View Poll Results: Which do you believe to be true? Note: public poll and multiple choice.

Voters
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  • Free Will

    6 50.00%
  • Determinism

    5 41.67%
  • Fate

    1 8.33%
  • Unsure

    1 8.33%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Thread: Free Will or Determinism? Poll Included.

  1. #1

    Free Will or Determinism? Poll Included.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/...e-will/480750/

    There’s No Such Thing as Free Will, But we’re better off believing in it anyway.


    Edmon de Haro

    For centuries, philosophers and theologians have almost unanimously held that civilization as we know it depends on a widespread belief in free will—and that losing this belief could be calamitous. Our codes of ethics, for example, assume that we can freely choose between right and wrong. In the Christian tradition, this is known as “moral liberty”—the capacity to discern and pursue the good, instead of merely being compelled by appetites and desires. The great Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant reaffirmed this link between freedom and goodness. If we are not free to choose, he argued, then it would make no sense to say we ought to choose the path of righteousness.

    Today, the assumption of free will runs through every aspect of American politics, from welfare provision to criminal law. It permeates the popular culture and underpins the American dream—the belief that anyone can make something of themselves no matter what their start in life. As Barack Obama wrote in The Audacity of Hope, American “values are rooted in a basic optimism about life and a faith in free will.”

    So what happens if this faith erodes?

    The sciences have grown steadily bolder in their claim that all human behavior can be explained through the clockwork laws of cause and effect. This shift in perception is the continuation of an intellectual revolution that began about 150 years ago, when Charles Darwin first published On the Origin of Species. Shortly after Darwin put forth his theory of evolution, his cousin Sir Francis Galton began to draw out the implications: If we have evolved, then mental faculties like intelligence must be hereditary. But we use those faculties—which some people have to a greater degree than others—to make decisions. So our ability to choose our fate is not free, but depends on our biological inheritance.
    From Our June 2016 Issue

    Galton launched a debate that raged throughout the 20th century over nature versus nurture. Are our actions the unfolding effect of our genetics? Or the outcome of what has been imprinted on us by the environment? Impressive evidence accumulated for the importance of each factor. Whether scientists supported one, the other, or a mix of both, they increasingly assumed that our deeds must be determined by something.

    In recent decades, research on the inner workings of the brain has helped to resolve the nature-nurture debate—and has dealt a further blow to the idea of free will. Brain scanners have enabled us to peer inside a living person’s skull, revealing intricate networks of neurons and allowing scientists to reach broad agreement that these networks are shaped by both genes and environment. But there is also agreement in the scientific community that the firing of neurons determines not just some or most but all of our thoughts, hopes, memories, and dreams.

    We know that changes to brain chemistry can alter behavior—otherwise neither alcohol nor antipsychotics would have their desired effects. The same holds true for brain structure: Cases of ordinary adults becoming murderers or pedophiles after developing a brain tumor demonstrate how dependent we are on the physical properties of our gray stuff.

    Many scientists say that the American physiologist Benjamin Libet demonstrated in the 1980s that we have no free will. It was already known that electrical activity builds up in a person’s brain before she, for example, moves her hand; Libet showed that this buildup occurs before the person consciously makes a decision to move. The conscious experience of deciding to act, which we usually associate with free will, appears to be an add-on, a post hoc reconstruction of events that occurs after the brain has already set the act in motion.

    The 20th-century nature-nurture debate prepared us to think of ourselves as shaped by influences beyond our control. But it left some room, at least in the popular imagination, for the possibility that we could overcome our circumstances or our genes to become the author of our own destiny. The challenge posed by neuroscience is more radical: It describes the brain as a physical system like any other, and suggests that we no more will it to operate in a particular way than we will our heart to beat. The contemporary scientific image of human behavior is one of neurons firing, causing other neurons to fire, causing our thoughts and deeds, in an unbroken chain that stretches back to our birth and beyond. In principle, we are therefore completely predictable. If we could understand any individual’s brain architecture and chemistry well enough, we could, in theory, predict that individual’s response to any given stimulus with 100 percent accuracy.

    This research and its implications are not new. What is new, though, is the spread of free-will skepticism beyond the laboratories and into the mainstream. The number of court cases, for example, that use evidence from neuroscience has more than doubled in the past decade—mostly in the context of defendants arguing that their brain made them do it. And many people are absorbing this message in other contexts, too, at least judging by the number of books and articles purporting to explain “your brain on” everything from music to magic. Determinism, to one degree or another, is gaining popular currency. The skeptics are in ascendance.

    This development raises uncomfortable—and increasingly nontheoretical—questions: If moral responsibility depends on faith in our own agency, then as belief in determinism spreads, will we become morally irresponsible? And if we increasingly see belief in free will as a delusion, what will happen to all those institutions that are based on it?

    In 2002, two psychologists had a simple but brilliant idea: Instead of speculating about what might happen if people lost belief in their capacity to choose, they could run an experiment to find out. Kathleen Vohs, then at the University of Utah, and Jonathan Schooler, of the University of Pittsburgh, asked one group of participants to read a passage arguing that free will was an illusion, and another group to read a passage that was neutral on the topic. Then they subjected the members of each group to a variety of temptations and observed their behavior. Would differences in abstract philosophical beliefs influence people’s decisions?

    Yes, indeed. When asked to take a math test, with cheating made easy, the group primed to see free will as illusory proved more likely to take an illicit peek at the answers. When given an opportunity to steal—to take more money than they were due from an envelope of $1 coins—those whose belief in free will had been undermined pilfered more. On a range of measures, Vohs told me, she and Schooler found that “people who are induced to believe less in free will are more likely to behave immorally.”

    It seems that when people stop believing they are free agents, they stop seeing themselves as blameworthy for their actions. Consequently, they act less responsibly and give in to their baser instincts. Vohs emphasized that this result is not limited to the contrived conditions of a lab experiment. “You see the same effects with people who naturally believe more or less in free will,” she said.
    Edmon de Haro

    In another study, for instance, Vohs and colleagues measured the extent to which a group of day laborers believed in free will, then examined their performance on the job by looking at their supervisor’s ratings. Those who believed more strongly that they were in control of their own actions showed up on time for work more frequently and were rated by supervisors as more capable. In fact, belief in free will turned out to be a better predictor of job performance than established measures such as self-professed work ethic.

    Another pioneer of research into the psychology of free will, Roy Baumeister of Florida State University, has extended these findings. For example, he and colleagues found that students with a weaker belief in free will were less likely to volunteer their time to help a classmate than were those whose belief in free will was stronger. Likewise, those primed to hold a deterministic view by reading statements like “Science has demonstrated that free will is an illusion” were less likely to give money to a homeless person or lend someone a cellphone.

    Further studies by Baumeister and colleagues have linked a diminished belief in free will to stress, unhappiness, and a lesser commitment to relationships. They found that when subjects were induced to believe that “all human actions follow from prior events and ultimately can be understood in terms of the movement of molecules,” those subjects came away with a lower sense of life’s meaningfulness. Early this year, other researchers published a study showing that a weaker belief in free will correlates with poor academic performance.

    The list goes on: Believing that free will is an illusion has been shown to make people less creative, more likely to conform, less willing to learn from their mistakes, and less grateful toward one another. In every regard, it seems, when we embrace determinism, we indulge our dark side.

    Few scholars are comfortable suggesting that people ought to believe an outright lie. Advocating the perpetuation of untruths would breach their integrity and violate a principle that philosophers have long held dear: the Platonic hope that the true and the good go hand in hand. Saul Smilansky, a philosophy professor at the University of Haifa, in Israel, has wrestled with this dilemma throughout his career and come to a painful conclusion: “We cannot afford for people to internalize the truth” about free will.

    Smilansky is convinced that free will does not exist in the traditional sense—and that it would be very bad if most people realized this. “Imagine,” he told me, “that I’m deliberating whether to do my duty, such as to parachute into enemy territory, or something more mundane like to risk my job by reporting on some wrongdoing. If everyone accepts that there is no free will, then I’ll know that people will say, ‘Whatever he did, he had no choice—we can’t blame him.’ So I know I’m not going to be condemned for taking the selfish option.” This, he believes, is very dangerous for society, and “the more people accept the determinist picture, the worse things will get.”

    Determinism not only undermines blame, Smilansky argues; it also undermines praise. Imagine I do risk my life by jumping into enemy territory to perform a daring mission. Afterward, people will say that I had no choice, that my feats were merely, in Smilansky’s phrase, “an unfolding of the given,” and therefore hardly praiseworthy. And just as undermining blame would remove an obstacle to acting wickedly, so undermining praise would remove an incentive to do good. Our heroes would seem less inspiring, he argues, our achievements less noteworthy, and soon we would sink into decadence and despondency.

    Smilansky advocates a view he calls illusionism—the belief that free will is indeed an illusion, but one that society must defend. The idea of determinism, and the facts supporting it, must be kept confined within the ivory tower. Only the initiated, behind those walls, should dare to, as he put it to me, “look the dark truth in the face.” Smilansky says he realizes that there is something drastic, even terrible, about this idea—but if the choice is between the true and the good, then for the sake of society, the true must go.
    When people stop believing they are free agents, they stop seeing themselves as blameworthy for their actions.

    Smilansky’s arguments may sound odd at first, given his contention that the world is devoid of free will: If we are not really deciding anything, who cares what information is let loose? But new information, of course, is a sensory input like any other; it can change our behavior, even if we are not the conscious agents of that change. In the language of cause and effect, a belief in free will may not inspire us to make the best of ourselves, but it does stimulate us to do so.

    Illusionism is a minority position among academic philosophers, most of whom still hope that the good and the true can be reconciled. But it represents an ancient strand of thought among intellectual elites. Nietzsche called free will “a theologians’ artifice” that permits us to “judge and punish.” And many thinkers have believed, as Smilansky does, that institutions of judgment and punishment are necessary if we are to avoid a fall into barbarism.

    Smilansky is not advocating policies of Orwellian thought control. Luckily, he argues, we don’t need them. Belief in free will comes naturally to us. Scientists and commentators merely need to exercise some self-restraint, instead of gleefully disabusing people of the illusions that undergird all they hold dear. Most scientists “don’t realize what effect these ideas can have,” Smilansky told me. “Promoting determinism is complacent and dangerous.”

    Yet not all scholars who argue publicly against free will are blind to the social and psychological consequences. Some simply don’t agree that these consequences might include the collapse of civilization. One of the most prominent is the neuroscientist and writer Sam Harris, who, in his 2012 book, Free Will, set out to bring down the fantasy of conscious choice. Like Smilansky, he believes that there is no such thing as free will. But Harris thinks we are better off without the whole notion of it.

    “We need our beliefs to track what is true,” Harris told me. Illusions, no matter how well intentioned, will always hold us back. For example, we currently use the threat of imprisonment as a crude tool to persuade people not to do bad things. But if we instead accept that “human behavior arises from neurophysiology,” he argued, then we can better understand what is really causing people to do bad things despite this threat of punishment—and how to stop them. “We need,” Harris told me, “to know what are the levers we can pull as a society to encourage people to be the best version of themselves they can be.”

    According to Harris, we should acknowledge that even the worst criminals—murderous psychopaths, for example—are in a sense unlucky. “They didn’t pick their genes. They didn’t pick their parents. They didn’t make their brains, yet their brains are the source of their intentions and actions.” In a deep sense, their crimes are not their fault. Recognizing this, we can dispassionately consider how to manage offenders in order to rehabilitate them, protect society, and reduce future offending. Harris thinks that, in time, “it might be possible to cure something like psychopathy,” but only if we accept that the brain, and not some airy-fairy free will, is the source of the deviancy.

    Accepting this would also free us from hatred. Holding people responsible for their actions might sound like a keystone of civilized life, but we pay a high price for it: Blaming people makes us angry and vengeful, and that clouds our judgment.

    “Compare the response to Hurricane Katrina,” Harris suggested, with “the response to the 9/11 act of terrorism.” For many Americans, the men who hijacked those planes are the embodiment of criminals who freely choose to do evil. But if we give up our notion of free will, then their behavior must be viewed like any other natural phenomenon—and this, Harris believes, would make us much more rational in our response.

    Although the scale of the two catastrophes was similar, the reactions were wildly different. Nobody was striving to exact revenge on tropical storms or declare a War on Weather, so responses to Katrina could simply focus on rebuilding and preventing future disasters. The response to 9/11, Harris argues, was clouded by outrage and the desire for vengeance, and has led to the unnecessary loss of countless more lives. Harris is not saying that we shouldn’t have reacted at all to 9/11, only that a coolheaded response would have looked very different and likely been much less wasteful. “Hatred is toxic,” he told me, “and can destabilize individual lives and whole societies. Losing belief in free will undercuts the rationale for ever hating anyone.”

    Whereas the evidence from Kathleen Vohs and her colleagues suggests that social problems may arise from seeing our own actions as determined by forces beyond our control—weakening our morals, our motivation, and our sense of the meaningfulness of life—Harris thinks that social benefits will result from seeing other people’s behavior in the very same light. From that vantage point, the moral implications of determinism look very different, and quite a lot better.

    What’s more, Harris argues, as ordinary people come to better understand how their brains work, many of the problems documented by Vohs and others will dissipate. Determinism, he writes in his book, does not mean “that conscious awareness and deliberative thinking serve no purpose.” Certain kinds of action require us to become conscious of a choice—to weigh arguments and appraise evidence. True, if we were put in exactly the same situation again, then 100 times out of 100 we would make the same decision, “just like rewinding a movie and playing it again.” But the act of deliberation—the wrestling with facts and emotions that we feel is essential to our nature—is nonetheless real.

    The big problem, in Harris’s view, is that people often confuse determinism with fatalism. Determinism is the belief that our decisions are part of an unbreakable chain of cause and effect. Fatalism, on the other hand, is the belief that our decisions don’t really matter, because whatever is destined to happen will happen—like Oedipus’s marriage to his mother, despite his efforts to avoid that fate.
    Most scientists “don’t realize what effect these ideas can have,” Smilansky told me. It is “complacent and dangerous” to air them.

    When people hear there is no free will, they wrongly become fatalistic; they think their efforts will make no difference. But this is a mistake. People are not moving toward an inevitable destiny; given a different stimulus (like a different idea about free will), they will behave differently and so have different lives. If people better understood these fine distinctions, Harris believes, the consequences of losing faith in free will would be much less negative than Vohs’s and Baumeister’s experiments suggest.

    Can one go further still? Is there a way forward that preserves both the inspiring power of belief in free will and the compassionate understanding that comes with determinism?

    Philosophers and theologians are used to talking about free will as if it is either on or off; as if our consciousness floats, like a ghost, entirely above the causal chain, or as if we roll through life like a rock down a hill. But there might be another way of looking at human agency.

    Some scholars argue that we should think about freedom of choice in terms of our very real and sophisticated abilities to map out multiple potential responses to a particular situation. One of these is Bruce Waller, a philosophy professor at Youngstown State University. In his new book, Restorative Free Will, he writes that we should focus on our ability, in any given setting, to generate a wide range of options for ourselves, and to decide among them without external constraint.

    For Waller, it simply doesn’t matter that these processes are underpinned by a causal chain of firing neurons. In his view, free will and determinism are not the opposites they are often taken to be; they simply describe our behavior at different levels.

    Waller believes his account fits with a scientific understanding of how we evolved: Foraging animals—humans, but also mice, or bears, or crows—need to be able to generate options for themselves and make decisions in a complex and changing environment. Humans, with our massive brains, are much better at thinking up and weighing options than other animals are. Our range of options is much wider, and we are, in a meaningful way, freer as a result.

    Waller’s definition of free will is in keeping with how a lot of ordinary people see it. One 2010 study found that people mostly thought of free will in terms of following their desires, free of coercion (such as someone holding a gun to your head). As long as we continue to believe in this kind of practical free will, that should be enough to preserve the sorts of ideals and ethical standards examined by Vohs and Baumeister.

    Yet Waller’s account of free will still leads to a very different view of justice and responsibility than most people hold today. No one has caused himself: No one chose his genes or the environment into which he was born. Therefore no one bears ultimate responsibility for who he is and what he does. Waller told me he supported the sentiment of Barack Obama’s 2012 “You didn’t build that” speech, in which the president called attention to the external factors that help bring about success. He was also not surprised that it drew such a sharp reaction from those who want to believe that they were the sole architects of their achievements. But he argues that we must accept that life outcomes are determined by disparities in nature and nurture, “so we can take practical measures to remedy misfortune and help everyone to fulfill their potential.”

    Understanding how will be the work of decades, as we slowly unravel the nature of our own minds. In many areas, that work will likely yield more compassion: offering more (and more precise) help to those who find themselves in a bad place. And when the threat of punishment is necessary as a deterrent, it will in many cases be balanced with efforts to strengthen, rather than undermine, the capacities for autonomy that are essential for anyone to lead a decent life. The kind of will that leads to success—seeing positive options for oneself, making good decisions and sticking to them—can be cultivated, and those at the bottom of society are most in need of that cultivation.

    To some people, this may sound like a gratuitous attempt to have one’s cake and eat it too. And in a way it is. It is an attempt to retain the best parts of the free-will belief system while ditching the worst. President Obama—who has both defended “a faith in free will” and argued that we are not the sole architects of our fortune—has had to learn what a fine line this is to tread. Yet it might be what we need to rescue the American dream—and indeed, many of our ideas about civilization, the world over—in the scientific age.
    Line from the movie Starship Troopers,
    Jean Rasczak: "Figuring things out for yourself is the only freedom anyone really has. Use that freedom. Make up your own mind, Rico."
    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRey View Post
    Do you think it's a coincidence that the most cherished standard of the Ron Paul campaign was a sign highlighting the word "love" inside the word "revolution"? A revolution not based on love is a revolution doomed to failure. So, at the risk of sounding corny, I just wanted to let you know that, wherever you stand on any of these hot-button issues, and even if we might have exchanged bitter words or harsh sentiments in the past, I love each and every one of you - no exceptions!

    "When goods do not cross borders, soldiers will." Frederic Bastiat

    Peace.



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  3. #2
    Hooboy... the few lines I have read here have the scent of FAIL about them. Let us see what the experts have to say on the matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    There’s No Such Thing as Free Will,
    Depends on the precise definition of the term. The assertion seems to assume the meaning without stating it. This does not bode well.

    But we’re better off believing in it anyway.
    Why? The possible answers are manifold, none of them good as far as I can see.

    As for me, I prefer ugly truth to pretty lies. Call me crazy. Others do.


    For centuries, philosophers and theologians have almost unanimously held that civilization as we know it depends on a widespread belief in free will—and that losing this belief could be calamitous. Our codes of ethics, for example, assume that we can freely choose between right and wrong. In the Christian tradition, this is known as “moral liberty”—the capacity to discern and pursue the good, instead of merely being compelled by appetites and desires. The great Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant reaffirmed this link between freedom and goodness. If we are not free to choose, he argued, then it would make no sense to say we ought to choose the path of righteousness.
    The truth of this seems plain enough through everyday experience, leading me to wonder what flavor of butt-holery awaits us.

    Today, the assumption of free will runs through every aspect of American politics, from welfare provision to criminal law. It permeates the popular culture and underpins the American dream—the belief that anyone can make something of themselves no matter what their start in life. As Barack Obama wrote in The Audacity of Hope, American “values are rooted in a basic optimism about life and a faith in free will.”
    Quoting Obama? I see.


    The sciences have grown steadily bolder...
    "Science" does no such thing. People may have, but science is naught but a scripted tool for discovering certain categories of truth. Attributing boldness to "science" is not at all unlike making reference to "states' rights" and "interests". No such things exist, save as notions within the confines of people's skulls.

    ...in their claim that all human behavior can be explained through the clockwork laws of cause and effect.
    A mostly meaningless assertion, sans substantially greater context in which to couch it.

    This shift in perception is the continuation of an intellectual revolution that began about 150 years ago, when Charles Darwin first published On the Origin of Species. Shortly after Darwin put forth his theory of evolution, his cousin Sir Francis Galton began to draw out the implications: If we have evolved, then mental faculties like intelligence must be hereditary.
    Define "hereditary". Almost regardless of the definition, barring some truly mangled versioning, all one need do is walk down that chain to the "beginning". What is there? Whence did the first intelligent being inherit its "intelligence"? And what defines "intelligence", rigorously speaking?

    I am already establishing a pattern of FAIL, not only of the author, but of all those loverly "scientists". But let me not jump the gun. There is a lot left to chisel.

    But we use those faculties—which some people have to a greater degree than others—to make decisions. So our ability to choose our fate is not free, but depends on our biological inheritance.
    Well now there's a mash of nonsensical, seeming-non-sequitur. Lets resect this horrid little sentence to get to its apparent message:

    "We use our intelligence to make decisions. Therefore, our ability to choose our fate is not free, but depends on our biological inheritance."

    Well that just FAILs miserably. I think I understand what the author is saying, but not only is the sentence and its logic miserably constructed, I believe he is as dead wrong as it gets on the issue. For one thing, the question of whence our intelligence is orthogonal to the question of free will. The two are separate issues, so what then is this author attempting to do here, other than waste readers' time?


    Galton launched a debate that raged throughout the 20th century over nature versus nurture.
    Demonstrating the miserably deficient habits of even the so-called "learned" in terms of how they think, not to mention that the question itself is something of a waste of time pursuing, IMO - the fact that it was pursued for so long serving as the proof positive by which those sectors of the "scientific" community is largely assessed as being populated by morons.

    Are our actions the unfolding effect of our genetics?
    The question presupposes that all actions are equivalent as actions. This is pure FAIL. It is readily demonstrated that if I take a pin and jab a fetching young lassie in her boottucks, she will jump as if to soar to heaven itself. That is pure genetic desigh at work. It has been demonstrated beyond doubt that the nerve/muscle complexes are structured such that the musculature goes into action prior to the pain impulse reaching the brain. Genetic design of flesh clear for anyone to observe.

    Place before me vanilla and a chocolate ice cream cones and I am able to make any of several choices. I may choose to consume the chocolate cone. I may choose the vanilla. I might choose them both. I might choose to abstain from consuming either. Perhaps I will choose to smush one or the other onto my nose that I might have a pointy new nose full of creamy goodness.

    Once again, we must also consider the rigorous definitions of "free will", "choice", and so on in order to make the various determinations. The more deeply down we go into the philosophical rabbit hole, the more important semantic rigor becomes. This is trebly so where the considerations at hand hold implications for one set of men placing restrictions upon the rest.

    Or the outcome of what has been imprinted on us by the environment?
    Implication of a false dichotomy fails.

    Impressive evidence accumulated for the importance of each factor. Whether scientists supported one, the other, or a mix of both, they increasingly assumed that our deeds must be determined by something.
    The hell? I'm not even sure what to say in the face of statements this stupid. The boy buried his little weenie into the obvious, puffing nobly away at it.

    In recent decades, research on the inner workings of the brain has helped to resolve the nature-nurture debate—and has dealt a further blow to the idea of free will. Brain scanners have enabled us to peer inside a living person’s skull, revealing intricate networks of neurons and allowing scientists to reach broad agreement that these networks are shaped by both genes and environment. But there is also agreement in the scientific community that the firing of neurons determines not just some or most but all of our thoughts, hopes, memories, and dreams.
    Yet another statement that talks much, but fails to get to the punchline. Even assuming that what was written was true, so far as it went (and that is being very generous), the author fails to follow through with the next salient query: what prompts the neurons to "fire"? Whence the impulse to function in that manner? "It's a neuron's nature to do that", or some similar such cuts no muster in the Department of Valid Answers.


    We know that changes to brain chemistry can alter behavior—otherwise neither alcohol nor antipsychotics would have their desired effects. The same holds true for brain structure: Cases of ordinary adults becoming murderers or pedophiles after developing a brain tumor demonstrate how dependent we are on the physical properties of our gray stuff.
    And yet, this doesn't explain the source of intelligence, its fundamental "inner" nature, or anything else that would speak to the question of free will.

    Many scientists say that the American physiologist Benjamin Libet demonstrated in the 1980s that we have no free will. It was already known that electrical activity builds up in a person’s brain before she, for example, moves her hand; Libet showed that this buildup occurs before the person consciously makes a decision to move. The conscious experience of deciding to act, which we usually associate with free will, APPEARS TO BE an add-on, a post hoc reconstruction of events that occurs after the brain has already set the act in motion.
    Note the caps. Disease APPEARED to be the effects of evil humors, for which bleeding was prescribed in order to vent them away.


    The 20th-century nature-nurture debate prepared us to think of ourselves as shaped by influences beyond our control. But it left some room, at least in the popular imagination, for the possibility that we could overcome our circumstances or our genes to become the author of our own destiny. The challenge posed by neuroscience is more radical: It describes the brain as a physical system like any other, and suggests that we no more will it to operate in a particular way than we will our heart to beat.
    Some saddhus do, in fact, will their hearts to beat at a given rate. Even I have been able to do this to some degree, back when I was into that sort of thing and practicing daily. I trained myself on a 2 minute breath cycle as well - one minute in and one out.




    The contemporary scientific image of human behavior is one of neurons firing, causing other neurons to fire, causing our thoughts and deeds, in an unbroken chain that stretches back to our birth and beyond.
    These are, at best, mere observations devoid of any root-cause explanations. OK, we see neurons doing their things, but WHY do they do them?

    To take mere observation and attempt to elevate it to the rank and status of explanation is FAIL of one of the worst sorts. It is the lie that masquerades as scientific truth, the implications being that it is therefore unassailable by questioning.

    In principle, we are therefore completely predictable. If we could understand any individual’s brain architecture and chemistry well enough, we could, in theory, predict that individual’s response to any given stimulus with 100 percent accuracy.
    This is the same notion as that of the 19th century mechanists who believed that if you had sufficient knowledge of all the matter in the universe, you could predict every future event from moment to moment. This is nonsense from several perspectives, the most significant being that the universe is perfectly predictable because it is naught but physicality. This is an ultra-myopic view. It is, in fact, damned nearly blind.

    This research and its implications are not new. What is new, though, is the spread of free-will skepticism beyond the laboratories and into the mainstream. The number of court cases, for example, that use evidence from neuroscience has more than doubled in the past decade—mostly in the context of defendants arguing that their brain made them do it. And many people are absorbing this message in other contexts, too, at least judging by the number of books and articles purporting to explain “your brain on” everything from music to magic. Determinism, to one degree or another, is gaining popular currency. The skeptics are in ascendance.
    And that is because idiocy is also in ascendance. There appears these days to be a great raft of mediocre, ill-adept "scientists" out there with neither the knowledge nor the moral/ethical constitution for proper scientific inquiry. Just consider all those rocket surgeons out of East Anglia who were cold-busted doctoring climate data and then destroying the raw. This brand of chicanery goes on all the time and in virtually all corners of the earth. Science in sé cannot save men from their own corruption and in ability. Beating them with iron bars or relegating them to flame, OTOH, might. 1/2

    This development raises uncomfortable—and increasingly nontheoretical [sic]—questions: If moral responsibility depends on faith in our own agency, then as belief in determinism spreads, will we become morally irresponsible? And if we increasingly see belief in free will as a delusion, what will happen to all those institutions that are based on it?
    Finally, a valid passage. Firstly, it seems to me that everything we are and do as creatures depends upon faith. That is why I believe there is no such thing as a generally faithless man. The intercession of our perceptual faculties as gateways from what we might call our "inner reality" to that of what we may similarly call the "outside world" pretty well constrains us to faith that what we see, taste, feel, smell, and hear are in fact what we think they are at the level of practical daily living. Without faith, a man wouls surely die in short order. The question, then, becomes not one of faith in sé, but of what it is in which we will choose to place it.

    [snip]

    Yes, indeed. When asked to take a math test, with cheating made easy, the group primed to see free will as illusory proved more likely to take an illicit peek at the answers. When given an opportunity to steal—to take more money than they were due from an envelope of $1 coins—those whose belief in free will had been undermined pilfered more. On a range of measures, Vohs told me, she and Schooler found that “people who are induced to believe less in free will are more likely to behave immorally.”
    Seems to indicate free will to me. Had they cheated universally, I might see differently. Had they cheated universally despite the presence of an AK-armed goon, fully determined to blow the test takers' brains all over the wall if they cheated, then I'd be even more inclined to believe that free will is an illusion.

    It seems that when people stop believing they are free agents, they stop seeing themselves as blameworthy for their actions.
    Makes perfect sense, but note that this is how they CHOOSE to see themselves. They are open to choose otherwise. Were it not so, we would not be having the debate because the free-will notion would not even arise in a world of pre-fated automatons.

    No no... there is no valid debate here. What I do see, however, is a result that stands to bring even greater harm to a world already seriously damaged by the insane and inane ideas of ill-adepts who were apparently unable to make their bones in real science and therefore fell back into this idiotic nonsense. I could easily see unsavory political motives at work here. It would make perfect sense in the same way that all the other stupidities foisted upon us do in terms of gaining political power. When distinction is blurred to the point that people can no longer tell left from right, up from down, their asses from their elbows, tyrants are so much more able to control their behaviors. This is Enlightened Tyranny 001: Remedial Techniques For Those Who Slept Through Basic Tyranny Class At Tyrant High.

    Consequently, they act less responsibly and give in to their baser instincts.
    Still a choice because when I show up with my .45 at their heads, I would bet billions I don't have and give 100:1 that when they are certain in their thoughts that I will with glee shoot the ghosts from their miserable carcasses, the cheating will come to a predictable end, probably in all cases. That is choice, PRIMA FACIE.

    Vohs emphasized that this result is not limited to the contrived conditions of a lab experiment. “You see the same effects with people who naturally believe more or less in free will,” she said.
    STILL failing to say anything of definite value in pursuit of the question at hand. FAIL^FAIL

    Crikey, man... The scary bit, thus far, is that people will read this and actually believe this apparent nonsense.

    In another study, for instance, Vohs and colleagues measured the extent to which a group of day laborers believed in free will, then examined their performance on the job by looking at their supervisor’s ratings. Those who believed more strongly that they were in control of their own actions showed up on time for work more frequently and were rated by supervisors as more capable. In fact, belief in free will turned out to be a better predictor of job performance than established measures such as self-professed work ethic.
    Correlation <> causality. More FAIL. Oy.

    Another pioneer of research into the psychology of free will, Roy Baumeister of Florida State University, has extended these findings. For example, he and colleagues found that students with a weaker belief in free will were less likely to volunteer their time to help a classmate than were those whose belief in free will was stronger. Likewise, those primed to hold a deterministic view by reading statements like “Science has demonstrated that free will is an illusion” were less likely to give money to a homeless person or lend someone a cellphone.
    This one REALLY gets me to wondering what the working definition of "free will" was in these cases. I can just imagine how such students may have been primed. Reminds me of that daycare facility in CA where the children were coached into recounting rapes that never happened, ending the owners and other employees in prison, only later to be exonerated, yet ruined for life in any event.

    Further studies by Baumeister and colleagues have linked a diminished belief in free will to stress, unhappiness, and a lesser commitment to relationships. They found that when subjects were induced to believe that “all human actions follow from prior events and ultimately can be understood in terms of the movement of molecules,” those subjects came away with a lower sense of life’s meaningfulness. Early this year, other researchers published a study showing that a weaker belief in free will correlates with poor academic performance.
    Uh huh... this sounds more like a belief in "God". This author has done an absolutely terrible job, thus far. Will there be a punchline to make the booboos all better? Let me dare not hope.

    The list goes on: Believing that free will is an illusion has been shown to make people less creative, more likely to conform, less willing to learn from their mistakes, and less grateful toward one another. In every regard, it seems, when we embrace determinism, we indulge our dark side.

    Few scholars are comfortable suggesting that people ought to believe an outright lie. Advocating the perpetuation of untruths would breach their integrity and violate a principle that philosophers have long held dear: the Platonic hope that the true and the good go hand in hand. Saul Smilansky, a philosophy professor at the University of Haifa, in Israel, has wrestled with this dilemma throughout his career and come to a painful conclusion: “We cannot afford for people to internalize the truth” about free will.
    OK, that's the BIG-ASS clue. If true, then free-will must perforce exist because there is palpable, identifiable good in the world. "Good" has a definition and it describes things extant in our lives. "Good" is generally life-affirming. Therefore, if truth and goodness go hand in hand, then belief in free will must be true because it manifests the good, whereas the absence of that belief erodes and perhaps even destroys it.

    Smilansky is convinced that free will does not exist in the traditional sense—and that it would be very bad if most people realized this. “Imagine,” he told me, “that I’m deliberating whether to do my duty, such as to parachute into enemy territory, or something more mundane like to risk my job by reporting on some wrongdoing. If everyone accepts that there is no free will, then I’ll know that people will say, ‘Whatever he did, he had no choice—we can’t blame him.’ So I know I’m not going to be condemned for taking the selfish option.” This, he believes, is very dangerous for society, and “the more people accept the determinist picture, the worse things will get.”
    OK, so now this Smilansky character is doing the typical political ploy of word-gaming the issue. This is ULTRA-MEGA-FAIL. This is FAIL so gross, do dangerous, as to make the man candidate for a very serious caning with an iron wire. 3/8 rebar, 18" long will suffice. Here I am joking less than previously. Best, however, would be for him to meet with widespread ridicule, ignominy, shunning, and the consequent decline in his quality of life until such time as he chose to make amends and become serious about his career.

    I will say right here, right now, that based solely on what is written here, this guy is completely full of feces. All his credit should be gone, all else equal. If all else is not equal, schedule that caning for the author, instead.

    Determinism not only undermines blame, Smilansky argues; it also undermines praise. Imagine I do risk my life by jumping into enemy territory to perform a daring mission. Afterward, people will say that I had no choice, that my feats were merely, in Smilansky’s phrase, “an unfolding of the given,” and therefore hardly praiseworthy. And just as undermining blame would remove an obstacle to acting wickedly, so undermining praise would remove an incentive to do good. Our heroes would seem less inspiring, he argues, our achievements less noteworthy, and soon we would sink into decadence and despondency.
    Rocket surgery at its best in yet another example of some tool exercising his toolette within the folds of the obvious. I am distinctly unimpressed.

    Smilansky advocates a view he calls illusionism—the belief that free will is indeed an illusion, but one that society must defend. The idea of determinism, and the facts supporting it, must be kept confined within the ivory tower. Only the initiated, behind those walls, should dare to, as he put it to me, “look the dark truth in the face.” Smilansky says he realizes that there is something drastic, even terrible, about this idea—but if the choice is between the true and the good, then for the sake of society, the true must go.
    OK, so Smilansky first says not to cleave to a lie, and in the next breath says to cleave to that very lie.

    Is this article from The Onion? Have you, Henry de Rogue, pulled my central leg with heavy equipment otherwise suited to moving aircraft carriers and similarly small objects (by comparison)?

    When people stop believing they are free agents, they stop seeing themselves as blameworthy for their actions.

    Smilansky’s arguments may sound odd at first, given his contention that the world is devoid of free will: If we are not really deciding anything, who cares what information is let loose? But new information, of course, is a sensory input like any other; it can change our behavior, even if we are not the conscious agents of that change. In the language of cause and effect, a belief in free will may not inspire us to make the best of ourselves, but it does stimulate us to do so.
    This is some of the most retarded $#@! I've ever read. Did these guys get PhDs in being retarded or did their mothers forgo those costs by dropping them all on their heads when they were infants?

    Illusionism is a minority position among academic philosophers
    I bet it is. Nobody but a hoomering imbecile would go for this third-rate, back-of-the-bus, rank buffoonery.

    most of whom still hope that the good and the true can be reconciled. But it represents an ancient strand of thought among intellectual elites. Nietzsche called free will “a theologians’ artifice” that permits us to “judge and punish.” And many thinkers have believed, as Smilansky does, that institutions of judgment and punishment are necessary if we are to avoid a fall into barbarism.
    Not even worth addressing the problems there. I'd add, however, that Nietzsche was not the most mentally sound intellect. I've read his works - some good bits and a lot no so hot.

    Smilansky is not advocating policies of Orwellian thought control. Luckily, he argues, we don’t need them. Belief in free will comes naturally to us. Scientists and commentators merely need to exercise some self-restraint, instead of gleefully disabusing people of the illusions that undergird all they hold dear. Most scientists “don’t realize what effect these ideas can have,” Smilansky told me. “Promoting determinism is complacent and dangerous.”

    Yet not all scholars who argue publicly against free will are blind to the social and psychological consequences. Some simply don’t agree that these consequences might include the collapse of civilization. One of the most prominent is the neuroscientist and writer Sam Harris, who, in his 2012 book, Free Will, set out to bring down the fantasy of conscious choice. Like Smilansky, he believes that there is no such thing as free will. But Harris thinks we are better off without the whole notion of it.

    “We need our beliefs to track what is true,” Harris told me. Illusions, no matter how well intentioned, will always hold us back. For example, we currently use the threat of imprisonment as a crude tool to persuade people not to do bad things. But if we instead accept that “human behavior arises from neurophysiology,” he argued, then we can better understand what is really causing people to do bad things despite this threat of punishment—and how to stop them. “We need,” Harris told me, “to know what are the levers we can pull as a society to encourage people to be the best version of themselves they can be.”
    My head hurts. There is much that could be written about this passage - the utter FAIL it represents in implicitly contradictory nature of what is written, but I just don't have the oomph to do it. I have a water heater to install today and even so would perhaps rather set myself on fire in preference to addressing such artless stupidity as this.

    According to Harris, we should acknowledge that even the worst criminals—murderous psychopaths, for example—are in a sense unlucky. “They didn’t pick their genes. They didn’t pick their parents. They didn’t make their brains, yet their brains are the source of their intentions and actions.” In a deep sense, their crimes are not their fault. Recognizing this, we can dispassionately consider how to manage offenders in order to rehabilitate them, protect society, and reduce future offending. Harris thinks that, in time, “it might be possible to cure something like psychopathy,” but only if we accept that the brain, and not some airy-fairy free will, is the source of the deviancy.

    Accepting this would also free us from hatred. Holding people responsible for their actions might sound like a keystone of civilized life, but we pay a high price for it: Blaming people makes us angry and vengeful, and that clouds our judgment.
    Tell me that when, after having accepted it with all sincerity, you get the call that your 8 year old daughter was abducted, maimed, then raped as she died, her remains consumed in a large pot of Little Girl Stew (Tips hat to Shel Silverstein). Show us your conscience, clean of hatred.

    Malarky.

    “Compare the response to Hurricane Katrina,” Harris suggested, with “the response to the 9/11 act of terrorism.” For many Americans, the men who hijacked those planes are the embodiment of criminals who freely choose to do evil. But if we give up our notion of free will, then their behavior must be viewed like any other natural phenomenon—and this, Harris believes, would make us much more rational in our response.

    Although the scale of the two catastrophes was similar, the reactions were wildly different. Nobody was striving to exact revenge on tropical storms or declare a War on Weather, so responses to Katrina could simply focus on rebuilding and preventing future disasters. The response to 9/11, Harris argues, was clouded by outrage and the desire for vengeance, and has led to the unnecessary loss of countless more lives. Harris is not saying that we shouldn’t have reacted at all to 9/11, only that a coolheaded response would have looked very different and likely been much less wasteful. “Hatred is toxic,” he told me, “and can destabilize individual lives and whole societies. Losing belief in free will undercuts the rationale for ever hating anyone.”

    Whereas the evidence from Kathleen Vohs and her colleagues suggests that social problems may arise from seeing our own actions as determined by forces beyond our control—weakening our morals, our motivation, and our sense of the meaningfulness of life—Harris thinks that social benefits will result from seeing other people’s behavior in the very same light. From that vantage point, the moral implications of determinism look very different, and quite a lot better.

    What’s more, Harris argues, as ordinary people come to better understand how their brains work, many of the problems documented by Vohs and others will dissipate. Determinism, he writes in his book, does not mean “that conscious awareness and deliberative thinking serve no purpose.” Certain kinds of action require us to become conscious of a choice—to weigh arguments and appraise evidence. True, if we were put in exactly the same situation again, then 100 times out of 100 we would make the same decision, “just like rewinding a movie and playing it again.” But the act of deliberation—the wrestling with facts and emotions that we feel is essential to our nature—is nonetheless real.

    The big problem, in Harris’s view, is that people often confuse determinism with fatalism. Determinism is the belief that our decisions are part of an unbreakable chain of cause and effect. Fatalism, on the other hand, is the belief that our decisions don’t really matter, because whatever is destined to happen will happen—like Oedipus’s marriage to his mother, despite his efforts to avoid that fate.
    Most scientists “don’t realize what effect these ideas can have,” Smilansky told me. It is “complacent and dangerous” to air them.

    When people hear there is no free will, they wrongly become fatalistic; they think their efforts will make no difference. But this is a mistake. People are not moving toward an inevitable destiny; given a different stimulus (like a different idea about free will), they will behave differently and so have different lives. If people better understood these fine distinctions, Harris believes, the consequences of losing faith in free will would be much less negative than Vohs’s and Baumeister’s experiments suggest.

    Can one go further still? Is there a way forward that preserves both the inspiring power of belief in free will and the compassionate understanding that comes with determinism?

    Philosophers and theologians are used to talking about free will as if it is either on or off; as if our consciousness floats, like a ghost, entirely above the causal chain, or as if we roll through life like a rock down a hill. But there might be another way of looking at human agency.

    Some scholars argue that we should think about freedom of choice in terms of our very real and sophisticated abilities to map out multiple potential responses to a particular situation. One of these is Bruce Waller, a philosophy professor at Youngstown State University. In his new book, Restorative Free Will, he writes that we should focus on our ability, in any given setting, to generate a wide range of options for ourselves, and to decide among them without external constraint.

    For Waller, it simply doesn’t matter that these processes are underpinned by a causal chain of firing neurons. In his view, free will and determinism are not the opposites they are often taken to be; they simply describe our behavior at different levels.

    Waller believes his account fits with a scientific understanding of how we evolved: Foraging animals—humans, but also mice, or bears, or crows—need to be able to generate options for themselves and make decisions in a complex and changing environment. Humans, with our massive brains, are much better at thinking up and weighing options than other animals are. Our range of options is much wider, and we are, in a meaningful way, freer as a result.

    Waller’s definition of free will is in keeping with how a lot of ordinary people see it. One 2010 study found that people mostly thought of free will in terms of following their desires, free of coercion (such as someone holding a gun to your head). As long as we continue to believe in this kind of practical free will, that should be enough to preserve the sorts of ideals and ethical standards examined by Vohs and Baumeister.

    Yet Waller’s account of free will still leads to a very different view of justice and responsibility than most people hold today. No one has caused himself: No one chose his genes or the environment into which he was born. Therefore no one bears ultimate responsibility for who he is and what he does. Waller told me he supported the sentiment of Barack Obama’s 2012 “You didn’t build that” speech, in which the president called attention to the external factors that help bring about success. He was also not surprised that it drew such a sharp reaction from those who want to believe that they were the sole architects of their achievements. But he argues that we must accept that life outcomes are determined by disparities in nature and nurture, “so we can take practical measures to remedy misfortune and help everyone to fulfill their potential.”

    Understanding how will be the work of decades, as we slowly unravel the nature of our own minds. In many areas, that work will likely yield more compassion: offering more (and more precise) help to those who find themselves in a bad place. And when the threat of punishment is necessary as a deterrent, it will in many cases be balanced with efforts to strengthen, rather than undermine, the capacities for autonomy that are essential for anyone to lead a decent life. The kind of will that leads to success—seeing positive options for oneself, making good decisions and sticking to them—can be cultivated, and those at the bottom of society are most in need of that cultivation.

    To some people, this may sound like a gratuitous attempt to have one’s cake and eat it too. And in a way it is. It is an attempt to retain the best parts of the free-will belief system while ditching the worst. President Obama—who has both defended “a faith in free will” and argued that we are not the sole architects of our fortune—has had to learn what a fine line this is to tread. Yet it might be what we need to rescue the American dream—and indeed, many of our ideas about civilization, the world over—in the scientific age.
    OK, I just could not read any further. If someone has found a punchline, please point it out because the "stupid people are stupid" tautology is one of the unforgivable wastes of time, the pursuance of which would qualify my for a good iron-bar caning.
    Through lives and lives shalt thou pay, O' king.

    Freedom will be stolen from you in a heartbeat if you do not behave as a wild and ravening beast pursuant to its protection.

    "Government" is naught but a mental construct, a script to which people meekly accept and play out their assigned roles by those with no authority to dictate such.

    Pray for reset.

    We get what we tolerate and we deserve what we get precisely because we tolerate it.

  4. #3

  5. #4
    This sums up the questions for me lol:

    There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
    -Major General Smedley Butler, USMC,
    Two-Time Congressional Medal of Honor Winner
    Author of, War is a Racket!

    It is not that I am mad, it is only that my head is different from yours.
    - Diogenes of Sinope

  6. #5
    If you make me choose, then I have to choose determinism. But why isn't there an option for both?

  7. #6
    Perhaps my understanding is somewhat different,, But I see "Free Will" as an essential and central part of God's plan.
    Liberty is lost through complacency and a subservient mindset. When we accept or even welcome automobile checkpoints, random searches, mandatory identification cards, and paramilitary police in our streets, we have lost a vital part of our American heritage. America was born of protest, revolution, and mistrust of government. Subservient societies neither maintain nor deserve freedom for long.
    Ron Paul 2004

    Registered Ron Paul supporter # 2202
    It's all about Freedom

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/...e-will/480750/



    Line from the movie Starship Troopers,
    Jean Rasczak: "Figuring things out for yourself is the only freedom anyone really has. Use that freedom. Make up your own mind, Rico."
    The title of this article pretty much sums up my beliefs. There's no free will, but we might as well believe in it because we simply don't know what we were predetermined for, so effort is still necessary since knowing that you are determined for something doesn't really help you know just what that is.
    I'm an adventurer, writer and bitcoin market analyst.

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  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by osan View Post
    Hooboy... the few lines I have read here have the scent of FAIL about them. Let us see what the experts have to say on the matter.



    Depends on the precise definition of the term. The assertion seems to assume the meaning without stating it. This does not bode well.



    Why? The possible answers are manifold, none of them good as far as I can see.

    As for me, I prefer ugly truth to pretty lies. Call me crazy. Others do.




    The truth of this seems plain enough through everyday experience, leading me to wonder what flavor of butt-holery awaits us.



    Quoting Obama? I see.




    "Science" does no such thing. People may have, but science is naught but a scripted tool for discovering certain categories of truth. Attributing boldness to "science" is not at all unlike making reference to "states' rights" and "interests". No such things exist, save as notions within the confines of people's skulls.



    A mostly meaningless assertion, sans substantially greater context in which to couch it.



    Define "hereditary". Almost regardless of the definition, barring some truly mangled versioning, all one need do is walk down that chain to the "beginning". What is there? Whence did the first intelligent being inherit its "intelligence"? And what defines "intelligence", rigorously speaking?

    I am already establishing a pattern of FAIL, not only of the author, but of all those loverly "scientists". But let me not jump the gun. There is a lot left to chisel.



    Well now there's a mash of nonsensical, seeming-non-sequitur. Lets resect this horrid little sentence to get to its apparent message:

    "We use our intelligence to make decisions. Therefore, our ability to choose our fate is not free, but depends on our biological inheritance."

    Well that just FAILs miserably. I think I understand what the author is saying, but not only is the sentence and its logic miserably constructed, I believe he is as dead wrong as it gets on the issue. For one thing, the question of whence our intelligence is orthogonal to the question of free will. The two are separate issues, so what then is this author attempting to do here, other than waste readers' time?




    Demonstrating the miserably deficient habits of even the so-called "learned" in terms of how they think, not to mention that the question itself is something of a waste of time pursuing, IMO - the fact that it was pursued for so long serving as the proof positive by which those sectors of the "scientific" community is largely assessed as being populated by morons.



    The question presupposes that all actions are equivalent as actions. This is pure FAIL. It is readily demonstrated that if I take a pin and jab a fetching young lassie in her boottucks, she will jump as if to soar to heaven itself. That is pure genetic desigh at work. It has been demonstrated beyond doubt that the nerve/muscle complexes are structured such that the musculature goes into action prior to the pain impulse reaching the brain. Genetic design of flesh clear for anyone to observe.

    Place before me vanilla and a chocolate ice cream cones and I am able to make any of several choices. I may choose to consume the chocolate cone. I may choose the vanilla. I might choose them both. I might choose to abstain from consuming either. Perhaps I will choose to smush one or the other onto my nose that I might have a pointy new nose full of creamy goodness.

    Once again, we must also consider the rigorous definitions of "free will", "choice", and so on in order to make the various determinations. The more deeply down we go into the philosophical rabbit hole, the more important semantic rigor becomes. This is trebly so where the considerations at hand hold implications for one set of men placing restrictions upon the rest.



    Implication of a false dichotomy fails.



    The hell? I'm not even sure what to say in the face of statements this stupid. The boy buried his little weenie into the obvious, puffing nobly away at it.



    Yet another statement that talks much, but fails to get to the punchline. Even assuming that what was written was true, so far as it went (and that is being very generous), the author fails to follow through with the next salient query: what prompts the neurons to "fire"? Whence the impulse to function in that manner? "It's a neuron's nature to do that", or some similar such cuts no muster in the Department of Valid Answers.




    And yet, this doesn't explain the source of intelligence, its fundamental "inner" nature, or anything else that would speak to the question of free will.



    Note the caps. Disease APPEARED to be the effects of evil humors, for which bleeding was prescribed in order to vent them away.




    Some saddhus do, in fact, will their hearts to beat at a given rate. Even I have been able to do this to some degree, back when I was into that sort of thing and practicing daily. I trained myself on a 2 minute breath cycle as well - one minute in and one out.






    These are, at best, mere observations devoid of any root-cause explanations. OK, we see neurons doing their things, but WHY do they do them?

    To take mere observation and attempt to elevate it to the rank and status of explanation is FAIL of one of the worst sorts. It is the lie that masquerades as scientific truth, the implications being that it is therefore unassailable by questioning.



    This is the same notion as that of the 19th century mechanists who believed that if you had sufficient knowledge of all the matter in the universe, you could predict every future event from moment to moment. This is nonsense from several perspectives, the most significant being that the universe is perfectly predictable because it is naught but physicality. This is an ultra-myopic view. It is, in fact, damned nearly blind.



    And that is because idiocy is also in ascendance. There appears these days to be a great raft of mediocre, ill-adept "scientists" out there with neither the knowledge nor the moral/ethical constitution for proper scientific inquiry. Just consider all those rocket surgeons out of East Anglia who were cold-busted doctoring climate data and then destroying the raw. This brand of chicanery goes on all the time and in virtually all corners of the earth. Science in sé cannot save men from their own corruption and in ability. Beating them with iron bars or relegating them to flame, OTOH, might. 1/2



    Finally, a valid passage. Firstly, it seems to me that everything we are and do as creatures depends upon faith. That is why I believe there is no such thing as a generally faithless man. The intercession of our perceptual faculties as gateways from what we might call our "inner reality" to that of what we may similarly call the "outside world" pretty well constrains us to faith that what we see, taste, feel, smell, and hear are in fact what we think they are at the level of practical daily living. Without faith, a man wouls surely die in short order. The question, then, becomes not one of faith in sé, but of what it is in which we will choose to place it.

    [snip]



    Seems to indicate free will to me. Had they cheated universally, I might see differently. Had they cheated universally despite the presence of an AK-armed goon, fully determined to blow the test takers' brains all over the wall if they cheated, then I'd be even more inclined to believe that free will is an illusion.



    Makes perfect sense, but note that this is how they CHOOSE to see themselves. They are open to choose otherwise. Were it not so, we would not be having the debate because the free-will notion would not even arise in a world of pre-fated automatons.

    No no... there is no valid debate here. What I do see, however, is a result that stands to bring even greater harm to a world already seriously damaged by the insane and inane ideas of ill-adepts who were apparently unable to make their bones in real science and therefore fell back into this idiotic nonsense. I could easily see unsavory political motives at work here. It would make perfect sense in the same way that all the other stupidities foisted upon us do in terms of gaining political power. When distinction is blurred to the point that people can no longer tell left from right, up from down, their asses from their elbows, tyrants are so much more able to control their behaviors. This is Enlightened Tyranny 001: Remedial Techniques For Those Who Slept Through Basic Tyranny Class At Tyrant High.



    Still a choice because when I show up with my .45 at their heads, I would bet billions I don't have and give 100:1 that when they are certain in their thoughts that I will with glee shoot the ghosts from their miserable carcasses, the cheating will come to a predictable end, probably in all cases. That is choice, PRIMA FACIE.



    STILL failing to say anything of definite value in pursuit of the question at hand. FAIL^FAIL

    Crikey, man... The scary bit, thus far, is that people will read this and actually believe this apparent nonsense.



    Correlation <> causality. More FAIL. Oy.



    This one REALLY gets me to wondering what the working definition of "free will" was in these cases. I can just imagine how such students may have been primed. Reminds me of that daycare facility in CA where the children were coached into recounting rapes that never happened, ending the owners and other employees in prison, only later to be exonerated, yet ruined for life in any event.



    Uh huh... this sounds more like a belief in "God". This author has done an absolutely terrible job, thus far. Will there be a punchline to make the booboos all better? Let me dare not hope.



    OK, that's the BIG-ASS clue. If true, then free-will must perforce exist because there is palpable, identifiable good in the world. "Good" has a definition and it describes things extant in our lives. "Good" is generally life-affirming. Therefore, if truth and goodness go hand in hand, then belief in free will must be true because it manifests the good, whereas the absence of that belief erodes and perhaps even destroys it.



    OK, so now this Smilansky character is doing the typical political ploy of word-gaming the issue. This is ULTRA-MEGA-FAIL. This is FAIL so gross, do dangerous, as to make the man candidate for a very serious caning with an iron wire. 3/8 rebar, 18" long will suffice. Here I am joking less than previously. Best, however, would be for him to meet with widespread ridicule, ignominy, shunning, and the consequent decline in his quality of life until such time as he chose to make amends and become serious about his career.

    I will say right here, right now, that based solely on what is written here, this guy is completely full of feces. All his credit should be gone, all else equal. If all else is not equal, schedule that caning for the author, instead.



    Rocket surgery at its best in yet another example of some tool exercising his toolette within the folds of the obvious. I am distinctly unimpressed.



    OK, so Smilansky first says not to cleave to a lie, and in the next breath says to cleave to that very lie.

    Is this article from The Onion? Have you, Henry de Rogue, pulled my central leg with heavy equipment otherwise suited to moving aircraft carriers and similarly small objects (by comparison)?



    This is some of the most retarded $#@! I've ever read. Did these guys get PhDs in being retarded or did their mothers forgo those costs by dropping them all on their heads when they were infants?



    I bet it is. Nobody but a hoomering imbecile would go for this third-rate, back-of-the-bus, rank buffoonery.



    Not even worth addressing the problems there. I'd add, however, that Nietzsche was not the most mentally sound intellect. I've read his works - some good bits and a lot no so hot.



    My head hurts. There is much that could be written about this passage - the utter FAIL it represents in implicitly contradictory nature of what is written, but I just don't have the oomph to do it. I have a water heater to install today and even so would perhaps rather set myself on fire in preference to addressing such artless stupidity as this.



    Tell me that when, after having accepted it with all sincerity, you get the call that your 8 year old daughter was abducted, maimed, then raped as she died, her remains consumed in a large pot of Little Girl Stew (Tips hat to Shel Silverstein). Show us your conscience, clean of hatred.

    Malarky.



    OK, I just could not read any further. If someone has found a punchline, please point it out because the "stupid people are stupid" tautology is one of the unforgivable wastes of time, the pursuance of which would qualify my for a good iron-bar caning.
    I would like to note in amendment to my previous post that I am speaking from a position of faith. I believe that we should choose to act morally because we do not know what we are predestined for. That is, I think we will eventually be judged by God based on our moral character.

    However, in seeing this particular post by osan, I noticed that he took for granted Kant's argument that "if we are not free to choose, then it is meaningless to say we should choose to behave morally." I, however, disagree with that notion. It may appear to be a logical contradiction on the face of it, but if you consider the context, it becomes clear that the existence of an illusion separate from reality does not preclude the validity of illusory experiences. Although the illusion isn't real, per se, it does not necessarily mean that the illusion should be treated as a falsehood. Rather, it should be treated as a designated component of the overall reality. We should not simply assume that the illusion is meaningless, for it could have a purpose, and that purpose can be explained as such: We don't know what the future will hold for us because we don't know God's plan, so it follows that we cannot assume any particular outcome in reality just by virtue of knowing that we live in an illusion. Therefore, we should treat the illusion of free will as valid because, although anything we "choose" to do will have been pre-destined when we actually do it, we could not have assumed that outcome, so we are forced to behave morally even given the knowledge that our experiences are illusory.

    This explanation would be incomplete, however, if it did not include the intent of God. The explanation given in the article that notes that people who read articles pro-deterministic would behave less morally than those who read neutral articles does not consider the intent angle, which is an extremely important angle to consider if one truly wants to understand the reason why the subjects reacted to the articles in such a way. It very well could be that the article, speaking from a secular point of view, instilled or somehow introduced the view that determinism is true, but left out the intent. In this way, the reader was swayed to assume that, not just determinism, but secular determinism, was favored.

    Without intent, it would indeed seem that life was basically pointless and choosing to behave morally was futile, but knowing that there is intent behind the illusion created provides one with the knowledge that they have a purpose despite the fact that their life is already determined, and faced with the ultimate realization that they don't know what they are determined to be, they must choose to act morally within the illusion so that they can ensure that their experience within the illusion matches to the written intent of God so as to make sure that they do not end up rebelling and finding out that they were one of the unfortunate ones who were determined for the lesser fate come the day of judgment when they finally see what the reality was.

    Note, however, that I said "lesser fate" and not "damnation" because I do not actually believe in eternal hell fire or damnation, which is another interesting topic to consider at another time, but is not necessary for the purpose of proving my point here, which is that it is most definitely possible to know you are in an illusion and still have the capacity to act morally as if the illusion were real because you know that there is intent behind the illusion and not just a vast expanse of meaningless nothingness.
    Last edited by PaulConventionWV; 05-24-2016 at 05:06 AM.
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  11. #9
    I voted for Free Will, but that was kinda predetermined.

    Would I have voted for it if I hadn't been given the option though?
    In New Zealand:
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  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by idiom View Post
    I voted for Free Will, but that was kinda predetermined.

    Would I have voted for it if I hadn't been given the option though?
    Feel free to choose determinism.

  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulConventionWV View Post
    I would like to note in amendment to my previous post that I am speaking from a position of faith. I believe that we should choose to act morally because we do not know what we are predestined for. That is, I think we will eventually be judged by God based on our moral character.

    However, in seeing this particular post by osan, I noticed that he took for granted Kant's argument that "if we are not free to choose, then it is meaningless to say we should choose to behave morally." I, however, disagree with that notion. It may appear to be a logical contradiction on the face of it, but if you consider the context, it becomes clear that the existence of an illusion separate from reality does not preclude the validity of illusory experiences. Although the illusion isn't real, per se, it does not necessarily mean that the illusion should be treated as a falsehood. Rather, it should be treated as a designated component of the overall reality. We should not simply assume that the illusion is meaningless, for it could have a purpose, and that purpose can be explained as such: We don't know what the future will hold for us because we don't know God's plan, so it follows that we cannot assume any particular outcome in reality just by virtue of knowing that we live in an illusion. Therefore, we should treat the illusion of free will as valid because, although anything we "choose" to do will have been pre-destined when we actually do it, we could not have assumed that outcome, so we are forced to behave morally even given the knowledge that our experiences are illusory.

    This explanation would be incomplete, however, if it did not include the intent of God. The explanation given in the article that notes that people who read articles pro-deterministic would behave less morally than those who read neutral articles does not consider the intent angle, which is an extremely important angle to consider if one truly wants to understand the reason why the subjects reacted to the articles in such a way. It very well could be that the article, speaking from a secular point of view, instilled or somehow introduced the view that determinism is true, but left out the intent. In this way, the reader was swayed to assume that, not just determinism, but secular determinism, was favored.

    Without intent, it would indeed seem that life was basically pointless and choosing to behave morally was futile, but knowing that there is intent behind the illusion created provides one with the knowledge that they have a purpose despite the fact that their life is already determined, and faced with the ultimate realization that they don't know what they are determined to be, they must choose to act morally within the illusion so that they can ensure that their experience within the illusion matches to the written intent of God so as to make sure that they do not end up rebelling and finding out that they were one of the unfortunate ones who were determined for the lesser fate come the day of judgment when they finally see what the reality was.

    Note, however, that I said "lesser fate" and not "damnation" because I do not actually believe in eternal hell fire or damnation, which is another interesting topic to consider at another time, but is not necessary for the purpose of proving my point here, which is that it is most definitely possible to know you are in an illusion and still have the capacity to act morally as if the illusion were real because you know that there is intent behind the illusion and not just a vast expanse of meaningless nothingness.
    Bump for this post, which I think is interesting.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheCount View Post
    ...I believe that when the government is capable of doing a thing, it will.
    Quote Originally Posted by Influenza View Post
    which one of yall fuckers wrote the "ron paul" racist news letters
    Quote Originally Posted by Dforkus View Post
    Zippy's posts are a great contribution.




    Disrupt, Deny, Deflate. Read the RPF trolls' playbook here (post #3): http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthr...eptive-members



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