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    Thread: Free will is completely irrelevant

    1. #51
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      Quote Originally Posted by FryingMan View Post
      You repeat your worldview assertion again.
      And you've made it about me again. I did not espouse any worldview, I just asked how you account for a set of observations. Observations are not a worldview.

      You did not ask a question, you asked how I can reconcile my worldview with the fact that you have a different worldview.
      Now you're just being argumentative. That looks like a question to me. I used a question mark, and even you said I was "asking". How can you ask something if it's not a question? Please don't try to argue this point any further, it's a waste of time.

      You can make a statement that "some aspects of life arise from physical processes and can be measured with physical instruments" and I'd agree with it. But not all. Mind, consciousness, love, etc., defy physical explanation.
      On the contrary, there are numerous observations which show that subjective phenomena, loosely termed "mind", are the result of physical objects. For instance,
      • Physical trauma to the brain causes profound mental effects, including change of personality, loss of memories, loss of cognitive faculties and changes to perception. These changes are predictable, as specific areas in the (physical) brain has been found to correspond to specific faculties.
      • Chemical agents can alter the behaviour of neural activity in a way we understand, with corresponding changes in mental experience. For example, the molecule LSD.
      • Scans of the electrical activity of the brain provides further evidence that specific perceptions and specific cognitive faculties are localised to specific (physical) neurons. This is being perfected to the extent that scientists can now use the physical brain activity to produce images that the percipient is viewing. Different mental states, such as unconsciousness, can also be viewed.
      • Electrical stimulation of specific regions of the brain causes the experience of the percepts, emotions, and memories associated with that region.
      Altogether, these observations clearly demonstrate that mental activity is caused by and inextricably linked with physical phenomena.

      Heck, what we term physical matter itself very likely may not even have a "physical" basis at all if you go down small enough, and is there any indication that the scale of building blocks has a limit? The only limit is in our ability to measure it with current instruments.
      I don't really know how you're using "physical" in this context. How are you defining it? What does "physical matter has no physical basis" mean? How could we establish whether it did or didn't?
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    2. #52
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      Quote Originally Posted by Ginsan View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Fryingman
      Mind, consciousness, love, etc., defy physical explanation
      They don't defy anything. It just can not be explained yet. That doesn't mean it can never be explained.
      In this case "They Don't defy anything" is an assertion

      We can not know if it defies explanation since we haven't found one. Chances are at this point equally so that we may never will find an ultimate explanation for mind,consciousness the whole shebang.

      Even of you define it as a quantum probability, or imaginary speaking if we define consciousness as an invisible teapot. Then we still haven't defined mind itself. it remains elusive.
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    3. #53
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      You want to hear some interesting assumptions that have no scientific basis? Dthoughts and FryingMan is too stupid for me and it's a complete waste of my time and energy to talk to you = D

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      Quote Originally Posted by Ginsan View Post
      You want to hear some interesting assumptions that have no scientific basis? Dthoughts and FryingMan is too stupid for me and it's a complete waste of my time and energy to talk to you = D
      Well I did take the time and effort to respond to your challenge by giving examples where free will is relevant. I even went as far as to take into account punishment and reward into a plausible model of behaviorism in rats. Something you seemed to be alluding to in ur OP.

      I am guessing the reward for winning ur challenge and actually handing you a situation where free will actually is relavent constitutes being called stupid and unworthy in ur almighty godly presence. But I guess you didn't expect that.

      Ah well.. I don't even care anyway.
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    5. #55
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      That makes two of us

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      No harsh feelings

    7. #57
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      Ofcourse not
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    8. #58
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      Ah, I see the misunderstanding. I was perhaps imprecise in my original statement.

      I should have said "I reject the premise that the *sum-total of all that we consider "life"* is ONLY a tower of fizzing molecules*: that it ONLY is physical explained ONLY by the material". Of course life *includes* the physical, and the mechanism of how our personalities/mind are observably expressed are AFFECTED by the state of our physical brains.

      But that in no way shape or form allows for the conclusion that there is ONLY the physical. I will allow that in this universe, at least the physically observable portions of it, existence/mind is *expressable* through material forms, but doesn't prove that it is the foundation or even the ultimate source of it.

      And Ginsan, you're a bit of a jerk it turns out.
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    9. #59
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      I don't really want to get into personals and all. But lest be honest here, I really came to philosophize as a layman in the field in it's absolute of the sense. I mean, i loved the greeks and all but I coulden't understand much of a word of what they where saying. Maybe PLato has some fun ideas that I like but that's it. So hopefully you understand I am realy just a toddler trying to play in this field here.

      Quote Originally Posted by Denziloe;2148304
      On the contrary, there are numerous observations which show that subjective phenomena, loosely termed "mind", are the result of physical objects. For instance,
      [LIST
      [*]Physical trauma to the brain causes profound mental effects, including change of personality, loss of memories, loss of cognitive faculties and changes to perception. These changes are predictable, as specific areas in the (physical) brain has been found to correspond to specific faculties.[*]Chemical agents can alter the behaviour of neural activity in a way we understand, with corresponding changes in mental experience. For example, the molecule LSD.[*]Scans of the electrical activity of the brain provides further evidence that specific perceptions and specific cognitive faculties are localised to specific (physical) neurons. This is being perfected to the extent that scientists can now use the physical brain activity to produce images that the percipient is viewing. Different mental states, such as unconsciousness, can also be viewed.[*]Electrical stimulation of specific regions of the brain causes the experience of the percepts, emotions, and memories associated with that region.[/LIST]Altogether, these observations clearly demonstrate that mental activity is caused by and inextricably linked with physical phenomena.
      I'm not into materialism OR immaterialism. Don't get me wrong. It doesn't even have nothing to do with this thread so I'm not even fishing for replies.

      But here's a nugget: Insight into the nature of reality,angels and god is a feature that comes with having spiritual experience.

      People experience the same kind of spiritual insight in Epilipsy. A state of extremely high brain activity
      And Near death experience. A state of extremely low brain activity

      Where does this evidence fit in the brain model of consciousness?

    10. #60
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      I try to honestly express myself most of the time and if you feel that I'm a jerk, well thanks, that's an interesting piece of information.

      It makes no sense to me that there is more than the physical. What the hell does that even mean?

      Dthoughts as far as I know neuroscience has little to tell us about consciousness so I'm not going to try and say anything about it either.
      Last edited by Mismagius; 02-17-2015 at 10:20 AM. Reason: merged posts
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    11. #61
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      LINK: Wave

      Read this for reference to matter perhaps not actually being composed of matter on the sub atomic level. Next look at E=MC2 which says matter is composed entirely of energy, even if that energy is somehow condensed into matter. Then look at the Big Bang theory. It claims all of the universe started as energy and even laws like gravity and electro-mag formed from that energy.


      Some point for anyone to address.

      1) Is this supposed to be some belief in science? If so, how can you claim something does not exist with any conviction?
      refer to this:
      Definition of SCIENTIFIC METHOD

      : principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses

      Is it scientific to discount anyone's theory because the technology does not exist to do the testing? How would that differ than saying radio waves did not exist before they were proven to exist?


      2) How can anyone who claims to base their world view on science claim to be atheist instead of agnostic? I mean that claiming you do not believe in anything spiritual is not in line with science, as where claiming you do not know and doubt such things can be measured meets with my understanding of logic and scientific conclusion making.

      This seems to make atheism a religion. See definition 4 in Webster's

      ___ a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

      It takes faith to claim something many millions perceive is not real, when such things are unmeasurable by definition, and therefore is not adequately explored or tested
      Last edited by sivason; 02-17-2015 at 05:08 AM.
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    12. #62
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      Quote Originally Posted by Ginsan View Post
      I try to honestly express myself most of the time and if you feel that I'm a jerk, well thanks, that's an interesting piece of information.
      Your "honesty" includes base personal rudeness and insults when none were offered to you before, right there in your last couple of messages. That's sort of the definition.
      Last edited by FryingMan; 02-17-2015 at 10:16 AM.
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    13. #63
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      Quote Originally Posted by Ginsan View Post
      I try to honestly express myself most of the time and if you feel that I'm a jerk, well thanks, that's an interesting piece of information.
      This just made me laugh (edit) I didn't read the conflict beforehand though, I am not encouraging it.

      Quote Originally Posted by Ginsan View Post
      It makes no sense to me that there is more than the physical. What the hell does that even mean?
      To add to what's been said previously, let's see if you can picture this (don't believe it).

      Matter is conserved. It can't be created or destroyed. (Law of conversation of matter).
      Energy is conserved. It can't be created or destroyed. (Law of conversation of energy).
      Than, what of our consciousness, of that thing people call the soul, this which would be the source of free will? Why would this be created and destroyed every time a person is born and dies. Following the logic of everything else, it should also be conserved, recycled.

      Another point is, you know of the attractions and repulsion at the atomic level such as nuclear forces, the molecular level, such as electrostatic level, at the big level of planets, gravity, and why not of the soul/consciousness: karmic laws, which guide the soul from body to body, or guides the events that will happen in it's life.

      I think this is easy to understand, the goal here is not that you believe this, just that you understand this is how some people see this, and it's not all that far-fetched.

      Consciousness is something. It obviously exists, it's the only thing we can truly know. Therefore, and since science still doesn't understand it, people call it the soul. And be sure not to confuse consciousness with perception. Robots can perceive light, but do they experience it consciously like we do? I don't think so.

      Anyways, it isn't too far-fetched that there would be rules for consciousness, and abstract things such as love when there are new forces that emerge in the bigger picture (like gravity) which isn't there at the molecular level.
      Last edited by Occipitalred; 02-18-2015 at 01:32 AM.
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      I'm glad I made you laugh and also that you said I don't have to believe it, because I think you're just making senseless extrapolations and going into mysticism
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      Hey guys, just a reminder that personal attacks and insults are not allowed. So let's keep this discussion civil
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      I'm very curious about this thread, and in particular, what we believe to be be the self or "soul," and how science has measured that. I've noticed Denziloe's suggestion that consciousness can be quantified. I would agree to some extent that "free will" is a myth. Our choices are of coursed based off of genetic coding and biological predisposition, but on the other hand, they are encoded based on culture, class, and innumerable other stimuli that both consciously and unconsciously filter in. If we think of free will as completely independent of external or internal phenomena, then I think that is obviously a fiction.

      However, it does not seem that the self is entirely quantifiable. Western science mistakes "self" as primarily being the false self, constructed of thought, emotions, and memory. Anyone who has experienced lucidity can parse out that our sense of "self" is entirely a mental construction. But there have been cases of people being "aware" in coma states (no brain activity) as well as the yogis who can rest in non dual awareness on a moment-to-momement basis. This is awareness without the constructed self, and is not based on brain activity. But I'm not sure this awareness has free will in the way we normally define it.

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      Here is a thought I have honestly been playing with, so I hope it is not offensive.


      I believe that a sense of self comes from two possible sources. The first and most undeniable is the biological functions of an animal body. This is easy to understand. It is neurons and chemicals and conditioned response. Just as a robot can become increasingly complex, a biological machine (animal) can experience things such as fear and affection. Fear evolves because it is helpful in avoiding injury, and affection because mammals who tend and care for offspring have more offspring successfully reaching breeding age.

      The second source of self would be any perceptions that come from other sources. We can look at this as "transmitted signals." The source of the "other" signal could be speculated on another thread. Now, we will make a metaphor using a lap top computer. It has hardware that can account for most of its functions, such as video processing and memory storage (that is like the biological animal body). However, with the lap top we have at least two other factors that can effect what the computer does. We have wi-fi, and external data received through the keyboard or controllers. This will be my metaphor for anything non biological effecting the program.

      While we understand wi-fi and data entry, from the point of someone examining the hardware only, it would not explain any intelligence out side of the lap top. Devoid of any understanding the receiver inside the lap top would not seem to have a function, nor would the key board, as the lap top has no means of pressing the keys.

      So, where am I going with this?

      The lap top can have programs stored that allow every one of its functions to work, just like the biological animal body does. You can find a reason the screen lights up, you can find a reason it goes into sleep mode. You can find a reason the animal experiences fear, and a reason it enjoys the opposite sex.

      The computer and the animal are completely capable of functioning with out outside influence.

      That does not suggest that outside influence is not an option. Now let's think about video games. The lap top can have a program that allows it to run through a game either using preset logic or a random number generator. However, a thing (teen age boy) outside of the hardware may enjoy taking control of the game by using the keyboard and mouse. If we could only examine the hardware, we would not understand the source of the new inputs. We may be able to detect the keystrokes, but not the source.

      Now, back to "the self" The self could either be the programs running in the lap top, or it could be the programs plus the external sources influence.




      Now for the part I hope will not be hurtful.


      Why do so many people claim with faith that they 'know' they have a soul and free will? Perhaps these people are like the computer that has someone at the controls.

      Why do some people claim they can detect nothing in themselves that would lead them to believe in such a thing? Perhaps these people actually do not.

      I am not trying to be cruel. I am saying biology can explain intelligence and probably all other perception with in limits. So, if a body was not inhabited by a soul it could still interact and even possibly win a noble prize, but it would simply cease to exist upon death.

      However, that does not discount the idea of sometimes there being more to the story.


      If you feel convinced nothing outside of the physical/ biological construct exists, perhaps it is because for you it does not.
      Perhaps with those in which more exists they can tell this and therefore need no proof.





      What could that source be, as far as a mechanism. We hit the same wall here. Those who want to believe nothing else exists, reject all suggested mechanisms. I must say, I feel they knee jerk reject honest possibilities as they do not want to "loose" the debate. It is impossible to explore the idea at that point.



      One member offers an idea that has reasonable merit in view of modern theoretical physics (maybe one of the actual Doctors of such physics could frame it with more evidence, but we are just people on a forum, not writing thesis)
      Quote Originally Posted by Dthoughts View Post
      Free will in this case matters to the extent to what amounts of free will the ghost has on the machine and vice versa... Including the environmental factors. Because the two are basically co-dependant. The ghost is rather detached, since it is somehow able to be free'd from much of the biological constrains. Maybe it's possible if it exists in a superposition of states. obviously affected by biology but not limited to it. A quantum particle is able to exist in both places at the same time i.e. without the constraints of silly physical laws like the speed of light. These puny laws don't stop a particle from coming into existence and literally making physical changes instantly, theoretically from across the entire span of the universe. And even from the vicinity of other dimensions. So perhaps in another dimension completely detached from reality here there is a twin particle completely free of physical laws from this reality. In this hypothetical situation the twin particle is affected by biology in this world, it is not completely free of it. But there is no way of knowing what effects the physical laws on his world, free from chemical soups like our brain can do for us. Well there is, but we certainly aren't there yet.

      To this honest attempt to express a potential mechanism we get this,

      Quote Originally Posted by Ginsan View Post
      So quickly this thread has become so full of crap that before pointing out all the nonsense I would probably pull out every single hair on my head. And I have a really full head of hair.
      So Ginsan, let me know what is wrong with the following theory,

      Theory: Modern theoretical physics suggests there may be "other dimensions" being things that exist in states other than matter. What the things are is yet to be defined or understood. Let's use this link as a possible example of such theories: Large extra dimension - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia If we do not understand what exists other than physical matter, we can postulate that consciousness may exist in forms other than physical matter.
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      sivason, in studying the brain, no neurologist has come across anything outside the physical world. They might not understand fully how consciousness come about because it's very complex but that doesn't mean they don't know anything. They understand a bit about how emotions come about, fear, happiness, what chemicals are involved. There is just no reason to think it is outside the physical world or even outside the brain.

      Also in the last part about other dimensions, there is no need to get all mysterious. When they say other dimensions they simply mean another direction, another spacial dimension. You have left-right, back-forth, those are the 2 spacial dimensions on a drawing or on a computer screen, a mirror. In the real world there is a another spacial dimension, you can go up and down. These 3 spacial dimensions are what we can see and in theory, you can have more. A new direction. This doesn't make any sense because we live in 3 spacial dimensions, a new direction sounds ridiculous but you know that in math you have 3 coördinates, x, y and z. You can just add a new coördinate and that's why you can have theories with more than 3 spacial dimensions. I don't see a reason to say that things exist in states other than matter or to say that consciousness exists in other states than matter. There are many videos about this and you go to Youtube and search "carl sagan 4th dimension", he has a 9.30 minute video explaining 4D.

      And I have one more thing. I think science can never ever give a satisfying explanation of consciousness because I think it is not nearly as mysterious or mystical or spiritual as some people seem to think. I think it simply emerges when you combine many different senses, emotions, all kinds of sensory things. I don't even think consciousness is a specific thing. I don't think that there is a clear dividing line of what is conscious or not. When neurology is done, when it is completed and just completely understood, the majority of people will still not be satisfied with the explanation. That's what my gut feeling tells me. Just look at religion. I think when the brain is fully understood, people will still keep trying to get all mysterious about it, just like theists today.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Ginsan View Post
      In studying the brain, no neurologist has come across anything outside the physical world.
      I don't want to interfere with the conversation taking place but I would like to comment on that sentence, Ginsan.

      The way we measure things is by "absorbing" them. To see light, a photon must be absorbed by something which can be affected by light. For chemicals, it's the same. To measure something, what is being measured needs to have an effect on the measuring device. Machines cannot be affected by consciousness, they cannot absorb it (not yet anyways), because that's just not what they are built for. The brain, however can. And that is why, the only thing which can measure consciousness is brains themselves, thus why humans claim that it exists and machines only claim increased blood flow, or electrical voltage changes because that is all that can affect them.

      (Oh, Sivason, those were some evil ideas that you put forth. It would explain why some brains (people) don't claim soul-like consciousness/free will. But I don't think it is a practical worldview that I wish to nurture, although to play with it was interesting, disturbing. )

      Okay, go on.
      Last edited by Occipitalred; 02-17-2015 at 10:12 PM.
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      Occi, it is true that in order to measure something it needs to affected/be absorbed by the measuring device, but consciousness is not one thing. It is a combination of many things. Even light is not a thing that can be measures, it consists of many photons and there are many many different kinds of light. But even a photon can not be measured. You can measure the amount of photons, you can make measurements on the physical properties, its mass (0), its electric charge (0), according to Wiki it has two possible polarization states, its spin is 1, its parity is -1, its C parity is -1. These are physical properties of a photon that can be measured, it makes no sense to say that a you're going to measure a photon. And it makes no sense to say that consciousness can be measured.
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      I guess, Ginsan, that you are saying that all we will ever achieve is to measure "properties" of consciousness. Such as increased blood flow. Than, you were also right in your post before when you said people will never be convinced by scientific data, because increased blood flow will never be a satisfactory description of everything they experience.

      About this whole argument, Ginsan, I'm going to say, I personally like to change perspectives all the time, and to alternate between them. I sometimes believe in the soul, sometimes I believe exactly what you believe. But, when I do believe in the soul (which I define as the conscious/free will aspect of my self), it is practical, this perspective helps me. And that's why I come to it often. It's all about playing with different myths. They have power over us, not mystically, simply in a very obvious way. Again, this argument is just "Do you believe there is more than what can be observed or do you not?" so I guess we're all here for the entertainment. I'll just share a story, then. I don't know if this is related to what we're talking about, it's just a childhood story that I find interesting to think back to.

      When I was a kid, between 4 and 9, the age where kids start to build a self-concept, well, I kept having this very deep and disturbing question. It always came back and I could never answer it. No other question has ever made me feel this before. It hurt a little bit. I never shared my question to anyone because it would sound stupid, and I couldn't even really put it into words, but here it is, my best attempt: "How is it, that I am experiencing this? Experiencing me? It makes no sense that every day, it's always me. In movies and TV-shows, you get to see everyone, the story flows between everyone, so why is the show of this life only about me? What is it, that I am condemned to this? Why am I not conscious of every single person's experience? Why do I always wake up, in this body?". I felt trapped. Felt like someone was watching, but no one was.

      Anyways, I like to think back to that time, I think it's when I was discovering my own consciousness (not talking mystical here). I'd like to hear your own story, Ginsan. I've never heard someone else talk about how they felt about their sense of self as they were growing into a child.
      Last edited by Occipitalred; 02-17-2015 at 10:57 PM.
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    22. #72
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      According to my brother I have bad memory and I don't remember anything of my childhood. My memories start around 10-12 years old As far as I remember I have always been a bit goofy, always honest and curious, always joking around and making people laugh with good jokes, bad jokes or making fun of myself. When I was about 14 or 15 my dad thought it would be good to try Judo, because I quit soccer and I had to have something to do. Around that time I started watching japanese cartoons where they have heroic actions and the good guy beating the bad guy against all odds, nearly dead at the end of the fight. Things like that really fired me up so whenever I had a hard time during Judo training (every single training) I would remember the cartoons and give some extra effort. Around 16 I started practicing Taekwondo and I around 18 I quit both. I don't remember why I quit Judo but I quit Taekwondo because everybody else left So that's one part of me. Another part is that I always watched tv programmes about science, where they talked about black holes, all kinds of stars and planets, other galaxies and stuff like that got me interested about science and satisfied my curious mind. I think cartoons had a big influence in my sense of friendship and honesty, personal integrity and never giving up in hard situations.

      The cartoon that influenced me the most was Gintama. It is hilarious and the first time I watched it (I have seen the whole thing 3 times now) almost every episode made me laugh so hard that my stomach hurt But it also has serious parts and sometimes they bring up the idea of a soul. The literal translation of Gintama is silver (gin) soul (tama). Tama also means balls Here something the main character said, I wrote it down on a piece of paper and put it in my violin case and I read it occasionally. He was about to go into a fight where he would be outnumbered and overpowered for the sake of somebody he only met 1 day ago and he was probably going to die. Somebody asked him why and he said
      "I have an organ that's bigger than my heart. It's invisible, but it's all that holds me up. Because of it, I can stand up straight, I can walk straight, even when I'm bleeding and dizzy. If I run now, it'll tear in half. My soul... Will tear in half. I'd rather my heart stopped than lost what's important to me. Even when I'm old and bent... My soul's got to be straight. The soul of a straight and true guy won't disappear, even if his body dies!"
      When I am lost in life and confused I just remind myself of what I learned from Gintama and it provides a small, but bright guiding light. When I am enjoying life I say that my soul is shining bright. When I am faced with difficult decisions I don't go with logic or emotion or people around me or what is right or wrong, I just follow my soul. So that is quite a big part of my story, what shaped my soul to the shape it has now.
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    23. #73
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      Thank you for opening that door, Ginsan. I appreciated my visit.
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    24. #74
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      Quote Originally Posted by Ginsan View Post
      You want to hear some interesting assumptions that have no scientific basis? Dthoughts and FryingMan is too stupid for me and it's a complete waste of my time and energy to talk to you = D
      You posted a toothy smiley after that sentence, but what you wrote looks more like it came out of the mouth of that avatar you have.

      It's ok to make an argument withOUT calling members "stupid" or a "waste of time."
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      Ophelia I understand and I´ll think about it when I am about to say something like that again. But I really had a toothy smile when that thought came to mind and when I was writing it, it was as honest as it could get and I know it´s against the rules but I just couldn´t stop myself. My soul drove me to write that
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