Free Will

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Roncooper
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Post by Roncooper » Sun May 31, 2015 2:35 am

Nandu,

I agree with you. I have given up arguing. No one ever changes their minds. Instead I was thinking about the psychology involved in a person, who is dedicated to objective evaluation, who would reject their own personal experience for a theory based on the interactions of purely physical objects which is not provable in the human situaton, and therefore of no value.

I spent 35 years of my life at research institutes where the only socially acceptable religion was atheism and the only acceptable philosophy was positivism. I am intimately aware of the tyranny of the machine, and I must add that it didn't make for very creative people.

This being said, here is my argument for limited free will. The individual exists. A human is the Whole and they are a person. Reality contains the paradox of two existences. A thing is part of the whole and it is a thing. Second there is no conservation law for cause and effect. Which means that there can be sources for cause. Singularities, in mathematical terms. The conservation of energy does not have anything to say about cause and effect. I can burn energy when I make a decision. Last, there are reasons to doing things, but these reasons don't always compel me to do one thing and not another. I know when I am being compelled. I know when the decision is random, and I know when I choose freely. Nothing compels me to choose one parking space over another in a parking lot. I decide where to park.

This is reality based on experience and if you claim, based on some theory which can't be proved, that this is illusion, I must disagree and be true to experience because I am a scientist.

Rom, I hope I addressed your concerns also.
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Post by romansh » Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:52 am

Ron wrote:Nandu,

I agree with you. I have given up arguing. No one ever changes their minds. Instead I was thinking about the psychology involved in a person, who is dedicated to objective evaluation, who would reject their own personal experience for a theory based on the interactions of purely physical objects which is not provable in the human situaton, and therefore of no value.

I spent 35 years of my life at research institutes where the only socially acceptable religion was atheism and the only acceptable philosophy was positivism. I am intimately aware of the tyranny of the machine, and I must add that it didn't make for very creative people.

This being said, here is my argument for limited free will. The individual exists. A human is the Whole and they are a person. Reality contains the paradox of two existences. A thing is part of the whole and it is a thing. Second there is no conservation law for cause and effect. Which means that there can be sources for cause. Singularities, in mathematical terms. The conservation of energy does not have anything to say about cause and effect. I can burn energy when I make a decision. Last, there are reasons to doing things, but these reasons don't always compel me to do one thing and not another. I know when I am being compelled. I know when the decision is random, and I know when I choose freely. Nothing compels me to choose one parking space over another in a parking lot. I decide where to park.
Ron's post is not showing? Where are the tech guys?

Ron you say you know when you are being compelled? Really?

You are aware of the underlying chemistry is not making you? I have a great deal of difficulty believing in this dualistic aspect of our lives. ... That my physical body is some how separate from what in my case passes as thought.

OK the first law of thermodynamics is silent about cause and effect ... except you it doe say we don't get something for nothing .. which is free will! And the second law does suggest a direction: cause followed by effect.
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Post by creekmary » Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:54 pm

"Free Will"........to do what?

I just think out loud a lot.

There must be a choice involved. Does everything else in the world have free will or is it just us humans? If a deer decides to eat or not at a particular meadow, is that free will? Or do we just not acknowledge maybe deers might have the same conscious process as humans?

If a human has an impulse and decides do it or not, is that free will? What is it that causes a contrary impulse from an original impulse? Where does the original impulse come from? Is that what makes the animals different? They don't worry about self-determination, free-will? Is it ego that makes humans want to be have contrary impulses? To feel "in charge"?


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Post by creekmary » Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:54 pm

"Free Will"........to do what?

I just think out loud a lot.

There must be a choice involved. Does everything else in the world have free will or is it just us humans? If a deer decides to eat or not at a particular meadow, is that free will? Or do we just not acknowledge maybe deers might have the same conscious process as humans?

If a human has an impulse and decides do it or not, is that free will? What is it that causes a contrary impulse from an original impulse? Where does the original impulse come from? Is that what makes the animals different? They don't worry about self-determination, free-will? Is it ego that makes humans want to be have contrary impulses? To feel "in charge"?


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Post by creekmary » Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:55 pm

"Free Will"........to do what?

I just think out loud a lot.

There must be a choice involved. Does everything else in the world have free will or is it just us humans? If a deer decides to eat or not at a particular meadow, is that free will? Or do we just not acknowledge maybe deers might have the same conscious process as humans?

If a human has an impulse and decides do it or not, is that free will? What is it that causes a contrary impulse from an original impulse? Where does the original impulse come from? Is that what makes the animals different? They don't worry about self-determination, free-will? Is it ego that makes humans want to be have contrary impulses? To feel "in charge"?


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Post by romansh » Sat Feb 13, 2016 8:10 pm

creekmary wrote:"Free Will"........to do what?

I just think out loud a lot.

There must be a choice involved. Does everything else in the world have free will or is it just us humans? If a deer decides to eat or not at a particular meadow, is that free will? Or do we just not acknowledge maybe deers might have the same conscious process as humans?

If a human has an impulse and decides do it or not, is that free will? What is it that causes a contrary impulse from an original impulse? Where does the original impulse come from? Is that what makes the animals different? They don't worry about self-determination, free-will? Is it ego that makes humans want to be have contrary impulses? To feel "in charge"?


susan
To answer your first question ... whatever you want.

But that is not what the free will debate is about ... it is about the ability to want what you want. Plainly there are second and perhaps higher order wants ... eg I wish I wanted to loose weight more, But ultimately all this ends up in infinite regress.

If we take a philosophical materialist's world view ... it is our physical body/environment that controls our impulses, choices, thoughts etc. There does not appear to be much freedom in this.

If we take a slightly more dualistic point of view, (a little like Ron's) we can see our thought physically separate from our bodies. I see two directions, our thought is caused by our bodies/environment ... but we then split. 1) this thought is simply part of a causal chain or mesh or 2) we imbue this thought with magical properties where it can direct the symphony in a godlike fashion without any recourse to history. The latter (2) is really tough to understand and even undesirable and (1) does not really help believers in free will.
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Post by romansh » Sat Feb 13, 2016 8:19 pm

Roncooper wrote:Nandu,
No one ever changes their minds.
You have never changed your mind?

I used to believe deeply in free will and its partners. Then I changed my mind.
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Post by Roncooper » Sun Feb 14, 2016 2:44 am

Rom,

Your quote is taken out of context. I was discussing Nandu's debating style where he bragged that in three years he hadn't changed his mind on a single point and wasn't likely to do so.

I pointed out that I was taught that a debate was like a Greek wrestling match with a winner and a loser, whereas his was like an eternal dance, with no winner.
Last edited by Roncooper on Sun Feb 14, 2016 2:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Roncooper » Sun Feb 14, 2016 2:55 am

In response to your post to creekmary. I think the responsibility lies with those who deny free will to prove that all actions are compelled. I don't believe in invisible forces, that are not part of the human experience, until they are scientifically proven to exist. It is the burden of the theorist, who claims that reality is a delusion, to prove their claim.
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Post by romansh » Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:28 pm

Roncooper wrote:In response to your post to creekmary. I think the responsibility lies with those who deny free will to prove that all actions are compelled. I don't believe in invisible forces, that are not part of the human experience, until they are scientifically proven to exist. It is the burden of the theorist, who claims that reality is a delusion, to prove their claim.
As a fellow scientist I can't help be but disappointed in your response. You fall foul that we go about "proving" things.

We do not!

Disproving perhaps.

If I were to claim I had an inaccessible pixie in my head, controlling some of the things I do, then your skepticism would be fully warranted.

But those of us that claim we have free will, are inadvertently doing this. Claiming we have an intrinsic self (a pixie if you like) that is in someway not connected to cause and effect. The free will apologists often call it limited free will.

I think our language in some way forces us to think in this way. When I say I, I seem to be referring to this pixie inside of me that is somehow independent of chemistry, physics, the past, and environment.

Sorry I cannot believe in these limited free will pixies. And if you propose they do exist then what is the mechanism for this free will? Me simply asking the question what is the mechanism, should be switching on the sirens and flashing lights in our brains. There is a problem with the concept of free will.
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Post by romansh » Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:44 pm

I actually attended this conference (and lecture)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca7i-D4ddaw
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Post by Roncooper » Mon Feb 15, 2016 5:26 am

As a fellow scientist I can't help be but disappointed in your response. You fall foul that we go about "proving" things.

We do not!
As an experimental physicist I reject this statement out of hand. Scientists prove things all the time. The Ligo experiment just proved that gravitational waves exist.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/12/scien ... .html?_r=0

Now on to the talk. I found it unconvincing. I disagree that making a decision is inconsistent with the laws of physics. He made a lot of unjustified claims about what science says, which is typical of a nihilist materialist. The selfish gene theory has been disproved. Also the MRI experiments that claim to predict decisions have been disproved. It turn out a person can change their mind at the last instant.

IMHO he is a proponent of the "enslaved intellect" philosophy that came about when Rome conquered Greece.

The Greeks were developing the blissful path for the intellect when Rome took over and made intellectuals the property of the powerful. When this happened intellectuals were forced to be practical and materialistic. For the most part this is true even today. In time intellectuals developed a materialistic, practical view of reality that psychologically supports their servitude. They find life in an intellectual prison cell to be both smug and secure.

They erroneously claim that the human experience arises for practical reasons which is absurd. We don't do things for practical reasons we do them because we want to experience the transcendent mystery as Campbell said. A child hears beautiful music and is inspired to learn to play an instrument. The experience of beauty is what inspired the child. Their brain's job is to enhance this experience.

I will stop. Time for bed.
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Post by romansh » Tue Feb 16, 2016 2:03 am

Roncooper wrote:
As a fellow scientist I can't help be but disappointed in your response. You fall foul that we go about "proving" things.

We do not!
As an experimental physicist I reject this statement out of hand. Scientists prove things all the time. The Ligo experiment just proved that gravitational waves exist.
This does nothing for my disheartenment.
Questions: Is corroboration of a theory proof of a theory?
Do you simply mean it has been shown to be fit for purpose, like the Newtonian world view?

Because in your very own world we know that quantum mechanics in it various forms is not compatible with relativity. And yet there is as much corroborative evidence for quantum mechanics as there is for general relativity.
Roncooper wrote: I disagree that making a decision is inconsistent with the laws of physics. He made a lot of unjustified claims about what science says, which is typical of a nihilist materialist. The selfish gene theory has been disproved. Also the MRI experiments that claim to predict decisions have been disproved. It turn out a person can change their mind at the last instant. .
1) I too disagree that making a choice is against physics somehow. I don't think Coyne in discussion would think so either. Both of us would argue that our choices are not free.[independent of cause].
2)Unjustified claims? Is claiming that the material of bodies are not free from cause unjustified.
3) Whether we can change our minds at the last minute and confabulate a reason afterwards is not in doubt.
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Post by Roncooper » Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:12 am

I understand the ethnocentric beliefs of theorists, but science is more than just proving theories. The greatest discoveries do not prove theories they generate them. When Galileo saw the moons of Jupiter he wasn't trying to prove a theory, even though, after the fact these observations strongly supported the heliocentric universe.

So are you of the school that believes that evolution is only a theory just like creationism?


3) Whether we can change our minds at the last minute and confabulate a reason afterwards is not in doubt.
The fact that we can change our minds came out of the same research that claims it takes 6 seconds to make a decision. The data is clear. You can choose to reject it. That is your free choice.

Science is limited to simple, repeatable, linear physical systems. It cannot explain most of human reality. Claiming that there is nothing beyond science is in my opinion simple minded, or an attempt to be a good slave.
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Post by romansh » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:42 am

Roncooper wrote:
3) Whether we can change our minds at the last minute and confabulate a reason afterwards is not in doubt.
The fact that we can change our minds came out of the same research that claims it takes 6 seconds to make a decision. The data is clear. You can choose to reject it. That is your free choice.

Science is limited to simple, repeatable, linear physical systems. It cannot explain most of human reality. Claiming that there is nothing beyond science is in my opinion simple minded, or an attempt to be a good slave.
I am reminded of the time after the conference finished I was waiting in a group of people to speak to Jerry Coyne (the presenter). A gentleman was talking to him obviously distraught that Jerry had presented so strongly. He was particularly distraught regarding that "he wasn't making choices"; when he played his jazz instrument. I forget which one. I could not help think, this would have been a classical case where no free will was involved ... it was sort of spur of the moment choices that were based on years of practice and experience.

And similarly the free won't argument. I sometimes watch myself getting out of bed on a cold morning. The actual moment of getting out of bed is without free will.

That these "free won't" moments are not predicted, does not mean they are not predictable. Having said that are you suggesting these "free won't" moments are not somehow part of the casual mesh we inhabit?
"That's right!" shouted Vroomfondel, "we demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!"
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