Experimental philosophy opens new avenues into old questions

Mar 17, 2011

Philosophers have argued for centuries, millennia actually, about whether our lives are guided by our own free will or are predetermined as the result of a continuous chain of events over which we have no control.

On the one hand, it seems like everything that happens has come kind of causal explanation; on the other hand, when we make decisions, it seems to us like we have the free will to make different decisions.

Most people seem to favor free will, and while many, across a range of cultures, reject what is referred to as determinism, they remain conflicted over the role of in situations that require moral judgements, said Shaun Nichols, a professor of philosophy and at the University of Arizona.

Nichols is part of a growing number of researchers who are gaining insights into this philosophical dilemma by applying experimental methods commonly used by developmental psychologists and other . His latest findings ("Experimental Philosophy and the Problem of Free Will") are published in the current issue of the journal Science.

Until recently, these points have been dissected using "careful and sustained thought, sharpened by dialogue with fellow ," Nichols said.

"Mostly what people have done is work on these problems in conceptual ways. You think through the problems; you think about the implications of various theses. And a lot of excellent work has been done on complex philosophical issues using those techniques over the last 2,000 years."

Nichols calls experimental philosophy another tool that can offer new sources of information and help sort through some of these problems.

The debate over free will and determinism is one such problem. The central tenet in determinism is that everything that happens is the result of something that caused it to happen, which itself was caused by something earlier and so on. The conflict comes when people are faced with making a choice or a decision that could go one way or another.

"The dilemma is how do we reconcile how we normally think about causal explanation with this intuition that we have that our decisions are not just the product of these inevitable causal chains," said Nichols.

"It seems like something has to give, either our commitment to free will or the idea that every event is completely caused by the preceding events," Nichols said.

Nichols has tested the idea of free will on young children. Asked if a ball rolling down a ramp into a box could have done something else, they almost universally said "no." But when asked if an adult who reached his hand into a box could have done something else, the answer was uniformly "yes." Their answers may indicate that these concepts form early on in life.

Adults showed conflicting results when tested. Given a deterministic universe where every decision is the result of past decisions, people generally responded that no one could be held morally responsible for their actions in such a universe. But when presented with a scenario in which a man in that theoretical universe has committed a particularly heinous criminal act, most test subjects agreed that the man was fully morally responsible for his actions.

One possible explanation for these conflicting responses is that when people are calm and collected, determinism is thought to exclude free will and moral responsibility. Cases that are much more emotionally charged and hit closer to home, however, elicit something different.

"When you present people with an emotionally laden transgression, and if you ask if the person is morally responsible, then people overwhelmingly say that the person is responsible, even if their action was determined," Nichols said.

Experimental philosophy, he said, may help make sense of why people are pulled in different directions on a range of different and everyday problems.

"The movement is less than 10 years old and there are now hundreds of publications in experimental philosophy. is what I focused on for this review, but there is a great deal of work on other topics, including moral judgment, causal reasoning, and how people think about consciousness. I think it's been a huge success just in terms of the body of research that's been produced."

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Simonsez
2.3 / 5 (9) Mar 17, 2011
In almost any situation, one has the choice to kill themselves, regardless of how unappealing that choice is in almost any situation. I contend that this option allows free will even under otherwise "pre-determined outcome" conditions.
RhabbKnotte
2.5 / 5 (11) Mar 17, 2011
You would have to have the will and the where-with-all to be able to make that decision and then see it through. The cumulation of all the impetus before you would dictate whether you would kill yourself or not. Either way it was still predetermined. You may sit with the barrel in your mouth and debate all the consequences for hours, but in the end, the decision was already made. You had no choice.
RhabbKnotte
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 17, 2011
And by impetus, I mean.... "The central tenet in determinism is that everything that happens is the result of something that caused it to happen, which itself was caused by something earlier and so on." In every moment, you are the culmination (the living embodiment) of all that has happened before.
fixer
not rated yet Mar 17, 2011
Someone has to say it, Foundation by Isaac Asimov.

It is a classic of sci fi but there have to be some people who haven't read it.

The ultimate conspiracy.
Objectivist
3.2 / 5 (12) Mar 17, 2011
"Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it's very important that you do it." - Ghandi

That is the best way of explaining the implications of determinism if you ask me. Anthropocentric free will advocators tend to think that determinism would somehow render their lives meaningless. Of course it doesn't. Even if you wake up tomorrow fully enlightened of our hard deterministic reality it still won't make you kill yourself. People still need to be held accountable for what they do, because being held accountable is just as much "a part of the machine" as committing the act to begin with. Just think about it. If there would be no consequence for your actions it would actually render determinism false! So of course hard determinism is reality, the only other option is complete randomness! There is no in-between - this is impossible and a ridiculous compromise to please you; it's just your wish as the anthropocentric creature you are that cloud your judgement.
dogbert
2.7 / 5 (14) Mar 17, 2011
That there is a continuing debate about free will versus determinism is an indication of the failure of philosophical thought. It is also indicative of the desire to escape responsibility for our actions.

Actions are always choices. Choices are by definition free will events.

We cannot escape responsibility for our actions by invoking a deterministic universe.
pauljpease
2.8 / 5 (5) Mar 17, 2011
If there is such a thing as free will, I believe that it comes in different degrees. As a teacher, I realize how much more control, or "free will" I have compared to my students. As dogbert says, actions are always choices. The thing is, we only have a choice to do something if we see that choice as an option. The more we know, the more options we have in any given situation, the more different choices we can make, the more control, and thus "free will" we have. A bacterium has few options available to it, so it has only a small amount of free will. The possible actions of a human being are much more diverse, so we have a greater degree of free will. Anything with unlimited free will would have to be a god. Which brings me back to my students... when they are learning algebra I am like a god compared to them, because there are things I can decide to do with a polynomial function that they can't even imagine, and thus they are not free to choose that action.
pauljpease
2.8 / 5 (5) Mar 17, 2011
To continue my last post...

So my basic argument is that our will is only free to the degree that we are able to choose an action, and that the degree to which we are able to choose an action depends on the size of the set of actions we have to choose from at that moment, and that the size of the set of actions we have to choose from depends on what we know, then the conclusion is that to increase our free will we must learn as much as possible. I can think of no clearer or more important argument in favor of supporting education. If you want a bunch of moronic robots who can't help but make the same bad decisions over and over again, keep them ignorant! Never teach them about the world, about what is possible, about themselves and what they are capable of. People can only do what they have learned or dreamed, so beware anyone who wants to take away education and smash all hopes and dreams, for this will create a society of easily-controlled automatons...
Objectivist
3 / 5 (11) Mar 17, 2011
Actions are always choices. Choices are by definition free will events.
Really? You just throw out words like "always" as if they were completely without implications. I suppose a ball bouncing is a display of its will, right? Stop fooling yourself. If your mind is really so limited that you believe determinism advocators think nobody should be held accountable for their actions I truly pity your ignorance. This argument is always brought up by the anthropocentric, not the deterministic, and it is as ridiculous and narrow minded as the person behind it. Responsibility is an effect triggered by a cause. The very definition of determinism. This is because your narrow mind simply refuses to embrace the (for you seemingly self destructive) concept and once again tries to compromise. One could even argue that it is a self defense mechanism, as you clearly seem to believe determinism leads to self destruction. It doesn't in my case. Really, you're just making a fool out of yourself.
tigger
3.1 / 5 (10) Mar 17, 2011
Free will is a label for the ILLUSION of choice.

You are not exempt from the rigours of physics that the rest of the universe operates within.

Get over it. Let your ego go and relinquish your childish need to feel like you're the centre of the universe.

Religion requires free will... in fact free will is the cornerstone of religion.

Sigh. We have further to go than I thought. This could take a while... I won't see the turning point in my lifetime, I doubt it anyway... perhaps the human race in general is mostly a collection of "adult children" who never evolve beyond the "kicking and screaming" stage of development.

YOU. ARE. NOT. THE. CENTRE. OF. THE. UNIVERSE.
Objectivist
1.7 / 5 (11) Mar 17, 2011
If there is such a thing as free will, I believe that it comes in different degrees.
I give up. Honestly this is completely ridiculous. How can there be a semi deterministic world!? How can you be so self centered that you actually believe a complex blob of chemical compound such as a human has any more "free will" than a rock? Where does the "free will" come in play? Or rather when does it come in play? What about ducks? Worms? Amoeba? Bacteria? Viruses? Amino acids? Of course these are all bound by the same laws! For crying out loud you're on a physics web page! Stop wishing reality is in a preposterous composition that merely pleases you, and instead learn to embrace the truth. You are NOT the center of the universe. You do NOT control it objectively. You do NOT have a free will. Period.
Parsec
3.6 / 5 (12) Mar 17, 2011
It looks to be that free will is built into the various fabric of the universe. One cannot appreciate quantum theory without recognizing that in the end, God does play dice with the universe, and everything comes down to probabilities.

At the core of reality lies that irascible quantum uncertainty.

From a high level, it is inconceivable to me that any universe that contains this basic uncertainty could also contain anything like absolute determinism at the level of human interactions or behavior. It seems to me to be simply disallowed physically.
Objectivist
2.1 / 5 (7) Mar 17, 2011
From a high level, it is inconceivable to me that any universe that contains this basic uncertainty could also contain anything like absolute determinism at the level of human interactions or behavior. It seems to me to be simply disallowed physically.
A system only requires one single law to prove it deterministic. One single law is enough to void the possibility of random since one single law can impossibly coexist with random (yes this makes the thought of semi determinism, or semi "free will" even more ridiculous than either alone). Uncertainty is only true because we find ourselves in the same system as we're probing; the observer effect. This doesn't mean the system itself is random. Yes we perceive it as such, and yes we will never be able to perceive it in any other way due to the observer effect, but it is the most simple explanation to it. And more importantly it doesn't attend to our egos by placing us in the center of the universe as some sort of universal dictators.
Deadbolt
2.3 / 5 (7) Mar 17, 2011
"Adults showed conflicting results when tested. Given a deterministic universe where every decision is the result of past decisions, people generally responded that no one could be held morally responsible for their actions in such a universe."

It doesn't matter if everything is causal. All that matters is that if someone murdered someone, say, there is a chance they may do so again, and so we incarcerate them to remove them from the public sphere and reduce the chance of them killing again.

trekgeek1
3.6 / 5 (7) Mar 17, 2011
The question of free will comes down to the following: If I can reset your mind to the exact state it was in before you made a decision, down to the placement and spin of every atom, and I can recreate the exact environmental inputs such as the exact number of photons hitting every light receptor in your eye, would you always make the same choice? Would you ever make a different choice? Would your thought process have the same mental imagery, concerns, etc.? Forget about quantum effects and inherent randomness, since that doesn't affect this.

Even if some events are random and ever changing, meaning that I cannot guarantee the same inputs every time, is that change in outcome a decision you made? It seems that it is simply a change in inputs that you had no choice over and were powerless to ignore.

It really seems that our brains are computers that are subject to inputs. Same inputs, same outcome. Sure, our brains change every moment, but that is not a conscious change.
Thrasymachus
3.1 / 5 (7) Mar 17, 2011
I'm pretty sure that quantum uncertainty is not simply a consequence of the observer effect, considering the evidence that, for example, a particle whose wavefunction predicts equal likelihoods for a certain spin really exists in both spin states before that wavefunction is collapsed. And since observing a particle is simply a matter of the probability distribution of one particle interacting with the probability distribution of another particle, you'll never be able to reduce the uncertainty to zero, or increase the probability of a specific state to 1, no matter how many particle interactions actually make up the act of human observation. Everything that occurs macroscopically that we think happens because of some specific physical law we've discovered is really just something that's incredibly likely to occur in those circumstances, and the physical law is simply an overstatement of that tendency.
bfast
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 17, 2011
"Given a deterministic universe where every decision is the result of past decisions, people generally responded that no one could be held morally responsible for their actions in such a universe."

This reality frustrates me. If punishment, such as prison, is seen totally as conditioning, rather than as "holding a person morally responsible", then punishment (conditioning) continues to make sense even in a world where no free will exists.

If we make decisions based upon the inputs -- our genetic makeup plus our past experience plus our current situation -- our past experience and current situation is altered if we have history to know that doing what we are considering could lead to undesirable consequences. Punishing for undesirable behavior, therefore, makes sense whether we have free will or not.
ngrailrei
4 / 5 (4) Mar 17, 2011
Jesuit father Raymond Smullyan has one of the best takes on free will I've ever read -- so good that I quote him extensively in "Deus ex Machina sapiens" (e-book on Amazon, iTunes, etc.) My argument in Deus is that consciousness and its corollaries (such as free will) are bound to emerge in machines. The question is: Will the machine's consciousness, free will, and morality be any different from ours? I venture to think that intelligent machines will be invaluable aides in experimental philosophy!
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (9) Mar 17, 2011
A deterministic reality of sufficient complexity will appear to be chaotic and wild. It would appear to be without rules. It would appear to have free will.

As we've narrowed down the rules of the Universe we've been forced to address the implications of increased knowledge of the fabric of reality. Once we understand the rules of the Universe, if we're ever capable, we'll be able to effectively tell the past, the future, and all of the reality of the present from a single particle.

This is why you have to keep an open mind to determinism. It is quite possibly the most freeing thing we could ever prove.
stripeless_zebra
1.9 / 5 (8) Mar 17, 2011
One day humanity will be able to build machines as smart as ourselves and than these machines will outsmart us. We are nothing else than smart machines created by eons of biological evolution driven by everything else than free will and our actions and reactions are nothing else than those of the future smart machines.
There is no FREE WILL.
nothingness
not rated yet Mar 17, 2011
as machines take over control of our every day lives, humans will be rendered less important (the majority of control will rest upon those with the power). machines will displace humans as workers, and will become the mainstream interface between other humans. Put another way, we will be one step behind as machines evolve quicker than we can sustain ourselves in the future
stripeless_zebra
5 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2011
as machines take over control of our every day lives,...


So, if the machines decide to get rid of us, do you think they'd do it at their free will?
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (14) Mar 17, 2011
A deterministic reality of sufficient complexity will appear to be chaotic and wild. It would appear to be without rules. It would appear to have free will.

As we've narrowed down the rules of the Universe we've been forced to address the implications of increased knowledge of the fabric of reality. Once we understand the rules of the Universe, if we're ever capable, we'll be able to effectively tell the past, the future, and all of the reality of the present from a single particle.

This is why you have to keep an open mind to determinism. It is quite possibly the most freeing thing we could ever prove.

Of course if it is determined that God created the universe, SH will refuse to believe it.
What kind of 'open mind' is that? You and many others have categorically rejected that the universe has been created.
DamienS
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 17, 2011
Conscious reasoning is an attempt to justify the choice after it has been made.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.1 / 5 (14) Mar 17, 2011
Of course if it is determined that God created the universe, SH will refuse to believe it.
Of course. If it is determined that there is a being that created the Universe, I will no longer believe it, I'd know it at that point.

Beyond that. If this Universe was created by a being, it certainly isn't any of the gods that religions have depicted. Most definitely not your god. Far too local and ignorant to have done this.
What kind of 'open mind' is that?
You make assumptions about how my mind works. I don't have a set in stone dogma as you do.
You and many others have categorically rejected that the universe has been created.
No, we state that the Universe doesn't have any evidence of creation, and that your thought process behind it is as learned as a desert goat herder on a mushroom trip.
DamienS
4.6 / 5 (11) Mar 17, 2011
Of course if it is determined that God created the universe

Interesting proposition, but I can't even conceive how this could be proven in any way at all.
RobertKarlStonjek
not rated yet Mar 17, 2011
Pre-determination is not a necessary consequence of determinism as a deterministic system can select a random input, be subject to non-deterministic input, or simply be unreliable eg a computer is a deterministic system but the manufacturer can not predict what that computer will be doing even a few seconds after the owner of that computer switches it on....

There are many factors that can limit freedom of will besides determinism eg cultural/economic/social constraint. And a deterministic will is only free if the brain it inhabits is also deterministic.

The author of the rubbish in this article is totally, utterly and completely clueless ~ go back to school and learn some real philosophy...
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (10) Mar 17, 2011
Of course if it is determined that God created the universe

Interesting proposition, but I can't even conceive how this could be proven in any way at all.


Follow the advice of SH, keep an open mind and maybe you can determine a way.
Skeptic_Heretic
2.9 / 5 (8) Mar 17, 2011
Of course if it is determined that God created the universe

Interesting proposition, but I can't even conceive how this could be proven in any way at all.

I can't prove that you exist until I meet you. Until then you could simply be an amazing Turing machine.
DamienS
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 17, 2011
Of course if it is determined that God created the universe

Interesting proposition, but I can't even conceive how this could be proven in any way at all.


Follow the advice of SH, keep an open mind and maybe you can determine a way.

My mind is open, but I still cannot see how your proposition could ever be proved even in principle. How would you go about it?
mrtea
1 / 5 (5) Mar 17, 2011
A simple thought experiment will demonstrate that free will must exist.
In theory, it is possible to predict the path, or 'choice' in any deterministic system, in this case human beings.

Our test subject, Bob, is told what his choice will be after his system is fully analysed and mapped.

If he is subject to the rules of determinism, he will be unable to alter this choice.

Bob is clearly not forced to follow the predicted path of his system.

Therefore, we are not entirely determined entities.

The only possible solution to this problem is if free will is a quantum phenomenon, although how this could be possible, I cannot imagine.
malapropism
4.4 / 5 (8) Mar 18, 2011
Of course if it is determined that God created the universe, SH will refuse to believe it.
What kind of 'open mind' is that? You and many others have categorically rejected that the universe has been created.

I cannot speak for SH of course, however I can't really let this one go past without comment because I suspect that I too am one of the "many others" you implicitly chastise.
For it to be "determined that God created the universe", 2 conditions would have to be met: the God would have to be physically produced or empirically shown to exist and then either the produced God would have to prove that it was capable of creating a universe and that it did so in fact for our universe or the empirical proof of existence of the God would have to explicitly include a proof of universe creation. If these proofs occurred then of course anyone should accept it as fact.

This is the most open sort of mind, surely? One that rejects dogma in the search of truth.

cont.
malapropism
5 / 5 (7) Mar 18, 2011
Furthermore, there is no question, I believe, that anybody rejects the universe as being created. We exist in the universe (well, I'm pretty sure I do, everyone else is an existential problem for you to sort out) therefore the universe is created.

I think what you mean is that "many others" reject that the universe had a creator-being. (Presumably, the God you refer to.)

This is quite straightforward to reject in the lack of the proofs I outlined above. What's the problem? Something that's written in a book? Well, there are lots of things written in all sorts of books that purport to tell me what the universe is about; quite frankly I don't know how to decide which of them are true and which aren't except by taking notice of proofs of such things that sensible, rational people who are trained to find such proofs are able to tell me about. Most of these people are scientists because the scientific method is the best way we've so far found to decide on what is true.
DamienS
4.2 / 5 (6) Mar 18, 2011
God would have to be physically produced or empirically shown to exist and then either the produced God would have to prove that it was capable of creating a universe...

But that is the problem. How could those conditions ever be met? If an entity appeared and said it was god, how can it be verified? Even if he could do some 'magic' tricks for you as 'proof', would that really be proof? Could the 'tricks' just be advanced tech? Or an illusion? A rewiring of your brain's memory? What would constitute proof that he created this universe? Perhaps he could 'explain' the nature of reality, but surely we would not be able to understand it, especially if the language and/or mathematics are beyond us and even then you couldn't verify it in any meaningful way.
If these proofs occurred then of course anyone should accept it as fact.

My position is that such proofs can never be obtained, even in principle.
mrtea
2.4 / 5 (5) Mar 18, 2011
My position is that such proofs can never be obtained, even in principle.

Atheism is a common position amongst scientists and educated (generally 'western') people, but the problem of proof is that it must be empirical, which automatically limits the available areas of enquiry.

This is one of the reasons I am an agnostic, apart from my own very limited brain. We are simply unable to answer the question of the existence of any kind of transcendental phenomena, such as a Creator, using standard scientific methods.

Free will also runs into this limitation. It is simply beyond science to explain how we can have free will, and yet it clearly exists.
malapropism
4.5 / 5 (2) Mar 18, 2011
Whether the universe has always been, came into being via the big bang, if the Flying Spaghetti Monster in its infinite noodly wisdom generated the universe somehow, or if the God you referenced made it in some other undefined way (if you're thinking, "Let there be light" is pretty clear, let me be explicit: this doesn't really give much insight into the methodology of the experiment) it seems obvious that it does now exist and therefore can in some sense be considered "created". It appears to me to be unquestionable. Even if you close your eyes and pretend, "cogito ergo sum" cannot exist in a vacuum, surely? (Unless maybe you want to get really, really metaphysical in interpretations of existentialism.)

So the questionable bits are these: was any origination (creating) involved in the universe we see and experience and, if so, what conditions did the creating?
malapropism
not rated yet Mar 18, 2011
But that is the problem. How could those conditions ever be met? If an entity appeared and said it was god, how can it be verified? Even if he could do some 'magic' tricks for you as 'proof', would that really be proof? Could the 'tricks' just be advanced tech? Or an illusion? A rewiring of your brain's memory? What would constitute proof that he created this universe? Perhaps he could 'explain' the nature of reality, but surely we would not be able to understand it, especially if the language and/or mathematics are beyond us and even then you couldn't verify it in any meaningful way.
...
My position is that such proofs can never be obtained, even in principle.

Well, yes. I think that was the general thrust of my comment. I happen to disagree with your assertion that such proofs could never be obtained *even in principle*, but in general, yes.
jimbo92107
2.5 / 5 (2) Mar 18, 2011
Every morning I take about a dozen pills. I plop each one into a little plastic cup, walk over to the sink, grab a second plastic cup, fill it with water, then wash down the pills with the cup of water. A few days ago, I filled the first cup, the one with pills in it, with water. Why did I do that? That wasn't my pattern. Thinking about it, I realized that my morning pattern was never really exact; there was and continues to be some variation within each iteration. In fact, some mornings I forget to take the pills altogether. What explains this apparently random variation?

I think the course of my life is like a bicycle trip. Numerous chaotic factors push the bike left or right, but usually they balance out so that my general trajectory stays on course. I could change the course (go back to school, get a different job), but the bicycle has a definite momentum that needs a positive force to change its current direction.

Meanwhile, most mornings I don't fill the wrong cup with water.
malapropism
2 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2011
And the reason that I think that such a proof could be obtainable *in principle* is reasonably simple: in all creationist religious contexts I'm aware of (there may well be others I don't know about) the creator-being has some physicality to it. In this case, it is amenable to proof of existence via the scientific method, at least *in principle*. Even if this is hedged ("Oh, well, he doesn't show his face around here anymore because we're mostly such sinners that he doesn't like it.") into a non-physical presence, there are still purported effects on the real universe by appealing to the creator (e.g. prayer, laying on of hands; I'm sure there are others). These too should be amenable to discovery and proof through application of the scientific method, at least *in principle*.
malapropism
5 / 5 (5) Mar 18, 2011
We are simply unable to answer the question of the existence of any kind of transcendental phenomena, such as a Creator, using standard scientific methods.

Free will also runs into this limitation. It is simply beyond science to explain how we can have free will, and yet it clearly exists.

Why do you say that these are beyond science to investigate and/or prove? Surely we do not yet know everything? Therefore it follows that we cannot yet know if some future discovery or thing will allow us to do these investigations?

Even if that doesn't occur, use of the scientific method does not preclude such investigations. As I've said (to creationists) before in these forums, it may be difficult to investigate the existence or otherwise of some god-like creator but that shouldn't dissuade you if that's your thing. Science is a tool set, so long as the tools are not corrupted to some untrue end, then they should (as above, at least in principle) provide ways to proceed.
malapropism
not rated yet Mar 18, 2011
And I hope that the same is true of free will.

(Damn, this 1000 char limit is annoying sometimes.)
DamienS
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 18, 2011
Atheism is a common position amongst scientists and educated (generally 'western') people, but the problem of proof is that it must be empirical, which automatically limits the available areas of enquiry.

What other avenues of inquiry are there?
We are simply unable to answer the question of the existence of any kind of transcendental phenomena, such as a Creator, using standard scientific methods.

I ask the question again, what other methods are there that are not subject to the scientific method?
Free will also runs into this limitation. It is simply beyond science to explain how we can have free will, and yet it clearly exists.

You seem to think free will is a given. I think the question is of a philosophical nature and may not yield to scientific inquiry. But outside of scientific inquiry, there are only assertions and beliefs.
aaroncohn
1 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2011
Determinism depends on the idea that random events are nonexistent. Whatever decision you make becomes solidified in the past the instant you make it, and because of that, it becomes the decision you were always destined to make. But if random events do exist, then it's possible that the past can be altered, and then it's possible that the order of the firing of neurons in your brain doesn't depend on what direction particles went when the left the big bang.
hush1
1 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2011
I understand.
Free will is pointless.
Free will is so pointless. So pointless to ignore.

I understand.
Determinism is pointless.
Determinism is so pointless. So pointless to ignore.

I understand the impossibility to state pointlessness.
I understand everything comes to a point.

The 500 comment thread devoted to those two words:
http:://www.physorg.com/news186830615.html

Many of us here, partook there as well.

DamienS
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 18, 2011
And the reason that I think that such a proof could be obtainable *in principle* is reasonably simple: in all creationist religious contexts I'm aware of (there may well be others I don't know about) the creator-being has some physicality to it.

But that's basing the creator's existence on a set of myths and legends of the various peoples of the world. Do you think that any of them actually witnessed the 'real' creator? I think we can safely discount that notion, and therefore any 'proofs' that may rely on these myths. The notion of a creator surely needs to be more general and abstract than what is found in various religious texts.

continued
DamienS
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 18, 2011
there are still purported effects on the real universe by appealing to the creator (e.g. prayer, laying on of hands; I'm sure there are others). These too should be amenable to discovery and proof through application of the scientific method, at least *in principle*.

Those types of things have been investigated to no effect (short of the power of positive thinking/placebo). And even if there was some statistically significant effect, it would not be proof of a creator, in and of itself. That's why I still stick with my 'in principle' objection.
Parsec
4.3 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2011
My point about quantum uncertainty forcing a non-deterministic universe is a simple derivation. The simplest particle system imaginable is non-deterministic because of quantum rules. Any more complex system must therefore incorporate that uncertainty as it becomes more complex because of the non-deterministic nature of its constituent parts. This isn't about organic or inorganic, I speak of any aggregation of matter.

Ultimately looking at the non-deterministic nature of the weather for example, it is impossible to predict very far into the future not because our computers alack power, its because of the underlying uncertainty predicting the future given a boundary condition of the state in the present instant.

Adding in the intelligence and choice making apparatus of a human being and suggesting determinism for such a complex system is ridiculous.
Ethelred
2.7 / 5 (7) Mar 18, 2011
lili49 is another spammer.

Gets an A for originality for using a minilink to hide the fact that the site is selling shoes. Gets an abuse report for spamming this and many other sites as can be seen by googling the link.

Ethelred
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (10) Mar 18, 2011
Determinism is a heuristic that helps some sleep better at night.
intelfam
3.5 / 5 (4) Mar 18, 2011
Ok, determinism is a sort of calculus of pre-existing conditions which, somehow, have values which weigh in my making a particular decision. My brain does a quick computation and makes the decision -which I see as free will. Does that sound about right?
Zephyr311
1 / 5 (2) Mar 18, 2011
Free will absolutely exists...once one steps out of the illusory paradigm of "reality" as we so absurdly define it.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2011
Determinism is a heuristic that helps some sleep better at night.
Yeah, typically everyone who believes in some "God's Plan" methodology. The rest of us simply do what we do without much concern for whether determinism is actual or assumed.
Modernmystic
2 / 5 (8) Mar 18, 2011
If the universe is deterministic then all of this, including debate over it it totally meaningless.

If we decide to punish people for their actions, or we don't it's already determined. Why even discuss it? Discussion of ANY topic is irrelevant because it's not discussion and thought that controls outcomes, but deterministic chemical processes governed by the laws of thermodynamics.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 18, 2011
If the universe is deterministic then all of this, including debate over it it totally meaningless.

That would depend on your frame of reference wouldn't it? After all, If the Universe is entirely deterministic, then this conversation has to happen and is required for all future events to take place.
dogbert
2 / 5 (7) Mar 18, 2011
The discussion of free will/determinism in relation to a god (or the lack thereof) unnecessarily complicates the issue. You obviously have the power to make choices and thus do have free will. You retain free will if you believe in a god and if you do not believe in a god.
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (5) Mar 18, 2011
The discussion of free will/determinism in relation to a god (or the lack thereof) unnecessarily complicates the issue. You obviously have the power to make choices and thus do have free will. You retain free will if you believe in a god and if you do not believe in a god.

Unless that god made you with knowledge of all past present and future outcomes yet still made you.

It's called the illusion of free will and is a central refutation to the presence of an all-knowing creator god providing free will.

Once an entity with perfect knowledge of all outcomes creates another being, that second being does not have free will be causal definition.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 18, 2011
Determinism is a heuristic that helps some sleep better at night.
Yeah, typically everyone who believes in some "God's Plan" methodology. The rest of us simply do what we do without much concern for whether determinism is actual or assumed.

That assumption results in many (hopefully) unintended consequences in dealing with emergent systems like economies, politics and global climate.
Byagam_Gokulden
not rated yet Mar 18, 2011
I laughed out loud at the article's proposition that 'experimental philosophy' is only 10 years old.

"In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions inferred by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true, not withstanding any contrary hypothesis that may be imagined, till such time as other phenomena occur, by which they may either be made more accurate, or liable to exceptions." - Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Book 3, Isaac Newton.

Before Newton, what we call 'science' today was known as 'natural philosophy'. Newton's introduction of mathematics into this field was practically the invention of rational mechanics, or 'physics' as we call it today.

In other words, experimental philosophers are called 'physicists' today, or more broadly 'scientists'. This fact has been known for over 300 years.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Mar 18, 2011
That would depend on your frame of reference wouldn't it? After all, If the Universe is entirely deterministic, then this conversation has to happen and is required for all future events to take place.


Not as I understand it. The concept of "required" is meaningless as well in that paradigm. Things will be determined regardless of any set of conditions.
dogbert
1 / 5 (5) Mar 18, 2011
It's called the ilusion of free will and is a central refutation to the presence of an all-knowing creator god providing free will.


That is a well known logical fallacy.

1) A creator god does not necessarily need to be "all knowing" and probably would not be.

2) Even presuming that a god can predict your choice, you still have the choice.

Gawad
5 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2011
Once an entity with perfect knowledge of all outcomes creates another being, that second being does not have free will be causal definition.
That would depend on the temporal perspective you wish to adopt. I.e., given a "block time" perspective (à la Julian Barbour) a creator may be spacio-temporally omniscient without impacting that created beings can still have shaped world paths of their own free will...if they have free will. IOW, having a "block time" perspective (or not) is a problem independent from that of the existence of free will, IMO. Of course, depending on the specific notion of "created" there may be some leeway.

Which comes dome to the fact that I think I'm with DamienS on this one: I don't think there's any way to actually falsify "free will" one way or the other even in principle. Experimental my a**. It's a matter of faith and philosophy more than anything else. Little wonder gods gets brought up in such discussions as often as they do in ones about evolution.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 18, 2011
That is a well known logical fallacy.
There's no fallacy in it. If you wish to call it a logical fallacy you must establish where it becomes false.
1) A creator god does not necessarily need to be "all knowing" and probably would not be.
Then it wouldn't be the Abrahamic God, would it, dogmabert?
2) Even presuming that a god can predict your choice, you still have the choice.
Unless you state that the predictor has granted you free will. Free will is the ability to be self deterministic. If your destiny is already lain out, you have no freedom of choice.
Gawad
5 / 5 (4) Mar 18, 2011
2) Even presuming that a god can predict your choice, you still have the choice.
Actually, if this specific set up were possible even in principle, then you would actually have an interesting experiment for free will. Unfortunately for you (I think), if your god could *predict* your choices (as in, say ahead of time while restricted to an intratemporal perspecticve) with 100% accuracy, then it seems to me that you would be experimentally verifying that you do not in fact have free will, but only the illusion thereof. If on the other hand your god failed to be 100% accurate, then you would be verifying that your god has a serious deficit in the omniscience/omnipotence department.
hush1
3 / 5 (2) Mar 18, 2011
If determinism is your choice, then you all have a more-than-willing partner.
Your partner?
All of science. All of the sciences.

Isn't there a saying? Science abhors a vacuum?
Randomness is just as abhorrent, as well.

If free will is your choice, then you are on your own.
Science abhors you. (Nothing personal, mind you) :)
dogbert
1.5 / 5 (8) Mar 18, 2011
1) A creator god does not necessarily need to be "all knowing" and probably would not be.


Then it wouldn't be the Abrahamic God, would it


The God of Abraham never claimed omniscience, so yes, it could be him.

2) Even presuming that a god can predict your choice, you still have the choice.


Unless you state that the predictor has granted you free will. Free will is the ability to be self deterministic. If your destiny is already lain out, you have no freedom of choice.


Therein lies the flaw in your reasoning. As long as you can choose and do choose, you have demonstrated your free will.
A foreknowledge of your choice by anyone, be it a god or a friend, does not negate your free choice.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 18, 2011
The God of Abraham never claimed omniscience, so yes, it could be him.
Why don't the religious ever read their own holy books? Read Psalm 139:2-6 and Isaiah 40:13-14. The claim is rather obvious.
Therein lies the flaw in your reasoning. As long as you can choose and do choose, you have demonstrated your free will.
You have a choice of chicken, or chicken for dinner. Make your choice and tell me how you receive something other than the opposite.
A foreknowledge of your choice by anyone, be it a god or a friend, does not negate your free choice
As I said, if your creator knows everything that has and will happen to you, and the result of each choice you make, your life has been lain out before your birth down to the very end result and each choice you make. You cannot deviate, you cannot alter your path, you do not have free will, regardless of how you feel about it.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 18, 2011
Anyone remember Flip Wilson?
This exercise in determinism is just another way to justify irresponsibility. "The devil made me do it!"
dogbert
1 / 5 (7) Mar 18, 2011
Why don't the religious ever read their own holy books? Read Psalm 139:2-6 and Isaiah 40:13-14. The claim is rather obvious.

You should read those verses yourself. Nothing in any of them about an all knowing god.

As I said, if your creator knows everything that has and will happen to you, and the result of each choice you make, your life has been lain out before your birth down to the very end result and each choice you make. You cannot deviate, you cannot alter your path, you do not have free will, regardless of how you feel about it.


And as I said, you are attributing an omniscience to god which god has not claimed, therefore your argument fails.

Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (4) Mar 18, 2011
You should read those verses yourself. Nothing in any of them about an all knowing god
I've read your book and apparently have a better understanding of its intent than you. Moving on.
dogbert
1 / 5 (5) Mar 18, 2011
I've read your book and apparently have a better understanding of its intent than you. Moving on.


You obviously don't, saying it contains statements it plainly does not contain.

Why not admit that your argument is flawed and fails?
Skeptic_Heretic
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 18, 2011
I've read your book and apparently have a better understanding of its intent than you. Moving on.


You obviously don't, saying it contains statements it plainly does not contain.

Why not admit that your argument is flawed and fails?
Because it doesn't.

My argument: if your creator knows everything that has and will happen to you, and the result of each choice you make, your life has been lain out before your birth down to the very end result and each choice you make. You cannot deviate, you cannot alter your path, you do not have free will, regardless of how you feel about it.

Your argument: nu-uh.

Add some substance to your stance if you want to sway my opinion.
dogbert
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 18, 2011
My substance to the argument is that the God of Abraham has never claimed omniscience.

Your argument stands on a flawed concept -- the omniscience of God.

Scientist_Steve
5 / 5 (4) Mar 18, 2011
My substance to the argument is that the God of Abraham has never claimed omniscience.


Your argument stands on a flawed concept -- the omniscience of God.
Hate to burst you bubble, but the good book clearly defines God as being an Omnipotent, Omnicient God. Doesn't get much clearer then stating He is all knowing or eternal.

dogbert
1 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2011
Scientist Steve,

Please quote chapter and verse.
JMar
5 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2011
Atheism is a common position amongst scientists and educated (generally 'western') people, but the problem of proof is that it must be empirical, which automatically limits the available areas of enquiry.

What other avenues of inquiry are there?
We are simply unable to answer the question of the existence of any kind of transcendental phenomena, such as a Creator, using standard scientific methods.

I ask the question again, what other methods are there that are not subject to the scientific method?
Free will also runs into this limitation. It is simply beyond science to explain how we can have free will, and yet it clearly exists.

You seem to think free will is a given. I think the question is of a philosophical nature and may not yield to scientific inquiry. But outside of scientific inquiry, there are only assertions and beliefs.


Gosh you're good.
Scientist_Steve
5 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2011
@dogbert
Read Matthew 26:25-26. Surely you can't dispute that Jesus predicting the future and the actions of Judas isn't an act of Omniscience?
dogbert
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 18, 2011
No, Scientist_Steve.

Skeptic_Heretic's argument is that the omniscience of God results in a lack of free will. You argue with Skeptic_Heretic. Both of you have claimed that God has claimed to be omniscient.

No where in the bible has God claimed to be all knowing. You say it is in there, then quote where God claimed to be omniscient.

You cannot and Skeptic_Heretic cannot because God never made any such claim.

Skeptic_Heretic's argument and your agreement with him fail because the argument is based on a false premise -- that God is omniscient. It is not in the bible.
JMar
5 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2011
No, Scientist_Steve.

Skeptic_Heretic's argument is that the omniscience of God results in a lack of free will. You argue with Skeptic_Heretic. Both of you have claimed that God has claimed to be omniscient.

No where in the bible has God claimed to be all knowing. You say it is in there, then quote where God claimed to be omniscient.

You cannot and Skeptic_Heretic cannot because God never made any such claim.

Skeptic_Heretic's argument and your agreement with him fail because the argument is based on a false premise -- that God is omniscient. It is not in the bible.

Uhm...yeah it does?
Psalms 147:5
dogbert
1 / 5 (5) Mar 18, 2011
Uhm...yeah it does?
Psalms 147:5


Uhm ... no, it doesn't.

David states that God has infinite understanding. Neither David nor God claim infinite knowledge or omniscience.
Scientist_Steve
5 / 5 (5) Mar 18, 2011
@dogbert
Actually i couldn't agree with Skeptic_heretic more, especially since i haven't even addressed the free will aspect of this discussion. I was simply stating that your comments about your God not being omniscient aren't consistent with the bibles account of Him. However, i do realize that you are trying to suggest the "He" has never made such a claim. Also, I noticed that you didn't mention my example of Jesus and Judas. Probably because there is no way to dispute that it is a perfect example of omniscience.
JMar
not rated yet Mar 18, 2011
Uhm...yeah it does?
Psalms 147:5


Uhm ... no, it doesn't.

David states that God has infinite understanding. Neither David nor God claim infinite knowledge or omniscience.


I would think that if you understand everything, you would know everything..but ok.
How bout Isaiah 46:910
JMar
not rated yet Mar 19, 2011
Uhm...yeah it does?
Psalms 147:5


Uhm ... no, it doesn't.

David states that God has infinite understanding. Neither David nor God claim infinite knowledge or omniscience.


I think knowledge and understanding could be used interchangeably in that context.. but ok.
How bout Isaiah 46:910
soulman
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 19, 2011
Who really cares about a semantic argument over fairytales?
dogbert
1.5 / 5 (8) Mar 19, 2011
Scientist_Steve,
I noticed that you didn't mention my example of Jesus and Judas. Probably because there is no way to dispute that it is a perfect example of omniscience.

I did mention your response, that there is no statement in the bible that God is omniscient. God predicts many things, but he never claims omniscience.

JMar,
Nope. God does not claim omniscience in Isaiah. He does not claim that anywhere in the bible.

soulman,
Who really cares about a semantic argument over fairytales?


It is not just a semantic argument. I argue that you have free will a priori. That the existence or non-existence of a god does not change your free will.

Skeptic_Heretic, Scientist_Steve and JMar are arguing that because God is omniscient, there can be no free will. I am just pointing out that that argument is flawed because God has never claimed omniscience.

We cannot escape responsibility for our actions by claiming that God has robbed us of free will. It just is not true.
soulman
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 19, 2011
It is not just a semantic argument. I argue that you have free will a priori. That the existence or non-existence of a god does not change your free will.

I knew you were going to say that. :)

We cannot escape responsibility for our actions by claiming that God has robbed us of free will. It just is not true.

That's a pathetic argument for anyone to make. It really doesn't matter whether we have free will or not as long as it feels like we do.
dogbert
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 19, 2011
That's a pathetic argument for anyone to make. It really doesn't matter whether we have free will or not as long as it feels like we do.


Of course it matters. It is the difference between being a reasoning, self directing creature or being an automaton, incapable of self direction.
soulman
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 19, 2011
Of course it matters. It is the difference between being a reasoning, self directing creature or being an automaton, incapable of self direction.

No, it matters not, because, as I said, if it 'feels' like you have free will (and it does) it makes no difference what the reality is.
dogbert
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 19, 2011
OK. I acknowledge that reality does not matter to you.

Most people are very much concerned with reality, but there are some few individuals who don't care.
soulman
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 19, 2011
OK. I acknowledge that reality does not matter to you.

Most people are very much concerned with reality, but there are some few individuals who don't care.

You seem to have trouble discerning the finer nuances in argumentation, otherwise you wouldn't have said that.
dogbert
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 19, 2011
In a discussion on the nature of reality, when one of the participants says "... it makes no difference what the reality is.", there is no reason to continue the discussion with that individual.

I do wonder why you involve yourself in discussion of something which you say does not matter.
soulman
5 / 5 (6) Mar 19, 2011
In a discussion on the nature of reality, when one of the participants says "... it makes no difference what the reality is.", there is no reason to continue the discussion with that individual.

It is typical of you to intentionally misquote in order to obfuscate and misrepresent. My entire quote was:

"if it 'feels' like you have free will (and it does) it makes no difference what the reality is."

Let me spell it out for you. I'm saying whatever the reality is (and I'm agreeing with DamienS and Gawad here), the truth is likely not knowable. And given that, the fact that it 'feels' like we have free will is all that matters when it comes to conducting our daily lives. Do you get it now?
dogbert
1.9 / 5 (9) Mar 19, 2011
I understand what you are saying as I understood it before you said it again.

I disagree, however. The nature of reality is very important.

The difference between being a free, thinking individual or being a preprogrammed automaton is hugely important.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (10) Mar 19, 2011
Free will. Snore.

If you look at the physorg main page you see various articles every day discussing things which subconsciously influence our 'will'. Gut bacteria. Genes. Our names. Tsunamis. Brain damage. Education. Propaganda. Our jobs. Our friends and family. Money. I had an attack of free will once but then I got the flu and it went away.

Philosophy is just another name for religionism- the belief in the unreal. It was offered as a compelling substitute to wean people off religion during the Enlightenment. It convinced many gens of germans that they had the right to rule europe, and Europeans the world. It has had many such sociopolitical uses. But as it has no basis in the evolutionary structure of the brain, it is nonsense. It never adequately described human behavior except by chance, and when it was actually able to influence behavior. This ability is yet one more example of our relative lack of 'free will'.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (10) Mar 19, 2011
My uncle had lots of free will but he was bipolar. He would be all intent in exercising it and oblivious to it's effects, drinking like a fish and sleeping 4 hours a night. Big plans. But then he would crash and all that would evaporate, leaving behind a pile of wreckage, like a tsunami. He used to think he was nothing BUT free will. But that was because his brain was dysfunctional.
dogbert
1 / 5 (3) Mar 19, 2011
Sophistry is a poor substitute for reality.
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (8) Mar 19, 2011
This ability is yet one more example of our relative lack of 'free will'.

The Gospel according to Otto.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.7 / 5 (12) Mar 19, 2011
This ability is yet one more example of our relative lack of 'free will'.

The Gospel according to Otto.
Bless you madam. What, you don't think philosophy hasn't successfully propagandized you too? If somebody hadn't concocted the concept of statism you'd have nothing to hate.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.2 / 5 (10) Mar 19, 2011
Sophistry is a poor substitute for reality.
"A sophism is taken as a specious argument used for deceiving someone. It might be crafted to seem logical while actually being wrong, or it might use difficult words and complicated sentences to intimidate the audience into agreeing, or it might appeal to the audience's prejudices and emotions rather than logic; e.g., raising doubts towards the one asserting, rather than his assertion. The goal of a sophism is often to make the audience believe the writer or speaker to be smarter than he or she actually is; e.g., accusing another of sophistry for using persuasion techniques."

-I would have to say that most all philosophy is sophistry itself, as it is comprised of little more than skillful rhetoricians and wishful thinking. And a considerable load of unwarranted authority.

Philosophy is a poor substitute for reality.
Calenur
5 / 5 (3) Mar 19, 2011
Skeptic_Heretic, Scientist_Steve and JMar are arguing that because God is omniscient, there can be no free will. I am just pointing out that that argument is flawed because God has never claimed omniscience


"Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure'" (Isaiah 46:9-10)."

I realize there are different ways to interpret scripture (for instance, I interpret it as bullshit), but for you to be right, you need to do some semantic acrobatics to twist the word omniscient into what you're arguing. Knowing everthing from the beginning to the end of our perceived time smacks of omniscience to me.
dogbert
2.1 / 5 (7) Mar 19, 2011
I would have to say that most all philosophy is sophistry itself...


I agree with that!

My dad used to tell me not to get a degree in philosophy. When I asked why, he said "What are you going to do, open a philosophy shop on the corner? Who is going to buy what you are selling?".
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.7 / 5 (11) Mar 19, 2011
flawed because God has never claimed omniscience

"The term Alpha and Omega comes from the phrase "I am the alpha and the omega", an appellation of Jesus in the Book of Revelation (verses 1:8, 21:6, and 22:13).
ryggesogn2
1.5 / 5 (8) Mar 19, 2011
This ability is yet one more example of our relative lack of 'free will'.

The Gospel according to Otto.
Bless you madam. What, you don't think philosophy hasn't successfully propagandized you too? If somebody hadn't concocted the concept of statism you'd have nothing to hate.

All is heuristic.
http://www.me.ute...ory.html
dogbert
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 19, 2011
"The term Alpha and Omega comes from the phrase "I am the alpha and the omega", an appellation of Jesus in the Book of Revelation (verses 1:8, 21:6, and 22:13).


Jesus did use those terms to indicate that he was at the beginning and that he would be at the end.

Doesn't have anything at all to do with omniscience.
Calenur
5 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2011
I just posted it above:

"Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure'" (Isaiah 46:9-10)."


Anything?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.9 / 5 (9) Mar 19, 2011
"The term Alpha and Omega comes from the phrase "I am the alpha and the omega", an appellation of Jesus in the Book of Revelation (verses 1:8, 21:6, and 22:13).


Jesus did use those terms to indicate that he was at the beginning and that he would be at the end.

Doesn't have anything at all to do with omniscience.
As it was a metaphor, like most of what he said (by his own admission) and is thus open to mean almost anything, I and others tend to see it as an expression of omniscience by the Being who created everything and is always everywhere at the same time, and always was and always will be. Or not. He must be omniscient if he can grant absolutely any wish at all, if he feels like it, yes? This is consistent with the bibles central message, god über alles.

Of course- free will does exist! But only god has it. :B
Let me reformulize dat: if free will exists, only an omniscient god could possess it.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (8) Mar 19, 2011
Someone even wrote a prayer which summarizes the true nature of free will in 'spiritual' terms:
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference."

-Which still presumes that people know what needs to be changed and what doesn't, which they often do not.
dogbert
3 / 5 (2) Mar 19, 2011
Calenur,
God certainly knows a lot. But he has never claimed omniscience.
TheGhostofOtto1923,
I and others tend to see it as an expression of omniscience by the Being who created everything and is always everywhere at the same time, and always was and always will be. Or not.

You can, of course, "see it" anyway you want. Since God has not said it, your view is your own and not based on anything God has said.
He must be omniscient if he can grant absolutely any wish at all, if he feels like it, yes? This is consistent with the bibles central message, god über alles.

Omniscience and power are not the same, and he never claimed that he could grant "absolutely any wish". Perhaps you are confusing him with a genie?

dogbert
3 / 5 (2) Mar 19, 2011
Calenur,
Quoting random verses from the bible is OK, but none of them say that God is omniscient.
TheGhostofOtto1923,
I and others tend to see it as an expression of omniscience by the Being who created everything and is always everywhere at the same time, and always was and always will be. Or not.

You may, of course, "see it" any way you choose. Since God did not say it, your view is just yours. It is not in the bible.
He must be omniscient if he can grant absolutely any wish at all, if he feels like it, yes?

Power and knowledge are not the same thing. He never said he could grant "absolutely any wish" either. Perhaps you have him confused with a genie?
hush1
3 / 5 (2) Mar 19, 2011
SH wrote:
Free will is the ability to be self deterministic.


That assumes independence - by any definition one chooses for the word independence. Off hand, I can not imagine any higher bar or burden (of science or proof in math) to place on a concept.

Free will needs a better definition to gain access to science.
Determinism has long held and enjoyed such access.

To be self deterministic, I have to be random. I can not take refuge in a tiny niche of Quantum Mechanics to claim randomness. It was determinism that created the niche.
hush1
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 19, 2011
Objective wrote:
One single law is enough to void the possibility of random since one single law can impossibly coexist with random...


Yes.
One single rule. The assumption.
Necessary and insufficient and incomplete.
Thrasymachus
3 / 5 (4) Mar 19, 2011
The basic problem with investigating the reality of free will scientifically, that is, experimentally, is that every phenomenon investigated by science must be thought of as being both cause and effect. A free choice, or free act, cannot be thought of as being caused by anything. This does not necessarily imply randomness, but it does imply spontaneity.

Science, however, exists to eliminate spontaneity. When a phenomena is well understood scientifically, its appearance is never spontaneous, but always expected and if not predicted, predictable. This would reveal the object investigated as "free will" as not spontaneous, and thus not free.

The real problem, however, is in thinking that free will is a phenomena or object at all. It is not. Someone once said that man is not a rational creature so much as he is a rationalizing creature. This is true. Science is one of our more successful rationalizations. But belief in free will is necessary to do any rationalizing at all.
hush1
3 / 5 (2) Mar 19, 2011
@Thrasymachus

Interesting.
Maybe one day a creature will exist that assumes nothing. Assuming that is not a rule.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (10) Mar 19, 2011
You may, of course, "see it" any way you choose. Since God did not say it, your view is just yours. It is not in the bible.
You meant to say 'in my opinion god didn't say it' didn't you? Because I would be able to present 10 Xian opinions to your 1 for every godly pronouncement you're sure is in black and white. That's the trouble with blind belief in the efficacy of parables.

What's really funny is how CERTAIN godlovers are of their own particular interpretation of fantasy. And when encountering one another you usually choose the 'wise' and respectable stance of 'agreeing to disagree. So others might not detect the mutual absurdity of your self-deception i suppose.

I am snickering once again. Does god have a mother or not?? Maybe SHE is more omniscient than he is?
Science, however, exists to eliminate spontaneity.
More absurdity from a pseudo-religionist. Science exists to EXPLAIN things. Spontaneity only explains your 'insights' as in 'what sophistry can I sell today?
JMar
not rated yet Mar 19, 2011
Dogbert,

Actually I believe in free will. I was just trying to clear things up on God being omniscient. But obviously you just reject anything that I present to you sooo...
Thrasymachus
2 / 5 (4) Mar 19, 2011
Perhaps, but that would be a creature that did not rationalize themselves or their world. That would be a creature that did not do science, since science is a rigorous and systematic attempt to rationalize the world. Any creature capable of doing science will eventually run up against the paradox of free will. The rationalizing that is their science can itself only be rationalized by assuming it is freely done, that free will is real. That's the only way that any of the explanations offered by any science can be thought to be explanations of something, and not merely some causal phenomenon that is itself quite causally remote from the phenomenon it is purporting to be an explanation of.

However, as necessary as the concept of free will is for making sense of the idea of "making sense," it is nevertheless never experienced or phenomenally encountered by anyone, anywhere. It is incapable of being measured or weighed. In short, free choice is not an object of science.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.2 / 5 (10) Mar 19, 2011
Jesus did use those terms to indicate that he was at the beginning and that he would be at the end.
Just to clarify, are you saying that Jesus/god was saying that he was here at the beginning and at the end, but not in the whole middle part? Do you think a perfect being would make such an ambiguous statement as that?

"Hmmm, alpha/omega, do you think they might get the idea that I start and end things but the middle is up for grabs? Maybe they'll fear that I'm not around to answer prayers... Well maybe, but I'll say it anyway because it sounds cool. Ambiguity just makes me seem wiser than them anyhow." -End of interlude.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (10) Mar 19, 2011
However, as necessary as the concept of free will is for making sense of the idea of "making sense," it is nevertheless never experienced or phenomenally encountered by anyone, anywhere. It is incapable of being measured or weighed.
Meaning that it has no measurable effect on anything and can't be used to explain anything real, and is of no consequence whatsoever except as a literary fiction, therefore it doesn't exist.
In short, free choice is not
. There. I made it even shorter.
Perhaps you have him confused with a genie?
What makes you think there's any difference? Or any difference between prayers and wishes? There isn't.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (10) Mar 19, 2011
Power and knowledge are not the same thing. He never said he could grant "absolutely any wish" either.
No he just claims to have created everything including all of space and time, and periodically does things like move the sun and return the dead to life. Which he promises to do for all good people no matter how rotted they are or how many little fish have nibbled on their corpses. The clear implication is that nothing is beyond your gods power. Okay, name one thing he can't do.
That's the only way that any of the explanations offered by any science can be thought to be explanations of something, and not merely some causal phenomenon that is itself quite causally remote from the phenomenon it is purporting to be an explanation of.
Utter bullshit. You never post sources to back up any of this crap- why is that? You enjoy making it up on the fly? Spontaneously that is?

Can science seek to explain things which aren't 'spontaneous' but are still not understood? Of course.
dogbert
2 / 5 (4) Mar 19, 2011
JMar,
Actually I believe in free will. I was just trying to clear things up on God being omniscient. But obviously you just reject anything that I present to you sooo...


I don't just reject what you say. The undeniable fact is that God has never claimed to be omniscient, therefore, any argument that God is omniscient must fail.

I would argue that even if God were omniscient, free will would still exist, but such an argument is rejected out of hand by those who want a deterministic universe. But those who want a deterministic universe and base it on God's omniscience lack an effective argument.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.9 / 5 (9) Mar 19, 2011
"Omniscience (or omniscient point-of-view in writing) is the capacity to know everything infinitely, or at least everything that can be known about a character including thoughts, feelings, life and the universe, etc. In monotheism, this ability is attributed to God. The God of the Bible is often referred to as "The Great I Am," among other similar names, which also incorporates his omnipresence and omnipotence. This concept is included in the Qur'an, where God is called "Al-'aleem". This is the infinite form of the verb "alema" which means to know." -wiki, omniscience

Like I said your OPINION is only one of many OPINIONS regarding your god, others perhaps being more highly regarded than yours.
dogbert
3 / 5 (2) Mar 19, 2011
TheGhostofOtto1923,

Like I said your OPINION is only one of many OPINIONS regarding your god, others perhaps being more highly regarded than yours.


You are discussing opinions, particularly your own. I am not. I have merely pointed out numerous times that the God of Abraham has never claimed omniscience in the bible.

It is not my opinion. The bible is a real document which can be searched. It contains no statement that God is omniscient.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Mar 19, 2011
The real problem, however, is in thinking that free will is a phenomena or object at all. It is not. Someone once said that man is not a rational creature so much as he is a rationalizing creature. This is true. Science is one of our more successful rationalizations. But belief in free will is necessary to do any rationalizing at all.

@Thras

I disagree. With the full understanding of reality, you would effectively be able to understand everything. That would enable beneficial adjustment. Thus enabling free will through determinism.

Until you understand it, you're a slave to it, so to speak.
hush1
3 / 5 (2) Mar 19, 2011
Unless the definition of free will improves, science will simply dump it back into the playing grounds of philosophy.

One of the hallmarks of all science is measurement. Perhaps free will, will point out one day that all measurement is arbitrary.
A desperate measure.
Thrasymachus
1 / 5 (2) Mar 19, 2011
I disagree. With the full understanding of reality, you would effectively be able to understand everything. That would enable beneficial adjustment. Thus enabling free will through determinism.

Until you understand it, you're a slave to it, so to speak.

We're not really in much disagreement here, I don't think. Perhaps another way to put what I've said is that as we understand a phenomenon, we free ourselves from it. If free of choice is something we can come to understand, then we would be able to free ourselves from free choice, a pretty blatant paradox. Conversely, if we are unable to understand free choice, we will remain slaves to that freedom, which is also a paradoxical expression. The resolution of this paradox is to deny the phenomenal objectivity of free will. Free will is not an object for understanding, it is a condition for the possibility of understanding.
hush1
3 / 5 (2) Mar 20, 2011
Let's see.
SH wrote:
Free will is the ability to be self deterministic.

Thrasymaschus wrote:
Free will is a condition for the possibility of understanding


Reminds me of Websites stating: Under construction.
Division by zero and free will are undefined.
We'll master both. Till then, who's our master?
Calenur
5 / 5 (4) Mar 20, 2011
Ok, dogbert, this is getting insane. While it is your opinion that God is not omniscient, it is the opinion of the Roman Catholic Church that he is.

God is also omniscient, that is, his knowledge penetrates everything.


That's a quote directly from the Vatican's website. Check it for yourself. Is the Pope wrong too?

http://www.vatica...8en.html
EvgenijM
5 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
How can you prove that determinism is correct/incorrect empirically without solving problem of induction first? If they try to do it without questioning induction first, then all of their results will be based on blind faith in induction.
dogbert
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
Calenur,
There are lots of churches, lots of priests and lots of opinions. I don't care to argue anything based on someone else's opinion.

God does not claim omniscience. A simple search of the bible shows that he does not. This is not anyone's opinion. It is fact.

You may hold any opinion you choose, based on any criteria you want or no criteria. But if you have nothing to base your opinion on other than someone else's opinion, you have no basis for argument.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.8 / 5 (13) Mar 20, 2011
You are discussing opinions, particularly your own. I am not. I have merely pointed out numerous times that the God of Abraham has never claimed omniscience in the bible.
Ha. And yet I provided a credible source which shows that experts with widely held and accepted OPINIONS, say that it is. Are you really that impervious? Are you really that sure your OPINIONS are facts?

This is why religion, or rather the defects within us humans which cause us to crave such fantasy, is so DANGEROUS. You are utterly convinced your FANTASY is FACT. And so are the people I referenced whose FANTASIES are nevertheless in conflict with your own, and with other delusionists like yourself.
dogbert
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 20, 2011
TheGhostofOtto1923,
You are discussing opinions, particularly your own. I am not. I have merely pointed out numerous times that the God of Abraham has never claimed omniscience in the bible.'\


Ha. And yet I provided a credible source which shows that experts with widely held and accepted OPINIONS, say that it is. Are you really that impervious? Are you really that sure your OPINIONS are facts?

This is why religion, or rather the defects within us humans which cause us to crave such fantasy, is so DANGEROUS. You are utterly convinced your FANTASY is FACT.


Are you truly incapable of discerning the difference between a fact and an opinion?

It is not my opinion that God does not claim omniscience in the bible. It is a simple fact, easily verified by you or anyone else.

You are arguing based on your opinion and on other people's opinions. I am not.
frajo
3 / 5 (2) Mar 20, 2011
Division by zero and free will are undefined.
We'll master both.
The act of not defining "division by zero" constitutes mathematical mastership.

You are free to define "division by zero" in a mathematically immaculate way by, for instance, applying a one-point-compactification to the real line. Unfortunately, as a consequence, you can't continue to do mathematics the naive way.
Calenur
not rated yet Mar 20, 2011
Just....wow.
frajo
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 20, 2011
God does not claim omniscience.
All those commenters who are suggesting that the authors of the Bible attribute the quality "omniscience" to that object commonly called "god" are wrong. Thus, in this sense, you are right.
If you are not a Roman Catholic, then you are not obliged to believe in the omniscience of "god".
A simple search of the bible shows that he does not.
There is no "simple search" of the Bible. Because most people cannot read the original Bible. The can only read translations.
And those who can read the original Bible don't know the original meanings of the words as these meanings are depending on contexts we cannot retrace with certainty.
And a fictitious person with that comprehensive knowledge still would be subject to his own cultural roots.
This is not anyone's opinion. It is fact.
It's a fact that the Bible does not attribute omniscience to the character called "god". Worse: The authors of the Bible had no idea of the modern term "omniscience".
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.2 / 5 (10) Mar 20, 2011
It's a fact that the Bible does not attribute omniscience to the character called "god". Worse: The authors of the Bible had no idea of the modern term "omniscience".
What- all-knowing, all-seeing? Many ancient and modern gods claim this. This is included in the wiki def which you didn't read. It also includes islamic interpretation.

The bible does so state, by inference, implication, example, and by metaphor, that god is omni-everything. In the proper translation, the phrase 'I am that I am' would be expanded to say just that.

There is no-thing that god cannot do, cannot know, and cannot change past, present, or future. This is inherent in the very def of monotheism and essential to granting wishes.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.2 / 5 (10) Mar 20, 2011
Per example:
"The All-Seeing Eye was representative of the omniscience of Horus, the Sun God"

God knew you before you were in the womb. Another example of implication.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (4) Mar 20, 2011
All those commenters who are suggesting that the authors of the Bible attribute the quality "omniscience" to that object commonly called "god" are wrong. Thus, in this sense, you are right.
If you are not a Roman Catholic, then you are not obliged to believe in the omniscience of "god".

How can Catholicism hold that God is immanent and transcendant without omniscience?

You cannot be all seeing and timeless without a defacto admission of being all-knowing. This is supported by the writings of Tertullian and Origin. Modern catholicism may allow deviation from the statment of omniscience, but the base writings and their interpretations hold otherwise.

This is akin to how many Christians believe there is no afterlife for the human soul due to the statements of "to dust we all shall return."
hush1
3 / 5 (2) Mar 20, 2011
The act of not defining "division by zero" constitutes mathematical mastership.


Presumptuous. The act of not defining "division by zero" constitutes mathematical apprenticeship. Meaning always precedes definitions. Mastering meaning will always overshadow forthcoming definitions.

You are free to define "division by zero" in a mathematically immaculate way by, for instance, applying a one-point-compactification to the real line. Unfortunately, as a consequence, you can't continue to do mathematics the naive way.


I do not understand your point (pun intended). The point (literally and mathematically) added to the real line for compactification is and remains undefined.

There is no 'unfortunate consequence' in doing mathematics.
Doing mathematics in any way, (good, bad, wrong, right, naive, savvy, ...Ad infinitum), leads to continuation.

TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (10) Mar 20, 2011
Omniscience is also essential to the concepts of redemption and salvation. God must judge our worthiness better than we ourselves can by knowing everything we ever did and thought, and WHY. This is implicit in the term gods grace and is why calvinists for example hold that you are either born saved or condemned.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (2) Mar 20, 2011
God must judge our worthiness better than we ourselves can by knowing everything we ever did and thought, and WHY.
Ok I think this is a weak argument for the point. Where any one of us is a finite quantity one would need to only know all of our finite existence to appear all knowing without being truly omniscient.
LuckyBrandon
not rated yet Mar 20, 2011
just random thinking here, but i see alot of talk about pre-determination of killing yourself, yada yada...thats bs IMO...you have th choice to do it or not, a decision does change outcomes.
to use a variation of the ball instance in the article: if you push a ball, will it move or stay still? It moves... Why? Because you put a force on it right. So the act of putting a force on it determined it would move (and in a certain direction). But what if you decided not to push it....it wouldnt move, but you made the decision to make it not move.
In that thinking, it makes me think everything is "randomly determined".
Yes outcomes are determined on previous events, but if you had made a different decision, the same outcome would not result. Decision making is random based on cirucumstances.
Thinking out loud more than anything, and half awake at that.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.5 / 5 (11) Mar 20, 2011
Ok I think this is a weak argument for the point. Where any one of us is a finite quantity one would need to only know all of our finite existence to appear all knowing without being truly omniscient.
It can be considered one of many implications that, when taken together, tell us that this god was intended to be omniscient. Gods never tell us all we need to know about them. Their books need to be portable. So they say things in riddles and parables and examples, and leave it up to priests and scribes and prophets to tell us what they meant to say, like the Sybil translators, and iron out the inconsistencies. These guys had attendants like Levites with carts who could wheel their mishnahs and hadiths and sharia libraries around for them, which we dont.

Proto-xians discussed biblical content for centuries before finalizing canon to eliminate fatal flaws and embarrassing inconsistencies. They missed a few.
dogbert
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 20, 2011
It is amazing to see the lengths people will go to hold on to their opinions and dogma.

It is plain that god does not claim omniscience, but the people who want determinism and want to use god's omniscience to support that flawed concept continue to claim that omniscience even when it has been shown by the bible that god has never made such a claim.

It is humorous as well that the people who are claiming to know god better than god don't actually believe in a god.

People will fight to the death to preserve their logical errors and dogma.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2011
It is humorous as well that the people who are claiming to know god better than god don't actually believe in a god.

Knowledge of an idea is required in order to properly dismiss it.

People will fight to the death to preserve their logical errors and dogma
Yes, you would.
frajo
5 / 5 (2) Mar 20, 2011
If you are not a Roman Catholic, then you are not obliged to believe in the omniscience of "god".
How can Catholicism hold that God is immanent and transcendant without omniscience?
The Roman Catholic Catechism holds that "god" _is_ omniscient and omnipotent.

But unlike other denominations, Roman Catholicism does not rely on a literal exegesis of that collection of texts called "Bible". Thus any argument recurring to the Bible is of only minor importance for RCC members unless expressed by an authority.

Equally unknown to people without contact to the RCC is the ultimate position of the individual conscience concerning the _deeds_ of the believer.
dogbert
2 / 5 (4) Mar 20, 2011
People will fight to the death to preserve their logical errors and dogma


Yes, you would.


You have not heard me spouting dogma. Neither have I tried to support the notion of determinism on a logically flawed concept of an omniscience god as you have.
dogbert
2 / 5 (4) Mar 20, 2011
frajo,
But unlike other denominations, Roman Catholicism does not rely on a literal exegesis of that collection of texts called "Bible". Thus any argument recurring to the Bible is of only minor importance for RCC members unless expressed by an authority.


Correct. The Roman Catholic Church relies on dogma rather than scripture.
frajo
3 / 5 (2) Mar 20, 2011
You are free to define "division by zero" in a mathematically immaculate way by, for instance, applying a one-point-compactification to the real line. Unfortunately, as a consequence, you can't continue to do mathematics the naive way.


I do not understand your point (pun intended). The point (literally and mathematically) added to the real line for compactification is and remains undefined.

The Wikipedia entry on the "real projective line" provides you with a definition of "division by zero".

There is no 'unfortunate consequence' in doing mathematics.
I did not mention "unfortunate consequences". But it's inconvenient (for most people) to do mathematics in a not-naive way.
ereneon
5 / 5 (1) Mar 20, 2011
I don't see anything wrong with the idea of semi-determinism. If at the lowest level, the universe is governed by fundamentally probabilistic laws (which appears to be the case, for now at least) then there is some randomness. However, the randomness averages out on large scales, so things appear deterministic.
Random means unpredictable, as quantum events seem to be, deterministic means completely predictable, as macro-scale physics seems to be. When you combine these, you get a universe that is semi-predictable, meaning you can have some idea about what the future will be with some probability, but you can't be absolutely certain.
However, to me, neither randomness nor determinism make any sense with the sort of ethereal definition of free will that a lot of people use. What else is left besides randomness or causation or some combination of these?
ereneon
4 / 5 (1) Mar 20, 2011
As for free will and accountability for actions, I don't see why there is even a conflict. If you take a utilitarian point of view, then of course people who do bad things need to be punished/reformed, or how else will the world get any better? I think the real problem here is the idea of a kind of absolute morality that determines what is good and what is not. I think it is pretty clear that this does not exist. We should do what gets the best result, and that is all there is to it. I'm not saying that the ends justify the means, I'm just saying that we should spend our time thinking about the real consequences of our actions, not some artificial absolute morality that we need to abide by even if it leads to undesirable outcomes.
Empire_man_otto
2.1 / 5 (7) Mar 20, 2011
More shovelable crap:
Perhaps another way to put what I've said is that as we understand a phenomenon, we free ourselves from it.
So if we understand death, are we freed from it? No.
If free of choice is something we can come to understand, then we would be able to free ourselves from free choice, a pretty blatant paradox.
WTF.
Conversely, if we are unable to understand free choice, we will remain slaves to that freedom, which is also a paradoxical expression.
As well as meaningless; without content; empty and devoid of meaning.
The resolution of this paradox is to deny the phenomenal objectivity of free will. Free will is not an object for understanding, it is a condition for the possibility of understanding.
I am crying for the generations of young minds wasted wrestling with this. TM speaks in tongues like the great philos but without their legitimacy. So we can plainly see that it is babble, just like theirs. Ding an sich. Metaphysics. The soul. The mind. Crap.
TechnoPagan
not rated yet Mar 20, 2011
In almost any situation, one has the choice to kill themselves, regardless of how unappealing that choice is in almost any situation. I contend that this option allows free will even under otherwise "pre-determined outcome" conditions.


I think the idea that we are always free to kill ourselves, is pretty much assumed by everyone. I'm just not sure if it is something we can really take for granted.

Is it possible that at least some portion of the population, if not most, with the means and sufficient reason to end their life, would simply be unable to do so. They would not be able to pull that trigger even if they wanted to. How would you even determine between those who could and didn't and those who couldn't (this is wildly assuming that an experiment could ethically be constructed to test all this).
hush1
3 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2011
The Wikipedia entry on the "real projective line" provides you with a definition of "division by zero".


:) I stand corrected. "division by zero" has MANY definitions.
Your statement:
You are free to define "division by zero" in a mathematically immaculate way...


simply lends to my comment:
We'll master both


When the mathematical world (or for the philosophical world, as well) agree to ONE definition to their prospective areas of study - division by zero and/or free will - that will be the sign of mastery for me.

"Naive" for me is when there are as many definitions for a specific concept as there are branches of mathematics.

I UNDERSTAND the purpose of assigning many definitions to ONE concept ("division by zero") to accommodate and RESTRICT the properties of certain branches of mathematics to gain INSIGHT to a concept that has a potential application to the entire realm of mathematics.

cont...
hush1
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 21, 2011
Perhaps calling "division by zero" 'undefined' is a misnomer.
Instead of saying "division by zero" is'undefined', the better choice of words are your own words - slightly morphed:

"You are free to define "division by zero" in as many immaculate mathematically ways as the branches of mathematics find useful in elucidating the concept.

That "many definitions" carries into the meaning "undefined" is misleading. I understand.
hush1
3 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2011
In conclusion, compactification is an outcome of the axiom of choice. The axiom of choice is assumed to be true.

So there you have it. The assumption. Ironically tagged with the word "choice". A second assumption assigns us a "will" - the 'capability' to assume or claim any concept to be true.

Once upon a time, evolution brought forth humans, with a desire and philosophy, and a human urge or longing, for that whatever assumption humans made, those assumptions must fulfill a banner called "free".

Our will to assume is free. That is the assumption.
Determinism will always view this as a rule. Determined to assume nothing.
mg1
3 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2011
man there are some idiots.Americans probably..(sorry just a poke)

If the universe was deterministic, it would mean nothing you did matters. Well that may be true but it still doesnt mean nothing you do changes the future. Big..MASSIVE distinction.

The universe and the timeline of the universe are completely created by the actions of the present. Hence the universe doesnt care if you killed someone...but you might. This is inter-component entanglement or chaos theory. Something you do that is insignificant (and trust me anything you do is insignificant) has an effect that is significant.

You can rewind the clock of the universe as much as you like and each time you play you will have the same result. This is not determinism, this is simply watching a video.. GO in front of your tv and watch a video...rewind and play....rewind and play...Guess what the movie is the same. Free-Will is what created the video...determinism is the idiot (YOU) watching the video again and again.
mg1
1 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2011
Whats this thread about division by zero and unassigned or undetermined.

If you did all the working out you end up with the fact thats its impossible, its like saying when its night time the sun shines. Anyhone that does a divide by 0 is actually the same as shoving a hot poker up your bum.

Unassigned/undetermined is the term used by mathematicians to tell the lay-person to stop annoying them and go away, hoping they spend the rest of their lives being somewhere else.

Even your calculator should say error, if it doesnt, its telling you to go away as youre too stupid.
mg1
1 / 5 (1) Mar 21, 2011
"I refuse to go into talks about God, Because you cant win.Everytime you come up with a contradictory piece of evidence they change their minds."

Do you know who wrote those prophetic words?

Me, just then.
Hatguy
5 / 5 (1) Mar 21, 2011
A determinist is a person, who of thier own free will believess in the doctrine that all facts and events exemplify natural laws.

A determinist is a person who of thier own free will chooses to believe the doctrine that all events, including human choices and decisions, have sufficient causes.
mg1
3 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2011
The problem with the Bible, is that it is not endorsed by God. Much of scripture is completely different to whats in the bible and a lot of scripture is missing from the bible. (A fact lost on them)

People like to have faith, fair enough, but at least put your faith in something endorsed by the person who was supposed to have written it. As far as I can see GOD only endorsed 10 items, he/she did not endorse the bible.

Hence, anyone taking the bible as gods words are in effect speaking as the devil, who has in their own terms...confused them.

God (apparently) made 10 commandments...nothing more, nothing less.

I do not believe in god, but i can certainly see (insane) people making a big mistake in there faith.
hush1
5 / 5 (1) Mar 21, 2011
1.)Division by zero must be left undefined in any mathematical system that obeys the axioms of a field.

2.)As an algebraic structure, every field is a ring, but not every ring is a field. The most important difference is that fields allow for division (though not division by zero), while a ring need not possess multiplicative inverses.

Anyhone that does a divide by 0 is actually the same as shoving a hot poker up your bum.


Well, we mathematicians call that the "ring of fire".
See 1.) and 2.)
lol

Scientist_Steve
5 / 5 (3) Mar 21, 2011
@dogbert
I had given up on this discussion because I thought is was pointless........
However, i can't believe you are still arguing this point about Gods Omniscience. I think everyone can see your point that the bible never uses the exact word Omniscience in relation to God. But he still demonstrates His ability to "be" omniscient in numerous places throughout the bible. As in the example i gave before three times, Jesus and Judas. Jesus informs Judas that he will betray him in the coming days and although Judas is informed of his impending "choice", he still betrays him. How else would you describe that situation. Was it merely a really good guess by Jesus? Explain it to us.
Scientist_Steve
5 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2011
@dogbert
Or if that example still isn't satisfactory, explain the book of Revelation. Seems to just about anyone who reads it that it is a description of FUTURE events....
Let it go man, your argument is taking on water faster then you can bail.
dogbert
1 / 5 (5) Mar 21, 2011
Scientist_Steve,
Perhaps you should look up the meaning of the word omniscient. It deals with infinity. Infinity is a useful mathmatical concept, but it is essentially meaningless when applied to real things.( I am aware that the King James version of the bible erroneously attributes omnipotence to God, that is a translation error. )

You are welcome to your opinion, but you cannot make God something which he, himself, has not claimed to be.

I refer to scripture. You cite dogma. I would think a professed scientist would reject dogma out of hand.

Scientist_Steve
4.4 / 5 (5) Mar 21, 2011
@dogbert
If your entire argument hinges on the correct translation of the bible, then please enlighten us on which version you are referring to?
As to your comment on my understanding of omniscience, I understand the meaning. Whats your point? You used it first in your previous posts? Would you like to pick a new word?
As you mention above, i am welcome to my opinion and my opinion of Gods attributes are based on how the stories in the bible (apparently the King James version) have depicted Him. On a comical note, i would ask if you believe the account of Moses and the burning bush?
dogbert
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 21, 2011
You are welcome to your dogma. I am not impressed by arguments based on some third party's opinion, but you can base your reality on dogma if you choose.

The burning bush is in the bible -- any version you might like. An omniscient God is in no bible.
Scientist_Steve
5 / 5 (4) Mar 21, 2011
Oh come on! Thats hardly fair for you to not answer my questions.
Your response is typical of most religious fanatics.
As for my question about the burning bush, I would submit that if the story is true, God is a shape-shifter : ) But according to your logic, he is not and not capable of doing such, simply because He has never proclaimed I AM A SHAPE SHIFTER!! My point, all religious texts are full of stories that describe events and attributes of God and do not necessarily state in plain text characteristics that he clearly exhibits.
Your argument fails.
dogbert
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 21, 2011
You don't have to believe in God. You apparently don't.

Strange that you would lend credence to someone else's opinions but not to God's statements about himself.

You have no basis for you flawed opinions. Arguments based on "this is what I want reality to be" fail from lack of any bssis in reality.

Your arguments fail.
Scientist_Steve
5 / 5 (3) Mar 21, 2011
@dogbert
Please don't insult my intelligence by assuming anything about me.
Who's opinions exactly am I lending credence to?
My entire focus in this discussion has simply been leading up to my burning bush example above. You claim that all of us are making statements based on an incorrect assumption that we have interpreted from the bible. Yet you cannot admit that your own logic is flawed, because you too have made the same error in my burning bush example.
My argument is very solid.
dogbert
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 21, 2011
I made no error in your burning bush example. You volunteered your strange opinion on the account.

It is OK for you to express strange opinions. I don't care about your fantasies.
Kefir
5 / 5 (1) Mar 21, 2011
This isn't a rhetorical response to the current debate, but merely a question: Don't free will and determinism both require continuation of identity? What if "I" now am not the same "I" that existed a quantum moment ago? Then an experiment that pits will vs. causation would be flawed, wouldn't it?
dogbert
3 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2011
Kefir,
I think we presume a continuity of self or identity, but I fail to see how that is necessary for free will. All that is necessary for free will is that you have a choice and that you are free to make that choice.
Scientist_Steve
5 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2011
@dogbert
Congratulations! You have won by attrition / stubbornness. I will most likely give up shortly out of sheer boredom for where this conversation is going. If you cannot see the failure in your own logic that i clearly provided an example of above, there is really no point proceeding on here.
Its to bad you don't care more about my "fantasies", because i sorta had one about the direction of this conversation. Except it included you providing a better argument for me to destroy. Big swing and miss.
Moving on
dogbert
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 21, 2011
Scientist_Steve,

You are either being facetious or you know nothing at all about the issues being discussed.

When God spoke to Moses from a bush, God was not transformed into a bush. If he had spoken to Moses from a cave, he would not have transformed into stone either. God is spirit. If you knew anything at all about God you would know this.

God is not some SciFi/Fantasy "shape changer".

You need to try to live in the real world.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (9) Mar 21, 2011
Another possibility- perhaps god shared omniscience with the missus, who went the same way as the magdalene/mrs Jesus (I bet she knew that):

"God had a wife, Asherah, whom the Book of Kings suggests was worshiped alongside Yahweh in his temple in Israel, according to an Oxford scholar."
http
://news.discovery.com/history/god-wife-yahweh-asherah-110318.html
You need to try to live in the real world.
[silence]
dogbert
2.1 / 5 (7) Mar 21, 2011
TheGhostofOtto1923,

Don't let the opportunity to blaspheme pass you by.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (10) Mar 21, 2011
TheGhostofOtto1923,

Don't let the opportunity to blaspheme pass you by.
Me? I suppose god planted all those 2 seated icon holders in Jewish temples to blaspheme himself? Read the article. You blaspheme reason.

Let me address your addiction directly. There is no god. There is no soul. When you die you go nowhere, you just end. You will never see your dead relatives again because they too have ended. This is the awful reality that we face without the drug we call faith. Another insurmountable human dilemma. Evolution gave us brains which could remember the past and see our futures and it drives us insane.
Ethelred
3.9 / 5 (7) Mar 22, 2011
When God spoke to Moses from a bush, God was not transformed into a bush
When was that? Did it really happen? The latter answer is clear. No it did not happen.

But when did you think this non-event occurred? In years BC please. You can give a error spread if you want. If you can't give a date within a reasonable error spread than you simply don't know what you are talking about.

Which has been clear since you started here.

God is not some SciFi/Fantasy "shape changer".
If by god you mean Jehovah then your right. He doesn't exist in the first place. There may be a god but the Jehovah of Genesis simply does not exist.

You need to try to live in the real world.
I think IRONY fits that statement extremely well.

In any case most Christians believe that Jehovah is pretty much all-powerful and thus he can assume any shape he wants. So you are being heretical in claiming Jehovah is not a shape shifter.

Ethelred
Ethelred
3.9 / 5 (7) Mar 22, 2011
mg1 said
God (apparently) made 10 commandments...nothing more, nothing less.
No. Try and find an actual table of commandments in the Bible. It's not there. The numbers were put in later by people trying to pull the actual commandments from a series of remarks.

I did a search of the Bible via Blue Letter Bible and found the tablets were never laid out the way people think they were. I am constantly surprised at how much the Bible varies from the stories told ABOUT the Bible. For instance people think there was a warning about the flood and everyone but Noah failed to heed it. Not true. There was no warning. According to Genesis Jehovah INTENDED to kill everyone but Noah and his family and a warning would have been counterproductive and it simply isn't mentioned in the Bible in any case.

Ethelred
dogbert
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 22, 2011
Yes, Ethelred, you have properly established your atheism. I didn't mean to leave you out.

I find it strange that atheists spend so much of their time arguing (incorrectly) about God.

The phrase "Get a life!" comes to mind, but I know you have already rejected that path.
Ethelred
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 22, 2011
Ethelred, you have properly established your atheism
I am Agnostic. So no I did no such thing. I established that I think YOUR god doesn't exist and why. I have never claimed that there are no gods possible. Some can be tested, such as the Jehovah of Genesis or Thor of the Eddas. Some cannot. Deism can not be tested. Some Christians have beliefs that are not subject to testing. But Fundamentalist beliefs based on Genesis or even Exodus simply don't match the real world.

I find it strange that atheists spend so much of their time arguing (incorrectly) about God.
I find it strange that you waste so much time a science site pretending you are not a Fundamentalist. And making up crap like that. I am NOT an Atheist and just where did make an incorrect statement?

The phrase "Get a life!" comes to mind,
You should try that.

but I know you have already rejected that path.
Don't you ever get tired of lying like that. My life includes twitting twits.

Ethelred
Ethelred
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 22, 2011
Oh and I will repeat the question you evaded yet again.

When God spoke to Moses from a bush, God was not transformed into a bush
When was that? Did it really happen?

But when did you think this non-event occurred? In years BC please. You can give a error spread if you want. If you can't give a date within a reasonable error spread than you simply don't know what you are talking about.

Lying about me won't make me forget that you evaded the question. Keep in mind that I don't lose my temper in online discussions. After all, the only way for me to lose a discussion is to lose my temper and not wait till I calm down. Pretty rare for me to need to calm down these days.

Or to lie and evade to the point that everyone notices.

Since I take questions head on and don't lie, which is not to say that I don't make mistakes, I really can only lose if I lose my temper and I gave that up a long time ago.

Ethelred
Ethelred
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 22, 2011
However, i can't believe you are still arguing this point about Gods Omniscience. I think everyone can see your point that the bible never uses the exact word Omniscience in relation to God.
Dogbert has a point on this. The concept of Jehovah being omniscient is a matter of Christian belief but the Bible most certainly does not show Jehovah as being omniscient and I am not aware of anything in that would make it clear that Jehovah is supposed to be omniscient.

Quite a bit of Christian belief has no Biblical basis. The idea that there is only one god for instance. In Exodus it is hard to avoid coming to the the conclusion that not only did the person that wrote it believe in other gods but so did Jehovah. The Jews were not supposed to have OTHER gods before them. Not false gods, as you often see, but OTHER gods.

Ethelred
dogbert
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 22, 2011
Ethelred,

You have made it clear that you do not believe in the God of Abraham and therefore are not concerned with Moses and the burning bush, much less the time of the event.

I certainly don't care about the date.
Ethelred
3.9 / 5 (7) Mar 22, 2011
You have made it clear that you do not believe in the God of Abraham and therefore are not concerned with Moses and the burning bush, much less the time of the event.
False. That I don't believe in it does NOT mean that I am not interested in it.

I certainly don't care about the date.
Of course you aren't. Indeed you must AVOID thinking about the date at any cost. Such as evading all question you find might lead to thinking about it. After all if you deal with the date you will be confronted with the reality that the time makes no sense at all. Especially the time of the Flood.

So since you evaded again I have to ask again.

More
Ethelred
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 22, 2011
When God spoke to Moses from a bush, God was not transformed into a bush
When was that? Did it really happen?

But when did you think this non-event occurred? In years BC please. You can give a error spread if you want. If you can't give a date within a reasonable error spread than you simply don't know what you are talking about.

Please note that last part. You don't know what you are talking about if you don't know WHEN IT HAPPENED. So when did it happen?

You could actually answer a for once. You could quit instead quit spewing your fantasy based posts which is why I ask the questions that are straining your brain. The strain is from holding contradictory ideas.

Ethelred
dogbert
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 22, 2011
Your hate for God is not shared by me. You may search all you want for flaws in the bible. Have fun.
I am not a bible historian and don't care to become one. Neither do I care to disabuse you of your misconceptions. I have no desire to "save" you. You nay continue to hate God as long as you wish.
Ethelred
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 22, 2011
Your hate for God is not shared by me.
I don't hate things that don't exist.

You may search all you want for flaws in the bible. Have fun.
There are rather a lot of them. But Genesis one and two is more than enough to show the Bible does not match reality.

I am not a bible historian and don't care to become one.
Of course not. Most of them aren't fundamentalists.

Neither do I care to disabuse you of your misconceptions.
I have yet to see to see you show where I have a misconception. I go on what is written in the Bible and the physical evidence of the world around us. I am NOT going on the Dogma you keep ranting about. Just the actual words in the Bible.

have no desire to "save" you.
Pretty sure Jesus wouldn't like that. Not a matter of Dogma.

You nay continue to hate God as long as you wish.
Again. I can't hate something that does not exist.

Remember what I said about losing tempers. You have lost yours.

More
Ethelred
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 22, 2011
The point of my questions is that YOU have been spamming the site with YOUR religious beliefs while trying to pretend that they were not based on religion AND you seem to think that we should take your religious based thinking over physical evidence. Few of us are going to do that IF you can't support your thinking. To support you thinking you must show that it is more than a mere belief. If you can't answer a simple question about when things happened then you really should just go away.

Either go away or start dealing with the questions. Or you can just keep telling lies about me which I suspect is against your beliefs yet you keep doing it. Please tell me if this is the misconception you think I have. Perhaps you are a member of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Its OK by their thinking to tell lies to non-believers.

Ethelred
dogbert
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 22, 2011
I do not have to engage you in a debate about a God you admit you don't believe in. I have no desire to convert you or play your games. I will continue to discuss issues on this site. I don't ned your permission.
Gawad
5 / 5 (4) Mar 22, 2011
God is spirit. If you knew anything at all about God you would know this.... You need to try to live in the real world.
Wow. Doggy, that's some epic class irony there. Face -> palm.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.8 / 5 (11) Mar 22, 2011
I do not have to engage you in a debate about a God you admit you don't believe in. I have no desire to convert you or play your games. I will continue to discuss issues on this site. I don't ned your permission.
Good thing. It gives others ample opportunity to discredit your beliefs in public.

Here you have no trappings, no steeples, no vestments, no raiments, no pulpits, no icons. Here we have the book firsthand and can quote it in direct response to your deceptions. Makes it easier to expose your nonsense for what it is.

Here we win and you lose, whether you realize it or not. Hurry back.
Ethelred
3.9 / 5 (7) Mar 22, 2011
I do not have to engage you in a debate about a God you admit you don't believe in.
I thank you for your surrender.

I have no desire to convert you or play your games.
Liar. You have been playing games on this site since you started. You went to considerable effort to avoid committing yourself. You even bragged that there was no evidence. But I found it anyway. You lost the game. So now you are lying about playing games to go along with all the other lies.

I will continue to discuss issues on this site.
Fine. Then don't complain when we point out that you are wrong. You are irrelevant unless you can you can give some support to your statements.

I don't ned your permission.
Of course not. BUT I don't need YOUR to point out your continued errors and total lack of guts.

SO...

More
Ethelred
3.9 / 5 (7) Mar 22, 2011
Just when was the Flood? How do you reconcile that date with REAL human history? If you don't know when it happened how do you really know it happened? And why do you think a book with a Flood that never happened is the word of a god.

The questions ARE relevant. Ignoring them won't make them go away. Indeed they are the heart of the matter as long as you insist on pitting unsupportable faith against reality in discussions on a science site.

I don't go to religious sites to spam them with reality. Please do the same for us realists.

Remember, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Ethelred
frajo
not rated yet Mar 22, 2011
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Only them or third parties, too?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.5 / 5 (8) Mar 22, 2011
Since the flood myth would have required suspending many physical laws (and thereby demonstrating how they are inadequate for miracle-making despite the fact that a perfect god created them to be PERFECT)... Perhaps the flood was a time-compressed event, ie a 'flash' flood. A warpage of some sort where god fast-forwarded some millions of years in an instant, thereby satisfying both godders and us fact-lovers at the same time. Something like what he did with the inflationary period, for the same mysterious and unfathomable reasons -?
hush1
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 23, 2011
A warpage of some sort where god fast-forwarded some millions of years in an instant, thereby satisfying both godders and us fact-lovers at the same time.


That is not an astronomical comment.
That is a cosmological comment.
Probably all hot and puffy, or even inflationary - and size depends on a yardstick.

Only them or third parties, too?


lol Plaintiff is leading the defendant, your Honor. Objection! :)
Ethelred
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 23, 2011
frajo
Only them or third parties, too?
Them there three people that ware partyin on ther website we all ur arguing on. They all warn't warshin theys hands. I warz sayin they alls shoulds be treatings each ither liek they warnt to be traited ifin theys expectorates being traited wells themselvs. Ist thart clear nuff fer yer?

hush1
and size depends on a yardstick.
So if I use a meter stick then all I get is music and not a size. No wonder the girls laugh at me when I say it's 12 notes long.

EthelBobJonBillyRed
hush1
3 / 5 (2) Mar 23, 2011
Them there three people that ware partyin on ther website we all ur arguing on. They all warn't warshin theys hands. I warz sayin they alls shoulds be treatings each ither liek they warnt to be traited ifin theys expectorates being traited wells themselvs. Ist thart clear nuff fer yer?


lol Priceless. Even for my Swiss colleagues. Unbezahlbar.
tamurphy
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 23, 2011
Back to the question of free will...

It seems to me that common experience decoheres within inflating probabilities in "real time" through the agency of environmentally induced superselection (einselection). This superselecting environment includes everything perceivable, as well as perception itself. Any notion of "free will" on the part of organically evolving perceivers must somehow influence the autonomic process of einselecting decoherence. To obviate shear determinism, the intent of the perceiver must influence the evolution of the universal superposition (cf. Hartle-Hawking No Boundary Proposal) upon which decoherence operates.

Even if individual intent does exert such an influence, the question remains as to whether the arising of intent within this endless feedback loop is similarly autonomic.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (10) Mar 23, 2011
It seems to me that common experience decoheres within inflating probabilities in "real time" through the agency of environmentally induced superselection (einselection). This superselecting environment includes everything perceivable, as well as perception itself. Any notion of "free will" on the part of organically evolving perceivers must somehow influence the autonomic process of einselecting decoherence. To obviate shear determinism, the intent of the perceiver must influence the evolution of the universal superposition (cf. Hartle-Hawking No Boundary Proposal) upon which decoherence operates...
Christ. Say you get an idea that you want ice cream. Is it because youre a tad hypoglycemic, you saw a commercial for ice cream, or you glimpsed someone eating a cone?

Once freud established the concept of an unconscious mind, the possibility of free will evaporated. Genetics, behaviorism, cognitive and evolutionary psychology blew the vapors away. Your word spaghetti is annoying.
Ethelred
3 / 5 (4) Mar 23, 2011
Back to the question of free will...
You forgot to use enough gobbledegook. May I recommend:

Eigenstates
Kant
Quantum entanglement
42
Einstein said
Godel's Proof
Noumenon - the word or the physorg member
Manifold
a priori
transcendental
The University of Wallamalu
Weltanschauung
Obfuscate
Bayesian

Always use German when there is a perfectly good word in English. English has far too many words so the needless use of a more convoluted language is a great way to make things less clear. Especially when clarity could be disastrous. Keep in mind that when the Der Kaiser ist nackt it is best to remain opaque.

Ethelred
Ethelred
3 / 5 (4) Mar 23, 2011
Otto engaged in a major fail thusly
Once freud established the concept of an unconscious mind, the possibility of free will evaporated.
And you consider Freud to be an unimpeachable authority on anything, anything at all. He created a brand new field of human knowledge. Unfortunately it started on a basis of purest crap. Freud is important. Both for founding that new field and for holding it back by many decades.

Genetics, behaviorism, cognitive and evolutionary psychology blew the vapors away.
The technical term for that is Horseshit. Quantum uncertainty blows all that away by destroying the whole idea of a mechanical universe with a future that is set in stone at the start.

our word spaghetti is annoying.
Its funny. You need an elbow transplant.

OK if he actually thought it needed to be written that way it's annoying. I am assuming that it was intentionally obfuscatory for satirical purposes.

Ethelred
ereneon
5 / 5 (1) Mar 24, 2011
As I said in my earlier post, whether you have a deterministic or probabilistic universe, I don't see any room for the the kind of ethereal free will that some people are proposing. Whether your actions are determined by the output of some huge finite state machine or some random variables, I don't see much of a difference.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.5 / 5 (8) Mar 24, 2011
You forgot to use enough gobbledegook.
You forgot kant. No wait, no you didnt.
And you consider Freud to be an unimpeachable authority on anything, anything at all. He created a brand new field of human knowledge. Unfortunately it started on a basis of purest crap.
No I dont. But he advanced the idea that things go on inside our heads that we are not aware of. And that reality says we can never be certain where our motivations come from.
The technical term for that is Horseshit. Quantum uncertainty blows all that away by destroying the whole idea of a mechanical universe with a future that is set in stone at the start.
Whaaatt? Consider that we are the end result of the successful interaction of countless generations of life with its environment. Our configuration reflects this success. We act, think, and feel in ways consistant with, and limited by, this configuration. Our ability to make choices starts there. It has nothing to do with quantum insecurity.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.8 / 5 (9) Mar 24, 2011
OK if he actually thought it needed to be written that way it's annoying. I am assuming that it was intentionally obfuscatory for satirical purposes.
Naw I think the dude was serious which makes it even funnier. Hey philo! Defend yourself if you dare! Sprichts du Deutsch vielleicht?
And that reality says we can never be certain where our motivations come from.
Let me qualify that. Science can tell us a great deal about our hidden motivations, and already has. While the unconscious mind keeps our personal motivations from us, they are not unfathomable; and it is conceivable that one day we might be augmented with realtime AI which can critique our decisions based on a more complete knowledge of our internal state, and help us to make better ones.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.1 / 5 (7) Mar 24, 2011
You know, I seem to recall an incident where a paper of similar pasta-like composition was submitted to a respectable philo journal, which they published, and it turned out to be a scam. Was that an exerpt or were you feeling creative? Nice play Shakespeare. Perfidious Albion- you are British aren't you? Na und, otto just gets to preach some more-
frajo
not rated yet Mar 25, 2011
Ist thart clear nuff fer yer?
It's another stone in the mosaic, thanks.
frajo
5 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2011
In conclusion, compactification is an outcome of the axiom of choice.
Not really. The real projective line is the result of a special one-point compactification (described in Wikipedia:"Extended real number line") which does not need the AC.
You need, however, the AC to prove that a certain ("Stone-Cech") compactification is possible for any given topological space.

The axiom of choice is assumed to be true.
An axiom is _defined_ to be a proposition which cannot be deduced from other propositions. Thus, it is not _assumed_ to be true. Rather, it is _set_ to be true.

A whole branch of mathematics ("constructivism") rejects the AC (which does _not_ mean the AC is assumed to be false) as it allows to deal with objects that are proven to exist without being able to uniquely determine their structure.
Which leads to quite counter-intuitive results like the Banach-Tarski paradox.
malapropism
5 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2011
... But that's basing the creator's existence on a set of myths and legends of the various peoples of the world. Do you think that any of them actually witnessed the 'real' creator? I think we can safely discount that notion, and therefore any 'proofs' that may rely on these myths.


Firstly, sorry, been offline for a couple of days hence not replying sooner.

Secondly, your point is quite right IMHO. There is no reason to assume that anyone witnessed either the creator-being actually doing the creating nor that they were magically handed evidence by her/him/it. (Why believe what they say anyway, without proof?)

These are all simply (and literally) creation myths of primitive tribes-people. Any proofs would have to proceed from first principles and including some form of empirical evidence to back-up the truth of the assertion.

(Unless of course someone makes a time machine and actually sees any of this happening and can record it. I look forward to seeing this!)
malapropism
5 / 5 (2) Mar 28, 2011
The notion of a creator surely needs to be more general and abstract than what is found in various religious texts.


But what you are now advocating is simply a shift from theism (belief in a personal - usually anthropomorphised - creator) to deism (belief in some extra-universal super-being that created the universe but takes no personal interest in us).

I cannot see any justification for the former belief and can't see any reason to require the second. While it's true that physics can't yet provide a proof of how the universe came to be, it seems to me that it can provide enough rational argument from just milliseconds after that coming into being happened, that the putative deistic entity is probably not needed.

You may find "The Evolution of God" by Robert Wright interesting, as he works through many of the arguments on these points. He also discusses at length just where and how the Hebrew, Christian and Muslim holy books fail of explanation and historical accuracy.
Ethelred
1 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2011
Whether your actions are determined by the output of some huge finite state machine or some random variables, I don't see much of a difference.
I do. IF the world is set at the start then you don't have even the remotest possibility of making a choice as the choice was made when the world started. Everything that even hints at choice in such a world is only illusion.

Randomness, at least of the quantum variety, gives at the least an opportunity for choice. Yes there are constraints on choice but in no way is that the same as not having a choice.

Then again I tend to towards the Many Worlds Model of uncertainty which means you would make EVERY possible choice. The key there is POSSIBLE. Just because a person has the opportunity do any particular thing that does not mean they will do so in ANY world.

Ethelred
hush1
3 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2011
An axiom is _defined_ to be a proposition which cannot be deduced from other propositions. Thus, it is not _assumed_ to be true. Rather, it is _set_ to be true.

A whole branch of mathematics ("constructivism") rejects the AC (which does _not_ mean the AC is assumed to be false) as it allows to deal with objects that are proven to exist without being able to uniquely determine their structure.


Dunno.
"Rather, it is _set_ to be true."
Yes. That is the assumption.

The axiom is _set_to be true.
The axiom is _assumed_ to be true.

As far as mathematical research and study are concerned, the statements are equivalent.

I can not unravel the difference in meaning of both statements. Can you pinpoint the subtlety exactly, and describe the consequences in treating the statements differently?

hush1
3 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2011
A whole branch of mathematics ("constructivism") rejects the AC (which does _not_ mean the AC is assumed to be false) as it allows to deal with objects that are proven to exist.


The constructive's "rejection" is as good as saying:
"We don't care what is "set" (or assumed).

"AC allows to deal with objects that are proven to exist without being able to uniquely determine their structure."

Those "objects" neither restrict nor enhance "a whole branch of mathematics".

A "constructionist" sees a purpose in rejection.
The "object's" existence is not questioned.
The "object's" consistency with "constructivism" underlies (temporary) rejection. To extend mathematical research and study, "setting" or "assuming" or "rejecting" has no immediate consequence to extending the reaches of mathematics.

Yes, of course, paradoxes are sources of inspiration and motivation. No less so for consistency, as well. Math continues on all fronts - whether the progress comes from AC or not.



hush1
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 30, 2011
Always use German when there is a perfectly good word in English. English has far too many words so the needless use of a more convoluted language is a great way to make things less clear. Especially when clarity could be disastrous. Keep in mind that when the Der Kaiser ist nackt it is best to remain opaque.


lol
I am bias. The more languages you know, the less chance there is to say something, without reflecting on the meaning of their translations. So who needs translation when there is no better substitute for the original? You can't be sure of the original, before knowing all of the substitutes.

To be sure, though, I'm offering no excuses for Otto's ballpark German. ;)
frajo
not rated yet Mar 31, 2011
The axiom is _set_to be true.
The axiom is _assumed_ to be true.

As far as mathematical research and study are concerned, the statements are equivalent.
No.
I can not unravel the difference in meaning of both statements. Can you pinpoint the subtlety exactly, and describe the consequences in treating the statements differently?

Scenario A:
I find an archaeological figure, centuries old, no color visible. Ancient scriptures tell me that this is a statue of a goddess which used to be painted black and gold. Therefore, I _assume_ the thing had been black and gold originally well aware this assumption could be wrong.
Scenario B:
I'm a sculptor and I've just created a statue of an ancient goddess. Today I'll paint it black and gold as the old scriptures demand. Thus, I've _set_ the colors and, whatever happens to that piece of art, I'll know its original colors; no assumption needed.

It's philosophical: Are the propositions of maths existing a priori or constructed by humans?
Ethelred
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 31, 2011
It's philosophical: Are the propositions of maths existing a priori or constructed by humans?
Neither. The PRINICIPLES behind the math exists whether humans do or not. The language is human. See calculus for instance where it was created by Newton but we use Leibnitz's notation.

Human ideas can be mistaken. Only testing tell us what is real in this universe. However I have never seen anything that implies that there can be universes without logic that is the same as this one. Humans CAN think of things that aren't real but so far I have yet to hear of anyone creating a system of logic that cannot produce numbers. I don't think it can be done since need for a system implies a set of axioms and rules that is more than a single statement.

For instance, of the top of my head, I think the bare minimum of any system of logic

IS
IS NOT

And there you have two statements 0 and 1. Or 1 and 2 which implies 3 and dividing 3 by 2 produces non-integers.

Ethelred
frajo
not rated yet Mar 31, 2011
A whole branch of mathematics ("constructivism") rejects the AC...
The constructive's "rejection" is as good as saying:
"We don't care what is "set" (or assumed).
They do care. They consider the AC to be sweet poison. Sweet because it helps a lot when proving certain theorems. Dangerous because it leads to counter-intuitive conclusions.

"AC allows to deal with objects that are proven to exist without being able to uniquely determine their structure."

Those "objects" neither restrict nor enhance "a whole branch of mathematics".
Constructivists require that "one must be able to construct, in an explicit and canonical manner, anything that is proven to exist". (Wikipedia)

A "constructionist" sees a purpose in rejection.
The "object's" existence is not questioned.
An object that cannot be constructed explicitly is not existing in constructivism.
hush1
3 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2011
Let me pondered or reflect about your insightful replies.
What a beautiful language. The language is human.
hush1
3 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2011
I believe the human act or action that represents the 'event' with the words "to set" in our example, represents the human act or action that represents the 'event' described by the words:
"to assume".

"to set" assumes a will. A human will. Regardless, if 'free' or not.

Whether principles always exist or existed is secondary.
Only our - and our only - assumption:
We have will, is primary.
The will "to set" principles.

Always motivating, are your words and comments. Thanks.

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