Countering the Argument with Thorsten

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BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #45 on: January 03, 2018, 01:20:59 pm »
Tleilaxu, I am surprised by your questioning me as to why I think anything, since your deterministic stance should inform you that no one knows why one does anything. Correct?

As to the "98% sure" qualification, does it or does it not imply some form of measurement? If it does, then wouldn't you agree that it is a singularly inapt way to discuss your "feeling" of suspicion that Thorsten is lying?
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson

TLEILAXU

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« Reply #46 on: January 03, 2018, 01:28:39 pm »
Tleilaxu, I am surprised by your questioning me as to why I think anything, since your deterministic stance should inform you that no one knows why one does anything. Correct?
Wat

Wilshire

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« Reply #47 on: January 03, 2018, 03:17:17 pm »
Necromancy initiated:
I was 98% sure Thorsten was lying his ass off until I clicked the link leading to his website.
Why assume he was lying? Habit?
Especially on the first page of this thread, there's some really interesting commentary - though it seems Thorston and Madness were never really engaged fully with each other. I don't really see why his purported expertise, false or otherwise, changes the conversation.
Quote
I am a theoretical physicist by profession, working mostly in applied quantum field theory (Quantum Chromodynamics mostly).

This raises alarm bells because claiming to have a background in quantum physics gives the appearance of being an authority on physical matters, i.e. we'd be more likely to think our physicalist (I dislike that word) interpretations were false if he as an authority on physics told us we were wrong, and this could've been known/assumed by a clever intellect with the intent to manipulate.
That's certainly one interpretation. But, I typically try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Rather than assume manipulative intent, I take it as polite conversation. Also, again to me I don't think the claim of expertise holds a lot of weight on the conversation. Maybe I'm just naive, but I think the arguments are no less valid with or without whatever purported expertise.

Even without the claim, we're either going to assume the person we're talking to has equal grounds as us to be involved in the conversation, or we will dismiss them outright regardless of what is said. Since the former leads to more interesting conversations, I don't bother with the latter.

Quote
(As a side note, modern physics is all about what you experience and not at all about what things really *are* - all Quantum Field Theory is concerned with are 'observables', and it is very clear that we don't have a clue what nature is, only how it behaves when we look at it).
This quote also raises alarm bells. I don't know anything about quantum physics, BUT I know that all those new-age interpretations of the double slit experiment (dude, like our minds determine like reality dude) are wrong, and this sounds conspicuously similar ("modern physics is all about what you experience").
I'm not really sure how you can claim to not know anything about the subject, but then claim with absolute certainty that someone's claim is wrong. It also pretty much ends the conversation. Where do we go from here?

From my understanding, he's absolutely right.
Besides, the double slit experiment only has new-age interpretations, its basically the foundation of a brand new science that didn't exist previous. Using "new-age" as a qualifier doesn't add anything but confusion, unless you've got some Aristotle interpretations of the Double Slit Experiment that I'm not aware of. (For clarity, imo 1927 is pretty new-age in terms of science and human history).


In any case, it's a good lesson that despite how brilliant and eloquent some brains are, that doesn't guarantee that they will be able to see themselves as what they are.
I'm not really sure I follow you here. Seems's that you've started with the assumption that you are correct, and use someone arguing the opposite of your thoughts as proof of their wrongness, which doesn't really make any logical sense. Can you clarify what you meant?
Yes I can. Free will being an illusion is just as absolutely true as evolution, gravity etc. in my world. I cannot see any way it can be false. Thorsten's arguments seem to skirt around the issue or mention "emergent properties", but (and I skimmed through the posts) I have still not seen a convincing argument against the notion that what comes before determines what comes after.
In that case, there's no point going further with this one either, much to my chagrin :(.
When you start your claim by defining yourself as correct and all other evidence as incorrect, there's no room for constructive conversation. Same as if I said "God tells us that my way of thinking is right, therefore I'm right". I'm not saying you're wrong, just that there's nothing left to discuss when that's your basis.


Tleilaxu, I am surprised by your questioning me as to why I think anything, since your deterministic stance should inform you that no one knows why one does anything. Correct?
That makes no sense ... unless you feel that fatalism is the only thing outside of your preferred philosophical bases of thoughts/actions. If that's the case, I can see why you're confused.

As to the "98% sure" qualification, does it or does it not imply some form of measurement? If it does, then wouldn't you agree that it is a singularly inapt way to discuss your "feeling" of suspicion that Thorsten is lying?
It does not.
I think its clear to all involved when a turn of phrase is being used, though thankfully Tleilaxu has clarified and confirmed as well, so at least this specific case has been cleared up.

In generally, a % is a unit-less number, but that doesn't mean that it can be applied to all ideas with any amount of accuracy, implied or explicit. A % is a calculated value of some portion of some whole amount. When used outside of the framework it was intended - ie mathematically - its little more than an adjective.

Are some adjectives more precise than others? Of course.
But I'd say its a pretty big leap from 'I like to use this phrasing rather than that' to calling someone out as bogus, claiming some kind of egregious behavior, and calling them singularly inapt. All of which are personal insults that inflame the situation, all for a mild disagreement on preferred grammar.
As you've so masterfully demonstrated, words are important. After all, how many have we used now to examine the three symbols "98%"? So for someone who has, in the past, so easily taken offense at particular words and ideas, I'd suggest curtailing your word choice to allow/promote civil conversation that will likely be more palatable to all involved.
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TLEILAXU

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« Reply #48 on: January 03, 2018, 04:00:29 pm »
Necromancy initiated:
I was 98% sure Thorsten was lying his ass off until I clicked the link leading to his website.
Why assume he was lying? Habit?
Especially on the first page of this thread, there's some really interesting commentary - though it seems Thorston and Madness were never really engaged fully with each other. I don't really see why his purported expertise, false or otherwise, changes the conversation.
Quote
I am a theoretical physicist by profession, working mostly in applied quantum field theory (Quantum Chromodynamics mostly).

This raises alarm bells because claiming to have a background in quantum physics gives the appearance of being an authority on physical matters, i.e. we'd be more likely to think our physicalist (I dislike that word) interpretations were false if he as an authority on physics told us we were wrong, and this could've been known/assumed by a clever intellect with the intent to manipulate.
That's certainly one interpretation. But, I typically try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Rather than assume manipulative intent, I take it as polite conversation. Also, again to me I don't think the claim of expertise holds a lot of weight on the conversation. Maybe I'm just naive, but I think the arguments are no less valid with or without whatever purported expertise.

Even without the claim, we're either going to assume the person we're talking to has equal grounds as us to be involved in the conversation, or we will dismiss them outright regardless of what is said. Since the former leads to more interesting conversations, I don't bother with the latter.
Well, the manipulative intent doesn't necessarily have to be a conscious decision. I do think claim of expertise holds a lot of weight. I'm generally going to take a physicists word on things relating to physics (which the Argument does) over an average Joe's words, so if I see a purported physicist writing something I do not usually associate with physicists my alarm bells start ringing.

Quote
(As a side note, modern physics is all about what you experience and not at all about what things really *are* - all Quantum Field Theory is concerned with are 'observables', and it is very clear that we don't have a clue what nature is, only how it behaves when we look at it).
This quote also raises alarm bells. I don't know anything about quantum physics, BUT I know that all those new-age interpretations of the double slit experiment (dude, like our minds determine like reality dude) are wrong, and this sounds conspicuously similar ("modern physics is all about what you experience").
I'm not really sure how you can claim to not know anything about the subject, but then claim with absolute certainty that someone's claim is wrong. It also pretty much ends the conversation. Where do we go from here?

From my understanding, he's absolutely right.
Besides, the double slit experiment only has new-age interpretations, its basically the foundation of a brand new science that didn't exist previous. Using "new-age" as a qualifier doesn't add anything but confusion, unless you've got some Aristotle interpretations of the Double Slit Experiment that I'm not aware of. (For clarity, imo 1927 is pretty new-age in terms of science and human history).
I'm not claiming with absolute certainty that his claim is wrong, I just find it to be... mysterious. Would you say he's right though? Would you say that physics is more about what we experience rather than what things really are? He himself said something that goes against this when he said something about everything just being fluctuating quantum fields or something.
With new-age I mean new-age spirituality https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Age
There's a ton of videos and webpages where these people claim that the double slit experiment proves that the mind is somehow active in determining reality or something, but as far as I understand it it's basically about how you measure things.

In any case, it's a good lesson that despite how brilliant and eloquent some brains are, that doesn't guarantee that they will be able to see themselves as what they are.
I'm not really sure I follow you here. Seems's that you've started with the assumption that you are correct, and use someone arguing the opposite of your thoughts as proof of their wrongness, which doesn't really make any logical sense. Can you clarify what you meant?
Yes I can. Free will being an illusion is just as absolutely true as evolution, gravity etc. in my world. I cannot see any way it can be false. Thorsten's arguments seem to skirt around the issue or mention "emergent properties", but (and I skimmed through the posts) I have still not seen a convincing argument against the notion that what comes before determines what comes after.
In that case, there's no point going further with this one either, much to my chagrin :(.
When you start your claim by defining yourself as correct and all other evidence as incorrect, there's no room for constructive conversation. Same as if I said "God tells us that my way of thinking is right, therefore I'm right". I'm not saying you're wrong, just that there's nothing left to discuss when that's your basis.
What other evidence? That's kind of a point in itself. There's probably tons of interesting stuff about discoveries in neuroscience that I'm not familiar with or qualified to accurately talk about, but even without that knowledge, if you take a biological point of view, we are all born with a set of genes into a certain environment. The space for free will shrinks. Going beyond that, looking at individual molecule. Would you say that a single protein flexing and vibrating, probing different conformations according to the thermodynamic potential is free? If not, then how could an ensemble of such molecules become free? They are chemicals interacting with each other as parts of a complex system, still not free, they are acting according to the laws of physics and thermodynamics.
The fact that there's nothing more to discuss is kind of a point in itself. Using evolution again (low hanging fruit, I know) as an example, discussing whether or not it's true might be interesting from some points of view, but it doesn't change the fact that it absolutely is true according to all existing evidence. The fact that some people, some very smart people at that, still do not believe in this fact says something about our predicament, the way that e.g. intragroup relations, demands for certainty and a fundamental feeling of being ontologically different from the rest of the world characterizes our psyche.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 04:04:47 pm by TLEILAXU »

Wilshire

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« Reply #49 on: January 03, 2018, 05:15:31 pm »
Well, the manipulative intent doesn't necessarily have to be a conscious decision. I do think claim of expertise holds a lot of weight. I'm generally going to take a physicists word on things relating to physics (which the Argument does) over an average Joe's words, so if I see a purported physicist writing something I do not usually associate with physicists my alarm bells start ringing.
I see what you're saying. To be fair, Thorston did spend much time relating his experience to the topic at hand though.

I'm not claiming with absolute certainty that his claim is wrong, I just find it to be... mysterious. Would you say he's right though? Would you say that physics is more about what we experience rather than what things really are? He himself said something that goes against this when he said something about everything just being fluctuating quantum fields or something.
The arguments are there, and he made them better than I could.

I don't have a deep understanding of physics, just a cursory one. I would say yes, I agree with him.
Since you said you just skimmed, let me badly summarize:
The argument made is basically that things that don't exist on some minute scale, like mass (yes, mass doesn't exist), have an affect on things that do exist: ie an object will kill you even though its mass is an illusion. The point, essentially, being that the existence of a phenomenon on one scale, and its non-existence on another scale, does not make for a bulletproof argument. What are we really saying when we say its 'not real', when you can take literally any idea or concept and make it 'not real' in a specific enough circumstance?
(another quick example. No such thing as a circle, or a line. Just points drawing infinitely close together. Their shape arises by taking in the whole, and we can use the whole for meaningful purposes even though 'they don't exist'. We could go all day. Language a series of incomprehensible finite sounds. Music, a series of individual notes. The whole is not always equal to the sum of its parts.)

Really whacky phenomenon do arise in quantum physics.
A human physically observing the double slit experiment, either directly or remotely without any interference whatsoever, physically changes the outcome. Not by interference, not by vibrations, or absorption, or throwing off the experiment in any measurable or discernible way. It simply is changed by the act of observation.

Billions of dollars are being spent on quantum computer research, and a huge part of that money is spent by keeping the weird super-imposed state of existence shielded from observance. IMO, its basically magic, and I've not heard an explanation that I can offer to you as to why.

But what makes the DSE so interesting is its simplicity and replicability. Why does looking at something stop it from existing? We don't know, AFAIK.

Is physics more about what we experience than what is? Yes. From my reading, there is not conflict in his statements throughout, its very consistent.

Does that mean he's right? Not at all, but it does make for a compelling argument.

With new-age I mean new-age spirituality https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Age
There's a ton of videos and webpages where these people claim that the double slit experiment proves that the mind is somehow active in determining reality or something, but as far as I understand it it's basically about how you measure things.
While I wouldn't say that I'd start a religion around physics, I'd agree that observing the universe changes it. You can't disagree with that any more than you can disagree with gravity.

In that case, there's no point going further with this one either, much to my chagrin :(.
What other evidence?
Lots in this thread, for one, that you haven't addressed but outright dismiss. You can't claim there isn't evidence, however you can rebuke. Objectively, there is plenty of evidence.

Would you say that a single protein flexing and vibrating, probing different conformations according to the thermodynamic potential is free?
Would I? No. But by that logic, medicines don't have potentiating affects (they do).
The absence of knowledge does not make for a good argument.
That you can't understand something doesn't make it any less valid or invalid.

But you've tasked me with arguing for someone that isn't here. The arguments were made here already, upthread, should you choose to read them.

If not, then how could an ensemble of such molecules become free?
In the same way that a multicellular organism exists as an accumulation of interconnected single cells. Complex phenomenons emerge from systems that you can't see if you look too closely.

Just because you can't see it or measure it at one level, doesn't mean its not there at another.

The fact that there's nothing more to discuss is kind of a point in itself. Using evolution again (low hanging fruit, I know) as an example, discussing whether or not it's true might be interesting from some points of view, but it doesn't change the fact that it absolutely is true according to all existing evidence. The fact that some people, some very smart people at that, still do not believe in this fact says something about our predicament, the way that e.g. intragroup relations, demands for certainty and a fundamental feeling of being ontologically different from the rest of the world characterizes our psyche.

Ignorance doesn't a good argument make.
Right now, the jury is out. You could still find yourself on the flat earth side of the debate. Your certainty that you are correct doesn't make it so.

No hard feelings either way, Tleilaxu. I don't have much of a personal investment in this, in that my identity isn't tied closely to the results. I'm probably more on your side as it were, but I probably see more shades of grey.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 05:23:01 pm by Wilshire »
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BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #50 on: January 03, 2018, 07:29:17 pm »


Tleilaxu, I am surprised by your questioning me as to why I think anything, since your deterministic stance should inform you that no one knows why one does anything. Correct?
That makes no sense ... unless you feel that fatalism is the only thing outside of your preferred philosophical bases of thoughts/actions. If that's the case, I can see why you're confused.

As to the "98% sure" qualification, does it or does it not imply some form of measurement? If it does, then wouldn't you agree that it is a singularly inapt way to discuss your "feeling" of suspicion that Thorsten is lying?
It does not.
I think its clear to all involved when a turn of phrase is being used, though thankfully Tleilaxu has clarified and confirmed as well, so at least this specific case has been cleared up.

In generally, a % is a unit-less number, but that doesn't mean that it can be applied to all ideas with any amount of accuracy, implied or explicit. A % is a calculated value of some portion of some whole amount. When used outside of the framework it was intended - ie mathematically - its little more than an adjective.

Are some adjectives more precise than others? Of course.
But I'd say its a pretty big leap from 'I like to use this phrasing rather than that' to calling someone out as bogus, claiming some kind of egregious behavior, and calling them singularly inapt. All of which are personal insults that inflame the situation, all for a mild disagreement on preferred grammar.
As you've so masterfully demonstrated, words are important. After all, how many have we used now to examine the three symbols "98%"? So for someone who has, in the past, so easily taken offense at particular words and ideas, I'd suggest curtailing your word choice to allow/promote civil conversation that will likely be more palatable to all involved.

In no particular order:

1. My reference to egregious behavior was not towards Tleilaxu, but towards the presumed nefarious behavior of Thorsten. To expand my original sentence: "Claiming expertise falsely is egregious behavior, and if Thorsten did so, shame on him." Honestly, Wilshire, how could you read  that sentence within the context of the discussion of Thorsten's putative expertise as a reference to Tleilaxu?

2. I did not personally insult Tleilaxu. The word "bogus" was referring to his false precision of certainty within a thread that is explicitly dealing in concepts such as measurement, the status of free will, et al. Similarly, I referred to his metaphor as "singularly inapt", in other words, way off target. Neither of these references are personally directed.

3. The "98% sure" qualification does, in fact, imply measurement. The whole point of choosing between metaphors is to choose between implications. That was the reason why I began this entire interrogation. What struck me originally was "Why 98%?  Why not 90%?"; hence the unnecessary/false/bogus precision.

4. Fatalism is not determinism.
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson

Wilshire

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« Reply #51 on: January 03, 2018, 07:41:24 pm »


Tleilaxu, I am surprised by your questioning me as to why I think anything, since your deterministic stance should inform you that no one knows why one does anything. Correct?
That makes no sense ... unless you feel that fatalism is the only thing outside of your preferred philosophical bases of thoughts/actions. If that's the case, I can see why you're confused.

As to the "98% sure" qualification, does it or does it not imply some form of measurement? If it does, then wouldn't you agree that it is a singularly inapt way to discuss your "feeling" of suspicion that Thorsten is lying?
It does not.
I think its clear to all involved when a turn of phrase is being used, though thankfully Tleilaxu has clarified and confirmed as well, so at least this specific case has been cleared up.

In generally, a % is a unit-less number, but that doesn't mean that it can be applied to all ideas with any amount of accuracy, implied or explicit. A % is a calculated value of some portion of some whole amount. When used outside of the framework it was intended - ie mathematically - its little more than an adjective.

Are some adjectives more precise than others? Of course.
But I'd say its a pretty big leap from 'I like to use this phrasing rather than that' to calling someone out as bogus, claiming some kind of egregious behavior, and calling them singularly inapt. All of which are personal insults that inflame the situation, all for a mild disagreement on preferred grammar.
As you've so masterfully demonstrated, words are important. After all, how many have we used now to examine the three symbols "98%"? So for someone who has, in the past, so easily taken offense at particular words and ideas, I'd suggest curtailing your word choice to allow/promote civil conversation that will likely be more palatable to all involved.

In no particular order:

1. My reference to egregious behavior was not towards Tleilaxu, but towards the presumed nefarious behavior of Thorsten. To expand my original sentence: "Claiming expertise falsely is egregious behavior, and if Thorsten did so, shame on him." Honestly, Wilshire, how could you read  that sentence within the context of the discussion of Thorsten's putative expertise as a reference to Tleilaxu?

2. I did not personally insult Tleilaxu. The word "bogus" was referring to his false precision of certainty within a thread that is explicitly dealing in concepts such as measurement, the status of free will, et al. Similarly, I referred to his metaphor as "singularly inapt", in other words, way off target. Neither of these references are personally directed.

3. The "98% sure" qualification does, in fact, imply measurement. The whole point of choosing between metaphors is to choose between implications. That was the reason why I began this entire interrogation. What struck me originally was "Why 98%?  Why not 90%?"; hence the unnecessary/false/bogus precision.

4. Fatalism is not determinism.
1-3: Learn to interact better/more-precisely, please. Thanks though, for the clarity.

4. Exactly.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 07:44:14 pm by Wilshire »
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BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #52 on: January 03, 2018, 09:12:23 pm »
"Exactly"? I don't understand this response:

1. Tleilaxu is making a deterministic stance, correct?

2. I'm asking him how his deterministic stance justifies asking me a "why" question, correct?

3. You're claiming that I'm equating fatalism with determinism, correct?

4. I respond that, no, fatalism is not determinism, correct?

5. You respond, "Exactly"

Not following you.
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

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TaoHorror

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« Reply #53 on: January 04, 2018, 01:54:13 am »
I think Free Will is mis-understood in this discussion. Much of what we "decide" does indeed come from "something" before, but not all of it. Sounds like from this discussion it's all or nothing - either "I'm" making all of my decisions or it's an illusion and all coming from coding/environment, et al. That's not really the rub. We are, we will be, discovering how decisions are made from the biology/environment of the brain/mind ... but where Free Will comes into play is, well, for a lack of a better way of putting it, when it "matters". For the big stuff beyond choosing between ketchup and mustard, for the things that define our character - I believe we are choosing that. We decide, and yes, impacted from what has come before, but not completely, what our action will be when confronted with the right thing vs our perceived self interest. In short, we are accountable for when we murder and we are heroes when we rise to save another at risk to ourselves.

TL, you express the seeds of your view's destruction - the fact you care that some don't "see the fact of the matter" proves you could be wrong - otherwise, it doesn't matter who accepts and who doesn't if we're simply complex machines with no soul. There is more to human reality than the complex assembly of quantum physics, for which if there wasn't, than the point of any of it would simply be to reduce human suffering - achievement, greatness, discovery, empowerment would all be for naught including the intellectuals' dismay at the more pedestrian minded. Other than the avoidance of pain ( quite the powerful evolutionary program ), nothing else matters given your view. Doesn't even matter if humanity suffers extinction since we're all just complex programming. So why does it matter so much to you if you know it's simply a "trick" of evolution making you think it should? You're "awareness" should dull your dismay.

The argument against free will is a steep hill to climb, one that commands 100% perfection ... for if I could prove that .000001% of a decision does not come from something before, than that is the exercise of free will and I may not make the same decision every time given same circumstances.

That all said, keep talking, my friend - I am learning a lot from your posts ( not saying this to soften my critique of your statements, I honestly haven't been subjected to this topic as much as you and some of what you're posting is fascinating ).
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 01:59:39 am by TaoHorror »
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BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #54 on: January 04, 2018, 05:16:57 am »
I think Free Will is mis-understood in this discussion. Much of what we "decide" does indeed come from "something" before, but not all of it. Sounds like from this discussion it's all or nothing - either "I'm" making all of my decisions or it's an illusion and all coming from coding/environment, et al. That's not really the rub. We are, we will be, discovering how decisions are made from the biology/environment of the brain/mind ... but where Free Will comes into play is, well, for a lack of a better way of putting it, when it "matters". For the big stuff beyond choosing between ketchup and mustard, for the things that define our character - I believe we are choosing that. We decide, and yes, impacted from what has come before, but not completely, what our action will be when confronted with the right thing vs our perceived self interest. In short, we are accountable for when we murder and we are heroes when we rise to save another at risk to ourselves.

Thanks, Tao, for adding another voice to this discussion.

I'm inclined to the view that the free will/determinism debate is a collision of two ways of looking at the world. There's the reductionism of science, where there are only causes and effects. Then, there's the Lebenswelt, the world of appearances, the human world. The scientific perspective may always view mental states such as self-consciousness and the will as illusory. In the Lebenswelt, free will is an aspect of viewing other humans as fellow subjects and not as mere objects, which, I believe, is an aspect of Kant's categorical imperative; that we "act so as to treat rational beings always as ends in themselves and never as means [to an end] only".

This view is my amateurish paraphrase of Roger Scruton, who refers to this two-viewed outlook as "cognitive dualism". His latest book, On Human Nature, deals with these issues. I would also recommend The Soul Of The World, the work that inspired me to take philosophy seriously.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 05:40:44 am by BeardFisher-King »
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

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BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #55 on: January 04, 2018, 05:21:49 am »
Tleilaxu, I am surprised by your questioning me as to why I think anything, since your deterministic stance should inform you that no one knows why one does anything. Correct?
Wat

Now that's terse!
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson

TLEILAXU

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« Reply #56 on: January 04, 2018, 06:16:03 am »
I'm not claiming with absolute certainty that his claim is wrong, I just find it to be... mysterious. Would you say he's right though? Would you say that physics is more about what we experience rather than what things really are? He himself said something that goes against this when he said something about everything just being fluctuating quantum fields or something.
The arguments are there, and he made them better than I could.

I don't have a deep understanding of physics, just a cursory one. I would say yes, I agree with him.
Since you said you just skimmed, let me badly summarize:
The argument made is basically that things that don't exist on some minute scale, like mass (yes, mass doesn't exist), have an affect on things that do exist: ie an object will kill you even though its mass is an illusion. The point, essentially, being that the existence of a phenomenon on one scale, and its non-existence on another scale, does not make for a bulletproof argument. What are we really saying when we say its 'not real', when you can take literally any idea or concept and make it 'not real' in a specific enough circumstance?
(another quick example. No such thing as a circle, or a line. Just points drawing infinitely close together. Their shape arises by taking in the whole, and we can use the whole for meaningful purposes even though 'they don't exist'. We could go all day. Language a series of incomprehensible finite sounds. Music, a series of individual notes. The whole is not always equal to the sum of its parts.)
This is really kind of a God of the gaps argument, in the sense that because macroscale phenomena haven't been completely mapped out or aren't reducible to quantum mechanics for various reasons, that this allows things such as free will, which necessitate an ontological feature peculiar to humans (and perhaps other higher animals; you would never call a bacteria free, since everything it does can be pretty much explained by the machinations of molecular machinery) to exist. I don't understand your point about circles lines etc. These are mathematical concepts. There are no circles in R1.

Really whacky phenomenon do arise in quantum physics.
A human physically observing the double slit experiment, either directly or remotely without any interference whatsoever, physically changes the outcome. Not by interference, not by vibrations, or absorption, or throwing off the experiment in any measurable or discernible way. It simply is changed by the act of observation.

Billions of dollars are being spent on quantum computer research, and a huge part of that money is spent by keeping the weird super-imposed state of existence shielded from observance. IMO, its basically magic, and I've not heard an explanation that I can offer to you as to why.

But what makes the DSE so interesting is its simplicity and replicability. Why does looking at something stop it from existing? We don't know, AFAIK.

Is physics more about what we experience than what is? Yes. From my reading, there is not conflict in his statements throughout, its very consistent.

Does that mean he's right? Not at all, but it does make for a compelling argument.
From wikipedia:
Quote
In the basic version of this experiment, a coherent light source, such as a laser beam, illuminates a plate pierced by two parallel slits, and the light passing through the slits is observed on a screen behind the plate.[2][3] The wave nature of light causes the light waves passing through the two slits to interfere, producing bright and dark bands on the screen — a result that would not be expected if light consisted of classical particles.[2][4] However, the light is always found to be absorbed at the screen at discrete points, as individual particles (not waves), the interference pattern appearing via the varying density of these particle hits on the screen.[5] Furthermore, versions of the experiment that include detectors at the slits find that each detected photon passes through one slit (as would a classical particle), and not through both slits (as would a wave).[6][7][8][9][10] However, such experiments demonstrate that particles do not form the interference pattern if one detects which slit they pass through. These results demonstrate the principle of wave–particle duality.[11][12]
The experiment shows particle/wave duality, the probabilistic nature of nature, and that how we measure things can affect things. It's not about specific human consciousness observing the experiment changing the outcome.

In that case, there's no point going further with this one either, much to my chagrin :(.
What other evidence?
Lots in this thread, for one, that you haven't addressed but outright dismiss. You can't claim there isn't evidence, however you can rebuke. Objectively, there is plenty of evidence.
Feel free to point out a specific one. Let's take one example.

Quote
If you follow the chain that sometimes we discard experiences because of science, but science is ultimately justified by experience only, things start getting very very murky. I do not think one can automatically assume that the same deduction principles continue to hold - they have to be justified anew if applied to the mind. Especially because the mind is self-referencing, but several principles are known to break when applied to self-referencing systems. If psychologists would test the foundations of their own field with the same level of rigor they apply to, say, religious experiences, they'd be in for a bad surprise.
The argument is basically that (human) minds specifically are ontologically different because they are "self-referencing". It's another God of the gaps. To take examples from evolution again, this is the same thing that happens when some religious people accept that everything else in nature evolved "naturally", but that a scriptural God had a hand in designing humans. How else could our specialness be explained? Would you, or any other, have difficulty accepting that a worm doesn't have free will?

Would you say that a single protein flexing and vibrating, probing different conformations according to the thermodynamic potential is free?
Would I? No. But by that logic, medicines don't have potentiating affects (they do).
Wut.

If not, then how could an ensemble of such molecules become free?
In the same way that a multicellular organism exists as an accumulation of interconnected single cells. Complex phenomenons emerge from systems that you can't see if you look too closely.

Just because you can't see it or measure it at one level, doesn't mean its not there at another.
But this is just another God of the gaps. We are talking about a fundamental difference between humans and ALL other forms of matter here. Free will necessitates some kind of divine aspect, a soul, for how else could you explain that your molecules have agency while the molecules of everything else does not?

Ignorance doesn't a good argument make.
Right now, the jury is out. You could still find yourself on the flat earth side of the debate. Your certainty that you are correct doesn't make it so.

No hard feelings either way, Tleilaxu. I don't have much of a personal investment in this, in that my identity isn't tied closely to the results. I'm probably more on your side as it were, but I probably see more shades of grey.
The jury is still out because people have trouble accepting ideas that go against all their preconceptions. Again, the idea of evolution was and is still is a very sensitive topic, even though every biologist in the world assumes it to be 100% fact. The jury is still out, but will I find myself on the flat earth side? No.

That being said, if you could find strong evidence of the existence of a soul, I'd be open to change my stance.

TL, you express the seeds of your view's destruction - the fact you care that some don't "see the fact of the matter" proves you could be wrong - otherwise, it doesn't matter who accepts and who doesn't if we're simply complex machines with no soul. There is more to human reality than the complex assembly of quantum physics, for which if there wasn't, than the point of any of it would simply be to reduce human suffering - achievement, greatness, discovery, empowerment would all be for naught including the intellectuals' dismay at the more pedestrian minded. Other than the avoidance of pain ( quite the powerful evolutionary program ), nothing else matters given your view. Doesn't even matter if humanity suffers extinction since we're all just complex programming. So why does it matter so much to you if you know it's simply a "trick" of evolution making you think it should? You're "awareness" should dull your dismay.
That's actually a problem I have with this book. Every time the Argument is being talked about, the characters become furiously aggressive and respond with stuff like "b-but if nothing's real why does anything fucking matter, fuck you dude!". Think, why should your programming cease to be because you realize you are programmed thus?

Tleilaxu, I am surprised by your questioning me as to why I think anything, since your deterministic stance should inform you that no one knows why one does anything. Correct?
Wat

Now that's terse!
You crashed my program.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 01:31:08 pm by TLEILAXU »

Wilshire

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« Reply #57 on: January 04, 2018, 02:21:40 pm »
Keep in mind that "because people have trouble accepting ideas that go against all their preconceptions" applies equally to you and your preconceptions. I think you're reading on the DSE is a primary example.
ETA: Also the opposite is true as well. People testing hypotheses that go against all preconceived notion. That's how science works. Shutting down either half short-circuits it - which is why the highest form of knowing is a 'theory', not an assertion.

You're not addressing the fact that things can verifiable both exist and not exist. Mass being the example provided in the thread.

The crux is what do you do?
As you said, just because there isn't free-will doesn't mean there is suddenly nothing left in the world (ie people misconstruing everything else as fatalism).

Since you've established that there's no difference between the free-will and not free-will universes, what now? If people use your words to describe the universe, rather than theirs, does that change anything?
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 02:33:10 pm by Wilshire »
One of the other conditions of possibility.

TLEILAXU

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« Reply #58 on: January 04, 2018, 03:18:48 pm »
Keep in mind that "because people have trouble accepting ideas that go against all their preconceptions" applies equally to you and your preconceptions. I think you're reading on the DSE is a primary example.
ETA: Also the opposite is true as well. People testing hypotheses that go against all preconceived notion. That's how science works. Shutting down either half short-circuits it - which is why the highest form of knowing is a 'theory', not an assertion.

You're not addressing the fact that things can verifiable both exist and not exist. Mass being the example provided in the thread.
But that's not correct if you ask me. Mass does exist. I think Thorsten used it as an argument against the claim that consciousness was an illusion
Quote
So mass is a property of high level effective theories only, it is not a fundamental property of the world. The illusion of mass of a rock arises largely because there is a lot of field energy in the binding of quarks and gluons which makes an empty vacuum energetically disfavoured, and thus stuff plowing through the field energy contained in the vacuum effectively acquires mass.
this is not the same thing as mass literally not existing, and I have no problem with this or the way he explained it.

Since you've established that there's no difference between the free-will and not free-will universes, what now? If people use your words to describe the universe, rather than theirs, does that change anything?
No, there's a tremendous difference. What I'm trying to say is that just realizing we don't have free will isn't going to shut down everything, we'll still be driven to do things because that's what we are, but this is not the same thing as there being no difference.
It changes our self-understanding.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 03:32:01 pm by TLEILAXU »

Wilshire

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« Reply #59 on: January 04, 2018, 04:18:05 pm »
But that's not correct if you ask me.
So this is my point entirely. Its not real, yet you choose to use your preconceptions to justify why all the information pointing otherwise justifies your reaction, because you don't fully understand the phenomenon.
Just like everyone else.
All I'm saying is you're not special, which seems to be exactly what you're saying about everyone else, so I'm not sure why the cognitive dissonance.

No, there's a tremendous difference. What I'm trying to say is that just realizing we don't have free will isn't going to shut down everything, we'll still be driven to do things because that's what we are, but this is not the same thing as there being no difference.
It changes our self-understanding.
So then what is the difference and how does a change in self-understanding affect reality?
One of the other conditions of possibility.