How do you weigh in on the free will/fate debate?
The short of it is that, scientifically-speaking, one does, yet also does not, have free will.
Your choice to eat a bagel instead of toast this morning was a genuine choice made by you with the aid of nothing else. However, you are how your brain is wired up, so in order for you to even think about choosing to eat that bagel, the neural pathway that allows that choice must first be present.
On the other hand, if the pathway doesn’t exist, it can be made to exist over time by the neurons physically building up that pathway (say, by being tempted to try a bagel by a friend).
Another angle is from the outside of the Universe looking in. From outside the Universe, one could theoretically willingly move along the time line as they please, and so would be able to determine exactly what choice you made before you made it. And unless they told you beforehand of this, you’d be none the wiser.
Yet another is quantum mechanical. You actually made both choices simultaneously – in separate yet parallel Universes. In this Universe, you chose a bagel, but in another, you chose the usual toast. Not only that, but you in fact made every conceivable choice possible for breakfast – eggs, a muffin, some fruit, a combination of the above..
In an alternate Universe, you made every single one of them at least once. Thus, in this case, you also could be said to have no free will, but unless you were to actually be cognizant of this, again you’d be none the wiser.
How do you determine right from wrong?
Right is what harms nobody in its action, whereas wrong is what causes some kind of harm. Simple as that.
Are you a rationalist or empiricist or both? (If you don’t know these terms, don’t worry about it. Or just Google ‘em.)
I care only for the truth, however it shows itself to me. I follow the truth wherever it leads me.
How would you solve the MIND /body problem? (Clue: You can reduce things to one or the other, or…actually solve the problem. Good luck.)
The material and immaterial are merely two sides of the same coin, as proven by the most famous equation on Earth.
E = mc^2 effectively says that mass and energy are the same thing, and that the conversion of one into the other is done by the photon (which itself is matter).
According to George Green (Google him..), we have an immaterial part to us that survives our death, which apparently has a mass of about 22 grams. The fact that it can be immaterial yet have mass proves this relation.
Thus the duality between mind and matter technically doesn’t exist, because they’re ultimately comprised of the same thing.
Does God exist?
No supernatural beings of any form can exist in a natural universe, nor outside of it. However, I believe we have been visited many times in the past by advanced beings.
We saw these beings as gods because of their extremely advanced technology, but in reality they are like the Goa’uld of Stargate – false-gods.
‘High technology is indistinguishable from magic’, said one wise person once…
If God exists, does that mean there is life after death?
There doesn’t need to be a god for there to be life after death.
We could be living in a Matrix-like simulation (scientifically likely at this point, given what we’re finding about the Universe via Quantum Mechanics), where we just get transferred over into another reality. That’s the only scenario I can think of, though, and it also happens to jive with Green’s telling of a 22-gram soul…
What is a soul? Does it exist?
According to George Green, it does, and it weighs 22 grams. I’d love to find out for myself if that’s true, but it would mean doing the experiment conducted in Dan Brown’s book The Lost Symbol to ultimately prove it so.
Do dogs have souls?
You’d have to kill the dog in a vacuum chamber attached to a scale in order to find out…
What about parameciums?
Same as with the dog…
What is Justice?
Justice is a figment of human imagination, as a result of us making up laws apart from those that are inherent to the natural world that police themselves. Justice, so-to-speak, is carried out when the disruption of the balance of the natural laws (such as the Golden Rule, or the Non-aggression Principle) is restored – not necessarily needing to result in the punishment of the one responsible for the disruption (there may be no one to blame).
What is Love?
Love is a complex series of organic chemical reactions carried out inside the one in the middle of feeling it. The chemical largely responsible for love is Oxytocin. It’s powerful as it is because it developed in order to overcome the otherwise fear in our ancestors of mating (sex is usually long and arduous and even painful sometimes).
What is happiness?
Happiness is the name we give to the state in which one’s entire body is as in-balance chemically as can be. If there is a chemical imbalance somewhere in one’s body, then it results in a degree of unhappiness.
What is courage?
Courage is being able to do something in spite of the fear against wanting to do it.
Does happiness factor into ethics? (In other words, does being a good person mean being a happy person?)
If one is maintaining the balances of nature, not disrupting them, then they are said to be Good. Thus, since balance is a requirement of happiness, one cannot be Bad yet happy (though one can be Good yet unhappy).
What is the purpose of art?
Art is a manifestation of imagination, thus one needs imagination in order to make art. As with any trait borne from imagination, it on first glance appears to have absolutely no biological advantage whatsoever – it contributes in no way to ensuring food ends up on tables or that babies are born and raised.
Hence the reason why tyrannical regimes try to eliminate all forms of the expression of imagination – slaves aren’t allowed to have any free time to themselves.
Thus is the reason, ultimately, why imagination (and thus art, literature, and religion) is so advantageous for us humans. Its expression in enough people all the time keeps tyrants at bay.
There you are, Diotima. Hope this helps.
**Anyone else want to weight in? Feel free to comment on her post! (or mine, whatever…)
Re: What’s Your Philosophy?