Free Will

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Roncooper
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Post by Roncooper » Thu Feb 18, 2016 4:02 am

Rom,

Perhaps Jerry Coyne made a strong case for a jazz musician. I thought he did a terrible job. He based his case on advances in science while at the same time arrogantly dismissing advances in religion. His double standard belied his ignorance of religion and his ignorance of life. I found him immature.

He believes we are machines without choice, and so life is just machines raping machines. I agree with Campbell that life is a transcendent mystery, and since we are alive, we are a transcendent mystery.

My beliefs are consistent with established science. They are not consistent with his untested theory that cause and effect are conserved. I don't know how to test this theory. What experiment do you propose? If two people pick up one large box is that two causes for one effect? How do you show that there are no sources of cause? The onus is on the people who propose this theory, not those who think it is wrong.

I am a Panentheist because this position is consistent with both science and human experience. I chose to embrace all of reality and not try to fit it in a box made by smart monkeys.

I believe that transcendent values like honor, beauty, and love drive evolution, and I am happy and proud to be ridiculed by someone who believes that life is machines raping machines. Perhaps someday, if he is lucky, he will wakeup.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
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Post by Clemsy » Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:05 pm

Came across this the other day....
"Now it has become to such an extent a sheerly mechanistic world, as interpreted through our physical sciences... and behavioristic psychology, that we're nothing but a predictable pattern of wires responding to stimuli. This nineteenth-century interpretation has squeezed the freedom of the human will out of modern life." ~Joseph Campbell from The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
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Post by romansh » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:27 am

Clemsy wrote:Came across this the other day....
"Now it has become to such an extent a sheerly mechanistic world, as interpreted through our physical sciences... and behavioristic psychology, that we're nothing but a predictable pattern of wires responding to stimuli. This nineteenth-century interpretation has squeezed the freedom of the human will out of modern life." ~Joseph Campbell from The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers
Ah predictability, can't live without it; can't live with it.

So what did Bill Moyers' remark cause Joseph Campbell to say?

We make predictions all the time, the better we understand a system the more accurately we can make predictions. Understanding the system well also allows us to predict that these systems behave chaotically and that we can never predict with absolute accuracy.
"That's right!" shouted Vroomfondel, "we demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!"
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romansh
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Post by romansh » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:43 am

Roncooper wrote: Perhaps Jerry Coyne made a strong case for a jazz musician. I thought he did a terrible job. He based his case on advances in science while at the same time arrogantly dismissing advances in religion. His double standard belied his ignorance of religion and his ignorance of life. I found him immature.
I think these comments are more of a reflection of you Ron, than they are Jerry Coyne. And here I don't mean that you are necessarily arrogant, ignorant or immature.
Roncooper wrote: He believes we are machines without choice, and so life is just machines raping machines. I agree with Campbell that life is a transcendent mystery, and since we are alive, we are a transcendent mystery.
I think he believes we are biological machines that make choices based the chemistry and physics of our bodies. Frankly this does not seem unreasonable to me.
Roncooper wrote:My beliefs are consistent with established science. They are not consistent with his untested theory that cause and effect are conserved. I don't know how to test this theory. What experiment do you propose? If two people pick up one large box is that two causes for one effect? How do you show that there are no sources of cause? The onus is on the people who propose this theory, not those who think it is wrong.
I think the first and second laws of thermodynamics actually describe cause and effect quite nicely Ron. If you propose the theory that we have free will (and you do) then you are quite right, the onus is on you if you wish to propose such a model. Personally I don't believe in the free will model, and I have explored and continue to explore the consequences of adopting such a model.

As to pantheism being consistent with what we observe. I would also argue so is pantheism. Pantheism is the simpler description of what we observe.

As to the two causes for a box being picked up? I can only shake my head.
Roncooper wrote:I am a Panentheist because this position is consistent with both science and human experience. I chose to embrace all of reality and not try to fit it in a box made by smart monkeys.
See above
Last edited by romansh on Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Roncooper » Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:04 am

Thank you for all the comments. Your arguments make no sense to me. I burn energy when I think. Thinking and choosing does not violate the conservation of energy. Secondly all life creates order out of chaos, so I don't get the second law reference either. Perhaps you can explain this to me.

The fact that all human experience is on my side means that the data is on my side. Therefore the onus is on you.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
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Post by romansh » Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:17 am

Roncooper wrote:Thank you for all the comments. Your arguments make no sense to me. I burn energy when I think. Thinking and choosing does not violate the conservation of energy. Secondly all life creates order out of chaos, so I don't get the second law reference either. Perhaps you can explain this to me.

The fact that all human experience is on my side means that the data is on my side. Therefore the onus is on you.
Think back to your high school thermodynamics.

Gibbs free energy and how it is described by the law of mass action, which in turn is is described by the kinetics of a system. . We can dig deeper and deeper here. It is all cause and effect.

You are absolutely correct dissipating energy does not break the laws of thermodynamics. Whereas the free will implies we get something from nothing.

Can any of your thoughts be independent of cause Ron?
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Post by Roncooper » Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:32 pm

Rom wrote,
Can any of your thoughts be independent of cause Ron?

Perhaps thoughts have a 0 barn interaction cross section. They could have an energy because I burn energy when I am thinking, but they just don't interact. They could be less interacting than neutrinos. Come to think of it they could even be low energy neutrinos. They don't interact with any of our causes.

I prefer to call then thoughtinos. My body could radiate them. They could be thought wave/particles. Perhaps the dark matter of the universe is made up of thoughtinos. It could be Plotinus's realm of ideas.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
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Post by romansh » Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:16 pm

Roncooper wrote:Rom wrote,
Can any of your thoughts be independent of cause Ron?
Perhaps thoughts have a 0 barn interaction cross section. They could have an energy because I burn energy when I am thinking, but they just don't interact. They could be less interacting than neutrinos. Come to think of it they could even be low energy neutrinos. They don't interact with any of our causes.

I prefer to call then thoughtinos. My body could radiate them. They could be thought wave/particles. Perhaps the dark matter of the universe is made up of thoughtinos. It could be Plotinus's realm of ideas.
I hope this is tongue in cheek.

But assuming it is not:
I am always bewildered by positions like this one; it is reminiscent of those claiming souls that pass into an afterlife..

These souls are sufficiently immaterial to evade any detection but sufficiently material to control our bodies.. And when we accelerate in a car or an aeroplane these souls that don't interact manage keep up with our corporeal bodies.

Secondly you did not answer my intended question is there a cause to our thought.
What you did answer is that our thought has little interaction with our actions. I suppose that would explain quite a lot.

And if thought is caused simply by the oxidation of sugars then there must be a lot of thought going on.
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Post by Roncooper » Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:57 pm

Rom,

I answered your question. Anything with a 0 barn interaction cross section is independent of cause.

As to the source of my thoughts, I would guess it is my imagination. I can think anything I can imagine. It seems to me that my imagination is not just a product of electrochemistry.

You say it is and a product of electrochemistry and claim that the conservation of energy and the second law of thermodynamics make your point in some mysterious way.

I personally don't see the conservation of energy argument at all, and all life violates the second law of thermodynamics when it grows and becomes orderly.

So it seems to me we are in the same boat. I believe that life is a transcendent mystery and you believe that the physical universe mysteriously controls all of life's mystery.

It seems to me the mystery wins no matter what.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
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Post by romansh » Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:13 pm

Roncooper wrote: all life violates the second law of thermodynamics when it grows and becomes orderly.
This is the most saddening thing I have read in a long time.
Lambert wrote:The second law is the Greatest Good and the Biggest Bad to us.

The GOOD: Because of the second law about the direction of energy flow, life is possible.
...
The BAD: Because of the second law -- the direction of energy flow -- life is always threatened.
http://secondlaw.oxy.edu/
http://entropysimple.oxy.edu/content.htm
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Post by Roncooper » Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:37 am

Rom wrote:
This is the most saddening thing I have read in a long time.
This is the saddest thing I have read in a long time.

I am shocked that I have to explain that non-isolated systems may lose entropy, provided they increase their environment's entropy by that increment.

Living things can and do lose entropy. You cannot use the second law of thermodynamics to disprove fee will.
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Post by romansh » Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:51 am

Roncooper wrote:
Living things can and do lose entropy. You cannot use the second law of thermodynamics to disprove fee will.
While this may be true ... the second law of thermodynamics still holds.
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Post by Roncooper » Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:50 pm

Rom wrote
While this may be true ... the second law of thermodynamics still holds.
I agree completely. So?
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Post by romansh » Tue Feb 23, 2016 4:42 am

Roncooper wrote:Rom wrote
While this may be true ... the second law of thermodynamics still holds.
I agree completely. So?
Ron ... here is what I said about the second law in these recent posts.
I think the first and second laws of thermodynamics actually describe cause and effect quite nicely Ron.
this was in response to you saying cause and effect were not conserved.
Gibbs free energy and how it is described by the law of mass action, which in turn is is described by the kinetics of a system. . We can dig deeper and deeper here. It is all cause and effect.
This in request for further explanation as to how thermodynamics describes cause and effect.

At which point you suggest I have claimed that thermodynamics disproves free will. When in fact all I have claimed is that it is evidence of cause and effect.

Now do you still suggest that life violates the second law of thermodynamics simply because entropy has been locally reversed?

And back to your neutrinos or thoughtinos:
1) Obviously they have a cause ... you seem to be suggesting that burning sugars in the brain releases thoughtinos.
2) These thoughtinos do not interact with anything except they somehow direct our body.

Frankly I find it easier to believe complex (bio)electrochemistry is thought than you conjecture.

The central issue remains. Either our lives respond to cause and effect and free will is impossible or we deny cause and effect. The third and most common approach is to redefine free will and say cause and effect and free will are both true.
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Post by Roncooper » Wed Feb 24, 2016 4:25 pm

Thank you for the clarification.

My position is that cause and effect does not rule out free will because there can be sources of cause. If there was a law of conservation of cause and effect then one could argue against free will on that basis, but there isn't such a law. There are untested theories that go against the data, which is personal experience.

This is my opinion. I hold this opinion because it is consistent with the only data we have, personal experience.

Let's consider an example. Being trained in the army I normally lead with my left foot when I start walking. However three options are possible. 1. I can not think about it and start with my left foot, 2. I can think about it and start with my left foot, or 3. I can think about it and start with my right foot.

In terms of energy consumed 2 and 3 consume the same energy whereas 1 uses less because I didn't spend time thinking.

In terms of cause and effect, I am fully aware that it makes no difference whether I think about it or chose the right or left foot. My choice is based on whimsy. Just for fun I can choose to alternate starting with my right then my left every time I walk for a whole day.

This behavior isn't about survival and it isn't done for any practical reason, and so I don't see how I am forced to choose the right then the left.
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