On Freewill

If anyone truly had freewill it would be catastrophic.

Of course we have free will. We have no choice but to have it—Christopher Hitchens

If freewill exists then god doesn’t. If god exists verything ever done has been pre approved. Not one can escape the tools they have to work with.

One may think they can circumvent the rules but that is also part of the rules. opening a new door in the game is still in the game. To know it is such the thing.

When we measure something we are forcing an undetermined, undefined world to assume an experimental value. We are not measuring the world, we are creating it. Nothing exists until it is measured.”—Niels Bohr

We now live in a thoroughly measured and mapped environment and that is our reality. That things are long or short, thick or thin or have borders, isn’t truth without the yardstick. We keep pressing this attitude yet nothing can be accurately explained. Freewill is no exception and is probably the wrong question.

The fall of man and his separation from Eden is the naming and outlining of animals, places, and things like they are somehow separate—where sapiens slipped into a fixed and measured reality. It is not actuality why or what the world is.

Your freewill is to think it is such. Marking the territory with official titles and fences is exercising freewill while simultaneously destroying it. But I suspect evolution has something to say about this. Because if evolution is thoroughly true, we are in charge of nothing.

At this point of the game if anyone truly had freewill it would be catastrophic.

Christopher Hitchens
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Author: jimoeba

Alternatives to big box religions and dogmas

44 thoughts on “On Freewill”

  1. C’mon jim, you know that “we now live in a thoroughly measured and mapped environment” stuff is BS.

    If you think everything we can measure and map is the same as everything that affects us or even everything we perceive as individuals then you’ve bought the dumbed-down physicalist ontology New Atheists like Hitchens flog.

    Your consciousness can’t be objectified, can’t be measured and can’t be mapped. I dunno if free will is a function of consciousness or if it even exists at all (at least in the causal, individualised form dualists imagine it) but I do know for sure there’s still a lot more mystery out there than I can get my mind, maps or measuring tools around. So there’s plenty of wiggle room for free will.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. but I do know for sure there’s still a lot more mystery out there than I can get my mind, maps or measuring tools around”. You know for sure so tell me what that is? Your comment is contradictory and more than less proves my point.
      A short post of generalized indictments on the human predicament isn’t BS. Taking it too seriously is…

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I bet your pretty steady. But really to measure freewill we would need to step back and compare what one does, with what they have to work with (such as neurons and experiences) inside a confined space on a tiny blue dot.

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          1. That would, in my view, be a waste of time. We have not solved the first problem; what is free will and how can we know we have it or not?

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  2. I am not the first one to postulate that we do not have free will. Where would it sit and what would it determine. Free will supposes the there are two or more options that the mind has the ability to decide upon. But where is the mind? Still in the brain consisting of molecules that behave based on deterministic rules. So no, free will does not exist, but is an illusion.

    Still this does not mean there is a god. Your alternative is a false dichotomy.

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    1. I agree on the false dichotomy. One has to view it a particular way to apply that notion.
      I suppose there are a few people with a mental handicap that have free will because they have no will. Or in certain phases of meditation it is probable because there is no contemplation to generate it.

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      1. Interesting. I see it more from the general point of view. Free will means that there is an instance apart from any external influence (pretermined conditions of your brain) that allowes you to independently choose between options (and then the consequential question of where that imstance would reside). Even people with a mental handicap would have that external input. And I think meditation is sort of of overrated in the respect that it is overrated that it shuts out external interference. (BTW, I am currently in Nepal in Buddhist Mustang). Meditation can achieve a lot, especially through complation diminish the impact of distraction, but after all your mind is still there and thinks it is free will. Even the Buddhist agree that until you have achieve enlightenment, you are suffering from wordly afflictions. 😀

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          1. You are so right, but I was merely responding to the statement that contemplation would be able to free us of free will. I don’t believe in free will, so I doupt that contemplation can do that.

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            1. Please do dispute it at your convenience. I think the question of free will is most fundamental to our thinking of religion, personal responsibility and and justice system.

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            2. Absolutely. George basically asked “what then”? We can stop blaming people for their immutable attributes and start taking personal responsibility for all this.

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            3. You know not what you ask for. I live by the premis, Do no intentional harm! I do not live my men’s laws, or god’s laws. And I apply my own rules according to each situation, because no two situations are ever exactly the same.
              Having said that, I do obey certain of men’s laws when doing so sligns with my own assessment of a situation. The problem is men have written more laws than I ever need to know. I break many in the course of living, but I also abide by just as many because that is the best way to be st a given time and place.
              Personal responsibility and respect for life define most of the rules I live by, but except for the originsl premis, Do no intentional harm, I have nothing I would call a law.
              IF this is not free will, then I do not know what anyone else means by the idea of free will. I do know what “free will” means to me.
              If that is insufficient for you, I invite you to try being your own person, because probably that is the only way you can possibly understand who I am.

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            4. Hello fellow old person with medical issues. Me too. It is rare that I engage online anymore. I found the exercise liberating. In that way, I miss the old days. 🙂

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  3. Re “Because if evolution is thoroughly true, we are in charge of nothing. At this point of the game if anyone truly had freewill it would be catastrophic.”

    Sipping the Kool-Aid my friend, sipping the Kool-Aid.

    Back when I was a lord of a classroom I would tell my students that becoming a scientist was learning to think in the patterns of nature. If you are confused or do not understand, the problem is in your thinking, not the universe.

    Granting there are phenomena in the quantum realm that are passing strange and the physicists who are trying to think like those patterns show some, shall we say, interesting social behaviors. But I see no contradiction between having a layer of reality, inaccessible to us directly being indistinct and fuzzy, yet our layer of reality contains many certainties. (Newton’s laws of motion still work, by the way, for most things under most circumstances).

    The discussions of free will are hugely premature because we are still struggling over definitions of the basic aspects and we seem to be obsessing over free will as a conscious thing when the bulk of our lives are performed subconsciously.

    Taking a quantum confusion (that a measurement is a significant interaction with the system) and applying that thinking to our layer of reality in which measurements are often less than trivial interactions, is a mistake based in confusing the rules that apply “down there” also apply up here.

    Bohr’s quote just shows the state of confusion he was in at the time. Consider a table. Does it not exist until we measure it? Actually, we never really measure “the table,” we measure the length of the table, its thickness, its mass, its volume . . . stop me when we have measured “the table.” Personally I operate on the belief that the table exists whether I measure it or not.

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      1. Freewill doesn’t mean “able to do anything.” I think it is closer to choosing to do things of which you are capable. I am free to choose from among the things I am able to do, so “Jumping to the Moon” isn’t on anyone’s list.

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      1. Even if I arrive at a conclusion, what then? Even if there are infinite multiverses, or we actually live in a simulation, what then? What’s important, to me, is how I FEEL …both in the moment, and in the long term. My intelligence will only get me as far as my limited EQ will allow me to go. I can “pretend” to be smart in order to function and make coin in this culture, but my impact will only be felt in limited arena anyway.

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        1. Even if I arrive at a conclusion, what then?”
          Then we can stop blaming everyone for their immutable attributes and share in the diversity that is necessary for every organisms survival?

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            1. It should be obvious but it’s not—who is to blame for the way things are? The Christian side of freewill assumes we can either be praised or blamed for our behavior. “The Bible views all humanity as naturally possessing the “free choice of the will.” If “free will” is taken to mean unconstrained and voluntary choice, the Bible assumes that all people, unregenerate and regenerate, possess it.”
              But we see in the deconversion process from this belief is in part the realization that we can’t change our stripes. We can however, hide them. When breakthroughs occur in us, who is it that changes that?

              Liked by 1 person

  4. You tell us the world we see is not the world that is. Without free will we woild not see the world that is, only the world we see.
    But really, Jim, the whole idea of will IS bullshit, free or not. No one is controlling us unless we allow them to control us. Someone above said the mind is a product of the brain. Prove it! Mind is no more the product of the brain than God is a product of a god.

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    1. I think you might be referring to me. But god is a proposition to prove but the mind is there. And it is is in rhe brain. And it dies with you. So show me an instance above the mind/brain that has free will. When you consider yourself what are your choices? Anything that is not determined by your environment and your genes?

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      1. Maybe someday. My thinking is definitely not bounded by my environment or my genes, or my education which is yet snother factor.
        But I was referring to Jim, not you.

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  5. So Jim, stupid question of the day… but hey, I guess I was “predestined” to ask it… did you choose to write this post or was it just “automatic writing”? I agree to a point. But physics and biology don’t answer all the reasons we individually think, do or say things. To deny you have Free Will to act as a volitional agent in anything… you must first have the Free Will to think and say it. A great many things in our biology and consciousness are in fact “automatic” and autonomic. But not everything. And the degree to which they are or are not has zero to do with the existence or non existence of God. The whole question is a waste of time and brain cells amounting to nothing more than Mental Masterbation. Just my 2 cents. -barabbas

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    1. At any phase of your life could you have been different than you were? In spite of your parents and surroundings somehow you are unique to that, not because of that.

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      1. Yes. I could definitely have been different at any point in my life. My choices, mixed with the choices of others, my biology and just plain “happenstance” led me to where I am and who I am today. Any of those could have been different at any point… including my choices and the choices of others.

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          1. Me biologically? No. Me in the Person I am… yes, of course. Who we are is a result of myriad different choices we’ve made, and others have made over the years that have directed our development. So of course, I could have turned out a different person than I am now. And so could you have. God hasn’t “predetermined” everything. Not even Hard Calvinists believe that. But again, the question of Free Will or Determinism isn’t dependant on the existence or non existence of god. It’s a non sequitur.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I have 4 children, each raised basically the same, but from the earliest moments their personalities we very different and unique. Each has reacted differently to the same stimuli. Predetermined by biology?

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