The three variables which determine human behavior.

1. Past history of conditioning or learning.

I think we can agree that for the most part when we come into this world we are virtually a blank page. Hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year the environment fills up this blank page. Schools, churches, friends, parents, and any other part of the environment we interact with puts it’s imprint, teaching or fills up those blank pages. In china, its no surprise they speak Chinese, in Germany, of course they speak German. Not only do they speak the appropriate language, but also they learn most of the individual elements of their culture. If you break it down even more, they learn the peculiarities of their neighborhoods. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. We are products of our environment. Yes, I know the one about one brother becomes a priest and the other a criminal. You get caught by saying they both lived in the same environment. There is no such thing as “the same environment’. The brothers each have very unique experiences growing up.

2. Conditions that are present at the time of the behavior.

People don’t usually speak if there is no one there to speak to. We think these people as being rather odd. People usually don’t poop on the living room floor. They look for a bathroom. People don’t usually try to drink from a stool. They look for a fountain. People don’t talk at hearing end of a phone. Now, often one will see a little baby do many of the above behavior. Why”, they have not learned the appropriate behaviors for these situations. As time goes on and the baby interacts with people and the rest of the environment, he/she learns the appropriate behavior for the various situations. All of these behavior in 1.and 2. above are very simple behaviors which is a good place to start to see that are a function of something. That something is Past history of learning and the Conditions present at the time of the behavior. If one is unable to see how these simple behavior are learned put forth in certain environments then there is no need to go into much more complex behavior at this time.

3. Level of deprivation or level of need.

This one is more difficult to see at times. The old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”, is not true. All you have to do is wait until the horse is thirsty, or in need of water, and he will drink. If you just finished with sex, usually one needs to wait a bit for the next round, or have the need build up a bit. Unless you are 14 to 25 years old. They have a high level of deprivation much of the time. If you are thirsty, you will drink. If you are hungry, you will eat given there if no incompatible stuff going on. Usually, a rich man will not sleep under a bridge. He can get a hotel or go home. He does not have much deprivation for shelter at this time.
Now, it is the interaction of these three variables that determine if a behavior is engaged in. It appears very simple, but it gets very complex . But, its brief and to the point without philosophy entering into it at this time.

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Worldwide, societies fail to meet the modern demands of their peoples. This phenomenon is rooted in the genetically determined and neurologically mediated illusion of so-called "Free Will"(FW).

This assertion is just that, an assertion. It is a blanket statement covering so many complex and differing issues and it does nothing to support your argument.

Despite exponential advances in science and technology, the poor performance of social and political institutions implicates FW as a key, underlying flaw. Yet, ironically, FW is the unquestioned philosophical paradigm implicit in essentially all strategies for dealing with today's complex social problems.

It is????

I borrowed this because it said what I say only in a more impressive language than I use for those that like impressive language.

I like impressive ideas. Language is simply the vehicle. You can deliver your ideas in a beat up station wagon. I don't mind.

But more to the point, I ignored most of the copy and paste job mainly because I was asking you, Roger, the question and the copy and paste text did not address the question. It only asserted the problem and implied that determinism was the solution. So again, can you explain what would change and how would it change if determinism were the modus operandi for human beings the world over?
Of course the thought of taking our right of free will away is scary. When you don't take some invisible man's or a conflicting collection of stories at face value seriously free will is all that we have left. Most of the Atheists I know are good because we adhere to societal limits

Perhaps I am arguing from my personal belief. Free will. Determinism. These ideas both seem irrelevant. Even if these two choices are valid and the only choices, what would it matter? But really, what I'm trying to articulate is that I think the question of "which one is it?" is not even the right question.

Also, I have never heard an atheist express that free will was all they had. Until maybe just now.

Societal limits? Yes, there is a social contract, but that is not only dependent on punishing "bad" behavior. There is quite a lot more going on within a social community of animals than that. We don't merely adhere to limits.
I would ask you when you say "we are choosing it ourselves". where did this choosing it ourselves come from??? We were not born with obviously. We got it from our teachers, our parents , our friends etc. And yes, we did get it from books. I got a lot from books. ie Mark Twain, 1984, that book on burning books, can't remember the name. btw, I am a lousy speller, if it were not for this handy dandy spell checker, I would be in trouble. I think poor spellers are special. Somehow they missed some of the bull shit conditioning.
If we had behaviorism and determinism as our guide lines, we would not teach kids they are sinful. We would look as to what the effect all of the shit we teach our kids would be in the long run. People often say, who are you to set up these guide lines. I say it easy. its better to be happy, then to be unhappy. Its better to be healthy then to be sick. It would not be difficult to set these up. As it is, school is boring, kids drop out right and left. A determinism would not teach in this manner.
I agree that teaching children that they are sinful is wrong. However, I don't see how that relates to free will versus determinism. I see that as a psychological abuse problem.
You do agree that the whole sinful problem comes from the religious teachings. And christianity surely pushes the free will trip. ie you had a choice as to if you did the behavior or did not do it. Determinism says you were conditioned taught in such way that you really did not have any choice in the matter. A while back, it was a sin to eat meat on fridays. Well, you forgot, too bad, its still a sin. You got divorced because you could not stand it any more, to bad, you had a choice, its a sin.
Yes, I agree that "sin" is an idea born out of religion. And yes, religion pushes the idea of "free will". I will even go as far as to say that free will is not a good term to use in describing human behavior. However, that is where I get off this bus. I still choose my behavior in many instances. The problem with your argument is that the way you apply the definition of determinism in a manner that lets you classify anything as evidence for your claim. Eat pasta for dinner? Determinism. Give pasta dinner to the homeless? Determinism. Food fight with pasta dinner? Determinism. There is no escape from your assertions of determinism.

I would say that I don't have a choice about my lust when seeing a pretty girl, but I do choose my actions and behavior around her. Do I flirt? Do I try to kiss her? Do I carry platonic conversation? Do I ignore her? These are all choices that I could weigh against many variables. Yet, you would say that no matter which I choose, I wasn't really choosing and that it was determined no matter what. And if I change that behavior the next time to prove you wrong, you will simply say that it was determined yet again due to my previous experience. The only way to win an argument like this is to open a parallel universe and make different decisions on a single choice in a single point in time. But I'd bet you'd STILL say it was determined both ways simultaneously.

This reminds me of that saying, "if everyone is your brother, then no one is your brother". If everything is determinism, then nothing is determinism.
Very nice. The three components that effect our behaviors are definitely influenced by our genetics, environment, and schema. It is like a seed being planted in fertile soil. The genetics of the seed will determine what type of flower we will become while the environment will effect the quality of the bloom. There are genetic and biological factors that effects our motivational levels to enhance ourselves depending on our level and type of needs, whether they are meta-needs or physical needs. Obviously, we can not change our genetics but can certainly control our environment to a certain extent, and can always change our schema or outlooks about life. Most religions will exploit our needs and affect our schema of how to fulfill those needs.
I just wrote on this subject above. I agree whole heartedly with your examples.
For those interested in such things, the most recent Point of Inquiry podcast's topic is Scientific Naturalism and the Illusion of Free Will.
I've started a new point of discussion, which should be interesting.
Most people do not realize what is the primary function of verbal behavior. We say we give each other information, we communicate with each other with verbal behavior, we make requests, we compliment and punish each other with verbal behavior among many more functions. These are all true, but we leave out the main function and that is “control of behavior. Our own self-control with our own verbal behavior,.”I should not do this or I will get into trouble” Self talk..And of course, control of others with our verbal behavior. It starts as soon as we learn to talk. Johnny pick up your shoes,. Johnny quit that, Johnny come and eat right now, Johnny come inside and wash your hand,. Of course, one of the first words we learn is NO. A couple of the more obvious controls with verbal behavior is the words from the boss, or the cop. These words usually demand immediate reponses. And, yes tones of voice are also important. We even teach our dogs to respond to words which will control their behavior. Come. Sit, Stay.
Yep. I look forward to listening to the podcast tonight. (Can't listen at work, too many interruptions)


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