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Author: RaplhCramden Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 53806  
Subject: Re: Faith as Mental Illness Date: 11/18/2013 6:05 PM
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Because I am convinced by the math and science, I choose to ignore it. I want my free will and the only way I can have it is to be a theist. Extra-universal input is required for me to have my free will, so if that's what it takes to read Invictus and believe it then I pay the price and believe. I have taken a leap of faith. I am a theist.

I want my free will. I am also convinced by the math and science that in some sense, there is no such thing as free will. That sense is the one in which with full knowledge of all the initial conditions we could not predict the direction a human would take, the choices she would make. My thinking is summarized: there is no electron in our body, no proton or carbon atom or protein which when looked at in tiniest detail violates the (nearly) deterministic laws of physics. But if our decisions are to be non-deterministic in some simple sense, then at some point it must be possible for some electron to go this way instead of that way, for some ion to not cross a neuronal barrier that should have, for some protein to fold left instead of right, for SOMETHING to happen that wasn't purely predicatable by tracking the (nearly) infinite detail of all the motions of all the particles leading up to that moment.

Now in my opinion, if you can't find something in the human body that doesn't behave deterministically, you can't have free will in the sense that it is not deterministic physically. It doesn't matter if you bring god in or not. The only way god gets you to behave non-physically-deterministically is to shift the results to something other than what is physically predicted. This would make every exercise of free will a miracle, a supernatural event where god made it possible for the result to be something other than what was physically determined.

Some real problems with this:

1) Why not just hypothesize that SOMETHING causes the non-determinacy in some of our physical processes? Why say that it is a a) supernatural b) being. Why link it to the complex mythology of the bible where God is a big white haired guy who gets mad at people who eat clams and picks winners and losers, at least back in the olden days. You don't NEED 99.99% of the features of god, you don't need a son of god dying a cross to have your free will. So why drag a million tons of mythology along with you to get one electron to go the wrong way in your brain?

2) If every violation of physical determinacy is a tiny miracle, how is this free will? If these supernatural events are done by some guy called god, then it is God's will that is being run on all these humans. Otherwise, is free will just the ability to get a bad bit out of the gooey computer that Human1.0 software runs on?

Daniel Dennett says/thinks free will is something complex. We don't mean we can choose randomly, so a randomized physical process doesn't help over a determined one. We mean we can choose right, if we want to. Whatever the heck that means, but it doesn't sound random. Frankly, I can't follow what Dennett says in detail. But if you want to try, the book is "Intuition Pumps..." (longer title fills in ...).

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