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Determinism vs Free Will by Physicists.

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by bobhikes, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. bobhikes

    bobhikes Nowoligist
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  2. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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  3. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Hmm...and I would say the opposite. Our thoughts are produced by activities in the brain, which are physical.
     
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  4. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Can you imagine a process which disobeys the laws of physics?
     
  5. bobhikes

    bobhikes Nowoligist
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    I tend to agree, my take is that its a combination. We have the Will to Stop. The ability to stop our action and think about it first.

    If you fall down a hill you have the ability to create more friction to slow your fall, grab something to stop your fall or direct you fall to a better path. The best choice will be determined by the mind given enough time.
     
  6. bobhikes

    bobhikes Nowoligist
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    An Electronic switch has 3 states on, undefined and off. There is a range in every electronic switch that is undefined we don't know what will happen. In this range systems usually lock up or do weird things. Human minds don't yet all our decision have to have the same 3 states. So when we are in the undefined state the mind has the ability to act without input from the senses. The mind works extremely fast and defines the state based on other mental input only.
     
  7. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Sure. Any process that violates energy conservation. Easy to imagine. Impossible to produce in reality.
     
  8. Nakosis

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    So then your thoughts are not bound by physics. Are you not free to imagine any reality without regards to any of the physical laws of this universe?
     
  9. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    OK, sure. But that isn't what was being discussed in the video. Our thoughts are a result of the laws of physics as applied to our brains. That is very different than saying the contents of those thoughts have to obey the laws of physics.
     
  10. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Yes but free will is about the choices we make.

    Imagine creating a God that does not have to obey the laws of physics. Then imagine making choices based on your belief in this God.

    So your choices need not be based on the laws of physics nor even actual reality. Your choices could be based on an imagine God, an imagine future or an imagined past. And you choices were not determine until you imagined this imaginary reality.

    In fact, IMO it is this ability to imagine alternate pasts/futures which gives us the ability to choose an alternate future. Alternate at least from the perspective of it being different from the future that would have happened if we had not gone through the process of imagining.
     
  11. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    Have you jumped to the conclusion that the brain is purely physical because that's all we can see?

    Aren't you stopping the cause-and-effect chain at a convenient place to support your position? If we start with the Big Bang and follow the chain to the brain, doesn't it produce non-physical thoughts which can be transferred to other brains?
     
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  12. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Not that I can see. Those 'non-physical thought' are physical processes in the brain, whether or not the brains ultimately come from star dust and the Big bang.
     
  13. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    The thoughts are the physical processes that produce them?

    IMO, it takes a leap of faith to settle on the notion that free will is an illusion; just as it takes a leap of faith to settle on the notion that OBEs (mind separating from brains) are delusions. Lacking evidence, I just don't know about either.
     
    #13 joe1776, Mar 27, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
  14. Polymath257

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    Thoughts are physical processes in the brain. When you think, that is the result of your brain processing information from the senses (or generated by a different part of the brain). We can even point to the locations in the brain where certain types of thoughts are likely to manifest.

    Actually, given the stresses that the brain is under in the OBE scenarios and the known effect lack of oxygen has on the brain, it seems like it is a leap of faith to say OBEs are anything other than screwed up brain processing.

    I'm not sure I know a good, consistent definition of 'free will' that is consistent with what we know of physics.
     
  15. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    You miss the point that the thoughts themselves are not physical. The thoughts generated from your brain used to communicate with me in your post have no physical characteristics.

    Are you asking me to believe that OBEs have been researched and the findings replicated demonstrating that a lack of oxygen accounts for the phenomena? Frankly, this claim sounds like baloney. Most OBEs happen when people are sleeping. There's no stress.

    What do we know of physics that is consistent (agreed upon by physicists)? That's a rhetorical question.
     
    #15 joe1776, Mar 27, 2020
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  16. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Let me put it this way. Is 'pressure' physical? No atom has pressure. It is only when collections of atoms interact that we can say a system has pressure.

    In the same way, no neuron thinks. But thinking is what collections of neutrons do. So, yes, thoughts *do* have physical characteristics: they are located in the brain, they are described by certain physical processes in networks of neurons in the brain.

    In communication, I take the neural representation of a thought, convert it into, say sounds waves that are picked up by your ears and sent to your brain to be processed. if the communication is successful, the thought in your brain is similar to that in mine.

    I know it is rhetorical, but here are a few: conservation of energy, localization of causes, signals are physical processes, etc.
     
  17. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    Do the thoughts themselves, which contain meaning, have the properties of matter or energy? And, if not, why do you describe them as physical?

    I don't understand why you think free will should be consistent with physical processes which, in some instances, don't seem to be consistent with each other. They act in unique, unexpected ways.
     
  18. Polymath257

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    Yes, thoughts are physical *processes* in our brains, somewhat like computer programs running on a computer hardware. Just like the bits in a computer have meaning, but are still physical (based on matter and energy), so are our thoughts. But, once again, our thoughts are closer to the running programs than just a collection of bits.

    I'm not sure why you say physical processes don't seem to be consistent with each other. The whole of physics shows the opposite: there is a consistent way to model the physical world. Even your mentioning of matter and energy is based on the concepts of physics.
     
  19. DavidMcCann

    DavidMcCann Well-Known Member

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    What evidence do you have for that claim? And how do you explain near-death experiences in patients with no detectable brain activity? I obviously can't refer you to religious experiences, which raise the question of where a god keeps their brain, since as an atheist you obviously refuse to believe in them. You obviously have more skill than I in belief without evidence and disbelief in the face of it!
     
  20. Polymath257

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    First of all, I accept that people have religious *experiences*. I just believe they are products of brain activity and have nothing at all to do with a supernatural. Those OBEs that have happened with 'no brain activity' have been in situations where the detectors have been low quality (EEGs and not MRIs, for example) and where the timing is suspect: are we sure the experience happened during the time when there was no detectable activity?

    Remember that the brain commonly rewrites its experiences to make them 'work'. So why would we suspect that rewriting after the fact didn't happen in these?

    And, as for evidence that the brain is where thoughts happen, pretty much all of brain research over the past century shows that: you affect the brain and you affect thoughts.
     
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