion of it, if you will) goes hand in hand with morality and conscience, which develop slowly in our formative years.


Does a fetus have the free will to suck it's thumb inside the womb or does it do it because of deterministic factors?  Does a baby have the free will to put his foot in his mouth?  Do I have the free will to write these words here?  For me, all of the answers are no.  The difference is that the process is more complex when I'm older, because my brain becomes more complex, and there are more factors at play, but it's still the same process. 


 The fetus has no free-will since it has no sense of self, no identity, imo.  The fetus doesn't know where it's mouth ends and it's mother begins.  The fetus has the potential to have free-will though.

You have more free will because you have an identity.  A sense of where you end and the world begins, which I think plays a part in it.  And this can be thought of as developing over time.

Offline Gill

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #121 on: December 19, 2011, 08:13:54 PM »
Gill, you're nothing if not persistent.   ;D

hehe, I think a better word might be obsessive right now.   Yeah, I do need to eventually take a break from here.

Offline kin hell

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #122 on: December 19, 2011, 08:22:33 PM »
You have the illusion of freewill only as an aware point on a timeline.

Every decision you have made was inevitable. Look back along that timeline.  Did you ever make a different decision?

Every decision you will make in the future will be subject to the same inevitability, and while you might "feel" that you have a choice, that "feeling" is an illusion.

The choice you make will be the one you were always going to make, even if your "here and now" "fixed on the timeline perception" cannot pick it.

Of course this doesn't stop us from living our life as though we have complete freewill.
"...but on a lighter note, demons were driven from a pig today in Gloucester."  Bill Bailey

all edits are for spelling or grammar unless specified otherwise

Online Azdgari

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #123 on: December 19, 2011, 08:26:11 PM »
Ok, I'd say yes, there's a change in the neurons firing if the decision is changed.   

Okay then.  This is, in principle, a testable claim.  We can model how neurons should fire if they are obeying physical laws, and then observe how they actually fire, and see if it lines up or not.  As a control, we can practice modelling the neurons of something not considered conscious that nonetheless takes actions, like a lizard.  If the human neurons behave in a seemingly random manner (as in, not a result of physics & chemistry) then you may be on to something.  If they behave as predictably as anything else does, then you're simply wrong.

...what would you do then, btw?

In any case, there's only a small percentage of neurons firing at any one particular time.  This is because the brain can be thought of as a filter of consciousness, not the producer of it.

Or because there's no point in a lot of them firing a lot of the time, because that would waste energy and probably produce erratic mental results.  Natural selection pressures, and all that.

The consciousness itself, would be indefinite, the brain reduces the consciousness down to a definite awareness of something.

So you could measure changes in physical activity, but you wouldn't be measuring the whole of consciousness itself.

The point would be just to see if something odd is happening at all in the first place.  Not to "measure the whole of consciousness itself".  Baby steps, here.

By the way, how much influence do you think this non-deterministic-consciousness-force has on the neurons' firing?  Like, if you're given a psychotropic drug that - according to physics and chemistry - should cause a massive and rapid degree of neuron-firing, shouldn't consciousness be able to simply stop it?  If not, then why not?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2011, 08:29:48 PM by Azdgari »
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Offline jetson

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #124 on: December 19, 2011, 08:42:46 PM »
As intelligent mammals, I believe we have the power to make choices at any given point on our timeline. But, we certainly cannot escape the choices we are inevitably going to make.  That would be illogical to me, impossible.  For that, we would need to actually experience all choices simultaneously, but only actually do one of them.  Ultimately, that is all we can do, I think.

It all boils down to what free will is.  For most people, I think it is nothing more than our ability to make distinctions using our experience and knowledge, about those choices.  For the deeper folks, it can get to a point of being quite useless to even discuss.




Offline Gill

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #125 on: December 19, 2011, 08:48:57 PM »
Ok, I'd say yes, there's a change in the neurons firing if the decision is changed.   

Okay then.  This is, in principle, a testable claim.  We can model how neurons should fire if they are obeying physical laws, and then observe how they actually fire, and see if it lines up or not.  As a control, we can practice modelling the neurons of something not considered conscious that nonetheless takes actions, like a lizard.  If the human neurons behave in a seemingly random manner (as in, not a result of physics & chemistry) then you may be on to something.  If they behave as predictably as anything else does, then you're simply wrong.

...what would you do then, btw?


I think the lizard is conscious.  Not to the degree of a person, but, nonetheless.   

The consciousness itself, would be indefinite, the brain reduces the consciousness down to a definite awareness of something.

So you could measure changes in physical activity, but you wouldn't be measuring the whole of consciousness itself.
Quote

The point would be just to see if something odd is happening at all in the first place.  Not to "measure the whole of consciousness itself".  Baby steps, here.

By the way, how much influence do you think this non-deterministic-consciousness-force has on the neurons' firing?  Like, if you're given a psychotropic drug that - according to physics and chemistry - should cause a massive and rapid degree of neuron-firing, shouldn't consciousness be able to simply stop it?  If not, then why not?

One has the freedom to direct their awareness to a degree, so the directing alone would affect the neurons.   With the drug, one is still free to direct their awareness, but ,  since the filter is reduced or altered, then so will their overall consciousness.   

Offline Gill

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #126 on: December 19, 2011, 08:52:02 PM »
You have the illusion of freewill only as an aware point on a timeline.

Every decision you have made was inevitable. Look back along that timeline.  Did you ever make a different decision?

Every decision you will make in the future will be subject to the same inevitability, and while you might "feel" that you have a choice, that "feeling" is an illusion.

The choice you make will be the one you were always going to make, even if your "here and now" "fixed on the timeline perception" cannot pick it.

Of course this doesn't stop us from living our life as though we have complete freewill.

Makes sense if you're only looking backwards at things.    But what about the ability to project into the future, and the awareness of choice between possibilities?  What about the sense of self, and agency?  All illusions?  That's fine if one want to believe that, sounds like a pretty odd thing for people to have evolved to have all of these illusionary abilities and senses....

Offline Gill

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #127 on: December 19, 2011, 08:54:47 PM »
As intelligent mammals, I believe we have the power to make choices at any given point on our timeline. But, we certainly cannot escape the choices we are inevitably going to make.  That would be illogical to me, impossible.  For that, we would need to actually experience all choices simultaneously, but only actually do one of them.  Ultimately, that is all we can do, I think.

It all boils down to what free will is.  For most people, I think it is nothing more than our ability to make distinctions using our experience and knowledge, about those choices.  For the deeper folks, it can get to a point of being quite useless to even discuss.

Yeah, the more we analyze it, the more abstract it can get.  Personally,  I don't mind debating once in awhile, and I'm glad there's people who are willing to do so.   But at the end of the day,  I think a lot of it just boils down to paying attention to my senses.....

Online Azdgari

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #128 on: December 19, 2011, 09:04:13 PM »
I think the lizard is conscious.  Not to the degree of a person, but, nonetheless.

Okay.  Where would an unconscious, acting organism with neurons be found, then?

Do all neurons channel consciousness somehow?

One has the freedom to direct their awareness to a degree, so the directing alone would affect the neurons.   With the drug, one is still free to direct their awareness, but ,  since the filter is reduced or altered, then so will their overall consciousness.

What is the degree of control, then?  It sounds like you're describing a physical process, complete with bounds, limitations, and predictable parameters.
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Offline Gill

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #129 on: December 19, 2011, 09:19:58 PM »
I think the lizard is conscious.  Not to the degree of a person, but, nonetheless.

Okay.  Where would an unconscious, acting organism with neurons be found, then?

Do all neurons channel consciousness somehow?

Well,   the words can get confusing.   I can be 'unconscious',  but consciousness, would still exist.  So an organism may not be very 'conscious' , in the sense of being aware of itself or much of the world, but yeah, I think it would have some consciousness in general. 

One has the freedom to direct their awareness to a degree, so the directing alone would affect the neurons.   With the drug, one is still free to direct their awareness, but ,  since the filter is reduced or altered, then so will their overall consciousness.
Quote
What is the degree of control, then?  It sounds like you're describing a physical process, complete with bounds, limitations, and predictable parameters.

I think the degree of control would probably be best known in terms of the sense of control,  and harder to describe logically.   

Yeah, the consciousness becomes limited, bounded, but that's the nature of the physical state to filter it.  But the source, I'd say is indefinite.

Anyways,  getting tired, I don't think I can put much more thought into talking about this now, enjoyed the convo though, later.


Offline kin hell

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #130 on: December 19, 2011, 09:25:11 PM »
>snip<
, it can get to a point of being quite useless to even discuss.

...........point taken
"...but on a lighter note, demons were driven from a pig today in Gloucester."  Bill Bailey

all edits are for spelling or grammar unless specified otherwise

Online Azdgari

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #131 on: December 19, 2011, 09:51:42 PM »
Well,   the words can get confusing.   I can be 'unconscious',  but consciousness, would still exist.  So an organism may not be very 'conscious' , in the sense of being aware of itself or much of the world, but yeah, I think it would have some consciousness in general.

Okay, yeah, I didn't word that very well.  I mean an organism without consciousness, but that nonetheless acts, and has controlling nerves.  Like an earthworm, or something.

Unless - as I was getting at - it is your position that any action-controlling nerve cell necessarily channels consciousness (or filters, or however you put it)?

I think the degree of control would probably be best known in terms of the sense of control,  and harder to describe logically.

Degree of control has to end up being definite, though.  Because the results are definite.  The actions are definite.  The neurons' firing pattern is definite.

Yeah, the consciousness becomes limited, bounded, but that's the nature of the physical state to filter it.  But the source, I'd say is indefinite.

Indefinitely what?  I mean, "indefinite" on its own doesn't mean much, other than - in practice - "nonsensical".  An indefinite quantity, on the other hand, is meaningful.

Anyways,  getting tired, I don't think I can put much more thought into talking about this now, enjoyed the convo though, later.

Later.

EDIT:  In light of JeffPT's recent post - a good organism to supply a "non-conscious" and "non-free" neuron, according to you, would be a mid-term fetus.  Ethical considerations aside, its neurons should behave deterministically, while a born baby's should not.  Do you really expect that to be the case?  :o
« Last Edit: December 19, 2011, 10:59:22 PM by Azdgari »
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Offline JeffPT

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #132 on: December 19, 2011, 10:55:25 PM »
The fetus has no free-will since it has no sense of self, no identity, imo.

What does a sense of self have to do with the ability to decide on it's own whether to suck it's own thumb?  Just because it doesn't recognize that lump of flesh as 'thumb' or even that it's attached to the rest of it's body, why does any of that matter when we look at the ability to exercise a free will decision?  We are talking apples and oranges here.  The recognition of the self has nothing to do with whether or not a being is able to make a decision independent of deterministic forces.  Even stating the phrase, "I am me" is generated based on chemical and neurological interactions in the brain, is it not?   The awareness of the self is only an additional piece of information that must be incorporated into the natural factors that normally cause us to act.  Free will, as I tried to explain to Gnu (successfully or not, I await his judgement), is a property.  I do not see it as a learned thing.  It's more like eyesight, or touch.  Whether you understand what you are looking at or not, when you open your eyes, you don't have a choice but to see. 

And how does this free will you believe in tie into the 'spirit' you so strongly advocate?  Does our spirit have free will?  If, as you say, free will is a learned thing; when we die, do we have free will in eternity?  What if we die before we 'develop' free will?  Are we doomed to spend eternity without free will if we die before we get a chance to learn it?  Can a spirit learn free will too?  If so, how?  I mean, you say it's just an energy... Can an energy learn?     

The fetus doesn't know where it's mouth ends and it's mother begins.  The fetus has the potential to have free-will though.

That is from a lack of knowledge, or even a lack of processing capability in the brain.  Again, the knowledge that a brain has, has nothing to do with whether or not the brain is capable of making a decision that is not predicated on deterministic factors.   

You have more free will because you have an identity.  A sense of where you end and the world begins, which I think plays a part in it.  And this can be thought of as developing over time.

I agree we have a sense of the self.  I agree we know where we end and where the world begins.  I do not believe that this knowledge has anything to do with whether or not the brain can make a choice independent of deterministic factors.  Knowledge of the self is just another factor that increases the complexity of the situation (just like morals do... love, hate, empathy, etc.).  But just because it's more complex, that doesn't mean the process is different.  It just means more factors play into it. 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #133 on: December 20, 2011, 12:38:37 AM »
You have the illusion of freewill only as an aware point on a timeline.

Every decision you have made was inevitable. Look back along that timeline.  Did you ever make a different decision?

Every decision you will make in the future will be subject to the same inevitability, and while you might "feel" that you have a choice, that "feeling" is an illusion.

The choice you make will be the one you were always going to make, even if your "here and now" "fixed on the timeline perception" cannot pick it.

Of course this doesn't stop us from living our life as though we have complete freewill.
This is incorrect reasoning.  The past is always immutable, but the future is not the past.  The fact that I cannot change anything I have already done does not mean that I cannot change what I may do in the future.  There is nothing "inevitable" about a decision you haven't made yet, though it there might be a strong tendency toward one choice or another.  That is to say, we don't have complete free will (anyone who has ever tried to quit smoking, or rewire some other habit, can attest to this).  What we have is the ability to pick an outcome we want to see and then work towards it.  And there is nothing inevitable about the outcome, though one might be more likely (or much more likely) than others.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #134 on: December 20, 2011, 02:00:21 AM »
You have the illusion of freewill only as an aware point on a timeline.

Every decision you have made was inevitable. Look back along that timeline.  Did you ever make a different decision?

Every decision you will make in the future will be subject to the same inevitability, and while you might "feel" that you have a choice, that "feeling" is an illusion.

The choice you make will be the one you were always going to make, even if your "here and now" "fixed on the timeline perception" cannot pick it.

Of course this doesn't stop us from living our life as though we have complete freewill.
This is incorrect reasoning.  The past is always immutable, but the future is not the past.  The fact that I cannot change anything I have already done does not mean that I cannot change what I may do in the future.  There is nothing "inevitable" about a decision you haven't made yet, though it there might be a strong tendency toward one choice or another.  That is to say, we don't have complete free will (anyone who has ever tried to quit smoking, or rewire some other habit, can attest to this).  What we have is the ability to pick an outcome we want to see and then work towards it.  And there is nothing inevitable about the outcome, though one might be more likely (or much more likely) than others.

Anf:
Quote
Gill, Imagine that on two separate occasions you find yourself in exactly the same circumstances, facing exactly the same decision.
Anf, that's a little confusing. If the occasions are separate, either in space or time, then the circumstances aren't exactly the same.


Okay - I'm bringing in the "save-state universe" argument again....

For some reason Gill seems unable or unwilling to engage with me.  Can't think why.....

Imagine that the entire universe can be "saved", like a giant computer game, and can be "reloaded" to that point without the reload having any effect on the universe itself.  (Just a fancy way of setting up the background for the thought experiment, to be able to isolate and repeat a particular set of conditions).

Okay....so.  Save the state of the universe just before making a choice.  Make your choice.  Reload the universe, and make the choice again.

Was the choice the same, or different?  Will it always be the same, or can it be different every time?

Because every moment in the universe comes with a particular set of circumstances, answering the above question for our one chosen save point will answer for ANY save point.

My contention is that in exactly the same circumstances, a person who has exactly the same thoughts and memories and upbringing and stimulation, in exactly the same environment and in exactly the same physical and mental state, will ALWAYS - ALWAYS make the same decision, UNLESS there is some random factor involved.  So "choice" is either deterministic, or random )or a stochastic combonation of the two).

The opposing argument must perforce be that there is some element in "choice" that is neither determined, nor random.  That there is something other than these choices that means that - in the save game state - a different decision can be made each time that is NOT the reslut of a random fluctuation, but is equally NOT the necessary product of what has gone before.

I've raised this example a few times on this forum.  I've never, to my recollection, had it refuted.  We normalyl go off on a tangent such as "what do you mean by moment....?" or some such.

So Gill.....what is YOUR counter to the "save-game universe" argument?  You propose "free will"....can you explain how that works, in the context of my argument?
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 kin hell

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #135 on: December 20, 2011, 03:59:17 AM »
You have the illusion of freewill only as an aware point on a timeline.

Every decision you have made was inevitable. Look back along that timeline.  Did you ever make a different decision?

Every decision you will make in the future will be subject to the same inevitability, and while you might "feel" that you have a choice, that "feeling" is an illusion.

The choice you make will be the one you were always going to make, even if your "here and now" "fixed on the timeline perception" cannot pick it.

Of course this doesn't stop us from living our life as though we have complete freewill.
This is incorrect reasoning.  The past is always immutable, but the future is not the past.  The fact that I cannot change anything I have already done does not mean that I cannot change what I may do in the future.  There is nothing "inevitable" about a decision you haven't made yet, though it there might be a strong tendency toward one choice or another.  That is to say, we don't have complete free will (anyone who has ever tried to quit smoking, or rewire some other habit, can attest to this).  What we have is the ability to pick an outcome we want to see and then work towards it.  And there is nothing inevitable about the outcome, though one might be more likely (or much more likely) than others.
my bold

What Anfauglir said.

+ more specific to the bolded above.

I did not mean specifically that because I cannot change the past, the future is immutable, but in effect that is completely accurate too.

The "inevitable" future decision is the decision that you make, you could never make a different decision, because any different decision would not be the one that you actually make. EG the "picked outcome" you choose to work towards, is not a result of outside-of-time-and-influence decision making process, it is the (unrecognised) inevitable result of all that led to it. And the proof of that inevitability, is that it (and no other) is the act/decision that you chose.

Everything ( that's every single thing in the universe known or unknown) that came before, led to any moment/decision x, no matter how many apparent choices there appeared to be, no matter that we are not capable of accurate prediction (due to lack of knowledge of all inputs and lack of the computing power).

Free will is illusory, but the illusion is real enough to comfortably live as if it exists.


« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 04:12:09 AM by kin hell »
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Offline monkeymind

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #136 on: December 20, 2011, 08:32:55 AM »
Of course if we live in multiple universes that complicates things even more. :D
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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #137 on: December 20, 2011, 08:45:08 AM »
Current assumptions

- that life is not a mixture of free will and determinism
- the free will is for some reason necessary or important

Christian obsession with free will is rooted in their belief that bad people are punished eternally. If there is no punishment or reward on an individual level, then there is no bother about free will. Christian dogma is also confused, and believes that God chooses you, anyway. This is not free will.

If you believe that God is always in control, then there is no free will. God can always choose for an abused child to stay locked in a state of spite, or God can send people to fix the problem. God can send miracles to one person, to convince them to turn, and others not. Although a person has the ability to say "no" to a miracle, the Bible's terms compel the observer to accept God, or burn. This is not free will.

The Bible does not deal with "free will", because this flaw had not been thought of. Saving a person with a saviour does not conceptually work, if it is also coupled with hell. Paul invented the saviour, and he had no hell. The synoptic has hell, but also a meritocracy, where people can work for status in heaven.

The Bible does not work.

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Offline screwtape

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #138 on: December 20, 2011, 09:29:43 AM »
Makes sense if you're only looking backwards at things.    But what about the ability to project into the future, and the awareness of choice between possibilities?

Still determined by neural structure and experiences.  Not free will.

What about the sense of self, and agency?  All illusions?

yes.

That's fine if one want to believe that, sounds like a pretty odd thing for people to have evolved to have all of these illusionary abilities and senses....

That does not make it untrue.  You have to understand that in places where the universe seems weird, it isn't.  It is your mind that is weird.  Your inability to intuit the nature of reality is the problem, not reality.
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Offline Historicity

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #139 on: December 20, 2011, 09:39:02 AM »
Or because there's no point in a lot of them firing a lot of the time, because that would waste energy and probably produce erratic mental results.  Natural selection pressures, and all that.

Azdgari, by deduction and imagination you've given a rather good description of epilepsy.

EpilepsyWiki
"abnormal, excessive or hypersynchronous neuronal activity in the brain."

Congratulations.

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #140 on: December 20, 2011, 11:50:28 AM »
^^ Hmm, I guess the epileptic's consciousness just needs to exert more of its control over the brain, to prevent that sort of thing... &)

Thanks for making the connection, H.
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Offline Gill

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #141 on: December 20, 2011, 12:11:09 PM »
Okay - I'm bringing in the "save-state universe" argument again....

For some reason Gill seems unable or unwilling to engage with me.  Can't think why.....

Imagine that the entire universe can be "saved", like a giant computer game, and can be "reloaded" to that point without the reload having any effect on the universe itself.  (Just a fancy way of setting up the background for the thought experiment, to be able to isolate and repeat a particular set of conditions).

Okay....so.  Save the state of the universe just before making a choice.  Make your choice.  Reload the universe, and make the choice again.

Was the choice the same, or different?  Will it always be the same, or can it be different every time?

Because every moment in the universe comes with a particular set of circumstances, answering the above question for our one chosen save point will answer for ANY save point.

My contention is that in exactly the same circumstances, a person who has exactly the same thoughts and memories and upbringing and stimulation, in exactly the same environment and in exactly the same physical and mental state, will ALWAYS - ALWAYS make the same decision, UNLESS there is some random factor involved.  So "choice" is either deterministic, or random )or a stochastic combonation of the two).

The opposing argument must perforce be that there is some element in "choice" that is neither determined, nor random.  That there is something other than these choices that means that - in the save game state - a different decision can be made each time that is NOT the reslut of a random fluctuation, but is equally NOT the necessary product of what has gone before.

I've raised this example a few times on this forum.  I've never, to my recollection, had it refuted.  We normalyl go off on a tangent such as "what do you mean by moment....?" or some such.

So Gill.....what is YOUR counter to the "save-game universe" argument?  You propose "free will"....can you explain how that works, in the context of my argument?

Well, I can see your point if you're considering only physical forces to be factors in the choice.   The ability for a person to project into the future, to imagine possible outcomes, frees them to a degree from determinism, since they are making a choice based on something which isn't physically real.   This is not random either since it is willfully directed awareness.

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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #142 on: December 20, 2011, 12:16:56 PM »
Gill, he doesn't stipulate "only physical" factors.  He includes every fact about the individual's personality, beliefs, thoughts, etc.
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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #143 on: December 20, 2011, 12:39:11 PM »
Ok.

I think one general idea here is that many are looking at things in terms of a cause-effect relationship, therefore determinism makes sense.

And ,  looking at time as being a line, and events past to future along that line, is fine for most everyday purposes, but it's not the absolute nature of things.

Consider, that light speed is a constant.     If you were to ride a beam of light, as Einstein famously said, you would experience no passage of time.  Therefore, light itself is timeless.

So, if one considers things such as light (or electromagnetic waves to be technical),  you're considering something which in it's own nature is outside of this cause and effect chain.

If you look at consciousness as being similar to light, in the sense that it is infinite, and timeless, then there is a part of you which is not bound by any causal chain. 

And to measure electrical activity in the brain is to measure the effects of consciousness on the matter in the brain.


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Re: Evolutionists, arguing for their own imprisonment?
« Reply #144 on: December 20, 2011, 12:41:52 PM »
And to measure electrical activity in the brain is to measure the effects of consciousness on the matter in the brain.

Let me make sure I understand you here.  Are you saying that consciousness is something immaterial that affects the brain to (for example) make you get out of bed in the morning, shower, and go to work?
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