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Switch to Forum Live View Belief of "No Free Will" leads to increased unethical behavior
5 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2010 - 7:31AM #41
Don't_Be_Captious
Posts: 1,035

Apr 14, 2010 -- 7:21PM, Bl├╝ wrote:


Everyone was given a passage or passages to read, either neutral about free will, or explicitly anti-free-will, with ostensible endorsement from "many scientists" (as in, "There is no such thing as free will, and most scientists agree").


That doesn't address my question.

Does the design of the test tell us which subjects already thought there was no free will in scientific terms?  Or theistic terms eg many forms of Islam?  Or had never thought about it &c?




As I just wrote to jcarlinbn, I must agree with you in this criticism you make (which is narrower than the criticisms you made initially, see below).  I'd like to think at some point I'll take the initiative to at least Google the research or researchers I cited in the OP & try to find out more of what they did, how they did it, what they were thinking, etc. as well as any other related research.


 


 


 


By the way, I'm not having a knee-jerk reaction.  I'm trying to work out what they thought they were testing.


IMO, the intial criticisms you made in your first post were indeed quite rhetorical & not very serious, as my initial responses to them already pointed out.

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5 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2010 - 7:36AM #42
Don't_Be_Captious
Posts: 1,035

Apr 14, 2010 -- 3:20PM, Ken wrote:


Apr 14, 2010 -- 2:57PM, Don't_Be_Captious wrote:


Lastly, blu, (& others), let me ask you this:


If we got past your knee-jerk cynicism of the results of the tests indicated by the article, and we could instead actually accept that there is at least the potential that simply asserting baldly things like, "It's a scientific fact that there's no such thing as free will," or "Free will is proven scientifically to be a mere illusion"...


...If we accepted the premise that merely stating these sorts of things, in fact contributes to the statistically increased likelihood of unethical behavior in others...


...Would you insist that you have a perfect right to go on stating these sorts of things?


Yes. If a proposition is true, we are morally obliged to face that truth squarely and make the best of it. How can we face it if nobody states it? 




 


(Please note my earlier response to this same post about 3 posts back, as well.)


In addition, what is your response to the premise (IF it can be  solidly made & defended) that openly dismissing free will, leads to  increased unethical behavior in others?  Mustn't you agree that this is a  different sort of animal than other sorts of open discussions of truth  (-iness)?


blu & I & others have had long discussions in  the past about free will.  It's NOT as simple a discussion as God,  heaven, the afterlife, etc.   In those other cases of supernatural  phenomena, they all imply the existence of some objective phenomena which can't be verified.


But "free will" is an utterly subjective phenomenon.  The claim isn't that it exists objectively.  This, in essence, is the problem I have with those whom I consider "Naive Realists" who maintain they have perfect epistemological right to be fanatically (and, in particular, publicly & openly) skeptical about it.  "Realism," of any sort, Naive or otherwise, deals in objective, not subjective, phenomena & its verification.


So, in other words, it's NOT as simple &  black-and-white as stating, dichotomously, that either "Free will unequivocally exists" or "Free will unequivocally does not exist."

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5 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2010 - 7:41AM #43
Don't_Be_Captious
Posts: 1,035

(Now crossing my fingers in the hope that my 4 previous posts don't get lost in the crossfire between the ncg/teilhard crowd & the blu/Ken/et al crowd.  Though, hey, we all enjoy a popular, well-attended thread.)

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5 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2010 - 7:51AM #44
Don't_Be_Captious
Posts: 1,035

Apr 17, 2010 -- 9:22PM, Merlin wrote:


Apr 17, 2010 -- 6:01PM, Namchuck wrote:


Yes, I do disagree. I think it is the task of physics to find out how Nature is.



Impossible, even in theory.



 




 


Neither the Copenhagen Interpretation nor any other aspect of QM applies directly to the macroscopic world, because all the probability fields of tiny particles cancel each other at when many, many of them aggregate closely together.  Trillions upon quintillions etc. of them cancel out their individual "fuzzy" properties, leading to the "hard," deterministic properties of large macro-scale matter (& energy).  That's why the lady in the above cartoon doesn't exist normally as a probability field orbital until someone else looks at her; she actually objectively exists as a lady whether anyone's looking at her or not.  If a tree falls in the woods, it makes soundwaves, even if no-one hears it.

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5 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2010 - 9:13AM #45
newchurchguy
Posts: 3,643

Apr 20, 2010 -- 7:36AM, Don't_Be_Captious wrote:


But "free will" is an utterly subjective phenomenon. 


So, in other words, it's NOT as simple &  black-and-white as stating, dichotomously, that either "Free will unequivocally exists" or "Free will unequivocally does not exist."




DBC,


While I agree that the problem is not simple and that shades of grey may dominate the issue -  your determination about subjectivity is not the the analysis of John Von Neumann.


Remember - this is the guy who took the Copenhagen Interpretation and reduced it to working math models.  No one may have understood the issues, like him. 



In his 1932 Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (in German, English edition 1955) John von Neumann explained that two fundamentally different processes are going on in quantum mechanics.


1. A non-causal process, in which the measured electron winds up randomly in one of the possible physical states (eigenstates) of the measuring apparatus plus electron.


  • The probability for each eigenstate is given by the square of the coefficients cn of the expansion of the original system state (wave function ψ) in an infinite set of wave functions φ that represent the eigenfunctions of the measuring apparatus plus electron.



    cn = < φn | ψ >

    This is as close as we get to a description of the motion of the particle aspect of a quantum system. According to von Neumann, the particle simply shows up somewhere as a result of a measurement. Information physics says it shows up whenever a new stable information structure is created.


  •  




     While you may try to deflate my background in the subject matter, by attacking the grammar of my posts - let me be clear - non causal - is the opposite of determined.  Henry Stapp - writes extensively about Von Neumann's Process 1 - and that it is the exertion of free-will by the experimenter who decides what to measure - that structures the observation.


    This is a natural process and one that is exclusive to living intelligence.  Inanimate objects, following deterministic vectors, do not structure information (both in its Shannon form and meaningful sense)- with an intentional goal state in mind (Dennett's intentional stance).  Computers can - but with programmed tasks to imitate free-will choices.


    Experiments are objective.  Results from experiments are objective.  The structuring of observations are objective.  Free-will is an objective SoA (state of affairs) as different from the objective SoA of being directly caused (determined).  see Process 2, in the article - which is determined



    www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions...


    Please try to reply in a manner that is not just "high-handed".  Address the fact the free-will choices make real OBJECTIVE DIFFERENCES - and ARE pragmatically important in science and philosophy.  Please address that they are not the subjective opinion of the observer - but that in a strict 3rd party sense - free-will, creative, imaginative choices for measurements are objective behavior. 


    Further, that we can measure the difference between a copy of an repetative observation whose structure has been used before - and those that are contain new configurations.  These free-will choices and injections of novel viewpoints and are where the genius of researchers happen and where a deterministic SoA exhibiting "nothing new under the sun" (no free-will) is refuted.


     



     


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    5 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2010 - 10:31AM #46
    newchurchguy
    Posts: 3,643

    Apr 20, 2010 -- 7:31AM, Don't_Be_Captious wrote:


    As I just wrote to jcarlinbn, I must agree with you in this criticism you make (which is narrower than the criticisms you made initially, see below).  I'd like to think at some point I'll take the initiative to at least Google the research or researchers I cited in the OP & try to find out more of what they did, how they did it, what they were thinking, etc. as well as any other related research.




    this was done days ago - see post 16. 


    I read Florida State University - Eppes Eminent Professor of Psychology - Roy Baumeister's CV.  It is extremely solid.


     www.psy.fsu.edu/~baumeistertice/VITA_RFB...


    ps - I made particular note of this: 1991  Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellowship as guest researcher at Max- Planck-Institute, Munich, Germany

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    5 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2010 - 11:20AM #47
    Ken
    Posts: 33,859

    Apr 20, 2010 -- 7:19AM, Don't_Be_Captious wrote:


    Apr 14, 2010 -- 3:20PM, Ken wrote:

    Yes. If a proposition is true, we are morally obliged to face that truth squarely and make the best of it. How can we face it if nobody states it? 


      


    Interesting.  I anticipated people defending your view on the grounds that it's the right to free speech in the Constitution, etc. and I was going to say, This is not about whether it's constitutional, or conventional, etc., but about whether it's ethical.  But you have instead used another set of ethical judgments here.


    Isn't it possible that there may be cases in which the asserted ethical principle, captured in cliches like "The truth shall set you free," might not be of the same ethical standard as (may be more, or imo less, important than) other principles, such as the one I'm suggesting?


    I didn't say anything about the truth setting us free. The truth may be the nastiest thing imaginable, and it may bind us hand and foot. But unless we face it squarely we lack the virtues of courage and honesty.  


    Besides, why shouldn't you defend your proposition that it's critically important to state, explicitly, that free will isn't real?  Why isn't it the case that many people who like to trumpet that free will is unreal aren't actually on a crusade for truth, but instead take some subjective, emotional, rhetorical, perhaps sadomasochistic pleasure in engaging in demoralizing rhetoric?


    I'm not acquainted with those people.


    I didn't say that it's critically important to explicitly state that free will isn't real. I said that a proposition ought to be stated if it is true. As it happens, most discussions of free will are completely misconceived and consist largely of nonsense on both sides. The propositions generated by such discussions, far from being critically important, are utterly trivial.




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    5 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2010 - 12:38PM #48
    Jcarlinbn
    Posts: 7,102

    The problem I have with the experiment in the OP and this thread in general is that free will is ultimately a religious concept in the sense that free will must come from something, presumably God.  The concept is that God provides a bunch of rules and constraints on behavior, then "Gives" free will to obey or disobey those constraints.  One may choose to obey a directive or not in the larger sense but the directive is assumed to be absolute.  


    A much more useful way of looking at things is the source of the constraints on behavior that we choose to accept.  This assumes that unconstrained choice is the natural state of human cognition, and it is the constraints on acting out the choices which are the important considerations.  


    This changes the whole picture.  Free will is not a gift or an option it is the natural state of the human mind.  We can and do think about all sorts of behaviors that might be expressed.  However, as a part of being socialized as a child and to a lesser extent as an adult member of a society, and perhaps partly instinctual as a social animal, there are certain behaviors that may not be expressed.  Once internalized as a constraint, we have no "free will" to express the behavior.  At the very least our self-image as a moral and ethical member of our society will prevent the expression of the thought as behavior.  Of course fear of Hell or jail may reinforce the decision. but ultimately it is the internalization of the constraint which determines the control of the behavior.  Free will has nothing at all to do with it.  

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    5 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2010 - 6:30AM #49
    Don't_Be_Captious
    Posts: 1,035

    Apr 20, 2010 -- 12:38PM, Jcarlinbn wrote:


    The problem I have with the experiment in the OP and this thread in general is that free will is ultimately a religious concept in the sense that free will must come from something, presumably God.  The concept is that God provides a bunch of rules and constraints on behavior, then "Gives" free will to obey or disobey those constraints.  One may choose to obey a directive or not in the larger sense but the directive is assumed to be absolute.  


    A much more useful way of looking at things is the source of the constraints on behavior that we choose to accept.  This assumes that unconstrained choice is the natural state of human cognition, and it is the constraints on acting out the choices which are the important considerations.  


    This changes the whole picture.  Free will is not a gift or an option it is the natural state of the human mind.  We can and do think about all sorts of behaviors that might be expressed.  However, as a part of being socialized as a child and to a lesser extent as an adult member of a society, and perhaps partly instinctual as a social animal, there are certain behaviors that may not be expressed.  Once internalized as a constraint, we have no "free will" to express the behavior.  At the very least our self-image as a moral and ethical member of our society will prevent the expression of the thought as behavior.  Of course fear of Hell or jail may reinforce the decision. but ultimately it is the internalization of the constraint which determines the control of the behavior.  Free will has nothing at all to do with it.  




    I disagree with your initial sentence about this thread, but I largely agree with everything else you say. 


    You see, *I* don't believe in free will in any traditional religious sense.  If anything, my own idea is modeled on Existentialism, which is overwhelmingly atheistic & usually (or at least often) a-religious.  (And, in fact, that's exactly what you essentially express above as your own idea of free will.)  (So, to be clear, you & I appear to share much the same concept of free will, even though you unwarrantedly & without justification assumed otherwise.)


    In fact, that's what annoys me about Beliefnet, is that I can't express  ideas like this without being assumed, unwarrantedly & without justification, usually by smart "Brights" & well-educated people (who overwhelmingly make up the atheists & skeptics et al), that I'm just latently expressing hidden religious (read: theistic) belief.  I am not.


    In fact, it's my annoyance about this very thing that led me to choose my name, dedicated to all the Brights on Beliefnet & the rest of the Interwebs who illogically twist & abuse logic in purely rhetorical fashion:


    Don't Be Captious.

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    5 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2010 - 8:47AM #50
    newchurchguy
    Posts: 3,643

    Apr 21, 2010 -- 6:30AM, Don't_Be_Captious wrote:


    You see, *I* don't believe in free will in any traditional religious sense.  If anything, my own idea is modeled on Existentialism,




    First let me commend you for presenting data in the opening post and your clear postition as independent from the religious worldview.  Morality is not exclusive to belief in God, but a humanistic practice.  Existentialism has a favour of early quantum worldview "feelings" about randomness in reality and about a state beyond meaning, that it implies.


    But in fact - at its depth - QM data is anlayzed as presenting a big picture where observation is a real part of the universe and that observation leads to decisions about what to focus on as intelligence evolves.  These states - whether seen as "brain" states or as mental states - are natural and modeled in physics.




    Science’s Conception of Human Beings as a Basis for Moral Theory.”


    Henry Stapp presentation to a UN Symposium 

    UNESCO Headquarters, Paris


    November 7-9, 2005.


    John von Neumann, in his rigorous formulation of quantum mechanics, gave the names
    “Process 1” and “Process 2” to two of these processes.


    “Process 2” is the quantum mechanical counterpart of the single dynamical process of
    classical mechanics. This Process 2, like its classical counterpart, is strictly deterministic.
    And in relativistic quantum field theory this Process 2 is also local: it involves
    mathematical properties assigned to points in space at instants of time, and the causal
    rules are microscopic: they connect localized properties to neighboring localized
    properties.


    However, this “Process 2” incorporates Heisenberg uncertainties.. Consequently, it
    generates, in the brain of each person, a physical state that corresponds not to one single
    stream of consciousness---of the kind each of us actually experiences---but to a
    continuous “smear” of possible streams of conscious experiences.
    The central interpretational problem in quantum theory is therefore this: How are these
    continuous smears of possible streams of consciousness reduced to the streams of
    consciousness that we actually experiences?


    The first other kind of process is called by von Neumann a “Process 1” intervention. Each
    actually occurring Process 1 intervention is a probing action described in purely physical
    terms.


    However, and this is the key point, orthodox quantum theory gives neither a physical
    cause nor a statistical probability for a Process 1 intervention to occur. In particular,
    these interventions are not determined by the deterministic, physically described Process
    2.


    According to Bohr and Heisenberg, and in actual scientific practice, the choice of which
    Process 1 action occurs, and when it occurs, is specified by a “free choice on the part of
    the experimenter”
    - Henry Stapp 



    Point of dispute in this thread  - to call something a brain state and by this imply that brains produce it thru material processes alone - is not argument but a unsupported assertion.  Maybe DBC you will address this from a "Bright" point of view


    There are four leading Physicists, cited above, as asserting a free-will choice, is at the heart of focus and mental processing.  Accepting free-will choice implies responsibility for behavior; and is simply the core fundamental in moral structure in a person's character.


    Hence - brain states of Bright's have free-will (as do all people with healthy mental functioning).  All non-diseased minds (or brains) exist in states of affairs that lead to ethical behavior --- the more REAL the person's character makes their focus acknowledge this free-will the more they can build an inner capability to make choices indenpendent of instinct to serve one's self first.


    This is a self-fulfilling "prophecy" --> believing you are morally responsible enhances your ability to focus on behavior that extends to the welfare of others.  Deny moral responsibility -- and embrace selfish instincts as controlling you - and sure enough they do.


    (note - I am not any better in dealing with my selfish instincts than anybody else - and surely less able than many)




    Enforced belief is an obvious route to construcuting a strong moral character.  (and better shaped arms as I lo0k at the dusty 15 pound dumbells in corner of the room.  I need to believe in can get in shape at 60!)

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