Essentially if all things have a cause (quantum counts) then everything we do and/or are is hypothetically possible to trace back to either the Big Bang or a consequence thereof. This means that we are not people making decitions but physical reactions in a biological framework.

What are the implications of this if true?
Is it true?
How would it be falsifiable?
What are the contrasts to the deterministic view?

Tags: determinism, fate, philosophy

Views: 521

Replies to This Discussion

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.

Quantum Will.

(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.

Unseen asks;

"The question is this: WHAT IS FREE WILL ANYWAY?"

FREE WILL is the label used to describe that which we all experience when we decide between A and B. Much like the label "Dark Matter" is used to describe the experience of gravitational lensing (please don't turn this into a Dark Matter thread). It is a label placed upon something we experience but are unable to describe in an exact form.

The real underlying question for me is:

Does the conscious human mind affect the synaptic connections in the brain.

If it does then Free Will wins out over Determinism.

Most of us except the "mind" is a manifestation of the biological brain, at least I do, if the conscious human mind can be shown to affect even one synaptic connection then it would be difficult to accept Determinism as a complete description of the human condition.

Here's the way woo-ites (woobies?) might describe it, in order to support their endeavor of Dualism. Free Will exists (as does soul or spirit) independently of the brain, as a supernatural gift. The body is just an earthly temple in which we're temporarily stuck. Our souls/spirits live on after brain death.

if the conscious human mind can be shown to affect even one synaptic connection then it would be difficult to accept Determinism

Woobies might define Determinism as an atheistic idea that no one has choice, free will, soul, spirit, and so on. This is why I don't like accepting some of the prevailing definitions of words. I'd rather meet halfway, and just agree that we have choice, responsibility, and we can each be held accountable for our choices (while considering circumstances in context).

Choice feels like free will to most of us, and I'm ok with that feeling, even if we know intellectually that it's an illusion without supernatural cause.

Meanwhile, even if human consciousness is merely a product or emergent property of synaptic activity, we still have choice in the context of our worldly circumstances. We are not "just" products of our own neural activity or some kind of external spirit: we must also realize our ability to adapt and interact with the reality that feels external to us.

I would say that the vast majority of atheists don't believe in ghosts, spirits, souls, or any of their otherworldly occult kin. I'm not invoking any sort of populist fallacy in saying so. I'm simply saying that that puts the burden on the ghost believer.

Of course we have choices. When I go to pick out socks, knowing I can only buy one package, I'm presented with perhaps 20 or more choices of color and design. I feel free as I make my choice. But feeling free isn't being free. As you seem to concede, we are free as long as we don't really ask very probing questions. Or, as Confucius is reputed to have said, "Man with weak stomach shouldn't disturb beach rubble."

Feeling free confronted with choices isn't actual freedom any more than deja vu is an actual memory, as vivid as it may seem.

Hi. This may or may not matter to you but one thing I think about in terms of that view of the subconscious as a kind of decision machine, is what about moments of indecision, and then there is of course changing your mind. Deciding you might have been happier with a different pair of socks.

What are you suggesting? that indecision proves a lack of causality and thus no free will? What would changing one's mind prove that is evidence for free will. Of course processes are going on in the subconscious whereby it reacts to new information of information it just remembered.

I don't get where you think there's a problem.

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