It cannot be denied

by logansrun 56 Replies latest jw friends

  • trevor

    This is the old determinism debate, thrashed out so many times.

    I don’t think a conclusion was ever reached, except - there is no conclusion.

    It is simply not possible to accurately compute all the contributing forces and emotions at work and come to a definite conclusion as to whether a persons own will can stand apart from their influences.

  • DanTheMan

    Of course there's the multiverse theory that says that everything really is random and free and so every possible scenario that could ever play out from every single situation, does, creating an infinite number of parallel universes that are continually branching off from each other.

    But that seems pretty far-fetched.

  • Robert K Stock
    Robert K Stock

    Logansrun sounds like he is trying to excuse something he did that he is not proud of.

    I deny his assertion.

    We are all free if we choose to be and only mindless slaves to our environment and genetics if we choose to be.

  • proplog2

    I just finished reading an excellent book on this subjec -- The Blank Slate author = Pinker

  • EvilForce

    Um....I deny it.

  • seattleniceguy

    I agree that the our universe - at least at an above-quantum level - probably works in a deterministic manner. I cannot see any mechanism by which such a thing as "free will" would exist. (Thanks to Euphemism for originally convincing me that this must logically be the case.) As funkyderek points out, even if there is such a thing as a soul, this only pushes the problem back a level. (Ergo, by what mechanism is the soul able to make truly free choices?)

    On the other hand, from our perspective, we certainly have the illusion of control over our lives, so from a practical standpoint, it is hard to see how it helps to believe one way or the other on this issue. I suppose that believing in determinism might make a person take a more pragmatic view of criminal justice, for example, but I'm not even sure exactly how those views would change compared to someone who was simply pragmatic in general. I'd be interested if anyone had some views on this.


  • John Doe
    John Doe
    But what's the "we"? If, as I believe, we are entirely natural entities then we behave exactly as the chemistry of our brains at a particular moment dictates that we behave. There's no extra person to override that. If, on the other hand, there is a "ghost in the machine", a soul if you will, then on what basis does that soul make decisions? Does it make them based on its own nature and experiences, in which case we've just moved the problem back a level? Or does it make completely free choices in which case its behaviour is uncaused and therefore random?

    Are you not arguing between two versions of nearly the same thing? Does it matter if our conscious power is brain chemistry or a "ghost in the machine?" We cannot deny that we have the ability to live our lives many different ways. In the end, why should we even care if our conscious thoughts are chemical? Seems similar to arguing whether I've been here an hour or 60 minutes (I've been here about 3 minutes actually ).

  • googlemagoogle

    there is no free will. we take decisions based on so many factors, influences and circumstances, that we cannot conciously see all of them. thus we have the imagination of free will.

    just like an event may appear random in our little view, but in the big picture it was just the logical consequence of previous events.

    what we are is a big cocktail of DNA, upbringing, education, hormons, and what not... everything we do has a reason. even if we want to change the way we are - which by some might be considered free will - it has a reason.

    nevertheless, by the same procedure, morals were buildt. and decisions always produce consequences. and logically we have to live with them. or not. depending on how your cocktail was mixed.

  • LouBelle

    there has always been a choice and you are free to choose what you want.

  • funkyderek

    John Doe:

    Are you not arguing between two versions of nearly the same thing? Does it matter if our conscious power is brain chemistry or a "ghost in the machine?

    Effectively, they are the same thing and that was my point. I would argue that the choices we make are due to the particular configuration of the atoms in our brain at the time, which would mean that there is no truly free will. Others would argue that there is a higher "self", "soul" or "spirit" that is independent of the physical makeup of the brain. If that is the case, it is still necessary to explain how that "self" makes decisions. If its decisions are a result of its nature and configuration at the time, then there is, again, no free will. If the "self" acts without cause then it is unlike anything else in the universe and we do have a sort of free will, in that our actions will be random. But who or what can be held responsible for them?

    We cannot deny that we have the ability to live our lives many different ways.

    I deny it. We have the ability to live our lives in exactly one way. Nobody has ever done otherwise.

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