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Old 09-16-2011, 01:19 PM   #3346
SigTerm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SL00b View Post
Playing the ad hominem card because all your previous arguments have been exposed...
Doesn't look this way for me. No arguments of mine were "exposed", I haven't heard a decent counter-argument from you, in fact and now you're trying to blame me for something. Unlike you, reed9 provided few interesting points. Chill out and revisit the thread within a month or two.

Last edited by SigTerm; 09-16-2011 at 01:30 PM.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 05:10 PM   #3347
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Originally Posted by MrCode View Post
True, but what if we don't need to have absolute certainty of the position/velocity of absolutely every particle in the universe just to predict whether someone will pick vanilla or chocolate ice cream when presented with the choice? If we can create a model of the human brain that is accurate enough to model behavior adequately, such that one could use that knowledge (to anyone's benefit or detriment; this is why I'm saying the technology, if it is/can be developed, can be abused), then why does self-reference/recursion even need to be a problem?

I think the only way you could mitigate this is to say that the human brain operates on a quantum level, in which case you'd have Heisenberg uncertainty problems to deal with, let alone the problem of modeling the entire universe within itself. AFAIK, that's an open question, though.
It's a pretty safe bet we won't need to calculate the whole universe to know what people will choose. We can, using brain scans, predict with 80%+ accuracy what people will choose up to 7 seconds before they know what they will choose. At least, we can do so with a simple choice like pushing a button. Presumably, as technology advances, we're be able to refine that.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 06:00 PM   #3348
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We can, using brain scans, predict with 80%+ accuracy what people will choose up to 7 seconds before they know what they will choose. At least, we can do so with a simple choice like pushing a button. Presumably, as technology advances, we're be able to refine that.
…and this is exactly what makes the prospect of "neurological prediction machines" so disturbing (at least for me). The point I'm trying to make is that we may reach a point where one can predict a person's entire life (or at least large chunks of it) before it happens, and people can use that information in very bad ways.

It could be known:
  • what you're going to have for breakfast/lunch/dinner today
  • whether you'll win at a game of cards
  • whether a piece of art you create is likely to be considered good (since it could be inferred what it will look like, at least roughly)
  • (approximately) when/how you will die
  • I could go on…

Would you like to live in a world where all of this could be known and that knowledge could (and probably would) be abused? I certainly wouldn't. I may not be a "believer" in free will anymore (at least not on an academic level), but for me, ignorance is fscking bliss when it comes to predictions. I'd rather not have someone know exactly what my life's outcomes will be…would you?
 
Old 09-16-2011, 06:05 PM   #3349
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Originally Posted by MrCode View Post
…and this is exactly what makes the prospect of "neurological prediction machines" so disturbing (at least for me). The point I'm trying to make is that we may reach a point where one can predict a person's entire life (or at least large chunks of it) before it happens, and people can use that information in very bad ways.

It could be known:
  • what you're going to have for breakfast/lunch/dinner today
  • whether you'll win at a game of cards
  • whether a piece of art you create is likely to be considered good (since it could be inferred what it will look like, at least roughly)
  • (approximately) when/how you will die
  • I could go on…

Would you like to live in a world where all of this could be known and that knowledge could (and probably would) be abused? I certainly wouldn't. I may not be a "believer" in free will anymore (at least not on an academic level), but for me, ignorance is fscking bliss when it comes to predictions. I'd rather not have someone know exactly what my life's outcomes will be…would you?
What can I say? My curiosity outweighs my concern. I think we can handle the moral and ethical dilemmas.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 07:08 PM   #3350
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I think we can handle the moral and ethical dilemmas.
From this page:

Quote:
If after reading these, you find yourself depressed about not having free will, please be in touch.
I guess I'll have to send an e-mail to these people…*

My point is that not everyone is so easily swayed or is able to easily "work through" the ethical/moral dilemmas of determinism, myself included.

…and yes, I really did read through the whole thing. For proof, let me summarize it:

It's basically the same old argument about how the "self" is every bit as material as the rest of the natural world, and how our "desires" and "rational decisions" can be expressed in naturalistic terms.

My rebuttal is: if this is so, then why consider a "self" at all? If everything reduces to physics, why bother even considering anything at a "higher" level? There is no "self": it's an illusion caused by the fact that our neural networks (which we affectionately term "brains" ) are wired to refer to themselves as a single entity (<- this very statement containing artifacts of that self-reference, as well as dualism: notice how I say "our neural networks" ). There is no such thing as "thought": there is only electrochemical activity. Hell, let's just reduce it all to mathematics! That's what chemistry and physics reduce to anyway!

(* - I'm not really going to e-mail them; it's pointless. As it stands now, nobody's going to make me un-depressed about determinism. )

Last edited by MrCode; 09-16-2011 at 08:44 PM. Reason: "dualism", not "duality"…fscking philosophical terms…
 
Old 09-17-2011, 07:50 AM   #3351
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…as an addition to my post above:

TL;DR, the rationale seems to be that we should only be praising/punishing our actions in the same sense that we are fascinated by/afraid of non-human/non-living physical phenomenae. As an example, we should only be appreciating a work of art because of the "fascinating" deterministic chain of events leading up to the final result, not because of any delusions of "agency" or "creativity" the artist experienced when he/she was creating it, nor because of any "aesthetic pleasure" we may think we're deriving from it (all merely delusions caused by the fact that we're wired to think of ourselves as unique). We should be treating people as they are: machines, nothing more. Belief in "free will" is a harmful delusion to be avoided under any and all circomstances, at any cost, including ("temporarily") the loss of a sense of self-worth/confidence/hope. Who cares what you have to say as an "individual"? You're just another malfunctioning machine. You can and will be corrected. It is inevitable, and it is for the greater good of society.

Last edited by MrCode; 09-17-2011 at 07:59 AM.
 
Old 09-17-2011, 08:36 AM   #3352
reed9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCode View Post
From this page:

My rebuttal is: if this is so, then why consider a "self" at all? If everything reduces to physics, why bother even considering anything at a "higher" level? There is no "self": it's an illusion caused by the fact that our neural networks (which we affectionately term "brains"
There is no self as in an autonomous little homunculus unbound from the material world, sure. That's the same as the "soul" we've been talking so much about. Our selves are our brains and bodies. I don't see why that's a depressing thought.

Quote:
) are wired to refer to themselves as a single entity (<- this very statement containing artifacts of that self-reference, as well as dualism: notice how I say "our neural networks" ). There is no such thing as "thought": there is only electrochemical activity. Hell, let's just reduce it all to mathematics! That's what chemistry and physics reduce to anyway!
Reducing everything to mathematics or physics doesn't work. It's appropriate to look at things at different levels of organization. Understanding quarks doesn't tell us much about the flight of birds. We don't live at the quantum level and there's no reason to suppose that reducing things into their most fundamental parts is the most important way to look at them. Understanding the composition of a pebble is well and good, but it doesn't help us much in understanding how a sky scraper will stand up to a hurricane. You have to look at whatever level is appropriate for the task as hand. As has been said before, science is a tool.

Quote:
TL;DR, the rationale seems to be that we should only be praising/punishing our actions in the same sense that we are fascinated by/afraid of non-human/non-living physical phenomenae. As an example, we should only be appreciating a work of art because of the "fascinating" deterministic chain of events leading up to the final result, not because of any delusions of "agency" or "creativity" the artist experienced when he/she was creating it, nor because of any "aesthetic pleasure" we may think we're deriving from it (all merely delusions caused by the fact that we're wired to think of ourselves as unique).
Why does materialism make it delusional? Some of our perceptions are illusory, sure, but that's not the same as delusion. Back to the flight of birds, it's illusion that they are all acting in coordination to move together, it's emergent from each one acting according to local rules, but the pattern, the effectiveness, the beauty of the flock is not delusion. The fact of materialism doesn't say anything about how we should react to the world. You can't get to ought from is. Again, you're mixing ultimate with proximate causes. We don't have to function only on the level of ultimate causes.
 
Old 09-17-2011, 09:05 AM   #3353
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Quote:
Our selves are our brains and bodies. I don't see why that's a depressing thought.
Forgetting all notions of human freedom for a moment, let's get to something a little more commonly dealt with: what happens after death?

Quote:
…and even that isn't sufficiently "empty" enough to describe it. I'd argue that it's quite impossible to actually comprehend literal nothingness; it's the antithesis of existence. In order to "comprehend" it, you would have to simply cease to exist…and since you can't "comprehend" anything when you're non-existent, well…

I guess my point here is that it's depressing (and even frightening) for most people to even try to comprehend "the nothing after death".

Quote:
The fact of materialism doesn't say anything about how we should react to the world. You can't get to ought from is. Again, you're mixing ultimate with proximate causes. We don't have to function only on the level of ultimate causes.
Call me overreactive, but that seems to be the agenda of the organization whose website you linked to. They pretty explicitly state that a belief in free will should be considered bad for society, because it allegedly justifies unjust imprisonment, execution, intolerance/stigma, etc. It seems to me like it's a classic case of only focusing on the bad, and using that rationale to attempt justification of a total eradication of the concept, much as many atheists seem to do with religion in debates like the one this thread is supposed to be centered around.

Last edited by MrCode; 09-17-2011 at 09:15 AM.
 
Old 09-17-2011, 11:49 AM   #3354
reed9
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Originally Posted by MrCode View Post

Call me overreactive, but that seems to be the agenda of the organization whose website you linked to. They pretty explicitly state that a belief in free will should be considered bad for society, because it allegedly justifies unjust imprisonment, execution, intolerance/stigma, etc. It seems to me like it's a classic case of only focusing on the bad, and using that rationale to attempt justification of a total eradication of the concept, much as many atheists seem to do with religion in debates like the one this thread is supposed to be centered around.
I assume the part you mean is
Quote:
As I’ve said several times before, the law already takes “responsibility” into account by treating criminals differently depending on whether their actions may have been caused by extenuating circumstances like mental illness. Nobody, I think, would refuse to consider the possibility that an act of aggression may have been caused by a tumor in the criminal’s brain."
First, I obviously already disagree with Jerry Coyne somewhat, as I am more in the compatibilist school. But, I don't see anything in that piece that says belief in free will is bad. Just not true. Jerry Coyne is, more than me I think even, concerned with what is true. Anything else he could care less about.

In pointing out that we currently do consider the possibility that crimes can be induced by tumors or other physical causes, he raises a legitimate point. I haven't seen him answer that point anywhere. My own opinion is that we made need to rethink what we mean by saying something is "caused" by something physical in the brain, since everything is caused by something physical in the brain, and where to draw the line between pathology and "normal". We may also need to rethink our theory of punishment. If indeed punishment can act as a deterrent (and this seems to be true), then whether the person is in some absolute sense responsible for their crime as a free agent is immaterial, our system of justice would still be a useful social institution.
 
Old 09-17-2011, 12:45 PM   #3355
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First, I obviously already disagree with Jerry Coyne somewhat, as I am more in the compatibilist school. But, I don't see anything in that piece that says belief in free will is bad. Just not true.
Maybe not in that piece in particular, but I did explore the site a bit more, and many of the articles there (at least according to their descriptions; I didn't read all of them ) attempt to underline why determinism doesn't automatically lead to fatalism (as in the page I linked to, and my obvious affliction ), and/or why a belief in free will can/is used to justify immoral things and is thus harmful. Again, I think it's a case of a) focusing primarily on the negatives, and b) attempting to get people to agree with their opinions by arguing ad nauseam.

The way I see it is like this: I can somewhat understand their position behind using "free will" to justify hate crimes, intolerance, etc. (since the ones they're discriminating, in fact, didn't "freely choose" to become who they are), but at the same time, I feel they're ignoring the implications it has for praise and merit as well. Why bother celebrating accomplishments when in the end they're nothing more than a result of inevitable physical circumstance? I think this is what I'm getting at when I talk about there being "nothing more to life/existence" than physics.

Anyways, I'm starting to grow weary at this discussion. I guess the point is that most people (and this includes myself) have a very hard time dealing with the implications determinism has on moral responsibility.

EDIT: Also, it's not necessarily just free will/determinism that has me hung up; it's brain science in general. The more we learn about how the human brain works, the more we'll be able to observe and manipulate it. This is why I feel that if we do go forward with developing commodity technologies for doing such things, at the very least they would have to be strictly monitored and carefully dealt with. IMO this kind of research has huge implications for things like privacy, coercion (i.e. you could be manipulated on a level so subtle as to delude you into believing that you had done something of your own accord, but you had in fact been manipulated externally), etc.

Last edited by MrCode; 09-17-2011 at 01:07 PM.
 
Old 09-17-2011, 01:05 PM   #3356
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Originally Posted by MrCode View Post
I can somewhat understand their position behind using "free will" to justify hate crimes, intolerance, etc.
How exactly are you supposed to use "free will" to justify a crime? If you have free will, you're the one making decisions (well, most of the time), so you're the one responsible for the consequences. Now without free will everything you do was meant to happen. IMO "there's no free will" is much easier to use for justifying a crime.

Anyway, I don't believe in determinism. IF there's even a tiniest element of randomness (radioactive decay/quantum physics), the whole "nothing else could happen" thing goes out of the window....
 
Old 09-18-2011, 04:42 PM   #3357
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The Exposure of the Grand Secret by Freedom of Speech and Press

God doesn't torment anybody. He gives us advise on how to take the safe way. If we disobey Him it's our own fault. But, nowhere in the Bible does it say that anyone but God is immortal. here are two things in the universe: energy ("God is light", i.e., energy); and, information, which is the conformation of energy (God's creation). Theoretically, we are perishable; i.e., can become nonexistent. The word "perish" comes from the Latin "per (completely) ire (gone)", become nonexistent.
> Someone told me, "There is no such thing as nonexistence". I took a table cloth, and said, "The cloth represents energy". Then I wrinkled the cloth, and said, "The wrinkles represent "information", like us. I pulled the cloth out straight, and "fump", the wrinkles became nonexistent. I said, "There is nonexistence".
>Theoretically, we can become nonexistent, by the facility of the opposite polarities. The iron in the cytochromes of every female cell is magnetically polaritzed clockwise; in males, counterclockwise. Our "self" is such a magnetic flux, held by the substance P neurons in the arising reticular formation of the medulla oblongata in the brain.
> At the heart of every pleasure is a moment of almost complete nonexistence. Everything is trying to run down, and undifferentiate into nonexistence. Complete and permanent nonexistance is theoreticaly most attainable in the Lake of Fire. This is where Hinduism and Buddhism want to go, which they call "Dharmaloka", to attain Nirvana (nonexistence).
> Those who didn't have an evolved veil to hide the complete satisfaction of least existence, didn't live long enough to pass on their genes. So, we have such a veil. But, by meditating upon what has been called the "lost word", we transcends that veil, so that the satisfaction of all desires can be experienced and remembered. Then you know that nonexistence is the satisfaction of all desires, and you know that the lure of life has only been the wish to experience occasions of that nonexistence, to that permanent absolute satisfaction of all desires. I this veil a "lie"? And, from who?
> The "lost word" is the cylindrical sound that stirs circuitry, the confluent flow (opposite polarity) of which comes to the entity circuit and almost completely undifferentiates it, giving a moment of great pleasure. The "lost word" is the Hebrew word for "nothingness", Aleph Yod Nun, pronounced "eyennn", which is also the word for "ring", "eye", and is the onomatopoeic word for "a well", a hollow cylinder.
> Today, I am 99.999% sure that I can become nonexistent some day, even though I remember existing for thousdands of years. Not all time in a row, but, by uncontrolably body switching, backward and foward in time, in what Dr. Stanislav Grof calls the "transpersonal of perinatal matrix three". I was caught for "profaning the sacred mysteries", when I was a teenager, and, of course, I wasn't a lodge member. I wasn't required by any morals or laws in America to keep any secrets! I was punished by being given the "Clockwork Orange" treatment by large doses of LSD. Today in Gitmo, they give its inmates the "Clockwork Orange" treatment by what Dr. Stanislav Grof called "that which was the true Baptism", "waterboarding". This "vagal stimulation" is also caused by crucifixion, but, by crucifixion forcing what Dr. Stanislav Grof calls "holotropic breathing".
> It causes muscarinic nervous system stimulation, like the hallucinary drug muscarine, with the same results as LSD which works by blocking the inhibitory neurons, to wake up the brain even way beyond 50% brain use. This is the supreme secret, told to me by a banished lodge member; and, I wrote it up in a term paper, graduated with honors; but, that term paper was sold in the term paper black market by the instructor, got read by the wrong people, and detectives were sent out to hunt me down. I have spent much more time in Hell than on earth; but, I still can see the logic, that eventually I can become eternally nonexistent.
The secret has nothing to do with their wealth, or their ability to acquire wealth. They are so filthy rich that they are detatched from the human race, and they don't care how many people they hurt to keep thier secrtet, until, perhaps they learn that everybody knows, and that it is no longer a secret.
They are not going to lose any wealth by letting go of the secret. On the other hand, ultimately, they are going to lose wealth by continuing the suppression of this secret of human physiology. No matter how far it goes, ultimately, the people will gang up sufficiently against them enough to overthrow them and put them on trial for human rights atrocities.
Unfortuantely, some of the future generations, when learning about this in school, or seeing documentaries about this on film, will laugh at the ignorance and stupidity of the people during this time in history, just as sure as some today laugh at the ignorance and stupidity of the Middle Ages, their witch hunts, and their inquisitions.
But, the problem will either deflate now, or, inflate to an ultimate explosion proportional to its delay.
 
Old 09-18-2011, 05:24 PM   #3358
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lahunken View Post
God doesn't torment anybody. He gives...
Would you kindly make NEW arguments instead of pasting verbatim copies of messages left in other places?

Also certain statements:
Quote:
This is the supreme secret, told to me by a banished lodge member; and, I wrote it up in a term paper, graduated with honors; but, that term paper was sold in the term paper black market by the instructor, got read by the wrong people, and detectives were sent out to hunt me down. I have spent much more time in Hell than on earth; but, I still can see the logic, that eventually I can become eternally nonexistent.
make me question your mental health (assuming the original text was yours, assuming you spoke about yourself and assuming you were serious).

Last edited by SigTerm; 09-18-2011 at 05:35 PM.
 
Old 09-18-2011, 05:51 PM   #3359
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Plus, that is utterly nonsensical - you have information coming from energy. In what way does energy beget information? And why would simply changing the form of the medium destroy it? Seriously, if you're going to copy/paste a wall of text, at least have it make sense.
 
Old 09-18-2011, 06:03 PM   #3360
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At this point, I'd suggest not feeding the troll…
 
  


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