The Instigator
Zerosmelt
Con (against)
Losing
19 Points
The Contender
Ragnar_Rahl
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points

Free Will Exists.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/17/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,200 times Debate No: 5438
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (32)
Votes (7)

 

Zerosmelt

Con

My goal is to convert R_R to the dark side, Muh ha ha. I could careless about actually winning this debate.

R_R I know your deep emotional attachment to arguing semantics, plz refrain from this if you can.
Lets play with some logical reasoning shall we?
I am against the resolution that free will exists.

Definitions:
'Free Will' refers to the ability of an individual to govern her/his own actions. It should be distinguished from 'freedom'.

An individual exercising freedom has the ability to act according to what he feels to be his desire. An individual who does not have freedom does not have said ability.
For example: An individual who's hands aren't tied behind his back has the freedom to scratch his nose. In the fact that if the condition arises such that he desires to scratch his nose, he can. He (according to my position) however, does not govern this action because he does not govern the desire or the execution. They arise because of biological and environmental causes.

I hope that clears up the distinction.

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I don't have anything to refute until my opponent establishes an argument so I will wait for him to do so.
Ragnar_Rahl

Pro

There are many situations in which I notice many possible actions before me. As I test each option, my biology remains in all relevant respects the same-therefore no cause fundamental to biology. My environment remains in all relevant respects the same- therefore no cause in environment. I can consistently order these tests on a logical structure- to the point where the odds of random chance coming up with that are statistically insignificant. And then I can do it again. The only altered variable- is which action I choose to take next. The choice is perceived, a result of direct introspection. As such, this is a terrible debate topic, because the core evidence is inalterably private. Which is why I don't much care for debating it, debate is fundamentally unable to resolve it, though I'll leave this one thing in the form of a debate to stand on the record...

But by the way, when you discussed the possibility of this debate... notice I gave you a bit of a cold shoulder. I did not environmentally act to encourage you to this debate. So what do you claim caused you to bring this debate? Your biology, which is 98% similar to the chimpanzee who wouldn't dream of debating? Or something more fundamental- did your mind choose it? If you are incapable of choice, of course, you can't really answer this question- a mindless robot, a being incapable of original thought, of uncaused focus, of the use of reason, cannot discuss such matters. Nothing exists in the environment which would encourage such attention to such a minor stimulus, such ignorance of so many more evolutionarily pressing stimuli, like all the porn sites which are just a click away, that the more primitive instincts in man have not really learned to differentiate from the real thing, as evidenced by responding to them the same way.
Debate Round No. 1
Zerosmelt

Con

Thanks for accepting R_R. I have to say that if you felt this wasn't a good debate topic you shouldn't have accepted it, yet i am glad you did none the less. Now, if you'll oblige me, i would like to throw out our egos. So much of debate is wrapped up in people's egos they loose sight of truth just to defend themselves. You hold logic higher than others. I say lets use logic to discern truth and forget about who's right/wrong. That's suppose to be the goal isn't it?
I have a few arguments against free will we will address later, both a priori and a posteriori.

-To begin; excuse me if I'm wrong but it seems as though you're simply stating that you *feel* as though you have free will. I'm sure you know your feeling has no bearing on the truth or falsity of the matter. Your feelings can just be wrong, feelings commonly are. (some claim to *feel* god, for example)
You claim to notice many possible actions before you. But this premise hasn't been established as true. The fact is you *feel* like there are many possible actions before you, you do not know.

-Stating that your biology/environment remains the same is irrelevant because it was never claimed that they would necessarily change. Being the cause of your thoughts/actions doesn't require that they change.

-There are many things that caused me to create this debate. I can get into the specifics in the comment section if you'd like since its far too complicated for 1 round.
--------------------------
~A Priori~
The process of Human BEING:
<>1. Thoughts > 2. Decisions > 3. Actions<>
-1. a)Every thought that exists was either caused to exist or it wasn't.
b.)If a thought was caused it hasn't arisen according to free will.
c.)If it wasn't caused it also hasn't arisen according to free will.
-2. and 3. follow accordingly.
-Since these are all the processes of human action. Free Will doesn't exist. (if you can think of any other processes let me know bc they'll fit into the algorithm too)
Ragnar_Rahl

Pro

"Thanks for accepting R_R. I have to say that if you felt this wasn't a good debate topic you shouldn't have accepted it, "

There are more things in heaven and earth than winning debates, my friend. Granted, most of the heavenside ones aren't very interesting :D.

Suffice it to say I am here primarily to give you a fair shot at your goal- to convert me to "The dark side." If I fail to meet the burden of proof, I lose this debate... fine. But you have a special goal, above and beyond winning. You wish to change my mind, this requires proof :D.

"
-To begin; excuse me if I'm wrong but it seems as though you're simply stating that you *feel* as though you have free will. "
No, I perceive it directly. I notice many times, I have multiple options available to me. I test the matter by testing these options (when sensible) when similar situations come up. None of my tests has been blocked by any deterministic rule thus far :D.

"
You claim to notice many possible actions before you. But this premise hasn't been established as true. The fact is you *feel* like there are many possible actions before you, you do not know."
"Feel" implies an emotion- rather than a perception. You are equivocating. You making this argument is analogous to me saying "Well, you might see the debate in front of you, on your computer, but that doesn't mean it's there."

"
-Stating that your biology/environment remains the same is irrelevant because it was never claimed that they would necessarily change. Being the cause of your thoughts/actions doesn't require that they change.
"
If the effects change, and they frequently do, the cause must change as well. Otherwise, logically, it is not a cause.

"
-1. a)Every thought that exists was either caused to exist or it wasn't.
b.)If a thought was caused it hasn't arisen according to free will.
c.)If it wasn't caused it also hasn't arisen according to free will."

How do you propose to prove C? or B for that matter?
Debate Round No. 2
Zerosmelt

Con

Thanks for providing me the opportunity :)
1. -"You wish to change my mind, this requires proof :D."-
I would expect nothing less Ragnar and I seek to provide it. With that being said however, shouldn't you ask yourself what proof you have for Free Will's existence. You don't believe in God bc you have no proof for God. Why then do you believe in Free Will when you have no proof for it. The truth is that the concept of god is more substantiated than the concept of Free Will.

2. - Feeling does not require emotion, stop playing. Def: http://dictionary.reference.com...
I am referring to the sensation of free will. ('sensation' not necessarily referring to sensing. Spare me the semantic nit picking if you will. see Def 4 and 5 Def:http://dictionary.reference.com...)
-"No, I perceive it directly."- To 'perceive' something means that your sensation of it correlates to something that actually exists. My whole point is that you cannot know that this feeling is in fact a perception because you cannot know whether said possibilities actually exist. You can only take one path and you cannot reverse time. Even if you experience the same options again, the experience is still different bc you have already experienced it once.
Hallucinations aren't perceptions, the sensation of free will may be analogous.

3. the fact that a cause exists does not mean the effect must change the cause.

4. c. If there is no cause the action is completely random. If a ball flies through the air but nothing caused it to. It's occurrence was random.
b. If I kick a ball, the ball is suddenly undergoing a particular action: flying through the air. The ball is not flying through the air according to its own volition. It was caused to fly through the air by me kicking it. Every thought that exists, every decision we make, and every action we take obeys the same. (that if it has been caused. If it hasn't then see c.)

I can explain further next round
Ragnar_Rahl

Pro

"You don't believe in God bc you have no proof for God."

I don't believe in God because I can directly disprove the idea:

An OMNIPOTENT being has all powers imaginable, and can perform any ACTION. CREATING something more powerful than omnipotent is an action, and therefore possible if one can perform any ACTION. It is not possible to CREATE something more powerful than omnipotent. Therefore, contradiction.

1. O->A (assumption, definition of omnipotent)
2. A->C (Assumption, dare you to defy it.)
3. ~C (assumption, definition of omnipotent)
4. O (Assumption of the existence of God)
5. A (4,1 by arrow out rule of logic.
6. C (5,2 by arrow out rule).
7. C & ~C (6,3, by ampersand in rule, CONTRADICTION, check premises).

"Why then do you believe in Free Will when you have no proof for it."
I already explained my evidence. The fact that I am unable to show you the evidence in question (obviously, you cannot introspect upon me), does not alter it's existence.

"The truth is that the concept of god is more substantiated than the concept of Free Will."
God, there is no evidence for, and and deductive proof against. Free will, there is repeatedly substantiated inductive proof for (subject only to the objection "But you are completely insane 100% of the time", which is not worth contemplating, as it is highly unlikely and there is no course of action I can take to any purpose if true.) Therefore, the truth is not as you say. :d

out of characters, continued in comments...
Debate Round No. 3
Zerosmelt

Con

Ok I'd just like to restate what Ragnar and my goal is. Together we are trying to use logic to understand reality. When debating, hubris tends to get in the way so we're scraping our egos away for this pursuit. It doesn't matter who is right or wrong.

Re: your disproof of God.
A.) That proof only addresses one specific kind of God. There are hundreds of ways to define God. What about all the other possible gods who aren't omnipotent? You claim not to believe in them, yet you have no proof. What about the teapot orbiting Jupiter? You cannot disprove that, so do you believe? What if you had a vision of a teapot orbiting Jupiter? You could argue that this vision is 'proof' of the teapot. But that vision is just an experience. It doesn't necessarily correlate to anything happening outside of your own brain. My point is that TO believe something should require proof. Free will doesn't have proof bc your experience may only be an experience.

I don't have time to finish the rest of this now... i willl cont. it in the comments section a little latter.... give me a little while.
Ragnar_Rahl

Pro

"That proof only addresses one specific kind of God"
Every proof only addresses a specific definition of a term. Note, that typically definitions not including omnipotence do not capitalize "God."

"You claim not to believe in them, yet you have no proof."
Because I still have no evidence for :D.

"You could argue that this vision is 'proof' of the teapot."
No, I really couldn't. My actual visual perceptions do not extend that far, unless I used a telescope. I do not own a telescope. Thus, I would have reason to believe it was a hallucination :D.

"It doesn't necessarily correlate to anything happening outside of your own brain. My point is that TO believe something should require proof. Free will doesn't have proof bc your experience may only be an experience."
Here's the thing. I experience free will 100% of time, even if not in relation to 100% of things I'd like to. A teapot hallucination is a one-time thing. If I were hallucinating 100% of the time in a manner that did not allow me to distinguish between hallucination and reality, it would not be possible for me to survive, let alone debate with you. If I am not hallucinating, the experience is necessarily an experience of reality.
Debate Round No. 4
Zerosmelt

Con

"Every proof only addresses a specific definition of a term. "
indeed, proofs you do not have.

"Because I still have no evidence for :D."
Exactly my point, lol :P :D

"If I were hallucinating 100% of the time in a manner that did not allow me to distinguish between hallucination and reality, it would not be possible for me to survive, let alone debate with you."
This is simply not true. Science has fairly well established that most of what you see is in fact a hallucination. (well over half anyway.) But regardless of that fact it doesn't matter. bc some hallucinations may actually be necessary for survival no matter how often you experience them.
Ragnar_Rahl

Pro

"This is simply not true. Science has fairly well established that most of what you see is in fact a hallucination."
I think you are confusing the terms "Hallucination," i.e. that which you see that is certainly not there, and "Perceptual set", i.e. that which you see as a result of seeing other associated criteria (much like your computer caches images). The trouble is, very rarely is this stuff not actually there. Or are you speaking of something else?

"bc some hallucinations may actually be necessary for survival no matter how often you experience them."
Such as?

"I will challenge you again Ragnar in the next few days."
Don't. I won't be back for at least a week, I'm writing this a few hours before leaving. If ya have more, just keep adding to comments :d.

"
There is not inductive proof. "
Yes, there is. Every moment of my life I experience options. That is the highest possible amount of inductive proof for someone I have lived as :D.

"Besides inductive proof is constantly disproven"
How so? Would not all knowledge then be disproven? And therefore human life, since human life depends on use of the mind?

"ere is only a sensation and you cannot know that this sensation actually describes what is taking place. If this sensation does not correlate to reality you would not be insane."
Yes, I would. If a sensation I have 100% of the time is mistaken, I am insane, so insane that it is impossible for me to survive without people constantly pumping things into me through an IV.

"If morality in fact, does not exist then that sensation does not make those ppl insane, merely mistaken. "
Morality consists of nothing more than facts about which actions enhance human life and which harm it. These exist whether your brain notices or not.

out of characters, continued.
Debate Round No. 5
32 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
http://www.theness.com...

You mean seven seconds right? Not to mention, I've made decisions about math problems before within less than seven seconds of even READING THE PROBLEM (for longer problems, typically only decisions about the first step or two, but still), so this rule can't be universal. Further, they only predicted it with 60% accuracy, so obviously there are other variables than just the activity in the part of the brain they studied.

In any case, just because a decision occurs (occasionally) before I am conscious of the decision establishes nothing. If my consciousness sends to this little black box "These are the facts" and "This is the standard," having free will about the standard, your experiment remains consistent with free will if the "black box" cortex processes those.

"
what happened to throwing out our egos eh? trying to find truth"
It is in the search for truth that I know I don't have to provide further positive proof of my position, truth is I don't have it or need it, with the evidence available it is all I can conclude.
And an ego, by the way, is the beneficiary of truth. Without an ego there is no reason to seek it.

"
this last statement hasn't be verified. It may well the case that you wouldn't be able to live if your perceptions were actually accurate. That is life may need false perceptions to survive. :D"
So, my life is not dependent on my knowing whether the thing in front of me is food or poison... it is instead dependent on my not knowing such? How does that work? After all, the food in my kitchen is not far from the poison. If my error rate is high, I should be poisoned more... I should be dead.
Posted by Zerosmelt 9 years ago
Zerosmelt
----"All I have to do is notice my own perception until you disprove it"

-----"It sends the message before you decide? "

It sends the message before you have the 'perception' of the decision. Meaning before you make your decision. (as in before your brain thinks to itself, "okay move your hand.") This experiment has been done in real time in which the people have actually been able to witness their brain activity. They are shocked to discover that their brain always always always lights up in the motor region BEFORE they "PERCEIVE" themselves making any decision. About 30 sec. before in fact.

That is to say that Before they have the sensation of deciding that they want to move their hand. Their brain is already sending the message to the hand.... Imagine experiencing that R_R in real time.... just imagine.

"I don't have to provide anything for my position"
what happened to throwing out our egos eh? trying to find truth

"it is not possible for me to live if my perceptions are that bad that much of the time :D"
this last statement hasn't be verified. It may well the case that you wouldn't be able to live if your perceptions were actually accurate. That is life may need false perceptions to survive. :D
Posted by Lightkeeper 9 years ago
Lightkeeper
Hmmm I think you're both at cross purposes. I'm not sure if one knows where the other is coming from. I'm considering posting my own debate on this subject and going Con (because I happen to believe that free will does not exist).
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"
Your trying to skirt around all the evidence against whilst providing nothing for your position. You sound a bit like a creationist im afraid."

I don't have to provide anything for my position- though I am Pro, I already made it clear I don't care about winning or losing this one. All I have to do is notice my own perception until you disprove it, in which case I soon find out I am dead, because it is not possible for me to live if my perceptions are that bad that much of the time :D
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"Our DECISION to hold people responsible for their behavior is itself part of the environment in which the brain works."

If there is no free will, the term "Decision" has no meaning :D.

Whether you are caused to hold people responsible by brain circuits or not, it is absurd to do so if they have no free will (no responsibility) in the matter.

"
What it showed is that your brains already sends the message to do what you will do before you actually decide to. if at t=3 you decide, "hey i'm going lift my hand" well what that experiments shows is that at t=1 your brain already sent the messages to your hand to be lifted."
This doesn't make any sense. It sends the message before you decide? In other words, it decides before it decides? That's not coherent, and in either case not a disproof of free will. Nothing about free will requires that consciousness of a decision happen before a decision :D.
Posted by Lightkeeper 9 years ago
Lightkeeper
Rezz,
If you really do then please send me a message and I will bring you to the light side :)
Posted by Rezzealaux 9 years ago
Rezzealaux
I'm still relatively sure that free will exists.
Posted by Zerosmelt 9 years ago
Zerosmelt
I suggest you reread the experiment bc you seemed to have missed the point.

What it showed is that your brains already sends the message to do what you will do before you actually decide to. if at t=3 you decide, "hey i'm going lift my hand" well what that experiments shows is that at t=1 your brain already sent the messages to your hand to be lifted.

Your trying to skirt around all the evidence against whilst providing nothing for your position. You sound a bit like a creationist im afraid.
Posted by Zerosmelt 9 years ago
Zerosmelt
the quote continues;

"More to the point, you don't need to invoke a soul or some mysterious process of free will to hold people accountable."
Posted by Zerosmelt 9 years ago
Zerosmelt
R_R i hope you know who steven pinker is bc it appears he disagrees with your notion that this 'sensation' of free will absolutely MUST correlate to what is really happening.
"Steven Pinker: What we call free will is a product of particular circuits of the brain, presumably concentrated in the prefrontal lobes, that respond to contingencies of responsibility and credit and blame and reward and punishment and alter their operations as a consequence. Our decision to hold people responsible for their behavior is itself part of the environment in which the brain works."
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