# Since we have no free will, what purpose does/did consciousness serve?

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So sayith …… Strange to Sam C:

That is a novel definition of "free will" (or at least, not one I have come across before).

Well “DUH”, that is because I am an “original thinker”, …… not a mimic, copier, quoter or paraphraser of all the verbiage that I post to/on these news forums.

Strange, please tell me, ….. just what purpose does your all’s game of “Battling url’s” serve for the advancement of the Science of the Natural World? …. HUH, HUH, HUH? Instead of ya'll posting your "mimicked" comments, just post the url link to the published document that your mimicry was excerpted from.

And Strange, iffen you continue to “read my writin” ….. I am absolutely, positively sure you will encounter more “novel” definitions, ….. common sense thinking, ….. logical reasoning ….. and/or intelligent deductions that I am the original author of …… which makes it damn near impossible for me to “cite a reference” to my own brain activity and/or its stored memories.

Strange, how many people do you know of that issued a “public demand” that Einstein provide or present 2 or 3 “peer approved” citations/papers along with known factual evidence to prove and justify his newly proclaimed Theory of Relativity that ….. E=MC2?

HUH, HUH, HUH, .... how many Academic "experts" demanded said proofs?

So sayith …… Strange to Sam C:

However, I would still like some evidence that conscious mind is subservient to the subconscious.

Some evidence, huh.

Strange, I presented you that fact or factual evidence when I stated …… “The primary example of it being a fact is that the “subconscious” mind can put, direct or force the “conscious” mind into a state of “unconsciousness”, …… more commonly referred to as a state of “sleep”, or being “asleep”.

Now you can claim that your conscious mind never sleeps, that it is simply “out in left field somewhere” ….. iffen you want to claim such silliness, that’s your conscious mind’s “choice” to do so.

But if you truly believe that I am wrong, and that your conscious mind is NOT subservient to your subconscious mind, ….. then please tell me, ….. was my mother’s maiden name “Smith” or “Jones”? ...... And don't be bashful, testify, testify

So sayith …… Strange to Sam C:

So far, you have only presented assertions and opinions. Perhaps you could back up your apparent expertise with evidence?

GETTA CLUE, Strange, ….there never was or currently is, anywhere to be found, …. a neuroscientists, brain/mind researcher, “psychobabbling” Psychiatrist, Psychologist or Philosopher, College Professor, etc. ….. that can “back-up” their per se “expert” assertions and opinions with actual, factual physical evidence.

Strange, here are 2 cited articles ….. to enhance your education, to wit:

The brain… it makes you think. Doesn't it?

What Makes You Uniquely "You"?

In Edelman’s grand theory of the mind, consciousness is a biological phenomenon and the brain develops through a process similar to natural selection. Neurons proliferate and form connections in infancy; then experience weeds out the useless from the useful, molding the adult brain in sync with its environment.

Many cognitive psychologists see the brain as a computer. But every single brain is absolutely individual, both in its development and in the way it encounters the world. Your brain develops depending on your individual history. What has gone on in your own brain and its consciousness over your lifetime is not repeatable, ever—not with identical twins, not even with conjoined twins. Each brain is exposed to different circumstances. It’s very likely that your brain is unique in the history of the universe. Neural Darwinism looks at this enormous variation in the brain at every level, from biochemistry to anatomy to behavior.

Do you have any references? I have no time now for reading such a long comment right now, but one thing I noticed is the complete lack of references. Why would I accept any of it?

Bender, the real question is, ....... iffen I was mimicking everything that I posted ...... and had references to said mimicry, ....... just what the hell would be the purpose for me posting my mimicry?

Me thinks your reason for DEMANDING references or citations to/for my posted commentary that literally boggles you mental facilities .... is that the only reason for your participation on these Science Forums is to engage in a "study session" so as to better understand the "subject material" that you will eventually be "tested" on by your Teacher(s).

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Well “DUH”, that is because I am an “original thinker”, …… not a mimic, copier, quoter or paraphraser of all the verbiage that I post to/on these news forums.

Oh, gosh. An original thinker. I assume that means you just make stuff up. Next you will be telling us proudly that you think outside the box.

Strange, how many people do you know of that issued a “public demand” that Einstein provide or present 2 or 3 “peer approved” citations/papers along with known factual evidence to prove and justify his newly proclaimed Theory of Relativity that ….. E=MC2?

Well, of course, Einstein did cite references in his work. And he did cite evidence that supported his theories.

For example, the papers for which he got the Nobel Prize (such as, Theorie der Lichterzeugung und Lichtabsorption) references Maxwell, Planck and others, and was specifically written to explain observed behaviour. So solidly based on existing science and observational evidence. Not just making stuff up.

Similarly, his papers on relativity also referenced the work of Maxwell (from which it is largely derived) and observational evidence. For example, in Erklärung der Perihelbewegung des Merkur aus der allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie he calculated the anomalous precession of Mercury and the bending of light by gravity (which was later confirmed by experiment).

But if you truly believe that I am wrong, and that your conscious mind is NOT subservient to your subconscious mind, ….. then please tell me, ….. was my mother’s maiden name “Smith” or “Jones”? ...... And don't be bashful, testify, testify

1. I didn't express a belief either way. I was asking you to support the claims you are making.

2. WTF? What on Earth does your mother's maiden name (and the fact I don't have clue or give a sh*t) have to do with you supporting your claims?

GETTA CLUE, Strange, ….there never was or currently is, anywhere to be found, …. a neuroscientists, brain/mind researcher, “psychobabbling” Psychiatrist, Psychologist or Philosopher, College Professor, etc. ….. that can “back-up” their per se “expert” assertions and opinions with actual, factual physical evidence.

Really? So all those peer-reviewed experiments in psychology, neuroloscience, biochemistry, etc are all just a pack of fairy stories?

Bute then ...

Strange, here are 2 cited articles ….. to enhance your education, to wit:

... you link to a story about a scientist who has published many evidence-based papers, articles and books about neuroscience.

Despite that fact that no such person exists, according to you. Extraordinary.

Edited by Strange

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Bender, the real question is, ....... iffen I was mimicking everything that I posted ...... and had references to said mimicry, ....... just what the hell would be the purpose for me posting my mimicry?

Me thinks your reason for DEMANDING references or citations to/for my posted commentary that literally boggles you mental facilities .... is that the only reason for your participation on these Science Forums is to engage in a "study session" so as to better understand the "subject material" that you will eventually be "tested" on by your Teacher(s).

This is not a philosophy forum, but a science forum. Thinking up new hypotheses is nice, but as long as none of it is backed by experimental evidence, it is not particularly interesting. Moreover, your hypotheses seem to be pulled out of thin air rather than based on existing knowledge.

You are partially right about the second part: I participate on this forum as a means to learn. I cannot learn much from random, isolated musings, hence my need for references to be able to judge the validity of the claims made.

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Bender, the real question is, ....... iffen I was mimicking everything that I posted ...... and had references to said mimicry, ....... just what the hell would be the purpose for me posting my mimicry?

On the other hand, you could say: "here is a new idea I thought of and here is the evidence that supports it [link to experimental or observational evidence]".

Just saying: "here is a new idea I thought of and it must be correct because I thought of it and no one else did and I'm really clever and original and everything" is just not very compelling.

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So sayith …… Strange to Sam C:

1. I didn't express a belief either way. I was asking you to support the claims you are making.

Now you are talking “trash” again.

“Duh”, of course you expressed a belief, …. which was in fact your disbelief. Why else would you have asked me to “support my claims”? Do you fancy yourself Professor Emeritus and Head Honcho Inquisitor of all science based commentary posted on this Forum?

You disagreed with my claims, ….. which was a de facto “expression of disbelief”, …. and the only reason you requested said evidence. HA, it wouldn’t matter what evidence I presented for “your approval”, …… you wouldn’t approve of it simply because it doesn’t pass your rigid NIH Test (Not Invented Here)

So sayith …… Strange to Sam C:

Really? So all those peer-reviewed experiments in psychology, neuroloscience, biochemistry, etc are all just a pack of fairy stories?

“DUH”, were they peer-reviewed ……. or pal-reviewed

GETTA CLUE, ….. Strange, ….. those published abstracts/papers “are all just a pack of fairy stories” iffen there is no physical evidence to support their stated findings ….. and/or ….. if any of the context/contents of the aforesaid abstracts/papers is/are directly contrary to or void of ……. common sense thinking, ….. logical reasoning ….. and/or intelligent deductions.

So sayith …… Strange to Sam C:

... you link to a story about a scientist who has published many evidence-based papers, articles and books about neuroscience.

There you go again with that “evidence-based” thingy ……. but you intentionally neglected to mention what physical entity associated with the neuroscience of the brain, mind or brain stem ….. was said “evidence” referring to.

Strange, your adorable and dearly beloved expert “psychobabblers” and edumacated neuroscientists have been trying to figure out the “cause n’ cure” of the debilitating illness called “depression” for like the past 150 years …… and the only thing they have accomplished in all these past years is to coin several new names for describing said “depression” …… and they per se “invented” several new prescription drugs that do nothing to cure it …… but only to “mask” the effect of it.

And Strange, the worstest travesty of all is fact that those “psychobabblers” are still believing, worshiping and teaching the thought, ideas and claims that was published by a late 19th Century cocaine addicted author by the name of Sigmund Freud.

So sayith …… Strange to Sam C:

On the other hand, you could say: "here is a new idea I thought of and here is the evidence that supports it [link to experimental or observational evidence]".

Iffen I was teaching a Middle School Science Class …… that is surely what I would have said.

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I think multidimensional answers in physics get to the gist of free will interactions, and they stand strong in behaviorism and sociology

Edited by Meter litra

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This is not a philosophy forum, but a science forum. Thinking up new hypotheses is nice, but as long as none of it is backed by experimental evidence, it is not particularly interesting. Moreover, your hypotheses seem to be pulled out of thin air rather than based on existing knowledge.

You are partially right about the second part: I participate on this forum as a means to learn. I cannot learn much from random, isolated musings, hence my need for references to be able to judge the validity of the claims made.

Bender, in your desperation you are "grasping at straws" in a futile attempt to discredit and defame my good name and reputation for no other reason than to CYA for you lack of educational expertise to engage in an intelligent discussion of the subject matter.

And read my writing, it is utterly asinine for anyone to claim that all "new" hypotheses have to be backed up or supported by "experimental evidence" before they can be recognized as said.

And tell me again why you participate on these forums ....... because what you stated above was one of the funniest things I've read in a long time.

You are hereon to learn "new" things ...... but you discredit and deny any and all "new" things that you read about ..... without even questioning the possibility that they just might be true and factual ........ simply because your nurturing has prejudiced you to believe that all "new" thingys that are NOT attributed to you beloved mentors and idols are really nothing more than random, isolated musings being posted by uneducated idiots.

Bender, my claim to fame is the fact that I was awarded an AB Degree in both the Biological and Physical Sciences, GSC, 1963, ...... so tell me, ..... just what is your "claim to fame" that gives you the right to question my expertise on the subject matter in question?

And "Yes", ...... I am an "original thinker", .... and apparently the 1st one ya'll have ever conversed with, and the factual evidence that proves that I am can be viewed by you, Bender, or by Strange, ....... by simply "clinking-on" ...... this hyperlink.

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Bender, in your desperation you are "grasping at straws" in a futile attempt to discredit and defame my good name and reputation for no other reason than to CYA for you lack of educational expertise to engage in an intelligent discussion of the subject matter.

In what way is asking you to support your ideas discrediting or defaming you?

And read my writing, it is utterly asinine for anyone to claim that all "new" hypotheses have to be backed up or supported by "experimental evidence" before they can be recognized as said.

That is how science works. If you don't like it, join a different sort of forum.

just what is your "claim to fame" that gives you the right to question my expertise on the subject matter in question?

How much expertise is required to spot the fact you have not provided any support for your ideas? It is Lesson 1 in critical thinking.

Why should I accept anyone's ideas just because they say so?

What if another poster comes along and says: "That SamCogar has it all wrong. My idea is ..." And then another person says: "No, no. You both have it wrong. What really happens is ..."

Whose idea do I take as being most credible? The one that best matches the evidence. Not the one that is asserted most forcefully.

And "Yes", ...... I am an "original thinker", .... and apparently the 1st one ya'll have ever conversed with, and the factual evidence that proves that I am can be viewed by you, Bender, or by Strange, ....... by simply "clinking-on" ...... this hyperlink.

Gosh. You invented something 50 years ago. Well done.

And thanks for reminding me that I need to CLINK-ON a link. I might have forgotten that. Your are a real treasure trove of valuable insights.

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Bender, in your desperation you are "grasping at straws" in a futile attempt to discredit and defame my good name and reputation for no other reason than to CYA for you lack of educational expertise to engage in an intelligent discussion of the subject matter.

And read my writing, it is utterly asinine for anyone to claim that all "new" hypotheses have to be backed up or supported by "experimental evidence" before they can be recognized as said.

And tell me again why you participate on these forums ....... because what you stated above was one of the funniest things I've read in a long time.

You are hereon to learn "new" things ...... but you discredit and deny any and all "new" things that you read about ..... without even questioning the possibility that they just might be true and factual ........ simply because your nurturing has prejudiced you to believe that all "new" thingys that are NOT attributed to you beloved mentors and idols are really nothing more than random, isolated musings being posted by uneducated idiots.

Bender, my claim to fame is the fact that I was awarded an AB Degree in both the Biological and Physical Sciences, GSC, 1963, ...... so tell me, ..... just what is your "claim to fame" that gives you the right to question my expertise on the subject matter in question?

And "Yes", ...... I am an "original thinker", .... and apparently the 1st one ya'll have ever conversed with, and the factual evidence that proves that I am can be viewed by you, Bender, or by Strange, ....... by simply "clinking-on" ...... this hyperlink.

The patent is something that can be shown to work. It even has a couple of references. It is also in a completely different field than the assertions you made in this thread, as are your bachelor degrees (is that honestly something that is supposed to impress me?).

If Albert Einstein made up a story like yours, I still wouldn't take his word for it.

Edited by Bender

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“Duh”, of course you expressed a belief, …. which was in fact your disbelief. Why else would you have asked me to “support my claims”? Do you fancy yourself Professor Emeritus and Head Honcho Inquisitor of all science based commentary posted on this Forum?

You disagreed with my claims, ….. which was a de facto “expression of disbelief”, …. and the only reason you requested said evidence. HA, it wouldn’t matter what evidence I presented for “your approval”, …… you wouldn’t approve of it simply because it doesn’t pass your rigid NIH Test (Not Invented Here)

Wrong. I don't have an opinion one way or the other about your ideas. I don't even care very much whether they are right or wrong.

What I do care about is critical thinking, evidence-based reasoning and, in general, the scientific method.

There you go again with that “evidence-based” thingy ……. but you intentionally neglected to mention what physical entity associated with the neuroscience of the brain, mind or brain stem ….. was said “evidence” referring to.

Well, as brought up the subjects in question, I assumed you actually understood them.

There are a lot of different techniques used to gather quantifiable data. So neuroscience, for example, uses tools like functional MRI to gather evidence. Psychology uses techniques such as testing how well or how quickly subjects can perform tasks.

Strange, your adorable and dearly beloved expert “psychobabblers” and edumacated neuroscientists have been trying to figure out the “cause n’ cure” of the debilitating illness called “depression” for like the past 150 years

Sure. There are many things that haven't yet managed to understand and/or produce treatments fro. But that doesn't show they don't have evidence. Just that these are difficult problems.

And Strange, the worstest travesty of all is fact that those “psychobabblers” are still believing, worshiping and teaching the thought, ideas and claims that was published by a late 19th Century cocaine addicted author by the name of Sigmund Freud.

Well, you might have hit on something we agree on. Freud was a complete crackpot who made up fairy tales with no evidential basis. (Sound familiar?)

I find it very concerning that his views were taken seriously for so long. And, as you say, still are by some people. However, psychiatry and, even more so, psychology are have made great strides towards being proper sciences. (You know, evidence and all that.)

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SamCogar, on 16 Feb 2017 - 11:35 AM, said:

Bender, in your desperation you are "grasping at straws" in a futile attempt to discredit and defame my good name and reputation for no other reason than to CYA for you lack of educational expertise to engage in an intelligent discussion of the subject matter.

In what way is asking you to support your ideas discrediting or defaming you?

Strange, tell your mommy …. that I told you …. to tell her …… that she should point out to you ……. that you shouldn’t be “copying & pasting” a quoted comment from one part of a lengthy conversation ….. and then “composing & pasting” a question based on comments extracted from a completely different part of a lengthy conversation.

Strange, dyslexia or reading comprehension is one thing, ....... but intentionally being devious or disingenuous is a dastardly awful act.

How much expertise is required to spot the fact you have not provided any support for your ideas? It is Lesson 1 in critical thinking.

HA, apparently one helluva lot more expertise than you can claim possession of.

I provided extensive support for my claims when I cited this commentary, “A View of How the Human Mind Works”, which I am the author of.

That commentary is “chock full” of actual, factual, undeniable evidence and proofs that support my ideas.

But both you, Strange, ….. and Bender, ….. chose to avert your eyes and your minds to the commentary and is contents simply because there is/was no way in hell you could actually deny or discredit its contents.

And thus your only rebuttal arguments have been little more than "weazelworded" tripe and piffle.

Here is another commentary that will surely confuse the hell out of your subconscious mind and which is titled "Biology of a cell: Genetic memory verses Environmental memory".

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Congratulations, that second commentary actually has two references, although the first seems to be malfunctioning.

You are right that skimming over the second commentary confused me. The message is trivial, but with invented words added to it.

You remind me somewhat of how Aristotle thought up his theories on mechanics. Millennia later, people like Galileo and Newton decided to do experiments and see what really happened and guess what: Aristotle's theories where completely wrong. But you don't have to take my word for it.

Of course, I'll excuse Aristotle given he lived in a time long before the scientific method was developed.

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Congratulations, that second commentary actually .............

The 2nd commentary, HUH, ……. with no mention of the 1st commentary, HUH.

Bender, your emotional decision not to mention, recognize or discuss, ……. aka: averting your eyes and your mind to; …… the existence of, or any part or parcel of, my cited commentary titled “A View of How the Human Mind Works” …… is most probably a “normal” reaction that was “triggered” by one of your Inherited Survival Instincts …. which its intended purpose is to insure Survival of the Species, …….. or to be more exact, Survival of the Offspring (child) ….. which all females of the species inherit from their parent.

The female of the species inherits that particular “instinct” simply because she is the primary caregiver of her offspring, and when faced with a critical decision, .... will, more often than not, ..... make an emotional decision to protect the child, …. at all costs, ….. even injury or death of herself.

Thus said, ….. I have to assume that the contents of my cited commentary has apparently “scared the bejesus out of you” ….. and thus triggering your emotional decision to ……. “avert your eyes and your mind” to what you learned about yourself by reading it.

Damn scary stuff when one first begins to realize ....... "why they are what they are ..... and why they do the things that they do".

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I think John Baez should add another line to his crackpot index:

Using dots..... to suggest deep thinking.... You normally see it only used by ....... crackpots. +10 points

People using ..... in every post ...... hide how incoherent their thinking .... is.

I am pretty sure SamCogar is not able to write a good argumentative piece of text.

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I am pretty sure SamCogar is not able to write a good argumentative piece of text.

Why thank you much, Eise, ……. I sure do appreciate such a nice compliment.

I have always believed that a Science Forum was meant to be for posting science based subject matter for discussion and learning.

Being currently employed as a Teacher or Professor of Science in the public schools and colleges ….. must really be a demeaning, unrewarding, thankless job …… given the fact that they are constantly being interrupted by two (2) or more students demanding that said teacher/instructor provide factual evidence to prove what he/she had just stated …… and to also cite a credible reference to a peer-approved published abstract that was authored by an Academically approved “expert” on the subject matter in question.

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Why thank you much, Eise, ……. I sure do appreciate such a nice compliment.

I have always believed that a Science Forum was meant to be for posting science based subject matter for discussion and learning.

Being currently employed as a Teacher or Professor of Science in the public schools and colleges ….. must really be a demeaning, unrewarding, thankless job …… given the fact that they are constantly being interrupted by two (2) or more students demanding that said teacher/instructor provide factual evidence to prove what he/she had just stated …… and to also cite a credible reference to a peer-approved published abstract that was authored by an Academically approved “expert” on the subject matter in question.

Teachers have earned the right to be trusted by their students, because they have done the hard work and have actually learned the subject.

If you want the same, try listening and maybe you'll learn something.

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Teachers have earned the right to be trusted by their students, because they have done the hard work and have actually learned the subject.

Oh my, my, ....... done the hard work, HUH?

So that must be why I was awarded a State Teaching Certificate (License), on the same day that I graduated from college, that certified me as being a Professional Teacher in/of Secondary Education Science curriculum (subjects).

...

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The 2nd commentary, HUH, ……. with no mention of the 1st commentary, HUH.

Bender, your emotional decision not to mention, recognize or discuss, ……. aka: averting your eyes and your mind to; …… the existence of, or any part or parcel of, my cited commentary titled “A View of How the Human Mind Works” …… is most probably a “normal” reaction that was “triggered” by one of your Inherited Survival Instincts …. which its intended purpose is to insure Survival of the Species, …….. or to be more exact, Survival of the Offspring (child) ….. which all females of the species inherit from their parent.

The female of the species inherits that particular “instinct” simply because she is the primary caregiver of her offspring, and when faced with a critical decision, .... will, more often than not, ..... make an emotional decision to protect the child, …. at all costs, ….. even injury or death of herself.

Thus said, ….. I have to assume that the contents of my cited commentary has apparently “scared the bejesus out of you” ….. and thus triggering your emotional decision to ……. “avert your eyes and your mind” to what you learned about yourself by reading it.

Damn scary stuff when one first begins to realize ....... "why they are what they are ..... and why they do the things that they do".

So, you are a psychoanalyst and able to unravel my id from the subtext of my posts?

Just curious: earlier you mentioned an aversion towards Freud. Why then do you use the exact same methods as Freud to come to a surprisingly similar conclusion (we are controlled by our subconsciousness)?

I didn't mention your first commentary for the same reason I don't care about Freud's stories.

I have to agree with Eise on the excessive use of dots (and HUH's and all the interruptions, etc...). Please use proper sentences like everybody else. I also think most people know you are referring to the number 2 when you write "two".

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I also think most people know you are referring to the number 2 when you write "two".

Bender, I've had major trouble with the "number 2" ... ever since someone bet me $100 that I could not write a sentence grammatically correct that stated .......... "There are three ??? in the English language" ....... with the grammatically correct "number 2" being placed in the sentence where the ??? are. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Bender, I've had major trouble with the "number 2" ... ever since someone bet me$100 that I could not write a sentence grammatically correct that stated .......... "There are three ??? in the English language" ....... with the grammatically correct "number 2" being placed in the sentence where the ??? are.

Do you mean you have a compulsive disorder that you cannot write a number without adding it in brackets? Otherwise, I don't understand what you are trying to imply here.

Edited by Bender

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Since we have no free will, what purpose does/did consciousness serve?

For the purpose of this topic, let us assume that free will does not exist. I do not believe in it, and I am not trying to debate its existence. And I am not the sharpest knife so don't hesitate to correct me if I am wrong about something. This is being asked purely from curiousity.

I have been very troubled recently, and I have been turning this idea around in my head over and over again. Doesn't the absence of free will (that is to say that all lifeforms are nothing more than calculating machines) make consciousness pointless? We are robots whose only purpose is to not die and have sex. Now, I realize that the social behavior of humans is a great survival mechanism. I am not saying that personalities are not beneficial to survival. What I am asking is why such a thing as consciousness is needed for someone to have a personality or feelings. Couldn't something have feelings and emotions without actually having consciousness. After all, feelings are just a physical process. We are all just here "for the ride" and are merely watching as these machines that we are trapped in go about life and attempt to have sex and not die (by proxy of many activities).

Why not remove the pointless spectator from each human. It doesn't seem like anything would change, since our true selves are cold computers acting without our permission. Yes, we as conscious entities feel things but that doesn't mean that the meat puppets we are inside of don't effectively pretend to feel the things as well. All that matters really is that another human experiences your behavior. The internal aspect is entirely unecessary.

Say that you are running an internet search. The search results you get would be there whether or not your search engine thought that it was choosing the results carefully. It would only think that it chose them. It is the the same way with humans.

I know that humans choose different things randomly, unlike computers, but that is only because we must deal with situations that are much much more complicated than running an internet search. We must attempt to answer problems for which there are no objective answers. Our brain sees the world as a bunch of numbers. Social interaction is reduced to a math problem. We are left to sit and say that we "should have done this" and we don't realize that "this" was never even a possibility. What is the point of regretting something that cannot be changed. I can understand that feeling sad about the outcome of something might be beneficial as it could show that you are in need and the group may help you, but why do you actually need to feel sad.

Now, we seek out things meant purely to sooth our conscious self. This has nothing to do with survival and is often self-destructive. It would seem that the thing called consciousness is so pointless to survival that it causes people to do things like substance abuse and suicide. Not only is consciousness not required for social behavior (it is done by the supercomputer behind your eyeballs and not by your superficial thoughts) but it also causes harm to the species.

Basically, my question is: What advantage could come from consciousness that would make our ancestors more likely to survive and procreate?

Could it be that consciousness was an unrelated side effect of something that was beneficial?

What type of free will are we talking about? When scientist talk about free will they are more to the point.

Are you saying people have no free will at all in every thing and nothing remotely to free will at all in anything.

Edited by nec209

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Bender, I've had major trouble with the "number 2" ... ever since someone bet me \$100 that I could not write a sentence grammatically correct that stated .......... "There are three ??? in the English language" ....... with the grammatically correct "number 2" being placed in the sentence where the ??? are.

Er, what?

"There are three 'two's in the English language"

That is the "grammatically correct number 2" in the sentence. It is the only way of writing the number two as a word. Although it is not a very sensible way to express the idea, it meets the (monstrously stupid) challenge.

Of course, if your friend meant "the grammatically correct representation of the three possible words that could go there" then I would go for something like: "There are three /tu:/s in the English language"

But I would be more likely to just tell the friend not to be such a dick and to write "There are three words pronounced the same as 'two' in the English language." And then ask him if he has stopped abusing little boys, yes or no.

But maybe your problem with number twos is more Freudian? (Just a little joke there, based on our mutual dislike of the great professor.)

Edited by Strange

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But maybe your problem with number twos is more Freudian?

Or maybe I'm suffering from an Oedipus Complex.

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This is a subject I nearly started a thread about a while back. And apologies, I've not read all the thread so might be repeating a bit. I find it difficult to understand that we have free will since I can't imagine where it comes from. OK, I know that's no argument but I also think no one has come up with any explanation how it arose.

My thinking goes like this. RNA/DNA came about by inevitable chemical reactions. It began to copy - by inevitable chemical reactions - and evolution set in. The reactions became more complex, and therefore the cells became more complex. Eventually we get multicellularity and nerve cells. Still all inevitable chemical reactions?? Then we get an animal that can make choices, for example to fight or flee a situation. Is this still the result of a highly complex set of inevitable chemical reactions? Without an explanation of how thoughts or consciousness work, don't we have to think that? If not, when did it change and how? Even assuming the existence of consciousness, surely it must have a purely chemical basis. So it's just a bit of an illusion really.

I think this kind of thinking is what some of the posts from a few days ago where alluding to.

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