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what is free will?

User Thread
 26yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that Theory is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
what is free will?
The current understanding according to neuroscience would suggest that there is no short term free will.

The brain processes information and sends signals to react to a situation far quicker than your consciousness can process it.
Are all event predetermined? As it would appear we are programmed to deal with certain events.

Its almost assiff we are sat in the passenger seat merely observing your life unfold like a film.

Could conscious thought be a side effect of evolution separating survival instinct for intellectual consciousness.

Your thoughts

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"We breathe natures breath until we are tired and layed to rest..."
 69yrs • M •
wopthedo is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
No freewill at all, all predetermined. But this is very liberating and releases us from agonizing over making decisions which we would be prone to make. However, as long as man thinks he can do, which includes thinking, he is still in the trap.

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 60yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that thx1137 is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I understand the argument that there might not be freewill. Certainly if one could believe in predestination in any form, then freewill must be excluded. This would include any prophesy, metaphysical practice (such as astrology), or any mechanical explanation of the universe. That said, I remain unconvinced. Randomness seems to be provable and is supported by the uncertainty principle, string theory, and chaos theory.

Though it is not a proved certainty, I act as if there is.

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 22yrs • M •
alone42 is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
So life's just doing itself I guess....

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 69yrs • M •
Joemailman is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
The question of free will is relative easy to answer and very difficult to accept. The most obvious answer is that it is the easiest explanation for beginning and ending, for right and wrong, for good and bad. It rests on the assumption of a dual-valuing value system and the ignorance of the complexity of socio-economic change. It fits very well into the present system of competition and societal control by the few over the great majority. As long as the individual is held responsible and not that which produces him or her, then this culture is doomed to follow the way of other cultures and find it's place in second or third world status soon. It does not take long for nation to die although they do not die in a single generation. America may very well be in the throes of it's own degradation and not know or feel it.

Free will is a major cornerstone of religion and ignorance. Without it all is possible and I do mean ALL.

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 60yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that thx1137 is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Joemailman, your last statement states that free will is the corner stone of religion and ignorance. I must disagree.

As I pointed out, free will and prophetic religion are mutually exclusive. You can not have predestination and free will at the same time. If you can predict the future, the future must already be determined -- this excludes free will.

There is no correlation between the existence of free will and any particular value system. Except as you point out, if there is no free will, then the argument that I am not responsible for that which I do becomes valid. I am destined to do it.

The existence of free will not guarantee our doom nor prevent it. But if there is not free will, then what ever is already determined. Even the action of society, for society is simply individuals in aggregate. And if there is not free will, society cannot be held responsible either.

Lastly, only with free will and uncertainty can all things be possible. Without free will, there can be only one outcome -- that which is mechanically determined to happen.

Joemailman, you seem to be trying to argue against objectivism. Though objectivism incorporates free will into its philosophy, the concept of free will is hardly limited to objectivism. Nihilism, rationalism, humanism, pragmatism all hold free will as a tenet. One could hardly argue that these are similar philosophies. Perhaps you should start a separate thread to argue objectivism.

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[  Edited by thx1137 at   ]
 69yrs • M •
Joemailman is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
thx1137, It seems as though you are trying to deal with absolutes. Destiny determination and free will are all tied to the religious notion of gods, devils and other forms of nothingness. The human being is an animal like all others except for the ability to predict the future in a more complex manner. In your approach to determinism you seem to exclude the probability of the introduction of another or other variables which could affect the outcome of whatever prediction you or any other scientist is try to conclude. Pick an event and see if you can or the environment can introduce a variable that is able to alter dramatically the outcome of a predictable event. I am sure it will be fairly easy. How about this? An asteroid is headed towards the earth and will predictably hit the planet at 25k mph. What might happen if mankind does not interfere? The situation forces the decision. The decision is not free.

IOWs....All decisions are forced by the nature of the situation and the elements that comprise it including the history of the animal involved. All decisions are forced by environment and whatever tropism is found in the complexity of the life form involved.

P.S. Objectivism is a false assumption.

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 60yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that thx1137 is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Joemailman, I must say that you are arguing my point. Given your asteroid scenario, you assume two possibilities: 1) mankind interferes or 2) mankind does not. If there were not two possibilities, the concept of 'act' does not exist. Determination and free will are by definition mutually exclusive. They are opposites by definition.

You make many assumptions in your argument which renders it emotional, not logical.

I am not an objectivist, and I find considerable problem's with Rand's proposition. I mentioned it because it seems that you are trying to refute this philosophy and not free will.

Simply stated, free will states that we are able to make choices, and that the act of making a choice is not simply an illusion.

Determinism simply put, states that choice does not exist, but is merely illusion. I actually am not a self determining being, everything has been determined and I am simply an observer.

So these are not tied together. Again, they are polar opposites.

And religion is a completely different argument. You can can hold one and not the other. However, for the record: most religions hold determinism to be true, most free will advocates are atheists.

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[  Edited by thx1137 at   ]
 60yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that thx1137 is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Allow me to approach this from another angle. I trust that you will concede that both Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr were reasonably intelligent rational men. I doubt that you would hold either to be a religious fanatic. That said, they did intellectually argue between themselves concerning free will.

The subject arose because of the implications of Heisenberg's proposition and its relation to the unified field theory they both sought to establish.

Einstein was a determinist. Thus his famous quote, "God does not play dice." He held that there was hence, no such thing as free will. No, you could not hold the murderer truly responsible, but you should lock him up anyway. These views were necessary extensions of his mechanical view of the universe. Einstein never resolved his atomic model, and his research into the unified field theory came to naught.

Bohr embraced the uncertainty principle and quantum mechanics. As a result, he was non-deterministic. He believed in free will, chance, and randomness as a result. The concept of God was irrelevant to him. He was an atheist.

In the end, the Bohr model of the atom, hence all of matter, proved correct. How do I know that quantum mechanics is the correct interpretation? Because it works. If Bohr was wrong, you could not type a response and post it here, nor call me on my cell phone to correct me. Why? Because there would be no computers or cell phones as we know them because the electron actions within these solid state devices depend upon quantum mechanics. If Bohr was wrong, you wouldn't have to worry about nuclear war though. Nuclear devices would not work. He and his insights were key parts of the Manhattan project.

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 50yrs • M •
Mathew Naismith is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
G'day

We have already exercised our free will by coming here so free will exists but it doesn't like so much in conscious realties like this one.

Is this reality an illusion yes but it’s not at the same time because everything that vibrates has to exist, none of what is in this reality existed until expanded consciousness gave it existence. Before the consciousness expanded nothing we know of in this reality existed but when it started to expand like the universe what didn’t exist before now exists. If some people think that’s an illusion so be it but the point is free will actually works in reverse as it existed but now in realities like this that didn’t exist before it doesn’t exist but of course that is our own perception of it in this reality, in other realities it could be quite different I would presume.

Love
Mathew

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 48yrs • M •
EdsBrain is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
Free will does exist. In fact it is the exercise of free will by humans and other animals that actually change the course of the unfolding of the universe. Perhaps not its eventual outcome which is most likely either another Big Bang which will destroy this universe or a cold dead expanse trillions of light years across where matter if it still exists and has not totally decayed into the smallest sub atomic particles will have a density so thin as to be more or less empty.

Nature and the natural laws of physics combined in such a way to put the amount of stuff on the earth that is here. Without the intervention of humans it would have stayed here yet we have sent much of it out into space. At some future time our Voyager craft could bump an asteroid, change it's trajectory, and cause it to end the dinosaurs on someone else's planet and give rise to an intelligent species.

The actions of life are the closest thing to randomness that the universe will ever experience.

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 60yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that littlejohn is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I think i get it. One group says there is no free will, and the other group says --but of course there is, citing situations where choices are possible, and indeed choices are made.
Ok, here's the twist -- the no free will group is saying yes you got presented with options and indeed you can and will and did select from the options, true, but you did not do so based on a "free will." Rather, you made a selection (from options provided) in accordance with your programming. ( i.e. your selection, or exercise of a choice was not due to anything at all that you personally brought to the table, merely the sum of your experience and programming reacting in a mechanical way) --

so for the moment, I tend to be a little on the fence... as I have already suffered from rebuking my programming and going the "wrong" way more than once. ( or maybe that was my programming, to go the wrong way ... <?> )

In the end, I may tend to believe probability is high that we execute canned responses more often than we may like to admit. BUT, we are free to do so...

Permanently on the fence with this one.

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 24yrs • M
weituloh is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
You can't sit on the fence. That would exercising free will.

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 24yrs • M •
Sopu is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
I tend to lean towards the opinion that human beings have no free will, or at the very least, an extremely restricted amount of it.

On a microscopic level, decisions that are made, thoughts that flit through one's mind, and consciousness itself seem to simply be electrical impulses and molecules interacting with one another.

Unless we have conscious control over these things--say, being able to choose how fast our neurotransmitters cross a certain synapse, or what path an electrical impulse takes through that complicated network of neurons--are we really exercising free will?

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 24yrs • M
weituloh is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
Yes, limited free will like that of an ant in a bottle. It can walk about here and there, round and round. It's a big deal to the ant but not to the observer outside the bottle.

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what is free will?
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