3 of 3
3
Can We Break The Spell Of Free Will?
Posted: 10 July 2012 06:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  800
Joined  2010-11-12
Geeseman - 10 July 2012 03:37 PM
toombaru - 10 July 2012 08:18 AM


The brain of all sentient organisms evolved to store information.
That stored information is the program that it uses to survive.
Consciousness evolved.
Any quality that a biological organism has effects its on the way it responds to its environment.
I’m not sure why you believe that consciousness has no effects on natural selection.

Stored information is not a program. It is also not the only factor involved in the survival of an organism. In most cases it would arguably be the least important factor (except for humans).
Consciousness, as Sam Harris explains, is not responsible for our actions, so how can it have any phenotype effects for natural selection to act upon?
Consciousness itself does not evolve. It dies when we die. It lasts only a single generation and has no capacity to evolve.
It’s evolution is purely the result of the evolving development of the brain itself.

toombaru - 10 July 2012 08:24 AM

It isn’t that live is meaningless.
The human brain evolved to make connections, relationships and seek meaning.
It is logical that it the psychological self would seek out the meaning of its own imaginary existence.
Ultimately it has no existential reality and its own term “meaning” is meaningless.
And you are right.
Simply being can be high fun.
I find it much more enjoyable since the desire to figure it all out evaporated.

 

Life is meaningless. To say it does is to say a rock has meaning, or a mountain has meaning.
The human brain evolved to keep us replicating in competition with our environment and for no other reason.
Consciousness is a byproduct of the complexity required of a brain to do this in its current and past environment.
Logic actually follows that we would try to understand the origin of our existence. Finding it, for me at least, has been enlightening.

 

I tend to think that any quality of any living organism is subject to evolution.
Perhaps we can disagree to agree.

grin

 

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 July 2012 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
Jr. Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  51
Joined  2009-06-26

Yes, I think evolution affects the brain. It may be that our memories only last last long as we do, one generation, but the way we store memories or the way we perceive our world would evolve as the brain evolves.

For example, I did not want to have children, so I didn’t. If it was my biological imperative to have them I would have been driven to have them and would have. I have always felt this was my choice, but now I realize it was somehow a product of or a ?malfunction? of my brain. Why no desire to put my genes into the future? I can tell you the reasons “I” have always told myself, but I don’t know if those are the “true” reason(s).

Maybe this is an evolutionary device to thin the herd??

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 July 2012 08:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  800
Joined  2010-11-12
Majority of One - 10 July 2012 07:43 PM

Yes, I think evolution affects the brain. It may be that our memories only last last long as we do, one generation, but the way we store memories or the way we perceive our world would evolve as the brain evolves.

For example, I did not want to have children, so I didn’t. If it was my biological imperative to have them I would have been driven to have them and would have. I have always felt this was my choice, but now I realize it was somehow a product of or a ?malfunction? of my brain. Why no desire to put my genes into the future? I can tell you the reasons “I” have always told myself, but I don’t know if those are the “true” reason(s).

Maybe this is an evolutionary device to thin the herd??


Because certain limited conclusions can be made based on observations of its physical reality, the human mind is convinced that it can isolate and analyze its own motives.
That may not be the case.
The fact that you do not want children may spring from a covey of qualia that lives beyond conceptual thought.
The brain reacts to the incoming data the only way it can.
If free will is factored out, there is nothing to figure out and no psychological nexus to do the figuring.

 

 

 

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2012 04:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  18
Joined  2012-06-27
toombaru - 10 July 2012 08:50 PM

Because certain limited conclusions can be made based on observations of its physical reality, the human mind is convinced that it can isolate and analyze its own motives.
That may not be the case.
The fact that you do not want children may spring from a covey of qualia that lives beyond conceptual thought.
The brain reacts to the incoming data the only way it can.
If free will is factored out, there is nothing to figure out and no psychological nexus to do the figuring.

 

 

 

Given that the brain is a deterministic acting body, it therefore follows laws and its behavior, although complex, is predictable understanding the variables involved. Just because we don’t understand it thoroughly now is not to mean we won’t in the future.

In addition, behavior is also controlled by genetics. It may be that some people do not posses the genetics responsible for the drive to have children to the same extent as the rest of us. This is not to say that they are defective, as there is no known ‘standard’ for replication of any organism. The reality is that no two individuals are the same - even twins with identical genetics as their environment must be different, which therefore leads to different choices for the individual.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2012 07:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  800
Joined  2010-11-12
Geeseman - 11 July 2012 04:09 PM
toombaru - 10 July 2012 08:50 PM

Because certain limited conclusions can be made based on observations of its physical reality, the human mind is convinced that it can isolate and analyze its own motives.
That may not be the case.
The fact that you do not want children may spring from a covey of qualia that lives beyond conceptual thought.
The brain reacts to the incoming data the only way it can.
If free will is factored out, there is nothing to figure out and no psychological nexus to do the figuring.

 

 

 

Given that the brain is a deterministic acting body, it therefore follows laws and its behavior, although complex, is predictable understanding the variables involved. Just because we don’t understand it thoroughly now is not to mean we won’t in the future.

In addition, behavior is also controlled by genetics. It may be that some people do not posses the genetics responsible for the drive to have children to the same extent as the rest of us. This is not to say that they are defective, as there is no known ‘standard’ for replication of any organism. The reality is that no two individuals are the same - even twins with identical genetics as their environment must be different, which therefore leads to different choices for the individual.

 


There is a fundamental problem that arises when a mental process attempts to understand itself.
It is the very thing that it is trying to analyze.
That is like the eye trying to see itself or a flashlight searching for the source of its own beam.

 

 

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2012 08:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  18
Joined  2012-06-27
toombaru - 11 July 2012 07:40 PM


There is a fundamental problem that arises when a mental process attempts to understand itself.
It is the very thing that it is trying to analyze.
That is like the eye trying to see itself or a flashlight searching for the source of its own beam.

 

Says who? There are plenty of neuroscientists working on this and their results are empirical data that can be checked and falsified by other scientists.

Technology is advancing at incredibly fast rates. To say that we won’t understand is being naive.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2012 08:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  800
Joined  2010-11-12
Geeseman - 11 July 2012 08:14 PM
toombaru - 11 July 2012 07:40 PM


There is a fundamental problem that arises when a mental process attempts to understand itself.
It is the very thing that it is trying to analyze.
That is like the eye trying to see itself or a flashlight searching for the source of its own beam.

 

Says who? There are plenty of neuroscientists working on this and their results are empirical data that can be checked and falsified by other scientists.

Technology is advancing at incredibly fast rates. To say that we won’t understand is being naive.

The scientific method can answer many questions concerning relationships in the material reality.
But those with a scientific mindset exhibit a profound naiveté  when they assume that which they call consciousness and its relationship to is environment has, or ever can have access, to itself.
In order top study itself, consciousness, whatever it is, would have to divide into an observer and an observed.
If the division is not complete, all objectivity is lost.
Does it divide itself into two equal parts?
Or is a little observer enough to see what the observed is doing?
At what point does the observer become the observed?
The brain is far too complex for the brain to understand.
Science can study how the brain reacts but it cannot ever observe consciousness itself.

 

 

 

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2012 10:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
Jr. Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  51
Joined  2009-06-26
toombaru - 11 July 2012 07:40 PM

There is a fundamental problem that arises when a mental process attempts to understand itself.
It is the very thing that it is trying to analyze.
That is like the eye trying to see itself or a flashlight searching for the source of its own beam.

 

I think this is a false analogy. We can use a mirror and our eye can see itself. A flashlight is like a rock so it wouldn’t seek its own beam. However, you’re throwing out a sort of god of the gaps argument by saying we can’t EVER understand conciousness because we don’t yet understand it.

Like the mirror, we can use techniques like MR imaging to look at the brain. We may yet discover the mechanisms of conciousness. I for one, don’t want to give up on the possibility. People like Dr Harris are looking into this and I wish them godspeed.

 

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2012 11:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  18
Joined  2012-06-27
Majority of One - 11 July 2012 10:29 PM
toombaru - 11 July 2012 07:40 PM

There is a fundamental problem that arises when a mental process attempts to understand itself.
It is the very thing that it is trying to analyze.
That is like the eye trying to see itself or a flashlight searching for the source of its own beam.

 

I think this is a false analogy. We can use a mirror and our eye can see itself. A flashlight is like a rock so it wouldn’t seek its own beam. However, you’re throwing out a sort of god of the gaps argument by saying we can’t EVER understand conciousness because we don’t yet understand it.

Like the mirror, we can use techniques like MR imaging to look at the brain. We may yet discover the mechanisms of conciousness. I for one, don’t want to give up on the possibility. People like Dr Harris are looking into this and I wish them godspeed.

 

He also seems to fail to understand the fact that studying consciousness can involve examining other subjects and not one self. Science can yield objective results, so they can be examined by anyone. The brain itself is just another organ that we can and will come to understand. There’s nothing mystical or unknowable about it. At the end of the day it’s just a bunch of chemicals working together, no matter how complex it is it still obeys laws that we can use to formulate predictive behavior just like we do with any other thing in this world. To assume that we can’t know because of the massive number of variables involved is naive. It’s like someone 2000 years ago saying we can’t fly or 200 years ago saying we’ll never go to the moon.

I think it’s totally misleading to assume that consciousness is anything special either. The illusion of choice is an illusion itself. Consciousness exists simply because the brain can examine its own qualia and it can do this because it has evolved to become incredibly complex because this complexity and ability for complex thought processes has afforded it an advantage relative to its environment.

The reality is that the parts of the brain that generate thoughts and make choices are by definition deterministic therefore we can not control those processes. Dan Dennett argues that we have free will because we dodge objects and are avoiders. The reality is that we do this but there is no choice involved in it. We either do or we don’t based on states of the brain.

[ Edited: 12 July 2012 12:27 AM by Geeseman]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2012 12:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  800
Joined  2010-11-12
Geeseman - 11 July 2012 11:45 PM
Majority of One - 11 July 2012 10:29 PM
toombaru - 11 July 2012 07:40 PM

There is a fundamental problem that arises when a mental process attempts to understand itself.
It is the very thing that it is trying to analyze.
That is like the eye trying to see itself or a flashlight searching for the source of its own beam.

 

I think this is a false analogy. We can use a mirror and our eye can see itself. A flashlight is like a rock so it wouldn’t seek its own beam. However, you’re throwing out a sort of god of the gaps argument by saying we can’t EVER understand conciousness because we don’t yet understand it.

Like the mirror, we can use techniques like MR imaging to look at the brain. We may yet discover the mechanisms of conciousness. I for one, don’t want to give up on the possibility. People like Dr Harris are looking into this and I wish them godspeed.

 

He also seems to fail to understand the fact that studying consciousness can involve examining other subjects and not one self. Science can yield objective results, so they can be examined by anyone. The brain itself is just another organ that we can and will come to understand. There’s nothing mystical or unknowable about it. At the end of the day it’s just a bunch of chemicals working together, no matter how complex it is it still obeys laws that we can use to formulate predictive behavior just like we do with any other thing in this world. To assume that we can’t know because of the massive number of variables involved is naive. It’s like someone 2000 years ago saying we can’t fly or 200 years ago saying we’ll never go to the moon.

I think it’s totally misleading to assume that consciousness is anything special either. The illusion of choice is an illusion itself. Consciousness exists simply because the brain can examine its own qualia and it can do this because it has evolved to become incredibly complex because this complexity and ability for complex thought processes has afforded it an advantage relative to its environment.

The reality is that the parts of the brain that generate thoughts and make choices are by definition deterministic therefore we can not control those processes. Dan Dennett argues that we have free will because we dodge objects and are avoiders. The reality is that we do this but there is no choice involved in it. We either do or we don’t based on states of the brain.

 

Can one “understand” electricity, light, gravity, or magnetism by studying them?
They have been studied for thousands of years.
Their qualities can be measured and quantified, but no one knows what they actually are nor can they.
The conceptual mind can never actually understand anything.
It can only observe and describe.
And you believe that the thing doing the observation will one day understand itself?
I suggest that you over estimate the power and range of human intelligence.

 

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2012 02:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  18
Joined  2012-06-27
toombaru - 12 July 2012 12:37 AM

Can one “understand” electricity, light, gravity, or magnetism by studying them?

Yes, in fact we know them so well we use them in almost every device known to man today, from cars to friedges, light bulbs, electric engines and computers.

toombaru - 12 July 2012 12:37 AM

They have been studied for thousands of years.
Their qualities can be measured and quantified, but no one knows what they actually are nor can they.
The conceptual mind can never actually understand anything.
It can only observe and describe.
And you believe that the thing doing the observation will one day understand itself?
I suggest that you over estimate the power and range of human intelligence.

Your word semantics are becoming boring.

If you think you are incapble of understanding the brain then by all means continue to believe so. The rest of humanity is happy to continue learnign about the brain and how it functions and the rest of humanity will benefit as a result.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2012 08:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  800
Joined  2010-11-12

 

Geeseman - 12 July 2012 02:25 AM
toombaru - 12 July 2012 12:37 AM

Can one “understand” electricity, light, gravity, or magnetism by studying them?

Yes, in fact we know them so well we use them in almost every device known to man today, from cars to friedges, light bulbs, electric engines and computers.

toombaru - 12 July 2012 12:37 AM

They have been studied for thousands of years.
Their qualities can be measured and quantified, but no one knows what they actually are nor can they.
The conceptual mind can never actually understand anything.
It can only observe and describe.
And you believe that the thing doing the observation will one day understand itself?
I suggest that you over estimate the power and range of human intelligence.

Your word semantics are becoming boring.

If you think you are incapble of understanding the brain then by all means continue to believe so. The rest of humanity is happy to continue learnign about the brain and how it functions and the rest of humanity will benefit as a result.

 

How’s that workin out for ya?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 July 2012 08:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  800
Joined  2010-11-12
toombaru - 12 July 2012 08:06 AM
Geeseman - 12 July 2012 02:25 AM
toombaru - 12 July 2012 12:37 AM

Can one “understand” electricity, light, gravity, or magnetism by studying them?

Yes, in fact we know them so well we use them in almost every device known to man today, from cars to friedges, light bulbs, electric engines and computers.

 

Creating a light bulb does not help one understand the nature of light.
Perhaps you would care to enlighten us.
What is light?

Profile
 
 
   
3 of 3
3
 
‹‹ Free Will & Bad Luck      Seven Days ››
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed