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Free will

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Mark
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Re: Free will « Reply #60 on: April 05, 2012, 04:05 PM »
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You didn't find his way of expressing ideas compelling?
Yeah I did which is why I think I understood his points correctly but for some reason I was not left converted, just open minded to it.

By the way, there's also a Q&A at the end, so he may answer some of the questions you have.
The issue he brought up about anesthetic is exactly what I thought to myself after my wrist operation so found that particularly interesting Smile
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Emma Jean
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Re: Free will « Reply #61 on: April 05, 2012, 05:32 PM »
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I've written up something too big yet again but that clip was very long (listened it on YouTube last night though admittedly not the entire session) so I partially blame SH as well. So here I go...feel free to disagree because this is only a discussion and a matter of different opinions anyway, so here I go....

Sam Harris, at the beginning of that clip, says that he’s here to convince us that there’s no such thing as ‘free will’; therefore, he establishes the fact that, it is still a theory of his and by no means a scientific fact. Because a scientific fact means, it is what it is and that, it does not require any further examination and you can close it as a done deal. Then he goes on to give many examples and elaborates more based on those examples etc. This is only a study of his and I am actually not sure that he’d be able to establish it as a fact when it all ends for him.

I’ll just take a couple of examples of his to make my point rather than give my own reasons to believe in such a thing.  If you take a look at his childhood, you can see that he pretty much grew up in a secular environment where his family very rarely talked about religion. Therefore, you can never rule out the possibility that whatever he believes now did not cause by the environment he grew up in; therefore, did not have an effect to his whole thinking pattern as a result that he has now.

But of course, when a child is born, it is free to choose whatever religion it wants to even if its entire generation has been nothing but orthodox Jews and the environment that it grew up in was nothing but utterly Jewish and for many generation. But the point is, it can still go and choose to be an atheist if it wants to and there are cases like that. And if it does then what happened here is that, it didn’t go by the typical boundaries it has such as genes, environment etc. For example, even though my sister and I came from the same parents and we grew up practically in the same environment and went in to the same school and ate the same food and followed the same religion for a while, we’re completely different from each other like night and day and that is, from the moment we gained consciousness of our own self. While she went with the traditional thoughts, genes, environment etc., I chose to go to the other direction. It was my will and the fact that I was able to choose something different freed me from those boundaries in other words.

Then there’s this generic serial killer example which he pretty much contributed to bad genes, child molestation, bad environment, other factors etc., but while it’s true that those things do play a significant part in one’s mind, it’s not at all true that one is acting out based on those reasons only. Because if he did then his brothers would have become serial killers as well because they too had grown up in the same environment. The only difference is, they used their better judgments which allowed them to separate themselves from their negative feelings. We all have negative feelings because we all experience both good and bad as we grow up, but whether we will use it to our own selfish advance or for a good cause is entirely up to us. Similarly, a person whose both parents are alcoholic and the environment he grew up in is pretty much the same way doesn’t necessarily guarantee that he too will become an alcoholic. He can very well choose not to.

Then he talks about thoughts and says how they are there even before we think of them. That’s not true at all. A human brain is a highly complex matter (perhaps the most) and scientists are still struggling to find out what it’s truly capable of doing as a whole. A brain not only can think many different things simultaneously, it can also think much faster than one can ever imagine. Not to mention, the amount of memory it can store over a life time including all the itty bitty tiny details. The things we see on a daily basis, it remembers every single detail of it even when you completely forget about it. So when he says, that the thoughts come in random pattern and that, you can’t really control your next thought and that you don’t know what it’s going to be until it arises then where’s your free will etc., he’s not only wrong he is also undermining the brain in a massive way. Just because we have no control of thoughts or perhaps that, it doesn’t come in order doesn’t mean they didn’t come from somewhere.

Take his example of a city – and why this person decides to go with Tokyo instead of Paris to visit. He then goes on to say that, he was in no position to know why he picked what he picked other than the mere connection of eating Japanese food just the night before. So basically he’s saying how can you be responsible for your action when you weren’t even aware of it? But he doesn’t elaborate what happens once you do become aware of it. Is it not when you can actually choose to override it and not go with what came to you initially?  But that’s not even the point I want to make. I don’t think at all that he simply wanted to visit Tokyo because it just came to him for no reason or for the mere reason of eating Japanese food recently but that, he must have encountered many other things about Japan over the course of his life that generated enough interest for him already and even though he doesn’t remember any of it, his brain allowed him to remind it in a round about way even when he‘s not consciously aware of it. As I’ve mentioned before that brain is a very complex matter and you can almost never deduct what it’s capable of doing. What you can do is that you can make a different decision and not blindly follow what came to you in the first place. You can’t simply assume that I won’t be able to do it.

We are all animals anyway but it’s only our consciousness that separate us from the other animals. And for the same reason, it allows us to go beyond our boundaries and go to a much higher conscious level, where we are actually free to choose and act upon it as well. Not that everyone exercises it but the freedom to choose is there and it’s open. 

BTW, there’s a very good debate Harris Vs Chopra on YouTube if anyone’s interested. Wish though it had captured the whole debate from the very beginning.

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Emma Jean
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Re: Free will « Reply #62 on: April 05, 2012, 05:33 PM »
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^^^ this must be my longest post ever. Good Lord...
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tennis_girl
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Re: Free will « Reply #63 on: April 05, 2012, 07:27 PM »
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Don't worry BBH! If it were true that we lack free will [which I don't believe], and that decisions are taken in our brain before our conciousness is aware, it must only apply to men, as it's a well known fact that we ladies are 'always' changing our minds!  Whistle



I didn't realize you spoke for all women. Rolling Eyes
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Mark
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Re: Free will « Reply #64 on: April 05, 2012, 07:35 PM »
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I didn't realize you spoke for all women. Rolling Eyes
I didn't realise innocent jokes made you so upset Rolling Eyes
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robbie
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Re: Free will « Reply #65 on: April 05, 2012, 07:39 PM »
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I didn't realize you spoke for all women. Rolling Eyes
Must have been in her gene,s Veronica
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Hazybear
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Re: Free will « Reply #66 on: April 05, 2012, 07:41 PM »
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Must be in her gene,s Veronica

lol
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Clydey
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Re: Free will « Reply #67 on: April 05, 2012, 07:41 PM »
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I've written up something too big yet again but that clip was very long (listened it on YouTube last night though admittedly not the entire session) so I partially blame SH as well. So here I go...feel free to disagree because this is only a discussion and a matter of different opinions anyway, so here I go....

Sam Harris, at the beginning of that clip, says that he’s here to convince us that there’s no such thing as ‘free will’; therefore, he establishes the fact that, it is still a theory of his and by no means a scientific fact. Because a scientific fact means, it is what it is and that, it does not require any further examination and you can close it as a done deal. Then he goes on to give many examples and elaborates more based on those examples etc. This is only a study of his and I am actually not sure that he’d be able to establish it as a fact when it all ends for him.

I’ll just take a couple of examples of his to make my point rather than give my own reasons to believe in such a thing.  If you take a look at his childhood, you can see that he pretty much grew up in a secular environment where his family very rarely talked about religion. Therefore, you can never rule out the possibility that whatever he believes now did not cause by the environment he grew up in; therefore, did not have an effect to his whole thinking pattern as a result that he has now.

But of course, when a child is born, it is free to choose whatever religion it wants to even if its entire generation has been nothing but orthodox Jews and the environment that it grew up in was nothing but utterly Jewish and for many generation. But the point is, it can still go and choose to be an atheist if it wants to and there are cases like that. And if it does then what happened here is that, it didn’t go by the typical boundaries it has such as genes, environment etc. For example, even though my sister and I came from the same parents and we grew up practically in the same environment and went in to the same school and ate the same food and followed the same religion for a while, we’re completely different from each other like night and day and that is, from the moment we gained consciousness of our own self. While she went with the traditional thoughts, genes, environment etc., I chose to go to the other direction. It was my will and the fact that I was able to choose something different freed me from those boundaries in other words.

Then there’s this generic serial killer example which he pretty much contributed to bad genes, child molestation, bad environment, other factors etc., but while it’s true that those things do play a significant part in one’s mind, it’s not at all true that one is acting out based on those reasons only. Because if he did then his brothers would have become serial killers as well because they too had grown up in the same environment. The only difference is, they used their better judgments which allowed them to separate themselves from their negative feelings. We all have negative feelings because we all experience both good and bad as we grow up, but whether we will use it to our own selfish advance or for a good cause is entirely up to us. Similarly, a person whose both parents are alcoholic and the environment he grew up in is pretty much the same way doesn’t necessarily guarantee that he too will become an alcoholic. He can very well choose not to.

Then he talks about thoughts and says how they are there even before we think of them. That’s not true at all. A human brain is a highly complex matter (perhaps the most) and scientists are still struggling to find out what it’s truly capable of doing as a whole. A brain not only can think many different things simultaneously, it can also think much faster than one can ever imagine. Not to mention, the amount of memory it can store over a life time including all the itty bitty tiny details. The things we see on a daily basis, it remembers every single detail of it even when you completely forget about it. So when he says, that the thoughts come in random pattern and that, you can’t really control your next thought and that you don’t know what it’s going to be until it arises then where’s your free will etc., he’s not only wrong he is also undermining the brain in a massive way. Just because we have no control of thoughts or perhaps that, it doesn’t come in order doesn’t mean they didn’t come from somewhere.

Take his example of a city – and why this person decides to go with Tokyo instead of Paris to visit. He then goes on to say that, he was in no position to know why he picked what he picked other than the mere connection of eating Japanese food just the night before. So basically he’s saying how can you be responsible for your action when you weren’t even aware of it? But he doesn’t elaborate what happens once you do become aware of it. Is it not when you can actually choose to override it and not go with what came to you initially?  But that’s not even the point I want to make. I don’t think at all that he simply wanted to visit Tokyo because it just came to him for no reason or for the mere reason of eating Japanese food recently but that, he must have encountered many other things about Japan over the course of his life that generated enough interest for him already and even though he doesn’t remember any of it, his brain allowed him to remind it in a round about way even when he‘s not consciously aware of it. As I’ve mentioned before that brain is a very complex matter and you can almost never deduct what it’s capable of doing. What you can do is that you can make a different decision and not blindly follow what came to you in the first place. You can’t simply assume that I won’t be able to do it.

We are all animals anyway but it’s only our consciousness that separate us from the other animals. And for the same reason, it allows us to go beyond our boundaries and go to a much higher conscious level, where we are actually free to choose and act upon it as well. Not that everyone exercises it but the freedom to choose is there and it’s open. 

BTW, there’s a very good debate Harris Vs Chopra on YouTube if anyone’s interested. Wish though it had captured the whole debate from the very beginning.



You have completely missed the point. I could go into detail, but I know it wouldn't get me anywhere.

Suffice to say, choosing a different religion from those around you does not mean your environment has not affected you. It just means that your genes and other aspects of your environment have caused you to choose a different belief. For example, I had a Catholic upbringing and was pretty well indoctrinated, but I am now an atheist. That wasn't my free will in action. It was a combination of my genes and other environmental influences. In other words, my natural skepticism led me to doubt and great thinkers I exposed myself to solidified those doubts. It can all be reduced to biology and environment.

You don't seem to understand that everything you are is determined by your genes and your environment. There is not a single decision you make is not the result of a prior cause.
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Mark
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Re: Free will « Reply #68 on: April 05, 2012, 07:42 PM »
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I do vaguely remember something about a 'God gene' in the news once.
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Hazybear
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Re: Free will « Reply #69 on: April 05, 2012, 07:52 PM »
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You have completely missed the point. I could go into detail, but I know it wouldn't get me anywhere.

Suffice to say, choosing a different religion from those around you does not mean your environment has not affected you. It just means that your genes and other aspects of your environment have caused you to choose a different belief. For example, I had a Catholic upbringing and was pretty well indoctrinated, but I am now an atheist. That wasn't my free will in action. It was a combination of my genes and other environmental influences. In other words, my natural skepticism led me to doubt and great thinkers I exposed myself to solidified those doubts. It can all be reduced to biology and environment.

You don't seem to understand that everything you are is determined by your genes and your environment. There is not a single decision you make is not the result of a prior cause.

I've not had the brain power to follow all the details or watch the video but I can accept that we are influenced and effected by our environment and genes. But with such a variety of people, opinions and cultures I can't accept that there is no free will. I get that some things are instinctual and some are environmentally influenced actions and thoughts. But if this was purely the case wouldn't we all just be robots that had no ability to question or analyse what and why we thought and did the things we do?
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Clydey
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Re: Free will « Reply #70 on: April 05, 2012, 07:57 PM »
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I've not had the brain power to follow all the details or watch the video but I can accept that we are influenced and effected by our environment and genes. But with such a variety of people, opinions and cultures I can't accept that there is no free will. I get that some things are instinctual and some are environmentally influenced actions and thoughts. But if this was purely the case wouldn't we all just be robots that had no ability to question or analyse what and why we thought and did the things we do?

Again, that's missing the point. 'Environment' does not just mean our immediate surroundings. It means everything we are exposed to. In other words, every single decision you make is because of a prior cause. Give me one decision you have made that is not the product of biology or environment.
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Hazybear
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Re: Free will « Reply #71 on: April 05, 2012, 07:59 PM »
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Again, that's missing the point. 'Environment' does not just mean our immediate surroundings. It means everything we are exposed to. In other words, every single decision you make is because of a prior cause. Give me one decision you have made that is not the product of biology or environment.

I do get your point. But taking in the influences of our world, 'environment', biology doesn't mean that there's no free will at all. How does me picking an apple over a pear make any great difference in this structure?
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Clydey
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Re: Free will « Reply #72 on: April 05, 2012, 08:07 PM »
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I do get your point. But taking in the influences of our world, 'environment', biology doesn't mean that there's no free will at all. How does me picking an apple over a pear make any great difference in this structure?

Because what caused you to choose an apple over a pear? Your genes and environment dictate your wants and your desires, too. Why did you choose that example, rather than apples over oranges? Because that wasn't the example that arose in your brain, beyond your control. If I ask you to think of a rugby player, several of them will pop into consciousness. Were you free choose which players sprung to mind? No. My question simply triggered you to think of one or several different players.
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robbie
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Re: Free will « Reply #73 on: April 05, 2012, 08:11 PM »
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You got a job yet James?
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Clydey
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Re: Free will « Reply #74 on: April 05, 2012, 08:12 PM »
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You got a job yet James?

Working on my Masters so that I can better pick and choose a job to suit my needs.
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