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quote:or are there multiple realities (a little like the wave particle duality – each true, even though they philosophically contradict each other)?
quote:Originally posted by DoctorBeaverquote:or are there multiple realities (a little like the wave particle duality – each true, even though they philosophically contradict each other)?I don't really see that this has anything to do with free will. Although the expression of free will could, according to some theories, cause the creation of a parallel reality, such creations could be caused by totally different occurrences. An effect can have more than 1 cause.
quote:Originally posted by DoctorBeaverI believe very few of us actually have free will. Most of we do or think is conditioned by our upbringing & environment, or dictated by laws and/or social norms.If you take the instance of religion. Many people are brainwashed (& I use the word deliberately) by religious teachings in their early years. Even though as they mature they may query some of that indoctrination, it is normally still there nagging at the back of the mind. The quote "There are no atheists in a lifeboat" sums it up nicely. Even a great thinker such as Einstein was hindered by his religious teachings... "I cannot believe God plays dice with the universe".Politics is another example. In many cases people will vote for a particular party because "My family have always voted <insert as appropriate>".However, I feel I should point out that there is a difference between free will to think and free will to act. We can use our free will to think it would be nice to go shopping naked (weather permitting, of course) but the constraints of the law & social norms would prevent most people from actually doing it.Another constraint is the way we wish ourselves to be perceived by others. For instance, although going to the pub on a Saturday evening and getting drunk is something that is both legal & socially acceptable (within reason), can you imagine the outcry if someone like Tony Blair did that?As long as there are legal & moral restraints on our actions, totally free will is almost impossible to achieve.
quote:I think one has to be careful about interpreting Einstein's words here. While it is true that he was religious, and it is true that the statement "I cannot believe God plays dice with the universe” is a statement of belief, I don't necessarily believe that the invocation of God is necessarily an indication that this particular belief derived from religious principles
quote:But that aside, you are merely referring to constraints upon action, and not really addressing the more fundamental contradiction between deterministic causality and free will.
quote:The contradiction lies with the issue of whether we regard thought as merely an illusion brought about by inert chemical and electrical reactions within the brain, and no more meaningful than if carried out in a test tube (excepting that their complexity makes them more difficult to predict); or do we regard thought and will as primarily separate from the rest of the world, and thus an independent causative agent.
quote:Originally posted by DoctorBeaverNo. I was referring to constraints on thinking as well as on actions. Those constraints come in the form of stopping people from thinking in a free way. Ideas that go against innate beliefs are very often dismissed out of hand.
quote:What is thought? Interesting question. There are 2 stages to thought. There is the basic concept and also the manifestation of a coherent thought; the 2 are separate issues and are very much to do with self-awareness. That, then, raises the question of separation of brain and mind. It's well established that the functioning of the brain depends on the "inert chemical and electrical reactions" that you mention. But is it those which cause self-awareness?Self-awareness, as the term implies, is an awareness of self; an awareness of oneself as an individual entity. If that is merely a function of chemical & electrical reactions, how far down the creature scale does it go? Are dolphins self-aware? What about dogs? Gorillas? Chimpanzees? They certainly display attributes of self-awareness at times. But what about hedgehogs or mice? The same reactions go on in their brains as in humans.
quote:Originally posted by neilepIt's ok...I'm smiling here...I love reading the Doctoebeaver/another_someone threads. They are the Academic Jacks Beanstalk of this site and always make good reading. 
quote:Originally posted by DoctorBeaverEven a great thinker such as Einstein was hindered by his religious teachings... "I cannot believe God plays dice with the universe".
quote:Originally posted by DoctorBeaver Einstein spent endless hours wrestling with his universal constant because he couldn't believe his own predictions about an expanding universe. I believe it was his religious tendencies which caused that doubt.
quote:A fundamental feature of cognition is the ability to separate self from others, or to recognize oneself as an entity, separate from the environment. This issue of the internal nature of self-representation is difficult to get at experimentally, and really one one approach has been used successfully. This approach uses a mirror and markings.When your dog or cat walks past a mirror, it may respond to the image in the mirror, but the it does not recognize the image as itself. This can lead to a humorous escalation in play or aggression, depending on the predisposition of your animal. If you put a piece of pet clothing on the dog or cat--a collar, a hat, or a sweater--your pet's perception of the image in the mirror does not change. This clearly differentiates self-awareness in dogs or cats from human self-awareness.But what about other animals? In chimpanzees, perhaps a few other primates, killer whales, and bottlnose dophins, changing the image in the mirror causes the animal to behave in a way that suggests self-recognition. In chimpanzees, marking the chimp with a spot of paint or dye will cause the chimp to, when viewing the image, touch the marked spot. This suggests that the chimp sees the image in the mirror as itself, and that it can recognize the change in itself by exploring that change. Marine mammals, of course, lack appendages for self-exploration, but at least a few marine mammals show behavioral responses to changed mirror images that suggest self-recognition.Seyfarth and Cheney (2000) argue that monkeys which fail the mirror test (for example, vervets, baboons, or macaques) still have a sense of "social self" defined by their ability to recognize other members of their social group as individuals, to remember the gender and dominance status of those other animals, and to define their place in the social order accordingly.
quote:The reactions of chimpanzees to regular mirrors and the results of the standard Gallup mark test have been well documented. In addition to using the mark test to demonstrate self-recognition in a regular mirror, we exposed six female chimpanzees to mirrors that produced distorted or multiplied self-images. Their reactions to their self-images, in terms of mirror-guided self-referenced behaviors, indicated that correct assessment of the source of the mirror image was made by each subject in each of the mirrors. Recognition of a distorted self-image implies an ability for abstraction in the subjects in that the distortion must be rationalized before self-recognition occurs. The implications of these results in terms of illuminating the relative importance of feature and contingency of movement cues to self-recognition are discussed.
quote:When your dog or cat walks past a mirror, it may respond to the image in the mirror, but the it does not recognize the image as itself. This can lead to a humorous escalation in play or aggression, depending on the predisposition of your animal. If you put a piece of pet clothing on the dog or cat--a collar, a hat, or a sweater--your pet's perception of the image in the mirror does not change. This clearly differentiates self-awareness in dogs or cats from human self-awareness.
quote:I have also heard evidence that Chimpanzees have been shown to apply strategies that imply empathy (i.e. an understanding of the perceptions of others as if they were your own perceptions).
quote:Originally posted by DoctorBeaverThey refer to awareness of social self in monkeys that fail the mirror test; citing their ability to recognise others in the group, their status within the group, etc.. This behaviour extends far beyond primates. Dogs, lions and hyenas, among others, also possess this ability. And so do chickens; whence comes the expression "pecking order". Even ants & bees are "aware" of others of their species that are not members of their colony and will attack them.I am also not entirely convinced that the mirror test is a valid test of self-awareness. Sufferers of prosopagnosia (face blindness) also fail the mirror test; yet would anyone doubt that they are self-aware?
quote: I would argue that, at most, the mirror test indicates self-recognition, which is a very different thing - and even that is not 100% certain.
quote:One must be careful not to anthropomorphise when studying animal behaviour - especially in animals such as chimpanzees, which so-closely resemble humans. In my opinion, Seyfarth & Cheney may be guilty of so-doing at times.
quote:I would also like to add this - although please don't infer that I am using it as empiric evidence of anything. If I find it necessary to tell off 1 of my dogs, the others take no notice. However, I have, on occasions, found it necessary to berate the whole pack (for instance when they all decided to play tag in my lounge - and, believe me, "havoc" is too mild a word to describe 7 English mastiffs and 2 Rhodesian ridgebacks playing tag indoors!) and, most certainly, they all knew they were in trouble. This, to me, would indicate an ability to differentiate between self and pack which, in turn, infers a type of self-awareness.
quote:Originally posted by realmswalkerWell what is a "will"? A will is the choices that your brain (and your body acordingly) chose to make. "Free will" would imply that your choices are completely up to you, and that there is no such thing as "destiny". Destiny means that the outcome of every situation is already determined. That would mean that right now you are the destiny of the moments before you (if destiny exists). For destiny to exist, freewill cannot, because if free will existed then there would not be a set outcome.Certain physical rules govern the universe and all particles inside of it. There is no randomness there. And, given the exact same starting conditions, science has proven (in every controlled expirement) that is simply the outcome of certain chemical reactions, obeying certian pyhsical laws, in your brain. So , by the same virtue that given the same starting conditions chemical reactions have the same outcome, it would seem that if you rewound time, and caused the same starting conditions, you would make the same descisions, and that the future is determinable. Even if you go back as far as the big bang, and restarted the big bang, the universe would play out exactly the same as it is now, no matter how many times you restarted the big bang, because the big bang came from one, ultra dense, completely homogeneous source. The starting conditions are the same, and thus the outcome (everything) will be the same to.The only way free will is possible, is if there is a sort of "Randomness" in the universe. According to chaos theory 1 small small small alteration in starting conditions can cause HUGE reprocussions. Im not versed in all the quantum mechanics aspects of randomness in the universe (such as random location, random velocity, etc) so if anyone here knows of such a thing, please tell me.**Note** a randomness aspect in the universe might allow for destiny to have several outcomes, but it will not nescesarily allow for free will.
quote:In the case of chickens, given the inevitable rigidity of the mouth parts of birds, it seems not unreasonable to suggest that facial recognition may not mean much to them, and it may well be that an auditory or olfactory equivalent of the mirror test might be more appropriate to them.
quote:Whether it demonstrates self-recognition is another matter (I don't know enough about the technical implementation of the experiment to say whether it proves that, or merely leaves that as one of a number of possible interpretations of its results), but I would say that I find it difficult to contemplate recognising something one is not aware of, and thus if it does demonstrate self-recognition, then I think one can infer self-awareness (at least at some level – one may ask if self-awareness can exist at different levels, but that is a further matter).
quote:While this is a valid caution, I would also say one should be careful about going too far in regarding humans as a species apart from other species. It is natural that we should view humans as different, insofar as our ability to understand humans is different, but one has to be careful to recognise that much of this is a limitation of our ability to see things as non-human animals see them, as it might be of real differences in substance between ourselves and other animals.
quote:I would not disagree with your conclusion, but I'm not sure how I can not interpret as empirical evidence – it seems to be just that.
quote:Originally posted by DoctorBeaverAlso, if time were a dimension that is already fixed, unfettered time-travel would seem to be an inevitability. However, there are some very strong arguments as to why going back in time could not happen.
quote:Originally posted by DoctorBeaver quote:I would not disagree with your conclusion, but I'm not sure how I can not interpret as empirical evidence – it seems to be just that.You cannot draw empiric conclusions from just 1 animal. While it is true in Shaman's case, that empathy is far less pronounced in my other dogs. Indeed, in some it appears to be totally absent.
quote:Originally posted by Andrew K FletcherHi Searcher, welcome to the nakedscientists hauntA cure for cancer might be found in omitting things from our daily intake rather than finding a magic bullet.As time progresses more and more additives in the myriad of products and food manipulations take place adding to the burden imposed on our fragility, further compounding the vast increases in cancer related deaths. we need to have a free will rethink on where we are heading and take control of our lives, instead of being murdered along in the illusion of free will."The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct."K.I.S. "Keep it simple!"
quote:Originally posted by DoctorBeaverRealmswalker - I'm not sure I agree that if another big bang occurred, the outcome would be the same. Maybe that is the case for non-self-replicating structures such as stars, planets etc. But apply chaos theory to evolution and things could have turned out very differently indeed in the animal kingdom. It would only have taken 1 tiny difference in a genetic mutation millions of years ago and maybe human beings would not even have evolved.
quote:I am also not convinced that destiny totally precludes free will. As an example :- drive from a given address in London to a given address in Bristol. Where you leave from is preset, where you end up is preset. You could even specify the time at which you must arrive. But the route you take is entirely down to your free will. However, the closer you get to your destination, the more constrained your options become. In this instance, although your will is constrained by certain parameters, you are still at liberty to exercise a degree of freedom.
quote:Originally posted by neilepThreads very easily go down Tangent Avenue !! and if all are enjoying the interaction then I see no problem with it. It just takes a little nudge to realign it back. In a way, I think it's good that this tree has many branches !! (oh...did I really say that ?...sorry )...Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
quote:Originally posted by SearcherHi all, this is my first post on this excellent web site and here is something to ponder on.Free will is an illusion. Time controls the universe and when it came into existence at the big bang all three parts were formed together. Past, Present and Future are all there. We are moving through time at the rate of 1 second every second and leaving the past at the same rate and moving into a future that is already there, so no matter what you do you will land up at the same point. Therefore if the future exists then the answers to all our questions exist, all knowledge is there for the taking. If it’s not then how do we learn new things.Can anyone doubt, for instance, that a cure for cancer lies in the future, we just have to wait for our passage in time to reach it. Who knows it could be tomorrow!
quote:Originally posted by another_someonequote:Originally posted by neilepThreads very easily go down Tangent Avenue !! and if all are enjoying the interaction then I see no problem with it. It just takes a little nudge to realign it back. In a way, I think it's good that this tree has many branches !! (oh...did I really say that ?...sorry )...Men are the same as women.... just inside out !! OK, here goes another tangent about tangents I would be sorry to see any of the tangents disappear, since they all have (in my opinion) something valuable to offer, the problem arises because of the linear format of these topics, that it makes it very difficult to manage, and very easy to find that one has missed something of interest in the middle of it all.One really has a need for proper tree structured threaded messages (there we go, back to your trees and branches ).
quote:Originally posted by neilepIf free will does not exist ...then all I can say is ...what is the point ?...if there's no challenge...no obstacles to overcome because it's all predetermined then what are we ?...just a biological element in a big program ?...is this the intelligent design thing happening again ?Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
quote:If, along your journey from London to Bristol, you choose to stop off at a service station, the free will model would simply look at that as a personal choice. That same 'choice' would be viewed by the scientific model, and questions would be asked as to what caused that choice. Such questions could in the first instance be answered by issues that may have guided your choice, such as the amount of fuel you had in your car, and the when you had breakfast, etc., but none of these could be a complete scientific answer. The only totally complete scientific answer would have to take into account all the biological processes in your body, until it comes to the conclusion that given the state of these biological processes, and the environment the occurred in, the fact that you would stop at that service station became not a matter of free choice, but a matter of biological inevitability within that environment.
quote:Originally posted by DoctorBeaverWhilst I agree with this to a certain extent, and it does have a degree of validity, I believe there are such things as totally random choices. I remember a few years ago I went to a funfair. There was a feature there called The Sphinx. Inside was a maze that was in total darkness. At each junction I had to make a choice as to which direction to take. There was no outside stimulus to influence my choice and it seems to me to be stretching imagination to believe that each choice of direction I made was decided by pre-determined factors.