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intuition last won the day on April 25

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  1. That was very intersting and hellarous. 😂
  2. In a word, “yes”. In a sentence, “there must be more than No-Free-Will”. Behavioural genetics causes me to think there are limitations on Free Will. Borderline personality disorders are a case in point, and drugs; whether illegal or prescribed, are known to cause changes to behaviour/personality. Similarly, I know that I have some tendencies that seem to be more impulsive; a reflex, like when the doctor uses a rubber hammer to tap firmly on a tendon. Perhaps this is what is being referred to in Romans 7:15; “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” I accept that my belief in Some-Free-Will is not a knowledge of the reality of Free Will. I do not know for certainty that there is even “some” Free Will; I believe there is. What do I think Free Will is? I am comfortable with the Wikipedia definition “Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded.” Or, what I would simply call self-determination. Having said all that, on a beautiful summer day, sitting in the backyard, on my third glass of wine, I think “that’s stupid, obviously I have Free Will, I make my own decisions every day!” In vino veritas is a Latin phrase that means "in wine lies the truth." In Chinese, 酒後吐真言 ("After wine blurts truthful speech"). In Russian, «Что у трезвого на уме, то у пьяного на языке» ("What a sober man has in his mind, the drunk one has on his tongue").
  3. Zhou meant the butterfly narrative as an analogy (Google is my friend too); “The butterfly dream, in my interpretation, is an analogy drawn from our own familiar inner life of what cognitive process is involved in the process of self-transformation. It serves as a key to understanding what the whole of the Chuang-tzu is about by providing an example of a mental transformation or awakening experience with which we are all highly familiar: the case of waking up from a dream .… just like we awaken from a dream, we can mentally awaken to a more real level of awareness.” From p.81, Chuang-Tzu for Spiritual Transformation: An Analysis of the Inner Chapters, by Robert Elliott Allinson, 1989.
  4. My hunch is that Zhuang Zhou meant “To matters of my life and my death, attach a sense of humor." This is meaning I assumed when I quoted it. No doubt death of a loved one is not humous or trivial. Likewise, the death of the “six thousand an hour on average” is not humous or trivial.
  5. I can accept that consciousness exists only in the imagination and that it is a tautology. I can also accept “I think, therefore I am” which is also a tautology. For some reason this made me think about Zhuang Zhou dreaming that he was a butterfly and forever wondering whether he dreamt the butterfly, or the butterfly dreamt him. Now that would be a confused state of consciousness. 😂 I just read this quote from him, which I like …. “To the most trivial actions, attach the devotion and mindfulness of a hundred monks. To matters of life and death, attach a sense of humor."
  6. I certainly agree with this in regards to morality & ethics. While some may believe religion has a strong influence on personality, my experience over the decades has been the reverse; i.e. we express our existing personality through the belief organization and social causes that we join. As for g/God and free will, I would also agree, regardless of what we believe we go about lives, as everyone else does.
  7. I can understand this notion much better than the traditional. Over the past several years I have read, or listened to, a number of books on Islam. It is interesting that “In Islam, God is beyond all comprehension or equal and does not resemble any of his creations in any way.” In contrast, in Christianity we visualize God as the “old white guy”. In traditional Judaism God is the “the absolute one, indivisible, and incomparable being,” some modern interpretations of Judaism emphasize that God is a force or ideal. Personally, I prefer the Start Wars version "may the Force be with you." 😀
  8. This makes sense to me. In the current discussion it seems to me that the notion of “Free Will” is being responded to in a similar fashion to the notion of “God”. Some deny it while other insist upon it. If we are to assume that we are all physical Automatons; some of us believe there is nothing more than the physical automaton, where as, (by way of analogy) others of us believe the soul sits in the pineal gland as proposed by René Descartes. To me, both notions seem incomprehensible. Similarly, when I consider the existence of God, my simplistic self sees the argument as; · The atheist says, “everything comes from nothing”, which is incomprehensible, however, · The theist says, “everything comes from God, who has always existed”, which is at least equally incomprehensible, hence, · I default to agnosticism, which is a cop out. However, just because something is incomprehensible does not mean that we should throw away the idea. For example, in mathematics we have the imaginary number i2 = -1. From this we get complex numbers and the complex plane. Power engineering makes use of complex numbers. I would venture to say that when a student of mathematics first encounters the imaginary number, they might think of it as incomprehensible. However, as the utility of the imaginary number becomes evident the concern about the incomprehensibility disappears; i.e. “who cares, it works!” Have a look at this 5 minute video Intro to complex numbers. At times I wonder if the denial of the imaginary by some, and the insistence of the imaginary by others is the root of the argument. Is there a way to get beyond this?
  9. I skimmed through the thread and read you 2012 essay on Free Will; it was a good read. What do you mean by "dislocated in time"?
  10. So, do we also always have control over our behaviors and actions too?
  11. Forty some years ago, when I was in my 20’s I was more certain of my ideas and held more traditional and conservative beliefs. For example, the belief I held about human sexuality was clearly traditional & conservative. In my 30’s I began to question many of my beliefs, the questions tended to rise out of my experiences with people, organizations and empirical evidence. Around the year 2000 I was working as a subcontractor for a general management consultant. Our team was conducting a review of a regional health authority. The team was to review both governance and operational issues. My role on the team was to provide the financial, statistical and demographic analysis. In the process of my research I bumped into some statistics on Intersex, this topic had nothing to do with the information or statistics that I was trying to find. However, I was intrigued, I read the article and spent a small amount of time researching the topic a bit more. This research caused me to rethink my conservative beliefs. I asked myself “if nature causes physical variations of this sort, can it also cause psychological variations?” When I was graduating from high school, over 40 years ago, I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. Twenty years later I had the opportunity to take the test again; the results were the same. Six years ago, I again had the opportunity to take the test, I thought it might have changed noticeably given how I believe I have changed over the years, yet it was the same result. The test tells me that my psychological preferences in how I perceive the world around me and make decisions has not changed. On the topic of personality disorders, I am sure most (or all) of us know of someone in our circle of friends, immediate or extended family that has a difficult personality. Their personality can be disruptive and offensive. They tend to cause difficulties in relationships, particularly if they are a member of the family. We might find ourselves saying “s/he has always been this way.” Over time we learn to deal with them. Like my Myers-Briggs results, personalities don’t seem to change. I know that I have general tendencies that seem to be at the core of my personality; some are good tendencies, some are bad. When I look at my children, I see tendencies that they seem to have learned or inherited, tendencies they have now we saw when they were 8 to 10 years old. Over the past several years I have become interested in behavioural genetics, which is a science of the role of genes in behaviour. Some philosophers and scientists suspect that under genetic influence, free will is constrained or eliminated. Two individuals that I have read or watched on YouTube are the geneticist Robert Plomin, and the neuroendocrinologist Robert Sapolsky. I also found this documentary very interesting; Three Identical Strangers; Youtube Preview, the full documentary is on Cineplexstore My question is, when are our choices voluntary and free? When are our choices not determined by nature and nurture?
  12. Hello Romansh, Thanks for the welcome. I liked your review of Hazleton’s book. I did not agree with everything she said, however, what I liked most about her book was that it was the first time I’d read someone who presented a explanation of agnosticism that was, so-to-speak, mutually exclusive from atheism. Too often I have seen others group agnosticism and atheism together as if they are fraternal twins. Call me a purist. 😊 I will definitely have a look the agnosticism thread. Thanks for telling me about it.
  13. Hello JosephM, Thanks for the comments. I have read and appreciate the 8 points. My preference is that there are no concrete dogma or doctrine. I like Kant’s challenge to dare to know or think for yourself (Sapere aude). Unfortunately, dogma and doctrine tend to creep into more than what we traditional think of as religion; e.g. popularized social and political beliefs, whether they are on the left or right end of the spectrum. I’m looking forward to discussing different or conflicting ideas ..... as opposed to arguing about them. Thanks for the welcome. p.s. I like your quote, it reminds me of Voltaire’s famous quote “If you wish to converse with me, define your terms.”
  14. I’m retire now. I was born into a traditional conservative mainstream Christian denomination. Several clergymen in the family, including my father. I first stated to question the idea that only Christian’s go to heaven when I was a 19’ish. I remember looking at a map in a Sunday school class that identified areas of the world by when Christianity reached them; I remember thinking to myself “so before 300 AD they all went to hell?” This did not make sense to me. Since then I finished two degrees in university (math & economics), got a job, got married, had two children and have continued to attend church regularly since then; I have only discussed these questions with my wife. Over the past two decades, after the kids moved out, I began to read books. The first two books that I read in the 1990’s were The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav and Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore. More recently I have read books by James Tabor, Karen Armstrong, John Esposito, Lesley Hazelton, Elaine Pagels, Bart Ehrman and others. Over the past couple of years, I’ve really enjoyed reading and listening to John Dominic Crossan & Marcus Borg. My favorite philosopher is Immanuel Kant, I read his work for the first time in my university days. My favorite quote is “We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” This has been credited to a number of people over the centuries, including Immanuel Kant, the oldest reference being Rabbi Shemuel ben Nachmani in the 3rd century CE. https://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/03/09/as-we-are/ My pet peeve is when I hear someone describe theism, agnosticism and atheism as having a linear relationship; i.e. theism and atheism on opposite ends with agnosticism in the middle. I think these three concepts are categorically/nominally related. (note: Lesley Hazelton’s book Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto is a very good read) Having said all that, particularly over the past several years, I am not sure where I fit on the political or spiritual spectrum. I am interested in discussing these issues in one of these forums. Any suggestions which forums I should look at?
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