Free will, do we have it? or we don't ?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by KevinVolchok, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. KevinVolchok

    KevinVolchok Well-Known Member

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    So, this has been discussed for centuries now and I'd like to talk a little bit about it.

    If you believe in god, sorry, but you're out of the conversation. Please don't reply. I mean, really, please do not reply.

    I'm a determinist and believe me, it's not something that pleases me.
    In fact the idea that we don't have free will scares the shit out of me but, after reading The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris (has anyone read it? ) my position was completely reenforced.

    The truth is we are not the authors of our thoughts. It may seem like we are but if you pay close attention you'll notice how this is an illusion. Thoughts just spring in our brain. Why did I use this word instead of that word? Why did I just scratched my head?

    And although Sam Harris does say that even if we don't have free will, our actions matter, I wonder what are truly the implications of not having free will. I mean, what happens to responsibility and accountability? How can you make the distinction between a good person and a bad person? After all the bad person can't choose the way he thinks and the way he thinks will influence the way he acts..

    I also feel the need to figure this out because as a student of physcology, I think this will influence my practice.

    I'd like to hear some ideas. And again, if you believe in god, please don't reply.
     
    #1 KevinVolchok, Jul 1, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  2. tgirlsrgreat

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    :popcorn: not replying mind you, just getting a good seat for the fireworks!!!
     
  3. B_Hickboy

    B_Hickboy New Member

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    I do, but you don't. How do I know? I don't. It's just a product of my thoughts and I couldn't help it.
     
  4. B_Hickboy

    B_Hickboy New Member

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    I do have a question, though. Are you implying that we have no choices as to what we think and do?
     
  5. D_Miranda_Wrights

    D_Miranda_Wrights Account Disabled

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    I think our religious friends can add something here. We're all demonstrably made of chemicals. Chemicals react in fairly predictable ways. This is where my knowledge gets hazy, but I think there is some "randomness" involved in quantum mechanics. Beyond that, the chemicals that compose us are deterministic, so why aren't we? I think religious people might have some time reconciling their belief in chemistry with this. Maybe "free will" is exercised by our souls, subconsciously, through these minor quirks in quantum mechanics? Basically, our souls (or God) "intelligently design" those minor quirks into something independent of chemical determinism?

    Otherwise I can't make a very good argument for free will. But why does it stop us from punishing bad people? That should be about deterrence, and even in a deterministic wold, deterrence is still an issue.

    A lot of people are really troubled by these ideas, but I've never seen the big deal. It doesn't seem to threaten much of anything (outside of religion) even if it's a bit of a mindfuck.
     
  6. KevinVolchok

    KevinVolchok Well-Known Member

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  7. KevinVolchok

    KevinVolchok Well-Known Member

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    This part is woo woo, that's why I didn't want religious people to comment.
    As far as quantum mechanics goes, yes, there seems to be some randomness but it's inconclusive of anything...

    I'm interested in reading Daniel Dennet soon. He's a compatibilist. Although I don't think he's gonna be able to sell it to me. We'll see.
     
    #7 KevinVolchok, Jul 1, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  8. D_Miranda_Wrights

    D_Miranda_Wrights Account Disabled

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    I think it's a little woo-woo too, but for those who believe: 1) We're made of chemicals; and 2) Chemicals are mostly deterministic, this seems to be the only way of defending free will. Ironically, when atheists I've known try to defend free will, they start sounding a hell of a lot like they're describing some sort of subconscious metaphysical presence in our bodies. Sounds like a soul to me.

    But like I said, I have no idea why they feel the impulse to defend "free will" (as the opposite of determinism at least.)
     
  9. KevinVolchok

    KevinVolchok Well-Known Member

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    As for a soul, I mean, if you want to get down to it, yes we have one, but it's mechanic. It's the product of our brains. There's no point calling it soul because it has nothing to do with the traditional definition of soul. Funny how some people get really angry when they're told we don't have souls in the traditional sense. As if that would make us any less of a person.

    I think the impulse to want to defend free will is normal. How can you be told that you're basically a conscious marionette and not be phased by it?:rolleyes:
     
  10. B_Hickboy

    B_Hickboy New Member

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    Thank you. Another simplistic question: You mentioned a 'practice'. Are you planning on going into a helping or healing profession after you've completed your studies?
     
  11. Hoss

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    In other words you don't really want an open talk you want a bunch of people that just agree with you. Any I'll reply to any fucking thread I damn well please. You want to make it all private and 1 sided and narrow like your mind, then start a private blog or even create a group here. As long as it's on the open board, all are free to reply even God believers.
     
  12. Hoss

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    and in the end, even God, gives us a certain freedom, we all have free will, we have the ability to make a choice, God saw to that.:smile:
     
  13. D_Miranda_Wrights

    D_Miranda_Wrights Account Disabled

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    I'm interested in how you respond to the whole chemicals/quantum physics deal. Most apologists I've talked to just kind of shrug it off, but apologists aren't usually big into philosophy.
     
  14. Hoss

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    chemicals/quantum physics? :eek::confused::eek::confused::eek::confused::confused::confused:

    I'm a college dropout:redface: and until I google it I haven't a clue to what quantum physics is.
    and while I believe in God I also believe we are given free will and the ability to choose.. In the case of taking a candy bar or not taking it, we have been given the ability to choose. Same with any thing we are presented with in life. Suggest marriage or not suggest marriage. Buy the coffee or buy the tea or maybe by both. Choice, which is free will.

    Stealing, cheating, telling lies, harming others, these are all things which people who believe in God would see as wrong but because of free will, can actually select to do.
     
  15. KevinVolchok

    KevinVolchok Well-Known Member

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    Actually I want an open talk and that's exactly why I wish you hadn't answered. I'm not interesting in hearing "god did it, and that's it".

    See, religious thinking is divisive by definition because it allows no critic or questioning, plus there's the whole issue of not giving a shit about evidence.
     
  16. KevinVolchok

    KevinVolchok Well-Known Member

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    A little correction, stealing, cheating, telling lies,harming others are things that atheists consider wrong as well.

    If you're a college drop out and don't understand shit about science, what makes you think you have a valid opinion on the subject in question?
     
  17. tgirlsrgreat

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    See, religious thinking is divisive by definition because it allows no critic or questioning, plus there's the whole issue of not giving a shit about evidence.


    hogwash, all kinds of critics and questioning from within, one reason there is so much diversity of and within religion. you lose a lot of credibility with statements as off base as this
     
  18. D_Miranda_Wrights

    D_Miranda_Wrights Account Disabled

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    Basically, we're chemicals, yes? And chemicals react to their surroundings in predictable ways. This is determinism -- i.e., everything is pre-determined. At very low levels, there are quirks in quantum mechanics that mean that you can't perfectly predict how things will go down. However, these are small quirks, and they are unlikely to affect outcomes. We're definitely not conscious of them, and I think when people talk about "free will," they're talking about something they believe themselves conscious of.

    So, if we buy that: 1) We're made of chemicals; and 2) that chemicals react to their environment based on their properties; where does "free will" come into play?
     
    #18 D_Miranda_Wrights, Jul 1, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  19. tgirlsrgreat

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    you just going to keep repeating the same post and hope it eventually makes sense?? i have had this everything is pre-determined vs free will debate/conversation many times and contrary to the op's desires, the best answer i can give is i sure hope there is (free will that is) i think that without it, essentially the ability to decide between good and bad, i think the world would be a lot more chaotic and evil than it already is.
     
  20. B_Hickboy

    B_Hickboy New Member

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    What you wanted was to play with a stacked deck. You sought to eliminate a bias by introducing one and that, my boy, is shitty science.
     
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