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Does Free Will exist?
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Atheistani Offline
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Post: #1
Does Free Will exist?
This thread is purely to flex the thought muscles. I dont think it matters either way in reality whether it dies or doesnt. It is completely philosophical.

I think it doesnt. We have free will in that we are free and not dictated to by some tyrant, but that is different.

Strictly speaking I see no evidence to suggest we are not bound in our decision making by purely physical or physiological factors.

I see no place where free will exherts itself. There is no need for it to explain anything. See Occams razor.

Occams Razor: The principle that entities should not be multiplied over what is neccessary.
(This post was last modified: 05-26-2016 09:52 PM by Atheistani.)
05-26-2016 09:51 PM
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the chef Offline
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RE: Does Free Will exist?
Biological determinism.
05-26-2016 10:09 PM
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Sooth Offline
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RE: Does Free Will exist?
05-27-2016 12:36 AM
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Tex Offline
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RE: Does Free Will exist?
1: You cannot completely eliminate the existence of free will with reason alone.

For instance, if you chose to, you could blow your brains out right now.

There are sciences devoted to making the right choices. In the level of physical observation, we can see that personal choices do exist. We can see people make choices, we are confronted with choices, and we see a variety of different consequences that can only be explained by choices.

Can everything be boiled down to physical and physiological factors? No. On some level, yes. But when you get to nuanced decision-making, it's hard to conclude that some physical factor, like too much of one hormone, favors one decision over another. For instance, growing up with an abusive father has not been shown to affect one's feelings toward writing an exam in pen versus the option of writing it in pencil.

In short, on some level, people can make choices, freely. Free will, then, must exist and can be shown to exist on some level. So determinism is not complete.

2: The physical and physiological factors that contribute to the concept of "determinism" are random.

3: The apparent choices of people follow patterns—i.e. are not random.

Put 2 and 3 together, and you see a disconnect between the supposed causes of perfect determinism and the way people behave.

So, if perfect determinism doesn't exist, and free will has at least a small part in our lives, then it could be said that determinism in reality is a series of strong suggestions and influences. This would only come down to a matter of semantics if we couldn't see that influences—the suspects of determinism, whether they be home environments or genetics or mental disorders or society—could be overcome.

We can see that specific influences are overcome. People, through sheer power of will or want, defy certain influences. And when competing influences present themselves, we can see that some people go with one an not the other, implying there is choice: that there is an original element which comes from people to affects behavior, and in some cases, overrides all other influences.

Thus, people themselves produce (through willpower guided by chemicals driving wants (deterministic) or rational notions of what is good, or choices random altogether) factors internally. And society itself is seen as a factor that lends itself to determinism, but really, society is an aggregate of unique factors that originate in individuals. This thwarts any idea of determinism. The most powerful force in determining how people behave is a collection of forces that override multiple other influences to mold a new set of influences.

For example, Japanese culture is traditionally based on denial of personal desires and inclination for the better of the community, dictated by a collective decision to do so. In Islamic fundamentalist culture, the concept of killing oneself is the most extreme rejection of every biological influence built into the human mind and yet is accepted.

The point being that one of the most powerful (and unpredictable) elements determining human behavior is human beings, broken down even more into individual, which is not merely a logical leap from a collection to its part, but a demonstrable characteristic of people.

And the fact that luck has a hand in how people end up, such as whether you're born with no legs or you're born in North Korea, flies in the face of determinism, because it's random. Blind, dumb luck mixed with more blind, dumb luck does not introduce one single, conclusive outcome. The lack of a conclusive outcome comes from conflicting factors of influence that weaken each other—this means it is extremely hard (and rare to find) any scenario in which everything came together to only allow one outcome, from the beginning to the end.

That is life. Life is messy, it's random, and it doesn't make any sense. People come along to force sense into it. That's why cities didn't build themselves and that's why scientists have to use their imaginations in describing and classifying the world around us.

I do not believe in determinism.

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05-27-2016 01:19 AM
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Mage Offline
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RE: Does Free Will exist?
Whether you believe and act like you have free will or not, you are correct.
(This post was last modified: 05-27-2016 06:54 AM by Mage.)
05-27-2016 06:44 AM
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Kid Twist Offline
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RE: Does Free Will exist?
This was brought up in that silly Genius Hawking episode I posted about.

What they excluded from the "Neuroscience" experiment was when people CHOOSE NOT to push the trigger, and never checked brain EEG tracings to see if there was leadup to, but denial of, the conscious affirmation.

Then they go say, yes, we have free will, but it is limited.

Yeah, no shit. I was born in the world and I'm a limited being. News flash.
05-27-2016 10:53 AM
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RexImperator Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Does Free Will exist?
When you really look at it, a lot of our decision making is unconscious.
05-27-2016 11:24 AM
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egionesco Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Does Free Will exist?
I don't think freewill exists if having our behaviors, thoughts, and decisions governed by chemicals means we cannot have freewill. However, we experience decision-making the same whether we have this kind of determinism or free will, so it doesn't matter much.
05-30-2016 06:57 PM
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Dantes Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Does Free Will exist?
I believe in conditioned free will. We have choice but our ability to choose is based on circumstances beyond our control. For example, our intelligence, family background, country of origin, and race are not determined through our volition. They provide a strong basis on our ability to navigate the world. So we have free will, but it is limited by these conditions.
05-30-2016 07:01 PM
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Wutang Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Does Free Will exist?
Even if free will does not exist, I think people are still bound to act in a way as if it does exist. I've seen a few other free will debates on this forum and it's interesting to see that even people who don't believe in free will will participate on a forum that advocates as a prime directive that an individual has the ability to go beyond their circumstances and improve themselves and that it's only losers who will whine and moan about having to do so because the obstacles dealt them is just too difficult to surmount.

If there is no free will at all, the game denalists and the fat acceptance people must be right in that they can't do anything about their conditions and hence there should be no shaming of them. In fact, denying free will seems to be another version of fat acceptance only instead of "I don't wanna bother dieting cause my pituitary gland won't let me lose weight anyways" we have "I don't wanna bother changing bad habits because chemicals in my brain won't let me change".
(This post was last modified: 05-30-2016 08:40 PM by Wutang.)
05-30-2016 08:39 PM
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Hades Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Does Free Will exist?
I believe reality is necessarily fluid so if you figure out how fool yourself that you have utter and complete free will, and exert it upon your reality, the universe will shift slightly in your favor.

Scott Adams goes into this with affirmations in great detail.

This is not a retarded or terribly radical idea. Anybody coming to flame my inbox can go right ahead. I didn't come to this conclusion overnight.

Philosophy hasn't resolved the nature of free will. An unresolved problem in biology is how consciousness evolved and what it's nature is. The sciences are full of unresolved problems. To pretend we know everything is to make an incredibly intellectually dishonest claim.

At the curious and frankly counter-logical sub-atomic level, all those little components that make up matter behave radically differently if an observer is there.

Wouldn't it stand to reason, therefore, that a firm existentialist grasp on your own little slice of the universe make a small, possibly undetectable, but undeniably finite net change at the macro level?

Furthermore, wouldn't it stand to reason that somebody with a poor grasp on their being be buffeted about by the natural entropy and chaotic nature of the universe?

IFL wankers and science worshippers act frankly retarded. They're children whose mummy buys them a new toy every week. They don't know enough about any science (my alma mater is physics) to know precisely what is unknown.

I bet if the sum total of human knowledge were put on a hard drive, it would only be maybe 1-2% of all that's required to resolve these baffling mysteries with the rigor required to have a satisfactory answer.
05-31-2016 04:35 AM
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AboveAverageJoe Offline
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Post: #12
RE: Does Free Will exist?
Doesn't the rabbit hole of Determinism end in Game Denialism?
05-31-2016 11:49 AM
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EDantes Offline
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RE: Does Free Will exist?
One interesting thing is that determinism isn't compatible with natural selection by random chance.

If no free will exists then technically nothing in evolution was "random", it was all pre-destinced to occur in exactly they way it did, it just gives an "appearance" of randomness but in reality could never have happened any other way.
05-31-2016 01:39 PM
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AboveAverageJoe Offline
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RE: Does Free Will exist?
Free will is proven by MGTOW's. Look at all the pussy these guys are not getting because they don't want it.
05-31-2016 03:28 PM
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Atheistani Offline
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RE: Does Free Will exist?
The reason I consider free will a non-idea is that people (unless they have mental problems) always act in a rational and predictable manner. Think about what that means. People here talk about consciousness, but if you observe another person there is no sign of there being anything like consciousness - human behave like animals but with language. So can it be said that animals also have consciousness or free will. It seems to me no. So why make the case for humans?

Consciousness and Free are just things we say we 'feel', but they have no objective basis. If there is free will it should be something measurable, but as I mentioned, observations of humans would show zero evidence of it.

If 'Free Will' existed, people would be doing random stuff all the time, but the only ones who do that are those considered 'broken' or insane. For instance, if I want to buy something available in two shops, all else being equal I will always go for the cheaper option. My choice is determined by external factors. This is the case with all human actions, we are all predictable.

I'd like to challenge those who say free will exists to give an example of where they feel they have exercised it.

I know I feel I have free will writing this post. I can just delete it and walk away. I have the choice, no one is forcing me to write it. That feels like free will, and in normal discourse is generally what it refers to, having options and not being forced into actions, being free rather than being a slave. But that is not what we mean when we discuss in philosophical terms.
(This post was last modified: 05-31-2016 08:07 PM by Atheistani.)
05-31-2016 08:06 PM
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Wutang Offline
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RE: Does Free Will exist?
I think a lot of guys here can give many examples of them exercising their ability to do or not do an action given that this is a forum focused on self-improvement and a big part of it is willing ourselves to do certain things despite other parts of our psyche pushing back. As far as I can tell animals are mostly complete slaves to their instincts while humans have the capacity to overule it even if many humans fail to do so due to lack of discipline - the point is that the potential is there even if it isn't exercised.
05-31-2016 11:14 PM
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Hades Offline
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RE: Does Free Will exist?
(05-31-2016 11:49 AM)AboveAverageJoe Wrote:  Doesn't the rabbit hole of Determinism end in Game Denialism?

Good point. Probably.

What if the determinism applied to women too?
Wouldn't their legs be destined to spread your way?
06-01-2016 12:53 AM
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No Habit Offline
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RE: Does Free Will exist?
Does Free Will Exist?

Free Will, like choice how it is generally viewed, doesn't exist.

Everything in life follows the laws of nature. Free will would imply chaos, as well as randomness in life.

Here is an excerpt of a discussion I had with someone who believed in free will:

Quote:A: Free will doesn't exist.

B: Of course it does. I am having dinner now, but I could have also chosen to visit Anna and be there right now.

A: Ok I understand. So if you were in the same situation and every particle in the universe would be in the same position, would you choose otherwise?

B: [Silence] ... No, I guess not, because it was already pretty late and I was hungry.

A: So there was never a choice, just a calculation of what is best for you at that moment.

Everything we are doing has a cause. Life is a chain reaction going back to the beginning of the universe, if it actually has one and is not a process without beginning and end.

Does It Make Any Difference?

It was stated that it doesn't make any difference if you think you have a free will or not, I don't think this holds true.

If you believe in free will:
  • You will experience pride and a boost of confidence for the good choices you made in your life.
  • You will feel superior to people who you think made worse life choices than you.
If you don't believe in free will:
  • You will not be able to derive pride from any of your decisions and you will not base your confidence on that.
  • You will never feel guilty and no one will be able to instill guilt in you.
  • You will never feel superior or inferior to anyone and stop judging people.
  • You will not believe in good against evil anymore.

Why People Cling to a Free Will
  • The majority of people believes in it.
  • Religions are based on it.
  • They are afraid of losing control and becoming a roboter.
  • They have based their self worth on the choices they have made and are afraid to lose this.

Why not Having a Free Will Is a Dumb Excuse

No free will doesn't mean that you are not able to change. If a fat person says "I cannot do anything about being fat because I don't have a free will", that is complete bullshit and a dumb excuse. Just because you don't have no choice doesn't mean that you are not capable of changing yourself.

Why not Having a Free Will Doesn't Mean You Can Get Away with Everything

People say "If there is no free will, than anyone can commit crimes and will not get punished because he had no choice.". Yes, he didn't commit these crimes because he is an inferior human being, but because of his background and environment and so on. But this doesn't mean he is not able to change in the future. Therefore he will get punished to never commit a crime again.

Conclusion

It does make a difference if you believe in free will or not. Paradoxically, not believing in free will gives you a great sense of freedom and humbleness. You stop believing in failure. You know that you are always doing the right thing and that life is a process of continuing growth.

No one can control you by making you feel guilty or that god or whatever will punish you because you haven't done x, y, z. It doesn't mean that you stop improving yourself or become a roboter. You will still make mistakes and learn from them, but you won't feel bad about it.

Ironically, it is not a thing of choice to believe in free will or not. Once you see the latter is true, you cannot go back to the former.

Two Quotes


Nietzsche:

Quote:The desire for "freedom of will" in the superlative, metaphysical sense, such as still holds sway, unfortunately, in the minds of the half-educated, the desire to bear the entire and ultimate responsibility for one's actions oneself, and to absolve God, the world, ancestors, chance, and society therefrom, involves nothing less than to be precisely this causa sui, and, with more than Munchausen daring, to pull oneself up into existence by the hair, out of the slough of nothingness.


Einstein:

Quote: “If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the Earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord…. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man’s illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.””


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No Habit

If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
06-01-2016 07:52 AM
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No Habit Offline
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Post: #19
RE: Does Free Will exist?
If one really wants to find out if free will exists, one has to begin the investigation unbiased and without any conclusion. So it's actually of no use in this discussion when we write that free will is good or bad, because one might just start to believe that it exists or not because it suits one's liking and not because one actually sees the truth of it. So if you just accept or reject what I or some previous poster are saying you are stopping the investigation in it's tracks.

If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
06-01-2016 11:48 AM
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Feldeinsamkeit Offline
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RE: Does Free Will exist?
(05-31-2016 03:28 PM)AboveAverageJoe Wrote:  Free will is proven by MGTOW's. Look at all the pussy these guys are not getting because they don't want it.

I like it.

The sanctimonious MGTOW philosophy could also be expressed thus: Make a virtue out of renouncing that which you feel you have no power over anyway, whilst pretending all the while one is acting out of enlightened free volition.
(This post was last modified: 06-01-2016 01:56 PM by Feldeinsamkeit.)
06-01-2016 01:54 PM
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RE: Does Free Will exist?
Thought experiment: Imagine you encounter a hardcore determinist who maintains that he has a machine, let's call it the Determinax, which, given the correct input of initial data concerning all the variables involved in explaining any physical state, can reliably predict every physical event in the world, including human behaviour, over the next 24 hours.

Furthermore, let's grant this mad determinist his supposition that such a device is not only indeed possible, but actual. If he claims that all of my actions are predetermined, simply challenge him to ask his Determinax toy what I'll be doing this evening at 9.30 p.m. If it predicts that I'll be happily sipping from my can of Carlsberg Special Brew whilst reclining in my armchair, I can then, on the basis of this prediction, so alter my behaviour such that this prediction does not come to pass. And one can, of course, generalize from this to arrive at a simple algorithm by means of which one could defeat any prediction that the determinist might make by means of his Determinax™.

Of course, this thought experiment relies upon the following - very questionable - assumption on my part: That the prediction of the Determinax is made known to me. This, I would accept, limits the force of my objection, since it could be argued to be an unnecessarily strict constraint on the determinist.

But one could still say, on the basis of this latter consideration, that I act progressively more freely the more I become aware of all of the factors - physical, psychological, social, et.c. - which influence my behaviour. In other words, as soon as I become aware of one particular factor acting to influence my behaviour, I can take aversive measure to counteract it, just as in the case of the Special Brew prediction made by the Determinax and so, by this means, gain an ever greater facility to act freely.

So, in short, the question of whether we act freely or not, is at least in part determined (!) by the factors that we are able to become aware of when involved in taking a decision to do X, Y or Z.
(This post was last modified: 06-01-2016 02:45 PM by Feldeinsamkeit.)
06-01-2016 02:08 PM
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Post: #22
RE: Does Free Will exist?
No Habit, so many of your assertions are clearly untrue and inaccurate, and others are unsubstantiated or unexplained. So I don't have to reply quote your whole post, here are a few:

"If you don't believe in free will, you will never feel superior or inferior to people and stop judging people."

First off, how could you ever prove this? Secondly, if you are taller, better looking and smarter than others free will or determinism can coexist with you believing you are better than others, and because of this, you might judge others for not being as good. Your converse point for people who do believe in free will proves that you are totally incorrect. There are many people who DO believe in free will that are more humble and feel no superiority to people that never even thought about it.

Your quote with friends A and B is irrelevant. Totally irrelevant. Once a moment has passed there is no such thing as that moment and situation ever being replicated. The determinists always fail to realize this, because they monday morning QB everything as their A PRIORI assertion is that everything was determined from the beginning, so each chain of events is going to happen regardless. That's not only silly, but is proven to be ludicrous because then we would be able to predict everything that would happen. But we can't.

Also, (this is the most important part and the one that gets overlooked in "scientific" experiments) we can SAY NO to our inclinations. This is possibly the most important part of "free will." It is also what makes us different from animals. They can't and don't. We do all the time. NO, WE ARE NOT animals that just speak. You are wrong once again and there are thousands of "irrational" human decisions that go against what you say, we know them and have recorded them. Please realize that you CAN predict animal behavior to a crazy degree, but for humans, it is much, much less so.

I'll dispel more of your assertions if you like, but it's not about me, it's about you realizing that you assume your conclusion FIRST and then find back-fitting data. That's what determinists do, and it's rubbish. The data does not support your conclusions and you should realize your bias.
06-01-2016 02:25 PM
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EDantes Offline
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Post: #23
RE: Does Free Will exist?
(05-31-2016 03:28 PM)AboveAverageJoe Wrote:  Free will is proven by MGTOW's. Look at all the pussy these guys are not getting because they don't want it.
It's not that hard "not to want" something you don't have a snowball's chance of getting. lol

I have a feeling though if Nicki Minaj offered one of them a free BJ they'd drop that commitment to "abstinence" in a nanosecond. Despite claiming they "don't care" about women they spend more of their free time talking about women than most of us do; their entire hobby boils down to claiming they "don't want" sex from women but whining for hours on end about all the women who refuse them sex.
(This post was last modified: 06-01-2016 04:28 PM by EDantes.)
06-01-2016 04:24 PM
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RE: Does Free Will exist?
(06-01-2016 01:54 PM)Feldeinsamkeit Wrote:  
(05-31-2016 03:28 PM)AboveAverageJoe Wrote:  Free will is proven by MGTOW's. Look at all the pussy these guys are not getting because they don't want it.

I like it.

The sanctimonious MGTOW philosophy could also be expressed thus: Make a virtue out of renouncing that which you feel you have no power over anyway, whilst pretending all the while one is acting out of enlightened free volition.
Pretty much; it'd be like Andrea Dworkin claiming she's "punishing" Brad Pitt by denying him pussy; it's just radical feminism/social justice for overweight men.
(This post was last modified: 06-01-2016 04:29 PM by EDantes.)
06-01-2016 04:26 PM
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Atheistani Offline
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RE: Does Free Will exist?
(06-01-2016 02:08 PM)Feldeinsamkeit Wrote:  Thought experiment: Imagine you encounter a hardcore determinist who maintains that he has a machine, let's call it the Determinax, which, given the correct input of initial data concerning all the variables involved in explaining any physical state, can reliably predict every physical event in the world, including human behaviour, over the next 24 hours.

Furthermore, let's grant this mad determinist his supposition that such a device is not only indeed possible, but actual. If he claims that all of my actions are predetermined, simply challenge him to ask his Determinax toy what I'll be doing this evening at 9.30 p.m. If it predicts that I'll be happily sipping from my can of Carlsberg Special Brew whilst reclining in my armchair, I can then, on the basis of this prediction, so alter my behaviour such that this prediction does not come to pass. And one can, of course, generalize from this to arrive at a simple algorithm by means of which one could defeat any prediction that the determinist might make by means of his Determinax™.

This is very much equivalent to Turings Halting Problem or Godel's Incompleteness Theorem. Both of them use a similar type of self-referential logical proof to show the limits of Mathematics/Logic/Computability. The proofs can be applied somewhat to a number of philosophical problems. Not really arguing here but was interesting to see that argument of yours, as it instantly reminded me of those proofs.

The interesting point is that you are making it impossible for the machine to be correct, as you will yourself go againts whatever it states. More interestingly, the machine will have to compute first what it's answer will be, then compute how you would react knowing it's answer, and this is where self-reference comes into it.

Think of like this

Calc x = Calcx + John will do the opposite

So the machine will need to do Calc x again to solve the problem. This will continue forever, the machine never reaching a solution, because the problem contains itself as a whole.


(06-01-2016 02:25 PM)Kid Twist Wrote:  Also, (this is the most important part and the one that gets overlooked in "scientific" experiments) we can SAY NO to our inclinations. This is possibly the most important part of "free will." It is also what makes us different from animals. They can't and don't. We do all the time. NO, WE ARE NOT animals that just speak. [b] You are wrong once again and there are thousands of "irrational" human decisions that go against what you say, we know them and have recorded them. [/]Please realize that you CAN predict animal behavior to a crazy degree, but for humans, it is much, much less so.

Animals can also be trained not to go with their first reactions/instincts. Human behave in much the same, that we are far more complex seems to be what confuses you.

The idea that humans are somehow not in the same category with animals as biological beings is rather ludicrious. Observe an animal and a human in a simple tribal society and tell me they arent very similar, other than for language. Normally people that see humans as categorically different to animals are religious people who have been told that God made humans as 'special' and unique beings.

Thousands of irrational human decisions and you cant show one

(06-01-2016 02:25 PM)Kid Twist Wrote:  The data does not support your conclusions and you should realize your bias.

Again, what data?

I dont know maybe such a scenario could exist. Lets say a person has struggled somewhat in their life, but gotten through it. Is on track to achieving their goals, getting into great financial shape, about to marry his unicorn, life couldnt get better. This guy has everything going for him and is loving life. On the way to work one day he jumps in front of the train. Suicide note reads...

"Free will bitches"
06-01-2016 08:41 PM
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