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Everything posted by Eise

  1. Sorry, Moontanman, I will not start a quote war: 'Citation please'. Just for the info: I said my quotations come from Wikipedia. You will find them. And you missed my remark about Acharya S above? And now you refer to her home page as a reliable source? She is just an anti-religionist missionary, preaching her own religion (The Gospel According to Acharya S'), denying the existence of more or less all religion founders. She is just on a crusade. And you seem to miss the main point I made. I draw my conclusions. I stick to what the majority of the scientists have to say. Now you can deny that it is a majority. A citation of Richard Carrier next time?
  2. Sorry, no youtubes for me. And about the fragments (Wikipedia): Tacitus: Scholars generally consider Tacitus's reference to the execution of Jesus by Pontius Pilate to be both authentic, and of historical value as an independent Roman source. Josephus: Modern scholarship has largely acknowledged the authenticity of the reference in Book 20, Chapter 9, 1 of the Antiquities to "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James" and considers it as having the highest level of authenticity among the references of Josephus to Christianity. And I think I have read enough about the 'debate' and have drawn my conclusions. There is also a 'debate' about climate change and creationism. I couldn't be interested less. I just gave my 2 cents. I am much more interested in what academic history has to say about the real Jesus, and I can say you: most Christians, especially fundamentalists would not like it. That is the 'fun part' of the historical Jesus...
  3. Now you ask me to go into the whole discussion... First I repeat my previous quote: Virtually all scholars of various disciplines who have commented on the subject consider Jesus to have existed. That should be an argument: from authority, of course. But I think that referring to the fact that a majority of classical and new testamentical scholars think Jesus existed is a valid argument. Now I have read several books of Ehrman. Should I now repeat every answer he gives at questions you ask me? I cannot argue myself, as I am not a historian (and I suppose you are not too), I do not have any direct knowledge of the sources. But let's give it a try: Ehrman states that it is just not true that the Romans kept perfect track of everything that happened in their empire. Same for the Jews in those days. The 'missing records' idea is a myth: they just are not there because the Romans did not consistently administrated everything. But interesting enough (of course you read the Wikipedia links...) Jesus' death is mentioned in the Talmud. And then the gospels were written many years after Jesus died, but the Pauline Epistles were written only 20 years after Jesus' death. Most of the facts that can be found in the authentic Pauline Epistles (some of the letters are forgeries) about Jesus' life are in sync with the gospels. Paul lived short enough after Jesus' death that he could have met some of the apostles, and in fact he describes meeting them. Now you could still say, well what proves that? He could have lied about everything. Maybe the 'so called authentic Epistles' are also forgeries? But if you do that, you can throw away a lot of what we think really happened in antiquity. Did Socrates exist? Heraclitus? Did Thales predict a solar eclipse? We honestly don't know for sure. But if we know all the historical backgrounds, then in many cases the hypothesis that such a person existed is the most probable one. Same holds for Jesus' existence. Last but not least, after reading a few texts of Richard Carrier, and 2 books by Acharya S, I noticed how angry they are arguing against the historical existence of Jesus. They just push their atheist agenda too hard. It really is no problem to believe that Jesus really existed, and be an atheist. If real Christians would hear what classical and new testamentical scholars have to say about Jesus' teachings, they would not enjoy... Reality is the best antidote.
  4. So you believe in the creation story (literally) and in big bang at the same time? Is that possible? And when I say that I saw Thor yesterday making thunder and lightning there is no conflict with science? In the end it is a deity, and science has nothing to say about that. Not even that I am lying, it does not belong to science's domain.
  5. What? The truth of God making the world in 7 days does not overlap the big bang theory? Wow.
  6. I would say he has narrowed it: to only those religions that have no problem with any worldly truth. Only Buddhism à la Dalai Lama comes into my mind. He once said that if science discovers that a certain Buddhist dogma is in conflict with science, then the Buddhists must give it up. How many of these kind of religions do you know? A very broad spectrum?
  7. That's just not true. Theoretically it is possible to have a religion that is not based on truths about the world, practically most religions are based on supposed truths (creationism, a God that leads the people of Israel through the desert, the flooding and the ark, reincarnation etc). What you describe supposes a quite enlightened way of seeing one's own religion. There is even an abbreviation for it: NOMA. (Just saw that iNow also referred to NOMA...)
  8. In the first place it is of course that religion states its 'truths' without (enough) empirical support. When science discovers that it is not so as was stated in religion, then there is a conflict. Then the conflict continues, because there is much more attached to the religious 'truths': religious people think that the meaning of life and the morality of people depends on their 'truths'. Also their social cohesion is based on these 'truths', so they stick to them, and science becomes a threat.
  9. Wikipedia is your best friend: virtually all scholars of various disciplines who have commented on the subject consider Jesus to have existed And here: Sources for the historicity of Jesus Of course there is no proof in any 'hard scientific way'. But the evidence for an apocalyptic preacher called Jesus is as strong as a historian needs to accept any person in antiquity as having existed. The discussions are sometimes ferocious: 'hard atheists' do everything to deconstruct Christianity; Christians of course everything to state that he did exist. If you are really interested, read Bart Ehrman.
  10. Phi for All, Just my idea. I taste a religious notion in Marshalscienguy's answer. If it turns out that way, then I am done. And this discussion indeed does not belong physics forum. Ophiolite noticed this already many posts ago, and I also said it is a philosophical question, not a physical one.
  11. Then what do you think that the answer on 'Why' is? Do you have some religious ideas about it?
  12. In the first place, I did not answer with 'just because'. Of course you may ask why things are as they are. One way to this, when we are talking hard sciences, is to try to find the reasons, and the result will be that we find that there is some law of nature. If we can predict some phenomenon, based on initial conditions and some laws of nature, then we know the reason why the phenomenon occurs. Now you ask for the reason why there are reasons: you ask why there are laws of nature. How would you expect somebody could answer this? By referring to another law of nature? That would not work, because you would use exactly the kind of answer your are questioning. But you use the word justification. And then your example about black people is a moral situation. So do you ask why it is morally justified that there are laws of nature? That would be a huge category error. Nature is as it is. There are no moral reasons behind it, no justifications. There are just regularities, that we can discover and describe. But people act because of reasons, and they are able to justify their actions with reasons. And your example belongs in this domain.
  13. Yes, QM is not fully deterministic. But it is you who saw room for free will in that. In previous posts I have argued that indeterminism (of any kind) is in contradiction with free will. If you do not agree then please react on these arguments. I don't want to rehash all these arguments again.
  14. In the context of free will it is important: you cannot decide e.g. that you measure polarisation vertically and that it will be down. Yes, but that is an open door. We know that determinism is not true for Q-processes. But that is simply not enough for free will. You still have the burden to show how this indeterminism could support free will. I assume we agree that in QM chance distributions are determined, right? But then where, when or what event takes place, is not further influenced at all. We know that if we do enough measurements we will get the determined chance distribution, but there is no known process that determines the single event in this chance distribution. And it is my understanding that with the EPR like experiments it is proven that there are no such (local) processes at all. Now, how do you want to build free will on that, on pure probability?
  15. Sorry but that does not work. In QM you cannot affect the outcome according to your will. You can decide what you measure, but you have no influence on what the exact outcome will be. So then explain why the addition of probabilities makes for responsibility. How can you guarantee that some action of you was not just a probabilistic twitch of one of your neurons?
  16. I gave already a two formulations of the same idea: Now you tell me how randomness is necessary for free will?
  17. The question if we have free will is not a scientific question, Migl. It depends on what you think is the correct definition of free will, and that is simply not a scientific question. What is a scientific question is if all single events are completely determined by previous conditions. And then it is obvious that they are not: in QM chance distributions are determined, but not single events. So yes, reality is not fully determined. But QM offers us, in the limits of its chance distributions, only randomness. Now you must explain how randomness can contribute to your free will and responsibility. Does unpredictability make for responsibility? Is your decision based on the throwing of a die more responsible then your decision based you your wishes and believes? And the link that is still missing, is that QM events influence your behaviour. Estimates of physicists, based on the number of particles involved in neural processes, temperature, the 'wet environment', etc, suggest that we can approach neural process in a classical, i.e. determined way. Quantum randomness just cancels out. And then, the brain is a 'massiv parallel processing system', which is also massively redundant. So one neuron, which reacts a few times differently than it would normally do, goes under in the normal firing neighbour neurons. So at most, when QM effects sporadically would make it to visual behaviour, it can explain some funny twitch of you, but not a well deliberated decision. So rejoy! We are determined, and therefore our choices, our free will, matter.
  18. O, sorry, forgot: there is a huge category of philosophers that use this concept of free will. Namely, those incompatiblist determinists who say we have no free will. This is the concept of free will that they deny, and for them it is the only meaning that makes sense (because most people believe this is free will). For the compatibilist, this is a stupid procedure: first to define free will in such an absurd way, and then deny that it exists. Only some neuroscientists are even more stupid: they say that we have discovered that we have no free will. How, for God's sake can you discover that we are determined, when determinism is the necessary presumption of the possibility of the natural sciences überhaupt? So there are many philosophers who believe this is the correct definition of free will. But, and there you are right, there are only a few that really believe that it exists.
  19. No: for a falling stone the concepts voluntary - involuntary simply do not apply. A stone cannot say if it wants to fall, or that it was forced to do so. And we, as third party observers have no reason to think it was forced or that it falls because it wants to: simply because a stone doesn't have wishes and believes, so the question if it falls according these is meaningless. Compare what Schopenhauer says about Spinoza: The compatibilist concept of free will is not messy at all. Determinism is the reality of existence (for all practical purposes), and without determinism we could not have free will. Yep. But there are still a few, e.g. Robert Kane. Just to repeat myself: I think that all compatibilists defend that determinism is a necessary condition for free will to exist. Without determinism, free will would be impossible. Hmm, somehow you are mixing free will and consciousness now. The relation is the other way round: consciousness is a necessary condition for free will. It is difficult to see how one can talk about wishes and believes without consciousness. Then I can comfort you: no, determinism does not make choice meaningless. You confuse determinism with fatalism. Fatalism would mean something like: everything is determined, so it does not matter what you do. But that is a wrong argument. Of course it does matter what you do! Say, a comet is on a collision course with the earth. Now you can be a fatalist: whatever you do, it will collide with the earth. But does it make sense to say the course of the comet does not matter, in the end it is determined to fall on the earth? Of course not, that does not make any sense. And now compare you, knowing the comet will fall on the earth anyway, whatever you do. Why is that? Well, of course because it is far beyond your power. So you decide to go to your favourite restaurant for the last time. You get the menu card, look through it, and the waitress comes and asks "What is your choice?". Do you say: "Sorry I am a fatalist determininist, whatever I choose, you will bring the menu that is already determined." You see, that that does not make sense? Your choice plays a causal role in what will happen, and therefore, even in a determined world, choices matter. They are caused by previous conditions, of course, but you choose, and what happens depends on your choice. I don't know what free will can be more than that: that what happens depends on your choice,
  20. 'Brilliant book'? Ward has a very particular view on some of these philosophers. Kant himself: From Kant's 'Critique of Practical Reason', one of Kant's main works. Kant, a compabilist? And about Spinoza: But alas, that does not go for us normal mortals, while: So I have a strong impression Ward does not know what he is writing.
  21. Yeah, that's funny, isn't it? So maybe we should accept that a free action, i.e. an action that arises from my own will, and therefore is my free will, and therefore the action can also be called voluntary. A free action is just a synonym for a voluntary action. No, that is misuse of the concept of the concept of 'forced'. My history made me what I am, but that is not 'forced'. That is an anthropomorphism. Can you tell me if a stone falling to the ground does so while it is 'forced' by gravity, or because it 'wants' to go to a centre of gravity? Facts is that we notice the regularity that a stone always falls when we drop it in a gravitational field. I came into existence not because I was forced, but because nature just has such regularities that given the beginning condition this happened. 'Forced' is only correctly used in the context of free will as 'doing the will of somebody else'. Fully agree, with this one addition: free will will never be programmed. It will arise automatically when the 'general expertise system' is capable of reflecting its reasons, and can act autonomous. I think that accountability, responsibility and morality only make sense when we also have a concept of free will. What is non-accountability other then not having done an action out of free will?
  22. No, QM at most limits free will. QM knows of real, irreducible random events. If you think that for free will we need randomness, then let me know, and how you build a concept of responsibility on random events. Without determinism, free will is impossible. Yes, I noted that. Now it would be interesting to know what you think of the standpoint of others here, why your idea of determinism and your idea that QM 'makes the notion of free will possible' would be better than other ideas mentioned above.
  23. Are they? Number 1 is correct, 2 is obviously wrong. For a compatibilist, the opposite of 1 is when you are forced to do something, i.e. you act against what you normally would do, and act according the will of somebody else. I think I am not deep enough in AI to answer this. But my gut feeling is that pattern recognition simply is not enough. Say I recognise my girl friend. So some visual subsystem in my brain sends signals all around my brain 'Jane detected'. And then? How would follow an action from that? If I am freshly in love with her, I walk up to her and embrace her. If I see her in a bar sitting there with my one-night stand, I dive under the table so she won't see me. Now you can call these reactions also the result of pattern recognition (I know that diving under a table helps in not being seen), but I think that all these endless pattern recognitions lead to something new, that a pattern recognition on its own cannot do. One could say that all these myriads pattern recognition modules are the atoms of our 'possible-action-dependent-on-anticipated-futures machine'. One cannot explain the life of a plant by looking at its atoms alone: one must see how these are organised. One could say that everything that is organised in the way that a plant is, is a living organism, even if the building blocks were not atoms. So I think that only a very specific organisation of pattern recognising modules gives rise to consciousness and with that the possibility of free will. Maybe it helps (I am aware I'm just throwing in a few new concepts, but maybe it helps to see where I stand) to say that conscious animals are universal future anticipating entities. Yep. Very true. But such is life. Therefore it is sometimes so difficult for a judge to decide if a defendant is responsible for his action. Did he really act from his own free will? Is he a well functioning 'possible-action-dependent-on-anticipated-futures machine', or does he lack some of the conditions for it (Down syndrome? Psychologically impaired?)? Yes, more or less. 'Free will' is a social construct. It needs some physical basis (as described above and in my other postings here). But one should not make the error to say that social constructs do not exist: taxes, marriage, institutions, law etc are all social constructs. So to ask for the extra (meta)physical explanation apart from the afore mentioned physical (biological...) basis and its social functioning in our society, is a category error. So free will exists, as a social construct, and can only exist in physical entities with a certain specified complex structure.
  24. A determinist can believe in free will. I do, and I am a determinist (for all practical purposes). No, but the common definition is wrong. I state that with everyone we would analyse the experience of free will, so to speak as a socratic dialogue, we would discover that being uncaused is not an element of free will, or at least, that we don't know if this is an element of free will. I never mentioned pattern recognition. It may be part of it. But I would also add conceptualisation to it. No, when we evaluate our choices before the fact. Possibly. In the end, we are organisms whose capabilities grew out of previous existing ones. But being 'innate programming of biological competitiveness' does not exclude that it is more than that. Always be aware when you place 'just' before such propositions. Nearly always people leave out the essential point. (People are just like stones: when they fall they do according the same Newtonian laws. A steam train is just iron, cokes and water.). I would suggest, talk with him. Or more scientifically, do a Turing test with him.
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