Forums - General Discussion - How to disprove free will using basic logic

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So it was predetermined that I was going to go to Stop and Shop yesterday, spend $113 and walk out with a case of water, chicken, 2 containers of Orange Juice and a ton of other stuff?

It was not only predetermined what I was going to do, but also what I was going to buy? O_o


I am shocked... and I feel so puny...



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BasilZero said:
IIIIITHE1IIIII said:

But we don't decide how to shape it. Our experiences (which could be determined or random) is what makes us decide how to shape the future.

But how would you know if our experiences are determined by a higher being? How would you know if the even that occurred was random or a result of someone/something's decision/result?


Obviously, I cannot disprove God. But more importantly, I cannot prove his existence either.

 

God's existence is just as likely as the flying spaghetti monster's.



IIIIITHE1IIIII said:

 

Alright, so those of you who remember my "Fate exists?" thread will probably notice some similarities, but bear with me :)

 

Let's get right to it with an example where most people would say that a decision has been made, like when some guy decides to rob someone for money. Now, if you were to reverse time again and again (it could be any timespan from years to minutes), do you think that (a) this guy would have decided to rob this person after each time reversal? (As supported by determinism.) Or do you think that (b) each time reversal would have resultet in him making different decisions each time? (As supported by quantum theories.)

Those are really the only two possible outcomes that comes to my mind, and this is where the problem starts. If he decides to rob the victum every time, then that suggests that he couldn't possibly have made another choice at the moment, meaning that he has no free will, but follows a predetermined pattern that has already decided all of his future decisions.

If the outcome would be different each time, on the other hand, wouldn't that too suggest that he has no free will? If each and every decision you make throughout your life is based on randomness then they might as well have been completely different, suggesting that you never really had control of any of your actions, and thus no free will.

 

Any thoughts?


I think - like the ancient Greeks and all the philosophies that posit the existence of free will - that the nature of free will is fundamentally supernatural. If one resorts to purely naturalistic arguments, then you're right and either we're subject to determinism, or randomness, or a mixture of both. But the point is that we seem to have free will. This is no proof that it exists, but at the same time your thought experiment cannot disprove it in the sense that it is not feasible, as you cannot go back in time. I also think that time irreversibility and the incompleteness or indeterminacy of physics laws (and I do not agree, as someone said, that quantum effects do not have macro effects - they have and those effects can be gigantic if you go back close enough to the big bang) allow room for this elusive concept that we cannot grasp with sensory tools. 

And finally I am not convinced by the some brain science experiments showing subjects reacting after some stimulus but before they seem to be aware of the stimulus. But I'll leave that aside.

By the way, if what you say were true, then our answers to this questionnaire would be meaningless because they would have been dictated to us by some deterministic mechanism or by randomness, or maybe both. But surely not by reason (another essentially ungraspable concept) unless you're prepared to assume that, by some miracle, randomness and determinacy are conducive to the enunciation of true statements. I think that kind of assumption would not be natural - and in this sense it would be supernatural as well.



Euphoria14 said:
So it was predetermined that I was going to go to Stop and Shop yesterday, spend $113 and walk out with a case of water, chicken, 2 containers of Orange Juice and a ton of other stuff?

It was not only predetermined what I was going to do, but also what I was going to buy? O_o


I am shocked... and I feel so puny...


I know that this comment isn't serious , but that last part is very important. We being able to be aware of living in a determined universe isn't crazier than actors breaking the fourth wall.



IIIIITHE1IIIII said:
pezus said:
IIIIITHE1IIIII said:
pezus said:
You're taking a very strict view of the meaning of free here. It's all about what free means.


If you have a free will, then you can shape the future. If you don't have a free will then the future and all your future decision are predetermined or determined by randomness, giving you no control of your actions.

We all shape the future in our own way, thus we have free will. Q.E.D.

But we don't decide how to shape it. Our experiences (which could be determined or random) is what makes us decide how to shape the future.



Our experiences are not determined or random, it's not as simple as that. Our experinces have a lot to do with how other people have influenced us, by making their own choices. That's how societies change, when people decide that they don't want to follow what's politically correct, that's how views on sexism, racism, etc. change over time and in different places.

Of course you are influenced by society, but you're not totally bound by it. In the end you live in an environment and of course you don't have total control over it (who you're gonna meet on a given day, etc.), but you have control over the decissions that you can take in the immediate present with the choices given to you (that can be somewhat "random", yeah, but mostly due to other people's own choices).

Long story short: you're not God and you are influenced by some randomness and especially other people's own decissions, but you are free within those limits, which realistically are impossible to break. If you think not being able to break those limits is not beeing free, you may as well say not being able to break the laws of physics is not being free.

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IIIIITHE1IIIII said:
BasilZero said:
IIIIITHE1IIIII said:

But we don't decide how to shape it. Our experiences (which could be determined or random) is what makes us decide how to shape the future.

But how would you know if our experiences are determined by a higher being? How would you know if the even that occurred was random or a result of someone/something's decision/result?


Obviously, I cannot disprove God. But more importantly, I cannot prove his existence either.

 

God's existence is just as likely as the flying spaghetti monster's.


In the case of a higher being, what if I say the events that are occurring are indeed random and natural but not affected by a higher being? What if the higher being is a spectator.

For an example, a person has a ant farm, the person watches the ants through the glass case but doesnt do anything that would affect the case, the farm or the ants themselves. Whatever happens such as a section falling off and dropping on ants or w/e, was all just by randomness affected more than likely by natural occurences such as Gravity? What would you say to that?



    

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Azamondeps3 said:
Troll_Whisperer said:
Azamondeps3 said:
IIIIITHE1IIIII said:
pezus said:
You're taking a very strict view of the meaning of free here. It's all about what free means.


If you have a free will, then you can shape the future. If you don't have a free will then the future and all your future decision are predetermined or determined by randomness, giving you no control of your actions.


In every moment in time we all have a choice but in that moment we can only make one choice thats the point, think about this if we have free speach we can say anything we want, but we cant because we are bound by rules and law so is that complete freedom of speach? 



But you're totally capable of saying things that are outside of those bounds and face the consequences, if you so choose to. Also, the law and social rules themselves are made by people's choices, they're not universal laws that bound you.

Yes you can say them but because of these laws you are bound to a false sence of freedom, same with free will the law is physics and we are bound in that law we can do what we want but only within the law of physics 



You can't break the laws of physics but you can break the law. Some people have purposedly broken the law and changed society or history. Those are real choices you can make, it's not comparable to the laws of physics. I think you guys are taking a very strict stance on what being free means, read my post above for more detail.

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BasilZero said:


In the case of a higher being, what if I say the events that are occurring are indeed random and natural but not affected by a higher being? What if the higher being is a spectator.

For an example, a person has a ant farm, the person watches the ants through the glass case but doesnt do anything that would affect the case, the farm or the ants themselves. Whatever happens such as a section falling off and dropping on ants or w/e, was all just by randomness affected more than likely by natural occurences such as Gravity? What would you say to that?


I would simply say that it was determined that the section would fall since weak section + gravity = section falling.



antunesaa said:
IIIIITHE1IIIII said:

 

Alright, so those of you who remember my "Fate exists?" thread will probably notice some similarities, but bear with me :)

 

Let's get right to it with an example where most people would say that a decision has been made, like when some guy decides to rob someone for money. Now, if you were to reverse time again and again (it could be any timespan from years to minutes), do you think that (a) this guy would have decided to rob this person after each time reversal? (As supported by determinism.) Or do you think that (b) each time reversal would have resultet in him making different decisions each time? (As supported by quantum theories.)

Those are really the only two possible outcomes that comes to my mind, and this is where the problem starts. If he decides to rob the victum every time, then that suggests that he couldn't possibly have made another choice at the moment, meaning that he has no free will, but follows a predetermined pattern that has already decided all of his future decisions.

If the outcome would be different each time, on the other hand, wouldn't that too suggest that he has no free will? If each and every decision you make throughout your life is based on randomness then they might as well have been completely different, suggesting that you never really had control of any of your actions, and thus no free will.

 

Any thoughts?


I think - like the ancient Greeks and all the philosophies that posit the existence of free will - that the nature of free will is fundamentally supernatural. If one resorts to purely naturalistic arguments, then you're right and either we're subject to determinism, or randomness, or a mixture of both. But the point is that we seem to have free will. This is no proof that it exists, but at the same time your thought experiment cannot disprove it in the sense that it is not feasible, as you cannot go back in time. I also think that time irreversibility and the incompleteness or indeterminacy of physics laws (and I do not agree, as someone said, that quantum effects do not have macro effects - they have and those effects can be gigantic if you go back close enough to the big bang) allow room for this elusive concept that we cannot grasp with sensory tools. 

And finally I am not convinced by the some brain science experiments showing subjects reacting after some stimulus but before they seem to be aware of the stimulus. But I'll leave that aside.

By the way, if what you say were true, then our answers to this questionnaire would be meaningless because they would have been dictated to us by some deterministic mechanism or by randomness, or maybe both. But surely not by reason (another essentially ungraspable concept) unless you're prepared to assume that, by some miracle, randomness and determinacy are conducive to the enunciation of true statements. I think that kind of assumption would not be natural - and in this sense it would be supernatural as well.

I think that sums it very well I belive that in a hard determinism universe we would all de able to go back in time because time is a fabric of space and the only thing we can say is determined as 1oclock is followed by 1:01 and so on its not our actions that are determined if anything it might be that the universe is determined but when we developed brains and questioned ourself we gained free will 



the demonstration doesn't make much sense but it doesn't mean that the thesis is wrong

the question of free will, or more generally "is the Universe deterministic ?" is very interesting but it's a pure metaphysical one. No science or logic can answer it and therefore any answer is not more than a belief.

But the question remains fascinating even though it's quite old. Check this for instance http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laplace%27s_demon

I always find really funny to consider that, should the Universe be deterministic, the very message I'm typing was already "written" in the subatomic particles right after the Big Bang (well, right "before" it too but then it's becoming really weird as the current theory sees the big bang as the creation of space time itself) !