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Life ....?
logain 
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Posted 3/10/07
We were talking about stem cells in our mandatory frat study session one day and I was thinking to myself, how do you define life ? I mean we humans are born from inanimate objects, how could objects that are not living give birth to living things. So it dawned to me, the only thing that makes us living things is the free will within us, we arent like our building blocks (compunds) that react in a certain way unded certain conditions, we have a choice on how to act and that makes us living biengs, But then is free will just an illusion created by our human intellect which fails to comprehend how our mind works and how just random probability gives off the grandeur of free will ? I want to know what you guys think ?
Posted 3/10/07
free will doesnt exist anymore. we've given up so much of our free will to the government and state in return for them to govern us and make decisions for us as a country or body.
logain 
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Posted 3/10/07
^ I mean free will on an indivudual level
Posted 3/10/07
^I can claim that that doesn't exist either [free will on a individual level that is]. We are purely a result of everything that has gone to make us; basically our genes and our environment.
Everything we do is a result of one of these things.
An old idea I learnt at middle school regarding "defining life", is the following;

Life must;
Move
Respire
Sense
Nutrition (ie. eat)
Excrete
Reproduce
Grow

(known as the the 7 life processes)

These all appear to be things governed by genes (though of course we can't eat if our environment contains no food). On this premise alone it can be claimed that life does not require free will, only these inherent qualities/characteristics.

Commenting upon the idea of "random probability giving the illusion of free will" as logain said previously; There is no such thing as pure randomness. All "random" occurences are governed by very precise probabalistic laws, such as the wave functions describing uncertainty or half lives describing (purely random on an atomic level) radioactive decay. Thus, everything is ordered, and free will must be coming from something which is not "physical" in nature, as all physical objects are governed by the deterministic (causal) laws of physics.

If free will comes from something "non-physical" then we can never find it. On the whole it is much easier to work with the presumption that there is no such thing as free will. If we consider it to exist then any form of medical investigation or psychological test will be plagued by the problem "that might have been caused by free will". Fortunately no large random variable has been found in most medical experiments, giving evidence against the existence of free will.

Returning the problem of defining life; I believe that life cannot be defined. Currently our computers are more "intelligent" than living animals such as sea-slugs, however we do not consider them living.
Why don't we consider them living?
Let's take a look at which of the 7 life processes they have;

Movement - Yes, there are moving parts in my laptop, such as the fan and the DVD Drive which are purely automatic (controlled by the computer itself)

Respiration - This is the most difficult to determine. If we consider the whole system then at some point (in a power station) chemical energy is transfered into electricity, which is in turn used in the computer in the same way as glucose (chemical energy) is used to make ATP (serving the role of electricity for cells). It all depends upon your definition of respiration. However, having found life forms which respire using sulphur, I will claim that computers (as part of the larger electricity network) respire.

Sense - my computer can sense, that is it can receive information from outside, I would claim that key presses are a crude form of touch sensitivity.

Nutrition - well, what do we mean by nutrition, if electricity is the food form of a computer then yes it does, or we might mean the fuel used at the power station. Still following the answer for respiration, yes, computers can "eat" (again as part of the larger electricity network)

Excrete - Heat is a form of excretion, my computer produces heat, so it excretes.

Reproduce - My PC can't do this, however it can reproduce it's own data (equivalent to DNA) on a hard disk when presented.

Grow - again this only applies to the data, which can grow, given the correct nutrient sources (the internet / CDs)

From this it seems that computers are getting pretty close to being "alive" we've got to watch out! Then again, our definitions of "life" will always stem from our experience of it. There may be many different forms of life out there in the universe which do not follow our "rules".
Posted 3/10/07
^ wow the 7 life processes! i havent heard that since five years back ..haha oh the memories.

free will on an individual level..hmmm. see i dont know about anyone else but i get influenced so much my parents, teachers, friends, things i see, hear, watch and even just random people who i dont even know. so most of my decisions are actually based on my own free will but the influence of someone else's ideas who were in turn probably influenced by someone else. it's this kind of chain..like a domino effect that pushes us to exercise our "will". so i guess free will even on an individual level doesnt exist.
apologies if that was off topic btw
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Posted 3/10/07

henz_lan wrote:
On the whole it is much easier to work with the presumption that there is no such thing as free will.

what about moral responsibility?
And heat is not a form of excretion, is a form of energy!
--------------------------------------------------------
The causal thesis : every act and event in the universe is caused be antecedent events. (science depends on this thesis

The main argument for freedom of the will is the argument from moral responsibility. The question is whether one can be a determinists and consistently hold to moral responsibility.
Determinists believe in the causal thesis, if we follow the logic of this thesis, it follows that if I was able to know all the initial states in the universe and the laws of nature, I could predict all the future events in the universe.
However, why is it that everyone feels resentment at others who for example break a promise or lie to them, and celebrate acts of bravery and kindness and justice. we cannot help but held people responsible for their actions, all mature persons (even determinists) have such reactive attitudes. (I think this is called the responsibility thesis )

now the casual and the responsibility thesis seem both true and at the same time opposite of each other.

I will post more later.
Posted 3/10/07

logain wrote:

.. how do you define life ? I mean we humans are born from inanimate objects, how could objects that are not living give birth to living things. So it dawned to me, the only thing that makes us living things is the free will within us, we arent like our building blocks (compunds) that react in a certain way unded certain conditions, we have a choice on how to act and that makes us living biengs, But then is free will just an illusion created by our human intellect which fails to comprehend how our mind works and how just random probability gives off the grandeur of free will ?


Life isnt defined on whether the subject is aware of their own existence or free will. That would really narrow down the list of living things if we looked at it that way, pretty much all plant life would probably be regarded as non living, then wed enter the gray zone of wondering whether animals actually are aware of themselves etc.

I believe in the existence of free will. We choose to be what we are, we may have limitiations such as environment and external influences, but there are always countless numbers of choices to be made in a lifetime, these are where we practise free will. Small decisions can lead to big things that then affect our lives, so we are the direct cause of where we end up. Using an argument such as environment has a lot of holes in it since that would mean that the stereotype of a person would always hold true. Even if 'free will' is on as a result of probability and random chance, there are still choices that we make.

The other option of not having free will is divine intervention and destiny, every thing we do has been preordained, and so free will would be pointless. But seeing as how i dont believe in any God or destiny, I'll stick with us having free will.
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Posted 3/10/07
This is an interesting little thing a friend said to me one time. "Life is just a deal between organic and inorganic substances to get together and have fun for a little bit." As for free will in regards to moral responsibility it's quite simple. By and large humans do not possess free will. What we do have is instances of situations in which we can exercise our own limited sets of choices.

What I mean by this is hamburger, or hotdog, soda or juice. But on a moral level it would mean, "do I stiff my friend for the 10 bucks I borrowed or do I pay it back". It's called working with what you have. Society does not promote free will in the slightest. I mean god there is even rules saying you cannot beat somebody down for threatening you. (not that i follow that one).

But yah know, to hell with free will. I have free thought and to me thats a thousand times more important. Nobody tells me what to think or say in any situation ever. I am not influenced by crap spouted across the planet. I remain purposefully oblivious (haven't watched TV in 5 years).

99% of what I see would be a lie anyway so why should I let it influence my opinions. I get through life very well that way. So as an overall no we don't have free will. Yes we are a pile of chemicals and proteins that got together to make the vague shape of a person. As for a meaning to life our meaning is defined in our genetics. And it's those 7 steps of life. Everything else is just a distraction tell the chemicals and proteins get bored and wanna go home.
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Posted 3/10/07
I remember learning 4 criteria for life in Science (which is similear to the 7 things posted above) they were. . .

Must contain DNA
Must have a metabolism
Must be able to Reproduce
Must react to stimuli.

I say that we have a free will. We make choices, if everything you think of is based on chemicals and genetics then you would think almost exacitally as your parents and family members (which I don't)
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Posted 3/10/07
Well this is a good subject. Well introduction of life from inanimate objects. Is possible. Particles, substances come in to existense constantly. Its like the vaccum of space. Their is an ominous force that overwhelms the gravity of universe. Regardless life is a simple word that cant define existence. More like the mind forges the illusion of will, truth, and our proclamied life. I do believe that self awarness and substitute as life. But We remain to ask what is our purpose? So does that mean our existence is flawed in the sense. Perhaps not but in my opinion life is just an oblivious sense of needing to exist. Nothing more then that.
~my opinion / my statement / my choice
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Posted 3/10/07
But, this question has perplexed me a lot. How can we differentiate life from inanimate objects.? If our body as we know it has been reduced to just a bunch of "biological" processes, then aren't we no different from combustion or synthesis reactions? So, what is life?
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Posted 3/10/07
Well, I believe that we have a soul and that makes us alive. but if u don't believe that we have a soul then you could say that the matter in us it working together to make a functional being.
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Posted 3/10/07
Off topic but~
I was all for stem cells until they found something better. God, can't remember what it's called but stem cell research will soon be passed up by technology. I mean, come on. Stem cells just aren't stable enough, no matter how much research they do.

If you look at the studies many of them fail after short lived success.


Okay! Back on topic!
Life is hard to define so I won't even touch it (haha)
But I agree with Trivium
Freewill exists but is limited. Simple.
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Posted 3/10/07
I that the words life, love, and eternity can be interpreted in so many different ways by different people, countries and cultures, that to define it logically would need someone to simplify the views of every living person on the planet. However, to obtain that data which is constantly changing as it's being collected, plus the introduction of new births and new ideals during that time would make it impossible.
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Posted 3/10/07
Free will is just an illusion created by our intellect so that we can pretend to have some control over our own lives.
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