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Thread: The Great Contradiction

  1. Top | #201
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    Its seems to be a good discussion and Angra challenges everyones position (not just theists) Kudos. Good discussion all round


    I'm learning a lot too... how people see things. Alls good!

  2. Top | #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Also, that you apparently don't know whether or not what I described is how humans normally make decisions seems odd of itself.
    That got me thinking that maybe I misunderstood your scenario. Your scenario is:

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Suppose, temporarily and hypothetically, that your fully-awake brain made the above choice/decision, or indeed any other, completely non-consciously. In other words, what if you did not become consciously aware of a choice/decision (not even as a 'Libet veto' at the last instant) prior to a subsequent action. Would you say that that apparently fully automatic process was an instance of the exercise of what you are calling your free will?
    I interpreted that in the context of the "Libet experiment", that is, a scenario that might be found by experiments, which is to say, a scenario that does not conflict with our experiences (Libet's experiment was a real experiment, and so of course its results do not conflict with actual experiences). I interpreted this as something like the following scenario: Suppose in the future, in a more precise version of Libet's experiment, it is found that I do not even have the 'free won't' Libet's commenters talk about. Then, do I act of my own free will?

    In that context, the answer is: if that is a general experiment done on humans, then that would not be a problem, as that is how normally humans make decisions. Otherwise - i.e., something happening to me and a few others, but the rest of the world is different -, then probably hat would be a problem as explained.

    But since you say "Also, that you apparently don't know whether or not what I described is how humans normally make decisions seems odd of itself", this suggests that I misunderstood your scenario, and what you have in mind is something I could rule out based on evidence available to me. I will consider an alternative interpretation of your scenario:

    If you meant that my arms and legs and everything are moving around and I actually just watch that happen without being able to stop it, of course I would not be acting of my own free will. In fact, I would not be acting at all. Something would be happening to me. That would be a case in which my freedom is severely restricted. However, I would still be able to do some things of my own free will, it seems, like - say - choosing what to think about...unless you're saying that I would not be able to choose that, either. But at that point, I don't think I can put myself in the scenario - in other words, I would need more details about what you have in mind to understand it.

    At any rate, since I already explained what I think goes on in the human decision-making process in this post, you can make your own assessment as to whether that is in conflict with your scenario, or you can explain your scenario in more detail so that I can try to understand it if I did not, or you can tell me whether any of the above interpretations of your scenario is correct.

  3. Top | #203
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    Quote Originally Posted by remez
    How can there be thinking if all is materialistically determined by non-thinking atoms?
    Recall that Bomb#20 already addressed your point in this post, pointing out that a single moving atom does not have the capacity to think, it does not follow that a gazillion atoms do not have that capacity.

  4. Top | #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post
    Its seems to be a good discussion and Angra challenges everyones position (not just theists) Kudos. Good discussion all round


    I'm learning a lot too... how people see things. Alls good!
    The point I was attempting to make in the OP is that we don't see things. Perhaps more specifically, that we don't see that we don't see things. I'm led to believe that our emotions are the great blinder. Even a person of very high education and intelligence can be blinded by emotions, lack self awareness. In my own life I have witnessed persons with brain conditions do a complete 180 wrt rational behavior.

    Humans are curious, we investigate things, even dangerous things, a behavior selected for over eons of evolution. We naturally ask the question, "Where did it come from?" Our knowledge today allows us to ask the ultimate question, "Where did the universe come from?" Some of us come to the realization that the default setting of the universe is to exist, a conclusion born out with observation and experiment. Some of us, however, stop the questioning and instead resort to an emotional answer, namely that there are magical beings that don't have to come from anything. We've left rational thought behind at this point.

    I suppose it is that personal experience of having observed individuals lose their rational faculties that allows me to see that the loss of rational faculties is not a binary condition, all or none, but rather a matter of degree. All people lack a degree of self awareness. It is the degree to which we are unaware of our own irrational behavior, our shared mental illness, that I find most curious.

  5. Top | #205
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    The existence of everything has to be explained. The existence of my creator being does not have to be explained.

    Apart from compartmentalization, are there any other more compelling explanations for how a human brain can be so self contradictory and unaware of same?

    I understand natural selection, is this the simplest and most convincing explanation? I guess I'm asking an intellectual question, maybe such a brain simply lacks the neural connections to make such a contradiction obvious. That's not really so mysterious. And if the behavior has been selected for over generations it will be there like any other behavior. Maybe we can call it a passive behavior.

    It's probably just this simple but thought to see what others think. It's still a behavior that fascinates me.
    A common line of argumentation among theists philosophers often say that everything that is contingent has an explanation. They use that to argue for the existence of at least one necessary concrete object, and then from that, they argue that the concrete object in question is omnipotent, omniscient and morally perfect.
    So, the difference between God and other stuff would be contingency vs. necessity, and that allegedly would make a difference in terms of having an explanation. I wrote a post about that sort of argument here, though it was a long time ago and I don't have time to read all of the details again now, so I'm not sure I would endorse everything I said then - but for the most part, I'm pretty sure I would.

  6. Top | #206
    Senior Member remez's Avatar
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    You keep smuggling in free will by assuming its existence. Tell me where it came from. You just keep telling me it’s there. I’ll show you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    The brain is an idea generator. I takes sensory inputs (information) and finds correlations (patterns) which results in knowledge.
    It finds correlations. How does an atom find correlation? How does a collection of atoms find correlation? An atom does not choose, it does not have free will to find or correlate it just does the same thing (determinism) every time according to the physics around it. You are reasoning (free will) into your system without explaining how it got there. It is circular reasoning.
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    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.
    Then it is you who is out of the context here. By free will I simply mean the opposite of determinism.
    FOR CONTEXT……………..
    Here is a very short 3 min video from the QA, following the Carroll- Lane debate. This video frames the free will vs the determinism (OP context) to which I’m referring.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvt0BrXEii4

    So in that context (video debate) even YOUR weakly inferred emergent theory remains self-defeating. It’s a nature of the gaps blind faith you simply choose to believe in. You have not and cannot provide a purely materialistic, deterministic, naturalistic mechanistic explanation for the existence of free will….the foundation of reasoning-thinking –philosophy etc.

    Hence why the greater contradiction in the OP itself.

  7. Top | #207
    Senior Member remez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiploc View Post
    Remez, you quoted Haldane's argument ...

    “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
    ... with, I thought, approval.

    I entered this thread to point out that Haldane's argument is garbage.

    ……..

    I'm happy to discuss the OP, but I'd like you to respond to my point about Haldane's argument.
    You had the wrong understanding of my reasoning for presenting Haldane’s reductionism to begin with. Haldane’s reasoning is an if-then conditional statement that represented a contradiction.

    My point was that the assumption/premise of the OP matched the antecedent of Haldane’s if-then, thus rendering the OP a contradiction in and of itself. Because Moogley is using free will to argue against it existence. I addressed this with you back in post 112….

    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post
    Very very briefly……………
    When I read the OP….. it immediately stuck me as being blind, arrogant and self-refuting.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wiploc View Post
    Your points, I believe, are as follows:
    • 1. There's something screwy about assuming that free will exists in order to argue against the existence of free will.
    ……
    1. I can grant you that item 1 seems screwy on its face. I'm not familiar with that happening……..
    Thank you and Thank you.
    But
    ……
    Quote Originally Posted by Wiploc View Post
    1. There's something screwy about assuming that free will exists in order to argue against the existence of free will.
    ….is the real contradiction in the OP.

    I grant that he was not directly arguing against free will,
    But he….
    Was operating from an assumption that did…..
    While
    At the same time asking us all to exercise our free will.
    Hence…..
    The real…………great contradiction.
    Since then Moogly has repeatedly exercised his free will to assert that free will does not exist.
    There OP is done???

    Now…………………
    Quote Originally Posted by Wiploc View Post
    Rather than agreeing or disagreeing with my point about Haldane's argument, ….
    Regarding Haldane’s reasoning……

    To further clarify my position I present this brief 3 min video from the QA portion of the Carrol-Lane debate. Both sides as I could tell well represented their side within the context of a great question........Haldane's reasoning.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvt0BrXEii4

    So if your position is one like Carrol’s then please tell show me where my reasoning (The questioner and Lane’s position) is incorrect. In the larger context ….. It really boils down to the old mind over matter debate.

    Your “THOUGHTS” for discussion?

  8. Top | #208
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post
    ....please tell show me where my reasoning (The questioner and Lane’s position) is incorrect.....
    Where the reasoning is incorrect (yours, Haldane's and the that of the initial questioner in that video) is at the outset, in that the initial implied premise involves a non-sequitur.

    Free will and critical thinking (including decision-making) are different and of themselves separate things.

    That is why there is no contradiction between saying we don't have free will and saying that we do and can think critically (and make choices).

    What would be a contradiction, and not a non-sequitur, would be saying that we don't have free will and yet we think freely and make free will choices, not merely that we think and make choices, since a very sophisticated machine would be able to do exactly that, and indeed be capable of doing it rather well if it (a) had learning capacities and (b) had effectively been honed by running the gauntlet of natural selection, both of which apply to our brains.

    It's that simple, and has already been said many times by several people in the thread.

  9. Top | #209
    Senior Member remez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post
    ....please tell show me where my reasoning (The questioner and Lane’s position) is incorrect.....
    Where the reasoning is incorrect (yours, Haldane's and the that of the initial questioner in that video) is at the outset, in that the initial implied premise involves a non-sequitur.

    Free will and critical thinking (including decision-making) are different and of themselves separate things.

    That is why there is no contradiction between saying we don't have free will and saying that we do and can think critically (and make choices).

    What would be a contradiction, and not a non-sequitur, would be saying that we don't have free will and yet we think freely and make free will choices, not merely that we think and make choices, since a very sophisticated machine would be able to do exactly that, and indeed be capable of doing it rather well if it (a) had learning capacities and (b) had effectively been honed by running the gauntlet of natural selection, both of which apply to our brains.

    It's that simple, and has already been said many times by several people in the thread.
    Hardly simple at all. First you are ignoring the fact the Carrol didn’t try to dodge the standard premise with some stretched pseudo-reasoning. Carrol addressed the classic question.

    So the reasoning of your objection lies somewhere in here………….

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Free will and critical thinking (including decision-making) are different and of themselves separate things.
    Yes they are. So are force and mass. But force can’t exist without mass.
    So……
    How can “critical thinking” exist if you don't have the free will to choose between true and false premises and valid and invalid logic?


    Then please form this…………..
    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    What would be a contradiction, and not a non-sequitur, would be saying that we don't have free will and yet we think freely and make free will choices, not merely that we think and make choices,
    ….into a proper if-then statement. If P then Q.

    Then please explain…………
    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    since a very sophisticated machine would be able to do exactly that, and indeed be capable of doing it rather well if it (a) had learning capacities and (b) had effectively been honed by running the gauntlet of natural selection, both of which apply to our brains.
    ….how your sophisticated/critical thinking machine was intelligently constructed if you didn’t have the free will to choose between true and false premises and valid and invalid logic during its construction.

  10. Top | #210
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Sorry. I haven’t the slightest clue what you’re on about. Again.

    Whatever it is, I suspect it’s complete nonsense.
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 01-11-2020 at 12:36 AM.

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