"I think therefore I am." Descarte's most basic tenet of free will. But how "free" is it?The more I study this and make observations of the people around me, the more I am convinced that free will is nothing more than an illusion.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke.
Now let me rephrase Clarke's third law in context of this discussion:
"Any sufficiently complex memoryplex is indistinguishable from free will."
Note the phrase memoryplex, not memeplex. I'm referring here to our collective memories from the earliest retained memory right up to this instant. That instant has now passed (a few milliseconds ago) and as you continue to read, those instants are similarly passing into your collective memoryplex.
If our decisions are based on what we know (assuming that we're not mentally ill) and what we know is the memories we have formed, then free will simply isn't.
I've thought about this for some time now and I'm only summarising here, but if this is correct, it has frightening implications. For instance, what you've just read, based on what you already know, has influenced you - and you have no choice in what you're about to do: reply, ignore, digest, etc... everything is based on your experience to date plus this last few dozen words of argument.
So how "free" is your will?
First, in response to whether I made any attempt at intimidation or whatever else you had read into my response, I assure you my intentions were innocent. I am new to Nexus and simply wasn't aware if that person (whoever it was at the time) knew that there was a whole group devoted to this question and whether he/she wouldn't have prefeered to take it up there.
I have not read "The Grand Design". All due respect to Hawking, physicists often don't make the best philosophers. You can go outwards as far as you want into speculation about other universes or the laws of nature, but given what we do know about our universe and its laws the arguments all seem to be stacked against the existence of free will. I'm not sure even Hawkings suppositions hold up, but the fact that you have to go all the way out to the most speculative physics there is to come up with even the most remote support for your position does not bode well for any such argument. Even so, randomness, spontaneity, and fulfillment of all potentialities don't seem to suggest free will, but rather random and arbitrary will, not confined by any element of order. By this suggestion, you might expect ELEPHANT ELEPHANT ELEPHANT to seem like a perfectly sensible utterance (to you, me, or someone out there). Were there to be such people where we could find no mental abnormalities such that they confounded psychologists by their non-conformity to cause-effect relationships, would you say that these people ought to be in mental institutions (at least until a cause could be found for their disinhibitions), or would you rather claim that maybe these are really the ones with a "free" will?
Nor did I (and it was aimed at me) - Wander was simply making an suggestion/observation. I prefer to keep my discussions here among my peers, Wanderer. Those who know me well, know that I start discussions on about things I already have answers to - often from my own research - simply to expand the argument by seeing things from other people's perspectives.
Sorry John, I can't recall seeing that name pop up in this thread... I'll have a look.
Edit: ah yes, I inferred that Wanderer was alluding to the discussion thread which I started (and have explained why elsewhere).
I don't recall seeing a group on "free will" as such, my contention is that since every cause must have an effect (even if an effect may be the product of many different variables interacting) then we have no real choice.
I've paraphrased one of my heros in the intro to demonstrate.
We can agree to disagree, sure, but you are the only one here arguing against the proposal and as such I think it behooves us to fully explore your objection - particularly as you're so strident about it. You could be right, after all and good scientists follow the evidence not our hearts.
You have suggested my logic is fallacious and made the similar point to Wanderer.
This is quite acceptable in debate, but I expect you back it up with a fact, not a conjecture: specifically, where in nature does a cause not force an effect - this is the linchpin of your argument.
What I'm not getting is how does this spontaneity at the micro level translate into the macro? we're talking of differences in massive orders of magnitude~ not to mention this
> Clearly, what modern science sees as spontaneity and randomness on the macro or micro level might have afforded the existence of entities whose activity is inconsistent with cause and effect (because nothing can stand in the way of spontaneity).
I'm sorry, but how does this make sense? because it happens in the micro, entire entities constructed of this can exist? is that to suppose that we are these entities being spoken of? I'm sorry, I must be missing something, because this sounds like pure conjecture.
on a side note, I'm not sure that quantum physics necessarily correlates with "nature" as in the way our "world" or reality is completely independent of the laws at that level. it is sub-natural, almost abstract. If someone is to have me believe that it is part of nature, please demonstrate how the properties and laws at that level are applicable in the Macro.