Do we truly have free will ?

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posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 05:47 AM
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How could a person prove that free will is real ?

Before I get attacked by anyone I would like to say that I am asking this as a question for discussion . I am not going to give my personal opinion one way or another. I may bring up points or play devils advocate , but it is to further a constructive attempt to answer the question.

Some people believe that we as individuals have what is called a free will or we can make choices based on our own reality.

Some people believe that fate or that every event is predetermined .

I would like to see if anyone could prove that free will exists.




posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 06:04 AM
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reply to post by bigheadjay
 


As far as not being able to stay home when the alarm clock goes off, instead of going to work sort of thing, no, people do not have free will in that respect.

In my opinion, free will means doing the right thing as far as morals are concerned. An example of this would be finding a wallet full of cash. You could either keep it, or return it to the owner. That would be your choice, and proves that free will does exist.



posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 06:11 AM
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Hmm it sure appears that we have free will.

If I want to go out and meet someone, I can. If I want to wear my left shoe on my right foot on weekends, I can. If I want to eat catfood (on toast), I can.

Whether or not a certain action was/is pre-determined, it sure seems like I chose to do it and therefore I'll say that yes, we do have free will.



posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 06:49 AM
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If no single person made us do anything the necessity for food, shelter, warmth would cause us all to get up and get going. Also a crying baby will do that as well.



posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 08:24 AM
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In many respects it can be said that we don't have free will.

First of all we have societal constraints, and laws, and even religious constraints.

If a person acts outside of these laws they are locked up.

If a person acts outside of societal constraints and etiquette they may be shunned.

Of course it can be said that a person exercises free will, will be choosing to act outside the boundaries of society and what is deemed acceptable, but it may also be said that anti-authoritarianism is a consequence of nurture rather than free will and as such cannot be considered free will.

If a person is acting in a particular way because of learned experience in childhood, they are not acting with free will, but are a product of a certain kind of programming.

Then there is our biological programming or "instinct" - we are hard wired to do certain things, such as a baby crying to indicate a want or need.
This behaviour is not learned, it is programmed into us.

So while it may appear that in some instances we have free will, in reality it is subject to a multitude of factors and as such cannot truly be called free will.

[edit on 21/3/2009 by budski]

[edit on 21/3/2009 by budski]



posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 11:42 AM
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reply to post by bigheadjay
 


Thank you, BigHeadJay, for this thread. Now, we're talking about scientific proof of a "choice" that can alter "timeline" dimensions, right? Because, there is NO scientific proof for "free" choice, that is something that makes "time" branch off into another reality from the reality of the opposite of that choice.

Now, the fact that we feel it is "free" and are incapable of understanding the complete complexity of the hard-determined reality of these 4 (which is all we have proof of) dimensions, makes it seem as though we do, in fact, have free choice. And, the truth is, there is no way for anyone who sees the world in a "free choice" way to understand "hard-determinism" without understanding physics the way we scientists do. Since they're not going to do the research, and are incapable of accepting scientific proofs, we hard-determinists are doomed to fail to explain it to them that there really is only ONE timeline; ONE reality of 4 dimensions.

The 5th dimension (of which science is just now looking for evidence) is still eluding proof. The string theory is just that, a theory, and has no real scientific basis. It only has an intuitive basis for a theory. Again, no proof.

You can say that the fact that I chose to use proper spelling and grammar in this message was a choice, but I assure you, it was pre-determined.

Let me put it to you this way. If free choice was real, then there would have been an infinite number of alternate pasts, where, in one of them, someone would have figured out how to travel to the future (now) and into different dimensions (here), and we would have some kind of contact or information from them, because they would be scientists, and know how to contact the masses, directly. And, since (in a free-choice model) that INFINITELY LIKELY scenario never happened, then the past must be completely solid. And, physics PROVES that things that work in one direction of entropy work in exactly the opposite direction of entropy. So, if the past is solid, so is the future. End of discussion.

Go do some actual science! Go PROVE free-will! The illusion of free-will is just what happens in a 'hard-determined' reality, to help us understand an infinitely complex physical system and best adapt to the reality we're faced with.

Why can't we PROVE the future? Because we'd have to know the position, spin, energy, and velocity of every single particle in the universe down to an infinite precision. And, since this is impossible, it is fair to "allow" you believers in "free-will" to believe that, because it just might be impossible to ever be able to predict the precise future very far, as chaos intervenes (chaos being our inability to accurately predict everything)

O-315



posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 11:46 AM
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The fact that innocent people are in jail, proves free will is rubbish. I have no control over my life, i am monitored 24 hours a day, so tell me how that it free will, people just needed to make it up about me.

Free will is bull, and there is plenty of facts to prove that.



posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 11:47 AM
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Originally posted by GobbledokTChipeater
Hmm it sure appears that we have free will.

If I want to go out and meet someone, I can. If I want to wear my left shoe on my right foot on weekends, I can. If I want to eat catfood (on toast), I can.

Whether or not a certain action was/is pre-determined, it sure seems like I chose to do it and therefore I'll say that yes, we do have free will.


I completely agree that it is impossible to understand our motivations down to a infinitely complex quantum reality. And, I am, therefore, capable of typing this whole message with just my left hand, by choice. But, that choice was already written into the future, and now, the past. So, I'm agreeing with you, that the illusion of free-will is as persistent an observation as the persistence of reality itself (for us 4-d humans). If you were a quantum-sized intelligence, you may have a different view of that.

O-315



[edit on 21-3-2009 by organism315]



posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 11:59 AM
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Memories are the foundation of decisions. Your memory is what "shows" you the correct way to "go". The only reason any of us are differnt is because we have indivudual and separate memories.

No we do not have free will. As a baby the things you see and experiance shape how you will approch the future. Everything you do is based on memory. It is all you are.

People come to conclusions for reasons. No matter how many times you rewind the movie of your life and play it again you will still make the same choices, because there was no free will.



posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 08:33 PM
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Free Will is an interesting subject.

I like to believe that I make the choice to get up in the morning, eat breakfast, and head to class, and come home, ATS, eat dinner etc... I like to believe that I am in control of everything that I do..

However.

As far as my "Principles of Conditioning" Prof is concerned, all of our actions are actually a "reaction" to the environment and situations around us. Cause and Effect. I'm not saying that I believe this, but in some cases, it makes sense.

The example he used to prove his case was:

"How many of you chose to come to class today."

The entire class raised their hands, to which he replied:

"You did? Are you sure? You're in this class, because you need it to graduate, you have to come to class so that you can learn the material for the weekly quiz's, etc etc. So are you actually choosing to be here?

No. Not really. You've signed up for this class because you HAVE to. You NEED this class. You're sitting in my class today because if you weren't here, you would miss the mid-term outline, and if you miss that, then you're screwed for the exam, and if you're screwed for the exam then you're gonna fail this class and if you fail the class, then you don't graduate. Thus, you have reacted, you have been presented the opportunity to graduate from the program, and you have reacted to it by coming to class which wasn't really a choice at all, but a requirement.


Something along those lines. But I looked at it as "I choose to come to class because I chose to pass, and I choose to skip class if I choose to risk failing."

He hasn't convinced me either way yet - as I personally like to believe that all the decisions I make (right or wrong) are based on my own choice to do so, and that I am always in control of what I do.


- Carrot



posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 09:09 PM
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for some reason this made me think of "random number generators"......

When I was messing with visual basic 4.0 the random number thing came up cause I was trying to play with encryption. Interesting subject!!!

Are random numbers random???? Can we really generate random numbers?

Do we truly have free will? I work on the thought that we do..... However someone brought out that society and religion does put a damper on that? It is our choice to follow that or not.........................

Still a very interesting question...........

Don't know why I even commented?....................... free will maybe?



posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 09:30 PM
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I like to believe in Freewill and I like to also believe in fate. I have always loved exercising my freewill in sometimes odd, creative and sometimes totally unexpected ways. This has gotten me both into and out of my fair share of trouble over the years. Well, honestly into and out of more than my fair share of trouble over the years. You might consider it being a product of the first saying that stuck with me when I was still playpen bound and jealously eyed an older sibling and a parent enjoying libations and other refreshments, while watching the first run episodes of the original Star Trek. “To boldly go where no man has gone before!” That’s what I am talking about, now would someone please get me out of the playpen so I could get on with that! Oh and a coke too please.

Sadly it would be a couple more months before I was liberated from the playpen and could formulate whole sentences. I wasted no time in making up for lost time though.

I followed that motto for a very long time “To bravely go where no man has dared to go before”, if it was unorthodox, unheard of, dangerous, even considered impossible, or even completely insane that was like a gold leafed invitation to me. Exercising my free will to not just dare to try but dare to believe I could succeed took me far and wide and through many an adventure.

Right up until the day I reached a portal to a place I had to freeze in absolute horror and wonder and say…wait a second, no man has ever dared to go here. I stood there transfixed in my panic realizing for the first time the true extent of the power and simple secrets of the universe and should I choose to accept this invitation to exercise my freewill that where I would be going would not be as a man, nor was there any chance I would return as a man and the man I was.

Yet still I had a choice. I could accept and explore my destiny on the other side, or I could choose to cling to my life on this one. Yet I understood there was a caveat that if I chose to cling to my life on this side, I would be forevermore bound by a fate that would become inescapable no matter what I chose to decide in the future.

In that endless amount of time in the fractions between moments I even saw what my fate would entail. I even knew it was the wrong choice to stay.

What could I do? There were no ice cold coca colas to be had in the infinite beyond, not a machine or a vendor in sight! I chose to stay and act out my bad part in a bad script, bound by the role and the plot.

Now did I ever have freewill up to that pivotal deciding moment? Did I even have freewill in the decision not to cross over to the other side? I mean, in theory the universe could be laden with coke machines and they hid them all, to keep me from going through the door and abandoning my role in the script?

I don’t know, but I do know in the fraction between tic and tock I realized I had been carrying a lot more information and answers inside of me to questions I was always looking externally for answers too but could never find.

It does and did appear to me that we have free will in choosing our roles that are then bound by the fate the script has written for them. Can you wear blue or lavender to the funeral you must attend instead of black? Yes you sure can, but you still have to attend. Can you get a three bedroom instead of a one bedroom in the town your part calls for you to be in? Yes, you sure can. You still have to live in that town though. Can you pack two bags instead of one, on the day you have to move to the next town to the next act? Yes, but you still have to go that day. You get a little wiggle room to decide some relatively inconsequential things, the rest is all fate, fate, governed by the weight of the circumstances that propels you and compels you to pay heed and react.

The good news is, there is almost always time for and a refreshment stand along the way.

So have a coke and a smile, and if it makes you feel more original, rejecting the original have a Pepsi instead. That is if the refreshment stand carries it!



posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 09:46 PM
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reply to post by ProtoplasmicTraveler
 





It does and did appear to me that we have free will in choosing our roles that are then bound by the fate the script has written for them. Can you wear blue or lavender to the funeral you must attend instead of black? Yes you sure can, but you still have to attend. Can you get a three bedroom instead of a one bedroom in the town your part calls for you to be in? Yes, you sure can. You still have to live in that town though. Can you pack two bags instead of one, on the day you have to move to the next town to the next act? Yes, but you still have to go that day. You get a little wiggle room to decide some relatively inconsequential things, the rest is all fate, fate, governed by the weight of the circumstances that propels you and compels you to pay heed and react.


There is no wiggle room. You are ignorant of how much your memories dictate course of action. Without memories there is no selection.... no knowledge and no desire. Your Experiances dictate the number of bags... or the color of your clothes. Nothing is random... everything happens for a reason, cause and effect are never broken throughout infinity.



posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 11:12 PM
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No. That would mean people are independent of God's will and universal law.

All actions are set into motion and while we perceive ourselves as having choice, what we choose is determined by our personality.

Could Charles Manson or Hitler POSSIBLY be good? Could Mother Teresa POSSIBLY be evil?

[edit on 21-3-2009 by Donnie Darko]



posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 11:52 PM
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Originally posted by Donnie Darko
Could Charles Manson or Hitler POSSIBLY be good? Could Mother Teresa POSSIBLY be evil?


Yes. Had situations, environments, and life experiences been different - any one of those people could have been anything.

- Carrot



posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 12:31 AM
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Wow,I thank everyone for their responses, they have made me think.

If we believe in the laws of cause an effect,we can say for every cause there is an effect and every effect has a cause.

1. I was told one time that anything I did would have an effect somewhere no matter how small. I can look at this logically and say to myself this statement could be true.

2. I also wondered if anything I did was caused by an effect somewhere else no matter how small.

Logically these two statements could make sense.

Emotionally though these two statements don't feel to good for a number of reasons.

We as human beings have both logic and emotion,this I think most can agree upon.

If one believes there is no free will, I am sure there is a scientific or logical way to prove this for some. Others will believe in the ability of a person to have free will.

Could human emotions somehow be built in to keep us human or in other words to give us free will or to make us believe in free will?

We can look all around society and see machines that have been built for one purpose or another.Lets look at say a simple calculator. A calculator has been built and programed to add , subtract, multiply etc.A calculator has what one could say a simple thought process some may even have a memory to keep previous calculations.

A calculator is somewhat of a simple machine , but like all machines no matter how complex can only behave in the way in which they are meant to.
In other words a calculator could not preform like a blender . If the calculator stopped preforming the actions it was built for and preformed another function we would say it was broke or at the very least we could not call it a calculator no more.

I guess there are machines that can learn but these are built in to them and there is still only so much that they can do also.

My question would be , are we as humans nothing more then complex machines ? If so would this prove for or against free will?

Just food for thought.



posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 12:32 AM
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First, you should define what you are callling "free will". After that we can try get to some discussion.

2nd line?



posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 12:35 AM
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If you just take a look at the harsh reality of what a choice actually consists of you can see there is no such thing as free will aka choice.

Billions of neurons in your head are fired off in your head before you make a choice. The pathways in your brain are triggered based off what you have learned/experienced in the past.

Of course, when we make a choice we are unaware of the background "processing" that goes on in our brains, so it seems as though we actually have made a choice. The emotions that go along with making a choice, the ones that say "ok you have made a choice, good job, on to the next task" exist for our survival. This is how we proceed through time, to perpetuate the next firing off of neurons that will enable us to survive.

The word "choice" was invented by us to make our selves have a purpose, an emotional drive, to make us special to continue to fight the fight we do, life.

All of this being said, we all have the illusion of choice, so this discussion is kind of null. Even though I know its a mechanical process that just enables my survival, I still have no clue of all the "mechanics" behind it, so to me, damn, I just made a choice to type all of this !




[edit on 22-3-2009 by R3KR]

[edit on 22-3-2009 by R3KR]



posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 01:10 AM
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Originally posted by CA_Orot

Originally posted by Donnie Darko
Could Charles Manson or Hitler POSSIBLY be good? Could Mother Teresa POSSIBLY be evil?


Yes. Had situations, environments, and life experiences been different - any one of those people could have been anything.

- Carrot



True I guess. But with their lot, I don't think they could just "choose" to be nice people, by whim of their souls.



posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 01:13 AM
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Originally posted by Donnie Darko
True I guess. But with their lot, I don't think they could just "choose" to be nice people, by whim of their souls.


Had their "souls" been born into a different time frame, a different country, a different way of life - there is no telling what they could have become.

I'm a firm believer that experiences in life shape us to be the people that we are.

- Carrot





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