Do we have free will?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Nobeliefs, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. wellwisher Banned Banned

    You need to address consciousness from the inside, since the external is all presumption. Consciousness is not a hardware issue, nor can you tell any type of unique coding by output affects. Could you, without coding experience, define the call of duty code by playng the game?

    The mystics of old and the present, approached the problem in the correct way; inside their own mind, although their interpretation is not scientific, but esoteric. Consensis science interprets in line with science, but the approach is like infering propriery software code by only lookin at output affects. The odds are almost zero with the more likly result made-up code.

    Like I said before, the philosophy of science is its own worse enemy when it comes to consicousness ,because it is designed to factor out most of the unconscious affects. The main subroutines are not rational so these would be factored out by default. Some are also 3-D, while the ego uses 2-D or cause and effect.

    Maybe the best way to advance the science of consciousness is to show everyone some basic internal exercises to launch a terminal area; consciousness 1.0. These two exercises are based on eastern mystericism. The first is called chaotic meditation and the second is called kundalini yoga. These are used together to open a terminal location. We need scientist test pilots, who have the stones needed to generate data, for those who feel safer sitting in the lab watching, pretending to be the experts.

    Choatic meditation is needed by westerners, since we don't know how to fully relax enough to begin kundalini yoga. There are four phases, one connected to body, heart and mind, followed by deep relaxation. The chaotic meditation is designed to scrabble routine patterns within the body, heart and mind, so it does not automatically default.

    The first ten minutes you do a dance that has no pattern but looks totally random. The body prefers balance and order, but the goal is disorder and random. However the urge moves you, try to invent a random dance that look like you have no skill at dancing. This will scramble and tire the body. The next ten minutes is similar, but for the heart. Whatever you feel, let it out in an exaggerated way, like a bad actor. This is like a conscious catharsis and after ten minutes it will silence your heart; emotions. The next ten minutes is for the mind. In this case, you speak gibberish. You try to make up. never been heard before sounds and words, without sentence rhythm or cadence. It called by some, speaking in tongues. The mind also has pattens and this gibberish will scabble the patterns, so the mind can rest. After this 3X 10 minitues, your body is tired, your heart is calm, and your mind is blank. Now it is time to lie quietly on the floor and relax without feeling, thinking or moving for 10 minutes. It may take a week or two until you can fully relax since patterns are stubborn.

    When you reach the point of relaxation, you will do kundalini yoga during the last 10 minutes instead of just rest. According to this philospphy there are seven psychic centers. The first is at the base of the spine, then the spleen, the belly button, the heart, the throat, the mind's eye (between the eyes) and top of the head. It is not about taking this literal but it is about command lines.

    You breath in slowly and deeply, picturing energy/light entering the lowest center; tip of the spine. When you exhale, picture the energy going from that center, up the spine and out the top of the head like a fountain of light and energy. You do seven repetition at the lowest center and then go up one center; repeat this seven times. You work your way to the top for a total of 49 reps. It may take a a week or two but you will start to feel a sensory affect like the centers are vibrating. This is all in your mind but is connected to the command lines triggering something in the unconscious.

    When I first did this, back in the 1980's, I had a cool trip after about 3-4 weeks, where I felt I could leave my body. This does not happen in reality but was more like the conscious and unconscious sort of separating si I felt distinct from my animal body. It was cool but I did get scared since I was a stranger in a strange land leanring from scratch. I stopped the yoga and went back to the science of the mind to see who could explain this data. The only psychologist who came close to explaining this data was Carl Jung. He is good for internal data but others do better with outside data; therapy. I became an expert in collective human symbolism so I could go deeper but within the confines of the science of Carl Jung. This is consciousness 2.0, which is getting to far ahead. Anyone who passes 1.0, I will teach 2.0.
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  3. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    No - nor is anyone suggesting one can. But using that example, isn't it more rational to assume that there is some actual code that gives rise to the game, and that the code follows laws, and that we can observe the code even if we don't understand it, and that there is nothing else than the code, rather than it all being somehow "mysterious" and requiring more than the evidence that we have (the existence of code - even if not understood) or can ever have?
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  5. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Actually, it hasn't been settled yet whether free will is an issue to be addressed philosophically, or empirically, or in some other way.
    This is still open.

    As already sketched out in those more than two thousand years old examples criticized in Buddhist scriptures: If the "underlying reality," the "how things really are" is impersonal, if personhood and free will are illusory, then this inevitably means that when, say, one person hits another person with a sword on the neck, cutting the other's head off, this means that it is only between the atoms that the sword passes, and nobody is killed, no actual harm done, no good, no evil.
    Ie. physicalist reductionism is being used as a justification for extreme moral relativism / amorality.

    On the whole, I think you are simply mesmerized by the effect that your own truisms and logical conclusions have on your mind. It can happen to anyone.
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    It is, but I meant that this particular thread (not the subject matter) is in the science forum - so the suggestion is that it be addressed scientifically. In the philosophy forum it can be discussed philosophically etc. This thread has tended to the philosophical.
    Different to them, however, I make a distinction between anything below the level of consciousness and those things that operate at or above - i.e. those things either within or without the illusion. Our actions, our perceptions, our judgements are all part of the illusion, and as such they have meaning and are important within that illusion. Ethics, morality and all things subjective have meaning and remain just as important within the illusion, even though it is illusory. It is only when viewed from outside that one can use such justification as you example - but we can't view from such a position other than theoretically. We are trapped within the illusion (if that is what it is) and justification for actions within the illusion must also be from within the illusion.
    Then you think wrongly. It can happen to anyone.
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    If you are in illusion, and bound by it: How then can you possibly know that you are in fact in illusion?

    The power of truisms and logical conclusions is not to be underestimated.

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  9. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I don't know - it is only my rational conclusion, based on inference.

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    If they are indeed truisms, and if the logic is sound and valid.
    And if so, I'm not sure I am mesmerised by them.
    But did I detect a hint (or more) of trite dismissal in your words: "I think you are simply mesmerized..."? I wouldn't like to think you dismiss an argument / position with such a wave of the hand and nothing else.
  10. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    "Confuse causation with correlation" is not equivalent to "confuse A and B", although I see you were intellectually dishonest enough to try to obscure that fact. Your "confuse A and B" gives no indication of which may be actual, but then this is just some obsessive justification from you since I already said that I was only nitpicking.

    In a study, where only one variable is changed to arrive at a consistently different result, there is sufficient reason to think that there is a causal link.

    There does not need to be a singular explanation, but one is better than nothing. You have offered nothing but some vague assumption that, what, everyone "is looking for an excuse to cheat". Just because you are intellectually dishonest does not warrant the hasty generalization that everyone must be. And that is the only assumption that makes any sense out of your alternative, as you are saying that, given an excuse or expectation of not being caught, everyone will cheat.

    This does nothing but illustrate the kind of thinking those would do not believe in free will are prone to, which is exactly what that study showed. So where was your support for any of these assertions?

    I have already given you a link to an independent study which showed how belief in free will can be undermined, including the Free Will and Determinism Scale they use to determine to what extent they believe in free will. You know, something better than relying solely of self-reported answers. Seems asking them directly would only be more prone to the dishonesty you think is so ubiquitous.

    Again with the straw man about "all belief effects behaviour". You have shown nothing to refute the findings of these studies. While it is true that belief does not necessarily effect behavior, you have yet to show why it should not be expected to in this case.

    There is no qualifier needed if you could simply remember that the specific belief we are talking about is that of free will. IOW, it is already qualified just by the context of this discussion.

    You seem to have forgotten that it was you who claimed that such beliefs would not be apparent. So now that your claim has proved untenable you wish to drop it. I cannot say I blame you, but you should have thought of that much earlier.

    Why, are you now claiming self-reported data, especially from criminals, more reliable than that corroborated by the consistency of their words with their actions? Have you ever listened to a criminal explain how they justify their actions to themselves?

    You have not shown any reason other than your bare assertions and incredulity to doubt the results of these studies. If they 'don't run counter to [your] "personal beliefs"' then why have you been arguing them so vehemently? Again, all of this was only meant to address your claim that these sorts of beliefs would not be apparent in observable behavior.

    That claim has certainly been shown to be fantasy.
  11. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Okay - so a simple slip in word is now to be considered being intellectually dishonest, irrespective of whether it does actually change the meaning or not. Fair enough.
    So qualification of "I was only nitpicking" is adequate for you to not respond to a criticism? Fair enough.
    Not disputed. But that relates to these studies... how, given that neither of them state for a before/after measure of their "belief" to be able to say that it is their change in "belief" that is the cause.
    So is there a causal link? Sure - but you need to be very careful before making conclusions about what the causal factor is.
    You asked for another possible cause - so I gave one. It is not an assumption - but it is a possible explanation. And if you are not able to dispute its validity with anything more meaningful than a hand-wave then you are in no position to reject it at all.
    Where did I say "everyone"? Where have I made any hasty generalisation? You asked for an alternative explanation. Are you dismissing it as a possible alternative? Are you saying that it is in no way possible (which you must be doing to dismiss it as an alternative)? On what grounds?
    They are not assertions! It is an alternative explanation! This does nothing but illustrate your blinkered desire to argue: misunderstanding what is provided.
    Hey, but then I'm only nitpicking.
    It showed how belief in free will can be undermined??? It tested their belief in free-will before and after the supposed "undermining"??? And the study tested their actual belief in free-will rather than just their practical or cursory views on the matter?
    I am not refuting the evidence - only your interpretation.
    I'm sure it does to some extent - but being "expected to" does not mean that it did. You are making that assumption and fitting the evidence to that assumption, rather than seeing the evidence for what it is.
    Regardless of context, if you state "Belief effects behaviour" there is no implicit qualifier but rather you are being absolute. If you meant to qualify with, for example, "The belief effects behaviour" then perhaps you'd avoid this confusion.
    But hey, I'm just nitpicking.
    Recall what I said:
    "In fact I'm fairly sure if you met anyone on the street who held such an "inapplicable theory" you wouldn't be able to tell them from Adam. It would only be when you ask them their views on the matter directly that you would even have the inkling that they held such ideas. "
    Yes - those studies show that if you ask them their views on the matter directly you would indeed have an inkling.
    But feel free to perform a new study and go up to, say, 100 random people on the street and try to pick out those that hold such theories. I have yet to see evidence of such. It may exist, but I haven't seen it. Have you?
    Rather depends on what you're trying to show - their practical viewpoint or their philosophical viewpoint.
    Yes, thanks. Them and any number of non-criminals as well. Do you ever justify your actions to yourself?
    I don't doubt the results. I have never doubted the results. I doubt your interpretation.
    And it is you who rejects possible alternatives out of hand, not me.
    I did not claim that they would not be apparent in such situations - as evidenced from my quote above. But if you want to move the goalposts. Or am I just nitpicking?

    But feel free to nitpick away and do please make up some more false assumptions of what I mean.
    You have derailed the thread and muddied it with your blinkeredness beyond my interest to continue.
  12. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    You just quoted my response, so this can only be one of the more obvious cases of your intellectual dishonesty.

    Already addressed (Free Will and Determinism Scale), but your attention bias must be going strong. In neither study was degree to which the belief could be altered being tested, so your "before measure" is completely erroneous. All that mattered in these was what degree of belief related to what tested behavior.

    To assume some other cause you would have to assume that the cheaters and poor job performers just happened to fall into the neither the free will nor control groups. So you thing that chance is conspiring to affirm free will?

    That is not how science works. Your alternative would require evidence that people are just generally more likely to cheat, regardless of any free will priming. And here is what you are likely to find, if you bothered to support you arguments that is.

    What we have found, in a nutshell: Everybody has the capacity to be dishonest, and almost everybody cheats—just by a little. -

    And considering your intellectual dishonesty, you would probably stop reading right there and miss:

    Among the group who recalled the 10 books, we saw the typical widespread but moderate cheating. But in the group that was asked to recall the Ten Commandments, we observed no cheating whatsoever. We reran the experiment, reminding students of their schools' honor codes instead of the Ten Commandments, and we got the same result. We even reran the experiment on a group of self-declared atheists, asking them to swear on a Bible, and got the same no-cheating results yet again. -

    See above.

    Ah, so you admit to offering no viable alternative. An explanation actually manages to account for the results, which you have not done.

    While there was no explicit measure of the degree to which belief in free will was altered, behavior did correspond to the determinism, neutral, and free will priming. Again, you would have to assume that chance in many studies somehow conspires to confirm the benefit of believing in free will. That would be resorting to some non-random, immaterial cause.

    It is not my interpretation, it is the only scientifically viable one. Unless you ever get around to making an actual assertion so you can support it for once.

    Again, not my conclusions alone, and until you can provide any support for an actual alternative you are just talking out of your ass.


    In the one study, their views were not asked. They were told to read a specific selection based on whether they were in the determinism, neutral, or free will group.

    Again, belief in free will is evident in behavior. Behavior is not something that presents itself as instantly as the color of a shirt, so your example simply begs the question.


    Obviously you have not, or you would know that it is the content of their justifications, not just their existence. Naive and another evasion.

    Again, apparently ad nauseam, not my interpretation. And if rejecting alternatives that show no support in empirical evidence is "out of hand" then guilty as charged.

    This is called begging off of a losing position. Good riddance.
  13. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I'm sorry, Syne, I overestimated your ability to actually comprehend what you write.
    You don't seem to understand that if you put up a link to support a position then their interpretation is YOUR position: either stand by it or retract it.
    You don't seem to understand how science works despite you saying to the contrary.
    You seem to think it intellectually dishonest to quote someone? ("You just quoted my response, so this can only be one of the more obvious cases of your intellectual dishonesty.")
    And worse you misinterpret what is written, argue strawmen from it, and any answer or argument that doesn't fit your understanding (or that you simply don't comprehend beyond your apparent naivety) you claim is intellectually dishonest, or shift the goalposts.

    And the only losing position I am in is in trying to have a discussion with a fool and a troll.
    Simply resolved.
  14. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    For a conclusion that in your own mind has the status of being something based on mere inference, as opposed to an axiom, the way you vigorously defend that conclusion suggests something more may be going on.

    It's not that I dismiss your position lightly. It's that I acknowledge that truisms and logical conclusions can create a kind of blockage in the mind which is difficult to see through (even as one feels perfectly lucid), and that it can be difficult to communicate with people when their minds are in the grip of truisms and logical conclusions.
  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Some martial artists use battle methods that don't seem to have all that much to do with the battle itself, or at least not with what we usually understand by fighting honorably. Such as screaming, calling names, cursing, throwing sand, giving eery looks, etc. Then there are of course elaborate traditional battle dances and cries etc.
    There is no denying that these methods can be very effective in affecting, especially negatively, the opponent's mental state, and thus his ability to win.

    Something similar is sometimes happening in philosophical discussions. To the point that it is difficult to tell what the actual battle is about - a philosophical topic, or a battle of the wills, or whichever.
    Accusations of intellectual dishonesty, some strawmanning etc. are like that screaming, calling names, cursing, throwing sand, giving eery looks, etc. Some people also use these evidently lowly methods to test the opponent, to see if the opponent can hold his ground even under fire.

    Two people would really have to trust eachother to feel comfortable enough to have a conversation openly, without becoming defensive, and without there being a need for testing eachother.
  16. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    So begging off, but without the integrity to resist parting shots, huh? The point I was making is that the "interpretation" was not solely my own (as you seemed to infer), but that immediately suggested to those who conducted the studies, and you have still yet to offer anything that comes close to accounting for their results.

    And you cannot cry foul about straw men when you consistently fail to precisely define your position (like on determinism and an objective reality, for instance). If you do not like it then define your terms and take a stance on the most directly related issues to what you are debating. Not doing so only leads me to believe that you are intentionally leaving yourself some wiggle room to squirm out of damning criticism.

    Whether you know you are or not, you are definitely giving all appearance of intellectual dishonesty. Come back when you have sorted out your terms and stance on related issues.
  17. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    "Mere inference" that begins from what we currently know of the workings of the universe, yes.
    I vigorously defend in the first instance is misunderstanding from some quarters that don't even comprehend what they themselves write and who make unwarranted assumptions of my position. If I state a position I will defend it from such.
    But I also welcome the chance to discuss either the conclusion, the logic, or the assumptions upon which it is based with those who can do so intelligently.
    You're still thinly veiling the insults, wynn, and coming across as patronising, which I hope was not your intent.
    If it helps, try not to worry about the state of the person making the argument but focus on what they're saying/writing.
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    I'm not following the inference that free will is an "illusion" - as far as I can tell, it seems to be derived from the reasonable theory that it has a material substrate, that it exists as a derived or emergent entity in a physical world, but that seems inadequate in dismissing it as "illusion".

    I don't see people arguing that mass, light, or three dimensional space, are illusions, after all. And they are much more firmly bound to simple levels of physical property than such high level mental events as the will, consciousness, etc.
  19. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Illusion as in "not as perceived". I.e. there is a difference between our perception of free-will - that we operate outside of the cause/effect chain or assert non-random and non-deterministic outcomes to interactions - and that of our understanding of the underlying nature of it, which I also consider to be as you describe.
    And there is no "dismissing" of it by referring to it as illusion in this regard. It focusses attention on how the illusion arises. But if people dismiss it as illusion and are not interested in how the illusion works, that is their perogative.
    Because with these things we have consistency between our perception and our understanding of their underlying nature.
  20. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    "What we currently know of the Universe" involves a lot of ontological and epistemological assumptions.

    As I've been saying: your stance is based on the assumption that physicalist reductionism is adequate.
    There is no way to evidence empirically that it is.
    Although as you have seen, many people oppose it on moral grounds.

    I'm sorry you feel that way.

    The state of the person who is making an argument has a lot to do with how open to communication they will be.
    For example, if the person making an argument is in a state of anger or upset or drunk, there generally seems little point in trying to talk to them - even if they seem to be making an otherwise sound argument. Such a person is not open to communication (even if they insist that they be talked to).
    In a manner similar to anger, upset or intoxication, truisms and logical conclusions can have a similar grip on a person's mind, thus blocking them from engaging in communication meaningfully.
  21. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Only as long as those perceptions are based on specific ontological and epistemological assumptions, that are held tacitly, and are to be held tacitly, so that the illusion arises (sic!) that we are operating out of direct perception.

    Ie. we perceive what we are taught to perceive; we perceive what we want to perceive.
  22. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    To be honest, I'm not sure i am a physicalist reductionist. Nor do I hold to ideas of emergentism that are dualist if in anything other than understanding. I'd actually consider myself reasonably agnostic on many positions. But I still conclude that free will is illusory based on what I consider to be rational, and one of the cornerstones of that is not to include additional concepts until necessary.
    As for rejecting it on moral grounds, that speaks about the other person rather than the argument itself. Science and logic are amoral, although in practical society scientists certainly need to consider such matters.
    I was half expecting you to pat me on the head and tell me not to be so silly.

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    Maybe it is that I don't fully understand your view about being mesmerised that I see it as a hand-wave dismissal of an argument.
    If the argument is sound and continues to be, where is the issue, especially as the written word is all we have to go on in this forum? In face to face conversation I would tend to agree, as there is also the body language upon which to gauge the matter.
    I don't agree. If the truism is not a truism then there should be some way to explain or demonstrate so.
    If the logic is flawed, likewise there should be some way to show it.
    But if you can do neither, then perhaps the issue is not with the argument but with the reluctance of the reader to face what it might mean.
  23. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    More that our perceptions are second-hand compared to any underlying reality (oops, may get called out for equivocating here!), IF the underlying assumptions are correct. So even if we are taught what to perceive etc, there is a limit to what we can perceive because of the way we appear to operate. But the rational position, in my view, is that what we perceive, while second-hand (I don't want to use the word subjective as it may imply things I don't yet intend), is caused by something as consistent as that which we do perceive. And so our understanding of what we perceive is getting closer and closer to what is causing it.
    Until that time, if it ever comes, we make do with such things as concepts of emergence, as epiphenomenalism, and some make do with substance dualism et al etc.
    Does that make sense?

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