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How to tell if free will exists or not - if determinism is true or false - step by step instruction

 
 
anon determinist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jan, 2015 01:49 pm
@Olivier5,
You shouldn't need a reason, either you're curious and interested in the way things actually are like much of humanity's thinkers have been in the past, and propel yourself to reason out the answers rather than continually delude yourself, or you want to stay ignorant on the matter to focus on other areas of life. If it's not already important to you (to get to the truth of this matter), then there's not much I can do to convince someone who would rather spend the time fantasizing about Zeus or something to make sense of thunderstorms or another God or nonsensical theory like a causeless big bang to make sense of a question that much of the world doesn't have a logical answer to yet (like Zeus was an answer to the question of lightning when there was no answer yet.)

Humans are uncomfortable without knowing the answers. They like to invent a plausible enough answer to suit them. This is why I suggested you investigate past human errors. The most profound of which was that we, on Earth, were the center of the universe. The sun revolved around us. That made us feel important, special, powerful, just as it does to "feel" that a God took time out to care about us, make us, and love us, as well as give us immortality in a fun-place. That's all butterflies and rainbows. Some people want that, some people want the truth. Decide which one you are..

What motivated me the most was learning about how religions and superstitions were used as tools of control by smarter and wealthier people to control the dumb commoners like cattle or sheep. That kind of made me not want to be one of the dumb sheep anymore, it didn't feel good to work and toil all day long, give money to representatives of a fictitious deity, and be manipulated like a puppet by the superstition-filled media, politics, and orthodox science. In fact, that reality was only resolved once I discovered the true nature of the universe - and helped me make peace with how humanity is currently socially programmed to find exploits and abuse them (this removed evil and good from my world view). The outrage that motivated me was resolved with the truth into peace and solace, without having to pay people or be part of a mass social hysteria to get other people to join a bs idea (like pyramid schemes) so that they may be likely to pay people or get suckered into the same cycle.

You can look up Hitler / Nazi's if you want an example of mass social hysteria. Then try the Crusades. Then come back and look at what's going on now concerning Islam. You might start to notice that hoards of people believing in something with their lives might not be the best bet to make concerning what is true.
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jan, 2015 02:01 pm
@anon determinist,
I am very curious about what people have to say, but I don't usually pay much attention to mere packs of molecules.

If what you say is only determined by molecular movement (rather than by a combination of observation and logic), then it has no value to me.
anon determinist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jan, 2015 02:09 pm
@Olivier5,
Ah, I see now where you are confused.
You believe that observation and logic from people in a free-will reality comes from somewhere besides physics. You are therefore proposing that not only do people have the ability to freely choose things, they also have the ability to think independently of their DNA or other molecules.

The answer to your mistaken belief is simple. Remove the physical part of a human responsible for communicating their observations and logic, the brain, and see how much they keep observing and ask for some logic. You won't get any, because they don't have their mere packs of molecules to do it anymore.

It really is that simple. People get carried away with the illusion of their own "free power" like a good magic trick. Hint: All magic is just that: tricks. Including the magic you think you do all the time.

If it really is so impossible for you to comprehend this that you can't even make yourself investigate past human follies, then you are beyond help at this point. Wait a few years, maybe your life circumstances will change your mere packs of molecules to be more open minded.
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jan, 2015 02:31 pm
@anon determinist,
You still don't get it.

If ideas are determined by chemistry, then it does not matter what you and I 'think' and say here. I will never be able to convince you and you will never be able to convince me. If ideas are determined by biology, then you are determinist and i am undeterminist not because these ideas are correct and fact-based, but because our respective molecules lead us to think that way... Why bother arguing anything then? You are predetermined to be determinist, like a mechanical clock is pre-determined to ring at certain time.
anon determinist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jan, 2015 03:12 pm
@Olivier5,
You're the one who still doesn't get it, and I've explained why and how to solve that. From my original post, I foresaw that we would not be able to convince each other (argue for eons.. and never agree), which is why I offered an alternative.

Following your logic, you would be correct, but your logic has flaws such as:

"If ideas are determined by chemistry, then it does not matter..."
Your perception of what matters is not absolute or tangible, it is merely a construct in your head that can dynamically change.

"If ideas are determined by biology, then you are determinist and i am undeterminist not because these ideas are correct and fact-based, but because our respective molecules lead us to think that way..."

The molecules inside us aren't the only variables affecting what our brain collectively believes in. The primary agitator of the brains beliefs are the external environment (our life history, the things we've seen, read, etc.). Furthermore, internal molecules by themselves, without external stimuli, would be like having a human since birth being in a sensory deprivation chamber. Not much would happen in such a persons brain.

The primary difference between me and a mechanical clock is that I have senses, like other animals, which allows me to adapt to an ever-changing environment. The clock, is basically set until it wears out or something tremendous happens to it, it doesn't have much of an advanced way to observe and react to the infinitely changing environment around it (it does, just not enough to be very impressive, for example, vibrations and other forces are effecting the way it mechanically moves but it's basically imperceptible to us). So, you compared two completely different things which have almost no similarity. It was a bad example and the point is mistaken. Humans are predetermined to have certain things, like hands, feet, a brain, etc. by DNA. These collectively form a body which, if all goes right, has the ability to monitor and react to a very complex environment, in this way, we are never really finished like a clock is, we continually unfold for the entirety of our lives. While this is all determined at some primary level, it is beyond our ability to tell everything which will happen next.

To put this into simple terms for you, yes.. we are definitely going to react to this discussion in a way that couldn't have been any other way. However, you also know that a rollercoaster has a fixed path and destination, yet people still find purpose in going to ride rollercoasters. This misconception you have that just because something is fixed then it must somehow be tainted, and already known about, is completely flawed. If you've never seen/ridden the rollercoaster before (never lived out your life completely, as no one alive has) then you don't know everything that comes next. You can know that whatever comes next was always going to come next, but you can't know exactly what it is. You can however know, for example, that if the past 10000 miles of a very long rollercoaster have obeyed certain rules of physics, like never going into a randomly appearing wormhole and changing direction suddenly, then it's probably not going to happen next. So while you don't absolutely know what is and isnt going to happen next, you can kind of have a good idea by using your senses and past experience to reason. In the same way, you can use your senses to reason that the multitude of humans that were wrong in the past about us being the center of the universe, and the first creatures created on Earth (oops, dinosaurs), and the sun revolving around us, and witches being real and casting spells and need to be hanged (oops), etc., you can use this "historical roadmap of past lives" to determine, with all but absolute certainty, that magic, superstitious fairytales, and similar concepts given without cause-effect or stimulus-response deductive reasons, are nothing more than what they seem - superstitious in every way.

Another problem you seem to have is that "if everything in reality turns out to be fixed, then because I previously thought it wasn't fixed, then nothing can change." The reality here is that things are always changing, the path they take is fixed but mostly unknowable, and it will be determined by the "atoms or molecules" in front of you, which have to be placed there in the first place, like this post, for it to all unfold. Essentially, this reduces you to being like the rest of the animals, just a bit more clever. It is deeply humbling to a free-will believer, just as it was deeply humbling to people who thought they were the center of the universe, but being humbled or humiliated isn't the end of pleasure, curiosity, or purpose in our lives.
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jan, 2015 03:42 pm
@anon determinist,
anon determinist wrote:

Here's a rephrased example you can talk to,

Accountability and responsibility are different things. This can be confusing for non determinists, but that doesn't mean it's any less true. For example, if a parrot in a persons house develops the behavior of biting guests, what is the best course of action? Obviously, to put the parrot in a bird cage to prevent it from biting guests. The parrot is treated as a threat to the guests and locked up in order to prevent it from doing harm - regardless of it being an innocent creature. It is held accountable for its actions, and action is taken (caging) to prevent its biting behavior from affecting others. It is not held responsible as an inherently evil parrot (except maybe by some jokes and laughter).

Similarly, human beings aren't born good or evil, such concepts don't even exist outside the imagination as labels for types of behavior, humans are shaped by society and their environment, in the deterministic view.

Similarly, imprisonment and even executions are a means to an end to control threats, but harsher treatment than necessary in order for payback or "getting what they deserve" is just frivolous and inhumane when you realize that human beings as individuals are no more in control than the collection of their human cells.

Like I said in my original post, no amount of correcting your multitude of reasoning flaws will help you stop making dozens of reasoning errors every single day, it is too slow a learning method, investigate what controls human behavior yourself.

You can substitute dogs/cats/toddlers and biting with the same story, if you prefer to talk to dogs or cats or humans, once you realize they are all animals, born from circumstances out of their control, and raised in an environment they didn't create. Also, why you need to be able to talk to the things in the example is beyond me, perhaps that's free-will believer logic. Also, molecules and cells aren't quite the same stuff.


The parrot analogy is a good one but it has flaws in of itself. For example why is the parrot biting in the first place? Does it mistake peoples fingers or clothing for food? Is it attempting to defend itself thinking these strange loud ugly looking monkeys are not trying to eat it? Why is just as important as what to do about it.

Because in the why is the answer for how things should be handled. You don't need to lock up a bird that bites if you understand the reason for the biting. If it is attempting to defend itself you can ease this anxiety by triggering it's other emotions. Offering it food any time a guest arrives because the birds instincts suggest that a predator wouldn't offer food, therefore it must be a friend.

The same is true for humans but we opt for the quick solution. LOCK EM UP! and we forget about the why. Most criminals commit crimes because they either don't see an alternative that others typically see, OR they have not developed the standard empathy that they should have.

What's my point anyways?

Really the discussion about free will and determinism is based in human morality. No one is going to argue that a person can't just step outside their front door and spread their arms out and fly into the sky unaided by tools or equipment. It is obvious we have certain limitations of our will. Well some of these limitations are also chemical and biological.

Such as you can't expect to live a full life and not eat food of any kind. We know our bodies need food to survive. But we could go further. Some choices people make are purely based on chemical drives such as sex. We are compelled (well most of us anyways) to find a sexual partner who will provide the intimacy that primates require for a healthy psychology.

But when it comes to topics of morality, such as drinking alcohol or taking drugs. Some on one side want to suggest that is a clear cut option of yes or no. But much research suggests that some people are compelled to seek reality altering chemicals as a means of coping with reality itself. Or why some of us enjoy taking risks by jumping out of airplanes or off cliffs.

All choices have consequences. ALL OF THEM including the "positive" choices. So what it comes down to is what are you willing to "spend" or "give up" or "lose" by the choices that you make? We almost never take these consequences into account before acting or making a choice. If we did the world would probably be a little better than it is.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jan, 2015 04:20 pm
@anon determinist,
And how did you come to be convinced of determinism? Anything you read? Cause as I see it, there's not much going for that theory.
0 Replies
 
 

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