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Author Topic:   free will
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 16 of 37 (27937)
12-26-2002 6:32 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by joz
12-26-2002 4:08 PM


Originally posted by joz:
Right here we go...
Basically the way I see it if you have a complete set of starting conditions A you cannot predict that a set B will be next instead what you have is a set of solutions (B1,B2....Bn where n is a pretty darn tooting big number for any system much more complex than a couple of particles interacting)....
Because the interactions on the quantum level are essentialy random one cannot predict which of these possible Bx solutions will come to pass, so while the set of conditions A effects the set of possible solutions B it does not predetermine which of those outcomes will occur....
Obviously the more intervals ellapse between A and nX (the nth set of conditions) the harder it is to predict what nX will be as each of Bn leads to Cnm leads to Dnmp etc.....
So what does that make it?
see, the word "essentially" throws me... it's like the word "basically"...outside of that, it's not that i don't understand what you say it's that i'm still left wondering if condition B1, B2, etc are: contingent, necessary, or impossible... this is the question you haven't yet addressed...
see joz, even for those who say the answer to everything is found in the q.t. can't escape the fact that it's *still* material-based which means there can be no such thing as free will...
contrary to your belief that God and free will can't co-exist, free will is only possible given a transcendental explanation...
if there isn't more than nature, than the material, nihilism is the only rational choice, and even it has its own internal problems

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by joz, posted 12-26-2002 4:08 PM joz has not replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 17 of 37 (27938)
12-26-2002 6:52 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by joz
12-26-2002 4:24 PM


Originally posted by joz:
quote:
Originally posted by forgiven:
remember joz, i'm simply trying to understand some things... when you say (emphasis mine) "...on the quantum level their macroscopic effects can be described fairly well statistically..." did you in fact mean to use the word "effects" and if so does it presuppose a cause?
In that quantum events without causality per se have effects that we can observe (casimir effect etc) yes but thats an effect observed at the macroscopic level caused by an event on the quantum level...
Also "...on the quantum level their macroscopic effects can be described fairly well statistically..." has quite a different meaning than "because there are so many interactions on the quantum level their macroscopic effects can be described fairly well statistically..."
I appreciate that you were just quoteing an abreviated portion but it may be that you attributed to much significance to one part of the sentence without looking at the meaning of the whole thing....
yes, i didn't mean to quote out of context but it appears i may have done so... my apologies... i don't know what "..without causality per se.." means exactly... it boils down to whether or not your present state of affairs is contingent upon a prior state, or whether it is a necessary state in and of itself
quote:
forgiven:
on a deeper level it appears to my untrained eye that if chaos theory grants the necessity of changes in conditions for "certain systems," and if these conditions themselves are necessary for whatever state of affairs obtains at the time, there is far less chaos in the theory than one would be led to believe
Yep two identical chaotic systems with identical starting conditions and no random factors will develop in the same way, however as soon as the system contains some random elements the two will diverge fairly quickly, QM provides just such a random element...
but is it truly random? for it to be so it must not be contingent *at all* on any prior state... that doesn't leave many options as to why this particular state of affairs exists...

This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by joz, posted 12-26-2002 4:24 PM joz has not replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 18 of 37 (27939)
12-26-2002 6:59 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by joz
12-26-2002 4:41 PM


Originally posted by joz:
See this is where I think it gets interesting, it is possible for a system (lets say a whole lot of neurons with a particular set of synapses under a particular stimulus) to have prefered outcomes, thus if one of us were to fall and gash our knee we might say "Jesus H christ" or "dammit" or even in an extreme situation "F@#!" we are not very likely to yell out "yippee", "woohooo" or the like even though we could, basically could you explain why you chose one of the likely utterences over all others? I can understand that F'given may avoid using the lords name in vain, but can you explain the one choice over all others?
So I don`t think we really do choose I think that free will is an anthropisation of a matrix of biased yet random inputs/outputs which is our brain.....
Comments...
ok, i'll buy that you think that for the reasons you say... in another thread you'd said free will can't exist if God exists, and now you appear to be saying free will can't exist if he doesn't exist... therefore, free will can't exist period... all is determined, whether we describe it as cause/effect or randomness... in the end they're just words used to describe our utter lack of knowledge of how the universe "works"
will you admit that the christian worldview, even with all the problems you think it contains, is at least internally consistent? if i can show that your worldview must embrace nihilism, and if i can further show that nihilism is inherently irrational, will you admit that my worldview should be looked at closer? that it might be superior to the one you currently embrace?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by joz, posted 12-26-2002 4:41 PM joz has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 20 by joz, posted 12-27-2002 1:00 AM forgiven has replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 19 of 37 (27946)
12-26-2002 8:28 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Mr. Davies
12-26-2002 10:23 AM


quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Davies:
For the thread I saw that bloomed after I responded to you, I think you want to show that the causality of the Universe is so improbable that you need a creator.
ummm noooo i don't think i've ever entertained such a thought, much less posted it... we're actually talking about the possibility of free will given two naturalistic views of how the universe works, classic physics and quantum mechanics
quote:
Well, I'd say that the arguemnet is flawed as if you think everything needs a cause, then so does your god. If you god is supernatural, it is still someplace else, even if you call it heaven. Well, where did this "someplace else" come from?
your first sentence is an assertion without argument, therefore i'll just ignore it... as for the rest, i see no problem with a supernatural God existing supernaturally wheresoever he chooses

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Mr. Davies, posted 12-26-2002 10:23 AM Mr. Davies has not replied

  
joz
Inactive Member


Message 20 of 37 (27955)
12-27-2002 1:00 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by forgiven
12-26-2002 6:59 PM


quote:
Originally posted by forgiven:
ok, i'll buy that you think that for the reasons you say... in another thread you'd said free will can't exist if God exists, and now you appear to be saying free will can't exist if he doesn't exist... therefore, free will can't exist period... all is determined, whether we describe it as cause/effect or randomness... in the end they're just words used to describe our utter lack of knowledge of how the universe "works"
Thats sort of what I was getting at back in the post where I raised the question of how you define free will, under your definition I would have to say there isn`t any as your definition (correct me if I get this wrong) relies on our thoughts not having a material source....
Under my definition "free will" does exsist, its the anthropisation of the inherrant unpredictability of our world due to QM and chaos theory...
The point is in my view random/uncaused events don`t merely affect the thoughts they are part of the thinking process, thus thoughts having random/uncaused components are not determined by the starting conditions though they may be biased toward certain outcomes by the pattern of synapses/stimuli encountered by the individual...
While our understanding of physics may improve into the future the fact is that QM, chaos etc are very good descriptive tools, IMHO it isn`t that we see things as random/uncaused because of any serious lack in our science but because it is actually random/uncaused, sure the models may need some tweaking but they are as models go pretty damm good...
quote:
will you admit that the christian worldview, even with all the problems you think it contains, is at least internally consistent? if i can show that your worldview must embrace nihilism, and if i can further show that nihilism is inherently irrational, will you admit that my worldview should be looked at closer? that it might be superior to the one you currently embrace?
I'm willing to grant that those who believe in the xtian paradigm honestly feel that it is internally consistent, however I can`t see the 2 (free will and an omniscient god) as anything but contradictory (for the reasons I gave earlier, omniscient god = predetermination etc)...
And certainly you should feel free to explain why nihilism should be the logical outcome of the paradigm I subscribe to, but I think that you`ll have an uphill battle...
1)Because I`m pretty sure that you can explain the lack of nihilism in my world view by reference to altruistic genes (man evolved as a social animal afterall)....
2)Because I have some pretty strong empirical evidence to the contrary sitting behind this keyboard....
3)What is to say that nihilism isn`t the way forward? Sure its antisocial but if its a choice between the consequences of a paradigm you feel has merit and switching to a paradigm that contains percieved inconsistencies which is preferable? (not a big concern for me this one as I`m quite sure that my paradigm doesn`t have to lead to nihilism)...
Don`t take those 3 as a "don`t bother to post you can't change my mind" I would like to discuss this and see what turns up, it will certainly be different from the usual "repent or burn in hell" attempts at proselytisation, I'm just warning you up front that its probably going to be a long and fruitless undertaking (though I feel it may be worthwhile just for what the discussion reveals in terms of figuring out quite where each other is coming from).....

This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by forgiven, posted 12-26-2002 6:59 PM forgiven has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 24 by forgiven, posted 12-27-2002 8:22 PM joz has not replied
 Message 34 by Mike Holland, posted 03-11-2003 8:07 PM joz has not replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 21 of 37 (27959)
12-27-2002 6:22 AM


hey guys, this isn't a debate between joz and me, this is open to everyone so jump right in... the tone of joz's posts tells me that this subject interests him as much as it does me, and i think both of us are willing to listen to what others have to say
joz, i'm on my way to work and will try to get to your post this evening... meanwhile, i need to think on your definition of free will... it seems almost viciously circular at first glance, but i'm on my first cup of coffee *G*

Replies to this message:
 Message 22 by Mr. Davies, posted 12-27-2002 8:48 AM forgiven has replied

  
Mr. Davies
Inactive Member


Message 22 of 37 (27963)
12-27-2002 8:48 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by forgiven
12-27-2002 6:22 AM


Why?
This is an exercise in "What if?".
Is there "freewill", I say yes? I will also say that we do not need any god to give it to us.
What more is there to say?
------------------
When all else fails, check the manual

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by forgiven, posted 12-27-2002 6:22 AM forgiven has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by forgiven, posted 12-27-2002 6:35 PM Mr. Davies has not replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 23 of 37 (28002)
12-27-2002 6:35 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by Mr. Davies
12-27-2002 8:48 AM


quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Davies:
Why?
This is an exercise in "What if?".
Is there "freewill", I say yes? I will also say that we do not need any god to give it to us.
What more is there to say?

for you mr. davies, nothing...

This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Mr. Davies, posted 12-27-2002 8:48 AM Mr. Davies has not replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 24 of 37 (28004)
12-27-2002 8:22 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by joz
12-27-2002 1:00 AM


quote:
Originally posted by joz:
Thats sort of what I was getting at back in the post where I raised the question of how you define free will, under your definition I would have to say there isn`t any as your definition (correct me if I get this wrong) relies on our thoughts not having a material source....
hmmmm... i don't think the definition i gave (from a dictionary of philosophical terms) said that... i think thoughts may or may not have material sources... depends on the thought i guess... here's the definition again
The human capacity to act (or not to act) as we choose or prefer, without any external compulsion or restraint. Freedom in this sense is usually regarded as a presupposition of moral responsibility: the actions for which I may be praised or blamed, rewarded or punished, are just those which I perform freely.
if all our choices are caused by another agent, we don't have free will... in a material universe there can be no choice since my choices are dependent on an immediately prior state of affairs... as i tried to show, substituting quantum mechanics (or randomness) for classical physics doesn't solve the problem... our choices would still be contingent or necessary, (i leave impossible off)... unless you can come up with another alternative
here's a quote you might find interesting, since it's from a world-class physicist who also happens to be a materialist, paul davies:
Left to its own devices, an atom cannot make a choice. The problems seem insurmountable. The new physics undoubtedly gives a new slant to the longstanding enigma of free will and determinism, but it does not solve it. The quantum theory undermines determinism, but brings its own crop of difficulties concerning freedom, not least of which is the possibility of multiple realities. The theory of relativity offers us a universe extended in time as well as space, but still leaves the door open for some sort of freedom of action.1
i personally think davies underestimates the degree to which q.t. undermines determinism, as i've tried to show
quote:
Under my definition "free will" does exsist, its the anthropisation of the inherrant unpredictability of our world due to QM and chaos theory...
sorry, i don't follow this... is this a way to introduce something like emergent properties into the discussion? that's ok if you want to do that, i just have to make a mental shift... for the sake of argument let's say the universe "works" on the quantum model... now imagine a state of affairs in your life, a choice you may have made today... was that choice, that state, contingent upon *anything* immediately prior to it?
quote:
The point is in my view random/uncaused events don`t merely affect the thoughts they are part of the thinking process, thus thoughts having random/uncaused components are not determined by the starting conditions though they may be biased toward certain outcomes by the pattern of synapses/stimuli encountered by the individual...
are your thoughts material then? in another thread robin asked about a house he once lived in... he created an image of that house in his mind... was that image material? was it made of energy? matter? was it suspended in time and space? this is an important question, i think...
quote:
While our understanding of physics may improve into the future the fact is that QM, chaos etc are very good descriptive tools, IMHO it isn`t that we see things as random/uncaused because of any serious lack in our science but because it is actually random/uncaused, sure the models may need some tweaking but they are as models go pretty damm good...
i agree, they are good as models go... but are they sufficient? how does *any* materialistic view of the universe account for things like laws of logic?
quote:
I'm willing to grant that those who believe in the xtian paradigm honestly feel that it is internally consistent, however I can`t see the 2 (free will and an omniscient god) as anything but contradictory (for the reasons I gave earlier, omniscient god = predetermination etc)...
i've shown how predestination and free will are reconciled and will be glad to make another attempt... however, my worldview doesn't merely seem to be consistent, it is... i can account for things not suspended in time and space... the materialist can't... i can account for free will, the naturalist can't
quote:
And certainly you should feel free to explain why nihilism should be the logical outcome of the paradigm I subscribe to, but I think that you`ll have an uphill battle...
until you reach the point in your thinking where you can admit the possibility that even q.m. doesn't solve the problem of a necessary prior antecedent state of affairs, i doubt i can convince you that nihilism is the logical outgrowth of your paradigm... but if there is no free will in a materialistic universe, you'll have to make a decision... you'll have to either admit atoms can not only freely choose nothing, they can't rationally argue whether they should freely choose anything, and embrace nihilism, else you'll have to examine worldviews consistent with what you know to be true of the universe
1 - Paul Davies, God and the New Physics, Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York, NY, 1983, p. 141.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by joz, posted 12-27-2002 1:00 AM joz has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by forgiven, posted 12-31-2002 6:45 AM forgiven has not replied

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 25 of 37 (28179)
12-31-2002 6:45 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by forgiven
12-27-2002 8:22 PM


bump

This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by forgiven, posted 12-27-2002 8:22 PM forgiven has not replied

  
gene90
Member (Idle past 3905 days)
Posts: 1610
Joined: 12-25-2000


Message 26 of 37 (28257)
01-01-2003 6:29 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by joz
12-26-2002 4:41 PM


quote:
So I don`t think we really do choose I think that free will is an anthropisation of a matrix of biased yet random inputs/outputs which is our brain.....
Ah, the dehumanization begins.
So what am I? The sum total of of random inputs in a really nice neural net of arbitrary complexity? So umm, if somebody were to sneak up behind me and ballistically emplace a conical lead object in the fleshy, red, basal part of my neural net and therefore cause the entire construct to reach equilibrium with the outside environment, that wouldn't be murder would it?
So I suppose the opposition undermines its own argument that the alleged infant-drowning was morally wrong in the first place.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by joz, posted 12-26-2002 4:41 PM joz has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by Gzus, posted 03-09-2003 6:02 PM gene90 has not replied

  
Gzus
Inactive Member


Message 27 of 37 (33994)
03-09-2003 6:02 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by gene90
01-01-2003 6:29 PM


quote:
if somebody were to sneak up behind me and ballistically emplace a conical lead object in the fleshy, red, basal part of my neural net and therefore cause the entire construct to reach equilibrium with the outside environment, that wouldn't be murder would it?
rather unmoving isn't it?
As for free will, if there is nothing supernatural about the brain [i.e. it obeys a set of physical laws] then our decisions are by definition unfree.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by gene90, posted 01-01-2003 6:29 PM gene90 has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 28 by greyline, posted 03-09-2003 11:32 PM Gzus has replied

  
greyline
Inactive Member


Message 28 of 37 (34007)
03-09-2003 11:32 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by Gzus
03-09-2003 6:02 PM


Jumping in
I'm not up to scratch on my quantum theory, but I doubt the bible authors had that in mind when "God" gave us free will, anyway. When it comes to this kind of philosophising, I prefer to think in macro terms, not micro, although the above is all very interesting.
So, when it comes to the Big Questions - say, choc fudge or cookies n' cream at the supermarket freezer - I certainly have free will and I'm sure my quantum fluctuations have nothing to do with it. Regarding religion, most people's journey with spirituality begins in childhood when their "free will" is limited by their underdevelopment. Children "believe" because they're told it's true. In matters of belief, I acquired free will once I learned to overcome the brainwashing of my youth.
On the flipside, if everything happens according to God's will I would say that by definition he's the only one around here with free will.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by Gzus, posted 03-09-2003 6:02 PM Gzus has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 29 by Gzus, posted 03-10-2003 4:16 PM greyline has replied

  
Gzus
Inactive Member


Message 29 of 37 (34067)
03-10-2003 4:16 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by greyline
03-09-2003 11:32 PM


Re: Jumping in
You obviously need to spend more time thinking about this.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by greyline, posted 03-09-2003 11:32 PM greyline has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by greyline, posted 03-10-2003 7:24 PM Gzus has not replied

  
greyline
Inactive Member


Message 30 of 37 (34080)
03-10-2003 7:24 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by Gzus
03-10-2003 4:16 PM


Re: Jumping in
It's called "having a different perspective".
------------------
o--greyline--o

This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by Gzus, posted 03-10-2003 4:16 PM Gzus has not replied

  
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