Author Topic: Why We Argue With Religious People  (Read 5734 times)

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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #87 on: August 03, 2013, 05:10:50 PM »
For me personally, thinking in terms of choices and decisions leads to unhappiness.   To me those words imply we have free will.

Then perhaps you should move beyond such free-will-believing premises, still with you from before you moved to determinism...?

The idea that we have free will makes me unhappy because it means that I have a basis to regret my own bad decisions and that I have a basis to be angry at other people for their bad decisions that I don't approve of, such as the decision of that officer to follow his police department's policy and shoot the dog.

It doesn't necessarily mean that at all.  That's your own bias talking.  We all have it to some degree, though.

So I have 'chosen' to define those two words in such a way as to make them useless because they are useless with regard to bringing me peace and they are actually destructive to it.

What do "I" and "me" refer to in the above quote?  Apparently they don't refer to an entity.  Entities carry out actions.  If you no longer subjectively see yourself as an entity[1], or anyone else as such, but rather the continuous but varying field of matter and energy that objectively makes up the universe, then it makes no sense to talk about your emotions, your life, your happiness, etc.

On the other hand, they are useful with regard to making me miserable.   So I'm against those words.

Making what miserable?  The region without a consciousness that's just a part of the rest of the universe's matter?  How does it even make sense to talk about your misery outside of a paradigm which includes discrete minds?  You contradict yourself.

You said that it is misleading to say we can't make choices and from my perspective the opposite is true.   It seems to me that if you think in terms of us having the ability to make choices you are planting seeds in your own mind that you have free will.   But maybe it doesn't do that for you.   If that is the case, I apologize and I won't complain about it anymore.

I already stated how I define "choice" and "decision".  They are physical actions taking by a brain or other information-processing machine.  What the hell is wrong with that?  Seriously, what?

The standard by which it is correct to not be angry is with regard to peace or happiness, for me anyway.   So to rephrase it, "the way for me to not get miserable over that Hawthorne CA incident is to view it in the same way I would a storm or tornado."

Okay.  That makes more sense.  But have you considered that dealing with or facing your emotional responses might be healthier than just finding and adopting a paradigm that avoids the emotional response?
 1. Yes, I realize the contradiction inherent in that wording.  Blame the clumsiness of English in discussing this topic.
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Offline nebula

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #88 on: August 03, 2013, 07:31:58 PM »
What do "I" and "me" refer to in the above quote?  Apparently they don't refer to an entity.  Entities carry out actions.  If you no longer subjectively see yourself as an entity[1], or anyone else as such, but rather the continuous but varying field of matter and energy that objectively makes up the universe, then it makes no sense to talk about your emotions, your life, your happiness, etc.
 1. Yes, I realize the contradiction inherent in that wording.  Blame the clumsiness of English in discussing this topic.

Making what miserable?  The region without a consciousness that's just a part of the rest of the universe's matter?  How does it even make sense to talk about your misery outside of a paradigm which includes discrete minds?  You contradict yourself.

Just to clarify that, in my worldview, nothing actually exists, all duality is an illusion including every particle, myself, my emotions, meaning, every experience, etc.   However, I can't use adjectives like illusory or apparent in-between every word without annoying people so what I do is "pepper it."   I just throw a little nondualism in here and there.   That's what I did with that sentence:  "Apparent 'human beings' made some apparent 'choices' that resulted in the apparent grisly 'death' of an apparent, perfectly innocent 'Rottweiler.'"   If I use personal pronouns without 'apparent' in front of them it's just because I'm trying to communicate without seeming too obnoxious.   

But you're right, I'm not an actual entity with actual emotions, I'm an illusory entity with illusory emotions.   The apparent me doesn't want to be filled with apparent hatred for that apparent cop who shot the dog, so that's why it's good for me to view everything as 'neuronal weather patterns' <--Just now I heard Sam Harris use that phrase in a lecture.   Very good.   

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #89 on: August 03, 2013, 08:08:35 PM »
Illusions that are apparently real...to what?  Another illusion?  And is that fact yet another illusion?

If everything counts as X, then X is no longer a useful distinction.
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Offline nebula

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #90 on: August 03, 2013, 08:47:19 PM »
Illusions that are apparently real...to what?  Another illusion?  And is that fact yet another illusion?

If everything counts as X, then X is no longer a useful distinction.

In response to the second paragraph, when I said 'nothing actually exists' I meant nothing in our universe actually exists.   I am convinced there is something outside of our universe that is real by which to make the distinction.  By 'real' I don't mean 'physical.'   

As for the first paragraph, do you believe there is any reason why we shouldn't someday be able to create artificial intelligence, perhaps with quantum computers?   If so, we should be able to give the AI a virtual avatar body and put it in a virtual world.  Wouldn't that be an illusory being that perceives other illusions, such as illusory, virtual trees?   The virtual world would be a local reality to this AI character but from our perspective its reality would unreal or illusory.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #91 on: August 03, 2013, 08:55:14 PM »
Those would not be illusions.  Those would be real physical phenomena that it observes with its artificial senses.  The nature of those physical phenomena would be that they are encoded in a quantum computer.  Perhaps virtual scientists would be able to find that out.  That doesn't mean that the effects of the quantum computer aren't real, any more than a holographic universe's projections aren't real.  They're a part of the universe[1].
 1. "Universe" means "all that exists" by the way.  There is no "outside the universe".  If you mean "outside our space-time" then say that.
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Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #92 on: August 03, 2013, 09:12:21 PM »

This is obviously a highly contentious issue, and I know better than to get in a pissing match with you AP,

I think you're pretty bad-ass, too.

Quote
but I have to ask this. How could our upbringing ever differ if there is no free will? The tiny variations in humans via genetics don't seem adequate to explain all the language, social, structural and economic differences between societies, let alone individuals.

The bolded. Seems like the argument from incredulity. Gotta explain the why and how to me here. Because I am coming from the other side, where, with the information I think I have, it DOES SEEM to adequately explain all those differences. The anecdote didn't do it for me.

Quote
Anyway, I've read both sides of the issue, and obviously fallen on the side the thinks there is at least some free will. Is there anything that you could recommend I read that demonstrates your side of the issue? Something that might be more persuasive?

That's fair. But, it'll be six to eight business days.
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline nebula

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #93 on: August 03, 2013, 09:21:17 PM »
Those would not be illusions.  Those would be real physical phenomena that it observes with its artificial senses.  The nature of those physical phenomena would be that they are encoded in a quantum computer.  Perhaps virtual scientists would be able to find that out.  That doesn't mean that the effects of the quantum computer aren't real, any more than a holographic universe's projections aren't real.  They're a part of the universe[1].
 1. "Universe" means "all that exists" by the way.  There is no "outside the universe".  If you mean "outside our space-time" then say that.

You are saying virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft, are real.   Then why do we need the word 'virtual?'   Why is it called 'virtual reality?'   Why not just 'reality?'

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #94 on: August 03, 2013, 09:24:16 PM »
Virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft certainly are real.  They are real virtual worlds, made up of physical components.  We can even look at those components and learn about how they work.

The distinction between "virtual reality" and just "reality" is that "virtual reality" tricks the observer into thinking that reality is one thing when it is really another.  The trick is very real, however, and it is an observation of the components.  It's just a misleading one when one approaches the virtual reality with certain assumptions about it.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2013, 09:26:01 PM by Azdgari »
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Online Willie

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #95 on: August 03, 2013, 09:25:16 PM »
I have noticed that since I was a child that each year they say planet is much older than the thought it went from millions of years to 500 million years old.

Who is this mysterious "they" who has been telling you this? Your mother? Your pastor? Jack Chick comics? Came to you in a dream, perhaps? One thing I can say for sure, it isn't scientists. The generally accepted age of the earth has changed hardly at all since the 1950's. The generally accepted best estimate from the late 1950's was 4.55 billion +/- 1.5%. The current best estimate is 4.54 billion +/- 1%, which is inside the margin of error of the first estimate, so it does not in any way contradict it, but rather confirms and refines it. Even as far back as the 1920's, the consensus has been that the age of the earth is one to several billions of years. You would have to be upwards of 90 years old to have been a child at a time when an age of mere millions was taken at all seriously. And you'd have to have died 60+ years ago for your older every year claim to have had even a vague resemblance to reality, and even then it would not be literally true.

Your claim is obvious bunk. You've either been fed a continuous stream of bogus information since childhood, have misremembered what you've heard, or are just plain making stuff up.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2013, 09:35:43 PM by Willie »

Offline nebula

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #96 on: August 03, 2013, 09:37:22 PM »
Virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft certainly are real.  They are real virtual worlds, made up of physical components.  We can even look at those components and learn about how they work.

The distinction between "virtual reality" and just "reality" is that "virtual reality" tricks the observer into thinking that reality is one thing when it is really another.  The trick is very real, however, and it is an observation of the components.  It's just a misleading one when one approaches the virtual reality with certain assumptions about it.

OK, well I'm convinced I'm being tricked, hence my use of the word 'illusion.'

il·lu·sion
[ih-loo-zhuhn] Show IPA
noun
1.
something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality.
2.
the state or condition of being deceived; misapprehension.
3.
an instance of being deceived.
4.
Psychology . a perception, as of visual stimuli (optical illusion)  that represents what is perceived in a way different from the way it is in reality.
5.
a very thin, delicate tulle of silk or nylon having a cobwebbed appearance, for trimmings, veilings, and the like.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/illusion?s=t

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #97 on: August 03, 2013, 09:50:06 PM »
If you know you're being deceived, then you're not really being deceived.
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Offline nebula

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #98 on: August 03, 2013, 09:56:55 PM »
If you know you're being deceived, then you're not really being deceived.

That's why nondualism is called the illusion that leads out of the illusion.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #99 on: August 03, 2013, 10:29:03 PM »
Fair enough.
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #100 on: August 04, 2013, 04:45:12 PM »
I don't agree with the argument that biology and environment could not result in all the different kinds of people there are. First of all, biology and environment have clearly  produced millions of different kinds of plants, reptiles, mammals, birds, insects, bacteria, and viruses. There was no conscious choice involved in producing the biodiversity of species. Why would there need to be conscious choice in the diversity of the human species?

If you have had a pet cat or dog or bird or rat, you know that each animal has a different personality. I have lived with all of the above, and not one pet was exactly like any other of the same species. Even though every cat is more like other cats than they are like a dog. I doubt that anyone would argue that a pet dog or cat or rat chooses to be friendly, shy, sneaky, playful, vicious, adventurous, willing to wear costumes, outgoing, goofy, or afraid of loud noises.

I think that we humans are too used to thinking we are all that and a bag of chips. Just because one of us likes pink and another likes red? When the truth is, we are far more alike than we are like any other organism. Do different people's personalities matter that much?  Take two very dissimilar human beings-- say a tiny elderly Armenian woman who lives in an isolated village, and Barack Obama.

Nobody would ever confuse them--they have very little in common in terms of physical appearance, life experiences and environmental possibilities, right? But we also know that they have far more in common with each other than either has with a duck or a lizard or a  horse. Left together on a deserted island, the Finnish grandma and Obama would eventually figure out how to communicate and coexist.

An alien being would probably have as hard a time distinguishing a group of random humans from each other as we do when confronted with a flock of crows.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #101 on: August 04, 2013, 06:59:53 PM »
^^^nogods,

As the one who said the above (and this is just observation and my opinion, not some sage insight based on years of education on the subject), I look at it a bit differently.

I live in the woods, and am surrounded with all sorts of wild animals all the time. Birds, deer, coyotes, foxes, squirrels, the occasional moose, the occasional bear, marmots, mice, etc.

Though there are tiny personality differences, all of these critters (on a species by species basis) act pretty much the same. Some birds are braver than others, but they still eat the same seeds or bugs or whatever. Some deer are more nervous, some coyotes are more prone to hanging around humans. But overall, each species acts more or less the same.

And my thinking was that these critters, who, because of what they have to do to survive (act based on their instincts) don't exhibit much variety, if we humans are devoid of free will, there would be no mechanism for us to exhibit such wide variety. We would be stuck on DNA based auto pilot and unable to conjure up such an assortment of responses to the same stimuli. I, for instance, don't jump when someone sneaks up behind me and says boo. I joke that I'm so slow that my brain figures it out before my body can react, but I had a little brother who loved to scare people and i taught myself not to react just to bug the heck out of him, and it still works over half a century later. If I lack free will, I have no idea where my ability to train myself not to react automatically when startled would come from.

I am not denying an any way that we have genetic variations (which appear to me to be much wider than the variations I see in wild animals, but that could be because of inbreeding, breeding outside our group, etc.) not do I deny that we have all sorts of subconscious crap (notice that mine will let me call it crap without responding. Cute.) going on in the background. I just find it difficult to accept that our conscious selves are along for the ride and are unable to influence, consciously, the situations we deal with every day.

To me, it is like the old nature/nurture debate, where each side had its adherents for several decades, then finally people started to agree that both are involved in the development of an individual. I think the no free will/free will argument may well come to a similar conclusion.

I'm not claiming that I am absolutely right. Like I alluded to earlier, if I find out I'm a stupid fuck and it isn't even my fault, I'll be pissed. Or I would be if I were free to be pissed. Which I may not be. Which would explain my calm demeanor at the moment.  ;D
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #102 on: August 04, 2013, 07:21:01 PM »
ParkingPlaces, are you under the impression that human beings only have a small amount of physical information in their makeup?  No two humans are physically identical, or even close to it.  Not even "identical" twins.  So why would we expect identical behaviour?

Also, I'm still curious as to your answer to this post:

ParkingPlaces, when you say you have free will, what collection of constraints is it free from?

Because we determinists say that our will is constrained by physical processes.  Do you disagree?  If so, on what grounds?
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #103 on: August 04, 2013, 07:43:43 PM »
I just happened to hear a (very timely!) public radio program where there were interviews with several cutting edge brain scientists. They were all doing different kinds of research, from brain damage to morality to music to memory to different hemisphere stuff. And they were all pretty anti-free will....

I think the most interesting part was that someone said that the brain protects our conscious selves from knowing what the rest of the brain is doing. That is what has to happen to function normally. When that barrier breaks down, from a birth defect or chemical imbalance, drug use or injury or whatever, that is what makes insanity. Like hearing voices could be "hearing" the different parts of the brain communicating, and autism can be when a person is aware of too much of what the brain is doing and can't deal with it.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #104 on: August 04, 2013, 07:54:30 PM »
^^^nogods,


Animals don't have the same pre-frontal cortices as us. If you found a species with our variety of brain, say, a Neanderthal, and could make such a comparison, then you'd have my attention.
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #105 on: August 04, 2013, 09:14:56 PM »
I think man is trig to outsmart itself we all have our opinions and each of us is entitled to have one,but I have learned don't trust what scientist say 99% of the time they are wrong.

Ah.  That means that 99% of your personal possessions must therefore be somehow flawed because they were manufactured via bad science.  Pray to your god for the wisdom to identify the wrong bits, and discard them immediately. ;)
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #106 on: August 04, 2013, 10:25:09 PM »
^^^nogods,


Animals don't have the same pre-frontal cortices as us. If you found a species with our variety of brain, say, a Neanderthal, and could make such a comparison, then you'd have my attention.

You're mucking up my free will by having all the answers, AP.

I think I'll just take comfort in knowing that the subject of free will has an assortment of labeled philosophical stances, and wait around until we have a winner. When the philosophers and scientists and such get it down to two choices, choices as clear as Republican and Democrat, I'll choose. Or I'll have it chosen for me, whichever is actually the case. In the meantime I shall assume that my innate brilliance has me in the right neighborhood, so for now I'll run around with the false opinion that I have a choice. Which I find more appealing than the correct opinion that I don't have one.

I think we have ourselves a win-win situation here. Excuse me while I wait around, as my subconscious self and my genes and my upbringing decide how to celebrate.
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #107 on: August 04, 2013, 10:54:02 PM »
^^^nogods,


Animals don't have the same pre-frontal cortices as us. If you found a species with our variety of brain, say, a Neanderthal, and could make such a comparison, then you'd have my attention.

You have a point.  My anthropologist friend says that Neanderthals would look pretty much like muscular humans, like Ahhnold or Lou Ferrigno, maybe. He can't wait until we clone some Neanderthals to study. I tell him I will stage a lab break with some PETA folks and help them escape. Free Caesar!  ;)
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #108 on: August 04, 2013, 10:54:40 PM »
ParkingPlaces, are you under the impression that human beings only have a small amount of physical information in their makeup?  No two humans are physically identical, or even close to it.  Not even "identical" twins.  So why would we expect identical behaviour?

Also, I'm still curious as to your answer to this post:

ParkingPlaces, when you say you have free will, what collection of constraints is it free from?

Because we determinists say that our will is constrained by physical processes.  Do you disagree?  If so, on what grounds?

I guess I extrapolate the lack of free will to mean that we should have very little difference from person to person because there is no agent of change available. The prior conditions and the laws of nature, both biggies for determinists, would seem to limit the options available to not choose from, so to speak.

A few tens of thousands of years ago our forefathers were presumably running around in animal skins. What set of predetermined events and laws of nature would start a person to think about weaving, or a people to finally invent early forms of cloth or woven wool? What sort of predetermined factor can change the future?

That is the sort of question I ask when I think about these things.

Is our will constrained by physical processes, or only our choices? I think it is the latter. Right now (an actual choice I am trying to make right now) I can choose to go to the store and get milk so I can have cereal for breakfast in the morning, or I can choose to have scrambled eggs. And while I think that what I do is weigh things like the cost of gas to make the six mile round trip to the store and whether or not I have ketchup to put on my eggs and if I'm going to be in the mood to cook in the morning and other factors, determinists seems to want to assume that whatever i choose was actually my only choice, whether I knew it or not. At least that is my understanding. And yet I know that there have been times when, under these circumstances, I've jumped in my truck and went to the store, and other times I decided on the eggs. So historically is feels like I have exercised choice, and right now it feels like I have a choice. And I've no idea how you're going to talk me out of it.

I guess it boils down to expecting that determinism, hard or otherwise, would necessarily narrow options of all of humankind and that the assortment of choices we have would never have been created because there would never have been a need for them. What would cause a caveman getting up in the morning to look at the half an antelope hanging from the ceiling and the three yams in the basket but then decide "Hey, maybe I'll just eat one of those funny looking mushrooms growing in the back of the cave for breakfast. I've never done that before..."?

I'm thinking (and I realize that, without sound research, etc. I sound as silly as a christian speaking about god) that it takes some level of actual free will to create the variety that humans are able to experience when they live in societies that value said variety. Not all humans experience variety, not all humans value variety, not all societies allow variety, but I see those instances where it exists as an example of free will trumping theories that we are the product of predetermined factors.

Does that answer your question? I'm asking because I'm wondering if I was predetermined to provide a satisfactory answer, or to fail.
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #109 on: August 04, 2013, 11:53:19 PM »
I guess I extrapolate the lack of free will to mean that we should have very little difference from person to person because there is no agent of change available. The prior conditions and the laws of nature, both biggies for determinists, would seem to limit the options available to not choose from, so to speak.

A few tens of thousands of years ago our forefathers were presumably running around in animal skins. What set of predetermined events and laws of nature would start a person to think about weaving, or a people to finally invent early forms of cloth or woven wool? What sort of predetermined factor can change the future?

That's not what determinism means, at least not as I (and others who actually believe it on here, who've written about it) mean.  Prior conditions include everything, including what's on our minds.  What are you thinking about at time X?  That's a prior condition determining your next action.  Unless what you're thinking about has no state of being in the real world, which I will get to below...

Is our will constrained by physical processes, or only our choices? I think it is the latter.

So you believe in a non-physical will.  A supernatural soul, as it were.  A mind (or brain?) that is not bound to the same laws of physics and chemistry that describe the behaviour of all other matter in the universe.

Right now (an actual choice I am trying to make right now) I can choose to go to the store and get milk so I can have cereal for breakfast in the morning, or I can choose to have scrambled eggs.

It's one or the other, and we won't know what it is until you make it.  Incomplete information ensures that.  But after the fact, looking back, what would have had to happen differently, in your brain, for the other choice to have happened?  According to your first statement in this paragraph, nothing would have had to happen differently, because will is non-physical.  How then does it affect our physical brains?

And while I think that what I do is weigh things like the cost of gas to make the six mile round trip to the store and whether or not I have ketchup to put on my eggs and if I'm going to be in the mood to cook in the morning and other factors, determinists seems to want to assume that whatever i choose was actually my only choice, whether I knew it or not. At least that is my understanding. And yet I know that there have been times when, under these circumstances, I've jumped in my truck and went to the store, and other times I decided on the eggs. So historically is feels like I have exercised choice, and right now it feels like I have a choice. And I've no idea how you're going to talk me out of it.

You did exercise choice, as all information-processing machines exercise choice.  And if you indeed believe your will to not be physical, but to belong to a supernatural soul, then there isn't anything I can do to talk you out of your free-will beliefs without first dealing with that.

I guess it boils down to expecting that determinism, hard or otherwise, would necessarily narrow options of all of humankind and that the assortment of choices we have would never have been created because there would never have been a need for them.

That sort of purposefully-created universe is very theistic thinking, akin to "if black holes weren't here for the benefit of humanity, then why would they have been created?!"  I cannot see, as a determinist, why we would not have the perception of being able to select from multiple contemplated actions.  That perception is quite irrelevant to whether determinism is true, just as the perception that the moon is larger on the horizon is quite irrelevant to whether it changes its size.

What would cause a caveman getting up in the morning to look at the half an antelope hanging from the ceiling and the three yams in the basket but then decide "Hey, maybe I'll just eat one of those funny looking mushrooms growing in the back of the cave for breakfast. I've never done that before..."?

Because his physical brain state caused him to.  This question is irrelevant to free will or determinism.

I'm thinking (and I realize that, without sound research, etc. I sound as silly as a christian speaking about god) that it takes some level of actual free will to create the variety that humans are able to experience when they live in societies that value said variety. Not all humans experience variety, not all humans value variety, not all societies allow variety, but I see those instances where it exists as an example of free will trumping theories that we are the product of predetermined factors.

Does that answer your question? I'm asking because I'm wondering if I was predetermined to provide a satisfactory answer, or to fail.

Apparently you were predetermined to fail.  But without knowing that ahead of time, there was no reason for you to have given up.
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #110 on: August 05, 2013, 12:09:12 AM »
Azdgari

I'd better bow out of this one. My mind can't comprehend the subtleties involved in this discussion. I'm getting old and if I'm going to put energy into something, I think I need to be more interested. As one who obviously doesn't believe in a supernatural soul but also as one who can't figure out why some people think I have no choice, methinks I'm out of my league. I can handle the scoffing at theists, but I guess if deep thought is involved, I am no longer able to comprehend.

I tried reading the Wikipedia article on free will very slowly, in an effort to absorb the various points of view. I came out more confused than when I went in. Right now I'm just typing away waiting for some part of me to go ahead and click the Post button, because I am only conscious, which means I am not qualified. I'm not free to press it without a little help from everything else in my life.

Good news. I'm told it's okay to click it now. And that I shouldn't worry about this stuff because it's my bed time.

And I'll be having eggs in the morning. I should have known that.
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #111 on: August 05, 2013, 12:21:11 AM »
Sooner or later, I give up on philosophical arguments as well. But the brain stuff is really interesting.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #112 on: August 05, 2013, 05:59:47 AM »
I do think I'm starting to understand though.

The fellow who got caught by security the other day trying to sneak his pet turtle on board an airplane by disguising it as a hamburger? Free will was not involved. His genes and his upbringing conspired to make it happen. It was frickin' inevitable.

Got it.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #113 on: August 05, 2013, 06:36:21 AM »
His brain caused it to happen, PP.  How can you not grasp the idea of a brain being a physical object obeying physical laws?

EDIT:  You have no grounds to mock determinism when you don't even understand the most basic idea underpinning it.  It's no better than a YEC mocking evolution because monkeys are still around.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2013, 06:43:23 AM by Azdgari »
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #114 on: August 05, 2013, 09:11:55 AM »
My apologies Azdgari. I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep so I went to my computer and said something snide. Something I usually reserve for the religious. I also didn't realize that subjects like this are that important to some people. Which didn't help. Again, my apologies. I'll endeavor to keep my cynicism on topic, religion-wise, and keep in mind that my friends here have important and relevant philosophical stances that are not necessarily open to attack. Especially when I have no expertise on the subject or alternatives to offer.

I am looking for a book to read on the overall subject in hopes of gaining a better understanding of current philosophical/biological etc. stances on the subject.

It will have to be a bit simpler than the wikipedia article, but that's my problem.

Again, I apologize. And I'm damn glad you're not Junebug or I'd be smited daily for all of infinity.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Why We Argue With Religious People
« Reply #115 on: August 06, 2013, 06:51:08 AM »
Hiya PP - I'm back from Legoland now!

Right now (an actual choice I am trying to make right now) I can choose to go to the store and get milk so I can have cereal for breakfast in the morning, or I can choose to have scrambled eggs. And while I think that what I do is weigh things like the cost of gas to make the six mile round trip to the store and whether or not I have ketchup to put on my eggs and if I'm going to be in the mood to cook in the morning and other factors, determinists seems to want to assume that whatever i choose was actually my only choice, whether I knew it or not. At least that is my understanding. And yet I know that there have been times when, under these circumstances, I've jumped in my truck and went to the store, and other times I decided on the eggs. So historically is feels like I have exercised choice, and right now it feels like I have a choice. And I've no idea how you're going to talk me out of it.

The point I would make here is that you haven't experienced the same circumstances before.  Similar, sure - but not the same.  Some of the factors that might be different include:

1) Your level of hunger at the time.  It's weel known that you should "not shop on an empty stomach", because you buy impulse food that you wouldn't normally do.  That, to me, is a huge indicator against free will, because it makes clear that our physical status will have a marked and noticeable effect on our "choices".
2) Your level of tiredness at the time.  Ditto the above - when we are tired, we make "bad decisions".  This isn't as clear, because one could say "because I was tired, I was unable to come to the right choice", but still - a physical effect alters the decision we (believe we would) otherwise have made.  Ditto alcohol and drugs, things that apparently remove free will.

There would be other factors as well.  Have you driven a lot that week?  When did you last have cereal?  When did you last have eggs?  Does your body need a particular nutrient and that is why you eventually "decided" for eggs or cereal.

On that subject, prgnant women experience cravings, anecdotally for weird stuff like coal, sometimes.  Lump in with that anything for which there is a physiological dependancy - smoking, say.  Can we simply "choose" not to smoke?  For the vast majority, no - and this is usually explained as having "weak or strong" free will....which, to me, does not answer the question.  Far more realistic to say that the "choice" of picking up a ciggie or not is far more dependent on whether our physiology is pushing us to it - especially when most of the solutions touted for avoiding that cigarette is to divert the body with food or a game or whatever, rather than generally explaining how to strengthen one's will.

One quick question - re: your brother scaring you, you "taught yourself not to react" - can you expand on what that actually involved?
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?