I've given a great deal of thought to the concept of "free will" and have determined that there really is no such thing. Logically, all of existence is a matter of cause and effect, and since we have no control over the causes (we weren't even present at the time they originated), we obviously can have no control over the effects.

An easy way to prove this precept to yourself is to look back over your life; see that turning point that changed the course of your future? How many people, how many uncontrollable events brought you to that point? See how you really had nothing to do with the path you trod thereafter?

Another interesting side effect of this train of thought is to realize that everything in the universe is interconnected and influences everything else. A simple exercise: look at what you're wearing, then trace each item (and everything in and on it) back to its origin. You'll find people who grew fiber plants (think sun, climate, soil, etc.) in one place (and you can think about what brought them to that time and place, too), factories and workers in other places from whence buttons, zippers, shoelaces, etc. came, and of course the vast array of geographic areas in which the various items of your attire were assembled. Getting aboard this train of thought will allow you to see yourself as a tiny portion of the immense universe, both impacting and being impacted upon by every other entity, from the sun, moon and stars to the ant queen that just laid a thousand eggs in your front yard.

Tying this into the "no free will" argument is simple logic. All the people and elements that went into your appearance today pushed you to make the decisions you made, totally without your knowledge or collusion. Everything that happened everywhere in the universe today will affect what you do tomorrow. Or in the next moment. And you will have absolutely no control over it!

Arguments?

Tags: dogma, fallacious, tenet

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just created the group Free-Will DNE for anyone who is interested in joining and discussing the issues...

http://atheistnexus.org/group/freewilldne
Great idea! I joined and invited my friends.
Do we really need a whole group for this subject? This thread seems to be covering it pretty thoroughly. Why divide the conversation?
The conversation can go in different directions, a group with individual discussions and directions on the topic has poetential to help provide focus on each particular argument. Someone reading this thread would have a lot to read to get the full gist of the conversation.
i didn't realise there was a thread on this before i made the group.
Muhammad, I'm sorry your experiences with your mother have not gone well; I have actually been emotionally/verbally/physically abused by my own parents. But as I've been able to mature and process my anger, I've realized -- without ever really thinking about the issue of free will, really -- that my parents were influenced by sad events in their lives over which they had no control. They were victims. They did not have access to all the same resources I've had access to -- therapy, medical help, knowledge. My mother has probably been too busy from various events in her life to have time to even think about reading, and she doesn't learn enough to realize the value there could be in learning more. My father may not have a high enough IQ to question how he was raised, though hopefully his experiences can still condition him to make better choices.

All that being said, I hope you find compassion for your mother. It is healing to be able to let go of anger if only for a moment and try to understand. That being said, I don't think that I will ever be able to completely let go of anger, but I have significantly decreased it, which has improved my existence.

James
This has been a really interesting thread and has made me really think. The more I read, the more I'm beginning to see the lack of evidence and fallacies in most (all?) free will arguments, kind of like the theists always thinking a lack of a proof for a negative means it must exist. (On which basis I can claim that an invisible teapot resides on Mars; no one can disprove it, so it must be true, right?)

I can't say I haven't found the idea of determinism disturbing, but if that is really how reality is, nothing is different about that fact than five years ago when I absolutely believed in free will. Same reality, a change of perceptions, so what reason is there to be anxious?

I dropped the idea of punishing people for their wrong-doing a long time ago anyway, though like others have argued, we should try to condition others to make more healthy choices, just as we should reinforce positive behavior in children (though with adults more extreme tactics may need to be employed, including the use of force.)

James
Ok Sorry but I am coming into this late after only skimming through the 20 pages of discussion but here are my thoughts on "Free Will" for what they are worth.

We all make decisions those decisions have both a cause and an effect.

What choices we make are influenced by external factors and create new conditions that affect both ourselves and others. So free will boils down to the chicken egg argument. That can never really be proven either way.

I feel that I have free will because I make conscious decisions ( even though there is no good description of conscious thought and what it is exactly )

I can choose to move a stone from one side of a path to the other by doing that I change the center of the universe and effect the entire future of everything. Or I can choose to leave the stone where it is both decisions will have different outcomes but both will have a similar effect on the course of history.

I think free will is a combination of both determinism and individual choice we can choose to do things we know may be wrong we can also choose to do things that we do not want to do because we know them to be right, or we can reject our belief system training and do the opposite.

I have chosen to reply to this thread, I have no idea why.

I feel compelled to tell Muhammad to lighten up and show some love for his mother she is just trying to do her best, we all fail as parents but most of us try to do the best we can.

Find forgiveness for what you consider to be her failings and do not wish her dead. She will die and then you may regret your wishes and choices. Ask her why she does the things she does, she may have good reasons for her behaviour. We are all the products of others but we are all still individuals who can make a choice and a decision.

If it is free will use it to make others happy

If it is fate or destiny then lets work to make it make others and ourselves happy and friendly.
I agree with some to disagree. What is the process of thinking??? A simple action of your neurons in your brain following pathways that developed over occurances in your life.? The fact of the matter is yes, other events in the universe do unfold into you, yet you do make a choice, that choice persay is heavily influenced on passed expierances, but you make a choice on those past expieriances, and that in itself changes the flow. Like you said the universe is based on cause and effect and we have no control over it. In the big picture that we do not see, we do not have any control over it, but in the smaller picture we have some control over it.
Say you run into a car wreck, and somene is dying and you have to stab them with a syringe to save them...
if you save them; that would be the cause, of what ever action they would do from then out, and the effect would be they would carry on that chain.
if you were to let them die, that would be the cause of what ever action they would not carry out and the effect will be they would not carry on that single chain of causes.

build a fire in a desert, nothing happens, build a fire in a forrest, you begin a chain reaction... end result.. that forrest would build itsefl back up...

Simple logical arguement for this is what you say is true, yet what you say if false... its all realitive.
The fallacy in your logic is simply that you don't choose what to think. Your decisions are based completely on whatever has happened, everywhere in the cosmos, until that moment of decision. No choice...no free will.
so what your basically saying is if i were to say beat you up i just made you do something?
kind of odd?
id like to think i have free will otherwise what you just said is because i was brought up differantly then you and you were brought of differantly then me we were destined to argue about this, i couldve chosen to not say anything but i didnt think about that one ha....
Joshua..
Your upbringing is a very small part of what determines your actions. Everything that has ever happened in the universe impacts what, who, where and when you are and what you think and do. Causation goes back to the beginning of time, effects continue into eternity. Mull that over a bit and get back to me.

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