On Sun, Mar 10, 2013  Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Most people would say that if some communication is gibberish that it
> does not refer to anything,
>

I would too.


> > not that what it refers to exists and doesn't exist.
>

No that's not what I'm saying, the phrase "dragons exist" or "God exists"
is not gibberish just wrong, and "free will" is not even wrong.  I'm saying
that  if "free will" doesn't exist and “free will” doesn't not exist then
that’s just another way of saying that "free will" is gibberish.

 > You don't understand what others are talking about, so they're crazy.
>

Politeness aside I have no hesitation whatsoever in saying that whoever
continually insists that X is not determined and X is not not determined is
a idiot speaking gibberish.

> What the hell are you talking about?? A action is teleological if it
>> happens for a reason, in particular a advance to>ward a goal. So a computer
>> acted in a teleological way when it moved to the next line in its program
>> because it was a advancement toward its goal of finding the billionth digit
>> of PI.
>>
>
> >No. The computer has no goal of its own.
>

Yes. When the computer reaches its goal we know because when it reaches the
billionth digit of PI the machine will stop.

> The actions of the electronic or mechanical structures are set into
> motion for human teleological purposes alone.
>

And the motion of your thumb on the joystick of the computer game you were
playing were sent into motion by the computer which will stop when it
reaches its goal, the end of the game.

>> everybody is powerless to stop the laws of physics and because the only
>> legitimate reason for punishing anybody for anything is to prevent similar
>> atrocities from happening in the future.
>>
>
> > No, that would only make sense if people had control of their own
> actions independently of your idea of physics.
>

Let's talk about those who “had control of their own actions” and could
have done otherwise but chose not to and decided to commit murder. There
are only 2 possibilities:

1) They chose to murder for a reason (bad genes or a bad environment or
both)
2) They chose to murder for NO reason (it was random)

So if we should not punish people who had no “control of their own actions”
then we should not punish anybody anytime for anything. And that of course
would destroy society, therefore the only logical conclusion is that the
entire concept of a "moral agent" is meaningless and brings nothing but
chaos to the legal system. And so everybody should be responsible for their
actions.

> Punishing stones who roll down a hill is not going to prevent similar
> rollings from happening in the future.
>

True, and that's why I don't advocate punishing stones. Once the stones
have reached the bottom of the hill they won't fall down it again unless
somebody deliberately places them at the top again, and punishing the
stones (breaking them into smaller stones?) will not deter other stones
from falling down the hill. So I conclude that human murderers behave in a
more complex manner than stones rolling down a hill. Living things nearly
always behave in a more complex way than non life although with computers
that is becoming less true every day.

> You do understand this right?
>

No I do not. I'm not interested in the internal state of criminals, I'm
only interested in there external behavior; perhaps he thought he was
catching butterflies when the maniac chopped me up with a ax but that
doesn't make me any less dead, and if he was that disconnected with reality
that makes him a very very dangerous man and very likely to kill again
either in prison (or a mental hospital) or on the streets. And there is a
practical consideration too, a jury has a hard enough job figuring out what
actually happened in a criminal case, to demand that they also figure out
what thoughts were dancing around the head of the defendant at the time of
the incident is asking too much and turns the law into a mockery.

 >> monsters cannot be ignored, they need to be dealt with
>>
>
> > Why? Monsters are just physics. Nothing needs to be dealt with unless we
> have free will.
>

Hurricanes are just physics too but you’d be a fool, and probably a dead
fool if you refused to deal with them. The only legitimate point of
punishment is to prevent the person from performing the same evil act again
and to deter others from doing something similar. I don't deny that there
can be other reasons, like everyone else I am not completely free from
sadistic thoughts that come from the reptilian parts of my brain, but I am
not proud of such impulses and will not defend them. Some seem to think we
should inflict pain on evildoers just for the sake of pain, that if someone
got pleasure in a evil way we should cause him pain to somehow balance the
ethical books. I think that is nonsense and such a policy can only increase
the net unhappiness in the world.

  John K Clark

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