jonat3- you are making quite a few excellent points. One thing though that you might not be taking into account is someone's perception of a event. For instance, two people can see something, and they will both view that event completely differently. That event will be stored into their brain as data, but those two sets of data will be completely different. Those sets of data can be redefined and changed by billions of different stimuli over the years. Then, thoughts that use those sets of data will come out completely differently.
The key here that produced the "randomness" and differences in each set of data is human perception. No scientific equation can predict that. And no matter how advanced technology gets, no-one could ever predict how that set of data would be coded into the brain.
I think you are right in saying that thoughts may not equal the neuron sparkings. You may even be right in stating that thoughts cause the sequence. However, you conveniently skirt around the fact what "thought" actually is. For one thing thought cannot be static. Why? Because thought relies on information.
We know that data is stored in our brain. Data is static. However, data in itself is useless. Only when data is used, does it become useful. How is data used? Data interacts with each other and THAT's how it is used. Interact is the keyword here. That is what the thought process is, interaction between data. As you can see from this, the thought process cannot be static.
It may be that thoughts are not the neuron-sparkings (though highly unlikely), but it is clear that thought implies a reaction between particles. As of such, reactions fall under the domain of natural laws of physics and chemistry. All reactions are predetermined. When you burn Magnesium with oxygen and the conditions are normal, you will ALWAYS get MagnesiumOxide. Under the same conditions, one reaction produces always the same result.
There is only ONE thing that upsets all this and that is randomness in physics (how many times do i have to say this!? ). Some particles movement are completely random and cannot be predicted. That may be, because we are still unable to comprehend it's movement or it may be because it is genuinely random. In the former event, free will doesn't exist. In the latter it does.
On an interesting note, killing the "weak" may actually lower our chance for continuity.
No, I didn't "skirt around" anything. It wasn't necessary for my argument to establish what "thought" is, only to demonstrate what it isn't.
For if the reverse were true, if the thoughts caused the biochemical processes, then there is nothing left of your notion that we are naught but an amalgam of genetic information and external "inputs."
There are two fundamental problems with this line of argument. (1) I can't concede that thought implies a "reaction between particles," because such reaction is undefined. You'll have to explain this point better. And (2) your argument is inductive, which means that your conclusion is only probative, not definitive.
Your argument differs from the extreme material determinism of Centroles only in this one respect: that there is "randomness in physics." Take away this randomness and your argument is just as deterministic.
Yet, as I explained above, this line of argument, even in its most extreme form, does nothing to disprove free will.
So your argument, jonat3, is hardly an advance over that of Centroles. Both arguments presume that material processes invariably cause thoughts. Not only is that unproven, but I believe it is unprovable.
I never said anything about culling the "weak."
If we were able to comprehend all reactions, we would be able to predict EVERYTHING. Provided no randomness exists of course.
Perhaps. But we would only be able to prove this when we reach the point where we can track every reaction in the Universe (past and present). And if it happened to be no randomness, then and only then could we predict the future. That would be a tremendous feat.
Until then, for all practical purposes, we have free will.
joe and xifar, don't misinterpret me. i'm not stating for a fact that everything is predetermined. i'm saying that it is the most likely possibility.
nothing in science can actually be proven.
no matter how much evidence we gather in favor of evolution, it is still a theory. it is the accepted theory because of the evidence in favor of it, the lack of evidence that opposes it, and the scientific notion that the simplest explanation that encompasses all the available evidence is the best one. this is the same basis i am using to support determinism.
there is a pletheora of evidence suggesting that thoughts and ideas emerge from neurological reactions, there is no evidence of any alternate mechanism in the brain supports free will or explains thought in anything but a purely deterministic action/reaction basis, and it is far simpler to believe that indeed, the only thing we can find in the brain (neurogical reactions) is the basis of our thoughts and emotions as opposed to some inexplicable source (a soul or whatever else you believe) that emerges spontanously at conception, that there is no evidence for, and that accounts for randomness and the possibility of free will.
...as for the rest of your flawed arguements joe, jonat3 already did a great job of pointing out the problems and false assumptions underlying them.
But it IS necesary to establish what thought is....
So what? I just determined why thoughts can never be static. That implies a reaction, since reactions aren't static.
With problem 1 you show that you do not understand why i demonstrated why thoughts aren't static. With some general knowledge of how a computer works, mainly on how it stores information and uses it, you might understand this point better.
And with problem 2, i'm certain that there doesn't exist a scientist or biologist out there who think that thoughts are static. And because they are NOT static, does it imply a reaction. Ask a teacher or a professor about this if you will.
But that is my entire point. If randomness in physics doesn't exist everything would indeed be pre-determined. Reality would be then that the universe would be deterministic in essence
So you are suggesting that material processes do not cause thoughts....
You do realize from what we originate from, right? We originated from a strand of DNA. DNA is a very large molecule. Through various reactions, this DNA molecule replicates itself and creates functioning systems like organs, etc.
Eventually the brain is created. How is the brain created? That can only be through various series of reactions. All the processes in the body is because of reactions. How does the brain function? Through various reactions. If there were no reactions in the brain, the brain would be static. Nothing would happen in there then. It would then be equivalent to a very dead rock or something.The things that are static, remain unused, but thoughts are NOT static.
nothing in science can actually be proven.
there is a pletheora of evidence suggesting that thoughts and ideas emerge from neurological reactions...
as for the rest of your flawed arguements joe, jonat3 already did a great job of pointing out the problems and false assumptions underlying them.
Joe---since you are much better with formal logic than I--would you agree with my logic above?
You have already admitted that EVERYTHING is NOT predetermined such as, presumably just for example, the weather. How can you possibly insist that human life is predetermined if there is even one random event in the universe.
Using your logic it would be possible to predict that x, y, and z particles would be over New York on Sept 12 2005. If you cannot or do not agree with this then it would seem to me that your entire argument falls apart.
Not at all. I was responding to Centroles's challenge to identify any mechanism, other than genetic traits and external "inputs," that influences human behavior. As such, all I had to do was identify something that isn't either a genetic trait or an external "input.
To the extent that this statement is comprehensible at all, it can hardly be taken seriously. What does it mean for a thought to be "static" or "dynamic" in any way but metaphorically? If you're suggesting that thoughts are somehow "reactive," in a Newtonian sense, then you'll have to explain how a non-material "thing" can be acted upon in a physical manner.
You are quite correct: I have absolutely no idea why you attempted to demonstrate that thoughts are not static. I still have no clue. But then applying the concept of "statis" to an immaterial thing, i.e. something that can neither move nor stand still, is the purest nonsense, so I'm sure you can understand my continuing puzzlement.
This is what can be called a "bootstrapping argument," a type of question-begging fallacy. You have taken one undefined concept (the notion of "statis" as applied to immaterial things) as evidence for another undefined concept (the notion of "reaction" among immaterial things). And since the one implies the other, you conclude that they provide reciprocal proof for both. But since neither is actually proven (or even capably demonstrated as potentially true), neither can provide evidence for anything else.
But "randomness in physics," apart from being an unsupported assumption, is simply not necessary to prove the existence of free will. Thus, employing Ockham's Razor, we can eliminate it as unnecessary. And so, bereft of "randomness in physics," you are left with Centroles's flawed position, as you yourself admit.
Actually, I identified certain circumstances where we can say that biochemical processes do cause thoughts. Those examples, however, are typically considered aberrant or unusual. In the vast majority of instances, I would contend that thoughts are not caused by any kind of material process, even though thoughts are related to neurological functions. But just as a house is composed of building materials but is not caused by those materials, thoughts can be composed of biochemical processes without necessarily being caused by those processes.
The claim that there is a causal relationship between biochemical processes and thoughts is, I maintain, the unsupported assumption here. Without some showing that material processes invariably cause thoughts, there is nothing to either your or Centroles's arguments.
More bootstrapping. But perhaps you're suggesting that there is some "geneology" of causation going on here, that the initial DNA combination begets reactions, which beget other reactions, which beget someone, eventually, to think about having a cheese burrito for lunch. If that's the case, then you should make that point clear.
Ok, i see what you were trying to do here, but it ist still necesary to establish what thought is.
You established what thought is NOT, something you cannnot prove, btw, nor can i prove it. But with basic logic anyone could decuce that thought must be a reaction or at leats interaction between particles.
Well, excuse me for not explaining it good enough. Just because you cannot understand my point, you reject it's validity? And i'm not certain what you meant with the last sentence, but if you mean that thoughts do not consist of matter, then it would then consist of energy. however, energy and matter have alot to do with each other.
Again, i apologize for your inability to understand.
Unsupported? I wouldn't exactly say that. There is no definite proof, that is for sure. But i believe there are scientific papers out there claiming the same things i do. A search with google should be enough. So in fact there is some indication or hints to my argument.
And one other thing. Why is Centroles position flawed?
Is it because he thinks the universe is deterministic? If that is all, your stance is emotion-based and not based on logic. I, on the other hand, have said what free will requires, and that if it doesn't meet the requirements it doesn't exist. I didn't say free will doesn't exist. If one must ascertain the probabilty of the existence of free will, one must ascertain the existence of randomness in physical laws.
Do you really know what a material process actually entails?
The entire universe consist of matter. Even a thing like anti-matter consist of particles. And energy and matter have alot to do with each other. One just has to look at Einstein's formula E=MC2. So if thought has nothing to do with material processes, what kind of process is it then? Because beside material processes there is nothing else out there.
I'm not speaking about bio chemical processes alone. I'm speaking about chemical and physical reactions, which entail a wider range. And about that proof you demand, i hardly see you coming with any.
That is somewhat what i have been saying, though outside influence is also a factor to eating the cheese burito, as you like to say it. And i have been making this point quite a few times in this thread, many times in fact.
if you can find me evidence of any thing in the universe that's truly random, then i'll admit that I am wrong. but the simple fact is that this is simply not the case. science has not found anything out there that is random.
i'm surprised perception and joe that people as intelligent as you fall into the trap of assuming that just because something IS too complicated to be fully predicted by even the fastest computers out there, that this somehow implies that it's random. such a notion is absurd.
but i can state that like any scientific theory...
a. having multitudes of evidence that supports the notion that thoughts are indeed a byproduct of our neuroanatomy and external stimuli.
this evidence includes many examples, observations and experiments. a few of such examples include the fact that a lesion to the brain that thus changes our neuroanatomy can lead to brain death (incapacitate their ability to think or process info even with an adequate blood/nutrient supply); if an organism is cut off from all external stimuli including nutrients, it too suffers a brain death.
there is a plethora of other information that supports the contention that our thoughts/emotions/feelings are a direct byproduct of our neural anatomy and external stimuli. but the examples i provided above should prove sufficent.
b. barring any evidence to the contrary (and you have yet to present any evidence that thoughts are not caused exclusively by a combination of neuroanatomy and the neurochemical impulses we recieve in response to external stimuli)
we can indeed conclude that the most plausible theory is that our thoughts/emotions/feelings are the direct byproduct our nueroanatomy and external stimuli and not some unknown, unmeasurable soul or whatever else you are suggesting as the source of these thoughts/feeling/emotions. there is NO evidence that suggests the existance of such a soul, so it's absurd to state that that is the most likely explanation.
thus the most plausible, most likely explanation is that people have no souls, that thoughts/feeling/emotions are a byproduct of the neurochemical reactions going on in our brain, etc. this all points to determinism. and i challenge you to do show me otherwise.