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Old 08-13-2013, 05:25 AM
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Anon La Ply Anon La Ply is offline
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

Originally Posted by viva_nate View Post
Honestly I think I agree with you. I mean, lets suppose things are determined - you're still on the hook, in some way, for living ethically, right?
That's an interesting take on it. I hadn't thought of that but I imagine out approach to ethics is largely predetermined too, eg. where and when you're born, your parents, your experiences in youth etc decide what being ethical means to you.

I think if we take the view that we are each smaller parts of a larger whole (which seems likely to me, even if the "whole" is undefined) then maybe "right behaviour" is analogous to what we'd consider "right behaviour" of our cells - our component parts. I would like my cells to work harmoniously with its neighbours, to not go rogue and cancerous on me, and for my soldier cells to put in a big effort.

So I try to be reasonable and pleasant, be it pre-decided by my history or not.

Originally Posted by viva_nate View Post
It's interesting reading this point [stock exchange] in the light of the controversy over high-frequency trading, along with your earlier point about the algorithmic/cyclic nature of human action. We've modeled our habits and focused them, allowed them to happen as if we were thinking outside of our bodies (or asleep).
Yes, our structures take on a life of their own. I expect that human consciousness is mappable and will be replicated by AI in the future. I think at some stage we will become entirely synthetic.

Originally Posted by Mad About Drums View Post
.... but, what if what we think/decide ... it's all your doing and you're deciding your own destiny and your faith through your life, while in fact you're just following your pre-destiny and you're not aware of it.
And we'll never know :)

Originally Posted by larryace View Post
What I don't understand is why people get offended when someone has a different POV.
This thread has been especially good natured as far as I can tell, apart from a cross comment by Duncan early on, and that's okay because he enjoys getting cross :)

Originally Posted by larryace View Post
As far as I can tell, the true meaning of to reproduce. That's it. Simple. The rest is just fun, or torture, depending on your POV. But basically, the person with the most descendants wins.
That's perhaps true of other animals but for humans there's a cultural layer. More reading for your Larry - try Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene. He has a chapter called "Memes - the new replicators". Basically, ideas in the "idea pool" act similarly to genes in a gene pool, so RD called them "memes" (not to be confused with jokey captions on images).

So someone who breeds may extend their sphere of influence in posterity to a few individuals. On the other hand, a person without children could have ideas that resonate throughout society. In a way, they live on through their cultural influence.

The drive is probably not wildly different in nature to the sex drive - there's lots of people seemingly compelled to throw in their two cents' worth on any given topic on the net - the "successful" ideas propagate and the rest fall back into the meme pool

Originally Posted by evolving_machine View Post
But the weakest excuse for believing is that it will not hurt anything if they decide to believe. And so they believe in pre-destiny because it is easier than developing and puzzling out a personal proof of its non-existance.
I think you'll find most people with simplistic beliefs in this area have their hands full with daily contingencies. It is a luxury to have the time for contemplation, although many eschew their opportunities for "more useful" activities that lead them to running around in small circles that some focused thinking could avoid. I'm speaking from experience here ...

Originally Posted by MrInsanePolack View Post
Determinism states that for everything that happens, there are conditions such that, given those conditions, nothing else could happen. For example, I choose to punch someone in the face. There is a choice. Determinism dictates that since my fist contacted their face, they will feel the force of my fist on their face. This is what determinism states. Its A+B=C. But A and B have the option to be a choice.
How often do people choose to hit others? I imagine the "decision" is most likely made by flight or flight mechanisms. Making a choice would mean overriding the basic impulse ... and the making of that choice would depend on your history ...

Originally Posted by Midnite Zephyr View Post
I know it sounds foolish, but one time I let the flip of a coin choose my destiny for me because I couldn't decide what to do. The coin said do it and I did. It didn't really turn out so well, but it wasn't so bad either.
I'll get a bit offtopic (just for a change). The part I've bolded reminded me of research psychologist Dan Gilbert's TED Talk "Why aren't we happy?". He said we have mechanisms in our brains that allow us to predict outcomes, and an example he gave is that we don't need to look at, small or taste anchovy ice cream to know it's a bad idea.

Thing is, he also said our predictive mechanisms are skewed and we usually predict good things will turn better than they actually do and we overestimate the negative effects of setbacks too. Basically, how good things are for us depend more on our attitudes than our external reality.

That's easy to say - developing enough mind control to override our instinctive silliness is far from easy. I hope one day to get there.


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