On 11 Mar 2010, at 23:14, Brent Meeker wrote:
On 3/11/2010 1:56 PM, m.a. wrote:
----- Original Message -----
From: Brent Meeker
Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2010 4:38 PM
Subject: Re: Free will: Wrong entry.
On 3/11/2010 1:26 PM, m.a. wrote:
Bruno and John,
The confusion is my fault. I copied the
URL from a Kurzweil page heading when I should have gone to the
article itself, so the wrong feature appeared. This is the one I
requested comments about:
PhysOrg.com) -- When biologist Anthony Cashmore claims that the
concept of free will is an illusion, he's not breaking any new
ground. At least as far back as the ancient Greeks, people have
wondered how humans seem to have the ability to make their own
personal decisions in a manner lacking any causal component other
than their desire to "will" something. But Cashmore, Professor of
Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, says that many
biologists today still cling to the idea of free will, and reject
the idea that we are simply conscious machines, completely
controlled by a combination of our chemistry and external
To put it simply, free will just doesn’t fit with how the physical
world works. Cashmore compares a belief in free will to an earlier
belief in vitalism - the belief that there are forces governing
the biological world that are distinct from those governing the
physical world. Vitalism was discarded more than 100 years ago,
being replaced with evidence that biological systems obey the laws
of chemistry and physics, not special biological laws for living
things.“I would like to convince biologists that a belief in free
will is nothing other than a continuing belief in vitalism (or, as
I say, a belief in magic),” Cashmore told PhysOrg.com.
There seems to be an evolutionary rightness and inevitability to
the idea that free will is taking its place as just another
illusion like vitalism, religion, aether, absolute time and space,
geocentric universe, single-galaxy universe and so on. But I think
people will have an even tougher time dealing with the
implications of strict determinism. It's an idea that could tear
through the entire fabric of society even though acceptance
needn't change one's behavior in the slightest respect. marty a.
But it's certainly not a deterministic universe.
It looks like Cashmore would disagree about that.See above:
"completely controlled by a combination of our chemistry and
external environmental forces."
Why would he? Being controlled by chemistry doesn't mean it's
deterministic. Cashmore must know that chemistry is described by
Quantum mechanics is local and deterministic, and explains why it
seems indeterministic to the 99,9999...% of the observers.
Comp is better, because it has much less assumption (elementary
arithmetic, mainly), and explains both the qunat and the qualia, and
the appearance of a gap between them.
And Tononi's paper is 98% coherent with comp. Only its ending
conclusion on Mary is "magical" ...
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-l...@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at