Eastern Ohio Freethinkers Message Board › Free will

Free will

A former member
Post #: 4
Randy,
I didn't answer your questions because I didn't know they were there (I hadn't discovered that there were more pages of conversations, silly me). Now there is so much, I'm not sure where to start. So, I will try and keep it simple.
I am not a scientist or a physicist. By reading what you have written, I obviously did not understand what you meant by not having free will. In my simplistic mind, not having free will means that you spend your whole life being a victim of everything and have no ability to change anything, and that is what I find to be offensive. I spent my childhood being a victim of 2 abusive alcoholics and as a result in my early adulthood, I would have done anything to get people to like me. After much reading of many different ideologies, phychology, and yes what you consider to be "woo, woo", I discovered that the choices I was making as to how I was thinking and believing about myself, did in fact make me a victim. So, through this philosophy I learned that I could change my life by changing the way I thought about myself. When I began to believe in myself and to believe that I deserved to be happy, my life began to change for the good. I have learned over the years that what seems to always be right is what I feel in my heart. Gut instinct. That is what works for me.
I have a deep respect for science, but I also have a deep respect for Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Greg Braden (who is a real scientist and happens to believe the way I do) and many others. Add to this many of the ancient philosophies, some of which science would trash. I accept what my gut tells me is right and what my life experiences have taught me. I did have an experience in my young adulthood with mushrooms that did cause me to separate from my body. You can rationalize this as psychological disassociation or whatever scientific term you would like, but I can tell you that my experience was exactly what people who have written about "astral projection" have written about. I know it was real. I know I was out of body, and nothing any scientist can say would ever convince me otherwise. I had no idea what had happened to me because I had never even heard of this, but I can tell you for sure that I wasn't just "tripping", it was so much more than that. The American Indians have used this for years to open their minds to the ability to experience something more and to grow. I guarantee you that if you had this experience it would significantly change your outlike on life. So, if you feel the urge to scientifically explain this away for me, I will understand, but I will just smile to myself and let you have your opinion, but I assure you that I "know" what happened to me and no one can tell me otherwise.
While I do believe that science has made great strides towards the advancement of civilization, I also believe that you can't just throw away many of the teachings that have been around for thousands of years. I'll use as an example nutrition and herbal medicine. I think that pharmaceuticals started out to be an advance that helped us with healthcare, however, now it has become about profit and not about helping people. Because of this, people are dying because of the toxins in some of these "medicines". I know that many of the natural treatments that have been around for thousands of years work, because I have studied and used them due to the inability to afford medical insurance when I owned my own restaurant for 10 years. So, from that perspective, I am coming into this group with another opinion about life than many of you. Hopefully , you will open your minds enough to hear me out and not just assume that I'm an idiot. I actually find this whole conversation envigorating because it stimulates my mind and encourages me to learn from all of you. On the other hand, maybe even you "science based"entities will learn something from me, you never know!
There are many things even right now that we can agree on. I totally agree with you about the criminal justice system. I actually worked with inmates at the county jail in Oregon for 5 years, and I can say that 95% of the guys I worked with did not belong there. We suddenly have a society full of illnesses such as ADD, ADHD, bipolar disease and even schizophrenia. The guys I worked with had good hearts and didn't really want to continue the cycle they were caught up in, but they didn't have insurance and thus when their illnesses got out of control, they self-medicated with illegal drugs. When it came time to see their parole or probation officer they didn't go, because they knew they would test dirty. That is one place that our system has made criminals out of people that shouldn't be.
As far as the "God--energy" thing goes, I believe that we are all energy and that we are all connected. Jesus is one of the few prophets that I have respect for because of what he taught, and Jesus taught that "God is love". I believe that literally and I believe that love is that energy that connects all of us. I think even science accepts that we and everything around us is energy in one form or another, doesn't it?
I think that if people who call themselves "Christians" actually lived by what Jesus taught (Judge not, Love thy neighbor as thyself, do unto others, lift up the poor, heal the sick, etc.) our country would be a much better place. However, most of the "Christians" that I know are pretty toxic, especially in their judgments and condemnation of others who don't believe as they do. I believe that this is where the change needs to begin if we will ever have peace in the world.
So, here's how I was looking at "free will". We all have the ability to make choices about our lives. I don't happen to believe that there are any "victims". I believe that you can change your own life by changing your thoughts and perceptions. I think that when we believe we are victims, we subconsciously bring people and circumstances into our lives that continue that reality for us. I believe that if we choose to have people around us who are supportive and encourage us to be the best that we can be, then we attract scenarios that help us to grow and find our self-worth. I believe that life is about choices and perceptions of what goes on around us and that we all have the ability to change our circumstances by how we respond to them. This is in my mind what free will is! Loving your spouse and your children is a choice. Caring about others is a choice. How you react to circumstances in your life is a choice. As far as all my choices being made because of some chemistry in my brain, or dna, or anything physical for that matter; we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. I totally believe that my mind functions separate from my body a lot of the time, and I even believe the heart is just as involved in my choices as my brain and my mind! I hope this helps you to understand what I have said. This to me is what free will is!
So, I hope we can continue to learn from each other. You have scientific method and I have what I intuitively feel in my heart to be true. This is where my journey of 61 years has brought me. When I was 21, I probably would have thought it was "woo, woo" to. So, laugh if you will, but having another perspective should make for some interesting conversation, shouldn't it? Char
A former member
Post #: 20
Char, you have confused me with Randy its a mistake I think he would not like and I know I not comfortable with.

Randy,

"Do we agree that incarceration is not desirable I.E. people do not wish to be is jail?

I do in fact agree that no person wishes to be in jail. But it is equally true that there are many who do not consider the possibility when engaging in criminal behavior. I suspect many criminals, at least those who routinely engage in criminal behavior, do not fear jail. Many, I suspect, think they will not be caught.

right, A that is a cost befit decision they make and if they are wrong they should answer for it.I suspect many criminals, at least those who routinely engage in criminal behavior, do not fear jail.
right, jail should be harder not softer based on punishment not rehabilitation or separation

Also, there is the felony murder rule you do not think murder should be a felony?

. I am thinking primarily of so-called victimless crimes, such as prostitution and drug use/possession where no violent acts are involved. Of course our "war on drugs" is an abysmal failure.I agree whole heartily we will make you a libertarian yet.

Also, I think that the fact that we have over 2.2 million individuals incarcerated, the highest level of prison incarceration in the world, speaks to a tough-on-crime mentality that, I think, is driven more by a need for punishment than to protect society. The U.S. incarceration level is about 500,000 more than the second highest ranking country, China. This represents a ratio of 715 persons for every 100,000 citizens.and what happens to this number when we ditch the war on drugs and vice.

Sean
A former member
Post #: 21
As a final note, Char, I find myself wondering about the depth and breadth of your knowledge about science (physics, biology, chemistry, etc.) and critical thinking, particularly where it concerns the matter of logical fallacies and cognitive biases. Please do not mistake me here. I am not attempting to insult you

Randy, statements like this and yelling that something is Bullshit do not have a place here we are trying to have a open dialog I.E. win hearts and minds not slide into an Eco camber of ideas.

Sean
Scott
user 44368812
Group Organizer
Dennison, OH
Post #: 23
I think Char is tougher than we give her credit for.

I have to tell you Char that I respect you for the approach you have taken. As you say, I actually find this whole conversation invigorating because it stimulates my mind and encourages me to learn from all of you. On the other hand, maybe even you "science based"entities will learn something from me, you never know!

This is the preferred path to knowledge in my opinion. How do we know our ideas are worthwhile if we never test them. Richard Dawkins has a whole monologue about the scientific method and how real science is holding your proposition up for scrutiny and if it is weak then down it comes.


As i told you before, nothing gets a rationalist worked up like a statement without proof. I have known both Sean and Randy for a few years and know them to be good people, just very passionate.

And despite what Sean said above about confusing the two of them I think they have more in common than they do in conflict.tongue
Scott
user 44368812
Group Organizer
Dennison, OH
Post #: 24
Back to the Topic of Free-Will

As I stated before, neither I or any of the much superior minds that accept free will think it is happening outside of the physical self. that truly would be a weak argument. But if you read Sam Harris he allows nothing for the accumulation of knowledge in the decision making process. (this seems ironic coming from such a well educated person.)

Your life today is much different than it would have been if you hadn't ever been punished for breaking curfew, read Carl Sagan, Met your spouse, etc. These have all moved you to a different place mentally than you would have been from birth. Your decisions today are based on these occurrences.

Nothing survives in a vacuum, I am constantly acquiring new experiences that will affect my next decision. Every decision i have ever made guided me to another one. I recreate myself constantly. How is this not Free Will?


“Mankind however is at the threshold of something far greater than this. The act of stepping away from that animal instinct. The ability to question his own existence. The ability to determine right from wrong without regard to his own well being. The ability to make life affecting decisions. Whether to expand the sociological order, whether or not to procreate, whether or not to continue to live! These are acts of higher intellect. Mankind is on the brink of recreating himself, but he still needs to take that final step.”
Scott
Randy P.
user 30631472
Tallmadge, OH
Post #: 8
Sean

"A that is a cost befit decision they make and if they are wrong they should answer for it"

No disagreement here.

"jail should be harder not softer based on punishment not rehabilitation or separation"

Plenty of disagreement here. You also make my earlier point for me. You too are of the punishment mindset rather than the protect society mindset when it comes to criminal justice. Prisons are currently hard enough in my opinion. As on past occasions Sean you exhibit the difference between your political philosophy and mine. My liberal progressive political view is filtered through my overarching secular humanist philosophy. You on the other hand appear to prefer more of a frontier form of justice, which I suspect, is derived from your libertarian view. If wrong please let me know.

"you do not think murder should be a felony?"

I did not say this. You thinking I did seems to imply you are not familiar with the felony murder rule. I think murder is a felony-level crime. If the murder is committed with intent and premeditation then it is first-degree murder. But the felony murder rule when applied can turn an accidental killing during the commission of some other felony crime into first-degree murder rather than the more appropriate charge of manslaughter. This is what I find objectionable. It is too often applied by overzealous prosecutors who have been bitten by the tough-on-crime bug. This mindset has a primary goal, in my opinion, of punishment rather than protection. When people are motivated by punishment they are in a harsher, crueler state of mind. This, IMO, coarsens our culture and makes it even harsher.

"I agree whole heartily we will make you a libertarian yet."

I sincerely hope you are making a joke. Because if not then you are afflicted by a delusion. This will never happen. You seem to think that liberty is a principle dearer to libertarians than to liberals. You are wrong. My objections to libertarianism have never been with its stance on issues of liberty. I am mostly in agreement with libertarians on issues of liberty and rights. My objection to libertarianism has been and continues to be with your unwavering commitment to the idea that free markets are the panacea for all. It is the economic viewpoint of libertarianism that I find so detestable.

"and what happens to this number when we ditch the war on drugs and vice."

I don't know for certain, nor do you. I am inclined to think that the numbers will go down if we legalize at least some drugs, such as marijuana, and legalize prostitution. I suspect that much of the crime associated with these will disappear gradually if not almost immediately. As a consequence a lot fewer people will be sent to jail for non-violent acts that harm no one but the person who engages in the behavior. Anyway, regardless of what might happen, it is certain that the war on drugs is likely to never be won employing the current strategy. What is that saying, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." This is our drug policy, not to mention our approach toward prostitution and other similar non-violent behaviors and activities.

"Char, you have confused me with Randy its a mistake I think he would not like and I know I not comfortable with."

Despite what you appear to be thinking Sean based on past interactions, I do not find you to be an objectionable person. I am not troubled nor offended by Char's accidentallay confusing me for you. My only argument with you Sean has always been over your libertarian political philosophy. But that is a topic for another time and another thread. This thread is suppose to be about free will. We have already derailed it so it is best to get it back on track. I think Scott has issued a gentle suggestion that we do so.
Randy P.
user 30631472
Tallmadge, OH
Post #: 9
Sean

"Randy, statements like this and yelling that something is Bullshit do not have a place here we are trying to have a open dialog I.E. win hearts and minds not slide into an Eco camber of ideas."

Your concern is noted. I did not yell anything. My words, with the exception of one use of the word "any", were not in caps. Putting words in caps is the electronic equivalent of shouting, screaming or yelling. I did put an exclamation mark after the word "bullshit", but that was for emphasis. It does not imply shouting or yelling. Furthermore, bullshit is the appropriate description of the nonsense of which I was speaking. I will call those claims that are bullshit by this name each and every time they are written or spoken. This word simultaneously conveys, both adequately and appropriately, the credibility of the claim, the value of the claim, and my opinion of the claim. So don't expect me not to use it.
A former member
Post #: 22
I have no beef with this law maybe you could point out your beef with it

http://en.wikipedia.o...­


Plenty of disagreement here. You also make my earlier point for me. You too are of the punishment mindset rather than the protect society mindset when it comes to criminal justice. Prisons are currently hard enough in my opinion. As on past occasions Sean you exhibit the difference between your political philosophy and mine. My liberal progressive political view is filtered through my overarching secular humanist philosophy. You on the other hand appear to prefer more of a frontier form of justice, which I suspect, is derived from your libertarian view. If wrong please let me know.


So if punishment wrong explain the protect society mindset in this model what happens to me when I commit 1st degree murder and also rape and theft.

Prisons are currently hard enough in my opinion.Then why do not people fear them?

You on the other hand appear to prefer more of a frontier form of justice, which I suspect, is derived from your libertarian view. If wrong please let me know.Your wrong, their I let you know. My liberal political view is also filtered through my overarching secular humanist philosophy.

Sean
A former member
Post #: 30
oh Randy I almost forgot


Then the author knows nothing about quantum physics. This theory, which explains the behavior of matter at the subatomic level, has absolutely nothing to do with human consciousness. I recommend you consult some actual physicists. The writer of this new-age woo woo obviously has not. And lest you think I know not of what I speak I inform you now that I am a high school science teacher who has taught some of this stuff. While not an expert on quantum physics, I know enough of it and understand it well enough to recognize when someone is engaging in Deepak (Chopra) deepity nonsense. This person is masquerading nonsense as science by clothing it in science jargon.

You teach quantum physics in high school? where do you teach star fleet academy? how is the graduation rate so low? maybe you could point me to some peer reviewed papers you published on quantum physics, or physics....I bet they are a great read.

And lest you think I know not of what I speak I inform you now that I am a high school science teacher
so because you teach high school "science" . we should just take your word on quantum physics, physics and human consciousness? anything else?


While not an expert on quantum physics, I know enough of it and understand it well enough to recognize when someone is engaging in Deepak (Chopra) deepity nonsense.

“Anyone who claims to understand quantum mechanics is either lying or crazy.”Richard Feynman I think he used to teach high school too.

Sean

good read
http://www.skeptiko.c...­
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