HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Religion & Spirituality » Religion (Group) » Free will and consciousne...

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 09:35 AM

 

Free will and consciousness

Last edited Wed Sep 21, 2016, 10:34 AM - Edit history (2)

I consider free will impossible. Free will is an illusion, which is due to how consciousness works.

Free will means your decisions are made directly from your conscious brain. How can that be possible? Our brains are very complicated black boxes. We have no idea whatís going on up there while we are thinking. How can someone claim an ability, free will, when they canít even begin to explain how they do it? The burden of proof is on those that claim they have this ability of free will.

Many people, especially among the religious, include in free will such things as our sexual preferences and our religious beliefs. These are all things we have no way of controlling. I believe something is true or find someone attractive, or I donít. I have no choice. I canít choose to believe in Santa Claus or god nor can I choose to be attracted to men.

We are all products of our genetics and environment, neither one of those we choose at birth. From then, we become what we are based on what we began with and how the environment made us. We have no choice. Any decision we make to affect our condition is based on who we are, which had been made by conditions outside of our control.

We experience inputs to our senses as our brains automatically interpret the inputs. We experience different levels of understanding of the world around us as our brains automatically interpret the world. And we also experience various good and bad feelings (emotions, pain, and pleasure, along with much more subtle feelings) which control our thoughts and actions. In practice, all conscious experience is a mixture of these three types of experiences (sensing, understanding, and feeling), including emotions, which are more complex than just raw feelings. Thatís everything in consciousness and they are all only experiences.

Conscious animals make a connection of food with hunger; it may not be a profound understanding, but it is an understanding (or at least a connection) at some level. Driven by its feelings, assisted by its senses and memory, and enabled by its instincts and past learned behavior, the animal can find its food. The strength of the animalís feelings-experience will determine how well it remembers and learns from the experience. For all animals, including humans, everything in this process is imposed on consciousness.

Conscious non-human animals also have the sensation of being in control. To various degrees, they operate very much like we do. They are all feelings driven. Do people claim that rats have free will?

Everything is imposed on consciousness inside our black boxes. We have no idea how anything is made conscious and we have no idea where our thoughts come from. We experience inputs to our consciousness and stuff happens. We are fooled into thinking we are in control due to the fact that our thoughts and actions are consistent with our feelings.

This process is a clue to the role feelings play and ultimately why we are conscious. I believe that feelings are a device that brains have evolved that force themselves to operate; enabling (and forcing) our brains to give attention to the issue of the moment, think, do, act as one unit, and give the brain criteria for learning and remembering through strength of experience. Without feelings in consciousness, is there another way for a brain to do all of that? So this one function of the brain (feelings in consciousness) kills multiple birds with one stone. Clearly evolution found consciousness very useful.

Feelings in consciousness is a motivational force, of sorts, that the brain itself canít ignore, without which, complex animated critters would probably be impossible. Without feelings we would not have the capability to do anything at all. We are complete slaves to our feelings and feelings are imposed on our consciousness. Itís impossible to know how brains can create consciousness (seems impossible, but itís clearly not), but we can recognize that feelings in consciousness are a powerful force.

So we experience feelings and stuff happens, driven by the feelings flywheel. But we canít explain where our thoughts and decisions come from. When we think, stuff pops into our heads. Without knowing where the thoughts in our heads come from we have no real control of our decisions. We have no free will.

So it is clear to me that consciousness is important, but consciousness does far less than we think, including actually making the ultimate decisions. Without conscious free will, the concepts of heaven and hell make no sense, and retribution in the criminal justice system is immoral. It isnít consciousness that makes the decisions but itís consciousness that suffers the consequences. Without conscious free will, the ultimate crime, according to many believers, of believing in a different reality than them is no crime at all.



*edit: additions:

Free will: The thoughts that arise in our conscious minds originate from an unknown place, unchosen by our conscious minds - to choose a thought would mean to already have that thought in your mind, which would mean you didn't just choose your thought (infinite regress). The thought had to have originated from somewhere. It can't be your consciousness, since that would mean your very same consciousness already had that thought in mind.

You can't have a separate consciousness (which is also you) in your mind choosing your thoughts for your consciousness. It makes no sense. Thoughts have to originate from somewhere and it can't be from consciousness. Our conscious minds aren't the authors of our conscious thoughts. Thoughts pop into our conscious minds as we think. Words flow into our conscious minds as we write.


Stuff concerning feelings from: Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain, Paperback by Anthony Damasio: professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California and an Adjunct Professor at the Salk Institute:

page 170 in the pdf in Demasio's book: Descartes Error::
https://bdgrdemocracy.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/descartes-error_antonio-damasio.pdf

More restricted in range than the emotional feelings described
previously, background feelings are neither too positive nor too
negative
, although they can be perceived as mostly pleasant or
unpleasant. In all probability it is these feelings, rather than emotional
ones, that we experience most frequently in a lifetime. We are
only subtly aware of a background feeling,
but aware enough to be
able to report instantly on its quality. A background feeling is not
what we feel when we jump out of our skin for sheer joy, or when we
are despondent over lost love; both of these actions correspond to
emotional body states. A background feeling corresponds instead to
the body state prevailing between emotions. When we feel happiness,
anger, or another emotion, the background feeling has been
superseded by an emotional feeling. The background feeling is our
image of the body landscape when it is not shaken by emotion. The
concept of "mood," though related to that of background feeling,
does not exactly capture it. When background feelings are persistently
of the same type over hours and days, and do not change
quietly as thought contents ebb and flow, the collection of background
feelings probably contributes to a mood, good, bad, or
indifferent.

We always feel something. I believe the subtle variations through time of our (background) feelings are critical to the moment to moment operation of the conscious mind.


page 93 in the pdf in Demasio's book: Descartes Error:

Before leaving the subject of human brain lesions, I would like
to propose that there is a particular region in the human brain
where the systems concerned with emotion/feeling, attention, and
working memory interact so intimately that they constitute the
source for the energy of both external action (movement) and internal
action (thought animation, reasoning).
This fountainhead region
is the anterior cingulate cortex, another piece of the limbic system
puzzle...

Damage to this sector not only produces impairment
in movement, emotion, and attentiveness, but also causes a virtual
suspension of the animation of action and of thought process such
that reason is no longer viable.
The story of one of my patients in
whom there was such damage gives an idea of the impairment.

The stroke suffered by this patient, whom I will call Mrs. T,
produced extensive damage to the dorsal and medial regions of the
frontal lobe in both hemispheres. She suddenly became motionless
and speechless, and she would lie in bed with her eyes open but with
a blank facial expression; I have often used the term "neutral" to
convey the equanimity-or absence-of such an expression.
Her body was no more animated than her face. She might make a
normal movement with arm and hand, to pull her bed covers for
instance, but in general, her limbs were in repose. When asked
about her situation, she usually would remain silent, although after much
coaxing she might say her name, or the names of her husband and
children, or the name of the town where she lived. But she would not
tell you about her medical history, past or present, and she could
not describe the events leading to her admission to the hospital.
There was no way of knowing, then, whether she had no recollection
of those events or whether she had a recollection but was unwilling
or unable to talk about it. She never became upset with my insistent
questioning, never showed a flicker of worry about herself or anything
else. Months later, as she gradually emerged from this state of
mutism and akinesia (lack of movement), and began to answer
questions, she would clarify the mystery of her state of mind. Contrary
to what one might have thought, her mind had not been
imprisoned in the jail of her immobility. Instead it appeared that
there had not been much mind at all, no real thinking or reasoning.
The passivity in her face and body was the appropriate reflection of
her lack of mental animation. At this later date she was certain about
not having felt anguished by the absence of communication. Nothing
had forced her not to speak her mind. Rather, as she recalled,
"I really had nothing to say."


To my eyes Mrs. T had been unemotional. To her experience, all
the while, it appears she had had no feelings. To my eyes she had not
specifically attended to the external stimuli presented to her, nor had
she attended internally to their representation or to the representation
of correlated evocations. I would say her will had been preempted,
and that seems also to have been her reflection.

44 replies, 2757 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 44 replies Author Time Post
Reply Free will and consciousness (Original post)
cpwm17 Sep 2016 OP
Nitram Sep 2016 #1
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #3
AlbertCat Sep 2016 #18
Name removed Sep 2016 #2
Jim__ Sep 2016 #4
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #6
Jim__ Sep 2016 #10
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #12
Jim__ Sep 2016 #14
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #15
Jim__ Sep 2016 #20
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #25
Jim__ Sep 2016 #29
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #31
Jim__ Sep 2016 #34
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #38
Jim__ Sep 2016 #39
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #16
Jim__ Sep 2016 #21
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #28
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #17
Jim__ Sep 2016 #22
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #24
Jim__ Sep 2016 #30
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #32
Jim__ Sep 2016 #36
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #37
Jim__ Sep 2016 #40
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #41
Jim__ Sep 2016 #42
stone space Sep 2016 #33
Jim__ Sep 2016 #35
stone space Sep 2016 #5
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #9
stone space Sep 2016 #7
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #8
Lordquinton Sep 2016 #11
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #13
struggle4progress Sep 2016 #19
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #23
struggle4progress Sep 2016 #26
cpwm17 Sep 2016 #27
Bradical79 Oct 2016 #43
cpwm17 Oct 2016 #44

Response to cpwm17 (Original post)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 10:44 AM

1. How do you explain the fact that our various preferences and inclinations...

change over time due to experience? You seem to be assuming that we are hard-wired when you write that our religious and sexual preferences are already decided for us. The fact that feeling plays a role in decision-making in no way invalidates the role our consciousness plays. Yes,we are influenced by many factors of which we are unaware. Perhaps you are suggesting that "free will" implies that we have all the information we need to make good decisions, and our decisions are made with completely logical objectivity. I'd suggest that our free will falls somewhere in between such a starkly rational view and the view that we have no ability to make choices at all.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Nitram (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 11:19 AM

3. We learn over time, based on how are brains are made and our environment.

 

We're not hard wired. At any given moment our brains automatically decide for us, but our brains change.

In fact, we couldn't learn without feelings. The amount of information we have now in our brains (as adults, or younger) far exceeds the amount of information in our DNA. That is because we can learn and change. This is made possible with feelings in consciousness.

We automatically learn and remember things that cause us to experience a greater impression on our brains. The strength of impression is based on the strength of the feelings experience. Boring crap that we experience most moments of our lives will not be saved in long-term memory. There has to be some criteria on what our brains save and learn from.

So this same function of the brain that allows us to learn and remember (and change) - feelings in consciousness - also forces our brains to think, do, choose, and act as one unit. We would be in a coma-like state without feelings, since feelings are our only driving force.

Our brains work through a very subtle feelings-driven process, with the great majority of what is happening in the brain being completely outside of consciousness. This makes it very difficult to explain how we think and where our thoughts come from.



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Reply #3)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 08:53 PM

18. It should also be remembered...

 

that genes cut on and off all thru you life.

Also, that not only do your personal experiences effect your genes, but also experiences your ancestors had long ago (kinda what evolution s about) Genes "live" in a dynamic chemical environment that effects them.


"Free will" notions kinda come from that now thoroughly debunked notion of tabula rasa.... the blank slate. Humans weren't supposed to have any instincts. Animals have those and act without thinking. Well we know now we are born with plenty of instincts, just like any other animal.

It should also be noted that consciousness is not the do-all and end-all. Most of the systems that keep you alive have little to do with your consciousness.... indeed we are usually only aware of them if something is wrong or not normal with them. Hell, everyone is unconscious for a good part of the 24 hour cycle....yet we don't die in or sleep.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Original post)


Response to cpwm17 (Original post)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 11:26 AM

4. First of all, the claim that one side has the burden of proof with respect to a phenomenon ...

... that is not understood is nonsense.

Neither consciousness nor free will is sufficiently understood for anyone to offer a complete and coherent explanation of it. Therefore, anyone making claims about these things needs to provide arguments to back up these claims.

To me, a compelling argument that we have the ability to freely choose is that as I sit here typing, I can freely choose to raise my arm. I can also freely choose not to do it. Either choice that I make will be carried out by my body. These are completely arbitrary decisions that do not involve feelings.

Saying that we can freely choose some things does not imply that we can freely choose all things. I agree that sexual preference is not a conscious choice. Also, our emotions are not completely under our control. That does not establish that we have no free choice.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jim__ (Reply #4)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 11:53 AM

6. Where did that thought to raise your arm come from? (pretend you actually had that thought)

 

When you had that thought what made you actually do it? What if you had that thought and didn't do it? You would feel a subtle stress, but also another overpowering feeling that made you not do it. This process in consciousness is very subtle.

So much of what we do is automatic and outside of consciousness. Not every tiny thing is thought through. Your consciousness couldn't handle the amount of information. All conscious thought is feeling driven, though.

For someone to claim they have free will is the same as them claiming they know where their thoughts come from and how their brain works. They also claim to know how to control the whole process. That's impossible, plus no one really knows how brains work.


The Libet Experiment has been duplicated many times. The brain makes the decision before consciousness becomes aware of the decision:

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Reply #6)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 01:35 PM

10. The origin of the thought is based on both external and internal events.

When you had that thought what made you actually do it? What if you had that thought and didn't do it? You would feel a subtle stress, but also another overpowering feeling that made you not do it. This process in consciousness is very subtle.


When I read your post, I thought about how I could test the idea of free choice. Deciding to raise or not raise my arm seemed like a simple test.

You would feel a subtle stress, but also another overpowering feeling that made you not do it. This process in consciousness is very subtle.


Please describe this subtle process to me. Please describe it in some detail. If you can't, I have to believe that when you say subtle process you're really telling me you don't have any idea what's going on in my brain or my consciousness. The phrase subtle process can hide a world of ignorance - the ignorance is universal, no one can explain consciousness.

For someone to claim they have free will is the same as them claiming they know where their thoughts come from and how their brain works. They also claim to know how to control the whole process.


I'm sorry, but that's even more nonsensical than your claim that the burden of proof is on people who disagree with you. I'm not making any claims about the brain or consciousness. I'm describing my experience. In my experience I freely make decisions. You're telling me that I don't actually freely make decisions. How do you come to have such knowledge? Unless you fully understand how the brain and consciousness work, how can you possibly tell me that my experience can't be correct? Your claim becomes categorical when you claim that anyone who disagrees with you is claiming complete knowledge. Yet you offered no real evidence to support your claim. No, I don't know how the brain works. I don't know if we actually have free will. I know my experience tells me that I can make free choices. When someone tells me that my experience is an illusion, I expect to see an extremely strong argument to back up that claim. You haven't provided such an argument.

The Libet Experiment has been duplicated many times. The brain makes the decision before consciousness becomes aware of the decision:


Yes, I've always found it amazing that anyone could take Libet's experiments involving a no-input/no-consequence decision, and generalize that to the overall decision making function in humans. The decisions that I find most interesting involve a complex of inputs and unclear consequences. Decisions that seem to be best determined through a rational process rather than by feelings. When I make such decisions, my experience tells me that I do go through just such a rational process. It will take some strong evidence to convince me that I don't actually go through such a process, or that such a process is just a futile exercise because it doesn't really influence my decision.

Here's a video of someone who revisits Libet's experiments:

[center][/center]

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jim__ (Reply #10)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 03:59 PM

12. Free will is a particular ability.

 

If someone claims they have that ability, then he/she is the one that must explain how it's done.

Our brains are extremely complex and none of us know how they work. Our heads are black boxes.

I have no idea what goes on up there when I think.

Processes that generate any of our thoughts can't be known while we are thinking and only a little is known by scientists. Scientists don't know the processes that create consciousness and they don't know what consciousness does. They will never really understand how a brain can create consciousness.

We do know that we have various experiences, made possible by consciousness. If you raise your arm through a conscious decision, you experience the desire to raise your arm and then your arm goes up. What really did your consciousness do and where did that desire to raise your arm come from? You really have no other understanding of what went on in your brain beyond the experience of desire to raise your arm, unless you have some scientific knowledge, but that won't help your free will.

You have a lot of explaining to do IF you think we have free will (you say you don't know). How did that desire to raise your arm become conscious and how did your consciousness create your desire to create your desire to raise your arm? Stuff pops into our brains and then stuff happens. Our brains put our thoughts into our conscious brains and our conscious-selves experience them. Our conscious-selves are created by brain processes. There is no room for free will here. No one has ever been able to explain free will or how possibly it could be done. Beyond that, how do I prove a negative?

A desire is a feeling and an understanding of why you have the feeling to do what you want to do.
Here's an extreme example:


Raising arms is usually much less exciting and the process is much more subtle. A lot of what we do is automatic, but if the raising of the arm was though a conscious process, there was some sort of desire at some level.

In much more complex thought processes than just raising an arm, your thoughts are broken up into simpler steps. Each individual step could be comparable to just raising an arm.

In a rational thought processes, you break up the steps into parts that you have already learned. The thought processes are more intense and difficult than raising an arm but the feelings are also more intense, such as when your are studying for a final. The stress when studying for a test can be great, but the stress when not studying can be greater. But still in this process, you experience some form of desire and stuff pops into consciousness from your black box. The consciousness process is still basically the same.

Due to the fact that our thoughts and actions are consistent with our feelings, we have the illusion of free will. But our consciousness and feelings are still critical for the whole process. Our feelings aren't there for nothing.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Reply #12)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 04:48 PM

14. I notice that you didn't explain that "subtle process."

That's alright. I didn't really expect you to. But, phrases like subtle process can't substitute for knowledge. You didn't demonstrate any knowledge of how the brain works. Your claim to know that there can't be any free will is completely unsubstantiated.

We do know that we have various experiences, made possible by consciousness. If you raise your arm through a conscious decision, you experience the desire to raise your arm and then your arm goes up. What really did your consciousness do and where did that desire to raise your arm come from? You really have no other understanding of what went on in your brain beyond the experience of desire to raise your arm, unless you have some scientific knowledge, but that won't help your free will.


I told you where the desire came from. I read your post, wondered what could be a simple demonstration of free will, and freely decided that raising my arm for no particular reason other than to demonstrate that I can do it would be a simple demonstration, then I followed through and raised my arm. I freely decided to act and I acted. Then I followed through again, only this time I didn't raise my arm. My experience of making a free choice and acting on it does not prove that I have free will. But it goes a damned sight farther than your naked proclamation that I can't make a free choice.

You have a lot of explaining to do IF you think we have free will (you say you don't know). How did that desire to raise your arm become conscious and how did your consciousness create your desire to create your desire to raise your arm? Stuff pops into our brains and then stuff happens. Our brains put our thoughts into our conscious brains and our conscious-selves experience them. Our conscious-selves are created by brain processes. There is no room for free will here. No one has ever been able to explain free will or how possibly it could be done. Beyond that, how do I prove a negative?


There is no room for free will here? That's just a proclamation, you haven't offered anything resembling evidence; just naked claims. I told you where the desire to raise my arm came from. I also told you that I could either decide to raise my arm, or not to raise my arm - just the existence of the thought did not force anything.

As to your claim that there is no room for free will, researchers an John Hopkins disagree with you. An excerpt from What free will looks like in the brain:

[center][/center]
An illustration of the human brain indicates where researchers found activity relating to free-will decisions. Credit: Johns Hopkins University
[hr]
Johns Hopkins University researchers are the first to glimpse the human brain making a purely voluntary decision to act.

Unlike most brain studies where scientists watch as people respond to cues or commands, Johns Hopkins researchers found a way to observe people's brain activity as they made choices entirely on their own. The findings, which pinpoint the parts of the brain involved in decision-making and action, are now online, and due to appear in a special October issue of the journal Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics.

"How do we peek into people's brains and find out how we make choices entirely on our own?" asked Susan Courtney, a professor of psychological and brain sciences. "What parts of the brain are involved in free choice?"

...


They seem to think there's room. I accept their research as carrying more weight than your proclamations.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jim__ (Reply #14)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 06:26 PM

15. Yes, with brain imaging scientists can study which areas in the brain are involved

 

with each type of thought process and gain some knowledge on how these parts of the brain interact. They also can study brain damaged patients to learn what changes the damage caused. That's all fascinating stuff.

They didn't define how they are using the term "free will" nor in any way did they prove that free will (as I am using the term) exists.

You're going back to asking me to prove a negative. It can't be done.

My bringing up the subject of free will caused that issue to enter your consciousness. That caused a thought to pop from your brain into your consciousness about raising your arm to prove that free will exists. Where did that thought come from and what caused the thought to happen?

Since it is the brain that creates consciousness - by physical processes - how can consciousness be the originator of thoughts?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Reply #15)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 10:21 AM

20. "Johns Hopkins University researchers are the first to glimpse the human brain making a purely ...

"... voluntary decision to act."

Yes, they didn't explicitly define free will; but the are pretty clear about what they are talking about - a purely voluntary decision to act. If you are not talking about purely voluntary decisions to act, please specify exactly what you are talking about.

And again, you posted a picture of the brain and claimed there is no room for free will. The John Hopkins researchers pointed out some of the regions of the brain that are involved in making free decisions.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jim__ (Reply #20)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 03:18 PM

25. The haven't supported free will, as I am using that term, and it's frequently used.

 

They appear to be studying conscious involved thinking, which isn't necessarily free will. We couldn't think without consciousness, but that doesn't mean we have free will.

A lot of very smart people and scientists believe we have free will, and many don't. Perhaps they think we do, or they are just using the term 'free will' loosely.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Reply #25)

Wed Sep 21, 2016, 01:58 PM

29. They are talking about a purely voluntary decision to act. They are calling that free will.

That is a pretty normal definition of free will and agrees with what you originally said about free will in your OP:

Free will means your decisions are made directly from your conscious brain.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jim__ (Reply #29)

Wed Sep 21, 2016, 02:17 PM

31. Perhaps a more accurate and clear definition of free will

 

is that consciousness is the originator of conscious thoughts, which I consider impossible. That's what I meant in the OP.

The reason an accurate understand of free will is important to religion is that without being able to originate any thoughts a person's consciousness isn't religiously liable for his/her actions and rewards and punishments after death are not just.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Reply #31)

Thu Sep 22, 2016, 01:50 PM

34. No. That's neither more accurate nor clearer.

Free will is about the freedom to decide on our actions. The origin of conscious thoughts is a different question. Free will is concerned with whether or not we can choose which thoughts to act on, no matter where those thoughts originate.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jim__ (Reply #34)

Thu Sep 22, 2016, 03:17 PM

38. Conscious freedom to choose requires consciousness to be the originator of thoughts.

 

If consciousness isn't the originator of our thoughts than punishment after death make no sense.

Free will is most commonly defined as consciousness being the originator of our thoughts. The question about whether consciousness plays a role in our thought processes is little more interesting than questioning whether water is wet. Consciousness does play a role, but it does far less than most people think.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Reply #38)

Fri Sep 23, 2016, 11:02 AM

39. Please cite your source for the claim about the most common definition of free will.

That is, please cite the source for this claim:

Free will is most commonly defined as consciousness being the originator of our thoughts.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jim__ (Reply #14)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 07:11 PM

16. The subtle feelings are related to what Antonio Damasio calls background feelings

 

page 170 in the pdf:
https://bdgrdemocracy.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/descartes-error_antonio-damasio.pdf

More restricted in range than the emotional feelings described
previously, background feelings are neither too positive nor too
negative, although they can be perceived as mostly pleasant or
unpleasant. In all probability it is these feelings, rather than emotional
ones, that we experience most frequently in a lifetime. We are
only subtly aware of a background feeling, but aware enough to be
able to report instantly on its quality. A background feeling is not
what we feel when we jump out of our skin for sheer joy, or when we
are despondent over lost love; both of these actions correspond to
emotional body states. A background feeling corresponds instead to
the body state prevailing between emotions. When we feel happiness,
anger, or another emotion, the background feeling has been
superseded by an emotional feeling. The background feeling is our
image of the body landscape when it is not shaken by emotion. The
concept of "mood," though related to that of background feeling,
does not exactly capture it. When background feelings are persistently
of the same type over hours and days, and do not change
quietly as thought contents ebb and flow, the collection of background
feelings probably contributes to a mood, good, bad, or
indifferent.

If you try for a moment to imagine what it would be like to be
without background feelings, you will have no doubt about the
notion I am introducing. I submit that without them the very core of
your representation of self would be broken. Let me explain why I
think so.

We always feel something. I believe the subtle variations of our feelings contribute to our thinking processes.

I haven't located it yet, but Antonio Damasio has written about a patient he had that was temporarily feelings impaired. That patient was unable to function at all. Antonio Damasio theorized that his/her lack of feelings didn't allow his/her brain to work, indicating that we are completely feelings driven. I'll search again tomorrow.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Reply #16)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 10:23 AM

21. A neurological basis for free will - a conversation with Antonio Demasio.

About the first 6:00 - 6:30 of the video is a discussion on homeostasis. Then Hustvedt brings up Libet's experiments. At around 8:00 minutes the conversation goes something like:

Hustvedt: ... you might want to refine this notion of the degree to which a finding like that does not tell us that we have no free will.

Demasio: It doesn't because in fact most of the notions that we associate with deliberation ... decisions that are important for one's life are not taken the same way that we move this finger ...


[center][/center]

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jim__ (Reply #21)

Wed Sep 21, 2016, 09:58 AM

28. Demasio apparently thinks we have free will, though he didn't explain in detail how it works,

 

which nobody does. He does have some of my opinions concerning the role of feelings in consciousness, but far more authoritatively than me:

page 93 in the pdf in Demasio's book: Descartes Error:
https://bdgrdemocracy.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/descartes-error_antonio-damasio.pdf

Before leaving the subject of human brain lesions, I would like
to propose that there is a particular region in the human brain
where the systems concerned with emotion/feeling, attention, and
working memory interact so intimately that they constitute the
source for the energy of both external action (movement) and internal
action (thought animation, reasoning).
This fountainhead region
is the anterior cingulate cortex, another piece of the limbic system
puzzle.

My idea about this region comes from observing a group of patients
with damage in and around it. Their condition is described
best as suspended animation, mental and external-the extreme
variety of an impairment of reasoning and emotional expression...

Damage to this sector not only produces impairment
in movement, emotion, and attentiveness, but also causes a virtual
suspension of the animation of action and of thought process such
that reason is no longer viable.
The story of one of my patients in
whom there was such damage gives an idea of the impairment.

The stroke suffered by this patient, whom I will call Mrs. T,
produced extensive damage to the dorsal and medial regions of the
frontal lobe in both hemispheres. She suddenly became motionless
and speechless, and she would lie in bed with her eyes open but with
a blank facial expression; I have often used the term "neutral" to
convey the equanimity-or absence-of such an expression.
Her body was no more animated than her face. She might make a
normal movement with arm and hand, to pull her bed covers for
instance, but in general, her limbs were in repose. When asked
about her situation, she usually would remain silent, although after much
coaxing she might say her name, or the names of her husband and
children, or the name of the town where she lived. But she would not
tell you about her medical history, past or present, and she could
not describe the events leading to her admission to the hospital.
There was no way of knowing, then, whether she had no recollection
of those events or whether she had a recollection but was unwilling
or unable to talk about it. She never became upset with my insistent
questioning, never showed a flicker of worry about herself or anything
else. Months later, as she gradually emerged from this state of
mutism and akinesia (lack of movement), and began to answer
questions, she would clarify the mystery of her state of mind. Contrary
to what one might have thought, her mind had not been
imprisoned in the jail of her immobility. Instead it appeared that
there had not been much mind at all, no real thinking or reasoning.
The passivity in her face and body was the appropriate reflection of
her lack of mental animation. At this later date she was certain about
not having felt anguished by the absence of communication. Nothing
had forced her not to speak her mind. Rather, as she recalled,
"I really had nothing to say."


To my eyes Mrs. T had been unemotional. To her experience, all
the while, it appears she had had no feelings. To my eyes she had not
specifically attended to the external stimuli presented to her, nor had
she attended internally to their representation or to the representation
of correlated evocations. I would say her will had been preempted,
and that seems also to have been her reflection.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jim__ (Reply #14)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 08:31 PM

17. Here's one Ted Talks speaker's beliefs on free will.

 

He has some of my opinions:

He's more optimistic on the future ability of computers to simulate human brains than me, but the future is hard to predict.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Reply #17)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 10:26 AM

22. To call his talk speculative would be generous.

His argument amounts to: he knows about quantum processes, he knows about atomic processes, he knows about cellular processes, he knows the laws of physics. He doesn't know how these processes and laws can lead to free will in humans. Therefore, he concludes that we don't have free will. Simply put, at best, he knows something about quantum processes, he knows something about atomic processes, he knows something about cellular processes, he knows something about the laws of physics. His knowledge is incomplete. His ignorance does not put any constraints on the universe. My experience carries far more weight with me than his speculations.

A simple challengeto Do: explain how people perceive color.

We all know that cones in our eyes are differentially stimulated by various wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. No one knows how this results in our experience of color. So, using the same argument that Do uses in this video, if he doesn't know how various quantum processes, atomic processes, and cellular processes coupled with the laws of physics lead to our experience of color, then we don't experience color. But Do's ignorance does not put any constraints on the universe. We do indeed experience color.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jim__ (Reply #22)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 03:10 PM

24. I'll reword what he and I have written about thoughts popping into our heads.

 

The thoughts that arise in our conscious minds originate from an unknown place, unchosen by our conscious minds - to choose a thought would mean to already have that thought in your mind, which would mean you didn't just choose your thought (infinite regress). The thought had to have originated from somewhere. It can't be your consciousness, since that would mean your very same consciousness already had that thought in mind.

You can't have a separate consciousness (which is also you) in your mind choosing your thoughts for your consciousness. It makes no sense. Thoughts have to originate from somewhere and it can't be from consciousness. Our conscious minds aren't the authors of our conscious thoughts. Thoughts pop into our conscious minds as we think. Words flow into our conscious minds as we write.

There's no doubt that we experience color. There's no controversy there (unlike free will, which needs to be proven). How the brain produces the different conscious experiences, including color, can never be fully understood. We see an object with a particular dominant wave length of light and we experience a particular color. We can't choose how we experience the color. It's automatic.

No one can ever fully know how our brains create any conscious experience, including how our brains create our thoughts. It's impossible to know how our brains create our conscious thoughts. Scientists can map our brains with different imaging techniques and learn the different brain pathways, but the ultimate question about how can our brains create our thoughts can never be answered. It's automatic.

Free wills are as elusive as souls. I consider both to be impossible. A lot of people believe we have them but they can't properly defend them. When we explain brain processes, they sure seem to be absent. The burden of proof is on those that believe they exist. Daniel Do wasn't demonstrating ignorance.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Reply #24)

Wed Sep 21, 2016, 02:12 PM

30. People seem to have a pretty good idea about how to make thoughts "pop into our heads."

They write an article or start a conversation about something they want us to think about. That approach seems to work. When I read your post about free will, I started to think about free will. My conscious train of thought about free will led me to the question, how can I test whether or not I have free will. That question led me to ask, can I raise my arm at any time. People deliberately perform certain acts - for instance, writing a post - in order to effect other people's conscious thoughts. It works. One conscious thought can follow another in a rational sequence. That does not lead to an infinite regress.

But, granting for the sake of argument that thoughts just pop into our heads, that doesn't mean that they force us to take some action. For instance, if I am walking down the street, and suddenly, unbidden and lacking all explanation, the thought punch John Smith in the nose the next time you see him pops into my consciousness, I don't have to do that. I can consciously follow this unbidden thought with the thought, No, that would be stupid. You have no reason to punch John Smith in the nose. So, even if thoughts occasionally just pop into my head, I am not a slave to those thoughts. I still have the ability to freely choose my actions.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jim__ (Reply #30)

Wed Sep 21, 2016, 03:34 PM

32. The illusion of free will is strong

 

since the brainís choosing of our thoughts is outside of consciousness and our thoughts are consistent with our feelings. But thoughts have to be consistent with our feelings since it is our feelings that drive our conscious mind. So our thoughts appear in our minds, accompanied by particular feeling(s) which drive our thoughts in particular directions. Original thoughts appear in consciousness but donít appear from consciousness.

Thoughts that appear in consciousness that are inconsistent with our own interests, such as those that contradict learned and instinctual morals will be disregarded. They make us feel uncomfortable. So after the thoughts about punching John Smith in the nose occur, thoughts will then appear in consciousness about the inappropriateness of punching John Smith in the nose.

It gets really complicated since there is a lot going on in our brains at one time. The power of feelings in consciousness forces our brains to tie multiple brain activities into one stream of consciousness and drive our consciousness forward. So even if some part of our brain tells us to do something inappropriate, it will likely not happen since multiple areas of the brain are tied to the same stream of consciousness.

Our brains have evolved to give us appropriate feelings and to give us appropriate responses to our feelings. If that doesnít happen for someone, then he/she will be less likely to survive and pass on his/her genes.

In brain damaged patients this process may not work, which is strong evidence that the activities of consciousness are determines by the physical brain and that our thoughts originate from the physical brain rather than consciousness.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Reply #32)

Thu Sep 22, 2016, 02:00 PM

36. You're just making "stuff" up. I base that on your statements.

From your OP:

... Our brains are very complicated black boxes. We have no idea whatís going on up there while we are thinking. How can someone claim an ability, free will, when they canít even begin to explain how they do it? ...

...

... Everything is imposed on consciousness inside our black boxes. We have no idea how anything is made conscious and we have no idea where our thoughts come from. We experience inputs to our consciousness and stuff happens. We are fooled into thinking we are in control due to the fact that our thoughts and actions are consistent with our feelings.

...

So we experience feelings and stuff happens, driven by the feelings flywheel. But we canít explain where our thoughts and decisions come from. When we think, stuff pops into our heads. Without knowing where the thoughts in our heads come from we have no real control of our decisions. We have no free will.


Yes, our brains are complicated black boxes. So, you can't just make up shit like:

It gets really complicated since there is a lot going on in our brains at one time. The power of feelings in consciousness forces our brains to tie multiple brain activities into one stream of consciousness and drive our consciousness forward. So even if some part of our brain tells us to do something inappropriate, it will likely not happen since multiple areas of the brain are tied to the same stream of consciousness.


Once again, I can decide to raise my arm any time I want to. I can also decide not to raise my arm. You have provided zero evidence that this has anything to do with feelings. I've told you 3 different times in this thread why I decided to raise my arm, as in:

... When I read your post about free will, I started to think about free will. My conscious train of thought about free will led me to the question, how can I test whether or not I have free will. That question led me to ask, can I raise my arm at any time. People deliberately perform certain acts - for instance, writing a post - in order to effect other people's conscious thoughts. It works. ...


You keep ignoring that. I guess it's inconvenient to your theories about feelings.

I can make rational arguments:

All A is B.
All B is C.
Therefore, all A is C.


My feelings don't enter into that. Its a rational argument, consciously made; and no matter what mood I am in, it always comes out the same. And I can substitute emotionally-charged words for A, B, and C; the conclusion always remains the same. It's is not determined by emotions, or feelings, or any other non-rational attribute you want to use.

Once again, I'll accept the validity of my experience until someone can provide strong evidence that it's wrong. I'll give your speculations the weight they deserve, namely zero.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jim__ (Reply #36)

Thu Sep 22, 2016, 03:07 PM

37. I've answered your question.

 

I'll try again.

At point A you're not thinking about raising your arm, though perhaps you've been presented with a situation that might make you motivated to think of a random activity. At point B the thought to raise your arm enters your mind. At point C you raise your arm.

Where did that thought come from at point B to raise your arm? Up to that point no such thought was in you consciousness. Your consciousness at point B couldn't have chosen to to raise your mind since your consciousness hadn't thought of it yet. That thought had to have entered your consciousness from some place other than your consciousness.

Your consciousness, before point B, was aware of a situation that made it appropriate to think about raising your arm. The great majority of what goes on inside our brains are outside of consciousness, but evolution has made our brains work in our favor. Your non-conscious brain outputted to your consciousness an appropriate response, which was a thought to raise your arm.

Consciousness has no means to originate thoughts in our impossibly complex brains. Consciousness is very complicated brain processes, which science knows little about. The physical brain processes create consciousness and all of the other brain activities. Consciousness is a product (output) along with the rest of our brain activities. Consciousness isn't a thing that controls out brains; our brains make our conscious-selves.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Reply #37)

Fri Sep 23, 2016, 11:14 AM

40. We've been over this all before.

At point A you're not thinking about raising your arm, though perhaps you've been presented with a situation that might make you motivated to think of a random activity. At point B the thought to raise your arm enters your mind. At point C you raise your arm.

Where did that thought come from at point B to raise your arm? Up to that point no such thought was in you consciousness. Your consciousness at point B couldn't have chosen to to raise your mind since your consciousness hadn't thought of it yet. That thought had to have entered your consciousness from some place other than your consciousness.


From my response in post30:

... When I read your post about free will, I started to think about free will. My conscious train of thought about free will led me to the question, how can I test whether or not I have free will. That question led me to ask, can I raise my arm at any time. People deliberately perform certain acts - for instance, writing a post - in order to effect other people's conscious thoughts. It works. One conscious thought can follow another in a rational sequence. That does not lead to an infinite regress.


Conscious thoughts about free will follow from reading your post, consciously thinking about your post - namely about free will - my conscious thinking led me to consciously think about testing free will, and then my conscious thinking led me to the conscious thought that raising my arm would constitute something of a test, then I consciously decide to raise my arm as a test. Conscious thoughts lead me from reading your post to raising my arm. I'm placing some emphasis here on conscious thought.

From my post36:

I can make rational arguments:

All A is B.
All B is C.
Therefore, all A is C.


My feelings don't enter into that. Its a rational argument, consciously made; and no matter what mood I am in, it always comes out the same. And I can substitute emotionally-charged words for A, B, and C; the conclusion always remains the same. It's is not determined by emotions, or feelings, or any other non-rational attribute you want to use.


I consider rational arguments a strong indication that we can consciously construct a sequence of thoughts.

The above description is based on my experience. And, as I've stated previously, e.g. post36:

Once again, I'll accept the validity of my experience until someone can provide strong evidence that it's wrong. ...


[hr]

Consciousness has no means to originate thoughts in our impossibly complex brains. ...


You've offered no evidence to support this claim. Your proclamations don't constitute evidence.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jim__ (Reply #40)

Sat Sep 24, 2016, 12:39 PM

41. As I wrote before, the vast majority of what happens in the brain is outside of consciousness.

 

Consciousness is only able to be have one or two trains of thought at one time. To access our next thought the brain must sort through a huge number of connections in the brain. Consciousness doesn't do this. Consciousness can't multiprocess all this information.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuron
The human brain has a huge number of synapses. Each of the 1011 (one hundred billion) neurons has on average 7,000 synaptic connections to other neurons. It has been estimated that the brain of a three-year-old child has about 1015 synapses (1 quadrillion). This number declines with age, stabilizing by adulthood. Estimates vary for an adult, ranging from 1014 to 5 x 1014 synapses (100 to 500 trillion).


In my previous response, I thought to use the A, B, C time-line based on your response with the A, B, C and a discussion I had earlier with someone that used an A, B, C time-line. My consciousness didn't come up with the A, B, C time-line for my post, the time line appeared in my consciousness. A light came on in my consciousness, assisted by your response and another internet discussion - my environment. The sequence of thoughts in my last response (or any response) was not constructed by my consciousness.


If my consciousness had the magical ability come up with its thoughts such that my consciousness controlled my brain rather than my brain controlling my consciousness, I'd know about it. If someone has that magical ability, the burden of proof is on them.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Reply #41)

Sun Sep 25, 2016, 09:50 AM

42. Once again, most of your post is just making stuff up.

... To access our next thought the brain must sort through a huge number of connections in the brain. Consciousness doesn't do this. Consciousness can't multiprocess all this information.


Please cite the evidence that to get from one conscious thought to the next, the brain must sort through a huge number of connections in the brain. Talking about the number of connections in the brain, does not tell us anything about how consciousness steps through a set of sequential thoughts.

If my consciousness had the magical ability come up with its thoughts such that my consciousness controlled my brain rather than my brain controlling my consciousness, I'd know about it.


If consciousness has the ability to focus on a train of thought, so that one conscious thought leads directly to the next conscious thought, that does not imply that consciousness controls the brain.

[hr]

In my previous response, I thought to use the A, B, C time-line based on your response with the A, B, C and a discussion I had earlier with someone that used an A, B, C time-line. My consciousness didn't come up with the A, B, C time-line for my post, the time line appeared in my consciousness. A light came on in my consciousness, assisted by your response and another internet discussion - my environment. The sequence of thoughts in my last response (or any response) was not constructed by my consciousness.


And?

There is no free will is a categorical statement. Examples of thoughts that are not freely selected cannot establish the truth of that categorical statement. But just one counter-example does establish its falsehood.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jim__ (Reply #4)

Thu Sep 22, 2016, 09:39 AM

33. Consciousness is an emergent property of caffine.

 

Neither consciousness nor free will is sufficiently understood for anyone to offer a complete and coherent explanation of it.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to stone space (Reply #33)

Thu Sep 22, 2016, 01:51 PM

35. Ha ha!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Original post)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 11:37 AM

5. Was post #2 a failed exercise of free will?

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to stone space (Reply #5)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 12:43 PM

9. I wish I knew.

 

That post was eliminated quick.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Original post)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 11:59 AM

7. I've never quite understood just what folks mean by the term "free will".

 

My impression is that it is some sort of catch all phrase that we use at times to describe the operations of systems too complex for us to understand/predict their behavior.

If this is what folks mean by the term, then I don't think that I'd have much difficulty pointing to systems with free will.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to stone space (Reply #7)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 12:39 PM

8. You would have free will if your thoughts and actions originate from consciousness and if you had

 

actual conscious control of your brain. Your consciousness would then be responsible for your behavior. You would have to actually know how your brain works for this to be possible. It's hard to explain something completely accurately that's impossible.

Since our thoughts originate outside of consciousness, we have no free will. Our brains are black boxes which give us the experience of consciousness.

We live our lives, regardless if we believe we have free will or not, like we do have free will. It's impossible to not live this way, since our actions are consistent with our feelings. This gives us the illusion of free will.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Original post)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 03:15 PM

11. >claims brain is a black box no one knows anything about

>proceeds to explain how free will is an illusion because of how the brain works

You need to rationalize these thoughts before anyone will take you seriously.

Also when you say free will,are you speaking about the religious term where "god gave us free will" or the colloquial term where we are free to make our own decisions? If there a scientific definition of "free will" you are working from?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Lordquinton (Reply #11)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 04:21 PM

13. All good responses I've been receiving from everyone.

 

The brain is a black box physically. It is partly possible (though difficult) to explain our own experiences and how these experiences influence our actions and thoughts. Our conscious experiences are the outputs from the black box.

Since free will doesn't exist (in my opinion) and science can't prove that any such thing exists, precise definitions are difficult. Free will is conscious thoughts and decisions originating directly from consciousness such that your consciousness is culpable for your decisions. That also means our conscious-selves aren't just a product of our genetics and environment.

Among the religious, free will means our conscious-selves are responsible for our decisions and we can possibly experience rewards and punishment after death. This wouldn't be just if we didn't have free will, since it is consciousness that has the after-death experience.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Original post)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 02:42 AM

19. This smells to me like philosophy in the service of reactionary politics:

"You really don't have a choice anyway -- everybody's actions are all just automatic reactions determined by ambient conditions"







Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to struggle4progress (Reply #19)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 02:01 PM

23. Actually, the realization that we have no free will can lead to compassion.

 

Many people can be vindictive. Many among the religious believe it is just to infinitely punish, after death, those that think differently than them. That is wrong for many reasons, including the fact that our minds are made by our genetics and environment, with no room for free will.

The thoughts that arise in our conscious minds originate from an unknown place, unchosen by our conscious minds - to choose a thought would mean to already have that thought in your mind (infinite regress), which would mean you didn't just choose your thought. The thought had to have originated from somewhere. It can't be your consciousness, since that would mean your very same consciousness already had that thought in mind.

You can't have a separate consciousness (which is also you) in your mind choosing your thoughts for your consciousness. It makes no sense. Thoughts have to originate from somewhere and it can't be from consciousness. Our conscious minds aren't the authors of our conscious thoughts. Thoughts pop into our conscious minds as we think. Words flow into our conscious minds as we write.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Reply #23)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 04:39 PM

26. Binary thinkers often seem confused to me

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to struggle4progress (Reply #26)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 04:43 PM

27. That has nothing to do with binary thinking.

 

You need to explain yourself better.

If you claim you have free will then it's up to you to explain your ability.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cpwm17 (Original post)

Sat Oct 1, 2016, 09:26 AM

43. I think binary thinking is a problem in these discussions

 

We know through scientific study that "free will" is not truly as free as many would like to believe, but that also doesn't automatically translate to being slavish robots fullfiling a pre-ordained programming.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Bradical79 (Reply #43)

Sat Oct 1, 2016, 11:23 AM

44. At any moment in time, we act and think according to our dominant feeling at the moment

 

which is not much different than the behavior of someone that had actual free will. But we donít choose our desires and we act on our desires according to our brainsí makeup. The realization of this fact contributes to our understanding of how our brains work and helps in the acceptance of gays and our understanding of the immorality of retribution in the criminal justice system

We are far more complex than any computer or robot we are going to create in any time in the near future. We have feelings and other conscious experiences. No one has a clue on how to make a computer or robot do that. Predictions made in the past about the future ability to make human-like robots have been way too optimistic, just like those flying cars that weíll never get (thank goodness).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread