The Instigator
V5RED
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
DATXDUDE
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

It is unlikely that we lack free will in some form.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/10/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,127 times Debate No: 80783
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (49)
Votes (1)

 

V5RED

Pro

I will be arguing that, given the evidence, it is likely that humans have some form of free will. I will not be arguing for a mechanism of free will. I have no idea what the mechanism would be, but that is not crucial to my argument.

As an analogy, doctors do not know why it is that Beta Blockers treat heart failure, but the evidence shows that they do work. There are proposed mechanisms, but no generally accepted model exists. It even seems highly counter intuitive since beta adrenergics act by stimulating the heart and can lower blood pressure, but still they are first line therapy for heart failure.

In any event, in this debate Con is not required to demonstrate anything other than finding holes in my argument. The rounds are as follows:

Round 1: Pro and Con accept
Round 2: Pro presents his argument, Con posts a rebuttal or accepts the argument.
Round 3: Pro defends his argument, Con posts a refutation of the defense or accepts the argument.
Round 4: Final defense by Pro, Final rebuttal by Con.

Rules:
1) Con must accept evolution by natural selection as true.
2) Con's rebuttal cannot include a complaint that I do not include a mechanism for free will, but if Con can prove that free will is physically impossible, that is allowed.
3) Con accepts all definitions given by Pro in round 1.

Free will=Agents' choices are not predetermined. Given the same circumstances, it is possible for free agents to make different choices.

Apply to the debate in the comments.

If you manage to get through my filter to accept, then I guess you are my opponent. I know some people say that if you get through the filter, you forfeit, but that just seems like a punk way to try to get a "win" to me. I am highly opposed to people trying to win on technicalities, if you get through the filter, I will face you.
DATXDUDE

Con

I accept. Good luck, Pro.
Debate Round No. 1
V5RED

Pro

This argument is to demonstrate that free will exists based on the existence of consciousness and emotion.

Argument 1:
1) Traits that do not serve a purpose are a waste of energy to produce.
2) Natural selection selects against anything that wastes energy.
C) Therefore traits that do not serve a purpose will be selected against by natural selection.

This first part of the argument can be seen in vestigial traits like wisdom teeth and the depressions on cave fish where their eyes used to be. In fact, it is trivially easy for a trait to be removed via the process of DNA methylation. This is where a methyl group is added to part of DNA to "turn off" a gene. This commonly happens as a first step in removing useless traits. Another option for traits is that they can be altered to serve a new purpose, like the current model showing that the appendix has gone from a digestive organ to an immune one.
http://www.news-medical.net...

Building on argument 1, I look at two traits, consciousness and emotion.

This argument adapted for consciousness and emotion(argument 2) is as follows:
1) If consciousness and emotion served no purpose, then they would be weeded out by natural selection.
2) Consciousness and emotion have not been weeded out by natural selection(in fact the parts of the brain associated with them are expanding)
C) Therefore consciousness/emotional awareness serves a purpose.

Argument 3:
1) Computers process information(see below for a really cool example of this that is highly relevant to me)
2) Computers are not conscious/emotionally aware.
C) Therefore something exists that processes information without consciousness/emotional awareness.

Argument 4:
1) Consciousness/emotional awareness either is or is not required for information processing.
2) If things exist that can process information and lack consciousness, then consciousness/emotional awareness is not required for information processing
3) Non conscious/emotionally unaware objects exist that can process information.
C) Therefore consciousness/emotional awareness is not required for information processing

Computers lack self awareness, but they can respond to stimuli. They can do very complex things. Currently we can use computers attached to scanning devices to analyze the blood of patients for things like reticulocyte count and hematocrit to help us diagnose hematopathologies. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

Based on Arguments 2 and 4 we can conclude that consciousness and emotion have a purpose and that purpose is not necessary for processing information. This does not mean that they cannot aid in information processing or usage, just that they are not necessary for information processing to exist.

I have more than just a logical rebuttal. The logical rebuttal only shows that it is possible for a system to exist that processes information while lacking consciousness and emotional awareness, but it does not show that such a system could exist in biology. For that I will use the evidence of medical procedures.

A bilateral cingulotomy will remove the emotional aspect of pain while leaving the person aware that the pain is happening and where it is happening. Additionally, we can see on scans that the brain still is able to respond to the pain, it just no longer bothers the person. Why does this matter?
Argument 5:
1) If consciousness and emotional awareness are necessary for the brain to be able to process information necessary for survival, then removal of consciousness or emotion would result in removal of the person's ability to process necessary information.
2) Removal of the emotion of pain has been done in medical practice without removing the person's ability to process the necessary information of damaging stimuli.
C) Human brains do not require the emotion of pain to function.

The reason I went through all of that is to defend against the rebuttal that our brains have consciousness and emotion as an emergent property that is necessary for a system that can process information. The main argument is Argument 2. Arguments 4 and 5 defends against that possible rebuttal.

Now we know that the traits of emotion and consciousness persist, that they are easily removed without damaging the rest of the person(Argument 5), that they are not necessary for a functioning information processing system(Arguments 4 and 5), and that if they serve no purpose they would not exist(Argument 2).

All that remains is to name the purpose. I would submit that the only reasonable purpose is to allow us to reason through the information we process in order to make decisions, ie free will. In fact, I would suggest that it is irrational to assert that there is no free will in the face of these arguments. This does NOT prove free will, it just shows that it is more likely than not that we have free will.
DATXDUDE

Con

Thanks for the response Pro. I will proceed with my arguments.

We did not choose to exist. While this argument does not disprove free will, it does mean that the beginning of reality was something we did not create. Though this may sound irrelevant at first, a closer look will prove that is anything but. Every organism that existed before animals evolved does not have a consciousness, and everything that it did was predetermined by its genetics. Almost nobody thinks that any creature that existed before animals has free will. Some will argue that some animals have free will, and others do not, but this is impossible because all animals (except for sponges) are conscious. Jellyfish even have a consciousness, but they obviously don't have free will, so the argument that free will=consciousness is invalid. Humans emerged by pure chance, and nobody determined the evolution of humans unless there was a higher power involved (there must be no higher power if my position is correct, which I will get to later). If we did not choose our existence, than what do we supposedly determine? All of our decisions are based off of genetics, or our environment. Unless Pro can prove that this is not the case, all of his other arguments are invalid. Now, if there is no higher power that exists, this IS the case.

Vote Con please.
Debate Round No. 2
V5RED

Pro

This is rather frustrating. You failed to do what you were required to do in this round which is refute my arguments or accept them. Did you even read my arguments? I went through the trouble of going back through my first year medical school material for some really cool examples supporting my stance and as far as I can tell you just ignored all of it.

I decided that I should consume large amounts of alcohol to level the playing field.

I will now give a line by line rebuttal to what you wrote, but note that the rules state that your options were to attack my arguments or to concede, not to make ridiculous, unverified, god claims. I would be more kind, but I rejected you as an opponent and you kept at it, so I will not hold back.

"We did not choose to exist. While this argument does not disprove free will, it does mean that the beginning of reality was something we did not create."
That is not an argument, it is a statement. This is already looking bad since you don't know what an argument is.

"Though this may sound irrelevant at first, a closer look will prove that is anything but."
A closer look shows that this is not even a sentence.

"Every organism that existed before animals evolved does not have a consciousness, and everything that it did was predetermined by its genetics."
Again, not a sentence. Please try writing sentences before debating.

"Almost nobody thinks that any creature that existed before animals has free will. "
False.

"Some will argue that some animals have free will, and others do not, but this is impossible because all animals (except for sponges) are conscious."
Okay....

"Jellyfish even have a consciousness, but they obviously don't have free will, so the argument that free will=consciousness is invalid."
WTF. First, I did not say that consciousness=free will. I said that consciousness' existence makes no sense except in the light of free will. Second, there are unfounded statements that you pulled out of where the sun doesn't shine.

" Humans emerged by pure chance, and nobody determined the evolution of humans unless there was a higher power involved (there must be no higher power if my position is correct, which I will get to later). "
BULL. If you understood evolution, you would see that it is not pure chance, there is a method to the madness. Additionally, the rules state that you must accept evolution, so you already have lost for violating the rules and wasting my time.

"If we did not choose our existence, than what do we supposedly determine?"
Choosing to exist has nothing with choosing actions.

" All of our decisions are based off of genetics, or our environment."
Prove this, the rules state that this kind of argument is BANNED unless you can prove it.

" Unless Pro can prove that this is not the case, all of his other arguments are invalid. "
Your arguments had nothing to do with my arguments, it is like playing chess with a pidgeon. http://1.bp.blogspot.com...

"Now, if there is no higher power that exists, this IS the case."
What is the case? What the bloody hell are you talking about? Why did you insist that you were not a troll then waste my time with this nonsense?
DATXDUDE

Con

Yeah, I really wasn't prepared for this debate. My bad. I did read your argument, but I don't have a college level education, so I didn't understand many of your examples. However, I did my best to create an argument, even though this is the case.

However, here's where you're wrong.

1. I didn't keep asking to be in the debate. I asked once, and you rejected me, but later accepted.
2. My argument, though not as good as yours, was not a troll argument. I DID legitimately try to create a good argument, even though I was tired and, although this is my own fault, unprepared.

Also, I've noticed that you feel the need to be superior to me.

"What the bloody hell are you talking about?"

"If you understood evolution..."
"Your arguments had nothing to do with my arguments, it is like playing chess with a pidgeon." (RIP spelling)

Good sir, I see that you're very educated, and you even went to medical school. Maybe you did this to make up for the fact that you got picked on in high school? Oh bloody hell, there's no need for that now is there. We're all friends here! Come on, chap! Let's drink some tea together. Oh wait, is tea not good enough for you?

Jackass.
Debate Round No. 3
49 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Furyan5 2 years ago
Furyan5
Exactly my point. Consciousness is a tool that helps determine the obvious choice. And obviously it works, cause here we are. But just because we are conscious of the choice doesn't mean we have an alternative.
Posted by V5RED 2 years ago
V5RED
You cannot demonstrate the assertions you are making. It is obvious that consciousness impacts choices when you look at a sleepwalker versus a person who is both acting and conscious. Your dilemma probably stems from being unable to imagine how atoms could make choices, well it is equally mysterious as to how they could be self aware, but self awareness must have a purpose or it would be weeded out by natural selection. The only reasonable purpose is to allow us to make better choices.
Posted by Furyan5 2 years ago
Furyan5
I still don't get why people see consciousness as an agent of free will. It does not offer us choices. It merely creates hypothetical constructs in our mind which allow us to visualize the outcome of other alternatives. The obvious course of action is already predetermined.
Yes, you can have tea or coffee, but you like coffee better. If you always choose coffee and only alter your choice due to new information or some external influence, its not choice. Something changed your choice and therefore it's not free. Any choice based on what you desire is predetermined. Any choice not based on preconceived notions is a guess and not truly a choice. Either way, free will does not exist.
Posted by DATXDUDE 2 years ago
DATXDUDE
Me saying "I expect a concession" was a joke.
Posted by V5RED 2 years ago
V5RED
I am not trolling. I just happened to be drunk when finishing the debate. I still clearly gave a serious argument before I got drunk, then you posted an irrelevant and clearly weak reply and posted that you expect me to concede victory. I am apologizing for the way in which I pointed out the holes in your argument and that I was rude, not for pointing out that your argument was garbage.
Posted by DATXDUDE 2 years ago
DATXDUDE
Learn to troll better.
Posted by V5RED 2 years ago
V5RED
I tried to message you an apology, but your settings prohibit it.
Posted by DATXDUDE 2 years ago
DATXDUDE
It's ok baby, I still love you.
Posted by V5RED 2 years ago
V5RED
BTW, my original apology was laced with profanities directed at myself because of what a shameful, immoral person I was in that debate, but the filters would not allow it, so you have the vanilla version.
Posted by V5RED 2 years ago
V5RED
Well, I am certainly a horse's butt. Alcohol does crazy stuff to me, so I apologize to DATX for my disparaging remarks. My opponent did not deserve that.

As to voting, I should lose conduct points for being a sack of ****, but my arguments and sources clearly win out, so even though I was a rude, immature, and undignified punk, I clearly won the debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Lexus 2 years ago
Lexus
V5REDDATXDUDETied
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Total points awarded:00 
Reasons for voting decision: If you two had respect for each other then this debate would have gone better. It's really sad that two people can act like this. I'll tie because this debate wasn't even about the debate topic at hand - it was petty bickering over nothing.