Coping with Determinism

PSI Blog 20180425 Coping with Determinism

From Jesse Witwer:


I think it has become pretty clear to me, both from my own reaction and from that of others that I have observed is that the root cause of rejection of the full assumptions of science is the rejection of Determinism.

A full adoption of the assumptions of science logically removes the concept of "Free Will". This was an absolutely terrifying moment for me. You know that feeling when you are dropping in a ride (free fall). This is exactly what I felt. But you have to conclude it.

The default assumption even of people immersed in logic and deterministic ventures is still Specific Determinism. For example, Stefan Molyneau who has done great amounts of research into statistical cause and effects of child raising methods and outcomes still clings dearly at the last moment to "Free Will".

Everybody's ego forces them to believe that they have "Free Will", but in fact, that is an illusion. We are all products of the macrocosm. We are given eyes that can detect vibrations in the Aether. We are given ears that can detect vibrations in Baryonic matter. We are given brains that store information from all of our senses and that grow and create synapses that facilitate our responses to other phenomena.

We literally do not have "Free Will". Information coming from the macrocosm can influence us and change the structures of our brain that will in the future make us react differently (learning) but we still are subject to reacting to the macrocosm in a manner defined by our previous interactions with it.

I still struggle with it greatly. It's easier not to think about it. It is very disquieting.

[GB: Jesse:

Welcome to determinism and its foundational assumption that there are physical causes for all effects. I went through the same logical process back in 1977. As you say, that realization is quite a shock. It is like the epiphany that agnostics go through when they are “born again” as christians. For me, the next step was a sense of fatalism (overemphasis on the macrocosm).That tended to remove any remaining remnants of solipsism that I might have had (overemphasis on the microcosm). My geologist friend's comment that "We are all just glorified coke machines." was instrumental. I began to think of the commuters going to work in the City as though they were ants or puppets driven by their environment. Of course, univironmental determinism (the universal mechanism of evolution in which what happens to a portion of the universe is determined by the infinite matter in motion within and without) makes us an integral part of the Infinite Universe. Like everything else, we are infinitely complicated, though completely subject to univironmental determinism (UD). Good thing too, because with UD, we can make some decent predictions about the universe that incidentally might be useful for continuing our existence and possibly making us happier for a few extra microseconds.

Your epiphany indicates that you really understand UD. My own fatalism lasted beyond 1978 when I was entertaining "environmental determinism" and still a believer in the Big Bang Theory. Somehow, the overemphasis on the “environmental” part of that concept did not sit well with me despite my infatuation with B.F. Skinner’s “behaviorism.” I was beginning to draw away from my initial fatalism. It didn't go away completely until my friend Elizabeth and I came up with a word for what I thought was really happening: "univironmental." This realization that all occurrences were the interactions between the insides and outsides of things eventually put the kibosh on the Big Bang Theory. Nothing, including the imagined finite universe of the Big Bang could possibly exist without its environment or its “macrocosm,” as I was later to call it. So what if this way of looking at things meant that everything was natural? So what if there was no freewill? The final solution was to suck it up and get back to work changing the world.] 


George Coyne said...

The brain is subject to the same determinism as any other structure. Its desires (or will) reflect the influences it has been subjected to. These influences date back to the entire evolutionary history of the brain for millions of years. There is no immaterial entity or “self” outside of the brain that is instructing it on what action to perform. The brain does not “decide” what to desire, hence there is no freedom in what is termed “will.”

joogabah said...

Can linguistic determinants be reduced to the motion of matter, or does human subjectivity create an emergent, superordinate domain of causation? Is this what is confused with "free will" - because it provides a secondary, inherited information system (words rather than DNA) that is absent in all other species? Everything is still determined, but in this human context it is largely determined by ideas, instead of biological processes, chemical reactions and the physical motion of matter.

Glenn Borchardt said...

Thanks so much for the comment. I will answer in PSI Blog 20180523.