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by guenther
Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:37 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

But even if we could surmount the complexity problem and as outside observers we could look in on people and perfectly predict what they would do, what happens when we inform people of their future? The fact that they know needs to be worked into the prediction equations, and I'm positing that mayb...
by guenther
Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:27 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Religion: The Deuce
Replies: 5301
Views: 542522

Re: Religion: The Deuce

(seriously, didn't we have a talk about you saying things i agree with? didn't we agree to avoid it at all cost? didn't that agreement to not agree on things then thrust us into a paradox situation that caused the distruction of several parallell universes?....i mean seriously...how many more paral...
by guenther
Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:22 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Religion: The Deuce
Replies: 5301
Views: 542522

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Velexia wrote:If you cannot imagine the universe at all without God, that is what The Great Hippo is calling a "failure of imagination".

I get what he is calling a failure of imagination. I reject his claim that if one has faith in God, then they have a failure of imagination.
by guenther
Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:31 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Religion: The Deuce
Replies: 5301
Views: 542522

Re: Religion: The Deuce

I follow you until the last paragraph, and then you lose me. So you without faith can imagine a universe without God. What happens if you describe it to me? Will I be unable to picture it in my head? Or if the picture shows up, will my faith suddenly vanish? I am having a hard time understanding why...
by guenther
Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:31 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Religion: The Deuce
Replies: 5301
Views: 542522

Re: Religion: The Deuce

I do see faith as an act of trust, but religious faith is more than simply trusting. It's an overt promotion of this trust despite a lack of evidence. So I tend to stay away from comparing religious faith with things like faith in science and faith that your car is going to start. If people formed a...
by guenther
Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:59 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Religion: The Deuce
Replies: 5301
Views: 542522

Re: Religion: The Deuce

already assuming you know the answer to the question tends to reduce one's desire to keep asking the question. I find that when things are unknown, people tend to stop asking the same question as well because it gets annoying to hear it over and over. You can resolve that something is unknown and t...
by guenther
Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:54 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

if we start from a nonsensical definition, then we don't need any discoveries or profound insights to understand that it can't exist. I don't think most people start with definitions at all. My reference to starting from a nonsensical definition was not broadly directed at everyone, but narrowly fo...
by guenther
Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:06 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

I interpret the word self very differently. I equate it with consciousness, and there are definitely specific areas of the brain that deal with consciousness. If self exists simply because we define it as something that exists (because we say it does), then the flying spaghetti monster exists. In t...
by guenther
Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:48 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

I suppose (not going to be a perfect analogy) it's the difference between saying that we don't know how the universe was created, and saying it was created by a fictional character. I prefer to stick with the former. What's wrong with the latter? That's an entirely different kind of discussion... S...
by guenther
Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:08 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

I don't think it is possible to know, thus I don't think there is any evidence that could possibly do such a thing. If as far as you can tell it's impossible to tell the difference between us having free will and us merely thinking we have free will, then why make a distinction at all? What's wrong...
by guenther
Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:17 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

What evidence are you waiting for? What sort of thing would push you more towards concluding one way or another?
by guenther
Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:20 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

If your action can be predetermined, you "cannot" change it what you "will" do. Even in a deterministic universe, the future cannot be predetermined because of the complexity of it all. But even if we could surmount the complexity problem and as outside observers we could look i...
by guenther
Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:09 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Religion: The Deuce
Replies: 5301
Views: 542522

Re: Religion: The Deuce

I feel like there is something really clever going on here. But I think it's beyond me. :)
by guenther
Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:54 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Religion: The Deuce
Replies: 5301
Views: 542522

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Religion tends to squelch wonder as a matter of course. Being able to just plug your ears and say "god did it" when things get tough to answer doesn't sound like wonder to me First of all, people's sense of wonder isn't just directed at how the world physically works or at our origins. Pe...
by guenther
Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:26 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

I found Technical Ben's reply to be logically challenged and obtuse, so as a lark, I just inverted it, contradicting it word by word in reverse order. At the time I thought this would be more obvious. That's funny. I had a hard time parsing your second paragraph, so I ignored it. I guess it just we...
by guenther
Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:57 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

No, any vaue less than infinite, even if partially limited, would not still be valid or free wiil. It would not be free will according to the definition laid out by willpellmn. But if we start with a definition that can't exist, no one should be surprised to discover that it in fact doesn't exist. ...
by guenther
Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:31 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Have there been any progressive reforms that failed?
Replies: 207
Views: 22943

Re: Have there been any progressive reforms that failed?

Were it not for the addiction - were crack merely 'bad for you' - it'd no more make sense making crack illegal than making trans-fats illegal or sitting on a couch watching tv for 40 hours a week illegal. All of them are 'bad for you' over the long term after all. If you get fat from sitting on the...
by guenther
Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:58 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Have there been any progressive reforms that failed?
Replies: 207
Views: 22943

Re: Have there been any progressive reforms that failed?

I do think it makes sense to say that we have the right to be protected by our government. And this right implies an obligation by the government to protect us. But this protection is enabling our freedom to do things. Do we have the right to be protected by the government from ourselves? This is my...
by guenther
Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:38 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Have there been any progressive reforms that failed?
Replies: 207
Views: 22943

Re: Have there been any progressive reforms that failed?

Parents and the government have an obligation to protect children, but it seems silly to classify this as a right that children have. They are being legally restricted, and consenting parents are likewise having their parental rights restricted. And it makes sense to restrict the rights of kids beca...
by guenther
Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:55 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Have there been any progressive reforms that failed?
Replies: 207
Views: 22943

Re: Have there been any progressive reforms that failed?

I'm not sure I'd regard NAMBLA as progressive. It trades improved rights for adults for reduced rights for children - and it's a poor trade-off imo (and likely yours). Contrast that with gay marriage - which improves rights for homosexuals without in any way reducing rights for heterosexuals. Indis...
by guenther
Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:13 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Have there been any progressive reforms that failed?
Replies: 207
Views: 22943

Re: Have there been any progressive reforms that failed?

How are you defining 'Progressive' there? To me it's about giving people more rights - or extending existing rights to more people. With that definition it's hard for me to think of a progressive reform that failed. Prohibition was definitely regressive in those terms - as is the existing war on dr...
by guenther
Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:15 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

i can't see how complexity alters the fundamentals, sure it obfusicates, but a huge number of "select case" statements in a program is still not making a choice. It is precisely making a choice. Your only grounds for rejecting this is because you are claiming that its decision has already...
by guenther
Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:57 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

choice: An act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more "state or fact of being likely or possible; likelihood"s were one outcome has 100% probability of occuring. Probability models what we know. If the world is deterministic, then if we have perfect information, we ...
by guenther
Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:50 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

We might short-circuit the objection by defining choice as "An act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more epistemic possibilities." I'm fine with that. I was trying to demonstrate that within regular language, choices exist. But adding extra precision it probably a ...
by guenther
Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:26 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

Ok, define choice in a manner that compatible with a classically deterministic universe under the same rules. choice : An act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities. Since I know you will say that a deterministic universe can't have more than one possibility: po...
by guenther
Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:46 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

Perhaps its just semantics then. If the decision process you use to make a "choice" is in fact a predetermined set of reactions to stimuli, the fact you made the "choice" was as predetermined as the rock falling. The choice in and of itself may be the illusionary part, if we're ...
by guenther
Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:09 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

If I say 'you can do whatever you want' - is that free will or determinism? Outside of splitting hairs, it could usefully be modeled either way - if the 'whatever you want' part is deterministic... When is it usefully modeled as deterministic? And what does such a model look like? We choose to do w...
by guenther
Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:57 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

I've never understood though why people rail against the overt logic of determinism, particularly as it hardly matters in practice since you need to assume free will in practice whether true or not I agree that it hardly matters, which I suppose is a good argument for simply letting you have your o...
by guenther
Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:06 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

because by defintion in a classical deterministic universe there is and can be no "choice" It's not classical determinism that gives rise to one outcome; it's the fact that there's only one future (barring exotic theories that pose multiple futures). In the end, the only option that can h...
by guenther
Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:50 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Religion: The Deuce
Replies: 5301
Views: 542522

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Can someone else who is a Christian and thinks this is BS help me out here? I do not even know how to begin explaining how completely wrong this position is. It is so wrong on so many different levels. It is beyond my ability to untangle. Elsewhere in the Bible, God shuts the mouths of lions to pro...
by guenther
Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:00 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: What the hell is corporate personhood.
Replies: 43
Views: 11759

Re: What the hell is corporate personhood.

The main point of controversy seems to be over the notion that a corporation can pay for political ads and such under first amendment rights. IE, if a corporation is a person, it's a violation of their first amendment rights to tell them they can't use their assets to say what they want to say. If ...
by guenther
Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:54 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

What's non-deterministic about F=ma or the law of universal gravitation? If you know two objects, and know precisely where they are and what they're mass is, then the model will precisely predict the attractive force between them, the acceleration they experience, the path they take towards each oth...
by guenther
Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:18 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

Here's what I find interesting: The only way we know what's in C is by knowing what's in A. And, definitionally , we can never know what's in A; we can only know what's in B. Which means, definitionally , we can never know what's in C. Which means, definitionally , we can never determine if we are ...
by guenther
Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:01 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

I find it extremely hard to see how a computer program perfectly emulating the neurons of a human brain (say my brain) wouldn't be conscious, and yet at the same time it would clearly be deterministic, therefore I conclude that I too am deterministic. It may be that we can't perfectly emulate the h...
by guenther
Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:44 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

But the are no real situations in a deterministic universe with multiple outcomes by definition. But as far as we can tell, random events have one outcome as well. Any universe that has random events is not classically deterministic, because deterministic means you can determine the outcome, not pr...
by guenther
Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:12 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

leady wrote:But the are no real situations in a deterministic universe with multiple outcomes by definition.

But as far as we can tell, random events have one outcome as well.
by guenther
Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:21 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

Instead of saying consciousness is an illusion, would it be better to call it an abstraction? Or perhaps an emergent property? It's only an illusion if it seems like something that it isn't.
by guenther
Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:01 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Definition of Free Will
Replies: 728
Views: 142228

Re: Definition of Free Will

I'm not arguing that the universe isn't deterministic, i'm just pointing out the consequences of a classically deterministic universe. I fully realise why people resist these, because they both feel wrong and generate horrible nihilistic worldviews. Determinism just means that we can theoretically ...
by guenther
Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:23 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Atheism as a civil rights movement
Replies: 570
Views: 48482

Re: Atheism as a civil rights movement

We bought tickets for Wicked through my mother-in-law's church as part of a campaign to promote marriage equality in the state.
by guenther
Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:03 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Religion: The Deuce
Replies: 5301
Views: 542522

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Since a almighty being can reach every result the actions of some person would have without this actions, the only possible purpose is that the action themselves happen, their results are irrelevant. Which is why I always find the "but maybe it has some purpose" argument quite unconvincin...

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