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"Free Will"?


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Showing 26-47 of 47 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 1, 2012 5:38:22 PM PDT
Lisareads says:
The default for not acting is always in control.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 1, 2012 7:07:29 PM PDT
If I'm reading this correctly, you're saying:
Determinism - yes
choices - yes
free will - no

Is that correct? Which is what I said - materialism and free will are incompatible.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 1, 2012 7:09:51 PM PDT
"Do you really think you chose your religion, for example?"

Certainly, as I am no longer a Christian. Just as all atheists who were at one time Christian chose otherwise.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2012 1:48:21 PM PDT
John Donohue says:
Cilantron //Is that correct? Which is what I said - materialism and free will are incompatible.//

Sure, I'll provisionally accept that very simple formulation. But after reading quite a bit about the neuroscience and philosophy of "free will" I am not convinced that many people know what they mean by it. It is a term that is always just dropped on the page or in the conversation as if its meaning is clear.

But departing from the more profound question, let's say you have a soul; can you have the "free will" to be a Somali? Can you be an NBA basketball star? or an epoch-making physicist? Our free choices are very proscribed.

But typically people invoke "free will" in order to justify blaming others for their wrong doing. "He freely chose to steal that car so he deserves punishment." I honestly think that people in those situations make choices based on genetic accidents and a lifetime of experience. And let's be clear, there is nothing in the materialist view of human action that precludes punishment: it is a simple psychological observation that aversion therapy (punishment) alters behavior.

But you didn't answer all my questions: most important, how does the existence of a soul confer free will? and how could you test whether you have free will?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2012 9:11:10 PM PDT
Marcos says:
John D,

Yours is an intelligent post unlikely to be answered with the same eloquence, I will try.

Whether or not we have a soul is meaningless. We have within our brains the capability to defer needs of the body, such as going to the restroom, having sex, eating, and so forth. However in the end our actions revolve around the needs of said body and if there is a soul it has no impact on those needs. We know that NFL players that experience brain damage may have behavioral changes. This tells us that the soul was meaningless, it was the brain that made the person act in a certain manner.

WRT punishment, it is also a signal for the brain that if one gets caught doing X, Y negative consequence will occur.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 8:51:59 AM PDT
Lisareads says:
"it was the brain that made the person act in a certain manner."
================

Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness"
There is evidence and also speculation that the origin of a thought is not just a product of the brain. Your natural reflexes or even your heart beat does not need a brain.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 9:02:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 8, 2012 9:03:06 PM PDT
Marcos says:
Lisareads,

I don't quite get where you are going on this one. Perhaps you have not been reading the news regarding Traumatic Brain Injury. Do you honestly believe that injuries to the brain have no impact in a person's behavior?

My grandfather suffered from Alzheimer's. You may choose not to believe me, but I tell you that his mental capabilities were severely curtailed, to the point where he even lost his capability for speech.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2012 1:56:49 PM PDT
Lisareads says:
"Do you honestly believe that injuries to the brain have no impact in a person's behavior?"
==========================
There is no doubt that all of the body has an effect on every other part of the body but the brain and body are not the sole reason for experiencing life.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2012 1:59:31 PM PDT
Lisareads says:
"My grandfather suffered from Alzheimer's. You may choose not to believe me, but I tell you that his mental capabilities were severely curtailed, to the point where he even lost his capability for speech. "
===============
Yes but he was still alive and his heart working and most likely experiencing a type of phenomenon.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2012 2:10:31 PM PDT
barbW says:
if so, we wouldn't have gnats and bats, because they never would have diverged as they did. They made small choices.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2012 3:22:52 PM PDT
John Donohue says:
Marcos >>Whether or not we have a soul is meaningless. We have within our brains the capability to defer needs of the body, such as going to the restroom, having sex, eating, and so forth. However in the end our actions revolve around the needs of said body ..<<

I agree -- and there is no evidence for a "soul" or any rational hypothesis of where such a nebulous thing would come from.

My own idea, unendorsed by neuroscience or evolutionary biology, is that as organisms get bigger and thus not able to be reproduced in huge numbers a la insects and flowering plants, a complex brain provides one strategy for the organism to survive long enough to reproduce. In organisms with thousands of offspring it seems that statistics is the main strategem for survival.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2012 3:24:47 PM PDT
John Donohue says:
Lisareads >>There is no doubt that all of the body has an effect on every other part of the body but the brain and body are not the sole reason for experiencing life. <<

I think that most of the functions of the body are controlled by the brain/nervous system -- I don't think that the liver or lungs has any control over other areas of the body except insofar as they provide signals to the brain whicn then reacts.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2012 6:01:48 PM PDT
Lisareads says:
You have a lot to learn about biology.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2012 6:07:15 PM PDT
The autonomic systems are the last to go.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2012 6:09:49 PM PDT
Lisareads

Autonomic functions of the body. Like breathing, digestion, hormone production, etc.

Posted on Jul 10, 2012 1:04:54 AM PDT
Ehkzu says:
It is almost certain that "free will" is an illusion. We're complex biological machines built up fractally from out DNA and experiences.

But the fact of our lack of free will doesn't matter, because we still face the agony of decision.

More apropos is the question of whether we have self control, not free will. The happiest, most successful human beings have more self control than others. The unhappiest have the least impulse control. Anything we can do at the conscious level to enhance our self control makes us more useful both to ourselves and to others.

See the marshmallow experiment, where you put a marshmallow in front of a little kid and tell him it's his but if it's still there when the researcher gets back the kid'll get two marshmallows. The ones who wait wind up the most successful later in life.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2012 6:47:23 AM PDT
Don't know much biology....don't know much geometry.....

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2012 6:48:20 AM PDT
I like your second sentence very much. I've never thought of that before and it's quite profound.

Seriously. Good point.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2012 1:28:08 PM PDT
John Donohue says:
>>Lisareads says:

You have a lot to learn about biology.<<

Do I? Well teach me -- and btw, let me know why your opinion on biological subjects is worthy of respect.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2012 1:31:30 PM PDT
Lisareads says:
Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2012 3:24:52 PM PDT
Marcos says:
Lisareads,

Never once did a pose any point of view regarding reasons for experiencing life. But since we are on that topic, no human has ever been known to experience life without a brain or body.

In fact there is no known anything that doesn't have some sort of body, even if that body is only one microscopic cell.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012 2:47:45 PM PDT
Lisareads says:
"no human has ever been known to experience life without a brain or body."
==================================================
What is you definition of a human? Did I say that the brain and body have no effect? No, I said they are not the sole effect.
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This discussion

Discussion in:  Science forum
Participants:  18
Total posts:  47
Initial post:  Jan 17, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 12, 2012

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