How can there be free-will when our Will is just a response to circumstances?

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posted on Dec, 12 2012 @ 08:18 PM
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Originally posted by NiNjABackflip
Thanks for bringing up the other point of view. While I agree that this leaves the experiment to interpretation, it by no way means either interpretation is right or wrong.
I disagree. If the readiness potential was present regardless of the decision, like stated in the article, the interpretation that the brain was making a decision simply does not have ground to stand on anymore..

Long sceptical of Libet's interpretation, Jeff Miller and Judy Trevena of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, attempted to tease apart what prompts the RP using a similar experiment, with a key twist.

They also used scalp electrodes, but instead of letting their volunteers decide when to move, Miller and Trevena asked them to wait for an audio tone before deciding whether to tap a key. If Libet's interpretation were correct, Miller reasoned, the RP should be greater after the tone when a person chose to tap the key.

While there was an RP before volunteers made their decision to move, the signal was the same whether or not they elected to tap. Miller concludes that the RP may merely be a sign that the brain is paying attention and does not indicate that a decision has been made.


Miller and Trevena also failed to find evidence of subconscious decision-making in a second experiment. This time they asked volunteers to press a key after the tone, but to decide on the spot whether to use their left or right hand. As movement in the right limbs is related to the brain signals in the left hemisphere and vice versa, they reasoned that if an unconscious process is driving this decision, where it occurs in the brain should depend on which hand is chosen. But they found no such correlation.

Source

But other scientists are more reserved...:


Marcel Brass of Ghent University in Belgium says it is wrong to use Miller and Trevena's results to reinterpret Libet's experiment, in which volunteers were not prompted to make a decision. The audio tone "changes the paradigm", so the two can't be compared, he says. What's more, in 2008, he and his colleagues detected patterns in brain activity that predicted better than chance whether or not a subject would press a key, before they were aware of making a decision.

But Frank Durgin, a psychologist at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, says that Brass's results do "seem to undermine Libet's preferred interpretation", though they don't contradict it outright.


Most scientists suck at philosophy though, and thus often draw weird conclusions.. So, take it for what you will.


Originally posted by NiNjABackflip
I too hold such disdain for science. But I also hold disdain for the false promises of free-will, immortality, etc. I am, by nature, inclined to question them.
I don't see how free will is a false promise. Abolish free will, and people can not be held responsible for their actions, any more than you can hold a space rock responsible for falling on your head. That alone should be a reason to uphold free will. Although that's a moral argument rather than a 'scientific' one, even if we conclude we have no free will, nothing would change and we would be living our lives as if we had it, thus in contradictions. It's like a fish saying there is no water while experiencing it every day.


Originally posted by NiNjABackflip
The opportunity to utilize free-will is astounding: we can go do jumping jacks, we can run up and down the street and we can also leave to never return. We can even kill people. Now why wouldn't one do those things? Desire, laziness, passion, skepticism, law, physics, conscience, societal pressures etc. The will, being bound by these and existence itself, is not free.
That the will is bound by things does not mean it does not exist. For example, you can have a math problem, and the result of X can be two different things. It does not mean you can choose any X you want. Maybe our free will lies in choosing one of those and going on with it, seeing where it leads. Free will does not necessarily mean an infinite ability to choose.




posted on Dec, 12 2012 @ 08:46 PM
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Originally posted by vasaga
I don't see how free will is a false promise. Abolish free will, and people can not be held responsible for their actions, any more than you can hold a space rock responsible for falling on your head. That alone should be a reason to uphold free will. Although that's a moral argument rather than a 'scientific' one, even if we conclude we have no free will, nothing would change and we would be living our lives as if we had it, thus in contradictions. It's like a fish saying there is no water while experiencing it every day.

Is that such a weird thought though? That people can not be held responsible for their actions, how bad they may be. You don't hold a grudge against an animal that hurt someone, it's in their nature, they can't be held responsible.

I would say something would change, for example, different ideas about the justice system.



posted on Dec, 12 2012 @ 10:00 PM
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Originally posted by BcnDiamond
reply to post by BrokenAngelWings33
 


I actually read that thread and I'm glad the OP made another thread.
I feel as if you think you are being attack personally when someone says there might not be such a thing as free will

I could quote a bunch of your posts from the previous thread and explain why your arguments fail every time, but I would advise you to read more on this subject elsewhere, because I don't think you understand the concept well enough.

A word of advise, the next time you post and say ''look you typed that because of free will'', try to argue why you think free will is involved.


Yep you have proved it again, thank you. Oh wait....I can't stop myself......I am.....under,,,,the control,,,,,\\\\\]\ jjifogndfnbndoldhnhodno bbn8suympr wuvtp9ub0mp[vuyw,[-qofad[.xtc,kmbjpwm[u0i,v,yy...sorry I had no free will to stop that from happennw;anvtiyhuwp4ym4bj9v,k[.khv/ipvwo,qkl...oh nooooooooooo......what'ssssssssssssss happppppppeeeennnnnnnnnninnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggggg



posted on Dec, 12 2012 @ 10:02 PM
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reply to post by BrokenAngelWings33
 


Please do quote me, I will sit here and laugh while you tell me you have no free will.



posted on Dec, 12 2012 @ 10:28 PM
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reply to post by vasaga
 



Originally posted by vasaga
Abolish free will, and people can not be held responsible for their actions, any more than you can hold a space rock responsible for falling on your head. That alone should be a reason to uphold free will.


That is circular reasoning. You are saying that if free-will doesn't exist then we would use our free-will to not punish those who have been going to jail for their negative actions...


Originally posted by vasaga
even if we conclude we have no free will, nothing would change and we would be living our lives as if we had it, thus in contradictions. It's like a fish saying there is no water while experiencing it every day.


Yup. You are absolutely right. If free-will was proven 100% to be false without any doubt, that would mean that all of the destructive behavior that people were not responsible for were meant to go to prison.


edit on 12-12-2012 by arpgme because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 12 2012 @ 10:45 PM
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Originally posted by arpgme

Yup. You are absolutely right. If free-will was proven 100% to be false without any doubt, that would mean that all of the destructive behavior that people were not responsible for were meant to go to prison.


Even without free will, criminals should be detained, it would be beneficial for society.
edit on 12-12-2012 by BcnDiamond because: (no reason given)
edit on 12-12-2012 by BcnDiamond because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 12 2012 @ 10:54 PM
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Originally posted by arpgme
reply to post by vasaga
 



Originally posted by vasaga
Abolish free will, and people can not be held responsible for their actions, any more than you can hold a space rock responsible for falling on your head. That alone should be a reason to uphold free will.


That is circular reasoning. You are saying that if free-will doesn't exist then we would use our free-will to not punish those who have been going to jail for their negative actions...
No. That's what you said. All I said is that if there's no free will there's no responsibility. Not to mention your position complete bs. Why? I will use my hand to not throw a ball. I will use my keyboard to not type anything. I will use my phone to not call someone. I will use my bed to not sleep in it. Starting to see the absurdity of your argument? There's no circular reasoning. You simply used a basic logical fallacy. You could put anything to 'use', while not actually using it. Using something requires action. There is no action in not punishing. Get your fallacies straight before you start throwing them around.


Originally posted by arpgme

Originally posted by vasaga
even if we conclude we have no free will, nothing would change and we would be living our lives as if we had it, thus in contradictions. It's like a fish saying there is no water while experiencing it every day.


Yup. You are absolutely right. If free-will was proven 100% to be false without any doubt, that would mean that all of the destructive behavior that people were not responsible for were meant to go to prison.
Yup. It would be an illusion of punishment.


Originally posted by BcnDiamond

Originally posted by vasaga
I don't see how free will is a false promise. Abolish free will, and people can not be held responsible for their actions, any more than you can hold a space rock responsible for falling on your head. That alone should be a reason to uphold free will. Although that's a moral argument rather than a 'scientific' one, even if we conclude we have no free will, nothing would change and we would be living our lives as if we had it, thus in contradictions. It's like a fish saying there is no water while experiencing it every day.

Is that such a weird thought though? That people can not be held responsible for their actions, how bad they may be. You don't hold a grudge against an animal that hurt someone, it's in their nature, they can't be held responsible.

I would say something would change, for example, different ideas about the justice system.
The limit here is not really their 'nature', but understanding. If we could communicate with them and make them understand, we'd definitely hold them responsible, wouldn't we? And maybe they'd even let us understand why they attacked...
edit on 12-12-2012 by vasaga because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 12 2012 @ 11:00 PM
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reply to post by vasaga
 


Here is what you said:




Abolish free will, and people can not be held responsible for their actions


I said, that is not true because it is like saying if there is no free-will people will use their free-will to decide not to punish. If free-will does not exist and people are still punished for their actions - then that is what was meant to be.


By the way, saying you can "use" or "not use" something does not prove free-will. You will do what you will do. At most it proves that you have will but it doesn't mean that it is free (independent to the causes and effects of your life experiences and learned perspectives and beliefs).
edit on 12-12-2012 by arpgme because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 12 2012 @ 11:37 PM
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Originally posted by arpgme
reply to post by vasaga
 


Here is what you said:




Abolish free will, and people can not be held responsible for their actions


I said, that is not true because it is like saying if there is no free-will people will use their free-will to decide not to punish. If free-will does not exist and people are still punished for their actions - then that is what was meant to be.
You did not understand what I said. You probably think I didn't understand you, but I did. My argument is, that until it is absolutely proven that there is no free will (that is certainly not the case now, and I would bet that it will never happen either), free will should be the default stance. Why? Take these scenarios.

1- Free will does not exist:
Everything remains the same as it is now. Like you yourself said, they were meant to be in prison and so on, so nothing would change and life would go on as is. People can not be held responsible, but it doesn't matter because everything happens the way it's supposed to happen.

2- Free will exists and we acknowledge that free will exists:
People are held responsible for their actions and will get certain consequences depending on their actions. They are not merely illusions, but actually real.

3- Free will exists but we pretend it does not exist:
Everyone can get away with any action, completely free of any consequences, because according to our view, they were meant to act that way anyway, even though that is not the case.

Scenario 1 and 2 are whatever, but scenario 3 should be avoided like the plague.
edit on 12-12-2012 by vasaga because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 12 2012 @ 11:51 PM
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1.) It appears that the general definition of "free will" adopted in this thread, by those who don't believe we have one is one that is

(independent to the causes and effects of your life experiences and learned perspectives and beliefs).
Assume for a minute that we don't have free will, what differences would we see if we did have the free will in the above definition?

2.) If a free will is one independent of everything we have ever experienced, thought, or believed, what factors would some one with free will use to make a decision? Remember you can't use anything you've ever experienced or thought. The only thing left seems to be a random, mental "coin flip." If that is free will, I must say that I am glad not to have it.



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 12:26 AM
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Reply to post by arpgme
 


I'm late to the thread, but as I read your OP, I had to laugh.

You questioned free will, then went on to perfectly explain it. You claim that you "choose" to walk away rather than punch the guy back. How is that not free will? You have two choices, one being the easier in punching the guy. You can either feed off your emotions and have a brawl, or walk it off and leave. Either choice is indeed free will, regardless of previous experience or understanding, simply because you can take either path and the choice is exclusively yours. It ends right there.

I think what you fail to realize, but explained in your OP is that our previous experiences do in fact shape who we are & they help us grow healthier or more negatively. This does not negate the concept of free will though. Free will is not based upon making ignorant or empty decisions. Free will is the act of making a decision based on the result which you favor. We all act on free will for different reasons of course.





 
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posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 12:32 AM
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reply to post by vasaga
 


It doesn't matter if someone is saying they had no choice or not, if they take the action then there will be consequences.

If it were meant for the wind to blow that cup of water over, it will spill on the floor - that's the law of gravity - doesn't matter if it had a "choice" or not.


reply to post by spinalremain
 



You are right that either "punching" or "not punching" the person CAN happen, but what actually WILL happen is whatever the circumstances and perspectives/beliefs are in that moment. If the will to punch is stronger than the will to walk away then the punch will happen, if not, then you'll be able to walk away.

I never said there wasn't any "will/choice/desire" - I said there is no "FREE" will. All of your desires and choices are determined by your life experiences and perspectives and beliefs gained through life. You do not choose what you want. and the "wants" that you do act on, is not a choice, that choice was selected due to learned perspectives/beliefs...
edit on 13-12-2012 by arpgme because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 12:38 AM
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Originally posted by charles1952
1.) It appears that the general definition of "free will" adopted in this thread, by those who don't believe we have one is one that is

(independent to the causes and effects of your life experiences and learned perspectives and beliefs).
Assume for a minute that we don't have free will, what differences would we see if we did have the free will in the above definition?

2.) If a free will is one independent of everything we have ever experienced, thought, or believed, what factors would some one with free will use to make a decision? Remember you can't use anything you've ever experienced or thought. The only thing left seems to be a random, mental "coin flip." If that is free will, I must say that I am glad not to have it.


The act of deciding is a reaction to external circumstances. Any act whatsoever, is a reaction to either circumstances or thought. There can never be an independent act that is separate and isolated from thought or perceived external circumstances. But the illusion of free will is necessary for us (God) to experience duality or separateness.
edit on 13-12-2012 by Visitor2012 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 01:01 AM
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reply to post by Visitor2012
 

Dear Visitor2012,

Thanks for your reply. We may be getting bogged down in definitions in this thread, I'm not sure.

Certainly everything we do is influenced by our past and present circumstances, but unalterably controlled by it? I'm not so sure. We can always explain which factors went into our decision, but I question whether even we can predict what we will do in every situation.

But, be that as it may, I was hoping for answers to the two questions I posed in the post you quoted. If you have time, I'd appreciate your thoughts on them.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 01:03 AM
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reply to post by vasaga
 


Regardless of freewill you still lock people up if theyre dangerous.

I wouldnt expect you to see that when your so busy defending some imgainary concept created by the ignorant.
edit on 13-12-2012 by Wertdagf because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 01:08 AM
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You were born .
Were you asked?
If you say no..then your memory may be weak.
Free will is built on laws.
You signed on maybe not here...but somewhere.
And you promised perhaps to be as good as GOD.
We all fall short.
BUt there may be structure.



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 01:11 AM
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reply to post by Wertdagf
 


Regardless of freewill you still lock people up if their dangerous.
Why?

You can't be doing it under the theory of justice, having no free will, he is not guilty in any normal sense of the word.

Locking him up doesn't provide for rehabilitation, he has no free will, he can't choose one day not to be dangerous. If he did announce he was no longer dangerous, there'd be no reason to hold him. How would you prove he was dangerous in that case?

If you really wanted to keep him away from society, the only logical approach I can see is to kill him.



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 01:26 AM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


some behavior is capable of rehabilitation some isnt. We have parole hearings for a reason...

As this techonology matures it will become alot clearer. You do understand what life in prison is right? Saying that you have to resort to killing someone is obviously stupid. Inmates repay their community in many ways regardless of how guilty or unsolvable their problems are.

Being able to read someones mind would potentialy prevent crime before it happens... or increase the response time time to almost instantaneous. It also expands our ability to rehabilitate when you can read minds.

When you can prevent the social pitfalls that create the enviroment for murder or theft.. you change futures. Justice is a myth.

edit on 13-12-2012 by Wertdagf because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 03:26 AM
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post removed because the user has no concept of manners

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posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 03:45 AM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 





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