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Anuraag Reddy

AIESEC India

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The experience of consciousness is the stream of observation, where an organism perceives its environment with reference to itself.

In evolution it must be essential for a self replicating, self preserving organism to have an internalized model of itself in reference to its environment.

The primary experience of consciousness is in the stream of observation, where the organism perceives itself as separate from its environment by constantly referencing a model of itself as an existential entity in relation to external, and internal stimuli.

"If you are not subconsciously referencing yourself as separate from everything else then, do you really exist?"

Just like information contained within DNA is expressed as the emergent property of self replication and life. Information managed by the neural networks in our brain is expressed as the mind, and consciousness. It is purely physical neural networks which have evolved to add meaning to such information, and create the illusion of an observer dependent reality.

The illusion of free will and being an observer are as real as the fact that we materially exist, and in the human condition of being, there is nothing more real than free will, and being an observer. We are a temporary state of matter, a state which has evolved to be authentic in its perception.

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  • Nov 20 2013: Your idea of free will and the observer being an illusion is based on scientific findings. Aren't scientific findings based on an actual observer that possess free will?

    the argument against free will has always struck me as flawed logic.
    On the other hand there is nothing to say it is not true. I am just proposing that if free will is an illusion than so is science.
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      Nov 20 2013: The illusion of free will and being an observer are as real as the fact that we materially exist, and in the human condition of being, there is nothing more real than free will, and being an observer. We are a temporary state of matter, a state which has evolved to be authentic within this experience as it can get.
      • Nov 20 2013: Certainly depending on definition reality is an illusion and illusion is reality

        logic requires a premise - an unquestioned truth - if everything is questioned then their is no logic.
        I like to base my logic on my existence and my free will.
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      Nov 21 2013: Hi Vincent, are you going back to Rene Descartes' times, believing that life is AUTOMATA? What makes you write your Post? What makes you put together your arguments? "Free" Will or no "Free" Will, any WILL within a living form is the major power for life that keeps it together. If you have no Will you speedily will be melted down into everything else around you, you'll not be able to exist as an individual living being.

      After all, please read timeless Schopenhauer….
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      Nov 22 2013: I forget who said this about science as illusion. "Contrary to a conjuring trick fooling you to see what isn't there, science fools you into seeing what's actually there."
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        Nov 23 2013: The most admired in this field is George Berkeley. Some postmodern scientists begin to learn from classical philosophy. Berkeley's thoughts on mind and illusive perceiving of reality reveal his outstanding sense of logic.
    • Timo X

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      Nov 25 2013: If you are saying that someone else's logic is flawed, you should pay special attention to your own logic. Firstly, your presume that observation requires free will. Why would it? Secondly, you presume that if free will is an illusion then so is science. Why would the one follow from the other?
      • Nov 25 2013: I am not saying anyone's logic is flawed - I am just curious as to how other people set up their logical arguments. If their logic is that all is illusion I am fine with that - I would like to understand how one creates a life based on illusion. I am just searching for Ideas and understanding.
        • Timo X

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          Nov 26 2013: "The argument against free will has always struck me as flawed logic."
          You didn't say this?

          Anyway, you haven't answered my questions, and it seems that you simply misunderstand the argument against free will. The idea that free will is an illusion does not necessarily entail that everything else is an illusion (AKA solipsism). Not at all. In fact, the standard argument is that observation (non-illusory observation, that is) of neural patterns tells us that we do not have free will, and it follows that the sensation of free will is, in some sense, an illusion.
      • Nov 26 2013: In my way of thinking if free will is an illusion then the observer is biased to the extent that any interpretation can only have one outcome. Since I base my understanding of life on free will I understand how science can work based on unbiased observers.

        So if Free Will is an Illusion than The Unbiased Observer is an Illusion than Science is an Illusion.
        Does your view of science not require an unbiased observer?
        • Timo X

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          Nov 26 2013: If we assume that things in the universe are predetermined (a position called determinism) that does not automatically imply an observational bias. Imagine that there is an observer called Alex who has free will and witnesses the drop of a pen. I think we can both agree that the only possible outcome is of this 'experiment' is that the pen will fall to the ground. So if Alex observes the experiment correctly, he will observe that the pen falls to the ground.

          Now imagine a second observer: Betty. Betty is in the exact same circumstances as Alex,except that she does not have free will. A correct observation by Betty would also entail that the pen falls to the ground. So why would Betty's observation suddenly be biased? Correct observations and incorrect observations do not suddenly switch when there is no free will, and a deterministic universe does not imply that observers without free will are biased. (Observers are biased, but that is due to unrelated issues which apply equally regardless of free will).

          A propos, my own position on the laws of nature does not require a deterministic universe, so it sidesteps your issue with illusory free will completely. See this talk by Murray Gell-Mann for an excellent explanation: http://www.ted.com/talks/murray_gell_mann_on_beauty_and_truth_in_physics.html

          EDIT:
          I just realized that a better definition of observation bias involves the error rate and direction of observations. A subtle, but important difference. Nonetheless, the same argument applies: there is no reason to assume that the rate of observation errors or the direction of observation errors is affected by whether free will is illusory.
      • Nov 26 2013: Timo: Well Put. Would it be correct to say that only decisions can be biased so as long as the observer has no decisions than there is no bias. It seems to me if science is not dependent on decisions than it is not an illusion in the "No Free Will concept".

        I was thinking after my last post that without free will that human achievements would be much like the development of a galaxy, a beautiful and complex dance of elements, Science would be an important structure of the machine that is human achievement. It is an interesting and beautiful way to look at existence.

        For me I choose or am compelled by outside forces as the case may be to believe in Free Will and am happy with my position.

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