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Is Human Nature Determined by Our Material Conditions?

bilby

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You are mistaken. But it's become crystal clear that you will never accept that fact, so argument is futile.

You thought you knew things in this area when you didn't. Do you have anything to back your claim up, or do you want me to just trust you.

I don't want anyone to trust anyone - including themselves.

As I said, there's no point in discussing this with you; You cannot do otherwise than believe in free will. So it is futile.
 

PyramidHead

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One should expect a choice to be made with free will would not be determined.

What you mention here is a necessary condition for free will. What we have been telling you (for years!) is that it is not a sufficient condition for free will. You can have random events in the brain that don't have anything to do with agency, intention, preference, or any of the things that are important about free will.

As an analogy: one should expect all bears to shit in the woods, but not everything that shits in the woods is a bear.
 

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As I understand it, though, this thread isn't about classical determinism versus libertarian free will in the abstract, but the colloquial assessment of how people in society can be expected to behave. I agree that there is a such thing as human nature, but I disagree that it can be identified by observing human behavior without taking material conditions into account. Just as there is no blank slate for human nature, there is no socially blank slate upon which human acts unfold and reveal their true motivations. Anthropology rules that out.
 

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Several problems with that assumption - even if it effects changes to the brain, the quantum state in the instance of an option taken is not a matter of choice.

As you are not aware of what is happening on that scale you cannot have altered what was happening, nor have chosen to have done differently.

In other words, you still have no regulative control.

As for the article, you need to quote whatever part of it you feel supports your claim.

It talks about entire neurons being entangled with other neurons.

There is an awful lot of atoms that make up a single neuron yet alone neurons themselves being entangled....even granting that, you are still left with a lack of regulative control: the ability to have chosen otherwise.

As it is, you are still left with, brain information condition equals decisions made, options taken.
I am not sure what you are getting at. If my consciousness is a bunch of neurons and the firing of these neurons are not fully determined by the environmental causes, then how is this not a human having the ability to have chosen otherwise, in at least some instances?
 

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There is an awful lot of atoms that make up a single neuron yet alone neurons themselves being entangled....even granting that, you are still left with a lack of regulative control: the ability to have chosen otherwise.

As it is, you are still left with, brain information condition equals decisions made, options taken.
I am not sure what you are getting at. If my consciousness is a bunch of neurons and the firing of these neurons are not fully determined by the environmental causes, then how is this not a human having the ability to have chosen otherwise, in at least some instances?

Necessary but not sufficient! Necessary but not sufficient! Argh!
 

ryan

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One should expect a choice to be made with free will would not be determined.

What you mention here is a necessary condition for free will. What we have been telling you (for years!) is that it is not a sufficient condition for free will. You can have random events in the brain that don't have anything to do with agency, intention, preference, or any of the things that are important about free will.

As an analogy: one should expect all bears to shit in the woods, but not everything that shits in the woods is a bear.

And what I have been saying for years and years is that I am only arguing for the possibility for free will.

As people come with objections I try to overcome them to only allow the possibility of FW to exist, not to prove that it does.
 

PyramidHead

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One should expect a choice to be made with free will would not be determined.

What you mention here is a necessary condition for free will. What we have been telling you (for years!) is that it is not a sufficient condition for free will. You can have random events in the brain that don't have anything to do with agency, intention, preference, or any of the things that are important about free will.

As an analogy: one should expect all bears to shit in the woods, but not everything that shits in the woods is a bear.

And what I have been saying for years and years is that I am only arguing for the possibility for free will.

As people come with objections I try to overcome them to only allow the possibility of FW to exist, not to prove that it does.

That doesn't change anything. You need to start with the necessary and sufficient conditions for free will TOGETHER, and then show how something that satisfies BOTH might be possible.

Again, an analogy. You can't argue for the possibility of faster-than-light travel by appealing to the existence of spacecraft. Sure, spacecraft are required for any kind of travel at that speed, but the other part of the definition can't just be left out of the equation. You have to actually show that traveling in a spacecraft AND going faster than the speed of light is possible.
 

ryan

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And what I have been saying for years and years is that I am only arguing for the possibility for free will.

As people come with objections I try to overcome them to only allow the possibility of FW to exist, not to prove that it does.

That doesn't change anything. You need to start with the necessary and sufficient conditions for free will TOGETHER, and then show how something that satisfies BOTH might be possible.

Again, an analogy. You can't argue for the possibility of faster-than-light travel by appealing to the existence of spacecraft. Sure, spacecraft are required for any kind of travel at that speed, but the other part of the definition can't just be left out of the equation. You have to actually show that traveling in a spacecraft AND going faster than the speed of light is possible.

If there is nobody to explain why the ship can't travel faster than light, then it's possible for those that don't know.
 

PyramidHead

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And what I have been saying for years and years is that I am only arguing for the possibility for free will.

As people come with objections I try to overcome them to only allow the possibility of FW to exist, not to prove that it does.

That doesn't change anything. You need to start with the necessary and sufficient conditions for free will TOGETHER, and then show how something that satisfies BOTH might be possible.

Again, an analogy. You can't argue for the possibility of faster-than-light travel by appealing to the existence of spacecraft. Sure, spacecraft are required for any kind of travel at that speed, but the other part of the definition can't just be left out of the equation. You have to actually show that traveling in a spacecraft AND going faster than the speed of light is possible.

If there is nobody to explain why the ship can't travel faster than light, then it's possible for those that don't know.

Could you say that again but without not making any sense?
 

ryan

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If there is nobody to explain why the ship can't travel faster than light, then it's possible for those that don't know.

Could you say that again but without not making any sense?

Is it possible that I have 3 coins in my pocket? I actually have 2, so it was not true even though it was rationally possible. You were not given enough information, but would you ever say that it wasn't possible for me to have 3 coins in my pocket?
 

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If there is nobody to explain why the ship can't travel faster than light, then it's possible for those that don't know.

Could you say that again but without not making any sense?

Is it possible that I have 3 coins in my pocket? I actually have 2, so it was not true even though it was rationally possible. You were not given enough information, but would you ever say that it wasn't possible for me to have 3 coins in my pocket?

Forget I asked
 

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I think he means: if a tree falls on Donald Trump but nobody hears it (except Melania, and she pretends she didn't hear it), then it's possible that Trump really paid Stormy Daniels $130G just out of compassion and not for a raw-doggin' session. Because there's no one left to explain it. Well, except Stormy. But who would believe any woman who actually gave sexual favors to Donald Trump?
 

bilby

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If there is nobody to explain why the ship can't travel faster than light, then it's possible for those that don't know.

Could you say that again but without not making any sense?

He's arguing for the value of ignorance.

If you want to be able to fly like Superman, then knowing it is impossible is a bad thing, because it destroys your hope that it could be possible.

That total ignorance of the impossibility of such flight provides ONLY hope, but not the actual flight part of the deal, is unimportant; Ryan is seeking a way to believe in something he desires, not a way to achieve that desire.
 

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There is an awful lot of atoms that make up a single neuron yet alone neurons themselves being entangled....even granting that, you are still left with a lack of regulative control: the ability to have chosen otherwise.

As it is, you are still left with, brain information condition equals decisions made, options taken.
I am not sure what you are getting at. If my consciousness is a bunch of neurons and the firing of these neurons are not fully determined by the environmental causes, then how is this not a human having the ability to have chosen otherwise, in at least some instances?

How do you choose the state of your neurons either way? If you cannot effect QM or the state of your neurons through an act of will, how can you claim freedom of will?
 

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The question I would ask is: how is neurons being influenced by random quantum fluctuations NOT "environmental causes"? Aren't quantum particles part of the environment just like chemicals and social institutions?
 

ryan

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There is an awful lot of atoms that make up a single neuron yet alone neurons themselves being entangled....even granting that, you are still left with a lack of regulative control: the ability to have chosen otherwise.

As it is, you are still left with, brain information condition equals decisions made, options taken.
I am not sure what you are getting at. If my consciousness is a bunch of neurons and the firing of these neurons are not fully determined by the environmental causes, then how is this not a human having the ability to have chosen otherwise, in at least some instances?

How do you choose the state of your neurons either way? If you cannot effect QM or the state of your neurons through an act of will, how can you claim freedom of will?

Define "you" and that should answer your question.
 

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How do you choose the state of your neurons either way? If you cannot effect QM or the state of your neurons through an act of will, how can you claim freedom of will?

Define "you" and that should answer your question.

That's actually the crux of the issue, but you seem to favor the answer that you are the quantum particles that make up your neurons. That's no different from arguing for free will by saying "you" are the environmental factors that determine your behavior. It's just a word game.
 

ryan

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The question I would ask is: how is neurons being influenced by random quantum fluctuations NOT "environmental causes"? Aren't quantum particles part of the environment just like chemicals and social institutions?

If I am anything, I am at least my neurons and its electrochemical activity. That is not my environment.
 

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The question I would ask is: how is neurons being influenced by random quantum fluctuations NOT "environmental causes"? Aren't quantum particles part of the environment just like chemicals and social institutions?

If I am anything, I am at least my neurons and its electrochemical activity. That is not my environment.

Why not? I mean, why not, apart from you just stating it. Maybe you're the higher-order functions of your mind that only emerge when complex interactions take place across multiple brain centers. In that case, the lower-level interactions that give rise to those phenomena (and thus give rise to you) are indeed your environment, no less than the food you eat or the air you breathe.
 

ryan

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The question I would ask is: how is neurons being influenced by random quantum fluctuations NOT "environmental causes"? Aren't quantum particles part of the environment just like chemicals and social institutions?

If I am anything, I am at least my neurons and its electrochemical activity. That is not my environment.

Why not? I mean, why not, apart from you just stating it. Maybe you're the higher-order functions of your mind that only emerge when complex interactions take place across multiple brain centers. In that case, the lower-level interactions that give rise to those phenomena (and thus give rise to you) are indeed your environment, no less than the food you eat or the air you breathe.

Entire neurons may be being coupled (does not mean only two) according to https://www.news.ucsb.edu/2018/018840/are-we-quantum-computers . That's a pretty high level where consciousness is concerned. It's not just the lower levels that are entangled.
 

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Why not? I mean, why not, apart from you just stating it. Maybe you're the higher-order functions of your mind that only emerge when complex interactions take place across multiple brain centers. In that case, the lower-level interactions that give rise to those phenomena (and thus give rise to you) are indeed your environment, no less than the food you eat or the air you breathe.

Entire neurons may be being coupled (does not mean only two) according to https://www.news.ucsb.edu/2018/018840/are-we-quantum-computers . That's a pretty high level where consciousness is concerned. It's not just the lower levels that are entangled.

Even so, the mechanism that gives rise to the behavior--the fluctuation of a single quanta one way or another--originates at a level far below conscious control. Why should that count as "you" freely deciding to do something, but the spicy food you ate causing you to take a sip of water is not an example of the same thing? Both stem from internal processes you played no part in initiating, and both have effects on networks of neurons.
 

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The degree of separation between macro and quantum behavior probably explains failure of continuous function being featured in individual incidents of decay at the quantum level. So why should one expect quantum behavior to be featured in any macro behavior? Macro behavior pretty reliably follows deterministic description.
 

ryan

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Why not? I mean, why not, apart from you just stating it. Maybe you're the higher-order functions of your mind that only emerge when complex interactions take place across multiple brain centers. In that case, the lower-level interactions that give rise to those phenomena (and thus give rise to you) are indeed your environment, no less than the food you eat or the air you breathe.

Entire neurons may be being coupled (does not mean only two) according to https://www.news.ucsb.edu/2018/018840/are-we-quantum-computers . That's a pretty high level where consciousness is concerned. It's not just the lower levels that are entangled.

Even so, the mechanism that gives rise to the behavior--the fluctuation of a single quanta one way or another--originates at a level far below conscious control. Why should that count as "you" freely deciding to do something, but the spicy food you ate causing you to take a sip of water is not an example of the same thing? Both stem from internal processes you played no part in initiating, and both have effects on networks of neurons.

The binding of separated neurons firing that give rise to a holistic conscious control is not understood. An extremely convenient explanation is if these neurons were connected as one through quantum entaglement. It seems to solve one of the binding problems quite nicely.
 

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How do you choose the state of your neurons either way? If you cannot effect QM or the state of your neurons through an act of will, how can you claim freedom of will?

Define "you" and that should answer your question.

The question was not about your constituent parts but regulative control, the ability to have chosen otherwise within the conditions you were in. But as it appears, the ability to consciously choose does not extend to the level of cellular activity yet alone molecular, atomic or subatomic scales.
 

ryan

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How do you choose the state of your neurons either way? If you cannot effect QM or the state of your neurons through an act of will, how can you claim freedom of will?

Define "you" and that should answer your question.

The question was not about your constituent parts but regulative control, the ability to have chosen otherwise within the conditions you were in. But as it appears, the ability to consciously choose does not extend to the level of cellular activity yet alone molecular, atomic or subatomic scales.

A neuron is a cell, so are you saying that the ability to choose does not extend to neural activity. And the theory is that the neurons may be entangled, not just molecules.
 

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The question was not about your constituent parts but regulative control, the ability to have chosen otherwise within the conditions you were in. But as it appears, the ability to consciously choose does not extend to the level of cellular activity yet alone molecular, atomic or subatomic scales.

A neuron is a cell, so are you saying that the ability to choose does not extend to neural activity. And the theory is that the neurons may be entangled, not just molecules.

This issue is related to the conscious activity of networks of cells/the brain, and conscious regulative control....whether conscious activity has the ability or autonomy to alter the course of quantum activity, or even the information condition of cells and networks in order to interupt or alter normal causality in favour of will, thereby qualifying as freewill, the ability to have done otherwise under the same conditions by exercising willful regulative control.

Which does not appear to be the way our brain functions, or how the world works.
 
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PyramidHead

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The question was not about your constituent parts but regulative control, the ability to have chosen otherwise within the conditions you were in. But as it appears, the ability to consciously choose does not extend to the level of cellular activity yet alone molecular, atomic or subatomic scales.

A neuron is a cell, so are you saying that the ability to choose does not extend to neural activity. And the theory is that the neurons may be entangled, not just molecules.

You're committing a linguistic fallacy here and you must be well aware of it at this point. A neuron is a cell, yes, and the ability to consciously choose does not extend to neurons. Whether it extends to neural activity (the coordinated behavior of billions of neurons!) is another concept entirely (and the answer is also no).
 

ryan

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The question was not about your constituent parts but regulative control, the ability to have chosen otherwise within the conditions you were in. But as it appears, the ability to consciously choose does not extend to the level of cellular activity yet alone molecular, atomic or subatomic scales.

A neuron is a cell, so are you saying that the ability to choose does not extend to neural activity. And the theory is that the neurons may be entangled, not just molecules.

This issue is related to the conscious activity of networks of cells/the brain, and conscious regulative control....whether conscious activity has the ability or autonomy to alter the course of quantum activity, or even the information condition of cells and networks in order to interupt or alter normal causality in favour of will, thereby qualifying as freewill, the ability to have done otherwise under the same conditions by exercising willful regulative control.

Which does not appear to be the way our brain functions, or how the world works.

Just because things don't appear one way to you doesn't mean that they aren't that way.
 

ryan

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The question was not about your constituent parts but regulative control, the ability to have chosen otherwise within the conditions you were in. But as it appears, the ability to consciously choose does not extend to the level of cellular activity yet alone molecular, atomic or subatomic scales.

A neuron is a cell, so are you saying that the ability to choose does not extend to neural activity. And the theory is that the neurons may be entangled, not just molecules.

You're committing a linguistic fallacy here and you must be well aware of it at this point. A neuron is a cell, yes, and the ability to consciously choose does not extend to neurons. Whether it extends to neural activity (the coordinated behavior of billions of neurons!) is another concept entirely (and the answer is also no).

If not neural activity, then what do you think is responsible for decision making? There is SO MUCH good information I can link claiming otherwise. Are you sure you meant what you said?
 

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This issue is related to the conscious activity of networks of cells/the brain, and conscious regulative control....whether conscious activity has the ability or autonomy to alter the course of quantum activity, or even the information condition of cells and networks in order to interupt or alter normal causality in favour of will, thereby qualifying as freewill, the ability to have done otherwise under the same conditions by exercising willful regulative control.

Which does not appear to be the way our brain functions, or how the world works.

Just because things don't appear one way to you doesn't mean that they aren't that way.

It's not that it appears that way to me, but that this is the way the brain appears to work according to the evidence, case studies, pathologies, memory loss, etc, conditions which effect the brain in specific ways, and in turn, the ability to think, decide and act.
 

ryan

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This issue is related to the conscious activity of networks of cells/the brain, and conscious regulative control....whether conscious activity has the ability or autonomy to alter the course of quantum activity, or even the information condition of cells and networks in order to interupt or alter normal causality in favour of will, thereby qualifying as freewill, the ability to have done otherwise under the same conditions by exercising willful regulative control.

Which does not appear to be the way our brain functions, or how the world works.

Just because things don't appear one way to you doesn't mean that they aren't that way.

It's not that it appears that way to me, but that this is the way the brain appears to work according to the evidence, case studies, pathologies, memory loss, etc, conditions which effect the brain in specific ways, and in turn, the ability to think, decide and act.

You are not considering new theoretical models. You are just claiming that they are false by not letting them have a chance.
 

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It's not that it appears that way to me, but that this is the way the brain appears to work according to the evidence, case studies, pathologies, memory loss, etc, conditions which effect the brain in specific ways, and in turn, the ability to think, decide and act.

You are not considering new theoretical models. You are just claiming that they are false by not letting them have a chance.

Which new theoretical model do you favour? Why not post a summary?
 

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The degree of separation between macro and quantum behavior probably explains failure of continuous function being featured in individual incidents of decay at the quantum level. So why should one expect quantum behavior to be featured in any macro behavior? Macro behavior pretty reliably follows deterministic description.

Mathew Fisher explains this in the link that I keep posting https://www.news.ucsb.edu/2018/018840/are-we-quantum-computers

In the article there's an explanation why quantum effects are washed out:

In the quantum computers we are trying to build, these effects are generated and maintained in highly controlled and isolated environments and at low temperatures. So the warm, wet brain is not considered a conducive environment to exhibit quantum effects as they should be easily “washed out” by the thermal motion of atoms and molecules.

So it makes little sense in pursuing the topic further.

Of course he ignores everything he's just said and provides a following hand wave in the article ...

Extremely well-isolated nuclear spins can store — and perhaps process — quantum information on human time scales of hours or longer,” he said. Fisher posits that phosphorus atoms — one of the most abundant elements in the body — have the requisite nuclear spin that could serve as a biochemical qubit

... upon you can hang your wishful thinking all the time not addressing why stable will overcome thermal environment of brain which still having no evidence of macro overcoming the determination enforced by the probabilities required for macro behavior.

Damn. That determined (averaged over many incidents) requirement for macro behavior is such a bitch, especially since phosphorus in the brain is a molecule subject to that washing out effect. Even if spin could be maintained it can't be communicated. Islands in the storm.
 

ryan

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It's not that it appears that way to me, but that this is the way the brain appears to work according to the evidence, case studies, pathologies, memory loss, etc, conditions which effect the brain in specific ways, and in turn, the ability to think, decide and act.

You are not considering new theoretical models. You are just claiming that they are false by not letting them have a chance.

Which new theoretical model do you favour? Why not post a summary?

I just did. Then there is the Penrose and Hameroff paper. It actually supports free will using quantum mechanics.
 

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Extremely well-isolated nuclear spins can store — and perhaps process — quantum information on human time scales of hours or longer,” he said. Fisher posits that phosphorus atoms — one of the most abundant elements in the body — have the requisite nuclear spin that could serve as a biochemical qubit

... upon you can hang your wishful thinking all the time not addressing why stable will overcome thermal environment of brain which still having no evidence of macro overcoming the determination enforced by the probabilities required for macro behavior.
You would save his team time and the university a lot of money by telling them what you know.
 

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I don't need to do that. Their obvious goal is to advance toward production of a quantum computer not to explain the brain.

Just as it wasn't my goal to explain perception of moving sounds through our ability to exploit doppler as a possible mechanism underlying motion discrimination. It just worked as a good route to a publishable paper which actually did advance knowledge. Nor was my goal to determine learning engarm using time of arrival techniques mapping upward and downward communication within various sensory and corresponding motor tracts about determining how ascending and descending processes lead to a paradigm shift to neural tuning being the primary basis underlying learning.


All I'm trying to say is that scientists will use every path available to them to find funding for their areas of research, the more sustainable the better.
 
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ryan

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I don't need to do that. Their obvious goal is to advance toward production of a quantum computer not to explain the brain.

Just as it wasn't my goal to explain perception of moving sounds through our ability to exploit doppler as a possible mechanism underlying motion discrimination. It just worked as a good route to a publishable paper which actually did advance knowledge. Nor was my goal to determine learning engarm using time of arrival techniques mapping upward and downward communication within various sensory and corresponding motor tracts about determining how ascending and descending processes lead to a paradigm shift to neural tuning being the primary basis underlying learning.


All I'm trying to say is that scientists will use every path available to them to find funding for their areas of research, the more sustainable the better.

Wow! This is shocking B.S. even for the internet.
 

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Which new theoretical model do you favour? Why not post a summary?

I just did. Then there is the Penrose and Hameroff paper. It actually supports free will using quantum mechanics.

I don't see where or why or in what way these model actually support the idea of free will given the flaws that have already been pointed out. You need to provide something more specific than just posting links and mentioning this or that article.
 

fromderinside

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Really? Maybe this will help. Back in a 1977 dissertation at FSU a student found movement of sound was examined using pink noise from a single source in an anechoic chamber in a study where device movement was masked. It was found that observers used two cues to determine whether sound, Traveling under 8 degrees per second, was moving in a forced choice discrimination experiment. Those cues were pinna effects for vertical movement and frequency differences for lateral movement. Both cues were the result of detecting relative change in apparent frequency IAC time-distance (doppler effect).

In the other study conducted by the same student as a postdoc while at CalTech in 1980 recorded single and multiple cell response in rats to sound, visual, and somatosensory stimuli at various levels of hindbrain, midbrain, and forebrain along appropriate sensory and motor tracts. Expectation was that at some point in these processing channels a new signal would be detected that predicted altered behavior as the rat performed in a multiple choice lever pressing experiment.

Instead experimenters found electrical activity for ascending and descending was changing with repetitions at every level in every tract IAC information gains related to number of trials. IOW instead of a place for learning the neural substrate was generating differential activity IAC with practice up and down the sensory motor tracts. This fits with other studies which show similar neural practice and repetition effects for a variety of activities.

Really just firmer confirmations of the universality of neural optimistic evolution. Using existing substrates within and across modalities to achieve similar neural solutions appropriate to physical dimensions and the existence of neural plasticity underlying behavior.

Also, if you don't think successful researchers are survivors you are naive.

If I were an actual BSer I would have claimed to be the scientist that destroyed multidimensional pilot workload estimating as appropriate for most theoretical models of workload published in Edwards AF publication in 1982, a primary designer of primary flight displays for MD-11 in 1989, proved the value of embedding measurements into images and video in support of distance R&M in 1997, Developed on the fly machine vision validation for C-17 in fuselage assembly in 1999, and retired here to happy rainforest in 2002.

I actually did all those things but wasn't really given much credit for them except by my bride for finding our rainforest on the lake with an ocean view.
 
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ryan

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Which new theoretical model do you favour? Why not post a summary?

I just did. Then there is the Penrose and Hameroff paper. It actually supports free will using quantum mechanics.

I don't see where or why or in what way these model actually support the idea of free will given the flaws that have already been pointed out. You need to provide something more specific than just posting links and mentioning this or that article.

I have already explained.
 

DBT

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I don't see where or why or in what way these model actually support the idea of free will given the flaws that have already been pointed out. You need to provide something more specific than just posting links and mentioning this or that article.

I have already explained.

The problems that were pointed were ignored. Basically, if you can't access or regulate quantum activity or what your cells are doing while they are forming your experience of the world and self, thoughts, decisions, you have no regulative control of your underlying condition, hence no ability to have done otherwise in any given instance in time, therefore your definition of free will fails.
 

PyramidHead

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Two scenarios, ryan:

1. A quantum particle encased in a box is connected to a radio transmitter. When it randomly decays, it sets off the transmitter, which sends a message to a special receiver wired to my brain, causing me to lift my arm.

2. A quantum particle residing in my brain somewhere undergoes a random event, setting off a cascade of events that in clusters of neurons that causes me to lift my arm.

If I'm understanding you correctly, you would say that 2 is what free will means, but it sounds an awful lot like 1 except for the location of the quantum particle. In both cases, there's essentially a train of causality interrupted by an unpredictable zap from a phenomenon originating outside (1) or inside (2) the brain. Functionally the two scenarios are actually identical, if we assume the receiver in the first case exactly replicates all the functions of the neurons in the second case.

One could picture a guy wandering around with a receiver in his head, and at random moments, a decaying particle in a box somewhere would cause him to do things like lift his arm, turn his head to the right, or wiggle his toes. That seems like a clear case of someone being manipulated by a force beyond his willpower. Yet, replace the receiver with his actual neurons, and have the decaying particle do its thing inside his brain, and suddenly it becomes a person exercising his free will?
 

fromderinside

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Since most neurons in primary sensory tracts are know to receive communication from higher processes and lower processes that pretty much excludes a neuron from being The Decider. It may permit that cell adapting it's output from responding to lower processes information to what has taken place at some previous time what has resulted at pentultimate processes. Unfortunately that can be said for most any neuron in the ascending and descending process.

A more plausible conclusion would be that whatever information being processed is the result of both more recent and previous input. This seems to be what fMRI studies suggest. Activity at some time at some process corresponds to what will be the organism's overall response prior to any action being taken by the organism. Not exactly promising data for those who suggest 'choice' is optional at some level.

A reasonable conclusion from the above is that our nature is determined by Material conditions. There is no evidence of divine chimes other than what other animals are known to to be subject. There is no support to be drawn for any 'free' choice hypothesis from examination of organization or behavior.
 

jab

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https://isreview.org/issue/82/marxism-morality-and-human-nature

In another thread, someone posted a picture of Engels holding his book, The origin of the family, private property and the state, and pointing out that what we view as human nature depends on our material conditions. I was intrigued and had never considered this. I always assumed that what we meant by human nature was something eternal that exists across different societies. So I googled the issue and found this article from a socialist website. I found it an interesting article and thought I would throw this out for criticism and discussion. Is what we think of as human nature then not really set, but is it dependent on how society is organized and what our material conditions are?

One of the criticisms of Marxism I’ve seen from others is that it contradicts human nature. But if human nature is not so set, then the question becomes whether human nature could thus be altered in a way that socialism becomes feasible. If human nature is malleable, then do we always need a profit motive to be productive? By socialism, I mean the ownership of the means of production by society as a whole, rather than by shares of stock by individuals who thereby benefit from the profits of the enterprise. In true socialism there’d be no profits and all would share equally in work and what is produced. I’m not sure how human nature could be altered so that ideal would work. I think the article does have a point that in our distant past, we were probably very socialist in our organization. But our society is no longer a hunter gatherer society and we are not going back to that. (See my post in Nature and Science about Agriculture which also spun off from reading this article.)

Still the basic question remains, is human nature truly malleable, set by our material conditions? Or is it something more eternal?

SLD
It is human nature that humans' behaviour is very much affected by external circumstances.
 

rousseau

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I would argue that human nature is not determined by our material conditions, but our behavior very much is.

- Evolution moves slowly. Over broad swaths of time our DNA can be considered a constant, and genetics account for the brunt of our behavior. Meaning there should be something of an unchanging core to our nature and culture.

- Where environmental conditions are constant we see similar cultures arise, and even when environmental conditions vary the cultures have more similarities than they do differences.

- While it is true that we're able to adapt to the cultures we're born into, under normal circumstances our nature gives rise to the culture in the first place

This is why socialism in the vein of Marx was such a failure, because it tried to create an artificial society too quickly, and reality bit it in the nads. Turns out Marx had elements of good intent, but for the most part was pseudo-scientific nonsense.
 

DBT

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Or perhaps humans are socialists on a small scale, family, friends, tribe, but not identifying with "the other" see an opportunity to profit from trade, war, etc....
 

rousseau

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The word socialism has been so politicized I'm not sure most of the people who use it know what it means. Marx had the right idea - capitalism has inherent problems - but his theory on how it would evolve created more problems than it solved. That's not a knock at his intent, that's where he was on the right track. The problem came when people disrupted the natural order of things too quickly.

But toward your point charity has always been a part of most societies, counter-balanced with our tendency to.. capitalize. But now what we call socialism really has nothing to do with Marx, and when both Conservatives or Liberals use the term, they're usually either disingenous or misinformed.
 
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