Culture Intelligent Design Mind Naturalism

Claim: It makes sense to pretend to believe in free will

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From What Is Thought? by AI expert Eric B. Baum (2004, pp 226-27):

Consciousness has many aspects. We are aware of our world and our sensations. We have a sense of self. We have goals and aspirations. We seem to have free will and moral responsibility. Yet, as I’ve said, the mind is equivalent to a Turing machine. Moreover, we have arisen through evolution and are descended from microbes by a smooth chain of evolution, with more complex mental processes at each stage evolved from the processes at the one before. Where in this process did consciousness enter? Why are we conscious? What is consciousness?”

“The conclusion that we do not really have free will, discussed earlier in the context of classical physics, quantum physics, and algorithmic information theory, is after all a very abstract conclusion, of interest only to philosophers and stoned college students late at night. Whether all my actions are completely predictable given the quantum state of my brain is of no practical interest to my genes or to any ordinary person. For all practical purposes, we have free will. There is no experiment I can propose that will show directly, and simply that we don’t. The lack of free will only follows from lengthy, complex, abstract arguments. These arguments are almost surely correct: the physical arguments make a vast number of verified predictions along the way, the mathematical arguments have been scrutinized and seem airtight. But who really cares, for all practical purposes? It’s much more reasonable and practical for my genes to build me believing in free will, and for me to act and think as if I have free will.”

In short, Baum cannot demonstrate his thesis to a reasonable person and wants us to believe—on no explainable basis—that our “genes” cause us to believe in free will because it aids Darwinian survival.

Such a point of view, taken seriously, and taken in conjunction with the idea that consciousness is a user illusion, provides strong support for authoritarian government.

That is so whether anyone who believes this intends authoritarian government. It is so even if the believer fights against that consequence. It is merely his genes that cause him to do so. Absent free will and actual consciousness of reality, there is no reason to respect the views those who disagree with a current government program, thus creating glitches in the system.

Even the fact that a given government program is ineffectual, counterproductive, or disastrous is not sufficient justification for dissent from power because the dissent is simply a non-rational nullity.

If you believe naturalism (nature is all there is) that is.

If it is true that a large proportion of academics are naturalists, perhaps it’s no surprise that university campuses today are th most authoritarian places in the Wstern world. And if naturalism grows in popularity, it’ll get worse.

See also: How can we believe in naturalism if we have no choice?

Howling Darwinists Barry Arrington

and

The war on intellectual freedom How political correctness morphed into a monster.

5 Replies to “Claim: It makes sense to pretend to believe in free will

  1. 1
    EricMH says:

    If the mind were a Turing machine it’d be impossible for the mind to know it is a Turing machine. However, if the mind is more powerful than a Turing machine, then it is possible to know the mind is not a Turing machine. Therefore, it is impossible to know the mind is a Turing machine, contrary to the author’s claim.

  2. 2
    Origenes says:

    Eric B. Baum: The lack of free will only follows from lengthy, complex, abstract arguments. These arguments are almost surely correct …. But who really cares, for all practical purposes? It’s much more reasonable and ….

    Hold your horses! You must have overlooked the following: no free will no rationality. Allow me to explain.
    If you are not the one who is thinking, but if, instead, blind particles in motion are doing that for you, then you cannot be rational.
    Got it? Now do you also see why you should care?
    Hopefully that argument wasn’t too lengthy, complex and/or abstract for you.

  3. 3
    Charles says:

    Whether all my actions are completely predictable given the quantum state of my brain is of no practical interest to my genes or to any ordinary person.

    Vegas bookies & oddsmakers, market speculators, and insurance actuaries all might have some practical interest in the predictability of human actions, yes?

    Further, the quantum state of your brain is in fact random and chaotic. It is the physically perfect randomness of the quantum state that allows quantum random number generators (QRNG) to work, and generate unique and perfectly random numbers everytime.

    For all practical purposes, we have free will. There is no experiment I can propose that will show directly, and simply that we don’t.

    Au Contraire!!!

    An experimental setup whereby a QRNG gets is sample from your brain (caution, kids, don’t try this at home) and then you decide whether to mimic the generators output or imagine your own number, will demonstrate that you have free will to choose every time whereas the QRNG has *zero* freedom to generate anything but random. Your mind can choose to be repetitive, but the QRNG (like the quantum state of your brain) can not.

    Conversely, if you had no free will, and were in fact subject to the quantum state of your brain, you too could be a quantum random number generator. But you can’t and so you do have free will.

    Further, you have free will to lie, whereas the QRNG (and the materialistitic universe) can never lie. It is what it is, hard to measure or observe at times, but never “false”, unlike the numerous materialist (freely willed) assertions often found on these pages.

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    “Consciousness has many aspects. We are aware of our world and our sensations. We have a sense of self. We have goals and aspirations. We seem to have free will and moral responsibility.”

    We? our? what’s that?

    🙂

  5. 5
    Dionisio says:

    The Turing reductionist approach to biological processes apparently led to the source-sink diffusion mechanism that has been accepted as the explanation for morphogen gradient formation until scientists realized that in many cases it doesn’t explain the whole enchilada. The transport of signaling proteins seems to occur via different methods that are relatively well documented in the most recent biology research papers, but the the last word hasn’t been said yet, hence the investigation continues. However, around two years ago a well known biochemistry professor from a prestigious Canadian university affirmed here in this website that he knew exactly how morphogen gradients are formed.
    Reductionist mentality seems to be the default mode in this world.

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