I've given a great deal of thought to the concept of "free will" and have determined that there really is no such thing. Logically, all of existence is a matter of cause and effect, and since we have no control over the causes (we weren't even present at the time they originated), we obviously can have no control over the effects.

An easy way to prove this precept to yourself is to look back over your life; see that turning point that changed the course of your future? How many people, how many uncontrollable events brought you to that point? See how you really had nothing to do with the path you trod thereafter?

Another interesting side effect of this train of thought is to realize that everything in the universe is interconnected and influences everything else. A simple exercise: look at what you're wearing, then trace each item (and everything in and on it) back to its origin. You'll find people who grew fiber plants (think sun, climate, soil, etc.) in one place (and you can think about what brought them to that time and place, too), factories and workers in other places from whence buttons, zippers, shoelaces, etc. came, and of course the vast array of geographic areas in which the various items of your attire were assembled. Getting aboard this train of thought will allow you to see yourself as a tiny portion of the immense universe, both impacting and being impacted upon by every other entity, from the sun, moon and stars to the ant queen that just laid a thousand eggs in your front yard.

Tying this into the "no free will" argument is simple logic. All the people and elements that went into your appearance today pushed you to make the decisions you made, totally without your knowledge or collusion. Everything that happened everywhere in the universe today will affect what you do tomorrow. Or in the next moment. And you will have absolutely no control over it!


Views: 540

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I wasn't going to post this, but what the hell:
Oh, but the matter IS settled, at least about human intelligence transcending cause and effect/physics. It's been settled for decades. There's no "vital force" nor any magical intelligence metaphysical goo. I recommend reading up on biology, psychology, neurology/neuroanatomy, etc. A good beginner's book about the history of neurology is "Soul made flesh" by Carl Zimmer. I also recommend "Phantoms in the brain" by V.S. Ramachandran. If you don't believe me, just try finding respectable neurologists to even LISTEN to your ideas about the human psyche transcending the laws of physics. You can "assert" all you want, but that will neither make it true nor earn you much respect if you do it without any evidence or real arguments to back your assertions up.

As for free will, I see it as a matter of pure logic. My logic might be wrong, but I have at least TRIED to explain my position and back it up it as best I could. You haven't really addressed any of the points I made (for example, you never define any of your terms, such as "free will". Another is the concept of emergence), all you have done so far is to make assertions about things you apparently know nothing about (Biology, physics, the brain, the function of the brain) and then get mad because others point that out.

Besides the other fallacies in your arguments I've already mentioned, two huge fallacies you're making are the argument from ignorance the argument of personal incredulity. You have no evidence or even decent arguments for your position other than "Well, I don't know how intelligence could be part of the physical universe. I don't know, and you don't either!".

I'll just leave you with a quote from Darwin:

When we no longer look at an organic being as a savage looks at a ship, as something wholly beyond his comprehension; when we regard every production of nature as one which has had a long history; when we contemplate every complex structure and instinct as the summing up of many contrivances, each useful to the possessor, in the same way as any great mechanical invention is the summing up of the labour, the experience, the reason, and even the blunders of numerous workmen; when we thus view each organic being, how far more interesting--I speak from experience--does the study of natural history become!
About my maturity and that of others, I'll just say that a 51-60 who thinks he knows everything is no better than a 19 year old who thinks he knows everything (in fact, it's worse). That's not to say that's what I think of course... all I said is that the scientific community does know SOME things. You're the one saying that NOBODY knows what you personally do not know, nor understands what you personally don't understand.

About quantum mechanics... going along with what I was just saying, I find it to be a really bad sign that you didn't even bother reading what had previously been said. I guess you are so absolutely certain that your position is right that it doesn't matter what anyone said right? you're right, so why bother reading what has been said before, since it has no possibility of changing your mind? ... Here is what I said before about QM. Also, let me point out that you are completely contradicting yourself. You have said a few times that you believe in free will and in determinism in the physical world, yet now you attack determinism and say that QM blows it out of the water. In fact, you specifically said that "The physical world is a perpetual chain reaction of cause and effect."

You've certainly described what you believe (who could deny all your assertions?), but you have not backed it up with reasonable evidence or arguments. As I said, your arguments all amount to basically you not knowing/comprehending how the mind could be subject to physical laws so you simply ASSERT that it is not. What's more, while you claim to want specific criticisms, you have completely ignored my and other people's posts making specific criticisms to what you said. That's in addition to completely ignoring previous posts. Unless you are willing to stop ignoring what people say and debate about the real issues with actual arguments and evidence in the mature way you so claim to desire (without resorting to ad-hominems), your future replies will be "unworthy of any more replies".
Well, I do know the difference between an opinion and a fact. Until you learn that, you don’t really know anything.

Is that your opinion, or is that a fact?
Jim, So are you still a compatiblist then? Earlier you said, ""I fall into the third camp: determinism with freewill." Yet now you are attempting to negate determinism. So are you arguing against your own position now? Interesting.

Quantum theory doesn't negate determinism. It suggest there are random events that happen at the quantum level. Beyond the level of quantum mechanics, physics still points to an environment that is moved by causality.

Anyways, I don't get why you are arguing against determinism since you believe in determinism with free will. You should be arguing for why you think there is free will. The randomness that Quantum physics suggest happens at the quantum level doesn't support your argument FOR free-will. It goes against it, because you have no more control over randomness then you do in a strict deterministic environment. And your argument that the mind is beyond and exempt from causality needs to be justified, because as it sits now, it is without justification.

If you want to make progress in this argument, demonstrate how there is free-will. Not argue against your own stance. LOL.
Simply changing your mind alone is not evidence of free-will unless you can tell me HOW it was changed? I can assure you there would be a cause. You said yourself the cause would be, "an argument convincing enough."

Also, please explain to me how "intelligence" supports free-will. Because it is my understanding that everything you "know," your intelligence, was determined by your experiences, by your environment. Even, "you" your identity, is determined by your environment, "you" are but the output of all the input received. Anyways, please explain how you think "intelligence" supports free-will. You earlier arguments did not convince me, and if they did convince me, wouldn't they be the cause that determined me to believe you?

What I really can't understand is how people think that random occurrences at quantum level equals free-will. Even if we grant the HUGE liberty of saying we function according to the laws of quantum physics that wouldn't grant us free-will but random-will. I'd rather have no free-will than randomly do shit.
That's right, it doesn't support free-will. They use it in attempt to negate determinism. They fail to see that they are still left with nothing to suggest free-will. All that is left is causality and determinism with some possible randomness at the quantum level. With these kind of arguments there is still no room for "free-will" except for in the same place where "god" resides. If they want to make headway in their argument FOR free-will they need to demonstrate something for it.
Jim, please stop contradicting yourself because earlier you said that-

"Quantum Theory holds that universal laws of physics are indeterministic and probabilistic."


"So I pointed out that science (quantum theory) can also contradict determinism. The point needed to be made."


"Quantum Theory is “indeterministic and random”. LOL. That blows your absolute determinism right out of the water. I hope you have a life vest, or rubber ducky or something to cling to!"


"Yes I did negate determinism with quantum theory"

Keep in mind this is the same quantum physics that you as a human say yourself are, "barely able to even understand it."

I was the one that said human beings don't operate at the quantum level, several pages back. I'll repost -

"But these random occurrences are are only known to occur at this fundamental quantum level, the randomness doesn't precede itself, meaning the expansion of these random events quickly if not immediately begin a deterministic chain of events. In the daily events as we know them, where it "seems" as though there are these what feels like "choices," the control over the movement to which direction to go has already went well beyond the quantum level and is already in the expansion of causality."
I copied and pasted them exactly as you wrote them. The last paragraph is what I had wrote earlier.
LOL, That's just too funny.
All quotes from Jim

Science may attempt to answer the same question and may eventually find the answer. But so far it hasn't.

Tell me, are you a scientist? on what basis are you making that claim?

Everybody was speaking as if, determinism is a fact and backed up by science. It’s not.

Yeah, I'm sure you are omniscient about all of science.

I, however, maintain that human beings are free agents because of our intelligence

And you have yet to say how that is the case.

But I don’t believe in omniscient beings.

You don't seem to believe in knowing beings either. Or at least, nobody can know anything you don't.

Come to think of it, changing one’s mind seems like a prime example of freewill. 

define free will.
My thoughts on Free Will:

I do believe that man has unlimited(I use the term loosely) freedom, though, to a limited degree. Man is free to do what he wants in accordance with his own biology and environment. That is, man only has free will/choice within the limitations of his biological and environmental contraints. Man cannot go beyond his nature. So, while I do believe in unlimited freedom within the confinement of mans own nature, I do not believe in unlimited freedom/choice that can supersede his nature. I guess I believe in unlimited freedom, with a twist of rationality at the helm.



Update Your Membership :




Nexus on Social Media:


© 2017   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service