On 10 Aug 2012, at 00:48, Russell Standish wrote:

On Wed, Aug 08, 2012 at 12:33:47PM -0400, John Clark wrote:
On Tue, Aug 7, 2012  Russell Standish <li...@hpcoders.com.au> wrote:


I do claim to know what I mean by "free will",


Well maybe you do know what free will means but the trouble is you are unable to communicate that understanding to any of your fellow human beings and certainly not to me. That's the trouble with mystical experiences, even if they really do give you a deeper understanding of the world and are not just caused by indigestion, that new understanding helps only you and nobody else. I've never had a mystical experience but if I ever do I intend
to keep quiet about it for that very reason.

The meaning I use for free will has nothing to do with mysticism. I
spend several pages on free will in my book, and I can sum it up by
the statement that "Free will is the ability to do something stupid".

It is very close to the definition of some christians, where free-will is the ability to do something bad (like killing a child for an example). The notion of hell has been plausibly invented by fear of human free- will.

Bruno






I also note that there tends to be no agreement on the term,


I will agree on any meaning of the term provided it is self consistent and non-circular and provided you don't complain when I use nothing but that definition and pure logic to take you to places you may not want to go,
like endowing Roulette Wheels with free will.


I'd like to see you do that. Roulette wheels do what they do, they
never do anything different.


I believe in Spinoza's god.


I don't. When somebody says "I believe in Spinoza's god" it just means there is so much mystery complexity and beauty in the universe that it causes me to feel a sense of awe. I'm awed by the universe too but that is so many light years away from the original meaning of "God" that I believe both Spinoza and Einstein blundered in using the same word for both very different things; it just invites misunderstanding, it virtually begs for
it.

Fair comment. I don't feel the need to insist on this, which is why to
a regular Christian, I will just say I'm an atheist.


I think the problem is that even many hardcore atheists have a residual feeling that if you don't believe in something called G-O-D then you're somehow a morally bad person, so they redefine the word "God" in such a way
as to make it impossible for anyone to disbelieve in it.

Did you want to take a survey?  I, for one, have no such attachment to
the word God. "Spinoza'a god" is just a label for an idea - I would be
just as happy to use the label Tao, as it seems to describe pretty
much the same thing.

It has nothing to do with morals.

For some reason I
just don't have as much affection for that particular word as most people, perhaps because no other word has caused more human misery or ignorance.

 John K Clark

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Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
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University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au
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