Free Will

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by sqkcrk, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    What is it? Do you have it? How do you use it?

    If you answer any of these questions, or not, are you doing so freely or cause you just have to? Let's keep this about yourself. Not about whether others do or not.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Most people get tired of my free will. They call it ostentatious.
     

  3. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    Interesting question. The concept of free will pre-supposes I have an independent, thinking consciousness. As Descarte said "I think, therefore I am". But, what exactly is consciousness? Is it merely a function of our brains? According to evolution, consciousness is just a product of higher brain function: at some point during the evolution our brains, consciousness just happened.

    If I exclude any supernatural explanation for my existence, and limit myself to a strictly a naturalistic explanation of consciousness, then I don't believe free will exists.

    If evolution is true, and consciousness is just brain function, then my thoughts must be completely deterministic; governed by scientific laws. My interest in bees or admiration of a well-executed double-play in baseball is nothing more than a particular combination of neurons firing in my brain. Just as a cloud is a material object governed by things such as air pressure, wind, etcetera, if consciousness is material, then all the things I do are fixed by my environment, my genetics and so forth. There is no free will. None.

    As British evolutionist J.B.S. Haldane said: "If my mental processes are determined wholly by the atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose my beliefs are true...and hence I have no reason for supposing that my brain is composed of atoms."

    Philosopher Michael Ruse put it this way:
    "Why should a bunch of atoms have thinking ability? Why should I, even as I write now, be able to reflect on what I am doing and why should you, even as you read now, be able to ponder my points, agreeing or disagreeing, with pleasure or pain, deciding to refute me or deciding that I am just not worth the effort? No one, certainly not the Darwinian as such, seems to have any answer to this...the point is that there is no scientific answer."

    My personal belief is in a Creator, who created Man in his image, with a consciousness and free will.
     
  4. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    So, without a supernatural source, freewill doesn't exist? Without GOD giving it to you, you don't have it? Doesn't that presuppose a belief that a supernatural being, GOD, exists and purposefully gives the ability to freely choose to us?

    So, who are you, really? Your body or your thoughts?

    When you say that, "My personal belief is in a Creator, who created Man in his image, with a consciousness and free will." does that mean that you think that GOD looks like us or we like GOD literally?
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    sqkcrk always has these quite curious question on his mind? yes, no?

    indy's take is well considered. I did quite enjoy reading that....

    I would suggest there are three options here that you can wrap your mind around.... 1) there is a creator that has laid out the plans of the universe and everything (and I mean everything) is doing their bit of make certain the blue print is followed to the t (some religions especially those of calvanistic origin usually fall into this nitche) 2) there is a creator and the process is started but everything from there forward is undertermined (and therefore humans or anything else which can alter how they interact with the universe can alter final events) and 3) the universe was created via undefined forces and every thing from there forward is a set of random and chaotic forces with the end results being totally undetermined (I don't think this option precludes individual effecting end results via their actions/inactions).
     
  6. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    This is getting too "beesource-y" for me.
     
  7. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    I belive not, for reasons I gave above.
    Without something more than matter governed by the laws of physics, there is no consciousness, no free will.

    I think there are two alternatives (tecumseh has 3 options, but two of his begin with a "creator"). I believe conciousness to be "supernatural", ie., we are more than matter: something more than can be explained by science and natural laws.

    "Aye, there's the rub!" as Hamlet said. "Who we are" is really quite different from anything that can be learned about us via autopsy or detailed dissection. Think for a moment about your spouse or best friend. The person you know is invisible. The things that make them the person you know are not detectable by any physical means: whether they are introverted or extroverted, whether they prefer the Yankees or Red Sox, if they like ketchup on their eggs or have a great sense of humor; those personality traits are independent and separate from the physical person. Scientists can study the brain but that doesn't lead to "knowing" the person.

    Dr. Wilder Penfield is considered the father of neurosurgery (google him). He spent much of his career exploring and trying to explain the difference between mind and brain. In his book "The Mystery of the Mind" (1975) he writes how his initial hypothesis was that consciousness was simply a function of brain:
    I like other scientists, struggled to prove that the brain accounts for the mind.
    but after over 1000 brain surgeries and a lifetime of study he concludes:
    For my own part, after years of striving to explain the mind on the basis of brain-action alone, I have come to the conclusion that it is simpler (and far easier to be logical) if one adopts the hypothesis that our being does consist of two fundamental elements. Because it seems to me certain that it will always be quite impossible to explain the mind on the basis of neuronal action within the brain, and because it seems to me that the mind develops and matures independently throughout an individual's life as though it were a continuing element, and because a computer (which the brain is) must be programmed and operated by an agency capable of independent understanding, I am forced to choose the proposition that our being is to be understood on the basis of two elements. This, to my mind, offers the greatest likelihood of leading us to the final understanding [for] which so many stalwart scientists strive.

    Not a matter of 'looks', but that our consciousness - our 'free will' if you like - is what is in the image of a supernatural creator. That we have this self-awareness; the cognitive abilty, to think, to choose - these are what what I believe 'In the image of God' refers to.

    I don't believe that lifeless matter can spontaneously produce consciousness via any "random and chaotic forces" (tecumseh's third option). But, if for a moment I were to consider that as a possibility, then I'd also have to consider the possibility that lifeless matter could spontaneously produce a "super consciousness." But that begins to sound like God. :)
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Like Hobie says, This is getting too beesourcy...

    Any more replies should begin with "I know more than all the other people on earth about what is or isn't on earth, and where it came from".

    If you can't start there, why respond?
     
  9. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    And I responded here instead of sqkcrk's identical post in Tailgater simply because I wanted to avoid the usual "beesourcy". I thought discussion might be more civil here. Many of my paragraphs begin with "I think" or "I believe" in a deliberate effort NOT to offend or impugn the beliefs & opinions of others.

    My apologies.
     
  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    No apologies needed. Just trying to leave tailgater over there.
     
  11. rast

    rast New Member

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    I am free to do as I pick and choose as long as my wife says OK :D .
     
  12. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    Oh, sorry.
     
  13. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    Well, I certainly don't know more than anyone about that which I asked originally, except how I see it and what makes sense to me.

    My inquiry was to see if others would share what is real to them, like indypartridge.

    Other than dragonfly, all I got from the beesource folks were jokes about their wives being in control. Ho, hum. Just like a guy to make a joke when something uncomfortable comes up. :)
     
  14. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    But you knew who I was when you invited me. :) What should we talk about? I'll drop it if that's what you think I should do.
     
  15. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I just seen too many really nice people part ways on tailgater, so I'm trying to prevent that from happening here. Like Tec and myself. Totally on different planets politically, but still manage to stay friends. I want you all to stay here, so I'm kinda asking to leave out politics and religion. You will notice I didn't delete anything. I'm not demanding, just asking.

    PS. I made a typo while replying. I typed tailhater, instead of tailgater. I almost left it. ;)

    Yep, I knew who you were, that's why I invited you. You are a very knowledgeable beek who can and will help with problems.
     
  16. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    I know more than all the other people on earth about what is or isn't on earth, and where it came from. And that's that!
    :lol:

    No offense intended, sqkcrk. Some of those tailgater discussions tended to turn me into someone I didn't like much.
     
  17. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    iddee writes:
    I just seen too many really nice people part ways on tailgater

    tecumseh:
    you are of course somewhat correct here iddee.

    beyond a disagreement with bjorn over trashing out an old friend of my fathers the only folks that I 'parted ways with' OVERTHERE were the nuns running that asylum and of course the one or two JESUS's that the nuns hoped to promote to GOD status. some folks of course find my 'questioning all your assumptions' (a nasty habit from my academic days) a bit easier to take than others.

    for myself (and I suspect yourself) I seperate things fairly simply into those things I can effect and those that I cannot. most discussion like tailgater I consider to be simple brainstorming, whereby you can construct a long list of ALL possible views that any one person would find impossible to construct of and by themselves.

    in the end I think we should all consider that the bees have a greater capactiy to bring us together (sharing information and techniques in these times of trouble) than might any 'other concern' over which we actually exercise almost no effect (and no matter what the outcome will neither makes us a better or worse person).
     
  18. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    But Hobie, you are a woman. Us men have always understood that. I was mostly referring to the males when I said that. :D

    PS. Now take that in the loving way I meant it, and not in any condescending way.
     
  19. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    Okay, I get it. No offense taken. I probably should have held off for a while until I understood better how y'all operate here. I am the new guy here after all.

    Peace, Mark
     
  20. rast

    rast New Member

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    "But you knew who I was when you invited me."
    I, for one, had no idea who you are, but I am learning fast.
    And sorry I tried to lighten it up with however you described my reponce!