"I think therefore I am." Descarte's most basic tenet of free will. But how "free" is it?The more I study this and make observations of the people around me, the more I am convinced that free will is nothing more than an illusion.

 

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke.

 

Now let me rephrase Clarke's third law in context of this discussion:

 

"Any sufficiently complex memoryplex is indistinguishable from free will."

 

Note the phrase memoryplex, not memeplex. I'm referring here to our collective memories from the earliest retained memory right up to this instant. That instant has now passed (a few milliseconds ago) and as you continue to read, those instants are similarly passing into your collective memoryplex.

 

If our decisions are based on what we know (assuming that we're not mentally ill) and what we know is the memories we have formed, then free will simply isn't.

 

I've thought about this for some time now and I'm only summarising here, but if this is correct, it has frightening implications. For instance, what you've just read, based on what you already know, has influenced you - and you have no choice in what you're about to do: reply, ignore, digest, etc... everything is based on your experience to date plus this last few dozen words of argument.

 

So how "free" is your will?

Views: 500

Replies to This Discussion

Actually, I am trying to improve my skill-set to make me more marketable in this shithole of an economy.  I am a librarian and libraries are becoming more automated so, i hoping this will give me more options.
Well good luck to you! That is a perfectly good reason.
Thanks. :)

Not just a librarian, Susan. You're an intellectual of some note - and that can always find a new path.

 

I feel for the "unemployed plasterer" or the "unemployed painter" or any unemployed person who self-describes by their skill-set; unemployed is just that. I am whatever I can get paid for doing.

Not just a librarian, Susan. You're an intellectual of some note

 

 

I'm blushing.  Flatterer.

Not at all - I am British, after all.

 

But the evidence is in what you write, Susan.

Park as you've also raised this issue, would you not also agree that given what "we" know, this is a pretty convincing argument for the non-existence of god(s).


I think what makes us special are our mirror neurons - something that has fascinated me since I discovered them. "Monkey see - Monkey do" (only, neither monkey nor most apes, actually do.)


I retired from the library a few years ago. I would love to work just part time but even that is not possible in this economy.  Good luck to you.
Thank you.

If our decisions are based on what we know (assuming that we're not mentally ill) and what we know is the memories we have formed, then free will simply isn't.

 

This logic is flawed Marc. Hypothetically two peolpe could have the very same history of experiences but upon a choice make different decisions because of differences in motive. How can you establish that motive is not the result of free will?

Differences in motive? What is motive? Motive means something is being motivated, or moved into action. There is nothing so strange or far-out about the motives of a homo-sapien as in any other species or physical object in the rest of the universe. We are motivated because the processes which came before us have force, these forces have acted upon us and continue to act upon us. What motive can you think of that is somehow removed or exempt from this process of cause and effect? We have evolved to have similar wants and needs, and the universe operates in a way which is consistent and predictable enough to a point where we go about fulfilling these needs and wants in much the same way. Let's hear what it is about motive that you think is so special?
Hi Wanderer:

Firstly allow me to reference an approach you took in a previous comment to this discussion that seemed to be somewhat unfair to me. Perhaps you did not mean it to be and I read a flavor of unfairness into it when there was none. You said to a supporter of free will that:

“There happens to be a whole group here on Nexus which devoted itself to the principle that free will DNE (does not exist). Maybe you could share this discussion there?”

I hope you did not mean that in an intimidating capacity. As far as I can see the supporter was already sharing by participating at all in this freewill discussion. Moreover, I think the argument can easily be made that, on a world-wide basis, the overwhelming majority of the sane (and I wholeheartedly include you in this category) who have lived throughout recorded history has held and holds now that freewill exists; and I don’t think you would appreciate anyone making light of this fact in an irrelevant manner that might sway others to a freewill posture for fear of not fitting in.

That said, I would like to make light of the fact in a relevant manner. That is, inasmuch as the vast majority of the sane has always held that free will exists, I think the onus is primarily on you et al DNE’ers to demonstrate that it does not rather than on non-DNE‘ers to demonstrate that it does.

From this perspective I asked: “How can you establish that motive is not the result of freewill? You answered: “We are motivated because the processes which came before us have force, these forces have acted upon us and continue to act upon us. What motive can you think of that is somehow removed or exempt from this process of cause and effect ?”

Allow me to address your answer by first inquiring whether you have read Stephen Hawking’s latest book, The Grand Design. In it he says our universe was spontaneously created and that not only was our universe spontaneously created but an infinite number of others have been each having on a random basis physical principles different from ours. He maintains that universes even now are being spontaneously created with laws of physics that are random and new to existence. Moreover, he says if there is any possibility that an entity can exist it will somewhere. According to Hawking (and many others of the world’s most prominent physicists) this spontaneity, randomness and fulfillment in existence of potential entities are the real forces governing nature and supersede the confinements of cause and effect. From this broader understanding (which supersedes cause and effect) of what forces apply how can you say that an entity with freewill does not exist in our universe? How can you say that through randomness we do not have free will despite what from our perspective of some physical activity seems to be cause and effect?

Given what science is now saying about the nature of existence I remain skeptical of your position that there can be no freewill here.

RSS

line

Update Your Membership :

Membership

line

line

Nexus on Social Media:

line

© 2016   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service