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Tag Archives: determinism
Or at least I think I have. And I solved it strictly within the bounds of naturalism (a material and closed system multiverse), without any resort to supernaturalism (ghosts entering machines). And I think I can explain it super concisely. … Continue reading
Interesting push-back and complexifying of the “it’s all in your genes” meme: __________ And here’s the full (eccentric) documentary of which the above clip is a part (no, I haven’t watched it yet and don’t know anything about it):
If you answer yes, watching the below video might give you second thoughts. Serious second thoughts. __________ What I take from this clip is that my intentions and actions are things for which the ground has already been prepared, unconscious … Continue reading
This falls into the category of Stop the epistemic power-plays! It comes from a recent article in Scientific American written by Shawn Lawrence Otto: The Founding Fathers were science enthusiasts. Thomas Jefferson, a lawyer and scientist, built the primary justification for … Continue reading
When you think about it, all you ever really have is the present, which the poet William Blake called “the moving image of eternity.” You recall the past in present memory and you model and anticipate the future in present … Continue reading
Imagine banging your head and suddenly having a talent for piano playing (or oil painting, or doing complex mathematics). It’s a real phenomenon. Here’s an example: __________ To my mind, this suggests that individuals are a lot like birds. Birds … Continue reading
It’s not just God that’s a delusion. Free will is also. And our language should change to reflect it. That, at any rate, is University of Chicago biologist Jerry Coyne’s opinion. Here’s his recommendation, from his blog today, of what … Continue reading
If you’re an atheist and have concluded that free will doesn’t exist, where does that leave praise and shame? Atheist Jerry Coyne, who does not believe humans have free will, suggests that it leaves praise and shame in the dust: … Continue reading
At atheist Jerry Coyne’s blog, the following statement by Spinoza on free will is quoted with approval: Men are mistaken in thinking themselves free; their opinion is made up of consciousness of their own actions, and ignorance of the causes by … Continue reading
Philosopher John Searle thinks not. _____ And literary critic Stanley Fish, writing in the New York Times, appears to agree with Searle, offering the following as a key distinction between himself and a computer: [I]ts procedures do not track my practice. I … Continue reading
It’s sometimes asserted that atheism admits of no ultimate or absolute truths, but in the “D Girl” episode of the Sopranos (Season 2) is a rather nice exchange between Tony Soprano and his therapist, Dr. Jennifer Malfi, that suggests otherwise. The exchange concerns … Continue reading
According to the New York Times this morning, researchers have discovered a curious correlation between belief (or disbelief) in free will and behavior: [W]hen people doubt free will, they do worse at their jobs and are less honest. This raises … Continue reading
Chance v. Conspiracy Theory Watch: Ezra Klein’s Contingency Observations v. Matt Damon’s “The Adjustment Bureau”
At the Washington Post’s website, Ezra Klein shares why he can’t bring himself to sit through the conspiracy-themed Matt Damon film, The Adjustment Bureau: I can’t believe in guys in suits with the ability to plan things. And why can’t he believe … Continue reading
Physicist Brian Greene’s new book just came out, and it’s exceptional. If you want the skinny on what hidden realities there might be behind and beyond our own, you can safely set aside the Bible and just read Brian Greene. And damn he … Continue reading
Consciousness Explained: Spatial Awareness, Time Awareness, Self Awareness, Death Awareness, and Free Will
Below is an excellent BBC documentary on the self and free will. I especially like what Gordon Gallup says at the 11:48 mark: Death awareness is the price we pay for self awareness. If you only have time for a … Continue reading
For those a bit obsessed (as I am) about the implications that underlie the free will v. determinism/fatalism debate, it might be comforting to know that the now deceased author of Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace, was also enamored of the topic. The evidence … Continue reading
Free Will Confusion Watch: Gnu Atheist Jerry Coyne Calls Humans Molecular Puppets, Then Endorses Sam Harris’s New Year’s Resolution
In a blog post this past summer, evolutionary biologist, Jerry Coyne, didn’t flinch at spelling out the implications of strict naturalism for the idea of free will: We simply don’t like to think that we’re molecular automatons, and so we adopt a … Continue reading
Atheists tend to be comfortable with one, and only one, irreducible thing in the universe: matter. Matter just is. It has no explanation outside itself, but it’s here; it is its nature to be here. Did it just jump into existence … Continue reading
It means that life didn’t have to be—it was an accident—and yet here we all are. Our existence is neither inherently necessary or meaningful. Welcome! Now, as human beings, what do we do? Well, we can try to take the incoherence of … Continue reading
At ScienceNews.org is a troubling piece reporting that two highly acclaimed Princeton mathematicians, John Conway and Simon Kochen, have mathematically demonstrated the following: if humans can actually choose what to observe (or not observe) in a particular sort of physics experiment involving particle spin, then the … Continue reading