We have been dancing around this problem often in Howard's other threads and derailing them, so now let's make a thread just for it.

Now let's open it up. What problems do you have with determinism?

More specifically, what flaws do you see in its application or shaping of lifestyles?

Views: 427

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

The idea that I have absolutely NO freewill whatsoever really grits on my psyche. Now I'm no fool, I see that events in history set up other events. For example, the ugly imposition of the Treaty of Versaille (sp?) set up WWII and was instrumental in bringing about the imergence of Adolph Hitler. However, I've been invited to Christmas at my sister's place in Oregon and I DO have the choice of whether or not to attempt the drive up there in the middle of winter. Who is to say what factors will effect my decision to stay home or attempt the drive in bull headed fashion even if a severe storm is brewing? You can make the CLAIM that prior conditions have already made that decision for me, but, the burden of proof is on you, if you do so.
well... determinism isn't what I feel like you think it is. It's not like someone is necessarily pulling the strings and making you do nasty things because he feels like it.

If you feel bothered by not being able to choose something, of course you are more likely to choose the less bothersome option.

Determinism simply means that your mind which you percieve as "you" has been constructed by factors that you could not control. For example, at some point you likely left religion because it linked to another series of events and your intelligence mixed with your experiences thus far meant that atheism was the only outcome that could have happened.

There are many factors why you wouldn't go. Your experiences have told you that winter driving is dangerous, for example. If you never had that experience, you couldn't formulate that thought.

The psyche is extremely subjective simply because it is impossible to escape your own psychology. You are tied to your own psychology but if you like yourself the way you are, there's no reason to despair much about determinism. Even if you didn't like the way you are, doesn't mean that you are stuck that way and can't change in the future.

The burden of proof is absolutely not on me. The burden of proof is on you. I view determinism exactly like one might accept evolution. We are not omniscient so we can't know every factor that goes into either a choice or an evolutionary stage. We make educated guesses based on the meager fossils we have and eventually we find even more evidence to support it.

Now... the burden of proof? we HAVE evidence of determinism, however softly you accept it.the burden of proof is on what this "choice" is? What is an absolute choice that is in no way influenced by determinism? That can't be explained by determinism? It starts to sound a little like the elusive god argument.

Is there any evidence of free will? The evidence points contrary. Here's some proof. Look up classical and operant conditioning and the nature/nurture debate. It is accepted that these factors are the most powerful influences on decision making.

Free will? What is it? How do we observe it? I can't substantiate this, but on another thread, Nate said that someone actually found the part of the brain that makes us formulate the illusion of free will.
well the gist of it for me is that if there's no such thing as free will it is irrational to hate and hold grudges. Many problems in the world would be fixed if more people thought this way.

a dream more ambitious than worldwide secularism, but that is my application of it.
sure! just more incentive is suppose. It's one thing to tell people "it's good for you" it's another to tell them there is no point whatsoever.

People hate murderers. If they find out that the one they hate is innocent, they apologize. if everyone is "innocent" no reason to hate anybody.
I agree. 'Hate' has a great deal of downside. In fact, I'm not at all clear on the upside of hate. To me, hate is a distortion of fear - we hate what we don't understand and fear what we don't know.

Forgiveness 'thaws' what, otherwise, would be frozen in place. You really can't get 'unstuck', if you are unable to forgive.
Well - I think that 'determism', as I understand it, contains a cognitive dissonance as suggested by the suggestion in the phrase "its application or shaping of lifestyles?"

If the past is determined solely on an inexorable system of cause and effect, no matter if we can comprehend it in toto, then so is the future (since the future becomes the past - and in this model, the past creates the future.) Therefore, the future is as fixed as the past. Therefore, the extent to which 'determinism' 'shapes lifestyles' is simply a result of a chain of events fixed since the beginning of time.

So, the paradox in what you are saying is that believing in determinism removes the 'judgment' and its accompanying 'evils' - but, at the same time, it says that how we think, act, feel, believe, etc. is already set by everything that has led up to us (and therefore, leads away from us.) This paradox, ironically, nullifies the significance of determinism as a means of shaping anything. Everything, according to determinism, is already shaped or in the process of being shaped by past events that were, in turn, shaped by past events. Past, present, and future are already scripted out and there is no room for ad lib or improvization.
Everything, according to determinism, is already shaped or in the process of being shaped by past events that were, in turn, shaped by past events.

The or in between is essential, Howard. Determinism is an ongoing process. For this reason, it's not at all contradictory to understand that what has happened has happened for specific reasons and to use that experience-based knowledge to proactively shape the future.
I think there is an 'as if' take on determinism; a kind of suspension of disbelief. What it says is something along the lines of: Watch a movie 'as if' the end frame isn't already on the reel.

Look, I've been 'pushing' folks like Johnny on the 'predermination' issue, because it makes things like 'motivation', 'responsibility', 'incentive', 'choice', etc. rather moot within the larger context. On the one hand, it is argued that we shouldn't judge people because they 'can't help themselves' while, on the other, it suggests that this philosophy can, somehow, alter the amount of judgment going on.

I'm with Nerd in that there are plenty of reasons to choose love over hate; even if you are entirely self-interested.
This is just a matter of fact explanation as to why we have this construct called "morals" or "virtue." Morals and virtue etc. do not really exist independently from humanity. These are models of behavior that clue us into our emotional states. These "ethics" are simply a way for us to promote content within our natural drives and emotional states.

I've always thought of morals and ethics as being separate from each other although related. I've always found it weird when people use them interchangeably. Why use two different words if they mean the same thing? Sorry for nitpicking but it's what I do.

Ethics are personal values, morals are social values. I think it's important to keep in mind that people do have both and they rarely match. I have very different morals from my personal ethics. I would never assault someone in open society because that is frowned on but I certainly might if it was just myself and another. I've always wondered which one has the most weight with other people.

Anyways, the reason I bring it up is because the way people see reality affects the way they behave in it. The clearer a shared idea is, the less likely that idea is going to be misinterpreted and used as point of conflict. The idea of determinism leads me to the logical conclusion that "point of view" can be shaped with purpose. My argument with religion is that they do this already with a flawed way of seeing reality that does not include everyone. They do prove that it works however.

So does a personal ethic override a social moral or the other way around?

But... when you break it down to its smaller bits.... models of behavior are only models. They have no independent virtue other the what we humans subscribe to it.

Exactly, so if a person uses their knowledge of determinism, stemming from cause and effect and reason, to justify their view of reality; what effect does that have on their decision making? What effect on society if everyone thinks in that way? The saying that "it's only wrong if you get caught" comes to mind. That's the difference between morals and ethics to me in a nutshell.
In a personal estimation, current neuroscience shows that determinism doesn't work in the perspective of how the brain maps for new information.

If one were to pick up a book on the matter, for example, Jonah Lehrer's "How We Decide", it isn't just experience/memory recall that are present in the cognitive processes during decision making. Dependent upon the importance/stress of a decision, (need/want/survival), and the level of necessary gratification that a decision will make in dopmine dumping; the synaptic connections can be, and often are, remapped, almost within minutes.

With the projected estimation of 100-500 trillion chemical synapes possible, each with a mere 7000 synaptic connective possibility network, making decisions based on current stimuli, while simultaneously using parallel communication to work recall for experiential reference, and then remapping "on the fly" to adjust to the situation ... which, not always, but very often, results in originality for problem resolution, generally making determinism less than likely.
again, where's the free will? stress? chemical process of emotions based on your outward experiences.

still not a good case.

the remapping... you choose this, do you? consciously?

Current stimuli are still stimuli, you react to them based on how your brain determines you will react. Think classical and operant conditioning. If not for determinism, what is the point of using conditioning like these in attempting to raise a child? Are you telling me Pavlovs dog's mouth watering wasn't the determinism of its psychology?

origionality? expand on that. give an example or citation or something. I've never seen a study that show that you don't react to a situation based on at least some experience that you had with similar things in the past.

New and strange experience? Well, you may not have a schema for that, but you have a schema for new in strange things in the past. You may approach it cautiously, be jumpy around it, not turn your back on it, cautiously touch it, etc etc.

I certainly can't think of anything I've ever done that isn't deterministic. I even think outside the box and try to invent things, but the little contraptions that I try to invent are just an escape from functional fixedness. Why do I invent them? because at some point I saw a need for an invention and i went around my house looking for things to function in my system using my previous knowledge of them and connecting their properties. This may seem like free will because it is new and creative, but really.. for example, I look at my mouse wire now and think:

Wire, rope, securing things, linking, plug, ball and chain weapon if i wrapped it in duct tape...

it's just a series of relating things that seem similar. that is still pretty deterministic
I never stated the brain remapping had anything to do with choice. ? Argumentum ad absurdum? It is a function of the brain, and the necessity created by survival instinct, particularly, an adaptation that makes hominids higher in the chain.

The Pavlovian response is purely biochemical redundancy training that plays on instinctual need. Rather non sequitur actually.

Originality doesn't have a study that I am aware of, but, how about Democritus of Abdera and the explanation of the atomic presence. What prior experience could he have had? Summarily, none.

I'm not certain that you understand how the human brain engages in scenario abstraction, and consequently, the false idea that we "decide"; the brain makes a list of possibilities, some applicable, utilitarian, and often fringe scenarios as well. All in a matter of seconds. It isn't possible for you to "think of something non-deterministic" in the sense of your own behaviors. Those mappings are relatively ingrained, so your recall will send you back to the same conclusions.

Most of the rest of what you have posted regards learned functionalities/behaviors, not relevant to case at hand.

In the previous post, I listed a book you can pick up that helps with understanding. There are more.


Support Atheist Nexus

Donate Today



Help Nexus When You Buy From Amazon



© 2014   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service