Saturday, April 19, 2008

Free Will Proven A Myth

Studies show  that the unconscious brain makes the decision
for you in advance of your conscious choice. This means, as
we have long suspected, "free will" is a myth. Good riddance.
How much cruelty has been inflicted upon us by this
notion. See

http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2008/414/3?rss=1

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33 Comments:

Blogger Francois Tremblay said...

Wow, you have never talked to a proponent of free will have you?

This scientific fact has been known for a long time and does not at all disprove the free will position. In fact, the argument is completely spurious because you are trying to say that free will should work in X way because that's how we experience it. It is the same flawed argument as saying that there must be something red in the brain because we have perceptions of red, or that there must be a center of consciousness because we perceive our consciousness as being a separate entity.

Epic fail on your part.

10:30 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Yes, I have. I wasn't fucking born yesterday. Free will is is one of the cruelest frauds the Christianists have perpetuated upon humanity. Terrorizing people to make them act properly and punishing delinquents all stem from the sick notion that people freely choose to do wrong.

The fact that our brain decides for us before the conscious mind appears to make a choice rules out so-called free will.

Re-read the article chum, your red analogy has no bearing on what brain researchers have discovered.

By rejecting the free will superstition, however, I do not go to the opposite extreme and adopt rigid determinism.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Free will is is one of the cruelest frauds the Christianists have perpetuated upon humanity.
Christianists? What the hell does Christianity have to do with the notion of free will? If people have no free will, why complain about "Christianists" as though they had some choice in the matter of what they do and believe?

The fact that our brain decides for us before the conscious mind appears to make a choice rules out so-called free will.
No, it doesn't. That the choice is made before being consciously perceived has nothing to do with the fact that a choice is made. "The fact that our brain decides for us" probably stems from the fact that our brains ARE us. My will and my brain are inseparable; to treat them as somehow being two different things would require belief in some superstitious nonsense like "the soul". At best this study has helped reinforce the non-existence of "the soul", not free will.

Terrorizing people to make them act properly and punishing delinquents all stem from the sick notion that people freely choose to do wrong.
By your line of reasoning, people are simple machines, so those who do wrong have no choice in the matter, and are thus best dealt with by either mass lobotomization or systematic extermination, for the "good of society". After all, what else is there to do with a broken machine but to either attempt repair or dispose of it? At least if people choose their actions, they can be dealt with by reason instead of force, and be expected to make up for their aggressions against others as self-responsible individuals. The alternative of no free will is a far better basis from which to argue in favor of tyranny and oppression. If people are nothing but simple stimulus-response machines, what better way to make them behave "properly" than by force?

Re-read the article chum, your red analogy has no bearing on what brain researchers have discovered.
His analogy works just fine. Just because you want the definition of "free will" to be limited to choices made at the point that they are consciously perceived doesn't change the fact that free will only requires indeterminacy at some point in the decision-making process. When that indeterminacy takes place is irrelevant.

By rejecting the free will superstition, however, I do not go to the opposite extreme and adopt rigid determinism.
You're attempting to paint free will versus determinacy as a false dichotomy when it isn't. If you have indeterminacy in human decision-making, you have free will, and people choose their own actions, whether good or evil. If you have only determinacy in human decision-making, you have no free will, and those who do wrong are simply broken machines, best forcibly repaired or disposed of for the good of all. Though of course any and all conceptions of right and wrong also become pointless without free will, and so your complaints about the behavior of others, and any efforts to correct them, also become pointless.

7:20 AM  
Blogger Francois Tremblay said...

"Free will is is one of the cruelest frauds the Christianists have perpetuated upon humanity."

Christians have perverted the term to mean "choosing to believe or not." What they are talking about is not free will at all.


"Terrorizing people to make them act properly and punishing delinquents all stem from the sick notion that people freely choose to do wrong."

No... it doesn't. You're talking about social engineering, not free will. That's like saying Darwinism was wrong because of Social Darwinism.


"The fact that our brain decides for us before the conscious mind appears to make a choice rules out so-called free will."

Only for someone so stupid as to believe that how our mind appears to us is exactly how it is physiologically.


"Re-read the article chum, your red analogy has no bearing on what brain researchers have discovered."

Dude, this was news years ago. You are way late. I even debunked your argument in my old book The Triumph of Atheistic Materialism.


"By rejecting the free will superstition, however, I do not go to the opposite extreme and adopt rigid determinism."

Then you are doubly wrong. But let's start with your first ignorance, and then we'll proceed to the second if you admit your error.

First, do you believe that when you perceive red in your subjective experience, that there must actually be something red in the brain?
(I need to know how deep your error goes, first)

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Roderick T. Long said...

I agree with the other commenters that the study is completely irrelevant to the free will question (I blogged about this the other day, but my blog is currently down) -- and also that calling free will a "cruel fraud" makes it sound as though you think Christians are *responsible* for doing something bad. But I want to address the Christian connection in particular.

There's nothing specifically Christian about the doctrine of free will. All the standard Christian arguments for free will were borrowed, in the Middle Ages, from pagan philosophers like Aristotle, Epicurus, Cicero, Pseudo-Plutarch, and Alexander of Aphrodisias.

In fact the pagans have more of a right to the doctrine of free will than the Christians. Because once the Christian got their hands on the doctrine, they tried to combine it with doctrines that were incompatible with it (like divine foreknowledge, providence, and predestination) and so ended up watering down the doctrine. Aristotle, Epicurus, etc., by contrast, rejected the notion of God as puppeteer of the universe and so were the truer defenders of free will.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Nice to see the straw men trotted out, guys! Neither Tremblay nor Nonnymouse have heard of the sub-conscious mind it seems, something that even the most cursory reading of psychology would make one aware of. Anyone who has lived past childhood is aware of the hoards of neurotics running about – many of whom occupy positions of power - all controlled by their sub-conscious repressions, obcessions and desires. To impute "free will" to these wretches is a sick joke.
Rejection of the free will dogma does not mean taking a determinist path. Only that most common example of the authoritarian mentality, either-or thinking, would posit such a false dichotomy. We do have a certain LIMITED ability to choose and the amount of choice is dependent upon many factors. People who are poor, ignorant, stupid, or unaware of their emotional/psychological problems will have lives determined for them to a vastly greater degree than someone who is well-off, educated, intelligent and overcoming their emotional/psychological problems. But the free will doctrine does not posit highly limited choice, and if it did I would be its staunchest advocate. It is a doctrine of EXTREME choice, if you will. See The Dictionary of Philosophy by Dagobert J. Runes, "The free will doctrine ascribes to the human will one or more of the following senses; 1. ...the wills alleged independence of antecedent conditions, psychological and physiological. 2...the supposed ability of the agent to chose among alternative possibilities of action. 3...consisting in decision independent of external restraint."

4:20 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Rodrick, you are right about the Classical origins of the doctrine. But it is the Christianists that have inflicted their own version of it upon us and thus are responsible for burdening us with guilt and punishment.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

I have re-read your insulting remarks again, Tremblay. I am neither stupid, nor ignorant. I simply have an approach or opinion that differs from yours. I don't mind a bit of snarkiness as I indulge in that myself. But keep a civil tongue in your head or fuck off.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Francois Tremblay said...

Do not presume to impose your standards of civility on myself. For my part, I think my comments are quite civil.


"Neither Tremblay nor Nonnymouse have heard of the sub-conscious mind it seems"

Yes, I have. Next?


"To impute "free will" to these wretches is a sick joke."

An Anarchist who demonizes people? First time I've seen that.

Do you believe that man is basically good, or evil, or both?


"Only that most common example of the authoritarian mentality, either-or thinking, would posit such a false dichotomy."

Standard irrational reply. "Stop using your logic on me! Non-contradition does not apply to my position!"

I am a compatibility, so your point is completely lost anyway- if you even had one.


People who are poor, ignorant, stupid, or unaware of their emotional/psychological problems will have lives determined for them to a vastly greater degree than someone who is well-off, educated, intelligent and overcoming their emotional/psychological problems."

You are confusing free will and freedom as a whole.


I asked you a question to try to examine your premises, but you have not answered it yet. Please answer the question I asked you at the end of my last message.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Rich Baumann said...

Nice to see the straw men trotted out, guys! Neither Tremblay nor Nonnymouse have heard of the sub-conscious mind it seems, something that even the most cursory reading of psychology would make one aware of.
Ironic that you would talk of straw men when neither post relied on a rejection of sub-conscious decision-making. As I already pointed out in my previous post, indeterminacy is required only at some point in the decision-making process.

Anyone who has lived past childhood is aware of the hoards of neurotics running about – many of whom occupy positions of power - all controlled by their sub-conscious repressions, obcessions and desires. To impute "free will" to these wretches is a sick joke.
Everyone's decisions are guided by their past experiences and personalities. That doesn't erase the fact that there's indeterminacy in human decision-making.

Rejection of the free will dogma does not mean taking a determinist path. Only that most common example of the authoritarian mentality, either-or thinking, would posit such a false dichotomy.
Free will means nothing more than indeterminacy in decision-making. There's nothing authoritarian about saying "not A implies not A", except perhaps in the sense that one is relying on the authority of the well-established rules of logic.

We do have a certain LIMITED ability to choose and the amount of choice is dependent upon many factors. People who are poor, ignorant, stupid, or unaware of their emotional/psychological problems will have lives determined for them to a vastly greater degree than someone who is well-off, educated, intelligent and overcoming their emotional/psychological problems.
You're trying to equate a quantitative difference in available choices with a qualitative difference in the ability to choose.

But the free will doctrine does not posit highly limited choice, and if it did I would be its staunchest advocate. It is a doctrine of EXTREME choice, if you will.
Individual choices are generally not radically inconsistent from past experience and personality, but past experience and personality change over time as a consequence of previously-made choices, and those choices in the aggregate can cause extreme differences in thought and behavior over time. Though rare, it is also possible for people to make choices that are radically inconsistent with past experience and personality on occasion; this is a consequence of indeterminacy in human decision-making. If choices never deviated, radically or otherwise, from expectations, human behavior would be predictable, and thus demonstrably deterministic.

See The Dictionary of Philosophy by Dagobert J. Runes, "The free will doctrine ascribes to the human will one or more of the following senses; 1. ...the wills alleged independence of antecedent conditions, psychological and physiological.
Indeterminacy does mean the will is independent from those things. It is entirely possible for individuals to make choices that aren't predictable based on their past experiences and personality. That such choices tend to be rare compared to choices consistent with past experience and personality doesn't negate the concept of free will at all. What causes one violently abused child to become a violent adult, while another violently abused child becomes a non-violent adult? There was a time when I was young when one might have predicted I'd turn out like the former case, but as a result of various choices I've made, some radically inconsistent with my past and personality at the time, I'm an example of the latter. Please explain that in the absence of free will.

2...the supposed ability of the agent to chose among alternative possibilities of action.
This ability should be quite apparent, and without indeterminacy in human decision-making it would not be possible.

3...consisting in decision independent of external restraint."
Again, this is just another way of saying our choices aren't deterministic.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Thank you for your responses, Rich. Thank you also for not being abusive. I think our views on this subject are irreconcilable, so there is probably not much sense in going on, but Iwill leave you with these last few points:
Either/or thinking is very much part of the authoritarian mentality. An other way of putting it is "black or white, good guys vs bad guys" thinking. Authoritarians are forever trying to reduce the world to false dichotomies such as "support the US government or you favor the terrorists" etc. The authoritarian finds it difficult to conceive – indeed is enraged by the thought of - a world where most things are shadings of grey, or where unreconcilable contradictions abound. The real world is complex and messy, the authoritarian desires a world that is neat and simple and so pretends that it is that way.
" What causes one violently abused child to become a violent adult, while another violently abused child becomes a non-violent adult? There was a time when I was young when one might have predicted I'd turn out like the former case,"
I suggest this line of reasoning is never a good idea. You do not know the whole story of the abused person who becomes criminal. And if you check your own background you will probably find something in your early life that began to lead you away from such a path. In my own case, ny childhood was contradictory. I was encouraged to read, opening a world of possibilities to me. I was encouraged to think of others and thus have empathy. It also helped to be intelligent and that I often had mentors along the way. Even so, I spent many years floundering in a state of depression, and though it seemed I was making choices in my life, I was only reacting to the abusive side of my upbringing.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Part 2
I must repeat again, the problem with the free will argument is that it tends to absolutize the notion of free will. Note that in the Rune's quotes, it does not say "some possibilities" nor "limited possiblities" but "independence of antecedent conditions" and "decision independent of..." This language invokes and absolute conception of free will. So too the classic debates between free will and determinism are framed in this absolute sense.

I am 63 years old. My personal experience, work experience, experience as an activist, plus my studies in sociology, anthropology and psychology all lead me to believe that most people have few choices in life and that a great many people are little more than reflections of their neuroses. Thus, I dispute your contention that "this ability is quite appearent."
But there is more to my rejection of free will dogma than that. It forms the basis of our law and imbues much of the so-called Christian religion. The law pretends that we all have the ability to freely chose to obey the law or not, are thus responsible for our actions and then punishes those who transgress it. This flies in the face of social science. Devience must be dealt with in other ways. (But even the law admits that the psychotic is not reponsible for his actions.) Furthermore, free will is one of those concepts burdened with political ramifications. As with the "Nature vs. Nurture" debate progressives and reactionaries tend to take different sides. The right favors free will (in an absolutist sense) and progressives opt for a more deterministic stance. The right thus tends to "blame the victims", demand harsh treatment of deviants, while the left seeks the underlying factors and a more humane approach.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

"Do not presume to impose your standards of civility on myself"

sez Tremblay. This is my blog and I set the rules here. There are 3 rules only. 1. No insults 2. No Nazis, racists or Anti-Semites. 3. No trolls. You break rule No 1.

I remember now having a run in with you on an other blog. You seem incapable of arguing a point without becoming nasty. I don't have time for such people. Please don't come back here.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Francois Tremblay said...

Why do you even try to think and post on a blog if you're not ready to confront anything? What's the use?

11:29 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Read through my blog and there is confrontation. I am not afraid to back my opinions. But there is no place for rudeness. So go away.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Francois Tremblay said...

Since you spread misunderstanding or lies (I'm not sure which one yet) about our beliefs, and you won't confront that fact, what does that say about you?

If you consider rudeness to be so bad that it makes you refuse to confront someone else's worldview, there is a problem with your value system buddy.

You will never go far insofar as being a seeker of truth, if that's your goal.

If you ever decide to drop your non-confront, message me and we'll give it another shot.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Fuck off!

2:47 PM  
Blogger Werner said...

My feelings exactly. I had a run-in with this guy over on my blog. First I got this invitation to his "market" anarchist group blog. The only problem was the byline which went something to the effect that 'any social anarchist or anarcho-communist contributions might be accepted if only to be ridiculed'. I declined the "invite" for that reason. He tried to get insulting but this doesn't work on me, of course. Then he started to whine that I was trying to treat him like an enemy. Sob,sob,sob. And then HE comes over here telling YOU not to be a wimp because HE feels like badmouthing YOU. Screw that. I don't think it requires much more to see what type of person we're dealing with here. (... and I can see why you use comment moderation. I haven't gone that far yet but I don't allow anonymous comments anymore.) Hang in there, comrade.

Anyway, I'm of two minds about the issue of free will. I think what is beginning to happen is that the old "new leftist" views about the eternal mutability of human nature have generally been discarded. Today there is fairly wide agreement about the biological foundation of complex behaviour and therefore a certain degree of predictability. But as in "weird" physics these outcomes are mainly statistical. On the other hand our knowledge doesn't really always explain odd things like suicide.
We can still go against our nature and such events are not really that foreseeable although in hindsight it might appear to be so.

12:45 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

I thought we had run into this guy before at the COA. Looking back through the old postings I found his missive on the environment. He makes Steve Harper look like Elizabeth May by comparison, he is so reactionary, a climate-change denier plus trotting out all the usual straw men about enviros being troglodytes. I let him have a blast and so did about 5 or 6 others. A month later in his next offering he whines that we "flamed him." It is OK for him to call others names, but criticism is flaming!
Better off without him...

11:57 AM  
Blogger Mookie said...

Hello!

Great post and blog - I enjoy immensely what I have seen thus far.

I agree with your stance regarding free will. Once we get such a notion out of our minds, we can start examining the issues with a clear perspective.

You seem well-versed in authoritarian behaviour. Have you any knowledge of John Dean or Bob Altemeyer? Sounds very much like you do. I have yet to meet an anarchist blogger who was aware of such things. Strange, because it's at the heart of the ideology.

I too have had icky dealings with tremblay - his whining in the blogosphere goes back several years, when the atheist blog movement was really taking off. I'm sure if you asked nicely, he'd tell you about his 'shit list' escapades, which, needless to say, won him a lot of friends and alienated respect.

Hope to hear back from you soon. I believe I will be adding your blog to my blogroll. Have a good week.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Thanks Mookie! Yes, I know about Bob Altemeyer and posted about his work a year or so ago. He is very good, but most of my knowledge abt. the authoritarian personality comes from reading Fromm, Reich, and Adorno.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Rich Baumann said...

Either/or thinking is very much part of the authoritarian mentality.
Either/or thinking is a part of everyone's mentality. An animal cannot be both a cat and a dog, or both alive and dead, or both on the moon and inside your home. By the very definitions of determinacy and indeterminacy, there are no shades of grey, something is either deterministic, or it is not. Something either has perfect predictability, a 100% statistical correlation between past and present states, or it does not.

An other way of putting it is "black or white, good guys vs bad guys" thinking. Authoritarians are forever trying to reduce the world to false dichotomies such as "support the US government or you favor the terrorists" etc. The authoritarian finds it difficult to conceive – indeed is enraged by the thought of - a world where most things are shadings of grey
Authoritarians make use of "shades of grey" all the time to justify their activities. Consider civilian casualties in war; it's not mass murder or negligent homicide, it's "collateral damage". The claim that only authoritarians use, or that authoritarians only use, rigidly dichotomistic thinking is not only quite apparently false, it is itself rigidly dichotomistic.

or where unreconcilable contradictions abound.
Reality is self-consistent; there are no "unreconcilable contradictions", only misperceptions or erroneous interpretations of the data. For example, the perceptual contradictions between observers existing in different reference frames which are separated by relativistic velocities are actually consistent within the larger higher-dimensional spacetime; there is no actual physical contradiction, only misperception of the data arising from an overly simplistic human perception of spacetime itself.

The real world is complex and messy, the authoritarian desires a world that is neat and simple and so pretends that it is that way.
In some ways the world is simple and orderly, and in other ways complex and messy, and both authoritarians and non-authoritarians prefer the former for the simple fact that it's easier to understand. Rational people recognize and accept that some things aren't simple and orderly.

I suggest this line of reasoning is never a good idea. You do not know the whole story of the abused person who becomes criminal. And if you check your own background you will probably find something in your early life that began to lead you away from such a path. In my own case, ny childhood was contradictory. I was encouraged to read, opening a world of possibilities to me. I was encouraged to think of others and thus have empathy. It also helped to be intelligent and that I often had mentors along the way. Even so, I spent many years floundering in a state of depression, and though it seemed I was making choices in my life, I was only reacting to the abusive side of my upbringing.
My use of anectdotal evidence to support my position is no more or less valid than yours.

I must repeat again, the problem with the free will argument is that it tends to absolutize the notion of free will. Note that in the Rune's quotes, it does not say "some possibilities" nor "limited possiblities" but "independence of antecedent conditions" and "decision independent of..." This language invokes and absolute conception of free will. So too the classic debates between free will and determinism are framed in this absolute sense.
It is absolute. Something either has 100% statistical correlation between past and present states, or it does not. 99.99999999999999% statistical correlation is still indeterministic, it still means "independence of antecedent conditions". Independence does not mean a lack of any correlation, it means a lack of causation. Things can correlate very strongly without there being a strict causal relationship between them. If there is a causal relationship, it means there will be 100% statistical correlation, and that there's determinacy; otherwise, there's indeterminacy.

I am 63 years old. My personal experience, work experience, experience as an activist, plus my studies in sociology, anthropology and psychology all lead me to believe that most people have few choices in life and that a great many people are little more than reflections of their neuroses.
Again you're confusing the quantity of options with the ability to choose among them. If you're correct in stating that most people are little more than reflections of their neuroses, it still doesn't mean people are deterministic in their decision-making.

Thus, I dispute your contention that "this ability is quite appearent."
It's easily demonstrated that people are capable of decision-making, and that it is indeterministic. The fact that at this moment you could jump out of your window or continue reading this comment proves that you're capable of choosing between multiple alternative options. As proof of indeterminacy, consider if you were in an open plain with two equal-sized sources of water, one 100 meters to your left and the other 100 meters to your right; would you die of thirst just standing there, or would you choose one source of water over the other? Do you really think you would just stand there unable to make a decision and thus die of thirst? Of course not!

But there is more to my rejection of free will dogma than that. It forms the basis of our law and imbues much of the so-called Christian religion.
Indeterminacy in decision-making isn't dogma, it's a falsifiable scientific theory which has thus far stood up to experimentation. It has little to do with Christianity, especially considering the Christian superstitions of predestination and prophecy.

The law pretends that we all have the ability to freely chose to obey the law or not, are thus responsible for our actions
The law isn't a person, it can't pretend anything. If we aren't responsible for our actions, either thought and action must be completely disconnected, or one or the other must not exist at all; in either case, this whole argument becomes irrelevant.

and then punishes those who transgress it. This flies in the face of social science. Devience must be dealt with in other ways.
I've already addressed this. The state, initiations of aggression, and punishment all make perfect sense if people are deterministic; in all cases, force must be used to control people. Determinism actually makes the case for anomy, a lack of all rules of behavior, so everything from totalitarian tyranny to anarchy is justifiable, and those justifications are all also irrelevant. If people are instead indeterministic in their thinking, only the non-initiation of aggression, and therefore also justice based on restitution, are rationally justifiable.

(But even the law admits that the psychotic is not reponsible for his actions.)
An appeal to force and false authority. Psychotics are responsible for their actions by the very fact that they are in fact actually responsible. If my fist lands in your face, it is nonsensical to claim I am not responsible for the damage to your face, as my fist is part of me and is what caused the damage. Statements about responsibility are simply statements of fact about causation. Judging people by their assumed thoughts and mental states rather than by their actual and observable actions is also an implementation of Orwellian "thoughtcrime".

Furthermore, free will is one of those concepts burdened with political ramifications.
What is true is true regardless of its political ramifications.

As with the "Nature vs. Nurture" debate progressives and reactionaries tend to take different sides. The right favors free will (in an absolutist sense) and progressives opt for a more deterministic stance. The right thus tends to "blame the victims", demand harsh treatment of deviants, while the left seeks the underlying factors and a more humane approach.
The only victims are those who suffer the initiated aggressions of others; those initiating the aggression are not the victims, they're the perpetrators.

Political "conservatives" use deterministic reasoning to argue for the necessity of the state to "protect the family" and similar nonsense, and political "progressives" use deterministic reasoning to argue for the necessity of the state to "correct" the problems of the present economic system they falsely call a "free market" (while actually creating, along with the "conservatives", those very problems). They both argue that without them running things, everything would fall apart and there would be chaos, but they have the exclusive superpowers of omni-benevolence and absolute enlightenment.

The whole of statist thought is based on and requires a deterministic view of humanity to make any sense at all; supposedly most people are inherently evil, with a precious few being inherently good. The few good people, in the statist reasoning, must be given power over all others. Different factions of these supposedly good people then scapegoat each other, and the corruptive influence of evil people external to the state, to explain away any problems with the state itself and further consolidate their power.

The view that people are capable of being, and should be, free of external control follows necessarily from an indeterministic view of humanity, and is basic to anarchist philosophy.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Mookie said...

I don't think they bothered to read the article.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

I just did a little background research on Mr. T. Turns out he is a Randroid cultist and an anarcho-capitalist. This explains his authoritarian ranting - taking after his beloved guru - his extreme anger at the idea that either/or thinking is generally a mistake and one of the roots of authoritarianism. (Understandable with the Randroid A is A clap trap.) And his hatred of social anarchists, since for the Randriod cult anything smacking of socialism (and human decency for that matter), is evil

5:58 PM  
Blogger Werner said...

I would just like to reiterate that I have banned "T" from my blog since he has made threats in his one of his postings.we should wipe them out and start fresh referring to social anarchists. I don't know whether that threat was copyrighted or not though.

5:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there is no free will then the police had no choice to arrest the criminal, the prosecutor had no choice but to try the case, the judge and jury had no choice but to try and convict, the police had no choice but to drag the convict off the jail, the guards had no choice but to keep them their, and the politicians that made the law in the first place had no choice about making it so actually determinism doesn't mean we should stop punishing. It doesn't mean we should or shouldn't do anything. It means you can't speak of anything as having consequences since what ever it 'causes' was already predetermined. In fact whoever or whatever did it couldn't help it anyways.

If there's no free will then there's no meaning in anything and no purpose to anything. I hope that's not the case, but it would explain why we haven't found any aliens (they all committed suicide or just stopped trying to survive when they discovered for sure there was no free will)

7:36 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Thee is no free will in the extreme sense. Our choices are limited

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Lorenzo/part time philosopher said...

Unfortunatly for the aliens, they wouldn't all suicide since it's most likely that they didn't have the free will to do so :)

I don't see why it would be so scary to live a determined life. If anything, it helps me realize that I belong and that I am more than just a person and a mind...I am thus infinite and universal!

For me, people that cling to the idea of free will are simply insecure and in opposition to something that they choose to stay dependent on (that can be money to even life itself) and it angers them...it reminds me of my teenage hood.

12:06 AM  
Blogger karim said...

Good one and it helps a lot.Thank you for your great post.

Karim - Positive thinking

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Lorenzo

True their suicides would have been predetermined too if there is no free will. But its a depressing idea that every little movement you make is predetermined and out of your control. If that is true then you never really create, never really make an impact on your surroundings because it is not you, it is just a set of physical and chemical reactions. It eliminates any real point or purpose to life. I don't see how determinism makes you "belong" or makes you infinite and universal unless you mean the physical stuff that makes you. But that will be there regardless and whether we have free will or not it doesn't mean our minds are going to continue experiencing things.

That's another thing? If everything is predetermined what is the reason we evolved consciousness or even an unconscious in the first place? What's the point? Why not just be a bunch of random matter and energy like a rock is or the sun is if its not going to have any impact on how you do things? It has to be for something.

Maybe we are our unconscious and it is the unconscious that has free will and the conscious, what we're aware of is just the unconscious' way of "taking notes" to inform its future decisions.

I dont think free will is absolute. I can't just teleport half way across the universe if I feel like it. There are physical laws, but within those physical laws there is free will. I dont think anyone argues that free will is absolute. Thats a strawman.

I got to say it is comical watching determinists say that because everything is predetermined that therefore we should do certain things like change how we deal with deviance. If everything is absolutely predetermined then how we deal with it is predetermined too and the people responsible for dealing with it aren't actually responsible at all.

6:20 PM  
Blogger Ian said...

Rich, Francois, et al. Your points are nonsense. Indeterminacy does not equal free will. Non-inevitability does. The burden of proof is on you who argue free will, not those who disagree with you. Prove it using scientific empirical evidence. Show that you "could have done" differently than you did do. Saying that you're free because you didn't turn out the same as someone ese is an illogical argument. All people are different and have their own independent thought processes, so it's quite easy to explain differences between people with similar experiences without positing the existence of unprovable "free will." You fail.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Free will and reality is nothing else than what we experience, and what we experience is nothing more than the aftermath of what just happened.

Remember, our real reality is in the future, our minds are responding to a chain of events heppening for a long time ago.

I don't have any free will, even my mood and what I end up doing someday is affected by what events in my life.

Can you as a supporter of free will decide these events and what will happen? Can you decide what the future will be?

1:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YOLO SWAG

9:11 PM  

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