Author Topic: Freedom and Free Will  (Read 9491 times)

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December 27, 2015, 09:50:47 AM
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Steve

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As we've already started this conversation in a different thread, please see this thread for the back discussion:
http://forums.vsociety.net/index.php/topic,23592.0.html

The main gist of this thread is for the discussion of human freedom, and free will, as opposed to human limitations and just plain will.

Background topics that have been brought up already include the idea that limitations don't remove free will entirely on one side while the other side has mentioned the idea that limitations to restrict free will such that will isn't free anymore; discussion about actualization; that there is magnitude to freedom; that it might have something to do with stochastic principles in the brain or something, as well as potentially other genetic/biochemical stuff; decisions themselves are not to be confused with the result of the decisions.

If anyone else wants to mention stuff that we've talked about and which I missed, go for it.



And I'm going to copy and paste something from my last post in the other thread, so as to get the ball rolling:

Here's some more simple descriptions of the efforts of actualization, written out for the sake of completeness. This way, if you have a problem with any specific ones, you can always point out the specific line you want to discuss.

Human decision to actualize X -> effort to actualize X -> X actualized.
Human decision to actualize X -> no effort to actualize X -> X not actualized.
No human decision to actualize X -> no effort to actualize X -> X not actualized.


Then, if you think any of the below situations are viable, you'd need to detail how they would come about. I'm sure there would be some circumstances where they just happen to happen, such as someone else entirely attempting to actualize it and you reaping the benefits, but those would be outliers and in a general sense the below don't make sense:

Human decision to actualize X -> no effort to actualize X -> X actualized?
No human decision to actualize X -> effort to actualize X? -> X actualized? (this is also the "Effort to actualize ?? -> ??" from my previous post)
No human decision to actualize X -> no effort to actualize X -> X actualized?


~Steve
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

December 28, 2015, 08:45:15 PM
Reply #1

Steve

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First, since you responded to my this:
Quote
On the other hand, then we have the question of whether free will is defined only by the positive choices we make in what we want to do, or does it include the limitations placed upon us by external factors such as bears and bullets and winter and time? For instance, I may *want* to drive to the store, but if my car won't budge in the snow and ice, and it's literally too cold to walk, then what's my "free will" worth?

Or, to tie this back to ethics, what if I want to shoot (and kill) someone, but they want to live? Who has Free Will: only the one who succeeded?
Then I should point out that the quoted above is not an argument, not a logical supposition, and certainly not a question meaning to be answered. It was a philosophical ponderance, which people are supposed to contemplate in order to attempt to understand the subject matter in general, rather than just answering a single question that pertains to a single aspect of the overall topic.

And I had already written about specific sides of the discussion (I'm pretty sure I portrayed at least some aspects of each side. If it was not for this topic, then I'm thinking of a different one that I did recently) in follow up posts.


Next.
Quote
Logical implication is a type of relationship between two statements or sentences. The relation translates verbally into "logically implies" or "if/then" and is symbolized by a double-lined arrow pointing toward the right ( ). If A and B represent statements, then A B means "A implies B" or "If A, then B." The word "implies" is used in the strongest possible sense.
Are you mentioning this because of the use of my arrows? Cause that would be the closest place that I made any sort of logical statement like that; and that was not a logical statement but a statement of process.

Decision leads to effort, which leads to results/actualization.

It literally reads left to right as a series of events, where each item on the right is directly dependant upon the item to the left.

Effort relies upon a decision to do something; without the decision then a person is just flailing away without purpose (which is technically activity, but realistically it's stupid). The results rely upon the effort made; without the effort being made, then most of the time there will be no results.

Because this
Quote
if:The person decides to get water
then: The person gets water. 
assumes the effort somewhere, either with the results or with the decision (depending on whether your use of the term "gets" refers to activity or result, aka goes to retries, or has finished retrieving).

Quote
We can also write it as The person makes a decision->The person gets water.
Yeah. That's why I wrote it that way.
Human decision to actualize X -> effort to actualize X -> X actualized.

We're saying the exact same thing here, but in different ways.


Quote
however, the decision is not implied by the action
I would disagree with that. In the real world, if I have food in front of me (which I do), I think it's pretty easy to imply that I had at some point made a decision to go get that food (assuming nobody else placed it in front of me, and assuming that it did not magically appear in front of me). So either the logical statement has to change to fit reality, or the logical statement is of no value to real world situations and it's entire value is then caught up in mere thought games about logic.

In the case of realistic statements such as "I have food in front of me", certain things can be implied, such as that I went ahead and got that food myself. Otherwise, if you're going to try and say "Nope, because there are other possible ways that the food could have appeared in front of you, so therefore in A B, B does not imply A" then I can just as easily point out that in the real world A only implies B in cases where it actually implies B. So just because I make the decision to go get food, and even make the effort to do so, I could fail to find/retrieve/make food, and thus starve.

Quote
This means you cannot logically argue that decisions are contingent on intentionally actualizing things as per a truth table.
Well, good thing I didn't.

Quote
therefore, if a person can not do what they decide to do, it implies that no decision has been made.
Pretty sure I didn't say that, as I said the exact opposite. A decision can be made and nothing can come of it; the decision has still been made. It does not imply that no decision has been made; it recognizes that either no effort has been made, or the effort has failed to achieve results.

Quote
There is no logical way one can come to this conclusion, because the power to carry out an action does not imply the decision being made because it is not a necessary condition.
For humans, making a decision is a necessary condition prior to utilizing one's power to carry out an action. Unless you can actually provide for me a few normal real world examples (to show that you're not just finding one outlier and basing your entire statement upon that) where a person can actualize results without deciding to do so, then I'm going to have a hard time ever agreeing with your statement.

Quote from: Rayn
To remind you of the point I am addressing, I quoted you below. For example, you cannot think of impossible things to do, and from this, deduce that no one has ever decided to do the impossible, because there is no logical path to that deduction.
Quote from: Steve
On the other hand, then we have the question of whether free will is defined only by the positive choices we make in what we want to do, or does it include the limitations placed upon us by external factors such as bears and bullets and winter and time? For instance, I may *want* to drive to the store, but if my car won't budge in the snow and ice, and it's literally too cold to walk, then what's my "free will" worth?

Or, to tie this back to ethics, what if I want to shoot (and kill) someone, but they want to live? Who has Free Will: only the one who succeeded?
In that specific quote, I did not mention anything impossible at all. I mentioned very plausible circumstances and factors for the real world.


What you're trying to argue though, is the exact opposite side of a similar incorrect extreme on the other side: You're trying to argue that a person's freedom is not restricted just because there are restrictions placed upon him. At the other extreme is the concept that any amount of restriction results in a complete removal of freedom. I refuted both of these with a follow up post where I mentioned something you're lacking: magnitude.

Is a man in a jail cell free just because you tell him he is? You're saying he is, because the limitations don't matter?

~Steve
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

December 29, 2015, 08:23:54 AM
Reply #2

Steve

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Let me get this straight before anything else.

Are you seriously saying that freedom is boolean? Either a person does have freedom, or they do not have freedom?
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

December 30, 2015, 11:10:04 AM
Reply #3

Steve

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EDIT: Well, I would have changed a couple more things in this post, but the hangover caught up with me shortly after I started editing. I noticed Rayn has already seen this response, so not much point in editing further anyway.

   Discussion
Regarding your logic, there are several flaws. I'm not sure whether you did these because you don't see that they are flaws or because you just simplified it, but let's take a look at it.

The first thing to note is the answer to my question: Yes, you do see *individual instances of freedoms* as booleans. And that's (mostly) fine. You don't understand the magnitude thing, and I'll cover that again later in this post.

Your code:
Code: [Select]
$decision_to_escape=rand(0,2); //They have made the decision to escape
        $free_to_escape=false; //They are free to escape
        $try=true; //Whether or not they tried to escape
        if($decision_to_escape==1)
            {
                echo "This is true<br />";
           
                if($try==true)
                    {
                        echo "They try to escape<br />";
                        if($free_to_escape==true)
                            {
                                echo "They are free from jail!<br />";
                            }
                           
                        else
                        {
                            echo "They did not escape and are not free from jail!";
                        }
                    }
        }
       
        else
            {
                echo "They have not made this decision.";
            }

Let's redo this. All the parts I updated are in all caps (annoying, I know, but I wasn't sure if code allows for bold. And is it just me, or does all the uppercase stuff look like it's rainbow coloured?)
Code: [Select]
$decision_to_escape=rand(0,2); //They have made the decision to escape  NOT SURE WHY YOU'D BOTHER RANDOMIZING RATHER THAN JUST RUNNING IT THROUGH A LOOP WHICH GOES THROUGH ALL THEIR POSSIBLE DECISIONS, BUT WHATEVER
        $free_to_attempt_to_escape=true; //They are not free to escape //UPDATED
$free_to_walk_out=false; //They cannot just walk out, so their only option to get out is to attempt to escape //ADDED
$SUCCEEDED_IN_ESCAPING=RAND(0,2); //ADDED
        $try=true; //Whether or not they tried to escape
        if($decision_to_escape==1)
            {
                echo "THEY HAVE DECIDED THAT THEY WILL ATTEMPT TO ESCAPE! LET'S SEE HOW IT GOES<br />";
           
                if($try==true)
                    {
                        echo "They try to escape<br />";
                        if($SUCCEEDED_IN_ESCAPING==1) //UPDATED THE ENTIRE IF TO REFLECT POSSIBILITIES RATHER THAN CERTAINTIES
                            {
                                echo "THEY DECIDED TO ESCAPE, THEY TRIED TO ESCAPE, AND THEY SUCCEEDED IN ESCAPING! YAY THEY ESCAPED! FUGITIVE FOR LIFE, BRO!<br />";
                            }
                           
                        else
                        {
                            echo "THEY DECIDED TO ESCAPE, THEY TRIED TO ESCAPE, AND THEY FAILED TO ESCAPE! BACK BEHIND BARS WITH YOU, CRIMINAL SCUM<br />";
                        }
                    }
else  //YOU MISSED THE ELSE ON WHETHER THEY ATTEMPTED. DID YOU ASSUME THAT BECAUSE THEY MADE THE DECISION, THEN THEY WOULD AUTOMATICALLY ATTEMPT?
{
ECHO "THEY DECIDED TO ESCAPE... BUT THEY WERE LAZY AND DID NOT ATTEMPT TO ESCAPE TODAY. MAYBE TOMORROW.<br />"
}
        }
       
        else
            {
                echo "THEY DECIDED TO STAY IN JAIL AND AWAIT THEIR PROPER RELEASE DATE. GOOD GUY CRIMINAL.<br />"; //UPDATED
            }
Now, a couple of to note here. Each If-Then should be a simple matter for itself, without making assumptions such as whether they succeeded inherently. A person can argue, and I have in previous posts, that success or failure is not a condition of the freedom to make a decision, or make an attempt, but it does mean something on its own. Breaking out the different components properly is the first step to a proper set up, and then a proper program being implemented.

The $free_to_attempt_to_escape=true; and $free_to_walk_out=false; were never implemented in my code because they don't really mean anything. They're basic assumptions that don't have much to do with the attempt other than the fact that because they are not free to walk out, they have to attempt to escape if they want to leave early.


The next thing to note about the variables is the more important part: we can redo the variables to be an array of $Freedoms{$free_to_decide_whether_to_escape=true,$free_to_walk_out=false,$free_to_attempt_to_escape=true}; Even without assigning values to them, you now have a variety of freedoms being talked about. You can then add up all the different values to come to the mysterious magnitude that you didn't understand before: in this case, assuming the industry standard of true=1 and false=0, $Freedoms would evaluate to a value of 2. Out of 3. Thus, we can assign an actual value to how much freedom that inmate has. They have a Freedom score of 2 out of 3, or 67% Free.

We could then complicate the matter further by adding weights to various individual freedoms, such as giving the ability to make a decision only a weight of 0.5 because it's just a thought all on its own, and humans have shitloads of thoughts every day that we never act upon; then give the freedom to walk out a weighting of 2 if he's in a maximum security prison (or give it a weight of 1 if he's in minimum security, or 0.5 if house arrest, etc); then give the freedom to attempt to escape a value of 1 because everyone has the freedom to attempt and there are no special restrictions upon this inmate as compared to other inmates (or give it a value of 2 if he's tied down, or 0.5 if he's often times given free time alone without supervision, etc). Now we can derive a range of possible values for a person's Freedom, and that's just with three boolean variables that are given weightings (although, at that point, you might as well just change the booleans to integers and assign the weightings as the values).


   Random crap
Quote
My point is that freedom from jail is not necessary to decide something.
Yes yes. I agreed with that already. The ability to make a decision is not dependant upon whether someone can carry the decision out. We've been over this multiple times. Stop talking about it as though we disagree.

Quote
I also made the value of their decision random. Remember, there is randomness in a person's brain because a lot of the processes that go in it are stochastic. The script runs regardless.
That's. Fucking. Retarded. (Not just on a programming level, because duh, of course the program would run so long as you have the programming terms in the correct place. The script will run because you made sure it would run by dictating that the various if-then statement tests will test within the values you dicated at the beginning, including the random one. If you wanted it to potentially fail, you'd have to set one of the tests to check for a value outside of anything you specified at the beginning)

There's also randomness in the vectors of the individual atoms that make up the molecules that make up the real world materials of billiard balls. But billard balls don't randomly spin around the table. They get knocked around by very well established laws of physics. The randomness is minimalized as you get to the macroscale to the point of being completely ignored in all physics equations that deal with the macro scale; the randomness at the microscale becomes meaningless. This is true of whatever stochastic events are occuring within our bodies, and even more so when you stop to realize that every fucking person in the world can easily tell you that they have the ability to make conscious decisions completely regardless of these minor random events. Most peoples' macro scale decisions, such as whether to break out of jail or not, are not typically based upon a random series of micro scale events (unless there's some serious biological issues with the person's body).

   Ad hominems
All of the below things are things that you said but which I can throw right back at you:
-To be frank, your logic is all over the place.
-In other words, you are arguing against something that is not my point as if it is my point.
-You then say you disagree with what I have said only to say what I have said only to not follow the logic I put down, that you agree with, to its conclusion.
-The logic is pretty unambiguous, so there is no further point in arguing with you.
-Though, we have had conversations almost identical to this one in the past. I believe you have a serious issue with evolution, indeterminism, and arbitrary will.

And actually, I'm going to throw more on that last one. You seem to have serious problems with a variety of topics, including logic, mathematics, programming, linguistics, communications, biology, understanding analogies, missing the forest for the trees, using concepts correctly.

If you don't want to bother continuing to discuss, then just stop. It's easy. Don't give the bullshit excuse that you're supposedly doing it for the sake of other people, because you're not; if you were doing it for someone else's sake, you'd be talking with them and answering questions they have about the topic.

~Steve
« Last Edit: December 30, 2015, 04:09:24 PM by Steve »
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

December 31, 2015, 02:39:14 PM
Reply #4

Steve

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I do not think you understand why this is chemically important.
I don't think you understand why it's realistically unimportant.

Drinking alcohol has a stochastic effect on the body; it produces chemical interactions that could be mapped out if we knew all the starting points for the millions (billions? trillions? don't care) of molecules that are affected. But that doesn't matter. The entire term "stochastic" and the entire effect are irrelevant, because besides that, the alcohol has a very discernable macroscale effect on the body which can be deduced far more easily, and is taken into account for more often than the random interactions of the individual molecules.

Alcohol is just one example of something that has a strong effect on the decision making process, and there's absolutely no reason to throw the term stochastic around when talking about getting drunk. Even under the effects of alcohol, we recognize that while the decision making process is impaired, it still follows certain structural processes and is usually not entirely random.

Quote
In other words, neurons can randomly fire; however, they don't create a change in a qualitative state due to regulation that emerges from biological systems being dynamical. That regulation does not emerge due to determinism. In other words, while there may be random firing, it does not cause a significant change due to the dynamical properties creating a type of threshold that has to be reached.
SO YOU AGREE! Why do you think you disagree? Do you just not understand what I'm saying because you don't try to understand me?

Quote
You are attributing the consistency of states to determinism when it is really due to bifurcation. You are also attempting to model it quantitatively, when the changes would be qualitative. The inhibition and excitement of a neuron, for example, can be described via bifurcation where in modeling it like that, what is looked at are the qualitative changes. 
Okay, and here's the part where you need to pay special attention:

A single neuron firing can also be described as a quantitative event. It's like a logic gate; it fires, or it doesn't. It may not often be described that way, except in specific instances of specific topics, but it can be. But that doesn't really matter anyway because I don't recall bringing up anything about individual neurons firing and whether it's a quantitative or qualitative event or what this has to do with the stochastic process.

You brought this all up. And as much as you keep harping about the stochastic process and saying how it's relevant, you haven't actually tied it into an actual argument or point about why it's supposedly relevant. So the stochastic process happens; and? I still make non-random decisions regardless.

Quote
A person cannot think if neurons do not fire, and neurons cannot fire if there is no message for them to do so, and those messages cannot exists if there are no proteins, for example. In order to get proteins, you have to have them folded, and the whole process of folding polypeptides depends on the micro states you say are meaningless. You are essentially dealing with polymers when you are dealing with biology, so one would use thermodynamic approach where in such an approach, one is dealing with microstates as being significant.  People can't make decisions if they don't have neurons firing, and you kind of need a lot of polymers to do that where those polymers tend to be isomers. Basically, it is not enough that it be made up of the same stuff; rather, it has to also have a particular 3-D structure, otherwise, it is an entirely different thing, and you analyze how proteins sample different configurations when they fold statistically. This means you can't sweep the stochastic and statistical properties under the rug since without these, no one can actually think anything, because you kind of need a functioning brain to do this.
I can sweep it under the rug easily. You're ignoring the physics of all the individual electrons within your body, without which you wouldn't be able to have neurons to think with, ergo ... what? Nothing, that's what. There is no point in all this. Microscale is ignored at the macroscale for a reason, completely regardless of the fact that our macroscale is made up from the microscale.

None of the talk about the stochastic process has been tied directly into the concept of free will, unless you're saying that because we're slaves to the make up of our proteins and the randomness of a very very minor number of neurons firing when we think they shouldn't. If you're not saying that, then say something about it that's relevant to the topic at hand.

Quote
Your average person would not know all of the biochemistry and things like that.
The average person is an idiot, and I don't expect them to know much of anything. I used to expect basic things like that from the average person and was constantly disappointed.

Quote
For example, you seemed to have thought that molecules can't just self-assemble into complex things without anything else but time, space, and energy.
No. I've figured out a problem you have with your brain though: you make shit up and think someone else said it.

I didn't say anything about molecules not being able to self-assemble. I never touched the topic. At. All. You literally just made that up in your own head and assigned it to me. You might want to think about the rationality of your own thought processes. (Also, that has nothing to do with teleology. You're using the term wrong.)

Quote
Biological systems being dynamical and bifurcated accurately explains biological consistency and regulation while taking into consideration its stochastic properties in such a way that you get a system randomly driven that is consistently regulated. 
And thus, we are capable of making decisions without even needing to mention the stochastic process...

Quote
This was my point, so if we both agree to this, then the debate on this is finished.
Jesus christ, seriously. I mentioned the point about decisions being distinct from actions and results a long time ago. In fact, let me quote myself on that (I could quote more statements, but one should be enough):
Unless, of course, you want to disengage the making of one's choices and actions from the results of one's choices and actions. In which case "free will" is just the ability to try, rather than the ability to succeed.

~Steve
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

January 01, 2016, 12:21:33 AM
Reply #5

Steve

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Sooo... if i read this right, your issue now is that you hate determinism. Would that be accurate?

And because I've been saying deterministic things, I must then be wrong because biology isn't deterministic.

If that is correct then we are done because I am not arguing for true full determinism and I wont bother arguing for it either.

~Steve
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

January 01, 2016, 06:54:34 PM
Reply #6

Steve

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Essentially, you are saying that you can ignore the noise in biological systems because it is not relevant to the decisions we make. You use how people can make non-random decisions as something that implies that the stochastic aspects of it are not relevant(this is incorrect)
Actually, it's entirely correct. Most people I see making decisions, don't care about the noise or the stochastic process or randomness or anything like that. They have a set of options, a set of values, a set of norms, and they ponder and then conclude based upon their own thoughts and assumptions of the various things. Saying that "the noise in biological systems is important to our decision making processes" is like saying that the noise in biological systems is important to me drinking my coffee; it's not. It's easily ignorable as I drink away at my coffee (actually, that's a bit of a misnomer, as I'm not "ignoring" the noise; in fact, I never thought of it in the first place in order to then ignore it).

Perhaps you're confusing what scientists do while they study these events and the natural laws that govern our lives, with us consciously caring about them. I don't need to care about the workings of the digestive system in my body in order to know that if I drink pepsi and then coke, I'm going to be very gaseous; I get gaseous because of those very workings, but I don't need to worry about it. You're mistaking the workings at the micro level for the conscious human awareness at the macro level.

Quote
however, consistency is only seen due to the dynamical aspects of the biology, itself. This means your deduction is incorrect.
No, mon. It means you be worryin' 'bout stuff you don' need ta worry 'bout, mon.

Quote
As I have been saying, you are making errors in your deductions. See the below quote. The quote from the article above shows that when you do this, you don't get things that accurately represent things like brains where people need brains to decide things;
BINGO! You nailed it. Yay. Accuracy. I'm not accurately portraying things at the micro level. There's a certain level of accuracy that I care about, and then anything below that is irrelevant to me because it brings nothing meaningful to the table. (However, you've also been accusing me of being wrong about things because I've merely been adhering to a certain level of inaccuracy. Which, is technically true, but a proper scientist who adheres to an even greater level of accuracy than you do could then accuse you of being just as wrong)

Quote
therefore, stochastic processes are very relevant in discussing the neurophysiology upon which a decision is built. 
Mahbe. Or maybe they're not. You know why they might not be?

Because you can't change anything one way or the other just because you know about it. And by "you", I mean you, Rayn, as a human being living your life at the macro scale, as well as myself as a human being living my life at the macro scale, as well as every other reader on these forums who are all living their lives at the macro scale. None of us can even ascertain, let alone modify, the stochastic processes going on within our own brains at this very moment.

So answer me one very important question here, Rayn: how do you propose that people should change their lives by becoming aware of the fact that stochastic processes exist within biology? Do we eat differently? Do we meditate more? Do we drink less alcohol? Less socializing perhaps? Spend more time finding ways to make money?

In other words, given that the stochastic process is a very real effect and is constantly working, and has been constantly working within our bodies since before the day we were born:
1) I continue living my life completely unaware of the stochastic process, and make the decisions I make based upon the macro level reasons for making them;
2) I continue living my life aware of the stochastic process, and still make the same decisions I make based upon the same macro level reasons for making them.

What's the important difference between 1 and 2? If there is no important difference, then I can, in fact, declare that knowledge and discussion of the stochastic process is entirely irrelevant because no relevance has been shown between the two different scenarios of "it being known about" versus "it not being known about".

And remember: I'm not asking about whether scientists could take advantage of the specific knowledge in order to create drugs that affect the stochastic process towards one set of outcomes or another. I'm asking what you, personally, do to improve your day-to-day living with this knowledge (especially if you can tie it back to freedom / free will, but I'm not going to demand that specifically in this regard as I'd be interested to see if you can come up with even one thing that has been improved in your daily life because of this knowledge).

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The problem I have noticed, with these conversations, is that people tend to argue from philosophical stances without much knowledge of the math, physics, or chemistry.
Well, you know, that tends to happen when you're talking about a philosophy. You discuss philosophy from a philosophy stance rather than a math, physics, or chemistry stance.

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You are speaking in generalities, which your average person does. You have a cursory knowledge of this. As I have formal education in this field, I know the more esoteric aspects of it in such a way that I can speak on this subject in detail. You can't; however, you refuse to admit your incompetence.
I speak in generalities because it's easier to communicate with the average person, which I have to do on a daily basis far more often than I would like. I used to speak in such a manner that left these normal average people very confused, so I modified it. And secondly, I've admitted I have less knowledge of the field of biology than you do. Multiple times. You, apparently, are just too imcompetent to read or remember it. I like to think that my competencies are more relevant to my life than yours are to my life.

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Regardless of the magnitude of which you were talking about determinism, you were still arguing that because people can make non-random decisions, this implies that the stochastic aspects of it it do not matter; however, when you make everything noise-free, you don't get what resembles activity in the brain; therefore, Scientifically, you were wrong.
Well, it's good that you caught what I was saying, but it's bad that you are still thinking on a different level than I am and don't realize it. I'm actually somewhat aware of the activity of the brain with regards to the stochastic process blah blah blah; I just don't care. Because, it really doesn't matter. Unless you can go back up to that very important question I posed and actually show why I should care.

DO NOT become confused with the difference between "this is the mechanical process that happens at the biological level" versus "this is why you should care", because that's what you've been doing this whole time; I want the second one, not the first. You've been constantly asserting that the process is real, and I've been acknowledging that, but you have not shown, even once, why anyone should give a flying fuck that it exists. Me showing someone how to open a beer is more relevant to a person's life than discussing the stochastic process is.



And as for determinism itself, I should probably go into it a bit since you can't seem to leave it alone, and I do make some deterministic arguments, but you keep assuming things about determinism that I don't, and thus you assume that I'm asserting things that I am not, which causes problems. So...

   Determinism
Basic definition:
Determinism: The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.
Further:
The roots of the notion of determinism surely lie in a very common philosophical idea: the idea that everything can, in principle, be explained, or that everything that is, has a sufficient reason for being and being as it is, and not otherwise.
Important considerations:
-"If and only if".
-Limited events
-Inclusion of natural law

"If and only if" means that determinism should not be viewed as factually correct in all circumstances (the incorrect assumption of which leads to the idea that "there can only be one possible outcome for the universe"). "Given a specified way things are at a time t" necessitates that a person knows, or is capable of knowing, the starting set up of the events; this means that determinism should not be applied to the entire series of events of the entire universe leading from from the big bang until now, and should instead only be applied at best to limited events (and if you want to discuss it scientifically, should only be applied to truly closed systems). Natural law, which is to say all of the known laws of the universe which science has uncovered, is included in determinism because determinism requires the use of those laws in order to determine real and proper outcomes from events.

In and of itself, determinism is a fairly common-sense and reasonable idea. If I throw a ball, it will go where I throw it. It has gone where it has, because I have thrown it. NOT to be confused with "because that's the only possible way that it could have ended up there", nor to be confused with "that's the only possible place it could have gone when I threw it".

In fact, why don't you go ahead and read the entire introduction at least http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/determinism-causal/#Int It already takes care of a number of fallacies that people assume regarding determinism.

Some false assumptions of about determinism:

1) That it is absolute.
2) That it has to do with predeterminism, or fate.
3) That there is only one possible outcome for each singular event.
4) The (false) idea that "humans could theoretically potentially know the antecedent state of the universe" allows us to create futher assumptions.
5) That determinism and unpredictability cannot coexist in the same universe.

In regards to number three, some background. Determinism is an ancient idea, as ancient as many other philosophies that long predate modern science. Modern science has since shown many many different aspects of reality that kill the notion that there is only one possible outcome for any given event; some examples include algebraic equations that have more than one solution, splitting singular photons of light through a semi-transparent mirror such that the photon travels two distinct paths at the same time, and the double slit experiment which can change distinct photons of light and particles into analog results.

As such, one should not confused philosophical discussions with scientific ones. Your constant attempt at using specific aspects of science to try and argue philosophical notions regarding will and freedom is misdirected (this is another reason I am speaking in generalities).

Choices are inherently indeterministic because we break the chain of determinism. We come to a fork in the road, and we weigh the various options before us, and then we make a choice. The choices we make are inherently fuzzy, or imprecise, because of a multitude of variables that drive our Selves each day, and which we do not bother looking back to and trying to determine (hey look, the stochastic process at the macro level, no? Does this mean I've contradicted myself at the beginning where I said it's not relevant? No, because it's not relevant to know about it in order to make the decision). Some of these driving forces are more important in some choices than others; for instance, if I am hungry, then I will make more choices towards getting food than if I am already full; this is not deterministic, but is probable towards a weighted outcome (where the weighting of the outcome can change with time and events).

-----------------------

Examples!

Example: I'm drinking a coffee right now; I don't know the set up of the various molecules in my body, nor the set up of the molecules in the coffee, so before even touching upon other aspects of determinism we can establish that this is not an event where determinism would be appropriate to use.

Example: While playing pool/billiards with friends, we set up the specific conditions of the balls in specific places, we roll the pool cues to find any bends, and we run our hands over the pool table to find any subtle changes to pitch; we actively set or gather information in the set up to be used in what will become a game based partly on determinism. The game stops being deterministic when we add in our own human faults for not being able to line up shots properly, or when our hands move in ways that we don't want them to.

Example: Humans can create robots to play the game of pool instead, and can create robots to set up the game in the first place. With the superior repeatable precision that robots can produce, the game can become deterministic in every single run; the robots set up the balls in the same place every time, and shoot the balls in the same angles and with the same power every time, then the balls will go the same distances in the same directions every time. Human ability is imprecise enough and faulty enough that we can blame ourselves for some aspects of indeterminism when a deterministic solution could otherwise have been found.

For both of the pool examples, we can definitively declare that a deterministic outlook does not start prior to us setting up the balls, because regardless of what the conditions were like before we set up the balls, we ignore those preconditions and force a certain starting set up to be created. While playing the game, everyone can see where the balls are at any given point in time, but people of different skill levels attempt to plan out their shots in different ways; I usually plan out the white ball hitting one or two other things (balls or walls) and then leave the rest to chance (not because I can't plan out more, but because I find the game is more fun that way); a more skilled player can plan out the white ball hitting more other things; a less skilled player has difficulty planning out the white ball hitting even one other ball.

~Steve
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

January 01, 2016, 09:28:26 PM
Reply #7

Steve

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Your arguments are based on the idea that molecules moving around can be calculated to be in different predictable locations if you know all of the factors involved.
Yes. If. That's a mighty important word there. And that If is shown to be a No in real world experiments (heisenberg uncertainty principle).

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Because knowledge of the starting events are not known, you are saying that we cannot deterministically know where things will be per an induction fallacy. Mathematically, that is Newtonian and deterministic. Your point is bad because you are presupposing that things have a unique trajectory in time. Not all particles do; rather, you are dealing with all of their trajectories so there is no definitive starting point.
Are you confusing an assumption of probability theory as though it is a factual certainty? Are you mistaking the premise of probability theory which purposefully ignores specified values, as though we cannot determine certain values for things? Are you aware that for some/many stochastic processes, there are deterministic processes as well? Are you aware that each is used in different scenarios? For instance, if you want to know exactly why a specific person's specific cells started developing cancer, then you should use deterministic methodologies, but if you want to graph the various possible reasons that any given person might develop cancer, then you should use stochastic methodologies. They are counter parts to one another, and each have their own best scenarios in which to use them.

So it's perfectly fine for me to say that we would be able to deterministically know where things would be if (there's that important word again) we could determine it's current location and velocity. It turns out to be false because of the heisenburg uncertainty principle, but if we could, then we would. Simple determinism is an important factor of science and technology; without it, we would not have these computers that we use. Each processor is made up of a shit ton of logic gates, which could be modelled probabilistically, but which are fabricated deterministically.

Back to the brain and noise: Sure, you can model that probabilistically/stochastically, and so far deterministic models have so far failed to properly account for it, but that hardly means anything in relation to free will. Or, to say it another way, if we do not have free will after all, then the noise (seemingly random though they be) would not be an indicator of freedom.

To say it another way: Freedom is not dependant upon an availability of randomness nor upon the death of determinism (especially scientific/programming/mathematical deterministic models, which should not be confused with philosophical determinism).

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because we then have to presuppose that people can make decisions and have experiences without functioning brains
Why? Why would you presupposed that? "Brains have randomness, therefore free will. If this is wrong, then people could still make decisions without brains." Seriously?

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In addition to the Genetics degree I already have, I am almost finished with an Engineering degree from one of the best schools around here. Trust me, I am familiar with this.
https://www.google.ca/search?q=trust+me+i%27m+an+engineer&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwig0vzFrorKAhVC1mMKHfYUBvAQ_AUIBygB&biw=1920&bih=918#imgrc=_

Also, http://www.mercola.com/forms/background.htm This guy is a licensed Physician and Surgeon, so I should listen to him, right?

What was that called again... fallacy of ... authority? Or can I say that you have to listen to me and trust me, and have no alotment to question me because I have a degree too? Can I do that?

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What people should do with this knowledge is not relevant
Well, in that case the knowledge itself is irrelevant. Thanks.

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Telling you a car needs gas to drive does not require me to tell you where you should drive your car in order for the statement that cars need gas to be true.
Absolutely. So if we're discussion a person stopped at a stop sign, who has the option to turn left or right, and they make a decision to turn left... that has nothing to do with the gas either. Since the discussion is about free will, and not about gas...

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You've also kind of already lost, in that what I am saying is the model that Science uses

The topic is Philosophical. So you're arguing about world soccer while trying to watch an american football game. You're trying to argue that we should talk about something entirely different, because you can't discuss the current topic. You know what, maybe that's my fault. I mentioned the brain or something ... no wait... *checks* You mentioned the brain and the processes. But maybe it's still my fault for engaging you in these slightly off-kilter discussions about science in a philosophy thread.

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I have had similar arguments with you in the past about evolution. I can't help but wonder why Biology is so hard for you to grasp
Biology isn't hard for me to grasp. Your arguments are because *see above point*. There's a reason why I'm the only person left on this forum who bothers to argue with you, and it's not because you're so damned smart and other people just hate being proven wrong all the time.

EDIT: Oh, and I'm done for the night. So take your time.

~Steve
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 09:32:41 PM by Steve »
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

January 01, 2016, 11:51:23 PM
Reply #8

Steve

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And I just stopped caring entirely. You can go ahead and claim whatever victory you want in this discussion.

~Steve
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

January 03, 2016, 03:46:19 AM
Reply #9

Akenu

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Sorry for not entirely paying attention to this thread but pro-longed walls of text using words are qualitative, proteins, code, chemistry, neurons in same sentences seriously bore me.

This thread is based on an older thread in which I participated, so I will just try to repeat what I have said. The thing I have originally said was that majority of people aren't free anway, there isn't any freedom without free will and there isn't any free will without freedom.

For a person to be truly free, that person has to have all following conditions:
[ul]
  • Salary big enough to cover basic necessities
  • Salary big enough to be able to have some savings
  • Salary big enough to be able to pay also for the unnecessary things
  • Enough spare time for the personal development
[/ul]

As I have said many people have just enough money to cover basic necessities and when they get home after the work they are just happy they can turn on the TV and switch off their brains. The thing is that without money, spare time and a desire to do something about themselves they can never break this circle, therefore effectively being slaves of the system (education is expensive and often even horribly obsolete). Another problem is that people can make a decision about their future careers very early in their lives. Many people study for a server (because many of their friends do the same) and later in life they are horrified about their decisions that directly ruined their lives).

So, as described above, only person with money and spare time can develop, can study and can have the experience so only such person is truly free. You could say that a person without any money but with enough time on their hands can still learn a lot of new things and it is true, but the options for such a person are very limited (e.g. for public libraries, not a personal library).

You could also say that a person with enough money and spare time still can lack the desire to learn new things and therefore cannot develop and I say yes to this, too, but that person still has that possibility if wanted but a person that is a slave to the system cannot change its position no matter how harder he/she would wish so.

January 03, 2016, 08:11:29 AM
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Akenu

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@Rayn: I don't know if you already read my whole post or not, so let me just give you a summary. There is this thing called reality we all live in, this reality and the society within has certain rules and wrapping the discussion into the pseudo-academic mumbojumbo doesn't solve a turd, what I speak about are real people with real problems and the way I speak about it let people to think about a number of solutions, all your philosophical approach does is to fill the thread with a waste.

January 03, 2016, 01:06:06 PM
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Steve

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Akenu:
So would you classify animals as without freedom? As they are slaves to the system of "find food, eat food, reproduce, sleep, find food, eat food, sleep, etc" and don't have the human money to get themselves out of it? Or were you simply talking about the system of freedom from versus slavery to human society, and ignoring the rest of the world (which is perfectly fine. It would just change the scope any potential reply I might make)?

~Steve
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

January 03, 2016, 04:13:12 PM
Reply #12

Akenu

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Akenu:
So would you classify animals as without freedom? As they are slaves to the system of "find food, eat food, reproduce, sleep, find food, eat food, sleep, etc" and don't have the human money to get themselves out of it? Or were you simply talking about the system of freedom from versus slavery to human society, and ignoring the rest of the world (which is perfectly fine. It would just change the scope any potential reply I might make)?

~Steve

I would omit animals from the equation now as they are part of a little bit different system.

January 03, 2016, 04:46:45 PM
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Akenu

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@Rayn: I don't know if you already read my whole post or not, so let me just give you a summary. There is this thing called reality we all live in, this reality and the society within has certain rules and wrapping the discussion into the pseudo-academic mumbojumbo doesn't solve a turd, what I speak about are real people with real problems and the way I speak about it let people to think about a number of solutions, all your philosophical approach does is to fill the thread with a waste.

You and I are real enough, so this conversation is a real example. You have decided to write this post out to me where it can be taken for granted that a goal of this post is to influence or change my mind. Here is the thing, though. You have not. This means you have not actualized your goal; however, you have decided you would try. The inability to change my mind did make you incapable of deciding to write this post out, and if you did not decide to type out a post, I would not be reading it would I? The inability to pay for something does not keep people from deciding they want it just like your inability to change my mind does not keep you from deciding to post this. 

Well, you are wrong. I wasn't trying to change your mind but to mock you and the reason is that I do not like you and I am pretty sure this vibe can be understood by many people (obviously with you being the exception) so I have actualized my goal of showing my distaste for you.

P.S. I was never part of the discussion regarding goal actualization and I think that whole part could be easily erased without any damage to the discussion ;-).

January 03, 2016, 04:58:41 PM
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Akenu

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P.S. I was never part of the discussion regarding goal actualization and I think that whole part could be easily erased without any damage to the discussion

You can't erase it, in your case, because that is what your argument is predicated on. The argument you presented, above, is based on money. Well, money is power within society, so you can't base your argument on power and then say it is irrelevant to your point. Money is power within society, and you said that freedom is, in part, contingent on how much money you have. Since money is power and power is an abstraction for being able to actually do things, this makes it critical to your point. You can't side-step it without negating your whole point.

Oh, that is wrong. A person with one gun worth of $100 can kill a person owning $50000. Money doesn't equal to power, Rayn, but a possibility.