The Instigator
Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

Libertarian free will is false.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/2/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,245 times Debate No: 14527
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (73)
Votes (3)




This is my first debate with the new formatting.
My opponent accepts the definitions below.
Libertarian Free Will (Libertarianism)
"Libertarianism holds onto a concept of free will that requires the individual to be able to take more than one possible course of action under a given set of circumstances."
not true or correct; erroneous
-At one point in time, life did not exist.
-All matter that is currently considered to be living was, at one point, considered nonliving.
-At some point in time, life ends.
-All matter that is currently considered to be living will be, at one pont, considered nonliving.
-Between these transformations in the condition of the life of matter, the behavior of matter in regard to the universal laws of physics does not change.
-Matter and energy follow a certain set of regulations in their course.
-Living matter and energy follow a certain set of regulations in their course.
-Libertarian free will supposes certain instances of matter to be exempt from these parameters.
-Libertarian free will is false.
The resolution is negated.


Thank you, wjmelements, for starting this debate.

For simplicity's sake, I shall refer to libertarian free will merely as "free will." Hopefully, this will simplify the debate rather than confuse it.

My opponent has set up a case that is essentially a proof for libertairan free will to be false. As it relies on every point in the case to be true for the final conclusion to be true, I merely need to attack one point to counter it.

"-Matter and energy follow a certain set of regulations in their course."

This isn't necessarily true. In quantum mechanics, for example, things behave seemingly randomly, with no set course at all. If such a derailment from my opponent's supposed rule can occur at the microscopic scale, it's also easily possible in the mind.

"-Between these transformations in the condition of the life of matter, the behavior of matter in regard to the universal laws of physics does not change."

This, also, is probably not true at all. There are extreme differences between living and nonliving systems. For example, take the concept of pain. When sensors on the skin send electric pulses to the brain through the nervous system, pain is suddenly felt, but how? There's no one molecule or atom that creates pain. When the signal reaches the brain, what does the brain do with the signal? It converts it into more and more signals, until what? Modifications in atomic arrangement don't cause feelings. Somehow, a physical construct converted a physical signal into an emotional one, something that nonliving matter can't do. Neurology tells us that the experience of pain "arises from the co-operation of a network of brain areas" [2], but these are supposedly just matter. How can the actions of matter create sensations?

First, we start with a human being. If the human is stabbed in the hand, pain will be sent to the brain and interpreted as pain.

Next, what if we sent pain signals to a brain kept alive in a laboratory, otherwise completely the same as a regular human brain? Would pain still be felt?

What if we isolated only the part of the brain that interprets the pain signals? Would pain still be felt?

What if we isolated a single neuron of that lobe? Would pain still be felt?

Now, if pain cannot be felt in the less complex stages, this implies that there is some super-physical property of a complete and alive human.

However, if pain can still be felt, this creates more problems in itself. If two separate parts of the brain are stimulated to create the sensation of pain, as the neurobiology article suggests, what happens if the parts are stimulated separately? If they both cause pain in the same mind, then this suggests some connection between the two biological subsystems that cannot be explained by the laws of physics. If they cause pain in different minds, then how did the same mind receive pain signals from both parts before?

For a final thought experiment, consider trying to program a robot to feel pain. Sure, you could make the robot's artificial mind keep track of the levels of pain it is supposed to feel, and even react differently depending on the integer representation of pain; they could even show emotions as if they were in pain. But that's not really pain, no matter how many signals you have the robot send to itself. An emotional response simply cannot truly be programmed. The fact that we feel emotion and pain suggests a super-physical property of humans.

This super-physicalness of humans that seems rather likely to be true would reject the notion that humans must act like non-living parts of the universe, which is a crucial part to my opponent's proof. Without that part, the proof collapses, and the resolution cannot be negated.

Well, good luck with the next round, wjmelements. I look forward to your response.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to mongeese for accepting this debate.

My opponent presents two objections to my case: first, that true randomness is possible, and second, that the properties of matter change when it becomes considered "living."

Every instance of randomness describable is no more than a lazy or practical failure to see the deterministic nature of events.

Rolling dice, for example, are said to be random or unpredictable because the onlooker most likely cannot observe their throw precisely enough to calculate their path; however, should one keep track of the rotation, velocity, and position of these dice, they will bounce, spin, and roll in a predictable sequence, following the laws of nature.

A coin toss follows the same principle. Which side the coin lands on is not random, but unpredictable with man's limited perception. A calculation with the rate of rotation of the coin and its initial upwards velocity, among other factors, can consistently predict the side on which the coin will land.

The behavior of quantum particles, relevant or not to free will, is exactly what my opponent says, "seemingly random," just as the roll of dice or the flip of a coin. Bohmian Mechanics [2] successfully reconcile determinism and quantum mechanics by following Schrödinger's equation, eliminating the subjective need for an observer for a system to be defined, applying the pilot wave, and mathematically explaining the before-supposed "random" nature of the universe.

Randomness is an illusion, formulated by the mind to give a simple explanation for things it cannot figure out. It is devised in theories to suppose understanding by choosing not to understand. In a common paraphrase of Einstein [2], "God does not play dice with the universe."

My opponent also challenges my syllogism on the premise that matter suddenly behaves differently when it becomes part of the complex system called "life." He asserts that sensations are necessarily immaterial through the following statements:

"Modifications in atomic arrangement don't cause feelings. Somehow, a physical construct converted a physical signal into an emotional one, something that nonliving matter can't do."

His argument is entirely circular: it supposes immateriality (immaterial emotions) to argue the immateriality of qualia. His circular premise, furthermore, is false by his own source [3], which states:

"Once the pain signal gets to the brain, it is sent to a number of structures for processing. The location and intensity of the stimulus is deciphered by the primary and secondary somatosensory cortex. The emotions and automatic reactions to pain are processed in a number of location, including the hypothalamus, superior colliculus, and amygdala. The complete pain experience, however, arises from the co-operation of a network of brain areas."

The supposedly immaterial sensation of pain is nothing more than a processing of an electrical stimulus designed to direct a defensive reaction.

The answers to my opponent's educational inquiries are simple deductions from the above. Pain is felt as an urgent motivational factor of decision. No one molecule "creates pain" because pain is a complicated impulse that affects the behavior of the human through a feedback system. When the pain impulse reaches the brain, "it is sent to a number of structures for processing." The actions of matter can create sensations because sensations are material. A functioning brain isolated from a body could still process pain because, by premise, it is still functioning. Stimulating only the pain receptors would only stimulate the remainder of the brain if that part weren't isolated, for "the complete pain experience... arises from the co-operation of a network of brain areas." The same reasoning applies to the single neuron question, for in isolating a single neuron, one prevents that neuron from transmitting the signal to the other parts of the brain.

My opponent improperly concludes from the failure of a single neuron to process pain by itself that pain is immaterial, ignoring his own source to the contrary, that pain is the result of an impulse on a system, rather than a part. His questions are similar to a man arguing that a computer cannot process Starcraft II because if one removes the processor and sends the same electrical signals to it by itself, it can't process the game. Just as the processor needs memory, secondary memory, and other parts to simulate Starcraft II, the brain requires a hypothalamus, superior colliculus, and other structures to process, or "feel" pain. His argument relies on the fallacies of Division [4] and Composition [5].

My opponent concludes his argument with two though experiments.

His first supposes that isolating two parts of the brain and sending them signals would give the same mind a feeling of pain. His experiment fails by his own supposition: it defies the laws of logic for communication to occur without it occurring. The explanation is that it does not occur; the two parts of the brain cannot communicate, and so pain is not "felt" at all. The input may still be processed and returned, but to an empty theatre. Pain processes an impulse through a system, and taking apart this system ceases its functionality.

The second thought experiment supposes the construction of a "robot," a useful word for my opponent due to the emotionless connotations it has, that has emotions. My opponent asserts that an emotional response cannot be programmed into the machine. This assertion, however, has its owner as a counterexample. Over billions of years, evolution has programmed species to respond to threats to their functionality, for those that cannot respond to these threats cannot function, and those without functionality cannot reproduce. For the most complicated multicelled organisms, like my opponent, pain serves to identify and remove these threats. If matter can be structured for qualia by chaos, there is no reason to believe it cannot be structured for qualia by design.

My opponent's objections defeated, it can only be concluded that libertarian free will must be false. Thanks to my opponent, and good luck to him on his next round.



Thank you, wjmelements, for your response.

Again, there are two issues raised here: randomness and life.

My opponent claims that the universe is incapable of randomness. He uses real-life examples that I agree with, but to carry these arguments to the quantum level would be a rather derivative application of inductive reasoning. Many things that make sense macroscopically mean nothing microscopically. Even Newton's laws, commonly accepted as true for most of the universe, breaks down when scales are small enough [1].

My opponent provides a rather lengthy source about Bohmian mechanics to explain how true randomness can't occur even on the quantum scale. Given how long it is, it would help if my opponent would identify a sentence or two to explain how Bohmian mechanics eliminates quantum randomness; the only match I can find on the page is actually an objection to its incompatibility. There's also the fact that Bohmian mechanics is merely a version of quantum theory, one among many [2], and isn't necessarily true at all. Different quantum theories may be true instead; in fact, perhaps none of the variants are true. My opponent must give some reason to believe this interpretation over others.

We then come to my life-related argument. My opponent calls pain a "processing of an electrical stimulus designed to direct a defensive reaction"; however, a process among atoms and molecules wouldn't require an actual emotion. Why are the signals interpreted as pain? Why can't they be interpreted directly into a defensive reaction? Pain doesn't seem to have a true reason.

My opponent dubs pain a "complicated impulse," but the question is, at what point is it not just a signal to be transmitted to another part of the brain but instead a signal to be translated into actual pain? There must be some part(s) of the brain that do exactly this. However, if the pain is being processed in multiple parts of the brain, then how is all of this pain felt by the same entity?

My opponent claims that I use the fallacies of division and composition, but I haven't, really. The computer example is that because of all the parts put together, the end result of the simulation of StarCraft is achieved. With the neurons, however, each individual neuron in the brain is kept alive, and signals are sent and received from it just as if it were still in a brain, tricking the neuron into thinking that it is still in a brain. In this case, with StarCraft, we'd have some pixels still creating visual output, some vibrating parts still producing audio output, and some mouse still receiving manual input; they'd just be disconnected. However, while the computer is supposed to be producing output to an external system, the brain is supposed to be processing and creating pain within itself. If a bunch of neurons are individually creating the feeling of pain, is the original owner of the brain feeling all of this pain?

This is, essentially, the first thought experiment, dividing up the numerous parts of the brain which are supposed to process pain, and tricking them into "thinking" that they are still part of the complete brain by sending the same signals that they would have received otherwise. We could even say that we created artificial brains out of natural materials to supplement the rest of the brain that each part was missing. My opponent claims that communication would not occur, and so pain would not be felt. However, how is this any different from the scenario involving a complete brain? The exact same halves of the brain are sending and receiving the exact same signals, and yet the once perfectly believable creation of pain within a single individual suddenly seems to violate logic; was there some super-physical property of these signals?

I will drop my second thought experiment, as my opponent's counter-argument handles it further than I can continue to argue. My first thought experiment would serve its purpose well enough.

To conclude, the fact that an individual feels pain due to a system of processes in the brain seems physically impossible when properly analyzed, necessitating super-physical properties in the brain and creating a hole in the only syllogism used to affirm the resolution.

Good luck with Round 3, wjmelements.


Debate Round No. 2


Thanks to my opponent for waiting until Monday to post, for my schedule would have hindered my posting otherwise.

I would like to correct my sourcing last round, as I already have in the comments, within the debate rounds as well: the number next to "Bohmian Mechanics" should be a [1] rather than a [2].

==Randomness Versus Determinism==
My opponent asks for a few sentences from my source that make the Bohmian mechanical interpretation preferable to other interpretations.

J. S. Bell, the developer of Bell's Theorem, which tried to discredit the existence of nonlocal variables, flopped and advocated Bohmian mechanics upon his exposure to them, writing:
"But in 1952 I saw the impossible done. It was in papers by David Bohm. Bohm showed explicitly how parameters could indeed be introduced, into nonrelativistic wave mechanics, with the help of which the indeterministic description could be transformed into a deterministic one. More importantly, in my opinion, the subjectivity of the orthodox version, the necessary reference to the ‘observer,’ could be eliminated" [1].

Bohmian mechanics is superior to other interpretations because it does not assume the creation of alternative universes in the case of parallel observation, it does not assume a universe subjective to the observer, and it does not assume random movement. On top of all this, it is mathematically valid and lacks a valid objection [1].

My opponent counters my inductive argument against randomness with the statement that the behavior of matter at the macroscopic level differs from the behavior of matter at the microscopic level. Applying this statement to randomness, it would be improper to argue that biological factors are random based on the assertion that quantum mechanics are random, so my opponent's entire objection collapses.

==Life: Pain and Consciousness==
My opponent's key argument lies in his assumption that the pain consciousness experiences is somehow immaterial, although everywhere it has been proven material. This idea originates with the idea that consciousness is immaterial, and so I will start here.

The conscious mind can be proven material by a look at evolution and the brain.

First, evolution: organisms evolved over time from life considered not to have consciousness into life with consciousness, and because the matter constructing the life that has this consciousness has only changed structure, by the Law of Conservation of Mass, and the parameters of the universe haven't changed, the consciousness must have developed by the structure of matter. Therefore, consciousness is simply a material system.

Second, the structure of the brain: every aspect of consciousness depends on brain activity, and therefore, every aspect of consciousness depends on the activity of matter. Pain depends on brain activity, specifically, on electroneural signals, histamines, and bradykini [2][3]. Breaking the physical process of pain in one of the many ways breaks the conscious process [4]. Vision depends on brain activity, specifically, a chemical signal from the retina [5]. Decision depends on brain activity located in the frontal region [6a], and when that decision is influenced externally [6b], the affected human will still believe to have made the choice itself.

Concluded that both pain and the consciousness that experiences it are material, my opponent's new inquiries can be answered. Pain is experienced in the consciousness as part of a negative. The pain sensation must necessarily be exposed to the consciousness for the consciousness to calculate it in its actions. Not exposing the conscious sectors of the brain to the pain would prevent an intelligent, calculated reaction, and so organisms that didn't consciously process pain had a significant evolutionary disadvantage [7]. As to the exact location the conscious brain becomes aware of pain: "Unfortunately there is no discrete centre where pain is recognised [sic]. Pain is so important to survival that almost the whole brain is involved" [2]. Pain can be processed in multiple parts of the brain and still be experienced only by that brain because the brain functions as a system.

My opponent argues that individual neurons could not produce pain. This is precisely the fallacy of composition [8], for he is stating that because a neuron cannot individually cause the sensation of pain, a brain composed of neurons cannot either. The neurons work together to perform the neurological processes, and can't do anything, like process pain, by themselves. Making a neuron act as if it was still part of a brain would not cause a consciousness to experience pain because that neuron would send the right signals to the wrong audience, and so there is no remote consciousness problem, as my opponent may wish.

My opponent's first thought experiment, different from the above scenario in that it has "artificial brains" to do exactly the same function as the brain, would produce a consciousness that could feel pain, following the assumption that the supplementary brain does exactly the same thing as the human brain. If it behaves the same as the brain, then of course it will act like one. However, if I am still not interpreting my opponent correctly, and the supplementary brain only serves the unnecessary function of "convincing" the neuron that it is in a brain, then, for the reasons described in the preceding paragraph do the consciousness and pain not occur, and the scenario is different because pain and consciousness are functional results of material processes, and therefore must have these processes occur to function.

My opponent wisely drops his second thought experiment.

Regardless of the scope, if the universe lacks randomness, then it is deterministic, and if the universe is deterministic, then free will is impossible. Free will can only exist if the universe has indeterministic behavior and this behavior results from the intervention of life. However, no properties of matter change during the establishment of life, so libertarian free will is false.



Thank you, wjmelements, for responding.

I believe that my argument from quantum mechanics has been properly refuted, so I shall instead shift entirely to my argument from pain.

My opponent gives a long explanation of the biology of pain. This is nice, but it doesn't contribute to his argument in any significant way at all, as it does not explain the problems that have been raised by my criticisms and hypotheticals. I shall go directly to his explanations of these situations.

While the brain may be a system, it is only truly connected by the signals that the individual parts send to each other, assuming no super-physical connections. This raises questions about what happens when the brain is split into numerous parts, which wjm tries to answer.

I ask whether individual neurons, when separated and tricked into "thinking" that they are still part of a single brain, would process pain as they would when "together." My opponent claims would not, as they would send the right signals to the wrong audience." However, I stated that signals are being sent and received to trick the neurons into acting as if they are in a brain. If all of the signals that are received by the computer in charge of this process are then re-sent to the intended target, would pain still be felt? If so, would it still be felt by the entire original entity, as it was originally, or split up among the neurons? My opponent seems to think that the pain would be split up, with the human consciousness not feeling the overall pain. However, originally, the brain cells were connected only by electronic signals, and the consciousness could still feel pain; in this example, they are still connected by electronic signals. How is it that while neurons are physically in a brain, they can create an overall consciousness, but while separate, they cannot?

A computer could even learn the exact signals that a neuron could be sent, so that an individual neuron could be part of a virtual brain without the rest of the neurons. If this is done separately for each neuron, would a consciousness feel pain? If not, why must the neurons be stimulated simultaneously or together? If so, how does this consciousness receive pain from every neuron, despite a lack of physical connection between them?

I am again accused of committing the fallacy of composition, but I have set up each neuron as if it were in the brain; the only difference from a regular brain is the extreme distance between the cells and the computer that receives then resends the electronic signals, two factors which don't seem as if they should matter, although my opponent inexplicably thinks that they do.

Continuing to the "artificial brain," my opponent claims that with the use of the supplemental brain, a consciousness would be produced that could feel pain. However, both halves of the original brain are now receiving and sending the same signals; they're just no longer physically connected. As the two separate brain halves are in essentially the same state as they were before, only having a greater distance and also having supplemental brain halves that supply these same electric signals as before, one would think that they are still part of the same consciousness. Is there really an explanation for why they are no longer the same conscious without assuming super-physical properties of life?

To conclude, while my opponent claims that living bodies behave with the same properties as nonliving bodies, life processes such as pain cannot be answered by physical laws without introducing serious paradoxes.

Thank you, wjmelements, and good luck with your final round. I hope my points are comprehensible enough.
Debate Round No. 3


I would like to thank my opponent for this debate.

My opponent has dropped his argument regarding quantum randomness, so it is conceded that "matter and energy follow a certain set of regulations in their course."

My opponent's only remaining objection to my syllogism is:

"Life processes such as pain cannot be answered by physical laws without introducing serious paradoxes."

Because my opponent has not contended my biological explanation of consciousness and qualia, his final objection is easily answerable.

==The Paradox of Separation==
My opponent's first paradox is that the neurons could not simulate a consciousness within a brain if they were separated, but could still communicate as if they weren't. Following my opponent's description of the scenario, where "all of the signals that are received by the computer in charge of this process are then re-sent to the intended target," a functioning consciousness would be produced, for the functional reasoning my opponent conceded last round. I had stated earlier that it would not because, as I was clear in my interpretation, I believed that the scenario involved a single neuron transmitting not to other neurons through a medium, but to non-functioning media, a "wrong audience," incapable of processing the signals in the same way as the original neurons.

Of course, this still assumes that chemical communication is still allowed to function, as I believe my opponent intended for his supposed contradiction.

Separation of neurons, assuming they still function and can still communicate, though a medium perhaps, should not cripple a consciousness, because the structure still functions exactly the same way. The only potential threat to the function of the separated neurons would be a small time-delay, for chemicals would have to travel farther between parts of the brain, which my opponent's system assumes shouldn't matter. Separated, assuming my opponent's premises, they still function the same way and do the same thing.

My opponent's reasoning that this separation could not produce a consciousness is based, again, on the assumption that the consciousness has a physical or superphysical position or location, and that there cannot be a consciousness because the neurons are no longer connected. However, the consciousness results from a biological system, a number of parts working together, and my opponent's model proposes no interruption to this working together. In fact, because the consciousness is a system rather than a singular entity, the neurons do have a physical connection between them, in the medium of the model's "computer."

My opponent finishes by proposing a brain, separated at the halves, each separated half receiving a supplementary half to replace the original, making two brains. My opponent then asserts that the brain would produce only one consciousness on the premise that "one would think" so. However, there is no connection between the two halves anymore, as they are separated without medium, and so together they do not function as a consciousness, while the two new brains would function as a consciousness, for the model assumes the supplementary halves to function as the old half would have functioned.

Having concluded an entirely deterministic universe, there is no possibility of randomness, much less libertarian free will. As qualia are observable biochemical phenomena that follow a deterministic path, they cannot demonstrate any inherent uniqueness to matter under the living condition. An individual cannot take multiple courses of action, because the regulations of the universe prohibit such indeterminism. Therefore, the resolution is negated. Thank you.


Thank you, wjmelements, for this debate.

I have only one contention left regarding pain and consciousness, but it is also my strongest argument.

The debated scenario is that a brain has been separated into individual neurons that still communicate with each other via a computer that transmits their signals to each other as if they were still a whole brain. My opponent claims that the original consciousness of the brain would be uninhibited. Now, if I am the consciousness, my opponent and I have agreed that I would feel pain due to the processes of the entire system of my brain. This means that if section A of my brain creates some pain, I will feel that pain, and if section B of my brain creates other pain, I will feel that pain.

However, how do I receive this pain from two separate sections of my brain? The neurons only communicate through electric and chemical signals; one part of my brain cannot transmit actual pain to another part of my brain, but only a signal that can be interpreted as pain. The signal must be translated into pain within an individual section; pure pain cannot be transmitted, but only encoded in signals to be translated later. The two separate parts of my brain cannot create pain in a single consciousness unless one part of the brain only sent basic material signals, and the other part interpreted the signal as pain. This logic can be applied recursively, breaking down the section of the brain into neurons and the neurons into molecules. However, my opponent has claimed that pain is more complicated than a single neuron or single molecule. For the entire complex structure of the brain to together create a feeling of pain that can be felt by an overall consciousness by only communicating using electric and chemical signals is indeed a paradox.

I also had a paragraph asking what would happen if the individual neurons were stimulated at different times, independently of each other. What would happen to this consciousness that is supposed to be altered by the actions of neurons? My opponent has, unfortunately, failed to address this important point. There is no logical reason that I can think of so that a long time delay would have any more of an impact than a short time delay, and yet, there is no physical reason for a consciousness to be able to be affected by the actions of two neurons that are not even connected anymore by time or space (a computer program has replaced their interactions with each other). No neuron knows this, and they all act as if they are in a brain, even though they have no physical connection to each other whatsoever. My opponent, too, has no explanation for this paradox that is only contradictory if we continue to assume that organic material behaves in the exact same way that inorganic material does. If I, the consciousness, can still feel pain after neurons are stimulated independently, how did I receive all of this pain? If I, the consciousness, cannot feel pain anymore, what logical reason makes this situation different from any previous one in a significant way?

We finally come to the double-brain problem, in which one brain has essentially been split into two. My opponent claims that there would be two new consciousnesses, because of the lack of connection. However, why is a connection important? Both halves are performing in the exact same way as if one brain were interacting with itself; even the connection between the original half and the supplemental half performs in the exact same way. Why would the original consciousness be destroyed while its two halves remain essentially untouched, each still thinking that the other exists, if there were no superphysical connection between the two halves?

To conclude, while my opponent's syllogism relies on the idea that matter does not alter its own behavior when present in life, there are many situations within the human brain that seem contradictory and paradoxical without the assumption that a superphysical connection exists between all parts of the brain. With a falsified syllogism, my opponent's only argument in favor of the resolution carries no weight. The resolution is not negated.

Thank you, wjmelements, for enduring this debate with me, and thank you, readers, for taking the time to read this debate.
Debate Round No. 4
73 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by maninorange 5 years ago
"I would like to point out that wjmelements in the debate never stated that the response to pain is perfectly accounted for, which would make the fact irrelevant to voting."
As I stated before, that doesn't change the fact that I did not find your counter to his otherwise valid argument convincing (for the reasons which you are declaring are irrelevant), which is, after all, what this is about.

"Why doesn't "Heat + Low energy state -> Higher energy state" work?"
It can, but not on the same level. You need more heat to put in than was put out, simply because you are going to lose some energy to the environment. I'm not saying it's impossible; we just know that it doesn't happen.

"I have no idea what [Information -> Meaningless jargon] means."
If we we run information (Let's say the contents of a book) through a scrambler, we're going to get something quite meaningless. However, if we run jargon through a scrambler, we might get a few words or sentences (or even pages and beyond if the book is large enough), but it won't be information, because it doesn't communicate anything.
(Sorry for not detailing that. That was truly my fault.)

" is foolish to categorize the non-physical realm as only an effect without more proof."
I didn't do that. Please re-read what I wrote. If something I said confused you, let me know what it was and I'll try to fix it.
Posted by mongeese 5 years ago
I would like to point out that wjmelements in the debate never stated that the response to pain is perfectly accounted for, which would make the fact irrelevant to voting.

"High energy state -> Lower energy state + Heat"
Why doesn't "Heat + Low energy state -> Higher energy state" work?

"Information -> Meaningless jargon"
I have no idea what that means.

The other things are merely cause vs. effect things; it's obvious that the effect doesn't change the cause, but it is foolish to categorize the non-physical realm as only an effect without more proof.
Posted by maninorange 5 years ago
Okay, look.... I was only showing that there WERE non-symmetric relations. Then, I gave you a reason why I thought that even if we established a non-physical realm (via using pain), that would only show that the physical could affect the non-physical; the response to pain is perfectly accounted for.

As for your claims that there are more two-way streets than one-way streets:
High energy state -> Lower energy state + Heat
Information -> Meaningless jargon
These two are fundamental to the workings of our universe, and themselves lend to other one-way streets.

Then there are the really obvious ones:
The strength of the Sun's radiation affects life on Earth, but life on Earth does not affect the strength of the Sun's radiation.
The size of a bullet affects how likely a victim is to die of a gunshot wound, but the victims death does not affect the size of the bullet.

I'm saying that no one can make a claim either way without some other kind of evidence. The effects of an injury (with the exception of pain [the sensation] according to the assumption) ARE physical. Therefore, even if we establish the existence of a non-physical realm in which things are affected by interactions in the physical realm, there is no convincing reason that you have presented to think that the reverse also works. To postulate that it can occur has 0 explanatory power, and so we disregard it.
Posted by mongeese 5 years ago
And I'm pointing out that time is the exception, not the rule, which means you're assuming the connection between physical and non-physical to be an exception as well, which is an unjust assumption.
Posted by maninorange 5 years ago
Sooo... are you acknowledging that I'm correct? If you notice, I have explicitly stated the purpose of the time analogy, so to think that I'm drawing anything else from it is the erroneous assumption ^_~
Posted by mongeese 5 years ago
One would think that two-way streets would occur more naturally than one-way streets. Time is a rather curious axis in that it seems to only move in one direction, but in any spatial dimension, one can move in either direction and even turn around. Time is the exception, not the rule, so using it to draw conclusions is indeed erroneous.
Posted by maninorange 5 years ago
I don't know why you'd assume that, because I really have no convincing reason whatsoever either way.
So, if we could define these here or in a message, I'd take up the debate:

If you can think of any others, please mention them. I'd rather start by agreeing on WHAT we're talking about ^_^
Also, If you plan on bringing other discussions into this context, such as free-will, religion, or philoscophy of science (I don't know why you would; I'm just picking things as examples.), also let me know.
Posted by popculturepooka 5 years ago
@maninorange, i'm comfortable with either arguing for dualism or against materialism. I'm assuming you're a non-reductivist materialist.
Posted by maninorange 5 years ago
If it can be established that events in the past can influence events in the future, then wouldn't it be erroneous to continue to assume that events in the future cannot influence events in the past?

The answer: absolutely. Given no other information, that is a rather silly assumption indeed. However, I already covered this by saying that the response to pain was physically accounted for, which really is equivalent to the assumption you say I make. The parody I presented above is just to show that there are relations in the universe which are not symmetric for some reason or another. (Such as being metaphysically impossible, as in the above.)

I am actually a materialist/epiphenominalist, just like I'm soft/hard determinist. The reason I can't just pick one is that people (including me) can't just pick one definition. If any of the key definitions change, my position is liable to change as well. Usually I'm a materialist/hard determinist, but that's only because the definitions people usually use lend themselves to it.

So if you would tell me what I'd be debating AGAINST, I might, but chances are, I'd really rather side with materialism

The reason my responses seem so 'epiphenomalist' is that I was assuming that mongeese was correct about pain (sensation) not being physically accounted for. Following this assumption, it does not lead to the requirements for free will (under the definitions presented) to be possible.
Posted by popculturepooka 5 years ago
Maninorange, that seems to be quite an epiphenomenalist position your taking. Want to debate it?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Danielle 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: See comments section...
Vote Placed by Vi_Veri 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I'm going to have to give no one the win on arguments because of WJM's failure to get the split brain question right in accordance to the theory he is proposing - and his failure to address the qualia problem fully (these are two HUGE key objections to anti-libertarianism) :/ Sorry, WJM - even though I fully support your prospective on this issue. Read up a little bit more - Try "Philosophy of Mind" by John Heil --- also can't give it to mongeese because of his misunderstanding of neuro-psych
Vote Placed by maninorange 5 years ago
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