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Free will?

Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by Opethian666, Jul 22, 2006.

?

Do you believe in free will?

  1. Yes, I believe in free will, and in the supernatural

    18.2%
  2. Yes, I believe in free will, but not in the supernatural

    22.7%
  3. No, I don't believe in free will, but I do believe in the supernatural

    4.5%
  4. No, I don't believe in free will, and I don't believe in the supernatural

    36.4%
  5. Other

    18.2%
  1. Opethian666

    Opethian666 Booze influenced

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    ***** Opethian666 has requested that his thread be updated with a new line of questioning. His new post now opens the thread, his original retained below it. The thread's poll is in conjunction with his new post, which can also be found on page 8 (Justin S.)*****

    Do you believe in free will, defined as:

    Free will: the belief that 2 persons, with the exact same body structure (everything, thus the same genes, the same injuries, the same memory, etc...), and receiving the exact same environmental stimuli (thus being in the exact same place and receiving the exact same sensory input) can perform 2 different actions. Thus that they have a real "choice".
    Then, if you want to assert that free will as defined here exists, and can be explained by natural phenomena, you have to be able to point out a phenomenon which is only applicable to humans, and other animals/organisms which you think are capable of "free will actions". This to prevent us from debating about a "free will" which is also applicable to rocks and rivers. For example if you tried to use the Heisenberg uncertainty principle to explain free will, It wouldn't be will, since will is only a meaningful concept when applied to living organisms, and it wouldn't be free, it would be random.

    A) Yes I believe in free will, because I believe in the supernatural, thus for example a "soul" allowing for free will, regardless of physical laws.

    B) Yes I believe in free will, but I do not believe in the supernatural. (please explain why, since so far no one has been able to explain this, according to me, fallacious position)

    C) No I don't believe in free will, but I do believe in the supernatural.

    D) No I don't believe in free will, and I don't believe in the supernatural.

    E) Other (explain).

    Please explain your position and reasons behind it.
    My position is D), which of course you could have guessed.

    --------------

    (Ed:Original post)- Does anyone here believe in free will, defined as the ability of a human (or other organisms) to make different decisions under circumstances with the same body structure (including memory stored in synapses, trauma etc...) and the same environmental information being perceived through the senses?
    If you do, what is your explanation for this? Do you believe in a soul, some kind of spiritual entity that can somehow alter the physical reality (which is ridiculous imo), because frankly I can't see how someone who does not believe in the supernatural can believe in free will. Biochemistry + physics + biology clearly demonstrate that we are all just biochemical machines that are determined (if we leave out the Heisenberg uncertainty, since it has no bearing on the scale of the "free will decisions" we're talking about).
     
  2. nymphetamine_girl

    nymphetamine_girl New Metal Member

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    wow that's really interesting, i never thought of that.
    i think most people probably automatically think there is a spirit in them. also if you don't believe in free will, you may believe that a god controls your actions or sets up certain things for you to complete, and that is supernatural as well.
    i think the memory is where your free will comes from and determines your actions. the hippocampus processes memories and the cerebral cortex stores information and memories. it is from these areas of the brain that we can pick through past experiences and knowledge to determine what to do. and other parts of the brain put these thoughts into actions.
    so either you'll believe that you have a spirit or you'll think everything comes from the brain.
     
  3. infoterror

    infoterror Member

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    True free will requires omniscience.

    It's a garbage theory.
     
  4. Cythraul

    Cythraul Active Member

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    explain
     
  5. Horus

    Horus and his imaginary friend

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    Yes, please.
     
  6. Silver Incubus

    Silver Incubus Dead Hands Justin

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    I have recently changed my mind on what I thought. There are many unexplainable things that happen in this universe that science has yet to give reasons for, or testable theories.

    The will of a person can defy logical science, as many terminal people have been cured by the will to be better. It may be very unlikely that someones consciousness will affect your reality, but you can have complete control over your reality, and therefore gives that person the choice of how to be and act according to the outside stimulous.To think that your biology affects your decision to drink coke or pepsi, then you may have put your mind in a box that restricts your possiblities to experience.
     
  7. Norsemaiden

    Norsemaiden barbarian

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    There being no free will, we may think we have choices but really we haven't. Whatever we "decide" is an inevitable consequence of the interaction of aspects of our biology with external stimuili. Other people interacting with us is an example of such an external stimulus as is the weather and the physical environment generally.

    But the scarey thing about this is that there would seem to be a destiny for all living things that cannot be altered, because without free will everything anyone does is reaction. This set of reactions will happen, and no person can change it.

    Some might feel that if this is all accurate, then what is the point in even trying to make up one's mind or weigh up what to do in order to achieve a given result - the result being apparantly predetermined anyway.

    Don't feel that way! I am some external stimuli and I'm telling you to not feel that way, but I had no free will in telling you that, it is just a chemical/biological reaction which can influence your own response.
     
  8. Nitronium Blood

    Nitronium Blood UM BOARDS' JESTER

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    Free will exists.

    For many of us today, free will is what we surrender in varying amounts in order to survive.

    Different story back in the good ol' caveman days.

    I hope that was an intelligent response, because I don't want to cry.
     
  9. Norsemaiden

    Norsemaiden barbarian

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    Identical twins separated at birth have been found to have made remarkably similar "choices" in their lives, when they are found and compared.

    "Among her research efforts, Segal has studied identical twins who were separated at birth. The researcher was impressed by the twins’ similarities, despite their different home environments. Many of the separated twins held similar jobs, had similar mannerisms, liked the same kinds of food and entertainment, and frequently felt an immediate bond upon first meeting."

    http://campusapps.fullerton.edu/news/2005/201_segal.html

    "Babies actually do get lost or separated, and, however rare such an event may be, when a person finds his twin it feeds the common fantasy that any one of us might have a clone, a doppelgänger; someone who is not only a human mirror but also an ideal companion; someone who understands me perfectly, almost perfectly, because he is me, almost me."
    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v20/n06/doni01_.html

    It must be the case that one may find such a similar person while discussing subjects of interest on internet forums. If we do, we should not take this for granted because it is very special. Before the internet we would be far less likely to meet the rare person who is so similar to oneself. (Assuming that one has an unusual character). Has anyone else thought about that?
     
  10. Europa Ascendent

    Europa Ascendent New Metal Member

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    Human behavior is too contingent on factors beyond conscious control for will to be 'free.' We are the sum total of genes and experience, neither of which we 'choose' in any meaningful sense.

    The corollary is that people who choose poorly do so not because they make mistakes, but because they are inferior in being to those who choose wisely (it's called 'natural selection'). So think about that the next time you consider reaching out a hand in pity.
     
  11. Silver Incubus

    Silver Incubus Dead Hands Justin

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    I'm sorry but without proof, this statement doesn't really hold anything except someone who thinks they are better then other people simply because those people choose to experience different things than you. The only inferior person is you, the one who would box themselves in with limitations. Just because doctors and scientist say something, doesn't automatically make it 'true' or correct.

    And to think that we do not choose what we experience is just the most absurd thing I have ever heard. Have you ever heard of selective hearing? Or Negative or Positive Halucinations? Do you not think that you choose to feel happy, choose to be angry, choose to be sad? Are you saying that you didn't choose to write that post or that you didn't choose to read this?
     
  12. Silver Incubus

    Silver Incubus Dead Hands Justin

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    Have you ever heard of the experiments done on yogurt colonies that are separated? Where on half is given milk and the other responds to not getting milk when the other half did? No matter what they put between them , metal walls, wood etc, that they still reacted? Could it be that the bodies of the twins communicated between cells at the distance, and as a result influenced each other into those positions? Because faternal twins do not act in this manner, you could suspect that becaue both are from the same cell, that when the cells of one can communicate directly to the other simply because they are all the same cells.

    I would like to see how a transplant between these twins would react. If the body would accet the other organ as if it was suppose to be in the body or not.
     
  13. no country for old wainds

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    Who the hell is even under the illusion of choosing their own emotions? Even if we disregard determinism for a second, which is a commonly held view I might add, this seems patently absurd.
     
  14. 3200

    3200 Member

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    I love this forum
     
  15. Silver Incubus

    Silver Incubus Dead Hands Justin

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    If I hypnotized you I could change how you experinece emotions. Emotions tend to be automatic response to anchored events in your past. So for instance, if you have never fallen for someone of the opposite sex, then the new feelings and emotions associated with them will be anchored by being around them, so long as nothing else happens to change the anchor that brings up the feeling. So you head over heels for this person and you think that eveything is going great, until you learn that they cheated on you. Now that you no long just accociate that person with love, you now also accociate them with feelings of betrayal, sadness, and possibly hate. Things that remind you of that person, in which they use to make you feel good, they now remind you of the pain of the betrayal. Whether you know why you feel certian ways, you always can change how the memories make you feel. So when you go and meet a new member of the opposite sex then you have the choice: To bring up the emotions ascociated with being in love, and dragging the garbage that now has attached itself to your primary feelings and start off with mistrust of the person, always suspicious of cheating or move on with your life and take each new experience and enjoying yourself when you can.

    You see, emotions and feelings are all a product of chemicals in your brain and body. Certian chemicals make you feel euphoric and others can make you feel scared, angry, sad, etc. So when you can control how your brain functions by change your thinking, your brain will create positive feelings and will stop wasting time thinking about hurtful, depressing, phobic, anxiety, or even worrying things.

    Think, if you can change how your past affects you, then you can change what they future will be.
     
  16. Europa Ascendent

    Europa Ascendent New Metal Member

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    I see. So I take it that you chose the genes you would have and you chose the home you would grow up in and you chose the people you would meet and you chose how they would react and interact with you and you chose the social institutions of your world and...

    Come on, that stupid you can't possibly be.

    Because, after all, accepting the limitations of reality is really the problem...

    Yeah, I mean, I should disregard all the evidence to the contrary and instead accept the pronouncements of some semi-literate twat on the internet. :Smug:

    Again, I ask, did you choose your parents, or this society's social institutions, or who came into contact with you and how they behaved, or the weather, or who in your life lived and died? The fragments of our experience that are under our control are so fleeting and insignificant that to posit any sort of meaningful control over experience is not only arrogant and stupid, but utterly insane. It's a misapprehension of reality on a monumental scale.
     
  17. no country for old wainds

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    Do they even exist at all?
     
  18. Europa Ascendent

    Europa Ascendent New Metal Member

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    That really depends on how contingent you see behavior being. If you reduce the frame of reference enough, it's possible to see actions that are free or conscious, at least to a certain degree. A more holistic view though would show all sorts of external or at least uncontrolled forces which impinge on those freely chosen behaviors to one degree or another.

    To use what will probably be seen as a weird and probably inappropriate metaphor, the basic concept of free will is that of an unprompted essay response to life. The absolute determinists would argue that there is no free will at all - the 'teacher' (nature) fills in the test for you. I would tend to take a view that is somewhere in between - free will is akin to a multiple choice exam. You have options, but they are so heavily circumscribed by the phrasing of the question, the choices available and the limits of your knowledge that to say it is an expression of pure individual choice is fucking ludicrous.
     
  19. Silver Incubus

    Silver Incubus Dead Hands Justin

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    No, you do not choose your genes, that's what your parents choose by procreating. Now you said 'home' which is not the same as house. Yes you can effect your 'home' because if you change how you interact with people in you home, they will also change in their responses to you. People you call your friends are only so because you chose to be friends wtih them. In a split second you could no longer be friends so yes, that is a choice you make. Social institutions are created by someone elses choices which affect you. But its not the institutions that really matter, but how the society make you feel and act.




    at least you said it. It is because you don't have the choice from knowledge to change how others reality affect you. When someone tells you when your a kid that you can't do something, or you will never be able to do something, like play music, then you may BELIEVE them and therefore it will become true. If you don't, then your limitations as to how far you can go is only as far as your willing to persue it.



    Doctors and scientist say things are impossible all the time, and when they see the contrary, they don't beleive it, even if they witness it with their own eyes. Many times people who take placebo's get better, many times doctors say that a terminal patient is going to die within the week. People who are sure they will get better, and believe they are getting better, will more then likely get better, as long as the conviction is there. There are people in this world that can do things you would more then likely deep impossible, but if it was, then why can they do them? Because no one told them they couldn't.



    Some things are beyond our sphere of influence. Life and death will always be, and the weather is a system responses.

    Hey watch how I do this and explain what you are attempting by this statement.

    First, you use the discription of fragments to give the topic of experience lesser vaule by insinuating that it is very small. Reinforceing that contorl is fleeting and insignificant brings one to think that once again it is small and out of reach. For you, it may be. Then you say the opposite is both arrogant and stupid, to justify to yourself that you are both correct in your beliefs and you are not being arrogent by asserting that your beliefs are true for everyone. You then seal it off by saying people that don't limit themselves, or have control of their life are insane.

    Words are much more powerful then you may realize and they do reflect how you feel. I would go as far as to say you must feel very powerless in life and you think that everyone else is as well. do you Understand?
     
  20. no country for old wainds

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    You have a very loose definition of the word "choose"...

    Strawman and you know it.

    Strawman. Who mentioned friends? You don't choose which people you meet. You don't control who crosses your path.

    And this is precisely the point! There are external factors which shape everybody, all the time, and have a direct effect upon how one "chooses", rendering the idea of truly free choice invalid. "Free" choice implies choice powered by nothing but yourself, but the causes of every single one of your "choices" are factors outside your control.


    My dad told me I would never be a goat when I was 6. The bastard. But anyway, last I checked nobody was even talking about whether or not it's perilous to believe free will doesn't exist (although I'd argue it isn't), we're arguing over whether or not it exists. Keeping throwing about arguments like "it would be bad to believe this so it's clearly false" and nobody's going to take you seriously. That is presumably your argument, unless you're saying "anything is possible" which is even more insane.

    You're saying people are sometimes wrong about what's impossible, you're not making an argument against things being impossible. Me wishing I was a 19 foot robot living on planet Flobble with Gina G isn't going to make it any more likely (unfortunately).

    Absolutely, but that applies to everything. You choose to make friends with somebody. Why? Because you desire their friendship. Why? Because, as a result of your genetics and environmental experience friendship with that particular person appeals to you. You're making a choice inasmuch as you're consciously making a decision which has the illusion of freedom, but even the making of that decision is pre-determined by factors ultimately beyond your control.

    I envy you and your goat shape-shifting capabilities.
     

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