Scaredy cat! :)-
Come along for the ride - it's wild out here ...
Personally I think that Free Will is the next to fall after God.... people hang on for dear life - fearing the pain of falling - when in fact there is nothing to fall from - because nothing changes - it's just a more realistic view of reality :)
At the risk of sounding childish ... SEZ YOU!
Determinism to me instantly implies predictability, and I defy anyone to predict with serious reliability any other person's action. Here, I don't just mean a single action (or reaction, if you will), but ALL subsequent reactions.
Maybe sometime in the near or not-so-near future it will be possible to so accurately simulate a human being in situ that his entire life could be predicted from cradle to grave. From where I sit, that would require more variables than a cat has hair and far more computer firepower than I can imagine (and "I can imagine quite a lot!" -- Han Solo). Besides which, such would be tantamount to turning to the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to find out what happened to Harry and Company without going through the changes ... and what fun is that?
Brownian Motion and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle are without unique determinate solution and so is it with me ... and until there is such a solution or a convincing demonstration thereof, I ain't havin' any.
My understanding of it is that we make choices based on past actions an our environment, so to say that our whole lives are determined from cradle to grave is a misrepresentation of what it actually is. We don't know how you are going to react 20 years from now because we don't know what choices you are going to make now.
Just because everything is fully caused, doesn't mean that we are also given the capacity to hold all causal factors in our heads so that we can predict what is going to happen next - but you can basic causal factors taking place - in science, particularly physics and chemistry it is more easy - you must have found that when watching young children - you can see them doing something and you know that they have a really high chance of falling off a chair or tripping into the mud etc - we do have a basic ability to predict the future, it helps us to avoid pain and injury, and we have this basic ability due to our knowledge of how causality happens.
I ain't no specialist in this field, so I'm not going to have much effect on convincing you of the merit in this sort of thinking - but if you have a look on the Naturalism Group - you'll find a few people who fully accept that we live in a fully caused universe - and can have the discussion yourself.
I suppose it doesn't matter too much to our daily lives what we believe. But seeing the world from my perspective does have some different outcomes from those that take your perspective - so I've been told, by deep thinkers - I can't hold onto a concept for long enough to think it all through - but I can understand the basics - eg - if we think about a criminal - we know that punishment doesn't do much for reforming or helping them - but understanding that we are all fully caused - does provide me with compassion for those who have committed crimes. This doesn't mean that we don't lock them up - but we can see it from a slightly different perspective - our next actions have different consequences when we see that we are all fully caused. I'm not explaining it very well - but I'm doing my best -
I think compassion is the greatest result of understanding that we are all fully caused. Instead of saying anyone can be president if they just make enough effort - we can see that only those who become president ever had a chance - not that we shouldn't stop trying, but we need to realise when we fail to become president that it wasn't our path - but that's OK, we can forge another path. Personal belief is a great thing, and to be encouraged - but we also need to understand our limitations - that we are limited to the environment and path we find ourselves on - the key concept being - we couldn't have done it any other way - we don't have freedom of will - or contra causal free will - the ability to go against causal factors - our outside of our biology; our genes and dna - we don't have a free soul that can direct us. I'm I getting anywhere here? :)
Check out Tom Clark http://www.naturalism.org/ here for more - I encourage you to read a bit of one of the articles and let me know what you think - I'd be really interested in your thoughts on this matter :)
LOL - that's just what I was thinking in the penultimate line - Dr Who...
But the rest of it is pretty much what I understand of the universe as described by modern science - and yes, a devoted Dr Who fan :)
I'm sure you'd look cool in one ;)
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1022039654662139670 you may find this interesting too - really worth a look - let me know what you think :)
Here Tom Clark talks about contra causal free will - saying that it's either fully determined or caused randomly - but most likely it is determined - and he quotes Dennett
Gad, not one, not two, but THREE comebacks to my simple statement that I don't hold with determinism? Sorry, but to me, that goes past discussion and starts to flirt with proselytism, which I don't care for and will not tolerate.
Thank you, but regardless of how you pretty it up, determinism essentially tells me that I am a robot, programmed and predestined, and I can think of nothing so pointless, indeed, so THOUGHTLESS as that.
No. That is my simple rejoinder. Take it or leave it. No.