3
   

Absolute determinism and the illusion of free will.

 
 
xifar
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2003 09:23 pm
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.
0 Replies
 
jonat3
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2003 09:37 pm
Quote:
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.


Actually it is not that the data is different, it's the interpretation of the data that is different. The location of the data may also have some relevance in the interpertation. And also what you are referring too is the augmentation of the data that is different. The data in the beginning however is the same. Interpretation and augmentation are both dependent on genes and outside influence.
And for one thing, i don't think that mankind will ever be able to understand everything. So by default it is already impossible to predict anything IMO. So even if everything is predetermined, the illusion of randomness is still good enough for me.

Edit: after rereading your post i must say that i agree. Because if two persons watch the same scene, their stance is different, so they are watching at a different angle. And their eyes are also different and the pathways to the brain are also different, so it would be logical that the data would arrive in a different form.
However, even so, if no randomness exists in physics, our actions are still predetermined. That situation only seems random, becuase we cannot comprehend all the reactions that take place. If we were able to comprehend all reactions, we would be able to predict EVERYTHING. Provided no randomness exists of course.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2003 10:26 pm
jonat3 wrote:
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.

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.

jonat3 wrote:
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.

So what?

jonat3 wrote:
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 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.

jonat3 wrote:
There is only ONE thing that upsets all this and that is randomness in physics (how many times do i have to say this!? Evil or Very Mad ). 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.

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.

jonat3 wrote:
On an interesting note, killing the "weak" may actually lower our chance for continuity.

I never said anything about culling the "weak."
0 Replies
 
jonat3
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2003 11:06 pm
Quote:
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.


But it IS necesary to establish what thought is, since you said this:

Quote:
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."


-----

Quote:
So what?


So what? I just determined why thoughts can never be static. That implies a reaction, since reactions aren't static.

Quote:
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.


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.

Quote:
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.


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

Quote:
Yet, as I explained above, this line of argument, even in its most extreme form, does nothing to disprove free will.


Your explanation was flawed, i alreay explained my arguments. You haven't disproved them yet.

Quote:
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.


So you are suggesting that material processes do not cause thoughts.... Neutral
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.

What i do agree on, is that it can never be proven. Randomness in physics can never truly be proven. One might always expect that it is just because we do not comprehend it yet, does it seem random.

Quote:
I never said anything about culling the "weak."


I was replying to someone else here. I gathered quotes from several people and replied to them.
0 Replies
 
xifar
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2003 11:28 pm
Quote:
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.
0 Replies
 
jonat3
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2003 11:38 pm
Quote:
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.


True, but i am glad that we are unable to comprehend that. Being able to comprehend that might (maybe) lead to our destruction. The universe doesn't care wether we exist or not, we merely exist.
Even if free will is an illusion, i sure as hell take the illusion over a known future.
0 Replies
 
Centroles
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2003 11:57 pm
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.

on the basis of this, i conclude that the dominant and most likely scenario is indeed that we have no free will. it's an illusion that is derived from the inherent difficulty of ever truly comprehending the complexity behind the millions of chemical reactions that account for each thought using mechanisms far more complex than any computer.

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.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 06:28 am
Centroles wrote:
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.


Lots of people in belief systems use this same kind of reasoning.


Quote:
nothing in science can actually be proven.


Really!

Nothing???


Quote:
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.


Another belief system argument!


Quote:
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.


I'm sure Joe will do a much better job of dealing with this bit of...reasoning...but even supposing your three main premises are correct...

a) "...there is a pletheora of evidence suggesting that thoughts and ideas emerge from neurological reactions"

b) "...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..."

c) "...it is far simpler to believe that..."

...the argument doesn't support your conclusion.


Quote:
...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.


You gotta be kidding!

Yeah, you are, so I won''t even deal with this.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 09:45 am
jonat3 wrote:
But it IS necesary to establish what thought is....

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."

jonat3 wrote:
So what? I just determined why thoughts can never be static. That implies a reaction, since reactions aren't static.

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.

jonat3 wrote:
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.

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.

jonat3 wrote:
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.

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.

jonat3 wrote:
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

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.

jonat3 wrote:
So you are suggesting that material processes do not cause thoughts.... Neutral

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.

jonat3 wrote:
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.

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.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 09:53 am
Centroles wrote:
nothing in science can actually be proven.

Quite right. As Hume demonstrated, nothing can be conclusively proven to be true by means of induction. But certainly induction can prove something false. If, for instance, you were to maintain that all thoughts are caused by biochemical processes, and I could show one instance of a thought that was not caused in that fashion, then I would have proven your theory false.

Centroles wrote:
there is a pletheora of evidence suggesting that thoughts and ideas emerge from neurological reactions...

Identify one study that shows that thoughts are invariably caused by biochemical processes.

Centroles wrote:
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.

I've taken care of jonat. I suggest you take care of your own arguments -- jonat isn't helping you one bit.
0 Replies
 
perception
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 10:17 am
Centroles and Jonat3:

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.

Joe---since you are much better with formal logic than I--would you agree with my logic above?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 10:42 am
perception wrote:
Joe---since you are much better with formal logic than I--would you agree with my logic above?

I wasn't aware that either Centroles or jonat had made exceptions for other material processes. But if one thing (in this case, human behavior) is determined by material processes, one should expect that all comparable things would likewise be determined by comparable processes. Thus, if something, such as the weather, is not determined, there must be some explanation why, and in what manner, it differs from something else that is determined. In other words, if the weather is "free," there must be some reason why humans aren't.
0 Replies
 
jonat3
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 11:19 am
Quote:
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.


But that is what i have been saying all the time. If there exists randomness in physics, then free will would indeed exist.

Quote:
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.


How does a computer generate a random number? By looking at the last number of the internal clock. As of such this seemingly random number is thus not really random at all. It only seems random, cause we are unable to comprehend all the reactions that take place.
If no randomness exists in the universe it would be the same for the weather. The only reason we would then be unable to predict the weather is our inability to know all the reactions that take place. But the weather would then still be predetermined.

You guys are still looking at this from the surface and that's why you do not understand the points i bring forward. You must look deeper. Meaning you must look right to subatomic level.
For example electricity runs in a straight line through a medium, right? However, if you looked at the electrons themselves, that movement would be completely random. At the level of science we are at now the movement seems indeed random. But one must ask, is it genuinely random, or is it just the inability to yet understand it's movement? And that is the core problem.
If all reactions can be explained, then that would mean that it could then be explained from subatomic level to atomic level. From there on molecular level would be next and then things like human decision would then also be explained. We are unable to do so yet, beacuse we haven't identified all reactions yet and the mystery about the seemingly random movement of particles hasn't been solved yet. And then one must also take the complexity of all into account.
0 Replies
 
jonat3
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 12:24 pm
Quote:
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.


Ok, i see what you were trying to do here, but it is still necesary to establish what thought is. You established what thought may be NOT, something you cannnot prove, btw, nor can i disprove it. But with basic logic anyone could deduce that thought must be a reaction or at leats interaction between particles.

Quote:
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.


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.

Quote:
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.


Again, i apologize for your inability to understand.

Quote:
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.


Proof? I said most likely. I brought that point forward to establish the probability of my argument. I'm not certain if you know this, but research requires both deductive and inductive reasoning. You may be right in saying inductive reasoning can never be proven, but i think that there are some things in the universe that are IMPOSSIBLE to prove, and i think we can both agree on that. All the arguments we have on this board can at best only ascertain probability, not certainty. Even yours.

Quote:
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.


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.

Quote:
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.


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.

Quote:
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.


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.

Quote:
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.


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.
0 Replies
 
Centroles
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 01:43 pm
perception,

when i have ever once stated that everything is not predetermined. what the heck makes you think i believe the weather is random. my whole arguement is that the evidence supports the conclusion that everything in the universe is indeed influenced entirely by action/reaction sequences and is thus predetermined.

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.

nothing is science can be proven. that is an absolute truth and it is absurd to suggest otherwise. science can only come up with likely theories. but some day, something new maybe discovered that disproves any of these theories, even laws of physics that we currently believe are universal. asking me to prove that everything in the universe including thought is predetermined is an absurd arguement.

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.

i am not that i am certain that the entire universe is predetermined that there isn't something inherently different about life, just that this is what any intelligent person with a basic understanding of neurology would have to conclude as the most likely scenario. i don't deny that someday in the future, we may find evidence that does point to a soul or whatever it is that you believe makes "living" organisims inherently different from the "nonliving" ones, but until you show me any evidence of this, you have NO basis with which to argue otherwise.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 01:56 pm
jonat3 wrote:
Ok, i see what you were trying to do here, but it ist still necesary to establish what thought is.

No, it isn't. Since Centroles conceded that "thought" exists (albeit as some sort of manifestation of a biochemical process), there is no need for me to establish its identity.

jonat3 wrote:
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.

Really? Then deduce it.

jonat3 wrote:
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.

Are you honestly suggesting that "thought" is composed of either matter or energy? No wonder I couldn't understand your point.

jonat3 wrote:
Again, i apologize for your inability to understand.

No need to apologize. I fully understand now why your argument is utterly incomprehensible.

jonat3 wrote:
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.

It's your argument, jonat: it's up to you to find the support, not me.

jonat3 wrote:
And one other thing. Why is Centroles position flawed?

You ask me? You disagree with Centroles too. Perhaps you should explain why you think it's flawed.

jonat3 wrote:
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.

Your insistence on the "randomness of physical laws" is either irrelevant or just so much surplusage. Let me offer a thought experiment to demonstrate why:

Assuming, for the moment, that neurological processes cause thoughts (a fundamental attribute of both your and Centroles's arguments). Let us further suppose that a certain "thought" consists of a neurological sequence ABC, such that, by replicating the sequence, we can replicate the thought. Now let us suppose that the "randomness of physical laws," which presumably operates on a physical system such as a neurological system, randomly adds another element to the sequence -- let's call it X -- such that the sequence ABCX would not replicate the same thought that is produced by the simple sequence ABC, but rather a different thought (one that, presumably, could be replicated by the same sequence ABCX).

Because X, in the sequence, is a function of random laws, we cannot expect that X will always appear in the sequence ABC (otherwise it wouldn't be random). Moreover, we cannot expect that any random element (such as Y or Z) would be appended to the sequence, because if there is always a random element attached to the sequence we would be unable to identify the thought that is produced by the sequence ABC (in effect, we could not say that there was any such thing as the thought ABC).

Under your reasoning, jonat, the thought produced by the sequence ABC is determined, in that it is invariably produced by that sequence. As such, no one can say that the person who "thinks" that thought did so by his or her own free will. On the other hand, according to you, the thought produced by the sequence ABCX is, in some kind of fashion, the product of free will.

Yet that leads to a series of paradoxes. If it's true that the thought ABC is not a product of free will, whereas the thought ABCX is, then we live in a world where there is some free will. But that's logically troublesome: for if we can will some things but not others, how are we to know which is which? And if we can exercise free will, even in a constrained or limited fashion, why can't we choose to extend our free will over those things that are, at least superficially, not subject to our free will?

Furthermore, if ABC is determined, why does the inclusion of X in the sequence make it any less determined? Certainly, if X is a function of physical laws, then it is no more under the control of the person than are A, B or C. Indeed, if A, B and C are random too, then the inclusion of X does nothing to alter the fundamental character of the sequence.

So what are we left with? Either all thoughts are determined, in which case your "randomness of physical laws" is mere surplusage, or else all thoughts are "undetermined," in which case your reliance on randomness is irrelevant. In either case, your position does not differ, in any significant way, from that of Centroles.

jonat3 wrote:
Do you really know what a material process actually entails?

Please tell us, Dr. Science.

jonat3 wrote:
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.

There is nothing besides material processes? So "thoughts" are material processes? And I suppose love, honor, justice, pride, and stupidity are all material processes too?

jonat3 wrote:
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.

Fine. Make it a chemico-bio-physico-nuclear-astronomical process for all I care. It still doesn't make your argument any more comprehensible.

jonat3 wrote:
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.

Then where does the process begin? If there is indeed a genealogy of causes, what is the first cause?
0 Replies
 
jonat3
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 02:01 pm
Quote:
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.


Actually, my example of electricity shows that the movement of electrons is completely random. We are as yet unable to understand it's movement. Is it's movement genuinely random? Or is it just the limitations of our knowledge? Either way, if it's the former, free will does exist, but can then never be proven. In the latter free will doesn't exists, but there is a possibilty that it can be proven.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 02:05 pm
Centroles wrote:
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.

I've never made that assumption. Indeed, I consider that to be an inconsequential objection to your position, Centroles, which is why I've never raised it. As for "randomness," that's something that jonat has relied upon, not me.

Centroles wrote:
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.

A byproduct? Does that mean the result of material causation?

Centroles wrote:
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.

Yes, and if you're constipated for an excessive length of time you'll develop a condition that will lead to brain death as well, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you're thinking out of your ass.

Centroles wrote:
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.

Let's not talk about "byproducts." You need to establish that there is causation going on here.

Centroles wrote:
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.

When I meet someone who insists upon the existence of the soul, I'll pass along your message.

Centroles wrote:
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.

To quote Samuel Johnson (while exercising my free will in typing this response): "I refute it thusly."
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 02:06 pm
For some reason, I want to write:

IF YOU WANT TO THINK THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE FREE WILL -- YOU CERTAINLY ARE FREE TO DO SO.

JUST AS I AM FREE TO THINK YOU ARE WRONG.
0 Replies
 
Centroles
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 02:07 pm
joe, i'm still waiting for you to refute a single one of the arguements presented in my previous post.

if you can't offer up any evidence that challenges either of my contentions in the previous post, and if you can't find any evidence that thoughts indeed stem from some unknown, unidentified, unmeasurable source such as a soul, then you are essentially conceding. because unless they stem from a nonphysical/metaphysical source such as a soul, they are bound by inherent laws of physics and are thus determinable.

yes i am talking causation. my arguement is that all actions are reactions to and are thus caused by other actions. and there is absolutely no evidence to discredit this claim. the other points you make are essentially irrelevent. yes if you are constipated for a long period of time you may suffer brain damage, but only if that constipation harms the nutrient flow to your brain. however, it has been shown through experiments that even when all other variables are held constant, stimulating certain areas of the brain leads to changes in thought/memory/emotion/feelings etc.

jonat3, there isn't any actual evidence that the movement of electrons is random, just the the actual mechanism is largely unknown. all that the uncertainity principle really demonstrates is that we can never know the exact position and velocity of a particle at the same time. this doesn't equate to either the position or velocity being randomly determined.
0 Replies
 
 

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