For many God doesn't exist but does Free Will exist? (Mod edit - moved to Atheist vs. Theist)

Timf1234
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For many God doesn't exist but does Free Will exist? (Mod edit - moved to Atheist vs. Theist)

 

Do human being have any free will?

For example:

Drinking a cup of coffee

To kill someone

Deciding to get a college degree

Deciding to help someone

Slamming the plane into WTC on 9/11

Remembering to buy milk for the kids on the way back to home.

Or simply even to think anything for that matter.

 

Please tackle Free Will issue in two steps.

1. First answer it in Yes, or No only if you can

2. Then give your explanation


Nero
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Yes.  It is the beauty of

Yes.

 It is the beauty of existing in a situation where existential absurdity is the only milieu.  One acts as one prefers.  Now, one might argue that our biological processes would limit freedom.  However, I suspect that those processes generally are outside the bounds of what society would have us free to do.  So, in a sense, the biological reality is the freedom towards which we move.

"Tis better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven." -Lucifer


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Yes. I believe the denial

Yes.

I believe the denial of God allows for free will. It firmly places the responsibility for actions on the person acting. When you own your actions, you're more carful about what you do. 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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No The decisions we make

No

The decisions we make are the result of the states of our brains which is the result of the previous states of our brains and external inputs. Thus we are nothing more that complex cause and effect.

Even if you allow for random quantum effects there is no choice. A coin being flipped does not make a choice.

I can see no room for free will. 

Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-My-Own-Grandpa!


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Yes (limited free

Yes (limited free will)

Free will is the reason why laws exsist. They limit what we can do with our free will. Laws pusnish us if we use free will to harm other people. Eventually if you do enough harm to other people, you will be sent to jail. What does jail do? It limits the things you can do, therefore limiting the scope of your free will. To me, free will and freedom are tightly related. 

 


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No, if a certain number of

 

Your actions are determined by circunstances completly out of your control, at a fundamental level. Your genetic information and the way your brain produces chemical substances responsible for behavior, for example. Exterior imputs cannot be chosen also.

 

No freewill ever possible.

Disrespectful of Religion


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Yes, to a

Yes, to a degree

 

Although the above people are correct when pointing out how our brain chemistry and biology control us, what about this: every creature has a natural inclination towards survival. We do what we must to survive. (sometimes this is seen in the flight or fight mechanism) But what about when a person makes a conscious decision to sacrifice themselves for others? (Say in a war or something) Or what about when someone makes the choice to put a gun to their head? Both of these go against our natural program to survive. Someone might say "oh, but that's not free choice because the brain chemicals are forcing you to do that." But then that begs the question "what is the definition of 'you'?" You are your brain chemicals, your biology. It is what makes you "you". So therefore you still have free will. Ideas? 


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I love and hate this

I love and hate this question, because it's a great example of a question that is so impoorly worded that it's almost not worth trying to answer.

The first question you should ask is: What is free will?

Consider: If there was a gigantic supercomputer, with enough memory capacity to literally hold every single bit of data contained in a human brain, including the abstract notions such as "I prefer vanilla over chocolate, ecxept for when I've had a particularly bad day." Now, suppose you had a thousand of these computers, and could transfer data instantly. Now, suppose you could instantly transfer your entire life into all 1000 of these computers at any given instant, and you did so just before making a decision.

Here's the real question: Would the computers, with absolutely everything in your brain, make the same decisions you would?

I suspect the answer is yes, and here's why. Humans, in all cases, make the choice they believe is best. Even when they do something that they know is wrong, or has a small chance of working, or will make people angry, they're doing it because their brain chose it as the best option available -- based on the current information in their brain.

Here's the kicker: Belief is not a choice. You can choose to act as if you believe something, but you cannot choose to believe. You believe or not, based on what is in your brain. If you want to test this theory out, make a choice to believe something. Believe that in America, Stop Signs are blue. When you completely believe that, you can say that we can choose which belief we hold.

So, simply put, at any point, we can't choose what information is in our brain, and we can't help but believe what we believe. The "choice" we will make is one that could be described as "The one we think is best, whether it appears that way or not."

Do we make choices?  Yes.  Do we do so freely?  Kind of.  While there is no external force preventing us from choosing vanilla or chocolate, there is an important force governing our choice, and that is the combined power of our current knowledge and the things we believe.

Is there free will? Yes, and no.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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No and yes    We do have

No and yes

 

 We do have a will i think. quick search gave ok definition

"the act or process of using or asserting one's choice"

But the phrase "free will" is more of a problem.

I cant see how "free" applies to the will in any way other than freedom from slavery or similar. 

The will has to be deterministic in nature. A proses that takes sensory input combined with experience and autonomous brain functions to produce a choice and set in motion actions based on that choice.

Its maybe a bit more complicated than that but something like it.

In any case its predictable(if one could know all the variables). If it was not it would be random.

So here's the choice, do you have a will, or are you a complex random generator.

Freedom to act on ones will that's more of a political issue isn't it Smiling


"Everyone knows that God drives a Plymouth: "And He drove Adam And Eve from the Garden of Eden in His Fury."
And that Moses liked British cars: "The roar of Moses' Triumph was heard throughout the hills."
On the other hand, Jesus humbly drove a Honda but didn't brag about it, because in his own words: "I did not speak of my own Accord." "


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Free will exists because of

Free will exists because of external influence in our brain. If there were no external influences, then there would be no point on discussing free will.

The computer example is kind of flawed. Basically, what these computers would be doing is reading the brain and not computing based on actual knowledge. For example, the computer would predict what you are going to do the instant it reads your mind, but it wouldn't be able to predict what you will do after 1 minute. Your thought process can be changed simply by being exposed to a new question. How the question was asked, your biological state, elements from the surrounding, and other things that the computer wouldn't be able to predict.

In other words... if someone's brain looses the ability to learn, that person will have no free will. By learn I don't mean the ability to learn language, science, or ideas... I mean the ability to interpret the suroundings and allowing the external influences affect your brain. (therefore changing the state of the brain)

When people say: "your actions are determined by the chemicals in your brain". They make it sound like the contents of your brains are not part of who you are. Just because someone can pre-determine what you will say by reading your mind, it doesn't mean you have no free will. You ARE your brain, anything else is external influence. (this includes even your own body) Therefore free will is the result of the interaction between your brain and the external influence.


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feh I knew someone would do

feh

I knew someone would do this to my computer analogy.  My fault for not writing it out better.

You're taking it too literally.  Forget computers.  I never said computers.

(Waves hand like a Jedi) This isn't the analogy you're looking for...

 

Imagine if there were 1000 brains exactly like yours in every single detail, and they were in exactly the same situation, with exactly the same history, and were faced with the exact same choice.

They would all make the same decision, precisely because the accumulation of data, combined with what you could call the "individual algorhythm" used to process the data, would always make the same "best decision."

Does that make more sense?

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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I'd have to agree with hamby

I'd have to agree with hamby the only way you would get something different is if you have a random function someplace. That might be the case on some level, but I think that counts as free will like fliping a coin counts.


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Quote: I'd have to agree

Quote:
I'd have to agree with hamby the only way you would get something different is if you have a random function someplace. That might be the case on some level, but I think that counts as free will like fliping a coin counts.

Right.

This is something to ask the neurology expert (deludedgod) but I think I'm correct when I say that there isn't anything random, since the thought experiment assumes that all 1000 brains have exactly the same neurological makeup, and exactly the same history, beliefs, etc...

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Stop separating your brain

OK IGNORE THIS MESSAGE LOL. THIS WASN'T A REPLY TO THE LAST 3 MESSAGES... I WILL STILL LEAVE IT HERE BECAUSE I HAVE THE WILL TO DO SO Sticking out tongue This was a reply to genesis.

Stop separating your brain from who you are. Your brain does not dictate your actions because you ARE your brain.

If you say "external imputs cannot be chosen" you are making a general assuption. What is a choice to you? I can choose to buy onions, even though my favorite vegetable is brocoli. I made a choice between two external imputs available to me. If the next time I buy there are no onions or brocoli at this shop, I can always go to a new shop and make my choice there. How am I not controlling my external influences? Do I have control over 100% of my external influences? No.

Another way to loose all free will would be to live in "The Matrix" (yeah I just made a reference to a movie). This way someone can controll 100% of your external influences. No matter how much you try to go to a new store, "they" could make it so you end up going to the same store. In order to do this, they would need full controll of the information entering your brain. (therefore neglecting all external influences) And no, I don't believe we are in the matrix. This would be like believing there is a god Eye-wink

 

 

 

 


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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Right.

This is something to ask the neurology expert (deludedgod) but I think I'm correct when I say that there isn't anything random, since the thought experiment assumes that all 1000 brains have exactly the same neurological makeup, and exactly the same history, beliefs, etc...

The random bit might be on the quntum level, I've heard there can be randomness there. I suppose to really figure out the idea is to study how computers do it. I've heard it isn't random at all, but a math problem. Looks pretty random though... 


silentseba
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Quote:

Quote:
Imagine if there were 1000 brains exactly like yours in every single detail, and they were in exactly the same situation, with exactly the same history, and were faced with the exact same choice.

They would all make the same decision, precisely because the accumulation of data, combined with what you could call the "individual algorhythm" used to process the data, would always make the same "best decision."

Now you are talking about traveling back in time? Sticking out tongue That would be the only way to ensure that there would be an exact same setting. But just the fact that you traveled back in time would change the whole thing Sticking out tongue It is impossible to be exposed to the same exact setting. Unless you go with my example of the matrix... (but I don't wanna go back to referencing a movie lol) Btw I like this smile: Sticking out tongue

 


Hambydammit
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Quote: Now you are talking

Quote:
Now you are talking about traveling back in time? Sticking out tongue That would be the only way to ensure that there would be an exact same setting. But just the fact that you traveled back in time would change the whole thing Sticking out tongue It is impossible to be exposed to the same exact setting. Unless you go with my example of the matrix... (but I don't wanna go back to referencing a movie lol) Btw I like this smile: Sticking out tongue

GAH!

It's a thought experiment, people!   Put your imagination caps on!  I'm not talking about really doing this.  I'm asking you to conceptualize the way we arrive at "decisions" and imagine 1000 instances of having exactly the same situation.

I'm going to go live in the lake.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Max Wilder
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This is a tough one, and

This is a tough one, and I'm glad people are discussing it.

It seems to me that if the thoughts and actions of a sentient being are limited to the physical world, then free will is an illusion. Combine sensory input with the current electro-chemical state of the brain, and you will get a response. Like Hamby's computer analogy, if all of those things could be quantified then you would be able to predict the response with 100% accuracy.

The problem I have with the above statement is that it disregards consciousness. It makes sentient beings look like extremely complex robots. Input + state = output. If that were true, there would be absolutely no purpose to sentience; it would be like we are all just observers while our bodies (brain included) carry out pre-programmed tasks.

This is where I must diverge from those who firmly believe that the physical universe is the be-all, end-all of existence. If true free will is to exist, there must be something more to the human mind than just a game of ultimate billiards. There must be a connection to something that can not be defined as electrical or chemical. Perhaps it is quantum uncertainty, perhaps it is something "spiritual", or maybe some combination. I don't know.

I choose to live my life as if I had free will. To me, this means I must allow for the possibility that there is something beyond matter that allows that thing called "me" to influence the physical world. That is also the reason I will not dismiss the possibility of an afterlife, since life is inherently tied to the material world and I have seen no evidence that consciousness is at all material. It is not something I believe, it is simply something I consider as a possibility, and it gives me hope that there is more than just one ride per customer.

I hope that made sense.

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I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting. But it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously.
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Computers are not random.

Computers are not random. Basically a computer at its core is a yes or no answer. In order for a computer to be trully random, it must have a yes and no answer. Or at least, thats how it was explained to me.

A computer at its core is a 0 or 1 answer multiplied many times. All  operations a computer perform are based out of math equations (and, or, xor, etc...). So no matter what a computer does, it will always be part of an equation.  


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Of course, what a silly

Of course, what a silly thing to ask.

There is no such thing as predestination, there is only a selection matrix of choices some of which have a higher probability of being picked than others. 

Consider:

A man leaves his house to go to work.  He has the choice of walking, taking the train or the car.  He decides to take the train because he figures that it looks like it might rain and he fancies a few drinks with the lads after work.  In other words he has chosen a particular course of action.  Another day and another set of stimuli may have meant he took the car or walked but not today.  Today is a train day.

Now some of you are saying that his choice isn't really a choice at all: It's all been predetermined by chemical reactions in his brain according to the conditions at hand and you may be right because people always follow the same pattern day after day if the variables are the same.

 Except, of course, they don't.  Sometimes people walk in the rain just because.

Which is where the argument against free will sort of falls down - it just isn't consistent because if we didn't have free will we would follow the same choice under the same circumstances again and again and again. 

Life's good when it's a little random.  We should remember that. 

 

Freedom of religious belief is an inalienable right. Stuffing that belief down other people's throats is not.


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Basically... the right

Basically... the right answer to the question is: We don't know.

With our current collective knowledge, there is no way to travel back in time and observe someone go through the exact same history, biological composition, knowledge, etc... All you can do is speculate. Yes, you could assume that you are going to do the exact same actions, but there is no way to be sure of this.

 


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To a point, yes. There is

To a point, yes.

There is no such thing as predeterminism but based on many factors people are more inclined towards certain decisions. So this 'free will' is limited.

I you are going to ask if we believe in free will using 'faith', your question will be misguided. I do not dogmatically hold beliefs and always leave myself open to be proven wrong at any time. This is not 'faith', it is not dogmatic and it is subject to change in light of new evidence. 


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BGH, OK, that is fair

BGH,

OK, that is fair enough.


Timf1234
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Hamby wrote: "What is free

Hamby wrote: "What is free will?" 

 

Hamby,

I deliberately left that for yours/others best logical interpretation.

 


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I like what most of the

I like what most of the people said here, especially Hamby's description.

 

My main vote is that No we don't have free will.

Every decision we make is a result of your genetic makeup and all external inputs from conception to the time just before making the decision.  So in that case our choice has already been made and free will is just an illusion.

However, due to randomness and quantum mechanics, etc... there is no way to know what any given person, including yourself, is going to do at any single moment.

We are all survival machines and as such will do whatever is needed to survive and reproduce.  That's what we are programed to do. 

"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." - Carl Sagan


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Timf1234 wrote: Do human

Timf1234 wrote:

Do human being have any free will?

For example:

Drinking a cup of coffee

To kill someone

Deciding to get a college degree

Deciding to help someone 

Slamming the plane into WTC on 9/11

Remembering to buy milk for the kids on the way back to home.

Or simply even to think anything for that matter.

Please tackle Free Will issue in two steps.

1. First answer it in Yes, or No only if you can

2. Then give your explanation

Yes!

Why an 'atheist' would even ask this question is beyond me.

"I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."--Stephen F. Roberts


rch10007
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Yes.   My wife tells me

Yes.

 

My wife tells me all the time, "I'll never figure you out!"  For example, wea re walking through Target and I see and cool looking picture.  I've never been an art buff but I find it rather amazing.

Now, I'm not into art, and I normally wouldn't even care to look, but every know and then, something inside says, "Hey, that's great!"

If I didn't have free will, I could never change my mind or decide that becasue I liked one thing one way at one time, I can never change my outlook.

Everyday, we make decisions.  Some are "programmed" and others are spontaneous.

I feel free will is being able to change my mind. 

Personally, I don't think there's intelligent life on other planets. Why should other planets be any different from this one? -- Bob Monkhouse


ParanoidAgnostic
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rch10007 wrote: Everyday,

rch10007 wrote:

Everyday, we make decisions.  Some are "programmed" and others are spontaneous.

I feel free will is being able to change my mind. 

What if the change itself is a preprogrammed response to an external stimulus?

Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-My-Own-Grandpa!


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 My answer.Free WillI say

 My answer.

I say there is no Free Will. 

Hamby correctly wrote:

Hamby wrote:
I love and hate this question, because it's a great example of a question that is so impoorly worded that it's almost not worth trying to answer. The first question you should ask is: What is free will?

Hamby and atheist:

 I deliberately did not define Free Will. Because I couldn’t. No one can. Like god, Free Will is not definable.

Only logical definition (not necessarily the dictionary definition) of God is, supernatural force, a force on who no logic, no reason, no laws of nature is applicable. Obviously, such a god cannot exist at worse or is irrelevant at best. Same goes with the Free Will. 

We must stick with what we know today. We do not know anything about before the big bang. Let’s not try to use future anticipated (hope, wishful, desires) knowledge to prove or disprove things. Otherwise, anything goes. [That would be the job of FAITH or religion.]

One doesn’t have to “time travel” to prove that we have no free will. Remember, Within a year or so of publishing Einstein theory of relativity, it was accepted by most scientists of the world. Theory of relativity was not experimentally verified until many decades later.

To prove/understand that there is no free will we have to take into account 3 major points.

1.       Newtonian Mechanics (NM)

2.       Quantum Mechanics’ Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, Randomness within h/pi margin of error. (QM)

3.       Emergence Theory (ET) that states composite objects can exhibit certain characteristics that are not displayed in sub-objects.

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence. 

To keep it simple let’s tackle one variable at a time.

Implication of NM:

In a strict “NM only” world there is strict cause and effect. No particle, atom, molecules, object, in the universe, either individually or collectively, or partially collectively, or in composite fashion, inside or outside of our body can violate the laws of nature, regardless of we know all the laws of nature or not. Our knowledge has more to do with if we can predict the future or not. For accurate predictability we need 2 things, a) complete knowledge and b )huge processing power (machine).  Today, we don't have either. Lack of predictability doesn’t necessarily imply Free Will. But 100% accurate predictability does imply predestination. Using only NM one could conclude that our fate, each and every action, including what you are thinking now, was determine at the time of big bang. This proves “No Free Will”.  This is pure logic.

Now Let’s bring in QM.

With QM, the fate of the universe was not precisely determined at the time of the big bang. QM allows small variations (h/pi). h = 6.35 x e-34 j.s. and pi = 3.14159...[I wrote this from my memory. you can verify and fix it if I erred.] However, the  the QM's allowed wiggle room is not controlled by us. Therefore, we still have no free will. 

Now let’s bring in ET

Although it is true that some of the properties of molecules are not seen in electron but same combination produces same result within the wiggle room allowed by the QM. Therefore, still we have no free will. Free Will is not definable just as God is not definable. Neither can exist.Hundreds of years ago when we dreamed up ideas like God, and Free Will we had no idea what we were trying to say. Now, empowered with, modern physics, neuropsychology, fMRI, we know God and Free Will is neither definable nor exist. I see a complete parallel in these two. 


rch10007
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ParanoidAgnostic

ParanoidAgnostic wrote:
rch10007 wrote:

Everyday, we make decisions. Some are "programmed" and others are spontaneous.

I feel free will is being able to change my mind.

What if the change itself is a preprogrammed response to an external stimulus?

 

Exactly.  Many occurances throughout the day are preprogrammed.  I don't doubt this one bit.  However, you can make a choice at the time it comes to make any decision.  You can go the "regular" route or you are "free" to change entirely.

Are recovering alcoholics using preprogrammed responses when they decide to NOT go into a bar?  You may think, well, they've trained themsleves to stay away from alcohol.  I say they made a choice to stay away from it and programming themsleves helps stay away but it isn't the cause for their sobriety.  It was of their own free will that they decided to quit.

You've heard of that saying, "Nobody can make you do something you don't really want to do..."  I'm not talking about manipulation, either...I'll leave that to the lawyers and car salesman.  Smiling 

Personally, I don't think there's intelligent life on other planets. Why should other planets be any different from this one? -- Bob Monkhouse


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Nero wrote:Yes. It is

Nero wrote:

Yes.

 It is the beauty of existing in a situation where existential absurdity is the only milieu.  One acts as one prefers.  Now, one might argue that our biological processes would limit freedom.  However, I suspect that those processes generally are outside the bounds of what society would have us free to do.  So, in a sense, the biological reality is the freedom towards which we move.

Nero, the poor theist, who has been disguising himself as atheist, ran away, when he felt that he is cornered. Nero is exposed.

He want sno further discussion on this topic.

 

ParanoidAgnostic,

very good. Perfect.

 

ParanoidAgnostic wrote:

No

The decisions we make are the result of the states of our brains which is the result of the previous states of our brains and external inputs. Thus we are nothing more that complex cause and effect.

Even if you allow for random quantum effects there is no choice. A coin being flipped does not make a choice.

I can see no room for free will. 


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You do realize when most

You do realize when most people say free will they mean, "can I choose?"

I'd say it depends on the system, what choice is, and if programed choice is still choice.

I can make an AI that will play tic tac toe, to very things it picks a random spot to begin play. If it can win it will make the move to win. If it I can win it will stop me. Now this system is far to simple to be thinking, but it is still taking in data and acting on it.

For a life for being a lot more complex the system of decision making wouldn't be simple if then statements, although it could be that on a lower level. The thing is that we adapt so in away we can program ourselves.

If its is our program that determine our actions and we are writing it we determine the action on some level.

Can we change the outcome of something? Say the adapting going on in our brain? To a point, but if randomness is present on a level or for what ever reason it can't be predictable in the larger picture we at least have the illusion of free will and nothing is set in stone in the sense of a plan.

Most people haven't been exposed to the idea of a determinism without plan, that in itself sounds odd, so no plan would obviously look like no determinism resulting in free will existing. No faith, just the conclusion of info at hand. If there is resistance it could come from not liking the idea, but no plan still looks like free will existing so they are going to be skeptical.


DZXirkthia
Theist
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Joined: 2007-08-05
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[q] Thus we are nothing

[q] Thus we are nothing more that complex cause and effect. [/q]

Dear grandma Ayn Rand . . .

From WikiPedia - "Objectivist philosophy regards the "Law of Causality," which states that things act in accordance with their natures, as "the law of identity applied to action." Rand rejected the popular notions that everything has a cause (existence itself does not) or that the causal link relates action to action. According to Rand, an "action" is not an entity, rather, it is entities that act, and every action is the action of an enity. The way entities interact is caused by the specific nature (or "identity&quotEye-wink of those entities; if they were different there would be a different result."

 

I BELIEVE IT TOO GRADMA.

 

- Ayn Rand, Jesus, Nietzsche, and Captain Crunch