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Old 02-01-2008, 04:08 PM   #1
skribb
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The Notion of Free Will Makes Humans More Honest

This is quite saddening:
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The psychologists had previously primed the participants to have their beliefs in free will bolstered or reduced by having them read statements supporting a deterministic stance of human behavior. And the results were just as robust. As reported in the January issue of Psychological Science, this study shows that those with a stronger belief in their own free will were less apt to steal money than were those with a weakened belief.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0129125354.htm

It's funny that an outright lie makes people more honest. Fills me with dread and anxiety. How about you?
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Old 02-01-2008, 06:01 PM   #2
WITHTEETH
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Gnost you made me less honest!

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Old 02-01-2008, 08:48 PM   #3
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skribb wrote View Post
This is quite saddening:


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0129125354.htm

It's funny that an outright lie makes people more honest. Fills me with dread and anxiety. How about you?

What if these people are lying?

The Leprechauns do not forbid the drawing of Their images, as long as we color within the lines. ~ Ghoulslime H Christ, Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Masturbator
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Old 02-01-2008, 09:02 PM   #4
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WITHTEETH wrote View Post
Gnost you made me less honest!




Thanks for the compliment!!

However, I highly doubt you've been out there kicking old ladies in the vagina and stealing their purses since ADT and I double teamed you in that thread!

I may have to look this paper up and see what exactly the researchers did to manipulate belief. The atheist scientists I know are FAR MORE ethical than the majority of asslcowns out there. And I don't believe a person's philosophical outlook on something as complicated as the free-will vs determinism belief system can be changed with a few minutes of explanation. Look how long it took us to convince you of the logic!!! ANd you're already atheist and smarter than the average smart!

I think the results occurred for a different reason than the authors suggest, but I'll have to see their methods first. I suspect that the participants actually may have experienced a mood change rather thana change of personal philosophy. They got all bummed out or pissed off and that made them act in more oppositional ways.
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Old 02-02-2008, 02:38 AM   #5
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The other possibility is a feeling of diminished responsibility. Ignoring the free-will determinism problem, when we go about our daily lives we feel that we are responsible for our actions. Without this responsibility it is a lot easier to rationalise things.

The scary thing is that all this "god has a plan" or "you can be forgiven" stuff probably has the same effect. I wonder if god botherers are more likely to steal? It would probably only be a subset, but I'm betting you could spot that subset with a standardised test.
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Old 02-02-2008, 11:39 AM   #6
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The other possibility is a feeling of diminished responsibility. Ignoring the free-will determinism problem, when we go about our daily lives we feel that we are responsible for our actions. Without this responsibility it is a lot easier to rationalise things.

The scary thing is that all this "god has a plan" or "you can be forgiven" stuff probably has the same effect. I wonder if god botherers are more likely to steal? It would probably only be a subset, but I'm betting you could spot that subset with a standardised test.

Good point. However the IV conditions were manipulated, I bet the participants' behavioral differences were not the result of a change in philosophical perspective, but more likely a mood or attitude effect.

People tend to get defensive when their fondest ideals are challenged. Defensiveness can be expressed in a lot of ways.
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Old 02-13-2008, 12:05 AM   #7
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What's equally as scary for me is for people to wrongly think they don't have free will! Granted that much of what happens in our lives is a result external influences beyond our control, in the end we still make choices and hence have free will to a certain degree.
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Old 02-13-2008, 04:19 AM   #8
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Define free will. An illusory free will exists, that is foolish to deny. True free will does NOT exist.

What is free will? Is it 'choice'? What is 'choice'? Is it affected by desires? What are desires? Are they perhaps coming from your brain? What is the brain? An organic complex robot?
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:22 PM   #9
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HobbesJ wrote View Post
What's equally as scary for me is for people to wrongly think they don't have free will! Granted that much of what happens in our lives is a result external influences beyond our control, in the end we still make choices and hence have free will to a certain degree.

You sir, are no atheist at all.
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:46 PM   #10
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Define free will. An illusory free will exists, that is foolish to deny. True free will does NOT exist.

What is free will? Is it 'choice'? What is 'choice'? Is it affected by desires? What are desires? Are they perhaps coming from your brain? What is the brain? An organic complex robot?
No True Scotsman fallacy. Free will is the abilty for one to make a choice devoid of external influence like choosing to commit suicide on your own accord without someone putting a gun to your head and forcing you to. A choice exists regardless that our desires influence them; we may not be 100% free all the time, but there is still choice to be made. I haven't read much into this, though, but I do reject hard determinism. Actually, I think in a discussion with a freind he labled me a compatibilist. Looking at it now, it seems accurate.
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Old 02-13-2008, 10:34 PM   #11
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Free will is simply the will to be free while having the illusion that we are, while the will to be free rest in our controlling genes. We have a natural determinism to be Free of delusion inducing religious psychosis, a battle we must have the rest of our lives, subconsciously knowing that it is an embedded neurological determinism that has been dictated by our genes. There is not escaping the illusory free will of our genetic make up which determines the self.

Christians and other folks infected with delusional beliefs think and reason like schizophrenics or temporal lobe epileptics. Their morality is dictated by an invisible friend called Jesus.
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Old 02-13-2008, 10:49 PM   #12
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Free will is simply the will to be free while having the illusion that we are, while the will to be free rest in our controlling genes. We have a natural determinism to be Free of delusion inducing religious psychosis, a battle we must have the rest of our lives, subconsciously knowing that it is an embedded neurological determinism that has been dictated by our genes. There is not escaping the illusory free will of our genetic make up which determines the self.
I suppose I ay be defining free will differently. What I mean to say is that free will is any act that is free from the influence of other persons. It's simpler to me. If that's not free will then please tell me the name for what I'm describing.
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Old 02-14-2008, 04:11 AM   #13
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No True Scotsman fallacy.
I think you've misunderstood that fallacy.

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HobbesJ wrote View Post
I suppose I ay be defining free will differently. What I mean to say is that free will is any act that is free from the influence of other persons. It's simpler to me. If that's not free will then please tell me the name for what I'm describing.
If that's how you define free will, then I shall say it exists. I don't think there's a name for that particular definition however.

It all depends on how profound you wish to get. There are different layers for most subjects. On the physiological layer, free will does NOT exist. Think of the influence of nicotine for example. Almost impossible to quit using, no matter how much you want to (outdated food stamp for reference). How is that free will?
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Old 02-14-2008, 08:00 PM   #14
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HobbesJ wrote View Post
No True Scotsman fallacy. Free will is the abilty for one to make a choice devoid of external influence like choosing to commit suicide on your own accord without someone putting a gun to your head and forcing you to. A choice exists regardless that our desires influence them; we may not be 100% free all the time, but there is still choice to be made. I haven't read much into this, though, but I do reject hard determinism. Actually, I think in a discussion with a freind he labled me a compatibilist. Looking at it now, it seems accurate.
We can see that some of our choices can be made contrary to outside influences, but they are no more free if the inside effects are also deterministic.

Suppose you intend to press the "A" key and your finger pushes the "Z" key next door instead. That isn't what most people would call free choice, an accident more likely. It is, however, out of the control of your intentions and can be seen to be the mechanical firing of various nerves in a chain that does not have your intentional choices.

We can use this identification of non-volitional or choice-less nerve chains to focus on and isolate that part of the brain where uncaused choices are made. Turns out that, after the chemically and electrically driven parts of the chain are removed, there is nothing left of your original free decision to hit the "A" key.

If you can say "I chose to hit the 'A' key because it was the beginning of the word 'Aardvark'" and then "I chose to type 'Aardvark' because that is the word that popped into my head as an example of strange spellings" and "I wanted to make a point about the difficulties in using English due to spelling anomalies" and "I was responding to someone's suggestion that my spelling in my posts was of an inferior grade", then you can see a causal and deterministic chain all the way out to that external stimulus.

I have searched and have been unable to find a choice I have made or intended to make that wasn't the product of such a chain of internal and external causation. Certainly my inadequacy to find it does not prove that an uncaused choice does not exist or is impossible. It does not encourage me to believe in free will, though.

Bringing in a random element to the chain of causes does not provide the needed uncaused element. In fact randomness would make the situation worse since it is certain, by definition, that the random effect is not a result of free choice. Put more simply (?) we can decide "freely" to choose based on a coin toss but that would be explicitly removing the freedom from the resulting decisions.

I claim, from my observations so far, that there is a "why" to every apparently free choice we make and that "why" is the very causality that prevents the choice from really being free.

"Those who most loudly proclaim their honesty are least likely to possess it."
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Old 02-14-2008, 08:20 PM   #15
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I suppose I ay be defining free will differently. What I mean to say is that free will is any act that is free from the influence of other persons. It's simpler to me. If that's not free will then please tell me the name for what I'm describing.
If the internal effects of your desires and current knowledge and tendencies and psychology all go into your choices that are independent, as you say, of influences from other people (such isolation has yet to be shown), that still leaves you and me as nothing more than complex wind-up toys with the mental quirk of thinking that we are not mechanisms.

That single, absolutely necessary, fallacious belief/feeling has many effects beyond our own mental functioning. It enables us to believe in things like responsibility and punishment and reward and duty and debt, to name just a few. To function, we must believe that somehow, somewhere there has to be a spark that is our essence and that can, if it chooses, for no reason at all, act against its own knowledge of good and evil. It can be quite unsettling to see that there is no such spark but we have to delude ourselves in order to take our next breath.

"Those who most loudly proclaim their honesty are least likely to possess it."
"Atheism: rejecting all absurdity." S.H.
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