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Thread: The Great Contradiction

  1. Top | #151
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    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.

  2. Top | #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    But why would that be the wrong analogy? Even if the computer is not conscious, it reaches the right conclusions - i.e., it applies logic correctly, it makes probabilistic assessments correctly (depending on the case) and so on. Why would that be different for humans, if human beliefs are wholly determined by the motions of their atoms?

    But let us stipulate that - for whatever reason - this is the wrong analogy. Then, it remains the case that remez has provided no good reason to support his claim "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...". If you think otherwise, what good reason has remez provided in support of such a claim? If he has not, can you think of a good reason to support such a claim?
    "my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain to suppose that my beliefs are true...I have no reason to suppose my beliefs are true""

    It seems obvious to me he is saying by that sentence, he would be something like an autobot where belief in anything would be non-existent. (for lack of better wording)
    What do you mean an "autobot"? The Autobots seem to have beliefs just as much as any other characters. Did you mean something else?

    At any rate, the rest of the sentence I understand. You're saying it seems obvious to you that remez is saying that if his mental processes were determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, then he would not have beliefs at all. Why do you think that?
    His sentence does not strike me as that at all. He's not claiming that the hypothesis that his mental processes are wholly determined wholly by the motions of atoms in his brain is false because he has beliefs. Rather, he is saying (or rather implying) that the hypothesis that his mental processes are wholly determined wholly by the motions of atoms in his brain is false because he has reasons to believe his beliefs are true.


    Regardless, let us stipulate for the sake of the argument that your interpretation of remez's claim is correct. Then my point would be that remez has provided no good reason to believe that if his mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in his brain, then he has no beliefs at all. Can you provide any good reason to believe that?
    After further considering remez's claims, he is saying that Haldane said that, and endorses Haldane's claim from what he thinks is "foundational to atheism" (odd), or more precisely, his interpretation of Haldane's claim. Regardless, the point remains: remez has not provided any good reason to support such a claim.

  3. Top | #153
    Veteran Member Wiploc's Avatar
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    In post 124, remez wrote:

    Wiploc?
    Haldane's argument is garbage.

    “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.”
    ― J.B.S. Haldane, Possible Worlds
    Can we agree on that?

  4. Top | #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Why would that imply that I'm not writing this of my own accord?
    I don’t know what your ‘own accord’ is but it can’t actually be free will.

    Absent a convincing or coherent alternative explanation, you are, it would seem, ‘merely’ a very, very, very complex physical/biological/chemical machine that is doing stuff which is dictated by prior natural causes at every instant, but 'you' (ie the system/machine that calls itself 'me') is under the illusion that this is not the case.

    To me that’s just intellectually obvious, to the extent that believing in free will is, in my opinion, as unwarranted as believing in god, although I am not suggesting the two things are equivalent, just that belief in either is approximately as untenable. In fact, of the two, belief in free will is probably the more persistent, inherent and difficult to avoid.

    For that reason, I won’t be explaining my lack of rational belief in free will to you any more than I would be explaining my lack of rational belief in god to a theist. In other words, I would essentially be saying that I simply lack a good reason to believe in either.

    If you have a plausible case (for free will) that is not just a total (and contradictory) fudge (eg Hume or any form of compatibilism) I’d be interested to hear it but I doubt you have because it has never been provided by anyone ever, as far as I am aware.

    ‘Loop’ was not the best word for me to use. Chain might have been better, but even that would have been simplistic, because the actual system is an incredibly complicated and dynamic set of interconnections (and may involve randomness). And that’s just what goes on in your brain. Ultimately, the whole system is the universe, and you are probably just a tiny, and effectively automatic part of its naturally occurring and ongoing processes, even though it doesn’t feel like that to you.
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 01-06-2020 at 12:27 PM.

  5. Top | #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    To me that’s just obvious, to the extent that believing in free will is, in my opinion, as dodgy as believing in god, although I am not suggesting the two things are comparable, just that belief in either is untenable. In fact, of the two, belief in free will is probably the more persistent and difficult to avoid.
    The above is not obvious at all to me. It's obvious of course that I'm alive, not a soul, and stuff like that. It is not obvious that previous causes are sufficient to determine the present (I have no idea as to whether the universe is deterministic), though that seems irrelevant. I write this of my own free will anyway, as there is nothing that appears to be getting in the way.

    Why would that be dodgy? The probability of God is, I reckon, almost zero. But it seems almost certain that I'm writing this of my own free will. I don't see any threats forcing me to. I do not see any brain malfunctioning that might compel me. I just choose to write it, regardless of whether my choice has previous determining causes.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    I won’t be explaining my lack of belief in free will to you any more than I would be explaining my lack of belief in god to a theist. In other words, I would be saying that I simply lack a good reason to believe in either.
    Okay, so I will not be explaining my belief that I'm writing this of my own free will any more than I will be explaining my belief that I posted in this thread yesterday. I simply lack a good reason to believe that I'm not writing this of my own free will, just as I lack a good reason to believe that I posted in this thread yesterday. Yeah, maybe the matrix overlord planted the memory in my head, but I have no good reason to suspect so.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    If you have a plausible case (for free will) that is not just a fudge, I’d be interested to hear it but I doubt you have because it has never been provided by anyone ever, as far as I am aware.
    It seems rather obvious that I'm writing of my own free will. Do you have any good reason to suspect that you are not?

    Of course, for the most part, the main point of contention here is actually your implicit "fudge" claim about the meaning of the words. Do you have any good arguments in support of your implications that the meaning "of my own free will" is such that in order for me to write of my own free will, I would have to have some properties that do not exist in the real world, and that my usage of it in this thread is not common usage?


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    ‘Loop’ was not the best word for me to use. Chain might have been better, but even that would have been simplistic, because the actual system is an incredibly complicated and dynamic set of interconnections (and may involve randomness). And that’s just what goes on in your brain. Ultimately, the whole system is the universe, and you are probably just part of its naturally ongoing processes, even though it doesn’t feel like that.
    I don't know what it doesn't feel like because I don't know what "natural" means in this context. But of course, the whole system is the universe, if "universe" is used to mean "the whole system", else the whole system might be the multiverse, or whatever the whole system is.

  6. Top | #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    It's not that far off the OP. Free wills and Creators are claims that cannot be demonstrated. The free will argument is a lot like the creator argument, it doesn't need explaining because it's something mystical and magical.
    Thinking about this again, there is another way it is like the OP, in that the belief that free will is compatible with determinism is arguably one of the great contradictions.

  7. Top | #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    It's not that far off the OP. Free wills and Creators are claims that cannot be demonstrated. The free will argument is a lot like the creator argument, it doesn't need explaining because it's something mystical and magical.
    Thinking about this again, there is another way it is like the OP, in that the belief that free will is compatible with determinism is arguably one of the great contradictions.
    Could you derive the contradiction, please?
    For example: Assume that the real word is deterministic - not even randomness. Assume I wrote this of my own free will. Derive a contradiction. Could you do that, please?

  8. Top | #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    The above is not obvious at all to me. It's obvious of course that I'm alive, not a soul, and stuff like that. It is not obvious that previous causes are sufficient to determine the present (I have no idea as to whether the universe is deterministic), though that seems irrelevant. I write this of my own free will anyway, as there is nothing that appears to be getting in the way.

    Why would that be dodgy? The probability of God is, I reckon, almost zero. But it seems almost certain that I'm writing this of my own free will. I don't see any threats forcing me to. I do not see any brain malfunctioning that might compel me. I just choose to write it, regardless of whether my choice has previous determining causes.


    Okay, so I will not be explaining my belief that I'm writing this of my own free will any more than I will be explaining my belief that I posted in this thread yesterday. I simply lack a good reason to believe that I'm not writing this of my own free will, just as I lack a good reason to believe that I posted in this thread yesterday. Yeah, maybe the matrix overlord planted the memory in my head, but I have no good reason to suspect so.
    If you want to convince me, or yourself, that you have free will, you will need to explain how it could even possibly be that your actions are both determined (and/or random) and yet free. It does not matter that you cannot detect the determinations taking place and it doesn't have to be a malfunction, because it's the function.

  9. Top | #159
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Could you derive the contradiction, please?
    For example: Assume that the real word is deterministic - not even randomness. Assume I wrote this of my own free will. Derive a contradiction. Could you do that, please?
    Something that is causally determined (and/or random) is not freely willed or freely done. I don't think I know how to put it any more simply than that. It's like saying up is down or black is white. One is not the other.

  10. Top | #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    The above is not obvious at all to me. It's obvious of course that I'm alive, not a soul, and stuff like that. It is not obvious that previous causes are sufficient to determine the present (I have no idea as to whether the universe is deterministic), though that seems irrelevant. I write this of my own free will anyway, as there is nothing that appears to be getting in the way.

    Why would that be dodgy? The probability of God is, I reckon, almost zero. But it seems almost certain that I'm writing this of my own free will. I don't see any threats forcing me to. I do not see any brain malfunctioning that might compel me. I just choose to write it, regardless of whether my choice has previous determining causes.


    Okay, so I will not be explaining my belief that I'm writing this of my own free will any more than I will be explaining my belief that I posted in this thread yesterday. I simply lack a good reason to believe that I'm not writing this of my own free will, just as I lack a good reason to believe that I posted in this thread yesterday. Yeah, maybe the matrix overlord planted the memory in my head, but I have no good reason to suspect so.
    If you want to convince me, or yourself, that you have free will, you will need to explain how it could even possibly be that your actions are both determined (and/or random) and yet free. It does not matter that you cannot detect the determinations taking place and it doesn't have to be a malfunction, because it's the function.
    No, you would need to explain how the fact (let us assume) that my actions are determined implies that I'm not acting of my own free will. The argument would have to be of course about the meaning of the words, which is the main disagreement here.

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