The Instigator
molluskscommawetha
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
daniel_t
Con (against)
Winning
17 Points

My actions are predetermined.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
daniel_t
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/6/2009 Category: Science
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,174 times Debate No: 10351
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (4)

 

molluskscommawetha

Pro

this is not intended to be a trap; i only phrased this debate's topic in regards to myself because it requires a level of evidence that i believe can only be known personally. my opponent may be a magical creature, unbound by my laws (or myself, their own), but for the sake of a successful debate, i will assume that we are both real humans and, as such, function the same way on at least a basic level.

this is the first time i have participated in a structured debate and if, at this moment, i have any request, it is that i am treated with an opponent that "respects" my lack of a full understanding of the rules and practices that a formal debate entails. i also feel that i have a lesser command of language in relation to what i believe i know; out of some laziness, there is the possibility that i may use a word improperly and i ask that my opponent bring any particularly confusing statements i might publish to my attention so that i might clarify my position. Finally, i ask that my opponent highlight any debate faux pas i may, and likely, will, commit. if my opponent wishes that i do the same for them, then they need but ask and i will comply as best i can. asides from those requests, i feel disinclined to make a debate any more complicated than the arguments that might ensue from the statement i will begin below:

my opponent was sculpted entirely by their environment and the genetics that built the brain that makes their consciousness. their actions are driven by genetic responses, in conjunction with the memories derived from previous genetic responses. any "free will" that my opponent experiences is a fabrication.
daniel_t

Con

Thank you molluskscommawetha for this opportunity of a "teatching debate." I am relatively new to the forum too, and this is the first debate I have accepted as the contender. Hopefully, we can learn together.

First and foremost is to establish the burden of proof. You have made a claim that the universe, specifically our behavior, works a certain way. As the claimant in this debate, it is up to you to now prove your claim and it is up to me to show any and all flaws in your proof. If you fail to prove your claim to the voters satisfaction, they will (hopefully) vote for me.

Points are also awarded for grammar and spelling, as well as reliable sources, so try not to be too lazy about this. At least do a little searching for web-sites or papers that support your position, and proofread your work for obvious spelling and grammar problems (for example, make sure you capitalize the first word in each sentence.)

This will hopefully be a lot of fun for both of us, and considering my record around here, you have a pretty good chance of wining. :-)

Since we have five rounds in this debate at 8,000 words each, let's let this debate unfold somewhat gradually...

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You have claimed that I was, "... sculpted entirely by their environment and the genetics that built the brain that makes their consciousness. their actions are driven by genetic responses, in conjunction with the memories derived from previous genetic responses. any 'free will' that my opponent experiences is a fabrication."

As theLwerd warns in the comments, the definition of "free will" is very important here. Since you are the one making the claim, I will give you the opportunity to explain what you mean by this phrase. Since your claim is empirical, the first thing you will need to do is explain what the difference is between someone who's "free will" is a fabrication, and someone who's "free will" is not a fabrication.

In other words, define "free will" as something who's existence is falsifiable [1], and show that it is false.

Good luck and glad to have you on the site.

[1] http://science.jrank.org...
Debate Round No. 1
molluskscommawetha

Pro

i have not been enjoying the formal debate. i had felt that i would at least sit one debate through, to the end, before i would decide whether to continue or not. the meticulous accuracy in which every argument must be laid down feels so burdensome to the development of personal philosophy, that i believe, perhaps, it is better for me to take the risks involved with developing my ideas through my own criticism than to spend time communicating them to somebody else.

i have not decided that the formal debate is inadequate, but simply that it wasn't the tool i was hoping for.

coincidentally, when developing my argument for this debate, i came to decide that no matter how much involvement an environment has with the decisions of a consciousness, there is not yet evidence to me that a free will has no presence in a consciousness' decisions. my stance has changed at the momment. for what its worth, a portion of my argument has been posted below. sorry to daniel_t for ending this prematurely.

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I will define free will as: the ability of a consciousness to independently exercise control over their actions. Under these terms, there needn't be any existence other than a consciousness in order for free will to exist, and no aspect of the environment has complete (if any) control over the decisions of the consciousness.

I have begun to notice the importance of explicit definition in the formal debate. My definition, provided above, is the free will of which I do not believe in. If this definition far differs from what daniel_t expects, then my stance in this debate may have become undermined. I always would be pleased to hear a more learned opinion of free will.

I feel that I must begin my argument with an analysis of the properties of free will. As per my definition, free will requires, and may inhabit, a consciousness that might be the only other existence "within a universe". To some extent, free will has a reliance on the environment; it's capacity for decision is shaped by the environment (quite regularly, a consciousness in possession of what might be described as a free will makes decisions differently when in a forest than when in an ocean.) This is not to be potentially mistaken as evidence against my opponent's position, as, to my knowledge, it is no infringement to my definition of free will.
daniel_t

Con

I'm sorry to hear that you have not been enjoying the format. I have to agree with you that the format doesn't lend itself to exploration of concepts, but it does require us to do extensive research to justify any claims we make.

To that end, I suggest some sources that you mind find useful regarding this subject.

(http://plato.stanford.edu...)
(http://www.skepticwiki.org...)

Also, several books by Daniel C. Dennett "Freedom Evolves" for example cover the issue quite well.

I think it is important to communicate your ideas to others, because this will help you refine them and find out where they are controversial. One good way to use this site would be to post your ideas in a relevant forum. Talking about them there doesn't commit you to a particular stance and allows for maximum feedback from other interested parties. When you find that your ideas are starting to solidify and you feel the desire to defend them, rather than probe them, then start a debate on the topic.

As to your definition... What is the difference between a consciousness that independently exercises control over its actions and one that does not? Can an external agent make a distinction between these two? Can the consciousness itself tell the difference?

If there is no distinction, if these two situations cannot be differentiated in some way, then we are left completely unable to tell if such control is exorcised and claiming that it isn't, is unjustified.

A good article to read on the subject is (http://www.godlessgeeks.com...)

"Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless..."

How can we test the claim that "free will is a fabrication"?
Debate Round No. 2
molluskscommawetha

Pro

molluskscommawetha forfeited this round.
daniel_t

Con

molluskscommawetha's account is no longer active. :-(
Debate Round No. 3
molluskscommawetha

Pro

molluskscommawetha forfeited this round.
daniel_t

Con

molluskscommawetha's account is no longer active. :-(
Debate Round No. 4
molluskscommawetha

Pro

molluskscommawetha forfeited this round.
daniel_t

Con

Well this is it.

My opponent proposed a definition of free will without distinction. Using his definition there is no way to tell if free will exists or not.

My opponent presented no proof at all that his actions are predetermined. Again, how would we know the difference?

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
Conduct: Con. Pro gave up the argument.
Spelling and grammar: Con. Pro had problems with capitalization and punctuation.
Convincing Arguments: Con. Pro didn't really make any arguments.
Reliable Sources: Con. Con is the only one who presented sources.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
Conduct: Con. Pro gave up the argument.
Spelling and grammar: Con. Pro had problems with capitalization and punctuation.
Convincing Arguments: Con. Pro didn't really make any arguments.
Reliable Sources: Con. Con is the only one who presented sources.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
Darn. This site needed a fatalist.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
When I use the term "free will" I mean something like:

A creature's ability to internally model the external world, including a self model, and its ability to predict the possible outcomes of various actions of its self and using that model in part or in whole, to determine which act will actually occur.

This is why I'm giving you the chance to define it first. Using my definition, it is quite obvious that "free will" at least subjectively exists, and that people do have it and use it at least some of the time. Whether or not other creatures have it is still largely unknown but evidence seems to suggest that some of them do. (http://scienceblogs.com...)

Humans aren't as unique as they would like to think they are, but that's a different debate. :-)
Posted by molluskscommawetha 7 years ago
molluskscommawetha
If you know an equally or more-so correct definition of free will in comparison to what I have not yet divulged, then you could help this debate all the more by sharing it. In any case, I thank you for pointing out my obvious mistake, and I appreciate your effort.
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
Determinism is real, but based on your structure, I have a feeling your opponent may win this debate. Make sure to get a proper definition of free will, because if you accept one that's faulty (most people have a faulty idea of what free will is) then you'll lose. Good luck and welcome to DDO :) Also, if anyone else wants to debate in favor of free will, I'd love to take you up on that.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by XimenBao 7 years ago
XimenBao
molluskscommawethadaniel_tTied
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Vote Placed by GeoLaureate8 7 years ago
GeoLaureate8
molluskscommawethadaniel_tTied
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Vote Placed by TxsRngr 7 years ago
TxsRngr
molluskscommawethadaniel_tTied
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Vote Placed by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
molluskscommawethadaniel_tTied
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