Atheist Philosophers

A place where Atheists who are interested in philosophy can talk about a diversity of subjects such as epistemology, free will, the meaning of life, ethics, etc.

Determinism: Do We Have to?

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?

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    Pope Beanie

    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.

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      Gregg R Thomas

      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.
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      Mike Donohoe

      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.