Free will is an illusion.
Debate Rounds (5)
No choice we make is truly free. Every thought, desire and action is predetermined by our specific circumstances since birth until this current moment. Some reasons are physical, some are territorial and some are psychological, but the outcome is undeniable. In any situation we have but one path open to us. Choice is a creation of the subconscious mind to show the conscious mind what to do.
I cannot reference sources for Free Will, as to me, Free will is internal, and nothing one puts on paper will qualify the majesty that is the human mind. I will be basing this from my own opinion, which I feel are the true fundamentals of a debate, I will us reason to try and show you my side - as I cannot prove it.
Okay, to begin with, I would like to re-iterate that I do believe that Free will exists, however I would like to concede to Pro's statement that a lot of choices are pre-determined by the environment *i.e. Wolf chasing me, choice = Run*.
However I counter-claim that a lot of scenarios are generated by a choice of free will, which basically just "snow-balls" to an emergency react situation which necessitates instinct reaction, the "Flight-or-Fight" reaction.
Now I will re-enforce this with an example.
This morning I had a request for a debate, I opened the request and viewed your subject. My first thoughts were 'Whoa, this person has raised this, they probably have solid defenses and counter-arguments that will make me look like an absolute spastic!". I then clicked accept, "takka'd" away for a while and here we are.
Why would I do this, if every instinct in my body were warning me of impending problems? (I associate public humiliation with Danger, as a side-note).
Obviously I am here for debating, and I find it fun but that aside; My subconscious was warning me the entire time, and although I usually listen to that voice in my head, I asserted my own free will to consciously make my own decision.
The simple fact that I am here debating the fact that Free Will exists, out of my own free Will, Should be ample evidence that it exists. I am a human, I have chosen something and that was not a choice pre-determined by some subconscious predilection - I can assure you that before joining this website I had not debated or practiced to debate in my life.
I am Human, I am Omega, I am free.
Lol nice speech.
Firstly let me say thanks for accepting and I hope we both enjoy this. Let me just add that I never challenge idiots. It's pointless as no amount of fact will alter their opinion. It's all but impossible for an idiot to admit they are wrong and they can't grasp the explanations given. The point of debate is to enlighten, not to wipe the board with anyone or make them look foolish. In fact I often debate topics I have little knowledge of as this helps me understand them better. Now I could go the scientific route and show how brain scans have revealed when and where decisions are made as well as when we become consciously aware of those decisions, but I will honour your wish to use reason.
Now you claim to be here by choice, but how would you know that at the moment you pressed accept, that you could have made any other choice? Yes it's possible that now you might make a different choice, but ask yourself why! What has changed? Are you more afraid of being embarrassed? Do I seem smarter? Unlikely! The only difference between then and now is your mood. Your mood determines what you feel or don't feel like doing at any given moment. But your mood is determined by chemical processes in the brain. It's affected by sugar levels, time of day, caffeine and nicotine, sounds, smells, and thousands of other factors. We do not choose our moods. Just because our moods change and our choices change with them, we believe we have free will. But answer me this, if I put you back at the moment you pressed accept, without any knowledge of what happened after that, and in the same mood you were in, do you really believe you could have made a different choice? Or was it inevitable?
Would also like to add Thanks for the refrain of Citation, as this is not a physical substance, we can explain how the brain ticks, however we are barely scratching the surface as to *WHY* - this is why I refrain from citation in this debate, as we are discussing the why.
I did not mean the embarrassment comment to mean that I approach these with tentativeness - more in the way of 'This has X amount of risk involved." - The fact you came here with the debate topic exponentially increases the risk factor in my opinion.
With the benefit of hindsight, I cannot see any other option for me to take, as in that scenario I am here to debate - I apologies for the poorly thought-out example, at the time I thought it to be a stroke of perception. :P
Okay, I have another example I would like to use to specify free will - You.
What made you make this debate?
Can you explain a chemical, logical, metaphysical reason as to why you felt inclined to create this debate?
Did you have factors prior to this that pre-meditated this request for debate?
I understand that you may have been curious, this is something that you have been thinking about for a long period of time, or something that you may have planned before raising this with me - I ask why?
If not for free will, what other motivating factor caused for this entire debate thread to exist?
With regards to the other points you have raised regarding choices, I can attest that current mood can most certainly dictate what a human *WANTS* to do, but it does not mean that the want becomes the outcome - i.e. the action.
Another personal example, as all I can do to prove my point is to base it from my experiences (Which is why I believe Free will exists!) - A few weeks ago I had to have a discussion with my Girlfriend outside of our home - so as not to disturb our roommates - She left before I went outside and it was rather chilly outside - Which I found out after already leaving the house.
As I walked to the car (She had moved down the road as she was distraught), I texted to inform her how cold it was in a joking manner. Almost made it too the car, she started the vehicle and drove right back to the house (not far comparatively), my initial response was rage - I can honestly say I have never been more offended, angered, hurt and disturbed in my life!
I stormed to the car (All notions of cold thrust away by Adrenaline) - and made my way back to the car.
Entered all prepared for the argument that her snubbing would justly deserve - starting with a "What do you think that would achieve?" (My words may have been a little more 'colourful')
She said she didn't see me (Note it was night at the time).
Now, at that time - I was full of the angry, I didn't care what she said - I just wanted to Yell.
However I took a second, I thought over the facts, the fact that I myself have done a similar thing (Missing when someone is right behind the car) and realized that she didn't mean it.
At this point I am still shaking with anger and ready to yell - do you know what I did?
I apologized, I was in the wrong and made the assumption before knowing the facts.
I have felt the feelings that cause others to react without thinking - this is not a driving force - this is your internal choices telling you what they want you to do - I.e. RUN, or PUNCH, or even just yell at people! - All of these are choices that are provided by Chemicals, moods, time of day, fitness, mental state, physical state, frame of mind - A million things!
However I chose to do the very opposite of what I wanted to do (Vent all those emotions to my Girlfriend in the form of a good ol' yell - as she was the cause of said feelings). That was my Choice.
People making excuses for their actions such as 'I just saw 'red'" And believing that they had no choice in the matter are simply people attempting to make excuses where they will not be put in trouble.
I have 'seen' that red - and then chosen to go another way (Not in the above situation, but in sporting circumstances).
I love your question.
What MADE me create this debate?
The answer is very simple. I read your debate Sexuality is a choice. Your answers show that you are intelligent but you have some preconceptions which lead you to faulty conclusions. I believed we could have an interesting discussion and I have some time on my hands so the logical course was to challenge you to a debate.
As to your second example. Anger is an emotion. Just like happiness, sadness, loneliness and love. You can't control emotions. You can only control how you react to them. They exist in our subconscious mind, just as our sexual preferences do. I don't know if you a leg guy or a boob guy. Maybe you like big butts or blue eyes. Whatever it is doesn't matter. The point is you can't change it. If you attracted to women, you can't will yourself to be attracted to men. Unless you were bisexual to begin with. But you can choose to act on those desires. The term for this is maturity and it is something we have to learn. Not everyone learns it because maturity is a higher brained function. You learn it by having good role models. Parents usually, but characters from a book or movie can work. A grandparent or teacher may be your inspiration. If you had not learnt this behaviour, you would have vented your anger on your girlfriend and regretted it.
Let me explain the difference between conscious and subconscious processes. In our early childhood, before we learn to speak or understand words, we learn how to behave by watching the adults around us. If a child, call him Jonny, sees his father drink and hit his mother, Jonny learns that this is how men behave and even worse, he learns that this is what women want. This might sound stupid to you, but to 4 year old Jonny, he knows no better. I used that example, but it could be a man who cooks and buys his wife flowers, or a woman who cheats on her husband. All this gets recorded in our subconscious minds. They become a fundamental part of us that can never be changed. But the memories of seeing these things fade as we build more and more memories. Some people actually block their early memories as a coping mechanism. But they are there, in our subconscious, waiting for the moment when we lose control.
So where does the control come from? It comes from the conscious mind. As we get older we learn to speak and understand. That's when we learn about rules. This is when we begin to develope our ethical values. Stealing is wrong. Lying is wrong. Hitting women is wrong. Etc. Ethical values are the rules set by the society we live in. We have different rules at home, at school, at work, at religious institutions, etc and they vary depending on what country you from or even what city you live in. We want to belong to society so we follow the rules set by society. But our morals are those early lessons we learnt. Our moral values reside in our subconscious. That urge to shout at your girlfriend when she upset you, where do you think it came from? Few people consider this. They feel ashamed of these thoughts. These include sexual desires. But in moments of emotional distress, such as anger, we sometimes do things we would never do otherwise. We can't even explain why we did it. Alcohol is another reason people lose control of conscious thought and their subconscious takes over. Once their conscious mind takes control again they can't explain their behaviour. Some people don't even recall their actions.
Maturity is learning to remain in control. And I read a beautiful quote which has really helped me through the years. "He who angers you, controls you." Well I decided then and there that I would never let any other person control me. This philosophy has served me well and the more you learn to control your emotions, the better you become at it. Things that used to bother me, don't bother me at all anymore.
With regards to your answer to my question in the Second Round, you explain that you read a debate held by myself previously, and made the logical conclusion to open this debate with me.
I counter by stating that Logic is at its fundamentals, within the same ball park as Anger. Anger is an emotion, caused by external or internal influences ( i.e. External = Bully, Threat, Danger - Internal = Belittlement, self-Loathing, skepticism, confusion, etc.) - These provide an individual with avenues they can go with, while the majority of options that you have to choose from are greatly reduced, mainly to violent or aggressive / Passive or submissive - other, constructive avenues are available - Such as the example provided in the previous round, Talking and resolving the issue.
Logic, is the conscious consolidation of information provided to determine the best course of action/outcome.
If someone was angry, your claim is that they have to follow certain actions to 'vent' the emotion, barring emotional 'maturity' - Would Logic not be the same, i.e. External or internal influences causing specific outcomes, just more 'mature' because the person thought about it a little longer, and analyzed the information?
Because a person has narrowed down their choices logically, that is still free will, just one took time before their reaction - If they were to react with violence because they are angry - that is their choice as well. A wise man who uses logic can still succumb to anger, do they lose their free will simply because an emotion surges? No - just the choices made. It is still the wise man's choice - his choice is to react.
You claim that Free will does not exist, as everybody experiences these emotions, and as they have had past experiences that somehow determine their future actions - While I concede again that this is true, that a lot of choices are based from past experiences - it does not remove the fact that the choice to do something else existed - THAT is free will. Someone choosing not to choose is still a choice.
You say we cannot change our wants and desires - This is not true.
A person in my opinion who has chosen to be gay, has chosen so because they have desires that help fuel the desire to do it - A person can very easily choose not to follow these actions, but those usually follow with negative feelings, such as the sadness one feels when denying your wants, feelings of unfairness, Bitterness or guilt - which is why it is generally not considered.
My point is - THE OPTION IS STILL THERE.
You might be a "Bum" guy, but develop a relationship with a woman who has no 'junk in the trunk' - one could choose to proceed with the relationship, or to decline that avenue to pursue their own desires/wants.
You appear to be claiming that simply due to the fact that we have developed methods; are creatures based upon routine and as a majority - very easy to over stimulate - somehow equating to that we have no free will. We do have free will, these methods (Emotions, past experience, Logic, etc.) are simply tools developed to streamline the process.
Desires and attractions are based upon genetic order, You see a woman with a large waist with a large bust - your mind automatically filters the information to 'tag' that type as preference (Bigger waist/bust = increased chance at offspring), which is where ones' "sexuality" bases itself from - The internal recognition that X source is what you want your future offspring to inherit.
Men who are physically strong are less likely to be homosexual (Less likely, not impossible) - as they already posses the physical traits that your body knows the opposite sex will attract. Although that does leave the potential attraction over a person who has great mental capacity, their bodies may want that genetic construction details to make your potential prot"g" even better than what they are capable of.
Weaker or less aggressive men generally will magnetize themselves to 'stronger' people, either mentally or physically - This can generate to attraction, or the predilection will surface and they will have a choice to try and seduce their potential partner, or be 'friend-zoned' and sit on those feelings. Each have consequences and outcomes from them, it is up to the person to choose what they want to do.
To move it away from sexuality, There are other circumstances that help to prove that free will exists - For example, you state that simply because someone has no control over the fact that emotions or desires exist, free will to action is dismissed, as you cannot change it.
What about Disabilities, such as traumatic events that cause loss of limbs? Those are circumstances that occur to some people, and they cannot be changed. Most people expect disabled people to not be able to fulfill their dreams, is that what has to happen, if that is the case - what is the Para-Olympics about then - a sick and degraded attempt to appease disabled people? No. It is the celebration that through adversity one can overcome their problems if the choose to.
I know we said no citations or sources, but this is something that confirmed externally from myself that Free will exists. It is a 2-3 min Youtube video of disabled athletes who go to a gym and are judged, then completely decimate and amaze those doubters with their amazing skills and fortitude.
Alcohol was a very good point, and will be very hard to be discredited - I have experienced this blackout drunk, it is not fun.
I have been told the night before hand, I was found wrapped around a tree attempting to find a lizard - don't ask me why, but that is what I was doing. Of the entire night, the singular thing I remember (And same for my other 3 'blackout drunk' nights I have had - which were results of celebrations, like birthdays and the like) - The singular thing I remember is yelling at some women across the road as they were rude to me - My memory of what I could see was very disorientated, blurry and I was not able to focus on what I was doing. I do remember making my decisions though - they may have been poorly thought out and the execution of those decisions were horrendous - I do take responsibility for my actions, and at worst I was a nuisance to the local wildlife - however no matter what my condition was, at that time I made my own rules. The mind is incredibly good at filtering and throwing out junk memories, which is precisely why people forget what they did when blackout drunk - The blurry imagery, balance loss and general incapacitated state that occurs when you drink too much are of no use to anyone, thus is 'deleted' - People not remembering they made the choice does not mean that a choice was not made.
I am so happy you brought up the experience point in your last round, Absolutely correct.
Similar to Apes, we derive a lot of knowledge from our predecessors - We learn the good, the bad, and the acceptable from those that are around us. Having knowledge and that knowledge being being the prime reason for not testing it does not remove the freedom to do it anyway. I am pretty proud with myself that I have arrayed a broad knowledge that has helped me with my adult life - However in no way can I recall any source for my characteristics. Whilst I do have my own role-models that I greatly respect, None have done what I am now able to do (Apologies if this appears arrogant, I do not think I am special any more than any other human - in that I am 'unique'). I have found it is all to do with perception.
When I was younger, I was a 'closet' introvert - I would be loud to my friends and family, but be thinking to myself the entire time and make my own opinions and ideas on whatever it was we were doing. I realized that my brother, who was much more into sports than I was, seemed to be a completely different person to me, even though we came from the same place.
Delving into this, I found that this was due, as you said before, to his peers - He was playing cricket for his primary school, but was good enough to go into the senior men's team (He had speed, they had experience so it worked well) - After each game they all gathered, the Men would drink (My father was on the team, so it was supervised) and they talked, joked and bantered with each other - days later my brother would parrot off those sayings to me later, or use what he heard them use on the field to help him win arguments.
My thought at that point was sadness, I had no team to teach me to be a better me. I was very sad for a long time (From the ages of 8 to maybe 11) as I thought it was pointless, my only peers were fellow students my age and the cranky old teachers that are resigned to minding us while we did what children do.
I then had the stroke of perception, that people only train other people, because that is how they were taught, they know nothing better. It is not a fact that this is the only way it can be done, it is just this is what people have 'practiced' at - i.e. they were taught, used their experience and taught the future generations, which snowballed to where it is now.
I started practicing being a better person, because that is what I chose to do, not because mum or dad would scold me, or Teachers would threaten me with detention for not following rules, I did it because I believed in them, people deserve to be safe, to trust and to love!
You said you began this argument with me because you thought I was intelligent (Thank you for that btw) but had misconceptions. I believe you to be very much the same - And I certainly wish to debate as many other topics as possible, I believe I can see your thought process, it is very similar to mine - I believe we could teach and learn from each other greatly.
I have run out of characters, so will address and expand this in the next round.
When I have breakfast, I could have coffee, tea, juice, milk or water. Usually I have coffee, but if it's hot, I'll have juice. Notice the my choice is determined by the weather. So although I could have any of them, if its cold, I would have coffee. It's the same in every situation we face. With every choice we make there are determining factors which leave us with only one option. Like the weather in my example, these determining factors are not set. They change constantly and therefore what we would do changes as well. But not by choice. It's the determining factors that alter our choices.
Let me give you another example.
You walking through a dangerous part of town one night and all you have with you is a cell phone. You pass an ally and see 3 guys mugging a man. What would you do?
You could do many things, but in that situation you would only do one thing.
But what if it was a woman? Someone you knew personally? What if you had a gun? Or had a black belt in karate?
Would you react differently?
Most people would. But in each case there is a different factor which alters your decision. Each case is in fact a different situation, even if they are similar.
So we have impulsive actions. Not choices really because we just react. Or logical actions, where we consider the consequences and decide the best course of action in that situation. In hindsight we may realize that was a mistake, but at that moment we will always choose what we believe to be the best course of action. But as I said, there can only be one best course of action in any situation. So where does choice come into it?
Either you are a type A personality and you can't control your emotions. You just react. (No choice)
Or you are a type C personality and logic dictates your actions. (No choice)
Or lastly, you are a type B personalty, which is most common. Sometimes emotions control you but usually logic prevails. (Also no choice)
You say you wanted to vent and that's correct. Your basic, animal response was to get angry. That is why its called actions of the heart. Not because we think with our heart or its romantic in nature, but rather because it stems from the centre of our being. It's a subconscious reaction. But luckily your higher brain kicked in before you did anything stupid. Part of you wanted to vent, but part of you wants this relationship to last. As long as you feel this way, you will always act the same way in any situation. And if you always act the same way, you do not have free will.
I will now ask you a question. You can choose to answer yes or no. But I believe you have no choice. I believe logic will dictate that you answer yes. And you can't make yourself answer no.
Do you have free will?
You state because one chooses the easiest - or most logical - conclusion, the freedom to choose the 'other' options have somehow been revoked.
The query you asked at the end of your last round has been severely hampered and has brought to light my next point.
The answer, as you have predicted - is Yes.
However, you have structured this question to remonstrance my position by removing all variables in the question (Answer yes, or no). The query you had, had many, MANY options available to me, but to accept the question, I had to sit within those rules.
I could have not answered, I could have said Maybe, a friendly No - or anything else that appeared in my head.
You say logic, first reactions and the hybrid (the Type A,B and C) - solidifies your stance on that there are no options available, I call bogus to this claim. Each of the positions you have provided are based upon a 'Global stereotype' of reactions, and that verifies that all people will choose this.
Let me provide you with an example to show you that regardless of the choice, the choice to choose is still there.
Example 1 -
People walk into a room, There is a handgun on a device with a Red Button, and a Doorway with a Green button - the 'choices' available are as follows :
Red Button - Cannot be pressed without being in direct line of fire of handgun - and pressing it will fire the gun (Likely outcome = Death)
Green Button - Opens the door to the exit
Logic dictates that the Green button is the best option, and from a perspective of a survey, or just simple statistics, it is very easy to predict what the choices will be - Green.
However, each person who enters that room, will have the initial dilemma of "Which button shall I choose?" - They will get the information, and from there they will choose their best outcome - Green.
It does nothing to remove the fact that all it takes is one suicidal person to approach that room to prove that free will exists, just because people are engineered for self-preservation is irrelevant to the fact that if they CHOOSE to, they can go against the predicted outcome.
You made an example of witnessing a mugging - Very true that majority of people will do nothing (that appears to be changing to instead of nothing, it is "Take phone out and tape the whole thing, hoping the entire time someone comes to rescue the victim", which is essentially nothing) - however, each situation is actually intrinsically different from the other. People aggregate facts together while presuming each individuals reaction, and believe this to be irrefutable evidence, this is not the case - In one instance, the person witnessing the mugging is John Cena, One can assume that he is confident in his physical confrontation skills and abilities, his option is probably confront.
Michael Cera on the other hand, may resort to words, or the video option - This is directly related to each persons personal predilections, you could easily predict the likely cause - however this does not stop anyone from breaking those expectations - Michael Cera may just open a good old fashion "Can of whoopass" on the muggers - he may win or lose, however the choice to proceed is completely up to the person who is in the predicament - They CAN choose - therefore the choice is there, ergo Choice = Freedom
As stated before, the fact that logically or the easiest option is the only one chosen, it does not negate the fact that the choices are there, and the potential for them to choose exists; THAT is free will - the fact that there are other options that can be chosen, should be irrefutable evidence that the freedom to choose is there - and that is the definition of Free will - there is nothing stopping you from doing what is expected, however whenever one desires so, they can do what they choose to do, regardless of all and any information, and do as they wish.
The point of my round here is not to present any new information on my perspective of this debate, but to change the perspective viewed of my opponent - You seem to believe that because option A is the best, and most people will choose it, that removes the fact that Free will exists.
I concede that in most situations, there is a clear action or series of actions that are presumed to be the 'Best' option (as in that individuals perspective, that is their believed best option) and those options are taken.
You could say that in a buffet, people have no 'options' available too them - say you go to an 'All you can Eat' place; There may be a lobster course right next to the bread and water table, This does not mean that people who choose lobster are mindless "sheeple" who follow only predetermined algorithms and therefore cannot choose - but are simply people who have chosen to take a course - other people just have 'happened' to have chosen that option as well, and one can assume what following people will take, based on what they have viewed.
In all and any of our examples, we both provide each other with a list - i.e. Option A (Best course), B and sometimes a C.
I am surprised that the fact that each of these options being brought up seems to be missed that they attribute to the fact that options ARE available, which is exactly why I maintain that Free will exists - The options are available, and CAN be chosen - Chances are they will not, but that does not nullify the fact that they are there - People choose escalators and Lifts over stairs, but at any point, people can choose to walk up those stairs.
Again, thank you so much for this debate, I have had a lot of fun building your perspective in my head, and trying to work around what you have brought up - Good luck with your response.
And don't get me wrong. It's not lack of intelligence that makes our actions predetermined. It's our level of intelligence that determines individual choices. As you said, most people would choose the green button unless they were suicidal. And there's your proof. The fact that they are suicidal or not determines the choice they make.
Having choices doesn't mean you have free will. Having the freedom to make those choices without anything influencing your decision is free will. But every action has consequences. There is no decision we make, no matter how small, that doesn't influence our lives in some way. No act that doesn't help or hinder us in achieving our goals. No matter what those goals may be.
So I am in no way stereotyping anyone's behaviour as I believe we each have very specific past experiences. What I am saying is that those very experiences determine the choices we make. If Micheal had no experience in his past of opening a can of whoopass, had never seen or heard of it and was passive by nature, the thought would never even occur to him.
You see the point I was trying to make with my last question is not that I can predict your answer, but rather that you can't change your answer. No matter how much you want to, you can't make yourself believe that free will is just an illusion. Will power can not defy logic.
Finally, doing what you want, is an emotional response. You want to do something because you like it. Doing what's best is a logical response. If the compulsion to do something you like is stronger than the compulsion to do what's best, you will give in to your desires. If you are addicted to anything, you will know what I mean and its our past experiences which eventually determine which one wins. So the next time you get really upset and begin to rave like a lunatic, stop. Think about this debate and laugh at yourself for being a slave to determinism and let your logical mind take control.
Thank you for an interesting and fun debate. I look forward to many more.
It looks like it will be the same as with all stories that prove that people can do more than what is expected of people.
I forfeit this opportunity to use my last round to protect my position of free will, because I Chose to do it.
For your information - I do not want to do this, I would prefer to use all these characters to keep talking about this subject - and It is not logical for me to use no argument - to make my argument.
This is my proof that Free will exists - I took stock of my options, I saw the response I wanted, (I can PM that too you if you want, as I want to keep talking with you on this subject). I saw my Logical response - I then chose this option.
Well played good sir, you have opened my perspective on this matter, and I thank you.
I hope you have an excellent weekend :)
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by FaustianJustice 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: "What MADE me create this debate? " --- This question posed by Pro was then answered by his own preference, which seems counter intuitive to their position. Conversely: "I forfeit this opportunity to use my last round to protect my position of free will, because I Chose to do it. For your information - I do not want to do this, I would prefer to use all these characters to keep talking about this subject - and It is not logical for me to use no argument - to make my argument." Even assuming Pro's 'logical conclusion' argument to debate being beyond free will, Con demonstrates the exercise of a preference between 2 logical options, though one option would have clearly more benefit.
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