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# From IAI News: How infinity threatens cosmology

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Peter Cameron, Emeritus Professor Mathematics at Queen Mary, University of London, writes:

There are many approaches to infinity through the twin pillars of science and religion, but I will just restrict my attention here to the views of mathematicians and physicists.

Aristotle was one of the most influential Greek philosophers. He believed that we could consider “potential infinity” (we can count objects without knowing how many more are coming) but that a “completed infinity” is taboo. For mathematicians, infinity was off-limits for two millennia after Aristotle’s ban. Galileo tried to tackle the problem, noting that an infinite set could be matched up with a part of itself, but in the end drew back. It was left to Cantor in the nineteenth century to show us the way to think about infinity, which is accepted by most mathematicians now. There are infinitely many counting numbers; any number you write down is a negligible step along the way to infinity. So Cantor’s idea was to imagine we have a package containing all these numbers; put a label on it saying “The natural numbers”, and treat the package as a single entity. If you want to study individual numbers, you can break open the package and take them out to look at them.  Now you can take any collection of these packages, and bundle them up to form another single entity. Thus, set theory is born. Cantor investigated ways of measuring these sets, and today set theory is the commonest foundation for mathematics, though other foundations have been proposed.

One of Cantor’s discoveries is that there is no largest infinite set: given any set you can always find a larger one. The smallest infinite set is the set of natural numbers. What comes next is a puzzle which can’t be resolved at present. It may be the real (decimal) numbers, or maybe not. Our current foundations are not strong enough, and building larger telescopes will not help with this question. Perhaps in the future we will adopt new foundations for mathematics which will resolve the question.

These questions keep set theorists awake at night; but most mathematicians work near the bottom of this dizzying hierarchy, with small infinities. For example, Euclid proved that the prime numbers “go on for ever”. (Aristotle would say, “Whatever prime you find, I can find a larger one.”

While Kronecker (a fierce opponent of Cantor’s ideas) thought in the nineteenth century that “God created the natural numbers; the rest is the work of man”, we can now build the natural numbers using the tools of set theory, starting from nothing (more precisely the empty set).

Mathematicians know, however, that there is a huge gap between the finite and the infinite. If you toss a coin 100 times, it is not impossible (just very unlikely) that it will come down tails each time. But, if you could imagine tossing a coin infinitely often, then the chance of not getting heads and tails equally often is zero. Of course, you could never actually perform this experiment; but mathematics is a conceptual science, and we are happy to accept this statement on the basis of a rigorous proof.

Infinity in physics and cosmology has not been resolved so satisfactorily. The two great twentieth-century theories of physics, general relativity (the theory of the very large) and quantum mechanics (the theory of the very small) have resisted attempts to unite them. The one thing most physicists can agree on is that the universe came into being a finite time ago (about 13.7 billion years) — large, but not infinite.

The James Webb Space Telescope has just begun showing us unprecedented details in the universe. As well as nearby objects, it sees the furthest objects ever observed. Because light travels at a finite speed, these are also the oldest objects observed, having been formed close to the beginning of the Universe. The finite speed of light also puts limits on what we can see; if an object is so far away that its light could not reach us if it travelled for the whole age of the universe, then we are unaware of its existence. So Malunkyaputta’s question about whether the universe is finite or infinite is moot. But is it eternal or not? That is a real question, and is so far undecided.

Attempts to reconcile relativity and quantum theory have been made. The ones currently most promising adopt a very radical attitude to infinity. They deny that the infinitely small can exist in the universe, but prescribe a minimum possible scale, essentially the so-called Planck scale.

Such a solution would put an end to Zeno’s paradox. Zeno denied the possibility of motion, since to move from A to B you first have to move to a point C halfway to B, and before that to a point D halfway from A to C, and so on to infinity. If space is not infinitely divisible, then this infinite regress cannot occur. (This solution was already grasped by Democritus and the early Greek atomists.)

Of course, this leaves us with a conceptual problem similar to the one raised by the possibility that the university is finite. In that case, the obvious question is “If the universe has an edge, what is beyond it?” In the case of the Planck length, the question would be “Given any length, however small, why can’t I just take half of it?”

Perhaps because we have been conditioned by Zeno’s paradox, we tend to think of the points on a line to be, like the real numbers, infinitely divisible: between any two we can find another. But current thinking is that the universe is not built this way.

More important to physics, the atomist hypothesis also gets rid of another annoying occurrence of infinity in physics. Black holes in general relativity are points of spacetime where the density of matter becomes infinite and the laws of physics break down. These have been a thorn in the flesh of cosmologists since their existence was first predicted, since by definition we cannot understand what happens there. If space is discrete, we cannot put infinitely many things infinitely close together, and the paradox is avoided. We can still have extremely high density; the black hole recently observed and photographed at the centre of our own galaxy is (on this theory) just a point of such high density that light cannot escape, but does not defy our ability to understand it.

Time, however, remains a problem; current theories cannot decide the ultimate fate of the universe. Does it end with heat death, a cold dark universe where nothing happens? Does the mysterious “dark energy” become so strong that it rips the universe to shreds? Or does the expansion from the Big Bang go into reverse, so that the universe ends in a Big Crunch?

None of this matters to us individually. The sun will expand and swallow the earth long before the universe reaches its end.

Although this article glosses over some concepts in physics and cosmology, it raises interesting points to ponder.

PaV,
Some people see someone and immediately fall in love. They know next to nothing about them. Why? Is this a trivial choice?
If one makes a choice for no reason then sure, it can be "free" in the sense I'm talking about. Yet is this really the sort of free will that people are so adamant about having? The "free will defense" is the most common response I see to the "problem of evil". It argues that God so wanted humans to have free will that He allows evil and suffering to take place just so people can exercise their free will. So God values free will very highly indeed. It seems to me He wouldn't care so much about free will if all that meant was that we can impulsively act without deliberation.
I was angry because I didn’t think it was fair or just. But I didn’t really know at the time what the concepts–the verbal domains, of fairness and justice were. I was too young.
Either your anger was impulsive or it was based on reasons. It sounds like you you were too young to deliberate on your reasons. Again, I don't think God would think that sort of immature response was so vitally important that He would allow human suffering just so we could be angry without knowing why.
The mistake you’re making–and you are definitely making a mistake, is that you’ve mistaken “causation” with “correlation.”
I'm not talking about either of those things. I never mentioned causation, because my argument is based on reasons, not causes. And I never mentioned correlation, because it is completely irrelevant.
Despite some ‘reason, belief, desire” being attached to a choice, there is a decider–you, me, whoever is making a choice, and determiner is not constrained by the reason, belief, desire, etc, but simply guided by them.
This is really the crux of my argument. Once you've thought about your beliefs, desires, priorities, and so on, you are free to ignore them and choose whatever you want. But whatever choice you make at that point will either be based on reasons, or it won't. In neither case will you have made the sort of ultimately free choice that people (and God) find so very valuable.
The will comes from God and is ordered to God, the Supreme Good. We choose the good. But, we’re not “forced” to choose the good.
Why would someone not choose the good? Either for some reason, or not..
The human person, through exercise of his human will, can choose that which is bad for him/her. Evil people choose what is evil. It’s a choice. It is freely made.
Evil people choose what is evil, ok. Did they choose to be evil in the first place? For what reason? dogdoc
Dogdoc:
I think you’re confused about this still. Again, I had many good reasons for marrying my wife, it was not a random choice. But I obviously never consciously chose to desire the qualities that I find so attractive. Nor could I simply choose not to care about those things. So, while I based my choice on good reasons, I could not freely choose the reasons that I based my decision upon. And so my choice was never free.
Some people see someone and immediately fall in love. They know next to nothing about them. Why? Is this a trivial choice?
You speak of the will in the third person, as if it is something inside you that makes your choices for you. What exactly is the relationship between you and your will? Why do you let your will make the choices? Why not make them yourself?
Yes, because I'm speaking of human will, found in all humans. My will chooses it. But it is a faculty that is mine, just like the capacity for beauty is mine--and a given, something NOT based on 'reason.' It is "my" will that chooses. It is my will that is free--as it is in all humans.
In that case, you must have had reasons for choosing to be angry (unless you became angry for no reason at all). What were your reasons for choosing to be angry? And why did you choose to have those reasons?
I was angry because I didn't think it was fair or just. But I didn't really know at the time what the concepts--the verbal domains, of fairness and justice were. I was too young. If you want to jump at this and say that, "Aha! You did have a reason," I would ask you since when is a concept a reason? It's a concept. We were both agreed that morality is intuited, which, to me at least, means that it is found within the human person. It has an existence there all of its own, like free will. I didn't ask for the concept of justice. Now, if you want to rebut this and say that, "See, you were not "free" to be angry since this sense of justice guided your choice and it is something that is yours and that you haven't 'freely chosen.'" But the fact that I could have not felt grieved, the fact that I could have decided that my brother must have had reasons for taking them, were all options that I could have likewise taken faced with the same sense of justice and the same circumstances. And this is what free will is: the presence of alternative choices. To "whittle down" those choices to one particular choice is the work of understanding, as I have previously stated, which informs the will, which then chooses--and, yes, it's me choosing, my person, that spiritual person that I am, which is something that separates me from all other living things. I've looked through the remainder of your response. It's clear that your position is that any individual choice a person makes is based on some sort of motivation--a reasons, belief, desire, etc. The mistake you're making--and you are definitely making a mistake, is that you've mistaken "causation" with "correlation." Despite some 'reason, belief, desire" being attached to a choice, there is a decider--you, me, whoever is making a choice, and determiner is not constrained by the reason, belief, desire, etc, but simply guided by them. The will comes from God and is ordered to God, the Supreme Good. We choose the good. But, we're not "forced" to choose the good. The human person, through exercise of his human will, can choose that which is bad for him/her. Evil people choose what is evil. It's a choice. It is freely made. Your logic seems to you impeccable. To me, your logic is wrong. We will simply have to agree to disagree. PaV
PaV,
If you say, “choices based on our reason is indeed the only sort of free choice that is worth wanting,” this seems to suggest that “free will” exists, but in varying degrees. So, to me anyway, this changes your argument some.
My argument is unchanged. Once again, you act as though it is some sort of discovery about the world that "free will" exists in varying degrees. No. Again, it is merely a matter of defining what you're talking about. Most discussions about free will are utterly useless because people are talking about different things.
Second, let me ask you: are you married?
As a matter of fact, I am.
Did you marry your wife because it was a reasonable choice to do so?
I certainly wouldn't marry someone for no reason at all! What sort of person would marry without having any reasons why they think it's a good decision? Maybe you're just a different sort of person, but I deliberated before I proposed to my wife - it was not just a random idea that popped into my head. Some of the reasons I chose my wife were that she has many of the qualities I value and admire in a person: she is kind, empathetic, funny, smart, wise, and very beautiful.
And, if not, if it wasn’t chosen only because of reason, then are you saying–would you tell your wife, you made a “free choice that is [not] worth wanting?
I think you're confused about this still. Again, I had many good reasons for marrying my wife, it was not a random choice. But I obviously never consciously chose to desire the qualities that I find so attractive. Nor could I simply choose not to care about those things. So, while I based my choice on good reasons, I could not freely choose the reasons that I based my decision upon. And so my choice was never free.
You’re defining (is the word ‘assertion’ not too distant from this?) the will as completely dependent on reason.
I've tried to clarify this several times now, but you apparently can't understand the difference between stating a definition and making an assertion. These are two very different things. A definition deals with the meaning of a word, and an assertion is a claim about some aspect of the world.
Now, which is the most reasonable thing to do?
My argument is not about being "reasonable" or "rational" or "correct". Rather, it is about basing choices on reasons of any type at all.
And wasn’t human freedom exercised?
No, because you can't choose the reasons upon which you base your choices.
My position is that the will is free. It chooses.
You speak of the will in the third person, as if it is something inside you that makes your choices for you. What exactly is the relationship between you and your will? Why do you let your will make the choices? Why not make them yourself?
Reason can “evaluate” the choices that are before me, and even present to me more choices (that I hadn’t thought of yet). But from all these options, I nevertheless choose.
Wait, now you're saying that you choose. I thought it was your will! I think this is all very confused.
No, I didn’t freely choose to know about counting.
Ah, exactly!
But I freely chose to be angry with my brother, who had stolen some of my marbles–the whole cause of the incident.
In that case, you must have had reasons for choosing to be angry (unless you became angry for no reason at all). What were your reasons for choosing to be angry? And why did you choose to have those reasons?
No, I had no choice in whether I had a moral compass or not.
Ah, exactly!
But it was there outside the working of reason. And I was just as free to follow it as to not follow it.
If you chose not to follow your moral compass, then you would have had to have reasons for that choice (unless it was a completely random and arbitrary decision). For what reason would you choose not to follow your moral compass? And did you freely choose to have that reason? (hint: no).
Isn’t Dr. Spock, from Star Trek fame, always “reasonable”? Is this what we should aspire to? Is he really the most free person we can imagine? Just some thoughts/questions.
You continue to confuse being "reasonable" with "choosing for some reason(s)". My argument talks about making decisions based on reasons, not "being reasonable" in the sense of being logical, rational, or right.
Edwin Heisenberg was in Copenhagen working under Neils Bohr and alongside Max Born and others.
His name was Werner Heisenberg.
Now, where did this insight come from? Did this insight “freely” come to him; or was it completely the product of reason?
That is a false dichotomy.
IOW, are we “boxed in” by reason?
You are talking about "reason" as in "our ability to reason correctly". This has nothing to do with my argument. My argument is about basing choices on beliefs and desires, and how we cannot freely choose our beliefs and desires. Anyway, honestly PaV, you really do not understand my argument. If you can read through my posts and understand why I say that ultimately one can't freely choose the reasons behind one's choices, then perhaps we can discuss it. Otherwise, let's just agree to disagree. dogdoc
Dogdoc: Some thoughts. @ 818:
Again, you have misunderstood. I’m not asserting what a free choice is, I’m stating a particular definition of free choice and showing that sort of free choice is impossible. I also happen to think that choices based on our reason is indeed the only sort of free choice that is worth wanting, and I think most people agree, but that is not part of my argument.
If you say, "choices based on our reason is indeed the only sort of free choice that is worth wanting," this seems to suggest that "free will" exists, but in varying degrees. So, to me anyway, this changes your argument some. Second, let me ask you: are you married? Did you marry your wife because it was a reasonable choice to do so? And, if not, if it wasn't chosen only because of reason, then are you saying--would you tell your wife, you made a "free choice that is [not] worth wanting?
Since an ultimately free choice must be based on reasons (by my definition), and those reasons must themselves be freely chosen (otherwise you wouldn’t be responsible for the bases of your choice), a regress begins that can only be escaped by having reasons you did not choose.
The problem here--and we've been down this road, you and I, is where "freedom" is located. Is the will 'free,' in and of itself? Yes, or no. You're defining (is the word 'assertion' not too distant from this?) the will as completely dependent on reason. So, you've started out already limiting freedom as you begin to describe how freedom is "logically impossible" in "choices that are worth wanting." Example: my next door neighbor, despite my asking him a thousand times, still starts moving his lawn at 7:00 AM on Saturday mornings--waking me up! Now, I have choices. I can once again ask him to not do so. I can, in the very strongest of terms, tell him never to do this again. I can confront him on his front lawn and punch him in his face, with the intent of bloodying his nose. And, I can take out my Smith & Wesson and go and shoot him. Now, which is the most reasonable thing to do? If my decision doesn't involve reason, and I kill him and spend the rest of my life in prison, should we say that the decision I made, since it was not based on reason, but passion, was completely not worth having or wanting? It sure seems rather consequential, eh? I'm sure you see my point here. And wasn't human freedom exercised? My position is that the will is free. It chooses. Reason can "evaluate" the choices that are before me, and even present to me more choices (that I hadn't thought of yet). But from all these options, I nevertheless choose.
Did you freely choose to know about counting? Did you think to yourself, “Hmm, I wonder if I should know how to count. Well, I think it might be a good thing to know, so I will freely choose to be born with that knowledge.”?
No, I didn't freely choose to know about counting. But I freely chose to be angry with my brother, who had stolen some of my marbles--the whole cause of the incident. Nevertheless, is the "cause" of knowing about "counting" dependent on reason "informing" me? If someone had taught me how to count, then one could say that reason was involved; but, it wasn't involved. Instead, an inner capacity was present. This inner aptitude is similar, in some respects, to "free will," since it, too, is a faculty that is simply given to us, as "counting" was simply "given" to me. Again, the will was operating without the input from reason. I was angry, because what had happened was "unjust". How did I know that? Reason? Or, again, was it an inner aptitude?
Either you made that choice for some reason(s), or you made it for no reason at all. If you had your reasons (beliefs and desires) then those reasons were ultimately unchosen. And if you chose for no reason at all, then I argue that is not an exercise of a type of free will worth wanting.
Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that there was a reason. Where did that reason come from?
You did not choose to receive your moral compass – you had no choice in the matter.
No, I had no choice in whether I had a moral compass or not. But it was there outside the working of reason. And I was just as free to follow it as to not follow it. Now, perhaps here is the best way of getting into this discussion--which I'm really not interested in having; nonetheless, our ability to reason is meant to lead us into what is good. Reason evaluates the goodness of our possible choices. And our will is ordered to choosing the greatest good. But that doesn't stop me, or anyone else, from choosing the lesser good. We call that 'evil'. God is our greatest good; yet people choose to go to Hell. That is, you might say, an exercise in infinite freedom since these persons are able to refuse the choice of being with God, who is Infinite and, thusly, have chosen an infinite evil. We are made in the image of God, the Supreme Good. All our faculties, then, are ordered to the 'good.'
Here’s my question then: did P “choose” the reason freely or not freely? How do you answer this question? This choice on the part of P now dangles separate and free from the various reasons that are out there and free, hence, of the lack of choice you argue for when it comes to the presence of “reasons” within us.
Sorry, I can’t make sense of this. Any free choice (per my definition) that P makes must be made for a reason of P’s own free choosing.
This whole enterprise, it appears to me, revolves around this conditional you insert regarding free will: that is, a free will that is "not the sort of free will worth having." Isn't Dr. Spock, from Star Trek fame, always "reasonable"? Is this what we should aspire to? Is he really the most free person we can imagine? Just some thoughts/questions.
ID argues that “natural, unguided processes” are incapable of producion complex form and function, while “intelligent sources” can. Why? What is the fundamental aspect of “intelligent agents” that allows them to design? Libertarian free will. If you read Meyer or Dembski, they explicitly acknowledge this – ID assumes the truth of metaphysical dualism and libertarian free will (though ID proponents would argue that they are not assuming these things, but rather proving them true).
You've argued that free will--if it is worth having, must be conformed to reasons, and that reasons are ours in a way that obviates our freedom, thus rendering us not free. Let's look at this notion of reasons and how it comes to us. Edwin Heisenberg was in Copenhagen working under Neils Bohr and alongside Max Born and others. They were struggling to understand quantum mechanics. While they were getting the some answers, they couldn't understand the physics involved. Heisenberg, reeling from an asthma attack, went to an island for several days (weeks?) and there mulled this all over. All of a sudden it hit him. Rather than trying to find the theoretical underpinnings that would describe QM, instead, all that was needed was to use the "observables" that they measured and find a relationship among these variables that would allow them to correctly predict the outcomes of experiments. Now, where did this insight come from? Did this insight "freely" come to him; or was it completely the product of reason? IOW, are we "boxed in" by reason? If so, then how can we move beyond what rational minds presently know? Now, if a step forward is made, where does it happen? In the human mind, who, through the powers of imagination, can explore worlds that we don't directly experience. But it is the human mind, an insight, that provides the way forward. Evolutionary algorithms can't tell us how to unify gravity to the realm of Quantum Field theory.
Really? Well, when the environment changes (abruptly or otherwise) then what constitutes the fittest traits changes also.
IOW, there is no completely objective scale for the fitness of organisms.
Differential reproduction rates of course.
Now you're not going to like this, but................ Is this what we're left with? A: What are the fittest species? B: Those that reproduce the most. A: Why are they able to reproduce so well? B: Because they are so fit. I'm afraid that every model of how evolution might work, and I've looked at almost everyone, if not all, limps when it comes to providing answers as to the actual evolution seen in the fossil record. If you want to say randomness is capable of "adapting" organisms to their environments, yes, of course, an argument can be made for that (though I feel reasonably sure that when all is said and done, and all is known, this, too, will turn out to not be correct). But that's as far as "evolution," that is, "progressive evolution," can carry you. Just as with Heisenberg, leaps forward are the function of mind. Finally, I don't know if any advance has been made. Further discussion, I suspect, will not move any of this forward. In sum, your definition of "free will" actually acknowledges that "free will" exists; you simply "argue" that "free will" exercised outside of the use of reason is "not worth wanting." But I'd advise not telling your wife that! :) P.S. I've chosen to ignore your "Freudian slip." Anyway I have no interest in arguing about evolution and ID here, just like to finish up with my argument that shows that the only sort of free will that is worth wanting is logically possible. :) PaV
PaV,
Here is your argument: the human will can only choose if it has a reason to choose and our reasons for choosing are not freely ours.
Close, yes. I am defining a free choice as a choice that is made for some reason(s), which must also be freely chosen.
The point I was making is that you’ve conflated two realities into one. Perhaps this isn’t the most precise way of stating it; nevertheless, you’ve “chosen” to make free choice a servant of reason.
Not a servant, in the sense that reasons do not somehow control the person. What I'm saying is that if one's choice does not follow from reasons - if the choice is made for no reason at all - then it really isn't the sort of free choice that people value.
I see no reason for this. If an argument is made demonstrating why this is the case, then we could discuss it–though this is not my cup of tea.
This is a definition, not a fact claim. I'm not saying that I have somehow determined that free choices depend on reasons. Rather, I am just saying that those are the type of choices I'm talking about - those that are made for specific reasons. If you think that choices made for no reason are also valid examples of free will - a free will worth wanting - then we can just disagree about that.
Nonetheless, as I stated earlier, you’re making only a partial argument; the main point of the view you’re promoting, as I see it, is that of making an assertion rather than making an argument.
Again, you have misunderstood. I'm not asserting what a free choice is, I'm stating a particular definition of free choice and showing that sort of free choice is impossible. I also happen to think that choices based on our reason is indeed the only sort of free choice that is worth wanting, and I think most people agree, but that is not part of my argument.
You “argue” that anything “found” in ‘reason’ was not “freely chosen.” We could argue this point. I take the position that it is also wrong. Why? Because eventually the whole enterprise becomes an infinite regress regarding the source of all reasons: turtles all the way down. But, let’s leave that aside since this is an actual ‘argument’ and highly nuanced.
This is actually what I'm arguing. It's not nuanced, it's completely straightforward. Since an ultimately free choice must be based on reasons (by my definition), and those reasons must themselves be freely chosen (otherwise you wouldn't be responsible for the bases of your choice), a regress begins that can only be escaped by having reasons you did not choose.
What I do strongly disagree with, however, is your assertion that “free will” is limited in its exercise by our power of reason.
If free will makes choices that are not based on reasons, upon what are they based?
I KNEW how to count, even though I didn’t know numbers. I had a capacity, therefore, for number counting without being taught anything–that is, without knowledge coming from the outside.
Sure, all animals are born knowing things, including people. You don't choose to have that knowledge, but you get it anyway.
But this is fundamental to your “argument.” When it comes to our power to reason: you take the position that everything that constitutes a reason has come to us from outside of ourselves without any choice involved in this on our part.
Did you freely choose to know about counting? Did you think to yourself, "Hmm, I wonder if I should know how to count. Well, I think it might be a good thing to know, so I will freely choose to be born with that knowledge."?
Likewise, when I had to make a moral choice–life itself was forcing me to make this choice, I had no rational basis for making this moral choice: I had neither reached the ‘age of reason,’ nor had I any inkling that such choices are the stuff of life. Yet, I was able to ‘choose’ because I had free will;
Either you made that choice for some reason(s), or you made it for no reason at all. If you had your reasons (beliefs and desires) then those reasons were ultimately unchosen. And if you chose for no reason at all, then I argue that is not an exercise of a type of free will worth wanting.
I was able to make a good moral choice because within us is placed a moral compass.
You did not choose to receive your moral compass - you had no choice in the matter.
Here’s my question then: did P “choose” the reason freely or not freely? How do you answer this question? This choice on the part of P now dangles separate and free from the various reasons that are out there and free, hence, of the lack of choice you argue for when it comes to the presence of “reasons” within us.
Sorry, I can't make sense of this. Any free choice (per my definition) that P makes must be made for a reason of P's own free choosing.
We now go back to the critical observation I made in the prior post; that is, this “choice” can either be “freely” made or “not freely” made. It has nothing to do with the “reason.” IOW, does P, or does he/she not, have freedom in choosing? You tell me.
If you think that free will merely allows choices to be made for no reason at all, then we can just disagree about that without further discussion.
But, whatever decision you finally make about this, it remains independent of the “reasons” that our understanding present to the ‘will’ as ‘options.’ These two realities–humankind’s rational faculties and human free will, while operating in tandem with one another, nevertheless remain independent of each another.
Again, if human free will is not rational and does not rely on one's beliefs and desires, then I say it is not the sort of free will worth having. I guess we disagree about that.
To choose to do nothing is to make a choice, like all other choices. If it is a free choice, then (per my definition) it would be based on reasons, but those reasons would ultimately be unchosen. And if you decided for no reason at all to do nothing, then it's not the sort of free choice worth wanting.
Now, what are your motivations for being here and arguing against free will? You say that it is because “[f]ree will is at the very heart of the arguments for ‘Intelligent Design’.” I’m completely mystified that you would think such a thing.
I won't argue this here but I'll outline it for you. ID argues that "natural, unguided processes" are incapable of producion complex form and function, while "intelligent sources" can. Why? What is the fundamental aspect of "intelligent agents" that allows them to design? Libertarian free will. If you read Meyer or Dembski, they explicitly acknowledge this - ID assumes the truth of metaphysical dualism and libertarian free will (though ID proponents would argue that they are not assuming these things, but rather proving them true).
As to the ‘tautology,’ you end your restatement of the argument with this: A: How do you know what traits increase fitness? B: The higher reproduction rates correlate with those traits. . . . But what if the environment were to change abruptly; then what would the “fittest” be?
Really? Well, when the environment changes (abruptly or otherwise) then what constitutes the fittest traits changes also.
IOW, there is no completely objective scale for the fitness of organisms.
Differential reproduction rates of course. Anyway I have no interest in arguing about evolution and ID here, just like to finish up with my argument that shows that the only sort of free will that is worth wanting is logically possible. dogdoc
Dogdoc: My apologies for not responding any sooner. There are a number of reasons why I haven't, among them being on vacation, traveling and dealing with someone in the hospital. The iron is no longer 'hot,' nevertheless, I'd like to respond. You've said elsewhere that I've misunderstood your argument. I don't think that's the case. When I wrote this:
Person A: “I am not free because I can’t ‘freely’ choose the motivations (reasons, beliefs, desires, etc.) for the choices I make.” Person B: “Why can’t you ‘freely’ choose your motivations?” Person A: “Because I’m not free.”
..............you took exception to it and said that it was but a "cartoon" of your argument. Please note that I prefaced this above schema by saying:
I find it noteworthy that you bring this argument to this website. And I say that because your Catch-22 statement, it strikes me, can be somewhat fairly viewed as this discourse:
. . . 3) In order for person P to make a free choice C, the reason(s) R upon which C is based must not be chosen by anyone or anything but P.
Now let me point out your own words to you. This phrase you use, " . . . the reason(s) R upon which C is based must not be chosen by anyone or anything but P," implies that P MUST choose. That is, If no one else can "choose," then, obviously, it is P who "chooses." Here's my question then: did P "choose" the reason freely or not freely? How do you answer this question? This choice on the part of P now dangles separate and free from the various reasons that are out there and free, hence, of the lack of choice you argue for when it comes to the presence of "reasons" within us. We now go back to the critical observation I made in the prior post; that is, this "choice" can either be "freely" made or "not freely" made. It has nothing to do with the "reason." IOW, does P, or does he/she not, have freedom in choosing? You tell me. But, whatever decision you finally make about this, it remains independent of the "reasons" that our understanding present to the 'will' as 'options.' These two realities--humankind's rational faculties and human free will, while operating in tandem with one another, nevertheless remain independent of each another. In your response at 619, you baldly state that:
I am showing that free will, as I have defined it, is logically impossible.
As you understood it, this is impossible. But, in my view, you've baked in an assumption that you has neither been argued for nor demonstrated by you; and that is: that human will, when choosing, is confined to, limited by, only that which reason presents to it. What about this? What if I choose to do nothing? To say, as I imagine would be your instinct to say, that this is no more than a trivial example of freedom is to misunderstand freedom; because it is precisely this ability to move in between what reason offers the will that characterizes what we recognize as the will's freedom. %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%&&&&&&&&&& Now, what are your motivations for being here and arguing against free will? You say that it is because "[f]ree will is at the very heart of the arguments for 'Intelligent Design'." I'm completely mystified that you would think such a thing. ID is nothing more than a rational argument based on what experience reveals to us and knowledge allows us to understand; simply stated, it is: the complexity we find in biological beings is something that cannot be explained by invoking random mechanisms. Simple as that. As to the tautology that is the "survival of the fittest," it wasn't this website or people connected with ID that pointed out this problem. You can argue with those who first observed this tautology. I was simply drawing something of a parallel between that tautology and your view of human will. Below the surface was the suggestion that If you're willing to accept the tautology of the "survival of the fittest," then you might also be given to what is--to certain degree, a similar problem in identifying free will with the reasons upon which it might base those choices. Obviously, this didn't impress you much. That's fine. But others saw the problem I was getting at. As to the 'tautology,' you end your restatement of the argument with this:
A: How do you know what traits increase fitness? B: The higher reproduction rates correlate with those traits. . . .
But what if the environment were to change abruptly; then what would the "fittest" be? IOW, there is no completely objective scale for the fitness of organisms. It's all relative. So, saying something is 'fit' tells you no more than telling you it 'survived.' How do you build a theory on this? R.A. Fischer tried. Others have tried. But none have succeeded. Enter ID! PaV
I'll take Inane Comments for a 1000 Alex. relatd
I beginning to believe the no free will thing. How does one explain over 800 comments and probably most are useless, either obvious or nonsense. Let's go for a 1000. jerry
Origenes,
If one’s belief is ultimately based on chemical process A, then, in order to do a thorough evaluation of one’s belief, one should evaluate chemical process A.
This doesn't make sense. It's like saying in order for one to flex their bicep, they need to understand how actomyocin works. You didn't respond to my point, so I'll say it again: At the risk of being obvious, we do not say, for example, “Well, since my serotonin level in my cingulate gyrus is low, then this belief must be false”. Rather, we say, for example, “Well, since Trump built the wall, and that was my top priority, then he deserves my vote.”
DD: But I am not proposing a “theory on beliefs” …. O: Yes you do, your theory is that beliefs are “… ultimately based on things outside of our control.”
No, that is not a theory, not an explanation of how we evaluate beliefs. Rather, it takes for granted that we do, somehow, evaluate beliefs (you agreed on that point), and the purely logical observation that if we choose the reasons for our own choices, that leads to a regress that can only be grounded by beliefs that were not freely chosen.
Ok, let’s say that we have identified chemical process A in the frontal lobe...Now, tell me, how do we come to trust this source of your theory on beliefs?
AF, right reason includes right inductive [modern sense] arguments. That is, arguments of support not entailment. These include the inferences to best current, empirically anchored explanation you have seen in the context of the design inference for over a decade. So, either you have paid scant attention to the substance and knocked over a strawman, or you are willfully, mischievously falsifying the case. Neither is a good place to be in. KF kairosfocus
Dogdoc @ Suppose that belief X is ultimately based on a thing outside of our control, let’s say chemical process A in the frontal lobe. Given that, my question would be: do we have the ability to truly evaluate belief X, which would include an evaluation of chemical process A?
You are saying that we might “evaluate a chemical process” in our brain. What are you talking about? Indeed. I do not “evaluate chemical processes” when I deliberate over beliefs, I evaluate my beliefs.
If one’s belief is ultimately based on chemical process A, then, in order to do a thorough evaluation of one’s belief, one should evaluate chemical process A. I am asking you if it would be possible for us to do so, if, per your theory on beliefs, our beliefs are ultimately based on things outside of our control; such as chemical process A.
But I am not proposing a “theory on beliefs” ….
Yes you do, your theory is that beliefs are “… ultimately based on things outside of our control.” I put it to you, that, under your theory on beliefs, true evaluation of our beliefs would be impossible.
Again, I have proposed no epistemic theory at all.
Yes, you did. According to you the beliefs we choose are based on an external origin. As you stated: “(…) choice is always based on reasons that ultimately originate externally.”
I have never said anything here about whether or not our beliefs are true.
Yes you did. You have touted your belief about beliefs as being true, e.g. here:
“The truth of my argument doesn’t change the point of our thinking, it shows that we are not ultimately responsible for our choices.”
Your theory/belief references itself like this: I am not responsible for my belief that I am not responsible for my belief. If you are not responsible for your belief, who or what is? And if some unknown external source is responsible for your belief, then what is its worth?
Unknown source? No, I’m actually saying that as far as I can see there is no unknown external source involved.
You are being inconsistent with your own theory on beliefs, which states that every belief is based on an external source. Why would you, or anyone else, trust this unknown external source of your belief?
I don’t know what “unknown external source” you might be thinking of.
Ok, let’s say that we have identified chemical process A in the frontal lobe as the source of your theory on beliefs. Now, in theory, this chemical process A can be traced back to prior chemical events in the universe —— ultimately to the Big Bang. Now, tell me, how do we come to trust this source of your theory on beliefs? Origenes
is not drawn to empiricism, I suspect
Right reason is all about empirical results (science) and logic. A perfect description of ID - the use of empirical results with logic. That’s why         ID is science+ jerry
And indeed, repeated experimentation, ever since it was first set forth by Francis Bacon in his inductive methodology, has been the cornerstone of the scientific method. And has indeed been very, very, fruitful for man in gaining accurate knowledge of the universe in that repeated experiments lead to more “exacting, and illuminating”, conclusions than is possible with the quote-unquote, “educated guesses” that follow from the ‘top-down’ deductive form of reasoning that had been the dominant form of reasoning up to that time.
Francis Bacon, 1561–1626 Excerpt: Called the father of empiricism, Sir Francis Bacon is credited with establishing and popularizing the “scientific method” of inquiry into natural phenomena. In stark contrast to deductive reasoning, which had dominated science since the days of Aristotle, Bacon introduced inductive methodology—testing and refining hypotheses by observing, measuring, and experimenting. An Aristotelian might logically deduce that water is necessary for life by arguing that its lack causes death. Aren’t deserts arid and lifeless? But that is really an educated guess, limited to the subjective experience of the observer and not based on any objective facts gathered about the observed. A Baconian would want to test the hypothesis by experimenting with water deprivation under different conditions, using various forms of life. The results of those experiments would lead to more exacting, and illuminating, conclusions about life’s dependency on water. https://lib-dbserver.princeton.edu/visual_materials/maps/websites/thematic-maps/bacon/bacon.html
So thus DD, for you to hold that the major premises of your argument, i.e. your metaphysics, is beyond any possible empirical reproach is, basically, for you to adopt the strictly deductive form of reasoning of the ancient Greeks, and is for you to shun the inductive form of reasoning that has been so fruitful for man in regards to gaining accurate knowledge of the world. In other words, for you to put your metaphysics beyond any empirical reproach it is for you to take a major step backwards philosophically speaking, Of supplemental note, (and not surprisingly for anyone who has debated Darwinists who ignore any and all empirical evidence that falsifies the major premises of Darwinian evolution), it turns out that Darwinian evolution itself is not based on Bacon’s Inductive form of reasoning, (which is too say that Darwin’s theory itself is not based on the scientific method), but Darwin’s theory is instead based, in large measure, on the Deductive form of reasoning that Bacon had specifically shunned because of the fallibleness of man’s fallen sinful nature. As Dr. Richard Nelson noted in his book ‘Darwin, Then and Now’, Charles Darwin, in his book ‘Origin of Species’, “selected the deductive method of reasoning – and abandoned the inductive method of reasoning.”
Darwin Dilemma by Dr. Richard William Nelson The theory of biological evolution Charles Darwin argued for in the Origin of Species now presents a litany of problems for twenty-first-century evolution scientists – known as the Darwin Dilemma. The dilemma stems from the method of reasoning Darwin selected. Dilemma Origins: For investigating the laws of nature, Charles Darwin selected the deductive method of reasoning – and abandoned the inductive method of reasoning. The method of reasoning is critical when investigating the secrets of nature. Unlike deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning minimizes the dogma and bias of the investigator. Inductive reasoning is the defining element of what has become known as the scientific method. Details of Darwin’s reasoning method are discussed in Darwin, Then and Now. https://www.darwinthenandnow.com/darwin-dilemma/
As Darwin himself confessed, “What you hint at generally is very very true, that my work will be grievously hypothetical & large parts by no means worthy of being called inductive; my commonest error being probably induction from too few facts.”
Charles Darwin to Asa Gray – 29 November 1857 My dear Gray, ,,, What you hint at generally is very very true, that my work will be grievously hypothetical & large parts by no means worthy of being called inductive; my commonest error being probably induction from too few facts. https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-2176.xml
So thus in conclusion, DD may hold that his metaphysical, and/or philosophical, argument does not have to conform to the principle of empirical verification, and/or, more importantly, the principle of empirical falsification, but that is for him to adopt an overarching 'deductive' form of reasoning where ones major premises are beyond empirical reproach. A defective form of reasoning that held sway for a few thousand years and which prevented the rise of modern science. Indeed, is for him to hold a 'defective' form of reasoning which still lays at the basis of much of modern Darwinian ideology and which, apparently, is still preventing Darwinian evolution's overturning by empirical evidence as a viable scientific theory.
Evolutionists’ Certainty Comes from Metaphysics, Not Science Cornelius Hunter - April 13, 2017 Excerpt: If the evolutionist’s premises are correct, then evolution is a no-brainer. We must be evolutionists — regardless of the scientific evidence. The species arising from random causes, such as mutations, makes no sense scientifically, but would be a must. As usual the (Darwinist's unquestioned) religion and philosophy steer (the Darwinist's interpretation of) the science. https://evolutionnews.org/2017/04/the-evolutionists-certainty-comes-from-metaphysics-not-science/ 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.
bornagain77
DD, you read wiki quite differently than I did. To repeat the last statement on wiki
, "In 1977, Ayer had noted, “The verification principle is seldom mentioned and when it is mentioned it is usually scorned; it continues, however, to be put to work. The attitude of many philosophers reminds me of the relationship between Pip and Magwitch in Dickens’s Great Expectations. They have lived on the money, but are ashamed to acknowledge its source”.[2] In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the general concept of verification criteria—in forms that differed from those of the logical positivists—was defended by Bas van Fraassen, Michael Dummett, Crispin Wright, Christopher Peacocke, David Wiggins, Richard Rorty, and others.[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verificationism#Legacy
“The emergence of modern science was associated with a disdain for the rationalism of Greek philosophers who pronounced on how the world should behave, with insufficient attention to how the world in fact did behave.” – Henry F. Schaefer III – Making Sense of Faith and Science – 23:30 minute mark https://youtu.be/C7Py_qeFW4s?t=1415
,, and science owes its existence to Francis Bacon instead championing 'inductive logic' over and above deductive logic. A form of logic where one's metaphysical premises are held only provisionally, and are subject to verification, and/or, more importantly, subject to falsification by empirical observation. Bacon’s inductive methodology, which he introduced as a check and balance against humanity’s fallen sinful nature,,,
Bacon’s “Enchanted Glass” – Emily Morales – December 2019 Excerpt: It was the rather low regard for the fallen human mind, besieged as it were by sin, that drove Francis Bacon, the “Father” of the Scientific Method, to formulate a new epistemology in his Great Instauration. In this brilliant man of faith’s view, the Adamic fall left an indelible mark on the human intellect, such that in its total depravity and persistent infirmity it could not be trusted to generate knowledge that was in any way free from bias, wrong presuppositions, or contradictions.,,, Recognizing then, the limitations of the human mind for revealing truth by mere logic and deductive reasoning, Bacon posited an altogether different means for knowledge acquisition: experimentation3—repeated experimentation—within the context of a scientific community (natural philosophers in his day). Bacon’s inductive methodology facilitated an explosion in knowledge of the natural world and accompanying technological advancement: https://salvomag.com/post/bacons-enchanted-glass The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science Description: Peter Harrison provides an account of the religious foundations of scientific knowledge. He shows how the approaches to the study of nature that emerged in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were directly informed by theological discussions about the Fall of Man and the extent to which the mind and the senses had been damaged by that primeval event. Scientific methods, he suggests, were originally devised as techniques for ameliorating the cognitive damage wrought by human sin. At its inception, modern science was conceptualized as a means of recapturing the knowledge of nature that Adam had once possessed. Contrary to a widespread view that sees science emerging in conflict with religion, Harrison argues that theological considerations were of vital importance in the framing of the scientific method. https://www.amazon.com/Fall-Man-Foundations-Science/dp/0521117291 *Peter Harrison is a former Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford and is presently Research Professor and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland. He was the 2011 Gifford Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and holds a Senior Research Fellowship in the Ian Ramsey Centre at Oxford
,,, Bacon’s inductive methodology, which he introduced as a check and balance against humanity’s fallen sinful nature, was a radically different form of ‘bottom up’ reasoning that was, practically speaking, a completely different form of reasoning than the ‘top down’ deductive reasoning of the ancient Greeks which had preceded it.
Inductive reasoning Excerpt: Inductive reasoning is distinct from deductive reasoning. While, if the premises are correct, the conclusion of a deductive argument is certain, the truth of the conclusion of an inductive argument is probable, based upon the evidence given.[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_reasoning Deductive vs. Inductive reasoning – top-down vs. bottom-up – graph https://i2.wp.com/images.slideplayer.com/28/9351128/slides/slide_2.jpg
This new form of ‘bottom up’ inductive reasoning, which lays at the basis of the scientific method itself, was championed by Francis Bacon over and above the deductive reasoning of the ancient Greeks in 1620 in his book that was entitled ‘Novum Organum’. Which is translated as ‘New Method’. In the title of that book, Bacon is specifically referencing Aristotle’s work ‘Organon’, which was, basically, Aristotle’s treatise on logic and syllogism.
The Organon and the logic perspective of computation – 2016 Excerpt: The works of Aristotle on logic are collectively known as the Organon, that is, the ” instrument ” or ” tool ” of thought. In the ” Prior Analytics “, Aristotle introduced a list of inference rules that concern with the relation of premises to conclusion in arguments (syllogisms). His aim was to determine which kinds of arguments are valid. The validity of an argument is characterized and inferred based on its logical form (deduction) and for this reason Aristotle is considered as the father of formal logic. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303407444_The_Organon_and_the_logic_perspective_of_computation
And thus in his book “Novum Organum”, Bacon was specifically and directly championing a entirely new method of ‘bottom-up’ inductive reasoning, (where repeated experimentation played a central role in one’s reasoning to a general truth), over and above Aristotle’s ‘top-down’ deductive form of reasoning, (where one’s apriori assumption of a general truth, (i.e. your major premises), played a central role in one’s reasoning), which had been the dominate form of reasoning that had been around for 2000 years at that time.
Deductive and Inductive Reasoning (Bacon vs Aristotle – Scientific Revolution) – video Excerpt: Deductive reasoning, which uses general premises to arrive at a certain conclusion, has been around since Aristotle. In his book Novum Organum (1620, translated ‘new method’), Sir Francis Bacon advanced a new way of philosophical inquiry known as inductive reasoning, in which the inquirer comes to a probable conclusion based on several specific observations. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAdpPABoTzE
bornagain77
Truth from right reason. KF is not drawn to empiricism, I suspect. Alan Fox
Well, I dunno, I think logical positivism has had a bad press. Empiricism still rules and what is empiricism but another title for the same approach. Alan Fox
DD, let's start with a general logical problem. Arguments that refer to themselves or that include the arguer in their circle of reference, are particularly prone to logical trouble. For, on one hand they can easily be question-begging and on the other, self-referential, incoherent and thus self-falsifying. Arguments that try to undermine or refute responsible, rational, self-moved freedom are in this class. So, if they "win," they lose -- as, they discredit the capability to actually reason at all. This is in part because, to reason, our chain of propositions must not be connected merely though [presumably unconscious] programming or chance links, they must be freely, reasonably acknowledged on meaning and truth or at least possible truth. Nor are such chains forced to be infinite regresses once we have first plausibles of various sorts. First plausibles, once comparative difficulties on factual adequacy, coherence and balance of explanatory power are addressed, need not be question begging or hopelessly subjective. One is, of course, free to reject reasonable, responsible argument, but that will rightly be regarded as self-discrediting, in extreme cases revealing irrationality. (And, from experience, it is all but impossible to try to reason with those caught up in webs of irrationality, such as the mentally ill or those indoctrinated into hyperskepticism or the like.) At this point, I am simply noting for record. Reppert's point suggests that those determined to reject what mind (and I freely add, morally governed mind) points to as root of freedom and capacity to attain truth through right reason, may be willing to surrender rationality - - - at least as a rhetorical matter - - - rather than go where they are determined not to go. KF kairosfocus
BA77, Thank you for copying a bunch of stuff from Wiki and pasting it here, that was awesome. Now you know something about verificationism and why it's fallen out of favor, and why you really don't want to say things like "Without any outside way to empirically verify or falsify your philosophical claims, you have an easy game of it and you can always just sit back and claim that whomever has not refuted your argument." Philosophical arguments are in fact supported by or refuted by agreed-upon principles of formal and informal logic - that is exactly how verificationism itself was refuted. So it's not that my argument can't be refuted without empirical data - it is that you haven't yet proposed any refutation at all, nor even given the least indication that you understand what my argument is about. Again, my argument against free will is not based on brain function, or quantum measurements, or even causality, or anything else that might be examined by experiment. You suggest:
In fact, I tried to put a little empirical meat on the bones of your argument, like seeing what apriori beliefs about God a child may be born with
I literally can't imagine how any result of that research could possibly have anything at all to do with the argument I made, which had nothing whatsoever to do with belief in God (whatever you might mean by that). dogdoc
The last statement from wiki is informative,
In 1977, Ayer had noted, "The verification principle is seldom mentioned and when it is mentioned it is usually scorned; it continues, however, to be put to work. The attitude of many philosophers reminds me of the relationship between Pip and Magwitch in Dickens's Great Expectations. They have lived on the money, but are ashamed to acknowledge its source".[2] In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the general concept of verification criteria—in forms that differed from those of the logical positivists—was defended by Bas van Fraassen, Michael Dummett, Crispin Wright, Christopher Peacocke, David Wiggins, Richard Rorty, and others.[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verificationism#Legacy (And I also note that wiki is, by and large, hostile to Intelligent Design, so this statement comes from a source that is not sympathetic to my overarching point of view.)
bornagain77
DD, I did not say "that all claims must be subject to empirical verification in order to be useful, or believed." That would lead me to be among atheists who denied everything that was not physical and/or material. per wiki "only statements that are empirically verifiable (i.e. verifiable through the senses) are cognitively meaningful,,, Verificationism thus rejects statements related to metaphysics, as well as fields such as theology, ethics and aesthetics, as "cognitively meaningless". You idea must correspond to reality somehow I would be much more properly classified as a 'revisionist' under the Popper variety, rather than a strict adherent to verificationism as you are trying to portray, i.e. your idea must at least be 'falsifiable' in order to be considered scientific. Shoot, being an ID proponent, I am completely wedded to inference from observed facts to support ones ideas about metaphysics, I am hardly a strict adherent to logical positivism, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verificationism#Revisions
"In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality." - Karl Popper
bornagain77
Vivid,
Can a person without any prior, reason, disposition or inclination even make a choice? If I have no prior reason , disposition or inclination my will is neutral it is inclined neither to the right or to the left.It appears that the argument you have put forth eliminates not only free choice but any choice.
So you are making a distinction between a free choice (as I've defined it, one that is not causally determined and one that is made for some reason(s)) and other choices. What is it you think characterizes "any choice"?
There can be no free choice if there are prior reasons yet on the other hand if there are no prior reasons, disposition or inclination there can be no choice made.
I'd avoid explaining choices based on dispositions or inclinations; those seem perfectly circular (Why did you make choice C? I was disposed to make that choice. How do you know you were disposed to that? Because I made choice C). So for me a free choice is one that is based on reasons which actually account for the choice (I freely chose to bring a raincoat because I thought it might rain and I don't like getting wet). I suppose that if one has no beliefs and desires upon which to base a choice, then they may simply choose (for that reason) to avoid making the choice, or they may "flip a mental coin" or just arbitrarily say the first thing that pops into their head.
I should modify this because you are not making the argument that there are no choices
Absolutely, I say that people do make choices all the time. But I would say that autonomous robots also make choices. In neither case are those choices ultimately freely chosen. dogdoc
BA77,
DD poo poos having his idea subject to empirical verification. In other news, Snow White and the seven Dwarfs also look down on anyone doubting their existence because they are not subject to empirical testing.
You seem disinterested in discovering what's wrong with your view; a quick perusal of "problems with verificationism" would have done the trick, but I suppose you just can't be bothered. Fine. You claim that all claims must be subject to empirical verification in order to be useful, or believed. Please provide the empirical verification for your claim. dogdoc
“It appears that the argument you have put forth eliminates not only free choice but any choice” I should modify this because you are not making the argument that there are no choices Vivid vividbleau
DD Can a person without any prior, reason, disposition or inclination even make a choice? If I have no prior reason , disposition or inclination my will is neutral it is inclined neither to the right or to the left. It appears that the argument you have put forth eliminates not only free choice but any choice. There can be no free choice if there are prior reasons yet on the other hand if there are no prior reasons, disposition or inclination there can be no choice made. Vivid vividbleau
DD poo poos having his idea subject to empirical verification. In other news, Snow White and the seven Dwarfs also look down on anyone doubting their existence because they are not subject to empirical testing. bornagain77
Origenes,
Suppose that belief X is ultimately based on a thing outside of our control, let’s say chemical process A in the frontal lobe. Given that, my question would be: do we have the ability to truly evaluate belief X, which would include an evaluation of chemical process A?
You are saying that we might "evaluate a chemical process" in our brain. What are you talking about? I do not "evaluate chemical processes" when I deliberate over beliefs, I evaluate my beliefs. At the risk of being obvious, we do not say, for example, "Well, since my serotonin level in my cingulate gyrus is low, then this belief must be false". Rather, we say, for example, "Well, since Trump built the wall, and that was my top priority, then he deserves my vote."
I am not asking you if we evaluate beliefs or not.
Ok, we agree that we evaluate beliefs!
I am asking you if it would be possible for us to do so, if, per your theory on beliefs, our beliefs are ultimately based on things outside of our control; such as chemical process A.
But I am not proposing a "theory on beliefs", beyond the simple claim that we evaluate our beliefs based on reasons. You keep talking about chemical processes, but I don't see the relevance at all.
I put it to you, that, under your theory, true evaluation of our beliefs would be impossible.
Again, I have proposed no epistemic theory at all. What I've said is simply this: 1) We evaluate our beliefs (I think you agree with this), and 2) We evaluate our beliefs based on reasons (this seems tautologically true, based on what it means to evaluate beliefs)
Your counter (paraphrasing) “but we truly evaluate our beliefs” is an argument against your theory on beliefs. It shows that reality is incompatible with your theory.
I have never said anything here about whether or not our beliefs are true. One can absolutely base choices on false beliefs - it happens all the time.
I don’t understand this. Obviously we do – we consciously (and, often, unconsciously) deliberate over things and decide whether or not we believe them. Indeed we do,
Ok, good we agree on that.
... but the question is, are we (also) able to deliberate over our reasons and beliefs in any meaningful way if your theory on reasons and beliefs is true.
I don't have a "theory on reasons". I'm not proposing any theories here. A theory is an explanation, and I'm not trying to explain how we evaluate our beliefs.
You really don’t get it, do you?
No. The best I can guess is that you're trying to argue that if our physical brains determine our beliefs, then we have no good reason to think our beliefs are true. But obviously I'm not arguing anything about our physical brains determining our beliefs, and I'm also not arguing anything about the truth of our beliefs, so I can't understand how you think you're arguing against my position here.
Our discussion goes like this (comparison): DD: According to my theory, we all drink at least 4 liter of Vodka each day. O: IF THAT WERE TRUE, would anyone be able to walk? DD: Why do ask? It is obvious that most people are able to walk. O: ….
Nope, it's like this: DD: I observe that we all drink at least 4 liter of Vodka each day. O: IF THAT WERE TRUE, would anyone be able to walk? DD: I have no opinion on how vodka impairs walking! Maybe if you are accustomed to vodka you could still walk after 4 liters, or maybe you can't walk after a single shot, or whatever, but this has nothing to do with my observation that everyone drinks 4 liters a day! (The bolded section might be the easiest way to see your error)
The truth of my argument doesn’t change the point of our thinking, it shows that we are not ultimately responsible for our choices. Self-referentially incoherent.
No, it's not. You ought to show where my illustration missed the mark - the part you left out was "The point of you evaluating whether I’m 19 feet tall is to find out if I’m lying, or if I can fit in your Uber car, or whatever." Nothing self-referential, nothing incoherent, just reasoning over beliefs and desires.
Your theory/belief references itself like this: I am not responsible for my belief that I am not responsible for my belief.
I would add the word "ultimately" in front of "responsible", but yes that's right.
If you are not responsible for your belief, who or what is?
That's a different question. I personally don't see evidence that there is a person (a "who") that implants your beliefs, and as for "what", well that would be the totality of your experience with the world.
And if some unknown external source is responsible for your belief, then what is its worth?
Unknown source? No, I'm actually saying that as far as I can see there is no unknown external source involved. It's just a combination of your innate faculties combined with everything you have perceived and experienced in your environment. Where did your belief come from that no human is 19' tall? Probably just an inductive inference based on your experience of how tall people can be.
Why would you, or anyone else, trust this unknown external source of your belief?
I don't know what "unknown external source" you might be thinking of. Why do you believe that people can't be 19' tall, or that 2+2=4? Did you freely choose to believe it? (no, you did not). Could you freely choose to disbelieve it if you wanted to (no, you could not). Was that belief implanted in you by some unknown external source? (no, I don't think so). dogdoc
BA77, Your idea that anything not empirically verifiable is not knowable is called "verificationism", proposed by the logical positivists. If you'd like to stick to that school of philosophy then you ought to learn something about it, including the fact that it has been thoroughly discredited and abandoned, even within science itself. Among other problems is that verificationism cannot be shown to be true according to verificationism, and that inductive inferences cannot be justified. But if you wish to hold to that position then that's fine, happy to agree to disagree. dogdoc
Vivid,
I would like to explore briefly point 5 at the moment “5) In order for P to have freely chosen R, P must have reason(s) R’ for that choice.” Correct me if I am wrong. This sorta jives with Edwards which I quoted upstream somewhere, “the will does not determine itself, it is not the “determiner determiner at the same time and same relationship”
Yes I think he is saying the same thing.
Circling back to 5 ( which sorta is giving me a charlie horse between the ears) I understand you to say P must have a reason to make a free choice . In order to have that particular reason (pr1)there must be a reason for that particular reason (pr2 ) Pr2 precedes (pr1) and thus this (pr2) was not chosen by P therefore free choice is impossible.
Yes. But since choices require reasons and reasons require choices, the clearest way to present the regress alternates between reasons and choices: 1) P makes choice C1 for reason R1 2) P must have made choice C2 to have reason R1 3) P must have had reason R2 to make choice C2 4) P must have made choice C3 to have reason R2 5) P must have had reason R3 to make choice C3 and so on, until the reason is unchosen (you are unable to choose otherwise) dogdoc
DogDoc @ Suppose that belief X is ultimately based on a thing outside of our control, let’s say chemical process A in the frontal lobe. Given that, my question would be: do we have the ability to truly evaluate belief X, which would include an evaluation of chemical process A?
(...) it makes no difference to the argument I’m making. We don’t know how minds work – maybe it’s all chemistry and physics ... No matter how we think, we know that we do think, and that includes evaluating new beliefs.
I am not asking you if we evaluate beliefs or not. I am asking you if it would be possible for us to do so, if, per your theory on beliefs, our beliefs are ultimately based on things outside of our control; such as chemical process A. I put it to you, that, under your theory, true evaluation of our beliefs would be impossible. Your counter (paraphrasing) “but we truly evaluate our beliefs” is an argument against your theory on beliefs. It shows that reality is incompatible with your theory.
I don’t understand this. Obviously we do – we consciously (and, often, unconsciously) deliberate over things and decide whether or not we believe them.
Indeed we do, but the question is, are we (also) able to deliberate over our reasons and beliefs in any meaningful way if your theory on reasons and beliefs is true.
Yes of course we deliberate over our reasons and beliefs …
You really don’t get it, do you? Our discussion goes like this (comparison): DD: According to my theory, we all drink at least 4 liter of Vodka each day. O: IF THAT WERE TRUE, would anyone be able to walk? DD: Why do ask? It is obvious that most people are able to walk. O: ….
The truth of my argument doesn’t change the point of our thinking, it shows that we are not ultimately responsible for our choices.
Self-referentially incoherent. Your theory/belief references itself like this: I am not responsible for my belief that I am not responsible for my belief. If you are not responsible for your belief, who or what is? And if some unknown external source is responsible for your belief, then what is its worth? Why would you, or anyone else, trust this unknown external source of your belief? Why would your belief be true? Origenes
VL, sensitive dependence on initial conditions can indeed take time for divergence but this only means noise induced unpredictably in the large (noise being inevitable), not the same as responsible rational freedom. KF kairosfocus
VL, Q, et al, computationalism extends not only to digital machines but to analogue ones which are dynamic stochastic causal systems that play out in effect mathematical operations using electrical, mechanical, chemical or other components. Such include wetware, electrochemical neural networks such as brains. Even old fashioned slide rules are analogue computers, as are ball and disk integrator based gunlaying machines or the like. The now ubiquitous operational amplifier, op amp for short, was developed to build electronic analogue computers, my favourite op amp ckt being the logging amp, and I cut my eyeteeth on Clayton. This is the root of Haldane's telling observation on the difference between chemical and logical soundness. KF PS, for record precisely because it is persistently side stepped the better to proceed on preferred but fallacy laden trains of thought, Haldane:
[JBSH, REFACTORED AS SKELETAL, AUGMENTED PROPOSITIONS:] "It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For
if [p:] my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain [–> taking in DNA, epigenetics and matters of computer organisation, programming and dynamic-stochastic processes; notice, "my brain," i.e. self referential] ______________________________ [ THEN] [q:] I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. [--> indeed, blindly mechanical computation is not in itself a rational process, the only rationality is the canned rationality of the programmer, where survival-filtered lucky noise is not a credible programmer, note the functionally specific, highly complex organised information rich code and algorithms in D/RNA, i.e. language and goal directed stepwise process . . . an observationally validated adequate source for such is _____ ?] [Corollary 1:] They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence [Corollary 2:] I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. [--> grand, self-referential delusion, utterly absurd self-falsifying incoherence] [Implied, Corollary 3: Reason and rationality collapse in a grand delusion, including of course general, philosophical, logical, ontological and moral knowledge; reductio ad absurdum, a FAILED, and FALSE, intellectually futile and bankrupt, ruinously absurd system of thought.]
In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” ["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. Cf. here on (and esp here) on the self-refutation by self-falsifying self referential incoherence and on linked amorality.]
That record is over 90 years old and it still speaks tellingly. kairosfocus
Q, the Weak Argument Correctives have in page anchors listed in the table of contents. KF kairosfocus
DD, if one has set up crooked ideological yardsticks then what is straight or upright will never pass the test of conformity to crookedness. Also, other particular forms of crookedness will not fit so it is the highest form of divide and rule power agendas to lock in a particular brand of crookedness into a community or institution they dominate. The marks of this sad state are now widespread. KF PS, my major intervention in this thread was to give an outline answer as to what ontology and epistemology are and why they are truly central to serious thought. A moment's investigation would suffice to show that that summary is correct. That you choose instead to try to personalise, polarise and dismiss speaks volumes on a fundamentally irresponsible and trollish approach on your part. For record, when there are deep disagreements on general, policy and technical subjects, it is highly likely that the roots lie in core philosophy, metaphysics (including ontology) [in effect critical analysis of worldviews focussed on what is real], logic, epistemology, axiology [including ethics and aesthetics], etc. Making a basic effort to appreciate such topics will repay serious dividends. PPS, for record, my intervention:
ONTOLOGY: the logic of being, or expanded, [study of] logic of [the nature of] being, an aspect of metaphysics, philosophical study of grand reality. Farlex Trivia Dictionary has a useful summary: “Ontology is the branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature or essence of being or existence, the opposite of phenomenology, the science of phenomena.” (Contrast what is vs what appears to be.) Thus of course the approach of using possible worlds and partitioning: impossible vs possible of being, and of the latter, contingent vs necessary being. The latter are part of the fabric for any world to exist. Ponder a suggested world where distinction, thus two-ness does not exist or begins or ceases; already once we have a distinct suggested world say s, there is, necessarily distinction s vs NOT-s. This can be shown to lie at the root of mathematics, considered as [the study of] the logic of structure and quantity. EPISTEMOLOGY: philosophical study of knowledge and closely related issues such as warrant/justification of beliefs. Revolutionised sixty years ago by Gettier counter examples to knowledge is justified, true belief and the dust has not settled. This is why I have put up reasons for taking weak, scientific and common good sense form knowledge as warranted, credibly true (so, reliable) belief. one of the subtleties involved, is that beliefs true by luck or accident are unreliable which directly connects to how many Gettier cases and grue/bleen etc work. As the label says, right there on the tin, FYI. Obviously, fundamental and as phil is about, hard, fundamental questions. If they were easy, they would not be in this dept.
PPPS, my other main intervention has been to point out that responsible, rational freedom is pivotal to reasoning, warranting, knowing. For, if we are reduced to dynamic-stochastic entities driven and controlled by blind forces claimed reasoning, warrant and knowledge lose all credibility. Reppert has been particularly telling on this point, which of course cuts across the agendas of evolutionary materialistic scientism and fellow travellers, who in the end are trying to have their cakes and eat them:
. . . let us suppose that brain state A [--> notice, state of a wetware, electrochemically operated computational substrate], which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief [--> concious, perceptual state or disposition] that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.
We can be sure that if there were a cogent, non self referentially incoherent reply, it would long since have been trumpeted all over the internet. The evasions, side tracks, strawman fallacies and personal attacks we see instead are actually backhanded confession by projections to the despised other. Such is the sad state of the life of the mind in our day that many imagine they can freely, publicly resort to such Alinsky, rules for radicals guttersnipe tactics and get away with it. kairosfocus
I find your argument to be useless. Of course, you claim otherwise. But alas, without empirics to settle the matter, that is the nature of the beast.I find your argument to be useless. Of course, you claim otherwise. But alas, without empirics to settle the matter, that is the nature of the beast.
Run the flags up! Break out the champagne! BA77 makes a point I agree with. Yes, BA77, There is no empirical support for any position argued in this thread on free will, determinism and consciousness. It’s a free choice for us all to take whatever position makes us happy. Alan Fox
BTW apologies to Viola Lee. I have just glanced through the long thread above. I had previously only dipped in when "recent comments" caught my attention. Much thoughtful content has been missed! I didn't find anything I immediately needed to contradict and my head is still nodding. Used to comment at ISCID and ARN? Me too, back in the 2,000s. How much has changed since? Hard to say as both sites have disappeared into oblivion Alan Fox
You forgot to compliment Alan Fox on his brilliant rebuttal that consciousness indeed has a physical origin due to, among other things, the fact that “brains are not static.”
Just to correct Querius on one thing he got wrong. Alan Fox's current position is that "consciousness" is incoherent as a concept. There is certainly (heh) no such thing as a separate entity, and (Glasgow scale excluded) no way to measure or compare it. Very often I see it brought up as binary. "This robot is very clever but it is not conscious". I find substituting the word "awareness" for "consciousness" works better to avoid misunderstandings. How aware an entity is of reality and its relationship with reality does not need awareness to have separate existence, it is simply a property of a sentient entity. Alan Fox
DD I have some questions, not about the validity of your post at 629, I have no problem with your logic I would like to explore briefly point 5 at the moment “5) In order for P to have freely chosen R, P must have reason(s) R’ for that choice.” Correct me if I am wrong. This sorta jives with Edwards which I quoted upstream somewhere, “the will does not determine itself, it is not the “determiner determiner at the same time and same relationship” Circling back to 5 ( which sorta is giving me a charlie horse between the ears) I understand you to say P must have a reason to make a free choice . In order to have that particular reason (pr1)there must be a reason for that particular reason (pr2 ) Pr2 precedes (pr1) and thus this (pr2) was not chosen by P therefore free choice is impossible. Have I botched that up to much? Is my understanding of 5 at least somewhere in the ball park? Vivid vividbleau
BA,
Dogdoc, to be clear, I found your argument to be so philosophically ‘fuzzy’ as to be beyond empirical critique.
Your counter-argument is itself far too vague to address. But I hope you don't believe that all truths must be verified by empirical investigation - is that your point? If so, you may need to acquaint yourself with the well-known problems with verificationism.
In a word, I found your argument to be “useless” as far as science itself is concerned.
My argument is not based on empirical results. Again, you seem to be of the opinion that all meaningful ideas must be adjudicated via empirical verification. Is that your position?
You may repeatedly declare that no one has refuted your argument, (and although I generously gave you a benefit of a doubt and said that your philosophical argument may, or may not, have some merit), your ‘philosophical’ argument ranks, as far as I can tell, somewhere alongside arguing about ‘how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?’
If you're right, you should be able to look at my stepwise formulation @629 and show exactly which of those statements are too "fuzzy" to evaluate. Care to try?
Again, and I am certainly not a deep philosopher, but, and as far as I can tell, your argument is useless.
You needn't proclaim your lack of philosophical sophistication. The fact that you think simply declaring an argument to be "useless" constitutes a rebuttal more than suffices. dogdoc
Dogdoc, to be clear, I found your argument to be so philosophically 'fuzzy' as to be beyond empirical critique. In a word, I found your argument to be "useless" as far as science itself is concerned. You may repeatedly declare that no one has refuted your argument, (and although I generously gave you a benefit of a doubt and said that your philosophical argument may, or may not, have some merit), your 'philosophical' argument ranks, as far as I can tell, somewhere alongside arguing about 'how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?' Again, and I am certainly not a deep philosopher, but, and as far as I can tell, your argument is useless. Put some empirical meat on the bones and I might change my tune. In short, I agree with Querius overall sentiment at post 781. Your argument is big waste of time as far as I can tell. bornagain77
Querius,
Just find some philosophical issue that will create the most chaos in the forum and laugh at how far off the topic you can get.
Free will was brought up in the third post of this thread, by BA. It has been debated endlessly on this site by others, because it is at the heart of so-called Intelligent Design Theory. You are perhaps projecting what you might want to do, trolling some site just for laughs. I however am a serious lifelong student of science and philosophy, and I love debating big ideas - like free will.
Then announce that no one has any counter-argument to whatever you say.
People have posted a number of counter-arguments of course, and here is what happened: BA tried a few atttacks based on his unsupported and false assumptions about what "isms" I had allegiance to, but finally acknowledged in @325 that while my ideas might have merit he wasn't interested in debating them. Viola Lee argued that my conclusion was too strong, and that there was still a way to salvage a meaningful notion of freedom, but did not, as I see it, dispute the logic of my argument. Origenes tried a number of different counter-arguments, but simply stopped posting after I rebutted each one. PaV unfortunately was unable to grasp my argument. As for KF, I made an effort to understand what he was arguing, but most of it was incomprehensible word salad, and the portion that seemed coherent had nothing at all to do with what I was arguing.
You forgot to compliment Alan Fox...
Why would you argue with me about something that Alan had posted? I suggest you debate him on the matter. Again, you really were hilariously wrong about my argument; every idea you attributed to me was virtually the opposite of my position. But once again, I encourage you to attempt a rebuttal of my argument! It's laid out quite simply @629. My argument shows that free choice is impossible, something I'm sure you disagree with! Since you seem to have nothing but the highest regard for your own intellect and the most virulent disdain for mine, it should be simple for you to refute my argument with perfect clarity, specificity, and force. I look forward to your brilliant insights, where you show exactly where I go wrong, and can finally lay this argument to rest! (hint: calling something a non sequitur without explanation does not constitute an argument, nor does assuming that I belong to some reviled group - atheism, materialism, naturalism, evolutionism, bokononism, what have you - somehow refute my argument. You actually have to show what the problem is with my argument.) dogdoc
Dogdoc @780,
Gosh, this Querius is certainly cluttering up the thread with off-topic posts, right? Wish he’d take that elsewhere hahahaha.
No problem. Feel free to post any comments on any subject, completely ignoring the original post. Just find some philosophical issue that will create the most chaos in the forum and laugh at how far off the topic you can get. Then announce that no one has any counter-argument to whatever you say. You forgot to compliment Alan Fox on his brilliant rebuttal that consciousness indeed has a physical origin due to, among other things, the fact that "brains are not static." Hope you have fun with your dog and fox show demonstrating How Infinity Threatens Cosmology by posting an infinite number of non sequiturs. -Q Querius
Gosh, this Querius is certainly cluttering up the thread with off-topic posts, right? Wish he'd take that elsewhere hahahaha. Alan, Anyway, apparently nobody here has any counter-argument about free will that they're brave enough to post - I suppose that's as much of a concession as anyone here is likely to grant :-) So, moving on, wrt consciousness: When I read Dennett, I can't argue against him. He's such an incredibly compelling expositor that for the next few minutes I believe he's right. But then I remember: his view hinges on the notion that it is language that gives us the illusion of consciousness. He once said in a panel (I can't find the video!) that because of that, a word processor is closer to a conscious entity than a dog is. At that moment I realized that in no possible world can I believe anything of the sort; if dogs aren't conscious then my world is incomprehensible (and the problem of other minds is utterly intractable). dogdoc
What are you saying, Querius? Alan Fox
Alan Fox, And now substituting ships for brain, we get the following equivalent of your explanation on the physics of naval engineering as: • Ships are not static. • Ships require a vast amount of energy to function. • Tides and currents are constantly changing and large waves are constantly challenging ships along vast distances and carrying vast quantities of cargo. • Briefly, you are overlooking the energetic component of ships. • Ships don’t just use matter, they also use energy (and gravity). No, I'm not saying that consciousness is like computers or ships. -Q Querius
Kairosfocus @770,
Q. there is a problem, as there is a whole section of this site that addresses weak arguments that keep being raised.
Yes. And they repeatedly emerge in completely different topics such as “How Infinity Threatens Cosmology” for example.
Objectors often insist on acting as though they are not there. If one argues in brief, it is twisted into pretzels to play strawman tactics.
Lay out in more detail and it is disregarded as too long to bother or even incomprehensible [from people who often refuse to do worldviews homework]. Then, they demand authoritative sources. Quote in brief or with ellipses and one is accused of selective, out of context quoting. Take in more content and it is a too long to bother read.
Agreed. And after one provides the homework, objectors simply wave off such responses as irrelevant, already refuted, or whatever excuse comes to them at the moment. I’m still tempted to create a trollbot with all the typical Browbeats and Blowoffs(tm) that we typically encounter.
Then there are the ad hominems.
Yes, but I actually find these very useful! They indicate when you’ve won the argument.
And more, this sustained pattern is part of why I have put the modified JoHari on the table to move on to declaring knowledge independence. KF
I’m afraid I don’t understand how the Johari window would help . . . or am I misunderstanding something? Thanks, -Q Querius
Here you agree with one of my philosophical heros, Dan Dennett, but you do disagree with me.
That does seem to be the nub of it. Dennett has persuaded me (he pushed at an open door) that philosophical consciousness is an incoherent concept. Alan Fox
@ Querius Not sure what point you are making. Human brains are like computers? Human brains are not like computers? To make my position clear, I have no idea how human brains function , how we think. We can approach it as a first person problem, thinking about how we think... Or we can approach it as a third-person problem, using all that tools of neuroscience. Or we can combine approaches. Whatever we do, we can't breach the barrier that no sentient entity can understand anything as complex as itself. Computers are a pale shadow of and a counter-productive analogy for the complexity involved in the functioning of the human brain. Alan Fox
Alan Fox @771, So, your answer to the physics (and physical chemistry) of consciousness is: • Brains are not static. • The human brain requires a vast amount of energy to function. • Neurons grow and die, new synaptic connections form and break, any one neuron can be in physical contact with thousands of others, neurons are sending and receiving impulses at varying rates and vast quantities. • Briefly, you are overlooking the energetic component of brain activity. • There is not just matter in this universe, there is also energy (and gravity). Now substituting computer for brain, we get the following equivalent of your explanation on the physics of computer operation as: • Computers are not static. • The computer requires a vast amount of energy to function (actually, it’s only about 20 Watts) • Software constantly changes and new impulses are constantly loading up registers and travelling along buses at an extremely fast clock rate and in vast quantities. • Briefly, you are overlooking the energetic component of computers. • Computers don’t just use matter, they also use energy (and gravity). Sigh. -Q Querius
Alan,
DD: Physicalism or naturalism actually means “All reality is nothing but what we currently know about reality”, which is not a reasonable stance because we clearly do not understand what consciousness is. AF: We are, as far as I understand your comment, in agreement apart from the part I quote in this comment.
In 1800, the term "materialism" referred to idea that "only the physical universe and laws of nature exist". But at that time, the "laws of nature" were basically Newtonian physics, and the ontology was "atoms in the void". When electromagnetic fields were discovered and their properties formally understood, they were outside of what was previously thought to exist. Did that make them "supernatural"? No, but the definition of what was "natural" was changed, expanded. The beginning of the 20th century saw a huge revolution regarding much of our understanding of the physical world, again changing the definition of what was "natural" or "physical". So, the terms "physicalism" or "naturalism" change as we make new discoveries, and that's why I say what they really refer to is what we currently know.
In fact, I am convinced there is a physical limit to our understanding... Does that make me a mysterian?
Welcome to the club, you'll be getting your membership card and starter kit in the mail.
ETA Where I disagree is that consciousness is not, philosophically, a valid concept. There is nothing to explain, or if you are a dualist, nothing anyone can explain.
Ah, I see. Here you agree with one of my philosophical heros, Dan Dennett, but you do disagree with me. I believe that consciousness cries out for an explanation, that any understanding of the world that doesn't incorporate it is fundamentally incomplete, and... there is very little hope we can ever explain it. dogdoc
Dogdoc:
Physicalism or naturalism actually means “All reality is nothing but what we currently know about reality”, which is not a reasonable stance because we clearly do not understand what consciousness is.
We are, as far as I understand your comment, in agreement apart from the part I quote in this comment. I don't know who first came up with the analogy of human understanding being perhaps like ants on a New York sidewalk, scurrying and making a home under a paving slab, scavenging food that lies all around, while having no idea the Empire State Building towers above them. Sure, what humans know is limited by what our collective instrument-enhanced senses can tell us and what our collective intellect and shared ideas can model. In fact, I am convinced there is a physical limit to our understanding which can only change at an evolutionary rate. Whether there is more to understand can only be answered by beings capable of understanding more than we do. Does that make me a mysterian? ETA Where I disagree is that consciousness is not, philosophically, a valid concept. There is nothing to explain, or if you are a dualist, nothing anyone can explain. Alan Fox
Querius:
I still cannot imagine how physics can explain consciousness as an undiscovered property of matter.
As Dogdoc points out, you attack a strawman. Brains are not static. The human brain requires a vast amount of energy to function. Neurons grow and die, new synaptic connections form and break, any one neuron can be in physical contact with thousands of others, neurons are sending and receiving impulses at varying rates and vast quantities. Briefly, you are overlooking the energetic component of brain activity. There is not just matter in this universe, there is also energy (and gravity). Alan Fox
Q. there is a problem, as there is a whole section of this site that addresses weak arguments that keep being raised. Objectors often insist on acting as though they are not there. If one argues in brief, it is twisted into pretzels to p;lay strawman tactics. Lay out in more detail and it is disregarded as too long to bother or even incomprehensible [from people who often refuse to do worldviews homework]. Then, they demand authoritative sources. Quote in brief or with ellipses and one is accused of selective, out of context quoting. Take in more content and it is a too long to bother read. Then there are the ad hominems. And more, this sustained pattern is part of why I have put the modified JoHari on the table to move on to declaring knowledge independence. KF kairosfocus
DD, well do you know that Lewontin let the cat out of the bag on a huge ideological imposition by power class problem. Worse, the ideology is inherently self referentially incoherent in many ways and self defeating as say Haldane pointed out nigh on 100 years since. The evolutionary materialistic scientism and/or fellow travellers are failed on merits but that does not mean they cannot gain power and seek to entrench it, suppressing alternatives. And many examples of such oppressive power behaviour can be cited, as Lewontin hinted at, Rosenberg simply underscores the point. That's so whether or not you are inclined to acknowledge or even simply pause, read and ponder what is on the table from significant sources. KF kairosfocus
AF, perhaps, we should ponder why you find the summaries difficult to grasp, as they are in fact loaded with worlds of meaning and even imply whole programmes of investigation and analysis. It may be, that they are difficult or unfamiliar concepts, but that is the nature of phil, the dept of hard questions. That we need to clarify possibilities of being and that this may go beyond the commonplace is almost obvious. Notice, the application in outline to foundations of mathematics and to the universal utility of a core of math tied to the law of identity that allows us to define 0, 1, 2 thence N,Z,Q,R,C,R*, space, structures, relationships, quantities, entities etc embedded in any possible world, thus of universal applicability. The question of how we can responsibly claim to know is just as central and in fact is expressed in the same case, and much more. KF PS, R* brings infinity into math, both the transfinite and infinitesimals, allowing us to profitably discuss such, taming some key pathologies. The infinitesimal is implicitly or explicitly present in calculus and calculus loaded concepts such as instantaneous velocity, acceleration, momentum etc. The concept of an implicitly or explicitly transfinite past of years can be addressed in this context of R* and the answer is an actually transfinite causal-temporal, thermodynamically constrained past measurable in say successive years poses an infeasible supertask, transfinite traversal in finite stage steps. kairosfocus
Querius,
DD: Indeed, but the corresponding problem in dualism of course is interaction: if mind is causal but obeys no physical laws, how does it magically affect the physical realm? Q: You would know the answer to your question if you ever played a first-person video game or asked someone who has.
Oh, I wasn't aware this problem had been solved. And so easily! I've actually coded first-person video games, does that count? Still, I can't say I understand how immaterial minds interact with the physical world. I think maybe something having to do with the pineal gland?
There are also scientists who take the position that we might be living in an “ancestor simulation.” If you search on the term, you’ll find some presentations on the subject.
Interesting approach, where you assume ignorance on my part. Anyway, sure I know about simulation hypotheses. Like other hypotheses that entail the uploading of our conscious selves, simulation blithely assumes that human minds can exist without human bodies. I don't happen to buy that at all, but who knows? (answer: nobody)
Why do you wake up? Why did a college friend of mine wake up after over six months in a coma?
Terrific questions!
Where are these “mountains” of evidence?
You're asking what evidence we have that people with damage or destruction of the brain results in a loss of consciousness?
Declaring mysteria in philosophy as a sort of “safe zone” is unscientific and silly.
Sorry you feel that way. I think it is the only intellectually honest position. It's not intended to be scientific, and it's certainly not intended to be a "safe zone". Anyway, you are pretending to know the answers to questions that have been debated for millenia, but you think my position is silly. Perhaps the concept of humility may be of some help to you.
Is consciousness a property of matter or not? Your position of “we’ll figure it out” someday is usually called “faith.”
Please read @762 to discover how comically wrong you are about my position. But it is interesting how you seem to use "faith" as an epithet.
Hiding behind ignorance in the complexities of quantum mechanics, chaos theory, string theory, presumed dark energy, giving it a Latin name in neuroscience doesn’t help.
Sorry, now you seem to just be ranting - I honestly don't know what you're talking about.
Current evidence in neuroscience is presented here by a professor of neurosurgery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeLND9bnjxE
Please read @762 to discover how comically wrong you are about my position. (Also, pro tip: surgeons are not trained in philosophy)
Glad you found it entertaining, but I think you’ll find considerable disagreement by others in whether your arguments were at all convincing or rebutted.
Yes, I've done everything I can to invite counter-arguments! Origenes gave it a pretty good go, but evidently couldn't think of how to respond to my rebuttal of his last attempt. Anyway, it appears that you and BA77 go by the same playbook: Make incorrect assumptions about your opponent, proceed to attack those strawman positions, and avoid any engagement of the argument that's been presented. At least BA had the grace to acknowledge my position may (or may not) have merit, and explain that his failure to address it was because of his preference for empirical science over philosophy. (Rather confusing, given BA's forays into metaphysics and theism, but still). Anyway, if you'd like to continue, let's put the knives away and have a nice debate. I had some differences with Viola Lee and WJM too, but encountered only interesting, pleasant, good faith discussions with them. Give it a try! dogdoc
Dogdoc,
Indeed, but the corresponding problem in dualism of course is interaction: if mind is causal but obeys no physical laws, how does it magically affect the physical realm?
You would know the answer to your question if you ever played a first-person video game or asked someone who has. There are also scientists who take the position that we might be living in an "ancestor simulation." If you search on the term, you'll find some presentations on the subject.
The dependence of consciousness on brain function is supported by huge mountains of evidence; good evidence for consciousness when there is no neural tissue at all is virtually absent. Even if functioning brains are not sufficient for conscious experience, from our uniform and repeated experience, they do appear to be necessary, but it is utterly mysterious as to why that may be the case.
Huh? You are unconscious roughly a third of your life. Why do you wake up? Why did a college friend of mine wake up after over six months in a coma? Where are these "mountains" of evidence?
Again, mysterianism is the only position that I think makes sense at this juncture. But so-called “experimental philosophy” is a very new idea, and who knows what we’ll figure out as we explore modern physics, neuroscience, chaos theory, and of course (as Viola mentioned) recursion.
Declaring mysteria in philosophy as a sort of “safe zone” is unscientific and silly. Is consciousness a property of matter or not? Your position of “we’ll figure it out” someday is usually called “faith.” Hiding behind ignorance in the complexities of quantum mechanics, chaos theory, string theory, presumed dark energy, giving it a Latin name in neuroscience doesn’t help. Current evidence in neuroscience is presented here by a professor of neurosurgery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeLND9bnjxE
Once again, not sure where your umbrage at digressions in these discussions comes from – I have no trouble scrolling past posts that don’t interest me (although it would be nice if we could collapse the incredibly long copypasta posts from BA or KF a bit).
There’s a difference between digressions, changing the subject, and even hijacking a topic. Perhaps any copy-paste should be prefaced with some statement like, “We’ve previously beaten this issue to death, so here’s a dump of my position.”
Anyway, I thought this was a great discussion! Of course I didn’t expect anyone to actually concede my argument about free choice, but I’m encouraged by the fact that various folks have tried and – in my view – failed to articulate any clear rebuttals.
Glad you found it entertaining, but I think you’ll find considerable disagreement by others in whether your arguments were at all convincing or rebutted. But can I request that you to keep more to the subject in the topic title? There are plenty of issues that could be considered in “How Infinity Threatens Cosmology.” There are also other topics that might lend themselves more to the philosophies of mind, consciousness, and the definition of “free will.” -Q Querius
Querius,
If consciousness is magically attributed to a single brain cell...
Indeed, but the corresponding problem in dualism of course is interaction: if mind is causal but obeys no physical laws, how does it magically affect the physical realm?
If consciousness is somehow attributed to the arrangement of brain cells, then why are some people unconscious? How do people “regain” consciousness even with the same brain-cell arrangement?
The dependence of consciousness on brain function is supported by huge mountains of evidence; good evidence for consciousness when there is no neural tissue at all is virtually absent. Even if functioning brains are not sufficient for conscious experience, from our uniform and repeated experience, they do appear to be necessary, but it is utterly mysterious as to why that may be the case. Again, mysterianism is the only position that I think makes sense at this juncture. But so-called "experimental philosophy" is a very new idea, and who knows what we'll figure out as we explore modern physics, neuroscience, chaos theory, and of course (as Viola mentioned) recursion.
All this (free will, etc.) is of course irrelevant to “How Infinity Threatens Cosmology” as I previously noted.
Once again, not sure where your umbrage at digressions in these discussions comes from - I have no trouble scrolling past posts that don't interest me (although it would be nice if we could collapse the incredibly long copypasta posts from BA or KF a bit). Anyway, I thought this was a great discussion! Of course I didn't expect anyone to actually concede my argument about free choice, but I'm encouraged by the fact that various folks have tried and - in my view - failed to articulate any clear rebuttals. dogdoc
Kairosfocus @757, Well said. I still cannot imagine how physics can explain consciousness as an undiscovered property of matter. The absurd excuse that it "emerges" from "very complicated" arrangements of matter is silly because it either (a) appears ex nihilo at some critical mass or (b) it's present in all lesser quantities of matter from the level of quarks and then builds up to god-like consciousness at galactic levels. If consciousness is magically attributed to a single brain cell, then sperm whales, elephants, and dolphins have more of it than humans. This idea is sometimes rationalized with brain to body ratio. Thus, morbidly obese humans must have less consciousness than thin humans. If consciousness is somehow attributed to the arrangement of brain cells, then why are some people unconscious? How do people "regain" consciousness even with the same brain-cell arrangement? All this (free will, etc.) is of course irrelevant to "How Infinity Threatens Cosmology" as I previously noted. In contrast, Viola Lee's contribution in reference to Steven Weinberg's book, which includes his observation that infinities are indications of failures in our models is highly relevant and provocative. Thank you, Viola Lee. -Q Querius
Origenes, I thought you were really debating in good faith and with clarity - sorry to see you offer one last counter-argument (regarding causes. or compulsions, vs. reasons) but then decline to respond to my rebuttal. I'd still like to hear your final thoughts. KF - I can't make any sense out of anything you say, and your copypasta about evolution and materialism and scientism and whatever is completely irrelevant to our discussion. dogdoc
Vivid, Looking forward to your questions. Alan, Ontology is mainly about the mind/body problem, which I characterize as: What is the relationship between our conscious experience and existence? My view is that we cannot deny our subjective experience, but we have no way of knowing if anything apart from that exists, and if it does, how it relates to our conscious experience. All of the proposed answers are inadequate: Materialism is an anachronism, a strawman that nobody believes, holding that all reality is nothing but atoms in the void. Physicalism or naturalism actually means "All reality is nothing but what we currently know about reality", which is not a reasonable stance because we clearly do not understand what consciousness is. The most common forms of dualism commit a reification fallacy - mistaking our conscious perceptions for some thing that exists in the world, but has nothing to say about the relationship between our experience and reality. And "idealism" and "solipsism" both make the negative claim that nothing aside from conscious experience exists, just another claim that we have no way of evaluating. Hence, my mysterian perspective - we haven't, and almost certainly can't, understand ontology. I'd say epistemology is a hot mess (excuse the technical philosophical jargon). It is, in a way, the attempt to disprove mysterianism, and find some foundation for saying "Here is how we can justify our beliefs about what exists in the world". We can't. The reason we continue to debate ontology and epistemology is because human beings hate - just hate - the idea that we don't understand what's going on. For some reason I don't have that response - I just look at our situation, see that we can't answer these ultimate questions that we pose, and accept it. dogdoc
KF, thanks for posting definitions. As I said, I've already read many. The particular ones you've picked are typical in explaining nothing. Alan Fox
...get to the point where you don’t fear death, and none of this matters anymore.
I don't recall ever fearing death. The process of dying can be pretty messy and premature death is very tough on family and friends but returning to dust (I like Pullman's stardust) and oblivion? Nothing to fear there. Alan Fox
Alan Fox: Maybe Dogdoc (or anyone else) can help me out with a confession. I’ve never grasped the usefulness of the concepts, epistemology and ontology. Honestly, I don’t know what these words mean. I’ve read plenty of definitions but they don’t explain the point of the concepts. Is there more to it than “what can you know” and “how can you know”? You can't. Lemme buy you a beer, my friend. The best name I can come up for this universe, with consciousness as an observer is: Mind F*ck. Sorry if that offends the sensibilities of the delicates among up. But it's true, nonetheless. Sidebar: get to the point where you don't fear death, and none of this matters anymore. Talk about liberation! Paxx
FYI: ONTOLOGY: the logic of being, or expanded, [study of] logic of [the nature of] being, an aspect of metaphysics, philosophical study of grand reality. Farlex Trivia Dictionary has a useful summary: "Ontology is the branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature or essence of being or existence, the opposite of phenomenology, the science of phenomena." (Contrast what is vs what appears to be.) Thus of course the approach of using possible worlds and partitioning: impossible vs possible of being, and of the latter, contingent vs necessary being. The latter are part of the fabric for any world to exist. Ponder a suggested world where distinction, thus two-ness does not exist or begins or ceases; already once we have a distinct suggested world say s, there is, necessarily distinction s vs NOT-s. This can be shown to lie at the root of mathematics, considered as [the study of] the logic of structure and quantity. EPISTEMOLOGY: philosophical study of knowledge and closely related issues such as warrant/justification of beliefs. Revolutionised sixty years ago by Gettier counter examples to knowledge is justified, true belief and the dust has not settled. This is why I have put up reasons for taking weak, scientific and common good sense form knowledge as warranted, credibly true (so, reliable) belief. one of the subtleties involved, is that beliefs true by luck or accident are unreliable which directly connects to how many Gettier cases and grue/bleen etc work. As the label says, right there on the tin, FYI. Obviously, fundamental and as phil is about, hard, fundamental questions. If they were easy, they would not be in this dept. KF kairosfocus
DD, you know full well that, reasons are not causes is a sub point on the matter of responsible, rational freedom. Particularly, that materialist/physicalist reductionism fails and takes down with it ever so many associated thought frames. You also know as it was pointed out that the gambit that any point A has an infinite regress of antecedents fails the test of first observations, axioms, first plausibles, presuppositions and of course the use of comparative difficulties to avert vicious hall of mirrors circularity. All of these gambits were used to distract from the core point that freedom is actually a self evident first truth, on grounds that, instantly, without it, reasoned discussion loses the reasoned part and collapses into in effect meaningless noise. Where, on that self evident first truth plumb line basis, we have every epistemic and logical right to reject every ideological notion and worldview seen to be inconsistent with responsible, rational, significant -- as opposed to arbitrary -- freedom. Evolutionary materialistic scientism and fellow travellers, we are looking straight at you. KF PS, Rosenberg is inadvertently letting the cat out of the bag:
Alex Rosenberg as he begins Ch 9 of his The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: >> FOR SOLID EVOLUTIONARY REASONS, WE’VE BEEN tricked into looking at life from the inside. [--> So, just how did self-aware, intentional consciousness arise on such materialism? Something from nothing through poof magic words like "emergence" won't do.] Without scientism, we look at life from the inside, from the first-person POV (OMG, you don’t know what a POV is?—a “point of view”). The first person is the subject, the audience, the viewer of subjective experience, the self in the mind. Scientism shows that the first-person POV is an illusion. [–> grand delusion is let loose in utter self referential incoherence] Even after scientism convinces us, we’ll continue to stick with the first person. But at least we’ll know that it’s another illusion of introspection and we’ll stop taking it seriously. We’ll give up all the answers to the persistent questions about free will, the self, the soul, and the meaning of life that the illusion generates [–> bye bye to responsible, rational freedom on these presuppositions]. The physical facts fix all the facts. [--> asserts materialism, leading to . . . ] The mind is the brain. It has to be physical and it can’t be anything else, since thinking, feeling, and perceiving are physical process—in particular, input/output processes—going on in the brain. We [–> at this point, what "we," apart from "we delusions"?] can be sure of a great deal about how the brain works because the physical facts fix all the facts about the brain. The fact that the mind is the brain guarantees that there is no free will. It rules out any purposes or designs organizing our actions or our lives [–> thus rational thought and responsible freedom]. It excludes the very possibility of enduring persons, selves, or souls that exist after death or for that matter while we live.>>
kairosfocus
Ontology is when a chef make a cake. Epistemiology is when you eat it. whistler
DD 753 I do have some comments , mostly complimentary, and a few questions regarding “ultimate responsibility” and where did these previous reasons and beliefs came from since they were not mine. Since I’m tired I will try getting around to this tomorrow Vivid vividbleau
Maybe Dogdoc (or anyone else) can help me out with a confession. I've never grasped the usefulness of the concepts, epistemology and ontology. Honestly, I don't know what these words mean. I've read plenty of definitions but they don't explain the point of the concepts. Is there more to it than "what can you know" and "how can you know"? Alan Fox
Origenes, KF, or anyone else care to add anything to the free will discussion? Last round I showed how the fact that reasons were not causes can't salvage ultimate responsibility. Anyone want to say why they still think I'm wrong, or that now they think I might be right, or maybe that at least they would think about it? dogdoc
Speaking of chaos theory, Here's the book I just ordered: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-primacy-of-doubt-9780192843593? lang=en&cc=gb# Wildly good reviews from Hossenfelder, Penrose, etc - this physicist/polymath apparently attempts to show, among many other things, how chaos theory shows that quantum uncertainty is epistemological rather than ontological. dogdoc
True, although perhaps ionic atoms are not really considered "elemental". I doubt Weinberg really doesn't know about ionic bonds, and ions in general. Defining the elements by the number of protons is standard, so this error is hard to explain. Viola Lee
Incidentally, I do have a quibble with Dr. Weinberg's "chalk talk" on the following statement in his book:
One element is distinguished from another solely by the number of electrons in the atom: one for hydrogen, six for carbon, eight for oxygen twenty for calcium, and so on.
That's not correct. It's the number of protons that determine the element. For example, sodium chloride (table salt), NaCl, forms an ionic bond: the sodium atom loses an electron to become a sodium ion while the chlorine atom gains an electron to become a chloride ion. Sodium doesn't become neon and chlorine doesn't become argon in the process. But let's see what else he has to say . . . -Q Querius
Viola Lee @744,
Yes, in a recursive system that can show chaotic behavior, there is no way we could perfectly model the system because whatever level of accuracy our calculations could perform, eventually noticeable discrepancies from perfection would happen. And since we can’t calculate with infinite precision, we can’t perfectly model chaotic systems. Do you agree with that?
Yes. And I’m not sure that the system necessarily needs to be qualified as recursive, except in mathematics (I'm thinking of a recursive approximation technique to arrive at roots of functions).
A small point: small initial changes from calculation inaccuracies or anything else don’t always “quickly yield dramatically different outcomes.” Sometimes it takes a while for the dramatic difference to become noticeable, I think.
Chaotic results appear surprisingly faster than expected. It might have also been Edward Lorentz who calculated that if the entire surface of the earth were covered with weather stations one meter apart and then one meter up from the surface in concentric spheres to the practical limits of our atmosphere, accurate weather prediction could be extended from about 3-5 days to maybe up to a month, which turned out to be too optimistic. Since then, more research has refined weather predictability. Here's a 2018 research paper on the subject concluding that the limit to weather predictability is 2-3 weeks: Insights into Atmospheric Predictability through Global Convection-Permitting Model Simulations https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/atsc/75/5/jas-d-17-0343.1.xml?tab_body=fulltext-display -Q Querius
Origenes,
No, I am asking you: how do we evaluate our beliefs, assuming that your theory on reasons and beliefs is true. Given your theory, our reasons and beliefs are based on things outside of our control, and I take it that also the evaluation itself of these things would also be based on things outside of our control. I am asking you what that would look like.
As my example about my 19' height illustrated, we reason about new beliefs based on our existing beliefs.
Perhaps I can make my question more concrete: Suppose that belief X is ultimately based on a thing outside of our control, let’s say chemical process A in the frontal lobe.
I make no assumptions about how minds work. Maybe dualism is true and our minds transcend physical mechanism - it makes no difference to the argument I'm making.
Given that, my question would be: do we have the ability to truly evaluate belief X, which would include an evaluation of chemical process A?
I don't understand this. We do not "evaluate" how our mind works, we evaluate new beliefs. We don't know how minds work - maybe it's all chemistry and physics, maybe it's processes involving quantum gravity (like Penrose thinks) that we don't understand yet, etc etc. No matter how we think, we know that we do think, and that includes evaluating new beliefs. And that evaluation depends upon our existing beiefs.
And if we cannot do so, or if it is pointless to do so …
I have no idea why you say this. The point of you evaluating whether I'm 19 feet tall is to find out if I'm lying, or if I can fit in your Uber car, or whatever. The truth of my argument doesn't change the point of our thinking, it shows that we are not ultimately responsible for our choices.
DD: I don’t understand this. Obviously we do – we consciously (and, often, unconsciously) deliberate over things and decide whether or not we believe them. O: Indeed. But the question is, are we (also) able to deliberate over our reasons and beliefs in any meaningful way if your theory on reasons and beliefs were true.
Yes of course we deliberate over our reasons and beliefs - we can evaluate our current beliefs to see if we still believe them (in a process that might be similar to Bayesian reasoning?).
According to Dogdoc, a free choice requires that the underlying reasons are freely chosen. So, if one makes choice X based on reasons A=A and/or 2+2=4, Dogdoc will say: “Choice X is not a free choice, because the reasons A=A and 2+2=4 were forced upon the chooser. So, one is not able to freely choose the underlying reasons for one’s choice; there were no alternatives.”
Yes.
However, as KF has pointed out, a reason is not a compulsion. For instance, the choice to vote for Joe Biden is partly based on A=A, [Joe Biden = Joe Biden and Joe Biden is not Donald Trump], but surely A=A, the law of identity, does not compel anyone to vote for Joe Biden. The fact that a reason is not a compulsion undercuts DD’s theory.
No. Once again: Let's say you decide to vote for Biden for some set of reasons (law of identity, Joe is a nice guy, Joe forgave my student debt, etc). But then, since reasons are not causes, or compulsions, you decide to change your mind and choose to vote for Trump. Now the question becomes, upon what did you base your decision to vote for Trump instead? Either that choice was made for some reason(s), or it was made for no reason at all (which would make it a random, arbitrary choice that I've said does not represent the sort of free will worth wanting). And if it was made for a reason, then that reason was ultimately unchosen. dogdoc
DD @, KF @ According to Dogdoc, a free choice requires that the underlying reasons are freely chosen. So, if one makes choice X based on reasons A=A and/or 2+2=4, Dogdoc will say: “Choice X is not a free choice, because the reasons A=A and 2+2=4 were forced upon the chooser. So, one is not able to freely choose the underlying reasons for one's choice; there were no alternatives.” However, as KF has pointed out, a reason is not a compulsion. For instance, the choice to vote for Joe Biden is partly based on A=A, [Joe Biden = Joe Biden and Joe Biden is not Donald Trump], but surely A=A, the law of identity, does not compel anyone to vote for Joe Biden. The fact that a reason is not a compulsion undercuts DD's theory. Origenes
Dogdoc @727, "Reliable," w hen it comes to beliefs, can refer to any number of things, some of which are not related to whether or not the belief reflects some kind of true statement. Useful and reliable are not the same as "true." William J Murray
DD @
We evaluate if some belief is true by reasoning over our other beliefs (…) by reasoning over existing beliefs (necessarily) based on things outside of our control.
What would that look like? How do we evaluate the things outside of our control?
You are asking me how do we evaluate our beliefs? That would be a question for cognitive scientists …
No, I am asking you: how do we evaluate our beliefs, assuming that your theory on reasons and beliefs is true. Given your theory, our reasons and beliefs are based on things outside of our control, and I take it that also the evaluation itself of these things would also be based on things outside of our control. I am asking you what that would look like. Perhaps I can make my question more concrete: Suppose that belief X is ultimately based on a thing outside of our control, let’s say chemical process A in the frontal lobe. Given that, my question would be: do we have the ability to truly evaluate belief X, which would include an evaluation of chemical process A? And if we cannot do so, or if it is pointless to do so ...
I don’t understand this. Obviously we do – we consciously (and, often, unconsciously) deliberate over things and decide whether or not we believe them.
Indeed. But the question is, are we (also) able to deliberate over our reasons and beliefs in any meaningful way if your theory on reasons and beliefs were true. Origenes
Yes, in a recursive system that can show chaotic behavior, there is no way we could perfectly model the system because whatever level of accuracy our calculations could perform, eventually noticeable discrepancies from perfection would happen. And since we can't calculate with infinite precision, we can't perfectly model chaotic systems. Do you agree with that? A small point: small initial changes from calculation inaccuracies or anything else don't always "quickly yield dramatically different outcomes." Sometimes it takes a while for the dramatic difference to become noticeable, I think. Viola Lee
Viola Lee @742, Yes, I'm very familiar with chaos theory and the Mandelbrot set. But here's the problem. Let's say you start the bottom of a double pendulum at 14.25 cm from the vertical. That location might actually be rounded off from 14.245877902. . . cm. The next time you try starting the same double pendulum at 14.25 cm from the vertical might actually be 14.250831676. . . . cm. You're right about the weather simulation by Edward Lorentz and the butterfly effect. The "butterfly" in this case was his entering rounded off weather station data to restart the simulation. I'd guess he'd entered three decimal places after the decimal point and that his software supported double-precision floating point numbers to realistically yield 12-14 decimal places of precision. This yielded the different results that surprised him. My point is that in real life, anything less than an infinite number of decimal places would quickly yield dramatically different outcomes. Any clearer? -Q Querius
Q, you write, "Not as many as you would like to consider, but an infinite number of decimal places (any less will make a huge difference due to round-off)." Not sure what you mean here. It isn't possible to have an infinite number of decimal places in a calculation, but in theory you can calculate with as many decimal places as you wish. If the pick a point on the boundary of the Mandelbrot set (a + bi) and then consider an "adjacent" point (a + 0.0000000 .... 00001 + bi), with as many zeros as you wish in the ellipsis, and then "drill" down around each point in a systematic fashion, and if you have no practical limitations on your accuracy, you will get different "histories" from each point. However, because there are practical limitations to our calculations, even exploring the history starting at one point wiill run into inaccuracies at some point. Wikipedia says this about problems Lorenz ran into when first starting to use computers to model weather:
Edward Lorenz was an early pioneer of the theory. His interest in chaos came about accidentally through his work on weather prediction in 1961.[13] Lorenz was using a simple digital computer, a Royal McBee LGP-30, to run his weather simulation. He wanted to see a sequence of data again, and to save time he started the simulation in the middle of its course. He did this by entering a printout of the data that corresponded to conditions in the middle of the original simulation. To his surprise, the weather the machine began to predict was completely different from the previous calculation. Lorenz tracked this down to the computer printout. The computer worked with 6-digit precision, but the printout rounded variables off to a 3-digit number, so a value like 0.506127 printed as 0.506. This difference is tiny, and the consensus at the time would have been that it should have no practical effect. However, Lorenz discovered that small changes in initial conditions produced large changes in long-term outcome.[72] Lorenz's discovery, which gave its name to Lorenz attractors, showed that even detailed atmospheric modeling cannot, in general, make precise long-term weather predictions.
Viola Lee
Viola Lee @739, [Edit: Ironically, you beat me by a minute.] Not as many as you would like to consider, but an infinite number of decimal places (any less will make a huge difference due to round-off). This dynamic should qualify as one of Dr. Weinberg's problematic infinities. Lola Rennt/Run Lola Run is a German film that shows several radically different outcomes to the events in a story when there's simply a tiny difference in time at the beginning. It's essentially a theatrical application of chaos theory. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0130827/ -Q Querius
Q: I read about that film on Wikipedia. Fairly unique, and relevant to our discussion. Viola Lee
Q: as many as you would like to consider. And no, I don't watch many movies and have no knowledge of that one. Viola Lee
Viola Lee @737,
In the Mandelbrot set (and this is the chaos idea), at some moments a minute (mathematically, an infinitesimal one) variation in now sets the future off into what may become (but not necessarily immediately) a very different course than it would have without that variation.
Yes. And mathematically, how many decimal places are we talking about? Have you ever seen the movie, Lola Rennt /Run Lola Run? -Q Querius
It may not bring mind and matter into existence, but it keeps them in existence. It also is what brings, in my opinion, non-determined variability into the world. I used to use the Mandelbrot set as an analogy to give my seniors a pep talk about life as they came close to graduation. In the Mandelbrot set (and this is the chaos idea), at some moments a minute (mathematically, an infinitesimal one) variation in now sets the future off into what may become (but not necessarily immediately) a very different course than it would have without that variation. Thus, goes the pep talk, treat every moment and every decision as important, as you never can tell when you might be at one of the nodes where even a small thing makes a big difference. Viola Lee
Even after all this time, my intuitions - or inklings - about how recursion brings mind and matter into existence remain powerful but inarticulable, like WJM's ideas about will. But I'm comfortable enjoying the mysteries. You've motivated me to take another look, though, and see if can put some more structure around my thoughts on the matter. dogdoc
Cool. It's neat that you know lots about all that stuff. You write, "That is it in a nutshell! ?" You mean the one you forgot when you came down? :-) Viola Lee
Recursion is the key to the universe, as every moment feeds itself back into the causal mechanisms of the world (including the aspects of probability, contingency, etc.) to produce the next moment, and from a mystical viewpoint (and I remember clearly the first time I had this insight), the universe as a whole is the state which feeds into the next state.
That is it in a nutshell! :-) Read Gleick's book when it came out, spent countless hours writing programs to explore the chaos and recursion in fractals. (For you old programmers out there, all in TurboC on DOS :-)) dogdoc
Recursion is the key to the universe, as every moment feeds itself back into the causal mechanisms of the world (including the aspects of probability, contingency, etc.) to produce the next moment, and from a mystical viewpoint (and I remember clearly the first time I had this insight), the universe as a whole is the state which feeds into the next state. This is the key concept behind chaos theory. Gleick's book "Chaos" explains how these ideas started with trying to model weather as a recursive system. And the Mandelbrot set and associated fractals follow, which is some of my favorite math. And last, (and these are about the only youtube videos I've ever sought out to watch), a wonderful mathematician named Holly Krieger has multiple videos about various examples of recursion, as it is her research specialty: dynamic systems and recursion. Here's an example. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGMRB4O922I Viola Lee
Viola - hahaha for sure. When I was tripping I would say things like "Of course! That's it in a nutshell!" only to find that when I came down I couldn't quite put my finger on what was in the nutshell. However, I truly did develop inklings of certain concepts that I only learned about later on. One concept was recursion - how odd and fascinating that was. I subsequently found Douglas Hofstadter's wonderful book "Godel Escher Bach" and it blew my mind, and helped start me on my career as a LISP programmer and AI researcher. dogdoc
Dogdoc writes, "I don’t mean this at all derogatorily, but this sounds like things I used to write down while on psychedelics." Nothing wrong with that! :-) Viola Lee
Origenes,
We evaluate if some belief is true by reasoning over our other beliefs (…) by reasoning over existing beliefs (necessarily) based on things outside of our control. What would that look like? How do we evaluate the things outside of our control?
You are asking me how do we evaluate our beliefs? That would be a question for cognitive scientists, I suppose, and the answer is we don't understand it. (There is evidence that people are inherently Bayesian, which I find interesting).
And if we cannot do so,...
I don't understand this. Obviously we do - we consciously (and, often, unconsciously) deliberate over things and decide whether or not we believe them. And on what basis do we make these decisions? Obviously on our existing beliefs!
...or if it is pointless to do so, are we truly evaluating the beliefs which are based on those things outside of our control?
That is exactly what we do, how could we not? If I told you that I was 19 feet tall, you would evaluate that by reasoning over your existing beliefs, including the belief that no human is 19 feet tall. Did you freely choose to believe that no human is 19 feet tall, and could you possibly believe otherwise if you tried? The answer is no. dogdoc
Regarding infinities, Weinberg noted that the older steady-state theory of an infinite cosmos accepted the appearance of objects in the universe all moving away from each other (presumably in a sort of Hilbert's Hotel infinity) for an infinite amount of time and being replenished by an infinite amount of new matter spontaneously filling the increasing infinite number of gaps. I added the presumed infinities to his description, but I assume that these sorts of infinities were the scientific pitfalls he was referring to. How they actually "cancel out" (assuming they're of the same order of infinity) is another problem. He seems to accept the big bang theory in cosmology based on the presence of the CMB although there are other implied infinities and infinitesimals that also emerge. His guidance of steering clear of emergent or presumed infinities is nevertheless intriguing. As to the nature of reality that underlies all cosmological and quantum effects, it doesn't depend on whether or not free will exists. Wavefunction collapse is still observed in the most extreme deterministic interpretation of quantum mechanics and the instantaneous switch from interfering probabilities to matter is left unscathed. In other words, if everything is predetermined, then the probabilities involved would all be 1 (100%), including the observer's actions or predetermined "decisions." Thus, probabilistic wavefunctions cannot be observed, interfere, or collapse. Another infinity that Dr. Weinberg would avoid is any presumption of an "infinity" of time before the big bang some 13.8 billion years ago. It's currently believed that time (and space) began at the instant of the Big Bang. Thus, there are no probabilities or quantum events "before" the Big Bang. There was no before, and without time, there are no probabilities to wait for. If you want to hang on to causality, then the cause of the big bang was, of necessity, outside space-time. -Q Querius
DD@
We evaluate if some belief is true by reasoning over our other beliefs (…) by reasoning over existing beliefs (necessarily) based on things outside of our control.
What would that look like? How do we evaluate the things outside of our control? And if we cannot do so, or if it is pointless to do so, are we truly evaluating the beliefs which are based on those things outside of our control? Origenes
Origenes,
Suppose you are correct, all our choices and beliefs are ultimately based on reasons beyond our responsibility and control, all our beliefs are ultimately based on an uncontrollable external origin, and none of our beliefs are truly ‘ours’. Then how can we trust them to be true?
How can we trust any beliefs to be true? I think epistemology is even more muddled than free will, and I'm afraid I haven't solved it yet :-) But I don't see how it's any harder as a result of my argument. We evaluate if some belief is true by reasoning over our other beliefs, and this is the case whether that belief ultimately arose causa sui (impossible) or by reasoning over existing beliefs (necessarily) based on things outside of our control. IOW, if I had some (inconceivable!) ability to possess all of my self-chosen beliefs, I don't see how that would necessarily result in new belief evaluation that was any more reliable than the beliefs I have come to hold in the (necessary) manner I've described. dogdoc
Q, glad you're enjoying Weinberg's. I got my copy out and may take a look at it. (It's hard copy and I pretty much only read electronically now: maybe I'll spend \$10 for an electronic copy if it looks like re-reading it might be fun.) Viola Lee
DD @
In order to be ultimately, or truly, responsible for one’s choices, one would have to be responsible for the reasons upon which the choices are made, but that would require one to have their beliefs and desires chosen before they chose their beliefs and desires. In other words they would need their ability to freely choose before they had their ability to freely choose.
Suppose you are correct, all our choices and beliefs are ultimately based on reasons beyond our responsibility and control, all our beliefs are ultimately based on an uncontrollable external origin, and none of our beliefs are truly ‘ours’. Then how can we trust them to be true? Or are you saying that we cannot? Origenes
Note to readers: The connection between our long debate over free will and the OP should be obvious. First, many posts here raise the question of conscious free will in the context of the measurement problem, and second my argument against ultimate responsibility depends partly on the impossibility of an infinite regress of beliefs. dogdoc
Origenes,
Let us suppose a person who posts on this forum, who really thinks before he posts. And let us suppose that his thoughts are produced by him, as opposed to by something, or someone, else.
No problem.
So, let’s assume for a moment, that his thoughts truly originate from him and him alone.
It's the concept of "truly originates" that presents an issue here. On one hand, of course his thoughts are his own - they are no one else's. On the other hand, I argue that his thoughts (or his beliefs and desires, which is what he reasons over) ultimately derive from a combination of his innate endowments and his experiences, neither of which he controls. This is necessarily true because anything else would require causa sui.
Under these assumptions it could be said that this person determines his own posts. And it could be said that this constitutes a form of self-determination.
As I've said many times here, this view makes perfect sense, but it is a sort of compatibilism (not between determinism and libertarianism, but between proximate and ultimate responsibility).
Here is my question again: in this example, in what sense is something required to exist before it exists?
In order to be ultimately, or truly, responsible for one's choices, one would have to be responsible for the reasons upon which the choices are made, but that would require one to have their beliefs and desires chosen before they chose their beliefs and desires. In other words they would need their ability to freely choose before they had their ability to freely choose. dogdoc
DD @
Origenes: Do you hold that all forms of self-determination requires something to exist before it exists? If so, show me why that is.
Let us suppose a person who posts on this forum, who really thinks before he posts. And let us suppose that his thoughts are produced by him, as opposed to by something, or someone, else. So, let’s assume for a moment, that his thoughts truly originate from him and him alone. Under these assumptions it could be said that this person determines his own thoughts and posts. And it could be said that this constitutes a form of self-determination. Here is my question again: in this example, in what sense is something required to exist before it exists? Origenes
Viola Lee,
Q: Incidentally, I’m enjoying the book you recommended, Steven Weinberg’s Dreams of a Final Theory.
In reading Dr. Weinberg's book, I've come to enjoy his easy, flowing style that's almost a stream of consciousness. What's more, several of his statements so far have a direct bearing on the original topic! Can you imagine that?! Here's an excerpt:
Soon thereafter a strange new problem appeared. The first quantum-mechanical calculations of atomic energies had given results in good agreement with experiment. But, when quantum Mechanics was applied not only to the electrons in atoms but also to the electric and magnetic fields that they produce, it turned out that the atom had infinite energy! Other infinities appeared as the greatest obstacle to progress in physics. In the end the problem of infinities turned out to be not a disaster, but rather one of the best results toward a final theory. When proper care is given to the definition of masses and electric charges and other constants the infinities all cancel, but only in theories of certain special kinds. We may thus find ourselves led mathematically to part or all of the final theory, as the only way of avoiding these infinities.
I find this a novel and interesting method of scientific navigation that's broadly applicable! So, instead of trying to rationalize infinities, we reject them as pitfalls equivalent to divide-by-zero errors. Ok, my apologies for the diversion from free will, various philosophies, what would Jesus say, dictionary definitions for common terms, the war in Ukraine, abortion, or anything else I might have missed from the 700+ comments supposedly directed to the question of "How Infinity Threatens Cosmology." I think Dr. Weinberg has a very relevant point regarding infinities. -Q Querius
Whistler @652,
You talk with yourself with multiple accounts to make your idea more appealling?
Now, I remember. They used to call these accounts “sock puppets.” I love that term! You can just imagine a person conducting a lively three-way debate between themselves and two personas, one sock puppet on each hand! -Q Querius
Origenes, If beliefs+desires constitute the basis for choice, then one's ability to choose must precede one's ability to choose (IF one posits free choice). There is nothing metaphysical in my argument, and that is why I am looking for counter-arguments that likewise do not resort to metaphysics. dogdoc
DD@
Causa sui requires something to exist before it exists.
Perhaps. Do you hold that all forms of self-determination requires something to exist before it exists? If so, show me why that is. Origenes
Origenes,
Serious question: how is lifting oneself by one’s own bootstraps, or self-determination in general, contrary to basic logic? Please, name the logical law which it violates.
Causa sui requires something to exist before it exists, a self-evident contradiction. Yes, there are philosophers who embraced that concept, Spinoza in particular, but of course Spinoza denied free will too. Anyway, at least we've simplified our argument - it is quite true that my argument rests squarely on the impossibility of causa sui. The reason I outlined my argument here was to see if anyone could mount a rational counter-argument. I would not include your view in that category. Despite our difficulties communicating, you seem to be a serious thinker and I apologize for any snarkiness. There is certainly nothing necessarily wrong or stupid with adopting metaphysical notions that run counter to our notions of logic or common sense; in physics we see that nature seems to do the same thing. As I've mentioned, at heart I am one who believes that the deep and abiding conundrums of existence - consciousness, volition, origins - are not only unsolved, but likely unsolvable by the cognitive resources that humans have at their disposal. dogdoc
DD
You simply declare that consciousness has the magical property of doing things that are absolutely contrary to basic logic!
Serious question: how is lifting oneself by one’s own bootstraps, or self-determination in general, contrary to basic logic? Please, name the logical law which it violates. I have acknowledged already that it violates standard causal explanation, but I am unaware of basic logical laws being violated. I expect you to argue that cause and effect (or observer and observant, or thinker and thought) must necessarily be distinct things, cannot be aspects of one thing, but that would be an ontological claim and not a logical law. But I'll wait. Let's see what you come up with. Origenes
Origenes,
Your demand that 2 + 2 = 4 must be freely malleable is nonsensical, and you should drop this immediately
I have no idea how you could have possibly thought I was saying anything remotely like this. 2+2=4 is true, undeniable, and if you believe otherwise then there is something wrong with you. Nobody is able to simply choose to believe 2+2=5. Try it - you will fail. Thus, it is wrong to say that believing 2+2=4 is a free choice. If you base some choice on your belief that 2+2=4 then you have based your choice on an undeniable truth, and not on something you have chosen.
, however you are exactly right when you intuit that freedom requires lifting oneself by one’s own bootstraps.
I do not intuit this, I use this as a standard illustration of an absolute logical impossibility.
Consciousness does just that.
Ok then! You simply declare that consciousness has the magical property of doing things that are absolutely contrary to basic logic! Problem solved! So your recourse is to ditch logic completely. I'll add this one to my catalogue of responses I've gotten to my argument - it is pretty interesting to see where cognitive dissonance leads people.
In conscious self-awareness observer and observant are one. Master and puppet, for lack of better terms, are one. Consciousness resists linear causal explanation, and is where freedom comes from.
Sure, you can lift yourself up by your bootstraps, a snake can eat itself and disappear... by your thinking, saying 2+2=5 seems perfectly normal! If I knew you had no problem tossing basic logic out the window we could have had a much shorter conversation. Do note, however, that if consciousness is responsible for choices, and consciousness does not follow logic, then all of the stuff people like KF say about following moral imperatives from first principles, etc, is out the window too. dogdoc
For some reason I thought that “finding truths” was the path to a more enjoyable existence. I decided to ditch the proxy and just believe and do and think whatever provided the most enjoyment. If you remember, I’ve stated this before: my beliefs are entirely chosen for their enjoyment value, not for their truth value.
Yes, I recall you making these points, previously. Well, if where you are now makes you happy and causes others no pain, that's great, keep it up. I think I have arrived at the same place by a different route. But I maintain my position is no more decidable than yours is; i.e. not at all. But my position being undecidable causes me no grief whatsoever. Epicurus rules! Alan Fox
AF@712: The full capacity is not limited by my current imagination; it goes beyond anything I can, in any meaningful way, imagine, other than as "anything possible within the confines of the necessary structures for sentient experience." I have actually tested this many, many times in my life. I can also tell you exactly when my intent began its switch from locally determined by a morass of landscape issues to the unhindered, primal motivation of enjoyment: when I was not enjoying my life and I intended (subconsciously) a different landscape. The thought that my intent brought me was surprising: if I had to choose between understanding truths and being miserable, and believing lies and enjoying my life, which would I choose? At that moment I saw my current landscape from a different perspective: "finding truths" was a proxy motivation. For some reason I thought that "finding truths" was the path to a more enjoyable existence. I decided to ditch the proxy and just believe and do and think whatever provided the most enjoyment. If you remember, I've stated this before: my beliefs are entirely chosen for their enjoyment value, not for their truth value. What is the result of that decision? Over time, it has entirely transformed my inner and outer world - my entire landscape. I not only immensely enjoy this landscape far more than any other I have encountered, but this embraced course towards maximum possible enjoyment has put me in close enough proximity to it that I now know exactly what it looks like. I don't even have to imagine it; I have experienced it blooming all around me in unexpected, miraculous ways for decades and I can see it right in front of me. William J Murray
Is your will driven by, determined by, constrained by any local landscape? No, it is not.
Depending on what you mean by "landscape" and, more importantly, "constraints", this is a good question.
No, it is not.
Well, I suggest that is undecidable. Does an ant on the sidewalk become aware of its environment beyond its ability to explore?
It is only constrained and driven by the fundamental, necessary structural beams of sentient existence itself. Your will is no as free as possible because it is now not caused by any local landscape. It has been freed of those causal chains, of every possible causal source that one can be freed from, of every limitation of possibilities that can be removed.
Whilst I don't disagree with "free as possible" (too vague to dispute), until you meet them and test them, you do not know what limits there may be to your imagination. Alan Fox
...serious study of geometry as case no 1 of axiomatisation as part of the fabric of knowledge...
The problem is that math is not reality, but fiction - a very useful fiction that can act as a model of reality with, in some cases, amazing precision - and offers no explanation for reality, only (mostly) accurate descriptions of reality. Alan Fox
Dogdoc said:
I say that the will is not free because the parameters of the local landscape are not selected by the will.
What landscape you find yourself in, or why, is irrelevant to the capacity to acquiring any possible landscape.
The range of possible choices can be extended greatly, offering choices that aren’t immediately apparent based on the beliefs, desires, etc. one already has.
Not exactly. The "range" referred to here is axiomatically "Free," or the full volume of all possible landscapes. But yes, our concept of "what is available" can be extended to degrees or to the fullness of "all possible landscapes," including those we cannot see or even imagine.
But I can’t see that you have explained what is being done here to make the final choice, if it isn’t just reasoning over the parameters in the (expanded) landscape.
Yes, I have. The will makes the final choice, for reasons. Even if your orthogonal capacity brings you an entirely different landscape, you still have the option to reject it and make a different decision for reasons, either from the old landscape or from the new.
Ok, let’s call it the “orthogonal capacity”, and this is the component which is capable of reasoning over a larger expanded set of parameters in order to reach a decision.
So, it seems to me here that you are, consciously or not, trying to express my perspective in terms of yours. This orthogonal capacity is not capable of making decisions because it is not an actor; it is a capacity, or the volume of all possible landscapes. I understand that this can be difficult to understand because the term "free" in free will is usually considered to be an aspect of the act of will and reasons, but under my premise "free" in no way refers to the act of will or reasons; it refers to the full volume of all possible landscapes of will and reasons, seen or unseen, connected to or disconnected from the particular issue at hand in any currently understood or recognizable way (meaning, from the perspective of your current landscape.)
Ok, here is the crux of your view as far as I’m concerned: The way that the orthogonal capacity makes choices...
No. Capacities do not make choices. Capacity provides volume.
is via a “non-articulate demiurge intention”.
That's one way it can happen. I also said it could be a conscious, willful intent, such as "I don't know how to resolve this issue. It looks unresolvable. I need a new perspective or way of looking at this that resolves this issue for me." Yes, you always have a reason, conscious or subconsciously, from within your current landscape, to make the intention of finding a new landscape that resolves the current issue, even if you do are not consciously aware that this is what you are doing. So, your will is directing your observational experience to a landscape somewhere in the full capacity/volume potential of all possible landscapes that represents a solution to your issue. When you see it, experience it, you still have the capacity to reject it. Most often, in my experience, people do reject it.
(As an aside, I have to say that I feel my much simpler definition of “free choice” is much, much closer to most people’s conception of their choice-making; this model is significantly more elaborate).
This is more than an "aside," this is actually an important point. I think most people understand the necessity of free will from the perspective that KF usually argues; that it must exist for rational discourse to actually be available to us. However, I don't think many people have thought that deeply or carefully about what it means. Your argument points out that it cannot mean "free from reasons." What I'm attempting to do here is provide a model of what "free" actually refers to.
To me this is extremely vague, to put it mildly. If it isn’t causally determining the choice, and it isn’t reasoning over the parameters in order to choose, then what does it mean to have a non-articulate demiurge intention choose?
F/N: I find it almost amusing, but then sad, that so many cannot see or will not acknowledge, that unless they are free enough to responsibly reason (and that using finite chains tracing to first plausibles), argument reduces to dogs barking at one another. I put on the table Euclid as Exhibit A. I think a lot of the rhetoric and errors we now see would not have come up if we had retained serious study of geometry as case no 1 of axiomatisation as part of the fabric of knowledge for every well educated child, mention non euclidean but give experience with the plane and its 3D extension, I would even use complex numbers as vectors to define the plane and connect to coord geom, etc. Though, I have to admit Ms Foxy and her daughter Ms Bites over by St Johns where I will go in a little while to de baker man are convincing examples of communicative abilities of dogs. I would laugh if it were not so clear how parallel is the use of the eyes with certain ladies I have known or observed . . . windows of the soul indeed. KF kairosfocus
JVL, nope, given the context of a dominant paradigm, I can simply point to common design as at least an equally good explanation, eg genes for kangaroos and humans or those for echolocation systems for whales and bats. If you wear green lensed glasses, everything looks greenish and copper tint enhances some contrasts but distorts greens badly. But more on point, we have here an acknowledgement by a panel of experts of a key fact that AF tried to dismiss on claims of the knowledge base of biochem. Currently, he is trying to inject languages such as Spanish as a further distraction when he knows full well that we are looking at machine language and algorithms using the genetic code in protein synthesis. KF kairosfocus
BTW, Origines, Dennett speaks quite adequately for himself. No idea who Valicella is but Nagel's "cannot fully describe in neural terms" is the same routine as "therefore God" or "ID wins". Alan Fox
Alex Rosenberg is a bit crackers from memory of my very brief observation of him in a video. How does that bear on Dennett's points on the first person/ third person conundrum? Alan Fox
Alan Fox @ According to Daniel Dennett, and Alex Rosenberg is his biggest fan, consciousness is an illusion .... Bill “Maverick Philosopher” Vallicella:
Consciousness cannot be an illusion for the simple reason that we presuppose it when we distinguish between reality and illusion. An illusion is an illusion to consciousness, so that if there were no consciousness there would be no illusions either. Not existing in reality, illusions of all sorts, not just perceptual illusions, exist for consciousness. But then consciousness cannot be an illusion. Consciousness is a presupposition of the distinction between reality and illusion. As such, it cannot be an illusion. It must be real.
Thomas Nagel:
I am reminded of the Marx Brothers line: “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” Dennett asks us to turn our backs on what is glaringly obvious—that in consciousness we are immediately aware of real subjective experiences of color, flavor, sound, touch, etc. that cannot be fully described in neural terms even though they have a neural cause (or perhaps have neural as well as experiential aspects). And he asks us to do this because the reality of such phenomena is incompatible with the scientific materialism that in his view sets the outer bounds of reality. He is, in Aristotle’s words, “maintaining a thesis at all costs.”
Origenes
I' LL avoid reinventing the wheel. https://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/dennett/papers/chalmersdeb3dft.htm Alan Fox
Master and puppet, for lack of better terms, are one.
Assuming for sake of argument that dualism holds, there can be no master or puppet when intellects match. Alan Fox
Dogdoc @
... we cannot lift ourselves by our own bootstraps.
Your demand that 2 + 2 = 4 must be freely malleable is nonsensical, and you should drop this immediately, however you are exactly right when you intuit that freedom requires lifting oneself by one’s own bootstraps. Consciousness does just that. In conscious self-awareness observer and observant are one. Master and puppet, for lack of better terms, are one. Consciousness resists linear causal explanation, and is where freedom comes from. Origenes
WJM,
DD: People have a certain component or capacity that is the ultimate arbiter of our choices. WJM: This is not what I said or meant to imply.
As I said, the term “free” – at least as my definition – refers to an ineffable, top-down, directorial and original-causal capacity that is free from being caused or determined by anything else. This ineffable capacity might be considered a third, vertical axis to the planar axes of will and “reasons.” IOW, wherever you find where will and reasons meet to form an aware choice, in order to actually make a choice there must be another component that actuates picks from the options and activates the preferred choice.
But here in @699 I think I understand you much better:
“Will” is the ultimate arbiter of our choices...So, “will” refers to what is actually produced in terms of a decision, or a thought about what one might do, and “free” refers to the set of all the decisions that can be made – all potential acts of will for any and all associated reasons.
Not sure that I fully understand this; this is my best guess: 1) "Will" is the capacity to make decisions 2) "Free" is all possible decisions that could be made (constrained by reasons) 3) So "free will" is the capacity to select one of all possible decisions
Now, keep in mind that under this premise, you don’t get to say “but you still had a reason to do it,” as if that makes a salient point. That’s a given under this premise.
You're agreeing that every free choice is made for some reason(s), because that is built in to your definition of "free".
There is always a reason for any actual act of will, conscious or not. We are consciously operating, continuously, as willful actors with reasons. That is the grid or matrix I was referring to before; you can always locate our conscious attention at locations that contain actual willful decisions with associated reasons.
Ok...
That attentive point can be viewed as having an observable, contextual area around it at any given time (the landscape) that has various options within it. This is your “range of options” that you can see or imagine at the time. The parameters and content of this range of action/reason opportunity is defined by several different things, and kinds of things, which you listed before, and more – beliefs, desires, physical limitations, the limits of one’s imagination, perspective, memory, history, projected outcomes, ontological and epistemological beliefs, morality, etc. Let’s call this the “local landscape” of any decision.
Ok...
Now let me attempt to characterize your position in this framing: your position would basically be that our will-to-choice-for-reasons is entirely the determined outcome of this local landscape.
That is essentially correct, yes (except I describe it in terms of reasoning over these parameters rather than being causally determined by them).
And I would say that if that was the full capacity of that which could our will/reason, you would at least be directionally right, because the capacity of our will would not be free; it would be constrained by the local landscape.
I say that the will is not free because the parameters of the local landscape are not selected by the will.
The local landscape would be, in effect, determining our choices (given all that we have included as the “local landscape.”)
Again, yes, with the caveat that the concept of "determine" is fraught (my view is agnostic as to both ontology and determinism) so I avoid it altogether, and just focus on the fact that it is the parameters, and nothing else, that the person reasons over to make choices.
IOW, it would be impossible to make a decision that steps outside of that landscape because you cannot even see outside of it in order to even imagine such a place exists.
It's more like there is no concept that I can think of that could account for our choices and is neither random nor the result of reasoning over parameters. I don't think there is a third way. (Again, this "third way" is usually contrasted with random vs. determined, but in my argument the will reasons to an output instead of reasons causally determining the output).
Even if we are presented with other people’s perspectives, what we think about those perspectives would also be a functional product of our own local landscape because it is the only landscape we can see, even with our mind’s eye.
Ok.
So we come to how I am saying that our capacity is, ultimately, “free,” in that it actually contains all possible landscape arrangements, including landscapes that dissolve the current issue entirely from even being a thing that requires a will/reasons decision, or landscapes that reveal entirely different sets of will/reasons decisions about that issue.
Again not sure I understand this, but my guess is: The range of possible choices can be extended greatly, offering choices that aren't immediately apparent based on the beliefs, desires, etc. one already has. Please correct me if I'm wrong. But I can't see that you have explained what is being done here to make the final choice, if it isn't just reasoning over the parameters in the (expanded) landscape.
Without an orthogonal capacity that extends beyond one’s current local landscape, which includes everything you can see or imagine or believe possible at the time, you would have no access to other landscapes.
Ok, let's call it the "orthogonal capacity", and this is the component which is capable of reasoning over a larger expanded set of parameters in order to reach a decision. (As an aside, I have to say that I feel my much simpler definition of "free choice" is much, much closer to most people's conception of their choice-making; this model is significantly more elaborate).
Under my premise of “free” referring to “capacity to access any and all possible landscapes,” we can, within our own local landscape, make a form of a non-articulate (even in mind) “demiurge” intention to find a different landscape, even though we cannot see it or even imagine it, that can direct this orthogonal capacity to find a different landscape.
Ok, here is the crux of your view as far as I'm concerned: The way that the orthoganal capacity makes choices is via a "non-articulate demiurge intention". To me this is extremely vague, to put it mildly. If it isn't causally determining the choice, and it isn't reasoning over the parameters in order to choose, then what does it mean to have a non-articulate demiurge intention choose? It's a bit like this: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Then-a-Miracle-Occurs-Copyrighted-artwork-by-Sydney-Harris-Inc-All-materials-used-with_fig2_302632920
This new landscape appears to us from out of the blue, so to speak, call it a spiritual transformation, an epiphany or an inspiration.
This sounds like you're offering an expanded ontology; my view avoids metaphysics.
But, here’s the thing: once you understand this, you have fully embraced the “free” aspect of what we call “free will.” You realize you are not bound by, or the function of, your current local landscape because you know you have access to landscapes you cannot see or imagine, but which you can now direct your capacity to find from an orthogonal position beyond your current local perspective. This “orthogonal access” is what spiritual people might call the “God” within us, which has access to all possibilities and sees all possible landscapes and can simply “reveal” something to the individual that can entirely transform them – meaning, it can fundamentally transform their landscape.
I don't mean this at all derogatorily, but this sounds like things I used to write down while on psychedelics. In sum, I've presented a relatively simple argument that demonstrates that ultimate responsibility for our choices is impossible. You disagree with my view, because in your view there is a component of our psyche (or soul) that, in an effable way, transcends the limits of our thinking and delivers choices that are neither random nor arrived at by reasoning over our beliefs, desires, and so on. I think we understand each other's views much better, but will likely continue to disagree. dogdoc
I’m going to stop here for the time being. I appreciate the conversation, this is really interesting stuff. I haven’t ever explored the concept of what “free” means, wrt “free will,” this deeply before.
Best of luck, William. I think you will hit the buffers of the problem all humans have, which is trying to understand the capacity for human thought by thinking about it. Our ability to understand is limited by our ability to understand. There is a second problem, the Cassandra problem. Alan Fox
Dogdoc @684 said:
In order to come to a shared understanding, please clarify your model, and then please explain how this third axis, this component or capacity to make actual free choices, determines what choice to make if, as you say, the choice is not purely based on either reasons or will.
Now we're talking!
People have a certain component or capacity that is the ultimate arbiter of our choices.
Origenes,
Why does it necessarily originate from the outside? From whence would that be?
As I indicated, I'm not suggesting any particular explanation for how you, or your conscious mind, came to exist. But it is logically impossible for you to be the reason that you exist.
Also, a choice is based on reasons, but you are the only one who claims that these reasons must be freely chosen.
I'm saying that if they are not freely chosen then any choice predicated on those reasons are not freely chosen. Did you not understand the point I've made regarding beliefs or desires that are not freely chosen, for example those implanted by brainwashing or hypnosis? As I've explained, if an evil neuroscientist somehow implanted a belief in my brain that resulted in my thinking that my family were aliens who were trying to kill me, and I subsequently killed my family for that reason, most people would not consider that choice to be an exercise of free will.
You say that, in order for a choice to be free, reasons must be choosable.
Yes, as my examples illustrate, nobody and nothing else can be responsible for the beliefs and desires upon which you base your choices if your choices are truly your own free choices. The reasons must be chosen only by you, but that is impossible. So, your choices cannot be free.
Let me try to make this concrete.: 2+2= 4 sets certain parameters, are you saying we are only free if we can choose 2+2= 67,39 or whatever else comes to mind, e.g. 2+2= moon cheese ?
You cannot make free choices no matter what you believe. If you believe that 2+2=5, then you may make a choice based on that belief, but in order for that choice to be free, you must have come to believe that 2+2=5 for some reason. Perhaps the reason is that you had a bad education in arithmetic, or you have some cognitive deficit that prevents you from understanding addition, neither of which would have been under your control. But say you chose to skip class, and that was your choice, and the result of that was that you think 2+2=5, and you base a choice upon that. Would that be a free choice? You should be able to see the problem now: You would have to ask, for what reason did you skip class. And so on. At no time can this regress end with you using your beliefs and desires to choose your beliefs and desires, in the same way we cannot lift ourselves by our own bootstraps. dogdoc
Dogdoc @
… just like every other choice, your choice to believe in your self requires that you choose reasons, and then choose reasons for that choice, etc, until the regress ends in an unchosen reason. And that unchosen reason (an undeniable perception that you do not choose to experience, a self-evident axiom that you did not choose to believe, etc.) originates outside of your self.
Why does it necessarily originate from the outside? From whence would that be? Also, a choice is based on reasons, but you are the only one who claims that these reasons must be freely chosen. You say that, in order for a choice to be free, reasons must be choosable. Let me try to make this concrete.: 2+2= 4 sets certain parameters, are you saying we are only free if we can choose 2+2= 67,39 or whatever else comes to mind, e.g. 2+2= moon cheese ? Origenes
Origenes,
DD: Now we come to our disagreement, where in my view your choice was not free, where “free” requires that the choice was “made for reasons of one’s own choosing”. OR: At this point I do not wish to discuss your concept of freedom, because that is not the reason why I made my “I exist argument.”
In that case I take it you have no rebuttal to my particular formulation of the argument. If we take "free choice" to mean "a choice made for reasons of one's own choosing", then you would agree that "free choice" is impossible.
You have stated: “… the choice is always based on reasons that ultimately originate externally.” In #289 I have argued that the belief “I exist” originates internally, thereby refuting your claim.
Well, no, just like every other choice, your choice to believe in your self requires that you choose reasons, and then choose reasons for that choice, etc, until the regress ends in an unchosen reason. And that unchosen reason (an undeniable perception that you do not choose to experience, a self-evident axiom that you did not choose to believe, etc.) originates outside of your self.
I choose to hold that “I” exist —— to be clear, with “I” I refer to my consciousness, my viewpoint. I am the only one who has access to my “I”, put another way: no one but me can possibly have an informed opinion on this particular subject, therefor whatever I choose to believe about my “I” can only be my absolute responsibility, can only be the result of my fully self-determined choice.
However consciousness arises, it was not something that you created yourself - you have no choice but to experience it. Therefore your choices based on your conscious experience cannot be free, in the same way choices based on involuntary beliefs that result from brainwashing or hypnosis are not free. It makes no difference at all that your subjective experience cannot be known by others; what matters here is that your perception of your own consciousness was not something you voluntarily originated.
Allow me to add: My “I” is conveyed by (my) introspection solely to me. I am the sole observer of my “I”. And I am the only experiencer of my “I”. My “I” is utterly invisible / inaccessible to others. When I refer to my “I”, I am the only one who knows what he is talking about.
I have no trouble with any of this. Likewise, your perception that the sky is blue is invisible to others, but we can hardly say that you freely chose to experience the blueness of the sky.
When I refer to my “I” in “I exist”, I am the only one who knows what I mean to exist. Therefor I am the only possible origin of my claim “I exist”.
I really don't see why you think that the subjective nature of your conscious experience somehow means that your are somehow internally, ultimately responsible for your ability to experience consciousness. Did you think to yourself, "I think I'd like to be a conscious person?" and then proceed to make that happen, or do you find yourself in this situation based on things external to yourself (God? Evolution? Whatever). Aside from being ultimately based on external factors, the choices you make based on the fact that you experience consciousness are not ultimately free choices, because you could not somehow choose otherwise. And if you cannot choose otherwise, then you have no choice, do you? dogdoc
JVL, despite your huffing and puffing to the contrary, nether you, (a dishonest Darwinian trollbot), nor Shubin, have any real-time empirical evidence to substantiate your grandiose Darwinian claims, just flawed reasoning that assumes your conclusion.
JVL, I'm not asking for much in terms of real time empirical evidence. How about just changing one type of bacteria into a new type of bacteria?
Scant search for the Maker - 2001 Excerpt: But where is the experimental evidence? None exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of 20 to 30 minutes, and populations achieved after 18 hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another, in spite of the fact that populations have been exposed to potent chemical and physical mutagens and that, uniquely, bacteria possess extrachromosomal, transmissible plasmids. Since there is no evidence for species changes between the simplest forms of unicellular life, it is not surprising that there is no evidence for evolution from prokaryotic to eukaryotic cells, let alone throughout the whole array of higher multicellular organisms. - Alan H. Linton - emeritus professor of bacteriology, University of Bristol. http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=159282 Of related note, Scott Minnich recently falsified Lenski's claim that the citrate adaptation observed in his e-coli was a unique speciation event that provided proof for Darwinian evolution, by showing citrate adaptation is easily and repeatedly acquired under the right experimental conditions: Rapid Evolution of Citrate Utilization by Escherichia coli by Direct Selection Requires citT and dctA. - Minnich - Feb. 2016 The isolation of aerobic citrate-utilizing Escherichia coli (Cit(+)) in long-term evolution experiments (LTEE) has been termed a rare, innovative, presumptive speciation event. We hypothesized that direct selection would rapidly yield the same class of E. coli Cit(+) mutants and follow the same genetic trajectory: potentiation, actualization, and refinement. This hypothesis was tested,,, Potentiation/actualization mutations occurred within as few as 12 generations, and refinement mutations occurred within 100 generations.,,, E. coli cannot use citrate aerobically. Long-term evolution experiments (LTEE) performed by Blount et al. (Z. D. Blount, J. E. Barrick, C. J. Davidson, and R. E. Lenski, Nature 489:513-518, 2012, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature11514 ) found a single aerobic, citrate-utilizing E. coli strain after 33,000 generations (15 years). This was interpreted as a speciation event. Here we show why it probably was not a speciation event. Using similar media, 46 independent citrate-utilizing mutants were isolated in as few as 12 to 100 generations. Genomic DNA sequencing revealed an amplification of the citT and dctA loci and DNA rearrangements to capture a promoter to express CitT, aerobically. These are members of the same class of mutations identified by the LTEE. We conclude that the rarity of the LTEE mutant was an artifact of the experimental conditions and not a unique evolutionary event. No new genetic information (novel gene function) evolved. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26833416 Re-interpreting Long-Term Evolution Experiments: A Conversation with Dr. Scott Minnich – March 2017 - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rpNPzQAMck The Paradox of the "Ancient" (250 Million Year Old) Bacterium Which Contains "Modern" Protein-Coding Genes: Heather Maughan*, C. William Birky Jr., Wayne L. Nicholson, William D. Rosenzweig§ and Russell H. Vreeland ; - 2002 “Almost without exception, bacteria isolated from ancient material have proven to closely resemble modern bacteria at both morphological and molecular levels.” http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/19/9/1637 Static evolution: is pond scum the same now as billions of years ago? Excerpt: But what intrigues (paleo-biologist) J. William Schopf most is lack of change. Schopf was struck 30 years ago by the apparent similarities between some 1-billion-year-old fossils of blue-green bacteria and their modern microbial counterparts. "They surprisingly looked exactly like modern species," Schopf recalls. Now, after comparing data from throughout the world, Schopf and others have concluded that modern pond scum differs little from the ancient blue-greens. "This similarity in morphology is widespread among fossils of [varying] times," says Schopf. As evidence, he cites the 3,000 such fossils found; https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Static+evolution%3A+is+pond+scum+the+same+now+as+billions+of+years+ago%3F-a014909330 Scientists find signs of life in Australia dating back 3.48 billion years - Thu November 14, 2013 Excerpt: “We conclude that the MISS in the Dresser Formation record a complex microbial ecosystem, hitherto unknown, and represent one of the most ancient signs of life on Earth.”... “this MISS displays the same associations that are known from modern as well as fossil” finds. The MISS also shows microbes that act like “modern cyanobacteria,” http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/13/world/asia/australia-ancient-life/
bornagain77
JVL at 692, This was uncalled for and referred to as "hitting below the belt." "What would Jesus think about that? What does God think about that? Maybe you should ask him. Maybe he likes cannon fodder. The loyal follower who cannot be turned or deterred. Honourable or just thick? Not that you’ll ask. You’re a true believer. Nothing can stop you. You’re never wrong. You can’t be wrong." relatd
Dogdoc @
Now we come to our disagreement, where in my view your choice was not free, where “free” requires that the choice was “made for reasons of one’s own choosing”.
At this point I do not wish to discuss your concept of freedom, because that is not the reason why I made my “I exist argument.” You have stated: "... the choice is always based on reasons that ultimately originate externally.” In #289 I have argued that the belief “I exist” originates internally, thereby refuting your claim.
Origenes #289: I choose to hold that “I” exist —— to be clear, with “I” I refer to my consciousness, my viewpoint. I am the only one who has access to my “I”, put another way: no one but me can possibly have an informed opinion on this particular subject, therefor whatever I choose to believe about my “I” can only be my absolute responsibility, can only be the result of my fully self-determined choice.
Allow me to add: My “I” is conveyed by (my) introspection solely to me. I am the sole observer of my “I”. And I am the only experiencer of my “I”. My “I” is utterly invisible / inaccessible to others. When I refer to my “I”, I am the only one who knows what he is talking about. When I refer to my “I” in “I exist”, I am the only one who knows what I mean to exist. Therefor I am the only possible origin of my claim “I exist”. Origenes
JVL, let's put it more clearly so even your Darwinian addled brain can understand it. Shubin's supposed empirical support, (just like all other supposed empirical support for Darwinian evolution), evaporates upon scrutiny. No matter how much you huff and puff JVL, Darwin is not now, nor has it ever been, a hard science:
“There exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. Hard sciences are built on foundations of mathematics or definitive simulations. Examples include electromagnetics, Newtonian mechanics, geophysics, relativity, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, optics, and many areas in biology. Those hoping to establish Darwinian evolution as a hard science with a model have either failed or inadvertently cheated. These models contain guidance mechanisms to land the airplane squarely on the target runway despite stochastic wind gusts. Not only can the guiding assistance be specifically identified in each proposed evolution model, its contribution to the success can be measured, in bits, as active information.,,,”,,, “there exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. According to our current understanding, there never will be.,,,” – Dr. Robert J. Marks II – Top Ten Questions and Objections to ‘Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics’ – June 12, 2017 https://evolutionnews.org/2017/06/top-ten-questions-and-objections-to-introduction-to-evolutionary-informatics/
Nor for that matter, is Darwinian evolution now, nor has it ever been, based on the inductive methodology of the scientific method. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/life-from-a-rock/#comment-761919 If you had an ounce of integrity in you JVL, this should concern you very much bornagain77
William J Murray @649, Thank you for the link to the interesting study. What I proposed was intended to be a non-human variation of Wigner’s friend. The idea is that we could be living in some sort of information field, which is entangled with our conscious observation. Thus, a fundamental question is, “What constitutes observation?” A similar question is whether the probability wave of a particle has gravitational or electromagnetic properties before it collapses into a particle. Some experiments have been performed regarding this question. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/chemistry/aharonov-bohm-effect -Q Querius
Viola Lee @647,
What happens in the experiment if it is set up, and then run in a sealed room with no observers around?
When a human observer observes the result, a chain of collapses occurs (von Neumann chain). IIRC, an experiment was set up to see whether the measuring equipment itself caused a collapse. It was determined that if the equipment recorded, but then immediately erased the data, there was no wavefunction collapse. Incidentally, I’m enjoying the book you recommended, Steven Weinberg’s Dreams of a Final Theory. Thanks again. -Q Querius
William J Murray @654,
Things an NPC would say.
Or a trollbot. Another example of shouting “squirrel” at a dog show. -Q Querius
Whistler @652,
You talk with yourself with multiple accounts to make your idea more appealling?
I have noticed on occasion some interesting similarities of style that support your suspicion, but I’m not willing to make any specific accusations. In a different forum some years back, people noticed that multiple people who were posting comments made the same spelling errors. Further investigation showed that these other accounts did indeed originate from the same person. I wonder how common this sort of deceptive behavior is at UD. -Q Querius
Bornagain77: FYI, Subin’s got nothing. And you know this because you've read his book? No, that's not it. Because you understand the science and have read the actual research behind the narrative? No, that's not it. Could it be that you are just, as usual, parroting the opinion of someone else? Someone who has an agenda. Someone who has a motivated reason for influencing your opinion? You are a poser. You don't do any research yourself. You don't understand the science yourself. You don't even read the materials you link to. You're just the convenient, cannon fodder, true believer who sticks to the party line no matter what. Lovely. You are a pawn, in an ideological game. And you don't even know it. You're dispensable; I trust you know that. Those people who you work so hard to support, they don't care about you. They're not here on this blog defending you. They're not saying: oh wow, you really get it, we'd like to take you into our inner circle and give you a stipend and some responsibility in our cause. Those things are not going to happen. They are going to let you look foolish and ridiculous because they just don't care about you. JVL
Origenes,
I choose to hold that “I” exist —— to be clear, with “I” I refer to my consciousness, my viewpoint. I am the only one who has access to my “I” …
Great. [But just to be clear, as an aside, when you say of Harris or Rosenberg et al that "He doesn't believe he exists", then using your definition, we get "Harris's self's viewpoint is that Harris's self's viewpoint doesn't exist". But of course Harris the human with a body and a social security number etc. would obviously object to that formulation and say you are not representing his view. But let's move on...]
So, when I speak about my choice to believe that “I exist [as consciousness, as a self as conveyed by introspection, as an enduring point of view]”, I am rightly speaking of ‘choice’.
Also great - we are making progress. I agree with this is a choice that you have made, and it is a choice which is not impossible, and that one may choose otherwise. Now we come to our disagreement, where in my view your choice was not free, where "free" requires that the choice was "made for reasons of one's own choosing". Here is why I say that unless one chooses the reasons for one's choice C, then C is not a free choice: If someone implanted beliefs in your mind, or brainwashed you or fooled you somehow into believing something, and that belief led you to make a choice, then that choice would not be free. Thus you must be responsible for choosing the reasons for you choice. And as I've explained endlessly, choosing the reasons for you choices results in a regress that can never be ended by a free choice, but only in unchosen reasons. Your objection is this: You have chosen to believe in your own self (as you've explained above). You have not made this choice randomly, I presume - you have reasons for believing this - but those reasons are entirely self-chosen. As you explain it,
Reponsibility results from, or rather is maintained by, one’s free choices WRT to those external influences (e.g. beliefs). One freely chooses to adopt some beliefs and discard others.
So if we look at what reasons you had for adopting this belief in your self, you cite your research into various belief systems. If we look at the reasons you had for investigating these belief systems, we might cite your curiosity. But how can you take responsibility for being a curious person? Did you deliberate and decide that was the sort of person you wanted to be? Let's say yes you did, and that you could have been incurious. Upon what did you base that decision on? And so on. This regress only ends at some point where it becomes obvious that your reason was unchosen (perhaps at some undeniable axiom, perception, or at the start of your own life). dogdoc
WJM,
I think I see the problem here because you keep saying this as if I did not say “free does not mean free from reasons” each time you have responded with this and in almost every comment I have made to you. You are apparently incapable of understanding “free will” in any way other than in terms of your premise; that if “free” doesn’t mean “free from the reasons that are inherent in any instance of will,” then “free will” doesn’t exist.
Let me see if I can clarify this, because I truly believe it is you that doesn't understand my simple point. You say (paraphrased): "Of course free doesn't mean free from reasons! All free choices require reasons! It makes no sense to talk about free choices without reasons!". I say (paraphrased): "A free choice could conceivably be made randomly, arbitrarily, like a mental coin flip, but that type of choice doesn't seem like the sort of free will we want. So let's define "free choice" to mean "a choice that is not causally determined and that is made for some reason(s)". I believe that these two statements are perfectly compatible, and that we are in violent agreement that the sort of "free choices" we're talking about must be predicated upon reasons. But then you say this:
As I said, the term “free” – at least as my definition – refers to an ineffable, top-down, directorial and original-causal capacity that is free from being caused or determined by anything else. This ineffable capacity might be considered a third, vertical axis to the planar axes of will and “reasons.”
Let's make sure we have a shared understanding of this statement by you: 1) People have a certain component or capacity that is the ultimate arbiter of our choices 2) This capacity is not physically determined by antecedent cause 3) This capacity is not purely based on reasons (beliefs, desires) 4) This capacity is also not purely based on will I am struggling to understand this part of your view. In particular, I don't understand why you say this third axis, this capacity to choose, is orthogonal to both will and reasons. I would be tempted to equate this "capacity" to what people call "free will", but you say this capacity is different from will, and oversees both will and reasons.
IOW, wherever you find where will and reasons meet to form an aware choice, in order to actually make a choice there must be another component that actuates picks from the options and activates the preferred choice.
Here I understand you to be saying that our will and reasons combine to form an "aware choice", but there is yet another component (what do we call it?) that makes the "preferred choice". I don't understand this model. I would contrast it with the model I have been discussing, where the person deliberates over their reasons (beliefs, desires, priorities, and so on), and makes a choice based on those. In order to come to a shared understanding, please clarify your model, and then please explain how this third axis, this component or capacity to make actual free choices, determines what choice to make if, as you say, the choice is not purely based on either reasons or will. dogdoc
JVL, the only thing that is abundantly clear is that you are a dishonest Darwinian troll who could care less about the truth FYI, Subin's got nothing. https://evolutionnews.org/2022/01/more-fishy-tales-afoot-from-neil-shubin/ bornagain77
Bornagain77: JVL, you just can’t stop yourself from lying can you? Where in your quote does it say that DNA is a 'blueprint'? The existence developmental gene regulatory networks, in and of themselves, and directly contrary to what JVL tried to imply, are completely devastating for Darwinists. Opinion, not fact. Anyway, it looks like we can dispense with the fiction that you actually care about evidence. You (and others) say: show us the evidence. And when someone says: in this resource there is evidence you just ignore or deny it. you might want to check your 95%-98% similarity claim. I didn't make that claim. Your reading comprehension is sorely lacking. And your ability to actually address the central point of an argument. You've clearly shown you are not interested in staying up-to-date with the research and data. IF you really want to know how relatively small DNA changes can induce significant changes in morphology then read the book I cited. It's not expensive, it requires no specialist knowledge, it references historic and recent work, it's fully referenced. But you won't because you're not interested in what is known and what is being discovered. That much is very clear. JVL
JVL, not that you care about truth, but you might want to check your 95%-98% similarity claim. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/evangelical-scientists-getting-it-wrong/#comment-740245 bornagain77
JVL, "No one (except for ID-ists and creationists) is saying there is a blueprint in DNA. NO ONE. If they are saying that they don’t know what they are talking about. DNA is more like a recipe which says: now, make this. By modifying the control genes you change when certain proteins are made which gives you a different outcome." JVL, you just can't stop yourself from lying can you?
Still Awaiting Engagement: A Reply to Robert Bishop on Darwin's Doubt - Paul Nelson - September 8, 2014 Excerpt: "Neo-Darwinian evolution is uniformitarian in that it assumes that all process works the same way, so that evolution of enzymes or flower colors can be used as current proxies for study of evolution of the body plan. It erroneously assumes that change in protein coding sequence is the basic cause of change in developmental program; and it erroneously assumes that evolutionary change in body plan morphology occurs by a continuous process. All of these assumptions are basically counterfactual. This cannot be surprising, since the neo-Darwinian synthesis from which these ideas stem was a pre-molecular biology concoction focused on population genetics and adaptation natural history, neither of which have any direct mechanistic import for the genomic regulatory systems that drive embryonic development of the body plan." Eric Davidson - 2011 ,, it is difficult to miss Davidson's thrust. As far as the origin of animal body plans is concerned, neo-Darwinism isn't incomplete or insufficient. It is dead wrong.,,, http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/09/still_awaiting_089641.html
The existence developmental gene regulatory networks, in and of themselves, and directly contrary to what JVL tried to imply, are completely devastating for Darwinists.
Of related note,
Evolution by Splicing – Comparing gene transcripts from different species reveals surprising splicing diversity. – Ruth Williams – December 20, 2012 Excerpt: A major question in vertebrate evolutionary biology is “how do physical and behavioral differences arise if we have a very similar set of genes to that of the mouse, chicken, or frog?”,,, A commonly discussed mechanism was variable levels of gene expression, but both Blencowe and Chris Burge,,, found that gene expression is relatively conserved among species. On the other hand, the papers show that most alternative splicing events differ widely between even closely related species. “The alternative splicing patterns are very different even between humans and chimpanzees,” said Blencowe.,,, http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view%2FarticleNo%2F33782%2Ftitle%2FEvolution-by-Splicing%2F Widespread Expansion of Protein Interaction Capabilities by Alternative Splicing - 2016 In Brief Alternatively spliced isoforms of proteins exhibit strikingly different interaction profiles and thus, in the context of global interactome networks, appear to behave as if encoded by distinct genes rather than as minor variants of each other.,,, Page 806 excerpt: As many as 100,000 distinct isoform transcripts could be produced from the 20,000 human protein-coding genes (Pan et al., 2008), collectively leading to perhaps over a million distinct polypeptides obtained by post-translational modification of products of all possible transcript isoforms (Smith and Kelleher, 2013). http://iakouchevalab.ucsd.edu/publications/Yang_Cell_OMIM_2016.pdf An Interview with Stephen C. Meyer TT: Is the idea of an original human couple (Adam and Eve) in conflict with science? Does DNA tell us anything about the existence of Adam and Eve? SM:,,, Since the publication of the results of something called the “Encode Project,” however, it has become clear that the noncoding regions of the genome perform many important functions and that, overall, the non-coding regions of the genome function much like an operating system in a computer by regulating the timing and expression of the information stored in the “data files” or coding regions of the genome. Significantly, it has become increasingly clear that the non-coding regions, the crucial operating systems in effect, of the chimp and human genomes are species specific. That is, they are strikingly different in the two species. Yet, if alleged genetic similarity suggests common ancestry, then, by the same logic, this new evidence of significant genetic disparity suggests independent separate origins. For this reason, I see nothing from a genetic point of view that challenges the idea that humans originated independently from primates, http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/scripture-and-science-in-conflict/
bornagain77
Dogdoc @
DD: We are talking past each, because we failed to define what you, or I, or Harris, et al means when they say “I exist”.
Well, I did not fail to define it. I have been clear about what I mean by "I" in “I exist” from the start of our discussion #289.
Origenes: I choose to hold that “I” exist —— to be clear, with “I” I refer to my consciousness, my viewpoint. I am the only one who has access to my “I” …
DD: As I pointed out (but you ignored), when you say “He thinks he doesn’t exist”, you are speaking ambiguously and equivocating on the two pronouns. The first “He” refers to the person, identifiable as a human being with a unique identity, fingerprints, facial features, education, book authorship, etc.
I take it that now it is clear that with “I” I am not referring to fingerprints, facial features and such.
But what you meant by the second “he” refers to something quite different – the soul, the self as conveyed by introspection, an enduring point of view.
Sure. So, when I speak about my choice to believe that “I exist [as consciousness, as a self as conveyed by introspection, as an enduring point of view]”, I am rightly speaking of ‘choice’. This is elucidated by the fact that Harris, Rosenberg et al have chosen to believe otherwise; they do not share my belief. Good to see that this has been cleared up. Origenes
From: https://www.nhbs.com/some-assembly-required-shubin-book
Another powerhouse of innovation is DNA, and genetics can tell us much about evolution. These sections are a giddy ride where Shubin highlights one after another stupendous concept. Take the huge similarity between e.g. chimps and humans. Genome sequencing revealed some 95%-98% similarity. Why are we so different then? Because DNA is not just a molecule containing gene after gene. Like a circuit board, it is a network, where some pieces of DNA function as switches that turn other genes on and off. This is the field of evolutionary development or evo-devo and offers another way for small changes to have big effects. Hox genes control the development of whole body segments and can be repurposed to make e.g. limbs. Most DNA does not even code for anything and Susumu Ohno surmised it results from copying processes gone wild, whether gene, chromosome or whole-DNA duplication. And then there is Barbara McClintock's discovery of jumping genes: selfish genetic elements that multiply and willy-nilly insert themselves all over a DNA molecule. And how about this? If such a jumping gene mutates and becomes a genetic switch, they can insert switches all over a genome. Dramatic new traits that at first sight would require an unlikely number of separate mutations suddenly become a whole lot more plausible. One example Shubin provides is the evolution of pregnancy.
You could at least read the review to see what topics are addressed before you keep making the same claims that have clearly be superseded. Some a long time ago. JVL
Bornagain77: So similarity in gene sequences supposedly explains widely divergent body plans? Sigh, I'll reproduce the quote again which makes it clear Dr Lehninger is talking about common descent and step-wise, unguided evolution. Assuming there are no other processes or agents involved THEN, yes, you can infer the proliferation of varied body forms but it's not stated directly.
The remarkable similarity of metabolic pathways and gene sequences across the phyla argues strongly that all modern organisms are derived from a common evolutionary progenitor by a series of small changes (mutations), each of which conferred a selective advantage to some organism in some ecological niche.
Bornagain77 quoting someone: There is, in short, nothing in the genomes of fly and man to explain why the fly should have six legs, a pair of wings, and a dot-sized brain and we should have two arms, two legs, and a mind capable of comprehending that overarching history of our universe IF you bothered to read some of the research (as summarised in Neil Shubin's book Some Assembly Required) it has to do with the modification(s) of some of the control genes in many situations. That is, most life forms on Earth are using the same basic proteins (building blocks) but in different numbers at different times. Moreover, believe it or not, when Darwinists first formulated the modern synthesis, they excluded biological form from the conceptual framework of the Modern Synthesis as being ‘irrelevant’ So . . . you're complaining because biologists have changed their minds considering new data and evidence? Yet, (directly contrary to what Darwinists have assumed), biological form is found to be irreducible to mutations to DNA, nor is biological form reducible to any other material particulars, (i.e. proteins, carbohydrates, etc..), in biology that Darwinists may wish to invoke. Read Dr Shubin's book. Again, the building blocks stay the same but when they are built and how many are built affect the morphology. Which means you don't need massive numbers of mutations. As Dr. Jonathan Wells explained, “Studies using saturation mutagenesis in the embryos of fruit flies, roundworms, zebrafish and mice also provide evidence against the idea that DNA specifies the basic form of an organism. Biologists can mutate (and indeed have mutated) a fruit fly embryo in every possible way, and they have invariably observed only three possible outcomes: a normal fruit fly, a defective fruit fly, or a dead fruit fly.” I guess Dr Wells hasn't kept up with the research either. The ‘blueprint’ for the biological form of any given species simply does not reside in DNA as Darwinists had falsely presupposed within their reductive materialistic framework, No one (except for ID-ists and creationists) is saying there is a blueprint in DNA. NO ONE. If they are saying that they don't know what they are talking about. DNA is more like a recipe which says: now, make this. By modifying the control genes you change when certain proteins are made which gives you a different outcome. I'm not a specialist, I'm not a biologist but I read Dr Shubin's book and learned some new things. Why is it that ID proponents can't do the same? OR, is it that they have read and either not understood what was said or deny what was said. Fool or knave? I wonder which . . . JVL
The ‘blueprint’ for the biological form of any given species simply does not reside within DNA as Darwinists falsely presuppose within their reductive materialistic framework, As Michael Denton remarks in the following article,’”to date the form of no individual cell has been shown to be specified in detail in a genomic blueprint.”
The Types: A Persistent Structuralist Challenge to Darwinian Pan-Selectionism – Michael J. Denton – 2013 Excerpt: Cell form ,,,Karsenti comments that despite the attraction of the (genetic) blueprint model there are no “simple linear chains of causal events that link genes to phenotypes” [77: p. 255]. And wherever there is no simple linear causal chain linking genes with phenotypes,,,—at any level in the organic hierarchy, from cells to body plans—the resulting form is bound to be to a degree epigenetic and emergent, and cannot be inferred from even the most exhaustive analysis of the genes.,,, To this author’s knowledge, to date the form of no individual cell has been shown to be specified in detail in a genomic blueprint. As mentioned above, between genes and mature cell form there is a complex hierarchy of self-organization and emergent phenomena, rendering cell form profoundly epigenetic. http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index.php/main/article/view/BIO-C.2013.3/BIO-C.2013.3
And as Paul Davies stated, “DNA is not a blueprint for an organism,,,, Rather, DNA is a (mostly) passive repository for transcription of stored data into RNA,”
(Paul) Davies And Walker On Origin Of Life: Life As Information – March 7, 2020 Excerpt: However, the genome is only a small part of the story. DNA is not a blueprint for an organism:1 no information is actively processed by DNA alone [17]. Rather, DNA is a (mostly) passive repository for transcription of stored data into RNA, some (but by no means all) of which goes on to be translated into proteins. The biologically relevant information stored in DNA therefore has very little to do with its specific chemical nature (beyond the fact that it is a digital linear polymer). https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/davies-and-walker-on-origin-of-life-life-as-information/
And as Antony Jose stated, “DNA cannot be seen as the ‘blueprint’ for life,”,,, “It is at best an overlapping and potentially scrambled list of ingredients that is used differently by different cells at different times.”,,,
DNA may not be life’s instruction book—just a jumbled list of ingredients – Kimbra Cutlip, University of Maryland – APRIL 22, 2020 Excerpt: The common view of heredity is that all information passed down from one generation to the next is stored in an organism’s DNA. But Antony Jose, associate professor of cell biology and molecular genetics at the University of Maryland, disagrees. In two new papers, Jose argues that DNA is just the ingredient list, not the set of instructions used to build and maintain a living organism.,,, ,,, “DNA cannot be seen as the ‘blueprint’ for life,” Jose said. “It is at best an overlapping and potentially scrambled list of ingredients that is used differently by different cells at different times.” ,,, In addition, scientists are unable to determine the complex shape of an organ such as an eye, or that a creature will have eyes at all, by reading the creature’s DNA. These fundamental aspects of anatomy are dictated by something outside of the DNA. https://phys.org/news/2020-04-dna-life-bookjust-jumbled-ingredients.html
And this failure of the reductive materialistic framework of Darwinists to explain biological form occurs at a much lower level than DNA itself. Specifically, in the following article entitled ‘Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics’, which studied the derivation of macroscopic properties from a complete microscopic description, the researchers remark that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,, The researchers further commented that their findings challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”
Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics – December 9, 2015 Excerpt: A mathematical problem underlying fundamental questions in particle and quantum physics is provably unsolvable,,, It is the first major problem in physics for which such a fundamental limitation could be proven. The findings are important because they show that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,, “We knew about the possibility of problems that are undecidable in principle since the works of Turing and Gödel in the 1930s,” added Co-author Professor Michael Wolf from Technical University of Munich. “So far, however, this only concerned the very abstract corners of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. No one had seriously contemplated this as a possibility right in the heart of theoretical physics before. But our results change this picture. From a more philosophical perspective, they also challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.” http://phys.org/news/2015-12-quantum-physics-problem-unsolvable-godel.html
In short, Darwinists simply have no justification whatsoever from empirical evidence, nor within physical science itself, to presuppose that their 'bottom-up' reductive materialistic framework is capable of explaining the overarching biological form of any given species.
Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you;,,,"
bornagain77
As to this claim: "The remarkable similarity of metabolic pathways and gene sequences across the phyla argues strongly that all modern organisms are derived from a common evolutionary progenitor by a series of small changes (mutations), each of which conferred a selective advantage to some organism in some ecological niche." So similarity in gene sequences supposedly explains widely divergent body plans? As is usual with "Darwinian science", that does not even pass the smell test, i.e. "Contrary to all expectations, many DNA sequences involved in embryo development are remarkably similar across the vast spectrum of organismic complexity, from a millimeter-long worm to ourselves.7 There is, in short, nothing in the genomes of fly and man to explain why the fly should have six legs, a pair of wings, and a dot-sized brain and we should have two arms, two legs, and a mind capable of comprehending that overarching history of our universe."
Between Sapientia and Scientia — Michael Aeschliman’s Profound Interpretation -James Le Fanu - September 9, 2019 Excerpt: The ability to spell out the full sequence of genes should reveal, it was reasonable to assume, the distinctive genetic instructions that determine the diverse forms of the millions of species, so readily distinguishable one from the other. Biologists were thus understandably disconcerted to discover precisely the reverse to be the case. Contrary to all expectations, many DNA sequences involved in embryo development are remarkably similar across the vast spectrum of organismic complexity, from a millimeter-long worm to ourselves.7 There is, in short, nothing in the genomes of fly and man to explain why the fly should have six legs, a pair of wings, and a dot-sized brain and we should have two arms, two legs, and a mind capable of comprehending that overarching history of our universe. So we have moved in the very recent past from supposing we might know the principles of genetic inheritance to recognizing we have no realistic conception of what they might be. As Phillip Gell, professor of genetics at the University of Birmingham, observed, “This gap in our knowledge is not merely unbridged, but in principle unbridgeable and our ignorance will remain ineluctable.”8 https://evolutionnews.org/2019/09/between-sapientia-and-scientia-michael-aeschlimans-profound-interpretation/
Moreover, believe it or not, when Darwinists first formulated the modern synthesis, they excluded biological form from the conceptual framework of the Modern Synthesis as being ‘irrelevant’
On the problem of biological form – Marta Linde-Medina (2020) Excerpt: Embryonic development, which inspired the first theories of biological form, was eventually excluded from the conceptual framework of the Modern Synthesis, (neo-Darwinism) as irrelevant.,,, At present, the problem of biological form remains unsolved. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12064-020-00317-3
Yet, in spite of the fact that Darwinists themselves excluded biological form from the conceptual framework of the Modern Synthesis as being ‘irrelevant’, Darwinists still assume, (apparently without any discernible justification), that changes to DNA have the potential to eventually change the basic biological form and/or body plan of any given species into a brand new body plan of a brand new species. Yet, (directly contrary to what Darwinists have assumed), biological form is found to be irreducible to mutations to DNA, nor is biological form reducible to any other material particulars, (i.e. proteins, carbohydrates, etc..), in biology that Darwinists may wish to invoke. As Dr. Jonathan Wells explained, “Studies using saturation mutagenesis in the embryos of fruit flies, roundworms, zebrafish and mice also provide evidence against the idea that DNA specifies the basic form of an organism. Biologists can mutate (and indeed have mutated) a fruit fly embryo in every possible way, and they have invariably observed only three possible outcomes: a normal fruit fly, a defective fruit fly, or a dead fruit fly.”
Jonathan Wells: Far from being all-powerful, DNA does not wholly determine biological form – March 31, 2014 Excerpt: Studies using saturation mutagenesis in the embryos of fruit flies, roundworms, zebrafish and mice also provide evidence against the idea that DNA specifies the basic form of an organism. Biologists can mutate (and indeed have mutated) a fruit fly embryo in every possible way, and they have invariably observed only three possible outcomes: a normal fruit fly, a defective fruit fly, or a dead fruit fly. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/jonathan-wells-far-from-being-all-powerful-dna-does-not-wholly-determine-biological-form/ Response to John Wise – October 2010 Excerpt: But there are solid empirical grounds for arguing that changes in DNA alone cannot produce new organs or body plans. A technique called “saturation mutagenesis”1,2 has been used to produce every possible developmental mutation in fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster),3,4,5 roundworms (Caenorhabditis elegans),6,7 and zebrafish (Danio rerio),8,9,10 and the same technique is now being applied to mice (Mus musculus).11,12. None of the evidence from these and numerous other studies of developmental mutations supports the neo-Darwinian dogma that DNA mutations can lead to new organs or body plans–,,, (As Jonathan Wells states),,, We can modify the DNA of a fruit fly embryo in any way we want, and there are only three possible outcomes: A normal fruit fly; A defective fruit fly; or A dead fruit fly. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2010/10/response_to_john_wise038811.html
And as Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig points out, “even after inducing literally billions of induced mutations and (further) chromosome rearrangements”,,, “the law of recurrent variation is endlessly corroborated”…
Peer-Reviewed Research Paper on Plant Biology Favorably Cites Intelligent Design and Challenges Darwinian Evolution – Casey Luskin December 29, 2010 Excerpt: Many of these researchers also raise the question (among others), why — even after inducing literally billions of induced mutations and (further) chromosome rearrangements — all the important mutation breeding programs have come to an end in the Western World instead of eliciting a revolution in plant breeding, either by successive rounds of selective “micromutations” (cumulative selection in the sense of the modern synthesis), or by “larger mutations” … and why the law of recurrent variation is endlessly corroborated by the almost infinite repetition of the spectra of mutant phenotypes in each and any new extensive mutagenesis experiment instead of regularly producing a range of new systematic species… (Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, “Mutagenesis in Physalis pubescens L. ssp. floridana: Some Further Research on Dollo’s Law and the Law of Recurrent Variation,” Floriculture and Ornamental Biotechnology Vol. 4 (Special Issue 1): 1-21 (December 2010).) https://evolutionnews.org/2010/12/peer-reviewed_research_paper_o/ Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, (retired) Senior Scientist (Biology), Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Emeritus, Cologne, Germany.
Moreover Jonathan Wells, in the following video, demonstrates that the Central Dogma of molecular biology, (which states (in effect) that DNA, makes RNA, makes protein, makes us), is incorrect at every step,
Design Beyond DNA: A Conversation with Dr. Jonathan Wells – video – January 2017 https://youtu.be/ASAaANVBoiE
bornagain77
Kairosfocus: That is utterly irrelevant to the point I cited Not exactly, it shows that someone who spent decades of his life studying the phenomena you assert was designed disagreed with you, strongly disagreed. And that makes your hijacking of his image disingenuous in the extreme, hoping that someone will think the original author is sympathetic to your views. Kind of like one of Bornagain77's copy-and-paste flurries but with images instead of text. Show us one of your in-cell coded algorithms. You claim they exist, let's see one. JVL
I like how he says "niche". ;) Alan Fox
The remarkable similarity of metabolic pathways and gene sequences across the phyla argues strongly that all modern organisms are derived from a common evolutionary progenitor by a series of small changes (mutations), each of which conferred a selective advantage to some organism in some ecological niche.
Very well put, Alfred. Alan Fox
Sorry, JVL kairosfocus
AF, of course Lehninger and heirs have argued for the usual scenarios. That is utterly irrelevant to the point I cited and further substantiate in the OP, which on reconsideration of significance, point to the known source of such coded info. If you doubt me, kindly cite the empirically substantiated blind chance and mechanical necessity solution. KF kairosfocus
--- delete double posting --- Origenes
WJM to Dogdoc:
... you have disproved your conceptualization of free will. What you haven’t done is disprove anyone else’s concept of free will.
Exactly. I too have pointed out this absurdity, several times (see e.g. #457). We all, Dogdoc included, agree that his incoherent definition of free will constitutes an impossibility. Waiting for him to move on, to come up with a coherent definition of free will, I meanwhile focused on another claim by him, namely that “the choice is always based on reasons that ultimately originate externally.” I have argued that the belief/reason “I exist” has an internal origin, but he squarely keeps resisting this simple truth. Origenes
Quotes from Alfred L Lehninger:
The current understanding that all organisms share a common evolutionary origin is based in part on this observed universality of chemical intermediates and transformations, often termed "biochemical unity."
All living organisms fall into one of three large groups (domains) [Bacteria, Archeara, Eukarya] that define three branches of evolution from a common progenitor.
The remarkable similarity of metabolic pathways and gene sequences across the phyla argues strongly that all modern organisms are derived from a common evolutionary progenitor by a series of small changes (mutations), each of which conferred a selective advantage to some organism in some ecological niche.
Not sure he would interpret his illustration the same way you do. JVL
WJM, perhaps, this, from Epictetus, will help:
DISCOURSES CHAPTER XXV How is logic necessary? When someone in [Epictetus'] audience said, Convince me that logic is necessary, he answered: Do you wish me to demonstrate this to you?—Yes.—Well, then, must I use a demonstrative argument?—And when the questioner had agreed to that, Epictetus asked him. How, then, will you know if I impose upon you?—As the man had no answer to give, Epictetus said: Do you see how you yourself admit that all this instruction is necessary, if, without it, you cannot so much as know whether it is necessary or not? [Notice, inescapable, thus self evidently true and antecedent to the inferential reasoning that provides deductive proofs and frameworks, including axiomatic systems and propositional calculus etc. We here see the first principles of right reason in action. Cf J. C. Wright]
KF kairosfocus
AF, what a caricature of inference to the best current empirically grounded explanation, a core part of the abductive reasoning at the heart of science. KF PS, SEP on Abduction:
In the philosophical literature, the term “abduction” is used in two related but different senses. In both senses, the term refers to some form of explanatory reasoning. However, in the historically first sense, it refers to the place of explanatory reasoning in generating hypotheses, while in the sense in which it is used most frequently in the modern literature it refers to the place of explanatory reasoning in justifying hypotheses. In the latter sense, abduction is also often called “Inference to the Best Explanation.” . . . . Most philosophers agree that abduction (in the sense of Inference to the Best Explanation) is a type of inference that is frequently employed, in some form or other, both in everyday and in scientific reasoning . . . . Walking along the beach, you see what looks like a picture of Winston Churchill in the sand. It could be that, as in the opening pages of Hilary Putnam’s book Reason, Truth, and History, (1981), what you see is actually the trace of an ant crawling on the beach. The much simpler, and therefore (you think) much better, explanation is that someone intentionally drew a picture of Churchill in the sand. That, in any case, is what you come away believing . . . . You may have observed many gray elephants and no non-gray ones, and infer from this that all elephants are gray, because that would provide the best explanation for why you have observed so many gray elephants and no non-gray ones. This would be an instance of an abductive inference. It suggests that the best way to distinguish between induction [--> narrow, statistical sense] and abduction is this: both are ampliative, meaning that the conclusion goes beyond what is (logically) contained in the premises (which is why they are non-necessary inferences), but in abduction there is an implicit or explicit appeal to explanatory considerations, whereas in induction there is not; in induction, there is only an appeal to observed frequencies or statistics. (I emphasize “only,” because in abduction there may also be an appeal to frequencies or statistics, as the example about the elephants exhibits.)
One hopes that at length some attention will be paid to SEP on this matter. kairosfocus
So, give up on trying to understand and just snipe?
I'm serious about the limit on human understanding. Of course it is an indemonstrable assertion. Though, were the converse possible, the universe would then be stuffed with practically omniscient entities. And it doesn't appear to be. Alan Fox
DD, w2here did you ever get the notion that axiomatic systems do not reflect significant free creative effort? Surely, not the history of Math, e.g. the long debate over Euclid's 5th [and several formulations shown to be substantially equivalent], leading to the much headlined non Euclidean Geometry. Axioms in part may be self evident but in part are world modelling specifications. Then there are first facts, record, postulates and presuppositions etc. Ad nauseam, actually. Godel's results in part boil down to the inherent irreducible complexity of axiomatisation. KF kairosfocus
Is it that we cannot “decide” what free will is, or if it exists?
Both. As I said, it comes down to the impossibility of reconciling our first-person perception with objective reality. Our perception of reality is limited by our cognitive abilities. Alan Fox
AF said:
The first is that none of this is decidable.
I'm not sure what you mean by this. What is it that cannot be decided? We can examine a logical argument and make decisions about it. Is DD's logical argument flawed? As far as I can tell, no, it is not. It appears to be sound. What I disagree with is the premise. Is it that we cannot "decide" what free will is, or if it exists? I think that KF has a rock-solid argument that if it doesn't exist, if determinism in some form is true, then basically all we're doing here is barking like dogs and operating out of the personal delusion that we're making sense and understanding things and making rational arguments. Free will is a necessary assumption; nobody can even behave as if they don't have free will. IMO, the discussion about free will is about trying to get as close to possible to identifying what people who believe in it actually mean. That may take some on-the-fly processing and evaluation as we explore that idea. That's really what I'm finding interesting about this discussion.
The second is the fundamental barrier to human understanding is the limit of our capacity to understand.
So, give up on trying to understand and just snipe? Just make the most obvious, clever comments? Just complain about people who are trying to have a discussion? Just poke at people and see if you can amuse yourself? William J Murray
Take away: Humans argue over stuff. Kind of entertaining. ram
"This" being free will, consciousness, determinism. I apologise for the undelineated pronoun. Alan Fox
Then engage the concepts presented as if you understand what is being argued. I wasn’t claiming “I was right,” I have been pointing out that Dogdoc keeps reiterating his logic and conclusion from his premise even though it is his premise I have disagreed with. Do you understand that?
Ive made two points upthread. The first is that none of this is decidable. The second is the fundamental barrier to human understanding is the limit of our capacity to understand. I also agree that for most of the thread, people are talking past each other. I also note that strawmanning is alive and well at Uncommon Descent. Wouldn't it be fun if everyone tried for a moment or two to take other folk's comments at face value? Alan Fox
Alan Fox said:
Another typical example, W Murray and “NPC”.
Then engage the concepts presented as if you understand what is being argued. I wasn't claiming "I was right," I have been pointing out that Dogdoc keeps reiterating his logic and conclusion from his premise even though it is his premise I have disagreed with. Do you understand that? William J Murray
AF at 111
...there’s a trend here, an obsession even, to label commenters, especially those with inconvenient ideas, as …ists and …ian’s. Label safely attached, arguments can be ignored or strawmanned. Prime example BA77 and “atheists”.
Another typical example, W Murray and "NPC". ;) Alan Fox
Actually, come to think of it, I spent over a year arguing with KF about "First Duties," where I spent a lot of time trying to understand his argument. I think this current argument about inherent reasons gives me a better insight into his argument. At the time I think I had a form of cognitive dissonance related to my extreme anti-authoritarianism triggered by the idea of inherent "duties," and maybe I still have some of that going on. But the idea I'm expressing now of inherent reasons is something I can see as likely being related to his argument, or even a form of it. William J Murray
Ah the standard “Intelligent Design” argument. “You can’t prove me wrong, so I’m right.”
Things an NPC would say. William J Murray
Whistler: Perhaps you could provide a quote with comment number and a link to the thread you are are talking about? I have argued several different things in my long history here. Some I have argued which I myself didn't believe, which I explained in the same time-frame. Some things I have argued where the better argument presented by others here changed my mind. Sometimes I try to make someone else's argument for them if I don't think they're doing a very good job. I have also changed my views on several things over the years. So, I'd have to see when and in what context I was making any argument to assess what was going on at the time, if in fact I made the argument that free will didn't exist because there were always reasons. I have only used one account at a time here. I believe I had two prior log-in accounts, one under "Meleagar" and then afterward one under "William Murray," if I remember correctly. I have changed accounts twice because of technical issues either on my end or on the UD end. William J Murray
William J Murray Dogdoc: If we assume “free will” means “free from reasons,” then yes, it is a simple logical exercise to conclude that there is no free will. Now, if you wish, you can say “I win!” and leave the debate content that you have disproved your conceptualization of free will.
WJM I browsed some of old posts from UD and I found in some of your comments the same idea "Dogdoc" is talking about but you had no success then and seems that "Dogdoc" has no success now. . You talk with yourself with multiple accounts to make your idea more appealling? whistler
What you haven’t done is disprove anyone else’s concept of free will.
Ah the standard "Intelligent Design" argument. "You can't prove me wrong, so I'm right." ;) Alan Fox
Dogdoc: If we assume "free will" means "free from reasons," then yes, it is a simple logical exercise to conclude that there is no free will. Now, if you wish, you can say "I win!" and leave the debate content that you have disproved your conceptualization of free will. What you haven't done is disprove anyone else's concept of free will. William J Murray
Q said:
So here’s a thought experiment. If the results of the double-slit experiment instantly changes a diffraction pattern into two bars when consciously observed, can this effect be duplicated when a dog or a monkey is set up to observe the same thing (without sign language, cheeps, or barks to communicate the information to a human, i.e. becomes part of a von Neumann chain)?
The problem here is that until a human observers the results, there's no way of knowing what the results are, which would draw human observation and their capacity to know the results into the experiment. The results of the experiment seem to hinge on whether or not a particular observer has any capacity to find out, or know, what path the electron took, or if an isotope decayed, or what the spin is. What the monkey might know doesn't matter, because it doesn't even matter what another set of human observers know, as per this experiment (if I understand it correctly.) https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.aaw9832 Abstract:
The scientific method relies on facts, established through repeated measurements and agreed upon universally, independently of who observed them. In quantum mechanics the objectivity of observations is not so clear, most markedly exposed in Wigner’s eponymous thought experiment where two observers can experience seemingly different realities. The question whether the observers’ narratives can be reconciled has only recently been made accessible to empirical investigation, through recent no-go theorems that construct an extended Wigner’s friend scenario with four observers. In a state-of-the-art six-photon experiment, we realize this extended Wigner’s friend scenario, experimentally violating the associated Bell-type inequality by five standard deviations. If one holds fast to the assumptions of locality and free choice, this result implies that quantum theory should be interpreted in an observer-dependent way.
It appears "reality" is individually observer-dependent. William J Murray
Dogdoc @635 said:
No matter what sort of “extra component” you add you to a person – call it free will or volition or will power or soul or whatever – if that component is what makes choices, then it is subject to the exact same conundrum: Either that component bases its choice on reasons, or it doesn’t.
I think I see the problem here because you keep saying this as if I did not say "free does not mean free from reasons" each time you have responded with this and in almost every comment I have made to you. You are apparently incapable of understanding "free will" in any way other than in terms of your premise; that if "free" doesn't mean "free from the reasons that are inherent in any instance of will," then "free will" doesn't exist. All you are doing here is insisting that "free" must refer to "reasons," even after I have said repeatedly, and others have tried in various ways to explain the same thing, that "free" does not refer to "freedom from reasons." After being told this, the rational thing to do is some form of: "Okay, I understand that your issue is with the premise that "Free" refers to reasons, but I don't understand what it is you are saying that "free" refers to if not "free from reasons." Even though I have told you repeatedly what "free" actually refers to several times, I assume cognitive dissonance is preventing you from seeing what I wrote in any terms other than something dismissible because there were still reasons!! Do you see that every time I explicitly say "free does not mean free from reasons, they are intractable parts of all instances of will, so free cannot mean what your premise demands," you always respond by saying "but there are still reasons, so my logic is valid?" William J Murray
What happens in the experiment if it is set up, and then run in a sealed room with no observers around? What if there was a monkey, but ho humans? What happens when photons hit the moon? Do they stay in an undetermined state, or does the waveform collapse as a result of interaction with the moon? So many questions! Viola Lee
641 Viola Lee @641,
re 638: Can’t guarantee you’ll like it. I just remembered it after I made my first list. We’ll see what you think.
That's perfectly okay. I'm always interested in informed perspectives, in this case from a Nobel laureate. It has many excellent reviews, and one of its negatives (that it's dated) is actually a positive in my opinion, since we can see how well it's fared with the test of time and later discoveries. But we'll see. My objection to science writing is when areas such as quantum mechanics, cosmology, or the origin of life are poorly understood, let's say at the 5% level, there doesn't seem to be any shortage of people who are dogmatic about some aspect of it that they recruit for their own philosophical or theological opinions. Yes, this is intentionally a broad brush, and I have my opinions as well, but projecting speculation as "following the science" (when convenient) is foolish, especially when academics teach it as fact or when it's implemented as public policy. Currently, conscious observation through choice affects quantum reality for some reason. Even if conscious choice is predetermined as Dr. Hossenfelder maintains, we have no clue WHY quantum reality should be affected by conscious choices specifically, even assuming that we're part of an integrated reality and not independent observers. So here's a thought experiment. If the results of the double-slit experiment instantly changes a diffraction pattern into two bars when consciously observed, can this effect be duplicated when a dog or a monkey is set up to observe the same thing (without sign language, cheeps, or barks to communicate the information to a human, i.e. becomes part of a von Neumann chain)? -Q Querius
Origenes,
DD: I suppose you keep coming back to this because you think it’s an existence proof that people can choose whether or not to believe in their own existence. O: Indeed. Now we are getting somewhere. It refutes your claim that this not the case.
Well, no. We are talking past each, because we failed to define what you, or I, or Harris, et al means when they say "I exist". As I pointed out (but you ignored), when you say "He thinks he doesn't exist", you are speaking ambiguously and equivocating on the two pronouns. The first "He" refers to the person, identifiable as a human being with a unique identity, fingerprints, facial features, education, book authorship, etc. But what you meant by the second "he" refers to something quite different - the soul, the self as conveyed by introspection, an enduring point of view. When I said you had no choice but to believe you exist, I was using the first sense, while you disagreed because you were using the second sense. Now, I've said repeatedly that people's beliefs change all the time, and anyone can believe anything. It's just that each time one chooses some belief, it is either random or based on other belief(s) (and desires, etc), and it is impossible at any point to freely choose your own beliefs. As I explained in @181, one can also choose (based on reasons that were ultimately unchosen) to attempt to change one's beliefs by exposing oneself to various influences - going to church, reading books, and so on. Please read @181 if you'd like to understand this. Regarding free choice, I said a choice can only be free if you are free to choose different options. Since you are not able to choose to believe the moon is made of cheese, your choice to believe the moon is not made of cheese is not a free choice. Take any belief that you currently hold, and you will find that to be the case: You are not able to simply use your mind to alter things you believe or desire, or don't believe or desire, just by power of will. If you won't admit this, then let's just agree to disagree. Since what I'm calling free choices have to be based on our beliefs and desires, and we cannot by power of will simply choose what we believe and desire, then it impossible for us to make free choices. dogdoc
Dogdoc @
[Rosenberg]: Ergo, the alleged facts about the self are not facts at all. They are mistakes.There is no self, soul, person. The self, as conveyed to us by introspection, is a fiction. It doesn’t exist.
DD: I suppose you keep coming back to this because you think it’s an existence proof that people can choose whether or not to believe in their own existence.
Indeed. Now we are getting somewhere. It refutes your claim that this not the case.
DD: Since you’ve dragged me into this irrelevant diversion, note that all Rosenberg means is that he doesn’t believe that our conceptualization of a “self” (or soul or person) is valid, not that “he does not exist” …
You are an expert on Rosenberg now?
[Rosenberg]: Scientism shows that the first-person POV [point of view] is an illusion. (…) Ergo, the alleged facts about the self are not facts at all. They are mistakes.There is no self, soul, person. Scientism must firmly deny its existence. The self, as conveyed to us by introspection, is a fiction. It doesn’t exist.
Rosenberg does not believe that he exists as an entity with a first-person point of view, he does not believe that he exists as a self, a person, a soul. I believe all those things, when I say: “I exist.” And BTW, Rosenberg also holds that it is a mistake to believe that thoughts are about stuff.
[Rosenberg:](…) Introspection must be wrong when it credits consciousness with thoughts about birthdays, keys, and bosses’ names. But the mistake introspection makes is so deep and so persuasive, it’s almost impossible to shake, even when you understand it. The mistake is the notion that when we think, or rather when our brain thinks, it thinks about anything at all. The notion that thoughts are about stuff is illusory …
Origenes
Origenes,
Others have explicitly stated that they believe that they do not exist – see #636.
Well, I can see you aren't going to let this go :-)
So, on what ground do you base your claim that it would be impossible for me? Do you think you know me?
I base my claim on my rejection of doxastic voluntarism, not on my personal knowledge of you of course.
Before I made my choice to believe that I exist, I was open to the idea that I do not exist. During that time I was very much interested in Buddhism, and read a lot about the non-existence of self.
It have made my free choice to believe that I exist. Are you now claiming that a free choice is only free if it is reversible?
It can only be free if you are free to choose different options. Since you are not able to choose to believe the moon is made of cheese, your choice to believe the moon is not made of cheese is not a free choice. I keep telling you to be honest and admit that you cannot make these choices freely - you can't freely choose to believe the moon is made of cheese, no matter how hard you try. In response, you point to other people who have decided, for whatever reason, that the moon is made of cheese. But that doesn't change the fact that you, Origenes, can't possibly choose to believe that, because you simply do not hold that belief and we have no way to choose what we believe.
Rosenberg:...
Roesenberg here is not talking about free will, and certainly not defending the argument I am making - nor am I defending his. I suppose you keep coming back to this because you think it's an existence proof that people can choose whether or not to believe in their own existence. Of course there are people who believe in all sorts of things for all sorts of different reasons! But it isn't possible for them to ultimately choose their beliefs. [Since you've dragged me into this irrelevant diversion, note that all Rosenberg means is that he doesn't believe that our conceptualization of a "self" (or soul or person) is valid, not that "he does not exist" in any sense - including his body, his memory, etc. To say "He doesn't believe he exists" is therefore not an accurate characterization of Rosenberg's beliefs, because the first pronoun in that statement doesn't refer to the same thing as the second pronoun.] dogdoc
Dogdoc @
Saying that you choose to believe you exist implies that it is possible for you choose to believe you do not exist. Are you capable of making that choice? Of course you aren’t.
Others have explicitly stated that they believe that they do not exist – see #636. So, on what ground do you base your claim that it would be impossible for me? Do you think you know me?
Tell me, upon what did you base your decision?
See argument in #289
And again, would it be possible for you to believe you don’t exist?
Before I made my choice to believe that I exist, I was open to the idea that I do not exist. During that time I was very much interested in Buddhism, and read a lot about the non-existence of self.
The origin of your belief that you exist was the moment that you gained self-conscious awareness.
Nope.
But here is the key point: If you could really choose to believe or disbelieve in your own existence, then DO IT! Just prove me wrong by freely changing your mind and deciding that you don’t exist. Don’t worry, if it’s a free choice then you can change your belief back again when you’re done.
It have made my free choice to believe that I exist. Are you now claiming that a choice is only free if it is reversible?
... you are misreading other people’s statements about what a “self” is …
[Rosenberg]: Ergo, the alleged facts about the self are not facts at all. They are mistakes.There is no self, soul, person. The self, as conveyed to us by introspection, is a fiction. It doesn’t exist.
No, you have not. Origenes
re 638: Can't guarantee you'll like it. I just remembered it after I made my first list. We'll see what you think. Viola Lee
Querius,
Oh, and notice the telling lack of reaction in the interminable debate on free will to escape the vagaries of philosophical speculation rather than reflections on experimental evidence together with quantum interpretations of reality, which ultimately impact our perspectives on infinity and cosmology.
First, you say our free will debate is "interminable" - don't you think that's an understatement, given that the topic has been debated for thousands of years? Second, rather than actually addressing the argument I've laid out, you just complain about it to others, almost as though you actually can't find the flaw in my argument. Third, you complain that I should acknowledge the the problem has now been solved with experimental evidence and one particular QM interpretation. But in the next breath you concede that a physicist you think highly of comes to the opposite conclusion. Maybe experimental evidence and QM interpretation don't actually provide a clear solution after all? Fourth, you fail to explain what exactly you mean by the term "free will", or address any of the obvious problems with conscious collapse theories. If you were so sure about free will, then you could look at my argument @629 and explain to us where it goes wrong. dogdoc
Viola Lee, Oh, and notice the telling lack of reaction in the interminable debate on free will to escape the vagaries of philosophical speculation rather than reflections on experimental evidence together with quantum interpretations of reality, which ultimately impact our perspectives on infinity and cosmology. Does Superdeterminism save Quantum Mechanics? Or does it kill free will and destroy science? https://youtu.be/ytyjgIyegDI The links to free will are inescapable when considering what we CHOOSE to measure determines what information that we can extract from nature. Even though I don't agree with Dr. Hossenfelder's assessment of free will, I still found her analysis to be valuable and challenging. -Q Querius
Viola Lee @616,
Also Dreams of a Final Theory by Weinberg.
Just ordered it and it's on its way. Thanks again for the book recommendation. -Q Querius
Origenes
DD: Did you, at some point, think to yourself, “I wonder if I should or shouldn’t exist?” Of course you didn’t. ORIGENES: A weird question.
Indeed - impossible, right?
Instead I have pondered the question: “do I exist or do I not exist?” and I have chosen to believe that I do exist.
Saying that you choose to believe you exist implies that it is possible for you choose to believe you do not exist. Are you capable of making that choice? Of course you aren't. (Please don't interject with what you think Sam Harris believes - I believe you misunderstand his position, but that has nothing to do with our debate here! I'm not debating against Sam Harris, or endorsing his views, and I don't want to change the subject here to figure out what he's talking about!)
I did choose to have the belief that I exist.
Tell me, upon what did you base your decision? And again, would it be possible for you to believe you don't exist? If it's not possible to freely change your mind about this, then it can't be considered a free choice after all. Can you simply choose to believe anything, no matter what aspects of your knowledge and experience it contradicts? Could you simply choose to believe the moon is made of cheese, and then actually believe it? I think if you're being honest then you'd concede that the answer to these questions is no - you can't choose what you believe, and you certainly can't choose whether or not to believe in your own existence.
We are not discussing my choice to come into existence, instead we are discussing my choice to believe that I exist.
I understand that, I'm just pointing out the obvious: You are not able to freely choose to believe or disbelieve in you own existence. If you were, you could do it at this very moment - simply decide that you don't exist (or that the moon is made of cheese). Now tell me honestly - did you succeed? Don't duck the question, actually answer this time.
Again, we are not discussing my coming into existence. Instead we are discussing the origin of my belief that I exist.
The origin of your belief that you exist was the moment that you gained self-conscious awareness. And obviously you did not freely choose to become self-consciously aware! But here is the key point: If you could really choose to believe or disbelieve in your own existence, then DO IT! Just prove me wrong by freely changing your mind and deciding that you don't exist. Don't worry, if it's a free choice then you can change your belief back again when you're done :-)
I have made my point! Do not change the subject to what other people might or might not believe, because I don't care! We are not debating what Sam Harris or Rosenberg or anyone else says. dogdoc
Dogdoc @
Origenes: In #289 I argue that “I exist” is an insight, in the context of our discussion a “reason”, which clearly does not originate externally.
I disagree: Did you, at some point, think to yourself, “I wonder if I should or shouldn’t exist?” Of course you didn’t.
A weird question. Instead I have pondered the question: “do I exist or do I not exist?” and I have chosen to believe that I do exist. In #289 I argue that I am solely and ultimately responsible for this insight.
How can that be, if you didn’t choose to have it?
I did choose to have the belief that I exist.
You did not deliberate on whether or not to exist, and then based on a set of beliefs and desires, make the free choice to exist.
You seem confused. We are not discussing my choice to come into existence, instead we are discussing my choice to believe that I exist.
Your existence, and your experience of your existence, was brought about by external factors over which you had no control whatsoever (your conception, your embryogenesis, etc). The salient point here is whether or not you freely chose to exist, and the answer is of course that you had no choice in the matter at all.
The same unfortunate befuddlement on your part. Again, we are not discussing my coming into existence. Instead we are discussing the origin of my belief that I exist.
As I’ve explained, you are misreading other people’s statements about what a “self” is …
Ergo, the alleged facts about the self are not facts at all. They are mistakes.There is no self, soul, person. Scientism must firmly deny its existence. The self, as conveyed to us by introspection, is a fiction. It doesn’t exist. (…) Scientism shows that the first-person POV [point of view] is an illusion. (…) There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. (…) [Rosenberg, ‘The Atheist’s Guide To Reality’]
Origenes
IOW, wherever you find where will and reasons meet to form an aware choice, in order to actually make a choice there must be another component that actuates picks from the options and activates the preferred choice.
No matter what sort of "extra component" you add you to a person - call it free will or volition or will power or soul or whatever - if that component is what makes choices, then it is subject to the exact same conundrum: Either that component bases its choice on reasons, or it doesn't.
What I’m attempting to do here is point out the axis of the ineffable, the thing that provides the capacity to scan around in the matrix of will, reasons and potential outcomes and must be something other, from outside of the boundaries of those things, even though it is only by how one deliberately moves it around within that matrix that we experience ourselves as anything other than the experience of automated behaviors.
Just tell me, how does this ineffable thing decide what to do? Does it base its decisions on what it thinks is true, desirable, important, and so on? If not, then upon what does it base its decisions? Yes, WJM, of course it feels like we are the ultimate authors of our choices - that is why there is a "problem of free will" to begin with! I would suggest you investigate the work that the late Daniel Wegner did to understand this phenomenon, including how we can be (and often are) wrong about what things we are responsible for choosing. dogdoc
WJM,
But since that premise aligns in general with people's understanding and experience of free will, I think my argument is not question-begging, but rather it shows that since you think that is what free will is, then your conception of free will is impossible. I think the counter-arguments that people have attempted here shows this to be exactly the case.
Choices cannot be made (or even recognized as such) without “a reason.” We all accept this, even when it comes to choosing reasons, those choices come with reasons.
You and I agree about that, but certainly not everyone! Just read the posts I am responding to, for example Origenes saying that we freely choose to adopt our own beliefs.
Free will is not about being free of reasons which are inherent in any recognized available choice. I’ve said this to you about 3 times now. NOBODY here thinks that free will is about being free of inherent or applicable or associated reasons. Reasons are inherent in every choice. There is no avoiding that.
It's not that people deny that they make choices based on reasons; rather, it is that people mistakenly believe that they can freely choose their reasons. They say it over and over again. I can only say that you haven't paid close attention to what those like Origenes or KF are arguing here. In my experience, that is what people generally believe - that people somehow are the first cause (or, alternatively, the ultimate originator) of their own beliefs and desires, and thus the ultimate authors of their choices. dogdoc
Dogdoc said:
I am honestly not clear regarding why you take exception to this definition; I think it is clear, and that most people agree that this definition matches their understanding of, and experience of, free will.
As I've said before, you've hidden your conclusion in your premise. Choices cannot be made (or even recognized as such) without "a reason." We all accept this, even when it comes to choosing reasons, those choices come with reasons. Free will is not about being free of reasons which are inherent in any recognized available choice. I've said this to you about 3 times now. NOBODY here thinks that free will is about being free of inherent or applicable or associated reasons. Reasons are inherent in every choice. There is no avoiding that. This is what I attempted to explain most recently in my #622. William J Murray
WJM,
This is only true if one begins with your conception of what the “free” in “free will” refers to. It’s a circular argument where the conclusion is built into the premise. The disagreement is not about your logic; the disagreement is about your premise.
I've clearly laid out what I mean by "free choice" - it means (1) that it is not determined by antecedent cause, and (2) that it is not random or arbitrary or made for no reason. I am honestly not clear regarding why you take exception to this definition; I think it is clear, and that most people agree that this definition matches their understanding of, and experience of, free will. dogdoc
Second, it is highly likely that could have chosen to belief that I am an “illusion”
Can you choose to believe you are an illusion? I certainly cannot - no matter how I try, I am forced to conclude that I exist, and cannot choose to believe otherwise. I'm sure the same is true for you. No matter how hard you look, you find that we cannot freely choose any of our beliefs or desires - even (especially!) the belief that we exist. And since our choices are based upon our beliefs and desires, our choices are not free. dogdoc
Dogdoc said:
8) Therefore, free choice is impossible.
This is only true if one begins with your conception of what the "free" in "free will" refers to. It's a circular argument where the conclusion is built into the premise. The disagreement is not about your logic; the disagreement is about your premise. William J Murray
KF,
You know that finitely remote axioms, observations, first facts, first plausibles etc are how we actually reason, that there are alternatives and so diverse worldviews.
I've explained to you ad nauseum that since you don't freely choose these axioms, then the choices you make based on those axioms are not free.
You know that comparative difficulties vs naive catch presuppositions as one catches measles approaches are well known. You know people change worldviews, the collapse of the Iron Curtain led to the greatest retreat of atheism in its history, and that is living memory. So, we can see the fallacies in your onward talking points.
Sorry, but I think what you've written is incoherent; I can't make out what you mean. You should just admit that you can't point to any step in my argument that is invalid and explain why you think that in a clear,, concise fashion: 1) In order for a choice to be free, it must not be (a) determined by antecedent cause, and (b) not be random, arbitrary, or made for no reason at all. 2) Therefore, free choices must be made for some reason(s). 3) In order for person P to make a free choice C, the reason(s) R upon which C is based must not be chosen by anyone or anything but P. 4) Therefore, in order for C to be a free choice, P must have freely chosen R. 5) In order for P to have freely chosen R, P must have reason(s) R’ for that choice. 6) In order for R’ to be freely chosen, there must be reason(s) R”, and so on in an infinite regress. 7) It is impossible that at any point in this regress that P can make a choice based on reasons that P has freely chosen. 8) Therefore, free choice is impossible. dogdoc
Origenes,
You claim that one’s choices are necessarily based on reasons which ultimately have an external origin.
Close, but not quite my claim. Rather, I say that one may make choices based upon no reason at all, but in that case they are making random, arbitrary decisions, which do not constitute the exercise of the sort of free will that most people would value.
In #289 I argue that “I exist” is an insight, in the context of our discussion a “reason”, which clearly does not originate externally.
I disagree: Did you, at some point, think to yourself, "I wonder if I should or shouldn't exist?" Of course you didn't.
I argue that I am solely and ultimately responsible for this insight.
How can that be, if you didn't choose to have it? You did not deliberate on whether or not to exist, and then based on a set of beliefs and desires, make the free choice to exist. You just find that you exist through no choice of your own.
You counter-argument is that I have no choice in the matter. That I am forced to hold that I exist.
Yes, that is correct.
There are at least two problems with this: First, the question whether or not I have a choice believing that I exist does not seem relevant WRT your claim that all reasons ultimately originate externally.
Your existence, and your experience of your existence, was brought about by external factors over which you had no control whatsoever (your conception, your embryogenesis, etc). The salient point here is whether or not you freely chose to exist, and the answer is of course that you had no choice in the matter at all.
The relevant aspect is that “I exist” is an example of a reason/belief which has a purely internal origin, which you claim to be impossible.
Yes, it is impossible, as I've just explained.
Second, it is highly likely that could have chosen to belief that I am an “illusion”, because others have explicitly claimed to have done so —— see #481 and #299.
As I've explained, you are misreading other people's statements about what a "self" is, but I am not interested in your argument with Sam Harris or other people. Rather, I am interested in you responding to the points that I have made. And from another of your posts:
Only after an idea is freely adopted it becomes part of one’s own beliefs.
But upon what is the choice to adopt, or not adopt, some belief based? On one's beliefs, of course (and desires, etc.). At no point is one able to choose one's own beliefs, because you must already have your beliefs in order to choose your beliefs. dogdoc
Dogdoc @ You claim that one's choices are necessarily based on reasons which ultimately have an external origin.
Dogdoc: If we’re not ultimately responsible for the origins of our beliefs and desires, then we’re not responsible for choices based upon them. (…) choice is always based on reasons that ultimately originate externally.
In #289 I argue that “I exist” is an insight, in the context of our discussion a "reason”, which clearly does not originate externally. I argue that I am solely and ultimately responsible for this insight. So, it has, contrary to your claim, no ultimate external origin, and there is no infinite regress of reasons based on prior reasons —— the origin of this particular insight lies squarely within me. You counter-argument is that I have no choice in the matter. That I am forced to hold that I exist. There are at least two problems with this: First, the question whether or not I have a choice believing that I exist does not seem relevant WRT your claim that all reasons ultimately originate externally. The relevant aspect is that "I exist" is an example of a reason/belief which has a purely internal origin, which you claim to be impossible. Second, it is highly likely that could have chosen to belief that I am an "illusion", because others have explicitly claimed to have done so —— see #481 and #299. Origenes
:) Nobody knows in detail all this mechanism of HOW reason, free will, intention, moral law are functioning together in a person but what we know for sure is we know enough to be held accountable for all of our actions and intentions(observable or hidden). PS: Godel axiom is applicable for all systems: a man can't say what a man(as a system) is in reality. The only information from outside the system could be found not in science (only a limited human endeavour) but exclusive in some religious writings . Sandy
PaV, serious points. KF kairosfocus
W, yup, and such are blind to the incoherence involved. Let us use the adapted JoHari Window, understand why the knowledge commons was broken due to attempted ideological capture, then set out on our own independent path that may one day lead to general reformation. KF kairosfocus
DD, incorrigible. You know that finitely remote axioms, observations, first facts, first plausibles etc are how we actually reason, that there are alternatives and so diverse worldviews. You know that comparative difficulties vs naive catch presuppositions as one catches measles approaches are well known. You know people change worldviews, the collapse of the Iron Curtain led to the greatest retreat of atheism in its history, and that is living memory. So, we can see the fallacies in your onward talking points. KF kairosfocus
PaV @618, Well made points, some I didn't consider. I experience free will; trying to argue that I don't have free will is like trying to argue I am not having a first-person experience. As I said before, will cannot be disassociated from "reasons." One cannot come into play without the other. The only significant question is, to what does "free" refer? It cannot refer to the beliefs and reasons that are a necessary aspect of any activation of willful intent. That is patently obvious. By making the "free" refer to beliefs and reasons DogDoc has made his conclusion inevitable from the premise - as you have soundly elaborated on. As I said, the term "free" - at least as my definition - refers to an ineffable, top-down, directorial and original-causal capacity that is free from being caused or determined by anything else. This ineffable capacity might be considered a third, vertical axis to the planar axes of will and "reasons." IOW, wherever you find where will and reasons meet to form an aware choice, in order to actually make a choice there must be another component that actuates picks from the options and activates the preferred choice. To attempt to elaborate, is free observational component can assess the will/reason in the format of; "why do I want to do this?" or "What other options are there?" One might argue that this is still the free observer looking through an already-existent matrix of will and reasons, but the mere fact that one is looking through the matrix for other resolutions means there is a third axis at play. If there was no third axis, whenever the mind hit a will-reason intersection on the grid it would simply be what happens. There would be no capacity to search for some other will-reason intersection on the grid. Now, this third, vertical axis may be scanning other intersections of will and reason; it may be even be scanning another axis of potential outcomes for a variety of will-reason outcomes, including what will likely happen and how one would likely feel about it; even if we then imagine the will-reason-potential outcomes matrix as a 3D construct, what 4th axis is providing the overview scanning? What I'm attempting to do here is point out the axis of the ineffable, the thing that provides the capacity to scan around in the matrix of will, reasons and potential outcomes and must be something other, from outside of the boundaries of those things, even though it is only by how one deliberately moves it around within that matrix that we experience ourselves as anything other than the experience of automated behaviors. William J Murray
Kairosfocus DD, you know your infinite regress claim was broken when you made it.
Yea ,but he made that claim only because was forced (he said that he has no free will so something must coerce him to post nonsensical comments. :) whistler
And here's Sabine Hossenfelder's take on free will and superdeterminism. Does Superdeterminism save Quantum Mechanics? Or does it kill free will and destroy science? https://youtu.be/ytyjgIyegDI Okay, now go crazy. Does her conclusions also explain or accommodate conjugate variables? -Q Querius
PaV,
First, I’m not making an argument; rather, I’m making two observations: (1) my experience of free will is a real experience. That is, it is not theoretical. It is not something that my mind was positing. I’m conjecturing. It actually happened. I lived this experience.
Since I don't know exactly what you mean by "free will" and exactly what you experienced, I can't comment on this.
Your statement of this Catch-22 in your post @ 80, I believe (correct me if I am wrong), states pithily your view on free will. Here it is: There is no escape from this Catch-22. Until one has freely chosen beliefs, desires etc., one can’t exercise free will. But unless one already has free will, one can’t have freely chosen beliefs, desires, etc.
No sure how pithy it is, but yes this captures the heart of my argument.
From the logical principle that something cannot ‘not be’ and ‘be’ at the same time, logic tells us that either (1) we have free will, or, (2) we don’t have free will.
Well that would be called "the law of the excluded middle". You have to be careful, though, that the statement and it's negation are well-defined. Obviously "free will" has been defined in various ways, so you always have to start by clarifying in what sense you're using the term. The meaning I've been using is: Free Will is the ability to make a decision that is (1) not determined by antecedent cause and (2) not made randomly, arbitrarily, or for no reason at all.
Let’s first assume that we do NOT have free will. Well, if we don’t have free will as humans then it’s impossible for us to “freely [choose] beliefs, desires etc.” So, assuming we don’t have free wills makes your Catch-22 formulation a trivial extension of the idea that we do not have free will as humans.
No, I do not conclude that we can't freely choose our beliefs etc because we have no free will. Rather, I conclude that we can't freely choose our beliefs etc because in order to freely choose our beliefs etc we would already have to have our beliefs etc that form the reason for our particular choices. We can't choose our own beliefs etc in the same way we can't lift ourselves up by our own bootstraps.
So, let’s assume we DO have free will as humans. Then your statement has nothing to say about ‘free will,’ per se, but is a statement about how our free will experiences limitations. We seem to agree on this point.
I don't actually see any agreement here. I have no idea what it means for free will to "experience limitations". I am showing that free will, as I have defined it, is logically impossible.
Thus, your C-22 formulation is either a trivial, somewhat non-sequitur, statement if, in fact we have NO free will; or, we must admit that we do have free will and then notice that our free will can be limited by factors outside of ourselves.
I'm afraid to say you have apparently understood none of my argument. The best way to understand what I've been arguing is to read post @554 and read through the short, stepwise summary I've laid out. If you disagree with some particular step, we can begin there.
I find it noteworthy that you bring this argument to this website.
Free will is at the very heart of the arguments for "Intelligent Design". The sort of free will claimed by William Dembski or Stephen Meyer is libertarian, or contra-causal free will, which is a metaphysical claim. My argument avoids that by talking about reasons rather than causes.
Person A: “I am not free because I can’t ‘freely’ choose the motivations (reasons, beliefs, desires, etc.) for the choices I make.” Person B: “Why can’t you ‘freely’ choose your motivations?” Person A: “Because I’m not free.”
Is this really what you think I'm saying? This is a stupid cartoon of an argument. You may certainly find fault in the argument I'm making, but this silly strawman bears no resemblance to what I've argued here.
This Catch-22 sounds much like the criticism made of Natural Selection when the term used for it is, Survival of the Fittest. Person A: “What is the ‘fittest’?” Person B: “Those that survive.” Person A: “Why do they survive?” Person B: “Because they’re the ‘fittest’.”
How can you not know that this is a ridiculous caracature of Darwinian evolution? What it actually means is simply this: A: What is the 'fittest'? B: Individual organisms that reproduce more frequently A: What makes them reproduce more frequently? B: Various heritable traits. A: How do you know what traits increase fitness? B: The higher reproduction rates correlate with those traits (but it's not easy to establish that, and much of the evolutionary literature is littered with "just so" stories that don't actually attempt to measure the effects of particular traits on reproductive success).
Finally, every choice is limited. Choose ‘this one’ or choose ‘that one.’ So, in a world where choices are limited, free will will not experience limitlessness. But the limitation comes from ‘outside of’ free will.
I don't know what you mean, but it has nothing to do with my argument. dogdoc
Dogdoc @ 485: Sorry for the delay in responding. I've been both busy and, in the time I've had, I've chosen to think this through more deeply so that we can avoid misunderstandings and such. Let me begin my response here: From 485, you highlighted this from my "rebuttal":
Now, this is very theological and preachy; nonetheless, I have experiences–direct experiences, of both freedom and moral choice. Were I to deny this, I would be a liar. This, then, puts you at a disadvantage. Why? Because the very "Catch-22" dilemma you propose we find ourselves in undercuts any argument you make.
You then responded:
Sorry but I really don’t understand what your argument is.
First, I'm not making an argument; rather, I'm making two observations: (1) my experience of free will is a real experience. That is, it is not theoretical. It is not something that my mind was positing. I'm conjecturing. It actually happened. I lived this experience. This leads to: (2) Your "argument" is a proposal your mind is offering to others. The mind can propose many things that may, or may not, be true. It was for this reason that I said, "Were I to deny this, I would be a liar." But, with that aside, let's now, secondly, talk about the Catch-22. Your statement of this Catch-22 in your post @ 80, I believe (correct me if I am wrong), states pithily your view on free will. Here it is:
There is no escape from this Catch-22. Until one has freely chosen beliefs, desires etc., one can’t exercise free will. But unless one already has free will, one can’t have freely chosen beliefs, desires, etc.
Thanks Viola Lee, I'll check it out. -Q Querius
Also Dreams of a Final Theory by Weinberg. Viola Lee
Kairosfocus @608,
Q, not this time, if things crash. KF
Ok, I'm curious how you came that conclusion. There are some interesting books on what happens when a country crashes. One of them was written by a guy in Argentina a few years back with some great advice, and the other one was by a guy that went through the turmoil in the Balkans (who think American preppers are completely naive). Personally, I'd imagine that if this happened to the US, all of the super wealthy and the most culpable politicians would magically vanish within 10 minutes (Portugal seems to be the current favorite destination), and the rest of us will see a slow post-apocalyptic horror unfold in the cities. But that's another topic for a different forum. -Q Querius
Viola Lee @612,
I didn’t do those things, Q.
Ok, accepted. But I did worry and maybe you can see why from my list of books.
I just looked at the paper: I was put off by the “60% think we live in a simulation”, which is not a hypothesis that I can entertain, but I see that is not in the paper at all. I will look at the paper, cause some of it looks interesting.
Correction, it's not 60% believe, but rather a majority accept that there's a 60% *chance* we live in a simulation. The Simulation Hypothesis is interesting. Neil deGrasse Tyson in one panel discussion was totally blown away when a distinguished physicist first brought it to his attention. It was kind of funny. He kept telling the other physicist to slow down or back up. Since then Dr. Tyson has created a number of videos on the subject. The question is how could we tell if we were actually living in a simulation, perhaps an "ancestor simulation"? There is actually *some* compelling evidence supporting this hypothesis, but it's a huge subject all by itself. Sabine Hossenfelder is, of course, completely disgusted by the hypothesis and blows it off as fantasy, but as I said, there is some compelling evidence. -Q Querius
Viola Lee @609, Ok, my list includes a few overlaps with yours: Quantum Enigma by Rosenblum and Kuttner Reality is Not What It Seems by Rovelli Quantum Entanglement by Marsella Beyond Weird by Ball Lost in Math by Hossenfelder Through Two Doors at Once by Ananthaswamy The Fabric of the Cosmos by Greene We Have No Idea by Cham and Whiteson The Beginning of Infinity by Deutsch The Discovery of Cosmic Fractals by Baryshev and Teerikorpi A New Kind of Science by Wolfram (I only started to read parts of it) Quantum by Kumar Quantum Space by Baggott Decoding Realty by Vlatko A Farewell to Reality by Baggott The Black Hole War by Susskind The Age of Entanglement by Gilder Time reborn by Smolin Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution by Smolin I may have a few more floating around, but you get the idea. Oh, yeah and my college text on the subject. And I also have Chaos by Gleich. -Q Querius
I didn't do those things, Q. I just looked at the paper: I was put off by the "60% think we live in a simulation", which is not a hypothesis that I can entertain, but I see that is not in the paper at all. I will look at the paper, cause some of it looks interesting. Viola Lee
Viola Lee @606,
I see a confusion between us. I was not asking questions because I expected you to educate me. I was asking to see how you described and argued for some of the things you were saying. I was interested in discussion to compare different understandings.
Oh whew! I really dislike it went some people give me “homework assignments.” After doing this a few times, I quickly learned that all they wanted to do is put me off and waste my time. Typically, I’d get a trollbot response such as A. “I didn’t ask you for cherrypicked quotes.” B. “Oh, those tired old arguments? They’ve been debunked long ago.” C. “But you didn’t consider ______ at all. That undercuts your entire argument.” D. “Yeah, I expected that you’d resort to __________, __________, and _________. E. _________ is a quack and his ideas have been debunked now. Besides, he belongs to a racist organization. Comparing the perspectives of quantum physicists is probably why researchers published a paper based on questionnaires. Did you look at the questions? -Q Querius
KF,
DD, you know your infinite regress claim was broken when you made it. Reasoning from first facts, axioms, etc is commonplace.
Of course reasoning from axioms is commonplace, how could you doubt it? But since you didn't freely choose those axioms, any choice based on those axioms can't be free. Not sure why you don't see this by now. dogdoc
re 605: Q asks, "If you’ve read all these books (um, which ones?)..." Interesting question, so I looked through my library and found these: QED - Feynman What is Real - Becker In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat - Gribbins In Search of Schrodinger’s Kitten - Gribbins Six Impossible Things - Gribbins Intro to QM - Griffiths How the Hippies Saved Physics - Kaiser Drawing Things Apart - Kaiser Reality Is Not What It Seems - Rovelli Through Two Doors at Once - Ananthaswami To Explain the World - Weinberg The Quark and the Jaguar - Gell-Mann The Hunting of the Quark - Riordan Taking the Quantum Leap - Wolf Also Genius (Feynman) - Glieck Chaos - Glieck More books by Feynman Various books on Relativity, including Einsteins where he derives the Lorentz transformation formulas Viola Lee
Q, not this time, if things crash. KF kairosfocus
DD, you know your infinite regress claim was broken when you made it. Reasoning from first facts, axioms, etc is commonplace. KF PS, Euclid's axioms etc:
Postulates Let the following be postulated: Postulate 1. To draw a straight line from any point to any point. Postulate 2. To produce a finite straight line continuously in a straight line. Postulate 3. To describe a circle with any center and radius. Postulate 4. That all right angles equal one another. Postulate 5. That, if a straight line falling on two straight lines makes the interior angles on the same side less than two right angles, the two straight lines, if produced indefinitely, meet on that side on which are the angles less than the two right angles. Common Notions Common notion 1. Things which equal the same thing also equal one another. Common notion 2. If equals are added to equals, then the wholes are equal. Common notion 3. If equals are subtracted from equals, then the remainders are equal. Common notion 4. Things which coincide with one another equal one another. Common notion 5. The whole is greater than the part. [--> Finite whole and proper part, now]
kairosfocus
Q, you write: "If you’ve read all these books (um, which ones?), why did you ask all your questions of me?" I see a confusion between us. I was not asking questions because I expected you to educate me. I was asking to see how you described and argued for some of the things you were saying. I was interested in discussion to compare different understandings. Viola Lee
Viola Lee @598,
Q, I’ve read quite a few books, It looks like you and I have different ideas as to what constitutes a discussion here. Telling me to read more books and watch videos doesn’t really count, in my opinion, so we’re probably done.
If you've read all these books (um, which ones?), why did you ask all your questions of me? My responses were genuine. Watching a video interview or presentation is much faster than reading the books that someone wrote on quantum mechanics or cosmology. Then, you can choose to read more from those that are the most interesting. Sometimes panel discussions or debates between theoretical physicists and cosmologists are also valuable, since they can bring out their differences more clearly and quickly. Unfortunately, such panels are LONG, but they are worth the investment of time if you're truly interested, and the people participating are highly qualified in their respective fields. For example, one of the more-famous panels was hosted by astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson in 2016: 2016 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate: Is the Universe a Simulation? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgSZA3NPpBs -Q Querius
Viola, See @603 for my take on Plantinga's argument (known as the EAAN) that posits a low or inscrutable probability that human minds are reliable given the conjunction of naturalism and belief in evolutionary theory, and what the implications of that are. I have my own doubts regarding the argument, and I share your opinion that the reliability of our minds in some respects seems quite easy to establish, while there are obvious, systematic cognitive errors that afflict our thinking as well. dogdoc
Origenes, I'm pretty surprised that you simply refuse to acknowledge our discussion regarding free will. You claimed that you could control your thoughts and beliefs, and I took exception to that idea by pointing out that one requires their thoughts and beliefs in order to control their thoughts and beliefs. I used your own analogy about driving a car to show how your model of volition is simply incoherent. I would think that you'd either like to attempt to refute my argument, or concede that perhaps your thinking on the matter wasn't clear. Now, regarding the EAAN, I have been quick to say that it's quite likely that I don't understand critical details of either Plantinga's various versions of his argument, or those of his critics. In a few minutes of perusing I've found that my objection is well known as the tu quoque argument against the EAAN, and there is ongoing debate regarding that objection and many others. I've also learned that the EAAN is likely not valid against naturalism alone, but rather only the conjunction of naturalism and evolutionary theory. I myself do not subscribe to the idea that evolutionary theory successfully explains the existence of complex organisms, so my position is that the EAAN doesn't actually argue against anything that I believe. (For those who might imagine that my lack of belief that evolutionary theory successfully explains biological complexity could indicate a sympathy toward what is called "Intelligent Design", that is not the case at all). There is certainly a lot to digest when digging into the EAAN - here's a fun one:
We will show that once Hendricks’ solution to Wunder’s objection is accepted, a puzzle ensues: if the EAAN provides the naturalist with a defeater for all of her beliefs, then an extension of it appears to provide God with a defeater for all of his beliefs. https://philarchive.org/archive/HENDTE
Anyway, here I'm taking a stance that I wish you and others would take: Be open! The argument I came up with against the EAAN may well be unsound, and again, a priori, I would bet that Plantinga would not be vulnerable to such a simple refutation. And I concede this even though my argument still makes sense to me! In fact, if I insisted that my simple tu quoque argument topples a sophisticated and well-known philosophical argument like the EAAN, it would be like those who believe a silly comment like "If free will is false, why are you arguing about it?" constitutes a significant attack on Strawson's Basic Argument against free will (or my version of that, which I've presented here). dogdoc
Vivid,
All fine and good what I don’t get is your claim that free choice is impossible
Correct. My argument is, I believe, unrefuted here, and shows that for choices based on reasons, we cannot be a "first cause" of our choices.
“ Ok we don’t have free choice and you have not freely chosen all your posts.”
This follows from the statement that, in the sense I've outlined, free choice is impossible. dogdoc
Kairosfocus @594,
Sooner or later the common man will connect these dots and he will conclude that he has been willfully misled by ideologically driven academics who institutionalised nonsense.
The academics pushing these disastrous ideas, will only remember them as the "glory days" of fame and grants. Most of their students that they indoctrinated will slowly over time drop the propaganda and evolve values based on pragmatic selection, finding that the ideals and ideologies foisted on them are actually unworkable, can get them jobs only in academia, government, paid activism, media, and other artificial environments.
The reckoning will be severe, likely he will demand an accounting over his tax dollars and will demand mass firings in the context of closing down institutions that betrayed him.
I kinda doubt this. From a historical perspective, I think it will simply lead to suffering that people will blame on a political party, corporations, global warming, or simply "bad luck." They will tend to become more cynical and selfish.
Unfortunately, that is liable to be at the foot of a disastrous cliff.
Yes, I agree based on historical precedence. One of my favorite quotes come from Robert Heinlein:
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded—here and there, now and then—are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as “bad luck.”
And, I'd add, wasn't TRUE socialism. -Q Querius
re 594: I stand corrected accuracy would refer to whether our beliefs are true (accurately describe the aspect of reality to which we are referring.) Therefore, I change my statement above to “It seems like the way to test whether our minds are accurate is to see what they say about the world and see if the world really is that way.” Reliability refers to getting the same result under closely similar circumstances. This seems to be testable also, by looking ourselves at multiple instances, but also having multiple people assess the situation. The minds of human beings are very reliable in their beliefs about some things (here is a tree) but much less reliable in others. These two are related: if we don’t actually have a valid method of testing the accuracy of some statement we can’t have reliability either, it seems. So back to my main point: leaving aside the question of whether materialism is true (I am a dualist - a non-materialist,) can someone explain the argument as to why, under materialism minds are unreliable. Even if we are “determined” creatures, why could we not be such that we can ascertain fairly reliable and accurate beliefs about the world? Viola Lee
Dogdoc @ Let’s look at the following simple argument:
1.) If determinism is true, if everything acts 100% in accord with the laws of nature, then there is no free will. 2.) Rationality requires free will. From 1.) and 2.) 3.) Rationality does not exist [if determinism is true]
Let's not argue over these premises, the point I want to elucidate is this: You cannot counter the quoted argument by saying: Rationality either exists or it does not. If it exists, then your argument fails. And if rationality does not exist, then your argument also fails, because then your argument is self-referential and you are also not rational. Do you understand why you cannot do that? Hint: the person who makes the argument does not state that he accepts determinism as true. And so it is with Plantinga’s argument. Plantinga does not accept materialism & evolutionism as true, and therefor it is not self-referential when he argues that minds are unreliable under M&E. - - - - Note that WRT to the quoted argument it also does not follow that if rationality exists, the argument fails. Simply because it could be the case that determinism is not true and that rationality exists. So, your ...
2) If our minds are reliable, then they are reliable no matter what else is true, so in this case his argument fails.
... is also wrong. Surely, it can be the case that materialism & evolutionism are not true and that our minds are reliable. This alignes perfectly with Plantinga's claim that If M&E were true our minds would be unreliable. Origenes
Q, I've read quite a few books, It looks like you and I have different ideas as to what constitutes a discussion here. Telling me to read more books and watch videos doesn't really count, in my opinion, so we're probably done. Viola Lee
F/N: John Searle, in Rationality in Action, poses the problem thusly:
The most widely held contemporary view on the topic of free will is called "compatibilism ." The compatibilist view is that if we properly understand these terms, freedom of the will is completely compatible with determinism. To say that an action is determined is just to say that it has causes like any other event, and to say that it is free is just to say that it is determined by certain kinds of causes, and not others . . . . I think compatibilism simply misses the point about the problem of free will . As I have defined it, libertarianism is definitely inconsistent with determinism . To repeat, the determinist says, "Every action is preceded by causally sufficient conditions that determine that action." [? presumably, reducing perceived choice to an insubstantial perception] And the libertarian asserts the negation of that: "For some actions the antecedent causal conditions are not sufficient to determine the action." . . . . We come by the conviction of the freedom of the will, in my sense, because of the experiences of the gap [between antecedent circumstances, reasons, feelings and influences and the act of choice] . . . . The problem of the freedom of the will comes down to this: assuming no further relevant external stimuli enter the brain , was the brain state at tl , neurobiologically described, causally sufficient to determine the brain state at t2, and was the state at t2 sufficient to carry it to t3 [etc.]? If the answer to those questions is yes, for this and all other relevantly similar cases, then we have no free will. The psychologically real gap corresponds to no neurobiological reality and the freedom of the will is a massive illusion . If the answer to that question is no, then given certain assumptions about the role of consciousness, we really do have free will.
This carries us back to the force of Reppert's point:
. . . let us suppose that brain state A [--> notice, state of a wetware, electrochemically operated computational substrate], which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief [--> conscious, perceptual state or disposition] that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.
In short, rationality requires freedom, and compatibilism by asserting determinism implies grand delusion. Which, is sufficient to rule it out. KF kairosfocus
Vivid, compatibilism fails, but seems to obscure the failure. It is patent that indeed, if "we don’t have free choice [then] you have not freely chosen all your posts." Not only so, but the arguments and their seeming plausibility have equally been driven by a-rational prior causes that also generate a delusion of rational, responsible significant freedom to think and decide then act. The credibility of mind, conscience, logic, knowledge, legitimate expertise/authority etc collapses. Indeed, compatibilism falls in the collapse. So, why the compatibilist conviction that they have grasped an objective truth? Delusion. The truth is it's not compatibilism but DELUSIONISM. KF PS, remember now how to do block quotes? kairosfocus
DD “I think we’ve spoken about how compatibilism allows one to understand agency while acknowledging that choices can’t be ultimately free” All fine and good what I don’t get is your claim that free choice is impossible which brings me back to “ Ok we don’t have free choice and you have not freely chosen all your posts.” Vivid vividbleau
Viola Lee @582,
There seems to be a schism between theoretical physicists on materialism, the interpretation of quantum mechanics, and the nature of information.
Yes, there's no common agreement between theoretical physicists on the interpretation of quantum mechanics that has, at least on one occasion, resulted in shouting matches at conventions, or so I’ve read.
But you didn’t explain that schism
Yes, because entire books are written on the subject. No rancor intended, but I’m not motivated to invest the time when you can’t spare 15 minutes to watch a Sabine Hossenfelder video or three.
. . . . and you didn’t say whether you agree with me the all modern physicist are “new materialists” and not “old materialists” in respect to the physical world, even if they are non-materialists in other regards.
Modern physicists are NOT mostly in one camp or even two. And recently, some percentage even believe that there’s at least a 60% chance we’re living in a simulation, perhaps an ancestor simulation. Here’s a 2016 paper surveying 1,200 physicists on various questions on the subject: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1612.00676.pdf
2. Instead you directed me to Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder’s YouTube channel to you, which is really not helpful, for various reasons, one main one of which is you can’t read, carefully analyze, and quote from a video, as I have explained before.
Yep. Or you could start reading some books on the subject by various authors. I’ve previously mentioned a few, but there are many good ones.
So you write, “In some of the videos, you’ll notice that she staunchly defends the “old” materialism.” Obviously I can’t “notice” that without watching these undefined videos.
Oh, the pain! Fine, purchase some books on the subject. Read the reviews first.
I did watch a few minutes of a short one on measurement.
Great! That wasn’t so bad, was it? :-)
This is not the position of someone who is defending “old materialism”. Can you provide, in writing (not a video) a statement that “staunchly defends the “old” materialism.”?
Sure. If you want a hyper-materialistic view, check out videos by Matt O’Dowd here: https://www.youtube.com/c/pbsspacetime/videos Again, they’re shorter than a book.
3. You then say, “As a result of her ideological prejudice,…,” and lLater in discussing Smolin calling himself a realist, you say, “I meant it only as an example of an admitted presupposition, the direct and honest confession of an a priori philosophical commitment. Why do these two people have “prejudices” and “a priori philosophical commitment” and non-materialists don’t. It seems to me there are competing views, and there are people who have different positions from which they approach the issues. It seems to be that you are working from your own “prejudices and a priori philosophical commitment” in declaring they are ones doing that.
They can’t help drawing conclusions when pressed, but the fact remains that no one has enough facts to draw a valid scientific conclusion. Dr. Hossenfelder even wrote an entire book on this subject, complaining about the surfeit of speculation and lack of experimental evidence!
So I don’t think labeling people with which we have disagreements as prejudiced and biased is helpful: We should just try to articulate our views as best we can and let others consider them.
As I said before, the disagreements aren’t over the experimental evidence, the disagreements are over the interpretation of what it all means to reality. Currently, the evidence seems to be more strongly in favor of a probabilistic, information-based reality. Notice that I said “more strongly in favor of,” not "proves."
However, you write, “Whatever consciousness and free will are, a materialist must show some materialistic property at quantum levels that can eventually be expressed at macro scales as consciousness.” I don’t think a materialist “must show” that any more than I “must show” how an immaterial mind can interact with the physical world the way that it does. These are mysteries which may or may not be solved some day, but right now they are metaphysical assumptions held by parties on both sides of the issue.
The materialist asserts that consciousness originates from the properties of matter. So, they need to find and demonstrate that property. It’s far more difficult or even impossible for me to prove that consciousness does NOT originate from a property of matter. Here’s an analogy. Let’s say you believe in alien beings visiting the planet. To prove this you this, all you need to do is present one of them. Case closed. But for me to prove there are NO SUCH THING as alien beings ever having visited the earth is virtually impossible to prove. The two positions aren’t on equal ground.
5. We agree that the probabilistic nature of QM precludes determinism. Can you explain the argument of those that don’t?
No, I can’t. They wrote books trying to squirm out of the results of the double-slit experiment and others that followed such as quantum erasure and the quantum Zeno effect.
In respect to Smolin, can you point to things he has said that make him both a determinist and a materialist of the old sort. It’s not Smolin himself that I care much about, it’s the details of what you are referring to when you mention “deterministic materialists.”
I probably could, but I’d have to read his books again and find quotes that demonstrate his presumption of deterministic materialism. That would take me many hours and I’m not willing to do that for you. Sorry.
Obviously, such people are not non-materialists, but I’d like to see more about whether you are accurately describing their positions.
Sure, definitely confirm whether my characterizations are correct or not and then let us all know: https://www.amazon.com/Lee-Smolin/e/B000APDUXE%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share -Q Querius
Origenes, You skipped my @580 and @581 entirely! The whole notion of you controlling your thoughts and desires was counter to my argument, but I believe I've refuted that particular model of volition. We can't possibly control our thoughts and beliefs the way a driver controls a car, as you put it, it just makes no sense. Now let's move on to the second topic, Plantinga's argument.
Let me put it this way: by arguing that, under materialism & evolution, minds are unreliable, Plantinga draws a circle around minds produced under materialism & evolution and rightly arrogates himself a position outside of this circle from which he can safely judge these minds. He stands untainted outside the circle, and you mistakenly thinks he is standing in it.
Well, Plantinga is a formidable philosopher, and his argument is quite well known, so a priori I'm quite open to the possibility that I've missed his point. Still it seems to me that the truth of some proposition can't depend on whose mind is reliable and whose isn't. So let's just go through the steps here. The first two seem uncontroversial: 1) Either our minds are reliable or they are not 2) If our minds are reliable, then they are reliable no matter what else is true, so in this case his argument fails. Now we come to the step you take issue with: 3) If our minds are not reliable, then they are not reliable to assess any truth or argument, including this one, so his argument fails in this case as well. Here you're saying that even if all human minds are unreliable, Plantinga's mind is still reliable, and he (just him?) can use his reliable mind to see that everybody else's mind (or is it just those people who believe in naturalism?) is unreliable. That seems terminally confused, so I have to assume I still haven't understood the argument. dogdoc
BobSinclair,
If our minds were truly unreliable and we could never know, then by that logic the human race sure got lucky. Scary to think of the pilot flying this aircraft having an unreliable mind or the surgeon who’s to perform an operation believing in his profession but his mind is unreliable.
Yes indeed, so this certainly argues that human minds are reliable whether or not naturalism/evolution is true.
Also you offer a metaphor regarding a cue ball/pool cue etc etc. that simply implies determinism. In which case no argument has been given or could be given.
My primary argument here, that I've laid out endlessly, that shows free will is ultimately impossible, does not involve determinism or causation at all. My pool table metaphor was intended to illustrate the notion of a "proximate freedom", where even though we are not ultimately responsible for our choices, we still do make choices, so the notion of agency still makes sense. (It should be noted that under that sort of compatibilist freedom, a fully autonomous robot would have the same sort of agency). dogdoc
Hmmm. Seems like the way to test whether our minds are reliable is to see what they say about the world and see if the world really is that way. Of course, we might think the world is one way and then perceive it to be that way when it really wasn't, so our minds when be reliable about the way the world appeared to be but unreliable as to how the world really is. I really don't get this reliability argument??? Maybe someone can explain "reliability" better without reference to any metaphysical assumption. Viola Lee
Dogdoc @ In defense of Plantinga - one more explanation attempt: Plantinga makes an argument that under materialism & Darwinian evolution our minds are unreliable. Now you come up with:
If our minds are not reliable, then they are not reliable to assess any truth or argument, including this one, so your argument fails in this case as well.
Sometimes an argument is self-referential. Here it is not. It would be self-referential if Plantinga would have stated that he accepts materialism & evolution as true. For example, if Plantinga would have made the argument: 1) I accept materialism as true 2) Under materialism, true statements are impossible. Then you could rightly say (because premise 1): your argument fails, is not true, because it is self-referentially incoherent. But this is not the case here. Plantinga argues that under materialism (which he does not accept) minds are unreliable. If his argument is succesful, if it turns out that he is correct, if minds are indeed unreliable under materialism, then one cannot counter by saying : this also goes for your mind. Your mind is also unreliable, therefor your argument fails. And that is exactly what you did. Let me put it this way: by arguing that, under materialism & evolution, minds are unreliable, Plantinga draws a circle around minds produced under materialism & evolution and rightly arrogates himself a position outside of this circle from which he can safely judge these minds. He stands untainted outside the circle, and you mistakenly thinks he is standing in it. Origenes
DD, (Away on business, so unable to give a proper response) (( 1) If materialism is true then our minds are (likely) unreliable 2) Our minds can’t be unreliable 3) Therefore materialism must not be true (modus tollens) However your (2) is not correct – our minds could be unreliable, and if that were the case, we would not be able to know it!)). )A quick comment on the above argument.) If our minds were truly unreliable and we could never know, then by that logic the human race sure got lucky. Scary to think of the pilot flying this aircraft having an unreliable mind or the surgeon who’s to perform an operation believing in his profession but his mind is unreliable. Also you offer a metaphor regarding a cue ball/pool cue etc etc. that simply implies determinism. In which case no argument has been given or could be given. BobSinclair
DD 586 My position has been consistent a self determined choice is a free choice. Vivid vividbleau
Vivid, I think we've spoken about how compatibilism allows one to understand agency while acknowledging that choices can't be ultimately free. The cue ball makes the four ball go in the pocket, even if the cue stick hit the cue ball, pushed by pool player, etc. dogdoc
DD Ok we don’t have free choice and you have not freely chosen all your posts. Good to know Vivid vividbleau
Viola,
Some religious and philosophical systems would say that thinking that we have a part of us that is the controller and a part that is controlled in our being is the number one philosophical mistake about the self, and a source of a great deal of the struggle in being a human being.
I'd say truer words have not been spoken. But as we've seen with Origenes, and contra WJM, this is the view of volition that most people intuitively hold. This metaphor may be a more clear way to make the point than my regress argument. dogdoc
Some religious and philosophical systems would say that thinking that we have a part of us that is the controller and a part that is controlled in our being is the number one philosophical mistake about the self, and a source of a great deal of the struggle in being a human being. Viola Lee
Again, looking at Origene's idea that we can steer our own thoughts and beliefs, like we are the driver and the thoughts and beliefs are the car. So if we control the car, what controls us? Well, we do of course! But don't we need our thoughts and beliefs in order to control ourselves? Yes. But we just said the thoughts and beliefs were the car, not the driver. So the car steers the driver, and the driver steers the car? Wait, that can't be it. We use the car to control ourselves while we steer the car? That doesn't sound right. Origenes, can you perhaps come up with a more clear metaphor for how all this works? dogdoc
Origenes,
For me to be rational, for me to be able to think and understand, I need to be in control of my thoughts. If I lack the ability to steer my thoughts, if my thoughts have their own life, if they ignore me, if they go their own way independent from me, then by what metric can I call them “my thoughts”?
See @577
Why do have to argue these things? Why is it not completely obvious? It baffles me that someone can say “I do not agree with this at all” and “I still don’t understand it”
My feeling exactly :-) dogdoc
Dogdoc @
But I still don’t understand why you would say rationality requires ultimate “control” (by what?) over our thoughts and beliefs.
For me to be rational, for me to be able to think and understand, I need to be in control of my thoughts. If I lack the ability to steer my thoughts, if my thoughts have their own life, if they ignore me, if they go their own way independent from me, then by what metric can I call them "my thoughts"? What horror! In order for me to engage in rational behavior I need to be in control of my thinking, I have to sit behind the steering wheel. -- - - Why do have to argue these things? Why is it not completely obvious? It baffles me that someone can say "I do not agree with this at all" and "I still don't understand it" Origenes
Origenes,
In defense of Plantinga: 1) Your argument is that if naturalism (or materialism etc) is true, then we have no reason to believe our minds are reliable (in Plantinga’s sense). 2) Either our minds are reliable or they are not, by the excluded middle. Hmm … Why can minds not be partly reliable?
Plantinga explains what he means by "reliable", I don't have the reference handy, but I mean whatever he means.
For example, why can it not be the case that our minds are reliable WRT to religion, but unreliable WRT politics; or vice versa?
Well sure, that is quite true, actually - cognitive science has revealed a whole lot of different cognitive biases and bugs that appear in specific sorts of contexts.
3) If our minds are reliable, then they are reliable no matter what else is true (e.g. whether or not naturalism is true), and your argument fails in this case. Plantiga’s argument is, if I understand it correctly, that, under materialism and Darwinian evolution, our minds are probably unreliable.
He says the reliability is "either of low probability or inscrutable" I believe.
Given Darwinism, our beliefs are, like everything else, selected by survival success, not by truth. And since our beliefs are not selected by truth, Plantiga concludes that it is more probable than not that our minds are unreliable.
Again, he just says "either of low probability or inscrutable".
4) If our minds are not reliable, then they are not reliable to assess any truth or argument, including this one, so your argument fails in this case as well. Haha. Nonsense.
Huh? That is actually exactly what Plantinga means! An unreliable mind cannot be trusted to understand anything.
If, under materialism/evolution, our minds are (most probably) unreliable, then evolutionism fails, not Plantinga’s argument.
No, they both do of course! You seem to be trying to argue this: 1) If materialism is true then our minds are (likely) unreliable 2) Our minds can't be unreliable 3) Therefore materialism must not be true (modus tollens) However your (2) is not correct - our minds could be unreliable, and if that were the case, we would not be able to know it! dogdoc
Origenes says we must control our thoughts and beliefs. So let's get this straight. There is a person (call it a self, a soul, a mind, an entity, whatever), and you think this person controls their thoughts and beliefs. This must mean that these thoughts and beliefs are external to the person. The person is the controller, and the thoughts and beliefs are what is being controlled. But obviously the person needs their thoughts and beliefs in order to decide how to control their thoughts and beliefs. As KF would say, this is self-referential incoherence. dogdoc
Dogdoc @564 In defense of Plantinga:
1) Your argument is that if naturalism (or materialism etc) is true, then we have no reason to believe our minds are reliable (in Plantinga’s sense). 2) Either our minds are reliable or they are not, by the excluded middle.
Hmm ... Why can minds not be partly reliable? For example, why can it not be the case that our minds are reliable WRT to religion, but unreliable WRT politics; or vice versa?
3) If our minds are reliable, then they are reliable no matter what else is true (e.g. whether or not naturalism is true), and your argument fails in this case.
Plantiga’s argument is, if I understand it correctly, that, under materialism and Darwinian evolution, our minds are probably unreliable. Given Darwinism, our beliefs are, like everything else, selected by survival success, not by truth. And since our beliefs are not selected by truth, Plantiga concludes that it is more probable than not that our minds are unreliable.
4) If our minds are not reliable, then they are not reliable to assess any truth or argument, including this one, so your argument fails in this case as well.
Haha. Nonsense. If, under materialism/evolution, our minds are (most probably) unreliable, then evolutionism fails, not Plantinga’s argument.
5) In either case your argument against naturalism fails.
Only in your wildest dreams it does. Origenes
"inconceivable!" https://youtu.be/D9MS2y2YU_o?t=120 -Q Querius
re 572: I agree. Conceivable is in the eye of the beholder, and usually entails all sorts of other assumptions (some equally inconceivable to some) to create coherency. Viola Lee
Origenes,
My argument is: 1) If materialism is true, then everything (including our thoughts & beliefs) results from laws of nature & events long before we were born.
I'll accept that by your definition (without saying I believe in that, which I don't).
2) We control neither laws of nature nor events long before we were born.
Agreed.
3) It follows that we do not control our thoughts & beliefs.
Agreed in some sense, but there are compatibilist senses of "control" under which you could still assign control (a proximate control) to the chooser. Like when the four ball hits the eight ball in the pocket, it was because of the four ball, but also because of the cue ball, then the stick, then the pool player, and so on.
Therefor, assuming that rationality requires control over one’s thoughts & beliefs, 4) Under materialism we are not rational.
I do not agree with this at all. Again, I'm not arguing for determinism or materialism - my argument is not based on those concepts in any way. But I still don't understand why you would say rationality requires ultimate "control" (by what?) over our thoughts and beliefs. For one thing, obviously I could program a deterministic system that would choose rational behaviors, like deep-space probes that diagnose themselves and take appropriate repair actions, so that would appear to be something deterministic that acts rationally. For another thing, I have argued here many times that we are not able to simply choose our own beliefs (try it!). dogdoc
Viola
Libertarian free will, where we can truly exercise uncaused free will – we are capable of being little first causes – is a conceivable coherent metaphysical speculation.
I personally can't conceive of something that functions as a choice-maker where that function does not proceed by either cause->effect or randomness->effect. But that could be just a limit to my imagination.
I don’t think it makes defensible sense, and I certainly don’t think we could ever establish that it is the true case. But I think people can make up “conceivable coherent metaphysical speculation[s]” for just about any position they want to.
Fair enough, as long as you don't insist that they should be conceivable to everyone else :-) dogdoc
Dogdoc @564
1) Your argument is that if naturalism (or materialism etc) is true, then we have no reason to believe our minds are reliable (in Plantinga’s sense).
No. My argument is: 1) If materialism is true, then everything (including our thoughts & beliefs) results from laws of nature & events long before we were born. 2) We control neither laws of nature nor events long before we were born. 3) It follows that we do not control our thoughts & beliefs. Therefor, assuming that rationality requires control over one’s thoughts & beliefs, 4) Under materialism we are not rational. - - - - - Perhaps you wish to discuss indeterminism. I got that covered; see Van Inwagen #355. Origenes
re 567: glad you responded, Q. Again, I can't guarantee when my reply will appear, because there is lots to respond to, but assuming life goes as planned (and sometimes it doesn't), my intention is to follow through with a reply. Viola Lee
at 566, DD writes, “ [I'm] just a bit more certain that there is no conceivable, coherent metaphysical speculation that could possibly restore the sort of freedom most of us intuitively feel we have.” Libertarian free will, where we can truly exercise uncaused free will - we are capable of being little first causes - is a conceivable coherent metaphysical speculation. I don't think it makes defensible sense, and I certainly don't think we could ever establish that it is the true case. But I think people can make up "conceivable coherent metaphysical speculation[s]” for just about any position they want to. :-) Viola Lee
DD, I will comment on points: >>Let’s say you make a choice C for reason R.>> 1 - Thus, you have freedom to reason, or even to refuse to reason, then there are the facts, premises, axioms, first truths, etc that one may be aware or ignorant of, or may reject etc. >> As you say, you are not causally determined by R to choose C,>> 2 - Yes, see the sketched out matrix of alternatives. >>you could have chosen to discount reason R and chosen C’ instead. >> 3 - a key aspect of freedom. >>However, in order to make choice C’, you would either need to make it for no reason at all, >> 4 - Which one can and sadly many do, acting on impulse or the like not reason. >>or you would need another reason R’ upon which C’ was based.>> 5 - You are trying to get an infinite regress (or alternatively, a q-begging circle) but one is not locked up to such. 6 - As noted, there are things which, more or less legitimately, are first plausibles, finitely remote start points for onward reasoning. As has been pointed out several times and side stepped. 7 - Have you for example done, say Euclidean Geometry as a simple example of such a pattern? >>And so on.>> 8 - Only because you have again ignored first steps that are actually a commonplace of real world reasoning. 9 - Fail, again. KF kairosfocus
Viola Lee @493,
Darn it, Q, I was going to do some other things this evening, but I’ve decided to respond to ou instead, cause now this stuff is on my mind!
The old idea of materialism is that there really is a definite, solid (in some sense), substance we call matter. We have known for a long time that such a substance doesn’t exist, and that the old view of materialism based on “matter and energy” of this sort is not adequate. Quantum mechanics has shown us that everything, such as light, electrons, more fundamental particles, etc. are “something else”, although what that something else is is the subject of much discussion. But we know the mathematics of QM works, and we known that results completely foreign to out intuition, such as those for which the Nobel prize was recently given. So, “new materialism” sees the new world as founded on a world of QM events rather than “stuff” like matter. So I assume modern physicists are new materialists, not old ones. Do you have thoughts about this distinction?
Yes, I do. There seems to be a schism between theoretical physicists on materialism, the interpretation of quantum mechanics, and the nature of information. For example, I deeply respect Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder’s observations and arguments, and I’d strongly recommend her YouTube channel to you: https://www.youtube.com/c/SabineHossenfelder/videos She has several videos on the topics of the Big Bang, free will, is infinity real, and others in which you’ve expressed an interest. In some of the videos, you’ll notice that she staunchly defends the “old” materialism and is at odds with Wigner, Vedral, and several other theoretical physicists. As a result of her ideological prejudice, she struggles to find materialistic explanations for many quantum enigmas that seem to point to consciousness, free will, the measurement problem, etc. Even with that in mind, I’d still recommend watching her excellent videos. Personally, I have no problem of our consciousness living in a probabilistic, chaotic universe and I embrace the idea that, contrary to Einstein, God delights playing with dice. I also take issue with her take on information loss in a black hole as being “unsolved and unsolvable.” My argument goes like this: “Just because information crossing the event horizon is no longer accessible to us, it doesn’t mean it’s destroyed. Similarly, information that we send out as coded pulses of light are also inaccessible to us, but are not destroyed and might eventually be received by an observer on Pluto, for example.”
2. You write, “This includes thoughts, emotions . . . and your will.” The question of our mind and consciousness is what separates materialists from non-materialists. Simply put, I think, a new materialist (I am not one) would think that whatever the mind and consciousness are, they also arise somehow from the same quantum foundations as the physical world does. Non-materialists believe that mind and consciousness are a different kind of something that is not a product of the QM foundation, but nevertheless can interact with it. (This latter is obvious because our mind and our body interact with each other.)
I agree with the “non materialists.” Whatever consciousness and free will are, a materialist must show some materialistic property at quantum levels that can eventually be expressed at macro scales as consciousness. This has never been done, and if it ever can be done, then cosmic humanists, pantheists, and astrologers will all rejoice! Have you ever read this? https://www.mit.edu/people/dpolicar/writing/prose/text/thinkingMeat.html
3. “The deterministic part of it is the idea that all events, including human choices and actions, are completely predetermined from previous states.” Yes, that is the definition of determinism. But QM tells us that probability is a true phenomena, not just a result of our ignorance. My understanding is that you look at an atom of a radioactive substance with a half-life of one day, there is a 50% probability it will decay today, but there is no cause – no reason – for whether it does or not. That event is undetermined and does not depend on the previous state of anything. (Feynman’s little book QED talks about the more sophisticated example of light partially passes through and partially reflects through a pane of glass.)
Yes, exactly. And that’s what I believe as well, but not everyone does. For example, Dr. Hossenfelder chooses not to believe it. What’s curious is that constant observation/measurement actually seems to prevent spontaneous fission from occurring. This is called the Quantum Zeno Effect. Naturally, materialists claim they’ve “debunked” it—or maybe blame it on Russian disinformation. LOL
So I would think a new, QM-based materialist would recognize that at any moment a only probable event could happen and set such causal chain on a new course.
Yep. If I throw a fair die randomly, each of its six faces has a 1/6th chance of appearing. I believe that which face is probabilistic, but the choices are determined to be only the integers 1-6. The domino-effect events you're describing are called a “von Neumann chain.”
4. You write, “Lee Smolin in his latest book (2019), describes himself as a “realist,” meaning that objects exist and have properties independent of our measurements,” and you then offer a long quote which I’ll partially respond to, although Smolin is not here – you are, so that complicates the discussion.
I meant it only as an example of an admitted presupposition, the direct and honest confession of an a piori philosophical commitment.
Agreed. -Q Querius
Viola,
Paxx, that’s what I think. DD called this “proximate freedom” at one point, which is a term I liked. We have that, and thinking about what else we do or do not have seems to me takes us into inaccessible metaphysics.
I'm happy with that view too, just a bit more certain that there is no conceivable, coherent metaphysical speculation that could possibly restore the sort of freedom most of us intuitively feel we have. dogdoc
Paxx @561
5) In order for P to have freely chosen R, P must have reason(s) R’ for that choice. I take this to mean that for a choice to be possible, there must be more than one set of reasons from which to make the choice. Is that right?
No, that is not what this means. It means simply that for any choice, there must be some reason, or else the choice is made for no reason whatsoever (and is thus not a valuable form of free will).
6) In order for R’ to be freely chosen, there must be reason(s) R”, and so on in an infinite regress. I take this to mean that unused reasons, from step 5, has yet another alternate set of reasons that are not the first set of reasons. Is that right? If so, why must such a regress exist?
No, it doesn't matter what the reason is, and you could make multiple different choices based on the same reason.
It seems to me the simpler and better way to look at it is that whenever a chooser makes a choice, it considers all context variables that it is interested in then renders the choice.
Yes, that is exactly how I look at it, except I call them "reasons" instead of "context variables". The reason I say free choice is impossible is because you cannot possibly choose what the reasons - or context variables - are.
Why does it have to be more complicated than that?
It isn't!!!!!
Also, whether or not the chooser is “truly free” in some transcendent sense seems impossible to know.
I'm not using any transcendent sense, and I say exactly in what sense free choices (those made for reasons) are impossible.
The chooser is essentially a black box. I don’t see how your logic steps reveals the nature of the chooser.
Total black box, my argument has nothing to do with how the chooser deliberates over their reasons, only that they make choices for some reason(s) rather than for no reason at all. dogdoc
Origenes, Your argument - or Haldane's argument, like Plantinga's argument - against naturalism, is unsound: 1) Your argument is that if naturalism (or materialism etc) is true, then we have no reason to believe our minds are reliable (in Plantinga's sense). 2) Either our minds are reliable or they are not, by the excluded middle. 3) If our minds are reliable, then they are reliable no matter what else is true (e.g. whether or not naturalism is true), and your argument fails in this case. 4) If our minds are not reliable, then they are not reliable to assess any truth or argument, including this one, so your argument fails in this case as well. 5) In either case your argument against naturalism fails. dogdoc
Viola Lee: inaccessible metaphysics. At least at this point. Maybe one day researchers will be able to conduct some tests that will reveal consisistency, patterns, or randomness in the chooser. But until then... Paxx
Paxx, that's what I think. DD called this "proximate freedom" at one point, which is a term I liked. We have that, and thinking about what else we do or do not have seems to me takes us into inaccessible metaphysics. Viola Lee
DogDoc, having more carefully considered your logic...
5) In order for P to have freely chosen R, P must have reason(s) R’ for that choice.
I take this to mean that for a choice to be possible, there must be more than one set of reasons from which to make the choice. Is that right?
6) In order for R’ to be freely chosen, there must be reason(s) R”, and so on in an infinite regress.
I take this to mean that unused reasons, from step 5, has yet another alternate set of reasons that are not the first set of reasons. Is that right? If so, why must such a regress exist? It seems to me the simpler and better way to look at it is that whenever a chooser makes a choice, it considers all context variables that it is interested in then renders the choice. Why does it have to be more complicated than that? Also, whether or not the chooser is "truly free" in some transcendent sense seems impossible to know. The chooser is essentially a black box. I don't see how your logic steps reveals the nature of the chooser. Paxx
KF,
DD, a reason is inherently a reflection of freedom, it is not a blindly mechanical or stochastic link in a chain; if it were it would be worthless instantly.
Sure, that's fine, a reason is not a deterministic cause, nor a stochastic cause, no problem. Still you have not evaded the problem: Let's say you make a choice C for reason R. As you say, you are not causally determined by R to choose C, you could have chosen to discount reason R and chosen C' instead. However, in order to make choice C', you would either need to make it for no reason at all, or you would need another reason R' upon which C' was based. And so on. dogdoc
KF @ 551
[ THEN] [q:] I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true.
I do think that Haldane's follow-up is way too mild. Things are actually far worse. He should have said something like this: [THEN] It is utterly inconsequential whether or not ‘my’ beliefs are true, because I cannot act on them, since … I do not control ‘my’ thoughts and suppositions, something beyond my control does. I do not control ‘my’ beliefs, something beyond my control does. I do not control ‘my’ behavior, something beyond my control does. I do not understand anything; nothing does. I do not control anything, I do not exist as a causative factor, the entire show is produced by fermions and bosons. There are no ‘my beliefs’, no ‘my thoughts’, no ‘my suppositions’, no ‘my behavior’. None of it can be said to be mine. Besides, terms like “beliefs”, “thoughts” and so on are just inaccurate placeholders for rigourous physical descriptions. If, under materialism, I exist at all, then, at best, I am a hallucinating unthinking powerless epiphenomenon. Origenes
DD, have you forgotten your 487 above?
4) Therefore, in order for C to be a free choice, P must have freely chosen R. 5) In order for P to have freely chosen R, P must have reason(s) R’ for that choice. [--> a reason is not a compulsion] 6) In order for R’ to be freely chosen, there must be reason(s) R”, and so on in an infinite regress. [--> we have premises [Any Logic 101 textbook?], we have observed and reliably reported facts, we have axioms [Euclid?], we have self evident first truths, we have first plausibles we accept, all of which are at the finitely remote start of a chain of reasoning] 7) It is impossible that at any point in this regress that P can make a choice based on reasons that P has freely chosen. [--> just exposed as utterly, outrageously false] 8) Therefore, free choice is impossible. [--> denial, but ill founded]
That denial and its utter want of foundation then unwillingness to heed correction, tell us worlds. This is what our civilisation has come to, this is how reasonably educated people feel free to argue in public and how others then jump on the band wagon. We are in trouble. KF kairosfocus
DD, a reason is inherently a reflection of freedom, it is not a blindly mechanical or stochastic link in a chain; if it were it would be worthless instantly. I have already highlighted self-moved, reflexively acting agency as a first cause [cf Plato above] and the role of self evident first principles and more broadly first plausibles. Then, your imaginary robot is not a responsibly, rationally free agent, in effect it expresses the canned reasoning of its programmers. The robot cannot argue, it can only issue a canned playback of the reasoning of its programmers. A bit more sophisticated than a book but the principle is the same. KF kairosfocus
Well, I dunno Dogdoc, I think I know how Odysseus must have felt, tied to his mast, listening to the seductive sirens’ song. I feel, if only I could wrest myself from my mast of emotional commitment to my own belief in constrained choice, I could leap into the sea and join you.
Ah Alan, take the leap! It will make you.... free! hahahaha
I help run The Skeptical Zone. It’s a bit quiet there but I know one or two others are interested in broadening the discussion. Would you be interested in contributing there or, failing that, mind me citing you?
Sure I'll pop by there. Been there before, took a few years off :-) dogdoc
Well, I dunno Dogdoc, I think I know how Odysseus must have felt, tied to his mast, listening to the seductive sirens' song. I feel, if only I could wrest myself from my mast of emotional commitment to my own belief in constrained choice, I could leap into the sea and join you. I help run The Skeptical Zone. It's a bit quiet there but I know one or two others are interested in broadening the discussion. Would you be interested in contributing there or, failing that, mind me citing you? Alan Fox
KF,
DD, you explicitly denied freedom, I simply pointed out the self referential incoherence of such a view; thus, self falsification. Logic now seems to be a problem for today’s objector.
Just like I said - you refuse to debate anyone who disagrees with you about free will. The reason you won't engage the argument is not because you've shown I've made a logical error, it is because you've discovered this gotcha that you think is clever, calling things self-referential and incoherent. Just pretend I'm a completely deterministic robot, programmed to spew out logic puzzles. I have provided you with a logic puzzle - see if you can solve it and tell me what step is invalid: 1) In order for a choice to be free, it must not be (a) determined by antecedent cause, and (b) not be random, arbitrary, or made for no reason at all. 2) Therefore, free choices must be made for some reason(s). 3) In order for person P to make a free choice C, the reason(s) R upon which C is based must not be chosen by anyone or anything but P. 4) Therefore, in order for C to be a free choice, P must have freely chosen R. 5) In order for P to have freely chosen R, P must have reason(s) R’ for that choice. 6) In order for R’ to be freely chosen, there must be reason(s) R”, and so on in an infinite regress. 7) It is impossible that at any point in this regress that P can make a choice based on reasons that P has freely chosen. 8) Therefore, free choice is impossible. dogdoc
WJM,
Perhaps I wasn’t clear in how I wrote it. What I’m saying is that you are arguing against a form of free will you think other people claim to have; that their free will exists independent of reasons.
No, that's not what I'm arguing. Rather, I'm arguing that any choice that is an exercise of the sort of free will worth wanting is done for some reason. If a choice is made for no reason at all, then that may be free, but that is not worthy of praise or blame. Most people actually do believe in this sort of freedom I would say.
I don’t think anyone here would argue that will exists independent of reasons. I also don’t think anyone here would argue that we are free to pick our own ultimate, fundamental reason/reasons. Most here believe that we have moral duties and obligations, and “first duties” sewn into the fabric of our being and inherent in every decision that cannot be avoided even if we try.
Those moral duties and obligations are just more examples of the reasons that I have talked about. See @244 where I say "Duty is just another reason that we factor into our choices, along with our preferences, beliefs, desires, values, priorities, commitments, hopes, fears, and so on. Not sure why that is hard for you to understand.".
As you have agreed, reasons are not causal. We all agree on this.
Actually I simply don't engage the question of reasons vs. causes.
IOW, you have constructed a straw man argument against something nobody else is actually claiming.
Again I must disagree. I think my opposition here believes that human beings (and not even other animals) have a special power given by God that enables them to make moral decisions - to donate to charity instead of buying the candy bar in my example - and be ultimately responsible for that choice, and to praise those who have the "will power" to do the right thing and blame others for lacking "will power", and hold that they and they alone are responsible for having or lacking that will power in the first place.
Your argument appears to be that whatever “free” refers to doesn’t exist because inherent reasons exist.
Not my argument. I say what free refers to (being the ultimate author of, or chooser of, the reasons for one's choice). I show it's impossible for one to be that.
You have not shown a causal connection between “reasons” and whatever it is that “free” refers to in the term “free will – IOW, what supposedly makes will free. You have just assumed that “free” refers to being “free from reasons.”
No, I say that if a decision is free from reasons then it is in fact a free choice, but it is not the sort of freedom that confers moral responsibility because it is arbitrary. Theists believe that God bestowed free will on humans, and that this gift was of great importance - so important that many think it is worth all of the evil and suffering in the world that God could get rid of if He wanted to, but doesn't because he'd rather have people make free choices. But God would not have been so intent on giving people freedom if all that meant was they could make arbitrary, random decisions. He wanted them to earn their place in heave by freely choosing to do what He wants them to.
You might have asked what “free” means in the term “free will” to the people you wished to debate with before trying to make an argument against what you imagined they meant.
First, I have heard about free will from theists my entire life, and read volumes about the sort of free will that philosophers of all schools of thought have argued throughout history. Second, if theists here felt that I have assumed something wrong about the sort of free will they believe they have, they could argue that.
On my part, the “free” in “free will” doesn’t mean being free from physical limitations or psychological influences, reasons, etc.
I agree, that is not what it means. It means (1) that it is not arbitrary or random (and so instead done for some reason rather than for no reason at all), and (2) that the chooser was responsible for choosing those reasons. I think that is just what many people think freedom is, and that my argument points out that it is impossible. dogdoc
F/N2, Going on, let me lay out an issue that in one form or another has been troubling me for nearly forty years, starting with the Marxists, Freudians and Behaviourists but continuing to today's ultra modernists:
First, some materialists actually suggest that mind is more or less a delusion, which is instantly self-referentially absurd. For instance, Sir Francis Crick is on record, in his 1994 The Astonishing Hypothesis:
. . . that "You", your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll's Alice might have phrased: "You're nothing but a pack of neurons." This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.
The late Philip Johnson has aptly replied that Sir Francis should have therefore been willing to preface his works thusly: "I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules." Johnson then acidly commented: “[t]he plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist.” [Reason in the Balance, 1995.] In short, it is at least arguable that self-referential absurdity is the dagger pointing to the heart of evolutionary materialistic models of mind and its origin. For, there is a very good reason we are cautioned about how easily self-referential statements can become self-refuting, like a snake attacking and swallowing itself tail-first. Any human scheme of thought that undermines responsible [thus, morally governed] rational freedom undermines itself fatally. We thus see inadvertent, inherent self-falsification of evolutionary materialism. But, “inadvertent” counts: it can be hard to recognise and acknowledge the logically fatal nature of the result. Of course, that subjective challenge does not change the objective result: self-referential incoherence and irretrievable self-falsification. (An audio clip, here, by William Lane Craig that summarises Plantinga's argument on this in a nutshell, is useful as a quick reference.) This issue can be discussed at a much higher level, but it can also be drawn out a bit in a fairly simple way for blog level discussion:
a: Evolutionary materialism argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature; from hydrogen to humans by undirected chance and necessity. b: Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws of chance and/or mechanical necessity acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of happenstance initial circumstances.
(This is physicalism. This view covers both the forms where (a) the mind and the brain are seen as one and the same thing, and those where (b) somehow mind emerges from and/or "supervenes" on brain, perhaps as a result of sophisticated and complex software looping. The key point, though is as already noted: physical causal closure -- the phenomena that play out across time, without residue, are in principle deducible or at least explainable up to various random statistical distributions and/or mechanical laws, from prior physical states. Such physical causal closure, clearly, implicitly discounts or even dismisses the causal effect of concept formation and reasoning then responsibly deciding, in favour of specifically physical interactions in the brain-body control loop; indeed, some mock the idea of -- in their view -- an "obviously" imaginary "ghost" in the meat-machine. [There is also some evidence from simulation exercises, that accuracy of even sensory perceptions may lose out to utilitarian but inaccurate ones in an evolutionary competition. "It works" does not warrant the inference to "it is true."] )
c: But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this meat-machine picture. So, we rapidly arrive at Crick's claim in his The Astonishing Hypothesis (1994): what we subjectively experience as "thoughts," "reasoning" and "conclusions" can only be understood materialistically as the unintended by-products of the blind natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains that (as the Smith Model illustrates) serve as cybernetic controllers for our bodies. d: These underlying driving forces are viewed as being ultimately physical, but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance shaped by forces of selection ["nature"] and psycho-social conditioning ["nurture"], within the framework of human culture [i.e. socio-cultural conditioning and resulting/associated relativism]. And, remember, the focal issue to such minds -- notice, this is a conceptual analysis made and believed by the materialists! -- is the physical causal chains in a control loop, not the internalised "mouth-noises" that may somehow sit on them and come along for the ride.
(Save, insofar as such "mouth noises" somehow associate with or become embedded as physically instantiated signals or maybe codes in such a loop. [How signals, languages and codes originate and function in systems in our observation of such origin -- i.e by design -- tends to be pushed to the back-burner and conveniently forgotten. So does the point that a signal or code takes its significance precisely from being an intelligently focused on, observed or chosen and significant alternative from a range of possibilities that then can guide decisive action.])
e: For instance, Marxists commonly derided opponents for their “bourgeois class conditioning” — but what of the effect of their own class origins? Freudians frequently dismissed qualms about their loosening of moral restraints by alluding to the impact of strict potty training on their “up-tight” critics — but doesn’t this cut both ways? Should we not ask a Behaviourist whether s/he is little more than yet another operantly conditioned rat trapped in the cosmic maze? And -- as we saw above -- would the writings of a Crick be any more than the firing of neurons in networks in his own brain? f: For further instance, we may take the favourite whipping-boy of materialists: religion. Notoriously, they often hold that belief in God is not merely cognitive, conceptual error, but delusion. Borderline lunacy, in short. But, if such a patent "delusion" is so utterly widespread, even among the highly educated, then it "must" -- by the principles of evolution -- somehow be adaptive to survival, whether in nature or in society. And so, this would be a major illustration of the unreliability of our conceptual reasoning ability, on the assumption of evolutionary materialism. g: Turning the materialist dismissal of theism around, evolutionary materialism itself would be in the same leaky boat. For, the sauce for the goose is notoriously just as good a sauce for the gander, too. h: That is, on its own premises [and following Dawkins in A Devil's Chaplain, 2004, p. 46], the cause of the belief system of evolutionary materialism, "must" also be reducible to forces of blind chance and mechanical necessity that are sufficiently adaptive to spread this "meme" in populations of jumped- up apes from the savannahs of East Africa scrambling for survival in a Malthusian world of struggle for existence. Reppert brings the underlying point sharply home, in commenting on the "internalised mouth-noise signals riding on the physical cause-effect chain in a cybernetic loop" view:
. . . let us suppose that brain state A [--> notice, state of a wetware, electrochemically operated computational substrate], which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief [--> concious, perceptual state or disposition] that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.
i: The famous geneticist and evolutionary biologist (as well as Socialist) J. B. S. Haldane made much the same point in a famous 1932 remark:
"It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” ["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. (NB: DI Fellow, Nancy Pearcey brings this right up to date (HT: ENV) in a current book, Finding Truth.)]
j: Therefore, though materialists will often try to pointedly ignore or angrily brush aside the issue, we may freely argue: if such evolutionary materialism is true, then (i) our consciousness, (ii) the "thoughts" we have, (iii) the conceptualised beliefs we hold, (iv) the reasonings we attempt based on such and (v) the "conclusions" and "choices" (a.k.a. "decisions") we reach -- without residue -- must be produced and controlled by blind forces of chance happenstance and mechanical necessity that are irrelevant to "mere" ill-defined abstractions such as: purpose or truth, or even logical validity.
(NB: The conclusions of such "arguments" may still happen to be true, by astonishingly lucky coincidence — but we have no rational grounds for relying on the “reasoning” that has led us to feel that we have “proved” or "warranted" them. It seems that rationality itself has thus been undermined fatally on evolutionary materialistic premises. Including that of Crick et al. Through, self-reference leading to incoherence and utter inability to provide a cogent explanation of our commonplace, first-person experience of reasoning and rational warrant for beliefs, conclusions and chosen paths of action. Reduction to absurdity and explanatory failure in short.)
k: And, if materialists then object: “But, we can always apply scientific tests, through observation, experiment and measurement,” then we must immediately note that -- as the fate of Newtonian Dynamics between 1880 and 1930 shows -- empirical support is not equivalent to establishing the truth of a scientific theory. For, at any time, one newly discovered countering fact can in principle overturn the hitherto most reliable of theories. (And as well, we must not lose sight of this: in science, one is relying on the legitimacy of the reasoning process to make the case that scientific evidence provides reasonable albeit provisional warrant for one's beliefs etc. Scientific reasoning is not independent of reasoning.) l: Worse, in the case of origins science theories, we simply were not there to directly observe the facts of the remote past, so origins sciences are even more strongly controlled by assumptions and inferences than are operational scientific theories. So, we contrast the way that direct observations of falling apples and orbiting planets allow us to test our theories of gravity. m: Moreover, as Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin reminds us all in his infamous January 29, 1997 New York Review of Books article, "Billions and billions of demons," it is now notorious that:
. . . It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel [[materialistic scientists] to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [And if you have been led to imagine that the immediately following words justify the above, kindly cf. the more complete clip and notes here.]
n: Such a priori assumptions of materialism are patently question-begging, mind-closing and fallacious. o: More important, to demonstrate that empirical tests provide empirical support to the materialists' theories would require the use of the very process of reasoning and inference which they have discredited. p: Thus, evolutionary materialism arguably reduces reason itself to the status of illusion. But, as we have seen: immediately, that must include “Materialism.” q: In the end, it is thus quite hard to escape the conclusion that materialism is based on self-defeating, question-begging logic. r: So, while materialists -- just like the rest of us -- in practice routinely rely on the credibility of reasoning and despite all the confidence they may project, they at best struggle to warrant such a tacitly accepted credibility of mind and of concepts and reasoned out conclusions relative to the core claims of their worldview. (And, sadly: too often, they tend to pointedly ignore or rhetorically brush aside the issue.)
KF
kairosfocus
AF, it seems I need to pause and lay out exactly what crooked yardstick I think is at work, for cause. KF PS, Let's start with J B S Haldane, c. 1927:
[JBSH, REFACTORED AS SKELETAL, AUGMENTED PROPOSITIONS:] "It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For
if [p:] my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain [–> taking in DNA, epigenetics and matters of computer organisation, programming and dynamic-stochastic processes; notice, "my brain," i.e. self referential] ______________________________ [ THEN] [q:] I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. [--> indeed, blindly mechanical computation is not in itself a rational process, the only rationality is the canned rationality of the programmer, where survival-filtered lucky noise is not a credible programmer, note the functionally specific, highly complex organised information rich code and algorithms in D/RNA, i.e. language and goal directed stepwise process . . . an observationally validated adequate source for such is _____ ?] [Corollary 1:] They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence [Corollary 2:] I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. [--> grand, self-referential delusion, utterly absurd self-falsifying incoherence] [Implied, Corollary 3: Reason and rationality collapse in a grand delusion, including of course general, philosophical, logical, ontological and moral knowledge; reductio ad absurdum, a FAILED, and FALSE, intellectually futile and bankrupt, ruinously absurd system of thought.]
In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” ["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. Cf. here on (and esp here) on the self-refutation by self-falsifying self referential incoherence and on linked amorality.]
So, no, it is not mere subjective disagreement or those silly Bible thumping fundies. There is a focal issue, a longstanding issue of self referential incoherence. In fact, it was old in Haldane's day. Darwin tried to twist it to speak dismissively to phil-theol challenges to his theory but at the expense of the same self referential incoherence:
But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind? [Letter to William Graham, July 3, 1881]
So, the evasion continues. But in the end it only highlights the force of the self referential incoherence faced by evolutionary materialistic scientism and its fellow travellers. PPS: You full well know but wish to evade, that there is just one empirically backed, analytically plausible candidate for complex coded algorithms. Which, is exactly what we see in D/RNA. Intelligently directed configuration, here backed by deep knowledge of polymer chemistry. And we both know you tried to pull a fast one on this, trying to imply that it was ignorant to point to such as a case of code. Here, again, is the citation from an epochal text, that you were unable to answer:
"The information in DNA is encoded in its linear (one-dimensional) sequence of deoxyribonucleotide subunits . . . . A linear sequence of deoxyribonucleotides in DNA codes (through an intermediary, RNA) for the production of a protein with a corresponding linear sequence of amino acids . . . Although the final shape of the folded protein is dictated by its amino acid sequence, the folding of many proteins is aided by “molecular chaperones” . . . The precise three-dimensional structure, or native conformation, of the protein is crucial to its function." [Principles of Biochemistry, 8th Edn, 2021, pp 194 – 5. Now authored by Nelson, Cox et al, Lehninger having passed on in 1986. Attempts to rhetorically pretend on claimed superior knowledge of Biochemistry, that D/RNA does not contain coded information expressing algorithms using string data structures, collapse. We now have to address the implications of language, goal directed stepwise processes and underlying sophisticated polymer chemistry and molecular nanotech in the heart of cellular metabolism and replication.]
See https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/darwinist-debaterhetorical-tactics/protein-synthesis-what-frequent-objector-af-cannot-acknowledge/ Remember, the authors actually compared DNA (bursting out of a microbe) with a Cuneiform text, using side by side photos. kairosfocus
Missed this hotchpotch of loaded questions earlier:
AF, kindly explain to us how the complex coded algorithmic, functional information in D/RNA, on empirical observation, came about by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity, so that a design inference on FSCO/I per sign, is falsified:
I don't have to explain how the moon isn't made of green cheese. I agree DNA carries information. I have lost count of the times I've pointed out biological processes are decidedly not random. And the Sherlock Holmes fallacy is alive and well chez UD.
________________ . I predict, you cannot. KF
I find it amusing that you think me not answering questions which you yourself cannot address is some kind of argument. Tubs, bottoms, stand own! Alan Fox
Origenes @545, Obviously both particle and wave result information exist simultaneously. That you can extract both sets of information at the same time doesn't surprise me. All this means to me is that the information itself encompasses both, which I think was already fairly obvious. There is also other information extractable from whatever set of information we're accessing/activating via experimental techniques, such as the trajectory back-history, location and spin. The question is, what is the extent of the information available from what we call "an electron?" Or, "a photon?" William J Murray
Have we freely pivoted to inane comments on politics? Kf’s accuracy? Or whatever inanely unfree comment that appears in one’s head? One didn’t choose that thought appearing in their mind but they’re going with it. Freely chosen amongst the last 20 bits of nonsense, insults or irritations that they have imagined. But reasoned most definitely. Aside: I rarely read Kf’s comments because I cannot understand most of them. But when I do and do understand them, I find them mostly accurate. jerry
Alan Fox said:
Fox News, Trump, Q-anon…
and
I would think it better to check they are using the same number base first.
Things an NPC/bot would say. William J Murray
I guess that if someone says 3+2 = 10, KF should just take it as someone having a different opinion than him?
I would think it better to check they are using the same number base first. Alan Fox
Follow-up #519 — wave particle duality.
What is light made of: waves or particles? This basic question has fascinated physicists since the early days of science. Quantum mechanics predicts that photons, particles of light, are both particles and waves simultaneously. (…) Surprisingly, when a photon is observed, it behaves either as a particle or as a wave. But both aspects are never observed simultaneously.
That is, until 2012 when a novel type of measurement apparatus was devised ...
… that can measure both particle and wave-like behaviour simultaneously.
Peruzzo: "The measurement apparatus detected strong nonlocality, which certified that the photon behaved simultaneously as a wave and a particle in our experiment. This represents a strong refutation of models in which the photon is either a wave or a particle." [source: Sciencedaily.com ]
’A Quantum Delayed-Choice Experiment’ by Perruzo, Shadbolt et al Origenes
IMO that’s really what a lot of our institutions (technology, media, academia, etc) are doing on purpose – turning people into emotionally reactive bots. It’s an effective means of mind-control, so to speak.IMO that’s really what a lot of our institutions (technology, media, academia, etc) are doing on purpose – turning people into emotionally reactive bots. It’s an effective means of mind-control, so to speak.,
Fox News, Trump, Q-anon... Alan Fox
I guess that if someone says 3+2 = 10, KF should just take it as someone having a different opinion than him? William J Murray
KF @534, I think that many people have - ultimately - made the choice to, for all practical purpose, "turn off" their free will capacity and have become, essentially, automated input-output machines, or as Whistler says, for all intents and purposes, "bots." IMO that's really what a lot of our institutions (technology, media, academia, etc) are doing on purpose - turning people into emotionally reactive bots. It's an effective means of mind-control, so to speak. William J Murray
KF goes for the triple! Does it ever occur to you, KF, that people express a contrary view to yours is simply because they disagree with you? Alan Fox
AF, trollish doubling down by way of empty rhetoric. KF kairosfocus
But that’s what people here freely want.
Good one. ;) But is that right, really? US politics is so violently tribal these days, how can anyone choose, except by voting with their feet. Alan Fox
But that’s what people here freely want.
Good one. ;) But is that right, really? US politics is so violently tribal these days, how can anyone choose, except by voting with their feet. Alan Fox
AF, kindly explain to us how the complex coded algorithmic, functional information in D/RNA, on empirical observation, came about by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity, so that a design inference on FSCO/I per sign, is falsified: ________________ . I predict, you cannot. KF kairosfocus
I see your strawman and call, KF. Europe, Scandinavia especially, has no need of your straw. Alan Fox
Aside to Jerry. You must agree how futile the endless threads
Yes, UD has become a place for incoherence and inconsequentialness. But that’s what people here freely want. Though, consciousness seems to be a topic worth discussing. Though, I personally am not very interested. So I will willfully avoid those threads. Quite freely. jerry
F/N: Freedom in the relevant sense means that we by and large are self moved, reflexive first -- initiating -- causes whose key choices and decisions are not unconsciously predetermined external to/ antecedent to ourselves by genetic or psychosocial programming and iron law or stochastic cause effect chains . . . as Plato described long since in The Laws, Bk X. There are external influences and there are people who are immature or of diminished responsibility but the point is by and large there is a self, a mind, a will that acts of its own accord as it chooses such that the choice is not a delusion. I further argue that the self sufficiently perceives itself and the external world to act in a real in common world that is in key parts dynamic stochastic as opposed to intelligent, rational, volitional. KF kairosfocus
AF, projected strawman. It is quite clear that without responsible rational freedom, reasoned argument would collapse leading to self referential defeat. KF kairosfocus
...dogdoc sounds like he chooses the wrong meaning all the time.
How unfair for you. :) I mean five hundred plus comments and it's still equivocating over definitions. Anyone like to offer a definition for "(libertarian) free will"? Aside to Jerry. You must agree how futile the endless threads on free will, consciousness, determinism, dualism are. None of this is decidable and everyone claims victory by strawmanning other opinions. I guess it distracts from the ID movement's invisible fine new clothes. Alan Fox
W, not a bot, just the twists and turns to try to get off the hook of trying to deny responsible rational freedom without realising that undermines any argument based on reasoned discussion, thus self defeat. KF kairosfocus
DD, you explicitly denied freedom, I simply pointed out the self referential incoherence of such a view; thus, self falsification. Logic now seems to be a problem for today's objector. KF kairosfocus
Literally nobody else here thinks the “free” in “free will” means being “free from reasons.”
Could be a bot. The problem with AI is that a word in a dictionary has multiple meanings and AI having no intelligence just pick up a random meaning that's why some commenters sound so wrong. Could be just my imagination but dogdoc sounds like he chooses the wrong meaning all the time. whistler
You might have asked what "free" means in the term "free will" to the people you wished to debate with before trying to make an argument against what you imagined they meant. On my part, the "free" in "free will" doesn't mean being free from physical limitations or psychological influences, reasons, etc. It obviously cannot mean that. It means that I possess an overseeing, top-down command and directorial capacity that is not - ultimately - determined or caused by anything else. William J Murray
Dogdoc said:
Not sure where you got this from my writing. I don’t believe in free will,
Perhaps I wasn't clear in how I wrote it. What I'm saying is that you are arguing against a form of free will you think other people claim to have; that their free will exists independent of reasons. I don't think anyone here would argue that will exists independent of reasons. I also don't think anyone here would argue that we are free to pick our own ultimate, fundamental reason/reasons. Most here believe that we have moral duties and obligations, and "first duties" sewn into the fabric of our being and inherent in every decision that cannot be avoided even if we try. As I tried to say before, that is not what the term "free" refers to for the people you are debating. That is not what "free" can possibly refer to, since all instantiations of will require a co-existent reason. Otherwise, there is no choice to be made at all. As you have agreed, reasons are not causal. We all agree on this. This means that whatever "free" means in the term "free will," that capacity is not causally affected by "reasons." Saying that we are not free if we don't choose our own reasons is a logical non-sequitur because reasons have no causal capacity over whatever "free" means in the term "free will." All instances of will necessarily come with a sewn-in reason or else there would be no will to do anything about anything. But that reason is not causal - as we have all agreed. IOW, you have constructed a straw man argument against something nobody else is actually claiming. Your argument appears to be that whatever "free" refers to doesn't exist because inherent reasons exist. You have not shown a causal connection between "reasons" and whatever it is that "free" refers to in the term "free will - IOW, what supposedly makes will free. You have just assumed that "free" refers to being "free from reasons." Literally nobody else here thinks the "free" in "free will" means being "free from reasons." William J Murray
Viola,
You write, “I’ve defined reasons (somewhere upthread) as anything that may influence one’s choice. … And again, if you consult something in a deliberation over a choice, then whatever you consult would count as a reason for your choice.” Well, if you define those things to be “reasons” then that makes your argument valid, sort of, by definition, so it looks like my objection is to your definition of “reasons”.
So I define "reasons" to be anything that may influence a choice, and you say that makes my argument valid merely by definition. I believe the reason you say that is: If there was something called "free will" that somehow enabled people to decide the way they were without first being the way they were, then this power would likewise, according to my definition, be a "reason" for a choice. But I defined "reasons" as influences - aspects of the psyche that influence a deliberation. That doesn't include volition itself.
my response here, as I discussed someplace above, is that “I” is not the same as my conscious self: my self, my “I”, consists of my consciousness, my subsconscious, and my biological body. However my will works, all three of those are at work, not just my consciousness.
I have no issue with that at all. I think the concept of "self" is terribly difficult. I would tend to identify "self" as the conscious experience of a continuing entity, and the more holistic view you're using as a "person" (though of course the term "person" is applied to hypothetical beings that lack biology as well!) dogdoc
KF, Sorry but I find it very difficult to make sense of your response. You mostly seem to be saying that if I don't believe in free will then you aren't going to consider my argument. That's fine, you can choose not to ;-) dogdoc
WJM,
4) Therefore, in order for C to be a free choice, P must have freely chosen R. This is the problem, as we discussed previously above: you’re arguing about a version of “free will” nobody else here claims to exist or is defending.
I do think many here claim just that - that our decision-making arises as a "first cause". I have removed causation from the discussion and talk about reasons instead, but the logic is the same: If we are reason-responsive, then our choices are based on our deliberation over our reasons, and based upon nothing else.
The rest of us know that “the reason” (however we individually define it) is an inherent, inescapable aspect of free will or else free will could not exist at all, in any form.
You seem to be saying that the basis for our decisions is both inescapable and free.
I would say that KF and some others might define “the reason” inherent in our free will is a moral directive or quality; I would argue (and you seemed to agree) that it is “enjoyment” or “emotional valence.” Others expressed it in other ways.
Yes I do agree with you. But I would say it this way: We somehow integrate all of these aspects of our psyche - that is, all of these reasons - in order to optimize (let's call it) enjoyment. BTW, I think enjoyment may be more complicated that a single value - it may be a multidimensional metric, needs to be integrated over time, and so on.
If you think free will must be a commodity that exists independent of “the reasons,” then you have disproved your notion of free will. That has no bearing on what the rest of us consider “free will” to be.
Not sure where you got this from my writing. I don't believe in free will, except in the compatibilist sense that our actions emanate from our persons. In that weak sense, a Tesla that mowed down a pedestrian on auto-drive would be responsible for the accident, even though we would tend to ascribe the responsibility to the engineers, or maybe to Elon Musk. dogdoc
Origenis at 521, Such people are just like everybody else - not. "I suspect that if you instead would have chosen to be a drag queen who performs in family friendly drag shows in front of toddlers, you may have experienced a problem." Definitely a problem. relatd
WJM
I love being who I am now. It’s kind of an irrelevant question to me, “is this my true self?” … because this is who I have decided to be, not who I was formerly programmed to be by whatever influences caused that former set of psychological structures.
It may strike you as an irrelevant question, but i.m.o. the fact that you love who you are now points to an accurate self-image. I suspect that if you instead would have chosen to be a drag queen who performs in family friendly drag shows in front of toddlers, you may have experienced a problem. Origenes
Origenes stated as:
But surely it is not advisable to reframe oneself as having characteristics which one does not possess. Obviously there are limits to a person’s malleability; you are what you are.
WJM @515
O: To say that the particle as a whole is not real, let alone to say “The Universe Is Not Real”, is provocative and wildly inaccurate.
It depends on what one means when you think of “real.”
Arguendo I accept that some qualities (spin direction) of the electron come in existence due to observation / measurement. IOW those qualities do not exist independent from observation; they do not exist when no one is looking. IOW those qualities are not real.
If I interpret you correctly, you are saying that an electron will not arrive at the end of any experiment as anything other than an electron. Some qualities of the electron may change due to the way in which one is conducting/observing the experiment, such as “what path” the electron took and whether or not that path indicates wave-like or particle-like behavior, or its spin, but it’s still “the electron” that existed at the beginning of the experiment.
Its spin may have changed from up to down or vice versa, but it is still an electron. And the fact that it is an electron is, as opposed to its spin direction, independent from our observation and measurement. IOW the fact that it is an electron is real.
I think the problem with this is that until the electron is observed by a conscious being as a particle, in these experiments, as the effect “it” has on some screen, that “electron information” does not exist as a particle until that point.
Wave-particle duality is a profoundly confusing matter. As I understand it, contrary to your claim, the majority opinion is that electrons are both waves and particles all the time, independent from observation/measurement — see e.g. here. Origenes
WJM says something similar to my points at 493: “One of the interesting ramifications of this is that it changes the nature of science in a fundamental way. Instead of making useful models of “objective reality,” it can now only be a process of making useful models of common human experience.” I like that. What reality is beyond our experience of it is unknowable. I believe Kant held this view: Wikipedia says of him, “ From this it follows that the objects of experience are mere "appearances", and that the nature of things as they are in themselves is unknowable to us.” Viola Lee
re 499, to Dogdoc: A couple of comments. You write, "I’ve defined reasons (somewhere upthread) as anything that may influence one’s choice. ... And again, if you consult something in a deliberation over a choice, then whatever you consult would count as a reason for your choice." Well, if you define those things to be "reasons" then that makes your argument valid, sort of, by definition, so it looks like my objection is to your definition of "reasons". Also, you write, “When I decide to straighten my finger at some moment. I found that “I” – my conscious self – didn’t do anything at all except perceive that my finger had straightened, and I didn’t know when it would happen until it happened.” I also have thought about this process a lot: my response here, as I discussed someplace above, is that “I” is not the same as my conscious self: my self, my “I”, consists of my consciousness, my subsconscious, and my biological body. However my will works, all three of those are at work, not just my consciousness. Viola Lee
Could it be because the towering level of design involved is far beyond our understanding?
Correct (with caveats). If a towering were involved, it would be far beyond our understanding. Human intellect is limited. We can only understand complex entities that are no more complex than ourselves. Alan Fox
Origenes said:
To say that the particle as a whole is not real, let alone to say “The Universe Is Not Real”, is provocative and wildly inaccurate.
It depends on what one means when you think of "real." If I interpret you correctly, you are saying that an electron will not arrive at the end of any experiment as anything other than an electron. Some qualities of the electron may change due to the way in which one is conducting/observing the experiment, such as "what path" the electron took and whether or not that path indicates wave-like or particle-like behavior, or its spin, but it's still "the electron" that existed at the beginning of the experiment. I think the problem with this is that until the electron is observed by a conscious being as a particle, in these experiments, as the effect "it" has on some screen, that "electron information" does not exist as a particle until that point. What exists is probabilistic information about what we experience as an "electron." In this sense, the "particle" is only real as "information about a particle, including probabilistic qualities," until it is measure/observed. In this sense, the information is not "coming from a particle," but rather the particle is coming from the information. The term "real" has referred to the idea that the particle is a physically existent object in and of itself prior to measurement/observation, we now know that is not true. It is, rather, existent as information prior to observation, which is regarded by the scientific community as "not real" in terms of the prior view of an electron always having a physical, independent, objective existence. One might now say that the information, including the probabilistic information, has independent, objective existence as information about what will be observed as an electron, but that is not what the term "real" has been historically, scientifically construed to mean. William J Murray
AF, I think not. De novo synthesis of a viable cell or the like or a von Neumann kinematic self replicator would show that intelligent design of life is feasible, it would not trigger go back in time retrocausal loops of paradox. I think we will likely do it by the end of this century. KF kairosfocus
Could it be that because even if we were able to create conditions that resulted in life, there is absolutely no way of knowing if that was how existing life originated.
It is a very good point and I agree. My point, however, is there can't be an even if because that leads to the Terminator paradox. Alan Fox
Origenes, you speak to impaired freedom. That is real, and that is why I speak sometimes of being rationally, responsibly SUFFICIENTLY free. There are young children [Don't touch that hot stove, Johnny!], there are the cognitively impaired, there are the mentally ill, there are the addicts, there are drunkards, there are those caught up in destructive habits, passions, bigotry, there are those with failing moral struggles and the like. The issue is, sufficient understanding of first duties and sufficient capability to think straight on a given matter, even if one finds oneself trapped in besetting habits such as notoriously demon rum such that one taste is enough to draw back into the hard, distilled stuff. That's why the Salvation Army stopped giving communion, and it is why in part many evangelicals substitute Welch's Grape Juice or the like. KF kairosfocus
When Alice measures one of her particles, she finds its spin to be either up or down. Her results are random, and yet, when she measures up, she instantly knows Bob’s corresponding particle must be down.
For Alice the particle has no spin directionality independent from her as an observer. IOW the spin directionality is 'not real'. However, what remains 'real' is that we are dealing with a spinning particle. It's spin can be up or down but we are dealing with a (real) particle either way. Only an aspect of the particle can rightly be called "not real", namely it's spin direction. It cannot be measured such that it is not a particle but a pink elephant. To say that the particle as a whole is not real, let alone to say "The Universe Is Not Real", is provocative and wildly inaccurate. As an aside, it should also be noted that, once the particle is measured by Alice, Bob is confronted by a particle with real spin. His measurement has no bearing on the the direction of the spin of his particle (or am I missing something?) Origenes
Q, correct. DD, you would be well advised to heed Q. KF kairosfocus
VL said @493:
The tautology that occurs to me is this: of course no world of the type we would recognize as experientiable can exist if there there is no being with the experiential capabilities that we have. It is what it is to us because we are as we are. There’s a certain circularity there. Something “real” exists, but there is no way we can know what it is without having experiences, which immediately transform it into, well … experiences. How could it be otherwise?
One of the interesting ramifications of this is that it changes the nature of science in a fundamental way. Instead of making useful models of "objective reality," it can now only be a process of making useful models of common human experience. Also, it's kind of weird that the title of that write-up says that "The Universe Is Not Locally Real," when what has been demonstrated (including 100 years of prior experimentation) is that how the "real" is currently defined or thought of is incorrect. What is "real" is now known to refer to a set of qualities in one's experience that only appear to reflect objective, external, independent commodities," mutually verified to be the same, or close to the same, in other people's experience. IOW, the most scientific definition of "real" can only be thought of as largely identical consensual or transpersonal experience, not a reference to objective qualities of objectively existent, actual external things.
But thinking that the QM world may lack definite properties, as experientiable by us, until they are measured, is different than thinking that maybe there is nothing really “out there”, (which is what idealists think.)
Maybe I'm misinterpreting what you said, but most idealists don't think there's "nothing" out there; they usually believe that what is "out there" is of an entirely mental nature. Which is what many experiments have validated in the sense that we are not talking about physical waves or grids or fields of energy, but rather of mathematical, probabilistic information. IOW, what is "out there" is information without physical or energetic substrate (as per Bernardo Kastrup and others.) I'm more of an extreme idealist because I don't see the value of imagining that a hypothetical external world exists at all. That perspective would have value if it was the only way to avoid solipsism; but it is not. All one has to do is inverse their framing; instead of people being external of each other, we are all internal of each other, accessing internal informational potential and processing it into transpersonal experience inasmuch as that is possible, which is generally where we define the line between what is "real" and what is "not real." I personally don't draw the line of what is real there, and I don't personally think that's how the term "real" should be used, but that's a whole different can of worms. William J Murray
WJM @
Reframing is, in my experience, the most powerful tool when it comes to addressing psychological issues like anxiety, emotional distress, anger issues and many interpersonal issues. It also helps in changing your internal narrative.
But surely it is not advisable to reframe oneself as having characteristics which one does not possess. Obviously there are limits to a person’s malleability; you are what you are. Which brings me to a concern I have about freedom and self-control. Allow me to explain. In my view the choices we make are fundamentally based on self-image. And obviously one can be mistaken about oneself. For instance, one can choose to work as a doctor in a war zone only to find out that one cannot possibly stomach such conditions and experience mental break-down. Or, based on a wrong self-image, one can choose to start a family only to find out that one is completely unsuitable as a parent and husband. These are perhaps not the best examples, but I think my point is clear. My concern is this: if freedom requires self-control, and self-control hinges on the correct self-image, the question arises: Can a person with a faulty self-image be considered a free person? Origenes
Paxx @477:
What tools have you used in your transformation?
Really just typical psychological tools, such as rewriting my internal narrative (the internal story we tell ourselves about ourselves,) affirmations, reframing, visualization. An example of reframing to overcome an issue would be the following. Let's say you suffer from social anxiety/shyness. Reframe it by making a game out of it, where the goal is not to "make friends" or ask someone out on a date, but rather just to introduce yourself to a many people as possible in a social situation. That's the entire goal, and you rack up points each time you make the attempt with someone new. All you have to do is walk up to people, and ask them if it's okay if you introduce yourself, because you're trying to overcome your social anxiety and shyness by doing exactly what it is you're doing - just introducing yourself to as many people as you can. If you get rebuffed, it still counts because you tried. You can even get one of those little cheap click counters or some other means of keeping score. You can establish a number of times, like 10, where you get some kind of reward for accomplishing. Something significant, like something you would like to buy for yourself but you have trouble justifying the expense for - not terribly expensive or budget-busting, but something you keep putting off because it seems like a frivolous use of money. Reframing is, in my experience, the most powerful tool when it comes to addressing psychological issues like anxiety, emotional distress, anger issues and many interpersonal issues. It also helps in changing your internal narrative. William J Murray
Dogdoc @487 :
4) Therefore, in order for C to be a free choice, P must have freely chosen R.
This is the problem, as we discussed previously above: you're arguing about a version of "free will" nobody else here claims to exist or is defending. The rest of us know that "the reason" (however we individually define it) is an inherent, inescapable aspect of free will or else free will could not exist at all, in any form. I would say that KF and some others might define "the reason" inherent in our free will is a moral directive or quality; I would argue (and you seemed to agree) that it is "enjoyment" or "emotional valence." Others expressed it in other ways. If you think free will must be a commodity that exists independent of "the reasons," then you have disproved your notion of free will. That has no bearing on what the rest of us consider "free will" to be. William J Murray
KF @502, Dogdoc @
KF: … first, you claim to have made an ARGUMENT, a rational appeal to my freedom, coming from yours. Instantly, any attempted argument that undermines freedom is self referentially and irretrievably incoherent and fails.
An important point KF. Allow me to elaborate on this and let me know if you agree: (1.) Rationality requires self-control. (2.) A person who is not free, e.g. a meat-robot controlled by external forces, has no self-control. From (1.) and (2.) (3.) A person who is not free cannot be rational. Origenes
KF,
DD, first, you claim to have made an ARGUMENT, a rational appeal to my freedom, coming from yours.
Of course I'm not appealing to your freedom; rather, I'm just asking you where you think the fault lies in the argument as I've spelled it out @487.
Instantly, any attempted argument that undermines freedom is self referentially and irretrievably incoherent and fails.
So you say, but you haven't given any reason why you think this. As far as I can see, you could simply say which step in the argument @487 fails. If you can't say where the argument fails, then your whole "irretrievably incoherent" claim appears to be a dodge.
Secondly, in your argument you fail to recognise that reasons are not blind force causes
Where in my argument do I mention causes? Nowhere, because my argument has nothing to do with causation or determinism. You would see this if you simply read the argument as I've presented it @487.
Third, there are such things as first plausibles at finite remove that on comparative difficulties are not question begging nor incoherent,
I don't understand what this means.
also there are self evident first truths — so there is no inherent infinite regress or fatal circularity.
If one based a choice on a self-evident truth, then clearly there would be no way for them to choose to believe this - they would simply perceive the truth of it. Can you choose to disbelieve a self-evident truth?
In that context, you further fail to understand the reflexive, self-moved agent as a first, originating cause.
Here you are simply assuming your conclusion.
Thus, there are conceptual and logical errors that lead to failure of your case.
If that were true, you could tell me at which step my argument @487 fails. But you haven't. dogdoc
DD, first, you claim to have made an ARGUMENT, a rational appeal to my freedom, coming from yours. Instantly, any attempted argument that undermines freedom is self referentially and irretrievably incoherent and fails. Secondly, in your argument you fail to recognise that reasons are not blind force causes but are freely chosen premises or beliefs tied together in ground consequent or support, best explanation patterns etc. Third, there are such things as first plausibles at finite remove that on comparative difficulties are not question begging nor incoherent, also there are self evident first truths -- so there is no inherent infinite regress or fatal circularity. In that context, you further fail to understand the reflexive, self-moved agent as a first, originating cause. Thus, there are conceptual and logical errors that lead to failure of your case. KF PS, Plato, on the soul:
Ath [enian Stranger in The Laws, Bk X 2,360 ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical "material" elements of the cosmos -- the natural order], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ --> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity, contrasted to "the action of mind" i.e. intelligently directed configuration] . . . . [[T]hese people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them . . . . Then, by Heaven, we have discovered the source of this vain opinion of all those physical investigators . . . . they affirm that which is the first cause of the generation and destruction of all things, to be not first, but last, and that which is last to be first, and hence they have fallen into error about the true nature of the Gods. Cle. Still I do not understand you. Ath. Nearly all of them, my friends, seem to be ignorant of the nature and power of the soul [[ = psuche], especially in what relates to her origin: they do not know that she is among the first of things, and before all bodies, and is the chief author of their changes and transpositions. And if this is true, and if the soul is older than the body, must not the things which are of the soul's kindred be of necessity prior to those which appertain to the body? Cle. Certainly. Ath. Then thought and attention and mind and art and law will be prior to that which is hard and soft and heavy and light; and the great and primitive works and actions will be works of art; they will be the first, and after them will come nature and works of nature, which however is a wrong term for men to apply to them; these will follow, and will be under the government of art and mind. Cle. But why is the word "nature" wrong? Ath. Because those who use the term mean to say that nature is the first creative power; but if the soul turn out to be the primeval element, and not fire or air, then in the truest sense and beyond other things the soul may be said to exist by nature; and this would be true if you proved that the soul is older than the body, but not otherwise. [[ . . . .] Ath. . . . when one thing changes another, and that another, of such will there be any primary changing element? How can a thing which is moved by another ever be the beginning of change? Impossible. But when the self-moved changes other, and that again other, and thus thousands upon tens of thousands of bodies are set in motion, must not the beginning of all this motion be the change of the self-moving principle? . . . . self-motion being the origin of all motions, and the first which arises among things at rest as well as among things in motion, is the eldest and mightiest principle of change, and that which is changed by another and yet moves other is second. [--> notice, the self-moved, initiating, reflexively acting causal agent, which defines freedom as essential to our nature, and this is root of discussion on agents as first causes.] [[ . . . .] Ath. If we were to see this power existing in any earthy, watery, or fiery substance, simple or compound-how should we describe it? Cle. You mean to ask whether we should call such a self-moving power life? Ath. I do. Cle. Certainly we should. Ath. And when we see soul in anything, must we not do the same-must we not admit that this is life? [[ . . . . ] Cle. You mean to say that the essence which is defined as the self-moved is the same with that which has the name soul? Ath. Yes; and if this is true, do we still maintain that there is anything wanting in the proof that the soul is the first origin and moving power of all that is, or has become, or will be, and their contraries, when she has been clearly shown to be the source of change and motion in all things? Cle. Certainly not; the soul as being the source of motion, has been most satisfactorily shown to be the oldest of all things. Ath. And is not that motion which is produced in another, by reason of another, but never has any self-moving power at all, being in truth the change of an inanimate body, to be reckoned second, or by any lower number which you may prefer? Cle. Exactly. Ath. Then we are right, and speak the most perfect and absolute truth, when we say that the soul is prior to the body, and that the body is second and comes afterwards, and is born to obey the soul, which is the ruler? [[ . . . . ] Ath. If, my friend, we say that the whole path and movement of heaven, and of all that is therein, is by nature akin to the movement and revolution and calculation of mind, and proceeds by kindred laws, then, as is plain, we must say that the best soul takes care of the world and guides it along the good path. [[Plato here explicitly sets up an inference to design (by a good soul) from the intelligible order of the cosmos.
kairosfocus
KF, You have comments about free will, but you haven't yet addressed my argument, which I present most concisely @487. Can you tell us at what step you think this argument fails? dogdoc
Whistler
8) Therefore, free choice is impossible. Therefore whatever you say is useless. I wonder why you post here. Oh , I get it : because you have no choice.
If you watch Sabine Hoffenfelder's video on free will, she says something like "I can predict that someone in the comment section will say 'I had to post this comment because I have no free will', and think that they are very clever. They are not." dogdoc
Viola,
Dogdoc, I think it fails here. When I make a choice, some of what I consult are facts, both about the external world and my biological self, which I don’t think count as reasons.
I've defined reasons (somewhere upthread) as anything that may influence one's choice. But even if for some reason you don't consider facts as reasons, you obviously can't freely choose facts (let's not make any "alternate fact" jokes here :-)).
Some of what I consult are parts of my psyche, and I don’t think I’ve chosen all those.
And again, if you consult something in a deliberation over a choice, then whatever you consult would count as a reason for your choice. I wouldn't exclude any part of the psyche from the list of reasons one may consider, and I've tried to make that clear by giving examples and an "etc.": beliefs (including your beliefs about the veracity of various facts), desires, values, priorities, hopes, fears, commitments, etc.
I choose to believe that the answer is yes, I made a true choice that was neither determined nor random. That’s the way I experience myself (and I know the experience is complicated), but it is also part of my chosen metaphysical belief that I do have free will in the way I have been discussing, as meaning self-determination.
I experience myself quite differently. When I was very young, I held my finger, flexed, in front of my face, and tried to figure what is it that I do when I decide to straighten my finger at some moment. I found that "I" - my conscious self - didn't do anything at all except perceive that my finger had straightened, and I didn't know when it would happen until it happened. It was forty years before I found philosophers and neuroscientists who had come to believe that consciousness is, in a way, perceptual rather than causal.
Of course, the obstructive skeptic could we reply, “But did you really choose your belief system? How do you know it really isn’t all determined?”
Well, this obstructive skeptic doesn't say that. Rather, I say: Either your choice of metaphysics was random or arbitrary, or you made if for some reason.
All I can say is I don’t know for sure that it is not that way, and neither you nor anyone else know whether it is or isn’t. I’m not going down that rabbit hole.
Couldn't agree with you more, which is exactly why my version of this argument (as opposed to Strawson and others) doesn't involve determinism.
I choose to have the position that makes the most sense to me and fits my experience: I really do make choices. I can’t possibly believe that and also believe contradictory positions, so I make a choice and follow that path.
Of course you make choices. But you make them for reasons you didn't choose. dogdoc
W, prezactly, we so often fail to recognise the key self referential incoherence involved in such thinking. KF kairosfocus
VL, self determination, that does not involve hidden driving forces that actually subvert one's freedom and responsibility. KF kairosfocus
Paxx, the issue is, before/after does not properly bridge to God's perspective from the north pole of space time. The causal process is in the space time world, the observation is as to what unfolds, it does not cause or force it. KF kairosfocus
VL “that I do have free will in the way I have been discussing, as meaning self-determination” Amen Vivid vividbleau
Paxx asks, "The Big Issue here is, given all that you “consult”, does the “choice” you finally make have alternative possibilities given the same “consultations”? If not, no choice has actually been made. It’s deterministic based on criteria within the “chooser.” If so, what makes the difference between the “chosen” outcome and other possible counterfactual outcomes other than sheer randomness?" I choose to believe that the answer is yes, I made a true choice that was neither determined nor random. That's the way I experience myself (and I know the experience is complicated), but it is also part of my chosen metaphysical belief that I do have free will in the way I have been discussing, as meaning self-determination. Of course, the obstructive skeptic could we reply, "But did you really choose your belief system? How do you know it really isn't all determined?" All I can say is I don’t know for sure that it is not that way, and neither you nor anyone else know whether it is or isn’t. I’m not going down that rabbit hole. A good line from Dylan: “ You can’t open up your mind, boys, to every conceivable point of view.” I choose to have the position that makes the most sense to me and fits my experience: I really do make choices. I can't possibly believe that and also believe contradictory positions, so I make a choice and follow that path. Viola Lee
Darn it, Q, I was going to do some other things this evening, but I’ve decided to respond to ou instead, cause now this stuff is on my mind! :-) 1. You write, “Materialism in a scientific context is the idea that matter and energy is the only reality and that everything else is a result of interactions between matter and energy.” The old idea of materialism is that there really is a definite, solid (in some sense), substance we call matter. We have known for a long time that such a substance doesn’t exist, and that the old view of materialism based on “matter and energy” of this sort is not adequate. Quantum mechanics has shown us that everything, such as light, electrons, more fundamental particles, etc. are “something else”, although what that something else is is the subject of much discussion. But we know the mathematics of QM works, and we known that results completely foreign to out intuition, such as those for which the Nobel prize was recently given. So, “new materialism” sees the new world as founded on a world of QM events rather than “stuff” like matter. So I assume modern physicists are new materialists, not old ones. Do you have thoughts about this distinction? 2. You write, “This includes thoughts, emotions . . . and your will.” The question of our mind and consciousness is what separates materialists from non-materialists. Simply put, I think, a new materialist (I am not one) would think that whatever the mind and consciousness are, they also arise somehow from the same quantum foundations as the physical world does. Non-materialists believe that mind and consciousness are a different kind of something that is not a product of the QM foundation, but nevertheless can interact with it. (This latter is obvious because our mind and our body interact with each other.) 3. “The deterministic part of it is the idea that all events, including human choices and actions, are completely predetermined from previous states.” Yes, that is the definition of determinism. But QM tells us that probability is a true phenomena, not just a result of our ignorance. My understanding is that you look at an atom of a radioactive substance with a half-life of one day, there is a 50% probability it will decay today, but there is no cause - no reason - for whether it does or not. That event is undetermined and does not depend on the previous state of anything. (Feynman’s little book QED talks about the more sophisticated example of light partially passes through and partially reflects through a pane of glass.) So I would think a new, QM-based materialist would recognize that at any moment a only probable event could happen and set such causal chain on a new course. That’s my understanding. 4. You write, “Lee Smolin in his latest book (2019), describes himself as a “realist,” meaning that objects exist and have properties independent of our measurements,” and you then offer a long quote which I’ll partially respond to, although Smolin is not here - you are, so that complicates the discussion. I understand the ways in which the Nobel Prize winners have shown that realism in the sense of there not being definite properties in a QM event until a measurement is taken. The SciAm article says, “The evidence shows objects are not influenced solely by their surroundings and they may also lack definite properties prior to measurement.” (For the record, note “may”.) But thinking that the QM world may lack definite properties, as experientiable by us, until they are measured, is different than thinking that maybe there is nothing really “out there”, (which is what idealists think.) I have no idea in what way Smolin considers himself a realist. I am a realist in this sense: if every sentient creature in the universe were to disappear so there were no minds existed all, there would still be a QM universe going on. It would just be an unimaginably quantum world because there would be no us to experience it in ways that transform it into the kinds of things we can experience. The tautology that occurs to me is this: of course no world of the type we would recognize as experientiable can exist if there there is no being with the experiential capabilities that we have. It is what it is to us because we are as we are. There’s a certain circularity there. Something “real” exists, but there is no way we can know what it is without having experiences, which immediately transform it into, well ... experiences. How could it be otherwise? :-) I think these remarks address Smolin’s comments. Viola Lee
Viola Lee: Dogdoc, I think it fails here. When I make a choice, some of what I consult are facts, both about the external world and my biological self, which I don’t think count as reasons. Some of what I consult are parts of my psyche, and I don’t think I’ve chosen all those. I think both WJM and asauber have brought this counterpoint up. The Big Issue here is, given all that you "consult", does the "choice" you finally make have alternative possibilities given the same "consultations"? If not, no choice has actually been made. It's deterministic based on criteria within the "chooser." If so, what makes the difference between the "chosen" outcome and other possible counterfactual outcomes other than sheer randomness? Paxx
8) Therefore, free choice is impossible.
Therefore whatever you say is useless. I wonder why you post here. Oh , I get it : because you have no choice. :) whistler
“re 484: I’m very protective about personal information.” Yeh I am pretty sure someone would divine lots of personal information by saying something like “I was watching the Arizona State Washington game” Two schools with over 100k in enrollment. vividbleau
re 487: "5) In order for P to have freely chosen R, P must have reason(s) R’ for that choice." Dogdoc, I think it fails here. When I make a choice, some of what I consult are facts, both about the external world and my biological self, which I don't think count as reasons. Some of what I consult are parts of my psyche, and I don't think I've chosen all those. I think both WJM and asauber have brought this counterpoint up. Viola Lee
re 484: I'm very protective about personal information. Viola Lee
Once again, here's my argument, awaiting an attempt at refutation. All you have to do is tell me which step fails and why: 1) In order for a choice to be free, it must not be (a) determined by antecedent cause, and (b) not be random, arbitrary, or made for no reason at all. 2) Therefore, free choices must be made for some reason(s). 3) In order for person P to make a free choice C, the reason(s) R upon which C is based must not be made by anyone or anything but P. 4) Therefore, in order for C to be a free choice, P must have freely chosen R. 5) In order for P to have freely chosen R, P must have reason(s) R' for that choice. 6) In order for R' to be freely chosen, there must be reason(s) R'', and so on in an infinite regress. 7) It is impossible that at any point in this regress that P can make a choice based on reasons that P has freely chosen. 8) Therefore, free choice is impossible. dogdoc
Origenes,
DD: You did not make a free choice to believe that you exist, you are compelled to believe what you believe and cannot choose otherwise. ORIGENES:For the sake of argument let’s assume that I could have chosen to believe that I do not exist.
I think I made clear that this is just not something any of us are capable of doing, and that can be demonstrated by the simple test that I invited you to take. Let's try it again. Ready? Ok - right now, choose to believe that you do not exist. Well, were you successful? Of course not.
This is not an unreasonable assumption if one accepts the fact that Eliminative Materialism exists, and absorbs texts such as:
You've now taken BA77's playbook, and rather than attempt to refute my argument you just change the subject to argue about various "-isms" that you think you can refute instead. This is a tiresome tactic. dogdoc
PaV, Sorry, missed your post, here's my response:
This is thoroughly Rousseauian. Tabula rasa. But, is this true?
I don't know how you could have derived a claim of Tabula Rasa from my argument - I never assume or discuss anything like that. Of course people are born with all sorts of innate responses, instincts, beliefs, and desires, and cognitive scientists have studied our innate abilities and predispositions quite a lot.
Here’s my refutation: When I was about four-to-five years old, I found myself in a situation that was a ‘first.’ It presented me with a ‘moral dilemma,’ though I knew the meaning of neither word. Yet, it was a clear choice I had to make, and, as I look back on it, I made the right choice not because of any training or moral injunctions; rather, it was because within me was a kind of “guiding light” that enabled me to see a moral principle that was the ‘good’ thing to do.
In that case, unless you freely chose to have a guiding light then you could not be responsible for whatever effect this light had on your decisions.
In other words: we are created by God with a moral sense.
In that case you're saying that you did not freely choose your moral sense, which just illustrates my argument.
St. Thomas Aquinas says of morality that we ‘intuit’ moral principles ...
I agree with this 100%.
Now you might say, “Well, that’s all well and good, but how do you know it was some kind of ‘intuition,’ or some kind of ‘moral principle’ with which you were born,” I’ll give another example of this kind of ‘intuition.’ It has to do with mathematics.
I don't understand why you are saying this - I have never argued that we are somehow born without an innate moral sense or other types of predispositions, instincts, inborn sentiments, and so on. Since you did not choose to have these traits, then when you act in accordance with them you are not choosing your actions freely. If you chose to disregard these sentiments, then in that case too you would either do so for no reason at all, or from some reason(s) that you likewise did not freely choose.
I had a capacity, and inborn faculty for numbers.
Sure - so do many animals. We have many innate abilities. Not relevant to my argument.
Likewise, we have free will, given to us by God.
Well now we're finally at the topic of my argument, but this is merely a simple declaration without argument, and without explaining where my argument fails.
Now, can this free-will be harmed by others, injured by wrong information, deformed through painful experiences? Yes. But I remain free. At bottom, I’m free. But just like the moral conscience is a participation in the mind of God, so, too, is free will a participation in the freedom that is God. Sin, then, is slavery. And virtue is freedom. I’m truly free when I do the will of God; but I become a slave when I sin. So, yes, both moral choices and free will itself, are conditioned. But there is no total subjectivity, no total moral relativism: God is ground of both. Our participation in the life of God enlightens our minds and sets us free.
I honestly cannot make out any argument here that explains where my argument is refuted. I can't see where you're even addressing my argument.
Now, this is very theological and preachy; nonetheless, I have experiences–direct experiences, of both freedom and moral choice. Were I to deny this, I would be a liar. This, then, puts you at a disadvantage. Why? Because the very “Catch-22” dilemma you propose we find ourselves in undercuts any argument you make.
Sorry but I really don't understand what your argument is.
IOW, what you think is happening is nothing more than some kind of input into a computer that started out with no software programs nor data. This all had to be loaded. We can think of this computer with no software nor data as a modern-day equivalent of a tabula rasa.
Once again, I do not believe this at all! It is a completely and total misreading of my argument - not even remotely close. dogdoc
VL Ok iyou don’t want to reveal your alma mater, although I can’t understand why that must remain a secret. I was switching between Ohio State and the Arizona State game . Vivid vividbleau
To Vivid, re 478. My alma mater. :-) To Q, re 482. Ooops. I meant 468. Sorry. Viola Lee
Viola Lee @478,
I hope the rest of your post at 638 wasn’t directed at me.
Actually, I haven't started writing 638, but I'll be finished by the time 637 on the logic of either the necessity or the exclusion of free will inevitably rolls around. LOL The answer to your question above depends on (a) whether we have free will or not, and (b) whether you intended to respond to my answers either before or after reading my comment. ;-) -Q Querius
Dogdoc @
You did not make a free choice to believe that you exist, you are compelled to believe what you believe and cannot choose otherwise.
For the sake of argument let's assume that I could have chosen to believe that I do not exist. This is not an unreasonable assumption if one accepts the fact that Eliminative Materialism exists, and if one absorbs texts such as:
Scientism shows that the first-person POV [point of view] is an illusion. Even after scientism convinces us, we’ll continue to stick with the first person. But at least we’ll know that it’s another illusion of introspection and we’ll stop taking it seriously. We’ll give up all the answers to the persistent questions about free will, the self, the soul, and the meaning of life that the illusion generates. (...) There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. (...) The physical facts fix all the facts. The mind is the brain. It has to be physical and it can’t be anything else, since thinking, feeling, and perceiving are physical process—in particular, input/output processes—going on in the brain. We can be sure of a great deal about how the brain works because the physical facts fix all the facts about the brain. The fact that the mind is the brain guarantees that there is no free will. It rules out any purposes or designs organizing our actions or our lives. It excludes the very possibility of enduring persons, selves, or souls that exist after death or for that matter while we live. Not that there was ever much doubt about mortality anyway. [Rosenberg, Ch. 9, The Atheist Guide To Reality]
See also #299 - - - - - - P.s. Sam Harris : “The self is an illusion.” Illusion means it does not exist in reality. Origenes
VL re 478 What football game? Vivid vividbleau
“[ to God’s free will: does God possess free will relative to our view of reality? Is there some sense in which he makes choices? Is there some sense in which he reacts to our choices” The answer would depend on one’s conception of Gods divine attributes Vivid vividbleau
Q, I have have been looking forward to having the time to respond to you. I've been busy, and will probably still be busy until tomorrow. I did read the nice article about the Nobel Prize winners during the football game, but commenting on that is different than having the time to write a thoughtful response to you. I hope the rest of your post at 638 wasn't directed at me. Viola Lee
WJM @453, What tools have you used in your transformation? Paxx
kairofocus: to know is not to cause, much less determine. I didn't claim it was. God's knowledge may not cause my choice, but if God knows what my choice is before I make it, it is necessarily true that God's knowlege does know what does determine my choice. Wouldn't you agree? Back to God's free will: does God possess free will relative to our view of reality? Is there some sense in which he makes choices? Is there some sense in which he reacts to our choices? Paxx
Vivid, standard html open and close tag pairs, fill with blockquote. Put content between the tags. KF kairosfocus
The topic apparently is "How Infinity Threatens Cosmology" and thereby, logically and obviously, creates conditions that resulted in life, for which there is absolutely no way of knowing if that was how existing life originated. "Squirrel!" -Q Querius
Alan Fox @
On the other hand, life’s origin is a mystery that humans cannot solve. Ask me why.
Could it be because the towering level of design involved is far beyond our understanding? Origenes
Alan Fox: On the other hand, life’s origin is a mystery that humans cannot solve. Ask me why.
Could it be that because even if we were able to create conditions that resulted in life, there is absolutely no way of knowing if that was how existing life originated. Sir Giles
KF “W, I simply shrug and point to where Wayne Grudem has made his introductory, 101 systematic theology freely available to one and all; for a simple download:” Have Grudem on my bookshelf as well as Hodge and Berkoff. PS I have forgotten how to do block quotes can someone give me a refresher course. Thanks Vivid vividbleau
I'm almost tempted to dip back in. Dogdoc has persuaded me that compatibilism (even as I reject isms) is a reasonable stance. On the other hand, life's origin is a mystery that humans cannot solve. Ask me why. Alan Fox
Querius @468, You wrote:
The point is not the answer to the question–the point is to get people to waste as much time as possible on vacuous terminology, theology, and metaphysics issues.
Can you give even five examples of what you're erroneously claiming? -AntiQuerius Querius
Viola Lee @466, FWIW, I did provide answers to your questions in @438. All, Oh well. Maybe you can all see why it's usually an exercise in futility when someone gives you what I call a "homework assignment" such as, for example: a. You can't seriously claim there are any theoretical physicists that assert . . . b. What experimental proof do you have in quantum mechanics that . . . c. ID has never provided any scientific evidence that . . . Questions such as these sends us chasing squirrels in a forest, and when we catch one, the skeptics here simply ignore the lengthy post. They simply make new assertions such as . . . d. Nothing you've posted so far has any relevance to my questions . . . e. But how can you reconcile your position on free will with quantum mechanics . . . f. How can God exist if He already knows everything about each quantum event . . . After one answers these, you will simply get more "homework assignments," which will of course be again ignored. Rinse and repeat. Again and again. The point is not the answer to the question--the point is to get people to waste as much time as possible on vacuous terminology, theology, and metaphysics issues. -Q Querius
[said in a robotic voice] I am a meat robot. I contain no prior programming. I program and reprogram myself. relatd
That article is an excellent summary of the history of QM, focussed on the work of the three Nobel prize winners. (As a P.S., the David Kaiser mentioned in the article is the author of the book "How the Hippies Saved Physics" that I mentioned earlier, from which I learned a lot about the history outlined in the article.) Viola Lee
Meanwhile, the 2022 Nobel Prize winners put the final nail in the coffin of ontological realism: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-universe-is-not-locally-real-and-the-physics-nobel-prize-winners-proved-it/ William J Murray
Let me note that Dogdoc has yet to respond to my post. I'm hoping there's a good reason for this. PaV
W, I simply shrug and point to where Wayne Grudem has made his introductory, 101 systematic theology freely available to one and all; for a simple download: https://archive.org/details/WayneGrudemSystematicTheology . Yes, 1200 pp, that's just for starters. Full bore works run 4,000 - 12,000 pp. The former is Aquinas, which was not complete. KF kairosfocus
Paxx Does God have free will?
This comment won the award for the dumbest question ever on UD. Kairosfocus give him/her the award.
Can God see into an indivivual human’s “choice maker” and know exactly what the choice will be before the choice is made? A “yes” answer necessarily makes the choice deterministic. A “no” answer means God is not omniscient. No getting around that. Yeah yeah, God “transcends time.” (Don’t we all.) A non-falsifiable, and therefore, worthless claim in the domain of rational discourse.
:) Only if there are no levels of understanding greater than yours. whistler
Origenes @454,
I choose to hold that “I” exist —— to be clear, with “I” I refer to my consciousness, my viewpoint. I am the only one who has access to my “I”, put another way: no one but me can possibly have an informed opinion on this particular subject, therefor whatever I choose to believe about my “I” can only be my absolute responsibility, can only be the result of my fully self-determined choice.
You believe you exist, and you think you chose that belief freely. Are you able to choose that you don't exist? Try it! Any luck? No, I didn't think so. You did not make a free choice to believe that you exist, you are compelled to believe what you believe and cannot choose otherwise. You are misunderstanding the claim by Harris et al that there is no self, but I don't care to argue about that with you.
According to you, it seems, “free” means “free from any given context.”
It means the ability to freely choose the beliefs and desires that underlie a choice, which is impossible.
In your view freedom entails that a person is free if he is able to choose his beliefs, desires and observations (IOW he is free to choose who he is) and (probably) also what his external world looks like.
If some choice A is based on observations, then in order for that choice to be free then one would have to freely choose B what they perceive. But choice B is impossible, so choice A would not be free. Yes, you could say that in my view, choices are based on "who you are", and you cannot choose "who you are" because you would have to be you already before you made that choice.
And here you point out that your idea of freedom does not make logical sense, because choosing one’s beliefs and desires cannot be done without (prior) beliefs and desires.
Correct (unless one chooses randomly).
Next you do not (!) reject your incoherent concept of freedom and replace it with a better one, but instead you remarkably choose to cling to it. You boldly state that deciding one’s own beliefs and desires is the “basis for a free choice”, while you know full well that this is a self-contradictory concept. Finally you go on to claim that true freedom is not possible.
In free will discussions the first step is always to clarify what exactly is meant by "free will" or "free choice". I have carefully explained that what I mean is that 1) you choose based on reasons, and 2) those reasons are not chosen by anyone or anything else except you (if somebody else chose the reasons for your decisions, then your decision would not be freely chosen by you). I then point out that it is not possible to choose your own reasons (beliefs and desires), and thus conclude that the sort of freedom I've described (which I find most people believe they have) is impossible. dogdoc
Paxx, God pervades everywhere and everywhen, indeed, in him we live, move and have our being. He is at the north pole of space time, due north of everywhere and everywhen. So, the notion of God knowing before is a category error, mistaking a temporally bound being for an eternal. Next, to know is not to cause, much less determine. So, it is a further carrying forward of the error to suppose God's north polar awareness forces the result in violation of the person. As for issues with omniscience, God's attributes are not arbitrary and are mutually consistent, e.g. God does not know how to draw a Euclidean plane square circle, as such is logically incoherent and infeasible, but he knows this fact of impossibility. It is hard to think about these things, so let's proceed knowing how little we know. KF PS, Jerry, this is an example of a real difficulty of thought worth at least a note, never mind whoever may try to throw rhetorical bombs. kairosfocus
Will those still discussing free will willfully decide to stop commenting on free will or will the discussion depend on a quantum event a million years ago? Will we ever know? God only knows! But the interesting thing is that they believe they are learning something. Even though they are only automatons. Is this an example of determinism generating new knowledge? Can they decide if it is new knowledge? What other oxymorons are there to look forward to? Or are they just morons? We will have to see what the automatons come up with. Who said AI is in the future? It is happening right here on this thread on UD. Aside: can an automaton know if it is using bad logic? Bad knowledge? What does it mean to know? Is it a choice? Is it done willfully? Are anti ID people automatons and cannot help their poor choices? That would explain a lot. So many questions! Let’s hear it for the automatons that come here!!! They cannot help the keys they push on their keyboard. Aside2: do they know what a keyboard is? jerry
Can God see into an indivivual human's "choice maker" and know exactly what the choice will be before the choice is made? A "yes" answer necessarily makes the choice deterministic. A "no" answer means God is not omniscient. No getting around that. Yeah yeah, God "transcends time." (Don't we all.) A non-falsifiable, and therefore, worthless claim in the domain of rational discourse. Paxx
Dogdoc @
My claim is that if one makes a choice based on reasons (beliefs, desires, etc) then in order for the choice to be free then that person must have freely chosen to have those beliefs, desires, etc.
According to you, it seems, “free” means “free from any given context.” In your view freedom entails that a person is free if he is able to choose his beliefs, desires and observations (IOW he is free to choose who he is) and (probably) also what his external world looks like.
But it is impossible to freely choose choose your beliefs, desires, etc, because you must first have your beliefs, desires, etc in order to make that choice.
And here you point out that your idea of freedom does not make logical sense, because choosing one's beliefs and desires cannot be done without (prior) beliefs and desires. Next you do not (!) reject your incoherent concept of freedom and replace it with a better one, but instead you remarkably choose to cling to it. You boldly state that deciding one’s own beliefs and desires is the “basis for a free choice”, while you know full well that this is a self-contradictory concept. Finally you go on to claim that true freedom is not possible. Is the above a fair summation of your position? Origenes
Which leads me to my next question, which is rather ultimate... Does God have free will? What determines God's choices? Why one decision over another? Does his "nature" determine his choices? Are God's choices deterministic? Food for thot. Paxx
Dogdoc and WJM. Your responses are making my mind hum. And I love it. Fellow travellers. Paxx
Dogdoc@
(... ) the choice is always based on reasons that ultimately originate externally.
I have argued against your idea in #289 by providing an example with a purely internal origin; something which cannot possibly have an external origin. The most relevant part at your convienence:
I choose to hold that “I” exist —— to be clear, with “I” I refer to my consciousness, my viewpoint. I am the only one who has access to my “I”, put another way: no one but me can possibly have an informed opinion on this particular subject, therefor whatever I choose to believe about my “I” can only be my absolute responsibility, can only be the result of my fully self-determined choice.
Origenes
Paxx @450 said:
Humans make all kinds of strange and inconsistent choices. The lucky ones are the ones who’s reasons are most stable and consistent. They are the least insane. So while I think the enjoyment based model fits the facts the best, the reasons that inform the “chooser” are not necessarily stable. And that is a curse.
When you consider that our internal landscape has been haphazardly programmed by countless influences since birth, it's a wonder anyone acts with any semblance of consistency or sanity. At about the age of 30 I realized that my internal landscape - my psychology, subconscious, etc - was not producing an enjoyable life. I began a process of deprogramming and reprogramming myself using various techniques. The result was a transformation from a relatively miserable life to an exquisitely enjoyable one, that to this day just kept getting more and more enjoyable as I reprogrammed myself more easily every time any issue threatened or infringed upon my enjoyment. For example, I used to find conflict very unenjoyable. I programmed myself to enjoy it -not to seek it out, but to be very comfortable with it and enjoy it when it came into my life. I used to be cripplingly shy; I programmed myself out of it. I used to have anger issues; I honestly can't remember the last time I felt any anger about anything. I've reprogrammed myself into a truly fairy-tale like enjoyable life, and it all began with the realization that it's all up to me and I am free to program myself any way I want. William J Murray
Paxx, Your depiction here is along the lines of Daniel Kahneman's notion of the experiencing vs. the remembering self, which I find it to be a compelling model of our motivational structures. In addition to Kahneman's dual selves, there are other schemes, for example a 2-dimensional continuum of emotional valence and arousal. Getting independent operational definitions of these metrics and testing models against experimental data could tell us more about choice-making. Kahneman has come under substantial criticism, but I think his work pointed toward further (better) explorations of our motivations. dogdoc
Dogdoc said:
WJM holds that this consideration is always aimed at maximizing a single value, “enjoyment”. I used to think similarly. I no longer think that is very useful, though:
That's interesting. I've found it to be perhaps the most comprehensively useful, liberating and empowering bit of understanding I've ever acquired. Your argument for "compatibilism" (or your version of it) is the result of setting a standard for the quality of "freedom," wrt to will, that cannot be met because it requires that A not equal A, or that will and choice not be what they are (and cannot be anything different.) Meaning, "the reason(s)" and will are inseparable aspects of a single thing. There is no will without the reason; there is no reason without the will. Your position, if I understand correctly, is that reasons precede the will, and thus form a kind of determinism; but reasons cannot precede the will. Without will, there are no reasons. Without reasons, there is no will. Your argument depends on these two things being separable and one preceding the other; neither of these premises are true because they require A not being equal to A. IOW, "free" will cannot mean freedom from a reason, because there is no "will" without a reason.
I have a feeling that we actually agree about all of this. Yes, the exercise of one’s will is tantamount to computing the highest all-encompassing (for now and in the future) emotional valence.
Now we're talking! IMO, once you understand that will and "the reason" are inseparable aspects of the same thing, and the "the reason" is always ultimately about X, which I call "enjoyment" and you call "emotional valence," regardless of the inner and external landscape, it is at this point that you've found the Rosetta stone for (1) understanding yourself and other people, and (2) programming yourself toward maximum "emotional valence," or enjoyment. William J Murray
dogdoc: Then that would mean my enjoyment in the long run would be greater if I drank beer. And so on. Right. But there's another consideration: the assessment of enjoyment that I have right this second, regarding "the now" and "the future", is not static. The brain is in a continual state of flux with regards to these "enjoyment" value judgments, which can complicate the thing to an almost crazy-making level. Take addiction, for example. One minute, "I want a drink". Your mind has a dim memory of the consquences of taking the drink. So you take the drink. And you take the next 12 drinks. Next morning, "crap, I did it again. WHY DO I DO THAT?!!!" Etc. Your current enjoyment is not what the current choser would choose. The current choser would like to reverse time, and have a re-do about that choice to drink, but we don't get to do that. Darn. This works at various levels. The addiction could just be ice cream. Or it could be cocaine. Or worse. Alcoholics call this "the insanity of the first drink." Humans make all kinds of strange and inconsistent choices. The lucky ones are the ones who's reasons are most stable and consistent. They are the least insane. So while I think the enjoyment based model fits the facts the best, the reasons that inform the "chooser" are not necessarily stable. And that is a curse. Paxx
Paxx (and WJM), I suspected so. It's a compatibilist position - a person can make a choice, and it can be "free" in the sense of "uncoerced by other agents". But the choice is still the result of a consideration of one's beliefs and desires, and those are not themselves chosen. WJM holds that this consideration is always aimed at maximizing a single value, "enjoyment". I used to think similarly. I no longer think that is very useful, though: Why did you choose to work out instead of drink beer? Because I know that in the long run I'll have more enjoyment if I'm fit. How do you know that is the actual reason for your decision? Because I'm doing it! What if you chose the beer? Then that would mean my enjoyment in the long run would be greater if I drank beer. And so on. dogdoc
dogdoc, I think I understand. Seems like your view, then, is identical to WJM's. (Which is mine too, if I understand him correctly.) Paxx
Paxx,
Are you saying you can make a choice for no forward thinking reason? If so, that would necessarily be the effect of sheer randomness.
I'm saying that IF somebody claimed to have made a decision for no reason at all (a completely arbitrary, or random, choice) then I would not consider that to be an exercise of free will even though it was (perhaps) non-determined. My argument has nothing to do with determinism - it is about the reasons that can provide a basis for our choices. You can make a choice based on reasons (beliefs, desires, etc) but you cannot ultimately choose your reasons, any more than you can lift yourself by your own bootstraps. dogdoc
dogdoc @441, Are you saying you can make a choice for no forward thinking reason? If so, that would necessarily be the effect of sheer randomness. Paxx
Origenes “Of course Sam Harris does not agree. He holds that nothing is capable of denying it’s own existence and write a book about it.” Just like Krause who wrote a whole book telling us what “ nothing “ is! Vivid vividbleau
VB @440
… everything starts with the law of identity ….
Indeed, logic is about existence; about what something is and what something is not. And in my view logic is grounded in oneself, in one’s identity. One seperates reality in two parts: oneself and the external world; "I" and "not-I". “I” = “I”, “I” is not “not-I” and “A” is either “I” or “Not-I”.
… the reason for our choices start there, starts with existence.
Only what exists can do someting, can act. What does not exist cannot do anything; from nothing nothing comes. Of course Sam Harris does not agree. He holds that nothing is capable of denying it’s own existence and write a book about it. Origenes
Asauber,
Beliefs aren’t facts,
Correct.
therefore they are subject to changes based on individual judgements/choices.
You don't seem to be familiar with the argument I'm making. If you believe one must never torture puppies, then it is impossible for you to simply change your belief and decide that it's important to torture puppies. One's beliefs change over time, but the changes are not under our own control.
Information set A points to X belief. Hold on, Information set B points to not X. My judgement says?
If your judgement picks "X", then your judgement must have been made for some reason. (If it wasn't, then it is merely an arbitrary judgement). In order for your choice to free then the reasons upon which your judgement was made must also have been freely chosen. In the end you cannot freely choose your own beliefs, desires, etc any more than you can lift yourself up by your own bootstraps.
So, if you are lurching to conclusions without thinking, that’s not a problem with the idea of free will, it’s a problem with personal discipline.
I'm disregarding choices made for no reason, because it is not the sort of choice that we are talking about when discussing free will.
You do have some control about what you think, you just haven’t practiced it enough to be good at it. In fact, the culture we live in is designed to weaken and destroy personal responsibility.
See above. dogdoc
Origenes,
I observe myself and next I come to the conclusion that I am something real, something that truly exists. Sam Harris on the other hand, comes to the conclusion that he is an illusion; that he, in fact, does not exist.
Again I don't want to argue what Sam Harris thinks.
My claim is that a person is a free being, but his freedom does not extend to the world in which he finds himself. IOWs the free person has control over himself, but not over the external world (putting aside the fact that to some extend the person can manipulate this external world).
My claim is that if one makes a choice based on reasons (beliefs, desires, etc) then in order for the choice to be free then that person must have freely chosen to have those beliefs, desires, etc. But it is impossible to freely choose choose your beliefs, desires, etc, because you must first have your beliefs, desires, etc in order to make that choice..
Can we agree on the following: a free choice of a person, within the given parameters of the world external to him, stems from the person, as opposed to stemming from the world which surrounds him.
No, they cannot ultimately decide their own beliefs and desires (the basis for a free choice) any more than you can lift yourself up by your own bootstraps.
IOWs “free” refers to origin of choice.
I've argued that "free choice" refers to choices made for some reason(s) (beliefs, desires, etc), and that we cannot choose our own beliefs, desires, etc., so our choices are not free in that sense.
If the origin of a choice can be found within the person, then we speak of a “free choice”, and if the origin of a ‘choice’ is the external world [beyond the control of the person], then we speak of a “determined act”.
I am not discussing determinism here, only reasons. The choice comes from a person, but the choice is always based on reasons that ultimately originate externally.
The color of the sky is beyond one’s control. One cannot choose its color.
Agreed. Nor can one choose one's own beliefs and desires. I cannot choose to desire to torture puppies, for example.
You seem to argue that only if Solipsism is true, there can be free choice. Do I understand you correctly?
No, not at all - my argument has nothing to do with other minds. dogdoc
WJM,
You’re apparently arguing that free will doesn’t exist because reasons for making choices exist.
I'm saying that if a choice is not made for some reason(s) then it is merely arbitary, not an exercise of the sort of free will worth wanting. If it is made for a reason, then the reason(s) cannot have themselves been freely chosen.
The truth is, free will cannot exist without reasons. Or, as I would argue, one fundamental, universal reason: enjoyment of one’s experience.
I have a feeling that we actually agree about all of this. Yes, the exercise of one's will is tantamount to computing the highest all-encompassing (for now and in the future) emotional valence. dogdoc
Origenes “I observe myself and next I come to the conclusion that I am something real, something that truly exists” Good observation everything starts with the law of identity, the reason for our choices start there, starts with existence. “Can we agree on the following: a free choice of a person, within the given parameters of the world external to him, stems from the person, as opposed to stemming from the world which surrounds him. IOWs “free” refers to origin of choice. If the origin of a choice can be found within the person, then we speak of a “free choice”, and if the origin of a ‘choice’ is the external world [beyond the control of the person], then we speak of a “determined act”. Nicely stated. Vivid vividbleau
Debating a materialist. Question: Does the following back and forth look famliar to anyone? [Theist]: If materialism is true, then everything (including our thoughts & beliefs) results from laws of nature & events long before we were born. We control neither laws of nature nor events long before we were born. It follows that we do not control our thoughts & beliefs. Therefor, assuming that rationality requires control over one’s thoughts & beliefs, under materialism we are not rational. [Materialist]: That is total BS reasoning, because the reality is that people are rational! [Theist]: ….. ?! Origenes
Viola Lee @427, Thanks for watching the rest of the Smolin interview. You asked
1. What do you mean by materialism? 2. What does deterministic mean when applied to the word materialism? 3. What is it about Smolin’s views that count as supporting or advocating for “deterministic materialism”?
Materialism in a scientific context is the idea that matter and energy is the only reality and that everything else is a result of interactions between matter and energy. This includes thoughts, emotions . . . and your will. The deterministic part of it is the idea that all events, including human choices and actions, are completely predetermined from previous states. It’s a sort of hyper-causality. However
. . . mathematics, while being a useful tool, is not the mirror of nature—there’s no mathematical object which is the perfect mirror of nature . . . – Lee Smolin
Lee Smolin in his latest book (2019), describes himself as a “realist,” meaning that objects exist and have properties independent of our measurements. He writes
Behind the century-long argument over quantum mechanics is a fundamental disagreement about the nature of reality—a disagreement which, unresolved, escalates into an argument about the nature of science. Two questions underlie the schism. First off, does the natural world exist independently of our minds? More precisely, does matter have a stable set of properties in and of itself, without regard to our perceptions and knowledge? Second, can those properties be comprehended and described by us? Can we understand enough about the laws of nature to explain the history of our universe and predict its future? [Q: My emphasis added.] The answers we give to these two questions have implications for larger questions about the nature and aim of science, and the role of science in the larger human project. These are, indeed, questions about the boundary between reality and fantasy. People who answer yes to these questions are called realists. Einstein was a realist. I am also a realist. We realists believe that there is a real world out there, whose properties in no way depend on our knowledge or perception of it. [Q: My emphasis added.]
This describes materialism and determinism. Dr. Smolin goes on to describe the massive challenge currently posed by quantum mechanics that seem to falsify realism and how he views that challenge. On the other side of the issue are physicists such as Eugene Wigner. Steven Weinberg writes
In the instrumentalist approach . . . humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”
Max Planck, who’s considered the father of quantum mechanics stated the following in a speech delivered in Florence, Italy in 1944 titled The Nature of Matter:
As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear-headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.
And, of course, there’s Vlatko Vedral, Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College. As a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics, here’s how he expresses it:
The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information––and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.
So, it's currently believed that information is conserved. But what is the SOURCE of all information? Can it appear spontaneously and design things? -Q Querius
So, if you are lurching to conclusions without thinking, that's not a problem with the idea of free will, it's a problem with personal discipline. You do have some control about what you think, you just haven't practiced it enough to be good at it. In fact, the culture we live in is designed to weaken and destroy personal responsibility. Andrew asauber
"Could you simply choose to believe something you don’t believe?" Illogical question. Beliefs aren't facts, therefore they are subject to changes based on individual judgements/choices. Information set A points to X belief. Hold on, Information set B points to not X. My judgement says? Andrew asauber
Dogdoc @
Again: Could you simply choose to believe something you don’t believe? No, of course you can’t.
My claim is not that one can choose to believe something one doesn’t believe. Where did you get that from? - - - - I observe myself and next I come to the conclusion that I am something real, something that truly exists. Sam Harris on the other hand, comes to the conclusion that he is an illusion; that he, in fact, does not exist.
I’m saying that in order for our choices to be free, the reasons for our choices must be freely chosen, but that is impossible.
My claim is that a person is a free being, but his freedom does not extend to the world in which he finds himself. IOWs the free person has control over himself, but not over the external world (putting aside the fact that to some extend the person can manipulate this external world). Can we agree on the following: a free choice of a person, within the given parameters of the world external to him, stems from the person, as opposed to stemming from the world which surrounds him. IOWs “free” refers to origin of choice. If the origin of a choice can be found within the person, then we speak of a “free choice”, and if the origin of a ‘choice’ is the external world [beyond the control of the person], then we speak of a “determined act".
When you look at the sky, do you freely choose to see it as blue? Could you choose to see it as green? We do not freely choose our sense perceptions, and if we make a decision based on our perception then our choice is not free.
The color of the sky is beyond one’s control. One cannot choose its color. You seem to argue that only if Solipsism is true, there can be free choice. Do I understand you correctly? Origenes
Dogdoc Could you simply choose to believe something you don’t believe? No, of course you can’t.
Nonsense. A new information or a different approach /new perspective of a situation can change your beliefs.
in order for our choices to be free, the reasons for our choices must be freely chosen, but that is impossible.
Nonsense. You are just a creature and you don't have the power to create yourself neither the intelligence to decide all the processes involved . Somebody way smarter than yourself set the rules in place. Your free will is to play the proposed game / rules or reject them.
We do not freely choose our sense perceptions, and if we make a decision based on our perception then our choice is not free.
Nonsense. Freedom is not what you babble. Freedom involves moral choice not about what colour you prefer to see the sky or how many hands/fingers/etc. you want to have . You are just a limited creature with (a narrow) field given to you to express your free will. whistler
Dogdoc said:
I’m saying that in order for our choices to be free, the reasons for our choices must be freely chosen, but that is impossible.
Choices don't exist without a reason to make a choice. Free will is about making choices; it doesn't exist without them. Choices don't exist without a reason to make them. Free will and "the reason" for making a choice are inseparable aspects of a whole. You're apparently arguing that free will doesn't exist because reasons for making choices exist. The truth is, free will cannot exist without reasons. Or, as I would argue, one fundamental, universal reason: enjoyment of one's experience. Saying you should be able to choose your own reason for making a choice is nonsensical because the choice itself does not exist without the co-existing reason to make a choice. They are two inseparable sides of the same coin. William J Murray
Origenes @409 said:
How would you define “enjoyment” in this context? In my view it is crucial to point out that a free choice stems from the person, as opposed to stemming from something beyond the control of the person. WRT motivation, perhaps, I would say that, in general, a person tends to choose an act, among alternatives, which is the most harmonious with the entirety of his being. IOWs the act he can stand behind the most. To be clear, I have serious doubts whether or not this constitutes an all-encompassing rule WRT motivation. Does this relate to “enjoy”?
The question would be, why would one make choices that are harmonious with your whole self and that you can stand behind? Why not make a choice that runs counter to that or undermines it? It is because you project that doing the former would result in a more enjoyable outcome/state in those conceptual terms. Perhaps you feel at peace with yourself and satisfied that you make decisions you can stand behind and perhaps be honest about (because you enjoy - conceptually, psychologically, perhaps physically - "being honest.") Perhaps you enjoy living up to certain principles and having what you consider to be virtuous characteristics. Enjoyment is not hedonism. There are many forms of enjoyment: immediate, physical, delayed, conceptual, spiritual, mental, etc. One might enjoy vanilla ice cream and someone else might enjoy abstaining from sweets altogether even though they love sweets because they are serving a delayed or more abstract enjoyment, like losing weight in the future or demonstrating their will power to themselves. One might march into battle because they enjoy being a patriot and the sense they are protecting those weaker than them; another person might flee because the more enjoy the odds of staying alive to continue with their more direct enjoyments. Or, they might remove themselves based on some principle they enjoy holding. I would say that a "harmonious self making decisions one can stand behind" would be a person with well-managed enjoyments in their current inner and external landscape, immediate, physical, and abstract, conceptual. To be clear, particular available carrots and sticks of enjoyment potentials are not the reasons we make the decision; they are just aspects of our current internal and external landscape. The reason we make any decision is just "to enjoy." Every decision is a matter of some form of preference. We prefer A over B because we perceive/believe that A increases enjoyment, decreases unenjoyment, or helps in enjoyment management. "Towards enjoyment," or preference, is not extractable from "free will." If it was extracted, how the heck would we make any choices? What would be the essential, fundamental reason for making ANY choice? William J Murray
Origenes @414 said:
Regarding 4D and 5D origins, this prompts the question of where the 4D and 5D causally originated. Infinity is not a good answer because it’s the logical equivalent of a divide by zero statement. Note that without causality all science stops and everything becomes a statistical miracle.
As I've argued before, the potential for everything that can be said to ever come to exist (all possible things) always existed, or else nothing could have ever come into existence regardless of how else one thinks about any origin or creation story. Nothing can be caused to happen unless that exact effect already exists as information in potentia. Information from the potential is translated into experience within and by a conscious mind. The 4D world is a construct of perspective experienced in a conscious mind, not of external actuality (in the old material world sense of "actuality.") The causal factor of what the conscious mind experiences is the conscious mind of the observer. There's nothing else that can possibly be causal, and 100 yeas of quantum physics (as well as mundane physiological and psychological) experimentation has clearly demonstrated beyond its logical necessity. Once this is properly understood, it stands as a self-evident truth. As far as science is concerned, it would end the perspective that science is exploring "objective reality." We're already there, it's just a concept that is extremely difficult to let go of for most. I would address the concept of "infinity" this way, which to me is the only way it matters: I think that what lies in the potential is "all possible things." That's a mind-boggling number, but it' not truly infinite. It's just infinite for all practical purposes.
If you revise this to assert that reality is fundamentally information, you will be in complete agreement with Anton Zeilinger, an Austrian quantum physicist and Nobel laureate in physics of 2022. I think your use of the term “mental reality” is equivalent to what I term “conscious observation.”
Heh, I just got to this, so it looks like we are largely in agreement. The reason I use square circle instead of something like "the Easter Bunny" is that I can imagine and perhaps even dream about the Easter Bunny. But I cannot imagine or dream about a square circle. There is obviously "Easter Bunny" information that has always been in the potential. Whether or not that by itself makes the Easter Bunny real just depends on how one defines "real" and where you draw the line between what is real and what is not. William J Murray
Dogdoc: Perhaps you missed my revised argument at 398. Judging by your comment 426, I'd say I have correctly understood you in 398 because in it I compare to "beliefs and desires" to "walls and traffic" - any contextual condition within which we make choices. William J Murray
Origenes,
Unlike Harris I choose to believe that I exist. Are you arguing that I have no choice in doing so because I observe myself?
Again: Could you simply choose to believe something you don't believe? No, of course you can't.
If that is your claim, then how do you explain Harris’ who (supposedly) also observes himself but holds that he does not exist?
I don't want to debate what Harris believes, but I think saying "he doesn't believe he exists" is a cartoon version of his point about selves. His belief is consistent with his conscious experience. WJM misread my argument. I am not talking about causes. Nor am I talking about constraints on our freedom. I'm saying that in order for our choices to be free, the reasons for our choices must be freely chosen, but that is impossible. dogdoc
Dogdoc @
We do not freely choose our sense perceptions, and if we make a decision based on our perception then our choice is not free.
Unlike Harris I choose to believe that I exist. Are you arguing that I have no choice in doing so because I observe myself? If that is your claim, then how do you explain Harris' who (supposedly) also observes himself but holds that he does not exist? What WJM wrote earlier seems relevant here:
You’re mistaking the reason for making any decision for the landscape within which one makes the decision. You might as well substitute walls and traffic for beliefs and desires. I didn’t choose where the walls exist or what the traffic is like in my life, either. Does it mean I don’t have free will because my choices must take into account the current walls and traffic of where I live?
Origenes
re 423, to Q: You write, “Models should never be confused with reality. Models can be useful within their limits for a time.” I totally agree. We test our models against reality, and if they don’t agree, we adjust our model. The map is not the territory. When I wrote, “As the video you linked to describes (I think it was you), with Kuhn interviewing Smolin, it is out-dated and false to think of either space or time in the Cartesian sense of an arena, modeled by a coordinate system, in which all events happen.”, you replied, “Cartesian is your term, not mine, nor is the term ever used by Lee Smolin as far as I’ve read. ... In no way would I assert his views as “being out-of-date.” ... “I would not describe him as “out-of-date.” Hmmm, I’ve explained this once before: it is NOT Smolin who brought up the out-of-date idea of space and time as modeled by a coordinate system in which all events happen. It was Kuhn who brought that up and Smolin who then said, yes, that is out-of-date, and here is the modern way to think about. I have not questioned Smolin’s ideas or credentials at all. Also, Cartesian is a standard term for a coordinate system based on the number line, extending infinitely in all directions. From Wikipedia:
Cartesian coordinate system in a plane is a coordinate system that specifies each point uniquely by a pair of numerical coordinates, which are the signed distances to the point from two fixed perpendicular oriented lines, measured in the same unit of length. ... One can use the same principle to specify the position of any point in three-dimensional space by three Cartesian coordinates, its signed distances to three mutually perpendicular planes ...In general, n Cartesian coordinates (an element of real n-space) specify the point in an n-dimensional Euclidean space for any dimension n.
The old way of thinking is then that time is a one-dimensional Cartesian system separate from 3-dimensional Cartesian space. Smolin is saying all that is out-dated, and I agree with him. Last, you writes, “I don’t agree with Dr. Smolin’s presumption of deterministic materialism, ...” I have asked you before about the phrase “deterministic materialism”. I’d be interested in discussing the following: 1. What do you mean by materialism? 2. What does deterministic mean when applied to the word materialism? 3. What is it about Smolin’s views that count as supporting or advocating for “deterministic materialism”? By the way, I watched the 2nd half of the Kuhn/Smolin video, so I’ve now watched the whole thing. Viola Lee
Origenes, When you look at the sky, do you freely choose to see it as blue? Could you choose to see it as green? We do not freely choose our sense perceptions, and if we make a decision based on our perception then our choice is not free. dogdoc
Dogdoc
Did you freely choose to perceive yourself as having a self? If not then ...
I don't understand your question. Are you suggesting that someone or something (a reason?) beyond my control forces me to observe myself? Could you please elaborate? Origenes
Q,
My choice to do so is simply based on self-observation and consequent reasoning
Did you freely choose to perceive yourself as having a self? If not then your choice to disbelieve Harris is based on a reason that was not of your choosing. When I introspect I perceive that my conscious thoughts come to me unbidden, and base some of my beliefs on that unchosen perception. And so on. dogdoc
Viola Lee @419,
Thanks, Q. You write, “For example, postulating that because infinity (arguably infinities) exists in mathematics as in the number line, we can conclude that the universe has been in existence an infinite amount of time.” That’s a fallacious argument. As you said, we use math to model reality, but we have to have reason to believe that our model is appropriate.
Models should never be confused with reality. Models can be useful within their limits for a time.
There is no reason to think that using the infinite number line to model some structure of time as it might extend before our universe is thought to have begun is appropriate.
I don't, but some people, do. Before the Big Bang theory was introduced in 1927 (and expanded by Hubble in 1929), most scientists believed in an infinite steady-state model of the universe. Even in the 1950s and 1960s, support was still evenly divided between the two theories.
As the video you linked to describes (I think it was you), with Kuhn interviewing Smolin, it is out-dated and false to think of either space or time in the Cartesian sense of an arena, modeled by a coordinate system, in which all events happen.
Cartesian is your term, not mine, nor is the term ever used by Lee Smolin as far as I've read. But Smolin is highly respected as a theoretical physicist and the interview was conducted only about 18 months ago. His CV is here: https://leesmolin.com/academic-cv/ I don't agree with Dr. Smolin's presumption of deterministic materialism, but I still respect him and read his books. In no way would I assert his views as "being out-of-date." In fact, in any debate with him, your arguments (and mine) would certainly be (kindly and humanely) chewed up and spit out in little pieces. But that doesn't mean he can't be wrong and that you or I can't disagree with him, but I would not describe him as "out-of-date." -Q Querius
Andrew at 420, There is a difference between beliefs and facts. Some adopt the nonsensical position that beliefs need to start with a brain that has zero and then - only then - can you fill it with beliefs. That's nonsensical. Anyway, established facts that are obvious or easy to confirm, are chosen since they are obvious. As a kid, you find out the hard way that the stove is hot or the pot sitting on the stove is hot. That's not a belief, it's a fact you can demonstrate. So facts learned from experience and from your teachers while growing up are accepted as facts. It's in those books you have to read. Beliefs would include deciding if there might be life on other planets. You can't confirm it but you have read enough and you tend to believe in the idea. We also make judgments when we meet new people or when we're in a crowd of unfamiliar people. We size them up. We determine who we might want to talk to and who we might want to avoid. relatd
re 420: yes, that is what I am saying. And the cumulative act of choosing those things, and consulting them as you make further choices, is that which constitutes the freedom of self-determination. Viola Lee
As soon as your brain begins to develop reasoning, you begin accepting, rejecting, maintaining, downgrading, switching, enforcing, romanticizing, scrutinizing, etc.. your beliefs, which are acts of the will. Andrew asauber
Thanks, Q. You write, "For example, postulating that because infinity (arguably infinities) exists in mathematics as in the number line, we can conclude that the universe has been in existence an infinite amount of time." That's a fallacious argument. As you said, we use math to model reality, but we have to have reason to believe that our model is appropriate. There is no reason to think that using the infinite number line to model some structure of time as it might extend before our universe is thought to have begun is appropriate. As the video you linked to describes (I think it was you), with Kuhn interviewing Smolin, it is out-dated and false to think of either space or time in the Cartesian sense of an arena, modeled by a coordinate system, in which all events happen. Viola Lee
Dogdoc @388
When one chooses to adopt or discard some belief, that choice is either made for no reason at all, or it based on reasons – that is, other beliefs. This regress goes on – you need to already have your beliefs in order to choose your beliefs, which is impossible.
A concrete example would be that I discard Sam Harris’ belief that the self is an illusion. My choice to do so is simply based on self-observation and consequent reasoning — see e.g. #289. End of the line …. I do not see an endless regress WRT beliefs as you seem to suggest. Origenes
Viola Lee @416, Yes, calculus can used to model reality fairly well in reality within limits. The problem manifested in the orbit of Mercury is an example of the limits of traditional orbital mechanics as is the three-body problem as you probably know. Ratios of increments are also valid as are calculating limits. However, as we discussed before in some detail, projecting mathematical infinities onto real-world processes often results in problems and paradoxes, which is exactly what this topic is (or should be) all about. For example, postulating that because infinity (arguably infinities) exists in mathematics as in the number line, we can conclude that the universe has been in existence an infinite amount of time leads to problems and paradoxes of infinite causality, entropy, and information. As for the rest, I was just having some fun, although I'm semi-serious about the T-shirt. P.S. How can we be sure in context of Kurt Gödel's incompleteness theorems that we're using the appropriate mathematical system to model reality? How can we be sure that multiple systems aren't required to model reality? -Q Querius
Q, do you accept calculus as a mathematical tool that can accurately model real-world phenomena ? There is a difference between claiming that a infinite number of discrete object can be instantiated in reality (the general consensus is that they can't) and using the idea of an infinite number of points which are infinitely small and infinitely many at a greater order of infinity than the first case (real numbers) to model continuity. I am really not sure what your seeming disavowal of infinity is this second case is all about. Viola Lee
Kairosfocus @406,
A physically — thermodynamically constrained — instantiated infinity is where the troubles come from.
Bingo! As I've maintained, applying infinity to reality is the logical equivalent of a divide by zero error in math. Another way of looking at this problem is to imagine traveling a specified distance at increments of zero an infinite number of times. But that only works for large values of zero and small values of infinity. ;-) P.S. I'm thinking of getting a T-shirt printed with "L'Hôpital Rules" on it! -Q Querius
William J Murray @405,
Well, to be fair, Q is just asking for possible alternatives.
Yes, exactly! Thank you. Regarding 4D and 5D origins, this prompts the question of where the 4D and 5D causally originated. Infinity is not a good answer because it’s the logical equivalent of a divide by zero statement. Note that without causality all science stops and everything becomes a statistical miracle.
The only way any information can exist or be conveyed is if we live in a mental reality, because all information is mental in nature.
If you revise this to assert that reality is fundamentally information, you will be in complete agreement with Anton Zeilinger, an Austrian quantum physicist and Nobel laureate in physics of 2022. I think your use of the term “mental reality” is equivalent to what I term “conscious observation.”
There’s no such thing as “non-existence.” It’s like saying “square circle.”
You’re right that “non-existence” is NOT a thing. It is “no thing” (nothing). FWIW, Instead of the “square circle” example, I use logical substitution: The Easter Bunny doesn’t exist as a thing. It is nothing. Thus, to assert that the Big Bang originated from nothing is equivalent to asserting that the universe originated from the Easter Bunny! Thanks again. -Q Querius
William J Murray @402, Thanks for getting back on topic with me.
unless you are saying that we are still in “the big bang” as some form of alternate definition of the term.
Yep, that’s exactly what the Big Bang theory asserts! Here’s a standard representation beginning with one or more rapid inflationary periods followed by expansion, WHICH WE ARE STILL PART OF. Notice that the expansion rate is believed to be accelerating now. https://opentextbc.ca/geology/wp-content/uploads/sites/110/2015/09/figure22.png The current belief among cosmologists is that both space and time (aka spacetime) appeared simultaneously 13.8 billion years ago. -Q Querius
Dogdoc: Have you a response to my post at #323? PaV
Querius at 399, You are making absolutely no sense. Do you wander in fields during pitch-black nights in the hope that you won't fall into a hole or walk off a cliff? Real life offers if this then that choices ONLY. Stupid comedy is stupid comedy. Your unique example, as if from a movie, is unique to my experience and the same for everyone I've known and still know. I think you knew there would be negative consequences. relatd
of further note to 408:
Inflationary Spacetimes Are Incomplete in Past Directions Arvind Borde, Alan H. Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin - 15 April 2003 Abstract: Many inflating spacetimes are likely to violate the weak energy condition, a key assumption of singularity theorems. Here we offer a simple kinematical argument, requiring no energy condition, that a cosmological model which is inflating—or just expanding sufficiently fast—must be incomplete in null and timelike past directions. Specifically, we obtain a bound on the integral of the Hubble parameter over a past-directed timelike or null geodesic. Thus inflationary models require physics other than inflation to describe the past boundary of the inflating region of spacetime. https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.90.151301
bornagain77
WJM @403
If there is any directive from a creator written into the fabric of consciousness of all sentient beings, innately, inescapably motivating every free will choice, it is this simple commandment: “Enjoy.”
How would you define “enjoyment” in this context? In my view it is crucial to point out that a free choice stems from the person, as opposed to stemming from something beyond the control of the person. WRT motivation, perhaps, I would say that, in general, a person tends to choose an act, among alternatives, which is the most harmonious with the entirety of his being. IOWs the act he can stand behind the most. To be clear, I have serious doubts whether or not this constitutes an all-encompassing rule WRT motivation. Does this relate to “enjoy”? Origenes
Origenes, you might also find this interesting.
“There is another development in theoretical physics called the Borde, Guth, Vilenkin theorem. And its not based on General Relativity but its based on Special Relativity. And for that reason it is not effected by postulations about what gravity might or might not have been like in the first tiny smidgen of time after the beginning of the universe. And it is those speculations that prevented the Hawking, Penrose, Ellis, singularity theorem from absolutely proving a beginning point. Instead the Borde, Guth, Vilenkin, theorem proves a beginning to the universe on the basis of considerations from special relativity that have nothing to do with whether or not there were quantum fluctuations within the first tiny smidgen of time after the beginning of the universe, and whether gravity might have worked differently or not. Instead it is independent of all those kind of considerations and caveats that prevent us from saying that the Hawking, Penrose, Ellis, results are absolute proofs (for a beginning of the universe). Instead you have a very strong proof of a beginning from theoretical physics that is not dependent on these conditions.”,,, - Stephen Meyer Discusses the Big Bang, Einstein, Hawking, and More – video – 36:42 minute mark https://youtu.be/m_AeA4fMHhI?t=2202
And here is the BGV paper that provides a "very strong proof" for a beginning to the universe
Inflationary spacetimes are not past-complete - 2003 Arvind Borde,1, 2 Alan H. Guth,1, 3 and Alexander Vilenkin1 Excerpt: we will construct a definition for H that depends only on the relative motion of the observer and test particles. In order to motivate what we do, we first consider the case of nonrelativistic velocities in Minkowski space. Suppose that the observer measures the velocities of the test particles as a function of the time t on his own clock.,,, IV. Discussion. Our argument shows that null and time- like geodesics are, in general, past-incomplete in inflationary models, whether or not energy conditions hold, provided only that the averaged expansion condition Hav > 0 holds along these past-directed geodesics. This is a stronger conclusion than the one arrived at in previous work [8] in that we have shown under reasonable assumptions that almost all causal geodesics, when extended to the past of an arbitrary point, reach the boundary of the inflating region of spacetime in a finite proper time (finite affine length, in the null case). https://www.brainmaster.com/software/pubs/physics/Inflation%20past0110012v2.pdf “The conclusion is that past-eternal inflation is impossible without a beginning.” - Alexander Vilenkin – from pg. 35 ‘New Proofs for the Existence of God’ by Robert J. Spitzer (of note: As well, an elegant “Einstein-like” thought experiment of a space traveler traveling to another galaxy, that Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin, used to illustrate the validity of the proof, is on pg. 35 of the book also.)
bornagain77
Bornagain @396 Thank you for this interesting article. As I understand it (correct me if I am wrong) the BGV theorem shows that an eternal bouncing/cyclical universe must be perfectly balanced in every way. The IS model doesn't meet this criterion:
Each iteration grows vastly larger than the previous one, so the universe is on average always expanding ...
Due to this imbalance in scale it can be shown, by applying the BGV theorem, that such a universe cannot have an infinite past (it must have a beginning) or as they put it: the IS model is "geodesically pastincomplete". For some reason, and here I suspect Gödel’s incompleteness theorem is relevant, it is not possible for physicists and mathematicians to come up with a universe model which is in itself perfectly balanced, put differently: it is not possible to come up with a model of a perpetuum mobile. Origenes
A physically -- thermodynamically constrained -- instantiated infinity is where the troubles come from. kairosfocus
Well, to be fair, Q is just asking for possible alternatives.
a. Are there alternatives to an infinitely small initiation of the big bang?
Yes. The so-called "big bang" location in 4D spacetime is not the actual initiation of anything. That's just what it looks like from a certain 4D perspective. It's like holding a ruler in your hand, pointing at the edge of zero inches, and saying that edge caused the rest of the ruler to emerge.
b. All the information needed for determinism must necessarily emerge from a single point.
This is factually inaccurate under GR spacetime theory. Determinism could be true from a 5D perspective, but we have the pesky problem of 100 years of quantum physics putting the kibosh on that idea. The 4D spacetime structure would have to be solid-state in some sense for determinism to be true. Super-determinism is pretty much just a wish in the minds of many theorists at this point.
How is this information conveyed? How is any information conveyed?
The only way any information can exist or be conveyed is if we live in a mental reality, because all information is mental in nature.
c. What can initiate a big bang from non-existence?
There's no such thing as "non-existence." It's like saying "square circle." William J Murray
I responded. I asked questions about b which you didn't reply to. Of course the questions remains unanswered because I am sure nobody here, and really nobody, knows the answers. Why are you asking again? Viola Lee
If there is any directive from a creator written into the fabric of consciousness of all sentient beings, innately, inescapably motivating every free will choice, it is this simple commandment: "Enjoy." William J Murray
Querius said:
The Big Bang is NOT a location in spacetime, it IS spacetime. However, red shift data indicates that spacetime is expanding. Causality demands that spacetime was continually smaller before the present. Thus, the Big Bang theory accepts that all of spacetime originated at an infinitely small point.
Apparently you're ignoring the "time" axis of spacetime. If the universe is expanding through linear time from a point, unless you are saying that we are still in "the big bang" as some form of alternate definition of the term. the big bang is a location in spaceTIME, even if it is "all space" packed in a point-size at the beginning of a linear time axis. The theory of GR spacetime holds that all the past and future - the entire time axis of spacetime, as well as all of the "space" that expands along that time axis - always exists, has always existed, and will always exist. From a 5D or 5-axis perspective, what we call the big bang is a location in that 4D model where space is (theoretically) at minimum size, so to speak. One would also assume it represents minimum entropy and maximum density. From a 5D perspective, it's basically just the location of these conditions; it's not causal in nature. IOW, it cannot have caused what appears to us, from our local angular perspective, to be "the expanding universe," because all of that has also always existed. William J Murray
Back on topic (imagine that!), my questions from 334 remain unanswered:
a. Are there alternatives to an infinitely small initiation of the big bang? b. All the information needed for determinism must necessarily emerge from a single point. How is this information conveyed? How is any information conveyed? c. What can initiate a big bang from non-existence?
-Q Querius
re 398: Dogdoc, there is a possibility that WJM is making a point similar to mine. Viola Lee
Relatd @384,
A “comedy” sketch is not a life lesson.
Then consider it a parable. The example highlights what appears to be a setback can turn out to be a boost and what appears to be a boost can turn out to be a setback. Before making a choice, you never have any conclusive evidence on how it will turn out, do you? You can rely only on your faith. On one occasion in my career, my manager told me to lie to the customs agent when entering a foreign country. I refused to do so, and I told the truth to the customs agent. While this resulted in my being interrogated for about an hour (in a small room with a lamp, chair, and desk like in the movies), I was ultimately freed. I had no assurances beforehand, but chose not to lie and was willing to bear the consequences. -Q Querius
Dogdoc said:
After all, free will should allow me to make any choice for any reason, and I am free to change my mind at will..
As I said, of course nobody chooses the reason for their decisions. Everyone has the same inescapable, fundamental reason - ultimately - behind every choice. The reason is innate in the very capacity to choose. It's not something else acting on the choice. It doesn't matter what your current beliefs and desires are; you make your choice for the same reason as any other sentient, conscious being. Beliefs and desires are just part of the landscape upon which one is applying that reason (pursuit of some form of enjoyment, or the management of enjoyments.) You're mistaking the reason for making any decision for the landscape within which one makes the decision. You might as well substitute walls and traffic for beliefs and desires. I didn't choose where the walls exist or what the traffic is like in my life, either. Does it mean I don't have free will because my choices must take into account the current walls and traffic of where I live? There is no infinite regress of reasons because the fundamental reason for all choices is innate in the capacity to choose. This is where I am saying that your logic has specifically failed: you are mistaking the internal landscape of current beliefs and desires for the reason you make a choice; they are not the reason you make your choice any more than walls and traffic or finances or physical capabilities are the reason you make any choice. They are all contextual considerations that must be accounted for when making a choice; they are not the reason for making a choice. William J Murray
re 395: Vivid has been posting under the same name all these years. I haven't. I think there is at least one other person here who also used to post at Arn. And there was ISCID before UD. Also, "absolute free will", or libertarian free will, brings in the metaphysical issues we have agreed are not relevant to the points we are making. In respect to will and choice, I am interested in how we experience it and how it relates to our larger being, accepting that we are able to make choices by consulting our being, so to speak. Viola Lee
Origenes, your intuition is on the right track. Recently the oscillating and/or cyclical model, i.e. "Big Crunch followed by a (new) Big Bang", was falsified by by applying the BGV theorem to that model. Here is how Brain Miller explained it.
Science Journal Reaffirms Universe Had a Beginning, - Brian Miller - August 9, 2022 Excerpt: Cyclical Cosmologies and the BGV Theorem Kinney and Stein applied the BGV theorem to the IS model, which I have previously critiqued. Anna Ijjas and Paul Steinhardt propose that the universe expanded, then contracted, and then bounced back into an expansion stage in a never-ending cycle. Each iteration grows vastly larger than the previous one, so the universe is on average always expanding. Kinney and Stein rigorously demonstrate that the BGV theorem mandates the IS model being “geodesically past-incomplete,” meaning that spacetime had an absolute beginning: "In this paper, we use the BGV theorem to demonstrate that growth in the scale factor inevitably means that the spacetime is geodesically past-incomplete. … This result is completely general: any bouncing spacetime which obeys the condition for entropy dissipation and the Null Energy Condition outside the bounce must be geodesically incomplete. This is consistent with the BGV theorem, which shows that any spacetime for which the average Hubble parameter is positive must be similarly geodesically incomplete. The IS cosmology satis?es this condition and therefore cannot be past eternal, independent of the details of the dynamics." https://evolutionnews.org/2022/08/science-journal-reaffirms-universe-had-a-beginning-a-key-argument-in-meyers-god-hypothesis/
bornagain77
Viola, funny, perhaps we've known each other in previous lives. Regarding absolute freedom, what I'm referring to is that which is described by many theists here, for example - libertarianism really, but without getting into causality, it is the notion of causa sui. dogdoc
Docdog writes, "but doesn’t restore an absolute freedom." I don't think I was suggesting an absolute freedom. I'm not even sure what that would mean. Viola Lee
Dogdoc writes, "In some incarnation, so do I". Me, too. Viola Lee
Anything eternal/infinite leads to absurdities that refute its existence. Except for one thing. jerry
Bornagain @ Peter Cameron
But is it [the Universe] eternal or not? That is a real question, and is so far undecided.
It seems to me that an eternal universe implies a Big Crunch followed by a (new) Big Bang. Can it be said that such an eternal oscilating universe is a perpetuum mobile? Bornagain brought up Gödel’s incompleteness theorem and summarized it as “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove.” Intuitively this seems relevant as to why a perpetuum mobile is impossible. The required energy has to come from somewhere — from the outside. If possible a universe-perpetuum-mobile is able to summon free energy out of nowhere to overcome what it has to spend in order to do work. Origenes
Willam Murray
It seems to me the whole “infinite regress of willful decisions” is just the effect of mistaking reasons for causes.
Not at all. Take a look at my argument and you’ll see I never talk about causes, and make a point of saying that my argument is based on reasons alone and does not involve causation. I explicitly allow that people can make free decisions that are not determined - uncaused, if you like. However, if they make a decision based on a reason, then that reason cannot have been freely chosen by them.
How can “deterministic materialism” even be a thing any more? Might as well be talking about Humoral Theory. Determinism and materialism are entirely disproved and discredited Victorian Age superstitions at this point.
As for materialism: I wouldn’t say it was a “superstition”, but I wholeheartedly agree it is purely an anachronistic term and nobody should be talking about it. As for determinism, I think it’s quite complicated - see Sabine Hossenfelder’s views on “superdeterminism” for example. But again I avoid assuming anything about determinism in my argument vis-a-vis free will. dogdoc
Whistler,
Free will exists only in theism.
Perhaps, but my argument doesn’t assume that or argue against theism. dogdoc
Origenes,
Reponsibility results from, or rather is maintained by, one’s free choices WRT to those external influences (e.g. beliefs). One freely chooses to adopt some beliefs and discard others.
. When one chooses to adopt or discard some belief, that choice is either made for no reason at all, or it based on reasons - that is, other beliefs. This regress goes on - you need to already have your beliefs in order to choose your beliefs, which is impossible. dogdoc
Vivid, I still believe your view is similar to mine.
I agree with Jonathan Edwards, “ that by which the mind chooses anything” The will does not determine itself.”
. Exactly!!
I go way back to the ARN days and many years on this site
In some incarnation, so do I ;-) dogdoc
Viola Lee, Sorry but as you know, life interferes with these discussions. Your points merit careful responses, I will make them when I can. I can tell you that I’ve tried on your view and in general still disagree - the sort of free will that most people want to have and think they have is impossible, and your take is still a version of compatibilism that enables us to reason about agency but doesn’t restore an absolute freedom. dogdoc
BobSinclair,
I was curious, do you believe people are born as a “blank slate” or are they born with pre existing beliefs etc and if so how do they acquire they’re initial set of beliefs etc?.
I don’t know of any cognitive scientists who would believe in anything like “blank slate” - of course I don’t. It’s obvious that all animals are born with all sorts of mental instincts, predispositions, etc. My argument certainly doesn’t assume anything about what sorts of things are innate in us - only that one can’t choose one’s mental characteristics until one has mental characteristics capable of supporting a choice. And once you gain that ability, your characteristics are not of your choosing. dogdoc
Querius at 383, A "comedy" sketch is not a life lesson. relatd
Related @379,
What results? An example if you don’t mind.
The example was in the video link I provided. Here it is again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fMnQAvz0ek -Q Querius
Jerry: I am not here to have conversations. I am here to learn and rarely have I learned anything from you or for that matter from most here. So, you respond and comment on statements made by people for what reason? And how does that preclude you from answering my questions? You chose to participate in the conversation and then you bail when it gets personal? It seems like you're only willing to play ball when you choose to. Which gives you an 'out' when something comes up which you can't answer. Or which challenges your beliefs past the point which you can defend them. Your actions can be interpreted that way. What is it you want to learn from participating in this forum? Why do you keep challenging people's view when you don't care to enter into a conversation with them? Should we all just ignore you because you, frankly, just don't care about having a discussion as you admitted? JVL
I don’t understand why you can’t/won’t answer my questions directed at you, personally.
Here's a direct response. Responses to you rarely lead anywhere. I am not here to have conversations. I am here to learn and rarely have I learned anything from you or for that matter from most here. KF is one exception as he posts honest but incredibly hard to understand OPs and comments that are often insightful. However, I often ignore them because they are so information dense and repetitive. Few here understand the maxim, "KISS" or short and to the point. I have some specific ideas that others fail to understand so I post them to see if there is an honest response. For example, I posted something on uncertainty as the essence of existence. Absolutely no one has picked up on this though I am positive it is at the center of our existence. It's ok that no one responds. I have posted it before and will post it again at appropriate times. I will respond if I believe it worthwhile but as I say many of the comments are inane and will lead no where. Right now I will post something on the Multiverse OP. One person actually picked up on what I was saying and its implications. jerry
Relatd: What I think about homosexuals and heterosexuals is based on evidence. What “I” think – as if my decisions come from somewhere else, does not apply. But I asked you and everyone else here to find out how that choice felt to them. That was my point. Was it free will or hard wiring? Over the centuries, people realized that having a wife and your own kids, and raising your own kids, and staying with your wife, was the right way. So, a built-up societal norm and not some hard-and-fast cosmic, hardwired truth? YOU seem to be assuming that people are independent biological units that do no thinking except what their “wiring” makes them do. That's exactly NOT what I am saying. Perhaps you should pay more attention. I PERSONALLY, have only two choices: do what is right or do what is wrong. Simple. So, again, is what is 'right' a choice you make or is it inherent in your system? I PERSONALLY, have a basis for right and wrong, and I think most people have similar or the same. Are those standards a matter of free will or are they 'programmed' in to the individuals? JVL
Querius at 378, Your comment is very vague. I don't understand it. "So, where does that leave us, Relatd? Do you stop choosing to do the right thing just because the results are uncertain?" What results? An example if you don't mind. relatd
Relatd @366,
JVL wrote @363: I think it must be the same when dealing with events in our lives. We have lots and lots of influences and habits and such. And it may all add up to some vague general decision. But it’s always fuzzy around the edges and so each person has to decide on which side of a fat, fuzzy line they land. The triggers are fuzzy and the sum total is fuzzy.
Quantum mechanics supports this view. Look up “Quantum Tunneling” for example. It’s related to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and the interaction of conjugate variables. Quantum Tunneling is the mechanism that allows fusion in the sun and restricts further miniaturization of microprocessors. The fact is that we don't possess all knowledge, nor can we know all the future results from our actions. As the eminent philosopher Roy Clark once demonstrated . . . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fMnQAvz0ek So, where does that leave us, Relatd? Do you stop choosing to do the right thing just because the results are uncertain? -Q Querius
William J Murray @351,
How can “deterministic materialism” even be a thing any more? Might as well be talking about Humoral Theory. Determinism and materialism are entirely disproved and discredited Victorian Age superstitions at this point.
Good question. But secular scientists continue to struggle trying to find explanations that maintain deterministic materialism. The alternatives are simply too grotesque for them to accept. -Q Querius
William J Murray @349
1. I don’t understand why people are still talking about “the big bang,” even if such a location in spacetime exists, as if it significant under general relativistic space-time or QM theory.
The Big Bang is NOT a location in spacetime, it IS spacetime. However, red shift data indicates that spacetime is expanding. Causality demands that spacetime was continually smaller before the present. Thus, the Big Bang theory accepts that all of spacetime originated at an infinitely small point. This leads to the “Information Paradox” mentioned earlier: https://medium.com/the-infinite-universe/the-big-bang-also-has-an-information-paradox-308e83f9edab -Q Querius
JVL at 373, You like coming to conclusions that you like. That doesn't mean they're true. All of the people I've known, and those I still know, just make decisions. What I think about homosexuals and heterosexuals is based on evidence. What "I" think - as if my decisions come from somewhere else, does not apply. Am I a meat robot with wiring? No. Over the centuries, people realized that having a wife and your own kids, and raising your own kids, and staying with your wife, was the right way. YOU seem to be assuming that people are independent biological units that do no thinking except what their "wiring" makes them do. Or that people are purely, 100% - I never saw another human being in my life - units that make decisions based on whatever crosses their minds. With zero input from, I don't know, their parents? I PERSONALLY, have only two choices: do what is right or do what is wrong. Simple. I can, however, see others doing things the wrong way, have them tell me it's the "right" way and I may be confused for a short period and do the wrong thing. I PERSONALLY, have a basis for right and wrong, and I think most people have similar or the same. relatd
Jerry: There was a famous court room novel written in the 1950’s called “Anatomy of a Murder.” I don't understand why you can't/won't answer my questions directed at you, personally. JVL
Relatd: Most of the world is poor and has little time for various principles. The average person has to decide on doing or not doing things daily. Depending on your experience and knowledge, most decisions are quick and easy. They may not be pleasant in some cases, but you know you have to deal with them. For the average person, life is not one unexpected event after the other. If knowledge is lacking, you go to a trusted source or person for advice. Most daily decisions do not fall into the life and death category. Which means most decisions are a muddle of fuzzy, complicated inputs. The latest research regarding homosexuality shows nothing clear. Doing science costs money and there’s no money in it. As far as heterosexual, no one would be here to read this without heterosexuals. I was asking YOU what YOU thought. Not having sexual relations outside of marriage is also taught. The profound respect for marriage cannot be compromised. Some believe it doesn’t matter – to them. Again, you didn't really answer my question: are those decisions, FOR YOU, a matter of choice, free will or are they just hard wired in your system? JVL
There was a famous court room novel written in the 1950's called "Anatomy of a Murder." It became a famous motion picture which I saw about 20 years ago. There was no doubt who the murderer was. In it the court proceedings the murderer/defendant claimed insanity due to an irresistible impulse he had at the time of the murder. When his lawyer came to collect a fee for his defense, he found that the murderer had left where he was staying and left a note that said:
I had an irresistible impulse to get the hell out of here.
jerry
JVL at 368, Most of the world is poor and has little time for various principles. The average person has to decide on doing or not doing things daily. Depending on your experience and knowledge, most decisions are quick and easy. They may not be pleasant in some cases, but you know you have to deal with them. For the average person, life is not one unexpected event after the other. If knowledge is lacking, you go to a trusted source or person for advice. Most daily decisions do not fall into the life and death category. Influences? Like what? The latest research regarding homosexuality shows nothing clear. Doing science costs money and there's no money in it. As far as heterosexual, no one would be here to read this without heterosexuals. Murder and killing. In war, you are allowed to kill the enemy. Otherwise, he will kill you. Of course, those in charge can call the whole thing off. Murder can occur when great loss of money occurs or the other guy killed a family member for no good reason. Was drunk or something. I have seen people forgive other people for killing a family member, even though the killer went to jail. Children, with zero real world experience, need to be taught. But that doesn't mean a 4 or 5 year old has the same ability to understand things like murder as a teenager. Humans go through stages of development. These stages are well known. They've been well known for thousands of years. Some people are under the impression that these issues are "new" and that somehow - as if by magic - living in the "21st Century" bestows greater knowledge or wisdom. That's just not true. You still have to learn. So ideas about killing and murder have to be taught. They young person learning can ask all the questions they want, but those questions have already been asked and answered. Not having sexual relations outside of marriage is also taught. The profound respect for marriage cannot be compromised. Some believe it doesn't matter - to them. relatd
"Counting assumptions is your argument?" Origines, You could say so. I see them as possible/likely points of failure. Andrew asauber
TimR: If you follow the Author of all freedom, then, yes, you're most free when you are joined with Him. Anything else is a loss of freedom. I'm not saying this is easy to understand, nor that it doesn't sound like a contradiction. But the premise at work here is that God is the author of our freedom and that we but participate in it. IOW, God is the ground of freedom, not the "software" that is loaded on it as life proceeds. PaV
Relatd: “always fuzzy”? That’s crap. And I think you know that. It's not 'crap'. It's the way the world is down to the very base elements. That's the whole point of the uncertainty principle. And, I'd say, even in our daily decisions. We never are 100% sure so we have to weigh up lots of different 'facts' and histories and influences. Again, I'd like to ask some questions: Is the 'decision' to be homosexual or heterosexual a 'choice' or a matter of wiring? Is the 'decision' to not murder people you are really angry with a 'choice' or just the way you are? Is the 'decision' to not cheat on your spouse/partner a matter of free will or something you could not possibly do, i.e. not a matter of choice? JVL
Origenes: you are not making any sense to me. To me it is as if you do not understand what is being discussed. So, this is where our interaction ends. Okay. JVL
JVL at 363, Pure, 100% unadulterated Baloney. "But it’s always fuzzy around the edges and so each person has to decide on which side of a fat, fuzzy line they land. The triggers are fuzzy and the sum total is fuzzy." "always fuzzy"? That's crap. And I think you know that. relatd
Free will is exercised by everybody every day, whether they know it or not. In ancient times, you had people running around, doing whatever, like JVL and Chuckdarwin. Learned men saw this and said, "You know. We need to cut down on this sort of wild behavior." So they created rules for What you can and What you can't do. These are called laws. Of course, like some people on the internet, they thought they could get around the rules or go against them in hopes of not getting caught. But most of them got caught, while the average person just lived by the rules. Why? They knew that some people wanted to be wild and crazy and/or steal stuff that didn't belong to them. So they understood why the rules were put in place. Not picking on you JVL or Chuck. I just thought that throwing your names in would get people's attention. relatd
JVL you are not making any sense to me. To me it is as if you do not understand what is being discussed. So, this is where our interaction ends. Origenes
Origenes: It’s obvious that freedom & responsibility requires control, wouldn’t you say? That's not what I gathered from your comment about controlling events. Deciding how to navigate events is not controlling them. You have misunderstood Van Inwagen’s argument. One or a trillion triggers is utterly irrelevant, what matters is the nature of the trigger(s), which is such that it does not allow to be controlled by Jane. It matters a lot. Consider a genetic case: Eye colour is determined by a very few number of 'triggers'. But eye colour is a very simple characteristic. Some diseases are down to few 'triggers'. But most genetically determined or influenced things are determined by a huge combination of 'triggers': genetics, environment, behaviour, etc. How they all interact is really complicated and if each of those interactions has some fuzzy boundaries then it's not a matter of control. None of the triggers are necessary or sufficient so the entire situation is malleable. I think it must be the same when dealing with events in our lives. We have lots and lots of influences and habits and such. And it may all add up to some vague general decision. But it's always fuzzy around the edges and so each person has to decide on which side of a fat, fuzzy line they land. The triggers are fuzzy and the sum total is fuzzy. Let me ask you a question: do you think you had free will deciding if you were heterosexual or homosexual? Was that a matter of free will or just the way you are? Similarly: do you think your daily decision not to kill the annoying person who cut in front of you in the queue at the supermarket a matter of free will or just how you are? Or: is your decision NOT to cheat on your spouse/partner a matter of free will or just hard wired in you? JVL
JVL @358
I don’t understand what ‘control’ has to do with it.
It's obvious that freedom & responsibility requires control, wouldn't you say? No control then no responsibility and no freedom.
The idea that human beings come to decisions based on one trigger is pretty far fetched.
You have misunderstood Van Inwagen’s argument. One or a trillion triggers is utterly irrelevant, what matters is the nature of the trigger(s), which is such that it does not allow to be controlled by Jane. - - - - - Hello Andrew, Counting assumptions is your argument? Origenes
Relatd: Recently, the universe is described as flat, like a sheet of paper. Or it is shaped like a saddle. Where do they get this from? Someone standing outside of the universe with a camera? The mathematics is a bit hairy but the reasoning is publicly available. If you really want to look. Do you really want to look? JVL
Jerry at 356, Seriously? Please identify these "forces." I want names. "... there are definitely forces out there that want to take that freedom of choice away." Meanwhile, back to the universe. Let's look at the so-called Planck Length: "Planck length It is equal to 1.616255(18)×10-35 m, where the two digits enclosed by parentheses are the estimated standard error associated with the reported numerical value, or about 10-20 times the diameter of a proton." So, somebody with a tape measure was standing right next to this whatever and measured it? I don't think so. Years ago, science books gave me the impression that the shape of the universe was a flattened sphere. That makes sense since planetary motion follows orbits, caused by gravity. Galaxies are moving away from us. Why? Gravity. I propose the entire universe is in orbit around a central point. There is no such thing as a Big Bang. The universe, I am told, expanded from a central point and filled up everything or not. What did it fill up or expand into? I submit that no one knows. The deepest Hubble image shows galaxies stretching back as far as the telescope can see. Close examination of this image shows faint galaxies in the very back, so no one knows how much farther the universe goes. A little farther? A lot farther? No one knows. Recently, the universe is described as flat, like a sheet of paper. Or it is shaped like a saddle. Where do they get this from? Someone standing outside of the universe with a camera? relatd
I'm with JVL, re:#355 "Let us suppose" x3 "if" x2 "might" x2 Andrew asauber
Origenes: Even under the wild assumption that the brain is free, the following problem remains: what magical tool is available for the brain to control an undetermined event in order to make a free choice? I don't understand what 'control' has to do with it. Each person takes in some experiences and makes choices based on what will always be limited and incomplete data. And their own systems have a bit of chaos built in. And let us suppose that if it goes to the left, she will make her confession;, and that if it goes to the right, she will remain silent I don't see there is any evidence that that kind of scenario is correct. The idea that human beings come to decisions based on one trigger is pretty far fetched. JVL
Jerry: Why is uncertainty a necessity for our lives? I don't think I said it was a 'necessity'. Above, I wrote that uncertainty is a necessity of life. My guess is most will see it and move on. But it is at the essence of human beings. Without uncertainty, we would all be automatons. Without free will, we are automatons. Oh, you are saying that. If one was going to design a meaningful world and not have automatons, one would design in uncertainty. This creator would also insist on free will. Or else we would just be in a human free animal world. None of this seems a direct response to my comment. JVL
This whole sidetrack is like most things on UD, much ado about nothing. Some clown comes along with spotty thinking, thinks he has a gotcha and hundreds of comments ensue. And he has his defenders from the usual suspects. Above, I wrote that uncertainty is a necessity of life. My guess is most will see it and move on. But it is at the essence of human beings. Without uncertainty, we would all be automatons. Without free will, we are automatons. The fact that we are not automatons implies that we have free will or else everything is determined. The fact that we are not automatons implies that certain important things are far from completely known. If one was going to design a meaningful world and not have automatons, one would design in uncertainty. This creator would also insist on free will. Or else we would just be in a human free animal world. I know some think a human free world is a desirable objective. But the great majority are quite happy with their free will and uncertainty. It keeps on building despite the uncertainty. Our world really broke out when we were allowed to choose the potential choices out there. It essentially only happened once in the history of the world. But a lot of the non-free world made the choice to do likewise. Aside: there are definitely forces out there that want to take that freedom of choice away. They know that by reducing humans to animals, a large number will be content. The Romans had an expression of “Bread and Circuses” and the modern human is no different. We would be content with the modern day version of food and entertainment as long as we are alive to enjoy them. But the world was not designed to thrive this way. jerry
JVL @353
It seems sensible to me to assume that there can be no complete deterministic system; there will always be a certain amount of vagueness? Uncertainty? If that is the case then it seems to me you can have free will at the level of the brain ….
Even under the wild assumption that the brain is free, the following problem remains: what magical tool is available for the brain to control an undetermined event in order to make a free choice? Do read the argument by Van Inwagen:
“Let us look carefully at the consequences of supposing that human behavior is undetermined … Let us suppose that there is a certain current-pulse that is proceeding along one of the neural pathways in Jane’s brain and that it is about to come to a fork. And let us suppose that if it goes to the left, she will make her confession;, and that if it goes to the right, she will remain silent. And let us suppose that it is undetermined which way the pulse goes when it comes to the fork: even an omniscient being with a complete knowledge of the state of Jane’s brain and a complete knowledge of the laws of physics and unlimited powers of calculation could say no more than: ‘The laws and present state of her brain would allow the pulse to go either way; consequently, no prediction of what the pulse will do when it comes to the fork is possible; it might go to the left, and it might go to the right, and that’s all there is to be said.’ Now let us ask: does Jane have any choice about whether the pulse goes to the left or to the right? If we think about this question for a moment, we shall see that it is very hard to see how she could have any choice about that. …There is no way for her to make it go one way rather than the other. Or, at least, there is no way for her to make it go one way rather than the other and leave the ‘choice’ it makes an undetermined event.” [Van Inwagen]
Obviously, Jane has no control over the undetermined path of the pulse. Therefor Jane has no free choice. Origenes
Why is uncertainty a necessity for our lives? jerry
Origenes: I fully agree. Free will, understood as a person who determines himself, as opposed to being determined by prior & external forces, does not and cannot exist in materialism. I keep wondering . . . since quantum theory encompasses a certain amount of uncertainty and apparently, sometimes, things do just pop into existence then . . . It seems sensible to me to assume that there can be no complete deterministic system; there will always be a certain amount of vagueness? Uncertainty? If that is the case then it seems to me you can have free will at the level of the brain wherein the individual still has to make a call based on fuzzy-at-the-edges data. Decisions will be influenced by culture and upbringing and the current social environment but each person still has to pick an option based on what can only be incomplete evidence. I don't see the need for an out-of-body consciousness in that. But I'm sure some of you will tell me why I'm wrong. JVL
Viola Lee @331
1. The key idea is self-determination. Free will means that our choices arise from our self and are not forced upon us.
Indeed. If our thoughts and opinions are forced upon us by forces beyond our control, then we are not rational beings. The end of rational inquiry. Those who seek the truth firmly reject this possibility.
2. But the raises the question of what is the self. In a short post above, Origenes wrote, “… to be clear, with “I” I refer to my consciousness, my viewpoint.” However I think our self is a larger entity than just our consciousness.
I agree. In my view the person is one thing, consisting of a form (consciousness) and content (thoughts, perceptions, feelings, will-power and so on). For clarity, when I list these items I am in fact talking about aspects of one thing (the person) as opposed to separate individual parts. Free decision power resides in the form (consciousness; the “I”) rather then in content.
As long as we are consulting our “self” and doing what we determine is best, we are exercising our free will.
We are also exercising our free will if we choose to do things unthinkingly (without consulting our self) or even if we choose to do those things which we have determined not to be best. E.g. it is one’s own free choice to act unthinkingly in accordance with the beliefs and/or instructions of an outside ‘authority.’ Origenes
How can "deterministic materialism" even be a thing any more? Might as well be talking about Humoral Theory. Determinism and materialism are entirely disproved and discredited Victorian Age superstitions at this point. William J Murray
Whistler @348
Only existence of an immaterial soul make possible free will . The other alternatives : chemical reactions between atoms in the brain does not represent free will , only free chemistry.
I fully agree. Free will, understood as a person who determines himself, as opposed to being determined by prior & external forces, does not and cannot exist in materialism. Compatibilism is utter nonsense — see "The Consequence Argument Against Compatibilism" at Maverick Philosopher. Origenes
1. I don't understand why people are still talking about "the big bang," even if such a location in spacetime exists, as if it significant under general relativistic space-time or QM theory. Under GR spacetime, universal linear time is not a thing and our experience of where and when we are, and what has happened in the past, is entirely local and angular Under QM theory, it is also an entirely local, perhaps even personal perspective. The "origin point" of what we call the physical universe under both theories is everywhere and every when. This is not a radical or personal view- this is the actual state of both theories and has been for a very long time. 2. It seems to me the whole "infinite regress of willful decisions" is just the effect of mistaking reasons for causes. Reasons do not cause any free will choice; they inform the free will-empowered observer of the landscape of potential choices available. Part of that landscape is a host of things we normally think of as internal factors, such as our own desires, beliefs, subconscious programming, fears, doubts, - our very thoughts. But, those things are not internal of the loci of free-will consciousness at the core of a sentient being. Free will is the deliberate, directorial application of intention and attention. It precedes the arrival of even articulated, specific thoughts or feelings. However, I will add that usually, for those that mistake thoughts, feelings - one's psychology - for intrinsic aspects of their core consciousness, it is almost impossible to not mistake reasons for causes. IOW, if one deeply mistakes their psychology for an intrinsic aspect of who and what they are, then events cause psychologically programmed reactions in terms of thoughts, ideas and beliefs, and the person doesn't even realize they have the option of reprogramming all of that as they wish. The question might be raised here: where does "what one wishes for" come from? Isn't that an a priori psychological cause as well? The answer is no; "what one wishes for," ultimately, is universal among all sentient beings because it is intrinsic aspect of free will: enjoyment. All free will choices are, directionally, innately about how one manages their pursuit of enjoyment and the stability of current enjoyments, either directly or indirectly, either immediate or long-term, either physical or conceptual. So, one of the great fallacies about true, metaphysical free will is that it is inherently without direction, but this is self-evidently not the case. Free will itself is directional and motivational. That aspect of free will is not caused by anything else; it is innate and absolute in all conscious, sentient creatures. Our free-will empowered loci of consciousness surveys whatever landscape it finds itself in, including what we call the internal and external worlds, for the innate purpose of managing its enjoyment. It is only by mistaking parts of that landscape for internal aspects of our consciousness that we start thinking that aspects of our current psychology are causal. Indeed, for many or most, such a situation can be justifiably seen as being one of a causal relationship, because the person is pretty much unaware of their free will capacity, and behave much like a programmed automaton, that programming being the current state of their psychology. When anyone thinks that several features of their psychology - notably, ontological and epistemological - are absolutely true, they have basically reinforced their pattern of internal and external behavior into one of being its programmed product. The "enjoyment" aspect of their free will has been chained into a certain pattern. We can, I think, all recognize this kind of pattern playing out over and over in this forum, and in our daily lives as we interact with people. William J Murray
Dogdoc Our discussion regarding free will did not involve atheism, materialism, naturalism, Darwinism, or theism
Free will exists only in theism. Only existence of an immaterial soul make possible free will . The other alternatives : chemical reactions between atoms in the brain does not represent free will , only free chemistry. ;) whistler
Dogdoc @314
Think of the process of external influences – let’s say beliefs – becoming an integral part of one’s mind, enabling one to be truly responsible for actions taken as a result of those influences.
Reponsibility results from, or rather is maintained by, one’s free choices WRT to those external influences (e.g. beliefs). One freely chooses to adopt some beliefs and discard others.
As we continue to deliberate over them, and they are further integrated into our thoughts, they become progressively more natural to us, and eventually become legitimately part of our own beliefs.
Only after an idea is freely adopted it becomes part of one’s own beliefs. Note: one can adopt a belief without proper vetting, but also here there is no escape from responsibility; it is one’s free choice to do so. Origenes
“Our discussion regarding free will did not involve atheism, materialism, naturalism, Darwinism, or theism.” Correct. Although one can make the argument that atheism, materialism, etc provide no grounding for free self determined choices I do think you and VLS, as well as mine, our position stands on its own. If one wants to talk about “grounding” that’s certainly an important thing to point out but it really has no relevance as far as I can determine to what we have been talking about. The grounding question is by all means a very important topic I don’t want to dismiss that but it’s sorta like the cart before the horse. “We are not trolling, nor trying to attack people.” In defense of those making these comments trollish behavior is quite common on this site. I go way back to the ARN days and many years on this site. It is true that trolls want to distract and change subject matters but I don’t see the evidence that this has been the case. One could make the argument that what we have been discussing is way off topic and that constitutes trollish behavior. I guess one can make that point. Honestly I don’t know how free will came up but it is a matter of extreme interest to me and decided to jump in. For the record I have enjoyed the polite, civil and substantive discussion. “The issues we’re discussing are not stupid –“ Agreed. How important? Ask yourself how important was the Reformation, how much of an impact did the Reformation have from a historical perspective? What was the most important disagreement Luther had with the Roman church? In his classic “ The Bondage of the Will” ,which was Luther’s response to Erasmus, Luther commended Erasmus for honing in on “the hinge upon which all else turns” The course of human history pivoted on this “stupid” issue. “Luther's Bondage of the Will was a thorough refutation of the notion of a free will in fallen man as set forth by the world-renowned Desiderius Erasmus in his refined discourse entitled On the Freedom of the Will. This was the crucial issue in Luther's mind. He praised Erasmus because he alone among Luther's opponents had recognized that the doctrine of free will was "the grand turning point of the cause." Luther wrote, "You, and you alone saw, what was the grand hinge upon which the whole turned" Vivid vividbleau
VL “Can you explain more what you think the distinction is, and what you think “will” means?” I agree with Jonathan Edwards, “ that by which the mind chooses anything” The will does not determine itself. Part I Section I: Concerning the Nature of the Will It may possibly be thought, that there is no great need of going about to define or describe the Will; this word being generally as well understood as any other words we can use to explain it: and so perhaps it would be, had not philosophers, metaphysicians, and polemic divines, brought the matter into obscurity by the things they have said of it. But since it is so, I think it may be of some use, and will tend to greater clearness in The following discourse, to say a few things concerning it. And therefore I observe, that the Will (without any metaphysical refining) is, That by which the mind chooses any thing. The faculty of the will, is that power, or principle of mind, by which it is capable of choosing: an act of the will is the same as an act of choosing or choice... Part I Section II: Concerning the Determination of the Will By determining the Will, if the phrase be used with any meaning, must be intended, causing that the act of the Will or choice should be thus, and not otherwise: and the Will is said to be determined, when, in consequence of some action, or influence, its choice is directed to, and fixed upon a particular object. As when we speak of the determination of motion, we mean causing the motion of the body to be in such a direction, rather than another. The Determination of the Will, supposes an effect, which must have a cause. If the Will be determined, there is a Determiner. This must be supposed to be intended even by them that say, The Will determines itself. If it be so, the Will is both Determiner and determined; it is a cause that acts and produces effects upon itself, and is the object of its own influence and action... Vivid vividbleau
Vivid writes, "Actually I do deny that free will exists but I affirm that free choice does." I agree that a lot of what we are talking about is making decisions, or choices. But if that is the case, what doe the word "will" refer to, I wonder. Will is perhaps a more action-oriented word: one can perhaps make a decision that doesn't become activated until our will puts it into action??? Can you explain more what you think the distinction is, and what you think "will" means? Viola Lee
Viola Lee @340,
Are there ID or theistic answers to this question?
Typically supporters of ID point to the incredibly tight fine-tuning of the 21 claimed constants of the universe. Deviation from these values by even tiny increments results in a completely unstable universe. For example: https://www.discovery.org/a/fine-tuning-parameters/ Their conclusion is that fine tuning implies an intelligent design, although ID takes no position on what that intelligence is. For example, some secular scientists believe that we're living in an ancestor simulation as described here: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/are-we-living-simulated-universe-here-s-what-scientists-say-ncna1026916 There's also the Holographic Universe Theory. Here's an overview of the concept: https://www.vox.com/2015/6/29/8847863/holographic-principle-universe-theory-physics For my part, I'm not sure that the Fine-Tuning argument holds. Here's why. At the beginning of the universe, it's likely that many of the different, fine-tuned forces and relationships emerged from fewer sources. In other words, I have no assurance that each of the fine-tuned values are not somehow connected and emergent. Thank you for continuing on-topic. -Q Querius
Not a gotcha
Most definitely an attempted gotcha. The way it was phrased indicated that. If you were really interested in ideas of free will, you would have asked it differently especially when it involves the creator of the universe and the creator of humans. Even if you don’t agree with the creator distinction (which you have no evidence to the contrary) It should have taken that into consideration. Definitely an attempted gotcha, but a specious one at best. Again, demonstrates my assessment. Why choose that obscure part of a long comment? Why the particular phrasing? jerry
Viola Lee @339,
This is not a topic I know much about.
Ok, fair enough. Doing a search on "Big Bang" and "Information" produced this link, which I think is quite understandable starting point. https://medium.com/the-infinite-universe/the-big-bang-also-has-an-information-paradox-308e83f9edab Here are the author's creds: Research in statistical mechanics, general relativity, and quantum field theory. Principal Research Scientist at Georgia Tech. Book: The Infinite Universe (2020) on Amazon. Hope you find this helpful. -Q Querius
Q, I am not a "deterministic materialist". I don't know why you are asking me these questions. See what I wrote at 339 b. Viola Lee
Q. this is not a topic I know much about a. I have no idea. Are there? Got a link to something I could read? b. I have no idea. But why not leave determinism out of the sentence. Why not just write, "All the information must necessarily emerge from a single point. How is this information conveyed? How is any information conveyed?" Are there ID or theistic answers to this question? c. I have no idea., but I don't think our universe coming from non-existence is the only possible explanation, as we have no idea what reality might exist of which our universe is a part. Viola Lee
Viola Lee @333, In the view of deterministic materialism, every state of the universe was initiated by the previous state. Information is conserved, so it's inescapable that information in the current state was present in a previous state. This pushes back all information to the initial state of the big bang. Do you disagree with any of these assertions? -Q Querius
Not a gotcha, Jerry. Just trying to get an idea of what free will means to different people. TimR
“No one is arguing that free will doesn’t exist. We are discussing what it means, and what are the limits free will imposes upon our responsibility are as free agents” Actually I do deny that free will exists but I affirm that free choice does, I think most people when they say free will really mean free choice. We agree that our choices are self determined thus my will is not free from me. From a theological standpoint ( not yours of course) I also affirm “non posse non peccare” ( unable not to sin). I also would say that my will is not free from Gods will. For those who would say that we do indeed thwart and overrule Gods will and say “ God wills that we keep his commandments yet we don’t doesn’t this mean our will overrules Gods will”?No because it is Gods will that we be able to do so. Regarding “free will” perhaps an analogy will be helpful and illustrate were I am coming from. Like a car we are a composite of parts that make up the whole. A car has brakes but that is not the car, it has a steering wheel but that is not the car, etc, etc. Like a car my will is a faculty I posses, I would argue the most important faculty. I look at my ability to will to be analogous to the steering wheel in a car and I turn that wheel (will) this way and that, If I don’t no choice is made. I cannot think of a more freer choice than a choice that is self determined. More later on the comments regarding trollish behavior and that this subject is off topic and a distraction. Don’t have time at the moment. Vivid vividbleau
So your idea of free will encompasses following someone else’s will?
Absolute perfect example of the anti ID mentality, the attempted Gotcha! Why pick this particular little obscure piece to comment on when other more substantive criticisms have been made. And about religion at that which is not ID. jerry
Considering the OP, this issue can be dissected:
1. The Big Bang supposedly began at infinitely small distances that required infinite amounts of fine tuning to contain all information required to maintain determinism.
a. Are there alternatives to an infinitely small initiation of the big bang? b. All the information needed for determinism must necessarily emerge from a single point. How is this information conveyed? How is any information conveyed? c. What can initiate a big bang from non-existence? -Q Querius
re 328: how does this "maintain materialism"? I thought a common religious view is that the Big Bang was an act of God, who established all the fine-tuning properties at the act of creation? Viola Lee
And even more off-topic posts that should be debated on a theology forum. Could anyone who wants to continue the irrelevant posts please go and ask your questions there? Please? -Q Querius
Hi dogdoc and everyone else interested in this discussion about free will. (P.S. to BobSinclair: this post addresses my thoughts on some of your questions.) First, I’ll point that one reason I usually regret getting back into posting here is that it is so time-consuming. On subjects I’m interested in I have a lot to say, and often it’s a challenge to articulate my thoughts. Also, I get distracted by all the detractors. With that said, let me look into my mind and try to extract some of the thoughts I’ve been kicking around today. 1. The key idea is self-determination. Free will means that our choices arise from our self and are not forced upon us. 2. But the raises the question of what is the self. In a short post above, Origenes wrote, “... to be clear, with “I” I refer to my consciousness, my viewpoint.” However I think our self is a larger entity than just our consciousness. First, I think our mind has both consciousness, our immediate perceptions, thoughts, emotions, etc., and a subconscious where all the information that is in our mind but not in our immediate consciousness is stored. There is a constant interplay here, where information of all sorts is constantly coming and going into conscious. We also have a body, which I consider part of the self: we are an embodied mind, and there is constant input into our mind of information from our body, as well as processes that happen in the body that our mind at least consciously knows nothing about. All of this is the self. 3. I think we have agreed that when we make a willful decision we consult a diverse set of influences which enter into that free-will decision: knowledge, reason, emotions, needs, values, beliefs (which would include religious and philosophical beliefs, etc. We don’t have a good general word for this set: I will just say we consult our “self” to mean that we address any feature of our mind or body that we think is relevant. 4. We use the word “will” to describe this act of decision making. As long as we are consulting our “self” and doing what we determine is best, we are exercising our free will. Dogdoc called this proximate freedom, but I think just freedom is sufficient. Two issues arise: how do things become part of the self, and what are the boundaries or limits of the self? Our self grows throughout our life. We are born with a great deal of innate human nature, both in general and particular to our self. To illustrate, almost all humans smile and experience pleasure from the beginning (a general trait), and I have some innate talent in math and none in music (specific traits). In my opinion, although I am not all responsible for getting those traits, once I get old to be a willfull decision maker I am responsible for taking them into consideration when I make decision. That is, my chain of responsibility stops at the point where those traits entered my self. This is an example of why I think Dogdoc’s idea of an infinite regress is not helpful. I may have inherited some mathematical ability from my parents, but that doesn’t extend back to my dad being a drummer in a band. The things which enter into our self have starting points: once they are part of the self then they become part of what we consult when making decisions which help determine who we are to be next. All the other parts of our self start with some basic human nature and build from our experience, first under the influence of our family and community, and then later from our education and our growing ability to reason. Psychologically, it is said we assimilate new information and integrate into our self. Dogdoc mentions some test cases, but I’m not sure they add to the general situation. Some people are truly mentally deficient and don’t seem to be able to make rational, willfull decision. Dogdoc mentions an evil neuroscientist, or a hypnotist, and then thinks all our influences are like that, but I disagree. There are normal processes for the self to assimilate, integrate and grow, and once we accept them as ourself, my beliefs, my values, my knowledge, etc., then they become part of what our free will is responsible for. To summarize: there is a boundary (not necessarily black-and-white) between our self and “other-then-self”. Our free will consults the self to make decisions: that is what self-determination means. Our self is constantly growing and changing, but at any moment it is “me”, and that we my responsibility for my choices lie. Enough for now ... Viola Lee
PAV: "I’m truly free when I do the will of God; but I become a slave when I sin." So your idea of free will encompasses following someone else's will? TimR
Dogdoc, I’ve been mulling over your argument and I’ve got the gist of it, but I can’t help but feel somethings missing. Now a few questions did come up and I if you’ll permit (I could be way off base here) but having caught a few of your comments which mention tracing one’s beliefs leads to an infinite regress and so on. I was curious, do you believe people are born as a “blank slate” or are they born with pre existing beliefs etc and if so how do they acquire they’re initial set of beliefs etc?. BobSinclair
Oh joy. More "squirrels" from people who are apparently unwilling or unable to engage in the stated topic, but feel compelled to reply anyway.
1. The Big Bang supposedly began at infinitely small distances that required infinite amounts of fine tuning to contain all information required to maintain determinism.
Any comments on this? -Q Querius
Q: I have made a number of replies about the OP. I don't believe you've followed up on some of my points. Among other things I addressed the use of infinities in calculus as a practical way of dealing with the vast complexities of working with discrete math involving every Planck moment of space and time. You didn't respond. Almost all lengthy thread diverge from the OP, sometimes almost immediately. That's the nature of discussion forums. To expect otherwise is unrealistic. Viola Lee
Realtd: "The free will ‘problem’ is really not open to debate. It’s been solved." Really? Can you point to a succinct summary of this solution? Viola Lee
Dogdoc, whatever merits your argument may or may not have, I simply have lost all interest in it. It simply, to put it kindly, is far too fuzzy' to me to be of any practical use for me. No offense, but I'm simply not a very deep philosophy guy, I much rather just stick to the empirical facts. I'll leave deep philosophy to guys like you, vivid, VL and kf, etc.. Your argument may, or may not, have some good merit, but until you can put some empirical evidence behind it, I simply see no practical use for it as far as science is concerned. I guess my emphasis on empirics comes from years as working as a instrument tech in the Chemical industry. As instrument techs, testing was our bread and butter for establishing and verifying important facts. bornagain77
The original post was and remains "How Infinity Threatens Cosmology." Yet it seems that TROLLS here would rather vituperate on anything but the topic, which tells me they know nothing of the the actual topic and prefer yelling "squirrel" at a dog show. The observations are 1. The Big Bang supposedly began at infinitely small distances that required infinite amounts of fine tuning to contain all information required to maintain determinism. 2. We’re faced with the all of spacetime, mass-energy, laws of physics, and all information originating from nothing, but starting at a point infinitely small to determine everything studied in cosmology. 3. We're forced to extrapolate the past from measured red shifts that can so far be only explained by expanding space-time, which is also unbounded due to current rates (there's not enough gravity for a "big bounce") 4. Dark energy and dark matter are postulated as possible causes for cosmic expansion and for galactic rotation inconsistencies. Together, these unmeasured constituents of the universe are thought to constitute roughly 95% of the mass-energy of the universe (68% dark energy and 27% dark matter). 5. The previous alternative is a static, infinite universe with unexplained red shifts. Thus, I think a reasonable conclusion is that infinities involving spacetime and mass-energy are indicative of a logical or mathematical error, as are persistent hypothetical manifestations of mass-energy without any experimental confirmation. Cogent observations and opinions that are on-topic, even contrary ones, are welcome. But please take your "squirrel baiting" elsewhere. Kairosfocus, maybe you could create a separate post for opinions on free will, how an "All-loving God allow pain and suffering," homeopathy, phrenology, or whatever else is completely off topic. What do you think? -Q Querius
Dogdoc @ 80:
There is no escape from this catch-22. Until one has freely chosen beliefs, desires etc, one can’t excercise free will. But unless one already has free will, one can’t have freely chosen beliefs, desires, etc.
This is thoroughly Rousseauian. Tabula rasa. But, is this true?
Thus, the sort of free will that most people imagine they have is logically impossible. Other sorts of free will are possible, and one can certainly base moral responsibility on other things, but I’d like to see if anyone can refute the argument that the sort of “first cause”, “the-buck-stops-here” free will that I believe most feel is required for moral responsibility is impossible.
Ba77 at 318, Well said. I think there is a desire for chaos among some. As opposed to an ordered universe for others. Regarding quantum mechanics, scientists are using it right now even though all of the math has not been worked out. Due to the phenomenon of superposition, scientists have designed ways to exploit it. Including a type of resonator that will allow quantum computers to store more data using photons. Instead of computers storing a certain amount of data as built, a quantum computer can have a number of channels, like a radio, and each channel can store data. This way, the problems involved in making smaller and smaller components on computer memory chips will lead to their replacement by quantum chips. The free will 'problem' is really not open to debate. It's been solved. relatd
BA, I'm curious: How do you square your inability to engage my argument with your certainty? Do you tell yourself that if you really wanted to you could figure out which of my premises are false, or why the conclusion doesn't follow...but you just don't feel like it? Or maybe you admit to yourself that you don't actually understand my argument, but then just busy yourself with replaying your other canned responses against atheism or materialism or determinism and just hope that people will not notice that you haven't addressed the argument we're discussing? dogdoc
TimR, "this is an explanation for the apparent wave function collapse that is seriously considered by a number of eminent theoretical physicists." Well TimR, as I explained in that thread, and you apparently did not listen, MWI besides being, for all intents and purposes, a completely 'insane' belief for someone to hold, it is now experimentally falsified. So it doesn't really matter if I personally think that people believing that they exist in a veritable infinity of other places is a completely "insane" belief for them to hold or not, MWI, as far as empirical science itself is concerned, is experimentally falsified. Specifically, MWI denies the reality of wave function collapse,
Quantum mechanics Excerpt: The Everett many-worlds interpretation, formulated in 1956, holds that all the possibilities described by quantum theory simultaneously occur in a multiverse composed of mostly independent parallel universes.[43] This is not accomplished by introducing some new axiom to quantum mechanics, but on the contrary by removing the axiom of the collapse of the wave packet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics#Philosophical_implications
And yet wave function collapse is now shown to be a real effect.
Quantum experiment verifies Einstein’s ‘spooky action at a distance’ – March 24, 2015 Excerpt: An experiment,, has for the first time demonstrated Albert Einstein’s original conception of “spooky action at a distance” using a single particle. ,,Professor Howard Wiseman and his experimental collaborators,, report their use of homodyne measurements to show what Einstein did not believe to be real, namely the non-local collapse of a (single) particle’s wave function.,, According to quantum mechanics, a single particle can be described by a wave function that spreads over arbitrarily large distances,,, ,, by splitting a single photon between two laboratories, scientists have used homodyne detectors—which measure wave-like properties—to show the collapse of the wave function is a real effect,, This phenomenon is explained in quantum theory,, the instantaneous non-local, (beyond space and time), collapse of the wave function to wherever the particle is detected.,,, “Einstein never accepted orthodox quantum mechanics and the original basis of his contention was this single-particle argument. This is why it is important to demonstrate non-local wave function collapse with a single particle,” says Professor Wiseman. “Einstein’s view was that the detection of the particle only ever at one point could be much better explained by the hypothesis that the particle is only ever at one point, without invoking the instantaneous collapse of the wave function to nothing at all other points. “However, rather than simply detecting the presence or absence of the particle, we used homodyne measurements enabling one party to make different measurements and the other, using quantum tomography, to test the effect of those choices.” “Through these different measurements, you see the wave function collapse in different ways, thus proving its existence and showing that Einstein was wrong.” – per physorg
So again, it doesn't matter that I personally believe that MWI is completely 'insane belief for a person to hold', it is now experimentally falsified, and as far as science itself is concerned, MWI is wrong. That's all there is to it.
"If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are who made the guess, or what his name is … If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it." - Feynman 1 Thessalonians 5:21 but test all things. Hold fast to what is good.
bornagain77
Well established scientific theories and longstanding philosophical points of debate are written off as crazy or nonsensical
What scientific theories? What points of debate? ID is the soundest science in the world. Better than that taught at any university. If you disagree, specify wherever ID is wrong on science. I can point to bogus science taught at any university. I maintain that no anti ID person has ever documented anything that counters ID. You can be the first. My guess is that you will fail too. Aside: religion has nothing to do with ID so disputing anything there is not disputing ID. Nor is a lot of philosophical propositions. For example, free will has nothing to do with ID though I believe disputing it is a dead end. Over the long run, most of the nonsense claims come from anti ID people as well as name calling. When people repeat nonsense and avoid answering reasonable objections to their comments, one has to question their motives for commenting. jerry
Whatever merits it may have, I admit that I have lost all interest in their discussion. But anyways, to make the case that the free will choices of humans are far more important than many people realize, I will, once again, appeal to the closing of the 'freedom of choice' loophole. The late Steven Weinberg succinctly explained that there are two widely followed approaches in quantum mechanics that deal with the question of how probabilities get into quantum mechanics. The realist approach and the instrumentalist approach.
The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 2017 Excerpt: Today there are two widely followed approaches to quantum mechanics, the “realist” and “instrumentalist” approaches,9 which view the origin of probability in measurement in two very different ways. For reasons I will explain, neither approach seems to me quite satisfactory.10,,,, In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11,,,, In the realist approach the history of the world is endlessly splitting; it does so every time a macroscopic body becomes tied in with a choice of quantum states. This inconceivably huge variety of histories has provided material for science fiction. 12 http://quantum.phys.unm.edu/466-17/QuantumMechanicsWeinberg.pdf
And while Weinberg rightly rejected the realist approach because of the insanity that is inherent in the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI), it is very interesting to note the exact reason(s) why he rejected the instrumentalist approach. As Steven Weinberg put it, “In the instrumentalist approach (in quantum mechanics) humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level.,,, the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.,,, In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure,,, Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,”
The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017 Excerpt: The instrumentalist approach,, (the) wave function,, is merely an instrument that provides predictions of the probabilities of various outcomes when measurements are made.,, In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11 Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal,,, Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,, http://quantum.phys.unm.edu/466-17/QuantumMechanicsWeinberg.pdf
In short, Weinberg did not reject the instrumentalist approach because of any inherent insanity within the instrumentalist approach, (as he did with the realist approach), but he rejected the instrumentalist approach simply because of his a priori philosophical commitment to Atheistic Naturalism. To repeat Weinberg, "the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else". Yet, regardless of how Weinberg and other atheists may prefer the world to behave, quantum mechanics itself could care less how atheists prefer the world to behave. Although there have been several major loopholes in quantum mechanics over the past several decades that atheists have tried to appeal to in order to try to avoid the ‘spooky’ Theistic implications of quantum mechanics, over the past several years each of those major loopholes have been closed one by one. The last major loophole that was left to be closed was the “setting independence”, “freedom of choice”, and/or the ‘free-will’ loophole: And now Anton Zeilinger and company have closed the last remaining setting independence and/or ‘freedom of choice’ loophole
Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018 Excerpt: This experiment pushes back to at least approx. 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today. https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403
After this experiment came out some theoretical physicists, such as Sabine Hossenfelder, instead of accepting the experimental fact that we have free will in a real and meaningful sense, instead opted for ‘super-determinism’
Superdeterminism: A Guide for the Perplexed – Sabine Hossenfelder – 2020 Superdeterminism is presently the only known consistent description of nature that is local, deterministic, and can give rise to the observed correlations of quantum mechanics.,,, https://arxiv.org/abs/2010.01324
Basically with super-determinism, as it was with determinism, the Atheistic naturalist is arguing that “a particle detector’s settings may “conspire” with events in the shared causal past of the detectors themselves to determine which properties of the particle to measure”
Closing the ‘free will’ loophole: Using distant quasars to test Bell’s theorem – February 20, 2014 Excerpt: Though two major loopholes have since been closed, a third remains; physicists refer to it as “setting independence,” or more provocatively, “free will.” This loophole proposes that a particle detector’s settings may “conspire” with events in the shared causal past of the detectors themselves to determine which properties of the particle to measure — a scenario that, however far-fetched, implies that a physicist running the experiment does not have complete free will in choosing each detector’s setting. Such a scenario would result in biased measurements, suggesting that two particles are correlated more than they actually are, and giving more weight to quantum mechanics than classical physics. “It sounds creepy, but people realized that’s a logical possibility that hasn’t been closed yet,” says MIT’s David Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and senior lecturer in the Department of Physics. “Before we make the leap to say the equations of quantum theory tell us the world is inescapably crazy and bizarre, have we closed every conceivable logical loophole, even if they may not seem plausible in the world we know today?” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220112515.htm
In other words, instead of believing what the experimental results of quantum mechanics are actually telling us, (i.e. that free will is a real and tangible part of reality),, the Determinist, and/or Atheistic Naturalist, is now forced to claim, via ‘superdeterminism’, that the results of the experiments were somehow ‘superdetermined’ at least 7.8 billion years ago, (basically all the way back to the creation of the universe itself), and that the experimental results are now somehow ‘conspiring’ to fool us into believing that our experimental results in quantum theory are trustworthy and correct and that we do indeed have free will. To call such a move on the part of Atheistic Naturalists, (i.e. the rejection of experimental results that conflict with their apriori philosophical belief in ‘determinism’), unscientific would be a severe understatement. It is a rejection of the entire scientific method itself. As should be needless to say, if we cannot trust what our experimental results are actually telling us, then science is, for all practical purposes, dead. Moreover, the refusal to accept the agent causality of man into quantum mechanics is pretty doggone irrational, even insane, in its own right. Think about it. Men intelligently Designed these very sophisticated experiments into quantum mechanics, testing our most foundational assumptions about reality itself. Elaborate mathematics, which men also intelligently formulated, lie behind the intricate and exacting, design of these very sophisticated experiments. The experiments also use our latest cutting edge technology (which has been, or course, also intelligently designed). Elaborate mathematics, which men also intelligently formulated, also lie behind the interpretation of the experiments into the foundations of quantum mechanics. And yet, after all that intelligent agent causality of man that is poured into intelligently designing these very sophisticated experiments in the first place, the atheist wants to say that the measurement settings in the experiment were somehow ‘super-determined’ billions of years ago, (all the way back to the Big Bang itself), and that man is not truly free to choose whatever measurement settings in the experiment that he may so desire to choose so as to ‘logically’ probe whatever foundational aspect of quantum mechanics that he is interested in probing. No two ways about it, it simply is insane to deny that man has the freedom to choose whatever measurement setting he may so desire to choose in the experiment after all that agent causality that lay behind the existence of the experiment in the first place. If man is not free to choose the measurement setting in the experiments then neither was man free to choose any of the other thousands upon thousands of choices that went into intelligently designing these extremely sophisticated experiments in the first place. And if man, as the Atheistic determinist holds, does not have free will is a real and meaningful sense, then man did not really intelligently design these experiments, but rather the laws of physics designed the experiments and we were only under the illusion that we were designing them. As George Ellis explained about Einstein denying that we had free will in a real and meaningful sense. “if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options. I find it very hard to believe this to be the case – indeed it does not seem to make any sense.”
Physicist George Ellis on the importance of philosophy and free will – July 27, 2014 Excerpt: And free will?: Horgan: Einstein, in the following quote, seemed to doubt free will: “If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the Earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord…. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man’s illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.” Do you believe in free will? Ellis: Yes. Einstein is perpetuating the belief that all causation is bottom up. This simply is not the case, as I can demonstrate with many examples from sociology, neuroscience, physiology, epigenetics, engineering, and physics. Furthermore if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options. I find it very hard to believe this to be the case – indeed it does not seem to make any sense. Physicists should pay attention to Aristotle’s four forms of causation – if they have the free will to decide what they are doing. If they don’t, then why waste time talking to them? They are then not responsible for what they say. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/physicist-george-ellis-on-the-importance-of-philosophy-and-free-will/
In short, I hold that it is blatantly obvious that men have free will in a real and meaningful sense. Thus regardless of how Steven Weinberg and other atheists may prefer the universe to behave, with the closing of the last remaining ‘freedom of choice’ loophole in quantum mechanics, “humans are (indeed) brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level”, and thus these recent findings from quantum mechanics directly undermine, as Weinberg himself admitted, the “vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.” Moreover, that “humans are (indeed) brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level” has some fairly profound implications for us personally. Although people believe we have a veritable infinity of options to choose from, in the end, and as was mentioned previously, it all boils down to two options.
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.” – C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce
We, with either our acceptance or rejection of God, and what He has done for us through Jesus Christ's atoning sacrifice on the cross, are choosing between eternal life with God or eternal death separated from God: Verse:
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Amen, "now choose life". bornagain77
Jerry @290: if you review, you will find that most of the emotive comments come from the pro ID people. Many of the responses have a tone of mockery and derision. People are called trolls frequently that are not trolls. Well established scientific theories and longstanding philosophical points of debate are written off as crazy or nonsensical. I don't get why it is necessary to do that. Well, actually I think I do. Generally anger and hostility come from a position of fear. If someone is worried that their long and dearly held view, that is intrinsic to how they see themselves as a person, may be wrong, that can be quite scary. TimR
BA77 @288: that's a great example of what I'm talking about. You imply that I am insane (or at least that I support insane propositions) because I say something about Everett many worlds theory. As I said in the comment you referenced, this is an explanation for the apparent wave function collapse that is seriously considered by a number of eminent theoretical physicists. The fact that you don't find it compelling or even interesting doesn't make it insane. TimR
HI dogdoc. Just FYI: I also have been thinking about things, and hope to have time to write, but whatever the case I'm still in the game. Viola Lee
Viola, I've been toying with an idea along the lines of compatibilism that I haven't been able to quite clarify. Think of the process of external influences - let's say beliefs - becoming an integral part of one's mind, enabling one to be truly responsible for actions taken as a result of those influences. As we continue to deliberate over them, and they are further integrated into our thoughts, they become progressively more natural to us, and eventually become legitimately part of our own beliefs. Now think of an analogy - decoherence. (Please, folks, I beg you not to dump giant wads of copypasta here refuting the idea of decoherence solving the measurement problem!). The analogy would be: As interaction with macro systems cause quantum systems to decohere and quantum states to become determined, interaction with the whole of our mentality progressively incorporates externally derived beliefs into our mentality. I'm not at all endorsing this analogy, not sure if I believe there's anything to it, but it does make some sense to me and would serve, for example, to distinguish evil scientist's implanted beliefs from those incorporated naturally from one's experiences. dogdoc
To reiterate points that Viola has already made clear: Our discussion regarding free will did not involve atheism, materialism, naturalism, Darwinism, or theism. We are not trolling, nor trying to attack people. The issues we're discussing are not stupid - there is a huge literature about what free will means, and how our volition actually operates, and these issues have been debated for centuries, and we are interested in them. But if you think it's stupid, that's ok too - feel free to ignore our comments or post reasoned arguments against them. It would be nice to stop with the name-calling though, thanks. dogdoc
But we are not arguing that there is no free will! You are just knee-jerking without trying to comprehend. For instance, read 265. Or 179-183, or 190. No one is arguing that free will doesn't exist. We are discussing what it means, and what are the limits free will imposes upon our responsibility are as free agents. Dogdoc is claiming that a certain type of ultimate responsibility is impossible, and I have argued, in 265, that there are flaws in that argument. Dogdoc appreciated my comment and asked for more clarification (the way people do in constructive discussions.) I find it pretty amazing the extent to which some of you don't even try to pay attention! Sad. :-( Viola Lee
Jerry at 310, In summary: You have no free will. You are not responsible for your actions. I have a large bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. Only \$15 million. [I'm not responsible for posting that.] relatd
why don’t you just ignore it?
Top 10 nominee for most ironic comment of year. How can a discussion on free will lead to a fruitful discussion if there is no such as free will to choose a comment that is relevant? How can someone honestly answer this question since there is no such thing as honesty? Would anyone be able to determine anything without free will? Aside: are off topic comments examples for or against free will? Do we freely have the choice to post a comment without free will? How does one determine what to put into a comment? Aside2: most important insight nominee of year. How does one propose no free will yet ignore any valid criticism of their own comments.     Time to end this charade! jerry
See 288, 290, 293, 296, 297, 298, 299, 300, 301, 302, 303, and 304. Also, you write, "Let me suggest that philosophical issues about “free will” have now been thoroughly beaten to death and don’t need further dispute." That's your opinion, but obviously not true, as there is no philosophical consensus about the topic. If you and others are not interested in our discussion, why don't you just ignore it? Viola Lee
Oh joy, another diversion. Please stay on topic. -Q Querius
More: I am puzzled why people trying to have a serious discussion about one of the topics raised in the OP are being considered "trolls". You may not agree with us, or even be at all interested in the line of thought we are pursuing, but that doesn't make our presence here "trollish". Trolls are people who make useless, non-productive remarks for the purpose of arousing or expressing negative judgments or emotions. To be frank, I think most of the remarks this morning about trolls are themselves much better examples of trollish behavior than the remarks being criticized. Bible verse:
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but don’t consider the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you tell your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye;’ and behold, the beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)
Viola Lee
Free will entered the discussion only as part of the supposedly free will choice of what to measure in quantum mechanics related to wavefunction collapse and the Heisenberg choice. Since the fundamental nature of reality begins with quantum events, the involvement of conscious observation (aka the measurement problem) becomes relevant, especially since the Big Bang initially occurred at the quantum level. As anyone familiar with quantum mechanics knows, much of the work by theoretical physicists has been focused on maintaining deterministic materialism at the quantum level and with infinitely small distances that required infinite amounts of fine tuning to contain all information required to maintain determinism. So, additional perspectives that don't involve dog whistles and shouts of "squirrel" are welcome at this dog show as far as I'm concerned. Let me suggest that philosophical issues about "free will" have now been thoroughly beaten to death and don't need further dispute. Again, we're faced with the all of spacetime, mass-energy, laws of physics, and all information originating from nothing, but starting at a point infinitely small to determine everything studied in cosmology. -Q Querius
Just got home: I'd like to point out that materialism is not part of this discussion about free will/responsibility: two of us are not materialists (Vivid and myself), and dogdoc has stated that the theism/materialism issue doesn't affect his argument. Carry on, and hopefully those of us actually contributing something substantive here will return. Viola Lee
Bornagain @299 Thank you. Obviously Jerry Coyne must exist in order to deny his own existence. As Descartes argued, even the act of doubting one’s own existence is in fact confirmation of one’s existence —— I do something, therefor, I exist. The next insurmountable problem for materialists like Coyne is that, in order to be rational one has to be free. Jerry cannot be said to be a rational being if he is not in control of his thoughts and opinions. The problem for Coyne & co is that materialism explicitely states that Jerry’s thoughts and opinions (like everything else) are determined by events long before he was born & the laws of nature, as opposed to by Jerry Coyne himself. IOWs self-determination, freedom, is prerequisite to rationality. Origenes
Relatd @301, 302,
If your boy was being told lies by a neighbor and repeated them, what would you do?
Point taken. In my case, it would be lies told them by college professors.
“Could I pay in equivalent weight in Spam?”
Haha! Yeah, pop psychology and philosophical spam. -Q Querius
Not seen on Monty Python: Hello, Mister James? This is All Bill Collectors. You have several that are past due. [clears throat] “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed." I see. In any case, we expect payment immediately. Will you be sending a cheque? If not I can take your credit card information over the phone. "Do you accept Bitcoin?" No, we do not. "Can I put the wife on?" I'd rather you didn't. "Could I pay in equivalent weight in Spam?" No. I'm afraid not. "Can I pay in person?" We, uh, have no offices. I am working remotely from home. [silence] Hello? Hello? Sigh, another one... relatd
Querius at 300, By filling up post after post after post, the troll hopes that others will forget any objections and buy into the NONSENSE I mentioned earlier. If your boy was being told lies by a neighbor and repeated them, what would you do? relatd
Relatd @299,
As far as “feeding the trolls,” there needs to be a response in some cases.
If it's a persistent TROLL, then why bother? One can predict that the comment is disingenuous. But, I guess I'll concede partly to your point: to give one reasonable answer and not to follow up on the inevitable abuse. In some cases, it might be helpful for others to see a correction of any misperceptions, which of course will be rejected by the troll. What do you think? -Q Querius
Origenes at 289, that was pretty neat. I even tucked it away for future reference for the next time a Darwinian atheist claims that his conscious experience is merely a neuronal illusion.
bornagain77
Querius at 297, I have to wonder if this is a case of: "What do you want to do today?" I know, let's rattle a few cages at UD for sport. And so it goes. The internet is an open microphone, anyone can use it for good or ill. As far as "feeding the trolls," there needs to be a response in some cases. Otherwise the trolls can lead others down the path to uh... NONSENSE. Don't want that either. relatd
Relatd @296, From reading the previous comments, the following proverb comes to mind:
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. -Proverbs 18:2 ESV
This has been made abundantly clear! The trolls start out with "innocent questions" and "unanswerable challenges" but only read the responses (if they even do that) to try to find a rebuttal, make vacuous assertions or level ad hominem attacks. They're here only to shout "squirrel" at a dog show. You can spot them when they get completely off topic and then laugh at all the time they were able to waste by diverting attention from the OP. Let me ask, which of them brought out any examples of infinities and how these interact with cosmology? That's why virtually all our conversations here are diverted to the same hopeless babble. Again . . .
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. -Proverbs 18:2 ESV
Please don't feed the trolls. -Q Querius
Ba77, To become your own god and arbiter of all that is true - to you - is what is being preached here. What I find stupid is the crazy "agree to disagree" idea. Unilateral disagreement is like unilateral disarmament, it doesn't work. So, the trolls come here to promote their viewpoints, present some ideas, and think that maybe some will listen. But I'm not seeing any ideas that are worth considering. This is just an exercise that ends in futility. 2 Timothy 3:7 "always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth." relatd
makes me sad to see some of the responses here
Has to be one of the most phony statements ever. jerry
Anyway, there are plenty of Atheists who have chosen to change their beliefs and become Christians and vice-versa. Acts of the will. Andrew asauber
And I suspect that one of the reasons you dumb Atheists are here is to help maintain your Atheism. You can comment and see Atheism's superiority over all things in glorious display and feel better about it. You're really not fooling anyone but yourselves. Andrew asauber
Why do people go on diets? Because they chose to change their beliefs about how they should eat. Andrew asauber
This is beating a stale horse, but you can choose to maintain, discontinue, or question beliefs and desires. based on new information, You can choose to re-rank them in priority. Any and all of them. Beliefs and desires shift, disappear, reappear, mutate, and evolve because people choose to change them. Andrew asauber
I find it to annoying to deal with the residents here who just respond emotionally to anything they don’t agree with (or more often than not, can’t get their heads around).
Perfect description of the anti ID person. Strategy of the anti ID person: find anything that will make a pro ID person look bad. Even if it’s just the failure to dot “i’s” or cross “t’s”. By all means never deal with substance or you will lose every time. Ignore anything that will make you look bad or a pro ID person look good. Aside: pro ID people here cooperate by providing lots of things that have nothing to do with ID that are often excessive even if within reason. jerry
//On absolute vs proximate responsibility/freedom // I choose to hold that “I” exist —— to be clear, with “I” I refer to my consciousness, my viewpoint. I am the only one who has access to my “I”, put another way: no one but me can possibly have an informed opinion on this particular subject, therefor whatever I choose to believe about my “I” can only be my absolute responsibility, can only be the result of my fully self-determined choice. - - - - - - (1.) I do something. (2.) A thing that does not exist cannot do something —— from nothing nothing comes. From (1.) and (2.) (3.) I exist Origenes
TimR, TimR defends the insanity of 'Many Worlds' here, https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/granville-sewell-on-origin-of-life-as-a-provably-unsolvable-problem/#comment-731350 bornagain77
That's brilliant Vivid. Yes let the storm just pass haha. One of my favorite adages is, "We are all victims of victims". dogdoc
DD “But we would already need to have our beliefs and desires in order to freely choose new beliefs and desires, and this begins an infinite regress of choices that you could not possibly have initiated.” Well this is going to cause a firestorm from some of my friends but the desire part is quite Biblical “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psa 51:5 Augustine’s non posse non peccare. I am going to duck, cover and shelter in place now LOL Vivid vividbleau
Good question. I'm enjoying this conversation a lot, as these are ideas I am developing (or at least developing an articulation of) in response to your and Vivid's posts. I look forward to thinking about this tomorrow afternoon when I'm back home with some time.. Viola Lee
Viola, Your critique of my argument is interesting, I would like to think about it. Is there some discernible difference between the evil neuroscientist's influence and one that you've incorporated from, say, your peer group, that renders the former an override of your freedom, while the latter just becomes part of you? (referring to @273) dogdoc
"It makes me sad" You have no clue what true sadness is yet. bornagain77
"Copy pasta"! That's good. :-) Viola Lee
Thanks TimR, glad you enjoyed it. It makes me sad to see some of the responses here. dogdoc
I have enjoyed reading your argument, Dogdoc, and it reflects my views also. I have commented here in the past, but not much anymore. I find it to annoying to deal with the residents here who just respond emotionally to anything they don't agree with (or more often than not, can't get their heads around). I've also enjoyed watching BA77 flailing around and in the end retreating behind his wall of pulp science and religious copy pasta. Thanks for your service! TimR
^^^ As usual, Pure B.S. from the trolls For someone to concede a point for the sake of argument is for them to provisionally accept the point as being true in order see what the argument holds if the point is actually true. And If the point of an immaterial mind and soul is actually true, and preexistent beliefs are held therein, (such as the preexistent belief in God that is now found in toddlers), then it matters very much to DD's argument in that, under Christian Theism, we are, as souls, very much morally responsible for our subsequent 'free will choice' to either accept that preexistent belief in God or reject it. As I've heard more than one preacher say, God does not send anyone to hell. People send themselves to hell by their choice to reject Him For instance, the first hit on a google search of 'Does God send people to hell?" returned this mini sermon,
Does God ‘Send People to Hell’? - 2019 The notion that God sends people to hell is accurate in a certain sense. If by “send to hell” one means that God himself will cast unrepentant sinners into the lake of fire (Rev. 14:10; 20:15; cf. Matt. 25:41), then that is true enough. However, in another real and very important sense, God does not send anyone to hell; people send themselves there, by their own choice. Let us ponder this important point in more detail, for it is critical in answering the question before us. When God created humankind, he fashioned a creature of great worth and dignity. Unlike the other creatures recorded in the creation account of Genesis, he created men and women alone in his image. Among other things, this image entails a moral likeness to God, including the capacity for self-determination and meaningful ethical choices. One of those meaningful ethical choices — indeed, the most meaningful choice of all — is whether to love and serve God or to spurn his love. Those who reject God thereby choose hell, which is separation from God. What God is guilty of, so to speak, is respecting the free will of creatures that he created in his own image by allowing them to exercise their choice to reject him. God thus acknowledges the worth of human creatures by continuing to uphold their existence and by allowing them to choose their own path. And what path has the unrepentant sinner chosen? It is, in essence, to be “God,” which is to be the center of his or her own autonomous universe, in which one’s own desires reign supreme. The obstinate rebel will not bow the knee — or at least not willingly or with joy — because submitting to the will of another is abhorrent to such a one. Yet, these sinful creatures, being creatures, live in God’s universe, governed by God’s moral laws, with God as its Lord. God’s moral laws work as invariably as his physical laws, and one either conforms to them or they dash him to pieces. Now, one of those invariable moral truths is that the rational creature, whether human or angelic, can only find happiness in submission to God as the ground of all joy. Conversely, when one willingly separates from God and substitutes oneself as his or her own god, that individual cannot but be wretched. This is simply the way the moral universe works. Sinners may rail against this with all their being, but they may just as well rage against the law of gravity. We should also note that the lost in hell would never choose to leave their condition for heaven, granting that the essence of heaven is joyful submission to God. To those who set their affections totally upon themselves — who are “curved inward,” as St. Augustine put it — heaven would be a kind of suffering even worse than hell itself. No doubt they would choose all the fringe benefits of a life with God, but only if they could have it without God himself. But this cannot be. Excerpt taken from 40 Questions About Heaven and Hell, by Alan W. Gomes (M.Div. ’81, Th.M. ’84, professor of theology). https://www.biola.edu/blogs/biola-magazine/2019/does-god-send-people-to-hell
bornagain77
DD FWIW I found your comment regarding an infinite regress , I could not find the relevant post, very interesting. Vivid vividbleau
Vivid, Yes, as I said, I think we see the sort of free will that we have in very similar ways, and that it is a compatibilist view. I'm not distinguishing "pre-existent" beliefs from other beliefs; somebody else had used that term and I repeated it for consistency. At the time one makes a choice, they hold some set of beliefs, desires, and all the other things I've been listing. Unless one makes a choice for no reason, these beliefs and desires are the only reasons that could possibly figure into our deliberations - there is nothing else. So we need to be responsible for the beliefs and desires we hold in order to be responsible for our choices. But we would already need to have our beliefs and desires in order to freely choose new beliefs and desires, and this begins an infinite regress of choices that you could not possibly have initiated. dogdoc
"For the sake of argument" does not mean "concede". This is well known, and the refusal to acknowledge it is, to use a phrase that occurs here sometimes, telling. :-) Viola Lee
BA,
Concedes for the sake of argument that the immaterial mind and soul exists, and then refuses to accept the conclusions that follow from making that concession.
Again, I wasn't saying that I actually believe those statements, or even find them meaningful, but rather I was saying that they don't matter to my argument, and I don't want to argue about them. But I agree, let's just agree to disagree at this point. dogdoc
DD “Viola, you and BobSinclair appear to be the only two here who have understood what I am arguing, perhaps along with Vivid who I believe holds views similar to mine.” Yes I think we do although I don’t know if I agree on all points but I have been quite clear on my position for your consideration so you would be the judge of that. What would help me better understand your argument would be an example of a pre existent belief. Maybe you have done this already if so please direct me to the relevant post. Thanks in advance. Vivid vividbleau
Haha, I was just writing the following while you made your last post :) Viola, I realize I haven't responded to your well-articulated criticism/dissent from my view @265. I understand you to be saying that you reject the distinction between proximate and ultimate responsibility, at least for some choices. I admit I have said this before: "Anyone over 40 (or some age) is responsible for their own personality". It's not meant literally; what I was getting at is that at some point it's just not helpful to try and identify the origins of one's defects, faults, foibles, neuroses, or their strengths and virtues either. So from a practical point of view I agree with you. But philosophically, I believe this is still a compatibilist view, and it doesn't rescue the sort of freedom that most people believe they have, and want to have. I think the point about the evil neuroscientist who implants beliefs and desires without the subject's consent makes this clear: If we're not ultimately responsible for the origins of our beliefs and desires, then we're not responsible for choices based upon them. Perhaps you have a better-developed idea of how beliefs etc. can be truly self-chosen despite their external origins. As I've mentioned, most legal systems acknowledge that certain circumstances remove people from responsibility, for example a brain tumor that induces changes in one's beliefs and desires. But while brain tumors are obvious pathologies, we have no more control over more subtle, hard-to-identify conditions that account for all of our beliefs and desires. dogdoc
Concedes for the sake of argument that the immaterial mind and soul exists, and then refuses to accept the conclusions that follow from making that concession. To mock the troll, "why am I not surprised?' I'm done with his inanity. I will let my posts at 217 and 218 stand as stated. bornagain77
Thanks. And I would be curious if you have any thoughts on my remarks about proximate responsibility (which I agree with) and ultimate responsibility (with which I disagree.) Do you see the point I am trying to make? Viola Lee
Viola, you and BobSinclair appear to be the only two here who have understood what I am arguing, perhaps along with Vivid who I believe holds views similar to mine. It is unthinkable to me to be presented with an argument that challenges my beliefs and then proceed to ignore it. I've spent my whole life curious about ideas that challenge my understanding, and my views have changed many times as a result. Holding on even more tightly to ideas that are threatened by opposing argument is unnatural to me, yet I see more and more how natural it is to people in general. dogdoc
re 267: dogdoc goes on to discuss "proximate responsibility", which I then discussed at 265. People can legitimately disagree with dogdoc (I did, in part), but I don't think you can dismiss his argument as Absurdist if you consider it carefully and accurately. Viola Lee
re 266: I thought the same thing, dogdoc. BA thoroughly misconstrued what "for the sake of argument "means, and why one takes that position, and wound up again at the Shroud of Turin without addressing your arguments at all. Viola Lee
Dogdoc at 266, You are arguing for an absurd position. It has no basis in reality. "No, we are debating the argument that I have laid out that shows why ultimate responsibility for one’s choices is impossible." I'm not responsible if I choose to run a stop light or stop sign? Nonsense. You have adopted an Absurdist position. That's all. relatd
BA,
Dogdoc, so you conceded, for the sake of argument, that “immaterial minds and souls (whatever they are) are required to “hold” beliefs, desires, etc, and that a person cannot be a material being.”
This is not a "concession" of course; I am agreeing arguendo to these ideas to see if you will actually respond to my argument rather than dive off into these other topics.
So this honest concession on your part puts you squarely in the camp of Theism.
Again, you are mischaracterizing what it means to agree to something arguendo, or for the sake of argument. The purpose of agreeing arguendo is just to move an argument along without getting hung up on issues that do not directly pertain to the debate at hand.
And as such you must deal with the rich history in Christianity of the debate over the existence of free will.
No, we are debating the argument that I have laid out that shows why ultimate responsibility for one's choices is impossible. Unfortunately, the rest of your post simply discusses the matters I have already agreed to arguendo, rather than engage my argument. I have to say, I am extremely unsurprised. I think it's clear to any fair reader here that the reason you do not engage my argument is simply because you can't. Nobody else in this thread has tried to refute my argument either. I posted here honestly hoping to see what sorts of counter-arguments people could come up with. In any case, it is interesting that nobody would even try. dogdoc
dogdoc writes at 263,
And unless you can be ultimately responsible for the reasons you use to make a choice, then you cannot be ultimately responsible for the choice. As others have discussed, however, it still makes perfect sense to say that you make your own choices, and even that one can be held responsible for them. Instead of absolute, ultimate freedom what we have is a proximate freedom.
This clarifies some things to me. We are responsible for our choices, and can be held responsible by others: dogdoc calls this “proximate freedom”. I think this is consistent with the idea of freedom being characterized by self-determination. As dogdoc says, we sometimes “deliberate long and hard”, and “various different (and conflicting!) reasons came to bear” on our decisions, but if we try to track down the source of those reasons, you can never find a foundation which itself consists of reasons that were somehow chosen without referring to further reasons. Hence the problem of infinite regress, and thus no ultimate, as opposed to proximate, responsibility. I disagree with the conclusion expressed in the last sentence above. At some point, I accept that I have characteristics that are me, integral parts of myself, and the reasons that they are me (genetics, upbringing, internal biology beyond my control) is immaterial. I choose to take responsibility for those parts of me irrespective of the causal chain that laid the foundation, and I don’t think there is any more to free will than that. That is what the idea of self-determination implies. Therefore, I think the idea of “ultimate responsibility” that dogdoc says doesn’t exist is a false trail, because to the extent that the causal chains of reasons escape my being, they fall outside the domain of the category of responsibility. It is a category error to thinks that the chain of reasons starting with the beginning of the universe (the infinite regress dogdoc mentions) and leading up to me has anything to do with responsibility: only when those things become part of me does responsibility begin. Another way of saying this is, in dogdoc’s terms, proximate responsibility is the only kind of responsibility there is: the ideas of “ultimate responsibility” is a philosophical mistake. Responsibility, and the exercise of free will, starts with the individual person. It makes no difference how much the world has helped shape us, or mis-shape us, we are responsible for being who we are, however that may be. Viola Lee
Dogdoc, so you conceded, for the sake of argument, that "immaterial minds and souls (whatever they are) are required to “hold” beliefs, desires, etc, and that a person cannot be a material being." So this honest concession on your part puts you squarely in the camp of Theism. And as such you must deal with the rich history in Christianity of the debate over the existence of free will. As I alluded in post 218, Calvinists, because of the sovereignty of God, have been denying the existence of free will, in much the same manner as you are currently doing, for centuries now. (see bottom of 218 for a few references). As well, in posts 217 and 218, I also laid out my case for why any preexistent beliefs we may be born with are important to consider. Primarily, we are born with a preexistent belief in God. And yet atheists have now been shown to be 'suppressing' that preexistent belief in God that we are born with. As should be needless to say, these findings all fit perfectly within Christian theology.
Romans 1: 18-20 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
And again, since you conceded the existence of souls and immaterial minds, and are thus squarely in the camp of Theism, this nuanced view in Christian theology, of balancing God's sovereignty with our free will, must be taken into consideration. This is certainly not an easy task as the centuries long debate in Christian theology itself testifies to. For instance, God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Yet, as many atheists on this site themselves give witness to, there are many people who simply refuse to 'choose' God, and to submit their will to God's good and perfect will for their lives., And this 'free will' choice on their part to reject God has dire consequences for them, As C.S. Lewis noted,
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell."? - C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce
In support of C.S. Lewis’s contention that “Without that self-choice there could be no Hell”, I only have to point to the many people who are angrily, even fanatically, ‘pro-choice’ in their beliefs as far as abortion in concerned, demanding the unrestricted right to choose death for their unborn baby no matter what stage of development the baby may be in. Again, the consequences of this 'free will' choice of humans to reject God, are fairly drastic. You are literally choosing between eternal life with God in heaven or eternal death separated from God in hell. Verses:
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Proverbs 8:36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death. John 5:40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.
Because of such dire consequences for our eternal souls, I can only plead for atheists to seriously reconsider their 'free will' choice to reject God, and to now freely choose life, even eternal life with God, instead of constantly fighting tooth and nail against the God created you and gave you life. (and who loves you far more than you can possibly understand right now)
Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words “The Lamb” – video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tmka1l8GAQ John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
bornagain77
BobSinclair,
So in your example above, you didn’t choose to love the dog, you didn’t choose to euthanise the dog, these choices were made for you by “unchosen reasons”.
Of course I did choose to euthanize the dog - who else would have made that choice? And I deliberated long and hard about that choice, and various different (and conflicting!) reasons came to bear: My love for the dog, my belief that he was suffering, my belief that he could never get better, my belief that euthanasia would be quick and painless, my desire for his suffering to end, etc. But if you take any one of those reasons, you will see that for each one, either that reason was (1) never consciously deliberated by me, or (2) itself the result of yet other beliefs and desires. This regress can never be ended, because you cannot use your beliefs and desires to select your beliefs and desires, any more than you can lift yourself up by your own bootstraps. And unless you can be ultimately responsible for the reasons you use to make a choice, then you cannot be ultimately responsible for the choice. As others have discussed, however, it still makes perfect sense to say that you make your own choices, and even that one can be held responsible for them. Instead of absolute, ultimate freedom what we have is a proximate freedom. Analogically, it's like correctly saying the four ball was responsible for hitting the eight ball into the pocket, even though it was because of the cue ball - and the cue stick - and so on - before that. (Again, my argument is not about causality - this was just an illustration). dogdoc
BA,
Translation of DD’s response at 242 to my posts at 217 & 218, “I prefer having a room full of smoke rather than having clear definitions”.
This is the opposite of the truth. I am always in favor of clarifying definitions! Which terms in my argument would you like to clarify?
Dogdoc’s argument rests on the premise that all our present decisions are based on preexistent beliefs and that these preexistent beliefs cannot be chosen by us.
Yes this is close to my argument, with the caveat that some preexistent beliefs may have likewise been subject to reasoned deliberation, but at some point the choice must originate with unchosen beliefs.
But in order for a person to have beliefs in the first place, a person must first have an immaterial mind and soul in which to hold those beliefs, and a person cannot be a purely material being as is held within Atheistic/Darwinian materialism.
If you would like, then purely for the sake of argument, I will agree that immaterial minds and souls (whatever they are) are required to "hold" beliefs, desires, etc, and that a person cannot be a material being. Doesn't affect my argument one bit.
Atheistic/Darwinian materialism is simply a non-starter
Sure, why not? Purely for the purpose of this debate, let's agree that Atheistic/Darwinian materialism is just completely ridiculous and only a fool would consider it. Good? Ok, now let's debate my argument about free will!
And since any preexistent beliefs that we may have must be properties of our immaterial mind, and since Dogdoc’s entire argument against free will rests on the notion of preexistent beliefs, it is fitting to ask exactly what preexistent belief(s) are we born with?
Well no, it is not relevant to my argument at all. I never mentioned what these preexistent beliefs, desires, values, priorities, etc are or should be, because it makes no difference to my argument no matter what they are. They may be true or false, smart or stupid, profound or trivial. The point is, at no point could you already be yourself with a set of beliefs that you yourself have freely chosen. dogdoc
Dogdoc “For example, let’s say I have an old, terminally ill dog, near death, who has no chance of recovery, and is in agony. While I would of course wish and prefer that my dog continue to live, I make the wrenching, painful decision to euthanize him in order to spare him pointless suffering. Did I exercise free will in this example? No, of course not. I didn’t deliberate over whether or not to love my dog – I simply love my dog without ever choosing to. I didn’t freely choose my desire for him to avoid living his remaining hours in agony; I couldn’t possibly feel any other way. And so on – all of my deliberations rest on unchosen reasons. “ So in your example above, you didn’t choose to love the dog, you didn’t choose to euthanise the dog, these choices were made for you by “unchosen reasons”. BobSinclair
I like 2/3 of this paragraph from the “long answer” link that relatd offered:
Our freedom is precisely our rational ability to choose between a number of means to an end. This means that our freedom is not an end in itself—it is itself a kind of means to the end.
Yes, important point.
The frequent problem with people, at least in our culture, is that they think everything is just fine as long as you get to choose.
I disagree: I don’t think this is a common attitude. I think most people would agree with the first sentence.
The classical and Catholic view is different. For us, everything is fine if we use our understanding in order to arrive at our true good.
This takes us back to the question of what is the “true” good. Catholics, of course, will have some general common understanding of what is the true good, but people in general will have a variety of different notions. There is a great verse from Dylan’s “Jokerman” which ties together these two part of this thread: free will and truth:
Freedom, just around the corner for you. But with truth so far off, what good will it do?
Viola Lee
KF, you write. "VL, as a refresher over the past decade or so, truth is that which says of what is, that it is; and, of what is not, that it is not. Adapted, Ari, Met 1011 b. Truth is ontologically accurate description." Yes of course, but that description of truth is really just definitional: truth should accurately describe the realm of reality to which it applies. That doesn't move us too much closer to knowing specifically what actually is the truth. Viola Lee
Vivid at 257, You have the common view of free will. But some create elaborate work-arounds in the form of other versions of where free will comes from. Some even think that they are not influenced at all by anything outside of themselves (which is illusory) or that outside influences (which they have to choose) are to blame, and their choices aren't really "free." In other words, 'how can anyone or any decision/choice be truly free'? relatd
Related Thanks for those links. Indeed the Council of Trent placed anathemas on Luther, Calvin and the reformers regarding their view on free will. Briefly here is my very abbreviated view regarding the will. My will is self determined. Each and everyone one of us freely and without coercion choose what we MOST WANT at the time our choice is made given the options available to us at the time the choice is made. I must confess I don’t know what is controversial, at least it seems that way to me, about my position that my choices are self determined. Vivid vividbleau
Vivid at 255, The long answer: https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/free-will The longer answer (which I think you'll like).: https://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/free-will relatd
BA “Excerpt: John Calvin ascribed “free will” to all people in the sense that they act “voluntarily, and not by compulsion.”[117] He elaborated his position by allowing “that man has choice and that it is self-determined” and that his actions stem from “his own voluntary choosing.”[118]” Virtually every Calvinist ( not hyper Calvinists) I know including Spurgeon would agree with this definition. The following questions , although anyone can chime in , are posed to Christians. Is the will free from Gods will? That is can man’s will supersede and thwart Gods will? Is the will free from sin. Augustine’s.non posse non peccare , not able not to sin? In our post Adamic unregenerate state are we not able not to sin? Is the will free from you, your self? Vivid vividbleau
VL, as a refresher over the past decade or so, truth is that which says of what is, that it is; and, of what is not, that it is not. Adapted, Ari, Met 1011 b. Truth is ontologically accurate description. That is non ideological and should be uncontroversial. If you mean wish or opinion etc, there are perfectly serviceable words for such. Corruption of language is a common first step to corruption of thought, knowledge, practice and civilisation. KF kairosfocus
Ba77 at 251, When someone appears in the ring, here, wearing their boxing gloves, they think they can dictate the rules. Or 'I will keep punching until you see things my way.' That's all that's happening. relatd
See you get to choose how your beliefs apply to you, if at all, depending on the situation. They (the beliefs) are considerations, not dictators. Andrew asauber
Translation of DD's response at 242 to my posts at 217 & 218, "I prefer having a room full of smoke rather than having clear definitions". Of a similar note to DD not wanting to get too specific in his definitions, and as David Berlinski noted elsewhere about Darwin's theory, not being carefully defined or delineated is a major flaw that prevents Darwin's theory itself from ever being a hard science.
“Before you can ask 'Is Darwinian theory correct or not?', You have to ask the preliminary question 'Is it clear enough so that it could be correct?'. That's a very different question. One of my prevailing doctrines about Darwinian theory is 'Man, that thing is just a mess. It's like looking into a room full of smoke.' Nothing in the theory is precisely, clearly, carefully defined or delineated. It lacks all of the rigor one expects from mathematical physics, and mathematical physics lacks all the rigor one expects from mathematics. So we're talking about a gradual descent down the level of intelligibility until we reach evolutionary biology.” - David Berlinski https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec8lpcA5hls&list=PLF9DB30F6802BC5CE&index=1
bornagain77
Oh McDonalds had a stupid commercial I saw last night. I'm not giving them any of my money. Andrew asauber
Am I hungry enough to decide to ignore my dietary restrictions and stop at McDonald's Drive-Thru? Is my blood sugar too high to eat there? Is my blood sugar too low to eat there? Do I have enough money? Do I have enough time to stop? Is there a McDonalds around at all? Do I have enough gas? Did the missus give me instructions? lol Andrew asauber
"things we take into consideration when exercising our will" VL, Things we Sometimes take into consideration... Andrew asauber
Typo, Q. 2 + 2 = 4. re 244: Good point about duty, dogdoc: that occurred to me also. A sense of duty towards certain values or principles, including a belief in some responsibility to others beyond ourselves, is another one of the many things we take into consideration when exercising our will. Viola Lee
Viola Lee @230,
I did give some specific examples: 2 = 2 =4 is absolutely true because it’s part of a logical system.
Ok, I agree with 2 = 2 (the identity property), but I don’t agree that 2 = 4. Surely, you must remember that logical systems are incomplete (Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems) and are subject to context. If you travel a mile north and then a mile east, are you two miles from where you started? BA77, Thanks for the additional background on free will. I’m glad that you pointed out from the Bible that God’s will is not universal or irresistible. Perhaps God has chosen to limit His will so that we can have free will. I believe such applications of infinities and absolutes lead to error, which is why I reject the logic of Spinoza, Calvin, and cosmologists who rely on infinities. Similarly, I’d have to say that I find the argument from Peter Kreeft also suspect for similar reasons on each of his four points. For example, how can I know that my limited mind can discover eternal truths? Maybe they’re simply apparent truths. In a logic class I once took, the professor introduced the Green-Blue Paradox.” IIRC, he talked about a light that was green for 100 years, after which it briefly turned blue. He called that color “grue.” However, to the average observer, the light usually, obviously, and measurably is green. However, the question of why is there something rather than nothing is far more challenging in my opinion. We see the effects of existence: complexity, balance, ingenuity, beauty, awe, charm, life, and death . . . and conscious thought. The existence of conscious thought must have a cause, but so far no one has been able to demonstrate how conscious thought can come from particles of inanimate matter. -Q Querius
"preferences, beliefs, desires, values, priorities, commitments, hopes, fears, and so on." Whims, thrills, pleasures, avoidances, moods, expectations, rebellions, gambles, calculations, traditions, conformities, loyalties, "balance"... etc. Andrew asauber
KF,
Freedom expresses itself in the clash of preference and duty, and as a choice of least of evils.
Duty is just another reason that we factor into our choices, along with our preferences, beliefs, desires, values, priorities, commitments, hopes, fears, and so on. Not sure why that is hard for you to understand. dogdoc
I suspect what relatd is talking about as "truth" are Christian beliefs such as God, Jesus, salvation, etc. Obviously billions of people in the world don't think those are true. That's why my wanting to talk more generally about what different kinds of truth are, and how we know, is unsettling. Viola Lee
BA,
Although Dogdoc has played coy in this thread and has refused to be specific about what his exact overarching worldview is...
It is weird, and disturbing, that you are unable to debate issues. Instead, you are singularly focussed on what "worldview" your opponent subscribes to. You want to square off into opposing teams each labelled with some "-ism", so you can unleash your huge cache of copypasta against the other team. When faced with someone who wants only to debate specific questions and refuses to fit into one of your ideological buckets, you refuse to debate. But it's not only that you refuse - you are literally unable to understand what it means to argue over questions, and you can only argue about your labelled ideological buckets. I have views regarding the mind/body problem, free will, epistemology, moral theory, evolutionary theory, and lots of other things. I take each of these as interesting questions, and make no attempt to wrap up my thoughts into some canon of beliefs that can be labelled and categorized into a single overarching worldview. The parallel to current political polarization is obvious; people refuse to debate issues and instead focus on communicating their team identity through gotchas and sound bites. It's a sad state of affairs - our species' predisposition to tribalism trumps our curiosity and rationality. dogdoc
re 238: too much for me to ask what you like me to be more specific about, or to give an examples of what truths you are talking about? Oh well ... :-) Viola Lee
Q, I'm interested in all that, and read books about it occasionally. I'm not particularly interested in the "materialistic determinism" issue, and I guess I don't see that "most theoretical physicists exert massive amounts of time, intense thought, and mathematics (sometimes involving infinities) to try to make all this compatible with deterministic materialism." QM points to reality being very different than our macroscopic experience of it. Hypothesizing as to what that means is controversial: I made a few comments on that back at 71 an 140-145. Whatever the case, QM provides a new window into what "deterministic" and "materialism" even mean, so I don't think it helps to make "deterministic materialism" a battleground. Viola Lee
re 235: yes, sometimes we have to make hard choices, and sometimes our principles clash with our more self-centered interests. This is one of the hearts of the human condition. Viola Lee
VL at 236, Oh well. Good bye. relatd
Viola Lee @213, 219
Also I listened to about 1/2 the Smolin video at double speed with closed captions on: seems like it was pretty basic. The idea that space is an arena in which things happen as time goes by as been outdated for 100 years. Good popularization, I suppose.
This is why I thought you were blowing off Lee Smolin.
Maybe I’ll go watch the second half, but watching people talk is just such a slow and unsatisfactory way for me to get information.
That's why I also provided you with a link to Lee Smolin's latest book, Einstein's Unfinished Revolution, if you're interested in the subject. The big clash in quantum mechanics is the experimental evidence that demonstrates things about reality that are completely unexpected by deterministic materialists. The facts are generally not disputed, only the interpretation of what the facts mean. * Human observation changes outcomes of experiments. * Changes are independent of time and distance. * Physical experiments are limited by a total amount of knowable information. * Particles materialize from mathematical probabilities when observed. * Waves of probabilities (of the same kind) interact with each other. * Spacetime is measurably filled with probabilities that materialize and then disappear. * Spacetime is measurably being stretched by an unknown force. * Galactic orbits are measurably changed by an unknown type of matter. * Concentrations of mass-energy forms black holes in spacetime that absorb mass-energy. * The universe itself (space, time, mass, energy, etc) seems to have originated from a single infinitely tiny point. * All this weirdness affects reality from quantum to galactic scales. But most theoretical physicists exert massive amounts of time, intense thought, and mathematics (sometimes involving infinities) to try to make all this compatible with deterministic materialism. Why don't they instead simply accept and follow the evidence as it emerges? -Q Querius
I'm trying to discuss the general idea of truth. What would you like me to be more specific about? Since you aren't giving any examples of what truths you are talking about, I can't tell. Viola Lee
VL [attn DD), I once did that, working for two years under protest. It was in the teeth of my preferences but I thought the alternative was worse, for the future of a nation. Over the past year, I faced a needless impossible dilemma situation and had to carry out a lesser of evils, extremely painful action. On any reasonable sense of preferences, in both these cases I did from duty things that I strongly disagreed with but which were not to the level, utterly unconscionable. Freedom expresses itself in the clash of preference and duty, and as a choice of least of evils. KF kairosfocus
VL at 233, I'm starting to see that it's not worth commenting on your posts. You say vague things followed by things that primarily interest only you. You appear to enjoy being vague, unless it touches on a few of your personal interests. I don't care if people drink coffee or not. People can choose who they want to vote for. It appears that the only truths that interest you are non-religious. Your choice. relatd
Hmmm, Relatd, that's not very specific. Can you give an example? I suspect you're talking about what you consider religious truths, not empirical truths like whether it's OK to drink coffee or personal truths like I think X would be a good President. Viola Lee
Twenty Arguments God's Existence - Peter Kreeft Excerpt: 11. The Argument from Truth This argument is closely related to the argument from consciousness. It comes mainly from Augustine. 1. Our limited minds can discover eternal truths about being. 2. Truth properly resides in a (immaterial) mind. 3. But the human mind is not eternal. 4. Therefore there must exist an eternal mind in which these truths reside. https://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_arguments-gods-existence.htm#11 Peter John Kreeft (born March 16, 1937) is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King's College. A convert to Roman Catholicism, he is the author of over eighty books[4] on Christian philosophy, theology and apologetics. He also formulated, together with Ronald K. Tacelli, Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God in their Handbook of Christian Apologetics.[5][6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Kreeft
bornagain77
VL at 230, The truths human beings use to live their lives every day are always true. The phases of life, from conception till death. The decisions we make daily which are based on truths. relatd
I'll be glad to talk specific. The statement "Truth is monolithic, meaning what is true is always true" is just a tautology: it doesn't really say anything specific. I did give some specific examples: 2 = 2 =4 is absolutely true because it's part of a logical system. The earth is approximately spherical is an empirical truth that is certainly true. Two cups of coffee a day is good for longevity is a recent research result that is tentatively true, but could be changed by further research. Most of what we consider true is like theoretical physics in that we have some ideas, some more validated than others, about what is true, but we could could later turn out to be wrong. Maybe you could be more specific about what you mean by "what is true is always true"? Viola Lee
VL at 228, Please don't take this the wrong way but you are terrible at presenting arguments. Your comments lack specific details, leaving them open to interpretation. I suggest you use specific examples. Vagueness is not helpful. Truth is monolithic, meaning what is true is always true. The only exceptions include theoretical physics and the actual mechanisms involved in star and planet formation, for example. relatd
Not sure what reality isn't real means. There are all sorts of things we think are true, and various degrees of certainty for various kinds of things. Some things are logically absolutely true (2 + 2 = 4), some things in the real world are virtually certain (the earth is approximately spherical), but most truths are at least in theory tentative in that they could be modified or even overturned with additional evidence. And lots of what we consider truths are various opinions we have about which others disagree. Truth is not a monolithic entity. Viola Lee
VL at 226 and 227, So, reality isn't real and truth is on a sliding scale? Or ??? and ???????. relatd
But we disagree about what is the truth, I think, including about what exists. Viola Lee
Ba77, The goal of some is to argue away certain things as if they don't exist. It takes a little research to realize that the truth is the truth. I would hope everyone desires to know what is true. On the other hand, there are those who prefer to construct elaborate escapes from the truth. I think it safe to say that they will always find that they have painted themselves into a corner. But they have a way out, it's called the truth. relatd
One more thing, at first he dismissed The Opposite, and had to be convinced by an argument from Jerry to try it. Andrew asauber
George declared The Opposite was his religion after he practiced it for awhile. He judged it was working well enough for him. His choice. Andrew asauber
He was going to have Tuna on Toast, which he had chosen regularly before. He got Chicken Salad on Rye, Untoasted. Jerry said Salmon was the Opposite of Tuna. lol Andrew asauber
Furthermore, George got to define what The Opposite was. Going over and talking to the blonde at the counter was The Opposite, although it didn't have to be. He picked what The Opposite was based on happenstance. Andrew asauber
"1) Choices must be based upon our beliefs (and desires and so on and so on)" They don't. George Costanza did The Opposite because he thought it could provide better outcomes (*his* imagination). Those choices were based on a silly notion, a maybe, not a real belief in anything specific. The fact that he could do The Opposite or not do The Opposite, and chose among both, at various times means what? Andrew asauber
Q, I wasn't blowing off Smolin. It was the other guy who was bringing up the context of a static arena of space and time. I understood the modern view that Smolin was talking about. Maybe I'll go watch the second half, but watching people talk is just such a slow and unsatisfactory way for me to get information. Viola Lee
And as the following paper stated, "religious non-belief is cognitively effortful."
Richard Dawkins take heed: Even atheists instinctively believe in a creator says study - Mary Papenfuss - June 12, 2015 Excerpt: Three studies at Boston University found that even among atheists, the "knee jerk" reaction to natural phenomenon is the belief that they're purposefully designed by some intelligence, according to a report on the research in Cognition entitled the "Divided Mind of a disbeliever." The findings "suggest that there is a deeply rooted natural tendency to view nature as designed," writes a research team led by Elisa Järnefelt of Newman University. They also provide evidence that, in the researchers' words, "religious non-belief is cognitively effortful." Researchers attempted to plug into the automatic or "default" human brain by showing subjects images of natural landscapes and things made by human beings, then requiring lightning-fast responses to the question on whether "any being purposefully made the thing in the picture," notes Pacific-Standard. "Religious participants' baseline tendency to endorse nature as purposefully created was higher" than that of atheists, the study found. But non-religious participants "increasingly defaulted to understanding natural phenomena as purposefully made" when "they did not have time to censor their thinking," wrote the researchers. The results suggest that "the tendency to construe both living and non-living nature as intentionally made derives from automatic cognitive processes, not just practised explicit beliefs," the report concluded. The results were similar even among subjects from Finland, where atheism is not a controversial issue as it can be in the US. "Design-based intuitions run deep," the researchers conclude, "persisting even in those with no explicit religious commitment and, indeed, even among those with an active aversion to them." http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/richard-dawkins-take-heed-even-atheists-instinctively-believe-creator-says-study-1505712
It is not that Atheists do not believe in Design, it is that Atheists, for whatever severely misguided reason, live in denial of the Design that they themselves believe exists in nature. Perhaps the two most famous quotes of atheists trying to suppress their innate and preexistent ‘design belief’ are the two following quotes:
“Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning.” - Richard Dawkins – “The Blind Watchmaker” – 1986 – page 21 “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved. It might be thought, therefore, that evolutionary arguments would play a large part in guiding biological research, but this is far from the case” - Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit - 1988
It is very easy to see why Francis Crick in particular, co-discoverer of the DNA helix, would be constantly haunted by his innate belief that life must be Intelligently Designed. DNA itself literally screams, “I AM INTELLIGENTLY DESIGNED” from every angle that you look at it.
A few factoids about DNA https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/movie-night-with-illustra-a-whale-of-a-story-and-18-trillion-feet-of-you/#comment-745611
I hold the preceding studies which found that "religious non-belief is cognitively effortful" to be confirming evidence for the claim made in Romans 1:19-20
Romans 1:19-20 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
One final note, as mentioned previously, for Dogdoc's argument against free will to have a chance at being successful, it cannot assume Darwinian materialism, and/or Atheistic materialism, as being true, but must assume Theism as being true. And indeed, Calvinists, due to the Sovereignty of God, have been arguing against the reality of free will, in much the same manner as Dodoc currently is, for several hundred years now.
Do humans have a free will? Calvinism says “No!” Excerpt: Here are some Calvinist quotes about Free will: “Free will is nonsense” (Spurgeon, Free Will a Slave, 3). “Free will makes man his own savior and his own god” (Tom Ross, Abandoned Truth, 56). “The heresy of free will dethrones God and enthrones man. … The ideas of free grace and free will are diametrically opposed. All who are strict advocates of free will are strangers to the grace of the sovereign God” (W. E. Best, Free Grace Versus Free Will, 35, 43).,,, https://redeeminggod.com/no-free-will-in-calvinism/
And here is an excellent sermon by Tim Keller that, at the 12:00 minute mark, gets the Calvinists’ view of God’s sovereignty trumping our free will across very well
Does God Control Everything? – Tim Keller – (God’s sovereignty, evil, and our free will, how do they mesh? Short answer? God’s Omniscience!) – video (12:00 minute mark) https://youtu.be/MDbKCZodtZI?t=727
So, since his argument cannot possibly be based in Atheistic/Darwinian materialism, is Dogdoc arguing for Calvinism? Of related note, according to original sources, Calvin’s view of free will is far more nuanced than is often portrayed in these debates on the internet these days:
Did John Calvin Believe in Free Will? – SEPTEMBER 12, 2014 Excerpt: So did Calvin believe in free will? That all depends on the meaning. If by free will one means that the unbeliever is in no way necessitated by sin, but has it in his power to either do good or evil toward God, then the answer is no. But if one means that the unbeliever is in total bondage to sin, sinning willfully yet under necessity (not coercion), making him utterly dependent upon God’s irresistible grace to liberate him, then Calvin is your man. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/did-john-calvin-believe-in-free-will/ Free will in theology Excerpt: John Calvin ascribed "free will" to all people in the sense that they act "voluntarily, and not by compulsion."[117] He elaborated his position by allowing "that man has choice and that it is self-determined" and that his actions stem from "his own voluntary choosing."[118] The free will that Calvin ascribed to all people is what Mortimer Adler calls the "natural freedom" of the will. This freedom to will what one desires is inherent in all people.[16] Calvin held this kind of inherent/natural[119] free will in disesteem because unless people acquire the freedom to live as they ought by being transformed, they will desire and voluntarily choose to sin. "Man is said to have free will," wrote Calvin, "because he acts voluntarily, and not by compulsion. This is perfectly true: but why should so small a matter have been dignified with so proud a title?"[120] The glitch in this inherent/natural freedom of the will is that although all people have the "faculty of willing," by nature they are unavoidably (and yet voluntarily without compulsion) under "the bondage of sin."[121] The kind of free will that Calvin esteems is what Adler calls "acquired freedom" of the will, the freedom/ability[122] "to live as [one] ought." To possess acquired free will requires a change by which a person acquires a desire to live a life marked by virtuous qualities.[20] As Calvin describes the change required for acquired freedom, the will "must be wholly transformed and renovated."[123] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will_in_theology#Calvinism Like John Calvin, Arminius affirmed total depravity, but Arminius believed that only prevenient grace allowed people to choose salvation: Concerning grace and free will, this is what I teach according to the Scriptures and orthodox consent: Free will is unable to begin or to perfect any true and spiritual good, without grace.... This grace [prœvenit] goes before, accompanies, and follows; it excites, assists, operates that we will, and co operates lest we will in vain.[71] Prevenient grace is divine grace which precedes human decision. It exists prior to and without reference to anything humans may have done. As humans are corrupted by the effects of sin, prevenient grace allows persons to engage their God-given free will to choose the salvation offered by God in Jesus Christ or to reject that salvific offer. Thomas Jay Oord offers perhaps the most cogent free will theology presupposing prevenient grace. What he calls "essential kenosis" says God acts preveniently to give freedom/agency to all creatures. This gift comes from God's eternal essence, and is therefore necessary. God remains free in choosing how to love, but the fact that God loves and therefore gives freedom/agency to others is a necessary part of what it means to be divine. This view is backed in the Bible with verses such as Luke 13:34, NKJV "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!" Here we see Jesus lamenting that He is unable to save Jerusalem as they are not willing. We see that whilst Jesus wants to save Jerusalem He respects their choice to continue on in sin despite His will that they be saved. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will_in_theology#Arminianism
Thus even Calvin, although having a very high view of God’s sovereignty, did not strictly deny the reality of free will in man in regards to man’s salvation. And, as a Christian myself who has experienced the grace of God in my life, I can live with Calvin’s nuanced view of free will. A nuanced view that, whilst not completely denying the reality of free will, does respectfully have a very high regard for God’s sovereignty over creation. i.e. Regardless of whatever ‘evil’ and/or sin that a man may choose to do in contradiction to God’s perfect will for his life, never the less “God causes all things to work together for good”. And also makes room for God's will in that God is "not willing for any to perish, but all to come to repentance." Verses:
Romans 8:28? And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord does not delay the promise, as some esteem slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish, but all to come to repentance.
bornagain77
Although Dogdoc has played coy in this thread and has refused to be specific about what his exact overarching worldview is, (when I asked him to be specific about his exact worldview so that I could more properly address his argument, he said that I was attaching 'labels' (see post 124)), I hold that Dogdoc's argument against free will, in order to have a chance at being successful, cannot assume Darwinian materialism, and/or Atheistic materialism, as being true, but must assume Theism as being true.
1) Choices must be based upon our beliefs (and desires and so on and so on) 2) In order for our choices to be free, our beliefs must be freely chosen by us. 3) Like all choices, the choice of our beliefs will be based upon our beliefs. 4) It is therefore not possible to choose one’s beliefs until one has already chosen one’s beliefs 5) Therefore it is logically impossible to make free choices
Dogdoc's argument rests on the premise that all our present decisions are based on preexistent beliefs and that these preexistent beliefs cannot be chosen by us. So far so good. But in order for a person to have beliefs in the first place, a person must first have an immaterial mind and soul in which to hold those beliefs, and a person cannot be a purely material being as is held within Atheistic/Darwinian materialism. As J.P. Moreland explains at the 3:30 mark of the following interview, "It is because we, (as souls), have a faculty of (immaterial) mind that we are capable of having concepts, thoughts, beliefs,,, things like that.",,,
"It is because we, (as souls), have a faculty of (immaterial) mind that we are capable of having concepts, thoughts, beliefs,,, things like that.",,, - J.P. Moreland - Is the Soul Immortal? https://youtu.be/QzbdT0GxAdk?t=209
As Dr. Egnor explained, (and as was mentioned previously), "Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, (love), and an endless library of abstract concepts..,,, Contemplation of universals cannot have material instantiation, because universals themselves are not material and cannot be instantiated in matter.,,,"
The Fundamental Difference Between Humans and Nonhuman Animals - Michael Egnor - November 5, 2015 Excerpt: Human beings have mental powers that include the material mental powers of animals but in addition entail a profoundly different kind of thinking. Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not. Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, (love), and an endless library of abstract concepts. Human beings are rational animals. Human rationality is not merely a highly evolved kind of animal perception. Human rationality is qualitatively different — ontologically different — from animal perception. Human rationality is different because it is immaterial. Contemplation of universals cannot have material instantiation, because universals themselves are not material and cannot be instantiated in matter.,,, A human being is material and immaterial — a composite being. We have material bodies, and our perceptions and imaginations and appetites are material powers, instantiated in our brains. But our intellect — our ability to think abstractly — is a wholly immaterial power, and our will that acts in accordance with our intellect is an immaterial power. Our intellect and our will depend on matter for their ordinary function, in the sense that they depend upon perception and imagination and memory, but they are not themselves made of matter. It is in our ability to think abstractly that we differ from apes. It is a radical difference — an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference. We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses. Our difference is a metaphysical chasm. It is obvious and manifest in our biological nature. We are rational animals, and our rationality is all the difference. Systems of taxonomy that emphasize physical and genetic similarities and ignore the fact that human beings are partly immaterial beings who are capable of abstract thought and contemplation of moral law and eternity are pitifully inadequate to describe man. The assertion that man is an ape is self-refuting. We could not express such a concept, misguided as it is, if we were apes and not men. https://evolutionnews.org/2015/11/the_fundamental_2/
To further solidify the claim that the beliefs of our immaterial mind "cannot be instantiated in matter", In the free will theorem of Conway and Kochen we find that "it would not even be possible to place the information into the universe’s past in an ad hoc way."
The Free Will Theorem of Conway and Kochen Excerpt: Since the free will theorem applies to any arbitrary physical theory consistent with the axioms, it would not even be possible to place the information into the universe’s past in an ad hoc way. The argument proceeds from the Kochen-Specker theorem, which shows that the result of any individual measurement of spin was not fixed (pre-determined) independently of the choice of measurements. Conway and Kochen describe new bits of information coming into existence in the universe, and we agree that information is the key to understanding both EPR entanglement experiments and human free will.,,, ,,, it is essential to solutions of the ‘problem of measurement’ to recognize that the “cut” between the quantum world and the classical world is the moment when new information enters the universe irreversibly.,,, https://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/free_will_theorem.html “The Kochen-Speckter Theorem talks about properties of one system only. So we know that we cannot assume – to put it precisely, we know that it is wrong to assume that the features of a system, which we observe in a measurement exist prior to measurement. Not always. I mean in certain cases. So in a sense, what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.” Anton Zeilinger – Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video (7:17 minute mark) https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4C5pq7W5yRM#t=437
Atheistic/Darwinian materialism is simply a non-starter in so far as explaining our preexistent beliefs. And since any preexistent beliefs that we may have must be properties of our immaterial mind, and since Dogdoc's entire argument against free will rests on the notion of preexistent beliefs, it is fitting to ask exactly what preexistent belief(s) are we born with? Well, it is now found that children are born with a "predisposition to believe in a supreme being because they assume that everything in the world was created with a purpose."
Children are born believers in God, academic claims - 24 Nov 2008 Excerpt: "Dr Justin Barrett, a senior researcher at the University of Oxford's Centre for Anthropology and Mind, claims that young people have a predisposition to believe in a supreme being because they assume that everything in the world was created with a purpose." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/3512686/Children-are-born-believers-in-God-academic-claims.html Out of the mouths of babes - Do children believe (in God) because they're told to by adults? The evidence suggests otherwise - Justin Barrett - 2008 Excerpt: • Children tend to see natural objects as designed or purposeful in ways that go beyond what their parents teach, as Deborah Kelemen has demonstrated. Rivers exist so that we can go fishing on them, and birds are here to look pretty. • Children doubt that impersonal processes can create order or purpose. Studies with children show that they expect that someone not something is behind natural order. No wonder that Margaret Evans found that children younger than 10 favoured creationist accounts of the origins of animals over evolutionary accounts even when their parents and teachers endorsed evolution. Authorities' testimony didn't carry enough weight to over-ride a natural tendency. • Children know humans are not behind the order so the idea of a creating god (or gods) makes sense to them. Children just need adults to specify which one. • Experimental evidence, including cross-cultural studies, suggests that three-year-olds attribute super, god-like qualities to lots of different beings. Super-power, super-knowledge and super-perception seem to be default assumptions. Children then have to learn that mother is fallible, and dad is not all powerful, and that people will die. So children may be particularly receptive to the idea of a super creator-god. It fits their predilections. • Recent research by Paul Bloom, Jesse Bering, and Emma Cohen suggests that children may also be predisposed to believe in a soul that persists beyond death. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2008/nov/25/religion-children-god-belief
In fact, besides children being predisposed to believe in God, studies have now established that 'belief in design' is ‘knee jerk’ inference that is built into everyone, especially including atheists, and that atheists themselves have to mentally work suppressing their “knee jerk” design inference!
Is Atheism a Delusion? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ii-bsrHB0o Design Thinking Is Hardwired in the Human Brain. How Come? - October 17, 2012 Excerpt: "Even Professional Scientists Are Compelled to See Purpose in Nature, Psychologists Find." The article describes a test by Boston University's psychology department, in which researchers found that "despite years of scientific training, even professional chemists, geologists, and physicists from major universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Yale cannot escape a deep-seated belief that natural phenomena exist for a purpose" ,,, Most interesting, though, are the questions begged by this research. One is whether it is even possible to purge teleology from explanation. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/10/design_thinking065381.html
bornagain77
Viola Lee @213,
The idea that space is an arena in which things happen as time goes by as been outdated for 100 years.
As you might remember, Lee Smolin has gone back to separating time from space as a result of the difficulties raised by spacetime. If you're at all interested in why, you might want to see the rest of the interview rather than simply blowing off Lee Smolin as 100 years out-of-date, which certainly isn't a fair or informed judgment! His latest book (2019) is https://leesmolin.com/einsteins-unfinished-revolution/ -Q Querius
VL @210
That doesn’t really challenge DD’s view, because one could say that one had more important, higher priority “preferences”. Very often choices involve conflicts among various aspects of our self (preferences, values, needs, etc.), and we wind up choosing to forego things we really would like to pay attention to because other motivations are more compelling.
It is very gratifying to see someone who understands this so well! Thank you.
...we wind up choosing to forego things we really would like to pay attention to because other motivations are more compelling.
This is precisely why I included "priorities" in my list of reasons people use to guide their decisions. dogdoc
KF,
DD, have you ever made a wrenching, painful decision in the teeth of your preferences or wishes? Have you ever done a job under protest? That should answer your further distortion.
Your right about your role in the free will discussion. As it pertains to humans, that came out of discussion between BA and dogdoc. However, you wrote, "In 189, I tried to address your question about God, free will, and determinism" and I don't think I've had anything to say about God on this thread. Also I listened to about 1/2 the Smolin video at double speed with closed captions on: seems like it was pretty basic. The idea that space is an arena in which things happen as time goes by as been outdated for 100 years. Good popularization, I suppose. Viola Lee
Ba77, Back to quantum computing. Researchers are making such computers and a recent breakthrough in error correction will allow for larger versions. https://phys.org/news/2022-09-quantum-technology-unprecedented-captured.html Regardless of the math, the quantum world, so far as it is known, is being put to practical use. relatd
Viola Lee @194,
re 191 to Q: It was BornAgain who repeatedly brought up free will in the first part of this thread. You were the first person to respond to that at post 79, and then dogdoc responded to that.
But the context of 79 was wavefunction collapse, which I addressed as follows:
Our FREE WILL CHOICE of what to measure is intimately connected with the outcome, but if our choice is deterministic, then we’re part of a Von Neumann chain that goes back to the big bang, which means that a single point is responsible for all of space-time, mass-energy, plus dark matter, dark energy, and contains ALL the information in the universe for ALL of history, including ALL our choices.
The big bang supposedly started at a point that was infinitely small and included all of spacetime, mass-energy, and the supposedly predetermined information that initiated deterministic materialism. I also referenced the book, Quantum Enigma by Rosenblum and Kuttner, who emphasized FREE WILL CHOICE throughout their book. All of this is relevant to one aspect of "How infinity threatens cosmology." In 189, I tried to address your question about God, free will, and determinism from my perspective. And I'm still wondering:
Ok, back on the subject. So what did you think of the Lee Smolin interview by Robert Lawrence Kuhn in 162? https://youtu.be/QOAcQCFNtbo
-Q Querius
KF writes to DD, "DD, have you ever made a wrenching, painful decision in the teeth of your preferences or wishes? Have you ever done a job under protest? That should answer your further distortion. K" That doesn't really challenge DD's view, because one could say that one had more important, higher priority "preferences". Very often choices involve conflicts among various aspects of our self (preferences, values, needs, etc.), and we wind up choosing to forego things we really would like to pay attention to because other motivations are more compelling. Viola Lee
More or less, I agree KF. I've described my position about this quite a few times to you. My position is that via free will we determine ourselves: self-determination is the heart of the matter. We pay attention to all the myriad influences that course around both inside us and outside us, but ultimately it is our choices that make us who we are. P.S. I just saw your addition about the North Pole. I was only agreeing with your first sentence in 208 when I wrote what I did. Viola Lee
VL, I hold that absent significant freedom, responsible rationality is impossible; for cause. We are influenced but not determined. And for a mind broadening concept, note that the North Pole is due North of every other point on the Earth . . . so, what is the time there, becomes a good test. KF kairosfocus
DD, have you ever made a wrenching, painful decision in the teeth of your preferences or wishes? Have you ever done a job under protest? That should answer your further distortion. KF kairosfocus
I have no control over my choices! I'm not responsible! Oh brother... As a person with free will, I only have two choices: Do what is right or do what is wrong. I think most people would do what is right, in most cases. Note: I will not reply to the Vague Argument, meaning "We can't really know anything about anything, especially when talking about human behavior!" Baloney. relatd
Then I won't hold you responsible, BA, for not taking responsibility. :-) But you might look at my 190. And, by the way, I believe in free will: the issue is trying to describe what that means, how it works in respect to our overall being, and its relationship to a metaphysical framework. You can choose to investigate the issue, or not, and to communicate and discuss in whatever manner you want. I actually do consider you responsible for the way you behave in your communications here. Viola Lee
VL: "It was BornAgain who repeatedly brought up free will" But alas, I have no free will. Forces beyond my control repeatedly brought it up, :) bornagain77
Do you not know what putative means? What is the point of 202? Viola Lee
Paxx at 197, putative? Hey Bob. Did you hear about those putative hypotheses? The what hypotheses? relatd
Dogdoc at 193, "If one’s motivating reasons are beyond our control then we can’t be ultimately responsible." Let's see. In court to answer questions about reckless driving. "But your Honor, my motivating reasons are beyond my control!" Nonsense. I don't want to hear another word from you. Don't think I'm so stupid as to not see beyond your philosophical get out of jail free card. I find you guilty. Furthermore, I am suspending your driver's license for one year and you will be sent to a guidance counselor of this court's choosing. relatd
I’ll take it even to the superlative degree and say that we must always choose according to the strongest inclination at the moment.
:) Nope. God gave Commandments for a purpose. Sandy
VL “Vivid’s (and Sproul’s) key point, to which I concur, is the idea of self-determination. As long as my choices arise from me and are not coerced by external forces, they are freely chosen” You would think the idea of self determination would be pretty non controversial. If I am not determining my choices who the heck is? Vivid vividbleau
Dogdoc at 193, "compatibilism" ? Did you just go the Book of Obscure Belief Systems and just pick one from column A and another from column B? "Compatibilism offers a solution to the free will problem, which concerns a disputed incompatibility between free will and determinism. Compatibilism is the thesis that free will is compatible with determinism. Because free will is typically taken to be a necessary condition of moral responsibility, compatibilism is sometimes expressed as a thesis about the compatibility between moral responsibility and determinism." Nonsense. relatd
relatd: though scientists are having trouble coming up with a description to link them This is actually not the case. There are plenty of putative hypotheses that link the quantum world with gravity. The challenge is testing them. Paxx
always being led into the swamps of vacuous assertions on topics not related to the OP
We have free will not to respond. Did the third Donkey have no free will? See below. https://twitter.com/buitengebieden/status/1576288280500240385 All three are future Republicans. The third one is a potential Presidential candidate. jerry
Thanks Viola :-) Q, my argument actually hinges on the impossibility of an infinite regress of reasons - perhaps that will qualify it as being on topic on this thread? dogdoc
re 191 to Q: It was BornAgain who repeatedly brought up free will in the first part of this thread. You were the first person to respond to that at post 79, and then dogdoc responded to that. I suggest you talk to BA about "always being led into the swamps of vacuous assertions on topics not related to the OP", and look at your role in turning the discussion to free will. Viola Lee
Again, compatibilism offers a way to make sense of moral responsibilty and enables us to understand each other as agents. But clearly, the sort of ultimate responsibility and freedom that we intuitively feel can't exist: If one's motivating reasons are beyond our control then we can't be ultimately responsible. As I've said, if one's beliefs and desires had been implanted by an evil neuroscientist, or a hypnotist, then we would not hold that person responsible for their choices. What I'm arguing is that this is functionally the scenario that all of us are in - but instead of the neuroscientist or hypnotist we have our inherited tendencies and environmental influences. dogdoc
I have eaten the bait and gone off topic
what to you you think of Vivid’s post
I disagree. It would be silly to argue that internal desires don’t affect decisions. It would also be silly to argue that one does not consider multiple outcomes for most choices. Or the benefit/probability of the choices. But often, there is no clear preference and I must choose one. In all the decisions one makes each day and there are literally thousands, the choice is nearly always meaningless. For example, I’m sitting next to a window and just looked out. To say such a movement is determined at that moment is ludicrous. Leaving the house, I’ll walk on that stepping stone this time and not the other. To say I don’t have the capability to choose is an absurdity. To argue against ID is stupid. One has to willfully avoid the obvious. To willfully not read/accept the logic and evidence is a choice. It is an act of the will especially in an anonymous situation. But people do it all the time. Someone above tried to undermine ID by bringing up free will. An obvious willful choice. Now I often make the comment the most interesting thing is why someone won’t accept the obvious. Does the person not accepting the obvious do so because they are internally determined to not do so. Now, I can see an academic or some professionals doing so because of financial reasons. But for the average anti ID person, they choose to ignore the obvious and be obstructive. I believe we are conflating everyday mundane things with serious decisions. However, in both we have choices. My niece just spent a year making up her mind on what college to attend. She finally made a choice last Spring and now is a freshman. If it was predetermined, what a waste of time. All that is being said is that we cannot know all the factors affecting a choice including a last second quantum event. I agree. But we still have the power to change the decision. The world progresses in a lot of ways. If there was no free choice, why did this happen? Why are some amongst us trying to destroy the world? Is it their hate that is driving their anti human choices? jerry
Jerry @185,
A troll comes along who doesn’t believe in anything he is saying. Spouts nonsense. And then all the guppies dutifully bite and he is happy.
Bravo! Likewise, I don't appreciate always being led into the swamps of vacuous assertions on topics not related to the OP. I'll go a little ways, but there's a limit when it seems simply to be the result of "someone shouting 'squirrel' at a dog show" to use my own analogy. -Q Querius
Vivid's (and Sproul's) key point, to which I concur, is the idea of self-determination. As long as my choices arise from me and are not coerced by external forces, they are freely chosen. The complex of things within me that I take into consideration (reason, values, preferences, desires, needs, perhaps even whimsy, etc. - whatever you want to call them) are in some sense my business and no one else's. Those are all parts of my self (the space is intentional), and making my choices based on my self is what constitutes self-determination. Of course, one can ask why those component parts of my self are as they are, and get involved in discussing one's experiences, one's biological nature, one's rational assessment of evidence, etc. But no matter where that discussion trails off to, those things which are integrated into my being are me (whether I can voluntarily change them or not), and thus if I take them into consideration I am exercising free will in the sense of self-determination. Viola Lee
Viola Lee @187,
KF and Jerry: what to you you think of Vivid’s post at 179?
Let me add my abbreviated perspectives to that of Vividbleau, Jerry, Kairosfocus. 1. It's more likely that I have a free will because I'm aware and feel like I do. Our social interactions also are predicated on free will. 2. If "God" created space and time (aka Einstein's spacetime), it doesn't make sense that "God" exists within time or is located somewhere in space. FWIW, I've previously described the violation of this concept as an "inverse Ouroboros." It also might make sense why the God of Moses named himself "I AM." 3. We experience time in one dimension and in one direction only. To get to tomorrow from yesterday, we have to pass through today. Yes, everything could be an illusion, but we sure don't drive our cars as such. Or hopefully not! 4. So imagine your life as a series of freewill choices and consequences (causality) along a timeline. It's easy if you try. ;-) Now turn the line "sideways." 5. Imagine "God" observing your life along this timeline but not located on the timeline. "God" is observing your life simultaneously happening from your birth to your death and all your freewill choices in between--all "at the same time." This perspective allows you to have free will AND for "God" to know your future without making you into a robot. Ok, back on the subject. So what did you think of the Lee Smolin interview by Robert Lawrence Kuhn in 162? https://youtu.be/QOAcQCFNtbo -Q Querius
KF, You use "preferences" as a "global term" to describe the things that may factor into one's deliberations. You then suggest that there are things that are not preferences - tentative ideas, exemplars, whimsy, results of reasoning, conscience, and so on. But of course all of those things are just additional items to be added to the list of possible reasons for one's decisions. If, for example, you chose to use whimsy to make some decision, then either you chose whimsy for absolutely no reason at all, in which case you've made an arbitrary decision that does not constitute the sort of free will worth wanting, or you chose whimsy for some reason. Or, if you made a choice based on your conscience, then you would have to have freely chosen to have a conscience in order to be responsible for that choice. In all cases, the infinite regress makes ultimate responsibility impossible. dogdoc
KF and Jerry: what to you you think of Vivid's post at 179? Viola Lee
Jerry, there is a place for showing that no free will ARGUMENTS inherently assume what they set out to overturn. As in, oopsie! KF PS: I excerpt from 164 above:
for arguments to work at all, [a] they have to be freely made, hopefully informed by true facts and cogent reasoning . . . as opposed to presumably unconscious mechanical and/or stochastic programming AND [b] the listener or reader must also be significantly free. _______________________ [c1] If a and/or b fail, argument thus reason thus warrant and knowledge instantly fail, i.e. [c2] even the arguments of the proponent of determinism on dynamic-stochastic processes also fail, self discrediting just as immediately. SO INSTEAD =============================== [d] We can only argue on the prior implicit acceptance of responsible, rational freedom, so to argue is to implicitly accept it. That is why the whole exercise of trying to argue to refute responsible rational freedom must fail instantly through patent self referential incoherence, i.e. strong form absurdity. Whatever else reality is, it has in it creatures who argue and take argument seriously so must rest implicitly on having responsible, rational freedom. Onward, that freedom is morally governed [morality only applying to such freedom], starting with first duties of reason, to truth, to right reason, to warrant and wider prudence, to sound conscience etc.
That's now a point of reference for future oopsies. kairosfocus
There must be something in this no free will argument. A troll comes along who doesn’t believe in anything he is saying. Spouts nonsense. And then all the guppies dutifully bite and he is happy. Irony: the one demonstrating free will is the troll. jerry
DD, immediately, there are needless disputes over words; I used preferences as a global term. Next, you again sidestepped the point of what we imply by argument, see 164 above, to you: https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/cosmology/from-iai-news-how-infinity-threatens-cosmology/#comment-766405 . Then in your latest attempt at a reductio argument you trap yourself by failing to understand a self-moved first cause agent. Yes, there is undoubtedly a spiral of cumulative self-influences and experiences. However independent agency [required for argument] also allows for first tentative efforts on provisional principles [to be reinforced by success], for whimsy and for reasoned principle or decisions that put the right, duty or prudence before preference, global sense. So, one may make provisional choices on tentative ideas, one may follow exemplars, one may exert whimsy, one may act from worked out reason, one may act on results of a crisis of conscience and more. Your framework sets up and knocks over a strawman. KF kairosfocus
KF,
it is safer to say, our desires, views, values, preferences, impulses, habits etc more or less strongly influence what we tend to do.
What else might influence or factor into your choice besides all of these things?
Unless you mean to impose the flawed tautology that whatever we choose is what we prefer.
Again, deliberations may be based upon beliefs desires, morals, priorities, values, preferences, commitments, fears, hopes, and so on. So of course I'm not only talking about preferences. What besides these things could possibly serve as reasons for a choice?
The point is, some of the most transforming decisions are those we take because we reason that they are right or even just prudent, despite our inclinations. Those are the decisions that lead to a fresh beginning.
In that case, the reason for your choice would be a moral belief, or a commitment to prudence. But how did you acquire that moral belief? How did you come to value prudence? Did you deliberate over these things, or did you simply find yourself with those beliefs and desires, the way we might just find ourselves with a desire for chocolate? Even if somehow you think you freely chose those beliefs and desires, if the reasons for your choice were not freely chosen by you then your choices still would not be free. And so on. 1) Choices must be based upon our beliefs (and desires and so on and so on) 2) In order for our choices to be free, our beliefs must be freely chosen by us. 3) Like all choices, the choice of our beliefs will be based upon our beliefs. 4) It is therefore not possible to choose one's beliefs until one has already chosen one's beliefs 5) Therefore it is logically impossible to make free choices dogdoc
Vivid, it is safer to say, our desires, views, values, preferences, impulses, habits etc more or less strongly influence what we tend to do. Unless you mean to impose the flawed tautology that whatever we choose is what we prefer. The point is, some of the most transforming decisions are those we take because we reason that they are right or even just prudent, despite our inclinations. Those are the decisions that lead to a fresh beginning. KF kairosfocus
Vividbleau,
“3) The free choice of our own beliefs must be based upon beliefs we already hold” I once was an atheist and now I am a theist the exact opposite of what I believed before, what am I missing?
I like what Vivid says. Viola Lee
DD I don’t want to hide the football ,here is my position regarding free will. It is free and determined. Free and Determined “We have seen Edwards’ view and Calvin’s view, so now we’ll go into the Sproulian view of free will by appealing to irony, or to a form of paradox. I would like to make this statement: in my opinion, every choice that we make is free, and every choice that we make is determined. Again, every choice that we make is free, and every choice that we make is determined. Now that sounds flatly contradictory because we normally see the categories of “determined” and “free” as mutually exclusive categories. To say that something is determined by something else, which is to say that it’s caused by something else, would seem to indicate that it couldn’t possibly be free. But what I’m speaking about is not determinism. Determinism means that things happen to me strictly by virtue of external forces. But, in addition to external forces that are determining factors in what happens to us, there are also internal forces that are determining factors. What I’m saying, along with Edwards and Calvin, is that if my choices flow out of my disposition and out of my desires, and if my actions are effects that have causes and reasons behind them, then my personal desire in a very real sense determines my personal choice. If my desires determine my choice, how then can I be free? Remember I said that, in every choice, our choice is both free and determined. But what determines it is me, and this we call self-determination. Self-determination is not the denial of freedom, but the essence of freedom. For the self to be able to determine its own choices is what free will is all about. The simple point I’m trying to make is that not only may we choose according to our own desires but, in fact, we always choose according to our desires. I’ll take it even to the superlative degree and say that we must always choose according to the strongest inclination at the moment. That is the essence of free choice—to be able to choose what you want.” RC Sproul vividbleau
DD “3) The free choice of our own beliefs must be based upon beliefs we already hold” I once was an atheist and now I am a theist the exact opposite of what I believed before, what am I missing? Vivid vividbleau
Relatd at 172, "even though scientists are having trouble coming up with a description to link them (Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity together), it’s obvious that both exist and are linked." Indeed, there must be "something" holding them together. it is not only that Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity have this unbridgeable infinite mathematical divide between them, it is also that, theoretically speaking, Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity contradict each other to the point of literally blowing the entire universe apart. As Gregory Chaitin states, “There are serious problems with the traditional view that the world is a space-time continuum. Quantum field theory and general relativity contradict each other. The notion of space-time breaks down at very small distances, because extremely massive quantum fluctuations (virtual particle/antiparticle pairs) should provoke black holes and space-time should be torn apart, which doesn’t actually happen.”
“There are serious problems with the traditional view that the world is a space-time continuum. Quantum field theory and general relativity contradict each other. The notion of space-time breaks down at very small distances, because extremely massive quantum fluctuations (virtual particle/antiparticle pairs) should provoke black holes and space-time should be torn apart, which doesn’t actually happen.” – Gregory J. Chaitin , Francisco A. Doria, and Newton C. a. Da Costa – Goedel’s Way: Exploits into an Undecidable World
Here are a few more references that drive this point home about current theoretical models ripping our universe apart.
“In order for quantum mechanics and relativity theory to be internally self-consistent [Seeking consistency between quantum mechanics and relativity theory is the major task theoretical physicists have been grappling with since quantum mechanics emerged], the physical vacuum has to contain 10^94 grams equivalent of energy per cubic centimeter. What that means is, if you take just a single hydrogen atom, which is one proton and one electron and all the rest of the atom is ‘empty space,’ if you take just that volume of empty space, … you find that you end up with a trillion times as much vacuum energy as all the electromagnetic energy in all the planets, all the stars, and all the cosmic dust in a sphere of radius 15 billion light-years.” To summarize, the subtle energy in the vacuum space of a single hydrogen atom is as great as all the electromagnetic energy found in everything within 15 billion light-years of our space-time cosmos.” ,,, Dr. William Tiller – Human Intention Cosmic coincidence spotted – Philip Ball – 2008 Excerpt: One interpretation of dark energy is that it results from the energy of empty space, called vacuum energy. The laws of quantum physics imply that empty space is not empty at all, but filled with particles popping in and out of existence. This particle ‘fizz’ should push objects apart, just as dark energy seems to require. But the theoretical value of this energy is immense — so huge that it should blow atoms apart, rather than just causing the Universe to accelerate. Physicists think that some unknown force nearly perfectly cancels out the vacuum energy, leaving only the amount seen as dark energy to push things apart. This cancellation is imperfect to an absurdly fine margin: the unknown ‘energy’ differs from the vacuum energy by just one part in 10^122. It seems incredible that any physical mechanism could be so finely poised as to reduce the vacuum energy to within a whisker of zero, but it seems to be so. http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080219/full/news.2008.610.html The 2 most dangerous numbers in the universe are threatening the end of physics – Jessica Orwig – Jan. 14, 2016 Excerpt: Dangerous No. 2: The strength of dark energy ,,, you should be able to sum up all the energy of empty space to get a value representing the strength of dark energy. And although theoretical physicists have done so, there’s one gigantic problem with their answer: “Dark energy should be 10^120 times stronger than the value we observe from astronomy,” Cliff said. “This is a number so mind-boggling huge that it’s impossible to get your head around … this number is bigger than any number in astronomy — it’s a thousand-trillion-trillion-trillion times bigger than the number of atoms in the universe. That’s a pretty bad prediction.” On the bright side, we’re lucky that dark energy is smaller than theorists predict. If it followed our theoretical models, then the repulsive force of dark energy would be so huge that it would literally rip our universe apart. The fundamental forces that bind atoms together would be powerless against it and nothing could ever form — galaxies, stars, planets, and life as we know it would not exist. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/two-most-dangerous-numbers-universe-194557366.html
Of note to the 1 in 10^120 fine-tuning that is required for Dark Energy. At the 6:09 minute mark of the following video, Hugh Ross comments on the ‘disturbing implications’ that "dark energy”, i.e. the 1 in 10^120 cosmological constant’, has given atheistic astrophysicists
Astrophysicist Hugh Ross - Incredible Astronomical Discoveries & Dark Energy - 2018 video https://youtu.be/c9J9r7mdB6Q?t=367
And here is a link to the ‘disturbing implications’ paper from atheistic astrophysicists that Dr. Ross mentioned in the preceding video. (A paper, which tried to deny that we have a 'true cosmological constant', that was withdrawn from consideration because of the mounting evidence for a Cosmological Constant (Dark Energy)). Humorously, the implications of the 1 in 10^120 cosmological constant were ‘disturbing for the atheists since it quote-unquote “would have required a miracle”.
Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological Constant - Dyson, Kleban, Susskind (each are self proclaimed atheists) - 2002 Excerpt: "Arranging the universe as we think it is arranged would have required a miracle.,,," “The question then is whether the origin of the universe can be a naturally occurring fluctuation, or must it be due to an external agent which starts the system out in a specific low entropy state?” page 19: “A unknown agent [external to time and space] intervened [in cosmic history] for reasons of its own.,,,” Page 21 "The only reasonable conclusion is that we don't live in a universe with a true cosmological constant". http://arxiv.org/pdf/hep-th/0208013.pdf
Dr. Hugh Ross also listed several Bible verses that ‘predicted’, (thousands of years before the 1 in 10^120 cosmological constant was even known about), God ’'Stretching out the Heavens’. The following site list several verses that speak of God ‘Stretching out the heavens'
Bible References to God Stretching Out the Heavens http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Nave-html/Faithpathh/stretch.html
Out of that group of verses, the following verse is my favorite, since it, in the Old Testament no less, also makes an allusion to Jesus walking on water.
Job 9:8 He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.
So yes indeed Relatd, since quantum mechanics and general relativity theoretically contradict each other to literally ripping our universe apart, then I agree wholeheartedly that there must be "something", or more precisely "Someone", very powerful holding the two theories together.
Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
bornagain77
Realtd writes, “As an aside, I think the layman is generally not interested in scientific problems like this..” I’m beginning to think your layman’s science background is not very good, perhaps because you are not very interested. For instance, you write, “I tied a thin rope to a rock. I spun it and felt the the pull of gravity at right angles. I threw it into the air and watched it slow briefly before the pull of gravity dropped it to the ground. In those easy to repeat experiments, it became obvious that a gravitational pull could be created by taking a mass and spinning it. The pull is obvious.” As you spin the rock on the rope, it wants to travel in a straight line but the rope forces it to diverge from that path. The force you are feeling is commonly called centrifugal force. It is not a “gravitational pull.” When you release the rock it does fall due to gravity, but that is not related to the fact that you were spinning it. You could just throw the rock up in the air and the same thing would happen. You also write, “The fact of the matter is that any sufficiently large and dense mass will also create a slight gravitational effect. If the mass is very large, like a moon or planet, the gravity felt is greater.” In fact, all mass has a gravitational effect: it does not have to be a “sufficiently large and dense mass.” “Newton's law of universal gravitation is usually stated as that every particle attracts every other particle in the universe with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between their centers.” [Wikipedia] Viola Lee
You obviously didn't see the physics happen. Viola Lee
VL at 173, "That’s quite a knee-jerk, uninformed response." No, that was a "I lived through it and saw this all actually happen" response. I was there. I heard what they said. And it was contrary to what I was taught and believed about human beings. I was hoping others would get that. relatd
Relatd writes, “I’m working on a book titled How the Hippies Ruined the Country”. That’s quite a knee-jerk, uninformed response. “How the Hippie’s Saved Physics” is a serious book about one of the issues in this thread: whether QM should be content with its fantastic ability to calculate results that agree with experimental results within many orders of precision versus a desire to interpret what QM says about the nature of reality. HtHSP was written by David Kaiser, “David I. Kaiser is an American physicist and historian of science” at MIT, “head of its Science, Technology, and Society program, and a full professor in the department of physics, [Wikipedia] He also has written “Drawing Theories Apart: The Dispersion of Feynman Diagrams in Postwar Physics”, a very interesting book about how the influence of Feynman diagrams spread throughout science. HtHSP tells an important story. Here’s a short summary. When QM first became prominent in the 1920’s, there was lots of discussion among famous physicists about what it meant. As the years went by, little progress was made on interpretations but the power of QM’s predicted results grew, so an approach that de-emphasized the meaning of QM took over (later summarized as “Shut up and calculate). However, in the ’60s a group of physicists in California became interested in similarities between Eastern metaphysics and QM, and revived the idea of exploring the meaning of QM. Some of their ideas went nowhere, such as tying ESP to QM, but others, like their work with Bell’s theorem and quantum entanglement, were essential to further developments in QM. They also revived an interest in the meaning of QM which has continued to this day. So HtHSP is a serious book that gives some credit to the intellectual atmosphere of the ’60s for some important advances in both practical and theoretical QM science. Hope you learned something, relatd. Viola Lee
Ba77, A few thoughts. First, gravity can occur through simple experiment. I tied a thin rope to a rock. I spun it and felt the the pull of gravity at right angles. I threw it into the air and watched it slow briefly before the pull of gravity dropped it to the ground. In those easy to repeat experiments, it became obvious that a gravitational pull could be created by taking a mass and spinning it. The pull is obvious. Some scientists have talked about 'gravity waves' or some particle, like a Graviton, that creates gravity. The fact of the matter is that any sufficiently large and dense mass will also create a slight gravitational effect. If the mass is very large, like a moon or planet, the gravity felt is greater. The case of Quantum Mechanics in isolation is directly related to macro objects. It cannot be otherwise. All macro objects are composed of atoms that are composed of subatomic particles. So just because the Quantum World has different rules in operation than the marco world, and even though scientists are having trouble coming up with a description to link them, it's obvious that both exist and are linked. As an aside, I think the layman is generally not interested in scientific problems like this. relatd
Querius at 162, The following makes no sense: "... rather than in omnidirectional as one might expect." You are ignoring that the image on the Shroud was made by God. The same God who turned water into wine and raised the dead. He has complete control. There is nothing expected here except what was actually observed as the final effect. relatd
Jerry at 157, As someone with an arts background, you cannot paint human figures accurately without a knowledge of how muscles work. And how they appear in action and at rest. The best a layman can do is say "It looks right." An artist has to actually know what he or she is looking at. relatd
Seversky at 154, Tell me when the Atheist Utopia you envision will appear. relatd
Jerry at 148, You've done it! You've demonstrated free will in action! Thank you. relatd
Vl at 145, I'm working on a book titled How the Hippies Ruined the Country - How Radicals, Anarchists and Communists Infiltrated our Neighborhoods in the Late 1960s to Sell their Fake Philosophy, and Dope. relatd
Dogdoc at 142, Pure crap and you know it. "Perhaps we should work towards admitting that nobody really knows the answers to the deepest questions, so we should really be tolerant of whatever each of us comes up with." Or, radical individualism. Just making it up as you go along. That's no way to live. And certainly no way to run a society. So, "I'll just do whatever crosses my mind."? Crap. Sloppy attempt at removing blame since 'nobody - according to you - really knows the answers.' Quit peddling dumb philosophy here. relatd
Q, in so arguing, Skinner instantly discredited himself, of course the elitist implicit exception is for themselves: they are reasonable but hoi polloi is not. Where that leads is obvious and destructive as well as indefensible. KF kairosfocus
DD, perfect example of hyperskeptical dismissiveness towards correction of error, ad hominem form. Did it register with you that for arguments to work at all,
[a] they have to be freely made, hopefully informed by true facts and cogent reasoning . . . as opposed to presumably unconscious mechanical and/or stochastic programming AND [b] the listener or reader must also be significantly free. _______________________ [c1] If a and/or b fail, argument thus reason thus warrant and knowledge instantly fail, i.e. [c2] even the arguments of the proponent of determinism on dynamic-stochastic processes also fail, self discrediting just as immediately. SO INSTEAD =============================== [d] We can only argue on the prior implicit acceptance of responsible, rational freedom, so to argue is to implicitly accept it.
That is why the whole exercise of trying to argue to refute responsible rational freedom must fail instantly through patent self referential incoherence, i.e. strong form absurdity. Whatever else reality is, it has in it creatures who argue and take argument seriously so must rest implicitly on having responsible, rational freedom. Onward, that freedom is morally governed [morality only applying to such freedom], starting with first duties of reason, to truth, to right reason, to warrant and wider prudence, to sound conscience etc. For instance your argument above tried to discredit me as failing such duties. Unsuccessfully. KF kairosfocus
Jerry @161, Psychologist, B.F. Skinner, famously wrote a book in 1971 titled "Beyond Freedom and Dignity." As a result, he became known as the father of behaviorism. Skinner concluded that free will is an illusion and people are meat robots that can simply be programmed. The big advantage of behaviorism is that no one can be held morally responsible for anything they do. It's all due to programming. As a result, intelligent, powerful people get to "decide" what programming is the most beneficial to society, humanity, the world, and then feel totally justified in controlling the programming of "the chattering masses." After all, leaders of society are simply meat robots as well and also cannot be held responsible. The fact that they're in charge is inevitable due to their superiority and control. Whatever they do also cannot be challenged on any grounds. And this collapses down to "might makes right." May God protect us from such monsters. -Q Querius
Bornagain77 @151, Thank you--it never occurred to me that the evidence of radiation from the shroud of Turin was only in two directions, parallel to gravity, rather than in omnidirectional as one might expect. Regarding gravity, space-time, and causality, I greatly appreciated this interview with theoretical physicist, Lee Smolin. If you've not already seen it, I think you'll enjoy it--also Viola Lee and some others here. Robert Lawrence Kuhn is an exemplary interviewer as well. https://youtu.be/QOAcQCFNtbo While I disagree with his presumption of deterministic materialism, which is not mentioned in this video, I respect his honest, up-front declaration. He treats scientific inquiry with humility and with deep thinking rather than the typical know-it-all arrogance often found in academia. His observations about the fundamental role of causality with respect to our experience with time and the nature of black holes are fascinating. At the end of his interview, he wonders whether we're due for a paradigm shift to reconcile the emergent complexities and conundrums we're facing regarding time. -Q Querius
A more sensible alternative.
1) choices that are moral must be based upon truth. 2) true beliefs which include choices that are moral are also based on evidence and logic 3) thus when we freely make moral choices they are based on evidence and logic 4) most people equate opinions and true belief but they are not equivalent because most opinions are not justified and thus not completely true or even false. 5) most people do not base their choices on evidence and logic. Why? It’s too hard and there are no perceived real negative consequences for a high percentage of choices.
Is the ability to find truth when necessary and act on it , a proof of free will? Is the ability to not act on this truth sometimes because the act will have negative consequences also a proof of free will. Aside: I have never thought too much about free will before because it was so obvious. It’s interesting that people push for the lack of it. jerry
1) Moral choices must be based upon our beliefs. 2) In order for our moral choices to be free, our beliefs must be freely choosen by us. 3) The free choice of our own beliefs must be based upon beliefs we already hold. 4) It is not possible to hold freely chosen beliefs before we have freely chosen beliefs. 5) Therefore it is logically impossible to make free moral choices
Gobbledygook!!! jerry
Thanks Jerry at 157, I did not think of that before. Her almost unrivaled qualifications as an internationally acclaimed artist would make her exceptionally qualified to assess the tone of the muscles on a piece of clothe, where, as you pointed out, a particle physicist would not be particularly gifted in judging the tone of muscles on a piece of clothe. bornagain77
KF,
Jerry, rational responsible significant freedom, in the end, cannot be argued to. This is one of the typical darkness for light rhetorical tricks. For, it is self evident, as without it, argument is instantly absurd
I would say the rhetorical trick is this: "I declare your argument to be absurd, so I won't argue with you". Ok, fine. Let's both agree that we have rational, responsible, significant freedom. In that case, here's an argument that, if we're right about freedom, must be wrong. Can you please tell us where it fails? 1) Moral choices must be based upon our beliefs. 2) In order for our moral choices to be free, our beliefs must be freely choosen by us. 3) The free choice of our own beliefs must be based upon beliefs we already hold. 4) It is not possible to hold freely chosen beliefs before we have freely chosen beliefs. 5) Therefore it is logically impossible to make free moral choices dogdoc
She was never a particle physicist nor any other kind of physicist.
Two things. Was she wrong about the muscles? Or are you trying to find anyway to object? As an artist, she would be would be qualified to to assess the tone of the muscles where a particle physicist would not. You may be right. I just never heard either argument before about the Shroud. A page on the definitive site on the Shroud about Isabel Piczek https://www.shroud.com/late16.htm#memorial4 Second, you failed to make any other objections. Which means you just acquiesced in whatever else was said. Welcome to ID! Of course we always knew you supported ID since for over 13 years you have failed to make any subsative objection to it. It is your unique way to support ID and we thank you. jerry
Thanks for the correction Seversky. I think the mistake of calling her a 'physicist' originated in 2009. But have not traced down the exact source of the misattribution. It could have been earlier. Regardless of her status as a physicist, the main point she made from making a sculpture from the Shroud of Turin remains, As can be seen in the following photograph and hologram, there is no flattening on the backside of the body as would be expected if the image on the Shroud had formed if a dead body had merely been laying flat on a slab of rock.
Here is Isabel Piczek's obit:
bornagain77
Bornagain77/153
And in the following video, the late Isabel Piczek, who made a sculpture from the Shroud of Turin states that, “The muscles of the body are absolutely not crushed against the stone of the tomb. They are perfect. It means the body is hovering between the two sides of the shroud. What does that mean? It means there is absolutely no gravity.”
As far as I can tell, Isabel Piczek was a religious artist. She was never a particle physicist nor any other kind of physicist. Seversky
Viola Lee/143
I certainly agree about the dangers of competing metaphysical systems, which is really what a key component of all religions are. I’m definitely in the “nobody really knows” camp, and as I stated often before, in the “no one really can know” camp.
The desire to know is a good thing. So is the recognition of the limits of our knowledge. The real danger is when people come to believe they are in possession of some Absolute Truth, be it religious or political. That is when they come to believe they are justified in doing anything in the furtherance of that truth. That is when the suffering and bloodletting begins. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltjI3BXKBgY Seversky
And in the following video, the late Isabel Piczek, who made a sculpture from the Shroud of Turin states that, “The muscles of the body are absolutely not crushed against the stone of the tomb. They are perfect. It means the body is hovering between the two sides of the shroud. What does that mean? It means there is absolutely no gravity.”
“When you look at the image of the shroud, the two bodies next to each other, you feel that it is a flat image. But if you create, for instance, a three dimensional object, as I did, the real body, then you realize that there is a strange dividing element. An interface from which the image is projected up and the image is projected down. The muscles of the body are absolutely not crushed against the stone of the tomb. They are perfect. It means the body is hovering between the two sides of the shroud. What does that mean? It means there is absolutely no gravity. Other strange you discover is that the image is absolutely undistorted. Now if you imagine the clothe was wrinkled, tied, wrapped around the body, and all of the sudden you see a perfect image, which is impossible unless the shroud was made absolutely taut, rigidly taut.” Isabel Piczek – 2:20 mark Turin shroud – (Particle Physicist explains event horizon) – video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIpdIz5Rp3I
As well, Kevin Moran, an optical engineer who has studied the Shroud of Turin, describes the Shroud Image in this way, “The unique front-and-back only image can be best described as gravitationally collimated. The radiation that made the image acted perfectly parallel to gravity. There is no side image. The radiation is parallel to gravity,,,”
Moreover, besides gravity being dealt with on the Shroud of Turin, the Shroud of Turin also gives us evidence that Quantum Mechanics itself was also dealt with. In the following paper, it was found that it was not possible to describe the image formation on the Shroud in classical terms but they found it necessary to describe the formation of the image on the Shroud in discrete quantum terms.
The absorbed energy in the Shroud body image formation appears as contributed by discrete (quantum) values – Giovanni Fazio, Giuseppe Mandaglio – 2008 Excerpt: This result means that the optical density distribution,, can not be attributed at the absorbed energy described in the framework of the classical physics model. It is, in fact, necessary to hypothesize a absorption by discrete values of the energy where the ‘quantum’ is equal to the one necessary to yellow one fibril. http://cab.unime.it/mus/541/1/c1a0802004.pdf
Moreover, the following rather astonishing study on the Shroud, found that it would take 34 Trillion Watts of what is termed VUV (directional) radiation to form the image on the shroud.
That it is even possible for the human body to emit such ‘quantum light’ is revealed by the following,
Photocount distribution of photons emitted from three sites of a human body – 2006 Excerpt: Signals from three representative sites of low, intermediate and high intensities are selected for further analysis. Fluctuations in these signals are measured by the probabilities of detecting different numbers of photons in a bin. The probabilities have non-classical features and are well described by the signal in a quantum squeezed state of photons. Measurements with bins of three sizes yield same values of three parameters of the squeezed state. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16520060 Humans Glow in Visible Light – July 2009 - with photographs Excerpt: Past research has shown that the body emits visible light, 1,000 times less intense than the levels to which our naked eyes are sensitive. In fact, virtually all living creatures emit very weak light, https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna32090918
Thus in conclusion, when we rightly allow the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, (as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders,,,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), then rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead bridges the infinite mathematical divide that exists between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics and provides us with a very plausible, and empirically backed, reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”
Colossians 1:15-20 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
bornagain77
And although there will never be a purely mathematical 'theory of everything' that bridges the infinite mathematical divide that exists between quantum mechanics and general relativity, all hope is not lost in finding the correct 'theory if everything'. Dr. William Dembski in this following comment, although he was not directly addressing the ‘infinite mathematical divide’ that exists between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, offers this insight into what the ‘unification’ of infinite God with finite man might look like mathematically:, Specifically he states, “The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.”
The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31 William Dembski PhDs. Mathematics and Theology Excerpt: “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.” http://www.designinference.com/documents/2009.05.end_of_xty.pdf
Of note: I hold it to be fairly obvious that 'growing large without measure' can only ever be a potential infinity. Whereas a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero would be an actual infinity and/or a “completed totality”
Potential Infinity vs. Actual Infinity - June 7, 2012 by Ryan Excerpt: In a potential infinity, one can keep adding or subdividing without end, but one never actually reaches infinity. In a sense, a potential infinity is an endless process that at any point along the way is finite. By contrast, in an actual infinity, the infinite is viewed as a completed totality. http://www.numbersleuth.org/trends/potential-vs-actual-infinity/
Moreover, when we rightly allow the Agent Causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founder of modern physics, Sir Isaac Newton, himself originally envisioned,
‘Without all doubt this world…could arise from nothing but the perfectly free will of God… From this fountain (what) we call the laws of nature have flowed, in which there appear many traces indeed of the most wise contrivance, but not the least shadow of necessity. These therefore we must not seek from uncertain conjectures, but learn them from observations and experiments.”,,, – Sir Isaac Newton – (Cited from Religion and the Rise of Modern Science by Hooykaas page 49). https://thirdspace.org.au/comment/237 “Newton’s Rejection of the “Newtonian World View”: The Role of Divine Will in Newton’s Natural Philosophy – (Davis, 1991) Excerpt: Newton’s voluntarism moved him to affirm an intimate relationship between the creator and the creation; his God was acted on the world at all times and in ways that Leibniz and other mechanical philosophers could not conceive of, such as causing parts of matter to attract one another at a distance. Finally, Newton held that, since the world is a product of divine freedom rather than necessity, the laws of nature must be inferred from the phenomena of nature, not deduced from metaphysical axioms — as both Descartes and Leibniz were wont to do. http://home.messiah.edu/~tdavis/newton.htm
and when we rightly allow the Agent Causality of God back into physics, as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company,
Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018 Excerpt: This experiment pushes back to at least 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today. https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403
,, then that (very) reasonable concession to rightly allow God ‘back’, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned, provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides a very plausible, and empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”. Specifically, when scrutinizing some of the many fascinating details of the Shroud of Turin, we 'surprisingly' find that both General Relativity, i.e. gravity, and Quantum Mechanics were both dealt with in Christ’s resurrection from the dead. As can be seen in the following ‘backside’ image, and holographic image video, from the Shroud of Turin, there is no flattening on the backside of the body as would be expected if the image on the Shroud had formed if a dead body had merely been laying flat on a slab of rock.
bornagain77
It is also interesting to note that this 'brushing infinity under the rug", in order to mathematically unify quantum mechanics and special relativity, also left the entire enigma of quantum measurement unaddressed. As Sheldon Lee Glashow put it, "Although quantum field theory is fully compatible with the special theory of relativity, a relativistic treatment of quantum measurement has yet to be formulated."
Not So Real - Sheldon Lee Glashow - Oct. 2018 Review of: "What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics" by Adam Becker Excerpt: Heisenberg, Schrödinger, and their contemporaries knew well that the theory they devised could not be made compatible with Einstein’s special theory of relativity. First order in time, but second order in space, Schrödinger’s equation is nonrelativistic. Although quantum field theory is fully compatible with the special theory of relativity, a relativistic treatment of quantum measurement has yet to be formulated. https://inference-review.com/article/not-so-real
That the entire enigma of quantum measurement would be left on the cutting room floor, via 'brushing infinity under the rug' in Quantum-electrodynamics (QED), is certainly NOT a minor problem for a theory, (i.e. QED), that purports itself to be the correct first step towards a final mathematical 'theory of everything'
But anyways, be that as it may, although Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics were unified via renormalization, i.e. 'brushing infinity under the rug', no such mathematical 'sleight of hand' exists for unifying General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, Professor Jeremy Bernstein states the situation as such, “there remains an irremediable difficulty. Every order reveals new types of infinities, and no finite number of renormalizations renders all the terms in the series finite. The theory is not renormalizable.”
Quantum Leaps – Jeremy Bernstein – October 19, 2018 Excerpt: Divergent series notwithstanding, quantum electrodynamics yielded results of remarkable accuracy. Consider the magnetic moment of the electron. This calculation, which has been calculated up to the fifth order in ?, agrees with experiment to ten parts in a billion. If one continued the calculation to higher and higher orders, at some point the series would begin to break down. There is no sign of that as yet. Why not carry out a similar program for gravitation? One can readily write down the Feynman graphs that represent the terms in the expansion. Yet there remains an irremediable difficulty. Every order reveals new types of infinities, and no finite number of renormalizations renders all the terms in the series finite. The theory is not renormalizable. https://inference-review.com/article/quantum-leaps Jeremy Bernstein is professor emeritus of physics at the Stevens Institute of Technology.
And as theoretical physicist Sera Cremonini stated, “You would need to add infinitely many counterterms in a never-ending process. Renormalization would fail.,,,”
Why Gravity Is Not Like the Other Forces We asked four physicists why gravity stands out among the forces of nature. We got four different answers. Excerpt: the quantum version of Einstein’s general relativity is “nonrenormalizable.”,,, In quantum theories, infinite terms appear when you try to calculate how very energetic particles scatter off each other and interact. In theories that are renormalizable — which include the theories describing all the forces of nature other than gravity — we can remove these infinities in a rigorous way by appropriately adding other quantities that effectively cancel them, so-called counterterms. This renormalization process leads to physically sensible answers that agree with experiments to a very high degree of accuracy. The problem with a quantum version of general relativity is that the calculations that would describe interactions of very energetic gravitons — the quantized units of gravity — would have infinitely many infinite terms. You would need to add infinitely many counterterms in a never-ending process. Renormalization would fail.,,, Sera Cremonini – theoretical physicist – Lehigh University https://www.quantamagazine.org/why-gravity-is-not-like-the-other-forces-20200615/
And as Michio Kaku stated in the following video, when you try to combine General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics, "you get an infinite sequence of infinities, (which is) infinitely worse than the divergences of Einstein’s original theory (i.e. General Relativity).”
“Here is the problem (with black holes), right there, when ‘r’ (radius) is equal to zero, The point at which physics itself breaks down. So 1 over ‘r’ equals 1 over 0 equals infinity. To a mathematician infinity is simply a number without limit. To a physicist it is a monstrosity. It means first of all that gravity is infinite at the center of a black hole. That time stops. And what does that mean? Space makes no sense. It means the collapse of everything we know about the physical universe. In the real world there is no such thing as infinity. Therefore there is a fundamental flaw in the formulation of Einstein’s theory.” (And Michio Kaku then notes, when you try to combine General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics) “In fact, you get an infinite sequence of infinities, (which is) infinitely worse than the divergences of Einstein’s original theory (i.e. General Relativity).” Quantum Mechanics & Relativity – Michio Kaku - The Collapse Of Physics As We Know It ? - video Science vs God Its The Collapse Of Physics As We Know it - video https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2jbd7x
Various attempts have been made to find a mathematical workaround for this apparent 'infinite mathematical divide' that exists between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, String Theory, M-Theory, etc.. They all have failed. And as was mentioned in the OP, "The ones currently most promising adopt a very radical attitude to infinity. They deny that the infinitely small can exist in the universe, but prescribe a minimum possible scale, essentially the so-called Planck scale.”
“Attempts to reconcile relativity and quantum theory have been made. The ones currently most promising adopt a very radical attitude to infinity. They deny that the infinitely small can exist in the universe, but prescribe a minimum possible scale, essentially the so-called Planck scale.” - Peter Cameron, Emeritus Professor Mathematics at Queen Mary, University of London
Yet even this workaround of prescribing a minimum possible size will not bridge the 'infinite mathematical divide' that exists between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Specifically, it is now proven, via the extension of Godel’s incompleteness into quantum physics, that “even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,,” and that “the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”,
Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics – December 9, 2015 Excerpt: A mathematical problem underlying fundamental questions in particle and quantum physics is provably unsolvable,,, It is the first major problem in physics for which such a fundamental limitation could be proven. The findings are important because they show that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,, “We knew about the possibility of problems that are undecidable in principle since the works of Turing and Gödel in the 1930s,” added Co-author Professor Michael Wolf from Technical University of Munich. “So far, however, this only concerned the very abstract corners of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. No one had seriously contemplated this as a possibility right in the heart of theoretical physics before. But our results change this picture. From a more philosophical perspective, they also challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.” http://phys.org/news/2015-12-quantum-physics-problem-unsolvable-godel.html Undecidability of the Spectral Gap – June 16, 2020 Toby Cubitt, David Perez-Garcia, and Michael M. Wolf https://arxiv.org/pdf/1502.04573.pdf
In short, and mathematically speaking, the microscopic descriptions of quantum mechanics, (even if you prescribe a minimum possible size), will never be successfully extended to the account for the macroscopic descriptions of General Relativity. i.e. There will never be a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything’ that includes both quantum mechanics and general relativity into a single mathematical equation. bornagain77
Ignoring the troll who wants to play stupid cat and mouse games, and back to the topic at hand, "How Infinity Threatens Cosmology". Theoretical physicists and/or mathematicians have a bit of a history of dealing with infinity, A bit of a history of using various mathematical 'sleights of hand' in order to derive mathematically useful descriptions of the universe. For instance, and as a primary example, Newton invented invented infinitesimal calculus in order to derive a proper mathematical description of gravity:
Calculus Calculus, originally called infinitesimal calculus or "the calculus of infinitesimals", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calculus History: "Infinitesimal calculus was developed in the late 17th century by Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz independently of each other." - per wiki How & Why Isaac Newton Invented Calculus Excerpt: Newton started by trying to describe the speed of a falling object. When he did this, he found that the speed of a falling object increases every second, but that there was no existing mathematical explanation for this. The issue of movement and the rate of change had not yet been explored to any significant degree in the field of mathematics, so Newton saw a void that needed to be filled. He began work on this right way, incorporating planetary ellipses into his theory too to try to explain the orbit of the planets. He found that by using calculus, he could explain how planets moved and why the orbits of planets are in an ellipse. This is one of Newton's break throughs: that the gravitational force that holds us to the ground is the same force that causes the planets to orbit the Sun and the Moon to orbit Earth. https://www.mathtutordvd.com/public/How-Isaac-Newton-Changed-the-World-with-the-Invention-of-Calculus.cfm
And yet Newton was only able to derive a mathematical useful description of Gravity, via infinitesimal calculus, by assuming that there are an "infinite number of infinitesimally small lines. (and that) Each line is an instance in which nothing moves."
7:30 mark;,,, "eternal certainties laid down by God which Newton and Leibniz had discovered. And it was infinity that lay at the heart of it all. But there was a problem with it. If you look at that beautiful smooth curve of motion you notice that it is not actually smooth. It is made of an infinite number of infinitesimally small lines. Each line is an instance in which nothing moves. But like frames of film, if you run them one after another you get motion. And it worked.The whole thing relied on infinity but it worked. And because it worked everyone said. "Alright, we don't understand infinity, just leave it alone." Cantor comes along and says, "No, if this whole thing least on infinity we have to understand it." - Dangerous Knowledge (1 of 5) https://vimeo.com/122917065
Of course, as the preceding video alluded to, nobody really understood how you could possibly get motion from an infinite number of infinitely small lines that don't move. But this mathematical 'sleight of hand' that was used to deal with infinity was accepted because, mathematically, it all worked. Which is very similar, (and indeed shares some theoretical overlap), to the present 'shut up and calculate' position that many physicists have taken with the 'spooky' instrumentalist approach to quantum mechanics,
The instrumentalist view is carried by the famous quote of David Mermin, "Shut up and calculate", often misattributed to Richard Feynman...",,, - per wiki
But anyways, (and very similar to Newton using a mathematical 'sleight of hand" in order to deal with infinity to subsequently derive a useful mathematical description of gravity), Richard Feynman, also used a mathematical "sleight of hand" in order to deal with infinity. Specifically, Richard Feynman, in his role in developing Quantum-Electrodynamics (QED), which is a mathematical theory in which special relativity and quantum mechanics are unified,,,,
Theories of the Universe: Quantum Mechanics vs. General Relativity Excerpt: The first attempt at unifying relativity and quantum mechanics took place when special relativity was merged with electromagnetism. This created the theory of quantum electrodynamics, or QED. It is an example of what has come to be known as relativistic quantum field theory, or just quantum field theory. QED is considered by most physicists to be the most precise theory of natural phenomena ever developed. http://www.infoplease.com/cig/theories-universe/quantum-mechanics-vs-general-relativity.html
,, Richard Feynman in his role in developing QED, was only able to unify special relativity and quantum mechanics into quantum electrodynamics by quote unquote “brushing infinity under the rug” by a technique called 'Renormalization'
THE INFINITY PUZZLE: Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt for an Orderly Universe Excerpt: In quantum electrodynamics, which applies quantum mechanics to the electromagnetic field and its interactions with matter, the equations led to infinite results for the self-energy or mass of the electron. After nearly two decades of effort, this problem was solved after World War II by a procedure called renormalization, in which the infinities are rolled up into the electron’s observed mass and charge, and are thereafter conveniently ignored. Richard Feynman, who shared the 1965 Nobel Prize with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for this breakthrough, referred to this sleight of hand as “brushing infinity under the rug.” http://www.americanscientist.org/bookshelf/pub/tackling-infinity
And this “brushing infinity under the rug”, i.e. 'renormalization' of infinity, never set right with Richard Feynman. As Feynman states in the following video, "Why should it take an infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do?"
“It always bothers me that in spite of all this local business, what goes on in a tiny, no matter how tiny, region of space, and no matter how tiny a region of time, according to laws as we understand them today, it takes a computing machine an infinite number of logical operations to figure out. Now how can all that be going on in that tiny space? Why should it take an infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do?" - Richard Feynman – one of the founding fathers of QED (Quantum Electrodynamics) Quote taken from the 6:45 minute mark of the following video: Feynman: Mathematicians versus Physicists - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obCjODeoLVw
I don’t know about Richard Feynman, but as for myself, being a Christian Theist, I find it rather comforting to know that it takes an ‘infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do’. The reason why I find it rather comforting is because of John 1:1, which says "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." ‘The Word’ in John 1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos also happens to be the root word from which we derive our modern word logic.
John1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." of note: ‘the Word’ in John 1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos is also the root word from which we derive our modern word logic http://etymonline.com/?term=logic
bornagain77
Jerry, rational responsible significant freedom, in the end, cannot be argued to. This is one of the typical darkness for light rhetorical tricks. For, it is self evident, as without it, argument is instantly absurd. KF kairosfocus
One of the best arguments for free will is going on before our eyes. People are responding to each other as if they have free will. Comments based on previous comments are being made. There is no “I cannot help what I am saying” in their comments. They are not random nor determined. They are freely chose. But yet there’s an obvious bias in the comments to avoid the obvious. The choice to ignore anything that would discredit their bias is anything but random. So there is a sort of helplessness in the comments. That is the more interesting question. What drives their irrational bias. They have the free will to correct it but they don’t. So they argue that free will doesn’t exist. Maybe, this argument is freely chosen to justify their bias? One of the best arguments for free will is that the modern world suddenly and only emerged when humans were given freedom. When they were allowed to make choices. Interesting thing is that there is a concerted effort going on in the world now to eliminate choice. Anything not freely approved by the left is called misinformation. Maybe the source for this freely chosen intolerance is their exposure to a false ideology. jerry
Cool that you know that book, and very cool that you had some experience with that group! Viola Lee
Viola,
I’m definitely in the “nobody really knows” camp, and as I stated often before, in the “no one really can know” camp.
Me too.
Is there an orthodoxy in QM? I think it might be too splintered at this point to have one interpretation that stands out as the orthodox one. Maybe I’m wrong, though.
Seems to me that (1) the taboo regarding researching QM foundations has lessened substantially, and (2) there are more different interpretations now than ever, so not so much orthodoxy I'd say. (Not to say there aren't the academic politics that constrain what gets tenured and funded where). I loved "How the Hippies saved Physics"! I went to the Esalen Institute in the late 70's and took a seminar on Quantum Reality from Nick Herbert, a member of The Fundamental Fysiks Group. If I remember correctly (highly unlikely) we talked mainly about The Dancing Wu Li Masters and of course The Tao of Physics. Really something that so much real science emerged from those speculative ideas. dogdoc
Is there an orthodoxy in QM? I think it might be too splintered at this point to have one interpretation that stands out as the orthodox one. Maybe I'm wrong, though. Although, yes several people have suffered estrangement in the past: David Bohm, for instance. An interesting and entertaining book on all this, by the way, is "How the Hippies Saved Physics", by David Kaiser. Viola Lee
Regarding the description of Rovelli's perspective on religion that you provided, I'd extend Stephen J. Gould's assertions about separate magesteria to other human experiences beyond just science and religion. For example, just because we can't measure beauty in BTUs or courage in candelas doesn't mean we have to believe they're not real. He seems to lump together the overwhelming number and history of religious beliefs--they have a very wide range of content. For example . . . - Marxism, both a political and moral religion, has a number of fundamental perspectives on economic equity and social structure that must be accepted by its true believers. In a sense then, the competing interpretations of quantum mechanics also share some of the same qualities as religion. There's also an orthodoxy in QM that's difficult to challenge without suffering estrangement from the academic community. This has also been the case in cosmology (Halton Arp) and medicine (Ignaz Semmelweis) as a couple of examples. But it's amazing what additional data can potentially change (hopefully not one funeral at a time as Max Planck lamented) such as with the recent James Webb Space Telescope. https://www.nasa.gov/content/james-webb-space-telescope-latest-news -Q Querius
I certainly agree about the dangers of competing metaphysical systems, which is really what a key component of all religions are. I'm definitely in the "nobody really knows" camp, and as I stated often before, in the "no one really can know" camp. However, on the one hand my first thought is that I'm inclined to think that competing interpretations of QM don't hold the same dangers, but then I see here at UD the attachment to one view as a validation of one religious view, and the antagonism aimed at other views and I'm not so sure: the theism/materialism conflict is what drives a great deal of the dissension here, and those seem to have become linked to differing QM interpretations. Viola Lee
Viola,
Rather, the best we can do, is come up with a metaphorical system of understanding (all metaphysic is metaphorical), or more likely a set of competing systems, which are beyond empirical resolution.
My inclination is that it might be nice to refrain from inventing (or perpetuating) competing metaphysical systems. People have been doing that for a few thousand years, and it seems to exacerbate our tribal instincts. As technology empowers more people to do more mischief more easily, tribal instincts become more dangerous. Perhaps we should work towards admitting that nobody really knows the answers to the deepest questions, so we should really be tolerant of whatever each of us comes up with. Just a thought :-) dogdoc
Wikipedia says this about Rovelli's view on religion:
Religious views Rovelli defines himself "serenely atheist".[22] He discussed his religious views in several articles and in his book on Anaximander. He argues that the conflict between rational/scientific thinking and structured religion may find periods of truce ("there is no contradiction between solving Maxwell's equations and believing that God created Heaven and Earth"),[23] but it is ultimately unsolvable because (most) religions demand the acceptance of some unquestionable truths while scientific thinking is based on the continuous questioning of any truth. Thus, for Rovelli, the source of the conflict is not the pretense of science to give answers – the universe, for Rovelli is full of mystery and a source of awe and emotions – but, on the contrary, the source of the conflict is the acceptance of our ignorance at the foundation of science, which clashes with religions' pretense to be depositories of certain knowledge.
I can agree with lots of this. Viola Lee
re 138 to dogdoc: Absolutely. The range of possible QM interpretations is fascinating, but the debate among experts is spirited. More importantly, IMO, is that we will never know the "real" interpretation. Rather, the best we can do, is come up with a metaphorical system of understanding (all metaphysics is metaphorical), or more likely a set of competing systems, which are beyond empirical resolution. That's a thought off the top of my head tonight! :-) Viola Lee
Viola Lee @137,
All speculative but that is how theoretical physics and math proceeds.
Rovelli is good and, as I mentioned previously, I appreciate Lee Smolin's candor. You might be interested in Hossenfelder's book, Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray. https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Math-Beauty-Physics-Astray-ebook/dp/B0763L6YR7/ref=sr_1_1?crid=6ON7KC51WURE&keywords=lost+in+math&qid=1664587880&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIxLjk3IiwicXNhIjoiMS43MCIsInFzcCI6IjEuNzUifQ%3D%3D&sprefix=lost+in+math%2Caps%2C168&sr=8-1 This is also relevant to the OP--she argues for less speculation (supported by the beauty of math) until more experimental evidence can be extracted. Rovelli, Smolin, and Hossenfelder are all deterministic materialists, but I appreciate their insights--up to a point. The implications of QM are so profound that they should be willing to suspend their presumptions to see where the data leads them--at least until more experimental results become available, which has been occurring. Yes, all this also impacts cosmology and the nature of black holes and gravity, along with gravity asymptotically approaching infinity in a black hole. -Q Querius
"All speculative but that is how theoretical physics and math proceeds." That's for sure. So important to remember, for example, that you can't point to one particular, speculative QM interpretation of your choosing and pretend that it empirically confirms some particular version of metaphysics or religion. That really was the central point of my debate with BA here, who needs to take note of this. dogdoc
I read Rovelli's "Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity" some time ago. All speculative but that is how theoretical physics and math proceeds. Viola Lee
Viola Lee @135, Thank you! We're finally back on topic.
I just read the OP. The first paragraph is a very good summary of the difference between a potential and an actual infinity, the latter being a mathematical abstract concept that can not be instantiated in reality.
Yes, exactly! We've talked before about applying mathematics to reality as a temporarily useful model or approximation.
The hypotheses about Planck units in time and space bring up some interesting issues, but in many other areas where we know things are discrete (molecules in a gas) we find it vastly easier to analyze them with calculus, as if they were continuous.
So true! And Dr. Hossenfelder maintains that Planck lengths seem to "pixelate" the universe only because of the limits to energy density that would otherwise result in a black hole. I think you might enjoy her video in context of the limits to the applicability of any mathematical extrapolation (if you've not already seen it): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyPdIBnWOCM Notice that she doesn't a priori reject the possibility of a pixelated universe, but is wary of extrapolating 16 orders of magnitude.
The article does mention how a discrete approach might change the theory of black holes, but I’m sure there is a lot to work out there.
Indeed! Also closely associated is a reasonable theory of gravity--as you know, Einstein addressed this issue in his General Theory of Relativity. And then there's Loop Quantum Gravity: https://www.amazon.com/Loop-Quantum-Gravity-General-Relativity/dp/9813209933 -Q Querius
I just read the OP. The first paragraph is a very good summary of the difference between a potential and an actual infinity, the latter being a mathematical abstract concept that can not be instantiated in reality. The hypotheses about Planck units in time and space bring up some interesting issues, but in many other areas where we know things are discrete (molecules in a gas) we find it vastly easier to analyze them with calculus, as if they were continuous. The article does mention how a discrete approach might change the theory of black holes, but I'm sure there is a lot to work out there. Viola Lee
DD: Squirrel!!! Q: (yawn) Querius
DD: “Actually I am a Bayesian, and I don’t object to what you’ve said . . .” Q: sounds like it comes from a trollbot or perhaps someone unfamiliar with common English usage (relax, English is also my second language). No one normally says “I am a Bayesian” any more than – “I am a geometric.” – “I am an integral.” – “I am a normal curve.”
"I am a bayesian" returns six full pages of hits on Google. HAHAHAHAHAHA I'll try to cut you some slack as a non-native English speaker, but it's sad that since you can't refute my arguments you fixate on silly, mistaken criticisms of my word choices. dogdoc
BobSinclair,
So to sum up. A person’s BDe’s, represent’s the “content” of that individual’s life.
BDe's are all of reasons one may enlist to make any particular choice.
Content not freely chosen but given to them, I guess you could say, and that content is the basis of which the individual will use or base any and all decision’s on.
BDe's come to exist through innate disposition and world experience, yes. And if one bases on a decision on reasons (rather than on no reason at all) then BDe's are the term I'm using to encompass all reasons that may factor in.
Now, you say a person is able to act upon they’re given content to make informed decisions, but which part of the person is doing the choosing or the rationalising?
As I said @120,
DOGDOC: You had asked what I thought free will typically meant to people and I responded that most people think that the will is a component or aspect of them. I myself do not look at it that way. (There is a history of how the idea of “will power” was popularized – it was not always thought of the way it is now).
There are plenty of models in psychology that partition our mentality into interacting components. Id/Ego/Superego was a popular one obviously. I personally don't subscribe to such models (I'm interested in the functional components being identified by neuroscience, but it's still so early in the research). I don't believe that there is something separate called a "will" that makes choices - I think it is a person who makes choices.
What separates the chooser from the chosen?
The person is the chooser and the choices are the chosen. I'm not sure why you think there needs to be a "separation".
and why aren’t all decision’s made as a sort of automated response based on the particular BDes held by the individual, thus fore going the need for rationality.
Let me try to unpack this. First, when one responds automatically, I take this to be a reflexive response - one that is not consciously deliberated. This is a sort of choice we can make but that I have said does not qualify as an exercise of free will (at least the sort of free will worth wanting). Second, I have not introduced the notion of "rationality" in my argument at all. I talk about reasoned deliberation, but make no attempt to distinguish rational vs. irrational choices. Say I chose to buy the candy bar, and the main reason that my decision was based upon was that I believed every candy bar purchased helped a unicorn learn to fly. I would consider this to be a decision that was reasoned (was not made arbitrarily) but not reasonable or rational (consistent with facts or goals). It is interesting to think about which of our decisions proceed from conscious reasoning and which are automatic, and why, and how! I have ideas regarding this that I hesitate to introduce for fear of taking the conversation in too many directions, but I'd be willing to share them if you're interested (they involve the notion that consciousness may be perceptual rather than causal, but please let's not get into this right now). The important point is this: The free choices under discussion are those that are consciously deliberated over a set of reasons. Those are the decisions that convince people that someone is worthy of praise, or blame. Again, most legal systems recognize that someone who is unable to make reasoned decisions are not typically held responsible for their choices.
Aside- I believe it can be beneficial to engage in Debate now and then, for if nothing else then at least to understand the other parties position.
I think you have understated the case, Bob!! It is more than beneficial - it is absolutely necessary! I constantly seek out the smartest people I can find who disagree with me about important things - politics, religion, philosophy, etc - and I honestly love to be shown to be wrong (nobody believes me when I say that except those who know me well). Once again I really applaud your openness. dogdoc
Thank you, Bornagain77, BobSinclair and Jerry, Yikes, looks like we're getting plastered by vacuous comments on everything but the topic of "How Infinity Threatens Cosmology along with a cat-and-mouse game of "guess what I believe." Then there are the vacuous admiring comments of open-mindedness and other silliness. The earlier assertion of
"Actually I am a Bayesian, and I don’t object to what you’ve said . . ."
sounds like it comes from a trollbot or perhaps someone unfamiliar with common English usage (relax, English is also my second language). No one normally says "I am a Bayesian" any more than - "I am a geometric." - "I am an integral." - "I am a normal curve." This, and the lack of sequential logic is pretty suspicious. However, unlike some skeptics here, the entity did pick up the erroneous usage of "waveform" from the video by Egnor, but wasn't aware that "wavefunction" is the correct term, which is completely familiar to anyone who has studied the subject. So, let me once again recommend simply ignoring vacuous, tangential rhetoric designed to troll serious participants. As some other contributors here, I'm willing to cut some slack for honest off-topic questions, but when it becomes apparent that a person merely intends to shout "squirrel" at a dog show, I'm not for running off barking into the forest. Does this make sense, Kairosfocus? -Q Querius
I am still interested if anyone can find anything wrong with the argument against free will
Having not read the comment, I will use my free will to make a comment. The best proof that there is no free will for some is that they choose to make inane comments despite being presented with evidence and logic that dispute their claims. I have never met an an anti ID person who can back up their position. So yes, there are some who do not have free will. I always maintain the most interesting part of the debate is why are the anti ID people are so irrational. Lack of free will is a good explanation. They just cannot help themselves. jerry
Dogdoc So to sum up. A person’s BDe’s, represent’s the “content” of that individual’s life. Content not freely chosen but given to them, I guess you could say, and that content is the basis of which the individual will use or base any and all decision’s on. Now, you say a person is able to act upon they’re given content to make informed decisions, but which part of the person is doing the choosing or the rationalising? What separates the chooser from the chosen? and why aren’t all decision’s made as a sort of automated response based on the particular BDes held by the individual, thus fore going the need for rationality. Aside- I believe it can be beneficial to engage in Debate now and then, for if nothing else then at least to understand the other parties position. BobSinclair
OK then! I asked BA to stop using purely ad hominem reasoning in his arguments, and he has used that as an excuse to refuse to even attempt to address my argument in @80. It is obvious, I trust, to the fair reader that BA does not know where to start suggesting any weakness in the argument as I've stated it, and his only interest was attaching "-isms" to me an attacking me on that basis. Hopefully BA is not representative of other posters here. I am still interested if anyone can find anything wrong with the argument against free will that I've described. If not, I'm happy to debate other issues, including what I think the problems are with the labels atheism, naturalism, and materialism. dogdoc
Asks for clarity, gets mocked for using 'labels'. Whatever, I'm done. bornagain77
It's about time I cleaned the house. Naw, it can wait. Nope, the Missus wants it done today. Right out of Pledge. Go figure. Andrew asauber
"If it wasn’t for ad hominem reasoning, you would have no reasoning at all." Good line. :-) Viola Lee
BA77,
So you are not a naturalist, atheist, or materialist?
Really? Back to the labels right off the bat? Are you joking?
Frankly, from your line of argumentation against free will it is very hard to tell that you are not in one, or all, of those camps.
All you can think about is putting labels on people. You have no interest in arguing issues like free will.
Your arguments indicate very much that you are in at least one of the camps if not all of them, and yet you claim that you are not.
Labels, boxes, strawmen, camps, tribes, teams, blah blah blah. Stop it and address my argument.
Again, I use the old walks like a duck, talks like a duck, looks like a duck, probably is a duck, to figure out what type of person I am talking to.
If it wasn't for ad hominem reasoning, you would have no reasoning at all.
It is not on me, but it is on you, to make clear distinctions about your position when you are the one who is clearly holding such a ‘fringe’ nuanced view against the reality of free will that does not fall into at least one of those camps.
Once you concede that you have no way to rebut my argument at @80, I promise I will explain and debate my views regarding naturalism, materialism, atheism, and even mysterianism. At this point you have no understanding of what I think about these things.
As a sidenote. The manner in which you have repeatedly addressed me thus far in this thread has been very disrespectful, and if Fordgreen had not asked me to address your post I would not have bothered.. I have much better things to do than to put up with crap like that from you.
I apologize if my comments to you have been disrespectful, and I will commit to being more respectful in the future. In turn, I will ask of you to refrain from pretending I believe stupid things that I don't believe, from telling me that my worldview compels me to treat my children like meat robots rather than love them, and so on. Deal?
Especially when, in my honest opinion, you arguments don’t appear to be all that well thought out.
Really? Can you say why? dogdoc
The candy/charity dilemma is a false dilemma. There are probably an uncountable number of choices for any given situation we have the ability to conceive and decide upon that we are constantly confronted with. An artist would choose from a palette of colors. You can give more to charity or buy a whole case of candy bars after you get your paycheck. You can give the candy bar to a hungry kid or throw it in the woods for the ants. You can use your imagination. There are shades of grey. You can choose not to decide. How about not caring at all? Candy bars and charitable donations don't stimulate your brain. Too busy to notice. Carolina Blue is cool. So is Cornflower. Lets use red, though. This song would sound better on acoustic guitar. Nope, I changed my mind, now piano sounds better (until I get drunk). I'm not in the mood. Go ask your Father. Andrew asauber
BA77,
Shoot, I very much thought others, i.e. Querius and Bob Sinclair, were doing a mighty fine job of ‘philosophically’ taking his argument apart.
I haven't seen any attempt to directly refute my argument @80 from either Querius or BobSinclair, however both of them have responded intelligently and earnestly, working to clarify the issues.
First, in addressing his philosophy, I guess it is necessary to see what philosophical foundation Dogdoc is standing on.
What Fordgreen was interested in was your rebuttal of my argument at @80. What you seem to be preparing for is to invent your strawman version of some "philosophical foundation" and attack that, rather than refute my argument. Too bad.
In this thread Dogdoc has claimed to be a “mysterianist” in his philosophical outlook.
I made that comment as an aside, because you insist on labelling me and telling me what I think instead of reading what I say and asking me what I think. Mysterianism has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the argument I've made here.
Which is, right off the bat, weird since being a “mysterianist”, as Relatd pointed out in 102, is definitely a ‘fringe’ position for anyone to hold is ever there was one, (and yet Dogdoc has repeatedly dismissed my arguments several times in this thread simply on the basis that he believes they are ‘fringe” arguments, Go figure!)
So much is wrong with this. First, again, we have not discussed what I mean by that comment about mysterianism, and if you wanted to discuss it you would need to first ask me what I think, instead of dredging up all sorts of things on the internet that have nothing to do with my position. Second, I have criticised you for pretending that various fringe/unpopular scientific positions (conscious collapse theories in QM for example) have been empirically proven to be true. I obviously make no such claims for mysterianism. As I've said here, the only thing that mysterianism means to me is that it appears that nobody has a clear, empirically verified understanding of the relationship between reality and conscious experience, and it is possible that we are inherently incapable of understanding that relationship. Now, let's leave that behind and get back to you refuting my argument about free will, shall we?
Mysterianism lite Excerpt:...
Oh, too bad. Rather than engage my argument about free will, which is really at the heart of much of your statements regarding science, religion, and philosophy, here you go quoting other people about things that I do not necessarily agree with and have nothing to do with the argument we're discussing! Lose the labels and learn to debate, BA!
Thus, as a ‘fringe’ “mysterianist”, and as far as the philosophy of science is concerned, philosophically speaking Dogdoc is already in big time trouble since he has already rejected a primary philosophical presupposition, (and I might add Theological presupposition), that is required for doing science. Namely, he has rejected the philosophical/Theological presupposition that the universe is intelligible to the human mind.
You're just wrong about everything I'm afraid. I of course do not reject that the universe is intelligible. Instead of telling me what I think, why don't you ask me? The reason of course is that the only way you can feel you're "winning" is if you make up both sides of the argument. [more and more irrelevant copypasta quotes cluttering up this page...]
Thus from the very get go, before we even get into the specifics of Dogdoc’s argument in 80,
Hahahahaha this is actually pretty funny.
as a person who holds to the ‘fringe’ philosophy of Mysterianism, Dogdoc, philosophically speaking, has already disqualified himself from being able to authoritatively speak to the science.
So your strategy here is: 1) Take one side comment about mysterianism that I made 2) Attribute to me all sorts of ideas that I don't believe 3) Attack those strawman positions 4) Completely ignore every single thing I actually said in the argument @80 that we are debating 5) Pretend that this means you've won the debate. This is a perfect illustration of what Alan Fox above had predicted!
But be that as it may, and as to Dogdoc’s specific argument in 80, from Relatd’s citation in 102 we find that Mysterianists’s hold that quote-unquote “there is nothing supernatural about how consciousness arises from neural activity”.
Here you say you are going to get specific about my argument @80... and then immediately revert to talking about completely irrelevant issues that have nothing whatsoever to do with my argument. Wow, just wow.
Dogdoc summarizes his ‘philosophical’ argument in post 80 as such, “There is no escape from this catch-22. Until one has freely chosen beliefs, desires etc, one can’t exercise free will. But unless one already has free will, one can’t have freely chosen beliefs, desires, etc. Thus, the sort of free will that most people imagine they have is logically impossible.”
Aha! FINALLY you have managed to address my argument! Great. Yes, this is the summary of my argument @80, and you have copied it accurately - good start.
So, as a Mysterianist, who holds that “there is nothing supernatural about how consciousness arises from neural activity”...
It's like you are doing a comedy routine. "OK, here I go, I'm going to attack DogDoc's argument now. Are you ready? Here we go! Did you know that DogDoc thinks that everything is natural? Ok, he may not have said that but he's in the "naturalist" box so I can assume all sorts of things that he thinks!" If you wanted to debate naturalism I'd be happy to, and you would learn why I think that all three labels you insist on putting on me are not well specified (atheism, naturalism, materialism). None of this has anything to do with the argument I made regarding free will.
Dogdoc is forced to hold that all our former and present beliefs and desires are purely ‘natural’, physical, and/or material,
No, BA, I'm very sorry but I am NOT forced to believe all of these things just because you say I am. This is just ridiculous. [More irrelvant copypasta... MUCH more... then quotes from the Bible...] That was just terrible, BA. Nothing but strawmen, labels, irrelevant copypasta - not one single attempt to address my argument. Stop pasting these big quotes you've found and actually try to reason about what I've said, then tell us where you think the argument as I've presented it @80 is wrong. Just try it! dogdoc
BobSinclair,
Ok, let me see if I’ve understood correctly. Reasons – beliefs/desires/etc (BDe) Free will – ability to make a choice based on preconceived (BDe)
Yes.
So if someone’s (BDe) are thrust upon them by external forces so to speak, and they’re decisions hence forth are affected by these predetermined (BDe), which part is then doing the choosing based on these prior beliefs? Would you say the Will is independent from the forces affecting someone’s acquisition of a particular (BDe) and if so how?.
You had asked what I thought free will typically meant to people and I responded that most people think that the will is a component or aspect of them. I myself do not look at it that way. (There is a history of how the idea of "will power" was popularized - it was not always thought of the way it is now). In my view, people. make decisions. They might make them impulsively, reflexively, spontaneously, without deliberation, but again I do not think this is the sort of decision that most people are interested in defending as an exercise of free will. But if they deliberate about their choice, then BDe is the basis for their deliberation. If someone "brainwashed" me into BDe that I would not otherwise hold, my responsibility for choices based on those BDe's would be attenuated, and legal systems generally recognize this as a legitimate defense. We must each choose our own BDe in order to be responsible for our actions, but we can't choose our own BDe without already having BDe.
I’m certainly not arguing that a persons decision isn’t affected by prior commitments for that would be silly. As to how they arrived at those commitments, I would say at least some things are held which I don’t believe you could say were chosen “freely”. A quick example might be someone’s likes and dislikes, sometimes you just “know” whether you’ll like something or not. So I get the impression it’s a sort of limited “Freedom” you appear to be arguing for.
First, it's not just likes/dislikes/desires or simple basic preferences - it is also the totality of your beliefs and the "etc" part - values, priorities, fears... whatever may serve as reasons for a deliberate decision. But yes, you could say I think there is a "limited freedom", in the sense that we have proximate responsibility for our choices. It is a person who takes action, not a history of innate and acquired BDe. So, while it doesn't make any sense to think that people can use their own BDe to decide what their own BDe should be, there is still a sense that we are the proximate cause of our actions. If I think I should torture a puppy because my deliberations over my BDe tells me that is the course of action to take then I can be held responsible (and incarcerated in order to protect society from me and my terrible BDe). Still and yet, I did not choose to have those terrible, sick BDe's in the first place. Thank you for your clarifications and constructive discussion, BobSinclair. Perhaps you'll disagree in the end but I do appreciate you engaging in good faith. dogdoc
Vividbleau,
The highest compliment I can give him [aiguy] is that he challenged me and caused me to think about things I had not thought about before.
Again I'm impressed by open-mindedness here!
BTW here is a hint as to my take on “Free Will” , free will is an oxymoron.
I believe we may agree. Once you think carefully about what "free will" could possibly base its decisions on, you realize that most people's conception of free will is incoherent. dogdoc
Alan Fox,
Mysterianism. There was a commenter here, using the handle aiguy, someone else who doesn’t post here any more, who identified as a mysterian. Most of what he posted made sense.
Sounds like a person after my own heart ;-)
On the other hand, there’s a trend here, an obsession even, to label commenters, especially those with inconvenient ideas, as …ists and …ian’s. Label safely attached, arguments can be ignored or strawmanned. Prime example BA77 and “atheists”.
Excellent comment! So very true and important to realize this. Rather than debate ideas, people are obsessed with placing people in labelled boxes, and then attributing all sorts of things to everyone they place in the box! A terrific example is right here regarding this "mysterianism" label. I mentioned this to BA77 as a minor aside, because he was insisting on placing me in a box labelled atheist/materialist/naturalist. (In truth I reject each of these three labels for different, but strongly held, reasons!) But people who aren't able to debate the arguments I make resort to attacking me based on labels, and attribute beliefs to me that I do not hold. Let's try hard to debate the issues and not get confused by labelled boxes. dogdoc
Fordgreen,
Whether one agrees with it or not, it’s an intriguing and well-stated idea.
I appreciate your open-mindedness! I remember seeing a headline in the satirical newsletter The Onion that said something like "Breaking News: Someone on an Internet Forum Changed Their Mind!" There are a set of deep questions about "Life, The Universe, and Everything" (apologies to Douglas Adams), and if there is a chance for anyone to change their mind about anything here, I would like to suggest this: Don't be so sure you know the answers to these questions! dogdoc
Dogdoc Ok, let me see if I’ve understood correctly. Reasons - beliefs/desires/etc (BDe) Free will - ability to make a choice based on preconceived (BDe) So if someone’s (BDe) are thrust upon them by external forces so to speak, and they’re decisions hence forth are affected by these predetermined (BDe), which part is then doing the choosing based on these prior beliefs? Would you say the Will is independent from the forces affecting someone’s acquisition of a particular (BDe) and if so how?. I’m certainly not arguing that a persons decision isn’t affected by prior commitments for that would be silly. As to how they arrived at those commitments, I would say at least some things are held which I don’t believe you could say were chosen “freely”. A quick example might be someone’s likes and dislikes, sometimes you just “know” whether you’ll like something or not. So I get the impression it’s a sort of limited “Freedom” you appear to be arguing for. BobSinclair
Ba77, I have known truly genius level people, including a teenager with a highly developed mind. He was already doing science at a young age. Invention is based on observation, imagination and hope. Example: "There must be a cure and I will find it." Or a group of engineers are given an assignment to build an aircraft with a certain speed, range and bomb load. It is doesn't matter that such an aircraft does not yet exist. Such great advances are made based on God-given talents and determination. I was just reading about a computer chip with 114 billion transistors. This even though there were warnings that certain limits in chip design existed. relatd
Fordgreen, "It would be good to see a counter-argument from BA77 to Dogdoc’s post @80, “The Basic Argument”. It doesn’t feel like it’s been addressed yet. Personally I don’t have the philosophical chops to do it, but would like to see the conversation continue." Shoot, I very much thought others, i.e. Querius and Bob Sinclair, were doing a mighty fine job of 'philosophically' taking his argument apart. And seeing as I usually focus on the empirical evidence itself, not philosophy, I don't know if I really have the 'philosophical chops' either. But anyways here goes. First, in addressing his philosophy, I guess it is necessary to see what philosophical foundation Dogdoc is standing on. In this thread Dogdoc has claimed to be a “mysterianist” in his philosophical outlook. Which is, right off the bat, weird since being a “mysterianist”, as Relatd pointed out in 102, is definitely a 'fringe' position for anyone to hold is ever there was one, (and yet Dogdoc has repeatedly dismissed my arguments several times in this thread simply on the basis that he believes they are 'fringe" arguments, Go figure!)
Mysterianism lite Excerpt: A philosophical view known as ‘mysterianism’ holds that even though there is nothing supernatural about how consciousness arises from neural activity, the human brain is simply not equipped to understand it. The reason we find the mind–brain problem so baffling, the argument goes, is that humans did not evolve sufficient cognitive abilities to solve it, just as armadillos did not evolve the ability to understand arithmetic. This argument has been advocated by philosophers such as Colin McGinn and cognitive scientists such as Steven Pinker.,,, https://www.nature.com/articles/nn0300_199
Moreover, as Querius has rightly pointed out in post 106, as a 'fringe' “mysterianist”, Dogdoc has rejected "one of the fundamental (philosophical) assumptions of science, which is that we’re even capable of understanding the laws of the universe". Thus, as a 'fringe' “mysterianist”, and as far as the philosophy of science is concerned, philosophically speaking Dogdoc is already in big time trouble since he has already rejected a primary philosophical presupposition, (and I might add Theological presupposition), that is required for doing science. Namely, he has rejected the philosophical/Theological presupposition that the universe is intelligible to the human mind.
Presupposition 1: The contingency of nature “In 1277, the Etienne Tempier, the bishop of Paris, writing with support of Pope John XXI, condemned “necessarian theology” and 219 separate theses influenced by Greek philosophy about what God could and couldn’t do.”,, “The order in nature could have been otherwise (therefore) the job of the natural philosopher, (i.e. scientist), was not to ask what God must have done but (to ask) what God actually did.” Presupposition 2: The intelligibility of nature “Modern science was inspired by the conviction that the universe is the product of a rational mind who designed it to be understood and who (also) designed the human mind to understand it.” (i.e. human exceptionalism), “God created us in his own image so that we could share in his own thoughts” – Johannes Kepler Presupposition 3: Human Fallibility “Humans are vulnerable to self-deception, flights of fancy, and jumping to conclusions.”, (i.e. original sin), Scientists must therefore employ “systematic experimental methods.” (Francis Bacon’s championing of inductive reasoning over and above the deductive reasoning of the ancient Greeks) – Stephen Meyer on Intelligent Design and The Return of the God Hypothesis – Hoover Institution https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_8PPO-cAlA
To claim that the human mind is incapable of understanding the ultimate mysteries of the universe, as Dogdoc holds with his 'fringe' “mysterianist” philosophy, is for him to undermine a necessary presupposition for doing science, As Paul Davies explained in his 1995 Templeton address, "even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.”
Physics and the Mind of God: The Templeton Prize Address – by Paul Davies – August 1995 Excerpt: “People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature-the laws of physics-are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they came from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.” https://www.firstthings.com/article/1995/08/003-physics-and-the-mind-of-god-the-templeton-prize-address-24
And as professor of philosophy Robert C. Koons explains, "Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics."
Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21) Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics. http://www.theistic.net/papers/R.Koons/Koons-science.pdf Rob Koons is a professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. With degrees from Michigan State, Oxford, and UCLA, he specializes in metaphysics and philosophical logic, with special interest in philosophical theology and the foundations of both science and ethics.
Thus from the very get go, before we even get into the specifics of Dogdoc's argument in 80, as a person who holds to the 'fringe' philosophy of Mysterianism, Dogdoc, philosophically speaking, has already disqualified himself from being able to authoritatively speak to the science. But be that as it may, and as to Dogdoc's specific argument in 80, from Relatd's citation in 102 we find that Mysterianists's hold that quote-unquote "there is nothing supernatural about how consciousness arises from neural activity". Leaving aside the pesky detail that Mysterianists have already philosophically disqualified themselves from being able to coherently comment on whether anything may be natural or supernatural in the brain, this specific claim that "there is nothing supernatural about how consciousness arises from neural activity" commits the Mysterianist to the overarching philosophy of naturalism and/or materialism. OK now that we have Dogdoc's philosophical underpinnings more clearly defined, We can now more properly deconstruct Dogdoc's argument in 80 and see where its flaws lay. Dogdoc summarizes his 'philosophical' argument in post 80 as such,
"There is no escape from this catch-22. Until one has freely chosen beliefs, desires etc, one can’t excercise free will. But unless one already has free will, one can’t have freely chosen beliefs, desires, etc. Thus, the sort of free will that most people imagine they have is logically impossible."
So, as a Mysterianist, who holds that "there is nothing supernatural about how consciousness arises from neural activity", Dogdoc is forced to hold that all our former and present beliefs and desires are purely 'natural', physical, and/or material, in their foundational essence, and is also forced to hold that any rationality that we may use to arrive at any new beliefs and desires is also purely 'natural', physical, and/or material, in its foundational essence. Yet, in direct contradiction to that naturalistic belief, we harbor many beliefs and desires that are clearly immaterial, i.e. 'non-natural' in their foundational essence. As Dr. Michael Egnor explains, “Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, (love), and an endless library of abstract concepts.,,, It is in our ability to think abstractly that we differ from apes. It is a radical difference — an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference. We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses. Our difference is a metaphysical chasm.,,, Systems of taxonomy that emphasize physical and genetic similarities and ignore the fact that human beings are partly immaterial beings who are capable of abstract thought and contemplation of moral law and eternity are pitifully inadequate to describe man.”
The Fundamental Difference Between Humans and Nonhuman Animals – Michael Egnor – November 5, 2015 Excerpt: Human beings have mental powers that include the material mental powers of animals but in addition entail a profoundly different kind of thinking. Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not. Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts. Human beings are rational animals. Human rationality is not merely a highly evolved kind of animal perception. Human rationality is qualitatively different — ontologically different — from animal perception. Human rationality is different because it is immaterial. Contemplation of universals cannot have material instantiation, because universals themselves are not material and cannot be instantiated in matter.,, A human being is material and immaterial — a composite being. We have material bodies, and our perceptions and imaginations and appetites are material powers, instantiated in our brains. But our intellect — our ability to think abstractly — is a wholly immaterial power, and our will that acts in accordance with our intellect is an immaterial power. Our intellect and our will depend on matter for their ordinary function, in the sense that they depend upon perception and imagination and memory, but they are not themselves made of matter. It is in our ability to think abstractly that we differ from apes. It is a radical difference — an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference. We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses. Our difference is a metaphysical chasm. It is obvious and manifest in our biological nature. We are rational animals, and our rationality is all the difference. Systems of taxonomy that emphasize physical and genetic similarities and ignore the fact that human beings are partly immaterial beings who are capable of abstract thought and contemplation of moral law and eternity are pitifully inadequate to describe man. The assertion that man is an ape is self-refuting. We could not express such a concept, misguided as it is, if we were apes and not men. https://evolutionnews.org/2015/11/the_fundamental_2/
Moreover, rationality itself, since it is based on immaterial logic, is also 'non-natural', i.e. non-material, in its foundational essence, and thus also directly contradicts Dogdoc's Mysterianist belief that conscious activity is explicable in purely 'natural', physical, and/or material terms. And, more specifically, also undermines his argument against free will in post 80 that we are unable freely choose our present beliefs and desires. Specifically, Dogdoc's belief that his present beliefs and desires are purely 'natural', physical, and/or material, and also his belief that his present 'physical' beliefs and desires are dictated by his former 'physical' beliefs and desires, and that, therefore, his free will is merely an illusion, is directly undermined by the fact that when we form new beliefs, especially in science, we use rationality in order to form those new beliefs and desires. Yet, when we use rationality we are using a faculty of our immaterial minds, namely immaterial logic, that simply has no physical and/or material explanation. As Dr. Egnor explains, "the very framework of Clark’s argument — logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism?"
Naturalism and Self-Refutation - Michael Egnor - January 31, 2018 Furthermore, the very framework of Clark’s argument — logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism? Ironically the very logic that Clark employs to argue for naturalism is outside of any naturalistic frame. The strength of Clark’s defense of naturalism is that it is an attempt to present naturalism’s tenets clearly and logically. That is its weakness as well, because it exposes naturalism to scrutiny, and naturalism cannot withstand even minimal scrutiny. Even to define naturalism is to refute it. https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/naturalism-and-self-refutation/
Thus, since we, especially in science, use rationality to form new beliefs, and since rationality itself is very much 'joined at the hip' with logic, and yet logic itself is immaterial in its foundation essence, then Dogdoc belief that all our former and present beliefs and desires are the result of purely natural, physical, and/or material causes, is directly undermined. Supplemental note,
Is God Real? Evidence from the Laws of Logic - J. Warner Wallace Excerpt: All rational discussions (even those about the existence or non-existence of God) require the prior foundation of logical absolutes. You’d have a hard time making sense of any conversation if the Laws of Logic weren’t available to guide the discussion and provide rational boundaries. Here are three of the most important Laws of Logic you and I use every day: The Law of Identity,,, The Law of Non-Contradiction,,, The Law of Excluded Middle,,, These logical rules are necessary in order for us to examine truth statements. We also need them to point out when someone is reasoning illogically. We use the Laws of Logic all the time; you couldn’t even begin to read or reason through this blog post if you didn’t employ these laws. In fact, you’ve never had an intelligent, rational conversation without using these laws. They’re not a matter of subjective opinion; they are, instead, objectively true. So, here’s an important question: “From where do the transcendent, objective laws of logic come?” As an atheist, I would have been the first to describe myself as rational. In fact, I saw myself as far more reasonable than many of the Christians I knew. But, I was basing my rationality on my ability to understand and employ the Laws of Logic. How could I account for these transcendent laws without the existence of a transcendent Law Giver? (1) The Objective Laws of Logic Exist We cannot deny the Laws of Logic exist. In fact, any reasonable or logical argument against the existence of these laws requires their existence in the first place. The Objective Laws of Logic Are Conceptual Laws These laws are not physical; they are conceptual. They cannot be seen under a microscope or weighed on a scale. They are abstract laws guiding logical, immaterial thought processes. The Objective Laws of Logic Are Transcendent The laws transcend location, culture and time. If we go forward or backward a million years, the laws of logic would still exist and apply, regardless of culture or geographic location. The Objective Laws of Logic Pre-Existed Mankind The transcendent and timeless nature of logical laws indicates they precede our existence or ability to recognize them. Even before humans were able to understand the law of non-contradiction, “A” could not have been “Non-A”. The Laws of Logic were discovered by humans, not created by humans. (2) All Conceptual Laws Reflect the Mind of a Law Giver All laws require law givers, including conceptual laws. We know this from our common experience in the world in which we live. The laws governing our society and culture, for example, are the result and reflection of minds. But more importantly, the conceptual Laws of Logic govern rational thought processes, and for this reason, they require the existence of a mind. (3) The Best and Most Reasonable Explanation for the Kind of Mind Necessary for the Existence of the Transcendent, Objective, Conceptual Laws of Logic is God The lawgiver capable of producing the immaterial, transcendent laws preceding our existence must also be an immaterial, transcendent and pre-existent mind. This description fits what we commonly think of when we think of a Creator God.,,, https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/is-god-real-evidence-from-the-laws-of-logic/
Verse and quotes:
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” ‘the Word’ in John1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos is also the root word from which we derive our modern word logic http://etymonline.com/?term=logic What is the Logos? Logos is a Greek word literally translated as “word, speech, or utterance.” However, in Greek philosophy, Logos refers to divine reason or the power that puts sense into the world making order instead of chaos.,,, In the Gospel of John, John writes “In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). John appealed to his readers by saying in essence, “You’ve been thinking, talking, and writing about the Word (divine reason) for centuries and now I will tell you who He is.”
bornagain77
Gogdoc I wanna get in the game not to rebut your argument per se because there is much I seem to agree with. Don’t have time tonight but will try to engage tomorrow. BTW here is a hint as to my take on “Free Will” , free will is an oxymoron. Vivid vividbleau
“Mysterianism. There was a commenter here, using the handle aiguy, “ I know we are never to compliment our intellectual opponents but I will. AI guy IMO laid out the strongest arguments against ID. The highest compliment I can give him is that he challenged me and caused me to think about things I had not thought about before. AI guy is the Goat Vivid vividbleau
Mysterianism. There was a commenter here, using the handle aiguy, someone else who doesn't post here any more, who identified as a mysterian. Most of what he posted made sense. On the other hand, there's a trend here, an obsession even, to label commenters, especially those with inconvenient ideas, as ...ists and ...ian's. Label safely attached, arguments can be ignored or strawmanned. Prime example BA77 and "atheists". Alan Fox
BA77: “ The rest of Dogdocs post gets no better. I have much better things than to do than pick apart his nonsense piece by piece.” I can’t speak for others, but I for one would be interested in seeing BA77 picking apart Dogdoc’s arguments. It would be good to see a counter-argument from BA77 to Dogdoc’s post @80, “The Basic Argument”. It doesn’t feel like it’s been addressed yet. Personally I don’t have the philosophical chops to do it, but would like to see the conversation continue. Whether one agrees with it or not, it’s an intriguing and well-stated idea. I think Dogdoc is a worthy and erudite opponent, don’t you think BA77? Fordgreen
Q,
I’m not sure what you meant by “I am a Bayesian.” Did you mean you’ve chosen to use Bayesian inferences for what you consider is reasonable? Or did you mean something else?
Something else: I just meant that I'm familiar with Bayesian reasoning, and believe that (1) it accurately reflects the thought processes people often intuitively use to judge certainty in their beliefs, and (2) represents a way that people ought to evaluate and update their certainty if they wish to hold true beliefs. This is not part of my argument, though - you brought it up. My argument doesn't talk about rationality or reasonability of choices; rather, the argument only applies to decisions that are made for some set of reasons instead of for no reason at all.
My response was to your arbitrary substitutions of “reasonable” and “arbitrary” for the terms, “determinism” and “random.”
I would suggest you read my argument @80. In this context, "random" doesn't mean the same thing that it does when talking about, say, radioactive decay. The word "random" can mean different things in different contexts! In evolutionary theory, "random mutation" does not use the word in the same sense as quantum physics either, as I'm sure you're aware. What I mean by a "random" decision in this context is that it is reached for no particular reason - it is arbitrary, like a mental coin flip.
I no longer know what you’re arguing except that you disagree on principle with Bornagain77, and that you consider yourself a “mysterianist,” rejecting one of the fundamental assumptions of science, which is that we’re even capable of understanding the laws of the universe.
Hahaha no, I'm not advocating the abandonment of seeking to understand what we can learn about the universe. My remark about mysterians was just an aside to BA77, who was making unfounded assumptions about my "worldview". Mysterianism refers mainly to the mind/body problem, not physics.
So, what are you actually arguing and do you have any tangible, experimental support for whatever position you’ve chosen?
As I explained to BA77, thus far the experiments intended to shed light on the nature of conscious choice (Libet-type experiments) do not favor any particular solution to questions of free will. What I am arguing for in general is that I am against the project of declaring metaphysical questions (ontology, mind/body problem, free will, the existence of / nature of God, etc) to have been conclusively solved by scientific inquiry (like BA77 does constantly). They haven't, and I think it's important to remain humble in our ignorance. What I'm arguing for in particular is the point I laid out @80 - that the sort of free will most people believe they have is logically impossible, like lifting yourself up by your bootstraps (or causa sui if you like latin). dogdoc
BobSinclair,
If a person is predisposed to making a decision based on a held belief, value, or desire, and given you have said people are incapable of choosing their beliefs etc. then prior conditions precede any and all choices, in which case each choice is “arrived” at by conditions preceding conditions preceding conditions etc etc.
This is close to what I'm saying, yes. But it's not that some people are "predisposed" to making a decision based on beliefs/desires/etc (BDe) while others may not be. Rather I'm saying that the sort of free will that people value and believe in requires that our choices are the result of reasoned deliberation rather than being made for no reason at all, and BDe (again - beliefs, desires, values, priorities, preferences, fears, hopes, commitments, etc etc) are those things that can serve as reasons.
Also you have agreed that one is capable of making arbitrary decisions but say this isn’t the sort of free will people want.
Right.
What definition of free will is it you believe people desire?
I think that most people believe that we are the ultimate authors of decisions, and subsequent actions. "Free will" to most people means that we have a component within ourselves, or an aspect of ourselves - the will - and that is the ultimate arbiter of our choices. It is also important for people that the will is not merely a coin-flip. Theists sometimes offer "the free will defense" in response to the problem of evil, and this implies that God felt it was so important for humans to have free will that He allows evil and suffering as a result. It seems implausible that the ability to make choices merely at random, for no reason whatsoever, would be considered that important. dogdoc
BA,
Definition: free will the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion.
Both science and philosophy require precise clarifications in language in order to proceed. It is the exacting nature of these pursuits that distinguish them from everyday conversation. Dictionaries, in contrast, capture the sense of words as they are used in everyday conversation. It is very naive of you, then, to think you could make score a debating point regarding a complex philosophical concept such as free will by quoting a dictionary. If you were actually interested in truth instead of constantly just plumping the comfort of your beliefs, you would offer and seek clarifications instead of attempting to find gotchas. What I'm saying is that each individual controls his own actions. Even an autonomous robot controls its own actions! But that obviously doesn't mean that it has free will in the sense that it can freely choose the reasons it has for selecting one action over another.
Thanks for playing.
Witty repartee!
Dogdoc tries this caveat, “We do not, however, choose the beliefs and desires that constitute the reasons for our choices.”
Um, this is not a caveat, it is the heart of this particular argument. Once again: If we base our choices on reasons, then we must freely choose our reasons in order for our choices to be free. But we cannot choose our reasons, and so in this sense our reasoned choices cannot be free.
So, even though he said that we control our actions, we really do not have the control to choose between options. Oh what a tangled web we weave,,,
It's actually a very simple argument (it is, after all, known as The Basic Argument among moral philosophers). Unfortunately you seem thus far unable to grasp it. [here BA inserts some irrelevant copypasta in lieu of attempt to mount a defense of his beliefs]
In short, the claim from Atheistic Naturalists...
Here, you attempt to change the subject. Instead of talking about what I've said regarding free will, you'd like to talk about what other people believe about atheism and naturalism. I understand your motive here - it's because you have no rebuttal to my argument.
...that they have no free will completely undermines any claim that they are making, or that they are even capable of making, a logically, and/or rationally, coherent argument in the first place:
Not a bit...
(1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
Ok, I can work with that.
(2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain (determinism).
For the Nth time, determinism has nothing to do with my argument against free will. You think you have an argument against determinism, so that's what you do, ignoring the fact that my argument works exactly the same no matter what your beliefs about determinism are. You have one hammer and every opposing view therefore looks like a nail! In any case, materialism does not entail that a "thinker" is an effect of brain function. Rather, materialism (if you insist on using this term) entails that thinking is a function of brain processes and nothing else.
(3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
You are here assuming your conclusion: IF you assume that something outside of the brain controls the brain, THEN rationality would be an effect of something other than brain function. If, however, you assume that rationality emerges from brain function, then it's just brain function and nothing else.
(4) no effect can control its cause.
Not that it matters, but this appears to starkly contradict the cybernetic definition of a feedback mechanism.
Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality.
Well, no (!2,!3,!4). And on top of that, my argument has absolutely nothing to do with rationality! All I'm saying that free choices worth wanting must be made according to reasoned deliberation instead of being made arbitrarily; I've never said anything about whether those choices must be rational.
The rest of Dogdocs post gets no better. I have much better things than to do than pick apart his nonsense piece by piece.
Well, I give you credit for trying a little bit, anyway. You did not do a good job, and this is a very weak excuse for giving up, but... thanks for playing :-) dogdoc
Dogdoc,
Actually I am a Bayesian, and I don’t object to what you’ve said
I'm not sure what you meant by "I am a Bayesian." Did you mean you've chosen to use Bayesian inferences for what you consider is reasonable? Or did you mean something else?
I don’t understand what that has to do with the argument I presented though.
My response was to your arbitrary substitutions of "reasonable" and "arbitrary" for the terms, "determinism" and "random." I no longer know what you're arguing except that you disagree on principle with Bornagain77, and that you consider yourself a "mysterianist," rejecting one of the fundamental assumptions of science, which is that we're even capable of understanding the laws of the universe. So, what are you actually arguing and do you have any tangible, experimental support for whatever position you've chosen? -Q Querius
Dogdoc If a person is predisposed to making a decision based on a held belief, value, or desire, and given you have said people are incapable of choosing their beliefs etc. then prior conditions precede any and all choices, in which case each choice is “arrived” at by conditions preceding conditions preceding conditions etc etc. Also you have agreed that one is capable of making arbitrary decisions but say this isn’t the sort of free will people want. What definition of free will is it you believe people desire? BobSinclair
"Of course we have control over our actions!"
Definition: free will the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion.
Thanks for playing. Dogdoc tries this caveat, "We do not, however, choose the beliefs and desires that constitute the reasons for our choices." So, even though he said that we control our actions, we really do not have the control to choose between options. Oh what a tangled web we weave,,,
The Illusion of Free Will - Sam Harris - 2012 Excerpt: "Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it.,,," - Jerry Coyne https://samharris.org/the-illusion-of-free-will/ That statement by Coyne should literally be the number one example of a self-refuting statement that is given in philosophy/logic 101 classes. Michael Egnor: Jerry Coyne Just Can’t Give Up Denying Free Will – April 27, 2020 Excerpt: Someday, I predict, there will be a considerable psychiatric literature on the denial of free will. It’s essentially a delusion dressed up as science. To insist that your neurotransmitters completely control your choices is no different than insisting that your television or your iphone control your thoughts. It’s crazy. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/michael-egnor-jerry-coyne-just-cant-give-up-denying-free-will/ Sam Harris's Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It - Martin Cothran - November 9, 2012 Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state -- including their position on this issue -- is the effect of a physical, not logical cause. By their own logic, it isn't logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/11/sam_harriss_fre066221.html Of note: Martin Cothran is author of several textbooks on traditional logic https://www.amazon.com/Martin-Cothran/e/B00J249LUA/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1
In short, the claim from Atheistic Naturalists that they have no free will completely undermines any claim that they are making, or that they are even capable of making, a logically, and/or rationally, coherent argument in the first place:
(1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts. (2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain (determinism). (3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2) (4) no effect can control its cause. Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality. – per Box UD
The rest of Dogdocs post gets no better. I have much better things than to do than pick apart his nonsense piece by piece. bornagain77
Q,
But now that you mention it, not knowing the difference between a waveform and the wavefunction is not a funny quibble. It simply shows that you don’t know what you’re talking about.
I've already explained the difference to you, and shown that Egnor (a favorite of BA's and others on this site) uses the same terminology as I did, like many others do. You actually had no trouble at all understanding the meaning. It seems to me you could do better than this.
Querius asks: If their choices are non-deterministic and non-random, what do you have left? Docdoc responds: Again, the world of our experience is full of phenomena that are deterministic to the limits of observation. How is that statement at all relevant?
You seem to be arguing that our choices can neither be determined nor random, leaving only something else (presumably libertarian will?). My point is that if the operation of our brain results in our choices, and it operates as a classical system, then we need not assume our choices are non-deterministic. (I am not asserting these assumptions, only making the point as a conditional). None of this, however, has anything to do with the argument I've presented.
Besides, researchers can use a pseudo-random number generator to choose which slit a researcher observes and measures, and the result will always be the same, namely that the wavefunction always collapses as a result of the researcher observing it. The researcher’s observing something affects whether it remains a probability wave or becomes a particle. Now isn’t that curious?
Absolutely!
Side comment: The “limits of observation” opens up a whole new world of Chaos theory. Those limits can have dramatic consequences.
Very true!
Oh joy. You created a new definition of the word “random.” In your argument, random now means arbitrary or contrary to reason.
You're wrong, I didn't invent this argument, these concepts, or that word sense. You're also wrong in that it doesn't mean "contrary to reason" - it means independent of reason.
In the real world, what’s “reasonable” is always at the mercy of Bayesian inferences. Do you agree or will you be introducing more terms and re-definitions?
Actually I am a Bayesian, and I don't object to what you've said (although obviously we can't apply Bayes' rule to every real-world situation, because the world is too ambiguous to formally automate our inferences). I don't understand what that has to do with the argument I presented though. dogdoc
Dogdoc at 100, “mysterianism”? Hoo boy. And I've been called fringe... https://www.nature.com/articles/nn0300_199 Anyway, as I watch this sparring match, it appears that Ba77 is in the lead as far as this contest is concerned. relatd
BobSinclair,
I’ll bite,...
Bravo!!
... so from a quick read of your argument. you believe that free will is reliant upon variables such as a persons values, morals, likes and dislikes etc and those influence or cause a person’s decision.
I would say that their choices are either reliant on these things (beliefs, desires, values, priorities, moral commitments, etc etc), or if not, then they are arbitrary.
so, you believe a person is never truly “free” in such a way as to make a spontaneous “on the spot” decision correct?
As I stated repeatedly, one can freely make an arbitrary decision - one that is not responsive to reason, like a mental coin flip. I go on to say that such decisions are free in a sense, but do not constitute the sort of free will that most people find worth wanting. dogdoc
BA, Let us count the ways in which you are wrong!
Dogdoc, (or more precisely, forces which Dogdoc has no control over)
Mistake #1: Of course we have control over our actions! What a silly thing for you to say! We do not, however, choose the beliefs and desires that constitute the reasons for our choices.
...states that “The Basic Argument” by Galen Strawson” is irrefutable proof that Dogdoc has no free will.
Mistake #2: Perhaps you think it's clever to pretend that my argument applies only to me, but obviously it applies to all of us.
Yet Galen Strawson himself, (or more precisely, forces which Galen Strawson has no control over), honestly admits that, “To be honest, I can’t really accept it (that I have no free will) myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact (that I have no free will) from day to day. Can you, really?”
Mistake #3: How could this quote from Strawson possibly impact the validity of this argument? It's just your tired old quote cherry-picking and mistaking people's psychological/emotional response to philosophical results for actual rational argumentation. Strawson himself does not make that mistake.
So Galen Strawson himself, Dogdoc’s hero...
Mistake #4: I did not get this argument from Strawson, I merely told you that he is the philosopher most commonly associated with some version of this argument. That enabled you to quickly google him and mine this quote that you offer instead of an actual criticism of the argument I presented!
Specifically, if it is impossible for you to live your life consistently as if your atheistic worldview is actually true,
Mistake #5: As it happens, I have no trouble living a happy life that is entirely consistent with my worldview. I am not an atheist, remember? As long as we're making unfounded assumptions, though, perhaps I should respond I hope you're happy as an unhinged lunatic who lives on a street corner holding a sign that says "The End is Nigh!"? For your edification, my worldview is best described as "mysterianism", a term coined by Colin McGinn which indicates that I believe we simply do not know the answers to many of the deepest questions of existence, the mind/body problem, and so on.
...(and, say, treat your children like the meat robots instead of loving them unconditionally),
Mistake #6: Ooh, I must have really hit a nerve by presenting an argument that you can't refute. Now you're really getting personal. I love my family with all my heart. What a stupid, horrible thing for you to say to me. Really disgusting for you to stoop to these horrendous and bizarre accusations just because you can't argue against what I've written. Wow.
...then your worldview cannot possibly reflect reality as it really is, but your worldview must instead be based on a delusion.
Mistake #7: Rather than debate the points I laid out rationally, all you have done is make up lies about me, how I love, how happy I am, and what my emotions are about what philosophical arguments reveal. Note to the fair reader: BA has not provided one single attempt to refute the argument I presented in @80.
Stubborn assertion is not an argument. The reference I provided was quite thorough in explaining why Libet-type experiments fail to show either that free will exists or it does not. But as I stated earlier, I am happy to agree to disagree about this - it wasn't what I was interested in arguing in the first place.
Superdeterminism, in a word, is nonsense,...
This site lovingly quotes Sabine Hossenfelder when she casts doubt on physics that you don't like, but you immediately call her views not only wrong but nonsense if she argues against your beliefs. Cherry picking is all you do. I of course have never argued for superdeterminism! My point, as always, is that you can't just pick the one interpretation of the physics that you feel supports your religious beliefs. dogdoc
Dogdoc @92,
No, I sure didn’t. But now that you mention it, not knowing the difference between a waveform and the wavefunction is not a funny quibble. It simply shows that you don’t know what you’re talking about. It's like hearing a football commentator saying something like, "And now this brings up the fifth down."
Querius asks: If their choices are non-deterministic and non-random, what do you have left? Docdoc responds: Again, the world of our experience is full of phenomena that are deterministic to the limits of observation.
How is that statement at all relevant? Besides, researchers can use a pseudo-random number generator to choose which slit a researcher observes and measures, and the result will always be the same, namely that the wavefunction always collapses as a result of the researcher observing it. The researcher’s observing something affects whether it remains a probability wave or becomes a particle. Now isn't that curious? Side comment: The “limits of observation” opens up a whole new world of Chaos theory. Those limits can have dramatic consequences.
There is also a sense of “random” used in arguments about free will that is not about freedom from statistical patterns, but rather random in the sense of being arbitrary, orthogonal to reason. It is in that sense that my argument rejects random choices as qualifying as “free”.
Oh joy. You created a new definition of the word “random.” In your argument, random now means arbitrary or contrary to reason. In the real world, what’s “reasonable” is always at the mercy of Bayesian inferences. Do you agree or will you be introducing more terms and re-definitions? -Q Querius
Dogdoc I’ll bite, so from a quick read of your argument. you believe that free will is reliant upon variables such as a persons values, morals, likes and dislikes etc and those influence or cause a person’s decision. so, you believe a person is never truly “free” in such a way as to make a spontaneous “on the spot” decision correct? BobSinclair
Dogdoc, (or more precisely, forces which Dogdoc has no control over) states that "The Basic Argument” by Galen Strawson" is irrefutable proof that Dogdoc has no free will. Yet Galen Strawson himself, (or more precisely, forces which Galen Strawson has no control over), honestly admits that, “To be honest, I can’t really accept it (that I have no free will) myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact (that I have no free will) from day to day. Can you, really?”
Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails Nancy Pearcey - April 23, 2015 Excerpt: An especially clear example is Galen Strawson, a philosopher who states with great bravado, “The impossibility of free will … can be proved with complete certainty.” Yet in an interview, Strawson admits that, in practice, no one accepts his deterministic view. “To be honest, I can’t really accept it myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?” But if humans “can’t really live with” the implications of a worldview, is it a reliable map to reality? https://evolutionnews.org/2015/04/when_evolutiona/
So Galen Strawson himself, Dogdoc's hero for denying he has free will, pulls the trigger for his own suicide. Specifically, if it is impossible for you to live your life consistently as if your atheistic worldview is actually true, (and, say, live as if you don't actually have free will), then your worldview cannot possibly reflect reality as it really is, but your worldview must instead be based on a delusion.
Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen 1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview. 2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview. 3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality. 4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion. 5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true. Conclusion: Atheism is false. – per answers for hope
The neuroscientific evidence for free will is rock solid, but I really have no interest in wasting hours chasing Dogdoc down every rabbit hole that he presents, only to have him deny that any of the evidence I present to him makes any difference. (I've been through this same argument with other dogmatic atheists way too many times),, Superdeterminism, in a word, is nonsense, Nonsense that ends denying that we can trust what our experimental results are telling us today since those results were somehow 'super determined' to give us false readings today,, 'superdetermined' billions of years ago, even 'superdetermined' prior to the Big Bang. i.e. it is all pure unmitigated poppycock that doesn't even make good science fiction!. In short, Dogdoc has nothing. bornagain77
Dogdoc I guess I wasn’t clear the first time, 1 your argument isn’t much of an argument, 2 I never engaged or even attempted to “rebut” your “argument” I simply offered a jest (perhaps lacking free will means you’ve lost your sense of humour). I have to say though I do enjoy the “I’m right, you’re wrong” stance you’re taking. Especially now that your arguing over superdeterminism, just fantastic. BobSinclair
BA, Sadly, neither you nor BobSinclair are able to understand that my argument has nothing to do with determinism. Predictably, nobody here is able to refute the simple argument against free will that I have presented (usually known by philosophers as "The Basic Argument" by Galen Strawson). Instructively, however, we see in this a perfect example of what is wrong with the posters on this website: When an argument doesn't fit with their preconceived beliefs, they simply ignore it. I have engaged why your certainty regarding your neuroscientific evidence for free will is far from convincing, and provided a reference with an excellent discussion explaining why I'm right. I have engaged why your understanding of QM does not disprove superdeterminism and provided another excellent reference on that. You, however, are afraid to engage my argument against free will. Clear as day, on this page for all to see. dogdoc
BobSinclair at 87, Touche, that brought a smile to my face. :) Of additional note: in direct contradiction to the atheistic claim that our thoughts are merely the result of whatever prior state our material brain happens to be in, 'Brain Plasticity', the ability to alter the structure of the brain from a person's focused intention, has now been established by Jeffrey Schwartz, as well as among other researchers.
The Case for the Soul - InspiringPhilosophy - (4:03 minute mark, Brain Plasticity including Schwartz's work) - Oct. 2014 - video The Mind is able to modify the brain (brain plasticity). Moreover, Idealism explains all anomalous evidence of personality changes due to brain injury, whereas physicalism cannot explain the mind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBsI_ay8K70 Jeffrey Schwartz: You Are More than Your Brain - Science Uprising Extra Content https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFIOSQNuXuY&list=PLR8eQzfCOiS1OmYcqv_yQSpje4p7rAE7-&index=9
bornagain77
Dogdoc You made no argument to rebut, there was no attempt on my behalf to take anything you wrote seriously enough to warrant a rebuttal. But by all means continue to pat yourself on the back while you sit up there on your high horse. BobSinclair
Sorry about formatting, here it is again: Querius,
LOL. Oh, was that an argument?
You mean about your funny quibble regarding wavefunction vs waveform? Nope, I don't see that as an argument, LOL. If you mean the argument I presented against free will, then yes, it is a version of a well-known philosophical argument that many have advanced over the years, now most often associated with Galen Strawson.
Again, the topic is “How Infinity Threatens Cosmology.”
BA and I had wandered a bit into the area of free will; he was discussing evidence from neuroscience and physics that he believes strengthens the case for free will. It's quite all right for people to bring up different topics of course - feel free to talk about what you'd like to discuss and ignore the rest!
Again, what we CHOOSE to measure or observe has profound and immediate effects in quantum mechanics including wavefunction collapse and the limits (Heisenberg) in the information that can be extracted from conjugate variables.
Yes, we can all agree on this (though I would be using a compatibilist notion of choice, or one that is agnostic regarding antecedent cause, rather than a libertarian definition).
Some people argue that our choices are also completely deterministic, but this has already been falsified by the existence of random events. Random events blows a hole in determinism, allowing us to have non-deterministic choices.
I completely agree that determinism has been undermined by physics, although the world is full of macro phenomena that are completely deterministic to the limit of our observations.
Our non-deterministic choices choices are not random, in fact, when people are given the task of creating a string of random numbers, they inevitably fail to do so, which can be shown statistically.
Interestingly, when Apple first introduced "random shuffle" on their iPods, they of course used a pseudo-random generator, but people complained that the shuffle was not random because at times it might repeat the same song more frequently than others! So Apple had to introduce other (deterministic of course) algorithms to make it seem to human listeners that the order was random! Still, there are obviously many (macro) phenomena that are deterministic, even if underlying quantum processes are not. There is also a sense of "random" used in arguments about free will that is not about freedom from statistical patterns, but rather random in the sense of being arbitrary, orthogonal to reason. It is in that sense that my argument rejects random choices as qualifying as "free".
If their choices are non-deterministic and non-random, what do you have left?
Again, the world of our experience is full of phenomena that are deterministic to the limits of observation. But with respect to human free will, I would say the salient categories are deliberate vs. arbitrary. dogdoc
Querius,
LOL. Oh, was that an argument?
You mean about your funny quibble regarding wavefunction vs waveform? Nope, I don't see that as an argument, LOL. If you mean the argument I presented against free will, then yes, it is a version of a well-known philosophical argument that many have advanced over the years, now most often associated with Galen Strawson.
Again, the topic is “How Infinity Threatens Cosmology.”
BA and I had wandered a bit into the area of free will; he was discussing evidence from neuroscience and physics that he believes strengthens the case for free will. It's quite all right for people to bring up different topics of course - feel free to talk about what you'd like to discuss and ignore the rest!
Again, what we CHOOSE to measure or observe has profound and immediate effects in quantum mechanics including wavefunction collapse and the limits (Heisenberg) in the information that can be extracted from conjugate variables.
Yes, we can all agree on this (though I would be using a compatibilist notion of choice, or one that is agnostic regarding antecedent cause, rather than a libertarian definition).
Some people argue that our choices are also completely deterministic, but this has already been falsified by the existence of random events. Random events blows a hole in determinism, allowing us to have non-deterministic choices.
I completely agree that determinism has been undermined by physics.
Our non-deterministic choices choices are not random, in fact, when people are given the task of creating a string of random numbers, they inevitably fail to do so, which can be shown statistically.
Interestingly, when Apple first introduced "random shuffle" on their iPods, they of course used a pseudo-random generator, but people complained that the shuffle was not random because at times it might repeat the same song more frequently than others! So Apple had to introduce other (deterministic of course) algorithms to make it seem to human listeners that the order was random! Still, there are obviously many (macro) phenomena that are deterministic, even if underlying quantum processes are not. There is also a sense of "random" used in arguments about free will that is not about freedom from statistical patterns, but rather random in the sense of being arbitrary, orthogonal to reason. It is in that sense that my argument rejects random choices as qualifying as "free".
If their choices are non-deterministic and non-random, what do you have left?
Again, the world of our experience is full of phenomena that are deterministic to the limits of observation. But with respect to human free will, I would say the salient categories are deliberate vs. arbitrary.
dogdoc
LOL. Oh, was that an argument? Again, the topic is "How Infinity Threatens Cosmology." The nature of "reality" has consequences when applying mathematics to reality, including mathematical infinities. Again, what we CHOOSE to measure or observe has profound and immediate effects in quantum mechanics including wavefunction collapse and the limits (Heisenberg) in the information that can be extracted from conjugate variables. Some people argue that our choices are also completely deterministic, but this has already been falsified by the existence of random events. Random events blows a hole in determinism, allowing us to have non-deterministic choices. Our non-deterministic choices choices are not random, in fact, when people are given the task of creating a string of random numbers, they inevitably fail to do so, which can be shown statistically. If their choices are non-deterministic and non-random, what do you have left? -Q Querius
Speaking of a lack of principled argument, BobSinclair here seems to think that calling an argument "rambling" (and utterly misunderstanding the argument I made, laughably thinking it had to do with determinism!) constitutes a rebuttal. So sad. dogdoc
Also, Querius, reviewing your previous comments I see you objected to me conflating a quantum wave function with the waveform it describes, and referring to a "waveform collapse", as if that somehow undermined my arguments or credibility. Of course it's a common usage - a quick search reveals that even local hero Michael Egnor uses the same terminology:
...the collapse of the quantum waveform is the reduction of potency to act https://evolutionnews.org/2017/07/what-is-matter-the-aristotelian-perspective/
I always hope for more principled arguments here, hard not to get discouraged. dogdoc
Dogdoc Is it the theistic impression of free will that bothers you? or is this just the ramblings of an event predicated around the time of the Big Bang that has brought you automating paragraphs upon paragraphs in attempt to convince people you have no free will. BobSinclair
BA77: Empirical evidence, from both neuroscience and quantum mechanics, now strongly indicates that our ability to choose between options is not determined by any possible prior physical/material causes. i.e. As far as empirical science itself is concerned, we have the ability to freely choose between possible options.
Querius has refrained from engaging my argument against free will @80, but instead discusses issues with determinism. Note that my argument is entirely independent from the question of determinism, or physical causality in general. It demonstrates that we lack the sort of free will that people typically assume we have; that is, the ability to deliberate and act on the basis of reasons of our own choosing. My argument does not refute a fundamental libertarianism - it allows for the possibility of acting randomly with no antecedent cause - and thus it does not figure in discussions regarding EPR-type experiments. But as many have pointed out, random choices are not the sort of free will worth wanting, and the free will BA77 is defending here certainly involves a stronger notion of will and intention than mere randomness. dogdoc
And even the concepts of infinite precision, temporal infinity, infinite black-hole density/gravity at an infinitely small point is highly suspicious and blows up the math in a similar way as a divide by zero operation. -Q Querius
Bornagain @82,
Empirical evidence, from both neuroscience and quantum mechanics, now strongly indicates that our ability to choose between options is not determined by any possible prior physical/material causes. i.e. As far as empirical science itself is concerned, we have the ability to freely choose between possible options.
The fact is that in the famous double-slit experiment, our decision to observe one slit instantly changes the result of either a diffraction pattern or two bars regardless whether the observation was made *after* the particles used passed through the slits. This tells us that the cause was not something that happened at the slits, but it's related to the information about the particle or particles. That the effects of this experiment and entanglement are instantaneous and not limited by the speed of light, reinforces the conclusion that information itself manifests itself in our universe, but is not limited to our universe. The Heisenberg uncertainly principle indicates that there's a limit on the information we can CHOOSE to extract from conjugate variables. Why there should be such a limit is a mystery and it also creates a problem for determinism. The problem that deterministic materialists face is their struggle with predestination--that all our choices and nature's responses even at the quantum level must therefore have been determined at infinite precision at the big bang or from temporal infinity in a steady state universe ("turtles all the way back") or in generating ex nihilo a completely new universe from every decision point or wavefunction collapse. This means that everything must scripted and there are no probabilities or random outcomes, something that even Dr. Hossenfelder cannot accept. If you throw in only a single random event, the entire script loses its determinism from that point on, let alone effects such as photon emissions and quantum foam. The effect I'm interested in is whether the wavefunction has gravity before it collapses. The amount of gravity is currently far too small for use to measure. My guess is that it doesn't. -Q Querius
BA77, It would appear to me that you can find no way to refute the argument I've made. In my experience, nobody ever has.
The empirical evidence is what you are having a problem with, not me.