Author Topic: Episode #697  (Read 3543 times)

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Online CarbShark

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Re: Episode #697
« Reply #45 on: November 20, 2018, 10:08:53 AM »
So you bring up quantum mechanics to dismiss it as a factor in free will?


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Offline Devin Bray

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Re: Episode #697
« Reply #46 on: November 20, 2018, 11:14:47 AM »
So you bring up quantum mechanics to dismiss it as a factor in free will?


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We’re getting much closer to understanding each other here, so that’s good.  That was part of my aim, yes.  My other aim was to, (as I’ve said before,) draw attention to the underappreciated fact that “particle-talk” is a kind of convenient metaphor, which lends support to non local hidden variable theories (as opposed to the Copenhagen interpretation and the Everett Many-Worlds interpretation.)

The next step is to say that nonlocal hidden variable theories also undermine an overly simplistic picture of causation that motivates the kind of “hard determinism” someone like Sam Harris pushes when he says “science shows we have no free will.”  Science doesn’t show us either that free will exists OR that it’s impossible.  It just shows indeterminism and “randomness” are probably not a factor.  We now need to think carefully about what it would mean to say a deterministic system could be said to have greater or lesser “degrees of freedom” or “control of itself,” even once we chuck indeterminism as a solution.  What’s happening differently when you exert the extra “willpower,” whatever that is, to go to the gym, as opposed to wanting to go, but failing to exert the “willpower” and sitting on your couch instead?

How do we cash out, in scientific terms, the causal difference taking place when you give that extra push, with effort, to change your habits, as opposed to staying in them?  What’s the difference that makes a difference?
« Last Edit: November 20, 2018, 11:26:02 AM by Devin Bray »

Online CarbShark

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Re: Episode #697
« Reply #47 on: November 20, 2018, 01:18:45 PM »
So you bring up quantum mechanics to dismiss it as a factor in free will?


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We’re getting much closer to understanding each other here, so that’s good.  That was part of my aim, yes.  My other aim was to, (as I’ve said before,) draw attention to the underappreciated fact that “particle-talk” is a kind of convenient metaphor, which lends support to non local hidden variable theories (as opposed to the Copenhagen interpretation and the Everett Many-Worlds interpretation.)

The next step is to say that nonlocal hidden variable theories also undermine an overly simplistic picture of causation that motivates the kind of “hard determinism” someone like Sam Harris pushes when he says “science shows we have no free will.”  Science doesn’t show us either that free will exists OR that it’s impossible.  It just shows indeterminism and “randomness” are probably not a factor.  We now need to think carefully about what it would mean to say a deterministic system could be said to have greater or lesser “degrees of freedom” or “control of itself,” even once we chuck indeterminism as a solution.  What’s happening differently when you exert the extra “willpower,” whatever that is, to go to the gym, as opposed to wanting to go, but failing to exert the “willpower” and sitting on your couch instead?

How do we cash out, in scientific terms, the causal difference taking place when you give that extra push, with effort, to change your habits, as opposed to staying in them?  What’s the difference that makes a difference?

First, none of that was clear in the podcast. And I agree with Latinist that sounded very much like you were using quantum jargon to peddle a questionable theory.

Second, if I understand you correctly (which I may not) you're basically raising but not quite dismissing a "god in the gaps" argument with the gap being Quantum Mechanics.
and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

I'm not a doctor, I'm just a guy who has done a ton of research into diet and nutrition.

Online CarbShark

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Re: Episode #697
« Reply #48 on: November 20, 2018, 01:22:44 PM »
Am I the only one who sees this as a fundamental issue with the integrity of the podcast?

Yes.

So how much does a seat on the panel for an episode cost?

Maybe I could buy one and join the panel to talk about Diet and Nutrition and the alternate hypothesis for an hour.

(I know they'd have other "topics" but I could bend any discussion around)

That sounds like fun!

/sarcasm
and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

I'm not a doctor, I'm just a guy who has done a ton of research into diet and nutrition.

Offline stands2reason

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Re: Episode #697
« Reply #49 on: November 20, 2018, 01:34:46 PM »
Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the War Room!

Offline PSXer

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Re: Episode #697
« Reply #50 on: November 20, 2018, 02:26:59 PM »
It's not like this is the first time that someone paid to be on the podcast. #290 had Dr. Ray Greek who won the auction at TAM. I'm sure there are others.

Offline Devin Bray

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Re: Episode #697
« Reply #51 on: November 20, 2018, 02:41:29 PM »
So you bring up quantum mechanics to dismiss it as a factor in free will?


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We’re getting much closer to understanding each other here, so that’s good.  That was part of my aim, yes.  My other aim was to, (as I’ve said before,) draw attention to the underappreciated fact that “particle-talk” is a kind of convenient metaphor, which lends support to non local hidden variable theories (as opposed to the Copenhagen interpretation and the Everett Many-Worlds interpretation.)

The next step is to say that nonlocal hidden variable theories also undermine an overly simplistic picture of causation that motivates the kind of “hard determinism” someone like Sam Harris pushes when he says “science shows we have no free will.”  Science doesn’t show us either that free will exists OR that it’s impossible.  It just shows indeterminism and “randomness” are probably not a factor.  We now need to think carefully about what it would mean to say a deterministic system could be said to have greater or lesser “degrees of freedom” or “control of itself,” even once we chuck indeterminism as a solution.  What’s happening differently when you exert the extra “willpower,” whatever that is, to go to the gym, as opposed to wanting to go, but failing to exert the “willpower” and sitting on your couch instead?

How do we cash out, in scientific terms, the causal difference taking place when you give that extra push, with effort, to change your habits, as opposed to staying in them?  What’s the difference that makes a difference?

First, none of that was clear in the podcast. And I agree with Latinist that sounded very much like you were using quantum jargon to peddle a questionable theory.

Second, if I understand you correctly (which I may not) you're basically raising but not quite dismissing a "god in the gaps" argument with the gap being Quantum Mechanics.

No gaps, no gods, no radical freedom, no indeterminism, no magic, nothing relevant to free will in QM.  I don’t know how much clearer I can say it.  Maybe it’s the loaded term “free will” you object to?  I propose in my thesis we stress the terms “self control” and “consciously guided behavior” more.  Would that help?

Read some Dennett!  He's a well-respected skeptic and atheist, one of the "Four Horsemen," and his position is extremely similar to mine, motivated by similar (but not identical) concerns.  Maybe he can help you to understand what I haven't been able to help you to understand.  I believe I've explained myself pretty clearly at this point, so if we're just going right back to "you're saying QM gives us radical freedom," I think I have to accept that you are not making the attempt to read what I'm saying, and I should write off the conversation as a lost cause. 

It's interesting that you seem so dead-set on the idea that science forbids us from talking about higher-order control mechanisms in the nervous system that could help us unpack what "willing" and "deliberating" amount to, neurobiologically.  I'm not sure what about that should raise red flags.

Here's a good introductory lecture, certainly explaining things better than I did, or perhaps currently can:

« Last Edit: November 20, 2018, 05:18:18 PM by Devin Bray »

Online CarbShark

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Re: Episode #697
« Reply #52 on: November 20, 2018, 02:46:44 PM »
OK, I'm out.
and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

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Offline mabell_yah

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Re: Episode #697
« Reply #53 on: November 20, 2018, 05:29:58 PM »
Am I the only one who sees this as a fundamental issue with the integrity of the podcast?

Yes.

So how much does a seat on the panel for an episode cost?

Maybe I could buy one and join the panel to talk about Diet and Nutrition and the alternate hypothesis for an hour.

(I know they'd have other "topics" but I could bend any discussion around)

That sounds like fun!

/sarcasm

I don't have a problem with offering a guest rogue spot to high-level patrons (or auction winners). I could fantasize about doing so one day. However, such guests should meet certain requirements for skeptical rigor, just as advertisers do. Probably more so as they are integrated into the content of the show and should be expected to bring something to the table. In that regard, I think that Dr. Bray acquitted himself quite well.

Offline DevoutCatalyst

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Re: Episode #697
« Reply #54 on: November 20, 2018, 05:39:01 PM »
However, such guests should meet certain requirements for skeptical rigor, just as advertisers do.
Which advertisers display skeptical rigor?

Online The Latinist

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Re: Episode #697
« Reply #55 on: November 20, 2018, 06:17:12 PM »
Don’t have time to respond in full yet, but I would point out that Mr. Smith does not have a doctorate as people keep suggesting (and, I’ll note, he doesn’t bother correcting). He also claims that he is a professor, but the UNR website lists him as “letter of appointment faculty,” a category of teacher which is at most colleges and universities in the U.S. called a lecturer or maybe adjunct faculty.  He is not a professor.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2018, 06:28:39 PM by The Latinist »
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Online CarbShark

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Re: Episode #697
« Reply #56 on: November 20, 2018, 06:34:03 PM »
Don’t have time to respond in full yet, but I would point out that Mr. Smith does not have a doctorate as people keep suggesting (and, I’ll note, he doesn’t bother correcting). He also claims that he is a professor, but the UNR website lists him as “letter of appointment faculty,” a category of teacher which is at most colleges and universities in the U.S. called a lecturer or maybe adjunct faculty.  He is not a professor.

Mr. Smith?
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Offline swan

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Re: Episode #697
« Reply #57 on: November 20, 2018, 06:50:51 PM »
Devin Bray, special thanks for doing very well as a guest Rogue – and giving extra support to the SGU at the same time. I don't quite comprehend all of your discussion (because Snowball [nee Snuffles] locked the battery cover on my helmet), but hopefully my perception of what I think I learned is close to what was intended. I do know that the word "metaphysics" has a bad connotation to many people, so it was also a good reminder for me to separate wider terms from how they are used or misused – like how some of my friends profess a hatred for all "skeptics" because a few rough-edged people on YouTube call themselves skeptics.

Along the same vein, it seems too many people don't understand why the study of philosophy is useful and necessary. As much as "science" gets kicked around sometimes, too many people use "philosophy" as nothing more than the punchline of a joke that everyone laughs at even though no one gets it.

Then again, maybe I'm projecting because *I* had no clue for the first thirty-plus years of my life.

By the way, even though I understand some very real concerns that these discussions can be misapplied to promote pseudoscience, I personally never got the impression that you were promoting anything of the kind. I do agree with the need to be careful so that folks like Dr. Oz don't try to contrive "Experience is reality!" out of a fast-paced yet casual discussion, but in-context everyone's intentions were clear to me. (Again though, I may not be up to par with the target audience.)


Now perhaps to showcase my own ignorance to everyone…

Is there a way to teach children the concept of models at a younger age so that it wouldn't be so tough to teach about new paradigms? We may always need to start with something like the current subatomic model simply because most third-graders (and middle-aged folks) don't have an aptitude for probabilistic field equations; however, it would be nice if we had a better way to make sure kids know it's actually more complicated than that than simply saying, "It's actually more complicated than that."

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the creation of that artificial intelligence that will comprehend the true nature of the universe. I just hope it's also smart enough to dumb down the answer enough so that I can kind'a sort'a understand it too.

Thanks again.

Offline Devin Bray

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Re: Episode #697
« Reply #58 on: November 20, 2018, 06:51:50 PM »
Don’t have time to respond in full yet, but I would point out that Mr. Smith does not have a doctorate as people keep suggesting (and, I’ll note, he doesn’t bother correcting). He also claims that he is a professor, but the UNR website lists him as “letter of appointment faculty,” a category of teacher which is at most colleges and universities in the U.S. called a lecturer or maybe adjunct faculty.  He is not a professor.

I still consider myself a "professor" and am called a "professor" by my students, but you are correct that my technical job title currently would be "Lecturer."  I didn't correct people when they misspelled my name, either, or called me "Mr. Smith" for some reason or another.  I've been more interested in trying to address concerns about my overall viewpoint than pedantically correcting people about my name or title.

I'm quite dismayed by the ongoing hostility despite my attempts to clarify my position in the face of criticism, the reasonableness of which I have been acknowledging.  Is there some way I can address lingering criticisms, or would you rather just try to attack and discredit me without understanding what I'm trying to communicate?  I understand that the words "philosophy" and "metaphysics" might be triggering to some scientific skeptics, but I assure you that I'm a scientific skeptic, just like you, trying to figure out the most parsimonious way of drawing conclusions about the way the world is.

We're on the same team.  Where is the disconnect happening, and how can I remedy it?
« Last Edit: November 20, 2018, 07:10:29 PM by Devin Bray »

Online The Latinist

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Re: Episode #697
« Reply #59 on: November 20, 2018, 07:25:03 PM »
I think it is very dishonest to call yourself a professor when you are not one or to allow people repeatedly to call you “Dr. Bray” when you do not possess a Ph.D.  Consider yourself whatever you want, you aren’t a professor just because you allow your students to call you one without correcting them. You haven’t earned that title, and using it misleads people into believing you have qualifications you do not have. To me it looks like you are deliberately trying to inflate your credentials, and it is in line with your apparent expectation that you’d gain some instant credibility by buying your way onto the SGU.

No, I didn’t start out in this thread with any personal hostility toward you. It is only when I started relistening so that I could more fully answer and heard you trying to pass yourself off as a professor that I became hostile toward you.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

 

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