Free will and morality

GodsUseForAMosquito
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Free will and morality

 I've opened this thread because the debate was getting too busy here: http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/32691

I'll paraphrase where the discussion had got too thus far:

paraphrasing_Manageri wrote:

There is an objective standard for morality. This is: cause the least amount of suffering to sentient beings. The importance of each individual’s suffering should be treated as having equal weight when deciding how to act.


paraphrasing_GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:
If you think morality is objective, why does the suffering of each sentient being carry equal weight? Why does it not include the worth of the individual when making decisions on how to treat them?



paraphrasing_Manageri wrote:

You cannot take the worth into account because individuals do not have free will, and so are not liable for their actions, which would determine their worth. "Your actions are either entirely caused by your characteristics which you are obviously not responsible for, or they come (in part) from some mystical freedom. The question is, how can this freedom possibly make decisions if it has no pre-existing (and hence, unfree) characteristics of its own with which to judge the best course of action? The only way it could be "free" would be for it to have absolutely no biases or impulses whatsoever, in other words it can't have anything that could possibly affect a decision. Asserting free will is saying your decisions come from nowhere, which is clearly absurd. … All you have to do to make me consider your proposal is prove to me we have free will, or explain why free will is not a relevant factor in assigning ultimate responsibility."



Background:
This is essentially the ‘hard determinist’ viewpoint of free will. I.e. our actions are pre-determined; we are nothing more than a wind up toy that goes about its business in an entirely structured way, based upon environmental factors and our own make-up and nothing else.


Aside: I would ask you what you mean by ‘sentient life’ if free will does not exist? Hard Determinism would indicate that we are nothing more than ‘chinese room’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room) experiments, with no real sentience.


The consequence argument expands on this, by stating that even if you think you have free will, when you make a decision that may have been the decision you were always going to take, and so you didn’t really make that decision at all. This is an unfalsifiable claim – but that doesn’t make it true of course. (god creating the universe is unfalsifiable too).


I obviously can’t prove that free will exists, just as you can’t prove that it doesn’t. If either of us could do such a thing, we would become the greatest philosopher ever to have lived.
So let’s assume we have no free will, for argument’s sake. Everything is deterministic. We all live our lives making deterministic decisions based upon the pre-existing state of the universe, and nothing more. What does this mean for our moral philosophies?


Well, to my mind, it means this.

1. If I have no free will, then I am not responsible for my actions.
2. If I am not responsible for my actions, then any harm I cause others is not my responsibility
3. Further, any harm that is caused to me cannot be blamed on the actions of others
4. Therefore no sentient being has the ability to reduce the harm they may do to others
5. Therefore, the amount of harm increase or reduction in the universe is independent of any moral codes these sentient beings may have
6. Therefore there is no morality, objective or subjective.


I believe that in order to refute this, you must maintain that we do in fact have moral responsibility, and therefore determinism is false (so we do have free will).
So my conclusions are as follows:

1. You cannot maintain that morality exists and that we don’t have free will.
2. If you maintain we don’t have free will, then all your debating on moral objectivity is shown as fallacious
3. If you maintain that there is an objective moral standard, then you must accept there is free will, in which case we are free to consider my ‘objective moral standard which considers the ‘worth’ of an individual. And therefore you must provide an explanation why your objective moral standard is the correct one rather than mine.

Thanks.

 

PS, I'd prefer to limit the ad hom mudslinging in this thread that has been going on in the last one - let's keep it civil!


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Daniel Dennett's

Daniel Dennett's book : Freedom Evolving, explores this in really great detail. (It was a bit over my head and I had to re-read some of the chapters before proceeding any further). But determinism vs. indeterminism was quite an overwhelming lot to consider when putting it down.

I think we have some form of freedom of choice, but it is limited and is confined to our surroundings and environments and ourselves.

My decisions are based in part on my surroundings, my environment and on the rejection of all the christian nonsense that was instilled to me at a young age. (Ironic to say that my worldview was partially formed from rejecting christian morality, but that was a good starting point for me).

But I am no expert on this.

I would say that I can't live in a vacuum, every choice in front of me is not as easy as flipping a coin, and there are always things to consider before making that choice. Therefore, I could technically do what I wanted, and it is not just the fear of consequences that hold me back, but there are things to consider before I make that choice. Of course, not everyone has the same mindset as I, so that is just from my perspective.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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A hard deterministic

A hard deterministic paradigm makes most sense in a classical physics paradigm.  Where you have a static universe and a static space frame with a separate entity of time.  However this paradigm is wrong.  The uncertainty principle refutes any hard deterministic outlook.  it is not a matter of instrument clarity or fundamental mechanics ignorance that prevents us from knowing a particle's position and velocity simultaneously greater then h (Plank's constant), it appears to be a property of space/time.  

Free will basically nothing more then the sum of the uncertainty variations (that sounds oddly poetic in a really geeky way).

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


Manageri
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GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:

GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:


Aside: I would ask you what you mean by ‘sentient life’ if free will does not exist? Hard Determinism would indicate that we are nothing more than ‘chinese room’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room) experiments, with no real sentience.

I don't get how the Chinese Room thing applies to us. I also don't see how the lack of free will affects the potential existence of sentience in any way, just because our conciousness isn't really making our decisions doesn't mean we can't be concious of them.

Quote:
So let’s assume we have no free will, for argument’s sake. Everything is deterministic. We all live our lives making deterministic decisions based upon the pre-existing state of the universe, and nothing more. What does this mean for our moral philosophies?


Well, to my mind, it means this.

1. If I have no free will, then I am not responsible for my actions.
2. If I am not responsible for my actions, then any harm I cause others is not my responsibility
3. Further, any harm that is caused to me cannot be blamed on the actions of others

1 and 2 seem fine. I just wanna clarify a little to make sure we're on the same page; The "I" that is not responsible there is our conciousness. Clearly our brain is responsible for our actions but ethics isn't about how to treat brains, it's about how to treat sentience.

As for 3, I wouldn't say you can't blame harm caused to you on the "actions" of others. Clearly those actions are causing you harm but the conciousness of the person performing the actions is not ultimately responsible for them and hence punishing the conciousness for them would not make sense.


Quote:
4. Therefore no sentient being has the ability to reduce the harm they may do to others

5. Therefore, the amount of harm increase or reduction in the universe is independent of any moral codes these sentient beings may have

Whatever we do is predetermined but this does not mean we might as well think nothing matters. Clearly if I have a notion in my head that rape is fine then I will likely cause more suffering in the world than someone who doesn't have said notion, and so to argue I (or my brain) should not care about reducing harm makes no sense. Determinism does nothing to strip value from suffering.

Suppose we did provenly somehow live in a world with free will but we had mind controlling technology that could completely override a person's ability to decide for themselves. We then do some experiments with this technology and use mind control on a bunch of people and make them fight each other in good old gladiator combat. Now all of a sudden a meteor hits the planet that miraculously only kills everyone except the mind controlled people and hence eliminates all free will from the universe. Does the fact the gladiators don't have free will make it any less meaningful when they hurt each other in their pointless battle, does their suffering somehow have less value? Clearly not, so I really don't see why the inability to change our destiny means we can't declare certain things to be better or worse.

Quote:
6. Therefore there is no morality, objective or subjective.

I actually aren't that attached to the words morality or ethics, I could instead simply talk about value since that's basically what ethics is attempting to manage. It wouldn't change anything of importance if lack of free will in some technical sense means our decisions can't be cathegorized as ethical, our decisions still obviously affect each other's welfare in different ways and hence they are just as meaningful whether they're free or not.


Quote:
I believe that in order to refute this, you must maintain that we do in fact have moral responsibility, and therefore determinism is false (so we do have free will).

So my conclusions are as follows:

1. You cannot maintain that morality exists and that we don’t have free will.

Responsibility or no, our actions affect welfare and so I don't give a shit whether we slap the ethical label on them or not. The only thing that matters is they have the meaningful label.


Quote:
2. If you maintain we don’t have free will, then all your debating on moral objectivity is shown as fallacious

Lack of freedom does nothing to make welfare less meaningful and neither does it make certain behaviour objectively more or less conducive to that welfare. This is what I call ethical behaviour but like I said, if you really wanna steal that word from me then I can use something else and make the exact same points.


Quote:
3. If you maintain that there is an objective moral standard, then you must accept there is free will, in which case we are free to consider my ‘objective moral standard which considers the ‘worth’ of an individual. And therefore you must provide an explanation why your objective moral standard is the correct one rather than mine.

I believe I covered this one above more than once. 

I would still like you to directly address the short argument I made in the other thread btw (the one you quoted in the OP).

 


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Ktulu wrote:A hard

Ktulu wrote:

A hard deterministic paradigm makes most sense in a classical physics paradigm.  Where you have a static universe and a static space frame with a separate entity of time.  However this paradigm is wrong.  The uncertainty principle refutes any hard deterministic outlook.  it is not a matter of instrument clarity or fundamental mechanics ignorance that prevents us from knowing a particle's position and velocity simultaneously greater then h (Plank's constant), it appears to be a property of space/time.  

Free will basically nothing more then the sum of the uncertainty variations (that sounds oddly poetic in a really geeky way).

I don't know shit about physics so I have no way to know how (in)accurate any of this stuff is but even if it's all legit I've yet to see anyone explain how this uncertainty equals freedom. Why is freedom a more viable conclusion of "uncertain will" than chaos, wouldn't that imply we have concious control over this uncertainty and if so how is it still uncertain?


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Manageri wrote:I don't know

Manageri wrote:

I don't know shit about physics so I have no way to know how (in)accurate any of this stuff is but even if it's all legit I've yet to see anyone explain how this uncertainty equals freedom. Why is freedom a more viable conclusion of "uncertain will" than chaos, wouldn't that imply we have concious control over this uncertainty and if so how is it still uncertain?

Well you don't need to be Einstein to have heard of the uncertainty principle.  Basically it implies that it is impossible to measure ANYTHING's velocity and position with an accuracy greater then h (not just particles, I mean cars, pool balls, your balls Smiling ).  The more accurate you get the position, the less you will know about the velocity and conversely.  That implies that there is no predetermined arrangement of particles from point A to point B in time, you can only represent it statistically.  Or rather you can only express it as probabilities.  This arrangement has an 80% probability, where as this has 60%... so on and so forth.  I was just attacking the hard deterministic paradigm.  

So, the conclusion was that if uncertainty is the only thing that separates us from lack of free will (or hard deterministic approach), uncertainty is free will.

I can elaborate on the uncertainty principle if you want me to, but you can read some very eloquent articles on wiki. 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Manageri wrote:1 and 2 seem

Manageri wrote:
1 and 2 seem fine. I just wanna clarify a little to make sure we're on the same page; The "I" that is not responsible there is our conciousness. Clearly our brain is responsible for our actions but ethics isn't about how to treat brains, it's about how to treat sentience.
 Sure, we agree I think - forgive me if I'm wrong in understanding you but I believe you're saying our consciousness, which determines our actions, does not have free will? Brains are the matter which consciousness derives from, brains are wind up toys following a deterministic pattern.. I'm not sure why you need the separation here really.  
Manageri wrote:
As for 3, I wouldn't say you can't blame harm caused to you on the "actions" of others. Clearly those actions are causing you harm but the conciousness of the person performing the actions is not ultimately responsible for them and hence punishing the conciousness for them would not make sense.
 Can you blame someone if their car loses its brakes and they crashed into you because of this? You might be annoyed or hurt, but you can't really blame them for it really (blame = responsibility in this case - they lost their responsibility when the brakes failed). My point is if their actions are deterministic, the unfree consciousness watching the thing unfurl isn't responsible.   
Manageri wrote:
Whatever we do is predetermined but this does not mean we might as well think nothing matters. Clearly if I have a notion in my head that rape is fine then I will likely cause more suffering in the world than someone who doesn't have said notion, and so to argue I (or my brain) should not care about reducing harm makes no sense. Determinism does nothing to strip value from suffering.
  This quote is in direct opposition to your statement that we don't have free will. How exactly can you decide to rape less if your will is not free? Please expand on this - specifically how we can make choices about lowering suffering in a deterministic universe. 
Manageri wrote:
Suppose we did provenly somehow live in a world with free will but we had mind controlling technology that could completely override a person's ability to decide for themselves. We then do some experiments with this technology and use mind control on a bunch of people and make them fight each other in good old gladiator combat. Now all of a sudden a meteor hits the planet that miraculously only kills everyone except the mind controlled people and hence eliminates all free will from the universe. Does the fact the gladiators don't have free will make it any less meaningful when they hurt each other in their pointless battle, does their suffering somehow have less value? Clearly not, so I really don't see why the inability to change our destiny means we can't declare certain things to be better or worse. 
 We can declare certain things better or worse, but the fact we can't do anything about them makes it arbitrary. Throughout my life, in a deterministic universe, I am predetermined to have a set amount of suffering. Whether or not anyone thinks that's good or bad makes no difference to the amount of suffering I will go through. They can't change the amount, neither can I, so the whole thing becomes moot. You might as well declare that more light from the sun would be good and less would be bad - the sunlight won't change no matter how much you want it to - your calibrations from it are arbitrary. I maintain that because of this, morality is arbitrary, given your 'no free will' premise.  
Manageri wrote:
I actually aren't that attached to the words morality or ethics, I could instead simply talk about value since that's basically what ethics is attempting to manage. It wouldn't change anything of importance if lack of free will in some technical sense means our decisions can't be cathegorized as ethical, our decisions still obviously affect each other's welfare in different ways and hence they are just as meaningful whether they're free or not.
 OK, describe to me how you can change the Value of sentient life, while you're stuck in a deterministic universe. That is, how you can change it in a way that isn't pre-determined. How can you derive value in a clockwork universe? Surely you should be looking at it objectively? Look at the rapist and think, he was bound to rape, therefore the reduction in value he has created by raping someone was always going to happen. You can look at it and think its meaningful all you want, but if if it was always going to happen, why is it any more meaningful than anything else? how are you deriving 'meaning'?  
Manageri wrote:
Responsibility or no, our actions affect welfare and so I don't give a shit whether we slap the ethical label on them or not. The only thing that matters is they have the meaningful label.
Again, please define 'meaning' in a deterministic universe.  
Manageri wrote:
Quote:
3. If you maintain that there is an objective moral standard, then you must accept there is free will, in which case we are free to consider my ‘objective moral standard which considers the ‘worth’ of an individual. And therefore you must provide an explanation why your objective moral standard is the correct one rather than mine.
 I believe I covered this one above more than once. 
 I don't believe you have. You have not let me know whether you believe in an objective moral standard OR if you believe in free will. It cannot be both. If you disagree on this, you must refute my argument in the OP, which I don't think you have. To do this you must prove that morality exists in a deterministic universe. Merely saying something is true does not make it so.  
Manageri wrote:
I would still like you to directly address the short argument I made in the other thread btw (the one you quoted in the OP).
 I believe I did address this (The 'lack of free will' reasoning, I'm assuming) in the OP by saying it was unfalsifiable. I went further and went on to accept this as a premise for the sake of this discussion. I don't need to disprove free will, I have shown your objective moral standard to be fallacious GIVEN a lack of free will. That's what's interesting and what I'd like to pursue if that's ok. Thanks

 


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GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:

GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:

Manageri wrote:

1 and 2 seem fine. I just wanna clarify a little to make sure we're on the same page; The "I" that is not responsible there is our conciousness. Clearly our brain is responsible for our actions but ethics isn't about how to treat brains, it's about how to treat sentience.

Sure, we agree I think - forgive me if I'm wrong in understanding you but I believe you're saying our consciousness, which determines our actions, does not have free will? Brains are the matter which consciousness derives from, brains are wind up toys following a deterministic pattern.. I'm not sure why you need the separation here really.
 

No, the whole point of unfree will is that our conciousness does not decide our actions. Clearly the brain and conciousness are not the exact same thing even though conciousness is a product of the brain, you don't need to (nor can you) conciously control certain actions your body performs such as your heartbeat so you already get it that our brains perform SOME actions with our body without a prompt from our conciousness. The argument is about the actions we do feel in control of and whether that feeling is an illusion or not. 

 

Quote:
Manageri wrote:

As for 3, I wouldn't say you can't blame harm caused to you on the "actions" of others. Clearly those actions are causing you harm but the conciousness of the person performing the actions is not ultimately responsible for them and hence punishing the conciousness for them would not make sense.

 

Can you blame someone if their car loses its brakes and they crashed into you because of this? You might be annoyed or hurt, but you can't really blame them for it really (blame = responsibility in this case - they lost their responsibility when the brakes failed). My point is if their actions are deterministic, the unfree consciousness watching the thing unfurl isn't responsible.

 

No, you can't blame the conciousness. What I was trying to say is that clearly the actions of the body did cause you harm, but those actions are not the responsibility of its conciousness. 

 

Quote:
Manageri wrote:

Whatever we do is predetermined but this does not mean we might as well think nothing matters. Clearly if I have a notion in my head that rape is fine then I will likely cause more suffering in the world than someone who doesn't have said notion, and so to argue I (or my brain) should not care about reducing harm makes no sense. Determinism does nothing to strip value from suffering.

 

This quote is in direct opposition to your statement that we don't have free will. How exactly can you decide to rape less if your will is not free? Please expand on this - specifically how we can make choices about lowering suffering in a deterministic universe.

 

I didn't argue we can mysteriously make decisions to alter our behaviour via some freedom, I argued that the ideas in your head do affect how shitty the universe is. The important thing is that those ideas CAN change, and the fact those changes are predetermined as well is completely irrelevant. Ethics is precisely as important in a nonfree universe because the value of sentient welfare is just as important too. If you had a notion in your predetermined head now that rape is fine and my predetermined head made an argument to yours that showed you why you're an asshole and changed you, that action would be just as meaningful because so is the suffering it is likely to prevent whether free will exists or not. Explain to me how this is erroneous or how it means ethical considerations are irrelevant in a nonfree universe. 

 

Quote:
Manageri wrote:

Suppose we did provenly somehow live in a world with free will but we had mind controlling technology that could completely override a person's ability to decide for themselves. We then do some experiments with this technology and use mind control on a bunch of people and make them fight each other in good old gladiator combat. Now all of a sudden a meteor hits the planet that miraculously only kills everyone except the mind controlled people and hence eliminates all free will from the universe. Does the fact the gladiators don't have free will make it any less meaningful when they hurt each other in their pointless battle, does their suffering somehow have less value? Clearly not, so I really don't see why the inability to change our destiny means we can't declare certain things to be better or worse. 

 

We can declare certain things better or worse, but the fact we can't do anything about them makes it arbitrary.

 

Preposterous, we may never have a cure for certain illnesses either but that in no way implies that declaring they really suck balls is in some way arbitrary. 

 

Quote:
Throughout my life, in a deterministic universe, I am predetermined to have a set amount of suffering. Whether or not anyone thinks that's good or bad makes no difference to the amount of suffering I will go through. They can't change the amount, neither can I, so the whole thing becomes moot. You might as well declare that more light from the sun would be good and less would be bad - the sunlight won't change no matter how much you want it to - your calibrations from it are arbitrary. I maintain that because of this, morality is arbitrary, given your 'no free will' premise.
 

Yes, but if someone's predetermined fucknut head thinks that they might as well just go around raping and pillaging because it's meant to happen, then quite obviously our predetermined heads still have a perfectly logical reason to call that guy an asshole and go kick him off a cliff. 

It also wouldn't be at all pointless to declare more sunlight would be good as with that realization it becomes possible to invest in technology that could theoretically some day make that a reality (to pull a sci-fi example outta my ass - by making the surface of the moon somehow reflect more light or whatever). 

 

Quote:
Manageri wrote:

I actually aren't that attached to the words morality or ethics, I could instead simply talk about value since that's basically what ethics is attempting to manage. It wouldn't change anything of importance if lack of free will in some technical sense means our decisions can't be cathegorized as ethical, our decisions still obviously affect each other's welfare in different ways and hence they are just as meaningful whether they're free or not.

 

OK, describe to me how you can change the Value of sentient life, while you're stuck in a deterministic universe. That is, how you can change it in a way that isn't pre-determined. How can you derive value in a clockwork universe? Surely you should be looking at it objectively? Look at the rapist and think, he was bound to rape, therefore the reduction in value he has created by raping someone was always going to happen. You can look at it and think its meaningful all you want, but if if it was always going to happen, why is it any more meaningful than anything else? how are you deriving 'meaning'?

 

Ok, let's once again assume that we in fact have free will. Now I could then make this same argument to you about occurrences that are not in any way caused by the decisions of our free wills. You claiming there can be no value in a nonfree universe is no less silly than me declaring that since the meteor that's about to annihilate your hypothetical free will possessing humans doesn't have free will then you can't derive any meaning from the fact those people are about to get squished. 

 

Quote:
Manageri wrote:
Responsibility or no, our actions affect welfare and so I don't give a shit whether we slap the ethical label on them or not. The only thing that matters is they have the meaningful label.

Again, please define 'meaning' in a deterministic universe.

 

The sensation of having a crocodile rip your arm off, for example. 

This is silly, you might as well argue that if a sleepwalking person (which I assume you will grant has no free will) walks off a cliff and gets impaled on a sharp rock then we can't call that meaningful since there was no free will involved in that occurrence. 

 

Quote:
Manageri wrote:

Quote:
3. If you maintain that there is an objective moral standard, then you must accept there is free will, in which case we are free to consider my ‘objective moral standard which considers the ‘worth’ of an individual. And therefore you must provide an explanation why your objective moral standard is the correct one rather than mine.
 

I believe I covered this one above more than once. 

 

I don't believe you have. You have not let me know whether you believe in an objective moral standard OR if you believe in free will. It cannot be both. If you disagree on this, you must refute my argument in the OP, which I don't think you have. To do this you must prove that morality exists in a deterministic universe. Merely saying something is true does not make it so.

 

Lion rips gazelle to pieces, gazelle goes "OWFUCKSHITWTFSTOPASSHOLEKAJFLHFLSHFKLASFHLAS". 

Are you gonna tell me that because neither of those creatures has free will that the gazelle's suffering is meaningless, so if the lion could kill it by (relatively) quickly ripping it's throat out or slowly by eviscerating it, that we can't make any assessments of which method is preferable? Again, the fact the lion cannot in fact make that assessment is entirely meaningless to the fact that one of those methods is better than the other, and deciding which is preposterously simple, especially since the method of the gazelle's death doesn't even affect the lion's meal (or anything else meaningful as far as we can tell). 

 

Quote:
Manageri wrote:

I would still like you to directly address the short argument I made in the other thread btw (the one you quoted in the OP).

 

I believe I did address this (The 'lack of free will' reasoning, I'm assuming) in the OP by saying it was unfalsifiable. I went further and went on to accept this as a premise for the sake of this discussion. I don't need to disprove free will, I have shown your objective moral standard to be fallacious GIVEN a lack of free will. That's what's interesting and what I'd like to pursue if that's ok. 

Thanks 

I don't see how the argument is unfalsifiable, it merely presents a logical reason why free will is impossible, just like we can logically show that an all-powerful and all-good god does not exists with the problem of evil. I'd also find it profoundly interesting if you can't address such an argument, whether it has to do with ethics or not.


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  Manageri wrote: No, the

  

Manageri wrote:
 No, the whole point of unfree will is that our conciousness does not decide our actions. Clearly the brain and conciousness are not the exact same thing even though conciousness is a product of the brain, you don't need to (nor can you) conciously control certain actions your body performs such as your heartbeat so you already get it that our brains perform SOME actions with our body without a prompt from our conciousness. The argument is about the actions we do feel in control of and whether that feeling is an illusion or not. 
 I'm confused. Consciousnes comes from electrical signals in the brain. No matter how complex this may be, there's no magic envolved- no soul. Consciousnes is merely an extension of physical signals, so it is entirely bound by the brain's physical construct. Considering your free will assertation in the OP, consciousness is entirely deterministic. (if you believe it's not, then you are refuting your own 'no free will' argument).   
Manageri wrote:
 
Quote:
Quote:
Whatever we do is predetermined but this does not mean we might as well think nothing matters. Clearly if I have a notion in my head that rape is fine then I will likely cause more suffering in the world than someone who doesn't have said notion, and so to argue I (or my brain) should not care about reducing harm makes no sense. Determinism does nothing to strip value from suffering.
  This quote is in direct opposition to your statement that we don't have free will. How exactly can you decide to rape less if your will is not free? Please expand on this - specifically how we can make choices about lowering suffering in a deterministic universe.
  I didn't argue we can mysteriously make decisions to alter our behaviour via some freedom, I argued that the ideas in your head do affect how shitty the universe is. The important thing is that those ideas CAN change, and the fact those changes are predetermined as well is completely irrelevant. Ethics is precisely as important in a nonfree universe because the value of sentient welfare is just as important too. If you had a notion in your predetermined head now that rape is fine and my predetermined head made an argument to yours that showed you why you're an asshole and changed you, that action would be just as meaningful because so is the suffering it is likely to prevent whether free will exists or not. Explain to me how this is erroneous or how it means ethical considerations are irrelevant in a nonfree universe. 
It's precisely because it's predetermined that it's not valuable. Let's say you're watching a film about a puppy that's strapped to an electrocution device. In front of you are two buttons, labelled 'kill puppy' and 'save puppy'. You should press one of them, whilst watching this prerecorded film. Are you saying that pressing a button really adds value or detracts value from the puppy? The film goes on regardless. Your illusion of free will doesn't actually do anything to the puppy - the puppy has a predetermined amount of suffering in its life. The button you choose to press is irrelevant, irrespective of whatever reasoning you have for pushing it. (I grant that this experiment is an imperfect example because you can assume you have free will to press a button, but it demonstrates that whatever your consciousness thinks, in a deterministic universe, it doesn't make a difference.) You can think you contributed to the puppy's welfare, but you actually haven't. You think it's meaningful, but it's really not.    
Manageri wrote:
 
Quote:
We can declare certain things better or worse, but the fact we can't do anything about them makes it arbitrary.
  Preposterous, we may never have a cure for certain illnesses either but that in no way implies that declaring they really suck balls is in some way arbitrary. 
Watch the film again. It's about someone trying to find a cure for cancer. You may get emotional about the film, but that has no effect on the ending. Your emotions do not matter to the people in the film.   
Manageri wrote:
Quote:
Throughout my life, in a deterministic universe, I am predetermined to have a set amount of suffering. Whether or not anyone thinks that's good or bad makes no difference to the amount of suffering I will go through. They can't change the amount, neither can I, so the whole thing becomes moot. You might as well declare that more light from the sun would be good and less would be bad - the sunlight won't change no matter how much you want it to - your calibrations from it are arbitrary. I maintain that because of this, morality is arbitrary, given your 'no free will' premise.
  Yes, but if someone's predetermined fucknut head thinks that they might as well just go around raping and pillaging because it's meant to happen, then quite obviously our predetermined heads still have a perfectly logical reason to call that guy an asshole and go kick him off a cliff. 
Fine - but again if he's destined to go off the cliff, what have you actually accomplished? You seem to think that your predestined choice has value because it happens to fit your description of value. You have no say in the decision, so how is what actually happens anything to do fulfilling with your value system?  
Manageri wrote:
It also wouldn't be at all pointless to declare more sunlight would be good as with that realization it becomes possible to invest in technology that could theoretically some day make that a reality (to pull a sci-fi example outta my ass - by making the surface of the moon somehow reflect more light or whatever). 
This totally misses the point I was trying to make. The puppy film is a better one though, so let's go with that. 
Manageri wrote:
Quote:
OK, describe to me how you can change the Value of sentient life, while you're stuck in a deterministic universe. That is, how you can change it in a way that isn't pre-determined. How can you derive value in a clockwork universe? Surely you should be looking at it objectively? Look at the rapist and think, he was bound to rape, therefore the reduction in value he has created by raping someone was always going to happen. You can look at it and think its meaningful all you want, but if if it was always going to happen, why is it any more meaningful than anything else? how are you deriving 'meaning'?
  Ok, let's once again assume that we in fact have free will. Now I could then make this same argument to you about occurrences that are not in any way caused by the decisions of our free wills. You claiming there can be no value in a nonfree universe is no less silly than me declaring that since the meteor that's about to annihilate your hypothetical free will possessing humans doesn't have free will then you can't derive any meaning from the fact those people are about to get squished. 
No, that's fallacious. If we have free will, then a value system can exist (objective or subjective isn't important for this example). People dying or being injured by a freak occurrance will affect people in this value system. You're confusing a deterministic univers with a non-deterministic one where some of it does damage.These really aren't the same thing at all. In the first, it's predetermined - it always will happen. In the second, it might not happen until it does. There is value in attempting to stop it, if possible. The asteroid is a bad example because it's unlikely to be stoppable, but something smaller like preventing a puppy dying would of course change value in a free will universe. watching a film of a puppy dying (deterministic, non-free will universe) will not change value. 
Manageri wrote:
Quote:
 Again, please define 'meaning' in a deterministic universe.
  The sensation of having a crocodile rip your arm off, for example.  This is silly, you might as well argue that if a sleepwalking person (which I assume you will grant has no free will) walks off a cliff and gets impaled on a sharp rock then we can't call that meaningful since there was no free will involved in that occurrence. 
False analogy fallacy. The sleepwalker lives in a free will universe (I assume that's your contention, otherwise why bother bringing it up as a comparison), so is surrounded by value. Just because while the person is asleep they are not acting under their own will doesn't mean that as soon as they wake up with a spike through them they won't feel huge amounts of pain, or the person nearby who sees it doesn't vomit with the shock of the sight.  
Manageri wrote:
 Lion rips gazelle to pieces, gazelle goes "OWFUCKSHITWTFSTOPASSHOLEKAJFLHFLSHFKLASFHLAS".  Are you gonna tell me that because neither of those creatures has free will that the gazelle's suffering is meaningless, so if the lion could kill it by (relatively) quickly ripping it's throat out or slowly by eviscerating it, that we can't make any assessments of which method is preferable? Again, the fact the lion cannot in fact make that assessment is entirely meaningless to the fact that one of those methods is better than the other, and deciding which is preposterously simple, especially since the method of the gazelle's death doesn't even affect the lion's meal (or anything else meaningful as far as we can tell). 
A better example would be to ask someone in a deterministic universe to watch two films. One has a gazelle dying quickly, and the other a gazelle dying slowly in lots of pain, and choose what should happen to the next gazelle. your value system is essentially this. BUT, because the universe is deterministic, there is no choice, the third gazelle is bound to suffer according to the predetermined universal clockwork. if there's no choice, there's really no wrong answer, and hence there's no value system to be derived.  
Manageri wrote:
 I don't see how the {free will in the OP} argument is unfalsifiable, it merely presents a logical reason why free will is impossible, just like we can logically show that an all-powerful and all-good god does not exists with the problem of evil. I'd also find it profoundly interesting if you can't address such an argument, whether it has to do with ethics or not. 
 I have never said whether I believe in free will or not...

 


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GodsUseForAMosquito wrote: I

GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:
I have never said whether I believe in free will or not...


Then maybe you should have the balls to do so? Unless you're genuinely undecided on the issue, I can understand that.

Quote:
I'm confused. Consciousnes comes from electrical signals in the brain. No matter how complex this may be, there's no magic envolved- no soul. Consciousnes is merely an extension of physical signals, so it is entirely bound by the brain's physical construct. Considering your free will assertation in the OP, consciousness is entirely deterministic. (if you believe it's not, then you are refuting your own 'no free will' argument).


Of course it is, I don't know how you got the idea I'm arguing the alternative. The point is that our brain does more than produce conciousness. Even free willists can see there's a shitload of things our brain does that are not initiated by our conciousness, and the only evidence we have that ANY actions are thus iniated is that "it feels that way", which is certainly circumstancial evidence but if we can logically show that that feeling is a mere illusion then that evidence weighs a hell of a lot more.

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I didn't argue we can mysteriously make decisions to alter our behaviour via some freedom, I argued that the ideas in your head do affect how shitty the universe is. The important thing is that those ideas CAN change, and the fact those changes are predetermined as well is completely irrelevant. Ethics is precisely as important in a nonfree universe because the value of sentient welfare is just as important too. If you had a notion in your predetermined head now that rape is fine and my predetermined head made an argument to yours that showed you why you're an asshole and changed you, that action would be just as meaningful because so is the suffering it is likely to prevent whether free will exists or not. Explain to me how this is erroneous or how it means ethical considerations are irrelevant in a nonfree universe.



It's precisely because it's predetermined that it's not valuable. Let's say you're watching a film about a puppy that's strapped to an electrocution device. In front of you are two buttons, labelled 'kill puppy' and 'save puppy'. You should press one of them, whilst watching this prerecorded film. Are you saying that pressing a button really adds value or detracts value from the puppy? The film goes on regardless. Your illusion of free will doesn't actually do anything to the puppy - the puppy has a predetermined amount of suffering in its life. The button you choose to press is irrelevant, irrespective of whatever reasoning you have for pushing it. (I grant that this experiment is an imperfect example because you can assume you have free will to press a button, but it demonstrates that whatever your consciousness thinks, in a deterministic universe, it doesn't make a difference.)


A recording has already happened in the past, whatever button I press cannot change it. Our ethical standards today however do affect the future whether they're predetermined or not, and hence it's highly meaningful what those standards are. There's absolutely no logical reason for my predetermined brain to think that I might as well go around shooting people in the nuts with my slingshot just because the universe is deterministic (or "unfree" if you wanna make a big deal outta that quantum uncertainty crap or whatever).

Quote:
You can think you contributed to the puppy's welfare, but you actually haven't. You think it's meaningful, but it's really not.


Me hitting buttons watching a recording is not meaningful but the fact some mangy anus tortured a puppy does have value.

Quote:
Manageri wrote:


Quote:
We can declare certain things better or worse, but the fact we can't do anything about them makes it arbitrary.
 

Preposterous, we may never have a cure for certain illnesses either but that in no way implies that declaring they really suck balls is in some way arbitrary.


Watch the film again. It's about someone trying to find a cure for cancer. You may get emotional about the film, but that has no effect on the ending. Your emotions do not matter to the people in the film.


And whether the people in the film start out thinking "lol fuck your cancer, I'm gonna go get drunk", or "holy fucking shit that's a nasty goddamn disease, I better get my ass to the lab to find a cure" kinda has a big chance of changing the ending. Again, we are not currently at the end of our "Fucknuts in the universe vol 1" film so our attitudes do still matter.

Quote:
Quote:


Yes, but if someone's predetermined fucknut head thinks that they might as well just go around raping and pillaging because it's meant to happen, then quite obviously our predetermined heads still have a perfectly logical reason to call that guy an asshole and go kick him off a cliff.



Fine - but again if he's destined to go off the cliff, what have you actually accomplished? You seem to think that your predestined choice has value because it happens to fit your description of value. You have no say in the decision, so how is what actually happens anything to do fulfilling with your value system?


Fucknut off the cliff = the chick down the road doesn't get raped, how is this not meaningful?

Quote:
Manageri wrote:


Quote:
OK, describe to me how you can change the Value of sentient life, while you're stuck in a deterministic universe. That is, how you can change it in a way that isn't pre-determined. How can you derive value in a clockwork universe? Surely you should be looking at it objectively? Look at the rapist and think, he was bound to rape, therefore the reduction in value he has created by raping someone was always going to happen. You can look at it and think its meaningful all you want, but if if it was always going to happen, why is it any more meaningful than anything else? how are you deriving 'meaning'?


Ok, let's once again assume that we in fact have free will. Now I could then make this same argument to you about occurrences that are not in any way caused by the decisions of our free wills. You claiming there can be no value in a nonfree universe is no less silly than me declaring that since the meteor that's about to annihilate your hypothetical free will possessing humans doesn't have free will then you can't derive any meaning from the fact those people are about to get squished.


No, that's fallacious. If we have free will, then a value system can exist (objective or subjective isn't important for this example). People dying or being injured by a freak occurrance will affect people in this value system. You're confusing a deterministic univers with a non-deterministic one where some of it does damage.These really aren't the same thing at all. In the first, it's predetermined - it always will happen. In the second, it might not happen until it does. There is value in attempting to stop it, if possible. The asteroid is a bad example because it's unlikely to be stoppable, but something smaller like preventing a puppy dying would of course change value in a free will universe. watching a film of a puppy dying (deterministic, non-free will universe) will not change value.


And you're once again looking at the universes from the POV of after everything has already happened. This is not the situation we are in currently so why would I think there's no meaningful difference in whether or not my predetermined penis happens to land in a nonconsensual vagina tomorrow, and why would your predetermined foot not kick me in the head if you see me trying to pull that shit?

Quote:
Manageri wrote:


Quote:
Again, please define 'meaning' in a deterministic universe.
 

The sensation of having a crocodile rip your arm off, for example. 

This is silly, you might as well argue that if a sleepwalking person (which I assume you will grant has no free will) walks off a cliff and gets impaled on a sharp rock then we can't call that meaningful since there was no free will involved in that occurrence.


False analogy fallacy. The sleepwalker lives in a free will universe (I assume that's your contention, otherwise why bother bringing it up as a comparison), so is surrounded by value. Just because while the person is asleep they are not acting under their own will doesn't mean that as soon as they wake up with a spike through them they won't feel huge amounts of pain, or the person nearby who sees it doesn't vomit with the shock of the sight.


Surrounded by value? I don't see how that makes any difference, are you saying the value of his suffering is dependant on whether or not something around him has value?

Quote:
Manageri wrote:
Lion rips gazelle to pieces, gazelle goes "OWFUCKSHITWTFSTOPASSHOLEKAJFLHFLSHFKLASFHLAS".

Are you gonna tell me that because neither of those creatures has free will that the gazelle's suffering is meaningless, so if the lion could kill it by (relatively) quickly ripping it's throat out or slowly by eviscerating it, that we can't make any assessments of which method is preferable? Again, the fact the lion cannot in fact make that assessment is entirely meaningless to the fact that one of those methods is better than the other, and deciding which is preposterously simple, especially since the method of the gazelle's death doesn't even affect the lion's meal (or anything else meaningful as far as we can tell).



A better example would be to ask someone in a deterministic universe to watch two films. One has a gazelle dying quickly, and the other a gazelle dying slowly in lots of pain, and choose what should happen to the next gazelle. your value system is essentially this.

BUT, because the universe is deterministic, there is no choice, the third gazelle is bound to suffer according to the predetermined universal clockwork. if there's no choice, there's really no wrong answer, and hence there's no value system to be derived.


And once again the fact the choise is predetermined does not mean that the value system of the person making the next choise is irrelevant, and hence there's all the purpose in the world in us making ethical arguments in the present to affect how people act in the future, totally regardless of whether those arguments are predetermined or not.


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 GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:

 

GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:

1. If I have no free will, then I am not responsible for my actions.
2. If I am not responsible for my actions, then any harm I cause others is not my responsibility

 You are still the set of things that comprise your body and brain.  

 If a computer program is not working properly even though it is not responsible for its creation does not mean we keep it running in the system.  You either fix the problem with the program.  Stop using it. Or delete it.  Or for humans: behavioral modification, jail, or death (put down).

 

GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:

3. Further, any harm that is caused to me cannot be blamed on the actions of others

 The program that is causing the harm can still be separated from the rest of the system.

GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:

4. Therefore no sentient being has the ability to reduce the harm they may do to others
5. Therefore, the amount of harm increase or reduction in the universe is independent of any moral codes these sentient beings may have
6. Therefore there is no morality, objective or subjective.

 A set of actions that increase the likely-hood of our survival is selected because its beneficial.

Would you consider an algorithm to be objective or subjective? 

I have no evidence to support that free will is true.  However that does mean that the only alternative is determinism. From what I have read about for quantum uncertainty would me we cannot determine all aspect of the system, but it would be better described as random, not willed.

Sounds made up...
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Manageri wrote:

Manageri wrote:

GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:
I have never said whether I believe in free will or not...

 

Then maybe you should have the balls to do so? Unless you're genuinely undecided on the issue, I can understand that.

What has my belief in free will, or lack of,  got to do with this debate? And what has it got to do with my balls? This is a discussion assuming the lack of free will. I'm happy not to distract with my personal input from it for now.

 

Manageri wrote:

 

A recording has already happened in the past, whatever button I press cannot change it. Our ethical standards today however do affect the future whether they're predetermined or not, and hence it's highly meaningful what those standards are. There's absolutely no logical reason for my predetermined brain to think that I might as well go around shooting people in the nuts with my slingshot just because the universe is deterministic (or "unfree" if you wanna make a big deal outta that quantum uncertainty crap or whatever). 

 

You're missing the point of the thought experiment. The point isn't that the event actually happened in the past, it's that what you're seeing is predetermined.

 

You say 'Our ethical standards today DO AFFECT THE FUTURE whether they're predetermined or not'. This is impossible if they are predetermined. to affect something is to change it from its natural path. but because it exists in a predetermined world, it cannot be changed from its predetermined path, so it cannot be affected.

 

You've maintained several times now that a value system we hold can change the future in a predetermined universe. This is impossible, by definition. Why do you keep saying it?

 

 

 

Manageri wrote:

Quote:
You can think you contributed to the puppy's welfare, but you actually haven't. You think it's meaningful, but it's really not.

 

Me hitting buttons watching a recording is not meaningful but the fact some mangy anus tortured a puppy does have value. 

Why? remember to quantify your answer within the construct of a deterministic universe.

 

Manageri wrote:

 

And whether the people in the film start out thinking "lol fuck your cancer, I'm gonna go get drunk", or "holy fucking shit that's a nasty goddamn disease, I better get my ass to the lab to find a cure" kinda has a big chance of changing the ending. Again, we are not currently at the end of our "Fucknuts in the universe vol 1" film so our attitudes do still matter. 

There you go saying you can change the ending of a predetermined universe. The film only has one ending - the characters in the film have absolutely no chance of changing it. Do you understand this concept of pre-determinism that you're so keen on supporting? It sounds like you're trying to have your cake and eat it too.

 

 

Manageri wrote:

 

Fucknut off the cliff = the chick down the road doesn't get raped, how is this not meaningful? 

It's not meaningful because it was always going to happen anyway. Seriously, I am beginning to feel like I'm repeating myself too much here.

 

 

Manageri wrote:

 

And you're once again looking at the universes from the POV of after everything has already happened. This is not the situation we are in currently so why would I think there's no meaningful difference in whether or not my predetermined penis happens to land in a nonconsensual vagina tomorrow, and why would your predetermined foot not kick me in the head if you see me trying to pull that shit? 

 

Remember that I am playing by YOUR rules here - you are the one arguing for no free will in a deterministic universe. a deterministic universe is essentially like a long film - rewind and fast-forward as much as you like, that point in the film will always look exactly the same, regardless of what's happened earlier in the film. it's not that everything has already happened that I'm trying to maintain, it's that everything WILL happen the same way regardless of any perceived choices you think you have - in this universe you're just a film character. You may make a choice in the film, but it's predetermined - the future is set.

 

(Aside: in all probability, due to quantum fluctuations, the universe is unlikely to act like a giant roll of film where the same thing would happen every time from the same set of starting parameters, but that has nothing to do with free will or lack thereof - because our decisions do not cause quantum fluctuations, and therefore do not affect the direction of the universe - For the continuation of this thought experiment however, we can ignore this on the basis it doesn't provide free will)

 

 

 

Manageri wrote:

 

Quote:

False analogy fallacy. The sleepwalker lives in a free will universe (I assume that's your contention, otherwise why bother bringing it up as a comparison), so is surrounded by value. Just because while the person is asleep they are not acting under their own will doesn't mean that as soon as they wake up with a spike through them they won't feel huge amounts of pain, or the person nearby who sees it doesn't vomit with the shock of the sight.

 

Surrounded by value? I don't see how that makes any difference, are you saying the value of his suffering is dependant on whether or not something around him has value? 

 

 

Ok, being clear here, we're now assuming free will in this bit (This may get confusing if we keep swapping around). What I mean is you can alter the value of those around you by your actions - If I murder a puppy in front of a bunch of people, their shock and disgust would mean that their value has been negatively affected. that's all I mean by 'surrounded by value' - the value of sentient beings around the individual. 

 

Manageri wrote:

 

Quote:

A better example would be to ask someone in a deterministic universe to watch two films. One has a gazelle dying quickly, and the other a gazelle dying slowly in lots of pain, and choose what should happen to the next gazelle. your value system is essentially this. 

 

BUT, because the universe is deterministic, there is no choice, the third gazelle is bound to suffer according to the predetermined universal clockwork. if there's no choice, there's really no wrong answer, and hence there's no value system to be derived.

 

And once again the fact the choise is predetermined does not mean that the value system of the person making the next choise is irrelevant, and hence there's all the purpose in the world in us making ethical arguments in the present to affect how people act in the future, totally regardless of whether those arguments are predetermined or not.

 

 

There you go AGAIN with saying you can affect the future with choices in a predetermined universe. You can't. Your entire argument seems to be based on this.

 

 

 

How about instead of us continuing to chunk up our previous conversations into more and more difficult to follow pieces (apologies to the peanut gallery), you just explain to me how you can make a choice in a predetermined universe that affects the future. This is logically impossible, so I'm interested in hearing you maintain this stance.

 

 

PS I'm very much enjoying this discussion, so thank you for your continued involvement.

 


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 Hi Magus,Welcome to the

 Hi Magus,

Welcome to the discussion.

 

Your 'faulty program' example is not really valid because you're assuming some individuals with no free will in a non-deterministic, free will universe. We are discussing a thought experiment where the entire universe is non-free will and deterministic. There is no 'rest of the system' in this case.

 

I agree that lack of free will does not imply determinism (see my quantum fluctuation 'aside' paragraph above). However, indeterminism does not necessarily provide free will.

 

Thanks

 

 

 

 

 

 


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I am not saying I have some

I am not saying I have some magical ability to change determinism. I am saying that my ethical standards are a vital part of how the film plays out as far as my involvement in it goes, just like the height and location of a tree affect it's chance of getting struck by lightning, but this does not in any way imply that something in the universe necessarily made a concious choise to plant the tree there.

Your argument would have my predetermined brain conclude that it's totally fine for me to go around raping and torturing things just because it may or may not be my unchangeable destiny, which is preposterous as doing so would cause the exact same amount of suffering as it would in a nondetermined scenario (though I maintain such a scenario is logically impossible) so why the hell would my predetermined brain not think about that question ethically?

Quote:
Remember that I am playing by YOUR rules here - you are the one arguing for no free will in a deterministic universe. a deterministic universe is essentially like a long film - rewind and fast-forward as much as you like, that point in the film will always look exactly the same, regardless of what's happened earlier in the film. it's not that everything has already happened that I'm trying to maintain, it's that everything WILL happen the same way regardless of any perceived choices you think you have - in this universe you're just a film character. You may make a choice in the film, but it's predetermined - the future is set.

The point is different films have different conclusions. You're essentially arguing that just because the nature of a film is necessarily deterministic that no value judgements can be made on the content of any of them. Obviously my brain can look at recordings of balet dancing or gang rape and make a perfectly logical decision on which one should happen again if I'm given that choise, and just because our choises are in fact predetermined does not mean our brain doesn't have a logical reason to make those decisions ethically, as that is what will determine how the rest of the film plays out. It's as if you're arguing the people in the zombie film may as well leave the door open just because it's already decided whether the zombies will eventually get in the house or not.

Quote:
You say 'Our ethical standards today DO AFFECT THE FUTURE whether they're predetermined or not'. This is impossible if they are predetermined. to affect something is to change it from its natural path. but because it exists in a predetermined world, it cannot be changed from its predetermined path, so it cannot be affected.

No, to affect something is to play a part in what happens to it next. The sun's gravity affects us regardless of the fact it has no choise. Whether I think rape is wrong or not will affect the future regardless of the fact I have no concious control over that thought in my head.

 


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Everything's determined.

Everything’s determined.  There is no free will.  There are ‘ethics’ but these have no objective status.

Lack of free will doesn’t mean lack of responsibility –everyone is totally responsible for their actions, because they come from who they are, what could make you more accountable than that?  I’m not interested in what ethical conclusion some sicko came to before he decided to go out and murder someone – I’m interested in what he did.  The criminal justice system should punish people for what they are, as evidenced through their actions, not for the niceties or otherwise of their ethical judgements.  Hence the criminally insane should be executed along with all other murderers.

Human beings seem to need ‘ethics’ in the same way they need religion – to make them feel important, so they can pretend that their judgement matters somehow.  I’m not proposing we get rid of them – how could you when they seem to spring up spontaneously in all societies?

As for this ‘uncertainty principle’ crap – I’ve heard it all before. It’s always trotted out by people who can’t deal with the fact that they are not lord and master of their own destiny. They need to believe they’re some kind of god or something. So because particle physics can’t explain something at the level of quantum mechanics that somehow invalidates the explanation of 99.999999% of the rest of  what happens and is an argument for freedom of the human will, is it  - in what way? Do we somehow harness this uncertainty in order to allow us to subvert determinism and assert our free will? And how do we do that exactly? If the uncertainty principle is an argument for anything, it’s an argument for chaos.
 

I quote no 'authorities'. I speak in my own words. I bring everything to the bar of my own judgment.


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Mr C O Jones

Mr C O Jones wrote:

Everything’s determined.  There is no free will.  There are ‘ethics’ but these have no objective status.

Lack of free will doesn’t mean lack of responsibility –everyone is totally responsible for their actions, because they come from who they are, what could make you more accountable than that?  I’m not interested in what ethical conclusion some sicko came to before he decided to go out and murder someone – I’m interested in what he did.  The criminal justice system should punish people for what they are, as evidenced through their actions, not for the niceties or otherwise of their ethical judgements.  Hence the criminally insane should be executed along with all other murderers.

Human beings seem to need ‘ethics’ in the same way they need religion – to make them feel important, so they can pretend that their judgement matters somehow.  I’m not proposing we get rid of them – how could you when they seem to spring up spontaneously in all societies?

As for this ‘uncertainty principle’ crap – I’ve heard it all before. It’s always trotted out by people who can’t deal with the fact that they are not lord and master of their own destiny. They need to believe they’re some kind of god or something. So because particle physics can’t explain something at the level of quantum mechanics that somehow invalidates the explanation of 99.999999% of the rest of  what happens and is an argument for freedom of the human will, is it  - in what way? Do we somehow harness this uncertainty in order to allow us to subvert determinism and assert our free will? And how do we do that exactly? If the uncertainty principle is an argument for anything, it’s an argument for chaos.
 

Wait, are you saying that the uncertainty principle is crap? Or that it doesn't defeat "hard determinism" or "Laplacian determinism"?  I want to be clear on what you mean before I go on a rant.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Manageri wrote:The point is

Manageri wrote:

The point is different films have different conclusions.

The deterministic universe is not a series of different films, where the characters can suddenly swap between them - it's only one film - one beginning, one end. The same ending will occur irrespective of prior events in the film because it is deterministic and therefore known from the start (to an outside observer able to look at the film as a whole). To say the universe allows its inhabitants to choose their own ending means you're allowing free will (again).

 

Manageri wrote:

You're essentially arguing that just because the nature of a film is necessarily deterministic that no value judgements can be made on the content of any of them.

That's right - except for the multiple films bit again. The nature of THE film is deterministic, so no value judgements can be made on the content of it. It simply is what it is. What exactly are you going to compare it to? A different universe perhaps? (I guess so if you're talking about different films) 

Let's roll with this.

So we have two deterministic universes, one very much like ours, and one where all beings in it are suffering huge amounts of pain at all times. You are saying our universe is better because there is less suffering.

Why?

Both start with a big bang, and proceed in entirely deterministic fashion so none of the characters in them have any free will to choose their route through life. We can assume they are equivalent to two different films.

You've chosen a difference between the two films and said this is the objective standard to measure them against (i.e. how much the characters in the films appear to suffer). Why not choose something different.. length of the film / number of characters / quality of the sound? Why is something that is pre-set and purely arbitrary the only method to judge the film? Remember you can't change anything in either film, you can only watch - and you're watching as an impartial observer, NOT as a character in either film. If you start reasoning from the perspective of a character in either film, then you are making a SUBJECTIVE decision.

 

 

I'm not going to carry on correcting you when you make this error. Determinism means one universal film-roll, We have no actual decisions to make - it's scripted. You can get upset about puppies dying - but you were always going to. you had no choice. It's not about thinking you 'may as well do nothing then' because to do so would mean you once again had some choice in your actions! If you compare this universe to another on the basis of suffering, you are making a subjective comparison.

 

Unless you can accept that this is what the result of no free will means, I'm not sure this conversation can progress.

 

 

 

 

 


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GodsUseForAMosquito

GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:

Manageri wrote:

The point is different films have different conclusions.

The deterministic universe is not a series of different films, where the characters can suddenly swap between them - it's only one film - one beginning, one end. The same ending will occur irrespective of prior events in the film because it is deterministic and therefore known from the start (to an outside observer able to look at the film as a whole). To say the universe allows its inhabitants to choose their own ending means you're allowing free will (again).

I didn't say that, the point is that we can imagine different endings and make value comparisons between them. On my way out the door I can compare stepping over my cat to kicking her the fuck outta the way, and make a logical deduction on which outcome is preferable. The fact this is all predetermined so I don't in fact have that choise does not mean that we can't say it isn't good that my brain opted to step over the cat, because we can imagine a different course of events for that film where I kick her against a wall, and the fact that outcome was not in fact possible does not mean it wouldn't have been a shittier option. 

Quote:
Manageri wrote:

You're essentially arguing that just because the nature of a film is necessarily deterministic that no value judgements can be made on the content of any of them.

That's right - except for the multiple films bit again. The nature of THE film is deterministic, so no value judgements can be made on the content of it. It simply is what it is. What exactly are you going to compare it to? A different universe perhaps? (I guess so if you're talking about different films)

What's wrong with comparing our situation to a different one? I don't need free will to compare different possibilities and figure out which sucks more or less.

Quote:
Let's roll with this.

So we have two deterministic universes, one very much like ours, and one where all beings in it are suffering huge amounts of pain at all times. You are saying our universe is better because there is less suffering.

Why?

Because I know that having a dagger up my ass is really not all that much fun. How the hell does whether suffering sucks have anything to do with free will?

Quote:
Both start with a big bang, and proceed in entirely deterministic fashion so none of the characters in them have any free will to choose their route through life. We can assume they are equivalent to two different films.

You've chosen a difference between the two films and said this is the objective standard to measure them against (i.e. how much the characters in the films appear to suffer). Why not choose something different.. length of the film / number of characters / quality of the sound? Why is something that is pre-set and purely arbitrary the only method to judge the film? Remember you can't change anything in either film, you can only watch - and you're watching as an impartial observer, NOT as a character in either film. If you start reasoning from the perspective of a character in either film, then you are making a SUBJECTIVE decision.

I could just as easily and nonsensically choose something different if we had free will. Again, the (laughably simplistic) subject of whether suffering is bad has fuckall to do with free will.

I also can't believe we're back to this subjective nonsense. The only thing that matters in the universe (in ANY universe) is sentient welfare. The fact different sentients have different subjective preferences does not mean I can't make the objective observation that these creatures are better off having their subjective desires fulfilled. The fact the lion thinks raw meat is better than carrots is a subjective preference, the fact it's better then for the welfare of the lion if it gets meat rather than carrots is objective. 

Quote:
I'm not going to carry on correcting you when you make this error. Determinism means one universal film-roll, We have no actual decisions to make - it's scripted. You can get upset about puppies dying - but you were always going to. you had no choice. It's not about thinking you 'may as well do nothing then' because to do so would mean you once again had some choice in your actions!

Well if you agree that it's good we don't just sit on our asses going "determinism, lol" when the neighbor's house is on fire then I really aren't sure what the meaningful disagreement here is.


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Ktulu- I'm saying that the

Ktulu- I'm saying that the uncertainty principle is crap in the sense that it doesn't invalidate the absence of free will. I know that you want this debate to become about the uncertainty principle, which you probably think you know something about, and not about free will, but that's not what this thread is about so please don't think that all you've got to do is try and prove the uncertainty principle and you've won the argument - you haven't. You've got to demonstrate why it makes free will possible, which your previous post singularly failed to do  - 'the sum of all those uncertainties'? Come on, do you expect anyone to take that seriously? And please use your own arguments, rather than just invoking authorities or hiding behind scientific jargon. At the very least the uncertainty principle is controversial even just in terms of physics. A simple look at the wikipedia entry on the uncertainty principle shows that Einstein disputed it. The entry closes with the following words:

''Some scientists including Arthur Compton[67] and Martin Heisenberg[68] have suggested that the uncertainty principle, or at least the general probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics, could be evidence for the two-stage model of free will. The standard view, however, is that apart from the basic role of quantum mechanics as a foundation for chemistry, nontrivial biological mechanisms requiring quantum mechanics are unlikely due to the rapid decoherence time of quantum systems at room temperature.[69]'

I quote no 'authorities'. I speak in my own words. I bring everything to the bar of my own judgment.


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You seem to know an awful

You seem to know an awful lot about me.  If you can put that chip down off your shoulder for a bit, perhaps we can have us an honest to goodness discussion. 

Firstly, far be it from me to claim a better understanding of a fundamental aspect of our reality, than someone that has read a Wiki page on it.  And Einstein disputed it too... it must be false.  CHECK MATE atheist ! Smiling The uncertainty principle is a mathematical reality, it is a fundamental property of a wave.  

Secondly, I've never claimed that there is a "free will" as theist believe in it.  I have simply said that a hard deterministic universe is only possible in a static frame of reference, a newtonian paradigm.  

Now you seem to have this whole deterministic thing figured out down pat.  Is your definition of a deterministic universe such that, knowing all possible position of particles at any given time, and all the forces acting upon those particles, you can deduce the position of the particles in the future?  Have you actually given this any thought or are you just parroting something you read on wiki?  Your argument reeks of Dennett's adaptable aversion determinism bs.  I love Dennett's work, but on this one particular point I disagree with his ideas from "Freedom Evolves" book.  I'm not completely satisfied with the seemingly intentional confusion between randomness and uncertainty, but you seem to be. ...

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Ktulu wrote:You seem to know

Ktulu wrote:
You seem to know an awful lot about me.  If you can put that chip down off your shoulder for a bit, perhaps we can have us an honest to goodness discussion.
 

Yeah, that's right, I know loads about you.  In fact, I know so much about you that I can predict exactly the sort of pseudo-scientific clap-trap you're going to come out with.  I predicted you would try and turn it into a discussion about particle physics, and that's exactly what you did.  I predicted that you would invoke all sorts of 'authorities' and that's exactly what you did.  I predicted that you would use all sorts of meaningless phraseology like 'adaptable aversion determinism' to try and make yourself look erudite and that's exactly what you did.  In fact, your behavour and my 100% accurate prediction of it constitutes in itself an enormously powerful piece of evidence for determinism and the lack of free will.

The fact that you mention Daniel Dennett, that arch philosophaster, that pedlar of nonsense and whimsy is the icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned, because my mental picture of you couldn't seem to get beyond a picture of that fat, bearded, bespectacled, smug, simpering, 'most distinguished' asshole of a Professor of Bullshit.  No doubt this was brought on by your toe-curling attempts to mirror his 'style' - that one about free will being the sum of all our uncertainties is a real corker.

Now remind me again, do you believe in free will or don't you?

 

 

I quote no 'authorities'. I speak in my own words. I bring everything to the bar of my own judgment.


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Actually, you are mirroring

Actually, you are mirroring his views on determinism (Dennett's).  He views reality as a fully deterministic.  The fact that you would consider the phrase "adaptable aversion determinism" to be both meaningless and erudite, shows that you have not really read into this beyond wiki.  Allow me to enlighten you, my insecure friend.  The "Professor of Bullshit" claims, as you, that there is no free will.  He also dismisses quantum mechanics as an explanation of non hard determinism, though his claim, unlike yours, doesn't come from a low IQ coupled with a "big man trapped inside a short man's body" syndrome.  Rather, our professor of bullshit, (which by the way, I admire) has a theory that we've all EVOLVED to AVERT  danger.  This, my insecure friend, he puts together rather eloquently in his book Freedom Evolves.  He turns this (meaningless phrase as you've called it), into an adaptable aversion argument against knowledge of hard determinism, though it does exist, in his opinion.   

His is rather a relative and subjective paradigm, based on his own theories, unlike your ignorance which is based on wiki.  

Ok, now that we got that out of the way, allow me to dumb down my vocabulary lest I attempt, and fail to seem erudite.  

Ok dude, so like, I don't believe in free will, cuz there is no free will hehe, lolz.  Where would free will come from cuz we have no souls and stuff, that stuff is for like ppl that go to church, dumb.  

I don't believe in hard determinism.  haha, we don't know jack shit about jack shit (I mean that as a collective we, relatively speaking you know a lot less then most people) 

You can't say one way or the other, cuz like the definition of hard determinism is predicting everything with 100% certainty, and we can't do that cuz like the fabric of space time seems to be like unpredictable or something, lolz.

Does that answer your question?  I hold an agnostic view on the subject originating from my understanding of reality and all the material I was able to come across on the subject.  

Do enlighten me, however, why you hold such strong deterministic views?  And please keep the cheap card reader psychology crap out of your answers, it makes you seem really insecure.

 

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Ktulu wrote:Actually, you

Ktulu wrote:
Actually, you are mirroring his views on determinism (Dennett’s)

I wasn’t commenting on Dennett’s view on determinism – I haven’t read anything by him, other than a few quotes.  No, I was commenting on his appearance and manner and general position in the world of philosophy, and from that I was deducing that this was a man it wasn’t worth wasting one’s time on.  Actually, more than that – here was a man that deserved a public dressing down, to which in my own small way, I’ve now contributed.

Quote:
…shows that you have not really read into this beyond wiki.

If you think it necessary to actually read someone’s works to come to a fairly accurate appraisal of their worth then you’re not as up on contemporary philosophy as I thought – some Frenchman recently wrote a book called something like ‘How to talk about books you haven’t read’, which argues this very point.

I note your sneering reference to wiki, as though your claim to having read a few books on philosophy endows your words with some special authority.  I say ‘your words’, rather than ‘your argument’ because all you are doing is trying to summarize Dennett’s argument.  Where you stand, what your argument is I’m still none the wiser.  I’m not debating with Daniel Dennett. I’m not even debating about Daniel Dennett. I’m debating free will with you.  Why do you keep hiding behind Daniel Dennett?  Can’t you think for yourself? And I don’t mean about Daniel bloody Dennett?

Quote:
His is rather a relative and subjective paradigm, based on his own theories, unlike your ignorance which is based on wiki

Not that you can even climb down from the fence on old DD – even here, the closest you can get to a ‘position’ is that his is ‘rather a relative and subjective paradigm’.  Thanks indeed for that, I’m sure the world of philosophy is grateful for that assessment. Are you trying to pretend you’re some kind of professional philosopher or something? No? Then stop trying to pass yourself off as one and speak naturally in your own words, and tell me where you stand.

If you can’t recognise that there is an appropriate level of discourse for a  forum that lies somewhere between the pretentious, pseudo-academic bullshit you spout and the thicko-speak you insultingly pastiche, then your IQ must be even lower than mine.  If you really think anyone is interested in your oh so judicious, oh so subtle assessment of DD’s work, why not write a paper for an academic journal (where you’d get torn to shreds) rather than giving me the benefit of your unasked for wisdom?

Quote:
The fact that you would consider the phrase ‘adaptable aversion determinism’ to be both meaningless and erudite…

Excuse me, I did not say that the term ‘adaptable aversion determinism’ was both meaningless and erudite – I said that the term was meaningless but that you thought its use made you look erudite.  How could you misunderstand that?

Quote:
Does that answer your question?

No, it doesn’t, because in an earlier post you said that free will was the sum of all our uncertainties, or some such.  So now you’re saying that you don’t believe in free will?  So what was this free will that you earlier referred to?  Seems to me you’ve pretty squarely contradicted yourself – or is my low IQ and general lack of reading preventing me from understanding the brilliant subtlety of your argument here? Pray, enlighten me.

Quote:
I hold an agnostic view on the subject originating from my understanding of reality and all the material I was able to come across on the subject.

An agnostic view isn’t much of an answer is it? In fact it’s no answer at all. ‘What’s your view of hard determinism’?  ‘I don’t know. Does that answer your question?’ ‘Duh, no it doesn’t’.  Sorry I must be being thick again.  Where have I gone wrong?  Also, that wasn’t even the question I asked. Anyway, the distinction between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ determinism isn’t mine, it’s yours.  So you’ve asked yourself a question and still failed to answer it.  Brilliant!  This must all be some incredibly complex philosophical game you’re playing.  I’m sure you’re beating me hands down.

Quote:
Do enlighten me, however, why you hold such strong deterministic views?

‘Such strong deterministic views’?  I just said ‘everything is determined’, I made no distinction between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ determinism, as I said above.  That was your distinction.  So in what sense are my views ‘strong’? Do you mean ‘hard’?  But I didn’t say that.  They might be ‘soft’ for all I know.  They’re still deterministic.  So I still don’t understand whether you think everything is determined (hard or soft) or not.  Which is it?  Presumably from what you’ve said DD agrees with me but what about you?  And if you don’t, do you still believe those ‘uncertainties’ of yours let good old free will in by the backdoor, as you said in your earlier post (but contradicted above)?

Quote:
And please keep the cheap card reader psychology crap out of your answers, it makes you seem really insecure.

Not that cheap, judging by the accuracy of the results. Which bits did I get wrong?  None that I can see.  You’ve used the term ‘insecure’ three times in your post, so you’re obviously trying to make that one stick (sorry, another cheap psychological, observation).  Actually while we’re talking psychology, yeah, I’m a bit insecure – aren’t we all.  After all, when you live in a predetermined universe over which you have no control and where illness, death or disaster could strike at any moment it does seem the logical response.  But you probably mean, insecure about clever guys like you who’ve read more books than I have and can use philosophical and scientific terminology like they understand them.  Well, yes, there’s some truth in that too – I’m no professional philosopher or scientist, but then are you?  Any if you are, shouldn’t you be debating with your peers in academic journals rather than coming on this site and trying to show off by  flaunting your ‘superior knowledge’.  Fact is, I don’t believe you have any superior knowledge, certainly no superior arguments.

To go back to the ‘cheap card reader psychology’ for a moment, it’s a well know fact that repeatedly accusing someone else of a failing or deficiency is often indicative of an awareness of that same deficiency in oneself.  In psychology it’s called ‘projection’. Manageri did it with me in his postings by repeatedly calling me a ‘weasel’ whereas in fact he was  the arch-weasel.

It strikes me that what you’re trying to present in your answers is an image of yourself as you’d like to be – in ‘High Dom’ (another psychological term meaning an attitude of high domination) in which you pretend to be DD or someone and the rest of us had better recognise your authority or get lost.  But underneath it all, you don’t really know where you stand on anything.

 

I quote no 'authorities'. I speak in my own words. I bring everything to the bar of my own judgment.


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Wow, I'm a little creepped

Wow, I'm a little creepped out the attention but oddly flattered.  Let's get a few things straight.  First of all, my field is telecommunication and IT, that's what I know.  I love philosophy, physics, and generally anything that requires a bit of reflection.  English is my second language, so, at times I may screw up my syntax and/or misplace words.  My mastery of it is far from perfect, and I like to use "big words" because it helps my vocabulary.  

I will be the first to tell you that I am not a philosopher, I also don't consider myself an authority on anything other then my field.  Furthermore, I don't consider myself to be special, or superior, aside from the fact that I think more critically then most people.  

Now, I'm not sure wtf your problem is, but I'm sure it's hard to pronounce.  I'm not in the least bit upset, or annoyed.  At this point I'm genuinely interested in your reaction.  

As far as  DD is concerned, I read a few of his books, saw some of his crap on youtube and generally find myself siding with some of his views, but not all.  As far as determinism is concerned, you would have to define what you mean by that.  I've already told you everything you wanted to know.  At this point in our collective knowledge, I don't think that we can say one way or the other.  I find that to be a reasonable stance until more evidence is uncovered.  My original post in this topic it was a failed attempt at levity.  The sum of uncertainty is free will, only in so far as you define "free will" as the one thing that would stop the universe from being deterministic.  I'm sorry that went over your head, or that my posts/style offended you.  

Let me sum it up for you, that way I can repeat myself and hence subconsciously affirm the fact.  I'm just a regular Joe that works with computers and likes to read more then the average guy.  Now, your turn.  What makes you so superior as to be insulted by my supposed attempt to sound intelligent, and why are you so interested in me personally? And also, WHY do you hold such views on determinism? And, HOW is the uncertainty principle not valid? 

 

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Here's a quick video

Here's a quick video outlining my position. 

Now you explain to me why you believe one way or the other.  Smiling

 

 

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Just out of curiosity,

Just out of curiosity, what's the justification for declaring the behaviour of sub-atomic particles has to be, by their nature, unpredictable? Why is it ruled out that we may simply not have the proper tools or knowledge to predict exactly what they'll do next?


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Manageri wrote:Just out of

Manageri wrote:

Just out of curiosity, what's the justification for declaring the behaviour of sub-atomic particles has to be, by their nature, unpredictable? Why is it ruled out that we may simply not have the proper tools or knowledge to predict exactly what they'll do next?

To my knowledge, that has not been ruled out. But this is a subject that I am not an expert on by any means.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Manageri wrote:Just out of

Manageri wrote:

Just out of curiosity, what's the justification for declaring the behaviour of sub-atomic particles has to be, by their nature, unpredictable? Why is it ruled out that we may simply not have the proper tools or knowledge to predict exactly what they'll do next?

It's the math behind it.  Aside from the "observer effect" which basically says that if you measure something that small, you will affect it and hence the results will change accordingly, the math is such that if you try to calculate the two variables in a wave like behavior,  you can not find out both precisely at the same time.  Basically, the observer effect is an experimental confirmation of the underlining mathematics behind the wave behavior. 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Ktulu wrote:Manageri

Ktulu wrote:

Manageri wrote:

Just out of curiosity, what's the justification for declaring the behaviour of sub-atomic particles has to be, by their nature, unpredictable? Why is it ruled out that we may simply not have the proper tools or knowledge to predict exactly what they'll do next?

It's the math behind it.  Aside from the "observer effect" which basically says that if you measure something that small, you will affect it and hence the results will change accordingly, the math is such that if you try to calculate the two variables in a wave like behavior,  you can not find out both precisely at the same time.  Basically, the observer effect is an experimental confirmation of the underlining mathematics behind the wave behavior. 

Thanks for explaining that.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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harleysportster wrote:Ktulu

harleysportster wrote:

Ktulu wrote:

Manageri wrote:

Just out of curiosity, what's the justification for declaring the behaviour of sub-atomic particles has to be, by their nature, unpredictable? Why is it ruled out that we may simply not have the proper tools or knowledge to predict exactly what they'll do next?

It's the math behind it.  Aside from the "observer effect" which basically says that if you measure something that small, you will affect it and hence the results will change accordingly, the math is such that if you try to calculate the two variables in a wave like behavior,  you can not find out both precisely at the same time.  Basically, the observer effect is an experimental confirmation of the underlining mathematics behind the wave behavior. 

Thanks for explaining that.

No problem, just don't tell mr Jones, he may foam at the mouth Smiling

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Ok, but does that mean we

Ok, but does that mean we can't, as observers, predict what will happen, or that the universe is genuinely playing roulette? I mean where does the basis for this math come from if not the observations we do, and since those observations are necessarily affected by our instruments, doesn't the math just prove we can't predict this stuff as a practical matter, not necessarily that it can't be entirely deterministic?


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 the nature of the universe

 the nature of the universe is far stranger than our macroscopic senses can perceive. Particles are not in one specific place at a time... They are actually a 'probability distribution' which means they can actually be in a range of places at once,with a likelihood of being observable at these places dependent on distance.

 For the intelligent and interested layman (though some knowledge of maths will help) i would recommend the book "the quantum universe: everything that can happen does happen" by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw.  It gives a good overview of quantum physics history and provides easy to understand examples. It will take you a while to get your head round, but it provides enough information for most on the subject. 

 


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 Manageri, an example of

 Manageri, an example of "god playing dice" with the universe, as Einstein put it (though he didn't believe it) is radioactive decay, where a molecule spontaneously splits and emits an alpha particle. This is entirely random, there really is only a probability that it will happen, which we can work out by examining how many of these probabilistic events occur among a large number of such molecules over a given time. There's no way to predict when an individual molecule will decay. This effect is due to quantum events and are explained in the book I recommended above...


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Ktulu wrote:harleysportster

Ktulu wrote:

harleysportster wrote:

Ktulu wrote:

Manageri wrote:

Just out of curiosity, what's the justification for declaring the behaviour of sub-atomic particles has to be, by their nature, unpredictable? Why is it ruled out that we may simply not have the proper tools or knowledge to predict exactly what they'll do next?

It's the math behind it.  Aside from the "observer effect" which basically says that if you measure something that small, you will affect it and hence the results will change accordingly, the math is such that if you try to calculate the two variables in a wave like behavior,  you can not find out both precisely at the same time.  Basically, the observer effect is an experimental confirmation of the underlining mathematics behind the wave behavior. 

Thanks for explaining that.

 

No problem, just don't tell mr Jones, he may foam at the mouth Smiling

Yeah, thanks for explaining that Ktulu, except none of it has anything to do with whether or not we have free will. So the uncertainty principle at the level of quantum mechanics (which you don't even understand) means we have free will does it? How's that then? Because there's something we don't understand in the universe, so that's an argument for free is it? Or is it because the uncertainty principle destroys all determinism? But you've said yourself you don't believe that and nor does anyone else, not even Roger Penrose (or have I missed something - are we all randomly bouncing off the walls like sub-atomic particles?)


Quantum events occur at the micro level, there are no quantum events at the macro level; they cancel themselves out at the macro level. Human actions take place at the macro level, so the uncertainty principle has no bearing on the free will debate. So why the fuck are you debating it? Simply because you think you know something about it, whereas you know fuck all about free will? This is just quantum mechanics for dummies, and you're wasting everyone's time with it.
 

And just to be thorough (now that I've boned up on this irrelevant, boring crap just to prove you conclusively wrong) let's just say the uncertainty principle did have a bearing at the macro level, then how does it support the argument for free will rather than for chaos? If these events are truly random, then how do they come under the control of a human free will?


And let's be clear - the Heisenberg effect is something that we don't understand. It is an experimental result that repeatedly shows in certain circumstances sub-atomic particles behaving in a way we cannot explain. This is not some some fundamental law of mathematics. If it was, we would, necessarily, have already understood it. The 'uncertainty principle' just tries to 'explain' it by saying that this effect is purely random. How this could be the case - all the stuff about waves and observer effect - is pure conjecture. Contrary to what you say, it is not the case that the Heisenberg effect is necessarily inexplicable. Explanations exist and are gaining ground in scientific circles, e.g. Everettian probability. Don't ask me to explain it as I don't understand it. It doesn't matter.

None of this has the slightest relevance in terms of free will. If you think it does then it's up to you to show why - but you can't do that can you, because that would mean committing yourself to a position, and intellectually you're incapable of doing that. So yeah, thanks Ktulu for wasting everyone's time with this stuff that was designed to make you look clever and ends up making you look stupid.

Now, I've spelt out why it has no relevance to the free will debate, but if you still think it does then you spell out to me why it does by answering my questions above, or admit you don't what you're talking about. Oh and don't post another fucking video so some doddering old fool can make your argument for you - make it in your own words, just like I've done, so I can see where you really stand and if you really understand it.
Nighty night
 

 

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Ktulu
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I have nothing to prove to

I have nothing to prove to you, my insecure friend.  I'm not sure if you realize you have added absolutely nothing to this thread, except for repeatedly mention that I don't know what I'm talking about.  Without actually being specific on what exactly I got wrong.  Here's the mathematics behind the uncertainty principle:

http://www.ams.org/samplings/feature-column/fcarc-uncertainty

You're very wrong on pretty much every point.  Let's review your wisdom:

 

Quote:

Quantum events occur at the micro level

Thank you for that, I will actually write this on my wall in permanent marker so my mind can be blown repeatedly.  Actually quantum events occur regardless or what "level" you choose to select.  The sun is a perfect example of observable "quantum" events, as is EVERYTHING else.  There is no magical level that completely disregards the previous levels, it is just our interpretation of it.

Quote:
 

, there are no quantum events at the macro level; they cancel themselves out at the macro level.

lol, if they canceled themselves out, the result would be zero energy, such as a virtual particle pair.  No, you are wrong, they don't "cancel" themselves out dumb-dumb.  I think you meant the probability wave collapses.  

Quote:

 Human actions take place at the macro level, 

Wow, thank you for that other piece of information, really? Twice in one post you've blown my mind Smiling

Quote:

so the uncertainty principle has no bearing on the free will debate.

You mean the electrons passing through your synapses so that you may form a thought, is not happening at the quantum level?  Perhaps in your case, because you're at some "magical" level where quantum shit doesn't exist.  Everyone else, however, is subject to the laws of physics.

Quote:

So why the fuck are you debating it?

Because, dumb-dumb, if your consciousness is making a decision, and you cannot predict which synapse an electron will go, you cannot predict which decision you would make.  At any level, macro, micro, quantum, jumbo, super-size... you get my drift?

Quote:

Simply because you think you know something about it, whereas you know fuck all about free will? This is just quantum mechanics for dummies, and you're wasting everyone's time with it.

I do happen to know something about it.  I don't need to prove to you specifically, you can simply point out WHAT I have gotten wrong, much like I did with your post, instead on insisting that I don't know what I'm talking about.  It's much easier.

 

 

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


Ktulu
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Manageri wrote:Ok, but does

Manageri wrote:

Ok, but does that mean we can't, as observers, predict what will happen, or that the universe is genuinely playing roulette? I mean where does the basis for this math come from if not the observations we do, and since those observations are necessarily affected by our instruments, doesn't the math just prove we can't predict this stuff as a practical matter, not necessarily that it can't be entirely deterministic?

The math itself is highly technical, but in itself not conclusive.  Nobody really has a full understanding of the fundamentals, we're just trying to make sense of the experimental data the best we can.  We currently have a theory, and everyone is continually trying to poke holes in it with the best and newest experiments.  So far, as messed up as it is, QM has held up.  It is far from perfect, and it's failure to jive with gravity is a cesspool of exotic theories, one crazier then the other.  That's how you end up with the string theory, the holographic principle, to name a few of the popular ones. 

The issue with predicting position/velocity comes from the fact that every individual particle behaves like a wave.  So, when you have waves, interacting with other waves, the math gets pretty hairy.  If you try to detect a particle behaving like a wave, you have to send a photon, which also behaves like a wave.  The only thing that you have control over is the frequency, or distance between the wave's peaks.  So, if you send a high frequency photon, (short distance between peaks) you can detect it's position more accurately, but the energy from the photon gets transferred to the particle and changes its velocity severely.  If you lower the frequency, you don't influence it as much, but you cannot tell its position with as much accuracy.  The discrepancy will always be higher then h (reduced Plank's constant).  And hence, the observer effect proves the uncertainty principle. 

I think you are asking the wrong question.  The universe can only be explained, if observed.  If not observed, what's there to explain? Asking what the universe is doing when not observed is not really asking anything.  We can only ask what happens when we observe the universe in such and such a way.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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I've never been satisfied

I've never been satisfied with available information in this topic to come up with a position. But it seems to me that some of the more interesting members of the past had a lot to say on the topic, and I'm curious as to how that discussion will affect this one, if at all.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/free_will_why_we_don039t_have_it_and_why_that039s_good_thing

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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Reply to Professor Ktulu

Professor Ktulu - let’s cut to the chase. You haven’t answered any of my questions, as I knew you wouldn’t. Let’s try again  - just to be fair and show you I’m not asking you questions I can’t answer myself my position is in square brackets after each of the questions; but please, answer the questions rather than just picking up on my position. I know you find it hard, but have a go:

1. Is it your contention that the universe is made up of quantum events which are unpredictable due to the uncertainty principle, and that this principle operates at every level (micro and macro) thereby rendering all events in the physical universe unpredictable?

[my position is that the uncertainty principle only operates at the quantum level and that events like human action are in principle predictable and determined by physical laws]


2. Does the fact that an event is unpredictable equate in your mind to it being undetermined?

[my position is that our ability to predict an event does not mean that that event is necessarily undetermined – there are many things that we do not know, but that is not in itself a reason to believe that they are undetermined]


3. If we cannot predict which synapse an electron will go down when we make a decision, how does that give us ‘free will’ rather than random outcomes?

[my position is that this description of how our decision making works actually weakens the case for free will, which I take to mean that we have some degree of control over our decision making rather than it being completely random]


4. If quantum indeterminacy pervades all matter, at every level, its effects are presumably not just restricted to brain states, but apply to matter as a whole. So how is it that things like computers seem to behave in a fully determined and predictable way? Or do they have ‘free will’ too?

[my position is that no sensible person could argue that computers have free will, but given that they are subject to the same uncertainty principle that endows us with ‘free will’ then presumably they and all other matter in the universe must have it too. In that context, the concept of free will ceases to have, for me, any meaning] 

I look forward to your answers, but please note that I shall be on holiday from 21-28 September inclusive and unable to answer any queries you may have during that time, so if you could get back to me with your answers before I go it would be most appreciated.

Cordial regards
 

I quote no 'authorities'. I speak in my own words. I bring everything to the bar of my own judgment.


Ktulu
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Mr C O Jones wrote:Professor

Mr C O Jones wrote:

Professor Ktulu - let’s cut to the chase. You haven’t answered any of my questions, as I knew you wouldn’t. Let’s try again  - just to be fair and show you I’m not asking you questions I can’t answer myself my position is in square brackets after each of the questions; but please, answer the questions rather than just picking up on my position. I know you find it hard, but have a go:

By all means, let's.  Even though I know you meant it sarcastically, I'm no professor.  Further more, if I'm completely wrong about something, I genuinely want that brought to my attention so that I may correct my misconception.  Also, thank you for attempting a civil discussion, better late then never. on with the answers then Smiling

Quote:

1. Is it your contention that the universe is made up of quantum events which are unpredictable due to the uncertainty principle, and that this principle operates at every level (micro and macro) thereby rendering all events in the physical universe unpredictable?

[my position is that the uncertainty principle only operates at the quantum level and that events like human action are in principle predictable and determined by physical laws]

The uncertainty principle does operate at every level, the issue is that it is inconsequential anywhere other then at the quantum level.  You cannot tell the position and velocity of a pool ball or a car with an accuracy greater then h (red. Plank constant), but in order for you to consider h, you have to move to the quantum level.  The reason why the uncertainty doesn't have an accumulative effect at beyond the quantum level is a matter of debate and I have no answer for that.  However, if you trace an event to a quantum level origin, you cannot accurately predict it.  I'm sure you're familiar with the Schrodinger's cat thought experiment.  I agree with you, of course, but the key word is "in principle".

Quote:
 
2. Does the fact that an event is unpredictable equate in your mind to it being undetermined?

[my position is that our ability to predict an event does not mean that that event is necessarily undetermined – there are many things that we do not know, but that is not in itself a reason to believe that they are undetermined]

Yes, in my mind determinism is the ability to predict something absolutely.  Here's wiki's take on it "Determinism is a philosophy stating that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given those conditions, nothing else could happen".  It is my understanding that at a quantum level, there are no such conditions for which no other outcome could happen.  You may only have a probability of outcome but no precise outcome. 

Quote:

3. If we cannot predict which synapse an electron will go down when we make a decision, how does that give us ‘free will’ rather than random outcomes?

[my position is that this description of how our decision making works actually weakens the case for free will, which I take to mean that we have some degree of control over our decision making rather than it being completely random]

Let me be clear on this, I do not believe in "magic" free will as a theist would.  "We are living, in a material world" as Madonna would say, there is no magic soul where magic free will comes from.  What I originally said was that "Free will basically nothing more then the sum of the uncertainty variations (that sounds oddly poetic in a really geeky way)." Edit *is basically*. The only issue that I have with your answer is that, even at the quantum level, there is no "completely random", there are degrees of probability, but a photon won't spontaneously turn into a proton.  So yes, our universe is undetermined, the one thing that keeps the universe from being determined is the uncertain property of matter.  Therefore, "free will" is nothing more then the uncertainty.  I don't think I'm expressing myself clearly enough, and I apologize for that.  It makes sense to me.  Basically, the classic theistic argument is that the universe is undetermined because god gave us free will.  I say that there is no such thing as free will, but the universe is undetermined, so if you really want to say that there is "free will" then this is the uncertainty itself... I hope that helps. 

Quote:

4. If quantum indeterminacy pervades all matter, at every level, its effects are presumably not just restricted to brain states, but apply to matter as a whole. So how is it that things like computers seem to behave in a fully determined and predictable way? Or do they have ‘free will’ too?

[my position is that no sensible person could argue that computers have free will, but given that they are subject to the same uncertainty principle that endows us with ‘free will’ then presumably they and all other matter in the universe must have it too. In that context, the concept of free will ceases to have, for me, any meaning] 

Actually, I'm glad you brought this up, because ( I know you don't like him) DD also makes this same point.  The reason why I believe that computers are a bad analogy for the human brain is the actual underlying components, it is a matter of scale.  Our brains do fundamentally operate at a quantum level, because our neurons and synapses do depend on individual electrons to fire.  A computer's bits simply operate on an ON or OFF.  You just need to send enough electricity to a Bit to go over a certain threshold.  It works on cutting the probabilities in half.  Basically given 100 electrons,  (the actual number is much much larger) necessary to turn the bit ON you have two options, send electrons until it turns on, (it could be 102 or 110, anything more then 100).  Or don't send anything, or less then 100 for it to stay OFF.  There is still uncertainty, but the outcome will always be predictable.

Quote:

I look forward to your answers, but please note that I shall be on holiday from 21-28 September inclusive and unable to answer any queries you may have during that time, so if you could get back to me with your answers before I go it would be most appreciated.

Cordial regards

Well, have a good vacation Smiling

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


GodsUseForAMosquito
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Mr C O Jones wrote:1. Is it

Mr C O Jones wrote:

1. Is it your contention that the universe is made up of quantum events which are unpredictable due to the uncertainty principle, and that this principle operates at every level (micro and macro) thereby rendering all events in the physical universe unpredictable?

[my position is that the uncertainty principle only operates at the quantum level and that events like human action are in principle predictable and determined by physical laws]

Quantum events have been used to power 'real' random number generators (as opposed to quasi-random) which can then be used to influence decisions and outcomes at the macro level. I could for example turn this into a game of chance and gamble money on it.. so quantum level events would directly decide how much money I might win or lose in an evening. 

I don't think it's a huge undertaking to consider how a similar series of events originally initiated by quantum unpredictability may work towards the potential of free will (i.e. the two stage model of free will, or similar http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-stage_model_of_free_will )

[my position is that I don't know.]


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I don't see how the two

I don't see how the two stage model makes the concept of indeterministic will free, rather than random.


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hic

GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:
paraphrasing_Manageri wrote:
There is an objective standard for morality. This is: cause the least amount of suffering to sentient beings. The importance of each individual’s suffering should be treated as having equal weight when deciding how to act.

My opinion is in that line of thinking, but a bit different. I don't care (much) about the amount of suffering itself, in fact I could easily propose to increase it if it's useful. What I care about is the amount of suffering of the individual: I would try to limit that, even if I have to increase the suffering of others. The point is that a bit of suffering is nothing particular, much suffering instead is a decidedly more powerful feeling/sensation. So I think that, if possible, everyone could share a bit of suffering so to avoid a lot of suffering to even one "sentient being".

-------------------------------------------

GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:
Manageri wrote:
1 and 2 seem fine. I just wanna clarify a little to make sure we're on the same page; The "I" that is not responsible there is our conciousness. Clearly our brain is responsible for our actions but ethics isn't about how to treat brains, it's about how to treat sentience.

Sure, we agree I think - forgive me if I'm wrong in understanding you but I believe you're saying our consciousness, which determines our actions, does not have free will? Brains are the matter which consciousness derives from, brains are wind up toys following a deterministic pattern.. I'm not sure why you need the separation here really.

 

I would argue that a disembodied brain would feel his sentience in a different way than a normal person. Would it be sentient? Yes, I suppose, but I don't know if that's sufficient for this discussion. 

--------------------------------------------

 

Manageri wrote:
Ok, but does that mean we can't, as observers, predict what will happen, or that the universe is genuinely playing roulette? I mean where does the basis for this math come from if not the observations we do, and since those observations are necessarily affected by our instruments, doesn't the math just prove we can't predict this stuff as a practical matter, not necessarily that it can't be entirely deterministic?

Simply put, if you take one die every face has the same probability in the outcome. If you take the sum of more dice you'll see that the outcome instead will start to converge toward one value (because of the number of cases of the result of the sum). With particles it's the same (sort of): when you have billions of them, you can be pretty sure that in the average there will be no surprises in their measurement.

---------------------------------------------

I would not put the "decision" discussion in terms of "free will" or "quantum mechanics", but simply relatively to information. Why? Because there's no decision to make if I have all the informations -- it's just matter of following the logic. I have to make a decision when I don't know something (if not then what matter would have that decision?). At least that's what I understand, it depends on the definition of "decision" which is being used. Not an easy thing (determinism, in a certain sense).


Manageri
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luca wrote:My opinion is in

luca wrote:
My opinion is in that line of thinking, but a bit different. I don't care (much) about the amount of suffering itself, in fact I could easily propose to increase it if it's useful. What I care about is the amount of suffering of the individual: I would try to limit that, even if I have to increase the suffering of others. The point is that a bit of suffering is nothing particular, much suffering instead is a decidedly more powerful feeling/sensation. So I think that, if possible, everyone could share a bit of suffering so to avoid a lot of suffering to even one "sentient being".

I've thought about the same thing and I think I generally agree with what you're getting at. If we have to perform a thousand pin pricks then clearly it's better to prick a thousand people once than it is to bombard one person with a thousand.

I would argue though that if we do prick the one guy a thousand times, that would equal a greater overall amount of suffering than the laternative so I don't really see the need to make up special rules for these kinds of situations.


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what i want is some pain

Manageri wrote:
luca wrote:
My opinion is in that line of thinking, but a bit different. I don't care (much) about the amount of suffering itself, in fact I could easily propose to increase it if it's useful. What I care about is the amount of suffering of the individual: I would try to limit that, even if I have to increase the suffering of others. The point is that a bit of suffering is nothing particular, much suffering instead is a decidedly more powerful feeling/sensation. So I think that, if possible, everyone could share a bit of suffering so to avoid a lot of suffering to even one "sentient being".

I've thought about the same thing and I think I generally agree with what you're getting at. If we have to perform a thousand pin pricks then clearly it's better to prick a thousand people once than it is to bombard one person with a thousand.

I would argue though that if we do prick the one guy a thousand times, that would equal a greater overall amount of suffering than the laternative so I don't really see the need to make up special rules for these kinds of situations.

Yes, but sure there will be some extreme cases in which this rule won't work... It's pretty abstract, this is his defect. For example making considerably suffer humanity for years because of one person is obviously detrimental for the whole humanity. If this person is not so "important" in the events of humanity, probably it's better to kill him/her. I know this could be repulsive to some, but it's just an abstract case, as said.


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If the universe was

If the universe was deterministic, wouldn't something have to be consciously determining the outcome of the universe?  I do believe that certain events, psychological, etc. are deterministic.  Obviously, with a certain chemical make up, one's personality is molded, and we have no free will in that respect.  Time, eclipses, space, and a wide range of other things are also deterministic.  Where we do have free will is in ethical means. Someone can freely murder another person if we want, and they will pay the consequence due to the morality of the whole.  We innately know when things are good, or bad, but I'd like to argue that those terms are vague, and that this instinct comes from our perception and emotional reaction to safety and danger, in regards to human welfare.  

For example: If someone was going to torture you, you would perceive that as dangerous to your welfare.  Not only will others perceive that this is also dangerous to your welfare, by conceptualizing the image of torture, but that image also stimulates the onlookers instinct of danger, therefore, they deem the act of torture immoral.  

The problem with this theory is that: is everything safe - moral, and is everything dangerous -immoral?  

I also have a hard time explaining why people perceive safety and danger differently; in the case of wanting to commit suicide, that is a moral conflict.  Of course, most would consider killing themselves as dangerous, but they also see suffering as dangerous.  That person may decide that it is safer to just get it over with, than to sit their and suffer till death.

What do you guys think of this explanation?


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Coherent wrote:If the

Coherent wrote:

If the universe was deterministic, wouldn't something have to be consciously determining the outcome of the universe?

Not necessarily. Gravity is certainly deterministic and I think we can safely say that there is no conscious entity deciding whether or not to hold us to the ground. 

 

Coherent wrote:

 I do believe that certain events, psychological, etc. are deterministic.  Obviously, with a certain chemical make up, one's personality is molded, and we have no free will in that respect.  Time, eclipses, space, and a wide range of other things are also deterministic.  Where we do have free will is in ethical means. Someone can freely murder another person if we want, and they will pay the consequence due to the morality of the whole.  We innately know when things are good, or bad, but I'd like to argue that those terms are vague, and that this instinct comes from our perception and emotional reaction to safety and danger, in regards to human welfare.  

For example: If someone was going to torture you, you would perceive that as dangerous to your welfare.  Not only will others perceive that this is also dangerous to your welfare, by conceptualizing the image of torture, but that image also stimulates the onlookers instinct of danger, therefore, they deem the act of torture immoral.  

The problem with this theory is that: is everything safe - moral, and is everything dangerous -immoral?  

I also have a hard time explaining why people perceive safety and danger differently; in the case of wanting to commit suicide, that is a moral conflict.  Of course, most would consider killing themselves as dangerous, but they also see suffering as dangerous.  That person may decide that it is safer to just get it over with, than to sit their and suffer till death.

What do you guys think of this explanation?

I don't believe there is any consistency to human morality at all and there is no formula you could create that would describe the morality of every human on the plant. Ultimately, morality is nothing but a personal choice and may or may not have an underlying principle. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X