LinuxQuestions.org
Download your favorite Linux distribution at LQ ISO.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Non-*NIX Forums > General
User Name
Password
General This forum is for non-technical general discussion which can include both Linux and non-Linux topics. Have fun!

Notices

Closed Thread
 
LinkBack Search this Thread
Old 05-29-2010, 05:54 AM   #31
Mr-Bisquit
Member
 
Registered: Feb 2009
Distribution: FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Debian, Fedora
Posts: 770
Blog Entries: 52

Rep: Reputation: 68

Scientist:It's alive!!!
But can it..
Code:
 Jiggle its belly
      And wiggle its toes.
Can it pull the boogers
     out of its nose.
Will it scratch its ass
       or bitch and whine?
Would it buy porno mags?
      Or do a cocaine line?
Can it hop?
   Can it skip?
Can it talk shit, too?
Would it be as miserable with me,
      As I am with you?
AI: Of course I..
Code:
Don't need water,
       Or food,
Or gas.
Since I won't have to poop,
     I won't need an ass.
I'll never get tired
   Or even ask to get paid.
I don't have any equipment,
So I can never get laid.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 06:04 AM   #32
cantab
Member
 
Registered: Oct 2009
Location: England
Distribution: *buntu, Vector
Posts: 499

Rep: Reputation: 102Reputation: 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCode View Post
It would suggest to me that none of my* choices are really mine*, and that everything was predestined to happen from the beginning, and that nobody has any real control over what happens in their lives, and that we're nothing more than deterministic machines, just like computers are.
This is a false dichotomy. You assume that either we have 'free will' or that everything is predetermined and by implication predictable. But you miss the third option.

I believe we do not have 'free will'. The concept doesn't stand up to scrutiny anyway, even if you do believe in something other than physical reality. (Try even defining it without your definition getting ripped apart.)

However, that does not mean our actions can be predicted in advance, or are even predestined. Quantum mechanics indicates that the Universe is at its most basic level random, and chaos theory indicates that small differences can propogate. The upshot is that I believe there is no way to predict the behaviour of sufficiently complex systems - like a person for example - faster than that system 'runs'.

Everything in the Universe, whether living or non, behaves in accordance with the physical principles the Universe runs on. These may be strictly deterministic or probabilistic.

Human personality can change drastically as a result of physical damage to the brain. This observation makes it very hard to defend the hypothesis that the 'mind', 'soul', or 'self' is anything other than the result of the physical behaviour of the brain.

Also, bear in mind the following: there are a great many actions you take without conscious choice. A good example is I'm sure many if not all people have had the experience of travelling past a location they intended to visit. You fall onto a sort of auto-pilot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCode View Post
Like, if you were presented a choice of whether you wanted to go to the movies with your girlfriend or stay home and do something by yourself, and you chose to stay home, was that choice really *yours*, or was it predetermined from the time of the Big Bang (or maybe even sooner than that) that you would make that choice?
The thing is that you could not have chosen otherwise. Never mind free will, "choice" as an action is an illusion. What you did is determined by the physical behaviour of your brain. Since the brain has memory, its behaviour depends upon the sum total of all sensory inputs since shortly after your conception. Tracing the chain of causality back, you may hit the Big Bang, but I suspect it is more likely that at some point you'll hit a quantum dice roll. Before that quantum event it was impossible to predict your actions even in principle.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 06:10 AM   #33
Robhogg
Member
 
Registered: Sep 2004
Location: Old York, North Yorks.
Distribution: Debian 7 (mainly)
Posts: 653

Rep: Reputation: 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinithion View Post
Lets assume that I don't have free will. I'm a student, and have a paper due in say one week. If we don't have free will, my result should be pre-determined since I have no way of influence my way of solving this paper. Lets say that my bed is in a room and a radioactive decay decides whether or not I should attend the university for the day. If the room seals down the day the topic of the paper is lectured, my grade for the paper will drop. And hence the result couldn't be pre-determined.

This thought experiment is just an extension of Schrödinger's cat thought experiment. It suggest that the universe it self and my actions in the future are indeterminate. So here is my little math expansion. If we don't have free will, and our actions can't be determined in the long future, then somewhere in between there need to be a boundary. A shift from where I go from being random and unpredictable to predictable. That would indicate that we should be able to predict our future within this boundary, but if we know what we are supposed to do, we could test if we have free will or not by trying to do something else then we are supposed to. Well, in theory however.

As newborn, we posses no deep knowledge. Since I now have a lot more knowledge now then when I was newborn (I like to think so at least :P) I must have learned these things. And since I can learn, I can learn to change behavior, and since I can change behavior, I am not pre-determined. Hence, I have free will. QED! Well, perhaps not QED in a formal way, since I can very little formal logic. But this was my two cents and thoughts on the matter.
A few problems with this:
  1. Randomness is no guarantee of free will. Just because the outcome of an event cannot be predicted, does not mean that we can (by conscious will) influence that outcome.
  2. I think it would be reasonable to suggest that, in the long run, predicting the future would depend on knowing the position and motion of every particle in the universe at a particular point. This is impossible, both practically and theoretically (due to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle).
  3. There is no need to suppose a dividing line between complete unpredictability, and complete predictability. Simply, an event in the near future will be predictable with more confidence than an event in the distant future, because fewer variables need to be taken into account.
  4. Strictly, Schrödinger's though experiment would say that if your attendance of the lecture depends on a quantum event, then you both attend it and miss it simultaneously, until an observation event causes the wave-form to collapse. Though, given that you are capable of observing whether you attend, then perhaps an argument could be made for free will on this basis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cantab View Post
Tracing the chain of causality back, you may hit the Big Bang, but I suspect it is more likely that at some point you'll hit a quantum dice roll. Before that quantum event it was impossible to predict your actions even in principle.
The question, though, is can consciousness only resolve the outcome of a quantum event, or can it influence that outcome?

Last edited by Robhogg; 05-29-2010 at 06:17 AM. Reason: And another point...
 
Old 05-29-2010, 06:49 AM   #34
MrCode
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2009
Location: Oregon, USA
Distribution: Arch
Posts: 864
Blog Entries: 31

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 144Reputation: 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantab
Never mind free will, "choice" as an action is an illusion. What you did is determined by the physical behaviour of your brain. Since the brain has memory, its behaviour depends upon the sum total of all sensory inputs since shortly after your conception.
Someone find me a gun or something....that statement just ruined my life

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robhogg
The question, though, is can consciousness only resolve the outcome of a quantum event, or can it influence that outcome?
Or not...?

I WANT TO BE FREE! PLEEEEEASE!

Last edited by MrCode; 05-29-2010 at 06:54 AM.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 06:53 AM   #35
brianL
LQ 5k Club
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Oldham, Lancs, England
Distribution: Slackware & Slackware64 14.1
Posts: 6,702
Blog Entries: 51

Rep: Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243
Of course, in an alternate universe, Schroedinger is in the box, and his cat is wondering if he's dead or alive and who's going to feed it.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 07:04 AM   #36
Dinithion
Member
 
Registered: Oct 2007
Location: Norway
Distribution: Slackware 13.37
Posts: 436

Rep: Reputation: 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robhogg View Post
A few problems with this:
  1. Randomness is no guarantee of free will. Just because the outcome of an event cannot be predicted, does not mean that we can (by conscious will) influence that outcome.
  2. Strictly, Schrödinger's though experiment would say that if your attendance of the lecture depends on a quantum event, then you both attend it and miss it simultaneously, until an observation event causes the wave-form to collapse. Though, given that you are capable of observing whether you attend, then perhaps an argument could be made for free will on this basis.

The question, though, is can consciousness only resolve the outcome of a quantum event, or can it influence that outcome?
Ok, I can agree with the first point that randomness isn't free will. But someone have got to argue really well to make me believe that my choices are in fact just observations of my brain minding it's own business. As long as I can be "programmed" with lecturers and PR/propaganda, there is some way of altering they way my brain acts, and to me, that suggest that we make the choices as we go along, rather then observing the choices be made without my influence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cantab
Human personality can change drastically as a result of physical damage to the brain. This observation makes it very hard to defend the hypothesis that the 'mind', 'soul', or 'self' is anything other than the result of the physical behaviour of the brain.
Of course the brain is a result of physical and chemical reactions in the brain. I, for one, don't believe in something supernatural. But that doesn't change the fact that we can influence it on the run. And that is what I do. I control my brain just like linux control my computers cpu and devices, but I can change how linux behaves. Computers cannot change their own behavior of their own free will. Ultimately it does just what it has been programmed to do. While I can reprogram my self, and be programmed by others.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 07:14 AM   #37
Robhogg
Member
 
Registered: Sep 2004
Location: Old York, North Yorks.
Distribution: Debian 7 (mainly)
Posts: 653

Rep: Reputation: 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by brianL View Post
Of course, in an alternate universe, Schroedinger is in the box, and his cat is wondering if he's dead or alive and who's going to feed it.
LOL
 
Old 05-29-2010, 07:17 AM   #38
MrCode
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2009
Location: Oregon, USA
Distribution: Arch
Posts: 864
Blog Entries: 31

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 144Reputation: 144
You guys laugh, but ever since cantab's post, I'm screaming on the inside.

Seriously, that post just about killed all my ideas about anything other than the physical. I just died a little — no, a lot — inside today. Thanks very much.

Last edited by MrCode; 05-29-2010 at 07:19 AM.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 07:18 AM   #39
MrCode
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2009
Location: Oregon, USA
Distribution: Arch
Posts: 864
Blog Entries: 31

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 144Reputation: 144
dbl pst
 
Old 05-29-2010, 07:23 AM   #40
brianL
LQ 5k Club
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Oldham, Lancs, England
Distribution: Slackware & Slackware64 14.1
Posts: 6,702
Blog Entries: 51

Rep: Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243
Lighten up, MrCode. There's a hell of a lot of people out there suffering from real problems: illness, starvation, poverty, oppression, exploitation, etc. Not merely existential angst.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 07:27 AM   #41
MrCode
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2009
Location: Oregon, USA
Distribution: Arch
Posts: 864
Blog Entries: 31

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 144Reputation: 144
Quote:
Lighten up, MrCode.
Lighten up?? After having my spirituality completely obliterated by someone I don't even know!?

I don't get how people can even digest the idea that we're all automatons with no free will without psychologically self-destructing...

Seriously, my life feels so worthless now, because now I have no choice but to see what little sparks go off in my brain to enact predetermined actions that I have no *real* control over.

Last edited by MrCode; 05-29-2010 at 07:31 AM.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 07:39 AM   #42
rob.rice
Member
 
Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: slack what ever
Posts: 777

Rep: Reputation: 88
those things would only work in analog computers
I worked on analog computers built and repaired them
they are some of the most cumbersome and finicky devices I have ever seen
getting them to work right is almost like doing magic
every one ran one and only one function not even a program just a function
to do a different function you had to rewire the thing or build another one
there was a machine that used a memory made of variable resistors with gear motors
the machine was called the perceptron but it had most of the problems that analog computers have
no I doubt you will see these things in a working computer in you life time
the first use will be in something like a tv tuner or as a trimming device in an analog circuit

about free will that is only a potential you can have it if and only if you develop it
as you are right now you are a machine and will be one the rest of you life
things control you more than you control things by observing your self you will clearly
see your mechanicalness you emotions drag you this way and that way regardless of what you want

Last edited by rob.rice; 05-29-2010 at 08:02 AM.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 07:40 AM   #43
brianL
LQ 5k Club
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Oldham, Lancs, England
Distribution: Slackware & Slackware64 14.1
Posts: 6,702
Blog Entries: 51

Rep: Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243Reputation: 1243
Well, if everything, including our behaviour, is predetermined, let's free all the automatons from prison. Why punish criminals for doing things they couldn't help doing? No free will = no responsibility. "Not guilty, your honour, it was quantum physics made me do it."
 
Old 05-29-2010, 07:40 AM   #44
Dinithion
Member
 
Registered: Oct 2007
Location: Norway
Distribution: Slackware 13.37
Posts: 436

Rep: Reputation: 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCode View Post
Lighten up?? After having my spirituality completely obliterated by someone I don't even know!?

I don't get how people can even digest the idea that we're all automatons with no free will without psychologically self-destructing...

Seriously, my life feels so worthless now, because now I have no choice but to see what little sparks go off in my brain to enact predetermined actions that I have no *real* control over.
Well, if it helps, either you chose this your self, or it was destined to happen :P

I'm sorry, that was inappropriate, I just couldn't resist. But on a serious note, why do you even care? Why not just live in the moment? If you feel alive, and feel you are making the choices you do, why not feel good about it? There really isn't much to do about it anyway. Go outside and take a walk. Go in to the forest, sit down on a rock and look at the birds, the trees, the insects. On the life. Try and see things from a different perspective and accept your self as who you are.

Last edited by Dinithion; 05-29-2010 at 07:42 AM.
 
Old 05-29-2010, 07:43 AM   #45
MrCode
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2009
Location: Oregon, USA
Distribution: Arch
Posts: 864
Blog Entries: 31

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 144Reputation: 144
Quote:
Why not just live in the moment? If you feel alive, and feel you are making the choices you do, why not feel good about it? There really isn't much to do about it anyway. Go outside and talk a walk. Go in to the forest, sit down on a rock and look at the birds, the trees, the insects. On the life. Try and see things from a different perspective and accept your self as who you are.
What if it all means nothing, though? What if "meaning" is just another figment of our imaginations; merely neurons sparking in a seemingly chaotic fashion...?

THAT is what kills me inside! I would like to think that our lives are more than just sparking neurons, but oh, no, we can't have that, can we, because that's metaphysical, and everyone knows that the metaphysical doesn't exist!

Quote:
why do you even care?
Party because I'm trying to decide whether I should go on living or not...

Last edited by MrCode; 05-29-2010 at 07:50 AM.
 
  


Closed Thread


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
science/ technology lectures or conferences... schneidz General 2 02-17-2010 02:19 AM
Applying computer/linux technology to InfraRed technology satimis Programming 2 02-02-2005 04:06 AM
Linspire = Crap, Netzero also = Crap rm6990 General 16 09-20-2004 02:35 AM
running outta ideas digital bots Linux - Newbie 3 03-02-2002 01:05 PM
Bash? Get me outta here! Timato Linux - Newbie 7 09-05-2001 01:40 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:41 AM.

Main Menu
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
identi.ca: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration