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Post Reply Science and Freewill
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Posted 7/3/15 , edited 7/3/15


Fair enough. Either way though, we really don't have enough knowledge right now to make those sorts of predictions, and it's plausible that we may never have the knowledge at all. It's not much use arguing on free will when we don't have the information needed to make any conclusions about it--we're really just arguing possibilities here, and we pretty much know what the two possibilities are. If we can't tell whether freewill is an illusion, then it means that free and determined will are indistinguishable from each other, to which I think the obvious conclusion is that it doesn't really matter either way. The important things are outside of the debate--first we work on understanding behavior, and then we draw conclusions about it. We adjust our theories when we have information that says we should. It's fun to debate and think about it, but it probably doesn't make much of a difference--I don't think my choices would drastically change if we were somehow to firmly figure out freewill. Obviously I'd make the same choices if they were determined, and if they weren't, I can't see myself changing the way I make decisions. But, like I said, it's still interesting.



1) I suppose all I can say is that I've never experienced that. I've experienced making up or ignoring facts, and reasoning on incomplete data, which leads to different conclusions, but that doesn't change the mechanics of reason. As for the contradictions, in my experience, it's usually that they are using different definitions of the same words in different contexts. As in, for instance, when Jesus says "I come in peace" and then a couple of chapters later says "Think not that I come in peace." It's not contradictory because he probably means something along the lines of physical peace in the first instance, and something like spiritual peace in the second. It's a contradiction in formal speech, but not in thought, which is what's under dispute. I've never experienced or heard of someone that consciously holds contradictory statements, unless they haven't used reason.

2/3) Obviously it changes all the time -- that doesn't mean it changes randomly. As I stated, emotional state depends, basically, on both 2 and 3. To put it differently than I did in my post, if we are to divide the world in reference to the will (which is what we're discussing), then we have what is inside the will and what is outside of it--everything is divisible in those terms, and everything falls into one of those categories. This means, basically, that our will, right now, has only what it started with internally, and what was added to it from the outside externally. Basically, since we have neither chosen what we've started with, nor what was added to it, where does the freedom come from? Where have we chosen the contents of our will? We can consciously bring out an mental state only because we had a mental state that wanted to bring out a mental state, for which we had another mental state, for which we had another mental state, so on and so forth until we come to the initial state. Each mental state is linked to a previous one, and further, we have had no part in choosing either our initial state or the conditions that changed it.
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Posted 7/3/15

HolyDrumstick wrote:

Something I always thought funny was an atheist who used science to deny religion, yet claimed to have freewill.

Not to get into a discussion of religion, because that isn't what this is. I am now Christian, and I used to be an atheist and thought this was just as funny then.

Why do I think it is funny? Because, scientifically speaking, everything is simply the result of cause and effect, a series of reactions. This means that everything in existence, including every thought and decision, is simply a result of these reactions, which, with the proper measurements and calculations, could easily be predetermined.

Actually, scientifically speaking... if there was anything that could connect with the entire universe, measure all of existence, and have the ability to calculate it properly, that something could know everything that ever was and everything that ever will be. This is an idea that lends itself to the thought (if nothing else) of an omniscient being.

Is there something I am missing? Is there a way, scientifically speaking, for anyone to have freewill?


Very good. You've taken the first step into a larger universe. Nothing is certain, we understand nothing, and all we believe is questionable. The first step to being good, is sucking.
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Posted 7/3/15
If I may give two cents.

To my knowledge, there's no consensus among atheists as to whether or not freewill exists. I seem to recall many atheists arguing against the lack of freewill since, on average, our universe is determined by cause and effect.

Quantum mechanics was already brought up, so I'll chime in. If any chemical process in cognition is dependent on a small number of molecules, then quantum mechanics is definitely relevant. By "small," I mean the same chemical process could be repeated but obtaining different results because the molecules will find themselves in different states--essentially, the chemical process is unreliable due to quantum indeterminacy. I'm not a biologists, so I don't know of any such process, but it's certainly worth examining.

Thirdly, deterministic doesn't mean predictable. The most likely explanation I can see is that cognition is just a chaotic process. Whether or not we make decision A or B might dependent on whether or not we see person A or B; whether or not we see person A or B might depend on if we go to venue C or D; whether or not we go to venue C or D might depend on whether or not you go see person C or D, etc. Any decision itself is such a long regress of seemingly chance encounters that one small change--such as being born a day late--could conceivably alter your decisions greatly.

In either case, although it certainly feels as if I have freewill, I don't resign myself to asserting freewill exists or doesn't exist. There just doesn't seem much of anything concrete to comment upon. In particular, this debate seems to ride on the premise that freewill exists, which isn't a premise I'm convinced is true in the absolute sense.
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Posted 7/3/15 , edited 7/3/15
/sarcasm - I do thoroughly enjoy the amount of people who turned this into a religious argument, when I even said, that is not what this is, at all.

Also, anyone who has been saying that people have proven the existence of freewill.... no, no they haven't. Sorry. People like to use quantum physics in an attempt to argue freewill, which is the rough equivalent of a Christian trying to say that "life's so complicated it MUST have been designed." Not saying Christianity is wrong, I'm saying the argument is terrible, and only exists because the Christian does not fully understand evolution. This is the same as someone using quantum physics to argue freewill.

Since Emperor left, there really hasn't been anything of scientific value. It really has fallen more to philosophy than science.

I also find that at least half of the posts did not even understand the original post or purpose of the thread... well that, or they are just ignoring it in favor of a personal reason.
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Posted 7/3/15 , edited 7/3/15
My understanding of these things are admittedly rather rudimentary, but being that we are influenced by everything around us even from conception (by outside factors relating to things going on with the mother and father, health issues, intoxicants, etc) I wouldn't say you're wrong. Chemical and hormonal imbalances can heavily influence how we interact with each other.

Occurrences in our childhoods impact our adult lives, for example, children who aren't shown affection from birth and who don't develop a secure attachment with their parental figures very often result in becoming adults lacking the ability to empathise with others (a well known example of one such child https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2-Re_Fl_L4 ).

Which is all common sense really, but I think we still aren't completely bound by those experiences (whether positive or negative) and (im)balances. Perhaps we are, is there even a tangible way of demonstrating so?
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Posted 7/3/15
I don't think anyone has free will, so to speak. We all act upon a moral compass, unless of course.. you're a sociopath.
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Posted 7/3/15



No.

Girl! Tonberry doesn't hold a Grudge because she wants to, but because it can't be helped.
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