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  #1    
Old May 1st, 2013, 07:38 PM
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Something that I've considered for a while, and never got a really great answer to it, and still occupies my mind today. There are two ways the particles in our brain work; either they work in a predictably classical way, interacting with one another the way macroscopic particles would, bouncing off of each other and such, or they work in a quantum way, in multiple places at the same time and more probability than predictability.

Either way, we have no control over these particles. They're either random or predictable, but we don't start the reactions, we don't control the reactions, they just happen. With all this in mind, can we really say that we have free will? When our brain is thinking, it's the way it would have always thought based on atomic interactions. When we make a decision, it's the decision we would have always made because we'd always think the same things due to the interactions of the particles in our brains.

I know this is kind of a heavy topic and hard to dive into, but some of the interesting discussion I've had on the topic included whether there is something in the human body that's above the physical, whether the element of randomness involved changes anything, and whether we "start" the reactions and thus have free will in what to start.
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Old May 1st, 2013, 07:52 PM
Kanzler
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Haha, I guess I'll have to admit that we don't have free will then. Everything at the end of the day is matter in motion, and past motion determine future motion. It's tough to argue against that.
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 09:42 AM
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Personally, I don't think it matters. We should still act like we have free will, like free will exists, or we'll be excusing whatever someone does. I've always said that whether free will exists, the only way to act is as though it does. Nothing's gained by believing that free will doesn't exist. That's my view on it anyway, but I would like to hear what other people have to say about morality and all that stuff if they think there isn't free will.
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 11:36 AM
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Yes, the human brain is a wonderful biological machine. But the fact remains that no random particle can make us do something we wouldn't normally do. Free Will begins where instinct ends. Free will is all the choices we make every day.

Free Will, is in effect regardless of what forces are in play around us.
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 11:50 AM
Kanzler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pachy View Post
Yes, the human brain is a wonderful biological machine. But the fact remains that no random particle can make us do something we wouldn't normally do. Free Will begins where instinct ends. Free will is all the choices we make every day.

Free Will, is in effect regardless of what forces are in play around us.
The other side argues that there's no such thing as free will because everything is quite simply matter in motion. You could argue quite naturally that everything is made of particles and particles are always in motion, and this past motion causes future motion. So it just so happens that when you receive some kind of stimulus, that stimulus affects you in such a way that causes you to act the way you do - so the stimulus determined your response. If you get down to it, then perhaps with a visual example - maybe the exact absorption of photons by your retinas fires the exact combination of cells that fires the exact combination of neurons which codes your response. So if even one photon was slightly off, then the momentum of that photon hitting/or missing that protein in your retina could cause a slightly different reaction. This is just one, extremely tangible example, but you could extend this example behind everything you've done, and behind everything that's ever happened as the result of particles bouncing off each other the certain way that caused the specific situation of the world as we see it now.

So even free will is the result of particles in motion - perhaps causing the situation for your parents to meet, and then causing the fusion of that specific egg and that specific sperm that gave you your specific gene combination - and every event between those two, and every event that came after, which ultimately determined your strong belief in free will. I don't think we can call particles random in the most strict sense, because every action has a reaction, not multiple reactions. If I hit a wall to the north of me with 5 newtons, my fist will receive a force of 5 newtons south, and not any other reaction.
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Old May 21st, 2013, 06:27 PM
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Maybe, maybe not. Maybe everything can be predicted with a good enough mathematical model. However, operating under that assumption isn't useful. It doesn't get us anywhere. It's just... details. It's an interesting question, but in the end, we still "decide" in every way that matters, even if those decisions might be predictable with enough information.

I love this kind of thread and would love to see more of this sort of discussion, by the way.
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