reply to post by Astyanax
I'm sorry if you were offended. Is not the self-evidence of free will an article of faith with you? It seemed so to me.
I think I see where the misunderstanding lies. Are you using the religious definition of faith? My faith lies in my experiences and knowledge of
the world through my perceptions. I trust that what I have seen, learned, known, and experienced will continue consistently in the future. As an
example: I have learned and observed that pigment in human skin produces a variety of colors limited to a certain range. I trust that I will not see
purple, barring any side effect of an illness. I did see someone on TV who had turned blue due to medicine or something.
It could well be that you are simply here to listen to faith-based arguments (they are common in this forum), or to propound them. There are
plenty of creationists who visit this forum for exactly those purposes, so it is not an untoward assumption. In my experience, people who advance
propositions based on faith are not really open to rational argument. If you are insulted at being lumped among the believers, I apologize.
I am open to listening to any argument or statement of belief. Everything that I take plays a role in extending my knowledge. That doesn’t mean I
agree with every statement, but I strive for understanding of that which is unclear to me.
Very well, but you have yet to explain--that is, propose any reasons--why this is so. As far as anyone here can tell, your position is purely
faith-based. I'm pleased you took time to read the link, however. Thank you.
Does the material in the first section – I think I see where the…’ – qualify as an explanation? Everything that I believe is determined by my
observations of the world. I accept that which is most reasonable to me within the context of my experiences and learning.
I did realize that I can agree with a limited version of determinism. Here are some examples.
1) I do believe that any decision I make is influenced, or determined by, my prior experience. This would include everything from unconscious actions
(being conditioned to put on the brake when seeing a red light) to conscious decisions (do I eat two pieces of cake and please my mouth, or do I eat
one piece and please my waistline?).
2) Another existence of determinism would be anything that happens to me, not as a result of my own actions, but as a result of another occurrence.
(Back to the traffic: if a car cuts in front of me too closely, I have to react with the brake.)
3) Plant leaves tend to turn their leaves toward a light source. That would definitely be a causal reaction.
I can accept these as facts, so perhaps it could be said that I believe in a modified version of determinism. The turning of the plant and the
driving of the car could be predictable actions, but eating the cake could not be predictable. The eating/non-eating of the cake was a choice I made
at that time. Whereas it was a type of determinism – my choice would be made by my brain or my stomach – but there’s no way to know which I
would choose as any given time.
I can see aspects of determinism in plant biology, astrophysics, etc., but I still believe that humans have free will – the ability to make a choice
– is not solely a deterministic occurrence. Conditioning to stop at a red light: I chose to learn the rules and train my reflexes. Cake: I made
the conscious decision to eat more healthily. Reckless car: I made the decision to drive defensively.
So I’m unable to find an ‘ism’ label that accurately describes my position. I believe that some actions in the physical world are determined,
while others are indeterminate. I believe that a human’s ability to choose is a factor of free will and is not strictly determinate.