Request for sympathy; frustrated with Dark Side

by RolfAndreassen1 min read17th Oct 20125 comments


Personal Blog

It is really quite frustrating to discuss the intersection of physics and free will with a man who is capable of posting this as his opinion:

I regard atomic motions as determined, that is, as exactly defined to an infinite degree of precision, by the laws of physics, with nothing left over or left out of the explanation, and nothing else to explain.

and then, a day later, posts this as summing up mine:

[His] axiom that the motions of atoms are determined by and only by that description of non-deliberate physical reactions to outside forces called physics. [...] This axiom is not just false, it is obviously, outrageously false.


AAAGH! *Make up your damned mind, man!*

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Sympathy granted.

Not sure if I want to encourage this as a style of post, because there is a great big wide internet out there and most of it is full of people who are wrong. This was funny as a one of, but in the future I'd put it in the open thread.

It is really quite frustrating to discuss the intersection of physics and free will with a man who is capable of posting this (...)

So... Don't?

What, you cannot empathize with someone holding two (or more) contradictory opinions on the same subject?

I can concieve ways that those two statements can be held semi-coherently.

It can be construed as conflict between autonomy and outside determinism. That is whether electrons have internal mechanisms or laws of physics or whether all those are only the expression of the it's environment (think nature vs nurture).

The issue can also be whether happenings are deliberate or not. The decision making process is part of the great physical machine so there is causal interaction with the decision and most atoms.

Also describing laws of physics determining the qualities of something mental works too. But then mental is defined so strictly that it won't allow the usual loose smuggling of arbitrary behaviours. But being deterministic doesn't neccesarily imply what is the underlying metaphysics.

Just because words have meanings one can't assume that others have the "correct" or "conventional" meanings. Similar kinds of levers might connect to very different machinery. It seems like the discussion might have been more about both trying to convince the other of their own view. With being dilligent on whether your own beliefs on the meanings of words match that of the other side would make you better understand what caused the apparent contradiction. Cursing the inadequateness of others is not so productive a reaction, figuring out why expectations where not met usually provides knowledge.

Don't really know if you have my sympathy more than the other side.