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A life without Free Will

A1tre
Posts: 223
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3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
We have recently had a lot of conversation on the topic of Free Will in this forum, and it has mostly been about whether we accept it to be true or not. In this new topic I would like to ask a different question:

"What are the implications of not having Free Will for our life?"

We may disagree on whether Free Will is true or not, but for now let us set that disagreement aside and see what consequences we reach when we assume Free Will is not true.

More specifically I would like to address the following questions:

"Can we justify punishing people for breaking the law?"
"Do we have moral responsibility over our actions, or does anything go?"
"What is the correct set of morals / What kind of behavior should we strive for?"
"Should we just sit around, do nothing and wait for life to happen?"

If you have more questions which you think are important then feel free to ask them. I"m interested in reading what your opinions are towards this topic.
Chaosism
Posts: 2,674
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3/16/2016 8:47:53 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM, A1tre wrote:
We have recently had a lot of conversation on the topic of Free Will in this forum, and it has mostly been about whether we accept it to be true or not. In this new topic I would like to ask a different question:

"What are the implications of not having Free Will for our life?"

Nothing truly significant, except for religious implications and that the realization that people are bound to decision-making processes that are beyond our control renders revenge for the sake of revenge more apparently immoral. Unless there is some way to know the future, then the existence of free will is indistinguishable from a deterministic existence. Picture rolling a die, and that you have no idea what it will end up. Does it make any difference to your experience whether that result is fixed or actually random?

We may disagree on whether Free Will is true or not, but for now let us set that disagreement aside and see what consequences we reach when we assume Free Will is not true.

More specifically I would like to address the following questions:

"Can we justify punishing people for breaking the law?"

Yes. The mechanical-psychological effects that aim to deter unwarranted behavior still function to the benefit of preventing future violations as well as provide negative reinforcement to others. Our brains still undergo the process of learning and evaluating based on experiences and rationale regardless of free will.

"Do we have moral responsibility over our actions, or does anything go?"

I don't see how free will or not necessarily affects this issue.

"What is the correct set of morals / What kind of behavior should we strive for?"

Moral consideration will basically remain the same. The difference being that some would use that knowledge to justify their more selfish behaviors.

"Should we just sit around, do nothing and wait for life to happen?"

No. Whatever you do is what was meant to happen. This should change no one's way of living their life.

If you have more questions which you think are important then feel free to ask them. I"m interested in reading what your opinions are towards this topic.

I believe free will to be a fanciful notion that humans hold in order to maintain the idea of control over their lives. Free will is strongly reinforced by the effects of Hindsight Bias, in that, we falsely attribute our current feelings and knowledge to the past memories giving us the impression that we could have done something differently. Of course, this all depends on how you define free will, too.

My question is: why is it so important to you that free will exists?
Hayd
Posts: 4,022
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3/17/2016 3:52:03 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM, A1tre wrote:
We have recently had a lot of conversation on the topic of Free Will in this forum, and it has mostly been about whether we accept it to be true or not. In this new topic I would like to ask a different question:

"What are the implications of not having Free Will for our life?"

We may disagree on whether Free Will is true or not, but for now let us set that disagreement aside and see what consequences we reach when we assume Free Will is not true.

More specifically I would like to address the following questions:

"Can we justify punishing people for breaking the law?"

This is interesting, I don't think so. They are not at fault for anything, so you can't punish someone for something they can't control or change.

"Do we have moral responsibility over our actions, or does anything go?"

Eh, morals still exist. Killing someone is still wrong, this doesn't change that. But the person committing the act cannot be held morally responsible since they could not help but do it.

"What is the correct set of morals / What kind of behavior should we strive for?"

We should strive for the best behavior, that doesn't change based on free will.

"Should we just sit around, do nothing and wait for life to happen?"

No. Free will doesn't change the way you live your life

If you have more questions which you think are important then feel free to ask them. I"m interested in reading what your opinions are towards this topic.

This was a very very good post, keep it up
A1tre
Posts: 223
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3/17/2016 9:28:15 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/16/2016 8:47:53 PM, Chaosism wrote:
My question is: why is it so important to you that free will exists?

I wouldn"t say it is important to me that it exists, but I find the idea to be an important one to discuss. I think it is safe to say that in every day life we operate with the idea that we have free will. That leads to us making many assumptions about life based on an idea that might not even be true. So I was just wondering if any aspects of life change given this philosophical realization.
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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3/18/2016 5:31:45 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM, A1tre wrote:

If you have more questions which you think are important then feel free to ask them.

I think the first question we ought to ask before this subject can even get off the ground is, "What is free will?'or "What does is an act of volition?" or "What does it mean to make a choice?"
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
DPMartin
Posts: 1,096
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3/18/2016 7:08:06 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM, A1tre wrote:
We have recently had a lot of conversation on the topic of Free Will in this forum, and it has mostly been about whether we accept it to be true or not. In this new topic I would like to ask a different question:

"What are the implications of not having Free Will for our life?"

We may disagree on whether Free Will is true or not, but for now let us set that disagreement aside and see what consequences we reach when we assume Free Will is not true.

More specifically I would like to address the following questions:

"Can we justify punishing people for breaking the law?"

You don"t have to, that is why you have law, the law justifies. The punished by being in your country agreed to obey it therefore the justification pre-exists, by virtue of the agreed law. To execute what is provided in the agreement "law" is justified.

"Do we have moral responsibility over our actions, or does anything go?"

Anything goes, unless you are in agreement with another, or others. Could be a friend, spouse, family, employer, business transaction, nation so on and so forth. In a context like Adam and Eve. Adam was in an agreement with God that God gave, by remaining in the garden voluntarily. Then it is a moral issue, without the agreement there is no dispute in the understanding of a peaceable coexistence, other than mutual destruction, like animals or the "cold war", which isn"t peaceable.

"What is the correct set of morals / What kind of behavior should we strive for?"

Meet the agreement, make good on error, and don"t go into agreements that is not in your hand to meet, as in don"t offer what you don"t have in hand. These are always ethical.

"Should we just sit around, do nothing and wait for life to happen?"

That"s on you, do nothing and you can"t do nothing in error, but doing nothing maybe the error.
illegalcombat
Posts: 632
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3/19/2016 10:28:22 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/18/2016 5:31:45 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM, A1tre wrote:

If you have more questions which you think are important then feel free to ask them.

I think the first question we ought to ask before this subject can even get off the ground is, "What is free will?'or "What does is an act of volition?" or "What does it mean to make a choice?"

By free will choice we mean you made a choice and you were free to choose otherwise.
skipsaweirdo
Posts: 1,872
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3/19/2016 4:13:56 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM, A1tre wrote:
We have recently had a lot of conversation on the topic of Free Will in this forum, and it has mostly been about whether we accept it to be true or not. In this new topic I would like to ask a different question:

"What are the implications of not having Free Will for our life?"

We may disagree on whether Free Will is true or not, but for now let us set that disagreement aside and see what consequences we reach when we assume Free Will is not true.

More specifically I would like to address the following questions:

"Can we justify punishing people for breaking the law?"
"Do we have moral responsibility over our actions, or does anything go?"
"What is the correct set of morals / What kind of behavior should we strive for?"
"Should we just sit around, do nothing and wait for life to happen?"

If you have more questions which you think are important then feel free to ask them. I"m interested in reading what your opinions are towards this topic.
My free may not be present so I'm determined to not answer this post anyway, although I am attempting to my brain isn't letting me type what I want....oh well
DPMartin
Posts: 1,096
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3/19/2016 4:33:05 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/19/2016 10:28:22 AM, illegalcombat wrote:
At 3/18/2016 5:31:45 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM, A1tre wrote:

If you have more questions which you think are important then feel free to ask them.

I think the first question we ought to ask before this subject can even get off the ground is, "What is free will?'or "What does is an act of volition?" or "What does it mean to make a choice?"

By free will choice we mean you made a choice and you were free to choose otherwise.

Does that mean the choice does, or doesn"t have to be available to you, in order for freewill to exist? Are you talking about freewill, or freedom?
keithprosser
Posts: 2,085
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3/19/2016 7:30:24 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
So I was just wondering if any aspects of life change given this philosophical realization.

I can't say that my philosophical doubt about the reality of free-will affects my life to any great extent. For me, pondering free will is only an intellectual exercise. The reality of, for example, pain may be philosophically debatable, but when you have a toothache you go to a dentist, not a philosopher.

Free will is - I suppose - an 'illusion'. But much of our lives are such illusions. Love, pain, colours, sounds, the taste of honey... none of those have any reality outside our heads, but they are essential components of our existance. At one level, we are bags of wet chemicals with delusions of Godhood, but is that matter? It's perfectly true - we are bags of wet chemicals - but its possible for something to be true but not to matter as much as the illusion. That free will doesn't exist is less important that the fact that it seems to exist.

Modern taste prefers the objectively true to the subjectively true - indeed 'subjectively true' is a phrase that might get a bit of a reaction here! But if anyone remembers my U1/U2 idea, that was intended as a way to rationalise the significance of the subjective.
The motivation was the perennial problem that things like genocide aren't really bad - something begin bad is just an opinion. I've never liked that idea, so I'd like to find a good way to argue the contrary.... I know that is a bit off-track, but all these things are related to the nature of the subjective mind and its relation to the objective world.
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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3/20/2016 9:20:36 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM, A1tre wrote:
We have recently had a lot of conversation on the topic of Free Will in this forum, and it has mostly been about whether we accept it to be true or not. In this new topic I would like to ask a different question:

If we don't have free will then you can't choose to ask a different question.
.
"What are the implications of not having Free Will for our life?"

It wouldn't really be "our life" anymore would it? Wouldn't we just be cogs in a vast machine universe? Pronouns would be meaningless wouldn't they?

We may disagree on whether Free Will is true or not, but for now let us set that disagreement aside and see what consequences we reach when we assume Free Will is not true.

From the very beginning you haven't seemed to understand the implications of your argument against free will, if we don't have free will there are no consequences for us to reach, everything would be determined for us.

More specifically I would like to address the following questions:

"Can we justify punishing people for breaking the law?"

Justification wouldn't matter, it wouldn't be up to us whether or not we break the law and it wouldn't be up to us whether or not we punish. If we don't have free will then we don't have the mental freedom to ask and answer questions, there is no choice in the matter, there is no choice in any matter, the whole point of your argument against free will is that nothing matters and there are no choices we can make.

"Do we have moral responsibility over our actions, or does anything go?"

If we don't have free will then there is no moral responsibility and the question "does anything go?" is meaningless.

"What is the correct set of morals / What kind of behavior should we strive for?"

Without free will we have no control over our behavior and the concept of striving is meaningless.

Even the concept of correct is meaningless, nothing is correct or incorrect, it just is.

"Should we just sit around, do nothing and wait for life to happen?"

Without free will this is a meaningless question, there is no should or could, there is just what happens.

If you have more questions which you think are important then feel free to ask them. I"m interested in reading what your opinions are towards this topic.

Do you really believe that your questions and our answers were determined before any of us were born?

Do you really think you have no choice and couldn't have asked different questions?

If we have no free will, what is the point of asking questions, what is the point of logic, without free will what is the point of anything?

If we have no free will, isn't your argument against free will meaningless?

Without free will, aren't you pointless?
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
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3/20/2016 9:34:10 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM, A1tre wrote:
We have recently had a lot of conversation on the topic of Free Will in this forum, and it has mostly been about whether we accept it to be true or not. In this new topic I would like to ask a different question:

"What are the implications of not having Free Will for our life?"

We may disagree on whether Free Will is true or not, but for now let us set that disagreement aside and see what consequences we reach when we assume Free Will is not true.

More specifically I would like to address the following questions:

"Do we have moral responsibility over our actions, or does anything go?"
Moral responsibility is precisely what we lack if we do not have free will.

"Can we justify punishing people for breaking the law?"
If people are not morally responsible for their actions, then no, we cannot.
Some might argue we can still punish them to deter possible criminals. This just shows how implausible the idea of not having free will actually is.
It amazes me how many do not see that the suggestion of being able to rightfully punish people even if they lack the libertarian freedom those who deny free will seem to want directly implies compatibilism.
If you don't think we have free will and want to be consistent, then no you can't punish people.

"What is the correct set of morals / What kind of behavior should we strive for?"
Doesn't really matter then, does it?

"Should we just sit around, do nothing and wait for life to happen?"
If you do not have free will, then there is hardly anything else you could do.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
keithprosser
Posts: 2,085
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3/20/2016 11:08:54 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
Without free will, aren't you pointless?

Objectivism is fashionable these days. It seems the most common thing I read on this board is 'prove it', because what matters (apparently) is what can be proved using bare facts and impersonal reasoning. One that basis, one cannot take the positions - for example - that genocode or baby rape is bad, because it can't be proved on an obrctive basis, as any number of threads on this board has shown. Whether there is a point to life without objective free will is another unprovable - at least it is unprovable in the context of hyper-obectivism.

We don't have free will (by which I mean that we - and our thoughts - are subject to the regular laws of physics, not indepedent of them), yet does that mean we are pointless?

I've thought about that sort of thing a lot, and it seems to be that the logical conclusion of objectivism is nihilism. To summarise the argument, you can't get values from physics, or 'ought' from 'is'.

In his essay 'Science and the Greeks' Erwin Schroedinger argues that science began when humans learned to examine what is, as opposed to what seems. In the ancient day, if a plant had flowers that looked like an eye, it was assumed that it would be good medicine for eyes. Abandoning that sort of thinking is what allowed science to make the enormous strides it has, but there was a cost.

By removing 'seeming' from science, 'seeming' itself could not be part of science. Consciousness was - implicity - defined as being something science should have no truck with. The subjective was relegated to 'second class' status, permitted for artists and the hoi-poloi but not for serious people like DDO philosopers!

Objectivism has given us mobile phones and computers, but leaves us no way to prove the blatantly obvious facts that baby rape and genocide are bad. Obectivism is fine for what it does well - but it can't be the compete picture.

Which is a long way of saying that not having free will (speaking objectively it is so) has nothing to with whether there is point to anything. Values don't come from physics, they come from the existecne of consciousness. Ultimately, consciousness itself derives from physics (at least I expect it does), but that doesn't matter all that much because the important thing is that consciousness exists. The existence of conscious means that there are things in the universe - values, morality etc - that the objectivist world-view deiberate excludes.

In a universe deviod of consciousness, nothing would have value or 'a point'. Objectivism simplifies things so it can get on with the job done of making mobile phones and computers by pretending the universe is consciousness-free. But we don't live in a consciousness-free universe. We only lack good tools to deal with it,
hence I can't prove that genocide and baby-rape is bad, or there is a point to life even if free will isn't real.
Sidewalker
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3/20/2016 12:12:34 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/20/2016 11:08:54 AM, keithprosser wrote:
Without free will, aren't you pointless?

Objectivism is fashionable these days. It seems the most common thing I read on this board is 'prove it', because what matters (apparently) is what can be proved using bare facts and impersonal reasoning.

You act like this is surprising or unusual.

Let's recognize what the assertion is here, it is a denial of the self-evident experiential reality of free will, it is the rejection of the validity of every legal and moral system that has been known to be in place in every society that has ever occurred on this planet. We all observe it during every conscious moment, to deny it is necessarily a rejection of the very concept of empirical evidence, it is a denial of inductive and deductive reasoning, and it's a denial of the very basis of truth. In the end it is a fundamentally dehumanizing assertion.

It is a remarkably extraordinary claim and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and an extraordinary argument. And yet, amazingly, Willusionists never seem to even have an argument.

This is a debate board, you should expect folks to ask for an argument when such an extraordinary assertion. is made.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
A1tre
Posts: 223
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3/20/2016 4:33:30 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/20/2016 9:34:10 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM, A1tre wrote:
"Can we justify punishing people for breaking the law?"
If people are not morally responsible for their actions, then no, we cannot.
Some might argue we can still punish them to deter possible criminals. This just shows how implausible the idea of not having free will actually is.

Why is that implausible? If we have no free will then we are completely subject to causal chains. Is this not a reality in which deterrence would function best in since we have no choice not to be effected by it?

"Should we just sit around, do nothing and wait for life to happen?"
If you do not have free will, then there is hardly anything else you could do.

To me it seems, as I mentioned before, that if we don"t have free will then we are driven by many things such as psychology, genetics etc. to live the way we do. This can be generalized by saying we are completely a product of causal chains. Hence we would have no choice but to run after those we love, to hurt those we hate and so on. Why do you think this all leads us to not doing anything?
A1tre
Posts: 223
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3/20/2016 4:46:07 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/18/2016 5:31:45 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM, A1tre wrote:

If you have more questions which you think are important then feel free to ask them.

I think the first question we ought to ask before this subject can even get off the ground is, "What is free will?'or "What does is an act of volition?" or "What does it mean to make a choice?"

Good point, ok I'll try:

Free will is an attribute a consciousness posses when it is the ultimate origin of its own actions and thoughts.

Free will implies there is a part of our consciousness that is not subject to causal chains, or in other words; a part of our consciousness has to be completely free of influence from outside.

Without free will consciousness and its thoughts and actions still exist, but they are purely a product of the causal chains/ the influences of the universe onto ourselves.
A1tre
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3/20/2016 4:54:27 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/19/2016 4:13:56 PM, skipsaweirdo wrote:
At 3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM, A1tre wrote:
If you have more questions which you think are important then feel free to ask them. I"m interested in reading what your opinions are towards this topic.
My free may not be present so I'm determined to not answer this post anyway, although I am attempting to my brain isn't letting me type what I want....oh well

And yet you did answer this post :)

Is it impossible to answer a post if one does not have free will? What if I am determined to answer this post?
You want something, but your brain doesn't let you have it. Can you explain how this situation is possible, is your mind not based on your brain?
A1tre
Posts: 223
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3/20/2016 5:10:27 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/19/2016 7:30:24 PM, keithprosser wrote:

Free will is - I suppose - an 'illusion'. But much of our lives are such illusions. Love, pain, colours, sounds, the taste of honey... none of those have any reality outside our heads, but they are essential components of our existance.

What if I say that love, pain, colours, sounds, tasts... are all desriptions of sensations we experience. Free will however is not a description of a sensation, it is an idea we have based on sensations we experience. It is comparable to the idea "I am in this room". You can't directly experience being in a room, instead you experience a lack of wind, a different level of noise, you see walls, a floor and a ceiling. Through these sensations you conclude you are in a room, you adapt this idea explaining the state which you are in.

I might have left something important out, but what do you think, is this a valid destinction I am making?
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
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3/20/2016 5:34:49 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/20/2016 4:33:30 PM, A1tre wrote:
At 3/20/2016 9:34:10 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM, A1tre wrote:
"Can we justify punishing people for breaking the law?"
If people are not morally responsible for their actions, then no, we cannot.
Some might argue we can still punish them to deter possible criminals. This just shows how implausible the idea of not having free will actually is.

Why is that implausible? If we have no free will then we are completely subject to causal chains. Is this not a reality in which deterrence would function best in since we have no choice not to be effected by it?

It is important to not cut out the rest of that comment.
I am a compatibilist, I believe we have free will precisely because we can hold people accountable for their actions as a consequence of their psychological states, their ability to reflect on their wants and desires and the reactive attitudes of the moral community.

What irritates me is that so many discuss the issue of free will merely under the aspects of "either Libertarianism is true or Determinism is true, there are no alternatives".
Yet many who denounce the libertarian notion of "doing otherwise" would still say we can hold people responsible before the law.
The most uncontroversial conception of free will is that it is whatever gives you moral responsibility. Well if you believe people can be held responsible in any way, you believe in free will.

"Should we just sit around, do nothing and wait for life to happen?"
If you do not have free will, then there is hardly anything else you could do.

To me it seems, as I mentioned before, that if we don"t have free will then we are driven by many things such as psychology, genetics etc. to live the way we do. This can be generalized by saying we are completely a product of causal chains. Hence we would have no choice but to run after those we love, to hurt those we hate and so on. Why do you think this all leads us to not doing anything?

I am talking about a compatibilist conception of free will, not "doing otherwise" libertarianism.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
A1tre
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3/20/2016 9:11:00 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/20/2016 9:20:36 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM, A1tre wrote:
We have recently had a lot of conversation on the topic of Free Will in this forum, and it has mostly been about whether we accept it to be true or not. In this new topic I would like to ask a different question:

If we don't have free will then you can't choose to ask a different question.

I think I can choose, the point is that I was influenced to choose a certain way.

"What are the implications of not having Free Will for our life?"

It wouldn't really be "our life" anymore would it? Wouldn't we just be cogs in a vast machine universe? Pronouns would be meaningless wouldn't they?

Even as cogs it would be helpful to think of ourselves as actors in an atempt to better explain the behavior we observe.

We may disagree on whether Free Will is true or not, but for now let us set that disagreement aside and see what consequences we reach when we assume Free Will is not true.

From the very beginning you haven't seemed to understand the implications of your argument against free will, if we don't have free will there are no consequences for us to reach, everything would be determined for us.

What if it is determined for us to reach these consequences?

More specifically I would like to address the following questions:

"Can we justify punishing people for breaking the law?"

Justification wouldn't matter, it wouldn't be up to us whether or not we break the law and it wouldn't be up to us whether or not we punish. If we don't have free will then we don't have the mental freedom to ask and answer questions, there is no choice in the matter, there is no choice in any matter, the whole point of your argument against free will is that nothing matters and there are no choices we can make.

"Do we have moral responsibility over our actions, or does anything go?"

If we don't have free will then there is no moral responsibility and the question "does anything go?" is meaningless.

"What is the correct set of morals / What kind of behavior should we strive for?"

Without free will we have no control over our behavior and the concept of striving is meaningless.

Our consciousness may no have control, but it still has a major influence on our behavior. Even if that influence itself has been induced by a previous causal chain.
Denying free will is not equivallent to denying consciousness, and I can't see how that would be an implication of the denial of free will.

Even the concept of correct is meaningless, nothing is correct or incorrect, it just is.

"Should we just sit around, do nothing and wait for life to happen?"

Without free will this is a meaningless question, there is no should or could, there is just what happens.

If you have more questions which you think are important then feel free to ask them. I"m interested in reading what your opinions are towards this topic.

Do you really believe that your questions and our answers were determined before any of us were born?

Do you really think you have no choice and couldn't have asked different questions?

If we have no free will, what is the point of asking questions, what is the point of logic, without free will what is the point of anything?

If we have no free will, isn't your argument against free will meaningless?

Without free will, aren't you pointless?

I'm not sure I understand. Can you explain why free will is necessary for us to have meaning?
A1tre
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3/20/2016 9:51:41 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/20/2016 5:34:49 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 3/20/2016 4:33:30 PM, A1tre wrote:
At 3/20/2016 9:34:10 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM, A1tre wrote:
"Can we justify punishing people for breaking the law?"
If people are not morally responsible for their actions, then no, we cannot.
Some might argue we can still punish them to deter possible criminals. This just shows how implausible the idea of not having free will actually is.

Why is that implausible? If we have no free will then we are completely subject to causal chains. Is this not a reality in which deterrence would function best in since we have no choice not to be effected by it?

It is important to not cut out the rest of that comment.
I am a compatibilist, I believe we have free will precisely because we can hold people accountable for their actions as a consequence of their psychological states, their ability to reflect on their wants and desires and the reactive attitudes of the moral community.

Just to make sure I understand you correctly:
You are saying because we can hold people accountable therefore we have free will. Is that your definition of free will? I can understand if you say accountability is an implication of having free will, but I don"t think it is its definition. Also you assume we can hold people accountable, to me this is not a fair assumption. I think it depends on whether or not we agree that there is free will, and from that point on we can conclude if it is justified to hold people accountable or not.

What irritates me is that so many discuss the issue of free will merely under the aspects of "either Libertarianism is true or Determinism is true, there are no alternatives".
Yet many who denounce the libertarian notion of "doing otherwise" would still say we can hold people responsible before the law.

As a hard incombatibilist I agree it is frustrating to hear people claim there are only two positions one can hold considering free will.

The most uncontroversial conception of free will is that it is whatever gives you moral responsibility. Well if you believe people can be held responsible in any way, you believe in free will.

To be honest, I think that is a very vague definition of free will. It seems you are assuming we have moral responsibility, and it can only arise from free will, therefore we have free will. This does not explain what free will is at all. Also how can you be sure your assumption is true? What if we actually don"t have free will, and what if that meant we have no moral responsibility?

"Should we just sit around, do nothing and wait for life to happen?"
If you do not have free will, then there is hardly anything else you could do.

To me it seems, as I mentioned before, that if we don"t have free will then we are driven by many things such as psychology, genetics etc. to live the way we do. This can be generalized by saying we are completely a product of causal chains. Hence we would have no choice but to run after those we love, to hurt those we hate and so on. Why do you think this all leads us to not doing anything?

I am talking about a compatibilist conception of free will, not "doing otherwise" libertarianism.

I"m still not sure what compatibilists specifically mean when they talk of free will (despite that it leads to moral responsibility). Let me try a different approach: I"ll explain how I understand free will and you tell me where I went wrong,

To have free will is to be "free" of the universal causal chains. As a compatibilist you accept that determinism is true, hence the causal chains of the universe are binding and uninterrupted. There is no "freedom" from the causal chains. That is why to me if determinism is true then we can have no free will.

Even if determinism is true and we have no free will, I still think we can have moral responsibility and accountability.
Fkkize
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3/20/2016 10:20:40 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/20/2016 9:51:41 PM, A1tre wrote:
At 3/20/2016 5:34:49 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 3/20/2016 4:33:30 PM, A1tre wrote:
At 3/20/2016 9:34:10 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM, A1tre wrote:
"Can we justify punishing people for breaking the law?"
If people are not morally responsible for their actions, then no, we cannot.
Some might argue we can still punish them to deter possible criminals. This just shows how implausible the idea of not having free will actually is.

Why is that implausible? If we have no free will then we are completely subject to causal chains. Is this not a reality in which deterrence would function best in since we have no choice not to be effected by it?

It is important to not cut out the rest of that comment.
I am a compatibilist, I believe we have free will precisely because we can hold people accountable for their actions as a consequence of their psychological states, their ability to reflect on their wants and desires and the reactive attitudes of the moral community.

Just to make sure I understand you correctly:
You are saying because we can hold people accountable therefore we have free will. Is that your definition of free will?

no, I have said the most uncontroversial definition of free will is being morally accountable. If you believe in accountability, you believe in free will. Note, this does not have to include the ability to do otherwise.

I can understand if you say accountability is an implication of having free will, but I don"t think it is its definition. Also you assume we can hold people accountable, to me this is not a fair assumption. I think it depends on whether or not we agree that there is free will, and from that point on we can conclude if it is justified to hold people accountable or not.

I have not said we can, albeit I do believe we can.
I have said that even among those who commented in this thread who claim they not believe in free will still believe in accountability before the law. That is a contradiction.

The most uncontroversial conception of free will is that it is whatever gives you moral responsibility. Well if you believe people can be held responsible in any way, you believe in free will.

To be honest, I think that is a very vague definition of free will. It seems you are assuming we have moral responsibility, and it can only arise from free will, therefore we have free will.

Of course that is vague, but everything else begs the question. For example, claiming to have free will is to have the ability to do otherwise would be to beg the question against compatibilists, that is, roughly 56% of all contemporary philosophers.

This does not explain what free will is at all. Also how can you be sure your assumption is true? What if we actually don"t have free will, and what if that meant we have no moral responsibility?

At no point have I stated anything I believe other than that I am a compatibilist and that the most uncontroversial definition of free will is that what gives moral responsibility..

"Should we just sit around, do nothing and wait for life to happen?"
If you do not have free will, then there is hardly anything else you could do.

To me it seems, as I mentioned before, that if we don"t have free will then we are driven by many things such as psychology, genetics etc. to live the way we do. This can be generalized by saying we are completely a product of causal chains. Hence we would have no choice but to run after those we love, to hurt those we hate and so on. Why do you think this all leads us to not doing anything?

I am talking about a compatibilist conception of free will, not "doing otherwise" libertarianism.

I"m still not sure what compatibilists specifically mean when they talk of free will (despite that it leads to moral responsibility). Let me try a different approach: I"ll explain how I understand free will and you tell me where I went wrong,

It's late for me, but kasmic and I had a debate about this recently, where I explain compatibilism and especially my views in more detail.
http://www.debate.org...
My responses have been a bit lackluster so far, but I will respond in more detail tomorrow.

To have free will is to be "free" of the universal causal chains. As a compatibilist you accept that determinism is true,

Not exactly. Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are compatible, not necessarily that determinism is true.

hence the causal chains of the universe are binding and uninterrupted. There is no "freedom" from the causal chains. That is why to me if determinism is true then we can have no free will.

That is what I meant earlier. You are looking at free will only through the lense of libertarianism and define free will accordingly as being free from causal chains. Unless you can give an extremely good argument for this criterion, you are begging the question against compatibilists.

Even if determinism is true and we have no free will, I still think we can have moral responsibility and accountability.

The main reason people are after all these years still interested in free will is not because being able to do otherwise is in itself something very precious. It is the question whether we are morally responsible for our actions and that is answered by whether or not we have free will.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
DPMartin
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3/21/2016 4:45:25 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/20/2016 5:10:27 PM, A1tre wrote:
At 3/19/2016 7:30:24 PM, keithprosser wrote:

Free will is - I suppose - an 'illusion'. But much of our lives are such illusions. Love, pain, colours, sounds, the taste of honey... none of those have any reality outside our heads, but they are essential components of our existance.

What if I say that love, pain, colours, sounds, tasts... are all desriptions of sensations we experience. Free will however is not a description of a sensation, it is an idea we have based on sensations we experience. It is comparable to the idea "I am in this room". You can't directly experience being in a room, instead you experience a lack of wind, a different level of noise, you see walls, a floor and a ceiling. Through these sensations you conclude you are in a room, you adapt this idea explaining the state which you are in.

I might have left something important out, but what do you think, is this a valid destinction I am making?

It seems your arguments are souly dependent on the opportunity to make a choice. That doesn"t really constitute the validity of a reality of "freewill". If freewill exists in reality, then it"s there no matter the circumstance. Decisions are based on what is believed to be true according to what, (or who) is trusted. And without opportunity there really isn"t any decision to make, but that doesn"t change what is believed and trusted. And there is always self, and something else.
Sidewalker
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3/23/2016 1:22:30 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/20/2016 9:11:00 PM, A1tre wrote:
At 3/20/2016 9:20:36 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 3/16/2016 7:47:31 PM, A1tre wrote:
We have recently had a lot of conversation on the topic of Free Will in this forum, and it has mostly been about whether we accept it to be true or not. In this new topic I would like to ask a different question:

If we don't have free will then you can't choose to ask a different question.

I think I can choose, the point is that I was influenced to choose a certain way.

If you couldn't have chosen differently then it isn't a choice and you can't "choose", that is the whole point of your denial of free will, by definition you don"t "think you can choose".

"What are the implications of not having Free Will for our life?"

It wouldn't really be "our life" anymore would it? Wouldn't we just be cogs in a vast machine universe? Pronouns would be meaningless wouldn't they?

Why would it be helpful, we can't change anything, if we have no mental freedom and everything is determined by causes that are external to us, then how we think is of no consequence.

You seem desperate to twist logic to support your conclusion, please help me understand the mental gymnastics here.

You are saying that the behavior we observe can be explained by the existence of free will, but rather than observe the behavior and conclude that we have free will which would be logical, you think we should just pretend that we have free will in order to explain the behavior we observe, because this would be "helpful" in allowing us to accept your dogmatic insistence that we don't have free will in spite of the behavioral evidence that we do have free will.

Do you realize just how hopelessly illogical the thought process is here?

Even as cogs it would be helpful to think of ourselves as actors in an atempt to better explain the behavior we observe.

We may disagree on whether Free Will is true or not, but for now let us set that disagreement aside and see what consequences we reach when we assume Free Will is not true.

From the very beginning you haven't seemed to understand the implications of your argument against free will, if we don't have free will there are no consequences for us to reach, everything would be determined for us.

What if it is determined for us to reach these consequences?

If it is determined then we aren't reaching consequences, we are nothing but automatons. The question is, "determined" by what?

More specifically I would like to address the following questions:

"Can we justify punishing people for breaking the law?"

Justification wouldn't matter, it wouldn't be up to us whether or not we break the law and it wouldn't be up to us whether or not we punish. If we don't have free will then we don't have the mental freedom to ask and answer questions, there is no choice in the matter, there is no choice in any matter, the whole point of your argument against free will is that nothing matters and there are no choices we can make.

"Do we have moral responsibility over our actions, or does anything go?"

If we don't have free will then there is no moral responsibility and the question "does anything go?" is meaningless.

"What is the correct set of morals / What kind of behavior should we strive for?"

Without free will we have no control over our behavior and the concept of striving is meaningless.

Our consciousness may no have control, but it still has a major influence on our behavior. Even if that influence itself has been induced by a previous causal chain.

Nonsense, that sentence is self-contradicting, consciousness can't have "no control" AND have "a major influence", by saying consciousness has no control you are saying that it does not influence our behavior.

Denying free will is not equivallent to denying consciousness, and I can't see how that would be an implication of the denial of free will.

Consciousness isn't directly observable and if you deny that consciousness has any effect, then in what way does it exist? There are things that can't be directly observed such as the scientific concept of a field like gravity or an electric field for instance, we can only know they exist because of the effect they have on things we can observe, a particle's interaction with an electric field is what allows us to recognize that the field exists. If something cannot be observed either directly or indirectly, then what is the point of claiming it exists?

If I tell you there are invisible butterflies that are always flying around your head but they have no effect on anything, they can't be observed directly and they don't influence anything that is observable, would you say they exist?

We can only presume others are conscious by the effect it has on their behavior, if it has no effect, then there is no reason to presume others are conscious. Consequently, your argument necessarily ends in solipsism doesn't it?

Even the concept of correct is meaningless, nothing is correct or incorrect, it just is.

"Should we just sit around, do nothing and wait for life to happen?"

Without free will this is a meaningless question, there is no should or could, there is just what happens.

If you have more questions which you think are important then feel free to ask them. I"m interested in reading what your opinions are towards this topic.

Do you really believe that your questions and our answers were determined before any of us were born?

Do you really think you have no choice and couldn't have asked different questions?

If we have no free will, what is the point of asking questions, what is the point of logic, without free will what is the point of anything?

If we have no free will, isn't your argument against free will meaningless?

Without free will, aren't you pointless?

I'm not sure I understand.

It's pretty clear that is because you don't want to understand, but they are just questions, you don't really have to understand; you can just answer them.

Can you explain why free will is necessary for us to have meaning?

The reason I said your argument is meaningless is that, by definition, an argument is a process of reasoning put forth to persuade others that an action or idea is right or wrong. If we have no mental freedom to choose, if everything we do is fixed by external causes, then you have removed the very foundation of an argument, you cannot persuade if there is no freedom to choose what is right or wrong. Arguments, logic, reasoning, right and wrong, truth, they all require the mental freedom to choose.

BTW, I've noticed that you are hell bent on denying free will and you have yet to really put forth an actual argument, the Willusionist"s stereotypical presumption of determinism with no justification is not an argument.

An argument goes from premises to conclusion, you seem to want to invert that process by starting with a conclusion and then trying to work backwards to find premises that might support your conclusion. You have twisted logic and even claimed it would help explain things if we pretend we have free will while believing we don't have free will, your commitment to this conclusion seems to be impervious to logic and reason.

The question becomes, what is your motivation? Perhaps you can share your reasoning, why is it so important to you that we don't have free will?
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Sidewalker
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3/23/2016 1:44:30 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
A1tre, it occurs to me that you are accepting the existence of a large number of mental or conscious qualities, but for some reason you are insisting on placing them outside of us, you are asserting that we can make actually choices while claiming we aren't responsible for the choices we make. It's almost like you are invoking magic as an explanation, it just doesn't make sense.

The question becomes"is this a God thing? In the end are you going to be telling us, "We don't do it, God does it"?

A1tre
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
keithprosser
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3/23/2016 8:23:56 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
a1tre wrote
What if I say that love, pain, colours, sounds, tasts... are all desriptions of sensations we experience. Free will however is not a description of a sensation, it is an idea we have based on sensations we experience. It is comparable to the idea "I am in this room". You can't directly experience being in a room, instead you experience a lack of wind, a different level of noise, you see walls, a floor and a ceiling. Through these sensations you conclude you are in a room, you adapt this idea explaining the state which you are in.


It's not quite clear to me what you are getting at, sorry! What does strike me is that I don't like the idea of love, pain (etc) being descriptions, because they don't actually describe anything. Nyakundu is a colour in Swahili, but it doesn't describe the colour - it could mean red, blue, green or anything! (it's red, btw).

I'd say love, colours, sounds etc serve more as labels than descriptions. Quite what they label is debatable(!), but they rely on us having a degree of commonality so what I label 'love' is what you label 'love'. That system works - not because love (etc) are real (which is left an open question), but because (it seems) our brains work more or less the same way.

The idea that free will is something we naively or naturally theorise to exist to explain our apparent ability to make decisions is very similar to ideas in Dennett. I don't mean it is a theory invented by philosophical intellectuals. I mean everyone does it as an element of their 'self-image'. Everyone is right - we can make decisions. What the naive theory gets wrong is the mechanism by which decisons are reached. In the natural, naive model we make decisions by virtue of a power of free will. It is a model that serves us well, but it isn't the literal truth. Evolution has provided us with a self-model that is effective, but not necessarily literally true. Which is what should be expected!
Emgaol
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3/24/2016 1:17:25 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/23/2016 8:23:56 PM, keithprosser wrote:

What the naive theory gets wrong is the mechanism by which decisons are reached. In the natural, naive model we make decisions by virtue of a power of free will. It is a model that serves us well, but it isn't the literal truth. Evolution has provided us with a self-model that is effective, but not necessarily literally true. Which is what should be expected!

What an extraordinary sequence of unsubstantiated assertions!

Referring specifically to the underlined remarks;

In what way is the concept of free will "naive"?
If "the naive theory" is "wrong" then what "mechanism" is correct, and why?
What is "the literal truth"?
Why should evolution's "effective" model be "expected" to yield a literal untruth?

Your wordplay, weasel wording and loaded language is as baseless as A1tre's.
keithprosser
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3/24/2016 2:53:14 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
What an extraordinary sequence of unsubstantiated assertions!
Your wordplay, weasel wording and loaded language is as baseless as A1tre's.


I accept that I did not substantiate my assertions... but I deny using wordplay, weasel wording or loaded language - at least not on purpose!

Re the specific points:

a)In what way is the concept of free will "naive"?
b) If "the naive theory" is "wrong" then what "mechanism" is correct, and why?
c) What is "the literal truth"?
d) Why should evolution's "effective" model be "expected" to yield a literal untruth?

a) - the naive concept of free will is how 'the man in the street' imagines free will to be, if the man in the street thinks about it at all! It is the concept of free will uncontaminated by over-thinking.

b) the naive theory is - to be explicit - that we have a power of free-will (origin and precise nature is left unspecified) that we use to make our choices and decisions. I do not state why that theory is wrong - the reasons for thinking so are well known to anyone following the thread, or ato anyone who has done any thinking about free will at all. I can't see the point in repeating it. What the correct theory is - well - that is yet to be discovered.

c) the 'literal truth' is (in this context) would be that the naive theory is an accurate and complete discription of what free will is and how it works.

d) I don't think I have to justify the idea that evolution will provide effective solutions. So what has evolution provided us with in terms of our innate self-image? It is pretty vague and inaccurate. I have a spleen (or so I believe), but I have no idea what it is, where it is or what it is. If I have such a vague model of how body, is it reasonable to suggest that our naive, innate model of how our brains work is any more reliable? Indeed, how could it happen that the brain somehow manages to evolve a model of its operation not only how it is but what it will become - and do so accurately! At the time evolution was busy trying to get us to find shelter, food and a mate before being eaten by a smilodon.

Our innate model of how our brains work can't be relied as providing information on how it actually works. The innate model/naive theory of our brain has the notion that free will is a mysterious power we have as a gift. It ain't necessarily so, and I think it ain't so.
Emgaol
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3/25/2016 4:47:46 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/24/2016 1:17:25 PM, Emgaol wrote:
At 3/24/2016 2:53:14 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I accept that I did not substantiate my assertions... but I deny using wordplay, weasel wording or loaded language - at least not on purpose!
As to whether you use wordplay, weasel words or loaded language on purpose, I cannot say. I can only attempt to draw your attention to your rhetoric.

In what way is the concept of free will "naive"?
a) - the naive concept of free will is how 'the man in the street' imagines free will to be, if the man in the street thinks about it at all! It is the concept of free will uncontaminated by over-thinking.
Oh, so because "the man on the street" has a simplistic understanding of free will, therefore you label the free will concept itself as naive. Interesting, I guess because so few people understand QM or relativity or electricity or even basic physics, therefore they must also be naive concepts. More wordplay and deflection.

If "the naive theory" is "wrong" then what "mechanism" is correct, and why?
b) the naive theory is - to be explicit - that we have a power of free-will (origin and precise nature is left unspecified) that we use to make our choices and decisions. I do not state why that theory is wrong - the reasons for thinking so are well known to anyone following the thread, or ato anyone who has done any thinking about free will at all. I can't see the point in repeating it. What the correct theory is - well - that is yet to be discovered.
So you merely assert that the free will concept is the wrong mechanism, with no supporting evidence. As for an alternative correct theory - well, you don't have one - yet.
Your ignorance, arrogance and naivety in suggesting that "anyone who has done any thinking about free will at all" would conclude that free will is the wrong mechanism ... is astounding. More unsubstantiated assertions.

What is "the literal truth"?
c) the 'literal truth' is (in this context) would be that the naive theory is an accurate and complete discription of what free will is and how it works.
So you state; "It is a model that serves us well, but it isn't the literal truth." I asked what is the literal truth? I didn't ask about your misunderstanding of free will. More wordplay and deflection.

Why should evolution's "effective" model be "expected" to yield a literal untruth?
d) I don't think I have to justify the idea that evolution will provide effective solutions. So what has evolution provided us with in terms of our innate self-image? It is pretty vague and inaccurate. I have a spleen (or so I believe), but I have no idea what it is, where it is or what it is. If I have such a vague model of how body, is it reasonable to suggest that our naive, innate model of how our brains work is any more reliable?
This is just an argument from ignorance. You can't (or won't) understand how it works so it must be untrue. More wordplay and weasel wording.
As for; "...is it reasonable to suggest that our naive, innate model of how our brains work is any more reliable?", innate means, originating from the mind. What other model would you use to analyse how our brains work?

Indeed, how could it happen that the brain somehow manages to evolve a model of its operation not only how it is but what it will become - and do so accurately!
The brain doesn't model it's own operation, it models the operation of it's container (the rest of the body). For example, the brain itself cannot feel pain because it lacks nociceptors. Again your naive imagination can't accept self, as a concept. If you understood feedback mechanisms you'd be well on your way to understanding free will and self.

At the time evolution was busy trying to get us to find shelter, food and a mate before being eaten by a smilodon.
If you think that evolution was "busy" doing those things then you clearly don't understand evolution. Which explains why you have naive ideas about evolution, free will and self.

Please answer the question that I asked. I'll ask it again with some re-phrasing so that you don't get confused.
Why should evolution ... be expected to yield a literal untruth?

Our innate model of how our brains work can't be relied as providing information on how it actually works.
There is no other model we can use.

The innate model/naive theory of our brain has the notion that free will is a mysterious power we have as a gift.
Maybe only your brain has that notion.

It ain't necessarily so, and I think it ain't so.
Oh well, you can lead a dogmatist to logic but you can't make him think.
keithprosser
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3/25/2016 2:27:22 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At the time evolution was busy trying to get us to find shelter, food and a mate before being eaten by a smilodon.

If you think that evolution was "busy" doing those things then you clearly don't understand evolution. Which explains why you have naive ideas about evolution, free will and self.


I understand evolution is how the devil tempts the unbeliving. I havent really paid it much attention.