Naturalism states that we are all completely natural human beings, that there is no immaterial god "out there" and there is no immaterial soul "in here". It also states that freewill is an illusion, that we are as individuals who we are because of our genetics, environment, and culture.

Thoughts?

Tags: freewill, illusion, naturalism, soul

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I've always allowed for quantum indeterminacy, even in my initial response some 10 posts ago. I've since abandoned my "thought experiment" because of this awkwardly worded exception for a more generalized approach that gives as much weight to indeterminacy as determinacy. If you think I am denying QI, then you need to re-read all my posts, starting from the first one. You are arguing with a straw man.

Suppose the unsolved equation "1 + 1 = x". All of the following statements about it will be true because they use different definitions of the same base word:

  • x is determined by 1 + 1
  • x is indetermined
  • x is determinable because 1 + 1 leaves no indefinite terms

Notice the first 2 points are not contradictory. All physical phenomena are determined by prior facts, even if they are in an indetermined state. That electron, even if you don't know its motion, has not been in the same motion or position since the beginning of the universe; it is affected by interaction with other particles; and did not just spontaneously come into existence upon observance uncaused.

Regardless of the semantics of indeterminacy, quantum indeterminacy (as with all indeterminacy) by definition involves chance, despite your unsupported contradictions.

I am arguing for the lack of free will rather than for determinism. I did not use the word "determinism" until you imposed it on me, and I mistakenly accepted it. From the first post I made in this thread, it should have been clear that my position is that lack of free will is true whether determinism or indeterminism is true.

All physical phenomena are determined by prior facts, even if they are in an indetermined state.

That statement is incoherent as it stands. If physical phenomena are undetermined, they are not determined by prior facts or anything else.

If you think I am denying QI, then you need to re-read all my posts, starting from the first one. You are arguing with a straw man.

If you insist that all physical phenomena are determined—even those that are undetermined—I see no other conclusion possible.

I did not use the word "determinism" until you imposed it on me, and I mistakenly accepted it.

That does not seem to be the case. As far as I can determine, you yourself were first to use the word determinism in your response to my question about obeying commands.:

Me: If someone asks you to clench your fist five times and no more, you are able to do so without the least difficulty or you may refuse to follow the request. How does that work?

You: Let's see how this would work and remain consistent with determinism.


It is absurd to claim that I imposed the use of the word determinism on you, when it was your own free choice to use it first.

 

 

That statement is incoherent as it stands. If physical phenomena are undetermined, they are not determined by prior facts or anything else.


Either you:

  1. Have a longstanding problem differentiating multiple definitions of the same word.
  2. Think that all electrons exist in a vacuum unaffected and uncaused by anything else; the Big Bang never had any effect on any particle matter. This would rule out the formation of molecules

That does not seem to be the case. As far as I can determine, you yourself were first to use the word determinism in your response to my question

I did use "determinism" there, didn't I? I said that the apparent volition of one clenching his fist can be consistent with determinism. I did not say determinism constitutes my entire position, which would have contradicted my first post. The next time "determinism" was used was here (in retrospect, strangely concluded):

All this is predicated on an original assumption of materialism and a consequent deduction of determinism

And here...

It follows that you only think you believe in materialism and determinism

I am quite honestly losing my patience from your argument in semantics of a word that has ultimately no bearing on the original topic, and your passive aggressive denial of arguing for free will, when you've made your position incredibly clear in the first post:

Rather than describe free will as an illusion, it might be more accurate to call it an epiphenomenon or emergent effect... It's far from clear that mental phenomena cannot cause physical phenomena...

And in following posts:

It seems quite likely that [physical states of neurons] will remain difficult to observe. This essential connection is merely a supposition, not an observable fact.

If a purely mental action of thinking about moving a cursor can cause a physical action of moving a cursor, how then can you distinguish mental and physical actions so clearly that you can be absolutely sure mental actions do not cause physical changes in the brain?

It is clear, from these above examples, and more, that you are arguing from a position that free will does exist in some physical emergent form. You use many of these assumptions to contradict my arguments. Yet, then pressed, you change your tune and hide behind a wall of dishonesty whereby you disown your own positions, making it hard for me to address the actual motivations and assumptions behind your arguments. Example:

You interpret challenges to your arguments for determinism as arguments for free will. They are not.

This has persisted through

  • rational beings vs rational thoughts
  • argument against naturalism by saying that there's no reason to trust in subjective interpretations of perception
  • randomness of indeterminacy
  • and now, the definition of "indetermined"

Each point I addressed was subsequently ignored by you as you continued to contradict my arguments based on those preconceived notions as if nothing I said even registered.

The argument against naturalism, which you probably unwittingly made (you made the point, rephrased, if free will is an illusion, then thinking is an illusion, then perception cannot be trusted), is ironically a common argument used by Christians against atheists. (i.e. If God is not real and humans evolved from statistical process of evolution, then thinking is an illusion, then perception cannot be trusted.) When I called you out on it, you only demurred, saying that was not your position, and provided no further defense. Yet you still believe that one cannot logically lack free will and still produce objectively verifiable ideas or arguments.

The randomness of indeterminacy, which I requested you address numerous times have been met with red herrings such as Laplace's Demon or Wolfram's cellular automata.

Here are 2 "consequence arguments" against the compatibility of Wolfram's automata and free will (it was originally made by Trenton Merricks against compatibility of QI and free will; it is applicable against both):

  1. Humans have no choice about the following truth: every action a human performs is entailed by what the distant past was like and the nature of the laws of nature.
  2. Humans have no choice about what the distant past was like or the nature of the laws of nature.
  3. Therefore, humans have no choice about what actions they perform.
  4. Humans have no choice about the following truth: every action a human performs supervenes on what the agent's constituent atoms do or are like.
  5. Humans have no choice about what their constituent atoms do or are like.
  6. Therefore, humans have no choice about what actions they perform.

Yet you still assume that quantum indeterminacy is not chance-based, and presumably, either quantum indeterminacy can be rationally controlled, or the whole quantum indeterminacy thing is just another red herring.

In other words, I doubt each of us have any more to say to each other that would add any value to this topic.

In other words, I doubt each of us have any more to say to each other that would add any value to this topic.

That may be the one correct conclusion you've made. You've tried to make an argument against free will, but it has been weakly expressed and when challenged on particular statements you have been unable to support them. You think the case is clear, but if it is so clear you ought to be able to make clear arguments for it and answer the challenges. In your frustration you resort to ad hominem arguments and make a silly claim that I imposed determinism on you. None of this inspires any confidence that there is substance to your awkwardly expressed ideas.

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