I recently got in an argument with my boyfriend on the topic of bestiality. He's a hardcore Satanist and he thinks that it's okay for people to have sex with animals if the animals consent. I replied with they cannot verbally consent as they have very low intelligence and run basically on instinct, and I pretty much called him sick for thinking that it's ok. (Wrong of me, but it really rustles my jimmies) He said that I might as well set my religion on facebook to Christian since I follow the morals of them (except for being pro gay marriage). I'm just... lost I guess. I'm not christian at all and I think the bible is hogwash, but is there anything inherently wrong with Christian morals?? Lying, murder, stealing, all pretty bad in my opinion. Aside from that the government influenced my morality long before I even understood what Christianity was. I don't know, I need some advice or just input on the whole situation.
Okay, we're starting to enter that area where when you can't win, you try to buy your opponent under a blizzard of verbiage. I'll play along just a bit.
"John, the reason determinism can't be proven is that it's beyond proof."
You've conceded this much at least. You asked for scientists that accepted free will and I gave you some. Before I continue this, as I said in my previous post I am open minded and am not trying to prove or assert free will exists. I'll leave assertions of the unproveable to you. (Which religion did you leave again?)
All I asserted (not conceded) is that one always has to start with presuppositions. Unfortunately for you, one HAS to presuppose determinism or no real truth is possible, because without determinism, nothing is ever really true other than the tautologies of logic and mathematics and grammar.
"I'm not going to engage in the rather obviously pointless thought problem you describe as a paradox."
I've asked you twice for an answer or a comment. You've declined. If you can't think of an answer, belittle the question, right?
It's not that I can't think of an answer, there's no answer to think of. Thought problems are a waste of time. If I design a bridge in my mind and imagine a 40 ton truck crossing it, it doesn't prove that my design would sustain a 40 ton truck in real life.
Quantum mechanics [could possibly] salvage free will because...
Quantum theory is that realm of science that studies what is commonly accepted as non-deterministic. The view that there really is randomness in nature is widely accepted.
Sir Roger Penrose (worked with Hawking on singularities) and Stuart Hamerhoff have proposed that free will may be seen as the result of deterministic processes acted on repeatedly by non-computable influences, that is, uncaused influences. They have argued that consciousness is the result of quantum gravity effects in microtubules, the Orch OR model.
Penrose and Hamerhoff suggest that quantum computation with objective reduction (Orch OR) is potentially applicable to cognitive activities. While classical neural-level computation can provide a partial explanation, the Orch OR model allows far greater information capacity, and addresses issues of conscious experience, binding, and non-computability consistent with free will.
How does the choice actually occur? In a conventional neural network scheme, the selection criteria can be described by a deterministic algorithm which precludes the possibility of free will. The non-computable influence in Orch OR may be useful in understanding free will.
Our "free will" actions could be the net result of deterministic processes acted on by hidden quantum logic at each Orch OR event. This can explain why we generally do things in an orderly, deterministic fashion, but occasionally our actions or thoughts are surprising, even to ourselves.
The theory is based on certain concepts:
Brain processes relevant to consciousness extend downward within neurons to the level of cytoskeletal microtubules.
An explanation for conscious experience requires (in addition to neuroscience and psychology) a modern form of pan-protopsychism in which proto-conscious qualia are embedded in the basic level of reality, as described by modern physics.
Roger Penrose's physics of objective reduction (OR) connects brain structures to fundamental reality, leading to the Penrose-Hameroff model of quantum computation with objective reduction in microtubules (orchestrated objective reduction: Orch OR).
The Orch OR model is consistent with known neurophysiological processes, generates testable predictions, and is the type of fundamental, multi-level, interdisciplinary theory which may account for the mind's enigmatic features.
Now, I can't pretend to understand the product of these two great minds. Perhaps you could pick over Sir Roger's findings and offer your own critique? You'll forgive me if I remain unconvinced, open-minded.
Perhaps you could start your reply: I, Unseen, Master Debater of the Universe, know better than Sir Roger Penrose, the mistake he has made is..........
The mistake he has made is...he hasn't given us a definition of free will that any of us would recognize, and that's because the entire concept is based in our everyday language, not physics. And our everyday language gives us a concept which is hopelessly vague and muddled, especially when it comes to the word "will." We kind of know what "free" means but what is this "will"? How to use the word: when I pick up a cup am I willing myself to pick up the cup? or am I just picking up a cup? And, either way, is there any reason to assume that there was a suspension of regular (non-quantum) physics involved. You see, even free will itself depends on determinism. Randomness salvages nothing. If randomness is involved in picking up a cup, well, that's just incredibly goofy. I don't think me, you, Penrose, or anybody at all knows how to process that into an understanding of free will.
Well, I'll wait until Penrose or you tells me what this free will thing is, other than just a pair of words we can put into grammatical sentences that we can't understand.
It's not for me to tell you anything. I'm open minded on the question. You are the one who has shackled himself to a particular view with the certainty of a theist despite you admitting it cannot be proved; an act of faith.
I'm not "shackled," I'm simply stating what appears to me to be an inescapable fact: everything on the gross level happens because of something else happening, whether that other thing was determined or was the result of a random subatomic event.
How can you say Penrose has based his concept on everyday language, not physics? He is one of the most eminent scientists of our time. Clearly, he is talking physics if you'd taken the time to explore his complex theory. Penrose is clearly introducing quantum mystery into consciousness and free will, uncaused quantum effects that challenge the notion of determinism.
Well, let's put it this way: even if determinism were wrong and miracles were happening all around us, it wouldn't salvage free will because the notion of free will doesn't mean anything. People think it means something but as soon as you start asking specific questions about it such as "If I throw a fastball with free will, what does that add to me simply throwing the fastball?" You still haven't told me what this concept of "will" adds up to. It's just a word with no concept behind it. It only exists to deny the concept of determinism, but determinism actually has physics behind it and explains the world. Adding the concept of free will does the opposite. It muddles things up.
Maybe he is wrong. Maybe it was foolish of Stephen Hawking to ponder the logical paradox implicit in determinism as you would have us believe. I have no vested interest, but I am certainly not going to close my mind to the possibility because you think Penrose owes you a personal explanation. Buy the books.
There is no "logical paradox" of determinism. Rather, it makes so much sense that it is a philosophical problem having philosophers and physicists doing cartwheels and standing on their heads to deny it.
Wasn't it Richard Feynman who said,"If you claim to understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics"?
@Unseen. We are beginning to round in circles. All I have done is to respond to your challenge that determinism is the only show in town. As I have said throughout, I am not championing the existence of free will, just pointing out there are some really clever scientists who, like me, have an open mind and are actively perusing theories that do, to some extent, call into question a view of the world that is purely deterministic.
So you think I don't have an open mind. This is what people so often say when they are failing to convince the other party. You said it, I didn't. No one can see into my mind and in my defense, I can say I was driven to this position after years of thinking about the problem hoping I could salvage free will, which is evidence I do have an open mind and can change it. Just as I can say that determinism seems true because nothing else makes a whole lot of sense, I can say that if free will is something one should want, then to that extent I'm sorry I don't have it. It seems to me more important to religious people than to me, though.
I never hear any discussion of free will in animals. If I were to say that when a dog fetches a stick does so it's simply operating in response to the internal programming of its nervous system and stimuli in the environment, I don't think anyone would want to come forward to argue that, "No the dog has free will." When we see a squirrel gathering nuts, do we think it's important to imagine that the squirrel went out to gather nuts as an act of free will? No, we'd see instantly that that is just silly. And yet, it seems even atheists, along with religious people, want humans to be nature's single exception when it comes to this nonsensical idea that we can deviate from the determinism that drives everything else. Is this a rational want? No.
Neither of us understands quantum mechanics. Maybe no one does. But it seems as though Penrose is arguing that quantum effects can lead to non computational events in the brain; non-deterministic events which perhaps amount to consciousness and free will.
Good. But I don't understand how noncomputational events produce "will" (whatever that means) or would be different from momentary insanity or magic.
You can't see the logical paradox involved in determinism that Hawking raised. I can. Well we will have to leave it at that.
If there's no consistent determinism subatomically, whoop de doo! On the level of everyday life, not only is it obvious that everything that happens happens due to something that happened before it, but nothing useful follows from assuming otherwise. If there were free will, apparently you are arguing that it would somehow create magic. If were to be magical exceptions to normal causality and determinism, why should we trust any causality? We should have to start believing in miracles and miracle makers.
Rare neurons linked to empathy and self-awareness found in macaque .... As Monty Python used to say: “And now for something completely different!” Uniquely large, spindle-shaped neurons in the anterior insular cortex (AIC) that have the super-badass name of von Economo neurons (sounds like a Marvel comics villain name) are thought to have a key role in self-awareness and social cognition, including empathy, in humans. This type of neuron was previously thought to exist only in the brains of humans and great apes. But a team from the Max Planck Institute in Germany has now found von Economo neurons (VEN) in macaques, in the agranular anterior insula of the monkey’s brain. The shape, size, and distribution suggest that it is an anatomical homolog of the human VEN. The macaque could now be used as a laboratory model to study the primal connections and physiology of this important type of neuron. This could be important to study some neuropsychiatric disorders, since damage to the insula leads to apathy, and to the inability to recognize what feelings are being experienced by other people or even by the affected person. The insula is also affected in autism and in frontotemporal dementia. The AIC in particular is where humans consciously experience the so-called subjective emotions (e.g. love, hate, self-confidence, embarrassment, jealousy). Interestingly, though macaques fail the mirror self-recognition test, the new data provides compelling evidence that monkeys possess at least a primitive form of von Economo neurons. Perhaps self-awareness as measured by the mirror test is the wrong test to evaluate self-awareness in non-human animals. Certainly macaques are a social species, they are capable of experiencing empathy and of altruistic behaviors. Surprise, surprise: the foundations of our moral sense do not come from gods or religion, but from evolution and the biology we share with non-human animals. The original story can be found here.
Or, as Dana "The Church Lady" Carvey used to say, "Well, isn't that special?"