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Religion & Culture / Creation vs. Evolution


Subject:  Re: Libet and free will revisited Date:  3/7/2019  1:08 AM
Author:  btresist Number:  26750 of 27155

If life can arise from complexity, then I see no reason awareness cannot also. I don't think "life" is a part of matter any more than "awareness" is.

I think there is a huge difference. Remarkable as life is, it still reduces to a collection of chemical pathways. The same matter and energy present in "non-life" is seen in life, just in a more complex pattern. So we can take life apart and recreate the different chemical processes required in the laboratory. And we understand the mechanics of living things enough to create virtual life in computer simulations, substituting algorithms for biological pathways.

Consciousness is a whole different ball game because the central feature of consciousness, subjective thoughts, has no counterpart in the non-conscious world. Subjective experiences are only associated with consciousness. We can't reduce it to smaller bits or recreate portions of consciousness in the lab or in a computer.

All the physical processes observed for life can be found in the non-living, so it is relatively easy to see how life could emerge from a more complex arrangement of non-living elements. In contrast it is extraordinarily difficult to conceive of how subjective experience could emerge from starting material that is solely objective.

I don't see how "free will" is an analogue to that. "Free will" arising from complexity? It seems "free will" violates causation, or at least most versions of "free will" do.

Look at the evolution of the brain. As the brain grows in complexity, behavior becomes more plastic and variable, less constrained by genetics-directed instinct. There appears to be a strong fitness advantage to animals for behavior that is less predictable but still purposeful (i.e., nonrandom indeterminacy). In other words, a selective advantage for behavior that approaches the characteristics of free will with increasingly complex brains the evolutionary pathway to achieve that end.

I believe that human beings are capable of behaving in a manner that is completely consistent with the expectations of free will. I don't believe anyone has demonstrated otherwise. If human behavior is indistinguishable from what one would expect from the exercise of free will, then for all practical purposes free will exists in humans regardless of whether it seems contradictory to you.
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