Hi all. I became an atheist at ten. When I was a teenager, (Which was, like, 30 years ago!), I came to feel as many on here do that every thought, feeling and perception we have could be quantified and thus in a sense dismissed as an illusion. I understand that point of view, certainly. I think it may be worth pointing out that none of us have empirical evidence of our various positions, and one thing I would say is that to myself at least it is conceivable that the ultimate truth in the matter may actually be beyond human comprehension, regardless of what position we take. The thing I keep bringing up about the chaotic element in nature, as I think it applies to consciousness and the question of free will, is that I think the chaotic is not readily quantified, cause and affect, from point A to point B in a linear sense. In this my personal sense is that I think it allows us far more gray area and more, in the sense of a hinge or a tool, more "play," in terms of thoughts, feelings, and decisions. That's how I feel that the chaotic element makes the reality of free will possible, because our consciousness is not a fully linear easily quantified mechanism, even as an incredibly complex mechanism. Is there reason to question the reductionist take on the nature of consciousness? One example I would give is the connection between so called anti-depressants and suicide. I don't think that we are vending machines meant to produce socially agreeable satisfaction, and that if the machine is not giving what you want you just rock it against the wall with medication, but it seems that that is what our reductionist culture does to excess. As for the subconscious making our decisions for us, I have my doubts that it is that simple and I believe that there is interplay between the subconscious and the conscious, both ways. To the extent that the subconscious facilitates conscious experience, I think of someone driving a car. The car has a motor and a transmission and axles and wheels and so on. The steering wheel and the shifter and the gas pedal and brakes make it a comparatively easy way to travel, even though, like the subconscious, the driver is not manually reaching in to adjust the transmission or apply the brakes or turn the front wheels to change direction. Even so, the person driving decides whether to go to a movie theater or a mall or the grocery store or work or school or to head back home, aided by the controls of the car in doing so. I don't think the person has to walk to have actually traveled or to have decided where to go. Anyway that is how I see it.~Mike.
One word: paragraphing.
Paragraphing is evidence of an organized mind.
As I've said before several times, we don't NEED proof of determinism since it's necessary to assume it. I just find it strange that while people assume determinism (that everything happens as the result of some thing or things preceding it) they then want to pretend it isn't there.
Of course there's interplay between the subconscious and conscious levels of the mind, because the subconscious can't possibly tell the consciousness level what to do without any basis at all. That basis is the world of sensory perception, which is the conscious world. But what are you asserting? that somehow there's no causality involvedl in this interplay? that this fact salvage free will in some way?
BTW, yet again, please define free will so that I can criticize that, if I can, or so that we at least understand what we are talking about. I maintain the entire notion is nonsense and your inability to define it satisfactory will be a major piece of evidence.
Many mental processes are automatic and involve no actual decision-making at all. They obviously HAVE to be beyond one's conscious control. Reflexes are just one example. Yet another nail in the coffin of free will.