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Thread: The Great Contradiction

  1. Top | #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly
    Unconditionally means just that, without conditions. I don't know of any circumstance in life that is unconditional. Clearly many things happened that were not of your making or will that brought you to this point. Is it reasonable to think that now you are free of that same process?
    What do you mean "free of that process"?
    I can make choices of my own accord. I don't see why the previous causes would interfere with that. For that matter, if a fully formed copy of me came into existence right now (freak quantum stuff, aliens abduct me and make a copy, whatever), I'd say he can act of his own accord too.


    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly
    We're in a religious forum where supposedly a magic being gives us all this thing called free will. Misusing that free will got us in trouble, that's the claim. Does that make sense to you?
    The claim makes no sense to me. But neither does the claim that a magic being gives us all free will. I can act of my own accord/free will regardless of that, as far as I can tell.
    It's refreshing to know that we have similar tastes when it comes to magic beings.

    We all make decisions and choices but none of those actions are unconditional. In another thread I agreed that free will is nothing more than a conditioned or conditional choice, as is everything else in life. The best way I can help you understand my take on free will is to tell you that it strikes me as being the same thing as grace or miracles. And of course there isn't any of that stuff either.

    Shall I go full Einstein and say that everything is relative? Does that help make my point?

    We don't choose to be born and don't choose the circumstances of our death. Are you choosing for your heart to beat and your lungs to breath? If you have no choice over these things how can you argue that you have free will? Free will is not the same thing as the mundane act of making decisions and choices. Even squirrels do that.

  2. Top | #172
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    We all make decisions and choices but none of those actions are unconditional. In another thread I agreed that free will is nothing more than a conditioned or conditional choice, as is everything else in life. The best way I can help you understand my take on free will is to tell you that it strikes me as being the same thing as grace or miracles. And of course there isn't any of that stuff either.

    Shall I go full Einstein and say that everything is relative? Does that help make my point?

    We don't choose to be born and don't choose the circumstances of our death. Are you choosing for your heart to beat and your lungs to breath? If you have no choice over these things how can you argue that you have free will? Free will is not the same thing as the mundane act of making decisions and choices. Even squirrels do that.
    I would go along with all of that I think.

    My only caveat would be that humans (human systems), especially those that are developed and working successfully and efficiently/healthily, seem to have capacities for making (and learning to make) choices and decisions, that are, the capacities I mean, in at least some key ways much more complicated and sophisticated than any other systems that we know of.

    The capacity which involves running internal simulations of possible future events is pretty amazing but possibly not exclusive to us (chess-playing computers may do it) but as far as we know the experience of having a 'self' which is (or feels) consciously aware of it happening (mentally, 'a me being somewhere else at some other time') and indeed even seems to be in charge of it happening, is probably unique.

    Conscious memories (often involving an associated sense of self) being integrated into the simulations also seems to happen a lot.

    Don't let's even get started on the non-conscious and/or instinctual stuff that probably accounts for the majority of everything we do.

    And then there is the possibility that the conscious simulations (and indeed perhaps all conscious thoughts) may be not much more than 'reports just after the event' and not (primarily at least) causal (to that event).

    This is not to demean squirrels' capacities obviously. And not even those that bacteria have. I hear that some of those little fuckers will survive almost anything and may still be going strong long after we're gone.
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 01-06-2020 at 03:45 PM.

  3. Top | #173
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    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by atrib View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post
    I’m not trying to present a formal argument here at all.
    I’m presenting a contradiction that occurs in the reasoning of the OP.
    Explained further in post 112.
    Happy New Year.
    Happy New Year.

    Post 112 doesn't answer any of the questions I have asked.

    Call it what you will, a formal argument, or a casual discussion. The fact remains that you have made the assertion I outlined in my post. You have quoted Haldane directly, and have elaborated on his assertion further using your own words, thereby testifying to your support of Haldane's position. I am asking you to explain how the argument works: namely, to elaborate on the premises and support them with facts, and then show us how the premises lead to the conclusion. Considering how many times you have repeated this naked assertion in this thread, I find it strange that you are apparently not willing to support it any further, or at all, really, for that matter.

    Or are you now conceding that your argument is flawed?
    Is the OP asking for us to reason for a materialistic explanation as to why the brains of theists are so blind to their damaged reasoning?
    The OP speculated on the possible evolutionary origins of the ability of some humans to not recognize certain seemingly contradictory positions that they hold. He did not get into the details of his hypothesis. But what does this have to do with the validity of Haldane's claim and why you appear to support it? Why do we have to play 20 questions instead of you clarifying the matter in an open and honest manner?

  4. Top | #174
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    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by atrib View Post

    How can we formulate "positive reasonable inferences about what we don't know"? How can we test and verify these inferences?

    This is an honest question I have asked you more than once, and you have always dodged it. So set the atheists straight once and for all. Describe the epistemological tools we can use to learn about and test the unknown/supernatural world you claim exists, the world where gods create universes and intervene in their affairs.
    I have not dodged you. I have told you that again and again that all belief should be based on sufficient reasoning. Philosophically reason through the evidence and alternatives. Again you are hinting at philosophically limiting sufficient reason to only scientific reasoning. Which as I have pointed out to you many times is self defeating.
    You just repeated the original assertion without explaining how the process works. What a waste of time.

  5. Top | #175
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    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post
    Have you forgotten that there are people that do NOT want to build nuclear bombs? That is the will of those people (if we are of course, considering this to be an alternative choice).
    Don't take me so literally. Those people who build nuclear bombs also care for their families. How do you reconcile the contradiction?
    I take the two simple words 'Free Will' to be literal as our friend Lion does. So we have two types of people that care for their families but.... one is in favour of building nukes and the other is not.
    It was said that in the Manhattan Project there were two types of scientists in favor of building nukes. Oppenheimer's team were building nukes because they believed the alternative was the Germans getting them first. Fermi's team were building nukes because they wanted to...

  6. Top | #176
    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    ... It is obvious to me that I'm writing of my own free will. I do not feel compelled by any threats - no gun to my head, etc. Nor do I see any evidence of brain damage compelling me. Moreover, I don't even feel forced. In short, it certainly looks like I'm acting of my own free will, and I see no good evidence against it.
    ...
    You seem to be saying that if you were being threatened by someone with a gun to your head you would not be writing of your own free will. And yet you still had to make a choice. I'm not saying the choice wasn't less free. But if you wanted to, for whatever reason, you could have chosen not to write. That's what dualists mean by free will. It's more like free-floating will. Untethered by any restraint of context and therefore essentially meaningless.

  7. Top | #177
    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post
    Logical choices yes. It's sometimes mentioned, that when it comes to choices - a computer can have free will too. I don't think this would be quite the same as humans dealing with various choices because... we also make choices from our emotions i.e. compassion, hatred, fear, love and so on - be it wise or unwise ... self control, refrainment, sacrifice. The biblical free will - if you will - depending on the scenario.
    My computer throws a fit now and then. Seems quite irrational from the outside. Still I'm sure there's a logical reason behind it. As with humans it probably amounts to conflicts arising between various operations and functions.

  8. Top | #178
    Senior Member remez's Avatar
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    Again I’m not trying to get you to agree with me. But I am trying to help you understand the premises, conclusions and reasoning of my position of substance dualism. Which stands opposed to the OP and reasons for the contradiction in it’s reasoning. By all means show me where I wrong.
    Let’s focus right here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bomb#20 View Post
    You mean this?

    "Haldane’s point is from a naturistic viewpoint (foundational to atheism) there is no thinking. He simply had to say that. You had to disagree with him. Christians have to believe what they believe. That’s the way naturalism works….there is no freewill, thinking or choice. It is all but illusion bc all is naturally deterministic."

    That's still a non-sequitur. Even if Haldane simply had to say it, and Bilby had to disagree, and you have to agree, and naturalism rules out free will and choice, how would any of that imply it rules out thinking?
    How would that rule out thinking?
    Great question.

    Let me go back through that again attempting to make the implicit….. explicit…ok…..
    Quote Originally Posted by Bomb#20 View Post
    Haldane’s point is from a naturistic viewpoint (foundational to atheism) there is no thinking.
    Because the atoms determine the outcome, not Haldane, you or I. Atoms don’t think they always do what they do. No freedom.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bomb#20 View Post
    He simply had to say that.
    Bc atoms don’t think, there was no freedom to think. He had to say that. Atoms determined he had to say that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bomb#20 View Post
    You had to disagree with him.
    Because your determined non-rational atoms made you say that. You had no freedom to reason. If all is determined by non-freethinking atoms then your thoughts that you are thinking are illusion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bomb#20 View Post
    Christians have to believe what they believe.
    Because that is what is determined by the non-thinking atoms.

    Now I’m not saying you nor I don’t think. I’m saying that no thinking can occur if strict materialistic determinism is the paradigm of “thought”……..bc……….
    Quote Originally Posted by Bomb#20 View Post
    That’s the way naturalism (in this specific narrow context) works….there is no freewill, thinking or choice.
    Because thinking is dependent upon you having freedom to reason over your non-thinking deterministic atoms output. Atoms don’t have the freedom to think …..but you do. Thus you are not identical to your atoms. Hence my position of substance dualism. Bc………….if you don’t have freedom from your non-thinking determinist atoms…..then no one is thinking. Our thoughts of thinking are ……………
    Quote Originally Posted by Bomb#20 View Post
    It is all but illusion bc all is naturally deterministic."
    ….by non-thinking deterministic atoms. Hence my position of no free will (materialistic determinism) no thinking. Thinking depends on our freedom from the non-thinking outcomes of atoms. I’m not saying we can exist without atoms. However we obviously have something more….a free will …above the simple non-thinking output off our non-thinking atoms. It is this free will along with our atoms that provides for our ability to think. We are brains (atoms) and mind (free will)…..substance dualism.

    Hence Haldane’s thoughts speak directly to the notion that materialistic determinism solely based upon non-thinking atomic output provides no room to reason. He is not saying that we don’t reason. He is saying that the paradigm of materialistic determinism leaves no room for reasoning.

    Thus……………
    Quote Originally Posted by Bomb#20 View Post
    …..Even if Haldane simply had to say it, and Bilby had to disagree, and you have to agree, and naturalism rules out free will and choice, how would any of that imply it rules out thinking?
    I have clearly answered you.
    So now please help me understand 1. your position and 2. your reasoning against my thoughts………………

    How can there be thinking if all is materialistically determined by non-thinking atoms?

    Be fair.
    I put myself out there.
    Put some reason to your inference that you can think without free will.

  9. Top | #179
    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post
    ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    But the brain isn't just a mass of chemical reactions. It has structure and intricate feedback mechanisms that allow ideas to compete.
    What ideas?
    Where did they come from?
    The brain is an idea generator. I takes sensory inputs (information) and finds correlations (patterns) which results in knowledge. That's the basic thing that all brains do. Ideas (as I suggested in my previous post) are the result of combining knowledge in new ways so that they successfully model (predict) what future information will be. Ideas evolve just as in an ecosystem.

    See you are just magically saying nature did it without giving account how. Somewhere in between one atom and a collection of many atoms free will just magically appears. No explanation needed.

    Atoms react they don’t reason. Thus where and how does the free will jump on board your evolutionary train?

    It’s like saying here are the steps to becoming a millionaire…..step one get a million dollars and step 2 two put it in the bank.
    I'm not one to split hairs when it comes to free will. It has zero meaning except as a way of addressing uncertainty in what led one to think or act some way in the past, or the uncertainty one has in knowing what one will do under hypothetical circumstances. It's not the same as reasoning, but the exact opposite. It means "I don't know why". Reasoning is about finding logical cause and effect relationships. Period. The brain produces random variations in its models and the one's that harmonize the best are the one's that survive. Just like in nature. How else could it possibly work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    In order to evolve in size and complexity you have the need for support mechanisms to limit runaway heat generation. The brain has evolved over millions of years in order to survive by making choices (i.e.; making decisions). Evolution is all about competition.
    Nothing there but a materialist simply assuming free will.
    Of course. Free will fixes everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    Think of the mind as an ecosystem where randomly generated connections increase or decrease the level of energy requirements. This provides your open-mindedness as well as creative impetus. The brain has everything it needs for open-minded decision making.
    You are not saying anything there. You are just assuming the brain has free will. It is a nature of the gaps argument. You have provided no materialistic mechanism that would cause a non-sentient object to become sentient. You’re just assuming it happened naturally through some fairytale version of evolution. Evolution has its strengths but that is stretching the reason to fairytale proportions.
    If you understand how life has evolved from simple organisms to intelligent creatures you'll have no problem accepting how with billions of neurons, each with tens of thousands of connections, and an equally large system of supporting cells there can be no other conclusion than that this is what has provided the means by which human beings have produced the wealth of knowledge and awareness that has been accomplished in science and the arts. There's that, or there's the world of unseen perfection you believe in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    What could free will add to this method of reasoning that isn't already provided?
    Free will contains the ability to reason. The opposite of free will in determinism. Meaning all is determined by the actions of atoms without free will to choose. No free will no reasoning.
    Reasoning is generating ideas. I explained how I think that happens in the material world. Now, how do ideas come out of free will?

    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    I assume that reasoning means seeking the logical choice, right?
    Absolutely, but brains can’t do that with atomic action alone. Because atomic action alone is deterministic. Somewhere from a deterministic atom to free will brains (collection of deterministic atoms) you assumed the natural creation of free will. Where and How?
    As I said several times, free will doesn't equal reason. Deterministic atoms follow logical laws of cause and effect. Therefore the end result of their interactions is logical, rational, and deductive.

  10. Top | #180
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Correct, it does not imply that 'you' (the system that calls itself 'Angra') cannot want not to have a want, but it does imply that you cannot freely want to have or not have a want, because at any given instant, any want you have seems to be fully (key word) explained by deterministic causes (if we are temporarily setting randomness aside).
    But again, how does that imply it? In other words, how do you derive the conclusion from the premises? It does not follow without implicit premises, and those are the ones I'm asking you to defend - and those are not about the universe or about determinism, but about the meaning of the words. The rest are side disagreements.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    I don't see how it's a side issue at all in the slightest. It's the issue.
    Not at all. The issue is this. You earlier claimed

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Something that is determined (and/or random) is not freely willed or freely done. I don't think I know how to put it any more bluntly than that.
    That, however, does not follow. The argument is of the form:

    Premise 1: X is P.
    Conclusion: X is not Q.

    That is of course invalid. You need further premises, linking P to Q. But you have not supported them. In particular, you said:

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Because free and determined (constrained) are effectively opposites.
    However, you have not argued that 'causally determined' means 'constrained', nor that the expression 'out of my own free will' is such that, by the meaning of the words, I can only act of my own free will if there is no causal determinism.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    You are starting to sound like one of those fudge-makers.
    You're now beginning to get it. I take issue with your characterization of compatibists as fudge-makers, or something to that effect. You make very negative claims, but present no presenting linguistic evidence to back up your claims or implications about the meaning of the words.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    I mean, we could do the same with god, couldn't we? Maybe in some linguistic ways, there's a god. Are we any further on? I don't think so. We have just made some nice sophistry fudge.
    You're getting closer to the real point of contention now.
    Of course, changing the definition of what it is to act of one's own free will to make it so that one can act of one's own free will would be some nice sophistry fudge. I'm not doing that. The people you accuse of doing that, are not doing that. Rather, we do not agree with your claims or implications about what 'of one's own free will' and/or related expressions mean, and you have not properly supported your claims or implications (actually, it seems you haven't even tried, as you're still talking physics, biology, etc., rather than language, usage among English speakers, etc.).


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    What if I say to you that it's obvious to me that the leaves on the trees outside my window are held up by invisible angels? Is that really much of an explanation?
    No, but if you told me that it's obvious to you that you are writing your posts because you feel like it, I would say it pretty much is. The problem with your comparison is that you badly misunderstand my claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    I get that it strongly feels to you that you have free will.
    You do not seem to get that at all, because you seem to think that acting of my own free will involves lack of causal determinism, which is something I do not have the slightest idea how it would feel like.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    It's much the same set of sensations for me.
    Could you please describe what you feel, and why do you think it is related to whether you act of your own free will?

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    But neither belief can seem to be rationally explained as to how they could even be possible.
    Well, I do not have any feelings of anything that appears impossible or improbable going on. But maybe you do? Again, could you describe your feelings, please?


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    You may not be compelled by any threats, but surely you must be compelled by causal determinants, even if you don't detect them?
    Why? Why would causal determinants be a form of compulsion?
    Words have meaning, and that goes for the word 'compulsion'. If I say I'm not compelled to write it, I do not understand myself to be suggesting that my writing this was not brought about causally by previous events, like my previous thinking on these matters, reading from other people, my preferences to post, and so on. Nor do I understand myself as talking about causes before my birth. I'm not being coerced at gun or knife point. My brain is not failing in a way that produces a compulsion - like a heroin addict, or a kleptomaniac, etc. I'm acting of my own free will.


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    How, for example, can any one, or any group, of your brain neurons (that might be involved in a decision) 'fire' unless something has just caused it/them to do so? Then rinse and repeat the same question. Then again. Etc.
    How is that relevant to whether I act of my own free will?


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    As to evidence, it is in the nature of illusions and delusions to not be noticeable to the person deceived by them.
    You're going for the wrong evidence. The key disagreement is [b]about the meaning of the expression 'of one's own free will', and related ones', not at all about what happens in the brain, or the early universe, or whatever.


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    *ETA: while there is no conclusive empirical evidence, there is a great deal of empirical (eg neuroscientific) evidence from the last approximately 40 years that suggests free will may be unlikely.
    I am familiar with such claims. I have no objection to the empirical evidence. I disagree with the claim that such empirical evidence makes it unlikely that we act of our own free will.
    Last edited by Angra Mainyu; 01-07-2020 at 06:23 AM.

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