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Uriah



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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:30 am

Well, Helium - any person who believes in their own version of God cannot answer the question "why the earth and heavens - and us - are here" either. At least not without inventing a story to do so. I just decline to invent a story, or take any other person's invented story over the observable truth.

That's why I cannot state, with any reasonable certainty, that God exists. I believe in god - whatever it may be - simply because I choose to, because I feel it in my heart, but in reality I don't much care about god at all. I care only about the spark of spiritual potentiality that exists within all of us. The little "L" Logos that resides in each individual. To be human is to wonder.

Or as was said by a writer exceedingly better than myself,

"Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?'
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand."
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Uriah

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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:32 am

The Paineful Truth wrote:
Helium, in their parallel universe, their thoughts and actions were set 13.? Billion years ago give or take a Planck Epoch.

Because of my time at SH I hate to use this word, but that, sir, is a strawman and you know it.
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Aaron
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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:19 am

Helium wrote:
And to Gnomon, regarding the opening statement, I ask ...

think of a person you really like, like to be around, share a java or pint or whatever, you know just elevates your day.

Then think of the scariest person you've met that kinda gave you the heebie jeebies.

Now, do you give absolutely give no credit to the person in category A) for the person he has become?

And similarly, do you place absolutely no responsibility onto the person in category B) for the person he has become?

Are you saying that your buddy in category A is just a product of gene pools and familial, cultural and environmental stimuli who had no choice on his outcome, but is just a marionette whose every movements are predetermined by the complex interactions above; that he has, in fact, no choice.

Are you saying that the scary person in category B is just a product of gene pools and familial, cultural and environmental stimuli who had no choice on his outcome, but is just a marionette whose every movements are predetermined by the complex interactions above; that he has, in fact, no internal choice.

Right now somewhere in the world someone with a growing addiction has a bottle of beer in his hand. Should I, shouldn't I. Are you saying it doesn't matter what he does, because what he does is not determined by his choice but that he is just a marionette whose every movements have been predetermined by the complex interactions of his gene pool and familial, cultural and environmental stimuli.

Right now somewhere in the world a teen is being pressured to do something stupid for a gang ...

A gambler who has lost his stash, is borrowing money against the family house ...

A married man thinks it's a good idea when his secretary asks him to come in for a drink ...

Is there really no freedom in these decisions? No right and wrong?

Yes and no and neither at the same time. Smile

It all depends upon your perspective.

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Aaron
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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:26 pm

Aaron wrote:
Not to choose sides but I'm with Uriah on this one.

I guess I should probably elaborate on that position. I'm with Uriah on the argument that Paineful brought up that suggested that without free-will god can not exist. In other words, I think that god can exist even without free-will.

I also don't hold to the view of god as a willful being. I view god more in terms of pure potential (as well as that potential in manifest form). What god's will is or whether god even has a will or not can probably never be known.

Regarding the question of free-will vs. determinism, I don't completely agree with either position nor do I necassarily disagree with either position. I think the answer is largely dependent upon one's vantage point. I think from the outside it would probably look like all of our thoughts and actions are determined, while from the inside it seems like we have free-will. The true answer IMO is most likely paradoxical and my guess is that free-will and determinism are like two sides of the same coin or like yin and yang. They co-create one another.

So it may turn out that both sides are right and wrong at the same time.

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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:01 pm

Helium wrote:
And to Gnomon, regarding the opening statement, I ask ...

Is there really no freedom in these decisions? No right and wrong?
Helium
I think you missed my point. I was arguing in favor of human freewill and responsibility. But as Aaron put it, the coin of destiny has two sides. From my personal subjective point-of-view, of course my decisions are freely made. But from an objective, scientific perspective, my decisions are merely links in a long chain of cause and effect.

It would be absurd to deny that effects reliably follow causes; but as I mentioned above, the relation between a force and its resultant is statistical, not absolute (99.99%, not 100%). Hence, I conclude that self-conscious humans are like professional gamblers, who take advantage of the slight uncertainty in the laws of Chance to turn the odds in their own favor.

By virtue of our ability to foresee consequences, we are able to choose one statistically-possible future over another. In effect, we have become tiny nodes of "cause" (i.e. control) in the cosmic cybernetic system of information flow. That conclusion is not based on Faith, but on my emerging understanding of how the objective world works. In another post I may get into the way that "quantum superposition" may be involved in our freedom from predestination.
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The Paineful Truth

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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:29 pm

Uriah wrote:
Well, Helium - any person who believes in their own version of God cannot answer the question "why the earth and heavens - and us - are here" either.

Deists theorize about God's motives and why we are here, if He exists. The only assumption necessary is that God is sane, and looking at the universe, He appears to be so. The irony would be how spontaneous creation could be sane or rational.

Quote :
Because of my time at SH I hate to use this word, but that, sir, is a strawman and you know it.

How so? Isn't the lack of free will the same thing as determinism?

Aaron wrote:

I guess I should probably elaborate on that position. I'm with Uriah on the argument that Paineful brought up that suggested that without free-will god can not exist. In other words, I think that god can exist even without free-will.

I also don't hold to the view of god as a willful being. I view god more in terms of pure potential (as well as that potential in manifest form). What god's will is or whether god even has a will or not can probably never be known.

Can a universal spiritual being not have free will? If He is merely potential and doesn't have free will, would that be any different from there being no God?

Gnomon wrote:

Helium
I think you missed my point. I was arguing in favor of human freewill and responsibility. But as Aaron put it, the coin of destiny has two sides. From my personal subjective point-of-view, of course my decisions are freely made. But from an objective, scientific perspective, my decisions are merely links in a long chain of cause and effect.

When science uncovers significant evidence that we never make decisions against our nature, or that there is a total lack of randomness in the universe, then we can reasonably believe in a lack of free will and determinism. In fact, quantum mechanics appears to indicate randomness, and there is ample evidence that part of human nature can often lead to anti-human nature.
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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:25 pm

The Paineful Truth wrote:
Aaron wrote:

I guess I should probably elaborate on that position. I'm with Uriah on the argument that Paineful brought up that suggested that without free-will god can not exist. In other words, I think that god can exist even without free-will.

I also don't hold to the view of god as a willful being. I view god more in terms of pure potential (as well as that potential in manifest form). What god's will is or whether god even has a will or not can probably never be known.

Can a universal spiritual being not have free will?

Like I said, I'm not so sure that god actually is a being. If that's the case then the question of will is irrelevant. But to answer the question, I simply don't know.

The Paineful Truth wrote:
If He is merely potential and doesn't have free will, would that be any different from there being no God?

That depends on one's perspective and one's definition of god. IMO nothing would exist without god (even god itself.)

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Paul Anthony

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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Thu Jan 17, 2008 9:47 pm

My ex-wife, who knows well my penchant for deep philosophical deliberation (an interest she does not share) gave me a birthday card. On the front is a picture of an Eastern-style guru sitting in the lotus position, and the words:

"On your birthday, you are probably asking that age-old question, 'Why am I here?' This card contains the answer to that question".

I opened the card, to learn the illusive answer and read:





















"Your parents had sex".



Well, I suppose it does answer the question, doesn't it? Smile
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The Paineful Truth

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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:29 am

And thus draweth to a close another fruitless discussion on the subject of free will. Once again the free-willers are forced to exercise their free will and resist the natural urge to run screaming from the room filled with so many of those who don't know why they're there.
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Uriah

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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Fri Jan 18, 2008 1:11 am

Well, you know, it was bound to happen. Smile
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Helium



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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Fri Jan 18, 2008 1:45 am

Yes, it was destined!
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Helium



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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Fri Jan 18, 2008 2:18 am

Helium said ...
Quote :
Is there really no freedom in these decisions? No right and wrong?

Aaron said ...
Quote :
Yes and no and neither at the same time.

It all depends upon your perspective.

Yes we've had this fascinating discussion before and I'll probably make a new thread.

But I think what Aaron is suggesting is that from our perspective the moon seems to revolve around the earth.

But say there did turn out to be life on the moon, hiding in the craters all this time. From their perspective the earth, albeit much bigger, would revolve around the moon.

Both would be right. A seeming paradox?

Not to us on earth of course as we can now access both perspectives to figure out the common truth, although only recently, mind you.

So what I'm suggesting is the more advanced or evolved someone's perspective got, theywould see the dichotomy and perceive the central truth and the paradox would vanish.

It would just be a matter, I guess, of where thecentrifigal centre is which would be much, much closer to the earth. My point being that no matter what one's perspective is, even whether you know what your perspective is, that the science of therelationships doesn't change, the centrifigal centre (or however they measure it) doesn't change, no matter what the perspective.

So it's in this vein in which I believe if you could boil everything down to its essence, we would find a truth that is not relative!
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The Paineful Truth

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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Fri Jan 18, 2008 5:46 am

Helium wrote:


So it's in this vein in which I believe if you could boil everything down to its essence, we would find a truth that is not relative!

(Image of wolf with jaw on table and tongue unfurling across it.)


Last edited by on Sat Jan 19, 2008 10:56 am; edited 2 times in total
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Aaron
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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:15 am

Helium wrote:
Helium said ...
Quote :
Is there really no freedom in these decisions? No right and wrong?

Aaron said ...
Quote :
Yes and no and neither at the same time.

It all depends upon your perspective.

Yes we've had this fascinating discussion before and I'll probably make a new thread.

But I think what Aaron is suggesting is that from our perspective the moon seems to revolve around the earth.

But say there did turn out to be life on the moon, hiding in the craters all this time. From their perspective the earth, albeit much bigger, would revolve around the moon.

Both would be right. A seeming paradox?

Not to us on earth of course as we can now access both perspectives to figure out the common truth, although only recently, mind you.

So what I'm suggesting is the more advanced or evolved someone's perspective got, theywould see the dichotomy and perceive the central truth and the paradox would vanish.

It would just be a matter, I guess, of where thecentrifigal centre is which would be much, much closer to the earth. My point being that no matter what one's perspective is, even whether you know what your perspective is, that the science of therelationships doesn't change, the centrifigal centre (or however they measure it) doesn't change, no matter what the perspective.

So it's in this vein in which I believe if you could boil everything down to its essence, we would find a truth that is not relative!

That isn't really an accurate analogy because the rotation of the moon is a purely physical phenomenon, and although our perception of that physical phenomenon is relative, there is an objective bases that is completely separate from our perception.

Consciousness is, at least hypothetically, different because it entails aspects that aren't completely physical, although there are many in the scientific world that would argue differently on that point.

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Helium



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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Fri Jan 18, 2008 6:39 pm

Another way to look at it, is that I actually agree with you when it comes to subjective truth. Although in this sense, truth then isn't truth. By definition, subjective truth is the truth as it's understood my an individual. For instance, even at very recent stages in human history it was pretty well generally agreed, for instance, that the earth was the centre and everything revolved around the earth. This fit in nice with the earth- and human-centric theistic religions.

This could then be said to have been a subjective truth. That is, if you could travel back in time to, say, the 13 century and were able to drop into a university, most professors would believe that the heavens revolve around the earth. They would be telling the truth. It would be their subjective truth.

All I'm trying to say is that there always was the objective truth of the matter. What changed was our perception; it evolved. The earth's relationship to the galaxy didn't change; the earth's relationship to the universe didn't change.

Now where things get dicey, and I think you've pointed it out, is that there is a difference between the animate and inanimate parts of the universe. And further more that there's a difference between self aware and non self aware animate beings.

So I think you probably don't have too much of a problem with my premise of an objective truth for the physical universe.

But it is also my undefended premise that there would also be an objective truth dealing with the behaviour of self aware animate beings (each of whom would also obviously have a subjective truth), that would cut through individuals, groups and even species.
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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:27 pm

Quote :
Human freewill does not contradict determinism, it complements the logic of evolution. More on that later.
THE LOGIC OF EVOLUTION

The ordering principles of natural Evolution are not simple and absolute like classical Aristotelian logic, but more like the messy approximations of Fuzzy Logic. Nature's deterministic Laws of cause-and-effect are contaminated with uncertainty and random chance. So in practice, they are probabilistic rather than absolute. Hence, you could say that they are more like flexible guidelines than divine commands. Which suggests to me that the Creator was not a rigid Dictator, but an open-minded Designer. Therefore, I conclude that the Chance element of Natural Law leaves room for a small amount of freedom for law-abiding citizens of the Cosmos.

Classical Logic, like classical geometry, is based on Ideal forms and perfect conditions. Fuzzy Logic however is based in Real things and complex conditions. For the same reason that Non-Euclidian Geometry*** is considered to be the true shape of Nature, Fuzzy Logic is more like the ordering principles of Natural processes. Over the last couple of centuries, scientists have learned that there are no straight lines in Nature; no perfect triangles or squares; and the shortest distance between two points in space may be a curved line. Reality seems to be somewhat less than Ideal.

Fuzzy logic is not sloppy logic, though; itís adaptable logic. Itís no less logical than any other system of order, but instead a precise method for dealing with inherently imprecise natural phenomena, such as Warm rather than Hot or Cold measurements. FL is a special kind of Probabilistic mathematics suitable for such shaded values. It works on a continuum rather than a binary base. For example, a digital computer is inherently binary, but a quantum computer covers all the intermediate values between 1 and 0. The Universe has been compared to a quantum computer, and the analogy may be more than a metaphor.

In any case Evolution is guided by rules which incorporate feedback loops, for continual adjustments to changing conditions. And human freedom may have been intentionally designed into one of those loopholes. One way to think of those loops is to imagine them as the girth-rope on a bucking bronco: itís a handle for grasping and controlling Destiny---at least for a few seconds.


***Wikipedia: << Einstein's theory of general relativity shows that the true geometry of spacetime is non-Euclidean geometry. >>
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Helium



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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:50 am

Yes well you could posit that the only real freedom exists in the nano second that you make you choices. And going backwards in time there is no freedom. All is cause and effect (or effect and cause, I suppose if you're looking at it backwards).\
But we can consciously alter the time line sometimes ever so slightly with the choices we are able to make in the nano second that is the present.
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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Wed Jan 23, 2008 8:51 am

Helium wrote:
Another way to look at it, is that I actually agree with you when it comes to subjective truth. Although in this sense, truth then isn't truth. By definition, subjective truth is the truth as it's understood my an individual. For instance, even at very recent stages in human history it was pretty well generally agreed, for instance, that the earth was the centre and everything revolved around the earth. This fit in nice with the earth- and human-centric theistic religions.

This could then be said to have been a subjective truth. That is, if you could travel back in time to, say, the 13 century and were able to drop into a university, most professors would believe that the heavens revolve around the earth. They would be telling the truth. It would be their subjective truth.

I must reiterate that subjective Truth is an intentional act of individual will--it is art or the interpretation of something being beautiful or ugly. Misperception is an honest, unintentional mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. A correct perception of a physical aspect of the universe (which is possible) is mental possession of a verifiable objective Truth--aka, fact.

There is no such thing as a misperception of the subjective Truth in art or beauty. All of our perceptions in this area are subjective and "correct".
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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Wed Jan 23, 2008 10:19 am

The Paineful Truth wrote:
I must reiterate that subjective Truth is an intentional act of individual will--it is art or the interpretation of something being beautiful or ugly.

I think that you're leaving out the important role that inter-subjectivity and culture play on our tastes.

Do we have agency? Yes, I believe so. But our subjectivity isn't as isolated as most would think.

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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:48 pm

Helium wrote:
Yes well you could posit that the only real freedom exists in the nano second that you make you choices. And going backwards in time there is no freedom. All is cause and effect (or effect and cause, I suppose if you're looking at it backwards).\
But we can consciously alter the time line sometimes ever so slightly with the choices we are able to make in the nano second that is the present.

Now is actual---time for action.

Future is possible---time to plan.

Past is history---time to learn.
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PostSubject: Re: Freewill is an Illusion   Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:55 pm

Aaron wrote:
The Paineful Truth wrote:
I must reiterate that subjective Truth is an intentional act of individual will--it is art or the interpretation of something being beautiful or ugly.

I think that you're leaving out the important role that inter-subjectivity and culture play on our tastes.

Do we have agency? Yes, I believe so. But our subjectivity isn't as isolated as most would think.

I'm not arguing against inter-subjectivity or culture at all. In the current context, I would call it shared subjective Truth. 6 billion people could think Van Gogh's "Starry Night" is beautiful, and some of that could be due to the sensitivities derived from others have thought about it. But for the one who doesn't think it is, that is just as subjectively true for him. The only requirement underlying subjective truth is honesty with yourself and others.
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