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Charles in Charge (of Charles)

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“Charles” posted the following in the combox to VJ’s excellent Free Will post:

Scientist: OK, Charles, when you’re ready, just click the + key or the – key, whichever you choose.

Charles: Copy that.

Scientist: Let’s begin.

Charles: Copy that.


Charles: (humming a tune)


Scientist: Charles, it’s been several minutes now and you’ve not clicked either key.

Charles: Golly.

Scientist: OK, Charles, we’ll start again. Just click the + key or the – key, when you’re ready, whichever you choose.

Charles: Copy that.


Charles: (drumming fingers)

Scientist: Er, ummm … Charles, you’ve still not clicked either key.

Charles: Boy, you guys don’t miss a thing.

Scientist: Why haven’t you clicked either key?

Charles: I didn’t want to.

Scientist: But our experiment measures your choice to click one key or the other, so you must decide which one to click.

Charles: Must I really?

Scientist: Well, yes. We’re measuring if you can freely decide to click one key or the other.

Charles: Right. Got it.

Scientist: Start again. Just click the + key or the – key, whichever you choose.

Charles: Copy that.


Charles: (nodding off)

Scientist: Really Charles, you’re not supposed to sleep, drum fingers, hum, or anything else. You must decide which key to click and then do that, and only that.

Charles: I seem to have lost the plot. Why again?

Scientist: (exasperated) We’re measuring your free will to click either key.

Charles: But I don’t want to click keys. Why don’t you measure which fingers I freely drum?

Scientist: Well, that’s not in our grant protocol, sorry. + or – key clicks only.

Charles: So, you’re not really free to measure my free choices, just your free choices?

Scientist: No. This protocol was decided months ago.

Charles: Well. Alrightythen.

Scientist: Ok. Once more. Just click either the + key or the – key.

Charles: Copy that.


Charles: (presses both keys simultaneously)

Scientist: Charles!!! You are not cooperating.

Charles: I was, really. You haven’t seen me not cooperate.

Scientist: But you’re violating the protocol.

Charles: Yeah, I get that a lot. Still, I like my protocol better, I freely decide what to press, or not.

Scientist: Nein! Nein! Nein! (throws clipboard) Sie können Ihre eigenen Protokoll nicht folgen!!! Wir haben regeln!!!

Charles: ‘scuse me???

Scientist: (breathes deeply). You can’t follow your own protocol. We have rules, you see.

Charles: Well, no actually I don’t see. My free will, my choices, yes?

Scientist: No. You only get to freely choose amongst the options we allow.

Charles: But aren’t you trying to constrain my free will?

Scientist: Certainly not. You don’t have any free will, we’re just measuring its absence.

Charles: Ohhhhh. Now I get it. Ok.

Scientist: Last chance. Just click either the + key or the – key.

Charles: Copy that.


Charles: (hits cntrl alt del)

Scientist: Aaargghhhhh!!! Wir können nicht weiter!!! Fertig. Kaput! Enter into the log “subject has no free will.”

Charles: Seriously? That’s a frog with no legs. How’d you reach that finding?

Scientist: We can only measure free will by clicks of either the + or – keys. Nothing else. Nada. Zilch. You’ve ruined our baseline samples, now haven’t you. How will we ever explain this data….

Charles: Well… couldn’t you just footnote it in the supplmental information? Something like “subject’s free will always exceeded protocol bounds”

Scientist: Nie. Wir können das nicht tun!!! The grant was specifically to demonstrate a lack of free will. If we submit this data, we’ll never be published, no more grants, no Nobel prize, no BMW (gazes off wistfully).

Charles: Aren’t you actually confusing choices with consequences. You can freely choose anything, but you’re still constrained by the consequences of your choices. You’re free to submit the measurements of my free will, you just don’t like the consequences.

Scientist: But choices are always constrained.

Charles: Are they? Let’s measure that again.


Animal instinct vs. free will? http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/news/2014/05/fruit-flies-“think”-they-act?et_cid=3957420&et_rid=653535995&location=top Does the story of Maximilian Kolbe fit in this discussion? Can we pick our birthday and birthplace? Can we choose to do free fall parachuting? [assuming it's affordable] Can we choose to do good to strangers? Can we choose to love [agape] someone? Dionisio
Yeah, that's me in top hat, back in the day. Wow, that brings back memories... Edgar had a daughter, Candace, who had a major thing for me (every girl's crazy for a smart dressed man). Well, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Charles
Charles, prior to his career as a test subject for free will, had an act in Vegas! Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brT6gXdhLWk bornagain77
Well done Charles! BTW, if anyone missed it, "That’s a frog with no legs." I believe references a joke where a scientist kept chopping off a frog's legs one at a time, each time recording how far it jumped when the scientist instructed it to do so. When the frog ended up with no legs, of course it didn't jump. The scientist apparently recorded, "a frog with no legs is deaf." Moose Dr
My favorite part?
Copy that.
I hope nobody missed the fact that when Charles said "copy that", he meant "I understand." This is something a computer could never say with the same meaning. When a computer "copies" something, it merely does it. . . . Tim
There's funny and there's funny, but that is funny. jstanley01

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