Intelligent Design Mind Naturalism Neuroscience

Neuroscientist debunks hype about no free will, etc.

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A friend writes, “This young German brain researcher publicly condemns exaggerated claims of neuroscientists, “debunking” of free will, so-called dangerous brains, and so forth.”

Talk by Dr. S. (Stephan) Schleim at the 2014 Heymans Symposium ‘Research Worth Spreading’ of the Psychology department of the University of Groningen

and

Understanding the possibilities and limitations of brain imaging (2009)

Interview with Stephan Schleim, researcher at the University Clinics Bonn, Germany, during the bid-workshop ‘brains in dialogue on brain imaging’.

See also: Physicist: Do the defects of real numbers open the door to free will in physics?

and

How can we believe in naturalism if we have no choice?

7 Replies to “Neuroscientist debunks hype about no free will, etc.

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is his paper:

    Brains in context in the neurolaw debate: the examples of free will and “dangerous” brains. – Schleim – 2012
    Excerpt: By analyzing frequently quoted examples for the unconscious determinants of behavior and antisocial personality changes caused by brain lesions in a wider psychological and social context, the paper argues for a cautious middle position: Evidence for an impending normative “neuro-revolution” is scarce
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22289293

    In the first video that News listed in the OP, Dr. Stephan Schleim mentions the infamous case of Phineas Gage and then Dr. Schleim notes some modern day counter examples to Phineas Gage that contradict the widespread belief in ‘dangerous’, i.e. psychopathic, brains.

    What Dr. Schleim did not mention in the video is that the widely cited case of Phineas Gage, i.e. brain damage leading to psychopathy, is now known to be wildly exaggerated folklore.

    What the textbooks don’t tell you about psychology’s most famous case study – June 30, 2015
    Excerpt: It’s a remarkable, mythical tale with lashings of gore – no wonder it’s a favourite of psychology students the world over. I’m talking about Phineas Gage, the nineteenth century railway worker who somehow survived the passing of a three-foot long tamping iron through the front of his brain and out the top of his head. What happened to him next?
    If you turn to many of the leading introductory psychology textbooks (American ones, at least), you’ll find the wrong answer, or a misleading account. Richard Griggs, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Florida, has just analysed the content of 23 contemporary textbooks (either released or updated within the last couple of years), and he finds most of them contain distortions, omissions and inaccuracies.
    It needn’t be so. Thanks to painstaking historical analysis of primary sources (by Malcolm Macmillan and Matthew Lena) – much of it published between 2000 and 2010 – and the discovery during the same time period of new photographic evidence of post-accident Gage (see image, right), it is now believed that Gage made a remarkable recovery from his terrible injuries. He ultimately emigrated to Chile where he worked as a horse-coach driver, controlling six horses at once and dealing politely with non-English speaking passengers. The latest simulations of his injury help explain his rehabilitation – it’s thought the iron rod passed through his left frontal lobe only, leaving his right lobe fully intact.
    Yet, the textbooks mostly tell a different story. Of the 21 that cover Gage, only 4 mention the years he worked in Chile. Only three detail his mental recovery. Fourteen of the books tell you about the first research that attempted to identify the extent of his brain injuries, but just four of the books give you the results from the most technically advanced effort, published in 2004, that first suggested his brain damage was limited to the left frontal lobe (watch video). Only 9 of the books feature either of the two photos to have emerged of Gage in recent times.
    So the textbooks mostly won’t tell you about Gage’s rehabilitation, or provide you with the latest evidence on his injuries. Instead, you might hear how hear never worked again and became a vagrant, or that he became a circus freak for the rest of his life, showing off the holes in his head. “The most egregious error,” says Griggs, “seems to be that Gage survived for 20 years with the tamping iron embedded in his head!”.,,,
    https://digest.bps.org.uk/2015/06/30/what-the-textbooks-dont-tell-you-about-psychologys-most-famous-case-study/

    Phineas Gage
    Exaggeration and distortion of mental changes
    Excerpt: Macmillan’s analysis of scientific and popular accounts of Gage found that they almost always distort and exaggerate his behavioral changes well beyond anything described by anyone who had direct contact with him,,,
    Other behaviors ascribed to the post-accident Gage that are either unsupported by, or in contradiction to, the known facts include:
    mistreatment of wife and children (though Gage actually had neither);[60]
    inappropriate sexual behavior, promiscuity, or impaired sexuality;[61]
    lack of forethought, concern for the future, or capacity for embarrassment;[62]
    parading his self-misery, and vainglory in showing his wounds;[62]
    “gambling” himself into “emotional and reputational … bankruptcy”;[63]
    irresponsibility, untrustworthiness,[64] aggressiveness, violence;[65]
    vagrancy, begging,[66] drifting,[67] drinking;[68]
    lying,[69] brawling,[70] bullying;[71]
    psychopathy,[72][63] inability to make ethical decisions;[73]
    loss of all respect for social conventions;[73]
    acting like an “idiot”?[73] or a “lout”;[54]
    living as a “layabout”?[74] or a “boorish mess”;[75]
    “[alienating] almost everyone who had ever cared about him”;[76]
    dying “due to a debauch”.[77]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phineas_Gage#Exaggeration_and_distortion_of_mental_changes

  2. 2
    ppolish says:

    Will you or won’t you?

    I like DrDembski’s idea of “free won’t”. Making the decision to resist or refuse is often the more difficult decision.

  3. 3
    Nonlin.org says:

    http://nonlin.org/free-will

    3. Determinism is self-defeating as lack of Free Will would render all decisions illusory. The Sun, the dead, and the rocks do not decide anything, so why would a determinism proponent decide any more than these entities? And without decisions, ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘worry’, ‘fair’, ‘guilt’, ‘self’, and so on do not make any more sense either. Convincing others that Free Will is not true makes absolutely no sense if Free Will were indeed illusory.

    5. Like a muscle, Free Will (Willpower) gets tired and can be overwhelmed or destroyed by external forces. Free Will appears to decrease when suffering brain trauma, under the influence of chemicals, due to genetic conditions, or when infected with certain parasites. In non-human life forms, Free Will seems weaker than reflexes and instincts. Willpower failures are not evidence against Free Will, just as forces overpowering one’s muscles do not disprove the muscular system’s power. Free Will experiments (Libet and others) have been inconclusive so far.
    6. Quantum mechanics indeterminacy invalidates determinism. In the double slit experiment, one can set up a perfectly deterministic setup yet every time the experiment is repeated, it cannot be known (except statistically) where the particle will end up even if the setup is calibrated to the n-th degree. This is totally different than the deterministic systems where the normal distribution of outputs can be narrowed by tightening the inputs / set-up with the theoretical conclusion that perfect inputs / set-up will result in perfect outputs (determinism).

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    Matthew 26: The Bible provides evidence for no free will

    34 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”

    35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”

    And so said all the disciples.

    69 Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”

    70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”

    71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

    72 But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”

    73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”

    74 Then he began to [a]curse and [b]swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”

    Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly

  5. 5
    DATCG says:

    Seversky,

    You will continue to be blind then to truth. Because you have no free will.

    A parent tells a child she will lie again. Is it due to not having free will? Or being a parent who understands children often lie?

    Child, you will lie three times before the weekend is over and deny taking cookies out of the cookie jar.

    The child lies to Dad, to Grandmother and to Grandfather.

    Did the child lack freewill? Or did the parent know the child better than the child knew herself?

  6. 6
    DATCG says:

    a few Biblical verses on free will…

    1 Corinthians 10:13
    “No temptation has taken you but such as man can bear. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

    Yes, you will be tempted in life by all kinds of people with money, sex, drugs, theft, etc., but you can overcome such temptations.

    Galations 5:13-25
    13 For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only don’t use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another.
    14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
    15 But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you don’t consume one another.
    16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh.
    17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one other, that you may not do the things that you desire.
    18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
    19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness,
    20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies,
    21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, shalom, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
    23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
    24 Those who belong to Messiah have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts.
    25 If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit.

    Another words, we have free will to partake of fleshly desires, giving ourselves over to temptations or turn away from them and unto the Lord. It’s a choice.

    Joshua 24:15
    “If it seem evil to you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amori, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

    again, it’s a choice.

    Play it Zimmy…

    It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re going to have to serve somebody…. Serve somebody…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CwHby-YTNo

    Your choice.

  7. 7
    Origenes says:

    In a sense the matter is irrelevant, since anyone interested in rational inquiry must assume the existence free will.

    If you have no free will, if, instead, the course of ‘your’ reasoning is irresistibly pressed upon you by physical events, which trace back to events and laws of nature well before you were born, and are thus beyond your control, then you cannot vouch for any of your beliefs.

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