Do We Have Free Will?

Do we have free will?

 
The dilemma of determinism

We do not know if our actions are controlled by a causal chain of preceding events (or by some other external influence), or if we're truly free agents making decisions of our own volition. Philosophers (and now some scientists) have been debating this for millennia, and with no apparent end in sight. If our decision making is influenced by an endless chain of causality, then determinism is true and we don't have free will. But if the opposite is true, what's called indeterminism, then our actions must be random — what some argue is still not free will. Conversely, libertarians (no, not political libertarians, those are other people), make the case for compatibilism — the idea that free will is logically compatible with deterministic views of the universe. Compounding the problem are advances in neuroscience showing that our brains make decisions before we're even conscious of them. But if we don't have free will, then why did we evolve consciousness instead of zombie-minds? Quantum mechanics makes this problem even more complicated by suggesting that we live in a universe of probability, and that determinism of any sort is impossible. And as Linas Vepstas has said, "Consciousness seems to be intimately and inescapably tied to the perception of the passage of time, and indeed, the idea that the past is fixed and perfectly deterministic, and that the future is unknowable. This fits well, because if the future were predetermined, then there'd be no free will, and no point in the participation of the passage of time."

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  • Bharat P.

    http://www.ucsd.tv/search-detai...­
    CARTA symposium fro UCSD will be available Dec. 4 9 pm PT- On Human origins and Theory of Mind with 2 more talks 11th and 18th of Dec. - For those who are interested .

    December 2, 2013

    • Jean M.

      LOVED this, fascinating stuff! thanks for sharing that!

      December 2, 2013

  • Trude D.

    What a great meeting! Although at least one person said she "wasn't trying to change anybody's mind" (or words to that effect), I'm always delighted by this group because we never try to change anybody's mind ... just expand them! OK, I guess expansion is a form of change. That said, the group's process is, in itself, a joy, so attending is a choice many of us make regularly and willingly, however constrained by our past experience, current goals, pre-verbal "programming," and other external and internal factors. I know I'm in it for the dopamine overall and the oxytocin from social bonding in particular. And I'm perfectly happy (an important objective, as Bill K observed) knowing that every decision I choose to make is a choice within certain constraints. As long as I'm aware that "free" will has its costs and exists within a certain budget, well, it is what it is.

    2 · November 18, 2013

    • Scooter D.

      Free Will ... worth every penny.

      1 · November 19, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Trude, I am STILL making up my mind! ha ha.
      I loved your post above, Trude, but, the last remark, about "free" will has it's costs
      is something I don't fully understand. Could you expound on that at all? (hee hee, since this topic IS still being debated! ha ha)

      Those words almost sound as if, free will IS an option--- except we'd pay some price in some way, if we did use free will....?

      is that what you meant?

      November 25, 2013

  • Scooter D.

    Next time I'm an example, lets make it embezzled millions and live the life of luxury in the caymans. Oh wait, that changes the outcome.

    1 · November 19, 2013

    • Brent

      Not that I don't enjoy Dexter, mind you...LOL!

      November 22, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Dexter might really be our own group assassin, aka Scooter Dave...?

      1 · November 23, 2013

  • Evelyn

    The discussion was good humored, wide-ranging, seasoned with everything from neuroscience to sociology, ethics and philosophy.

    November 19, 2013

  • Karen A.

    It's amazing how respectful everyone is of each other and opposing views.

    1 · November 19, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Yeah, I do not think this topic is one of the Hot button topics that many people feel Great passion about their stance. And probably there might have been others like me, probably I was not the Only one in the room, who might even be still evvver so slightly confused about the topic, and still making up their minds. Who knows. ha, i'll probably be making up my mind on this one, for some time to come! ha ha

      Are there any good books out there on this topic, that anyone can recommend?

      November 19, 2013

  • Scooter D.

    A great discussion. Welcome to all the new and periodic visitors. A super informative yet cordial 90 minutes.

    November 19, 2013

  • Jean M.

    ONe of the best meetings so far, imo. Great topic, lots of fascinating points made, Very well moderated (no one got the mike and ran off with it, lol, and mostly, Everyone stayed on topic tonight too!)

    Great group tonight, so many really smart people in one room. I loved every minute of it, and also enjoyed the "after glow" at Barnes and Nobles, as it's called, ha ha.

    November 19, 2013

  • Brent

    Best discussion in awhile.

    November 18, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    another wonderful discussion!

    November 18, 2013

  • Wayne S.

    Great meetup. Really appreciate friendliness of group & willingness to listen to opinions of others.

    November 18, 2013

  • Brent

    Addressing the issues brought up by Holly, OF COURSE there are always limitations on free will by outside forces, be they physics (I can't choose to levitate or run 300 mph) or other human's choices (if they don't offer steak and I have to eat there, then I can't eat steak). But I'm talking interior determinism, not outside factors - though outside INFLUENCES are not the same thing. I'm talking about the ILLUSION of freewill, which requires (for it to be an illusion) that to outsiders and insiders it APPEARS to be a choice freely made - but it is not, and, I contend, it cannot be.

    November 18, 2013

    • Brent

      So for purposes of the discussion tonight, let's state that a choice must have both the appearance to outsiders that it is a choice, no matter what limitations are externally imposed (you are "freely choosing" which of the 31 flavors of ice cream you will eat), and, to yourself, it appears to be a free choice - no one has threatened your life, or that of someone you care about, if you do not choose butter pecan.

      My contention is that you are still not freely choosing.

      See you all at the meeting!

      November 18, 2013

    • Dominic

      if you really think of it, freewill or "option to choose" was not initially given to us since we never chose to be born...

      November 18, 2013

  • Kevin

    Nobody on here understands Monistic Idealism? Nobody here believes they have a soul???

    When I tell people that I'm going to a group that doesn't believe they have souls, or freewill, they say that you all might be a bunch of wackos. If an alien race came up, and told you, that you had a soul, I imagine you'd think he was stupid, and hateful too. So I don't take your abuse personaly.

    I'm still waiting for you to ban me from the group.
    Dis-fellowship me and call me anathema!

    Abraxas is the Alpha and Omega!
    You follow the Demiurge, and cut off your own inner divinity! These are principles:
    Abraxas represents the inseparable distinction of souls, with each-other. The Demiurge is Satan, the god of the materialist, the god of separateness, and the god of Abrahamists, who cut off their own divinity Lucifer is the light bringer, who shows unity, who shows you the spiritual side, and the interconnectedness of all things.

    Combine your spiritual side with your physical and be whole!

    November 17, 2013

    • Brent

      I don't think so, Jean, I just think Meetup's system is incoherent. They are probably still here somewhere.

      November 18, 2013

    • Jean M.

      No, my post "some people are lucky enough to think poverty is caused by 'bad attitude' "
      was indeed DELETED as "offensive". I rec'd a polite note about how 'flaming' is not wanted on the forums.

      Brent, that actually DID happen. but, I did not see my post as "offensive"
      but, the person who deleted "some peole are lucky enough to think poverty is caused by 'bad attitude' did think it was offensive.

      Honestly, I find the notion, "poverty is caused by 'bad attitude' to be offensive,
      not my reply TO it.

      November 18, 2013

  • Scooter D.

    CAN ANYONE speak on Daniel Dennett's controversial proposal on free will from 10-15 yrs ago? I'm not up to speed enough to compare & contrast it. Any volunteers?

    November 17, 2013

    • Brent

      Not my favorite word, just the only word that describes your comments.

      November 18, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Kevin, I've never ever said math is your opinion. Like I've stated repeatedly, for months,
      I do like parts of most of your ideas,
      but,
      my ongoing complaint with almost Every post you've ever made, is,
      that you insert an OPINION into a factual type statement, and you always seem unable to spot THAT point, where your opinion is.

      and you always seem to insist, sometimes angrily, that your OPINION (there are souls, etc)
      is a FACT.

      It is debatable if our roots are non-dimensional. It is not yet a proven fact. It is the hypothesis of the books you are reading.

      November 18, 2013

  • Kevin

    Fools reduce the whole of existence to the mere jostling of lifeless, mindless atoms. These jostlings, they say, are entirely dictated by the laws of physics, and "mind" simply doesn't have any role in the laws of physics since free will is nowhere present in the laws of physics. If immutable laws are all there is then their conclusion is entirely correct. But, of course, when you ask scientists what the origins of these laws are, where the laws are stored, where they were located before the Big Bang in order to shape that event, how they came into existence in the first place, and how atoms "know" how to act in accordance with these laws, then they have no answers for you. Their position amounts to a kind of mind blindness brought on by a flawed and arrogant rationality that, ironically, is shown to be fundamentally irrational when its axioms are logically examined.

    November 16, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Kevin,
      The fact the website you plagiarized used pseudonyms, is no excuse,
      to mislead us all for months,
      pretending your copy and paste replies were YOUR thoughts.

      When we copy and paste SOD's words, we typically include the link,
      or, end the quote with
      ~NameOfTrueAuther
      or
      ~author unknown
      or
      include the link to the website.

      November 18, 2013

    • Jean M.

      You were well aware, this whole time, we all thought you were the one, actually doing the thinking. I'd even praised "your" thoughts, many times, as being so lovely, so brilliant,
      and never ever once, in all that time, did you step out from behind the wizard of oz wall of fakery to keep it real.

      disappointing. but this here, last ditch attempt, to say, you could not credit the person you plagiazized, because you did not know his/her name,
      does not explain your behavior of past months of faking the words were YOUR own words.

      It's a "THINKERS" group, Kevin, and if you 'cheat', you are only cheating your own self
      of the chance
      to do mental sit ups.

      November 18, 2013

  • Kevin

    Jean, your the bully, and you were the first to cast stones, and you know it. I gave you my reason for freewill. Give me yours.

    1 · November 17, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Kevin, for the 2nd? 3rd time,
      I ask for evidence where I have called you names. (however, some of those posts of yours, are now deleted)
      We all know, you are the master of copy and paste, so go copy and paste where I've ever lowered myself to your grade school level of debate (resorting to name calling if anyone disagrees)

      I can list many times you directly call me names. Which, like I've been saying for months,
      says a lot about YOU (you get easily frustrated if you don't get your way)
      but nothing about me.

      I have challenged your ideas. If you see THAT as "bullying" this group might not be for you, cuz, that's what we do, Kevin.

      November 18, 2013

    • Jean M.

      I have not yet made up my mind,
      how I view the freewill vs. determinism.

      I am playing "devil's advocate" at times, challenging even Brent's ideas, AND your ideas, to mentally explore the two sides.
      You see that as "lying", but, Kevin, although it's possibly hard for you to imagine,
      some people do take time to consider all sides, and THEN make up their mind.
      I have no dog in this race, I still have not yet made up my mind.
      So, no matter how many times you seem to insist that I have finished making up my mind,
      I tell you honestly,
      that I have not yet decided. No doubt, you will angrily call me a "liar" for the 5th? 6th? time, for making that statement,
      but, it is my truth.

      November 18, 2013

  • Kevin

    Before the beginning of the material universe there was "nothing". But something cannot come from nothing, and so the nothing was a singularity, a monad, a non-dimensional point, mathematical zero, full of infinite potentiality, then came the big bang! The material universe was born. Scientists are trying to put the big bang back together again in theory. The Grand Unified Theory. The guts show that all the pieces go back together into nothing again. For lack of a better term we can call the GUTS The Holy Spirit. But it is not the Holy Spirit of Abrahamism. It is The Holy Spirit of Mathematics. This same spirit is found in everything, outside time and space. It allows us freewill, and immortality. Celebrate.

    November 4, 2013

    • Kevin

      Bump

      November 18, 2013

    • Brent

      Adams wrote satire. As with all good satire, some just won't get it. Congratulations, you've joined their ranks!

      November 18, 2013

  • Kevin

    Jean, you say that you have not made up your mind about freewill. I think you've been lying all along. Tell me why you have, or don't have freewill. I think you just like to fight. Provide me wrong by coming up with something, anything that makes sence to you. And don't ask me to respect your beliefs. I don't respect Abrahamists, why should I respect you. The big leap between creatures who understand subject and object is the leap you haven't maid. If your just an object with no soul admit it.

    And if your just an object with no soul, can you blame me for seeing you as nothing important. You have no purpose, no goal, and no meaning.

    You are an it, and no better than any other it. Why do you fight if there is no reason?

    November 16, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Kevin, debating online only works,
      if you actually read the other person's posts.

      for real, scroll up, and read what I said. If you ever once had Ever directly answered a question (even one!) i'd be willing to continue to answer more of your questions, the way I have for months now.
      but
      You NEVER directly answer ANY question, ever, for months,
      (but, that was before I realized that whole time, you'd just been copying and pasting from that website, no wonder you could not directly answer a question!!)

      I can take almost Every post you've made for past months,

      November 18, 2013

    • Jean M.

      (oops hit send too soon, this is continued)
      I can take almost Every post you've made
      for past months
      and find them
      VERBATIM
      on that website you use.

      Now I suspect, you are probably actually typing up remarks from the book itself, for past 8 hours or so, your posts are beginning to lose that poetic feel they've had before,
      I do think you are beginning to participate somewhat in writing your own posts,
      or, just rewording the book or website juuuuust enough, to feel it is "your" idea that you are posting.

      November 18, 2013

  • Kevin

    These are all my words, especially the "poop on you" which was a joke.

    If I don't quote Peter Wilberg (a genius), but quote someone else, without reference, It's because the authors write under pseudonyms. They write under pseudonyms, because devil worshippers like Abrahimists, and materialists, are dangerous. I need to know. WHO HERE UNDERSTANDS monastic idealism, and the reality of souls?

    The universe is made up of an infinite number of non-dimensional points called monads (Leibniz). These monads or psychons, are part of a continuum... r>=0 The monads have infinite math skills, with zero being the foundational number. Together they send out Fourier transform waves that create reality as we know it. Whatever is both possible, and compatible, will be made. Attention like in quantum mechanics is the key. These monads/psychons are souls outside space/time, outside causality, so they have free will. Poop on you Jean.

    November 17, 2013

    • Brent

      Never said it did. I haven't made that claim. You, however, have made dozens, without evidence.

      1 · November 18, 2013

    • Brent

      In fact, you've said nothing, and proven nothing comes from nothing, as you have nothing to say.

      November 18, 2013

  • Kevin

    Neal Degras Tyson was on the daily show trying to scare materialists about the future,... when the increase of entropy, and the irreversible decent to absolute zero will doom material forces. Or maybe there is a realm outside materialism. The realm where the non-dimensional monad effects dimensional space. You know like the will, free from the finite world and causality. It is our roots.

    November 18, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Kevin, I am so proud, you have evolved into using the word "maybe".
      This is progress.

      1 · November 18, 2013

  • Scooter D.

    Does anyone have a suggestion how to proceed on this mtg? 1) we must first agree on all terms, broadly eliminating outlier exceptions.then (2) ..... ???

    November 16, 2013

    • Jean M.

      It seems, some new members might want to derail this month's topic, onto another topic, "what is reality"
      so do prepared for that topic to supersede this month's topic, Dave.

      November 17, 2013

    • Scooter D.

      Got that. :-)

      1 · November 17, 2013

  • Dominic

    I'd say, before answering the question...does free will exist? Can anyone prove that reality really does exist? I never understood how people can be so sure of themselves...logic and reason would be an illusion in a dream. Prove that we aren't in one as of this moment?

    November 17, 2013

    • bob h.

      So, Descartes wasn't?

      November 17, 2013

    • Dominic

      the reason why I brought it up is because everything is discussed "including freewill" is based on logic and reasoning in "reality." Before any conclusion can be made about freewill and provide evidence of its existence, one must first ask...based on what reality? And how can we even prove that we aren't all asleep right now thinking it is reality when it is not. Not trying to get off topic, just trying to get to the heart of the discussion

      1 · November 17, 2013

  • Karen A.

    I was speaking to Kevin in my earlier posts about offensive comments.

    November 17, 2013

    • Jean M.

      well, he could bring the book, and just read paragraphs of it,
      as he has been doing for many weeks here on the forum....

      November 17, 2013

    • Jean M.

      and random paragraphs, at that....

      November 17, 2013

  • Karen A.

    Am I naive to wonder how emotion "influences" decisions? Don't we each have different emotional reactions to events that could "influence" a choice?

    November 16, 2013

    • Brent

      Emotion is just another subroutine in our mind's program and architecture. It has a physical basis.

      November 17, 2013

    • Jean M.

      I so agree, that there IS a very predictable neurobiological and neurochemical reactions, that occur with emotions.
      but,
      which causes which? When we feel say, anger, various neurobiological parts are 'lit up' {in PET scanners}, etc etc,
      or,
      is it the other way around?

      Are you saying, the neurobiological/chemical­­/electrical/etc reaction Causes us to experience the feeling,
      or
      the other way around? (the feeling causes/triggers the neurobiological/chemical­­/electrical/etc reaction)

      November 17, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Fascinating, I read it twice, and will probably reread it yet again.


      //" Given this, he has come to suspect that the steps required for life to emerge from non-living matter may have occurred just once. “When you ask how many places in the universe that precise sequence of events will have taken place, it’s very easy to argue that it would be only once,” he says. “I think we are probably alone. And that would be sad, wouldn’t it?” //

      I have never heard that idea before, kind of blew my mind....it's possible, in this endless universe, that WE earthlings *might* be the Only lifeforms afterall? I've never much considered that could even be a possibility...

      now, i'll be thinking about this idea a long time.

      November 17, 2013

  • Kevin

    Divinity is inside all of us. By venturing into our unconscious, we all have the opportunity to find divinity at our centre. We can all become God. We have been given a special program - the "God Program" - that allows us to accomplish this transcendent feat. Unfortunately, the program can be sabotaged - by consciousness! Consciousness does not understand the unconscious. It's as if consciousness is harnessed to an infinite cloud of impenetrable mystery. Naturally, the consciousness is disturbed by this and seeks to defend itself against the existential angst the unconscious generates. Consciousness goes into denial. It represses difficult ideas. It projects the contents of the unconscious onto external objects. It does everything it can to detach itself from the unconscious, to make it seem as though the unconscious isn't there at all. Everything it does is the opposite of what it should be doing. Consciousness needs to become the partner of the unconscious, not its lifelong sworn foe

    November 16, 2013

    • Brent

      I could fertilize my garden with this.

      1 · November 17, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Brent, you need to sign up for that "The God Program"....wonder if I can take that one online?...

      November 17, 2013

  • Kevin

    When we say "Mind", we are referring to an unconscious cosmic mind. What that unconsciousness is striving to do is become conscious - which is the ultimate manifestation and actualisation of mind's potential. God's is the mind that has made all that is unconscious conscious. We, the human race, are a long way behind God. We have a spark of consciousness amongst an ocean of the unconscious. Our task is to fully illuminate the unconscious, and when we have done so we become God.

    November 16, 2013

    • Brent

      Still no proof god exists. More empty blather.

      November 17, 2013

    • Jean M.

      my goodness, Kevin was prolific last night....a record, even for Kevin.

      Brent, have you become a god yet? I might have. I looked in the mirror today, and thought, "something is different....wait, I'M A GOD!!"

      I've been smiting people ever since I found out I am a god.

      November 17, 2013

  • Kevin

    http://www.monisticidealism.com...­

    Non-local source of freewill

    Max Planck, the father of quantum theory has said, “All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force…We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter

    November 16, 2013

    • Scooter D.

      Wow, I take some of what the monks are having. If the so-called atomic weak and strong forces are concious thoughts made manifest (whether from a single omnipotent source, a secret cabal of powerful, or the masses of the unknowing) it proves only that those thoughts are linear, expanding uniformly and follow the rules of physics. At the sub particle level, massless energy and its conversion to matter is as mysterious today as was once the solar eclipse, heat lightning, volcanos, and albino rhinos. Each of those was also attributed to a mysterious divine power until enough time, money, and effort was expended to understand their real world concrete sources enabling us to predict the frequency or precursors to these once mysteries events.

      1 · November 16, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Dave, Kevin will not directly respond or reply to any post. He will post replies, but, his replies are rarely, if ever, related to whatever you write or ask him.

      November 17, 2013

  • Kevin

    No scientist has ever grasped that the Big Bang cannot be explained by the laws of physics if these are fundamentally materialistic in nature - since there was no material prior to the Big Bang, hence no laws of physics. According to materialism, the materialistic laws of physics must come into being WITH the Big Bang, hence have no connection with the CAUSE of the Big Bang. Logically, from the perspective of materialism, the laws of physics are an effect of the Big Bang, not its cause. So, science, in its present form, can NEVER explain what caused the Big Bang using science. Scientists are forced to engage in metaphysical speculation i.e. they must acknowledge the supremacy of philosophy

    November 16, 2013

    • Brent

      More empty claims.

      1 · November 17, 2013

  • Kevin

    Physicist Stephen Hawking claimed that science had made philosophy redundant. What a fool. Science is entirely subservient to philosophy. Only philosophy can get to the truth. Why? Because philosophy is a subject that addresses the mind while science addresses matter. Science has tried to banish the mind, which is surely the most foolish undertaking in the history of the cosmos. There is only one plausible thing that can precede matter. It certainly isn't NOTHING as scientists claim. In fact, it's MIND. That is the secret of the universe. Mind is the fundamental reality. The laws of physics formed mentally and then gave rise to the material universe. Those laws didn't magically spring out of nothing, along with an entire universe, as scientists so ridiculously assert.

    November 16, 2013

    • Brent

      Still empty claims.

      November 17, 2013

  • Kevin

    Why do people fear death? It's because they have identified themselves with their space-time consciousness which is sure to perish. However, as soon as you realise that your true self is actually connected to your unconscious, which is not in space-time, you will understand that you cannot die. You simply change. And, in fact, it's your consciousness that is the vehicle of change, that undergoes radical change from one life to another. It's your consciousness that is on a remarkable journey. But where is it going? Into the heart of the unconscious, of course, where all the answers lie. When consciousness accomplishes the supreme quest and ventures all the way to the centre of the unconscious, it achieves gnosis - God consciousness

    November 16, 2013

    • Scooter D.

      I certainly hope that is true, and will be delightfully shocked when my unconscious soul separates from my dead earthly remains and continues on an intellectual and spiritual journey after my passing. At that very moment I will owe an apology to you, dozens of missionaries, and hundreds of others to whom I have flatly said that such a thought is a pile of bunk....Boy, will I be embarrassed!

      November 16, 2013

    • Brent

      I don't fear death. I fear pain. If there was a guarantee that my death would be instantaneous and pain free, I wouldn't fear it at all. Of course, no one can guarantee that.

      November 17, 2013

  • Kevin

    Again... freewill is possible because our awareness transcends objects we are aware of like our BRAIN. The Awareness Principle transcends ‘science’ as we know it today, because it recognises that the most basic scientific ‘fact’ or ‘reality’ of all is not the 'objective' existence of a universe of matter and energy but a subjective awareness of such a universe, as shaped by different organising field-patterns or species of awareness.

    November 16, 2013

    • Kevin

      The ‘scientific’­ answer to the question of ‘who or what is the experiencer?’ – namely that ‘the experiencer’ is nothing but the brain. For it is - in principle - sheer philosophical and linguistic muddle-headedness to think that anything experienced (any ‘object’ of experience) can possibly be the experiencer (the experiencing ‘subject’ or awareness). Instead Awareness - alone and as such - is the sole and ultimate experiencer, and in this sense also the ultimate essence of 'Self by Peter Wilberg.

      November 16, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Lovely.
      Your own opinions, and Peter's opinions, are also merely subjective ideas, too. Since you've repeated yourself, I guess I can too.

      I feel it is 'sheer logical muddleheadedness' to confuse one's opinion, with a fact.

      and I like I said on your other post, I can surgically remove your awareness, and your essence of self. Even a syringe of morphine if injected too fast, could do same thing.
      so could a bottle or two of merlot.

      I liked so much of this post, Kevin, you did a better job on this one.
      but, again, you and i go round again, with the old "transcends the brain" part...again.

      Logical deduction causes me to assume, our awareness is possibly unbreakably tied to a healthy intact brain, not something that can "transcend" the brain.

      http://www.meetup.com...­

      November 16, 2013

  • Jean M.

    Does an "influence" necessarily take away our right or our ability to make a decision? I just am trying to figure this out ---I do not have an opinion one way or the other yet.

    Does the definition of free will really mean making a decision free of any "influence"?
    If we reject the influence And decide in the other direction---- the very fact we ever had an influence( even if we did NOT accept that influence)
    Means we had no free will?

    November 15, 2013

    • Jean M.

      And you feel that no human would be able to imagine things outside of the influences is it has taken on?
      You seem to be equating influences with limitations,
      Is that right?

      November 15, 2013

    • Jean M.

      What about people like Einstein or Halkings who seem to be able to imagine things wayyyy past any influence ever even heard of....

      1 · November 15, 2013

  • Jean M.

    If by "freewill" the group topic refers to decisions made using no knowledge of choices available, or the possible /potential results,
    if "freewill" means we are not using or influenced by our knowledge---- then there is no freewill,
    IF THAT is what they mean by "no freewill" ?? is that what they mean?

    November 3, 2013

    • Jean M.

      bump.
      okay, this here is on topic. Not even a nibble.

      November 5, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Bump.

      November 15, 2013

  • Harkiran

    Finally, THE DEBATE that I have been waiting for. The answer is NO! Sadly, not sure if I can make it :-/

    November 14, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Feel free to jump in any of the threads on this topic---- I tend to learn more in the pre meeting threads because in the room each person only gets to speak about once every 10 minutes or so, so there's never any follow up questions to clarify the other person's remark.

      .... By the time your turn to speak comes again, the topic is turn to something else or that point is long gone. I can learn more in these threads because I can follow up with questions here, but I cannot do that in the room.
      So feel free to jump in any thread here since you seem passionate about this topic!

      I have not made up my mind.

      November 15, 2013

  • Jean M.

    I am still trying to figure out free will vs determinism. If those who say we have no free will because we can not escape our own brains--- Nor our own experiences nor our own knowledge,
    Nor can we escape "who we are"----
    If THAT is what they refer to(?)
    ..... Then I think I would agree there is no free will if if if if they mean we cannot escape our own brains
    When making a decision.

    ...... But it seems very odd way and extreme to define "free".... To be brainless.

    ????

    November 12, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Brent
      I completely agree we are trying to tease out what the definition of free will actually means. Exactly!!!!
      Brent
      can you name 1 influence that is not held in the brain? Or acted upon by the brain?
      It still seems very much to me that you are saying that freewill means making a decision without using your brain. (I'm not trying to be dense I just AM!!! rofl! )
      Also I did not fully understand what your words " defining free will into existence" meant.

      November 15, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Okay maybe I do understand what you meant by defining free will in to existance--- but I don't think the first half of that same sentence is what I am saying. Its not.

      November 15, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    please RSVP to this Meetup to add it to the calendar! http://www.meetup.com/tampa-bay...­

    November 11, 2013

  • Jean M.

    off topic, but, this lecture "The Greatest Story Every Told...so far" by Laurence Krauss,
    is going on tomorrow, Tuesday, at 6pm, at USF, Tampa:

    http://humanities-institute.usf...­

    November 11, 2013

  • Karen A.

    On days like this, I wish I believed in souls and an afterlife. I had my dog put to sleep and it would help to know she went on to someplace great. Instead, I'm stuck being content that she has no more pain.

    I know it's not a scientific conclusion, but considering how long I agonized over the decision, it sure felt like free will.

    November 11, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Also Karen, for a dog who has been loved--- there could be No "better place" than next to you. If your dog was still alive in any form, both you and your dog would ache to be reunited, and Would suffer to be apart.
      I say this hoping to reduce your wish for your dog to have a soul.
      If your dog had a soul, and could somehow see you weeping, your dog would be miserable to be unable to come lick your face one more time.
      Maybe not having a soul is possibly a more comforting idea afterall.

      I hope nothing I said made your pain worse. No doubt this was the most difficult thing to do, but I'm sure you did the right thing to end the dogs suffering. Holler at me if you need an ear.

      1 · November 11, 2013

    • Brent

      It's a strong illusion. But think of it this way: Given your knowledge of what was best for the dog, could you really have made another choice? Wouldn't you have to be just a bit more selfish, knowing the dog was in pain, to make that choice? In other words, you'd have to be a slightly different person - and you are who you are through genetics and environmental influences, that you do not control.

      Note by denying free will exists I'm not saying we are controlled by some other entity, I'm saying there really is no control, no plan, nothing other than a confluence of random factors. The illusion allows people to feel better (or worse) about themselves and others, but it's not real. Like praying.

      1 · November 11, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    Do people have a right to act recklessly, dangerously and stupidly if they don’t know they are acting that way? Do I have a right to drive too fast, without a seat belt, or smoke a cigarette? Do the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many? We regulate all of these activities because people do NOT regulate themselves. Are my rights infringed because I do NOT know how fast to drive, wear a seat belt or smoke? Does any social group ever place the needs of the lone individual above the needs of the goup? Does society ever act against its own best interests in order to protect the freedoms and rights of the individual when doing so is bad for society?

    November 4, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Maybe a good rule of thumb about rights, might be that your rights end, where mine begin?
      Your right to drive recklessly, ends where my right to be safe on the road my taxes pay for, begins, kinda thing.

      to your first question, maybe civil law protects us somewhat from those dangers? or tries to anyway.

      To your 2nd question--no, no, and yes.

      3rd question---sometimes.

      4th question---wha? how can you not know how to wear a seatbelt or drive fast? (just push your foot further down, the car goes Fast) How could lack of knowledge infringe upon your 'rights'? I'm not sure how that works, i'll have to think about that.

      November 4, 2013

    • Jean M.

      5th question--sometimes. Take the case of severely handicapped children, some in almost vegetative states, being cared for in homes, with millions of tax dollars being spent on the one (1) child, while other children in need go without.
      that *might* qualify as such an example...?


      6th question---I think the republican party seems to be a great example of that, imo.
      so is corporate welfare, and all the laws protecting the top 2% of our nation...


      not eggggzactly sure how rights works into freewill vs. determinism,
      but, interesting questions.

      November 4, 2013

  • Kevin

    http://www.policymic.com/mobile...­ Given that the best science we have today says consciousness must preexist matter,and given that logic dictates that the properties of a system must be inherent in the components of that system,and given that all macro processes are deterministic,and given that science has found no causal agent for the initiation of thought,and given that science is unable to explain a mechanism for the transference of memories between differing brain regions,and given that the number of synapses in the brain seems too small to hold volume of memory we know the mind is capable of storing,and given that atomic/subatomic particles show no signs of awareness,is it illogical to conclude that consciousness is not a property of matter,but is instead a separate fundamental component of the universe?I say no.

    October 26, 2013

    • Brent

      And where did your something come from? Oh, yes, nothing. More baseless claiming, no evidence. But we're not arguing cosmology here. I asked you to prove ONE claim you made: prove a soul exists. Stop avoiding the question by throwing more bullshit. Prove your claim, or admit you can't, and thus your house of cards falls flat.

      1 · November 4, 2013

    • Jean M.

      It's also a perfectly acceptable option, to put forth one's own guess, so long as we admit, "this is my guess on that topic".

      I just have trouble when people can not spot the difference between their OPINION (which IS fine to have)
      and what constitutes evidence or proof, or what is a "fact".

      therein lies the basis of Many disputes,
      is
      that inability to sort out, one's own opinion,
      from a "fact" or from verifiable, empirical evidence.

      1 · November 4, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    from same article; "Experiments with group dreaming -- for example, the Dream Helper Ceremony of former Princeton University psychologist Henry Reed and University of Virginia psychologist Robert Van de Castle -- strongly suggest that Jung was right. If consciousness has a shared aspect, then brain and mind are not synonymous. Brain is local; mind is not. Brain is particle. Mind is wave.

    Beyond the world of everyday sensual experience lies a universe of the paranormal. Paranormal or "psi" phenomena include telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, distant healing, and more exotic phenomena including out-of-body experiences sometimes associated with NDEs. Psi experiences are ubiquitous. Perhaps half the human race, if honest, has had some memorable or moving experience that falls outside normal sensory awareness."

    October 19, 2013

    • Jean M.

      ....ha, I guess that is THREE choices,
      but only two choices, if he chooses to break his custom and actually ANSWER a direct question....

      but 3 choices, if we include dodging/not answering, while pretending to answer.

      1 · November 4, 2013

    • Jean M.

      ding ding ding! we have a winner, it is response "C",
      post evasive crapola because Kevin is unwilling to explore by actually answering my simple, direct question,
      and instead,
      posts his evidence-free guesses,
      as if it is "logic" or a "fact".

      *sigh*. I feel almost pschic right now, cuz I did know that is eggggggzactly what Kevin Always does, if presented with a direct question
      whose answer will NOT fit his agenda. He shuts the door to that mental exploration. He is on a path, and can not so much as glance down any other line of thought...

      sad.

      2 · November 4, 2013

  • Karen A.

    It seems there is a lot of debate about definitions and what components of human existence should be considered. I've lost track of some of the discussion points and have a headache!

    1 · November 3, 2013

    • Jean M.

      take two aspirins, and call me in the morning. :)

      November 4, 2013

  • Jean M.

    I am still undecided about free will vs. determinism. Maybe part of my confusion, is,
    the actual act of making a choice <---that part riiiiiight there.

    Are we not the individual making a deliberate choice? Did we truly have no other option, in the determinist's point of view?

    November 3, 2013

    • Brent

      Computers make "decisions" all the time, based on a combination of their architecture (genetics) and programming (nurture). Do they have freewill? Are they really any different because they are silicon and metal instead of flesh and blood? And really, those who claim we had a designer, wouldn't we be just organic computers?

      The difference between "free" and "stupid" is the difference between a T1000 and a supercomputer, only one of scale and evolution.

      November 3, 2013

    • Jean M.

      hmmm.
      I will have to put that in my peacepipe and smoke on that one for a while.....I'm not sure about this stuff yet.

      November 3, 2013

  • Kevin

    Still trying to understand Gödel's incompleteness theorems Which are... from wikipedia... "two theorems of mathematical logic that establish inherent limitations of all but the most trivial axiomatic systems capable of doing arithmetic. The theorems, proven by Kurt Gödel in 1931, are important both in mathematical logic and in the philosophy of mathematics. The two results are widely, but not universally, interpreted as showing that Hilbert's program to find a complete and consistent set of axioms for all mathematics is impossible, giving a negative answer to Hilbert's second problem.

    October 31, 2013

    • Jean M.

      NO BRENT NO!! if KEVIN post a link or quote, that is a "truth"
      but, if you or i do, THAT is only an "interpretation"­! Got it, Brent? try to keep up. lol

      but, Kevin, here we go 'round again.....Kevin's assertion/interpretation­/opinion
      that if I point at how the "me" that is "me"
      IS most visibly ruined by the surgical removal of even PART of my brain,
      Kevin hints/suggests,
      that somewhere (perhaps in a nearby dog..) the part of "me" that is "me" lives on....with no brain.

      *sigh* read more on this:

      http://www.meetup.com...­

      November 3, 2013

    • Jean M.

      I do feel my dead body is empty of consciousness. It is logical to assume, since there is a predictable and verifiable continuum of less brain health = less consciousness,
      that zero brain = zero consciousness.

      it is logical to assume, that since consciousness is always accompanied by electromagnetical, neurochemical and neurobiological activity,
      that it can not occur without those forces.

      It is logical to assume that
      since my consciousness CAN BE most visibly obliterated by brain damage, anesthesia, and death, that it no longer exists once the brain is dead.

      I'm open to hear empirical, or even just LOGICAL evidence of the "me" that is "me" existing without my brain to support that "me".
      The more brain removed in surgery or car accidents or whatever,
      the less consciousness is available for that human. Where did it "go"? and who is the maniac, no longer recognizable to his family, that is left there in the bed?

      November 3, 2013

  • Kevin

    Infinite mind SEEMS localised and finite in relation to our time-and-space-determined consciousness because it enters into a feedback loop with our material body and our senses which are immersed in finite space and time. Human bodies are material entities operating in space and time, linked to a mind (soul) outside space and time. For as long as the body lives, it forms a feedback system with the mind. Space-time information is sent to the mind, and the mind sends back its choices as to what it wants to do in the space-time domain. Space-time considerations thus dominate the mind’s activity even though it is not itself in space and time. Free will is possible only because the mind is not part of space-time causality. If it were, we would all be robots. Free will actually means that a monad – a soul – can originate its own mathematical signals, as well as receiving and interpreting signals coming from other monads.

    November 3, 2013

    • Brent

      I think you read too much fiction masquerading as reality.

      November 3, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Kevin, do you agree, the links you sent (neither of which contain the word "monad") are some other dude's INTERPRETATION of things?
      Same as you accuse (perhaps rightly) that empirical evidence is "only" an interpretation.
      BUT
      so are the 2 opinion pieces that you *seem* to be treating as "facts"....the­y too, are only S.O.D's (some other dude) interpretation of how they see the world.

      Since zero empirical evidence accompanies that dude's opinion piece, it carries less weight to me, than an objective, verifiable, empirical piece of evidence.


      Do you agree, Kevin, those opinion-pieces are also "interpretations"­?? (I kinda liked the way he left out how being caught with another woman Was indeed, a factor, in the birth of Mormonism, by the way.."but, but, god told me to boink lotsa gals!")

      November 3, 2013

  • Brent

    I hate the way Meetup (dis) organizes conversations making it difficult to find which thread you're even replying to!

    Anyway, I think you might be surprised how many closet atheists there are in the clergy. I've met several after they came out, and some who admitted they can't, because they have no other vocational options after doing nothing worthwhile for years. Some end up as UUs, some do find related work (marketing, social work) but many stay because they are afraid they'll never find a decent job, and all their friends will abandon them.

    November 3, 2013

    • Brent

      This is, of course, off the track of free will - or is it? After all, here you have people whose nature has battled nurture to a standstill, yet outside forces prevent them from acting on it. It's the perfect example of how nature and nurture and external forces conspire to give the illusion of free will, when in reality it's all determined by the weight of the ball, the design of the bumpers, and the actions of the outside influences manipulating the flippers in our individual pinball machines!

      November 3, 2013

    • Jean M.

      "manipulating the flippers in our individual pinball machines"
      LOVE THAT! not sure Yet if I entirely agree that is the 'cause' of our decision making, i'm still making up my mind on all this,
      but, I like that phrase!!

      November 3, 2013

  • Kevin

    I'm only going to paste a few things to establish a non-material foundation for freewill....1. The 1st Principle’ of ‘The Awareness Principle’ is that Awareness itself – and not matter, energy or any thing or universe of things we are aware of - IS the 1st Principle of the universe, being that alone which truly 'is' and the essential nature of reality. For just as dreaming as such cannot be reduced to an 'effect or result of anything we dream of, nor can awareness as such be reduced to the product or property of any thing or being it is aware of - whether the body or brain, matter or energy, human beings or a supreme being. 2. Awareness is instead the ‘transcendental’ condition - the ‘pre-condition’ or ‘field condition’ - for our awareness of any thing or universe of things whatsoever. 3. Awareness both embraces and transcends all that we experience or are aware of – all ‘contents’ of consciousness and all elements and dimensions of experience.

    October 22, 2013

    • Jean M.

      How do you come to interpret that there ever was a "before" or a nothingness? (your remark is only an 'interpretation'­ by the way)

      November 3, 2013

    • Kevin

      Time from our perspective has had many beginnings.

      November 3, 2013

  • Jean M.

    Brent,
    I can't find it now, but, earlier on this page, wayyyy down there somewhere, I was asking if my decision, on my own, to become atheist, while knowing Zero other atheists at all, (with no deterministic type factors involved) could be an example of a 'free will' decision,
    and you suggested possibly being religious or atheist was held in a gene.
    This past Sunday, at my godless brunch,
    I met an identical twin, (all DNA is identical)
    who is atheist liberal, and his twin, is religious rightwinger,
    and
    I thought these twins might ruin your suggestion that being atheist
    or being religious
    is held in our DNA....????

    November 2, 2013

    • Jean M.

      I rather doubt any of the nuns and priests who educated me, were secretly atheist. Everyone i knew, was devout, and i had a rather sheltered childhood, interacting Only with theists and the devout.
      Entire neighborhood was catholic. I didn't even know anyone from any other religion, except my own.

      I think, near as I can recall now, that my move from theist to deist, (and later, to atheist)
      was triggered by my questioning one of 1000s of ridiculous rules or beliefs of my church. Can't recall egggggzactly which rule just could Not fit into my brain,
      and one (1) brick was loosened.
      ----------If that rule was not true, the way they all claimed, what all else was not true? kinda thing. The whole thing fell apart, after one brick fell out.

      November 3, 2013

    • Jean M.

      For real, I did this by myself. I can not put into words, how religious my childhood was, and how devout Everyone around me was. Yet, I questioned.

      on my own.
      by myself.
      In the pre-internet era. I am undecided on free will vs. determinism, I just think this example of my lone decision to become deist, and soon after, atheist,
      does not seem to have ANY deterministic features to it....

      and I don't quite exactly follow, how----if our predisposition to become either atheist or theist ~IS ~ held in a gene,
      how the completely identical twins above, ended up on opposite sides of that spectrum,
      if they have identical DNA...?

      November 3, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    The upshot is this: If the mathematics of quantum mechanics is right (as most fundamental physicists believe), and if materialism is right, one is forced to accept the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics. And that is awfully heavy baggage for materialism to carry.

    If, on the other hand, we accept the more traditional understanding of quantum mechanics that goes back to von Neumann, one is led by its logic (as Wigner and Peierls were) to the conclusion that not everything is just matter in motion, and that in particular there is something about the human mind that transcends matter and its laws. It then becomes possible to take seriously certain questions that materialism had ruled out of court: If the human mind transcends matter to some extent, could there not exist minds that transcend the physical universe altogether? And might there not even exist an ultimate Mind?

    https://www.bigquestionsonline.c...­

    September 22, 2013

    • Brent

      Oh, and ASSuming something that exists has a purpose - such as the illusion of freewill - is flawed thinking from the tart, leading only to circular logic.

      October 27, 2013

    • Kevin

      Everything matters.

      October 27, 2013

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