Author Topic: athiesm and free will  (Read 2557 times)

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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #29 on: January 06, 2014, 03:38:10 PM »
Feeling depressed?  Just snap out of it - you can choose to be happy.

You are quite wrong.  Clinical depression is a serious condition and can not be "snapped out of."

Lori, I know.  I absolutely agree.  It's something I argue too often with managers who simply don't "get" what depression is all about.  Really, I am absolutely on your side.
- - - - -
Now.....

What you are saying then is that depression somehow beats free will.  That a person cannot just decide "I will go see a doctor" or "I will go take my meds" or "I will not harm myself" or "I will do the things that make me happy instead of sitting here with a crippling inability to do anything" - all things that they could choose to do, if not for the depression.

So depression overrides free will.  We need to establish why and how that is the case.
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 EV

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #30 on: January 06, 2014, 04:08:22 PM »
I have found a strange dialogue online and one point from it rather bugs me... this person said that if athiesm espically the naturalistic version was true that freewill cannot exist, i dont quite understand his objection, can you guys clear it up for me and how would you refute his claims?

Hi Wigglytuff,

I had a very enjoyable debate on WWGHA on this topic with MagicMiles a couple years back, and recall that it explained the majority of the argument very clearly, feel free to read through the thread. You may find it interesting.

Debate on Free Will and Determinism: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,21700.0.html

-EV
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Offline plethora

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #31 on: January 07, 2014, 07:07:02 AM »
Of course it is giving them an excuse. Humans are not just sentient beings they are sapient, they don't just do that which is their nature, they can make choices, the cat kills even though it is not hungry, people do nearly everything through choice. Rehabilitation is the assumption that people are not permanently criminal. Rehabilitation may be ok for burglars etc..
How do you get a child murderer to understand the pain they had caused their victim/victims, and the pain they have caused the families of their victims. By giving them therapy or educating them, not likely. Without having them feel similar pain themselves rehabilitation is worthless.
Where there is a victim, who has been  harmed/killed. Their is no rehabilitation without having the criminal suffer. They need to understand what they did was wrong. Not patting them on there back and saying "there! there" I know you were a victim too, let mummy kiss it better.

I should clarify a few things to better explain my point of view.

First thing, I don't think any of us has 'free will'. I go into this in detail in this post from another thread:
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,22045.msg491978.html#msg491978

So in my view, the person who committed a crime did so as a result of circumstances that person had no hand in.

In a way, the person themselves are 'victims' of these circumstances. That is not to say I don't expect there to be consequences to their actions. We as a society should take necessary action to protect the greater population from the potential future actions this person may take given their 'nature' as demonstrated by their past actions.

If a burglar is brought to justice, placing them in a secure facility (i.e. prison) with a mandatory rehabilitation program makes sense to me.

If someone murdered a child, then I must admit there is currently no way to be sure any kind of rehabilitation will be effective in deterring them from victimizing others in the future. Hence, I do believe life imprisonment is adequate.

Ideally, if there were any way to do so, rehabilitation for murderers would come in the form of being able to tap into the person's brain and remove undesirable mechanisms that make them propense to commit murder and replace them with more desirable ones. Much like repairing a computer with faulty programming.

Of course, this isn't the world we live in.

I do, however, reject the notion of that the criminal must be put through suffering to understand why what they did was wrong. Unless they're criminally insane, they already know why what they did was wrong and understand there are consequences to such actions.

Making them 'suffer' as a revenge response because we believe that's what they deserve doesn't actually fix anything. It doesn't erase what happened and it doesn't fix whatever is wrong with the criminal's mind.

I don't have a better alternative to offer for a child murderer other than life imprisonment ... not with our inability to really do anything about the nature of the person who committed the crime. I don't want that criminal to have the option to take those actions again.

But I would like to see more efforts put into developing methods to 'fix' these people rather than just make them suffer for what they did because they deserve it which fixes nothing.
The truth doesn't give a shit about our feelings.

Offline bertatberts

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #32 on: January 07, 2014, 08:52:26 AM »
Of course it is giving them an excuse. Humans are not just sentient beings they are sapient, they don't just do that which is their nature, they can make choices, the cat kills even though it is not hungry, people do nearly everything through choice. Rehabilitation is the assumption that people are not permanently criminal. Rehabilitation may be ok for burglars etc..
How do you get a child murderer to understand the pain they had caused their victim/victims, and the pain they have caused the families of their victims. By giving them therapy or educating them, not likely. Without having them feel similar pain themselves rehabilitation is worthless.
Where there is a victim, who has been harmed/killed. There is no rehabilitation without having the criminal suffer. They need to understand what they did was wrong. Not patting them on their back and saying. "There! There" I know you were a victim too, let mummy kiss it better.

I should clarify a few things to better explain my point of view.

First thing, I don't think any of us has 'free will'. I go into this in detail in this post from another thread:
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,22045.msg491978.html#msg491978
I agree we live in a derministic universe. And as such our life’s are ruled by it. But I'm sorry it has only some effect on the choices we make. Like for instant If I walking in the road, my course of action is not determined by anything but the choices I make I'm not limited to a vehicle hitting me I can walk out of the way, jump out of the way, run out of the way, be pushed out of the way, there are a myriad or possibilities. I could even avoid walking in the road in the first place, or leaving my home etc.
Quote from: plethora
So in my view, the person who committed a crime did so as a result of circumstances that person had no hand in.
Rubbish! What about the millions of possible choices he could have made.
Quote from: plethora
In a way, the person themselves are 'victims' of these circumstances.
Sorry complete rubbish! That is and will never be the case.
Quote from: plethora
If someone murdered a child, then I must admit there is currently no way to be sure any kind of rehabilitation will be effective in deterring them from victimizing others in the future. Hence, I do believe life imprisonment is adequate.
To a degree!
Quote from: plethora
Ideally, if there were any way to do so, rehabilitation for murderers would come in the form of being able to tap into the person's brain and remove undesirable mechanisms that make them propense to commit murder and replace them with more desirable ones. Much like repairing a computer with faulty programming.
That's providing that all murderers are crazy. they may just enjoy it. What do you remove then.
Quote from: plethora
I do, however, reject the notion of that the criminal must be put through suffering to understand why what they did was wrong. Unless they're criminally insane, they already know why what they did was wrong and understand there are consequences to such actions.
So you would rather disregard the victim/victims, and allow the killer to have a good life albeit locked up. What good life does the victim/victims get, they don't get any life whatsoever!
Quote from: plethora
Making them 'suffer' as a revenge response because we believe that's what they deserve doesn't actually fix anything. It doesn't erase what happened and it doesn't fix whatever is wrong with the criminal's mind.
Firstly it has nothing to do with revenge, it is justice for the victim/victims. Why should we respect their rights when they didn't respect their victim/victims right to live. You've got you head on back to front.
Quote from: plethora
I don't have a better alternative to offer for a child murderer other than life imprisonment ... not with our inability to really do anything about the nature of the person who committed the crime. I don't want that criminal to have the option to take those actions again.
Neither do I. But why shouldn't they at least get hard labour, why should they get better treated than their victim/victims did. What did they do to earn it.
Quote from: plethora
But I would like to see more efforts put into developing methods to 'fix' these people rather than just make them suffer for what they did because they deserve it which fixes nothing.
But that is the thing they aren't made to suffer, but they should. They get it easy, their victim/victims didn't. I bet their victim/victims would like even half the easy life, they will get or have got. Their life's were ended. They can never see a smile, make friends, laugh. smell flowers. play games, watch tv, etc. But the murderer can. Something seriously out of wack there, me thinks.
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline Mrjason

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #33 on: January 07, 2014, 08:57:10 AM »

I disagree. There is always a choice, especially if you have had it before and recognise the symptoms. The fact that you describe yourself as "as a nurse dealing with depressed patients." means that they have either sought help or been referred by a concerned third party.
Even admitting there is a problem is a step to recovery. That admission is a choice.

The patients were not referred to me for depression.  They were referred after hospital admissions for various other things.  The depression was discovered in the comprehensive assessment that I was required to do rather than the tunnel vision approach patients usually get when the practitioners focus only on a single diagnosis and not on the whole patient.

Ok. I take your point. I have vast personal experiences of this condition so maybe my attitude towards it is clouded.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #34 on: January 07, 2014, 09:44:45 AM »
I agree we live in a derministic universe. And as such our life’s are ruled by it. But I'm sorry it has only some effect on the choices we make. Like for instant If I walking in the road, my course of action is not determined by anything but the choices I make I'm not limited to a vehicle hitting me I can walk out of the way, jump out of the way, run out of the way, be pushed out of the way, there are a myriad or possibilities. I could even avoid walking in the road in the first place, or leaving my home etc.

Exactly - that's my point.  If we have free will, then what we choose to do is entirely down to us.  If you are fat, then you are fat through choice, since you chose to eat cake instead of vegetables.  There is no such thing as an "alcoholic" - such people choose to drink.  You remain with an abuser because you choose to do so.  You choose to take drugs, you choose every decision you make.

As for killers?  Well, they chose to kill, simple as that.  I see no reason why the death penalty should not be the norm.  Like I said before "mitigation" should be a very small consideration, because all crime happens because of a deliberate choice to commit it.
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 plethora

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #35 on: January 07, 2014, 11:38:55 AM »
@bertaberts

Sorry I'm limited on time ... I'll give you a more complete response as soon as I can.

One thing I will say ... people always talk about "choice" when it comes to "free will".

Give this post a read ...
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,22045.msg491978.html#msg491978

We are able to make choices ... but we are not free to choose those choices. Have a look at that post.
The truth doesn't give a shit about our feelings.

Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #36 on: January 07, 2014, 11:46:59 AM »
So depression overrides free will.  We need to establish why and how that is the case.

I suppose the most scientific reason is that in a great many cases ones ability to exercise h/h free will is overridden by the chemical imbalance occurring in the brain.  The soup of neurotransmitters that enables many people to experience life through anything but a haze of despair has gone kaput.  Because of this the very will to reach out and seek help for ones self appears to be an insurmountable task for them.  Many depressives hide their condition or self isolate. Partly due to self loathing and partly due to the ignorant reactions they are accustomed to receiving from others.  They may have tried melds in the past, but they may have experienced common adverse side effects, no improvement in their condition or were just unable to wait out the numerous weeks that some of them take to have any effect.  And then depression usually is not a strictly medical issue.  It is generally coupled with psychosocial problems that may be from recent events or may be deep rooted in childhood. 

Freewill is possibly more applicable in discontent than depression.  There is a big difference.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline albeto

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #37 on: January 07, 2014, 12:19:02 PM »
Firstly it has nothing to do with revenge, it is justice for the victim/victims. Why should we respect their rights when they didn't respect their victim/victims right to live. You've got you head on back to front.

How are you differentiating justice from vengeance here?

Neither do I. But why shouldn't they at least get hard labour, why should they get better treated than their victim/victims did. What did they do to earn it.
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But that is the thing they aren't made to suffer, but they should. They get it easy, their victim/victims didn't. I bet their victim/victims would like even half the easy life, they will get or have got. Their life's were ended. They can never see a smile, make friends, laugh. smell flowers. play games, watch tv, etc. But the murderer can. Something seriously out of wack there, me thinks.

So... an eye for an eye (not literal circumstances but equal or greater suffering). In what way is this not revenge?

I think one of the reasons this may feel out of whack is that you're assuming your experiences are rather universal. You wouldn't make these choices, you would have chosen alternative behaviors that prevented such tragedy. The problem with this is it is dependent upon the assumption that everyone would make the same choices as you if they were just thinking clearly. That ignores a great bit of information we have at our disposal, and is functionally equivalent to asking why we don't "just let them eat cake."

You are basing your argument on the idea that we have the free to behave differently than we did in the past, or that others have the free will to behave differently if they were only paying attention. In other words, the choice made was A, but it could just as likely have been choice B. You're presuming free will means the criminal could have behaved differently, could have declined to feel the impulse altogether, that he was the conscious author of his thoughts and actions, but chose unwisely. The problem is, no one has been able to describe a way in which mental and physical events could arise that could explain this freedom. It does not conform with what we know.

What we do know is that the brain makes "choices" and operates outside our awareness. To quote from neurologist Sam Harris, "You are not aware of the electrochemical events occurring at each of the trillion synapses in your brain at this moment. But you are aware, however dimly, of sights, sounds, sensations, thoughts, and moods. At the level of your experience, you are not a body of cells, organelles, and atoms; you are consciousness and its ever-changing contents, passing through various stages of wakefulness and sleep, and from cradle to grave." Well, if you pay attention - you can notice that you no longer decide the next thing you’re going to think, than you can decide the next thing I’m going to say. For example, at any time, the brain is tossing about different thoughts. They just emerge in consciousness. You may be reading this post and the thought pops into your head that you can't forget to pick up milk later today.  You didn't consciously decide to interrupt your concentration to think about milk. If you can’t control your next thought, and you don’t know what it’s going to be until it arrives, where is your freedom of will?

Here's an interesting piece of information about how the brain works. If you touch your finger to your nose (go ahead and do it now, there's nothing more to this), what do you perceive? What do you feel? If you're human, you'll feel your finger and your nose sensing each other at the same time. Interestingly, we know that on a neurological level, the first sensation reaching the brain is input from the nose. You don't "feel" that, but the brain processes it first. Full stop. This is fact. But you feel them simultaneously. This too is fact. This is but one [really simple] experiment that shows our brains correct for this time discrepancy by buffering awareness. Our experience of the present moment is in reality a memory of the present moment. This same process governs what we think, desire, do, etc.  In other words, we are not the agents of our free will, but the observers of our behaviors. We immediately judge those behaviors to be in conformity with our sense of self and approve or disapprove. Those thoughts are stored away, and used in later "calculations" the brain makes without our conscious input.

You, bertatberts, may have made a different choice than any given criminal in prison, but if you had lived their lives, experienced their experiences, were operated by their brain, you would have made the same choice. So why spend money making them miserable when that money could be spent exploring what experiences lead to antisocial behavior (such as lack of education, nutrition, safe home, safe neighborhood, lack of being white)? Why not focus on preventing those experiences? These experiences aren't mysterious to us, we as a society just don't allocate resources to prevent them nearly as much as we allocate resources to punish them. That, in my opinion, is thinking back to front.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #38 on: January 07, 2014, 12:26:39 PM »
So depression overrides free will.  We need to establish why and how that is the case.

I suppose the most scientific reason is that in a great many cases ones ability to exercise h/h free will is overridden by the chemical imbalance occurring in the brain.  The soup of neurotransmitters that enables many people to experience life through anything but a haze of despair has gone kaput. 

That would imply that free will is dependent upon the "normal" operation of nuerotransmitters in the brain.  But surely free will is independant of the way that neurotransimtters fire, else it would not exist.  Free will must surely cause the firing of the transmitters, so I can't see how an imbalance in them could not be resolved by effort of will?

If brain state overrides free will, where does free will come from?
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 bertatberts

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #39 on: January 07, 2014, 03:29:22 PM »
Albeto Just one question. What's the point of trying to convince me, if I have no free will as you say then I can not make a choice in accepting your argument, and you did not make a choice to convince me. There must be an element of free will for you to even wish to convince me. If I extend my hand to touch my nose, I can in a split second pull it back and not touch my nose, and decide to cancel the action. I can in effect refuse categorically to touch my nose, if I so wish.
If there is no free will as you claim who or what is in control of my choices.
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline albeto

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #40 on: January 07, 2014, 03:48:28 PM »
Albeto Just one question. What's the point of trying to convince me, if I have no free will as you say....

Because human behavior is far, far more complex than can be explained by the simple theory of Free Will. There are so many variables that go into your brain making a choice, and one of those variables is the knowledge you have at hand. Now you have a bit more knowledge. Perhaps your brain will remember something of this conversation in the future, and that thought will change (increase) your option of choices.


Offline bertatberts

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #41 on: January 07, 2014, 05:14:00 PM »
Albeto Just one question. What's the point of trying to convince me, if I have no free will as you say....

Because human behavior is far, far more complex than can be explained by the simple theory of Free Will. There are so many variables that go into your brain making a choice, and one of those variables is the knowledge you have at hand. Now you have a bit more knowledge. Perhaps your brain will remember something of this conversation in the future, and that thought will change (increase) your option of choices.
Thank you for the concession.

We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline albeto

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #42 on: January 07, 2014, 05:33:30 PM »
Thank you for the concession.

You're still not getting it. The theory of free will is born from the illusion of the perception of free will. We feel like we actively chose to do something because it feels like our choice and our thoughts are operating simultaneously. This is not true. Research research shows a person’s choices can be seen by an observer before the person is aware of their own choice. Just like the finger/nose experiment, what we perceive isn't always an accurate reflection of reality. A greater database of knowledge doesn't change this.

 Perhaps these arguments are too incongruent with what you believe to be true, or what you genuinely and deeply desire to be true. Perhaps you cannot make this connection because the cognitive dissonance is too strong, and your brain will prevent this new information by virtue of of previous conditioning. Perhaps a desire to understand new information and facts will supersede a desire to maintain a current belief and this these arguments will eventually make sense. Which one will happen, I don't think either of us can predict, but ultimately, your brain is operating in the same way your stomach is - it does what it evolved to do, and you're only aware of some of it.

If you are genuinely interested in learning about the illusion of free will, I would encourage you to read or watch on youtube the neurologist Sam Harris. He has a book about the illusion of free will (which is the title), as well as a number of talks featured on youtube. The information is available from those professionals who are most familiar with the details. I think he offers a good summary of this information for those of us who are not neurologists.

Offline shnozzola

Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #43 on: January 07, 2014, 05:33:41 PM »
This is why the free will argument is so interesting.  If I may, Bert, I was exactly in your position reading these debates a couple years ago.  I can pick vanilla or chocolate - I have every bit of free will available to me at any time.  I love your use of the word "rubbish" and I know how you feel.

But.   With you telling Albeto you have no free will in changing your opinion, I don't think it is as cut and dried as that.  The fact that you argue in and study these debates means your life experiences extends to your ability to intellectually search for truth and change your position.  You have no choice.  Everything in your genetic makeup, experiences, mental capacities, brings you to be the person you are, and determines the choices you will make.

Jeffrey Dahmer always seems to me to be the poster person for this debate.  What a horrible, evil, demented, human being that must be destroyed, we say.  But how did he get this way?  A demon?  That is what Skeptic might say.  How was Jeffrey's childhood?  We don't know.  Was Jeffrey abused - mentally, physically, sexually?  We don't know.  What were Jeffrey's genetics?  Intelligence?  Mental problems - should we kill Jeffrey because of his mental problems?  Do you think he was just evil?  What are the reasons Jeffrey did what he did?  We surely could not have allowed Jeffrey back into society - what made him what he had become was too dangerous for society .  But we did the best society knows how to do (unfortunately), we put him with prison inmates who quickly killed him.  I guess we all feel better.  Why?  Well, I guess it saves money.

We have a long way to go to be as civilized and humane as we think we are. 
“I wanna go ice fishing on Europa, and see if something swims up to the camera lens and licks it.”- Neil deGrasse Tyson

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #44 on: January 07, 2014, 07:57:33 PM »
Anyone who thinks people in prison in the US have a good life are kidding themselves. Not only is life in prison miserable (and maybe some inmates do deserve a miserable life) but we make sure most of them never have a chance at a decent life after they have served their sentence.

Imagine an ex-con trying to get a job. In some states they are not eligible to vote, to get financial aid to go to school or to get food stamps. Yes, we like grinding down people who do bad sh!t, but we also have to realize that most inmates a) will get out and b) have families, even children.
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 bertatberts

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #45 on: January 08, 2014, 12:06:04 PM »
Thank you for the concession.

You're still not getting it. The theory of free will is born from the illusion of the perception of free will. We feel like we actively chose to do something because it feels like our choice and our thoughts are operating simultaneously. This is not true. Research research shows a person’s choices can be seen by an observer before the person is aware of their own choice. Just like the finger/nose experiment, what we perceive isn't always an accurate reflection of reality. A greater database of knowledge doesn't change this.
So! You are saying that the observer (let say under scientific conditions) would know that the person being observered,  were about to kill them.
Even if the messages we send happen seconds before we actually do them, who is to say that the message sent seconds ago were not inspired by our will.   It may appear to be possible to record every chemical/organic event going on in our minds, and as such it should be possible to predict everything someone is going to do, shouldn't it?
I am sure however that would not prove true would it, they would find there were happenings they couldn't account for, and it is those happenings that are guided by our will.
Quote from: albeto
Perhaps these arguments are too incongruent with what you believe to be true, or what you genuinely and deeply desire to be true.
No! I wouldn't say they were incompatible, with what I know nor is what I know a desire. I am a sapient being I make choices, I'm not merely an automaton, that reacts only to stimuli, I have a myriad of choices, to any action. Yes my actions can be determined by my environment by a miniscule amount. But I make the choice from a humongous selection. Else we would all be making the same choices wouldn't we, yet we don't.
Quote from: albeto
Perhaps you cannot make this connection because the cognitive dissonance is too strong, and your brain will prevent this new information by virtue of of previous conditioning.
Your a bit of an arrogant s**t aren't you. There is no cognitive dissonance here, I am not conflicted in my opinions it is because I have a myriad of options open to me that I could never be conflicted in this matter.
Quote from: albeto
Perhaps a desire to understand new information and facts will supersede a desire to maintain a current belief and this these arguments will eventually make sense. Which one will happen, I don't think either of us can predict, but ultimately, your brain is operating in the same way your stomach is - it does what it evolved to do, and you're only aware of some of it.
As I said in post# 32 "I agree we live in a derministic universe. And as such our life’s are ruled by it. But I'm sorry it has only some effect on the choices we make." If I have no will to chose then according to you, I am the way I am and hold the views I express, because it is part of my genetic makeup, You are the way you are for the same reasons, you used the word choice. Where is the choice? The fact that our opinion differ means we are not all running on simply our genetic make up, to say we have no will whatsoever is ludicrous to me. It would mean I didn't chose my wife, I didn't chose by home. It would renders it all meaningless. How infantile!
A person could kill with impunity as it would not be their fault, there would be no point in rehabilitating them either, as they are not incontrol of their lives so could happily do it all again and it still would not be their fault. That is nonsensical.

This is why the free will argument is so interesting.  If I may, Bert, I was exactly in your position reading these debates a couple years ago.  I can pick vanilla or chocolate - I have every bit of free will available to me at any time.  I love your use of the word "rubbish" and I know how you feel.
Interesting indeed. Yet another question crops up then, what is it that separates us from animals? we would need to look at the basics.
I like Vanilla Ice Cream - but I did not start liking it because I wanted to. I don't even know when I started liking it. But I enjoy eating it. However, whenever/wherever Vanilla Ice Cream is offered to me I may not always accept it.
I have that "choice" which most animals lack.
Give a dog a bone and it'll snap it out of your hand, except of course a specially trained one.
So we all know that the true power of our will, is when we know we can, but we chose not to. Doesn't that amount to free will.
Quote from: shnozzola
But. With you telling Albeto you have no free will in changing your opinion, I don't think it is as cut and dried as that.
I did not telling him that, it is what he was suggesting.
Quote from: shnozzola
The fact that you argue in and study these debates means your life experiences extends to your ability to intellectually search for truth and change your position.  You have no choice.  Everything in your genetic makeup, experiences, mental capacities, brings you to be the person you are, and determines the choices you will make.
This is were we differ. My knowledge and my life lead me to make a choice, from a myriad of differing choices. they all may have a link to my genetic makeup, experiences, mental capacities, But I make the choice, I think therefore I am. I'm not an automaton, I'm not simply an animal, I am sapient.

Anyone who thinks people in prison in the US have a good life are kidding themselves.
No one said that, What I said was they get a better life than there victims ever could. So they should at least get hard labour. They do have it easy in comparison.

I think you are all making the mistake of believing that your total life is already determined, but you have the ability to change any outcome and because of that you have a will all your own. You sound like a butch of modern day solipsist, One brain, one ego, one self.  How asinine. If you still have choices no matter how small or how little, you still have will.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 12:11:03 PM by bertatberts »
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #46 on: January 08, 2014, 01:00:54 PM »
I'd like to point out that I wasn't trying to suggest we should increase the options available to people merely to try to prevent crime.  That was badly phrased.  I meant that increasing the options available to people would have the side effect of reducing crime.

It's not giving them an excuse, it's stating the facts of the circumstances surrounding the events and putting them into perspective so that we can stop focusing on imprisonment as a form of punishment because that's what the perpetrator 'deserves' for what they've done.
The way you're putting it, it certainly does give them an excuse.  I can practically guarantee that if you present this like people have no choice but to act as their circumstances dictate, you'll end up getting more people who actually do that, using your opinion as an excuse to justify their behavior.  The fact that you don't realize this is both disturbing and scary - it suggests that your belief is overriding your reason.

Quote from: plethora
Fact is, they did what they did because the circumstances were what they were.
I trust you can prove this?  Because right now, you're essentially presenting conjecture as fact.

Quote from: plethora
Once we understand this and remove the 'revenge/punishment' mentality, we can deliver justice in a way that focuses on the rehabilitation of the perpetrators while protecting the greater public from dangerous individuals.
I have no objection to removing the revenge/punishment mentality from the justice system.  Where I disagree is in your idea that we can accomplish this by convincing people that they had no choice but to do as they did.  Seems to me that you're just complicating matters by doing so, especially since this is pure theorycrafting.  The object should be to remove the revenge/punishment mentality, not to focus on one specific (and more to the point, untested) method for doing so.

----

That being said, I totally disagree with bertaberts about attempting to modify behavior through punishment.  It seems to me that what he's actually advocating is that "free will" can be modified through the experience of punishment.  But if that's the case, it's hardly free will, now is it?  I mean, if it were truly free will, a person could choose to change without any additional experience at all.  They wouldn't need the experience of being punished - they could just choose to mend their ways.  Yet we never see that.

I strongly disagree with Anfauglir and plethora and others about the idea that decisions are made for us, that choices are decided before we ever get to them, and so on.  But I figured out a while ago that our ability to make decisions is highly dependent on our experiences.  I don't think decisions are inevitably determined by experiences, but the fact is that we need those experiences to help inform us of the consequences of our decisions.

The fact remains that punishing people to change their behavior is about as ineffective as it gets, unless you're willing to actually break the person through the equivalent of torture.  Think about it - what does the experience of punishment teach?  It teaches you to hate and  fear the one being punished.  I mean, if punishment was at all effective, we wouldn't see nearly so many repeat offenders.  Indeed, it seems much more likely that the punishment we inflict through the justice system makes repeat offenses more likely.

Offline bertatberts

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #47 on: January 08, 2014, 02:28:34 PM »
Quote from: jaimehlers
That being said, I totally disagree with bertaberts about attempting to modify behavior through punishment.
I never said I wanted to modify murderers  behaviour that was said by other I just think they should receive more severe sentences, I don't belief that should be executed but I do belief they should at least get hard labour. as it is they have it to easy in comparison to what there victims got, I only believe in fairness they never cared about their victims why should we give them any rights. They made their choices they have to live with it.   
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #48 on: January 08, 2014, 04:56:28 PM »
I never said I wanted to modify murderers  behaviour that was said by other I just think they should receive more severe sentences, I don't belief that should be executed but I do belief they should at least get hard labour. as it is they have it to easy in comparison to what there victims got, I only believe in fairness they never cared about their victims why should we give them any rights. They made their choices they have to live with it.
Except that one of the primary functions of punishment is deterrence - to try to keep someone from committing such an act again, and to keep others from doing it in the first place.  Indeed, once you get past wanting to make criminals suffer, that's really the only reason left to punish someone at all.

That aside, I disagree even more strongly with the idea of making sentences more severe as a way to pay criminals back for what their victims went through.  Justice is not about making criminals suffer, it's about judging people fairly based on the crimes they actually committed.  You may feel differently, but I would hardly call that justice.

Offline bertatberts

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #49 on: January 08, 2014, 05:57:08 PM »
I never said I wanted to modify murderers  behaviour that was said by other I just think they should receive more severe sentences, I don't belief that should be executed but I do belief they should at least get hard labour. as it is they have it to easy in comparison to what there victims got, I only believe in fairness they never cared about their victims why should we give them any rights. They made their choices they have to live with it.
Except that one of the primary functions of punishment is deterrence - to try to keep someone from committing such an act again, and to keep others from doing it in the first place.  Indeed, once you get past wanting to make criminals suffer, that's really the only reason left to punish someone at all.

That aside, I disagree even more strongly with the idea of making sentences more severe as a way to pay criminals back for what their victims went through.  Justice is not about making criminals suffer, it's about judging people fairly based on the crimes they actually committed.  You may feel differently, but I would hardly call that justice.
That's just it. How are murderers/child murderers being judge fair and reasonable? Fair to whom the victim or the perpetrator? I would say the latter.
[/quote]
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline albeto

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #50 on: January 09, 2014, 12:31:09 AM »
who is to say that the message sent seconds ago were not inspired by our will.

To the best of my knowledge, the facts do not support this hypothesis. If you do have information to the contrary, I'm happy to learn of it.

  It may appear to be possible to record every chemical/organic event going on in our minds, and as such it should be possible to predict everything someone is going to do, shouldn't it?
I am sure however that would not prove true would it, they would find there were happenings they couldn't account for, and it is those happenings that are guided by our will.

This idea is known as "Laplace's demon". It's a fascinating idea to toss around, don't you think?

Your a bit of an arrogant s**t aren't you. There is no cognitive dissonance here, I am not conflicted in my opinions it is because I have a myriad of options open to me that I could never be conflicted in this matter.

That wasn't a personal jab, it was a comment about how intellectual thought proceeds when two incompatible beliefs are held simultaneously and new information is provided. You think this way, I think this way, we all think this way.

As I said in post# 32 "I agree we live in a derministic universe. And as such our life’s are ruled by it. But I'm sorry it has only some effect on the choices we make." If I have no will to chose then according to you, I am the way I am and hold the views I express, because it is part of my genetic makeup, You are the way you are for the same reasons, you used the word choice. Where is the choice? The fact that our opinion differ means we are not all running on simply our genetic make up, to say we have no will whatsoever is ludicrous to me. It would mean I didn't chose my wife, I didn't chose by home. It would renders it all meaningless. How infantile!
A person could kill with impunity as it would not be their fault, there would be no point in rehabilitating them either, as they are not incontrol of their lives so could happily do it all again and it still would not be their fault. That is nonsensical.

Yes I agree. The way in which you describe this is nonsensical.

I like Vanilla Ice Cream - but I did not start liking it because I wanted to. I don't even know when I started liking it. But I enjoy eating it.

Your brain made that determination quite without your input. That's how it all works, albeit in very minute ways.

I did not telling him that, it is what he was suggesting.

Her.  ;)

I'm not an automaton, I'm not simply an animal, I am sapient.

You are both an sapient, and an animal. Nothing simple about any animal. All fascinating and fantastic and fabulous.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #51 on: January 09, 2014, 03:49:35 AM »
I strongly disagree with Anfauglir and plethora and others about the idea that decisions are made for us, that choices are decided before we ever get to them, and so on. 

Beg pardon?

If we have free will, then what we choose to do is entirely down to us.  If you are fat, then you are fat through choice, since you chose to eat cake instead of vegetables.  There is no such thing as an "alcoholic" - such people choose to drink.  You remain with an abuser because you choose to do so.  You choose to take drugs, you choose every decision you make.

As for killers?  Well, they chose to kill, simple as that.  I see no reason why the death penalty should not be the norm.  Like I said before "mitigation" should be a very small consideration, because all crime happens because of a deliberate choice to commit it.

Free will exists.  Its just that a lot of the time we like to pretend it doesn't, for fear of what people will think of us if we say the things that it truly implies.
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 nogodsforme

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #52 on: January 10, 2014, 04:57:20 PM »
I have to agree with those who say that if we do have "free will" it is very limited. Can I just choose to believe in religion? Am I completely free to like or dislike dark chocolate, to be romantically attracted to women more than men, to get a thrill from roller coasters or to be bored by them? Are there some people who behave in a certain way (in whatever cultural context) because that is just the way they roll? How much of our personality do we really have control over?

Depression is one condition already discussed; I would add any other disorder of the brain where a person is not in control of their thoughts or actions. A person with severe schizophrenia can't choose not to see a hallucination. A person can't decide not to get cancer after being exposed to certain chemicals, or to not get PTSD as the result of abuse.

Even more common situations seem to support very limited free will. I might want to become a concert pianist, a Cirque de Soleil acrobat or a genius mathematician, but if I don't have the basic raw talent-- plus access to the right resources-- it will never happen, no matter what I do with my free will.

I can imagine circumstances that would lead me to rob a bank or even kill another person. However, I cannot imagine a scenario where I would become a Scientologist--my brain just can't go there. Complete free will implies that, if I really wanted to, I could choose to believe in Scientology as easily as I could choose to rob a bank.
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 jaimehlers

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #53 on: January 10, 2014, 05:30:00 PM »
That's just it. How are murderers/child murderers being judge fair and reasonable? Fair to whom the victim or the perpetrator? I would say the latter.
What you're talking about is "eye for an eye" and the like.  Someone who commits a crime deserves to be hurt just as badly (if not more badly) as the victim of the crime.  Except that that isn't really justice.  If anything, it's vengeance.  It's like a blood feud - you killed my uncle, so I kill you, and then your brother kills me (and on, and on, and on).  What does that accomplish except to continue the cycle of harm?

The purpose of punishing someone for a crime should not be to hurt them, or to make them suffer.  It should be to keep them from committing further crimes, and hopefully to make them understand why what they did was wrong so you no longer have to restrain them.  To go beyond that is to use fear and terror to repress people into not committing crimes - which doesn't work nearly as well as people might want.  It doesn't stop others from committing similar crimes; it simply makes the cost society must bear in dealing with those criminals higher.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #54 on: January 10, 2014, 05:35:04 PM »
Free will exists.  Its just that a lot of the time we like to pretend it doesn't, for fear of what people will think of us if we say the things that it truly implies.
I must admit to some confusion.  Is this the same Anfauglir who I've gotten in numerous arguments with about determinism vs free will?

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #55 on: January 11, 2014, 04:16:51 AM »
Free will exists.  Its just that a lot of the time we like to pretend it doesn't, for fear of what people will think of us if we say the things that it truly implies.
I must admit to some confusion.  Is this the same Anfauglir who I've gotten in numerous arguments with about determinism vs free will?

Yup.  Changed my mind.  I had the free will to do so. 

We have free will, and hence all the points I have made in this thread apply.   I have to presume everyone agrees with my assessments of alcoholism and fatness and so forth, since nobody has countered them?
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?

Online SevenPatch

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #56 on: January 11, 2014, 04:32:48 AM »
Free will exists.  Its just that a lot of the time we like to pretend it doesn't, for fear of what people will think of us if we say the things that it truly implies.
I must admit to some confusion.  Is this the same Anfauglir who I've gotten in numerous arguments with about determinism vs free will?

Yup.  Changed my mind.  I had the free will to do so. 

We have free will, and hence all the points I have made in this thread apply.   I have to presume everyone agrees with my assessments of alcoholism and fatness and so forth, since nobody has countered them?

I don't agree with your assessment of fatness entirely.  I became fat due to surgeries and medication as a child which I had no free will to avoid.  Although, I can admit that I currently choose to remain fat.  Some people have medical conditions that cause them to be fat which they have no free will to control.  In a sense it is a mixed bag, sometimes we have free will.
"Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride - SHUT HIM UP! Look at my furrows of worry! Look at my big bank account, and my family! This just HAS to be real!" - Bill Hicks

Offline Tero

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Re: athiesm and free will
« Reply #57 on: January 11, 2014, 08:26:43 AM »
Can I have vanilla or strawberry ice cream? I don't like chocolate ice cream. In fact, I will not eat it at all.
(free will, limited)