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onlookerofmayhem

Atheist vs. Agnostic Label

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XenoFish

Funny. Conscious this, free will that. We still don't even have a clue what consciousness is exactly. All I know is this. I make a choice, if I make that choice enough it becomes a habit, once it's a habit I don't have to consciously make that choice again. Considering that we are only 5% conscious and the 95% is subconscious. We might be 5% free will and 95% habit. 

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Will Due
Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, XenoFish said:

Funny. Conscious this, free will that. We still don't even have a clue what consciousness is exactly. All I know is this. I make a choice, if I make that choice enough it becomes a habit, once it's a habit I don't have to consciously make that choice again. Considering that we are only 5% conscious and the 95% is subconscious. We might be 5% free will and 95% habit. 

 

And 5% conscious, might be overly optimistic.

 

 

Edited by Will Due

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Golden Duck
On 16/04/2019 at 7:32 AM, XenoFish said:

It always has to come down to happiness doesn't it. Happy, happy, happy. Might as well trip on a 1000 shrooms while attending catholic mass in order to get a mystical experience. 

Fulfilment is too hard to spell.

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Golden Duck
20 hours ago, Blizno said:

This is all very tiresome to me. There is one and only one definition of "atheist". Atheist = not theist.

Theist is somebody who believes that one or more gods exist. Atheist is not that.

The "a" at the beginning of the word means "not". Not theist. Atheist does not mean believes that gods don't exist. Atheist means does not believe that gods do exist.

People who call themselves agnostics don't know whether gods exist. If you don't know if something exists, you don't believe that it exists unless you twist your brain into knots. Therefore, agnostic = atheist. People who say they are agnostics are atheists.

 

As for somebody's comment on "middle ground", that makes no sense. Theism is the belief in god(s). Atheist is the absence of belief in gods. What would be a middle ground for that?

 

It seems "a-" means "without"

https://www.etymonline.com/word/atheist

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DieChecker
Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, GoldenWolf said:

You're comparing parenting to a Master-servant taskmaster God.  Shameful, absolutely shameful.

Well God is called "The Father", and we are His "Children". The comparison has been used for 2000 years.

That is.... assuming the Abrhamic God. Since you used the capital G.

Edited by DieChecker

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onlookerofmayhem
2 hours ago, DieChecker said:

Well God is called "The Father", and we are His "Children". The comparison has been used for 2000 years.

That is.... assuming the Abrhamic God. Since you used the capital G.

Sounds like something a cult leader would like his followers to view their relationship as.

"I'm the boss! I make the rules! No questions! Obey Me!!!!"

 

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Podo
On 4/16/2019 at 9:33 PM, onlookerofmayhem said:

Sounds like something a cult leader would like his followers to view their relationship as.

"I'm the boss! I make the rules! No questions! Obey Me!!!!"

 

That's all it is. Abraham made a bunch of junk up to seize power in his little garbage tribe, and we're still dealing with the ramifications of an ignorant ancient's lie thousands of years later. Good job, bro.

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Horta
On 4/17/2019 at 6:49 AM, Liquid Gardens said:

Ah, I see what you are referring to I think.  If those experiments instead showed that the conscious mind is the first to interact with a decision I agree that it would be a slight improvement for the case of a soul compared to the current experiments, which show the unconscious involved before the conscious (to heavily paraphrase the experiment of course).  However even if these experiments showed that the conscious mind was the first to interact in decision-making, in my view that is a long way from demonstrating much as far as a soul or free will.  I agree with all the criticisms and points you have made against free will in this thread that I've read, but all of those points apply to the conscious mind too, I'm pretty sure they were specifically directed at it actually (since free will decisions made in the unconscious/subconscious is a contradiction).  I don't see any of your arguments relying on or even intersecting much with where decisions are made in our psyche, I didn't see any of your arguments against free will that require at all that decisions not be made in the conscious mind.  I did just skim the experiment so may have missed something.

Yes, that's what I meant. The standard religious/new age model claims that we have a separate entity (a soul, or consciousness) that inhabits our body and is in control of the brain, which it uses as a type of interface. Therefore the conscious decision (the will) to move should happen before the brain decides, or at the very least simultaneously. This is clearly discredited by experiment, not only by the original experiments but particularly by the later variations of the original experiments.

I suppose you could argue that it still exists, but it wouldn't be much use in some "hereafter" without the brain. There could still be "something" though, as seen in certain eastern philosophies where they experience consciousness in a state devoid of normal mental activity, a type of simple "blissful awareness". Though it's overwhelmingly likely that this is simply another brain state itself, more than a separate "consciousness".

There were variations of Libet's experiments that lead to claims people still had the conscious power of veto over these subconscious decisions. Which lead to rather silly claims that although we might not have genuine free will, we at least have "free won't" lol. Still other experiments showed that this veto also arose out of the same type of subconscious brain processing. Other experiments were devised to remove the human element regarding timing also. As technology gets better the discrepancy gets wider and the predictive power of the experiment only gets better.

The main argument now seems to be that such simple decisions aren't indicative of more complex decision making. Though I think if you can't find "free will" in decisions as simple as this, you're not going to find it anywhere. The opposition to the implications of such experiments is substantial even from academics (it horrified Libet himself), though seemingly for no other reason than they refuse to let go of the notion there is a little "self" in there somewhere that has free will. Particularly from philosophers.

I don't understand why it is controversial at all. It's been obvious for a very long time that "consciousness" itself is a product of the brain.

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Horta

ps. Out of the advocates for free will, I have yet to see anything backing their claims. I did see one paper that required as its very first premise the assumption that humans had this libertarian type "free will". The rest of it appeared nonsense for that reason. The worst arguments seem to be from an atheist/materialist philosopher (Dennet) and are very disappointing. He doesn't believe in the notion of "free will" though he worries that society will break down if academics tell people the truth about it. So he redefined the term and his arguments appear to be based on semantics and redefining words.

He basically says "stop telling people magical unicorns aren't real. If you accept that the rhinoceros is a magical unicorn, then you can have all of the magical unicorns you want. They're not magical and they're not really unicorns but hey, at least they're real. They're the only type of magical unicorns worth wanting anyway".  As they say, the camel would have been a thoroughbred racehorse, only that it was designed by a committee of philosophers lol.

The only somewhat realistic attempt I have found is from a theoretical physicist who personally finds the notion of "free will" incoherent, but wrote a short paper proposing it, to show it could at least be done.

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Habitat
1 hour ago, Horta said:

ps. Out of the advocates for free will, I have yet to see anything backing their claims. I did see one paper that required as its very first premise the assumption that humans had this libertarian type "free will". The rest of it appeared nonsense for that reason. The worst arguments seem to be from an atheist/materialist philosopher (Dennet) and are very disappointing. He doesn't believe in the notion of "free will" though he worries that society will break down if academics tell people the truth about it. So he redefined the term and his arguments appear to be based on semantics and redefining words.

He basically says "stop telling people magical unicorns aren't real. If you accept that the rhinoceros is a magical unicorn, then you can have all of the magical unicorns you want. They're not magical and they're not really unicorns but hey, at least they're real. They're the only type of magical unicorns worth wanting anyway".  As they say, the camel would have been a thoroughbred racehorse, only that it was designed by a committee of philosophers lol.

The only somewhat realistic attempt I have found is from a theoretical physicist who personally finds the notion of "free will" incoherent, but wrote a short paper proposing it, to show it could at least be done.

Free will can't be de-coupled from consciousness though, I'd say. Do you have free will when unconscious ? Not that I can see. Consciousness, to me, centres on the ability to access and use the faculty of memory. You are only conscious of something moving, if you can access the memory of where it was a fraction of a second earlier. Why would we need to be conscious, if we had no free will ?

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Horta
On 4/17/2019 at 6:49 AM, Liquid Gardens said:

 However even if these experiments showed that the conscious mind was the first to interact in decision-making, in my view that is a long way from demonstrating much as far as a soul or free will.  I agree with all the criticisms and points you have made against free will in this thread that I've read, but all of those points apply to the conscious mind too, I'm pretty sure they were specifically directed at it actually (since free will decisions made in the unconscious/subconscious is a contradiction).  I don't see any of your arguments relying on or even intersecting much with where decisions are made in our psyche, I didn't see any of your arguments against free will that require at all that decisions not be made in the conscious mind.  I did just skim the experiment so may have missed something.

pps. Yes, I completely agree. That is what I was arguing and what I feel is supported by all of our knowledge so far.

It doesn't rely on such experiment (it would require experiments demonstrating that the "soul" or "free will" exists), though the experiments should really give believers in a "soul" pause for thought. It's an assumption that humans make, the belief in free will and usually the position they start from. This assumption itself has nothing to support it other than an intuitive feeling, yet plenty to discredit it.

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Horta
Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Habitat said:

Free will can't be de-coupled from consciousness though, I'd say. 

I agree.

Experiments have long shown that "conscious will" arises from unconscious decision making in the brain though. The "conscious" part is entirely unaware of this and wrongly claims authorship (in a post hoc fashion). It all happens below awareness first.

In this scenario, conscious free will is an obvious illusion. 

Edited by Horta

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Horta
Posted (edited)

If conscious intention preceded brain activity it would be very good indication that something "non physical" was happening (a soul). It doesn't though, conscious intention consistently lags behind. 

Edited by Horta

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Habitat
30 minutes ago, Horta said:

If conscious intention preceded brain activity it would be very good indication that something "non physical" was happening (a soul). It doesn't though, conscious intention consistently lags behind. 

As measured by what ?

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Horta
2 minutes ago, Habitat said:

As measured by what ?

The time people feel the "conscious decision" versus brain the activity seen on fMRI. EEG.

 

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Habitat
Just now, Horta said:

The time people feel the "conscious decision" versus brain the activity seen on fMRI. EEG.

 

Need free will be entirely conscious ?

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Horta
Just now, Habitat said:

Need free will be entirely conscious ?

Quote

Free will can't be de-coupled from consciousness though, I'd say.

So you have changed your mind?

If you can explain how "free will" can be unconscious, I'm all ears. The very basic notion of it relies on "conscious decision making".

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Horta

If a neuroscientist can predict your decision with reasonably high accuracy (via fMRI), up to 4 seconds you before you consciously make the decision, where is the "free will"?

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Habitat
3 minutes ago, Horta said:

So you have changed your mind?

If you can explain how "free will" can be unconscious, I'm all ears. The very basic notion of it relies on "conscious decision making".

Don't know if it has to be entirely conscious. This is just the most complex subject.

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Horta
39 minutes ago, Habitat said:

Don't know if it has to be entirely conscious. This is just the most complex subject.

That's irrelevant though, or are you thinking "partial" free will"?

As far as we know experimentally, decisions are made unconsciously. Even the "veto" of such decisions, have been shown to also have been made unconsciously first.

Though this is only further evidence. It isn't required to quash the notion of free will. You mentioned it in another post ie. "causation". If every thought and decision of the brain is the result of previous causes that are bound by the principles of physics, then free will can't exist. Even if there is a soul, it can't exist. It requires every thought to be uncaused (like the universe, remember?) and not directly determined by previous physical causes. Though it's even far more relevant here, as we are talking about physical events within our existing universe.

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Habitat
10 minutes ago, Horta said:

That's irrelevant though, or are you thinking "partial" free will"?

As far as we know experimentally, decisions are made unconsciously. Even the "veto" of such decisions, have been shown to also have been made unconsciously first.

Though this is only further evidence. It isn't required to quash the notion of free will. You mentioned it in another post ie. "causation". If every thought and decision of the brain is the result of previous causes that are bound by the principles of physics, then free will can't exist. Even if there is a soul, it can't exist. It requires every thought to be uncaused (like the universe, remember?) and not directly determined by previous physical causes. Though it's even far more relevant here, as we are talking about physical events within our existing universe.

Why then, if everything is cut and dried as you seem to imply, is consciousness needed ? This is why I say that free will and consciousness are interlocked, you are saying we are conscious, but effectively spectators. Is that logical ?

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Horta
Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, Habitat said:

Why then, if everything is cut and dried as you seem to imply, is consciousness needed ? This is why I say that free will and consciousness are interlocked, you are saying we are conscious, but effectively spectators. Is that logical ?

It is the only pov that is logical.

The other pov requires something that has never been observed in any physical system. That physical processes can result in something not caused by the process itself/preceding events. That is logically ridiculous.

Only two outcomes are observed in our universe. Causally determined outcomes, and causally indeterminate outcomes.  Both require preceding causes, neither of them can result in free will. Nor can any mixture of the two result in free will. That would be like claiming apples can fall from trees, but they don't have to, it's all irrespective of forces such as gravity.

ps. it's not so much that we are spectators, more that "we" are an illusion (as in something that is not what it seems to be).

Edited by Horta

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Habitat

This is just classic determinism, though.

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Horta
24 minutes ago, Habitat said:

Why then, if everything is cut and dried as you seem to imply, is consciousness needed ? 

I don't think it is needed. It is a result of social evolution IMO.

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Horta
Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Habitat said:

This is just classic determinism, though.

No it isn't.

Indeterminism (which we know exists) is the exact opposite of classical determinism. Yet it can't arrive at free will either, because it is inherently random. Neither way, nor any mixture of the two can logically arrive at "free will" for any physical system (they are all subject to causality). Everything that we know of in our current universe is the result of a preceding causal chain.

ps. whether the result of a causal chain is determined or random doesn't matter. A determined outcome leaves no room for free will. A random outcome cannot be willed in any way (freely or otherwise) because it wouldn't be random if so. 

Edited by Horta
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