Just thought this article was relevant to the discussion and might be interesting to some of you.
Nice article, Becca.
Alright. I have no free will. I came back. =D I found this very interesting and it is something I was starting to think about in this heated debate, that there is a combination of the deterministic and the random in nature. http://edgarlowen.info/freewill.shtml
What is your fascination with randomness? If your behavior is random, it is no more under your control than if it is determined.
That is a very lengthy article and, sorry, it's far too long to discuss here in TA. In fact, I could develop a curriculum for a graduate level course discussing that article, but a cursory look tells me there is much there that wouldn't stand up to severe scrutiny.
Nice! lol. I read it in a few minutes. It punches some holes in your belief that all decisions are made in the subconscious for one thing. He is saying that more basic reflexes stem exclusively from there. He also points out as I have mentioned, that the subconscious is still a part of a given consciousness. The thing about randomness is that it precludes a single possible progression in a linear universe, which shows that if, as I believe, there are laws and deterministic elements in nature, they are not exclusive, and therefore we live in a universe that is somewhat but not entirely deterministic. This randomness gives us autonomy and individuality. If we lived in a purely deterministic universe that could somehow actually evolve, which I do not think it could as evolution requires unpredictable variation to find its way, there is a case to be made that all snowflakes, fingerprints and perhaps even people would be identical. Even identical twins are not truly identical because of things like extreme sensitivity to initial conditions and all the fluctuations in there individual development, despite having essentially the same genetic make up. The same applies to clones. I double dog dare you to read Chaos by James Gleick. Far longer than the 5 to 10 minute article above. What I am seeing here is the kind of brain washing that occurs in relation to reductionism, which has its place certainly but is taken too far. You are like fundamentalist Christians who reject the evidence for evolution for the simple fact that it destroys their faith in Genesis. Your linear clockwork universe is a fantasy that gives you security, but such a universe, if it could exist at all, would be a sorry trade off for the reality you cannot accept.
Reflexes are something else entirely, but they are reflexes, not choices. When the doctor taps my kneecap and my leg moves, there is no decision making going on.
I have to laugh when anyone brings up randomness or chaos in regards to free will. In either case, you're just a leaf on the randomness or chaos stream rather than the determinism stream. Furthermore, chaos theory in now way disproves determinism.
Our subconscious belongs to us, but as science is showing, our decisions belong to a separate mind below the conscious mind. Try to fit free will in there, please.
Who's brainwashed. It is you who are defending a Christian notion of free will!
Perhaps the supposition is that consciousness can influence quantum level results.
(I hope everyone knows I'm kidding.)
There is this constant repeated aspect to nature of dualities. One of them, in Chaos theory, is nonlinear order. The blending of order and its opposite. It is the reason that seemingly identical things like blades of grass or even fire engine red 2012 Mustangs are never actually identical if examined closely enough. It also presents itself in the concept of infinite variability. We create our linear achievements through a process designed as linear approximation. The second word there is key. The linear, and the predictable, and the even theoretically deterministic is approximate. From this we also get the undivided duality known as individuality, which is the basis for all variation and the fact that stars at some point cease to be stars and facilitate the existence of such lovely planets as earth, and why there is not one interchangeable form of life, but all the varied example of species and of individuals within species, no 2 ever identical. That's why randomness matters and why the deterministic universe is at best a thing of likelihoods and probabilities. And individuality begets unpredictable autonomy and free will.
Just google "deepak quantum" to see how Chopra has certainly profited from the current lack of understanding of quantum theory. It's the new explanation for anything.
Anyone here remember the early 80's plastic balls that were added to the wash, because of their 'quantum effects' could help remove dirt from the wash?
Or the little shield, that could added to the back side of a cell phone to prevent brain cancer?
Or a device used, about 2003, that was connected to the body to read the 'frequencies' of disease. I went to a local business resourceing meeting to see the device. The trainer even suggested that the device could be used remotely because of quantum entanglement! I was amazed how many people get all soft and squishy around hardware. I think the device was just a modification of the Scientogist's engrams machine.
It used to be "fuzzy logic" or "chaos theory." Some members are invoking chaos theory here as though chaos gives one free will somehow. The only thing that really gives one something like free will (as the word is commonly used) is a belief in a parallel (and yet connected) spirit world, populated by spirits who can do whatever they wish, causing miraculous exceptions to physical law in so doing.