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Attempt at reconciling free will and determinism

 
 
Krumple
 
  0  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2017 09:32 pm
@layman,
layman wrote:

I really don't even know what "god" means. But it seems to me that "reason" did not suddenly arises out of mindless atoms crashing into each other in the void. It must come from some other source than blind, accidental collisions of raw matter. You could knock billiard balls around on a pool table for eternity, and they would never just start moving around on their own initiative.

I don't expect some rock to just "suddenly" get smart and start walking around and talking. Even a big-ass pile of rocks. Chemical reactions, gravitational forces, nuclear forces, etc., as we know them, cannot produce "reason" and/or organization which suddenly "liberates" them from mechanical actions and reactions so that they can start doing meaningful and purposeful things which defy those laws.

Once you get life, these "pieces of matter" no longer simply "respond" to external forces. Their activities are "directed" toward particular ends which are not accidental or random.

Don't ask me where "reason" and purpose came from, because I don't even pretend to have a clue about that.


I think you are attaching "reasoning ability" to something "higher" or "more important" or "special".

I find it contradictory when you say you don't even understand what reasoning IS but it CANT be as simple as smashing two atoms together.

The thing is, cognitive reasoning ability happened over a long gradual process. It didn't just spring up out of no where. Its a series of parts that have been building since life started.

I see it as chemistry. If you understand chemistry its really nothing special. Certain chemical bonds attract and bond easily with other chemicals. Mean while other chemicals don't. Its a natural process.

The question for me is, why do these bonds happen in this manner which has opened the door to result in a cognitive being?

I don't think there is an intelligence behind the laws of chemical interaction. Because it's possible it could have occurred dozens of other ways. We just haven't discovered if life can happen different than how it happened on earth. (Yet)
layman
 
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Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2017 12:40 am
@Krumple,
Krumple wrote:

I find it contradictory when you say you don't even understand what reasoning IS but it CANT be as simple as smashing two atoms together.

The thing is, cognitive reasoning ability happened over a long gradual process. It didn't just spring up out of no where. Its a series of parts that have been building since life started.

I see it as chemistry. If you understand chemistry its really nothing special.


If you understand chemistry you understand that it IS something special. As microbiologists have repeatedly demonstrated, the degree of organization and complexity of even the simplest bacteria is truly mind-boggling. I'm talking, ultimately, about information (which I may sometimes tend to abbreviate as "reason"). There is no current answer to the question of where the vast amount of information which is an absolutely necessary component of even the simplest form of life came from.

If you think this is all easily explained by simple, mechanical chemical reactions, then you're really just showing that you don't think much. You are simply reciting the pre-supposed tenets of a metaphysical, quasi-religious faith, not any kind of empirically "proven" science.
Leadfoot
 
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Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2017 07:55 am
Quote:
If you think this is all easily explained by simple, mechanical chemical reactions, then you're really just showing that you don't think much. You are simply reciting the pre-supposed tenets of a metaphysical, quasi-religious faith, not any kind of empirically "proven" science.

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
That
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cicerone imposter
 
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Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2017 11:29 am
@layman,
It resulted from our genes and the environment through the long process of evolution.
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Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2017 03:10 pm
Anyway, that's a tangent. God and evolution debate stuff.

Let's try and "dove-tail" back to free will, through evolution. Free will denialists will accept -- as I do -- that a sense of agency, of being in command, is natural in humans, and must have been developed, selected and honed via natural evolutionary pressures. Let's take this as a point of discussion: What possible evolutionary advantage can there be to a total illusion?

I'm not talking here of a slightly exagerated or optimistic sense of agency, as has been demonstrated in players. That would be useful in some ways (never give up). I am talking of a total illusion. What's the advantage of that?
layman
 
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Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2017 06:31 pm
@Olivier5,
Your whole premise is flawed, Ollie, at least according to Neo-Darwinian evolutionary theorists. We do not have traits "because they are advantageous."

That adopts a teleological premise that the doctrinaire darwinists purport to prohibit.
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2017 01:31 am
@layman,
Quote:
We do not have traits "because they are advantageous."


Yes we do. It's called a Darwinian advantage. Yours must be a misunderstanding.
layman
 
  0  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2017 02:44 am
@Olivier5,
Olivier5 wrote:

Quote:
We do not have traits "because they are advantageous."


Yes we do. It's called a Darwinian advantage. Yours must be a misunderstanding.


As is usual, Ollie, you demonstrate your own lack of understanding of subjects you smugly deem yourself to have mastered. Carry on. I won't make any further effort to enlighten you. Read some neo-darwinian theory if you care to actually inform yourself.

Lest you think otherwise, I quite familiar with the darwinian doctrines of "natural selection" and "survival of the fittest." Unlike you, however, I am also aware of the limitations of these concepts. For the neo-darwinians, the flat and absolute denial that any "chance mutation" could have occurred "because it would be useful" is essential to their creed.
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2017 05:46 am
@layman,
No need to be so defensive... You are aware that you CAN possibly misunderstand some things, right? Especially since you are self-schooled on these matters. Grow a skin and learn some modesty.

Or you can behave like a "special snowflake" who wants the world to catter for his lack of self-confidence... Your call.

When i say that we have traits that provide an advantage, i am not saying that God gave us noses so that we can wear spectacles. I'm not making a teleogical judgement. I am just saying that natural selection tends to favor beneficial traits. Therefore, if a trait is universal in a species, it must bring some sort of evolutionary advantage, or the trait would not have been selected. By and large, that rule works.

layman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2017 07:13 am
@Olivier5,
Olivier5 wrote:

Therefore, if a trait is universal in a species, it must bring some sort of evolutionary advantage, or the trait would not have been selected. By and large, that rule works.


Invalid reasoning. Your conclusion does not follow from the premises. Natural selection does work on making us "perfect." It simply tends to weed out "new" traits which make it difficult to survive. Species, and individual members of it, with all kinds of vulnerabilities and imperfections can nonetheless survive and perpetuate. And, of course, without some new trait appearing, there is no alternative to "select" from to begin with. Do you really think that a person who believes he has no free will can't survive? And do you really think that such a belief is genetically determined to begin with?

A person with an IQ of 150 may (and, then again, may not) have some enhanced ability to survive. That said, the average guy will still have an IQ of 100, and those with an IQ under 150 will still vastly outnumber them.
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2017 07:36 am
@layman,
I don't understand your problem with my statement. What's so hard to understand in the concept of "advantage"? You can survive and procreate with just one testicule, but having two provides an advantage, in case you lose the other one...

Quote:
And do you really think that such a belief is genetically determined to begin with?

A sense of agency is pretty much universal in human beings. Since cultures are all very different and many cultures are actively repressing this sense of agency, the only possible origin for it is genetic. Just like we are born with a innate sense of space, we're born with an innate sense of agency, of "having some control".
layman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2017 07:48 am
@Olivier5,
Olivier5 wrote:

.Since cultures are all very different and many cultures are actively repressing this sense of agency, the only possible origin for it is genetic.


Once again your conclusion about the "only possibility" does not follow. But, assuming it did, that puts you squarely in the "no free will" camp. You are genetically FORCED to believe in free will--no choice about it.

And, of course, it seems strange that societies who are genetically forced to believe in free will deny they have it and work to "actively repress" such a belief. Apparently they weren't "genetically determined" in the way you claim, eh?
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2017 07:57 am
@layman,
i don't have time for a long, laborious discussion with a contrarian mind...

You are born with a sense of euclidian space but you can chose to disbelieve it, and go for Riemann instead. Similarly you are born with a sence of agency but you can disbelieve it as an "illusion". You can also change the color of you hair, although you DO have genes coding for your natural hair color.
layman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2017 08:01 am
@Olivier5,
Olivier5 wrote:

i don't have time for a long, laborious discussion with a contrarian mind...

You are born with a sense of euclidian space but you can chose to disbelieve it, and go for Riemann instead. Similarly you are born with a sence of agency but you can disbelieve it as an "illusion". You can also change the color of you hair, although you DO have genes coding for your natural hair color.


Nice try, Ollie. You can't change your genes. You can say genes don't really determine a lot of things, if you want. I'll buy that. But in that case, the trait is NOT "genetically determined." But, according to the darwinists, if it's not genetically determined, then it can't be "passed on" to future generations via inheritance, and therefore has no "evolutionary" effect.

The thing they hate the most is any Lamarckian suggestion that acquired traits can be inherited, eh?
layman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2017 08:41 am
@Olivier5,
Olivier5 wrote:

You can also change the color of you hair, although you DO have genes coding for your natural hair color.


Is it your understanding of "evolution" that if, due to your genes, you are born with red hair, but dye it black for your whole life, then your offspring will be born with black hair, instead of red?
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2017 09:22 am
@layman,
None of this really matters. The question of what possible Darwinian advantage a sense of agency would have if it was illusionary, is a question targetted at those who think that agency is an illusion that was imprinted in us by evolution.

Basically I am saying: "Such an illusion would have no survival or reproductive advantage whatsoever, and thus it would NOT tend to be selected through evolution. If indeed evolution promoted a sense of agency in us humans, it can only be because such sense is useful, and it can only be useful if there's a measure of truth in it. Total illusion are not useful for survival."

If you don't believe in evolution, the question is not meant for you.

Olivier5
 
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Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2017 09:26 am
@layman,
No, i'm no lamarkian. Just saying that anybody can die his hair, as an example of the fact that your phenotype is not entirely dictated by your genotype.
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layman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2017 09:32 am
@Olivier5,
Olivier5 wrote:

The question of what possible Darwinian advantage a sense of agency would have if it was illusionary, is a question targetted at those who think that agency is an illusion that was imprinted in us by evolution.


Yeah, I agree. There are others who share your confusions. As I said: Carry on.
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Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2017 09:34 am
@Olivier5,
Quote:
I don't understand your problem with my statement. What's so hard to understand in the concept of "advantage"? You can survive and procreate with just one testicule, but having two provides an advantage, in case you lose the other one...

I can appreciate the seductive power of natural selection and the fact that it does in fact work. It would appear to explain so many things. Once you grasp the basics of random change and natural selection it is easy to use it as a universal tool that can accomplish anything, no matter how 'inconceivable' it might seem. That fact traps many a fine mind into not considering any other possible mechanism.

But once you are able to look at the full gestalt of existence it kind of falls apart. The ability to consider other alternatives can occur for more reasons than just acquiring a belief in a creator God. Their are a number of scientists now who realize the limitations of random mutation and natural selection. They are realizing a need for a 'Third Way' as they call it.

Darwinist stalwarts are resisting it but it is becoming obvious that their 'magic ingredient' of lots of Time is not enough to achieve the level of apparent gratuitous optimization and design we see around us.

That may seem off the subject of Free will vs Determinism but if you think about it for more than a nanosecond - it's not.
layman
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2017 10:56 am
@Leadfoot,
Quote:
Once you grasp the basics of random change and natural selection it is easy to use it as a universal tool that can accomplish anything, no matter how 'inconceivable' it might seem. That fact traps many a fine mind into not considering any other possible mechanism. But once you are able to look at the full gestalt of existence it kind of falls apart.


Kinda brings to mind something the renowned (and brilliant) evolutionary theorist, Stephen Gould once said, eh, Leddy?:

Quote:
I well remember how the synthetic theory beguiled me with its unifying power when I was a graduate student in the mid-1960’s. Since then I have been watching it slowly unravel as a universal description of evolution. The molecular assault came first, followed quickly by renewed attention to unorthodox theories of speciation and by challenges at the level of macroevolution itself. I have been reluctant to admit it — since beguiling is often forever — but if Mayr’s characterization of the synthetic theory is accurate, then that theory, as a general proposition, is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy.
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