• Yet another experiment showing that conscious “decisions” are made unconsciously, and in advance

    This is a superb article from Jerry Coyne over at Why Evolution Is True about the work being done building on and improving upon the Benjamin Libet experiments which I have talked about before online and in my book. Thanks you so much to Jerry who has allowed me to repost his article. Please, please check out his excellent blog.

    This is of particular importance because a YEC theistic commenter and apparent libertarian free willer, JohnM, has been arguing his case about alternate possibilities, right up until changing his mind on reading a piece by the Information Philosopher. The problem is, his model does not allow for LFW or alternate possibilities in the way JohnM was arguing. But that’s another story. What this post is about is saying, well, if you don’t quite get how alternate possibilities is incoherent, then let’s look at actual empirical evidence to point to the notion that conscious will is illusory, epiphenomenal or some such similar idea. The idea is that if our brain is missing a vital piece of intention, it invents it. This illusion of intention is something which I concentrate upon in my book. A good source for other information on it is the superb book by Daniel Wegner, The Illusion of Conscious Will.

    Over to Jerry:

    In the last few years, neuroscience experiments have shown that some “conscious decisions” are actually made in the brain before the actor is conscious of them:  brain-scanning techniques can predict not only when a binary decision will be made, but what it will be (with accuracy between 55-70%)—several seconds before the actor reports being conscious of having made a decision.  The implications of this research are obvious: by the time we’re conscious of having made a “choice”, that choice has already been made for us—by our genes and our environments—and the consciousness is merely reporting something determined beforehand in the brain.  And that, in turn, suggests (as I’ve mentioned many times here) that all of our “choices” are really determined in advance, though some choices (e.g., whether to duck when a baseball is thrown at your head) can’t be made very far in advance!

    Most readers here accept that our actions are determined by our physical conditions—that there’s no “ghost in the machine”.  Nevertheless, a large segment of those determinists also insist that we nevertheless have free will, with “free will” defined in various and contradictory ways.

    Nevertheless, the neuroscience experiments are beginning to refute the classic notion of dualism: the idea that there is some non-physical part of our brain that can “freely choose” among different alternatives. And dispelling dualism has real implications for society—implications for religious dogma (much of rests on the idea that we can choose to accept or reject Jesus or God) and for the judicial system (if we can’t freely choose between right and wrong, the notion of how people are to be punished must be rethought). To me, promulgating physical determinism of our actions, and reforming society based on its implications, is far more important than trying to define “free will” in a way that allows us to have it.

    Nevertheless, even those who agree in principle with determinism—including me—are uncomfortable with death of dualism.  I accept determinism and live with it, but still act as if I make real choices (I have no choice about that!).

    Nevertheless, I think that some determinists are sufficiently uncomfortable that they try to dismiss the neuroscience experiments, saying things like “you can make decisions without being conscious of having done so.”  But that becomes harder and harder to maintain as the experiments not only become more accurate in predicting actions before “conscious” decisions are made, but also farther and farther in advance.

    A new paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by C. S. Soon et al. (free at the link; reference below) takes these studies a step further in two ways: 1. It shows a lead time for decisions four seconds before the decision is consciously made, with a prediction accuracy of about 60%, and 2) the decision is not a motor decision (pressing buttons, as in previous studies), but a decision whether to add or subtract two numbers, with the decision conveyed by pressing one of four buttons that corresponded to the correct arithmetical operation.

    The design is a bit complicated.  Each observer was presented with a series of screens, each having a letter and five numbers. They appeared at a rate of one screen per second. The letter was in the center of the screen, and right above it was a number from one to ten.  There were also four other numbers between one and ten in the corners of the screen.  The observer was instructed (and trained beforehand) to make a decision whether to add or subtract the two “above center” numbers in the next two screens, and to memorize the central letter at the moment he/she made the decision to act.  This decision was not recorded on the computer.  Then the observer either added or subtracted the two numbers above the letter as the next two screens appeared.  The next frame after that offered four numerical solutions as the corner numbers: two corresponding to the “add/subtract” decision, and two decoy numbers.  The observer was asked to press one of four buttons corresponding to the solution of the arithmetical operation chosen. Finally, in the last screen, a series of four letters were given corresponding to the four screens before the arithmetical operation, and the observer was asked to record (by pressing a button) which letter was on the screen when the observer decided to add or subtract. That corresponded to the time of the conscious decision.

    The design, as I said, is a bit complex, so here’s a figure from the paper showing how it worked (capti0n below is from paper)

    Picture 1 jpg

     

    Fig. 1. Measuring the onset and content of spontaneous abstract intentions. A trial began with a continuous series of stimulus frames refreshed every second, each consisting of a central fixation point, a letter below it, a single-digit number above it, and four single-digit response options, one in each corner. Immediately when participants felt the spontaneous urge to perform either adding or subtracting, they first noted the letter on the screen (frame 0 relative to time of decision). The chosen arithmetic task was then performed on the numbers presented above the central fixation in the next two stimulus frames (frames 1 and 2). The response options for the numbers in frames 1 and 2 were randomly presented in the four corners of the subsequent stimulus frame (frame 3): the correct addition answer, the correct subtraction answer, and two incorrect response options. Participants selected the correct answer for the chosen task by pressing one of four corresponding buttons, thereby revealing the content of their abstract decision. After the response was given, four letter options were presented from which participants selected the letter presented at frame 0, thereby revealing the time of conscious decision.

    During the experiment, the subjects’ brains were scanned with fMRI imaging, which detects blood flow to different parts of the brain. This is a crude way, of course, to detect neuronal activity, but it’s the best we can do now. Other members of the research team were trained beforehand to recognize which parts of the brain “lit up” during addition, and which during subtraction.  They could thus estimate the time when the decision to add or subtract was made; the classification, of course, was imperfect.  But, as we’ll see, it was significantly useful in prediction, especially since the subjects made “add” or “subtract” decisions equally frequently.

    Here are the paper’s conclusions:

    • About four seconds before a subject was conscious of having made a “decision” to add or subtract, the decision could be predicted from fMRI imaging with about 59% accuracy, a highly significant difference from random expectation.
    • This decision outcome was coded in the medial frontopolar and precuneus/posterior cingulate regions of the brain. The authors note that the functions of these brain regions aren’t fully understood, but seem to be involved in other types of decisions involving rewards.
    • The timing of the decision (as opposed to the specific decision itself) could also predicted about 3 seconds in advance, but that timing resided in the pre-SMA (“supplementary motor area“) of the brain. Thus the decision to act is presumably “made” in an area of the brain different from where the specific decision is made.
    • After the “decision” was made consciously, further brain monitoring showed that within 2-4 seconds, the decisions could be “predicted” (i.e. decoded) from fMRI scans with 64.2% accuracy—this time from activity in the angular gyrus of the brain. The authors say this brain activity probably reflects the subject’s preparation and performance of the arithmetic task. (The angular gyrus is known to play a role in processing language and numbers.)

    Figure 2 from the paper shows the timing of the study, with time passing shown on the X axis (with the vertical red line representing the time of conscious decision) and the predictive accuracy of the scan shown on the y-axis. Note the accuracy of about 60% in two brain regions four seconds before the decision was made consciously, and the accuracy of 62.4% in the angular gyrus four seconds after the decision was made. The figure caption from the paper is below the figure:

    real Picture 3

    Fig. 2. Decoding the outcome of abstract decisions before and after they reach conscious awareness. Projected onto the medial cortical surface are brain regions that predicted the outcome (red) of the abstract decision before it was consciously made (MNI coordinates). Inset shows similar results for the decoding of free motor decisions before conscious awareness in our previous study (2). The lateral surface shows the region that encoded the outcome of the decision after it became conscious. Line graphs depict for each cortical region the accuracy with which the abstract decision to perform addition or subtraction could be decoded at each time (error bars, SE; chance level, 50%). The vertical red line indicates the point of conscious decision, and the vertical gray dashed line indicates the onset of the next trial. Given the hemodynamic delay, information available at 0 s would have been a result of neural activity occurring a few seconds earlier. Please note that none of the points below chance level was statistically significant and should thus be attributed to random fluctuation.

    Now the decisions are not readable with 100% accuracy, but I suspect things will improve greatly when we’re able to monitor brain activity in ways other than fMRI.  But four seconds is still a long time before a decision is made consciously, and yet we can predict it with tolerable accuracy.  Obviously, at least some “decisions” are made before the subject is conscious of having made them, which is completely understandable if decisions are deterministic results of a person’s genes and environments acting through the brain. “Conscious” decisions, as some have suggested, may merely be confabulations—post facto rationalizations of things that were decided long before they bubbled into awareness.

    Now I’m sure this study will be criticized, since even some determinists have a sneaking (or unconscious) sympathy for dualism, and like to think that decisions really are “made” at the moment we’re conscious of having made them.  But science will, I suspect, continue to dispel that notion.  Time lags between brain “decisions” and conscious “decisions” will continue to lengthen, and predictive accuracy will increase.  I find this fascinating stuff, and the kind of science that philosophers really must deal with.

    h/t: Sam Harris

    ________

    Soon, C. S., A. H. He, S. Bode, and J.-D. Haynes. 2013. Predicting free choices for abstract intentions.  Proc. Nat. Acad. Scie USA, published ahead of print, March 18, 2013, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1212218110

    Category: ConsciousnessFree Will and Determinism

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    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce

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    • This sort of research does not so much prove that conscious decisions are made unconsciously (which I would call a nonsensical statement) but rather, clarifying what “conscious decision” actually means.

      I examined my car and found no motor. I found only spark plugs, pistons, shafts, and tubes. None of those things are an engine…so clearly cars do not have engines.

      • Not sure I am with you there, Ed. Could you clarify?

      • John Grove

        Ed, have you read, “Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior” by Leonard Mlodinow ? It seems all the latest research is showing this.

      • Andy_Schueler

        This sort of research does not so much prove that conscious decisions are made unconsciously

        Why do you think that this is what these studies aim to demonstrate? I interpret the conclusions of these studies to mean that there is no such thing as a “conscious decision”, but rather only conscious awareness of decisions that have already been made before subconsciously.

    • Thinkaroo

      Fascinating work, can’t wait to see what we can learn as advances in technology open up new methods

      • i think what we might be able to image and find out about the brain over the next few decades will be monumental. It is one of the last vestiges of ignorance, really.

    • JohnM

      Jonathan said : This is of particular importance because a YEC theistic commenter and apparent libertarian free willer, JohnM, has been arguing his case about alternate possibilities, right up until changing his mind on reading a piece by the Information Philosopher. The problem is, his model does not allow for LFW or alternate possibilities in the way JohnM was arguing.

      Lies

      • Andy_Schueler

        Don´t blame Jonathan for you being too stupid to recognize when you are contradicting your own BS claims. He´s not lying, you are a moron.

      • John, in all honesty, what part am I lying about exactly?

        • JohnM

          Andy said: “If by “real choice” you mean a “free choice” in the sense that you have been defending in this entire thread up to just an hour ago, meaning that a different choice in Jonathan´s thought experiment outlined in the OP could have been made – then NO, and neither does the guy you link to.”

          Stephen said : The guy does think a different choice could have been made. He is a two stage Libertarian, the first stage being indeterminism which generates the alternative possibilities. In Jonathan’s thought experiment this indeterminism would show up as different choices even if only very rarely.

          Let me just add, that I really appreciate Stephen’s honesty here…

          Jonathan said : Stephen, the problem for John being that this was not his original position…

          I had been saying the following up to that point:

          The reason why we wouldn’t expect a lot of A,B / B,A on the free will scenario, is that if you think things though and arrive at a conclusion, then chances are that you’re going to arrive at the same conclusion, given the same situation. Only people who are utterly mad and unpredictable, arrive at different conclusions like that. Sane people think consistently.

          +

          So why do you expect the answer to change, just because you rewind back in time? It’s not in rewinding that we find free will. It’s when the agent first decides between one or the other, based on how he evaluates the different reason for picking one or the other. And yes, people do think consistently. It’s only utterly mad people who first answer yes and then answer no, to the same question.

          Something which I stand by.

          Jonathan said : …and even if he adopts it now, it does not do what he wants it to do, especially given his claim about processes which involve random. He claimed that if any process involves a random element then the whole outcome is, by default, random.

          You’re referring to what I said here:
          http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/05/23/libertarian-free-will-defeats-the-kalam-cosmological-argument/

          And what I said was this :

          It doesn’t really matter where or how many random points of interest you have in the casual chain. The point is, that you have them. And therefore the result is a product of randomness.

          And I stand by that. Random in the decicion-making ends up with a product of randomness. But that is not an issue in the two stage model, because:

          First chance, then choice.

          Stage 1: Alternative possibility generated by chance.

          Stage 2: An adequately determined evaluation of the alternatives resulting in a willed decision.

          As I said: “I don’t have a problem with options available to me being determined by random. That makes perfect sense. I don’t control if a bunker is in the area when war breaks out. That’s a matter of chance. What matters to me, is that my will determines what option I pick.”

          • John Grove

            [[What matters to me, is that my will determines what option I pick.”]]

            If you recall, I asked you, to which I never received a reply back, what is your will based on? If your ability to make a decision is based upon your will, what is your will based on? Arthur Schopenhauer book on the will he says that “Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.”

            I like the way WireFlight says it:

            “Man has the capacity to achieve any goal man sets; however, man’s
            desires (his passions) determine what are the goals that man will set.

            In essence, man’s desires are not predicated on careful calculation;
            rather, they are innate. The “heart of man” is autonomous and fickle;
            it is not driven by reason, but by passions that are … by definition
            … irrational.

            The original quote suggests the animal nature of man is a product of
            genetic evolution; the urges of man are therefore genetically encoded,
            rooted in the subconscious and not subject to the whims (desires) of the
            conscious mind.

            The original quote further contrasts this against the prowess gained
            through evolution, the demonstration of aptitude and competence: the
            combination thereof effectively guarantee the success of man’s efforts
            towards any particular pursuit.

            Thus is laid the predicate that the technological sophistication of man
            must not (or, “cannot rightly”) be conflated with moral uprightness or
            righteousness.

            Alternatively, the text can be taken to mean the technological
            sophistication of man proves there is no such thing as a single,
            legitimate objective standard for righteousness.

            Examples of the former premise are found in one’s personal tastes: the
            like or dislike of certain musical styles, particular colors, etc.
            Applied in the sense of the original quote, this would have to be
            expanded to cultural characteristics and identities.

            Examples of the latter are somewhat more complex. Taken literally, the
            quote means the poor are poor because they desire to be poor: it assumes
            any deficiency of means or other resources would be overcome by force
            of will.

            One could conclude manned flight is proof that man can by force of will
            overcome natural obstacles; the same would apply to the journey of
            Trieste to the bottom of the Challenger Deep; the same would apply to the electronic age and the conquest of space.

            Despite the efforts of insurance companies (and the officials in whose
            pockets they are) to keep from beneficiaries the vital funds
            legitimately owed, the ongoing recovery in Mississippi from the
            devastation of Hurricane Katrina proves the ability of most Mississippi
            residents to do much with little.

            When I consider Mississippians, I am reminded of a poster I saw when I was a child:

            “We the willing, Led by the unknowing, Have done so much, For so long,
            With so little, We are now qualified, To do anything, With nothing”

          • Andy_Schueler

            Let me just add, that I really appreciate Stephen’s honesty here…

            :-D. So you quote the ONE comment by Stephen that does not contradict you and ignored at least half a dozen where he points out how you completely misunderstood the stuff you linked to from the Information Philosopher.
            Lying scumbag.
            And, here´s my reply to Stephen (@Jonathan: do you agree with that?):

            Jonathan´s thought experiment was phrased as rewinding time to the precise moment when a decision was made, so indeterminism should not make a difference, because all causes influencing the choice are set up – would you agree? If the thought experiment is slightly altered, and we rewind time not to the precise moment where the decision is made, but go further back in time, I could see how indeterminism could generate alternative possibilities and how this though experiment could result in choosing A or B (or the choice not happening at all because the situation never comes up).

            —————————————–

            So why do you expect the answer to change, just because you rewind back in time? It’s not in rewinding that we find free will. It’s when the agent first decides between one or the other, based on how he evaluates the different reason for picking one or the other. And yes, people do think consistently. It’s only utterly mad people who first answer yes and then answer no, to the same question.

            Something which I stand by.

            You provided plenty of quotes where you tried to argue that the agent could freely choose to do A or B, and you are implying that here as well, you say that he would be “insane” IF he chose differently, which means that he COULD choose differently. And then you linked to a guy that contradicts that and said you agree with him. And now you flip-flop back to the original BS.
            Fucking idiot.

            It doesn’t really matter where or how many random points of interest you have in the casual chain. The point is, that you have them. And therefore the result is a product of randomness.

            And I stand by that. Random in the decicion-making ends up with a product of randomness. But that is not an issue in the two stage model, because:

            First chance, then choice.
            Stage 1: Alternative possibility generated by chance.

            Stage 2: An adequately determined evaluation of the alternatives resulting in a willed decision.

            Translation: “I do believe that any random influence on a process means that the result of the process is random, but I don´t believe that any random influence on a process means that the result of the process is random.”
            Moron.

            As I said: “I don’t have a problem with options available to me being determined by random. That makes perfect sense. I don’t control if a bunker is in the area when war breaks out. That’s a matter of chance. What matters to me, is that my will determines what option I pick.”

            Aaaand, that completely destroys your version of theism – now we can no longer “freely choose” to believe in your buddy Jeebus. Congratulations.

            • JohnM

              JohnM said : people do think consistently. It’s only utterly mad people who first answer yes and then answer no, to the same question.

              Andy said : You provided plenty of quotes where you tried to argue that the agent could freely choose to do A or B, and you are implying that here as well, you say that he would be “insane” IF he chose differently, which means that he COULD choose differently. And then you linked to a guy that contradicts that and said you agree with him.

              Could Have Done Otherwise
              http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/otherwise.html

              PAP is under attack by many compatibilists and determinists. It has been twisted by compatibilists into sophisticated logical arguments and “thought experiments” that purport to prove that the ability to do otherwise under identical conditions is impossible.

              If such a capability did exist it could only be arbitrary (indeed), capricious (yes), and irrational. And to this day has led even some libertarian thinkers to doubt that an “intelligible” account can be given of free choice.

              We will look at some of the arguments, then explain how randomly generated alternative possibilities are all we need to provide the opportunity to do otherwise – and thus be both unpredictable and responsible.

            • Andy_Schueler

              And, had you listened to Stephen, and try to understand what the Information Philosopher wrote, this is indeterminism generating new possibilities based on stochastic (hint: the outcome of those cannot be chosen) processes (Btw, this was my position as well, but back then, you still thought that any random influence on a process means the outcome is random).
              And this has no influence on Jonathan´s thought experiment, because his experiment traces back time to the precise moment the decision is made. It could have a different outcome if you go back further in time,

              http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/cogito/

              We can thus in principle assign times, or ages, to the starting points of the contributing causes of a decision. Some of these may in fact go back before the birth of an agent, hereditary causes for example. To the extent that such causes adequately determine an action, we can understand why hard determinists think that the agent has no control over such actions. (Of course if we can opt out of the action at the last moment, we retain a kind of control.)

              Other contributing causes may be traceable back to environmental and developmental events, perhaps education, perhaps simply life experiences, that were “character-forming” events. These and hereditary causes would be present in the mind of the agent as fixed habits, with a very high probability of “adequately determining” the agent’s actions in many situations.

              But other contributing causes of a specific action may have been undetermined up to the very near past, even fractions of a second BEFORE[NOTE: NOT AT THE PRECISE MOMENT, BEFORE THAT] an important decision. The causal chains for these contributing causes originate in the noisy brain [NOTE: RANDOM NOISE, CANNOT BE FREELY CHOSEN]. They include the free generation of new alternative possibilities for thought or action during the agent’s deliberations. They fit Aristotle’s criteria for causes that “depend on us” (ἐφ’ ἡμῖν) and originate “within us” (ἐv ἡμῖν).

              Causes with these most recent starting points are the fundamental reason why an agent can do otherwise in what are essentially (up to that starting point[NOTE: TO AFFECT JONATHAN`S THOUGHT EXPERIMENT, YOU HAVE TO GO BACK FURTHER, THAN THE MOMENT WHERE THE DECISION IS MADE]) the same circumstances.

              These alternatives are likely generated from our internal knowledge of practical possibilities based on our past experience. Those that are handed up for consideration to Baars’ “executive function” may be filtered to some extent by unconscious processes to be “within reason.” They likely consist of random variations of past actions we have willed many times in the past.

              Note that the evaluation and selection of one of these possibilities by the will is as deterministic and causal a process as anything that a determinist or compatibilist could ask for, consistent with our current knowledge of the physical world.

              But remember that instead of strict causal determinism, the world offers only adequate determinism, and the random origins of possibilities provides libertarian freedom of thought and action.

              => If you agree with this stuff now, you agree with everything that Jonathan and I have been arguing for in the previous thread, and you accept a defeater for your theistic faith – because freely choosing to believe in your buddy Jeebus is impossible.

            • JohnM

              Andy said : And, had you listened to Stephen, and try to understand what the Information Philosopher wrote, this is indeterminism generating new possibilities based on stochastic

              Stop lying. Get your facts straight. I was the one to point that out, by quoting Bob himself.

              Bob said : An adequately determined will, given genuinely unpredictable alternative possibilities, many of which are generated within the agent’s mind (thus “up to us”), gives us real choice and gives us control over chaos and chance.”

              JohnM said : What’s the randomness here? It’s the options available to us.. Randomness creates alternative possibilities.

              But who cares? All of these alternative possibilities goes though an evaluation process of the agent. That’s what matters.

              Stage 1: Alternative possibility generated by chance.
              Stage 2: An adequately determined evaluation of the alternatives resulting in a willed decision.

              First chance, then choice. Our thoughts come to us freely. They present themselves. And then our actions go from us wilfully. The ideas and thoughts comer in. The actions and decisions go out. We are the authors of our lives.

            • Andy_Schueler

              I have zero interest in discussing this further with you. Your dishonesty has reached perverse levels. We are used to you flip-flopping between mutually contradictory positions and lying through your teeth whenever it is convenient for you.
              But now, you actually contradict yourself within the same comment. When this is pointed out, you try to weasel your way out with silly word games and outright lies. And when this no longer works, you simply try to switch topics.

              This is utterly obscene dishonesty – you can´t talk rationally with a man who so shamelessly and so often lies as you do.
              Man up, do the right thing, be honest, stop switching topics – or go fuck yourself.

            • JohnM

              Fair enough. Let’s just agree to end it here then.

              Sorry that I said “lies”, Jonathan . I didn’t mean to suggest that you’re a liar. You do have the right to take such a position, if you actually think that. I meant it more as internet slag for “I challenge that statement” or whatever. Maybe i should have said “O’rly”…

            • Andy_Schueler

              Fair enough. Let’s just agree to end it here then.

              Not only “here” – the statement above will from now on be my default copy-pasted response to everything you say on this blog until you finally start being honest for once.
              Unless you drastically change your behaviour, you are completely incapable of participating in any rational conversation.
              Man up, do the right thing, be honest – or go fuck yourself.

            • JohnM

              Sometimes you remind me of religious extremist saying “I’m right, you’re wrong, and that’s the only option that I’m willing to consider”.

              Goodnight Andy ;)

            • Andy_Schueler

              Sometimes you remind me of religious extremist saying “I’m right, you’re wrong, and that’s the only option that I’m willing to consider”.

              Dude, you just made a complete assclown out of yourself yet again because you´d rather play silly word games and lie through your teeth than admitting that you changed your position. No matter how patently obvious it was.
              What you are doing is called “projection”, look it up.

              Goodnight Andy ;)

              Is that troll´s remorse or sucking up?
              We´re not cool JohnM, I´m sick and tired of your lies.

            • JohnM

              Just on a sidenote, I have nothing personal against you. We just see things so very differently. And things get heated when we debate, because we do speak our minds. So I’m perfectly cool with you not being cool with me. Fair enough.

            • Andy_Schueler

              I have nothing personal against you

              Oh, you most certainly do. This thread and the previous one are perfect examples for that. For example, when I say that random factors influencing a process does NOT necessarily mean that the outcome of the process will be random (I actually already said that several threads ago, remember soft computing?) you disagree with what I say in the strongest possible terms (and in a very obnoxious way), you agree however with the same position when it comes from a different guy. This means that you are strongly biased against everything I say, just because it is me who is saying it (i.e. it´s personal).
              Your actions betray your words.

              We just see things so very differently.

              That is irrelevant. The reason why I strongly dislike you is not that we disagree on so many topics, the only reason for that is that you constantly pull of shit like this:
              http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/05/29/yet-another-experiment-showing-that-conscious-decisions-are-made-unconsciously-and-in-advance/#comment-913101252
              There are so many examples for that by now… Your dishonesty is just breathtaking (and there are many much more extreme examples than the one above – remember “Kahn-ni-baal” and Josephus?). And if you honestly don´t realize that you are doing that, then you are a pathological liar (that is a mental illness and would imply that you don´t realize it when you are being dishonest (and in that case, my aversion against you would be baseless, because you couldn´t be blamed for that – given how rare this illness is however, assholery is a much more likely explanation for your behaviour)).

            • JohnM

              Well, if I were to give you a bit of advice on your strategy, it would be to try and not automatically take on the role of the loser.. And yes, that is a very clearly defined role. It’s the guy who sits around feeling sorry for himself, once all is said and done..

              “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” – Socrates

              Furthermore, you guys often accuse me of claiming to have “won” a debate.. I rarely do that. Most of the time I merely insist that my case hasn’t been defeated, and that there’s still a discussion to be had.. and then you guys walks into the trap of claiming that you’ve won.

              People often judge debates based on how the two opponents act themselves. If you spend a lot of your time saying “oH my I’ve completely owned you. You’ve made a complete assclown out of yourself yet again”, then that does not come across too nicely with the readers.

              People like to think for themselves and draw their own conclusions. They don’t like judges who tell them what to think. Especially if the one acting “high judge”, is one of the participants of the debate. So your two buddies here, playing cheer-leaders, is not actually helping your case. It’s making you look like a weak pillar about to come crashing down, in need of support-beams.

              Furthermore get to know the different “flame warriors” profiles. Their weaknesses and their strenghts. http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/admin.htm

              In this debate for example, my profile has been a Godzilla:
              http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/godzilla.htm

              I knew exactly what would follow the first comment I made. And now Godzilla will disappear into the sea. Maybe to surface again? Who knows.

              And no, I’m not a troll. I do mean the things I say. I don’t merely say things, in order to cause anger and drama.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Well, if I were to give you a bit of advice on your strategy, it would be to try and not automatically take on the role of the loser.. And yes, that is a very clearly defined role. It’s the guy who sits around feeling sorry for himself, once all is said and done..

              “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” – Socrates

              :-D
              Guy 1: [lies his ass off]
              Guy 2: [calls guy 1 a liar]
              Guy 1: [Hah! You called me a liar, you just lost the debate buddy!]

              Furthermore, you guys often accuse me of claiming to have “won” a debate.. I rarely do that.

              Right, you prefer things along the line:
              – “LOL! You just sunk the fail-boat!”
              – “Allow me to expose your flawed logic” (you can´t believe how ridiculous that sounds…)
              – “You and I both know [insert claim here]”

              Most of the time I merely insist that my case hasn’t been defeated, and that there’s still a discussion to be had..

              Strictly speaking, you never had a “discussion” with anyone on this blog – a discussion requires a modicum of honesty from everyone involved. You are incapable of “discussing” using the proper meaning of the word.

              If you spend a lot of your time saying “oH my I’ve completely owned you. You’ve made a complete assclown out of yourself yet again”, then that does not come across too nicely with the readers.

              Yeah…. unless you are actually being an assclown. As you indeed are in every single thread that you vomit your lies on. In this one an example would be here:
              http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/05/29/yet-another-experiment-showing-that-conscious-decisions-are-made-unconsciously-and-in-advance/#comment-913101252

              They don’t like judges who tell them what to think.

              I don´t tell anyone to believe that you are an assclown and a lying scumbag, you are doing a fine job of convincing people of that yourself. I´m telling you that you are an assclown and a lying scumbag.
              Furthermore, you are under the mistaken assumption that a huge crowd of people eagerly watches us wasting time on your lying ass – after two dozen comments or so, only a handful of people still follow a comment thread.

              In this debate for example, my profile has been a Godzilla:
              http://redwing.hutman.net/~mre

              I just checked, “Godzilla” doesn´t mean “lying assclown”, you are mistaken.
              Oh and also: way to demonstrate how you “rarely declare victory” after you lied your ass off buddy ;-).
              To paraphrase Weitzenhoffer again:
              “Debating JohnM is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon — it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.”

            • JohnM

              Andy said : I don´t tell anyone to believe that you are an assclown and a lying scumbag, you are doing a fine job of convincing people of that yourself.

              The thing you need to realize, is that.. If what you’re saying was actually true, then you wouldn’t need to constantly state it to be the case. Just like I don’t need to refute your silly claims about me, as the silly-ness of them speak for themselves.

              Seriously, what were you thinking, writing 3 times in a row. “You are too dumb to understand your own words”. That’s admitting intellectual defeat right there, and start throwing poo instead. hehe :)

            • Andy_Schueler

              The thing you need to realize, is that.. If what you’re saying was actually true, then you wouldn’t need to constantly state it to be the case.

              And if you wouldn´t act like a lying scumbag so often, I wouldn´t call you a lying scumbag so often. It´s really not a difficult concept.
              Don´t wanna be called a liar? Stop lying.

              Just like I don’t need to refute your silly claims about me

              You don´t try to do that and you couldn´t if you wanted to.

              Seriously, what were you thinking, writing 3 times in a row. “You are too dumb to understand your own words”

              Nope, I actually said that you are too dumb to understand your, mine and his words – which in this case was demonstrably true. You didn´t have the foggiest clue about what the terms you were throwing around meant in the respective context. And after you showed off that you are also an unteachable moron (again) because you simply ignored every comment that tried to educate you about your misconceptions, pointing out that you are deliberately obtuse, or just plain dumb, is indeed an adequate response.

            • John Grove

              [[We just see things so very differently. And things get heated when we debate, because we do speak our minds.]]

              A debate is about trying to determine an undecided truth based on the available facts being asserted by contrasting view points. The “discussion” in this thread is not trying to determine an undecided truth – it is trying to validate an individual belief. And people can believe anything they like – belief does not make truth. Only a fool would argue with another man’s belief.

            • JohnM

              Translation: “I do believe that any random influence on a process means that the result of the process is random, but I don´t believe that any random influence on a process means that the result of the process is random.”

              Chance NOT the Direct Cause of Human Action
              http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/chance_direct_cause.html

              Chance cannot directly cause our actions. We cannot be responsible for random actions.

              Because of quantum mechanics, we now know that indeterminism is true and absolute chance exists in the universe.

              Chance can generate random and totally unpredictable alternative possibilities for action, our “Agenda” for the Cogito.

              These alternatives are generated from our internal knowledge of practical possibilities. Those that are handed up for consideration may be filtered to some extent by unconscious processes to be “within reason.” They may consist of slight variations of past actions we have willed many times in the past.

              The selection of one of these possibilities by the will is as deterministic and causal a process as anything that a determinist or compatibilist could ask for, consistent with our knowledge of the physical world.

              Instead of a strict causal determinism, the world offers only adequate determinism.

              Consequently, at the very most, the indeterminism or chance involved in the generation of alternative possibilities is just an indirect cause of action, and just one of many causes.

              One of these possibilities is de-liberated by our causally determined will, so we can say that the action was up to us and that we can accept moral responsibility for it.

            • Andy_Schueler

              JohnM: It doesn’t really matter where or how many random points of interest you have in the casual chain. The point is, that you have them. And therefore the result is a product of randomness.

              The Information Philosopher [That JohnM “agrees” with]:Consequently, at the very most, the indeterminism or chance involved in the generation of alternative possibilities is just an indirect cause of action, and just one of many causes.

              :-D :-D :-D

            • JohnM

              Generation of alternative possibilities is step 1 in the model. It determines what option we have to pick between. It’s indirect, because it doesn’t directly influence which of the alternative possibilities that we choose.

            • John Grove

              Be a man, do the right thing.

            • Andy_Schueler

              JohnM: It doesn’t really matter where or how many random points of interest you have in the casual chain. The point is, that you have them. And therefore the result is a product of randomness.

              The Information Philosopher [That JohnM “agrees” with]:Consequently, at the very most, the indeterminism or chance involved in the generation of alternative possibilities is just an indirect cause of action, and just one of many causes.

              JohnM again: Generation of alternative possibilities is step 1 in the model. It determines what option we have to pick between. It’s indirect, because it doesn’t directly influence which of the alternative possibilities that we choose.

              :-D :-D :-D

            • (BOOM)

            • Andy_Schueler

              JohnM, you should listen to John Grove´s advice. This is yet again a clear example where you realized that you have been mistaken and desperately try to weasel your way out of admitting that.
              You said “It doesn’t really matter where or how many random points of interest you have in the casual chain. The point is, that you have them. And therefore the result is a product of randomness.” – I presume you realize that all causes in a causal chain, up to the very last element in the chain, are indirect causes. You completely contradict your earlier position now. You can´t weasel your way out of this with word games – you have been mistaken.
              And now you can either do what you´ve always done before – try to lie and weasel your way out of this (and make a complete ass out of yourself while doing that). Or, alternative, take John Grove´s advice, man up, do the right thing, and ADMIT THAT YOU CHANGED YOUR POSITION.
              No one will mock you for that, quite the opposite – this would *finally* be a sign from you that you are capable of having a rational conversation.

            • JohnM

              Andy said : ADMIT THAT YOU CHANGED YOUR POSITION

              Bob Doyle does not define my position. My position is my position. So of course I haven’t changed my position. What a silly thing to claim. I stand by what I’ve said. All I’m saying, is that what Bob Doyle is saying, is making a great deal of sense to me.

              3 Days ago i said this:

              The situation is the same. But people don’t factor everything into their decision. The agent may choose to focus on price in this instance, which would make him pick the cheaper car. But the agent could also choose to focus on safety, which would make him pick the more expensive car. It’s all about how the agent evaluates the many possible reasons for doing one or the other, that determines the outcome.

              Bob Doyle says this:

              An Event Has Many Causes
              http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/event_has_many_causes.html

              We can thus in principle assign times, or ages, to the starting points of the contributing causes of an event. Some of these may in fact go back before the birth of an agent, hereditary causes for example. To the extent that such causes adequately determine an action, we can understand why hard determinists think that the agent has no control over such actions. (Of course if we can opt out of the action at the last moment, we retain a kind of control.)

              Other contributing causes may be traceable back to environmental and developmental events, perhaps education, perhaps simply life experiences, that were “character-forming” events. These and hereditary causes would be present in the mind of the agent as fixed habits, with a very high probability of “adequately determining” the agent’s actions in many situations.

              But other contributing causes of a specific action may have been undetermined up to the very near past, even seconds before an important decision. Most importantly, these will include the free generation of new alternative possibilities during the agent’s deliberations.

              Causes with these most recent starting points are the fundamental reason why an agent can do otherwise in what are essentially (up to that starting point) the same circumstances.

            • Andy_Schueler

              So you are not going to man up. You are not going to do the right thing. You are not going to be honest for once. You just have to make a complete assclown out of yourself again.
              Enjoy.
              Moron.

            • JohnM

              Actually, you’re the one who needs to “man up” as you call it, and admit that you lied, when you said that Bob Doyle’s position is, that an agent cannot do otherwise in “the same circumstances”.

            • John, you have been completely and utterly owned. Now it’s time to own up.

            • JohnM

              Is it Bob Doyle’s position is, that an agent cannot do otherwise in “the same circumstances”? Yes or no.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Has been addressed. Multiple times.
              Man up, do the right thing, be honest, stop switching topics, or go fuck yourself.

            • JohnM

              Andy said : ..or go fuck yourself.

              Boom! The rational atheist strikes again…

            • Andy_Schueler

              Which part of “Man up, do the right thing, be honest, stop switching topics, or go fuck yourself” do you not understand?
              Should I phrase this simpler for you?

            • Andy_Schueler

              Wrong, they are not the same circumstances, but only *almost*, his position is:
              “But other contributing causes of a specific action may have been undetermined up to the very near past, even fractions of a second before an important decision.”
              => and this means that it doesn´t affect Jonathan´s thought experiment at all. Going back to the precise moment where the decision was made – the choice has been determined according to Bob´s position and could not have been any other way.

              I have zero interest in discussing this further with you. Your dishonesty has reached perverse levels. We are used to you flip-flopping between mutually contradictory positions and lying through your teeth whenever it is convenient for you.
              But now, you actually contradict yourself within the same comment. When this is pointed out, you try to weasel your way out with silly word games and outright lies. And when this no longer works, you simply try to switch topics.

              This is utterly obscene dishonesty – you can´t talk rationally with a man who so shamelessly and so often lies as you do.
              Man up, do the right thing, be honest, or go fuck yourself.

            • John Grove

              JohnM,
              Johnny, Andy and myself welcome any real discussion from you or anyone else as long as people are amenable to persuasion, don’t have invincible ignorance and don’t shape shift more than a werewolf, and are honest. Why this standard is so hard amazes me. When I hear you, its seems to me this, “I will hold my position to the death. But if it becomes so untenable and unreasonable I will change it up some at will”. You must realize you sound like this, you must! If you don’t, you are as Andy says simply delusional.

              Don’t defend beliefs that are not defendable and don’t try to maintain positions that are not maintainable. That is how progress is made, and that is how science moves forward, it is self correcting. Being an unmovable turd while trying ever so hard to sound like an intellectual makes you appear with such dishonesty as to boggle the mind.

            • JohnM

              John Grove said : Johnny, Andy and myself welcome any real discussion from you or anyone else as long as people..

              ..end up taking your position. “That is how progress is made”. Don’t you see how flawed your method is?

              John Grove said : “I will hold my position to the death.”

              That is not my position. I’m just completely unpersuaded by all the outside causes, outside of my control, attempting to cause me to think as you want me to do. Because… I think for myself. And my thoughts dismisses your flawed arguments.

              John Grove said : You must realize you sound like this, you must! If you don’t, you are as Andy says simply delusional.

              How I “sound” to you, is merely your own interpretation. I cannot be held responsible for that. That would be like me holding you responsible, for you saying “It’s all right mate”, and taking offence to that, because I think that you engaged in sexual harassment, by referring to me as a mating partner.

              John Grove said : Don’t defend beliefs that are not defendable…

              Amazingly flawed logic you got there. One cannot defend beliefs, that are not defend-able. If one are able to defend them, they are be defend-able. So when you’re asking me to not defend a belief, you’re actually admitting that it is defend-able.

              John Grove said : Being an unmovable turd while trying ever so hard to sound like an intellectual makes you appear with such dishonesty as to boggle the mind.

              I don’t try to “sound like an intellectual”. What do you mean by that? I’m just writing as I normally speak with people. And the reason why I’m “being an unmovable turd” is because your “arguments” are horrible and the result of flawed logic. Accepting your “arguments” wouldn’t be “progress”. It would just be me giving in to childish people using group pressure tactics. “Be a man.. Admit that X”. Don’t you realize how pathetic you guys really are?

            • Andy_Schueler

              ..end up taking your position

              Repeating that ad nauseam doesn´t make it true. We don´t respect you as a debater because you are a notorious liar and because you never argue for your case – you rely 100% on rethoric and 0% on arguments.

              John Grove said : “I will hold my position to the death.”

              JohnM: That is not my position.

              :-D
              Dude, there are countless examples of you defending a position even if it contradicts your own previous statements – just so that you never have to admit that you might have been mistaken.
              Examples for this are in every thread you comment on – including this one (you defended the claim that random influences on a process means that the result is random and it´s negation. And when this was pointed out, you use your standard strategy: 1. Equivocation fallacies (aka silly word games). When this doesn´t work: 2. Red herrings. And when this doesn´t work: 3: Whine like a little bitch that you have been called a liar although you demonstrably have been lying).

              Amazingly flawed logic you got there. One cannot defend beliefs, that are not defend-able.

              Of course you can. This is the entire business model of Fox News. If you have no arguments for your position and not even any evidence that could be used in an argument, try cheap rethorical tricks and lying.
              And that´s exactly what you do.

              And the reason why I’m “being an unmovable turd” is because your “arguments” are horrible and the result of flawed logic

              And you immediatly provide an example for your M.O.
              The standard accusation “that´s flawed logic” without analyzing the argument that you disagree and pointing out how it is fallacious – which makes this nothing more than a false charge of fallacy (hint: that is itself a fallacy).
              You are not arguing, you are using cheap rethoric.

            • JohnM

              “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”Socrates

            • Andy_Schueler

              JohnM´s trolling M.O.:
              1. Never come up with any actual argument or try to engage arguments of the opposition with counterarguments – rely 100% on cheap rethoric.
              2. When the fallaciousness and dishonesty in this approach is pointed out, try to defend with equivocation fallacies + red herrings.
              3. When this doesn´t work, whine like a little bitch that you have been called a liar – pretend that none of the arguments of the opposition exist, pretend that the accusations of dishonesty have not been documented in any way, shape or form, pretend that all that exists are mere accusations of dishonesty.
              4. Claim victory.

            • JohnM

              Andy said : When this doesn´t work, whine like a little bitch that you have been called a liar

              Liar. I have done no such thing. And I couldn’t care less about your silly accusations.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Liar. I have done no such thing. And I couldn’t care less about your silly accusations.

              :-D

              Then let´s illustrate your M.O.
              Step 1, contradict yourself:

              JohnM: It doesn’t really matter where or how many random points of interest you have in the casual chain. The point is, that you have them. And therefore the result is a product of randomness.

              The Information Philosopher [That JohnM cites and claims to agree with on this matter]:Consequently, at the very most, the indeterminism or chance involved in the generation of alternative possibilities is just an indirect cause of action, and just one of many causes.

              Source

              Step 2, defend with equivocation fallacies (aka silly word games):

              Generation of alternative possibilities is step 1 in the model. It determines what option we have to pick between. It’s indirect[pretending that the word “indirect” means that it doesn´t contradict your previous claim, although you claimed that it doesn´t matter where in the causal chain the random influence is and all causes that are not in the last element of the causal chain are indirect causes => equivocation fallacy / silly word game], because it doesn’t directly influence which of the alternative possibilities that we choose.

              Source.

              Step 3, defend with red herring:

              Actually, you’re the one who needs to “man up” as you call it, and admit that you lied, when you said that Bob Doyle’s position is, that an agent cannot do otherwise in “the same circumstances”. [quickly change the topic after you realized that your silly word games did not work => red herring]

              Source.

              Step 4, whine like a little bitch and pretend that your dishonesty has not been proven + claim victory:

              JohnM: Just like I don’t need to refute your silly claims [nice try asshole] about me, as the silly-ness of them speak for themselves.

              JohnM: “When the debate is lost, slander [hint: a true claim can never be “slander”, and if you actually could show that my charge of you being a liar would be false, it would be libel, not slander. Again, nice try asshole.] becomes the tool of the loser.” -Socrates [Already quoted 2 times]

              JohnM: In this debate for example, my profile has been a Godzilla:
              http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/godzilla.htm [LOL :-D ]

              JohnM: Furthermore, you guys often accuse me of claiming to have “won” a debate.. I rarely do that. [You´ve already been doing it THREE TIMES in this thread, asshole]

              Cue JohnM continuing to whine that I called him a liar and an asshole (while continuing to pretend that his lies are not documented) in 5,4,3,……

            • JohnM

              Allow me to congratulate you on completely owning yourself. When challenged, all you were able to produce, was myself repeating that I don’t need to refute your silly claims about me, as I think the silly-ness of them speak for themselves.

              ..JohnM continuing to whine that I called him a liar and an asshole..

              Liar. I have done no such thing. And I couldn’t care less about your silly accusations.

              Bring on the red herrings and equivocation fallacies once again. That’s all you got.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Andy: Cue JohnM continuing to whine that I called him a liar and an asshole (while continuing to pretend that his lies are not documented) in 5,4,3,……

              ….2,1,0….

              JohnM: Liar. I have done no such thing. And I couldn’t care less about your silly accusations.

              :-D

              Bring on the red herrings and equivocation fallacies once again. That’s all you got.

              Translation: “You might have shown that my case is completely fallacious, but that´s all you got!!”
              This is the first time that you admit that you are full of shit – at least some progress.

            • JohnM

              Your tactic is a complete failure. You’re the liar who’s been exposed several times in this thread alone. And you’re the loser, sitting around feeling sorry for himself, and feeling angry about being called I liar.

              The fact of the matter is, that I haven’t bothered to care about your silly accusations, because I think the silly-ness of them speak for themselves. And there is nothing that you can say or do, to change that.

              So no, you don’t have a point. You don’t have an argument. All you have are slander and lies. The tools of a loser.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Your tactic is a complete failure[1]. You’re the liar who’s been exposed several times alone in this thread alone[2]. And you’re the loser, sitting around feeling sorry for himself, and feeling angry about being called I liar[3].
              The fact of the matter is, that I haven’t bothered to care about your silly accusations[4], because I think the silly-ness of them speak for themselves[5]. And there is nothing that you can say or do, to change that[6].
              So no, you don’t have a point. You don’t have an argument[7]. All you have are slander and lies[8]. The tool of a loser.

              1. Mere accusation. Contrast that with me documenting your dishonest assholery
              2. Mere accusation. Contrast that with me documenting your dishonest assholery
              3. Mere accusation. Contrast that with me documenting how you whine like a little bitch about being called a liar
              4. Oh you care, that´s why you continue to whine like a little bitch. You just have no argument to support your accusations. Contrast that with me documenting your dishonest assholery
              5. Nice try asshole.
              6. Of course there is something I can do, document your lies and document that you whine like a little bitch about being called a liar, as I do in every thread where I waste time on your lying ass, like here for example
              7. Learn what an argument is asshole. Hint: if you want to argue that I´m a liar, you actually need to quote what I said and argue where I was lying. Try something like this, where a certain troll called JohnM has been exposed as a dishonest fucktard and a whiny bitch for the umpteenth time.
              8. You just cannot demonstrate where I was slandering you (hint: when it´s written, it´s LIBEL, not slander, asshole) – but you will keep on whining and spewing your mere accusations that poor little you is being slandered, without ever proving your case that this is indeed what is going on. Am I right bitchboy? ;-)

              Cue JohnM continuing whining like a little bitch and spewing mere accusations without even the tiniest trace of an argument to support his case in 5,4,3,…..

            • JohnM

              Andy said : there is something I can do, document your lies and document that you whine like a little bitch about being called a liar

              There is no way for you to document your claims, because it’s a lie. I haven’t complained about the different things that you are calling me. I’ve ignored your silly claims, because I think the silly-ness of them speak for themselves. And you’re frustrated, because you’re trapped in your lies, and all you have to offer are the same lies. So how far down that rabbit hole do you really want to go?

            • Andy_Schueler

              There is no way for you to document your claims, because it’s a lie.

              Oh noes!!! Really??? Nope:
              http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/05/29/yet-another-experiment-showing-that-conscious-decisions-are-made-unconsciously-and-in-advance/#comment-916640834
              Seems like you are full of shit again.

              Andy: Cue JohnM continuing whining like a little bitch and spewing mere accusations without even the tiniest trace of an argument to support his case in 5,4,3,…..

              ….2,1,0….

              JohnM: I haven’t complained about the different things that you are calling me [says the little troll while complaining about the “sillyness” of my claims :-D]. I’ve ignored your silly claims[says the little troll while complaining about the “sillyness of my claims” :-D], because I think the silly-ness of them speak for themselves.

              :-D :-D :-D

            • JohnM

              Just quote the part where I “whine like a little bitch about being called a liar / asshole / bitchboy”.

              It’s not there. And you know that. You’re just an incredible dishonest person, who’s fragile little ego can’t handle being wrong. In a sense, you’re just projecting all your own flaws onto me.

            • Andy_Schueler

              JohnM: Just quote the part where I “whine like a little bitch about being called a liar / asshole / bitchboy”.

              JohnM: I haven’t complained about the different things that you are calling me [says the little troll while complaining about the “sillyness” of my claims :-D]. I’ve ignored your silly claims[says the little troll while complaining about the “sillyness of my claims” :-D], because I think the silly-ness of them speak for themselves [right, JohnM aka little bitchboy is TOTALLY not whining! ;-) ].

              :-D

              Andy: Cue JohnM continuing whining like a little bitch and spewing mere accusations without even the tiniest trace of an argument to support his case in 5,4,3,…..

              ….2,1,0….

              JohnM: It’s not there. And you know that. You’re just an incredible dishonest person, who’s fragile little ego can’t handle being wrong. In a sense, you’re just projecting all your own flaws onto me.

              :-D :-D :-D

            • JohnM

              Expressing my view, that I don’t need to comment on your silly claims, because the silly-ness of them speak for themselves… Is neither whining nor complaining. What sane person would think that?

              I’m doing the complete opposite of whining / complaining. I’m proclaiming your claims to be so ridicules, that they don’t even require a reply.

              You’re just a “lying scumbag” as you say. Nothing more.

            • Andy_Schueler

              JohnM: Just quote the part where I “whine like a little bitch about being called a liar / asshole / bitchboy”.

              JohnM: I haven’t complained about the different things that you are calling me [says the little troll while complaining about the “sillyness” of my claims :-D]. I’ve ignored your silly claims[says the little troll while complaining about the “sillyness of my claims” :-D], because I think the silly-ness of them speak for themselves [right, JohnM aka little bitchboy is TOTALLY not whining! ;-) ].

              JohnM: Expressing my view, that I don’t need to comment on your silly claims, because the silly-ness of them speak for themselves… Is neither whining nor complaining.[repeating AD NAUSEAM “your claims are silly, I don´t even have to reply to that” is TOTALLY NOT complaining! Nice try bitchboy ;-) ] What sane person would think that?
              I’m doing the complete opposite of whining / complaining [repeating AD NAUSEAM “your claims are silly, I don´t even have to reply to that” is TOTALLY NOT complaining! Nice try bitchboy ;-) ]. I’m proclaiming your claims to be so ridicules, that they don’t even require a reply [yet you just CAN´T STOP REPLYING :-D, and you can´t stop fulfilling my prediction that you will NEVER SUPPORT YOUR EMPTY ACCUSATIONS WITH AN ARGUMENT :-D ].

              :-D

              Andy: Cue JohnM continuing whining like a little bitch and spewing mere accusations without even the tiniest trace of an argument to support his case in 5,4,3,…..

              ….2,1,0….

              JohnM: It’s not there. And you know that. You’re just an incredible dishonest person, who’s fragile little ego can’t handle being wrong. In a sense, you’re just projecting all your own flaws onto me

              JohnM: You’re just a “lying scumbag” as you say. Nothing more.

              :-D :-D :-D

            • JohnM

              Clearly you’re not mature enough, to know when to stop. So I’ll just do it for you ;)

            • Andy_Schueler

              Andy: Cue JohnM continuing whining like a little bitch and spewing mere accusations without even the tiniest trace of an argument to support his case in 5,4,3,…..

              ….2,1,0….

              JohnM: It’s not there. And you know that. You’re just an incredible dishonest person, who’s fragile little ego can’t handle being wrong. In a sense, you’re just projecting all your own flaws onto me

              JohnM: You’re just a “lying scumbag” as you say. Nothing more.

              JohnM: Clearly you’re not mature enough, to know when to stop

              :-D :-D :-D

              Don´t you ever get tired of being so predictable?

            • Right, let us stop this spat now and return to the issue.In order to establish a claim you must:

              1) Show it is logically and philosophically coherent

              2) Supply real life, empirical evidence to support it (otherwise it si pointless)

              You have done neither, I have done both. Also 2) for me is PREDICTED by 1). There is no such prediction whatsoever for you. Again, let the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy sum up whether we have free will or not. Please read this:

              A recent trend is to suppose that agent causation accounts capture, as well as possible, our prereflective idea of responsible, free action. But the failure of philosophers to work the account out in a fully satisfactory and intelligible form reveals that the very idea of free will (and so of responsibility) is incoherent (Strawson 1986) or at least inconsistent with a world very much like our own (Pereboom 2001). Smilansky (2000) takes a more complicated position, on which there are two ‘levels’ on which we may assess freedom, ‘compatibilist’ and ‘ultimate’. On the ultimate level of evaluation, free will is indeed incoherent. (Strawson, Pereboom, and Smilansky all provide concise defenses of their positions in Kane 2002.)

              The will has also recently become a target of empirical study in neuroscience and cognitive psychology. Benjamin Libet (2002) conducted experiments designed to determine the timing of conscious willings or decisions to act in relation to brain activity associated with the physical initiation of behavior. Interpretation of the results is highly controversial. Libet himself concludes that the studies provide strong evidence that actions are already underway shortly before the agent wills to do it. As a result, we do not consciously initiate our actions, though he suggests that we might nonetheless retain the ability to veto actions that are initiated by unconscious psychological structures. Wegner (2002) amasses a range of studies (including those of Libet) to argue that the notion that human actions are ever initiated by their own conscious willings is simply a deeply-entrenched illusion and proceeds to offer an hypothesis concerning the reason this illusion is generated within our cognitive systems. Mele (2009) and O’Connor (2009b) argue that the data adduced by Libet, Wegner, and others wholly fail to support their revisionary conclusions.

            • JohnM

              Jonathan : Right, let us stop this spat now

              Yeah, let’s do that. I was after all just replying to John Grove, when Andy suddenly wanted to spread more lies about me :)

            • Andy_Schueler

              Andy: Cue JohnM continuing whining like a little bitch and spewing mere accusations without even the tiniest trace of an argument to support his case in 5,4,3,…..

              ….2,1,0….

              JohnM: It’s not there. And you know that. You’re just an incredible dishonest person, who’s fragile little ego can’t handle being wrong. In a sense, you’re just projecting all your own flaws onto me

              JohnM: You’re just a “lying scumbag” as you say. Nothing more.

              JohnM: Clearly you’re not mature enough, to know when to stop

              JohnM: Yeah, let’s do that. I was after all just replying to John Grove, when Andy suddenly wanted to spread more lies about me :)

              :-D :-D :-D

            • In other words, I challenge you to set out

              1) a logically coherent philosophical argument for libertarian free will (not compatibilism, which is what you are doing – remember, the IP argues for possibilities arising from random, and thus being authored by the self since the process is in the agent, but the ‘choosing’ afterwards is adequately determined)

              2) The empirical evidence to support your theory

              3) a sound argument to show how all the evidences, such as 1-9 mentioned earlier, that support determinism, are explicable in the context of LFW.

              PS I don’t expect you to be able to, since no philosopher has adequately done so, ever. Which is why your confidence in your position is alarming.

            • JohnM

              a logically coherent philosophical argument for libertarian free will (not compatibilism, which is what you are doing – remember, the IP argues for possibilities arising from random, and thus being authored by the self since the process is in the agent, but the ‘choosing’ afterwards is adequately determined

              As I said: “I don’t have a problem with options available to me being determined by random. That makes perfect sense. I don’t control if a bunker is in the area when war breaks out. That’s a matter of chance. What matters to me, is that my will determines what option I pick.”

              The two stage model:

              First chance, then choice.
              Stage 1: Alternative possibility generated by chance.
              Stage 2: An adequately determined evaluation of the alternatives resulting in a willed decision.

              “Our thoughts come to us freely. They present themselves. And then our actions go from us wilfully. The ideas and thoughts comes in. The actions and decisions go out. We are the authors of our lives.”

            • JohnM,

              Since you ARE incapable of admitting your mistakes (as where we have successfully pointed out your complete change of position of LFW), and since you are evading all substantive challenges from myself, let me say this:

              I challenge you to do the below in a meaningful way or receive a temporary ban. This is YOUR CHANCE to defend your position without evading the matter at hand. Provide:

              1) a logically coherent philosophical argument for libertarian free will (not compatibilism, which is what you are doing – remember, the IP argues for possibilities arising from random, and thus being authored by the self since the process is in the agent, but the ‘choosing’ afterwards is adequately determined)

              2) The empirical evidence to support your theory

              3) a sound argument to show how all the evidences, such as 1-9 mentioned earlier, that support determinism, are explicable in the context of LFW.

              PS I don’t expect you to be able to, since no philosopher has adequately done so, ever. Which is why your confidence in your position is alarming.

            • JohnM

              http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/05/29/yet-another-experiment-showing-that-conscious-decisions-are-made-unconsciously-and-in-advance/#comment-913076890

              http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/05/29/yet-another-experiment-showing-that-conscious-decisions-are-made-unconsciously-and-in-advance/#comment-913092478

              Jonathan said : I challenge you to do the below in a meaningful way

              I have done so. If it makes no sense to you, then that’s just too bad.

              Jonathan said : or receive a temporary ban.

              Don’t bother. I’m not going to waste any more time attempting to talk some sense into to you guys.

            • a) You have provided no empirical evidence

              b) You have not explained positive evidence for determinism in light of LFW at all

              c) which leaves ONLY a possible logical argument for LFW. Except you recently adhered to the Information Philosopher’s account of free will. It is not LFW, and it does not adhere to alternate possibilities, as you ORIGINALLY SET OUT, but alternate possibilities of pathway, NOT reaction to pathway.

              This is a different thing altogether. So you have a lot of work to do.

            • I also suggest re-reading the text you linked from the IP:

              Chance cannot directly cause our actions. We cannot be responsible for random actions.

              Because of quantum mechanics, we now know that indeterminism is true and absolute chance exists in the universe.

              Chance can generate random and totally unpredictable alternative possibilities for action, our “Agenda” for the Cogito.

              These alternatives are generated from our internal knowledge of practical possibilities. Those that are handed up for consideration may be filtered to some extent by unconscious processes to be “within reason.” They may consist of slight variations of past actions we have willed many times in the past.

              The selection of one of these possibilities by the will is as deterministic and causal a process as anything that a determinist or compatibilist could ask for, consistent with our knowledge of the physical world.

              Instead of a strict causal determinism, the world offers only adequate determinism.

              Consequently, at the very most, the indeterminism or chance involved in the generation of alternative possibilities is just an indirect cause of action, and just one of many causes.

              One of these possibilities is de-liberated by our causally determined will, so we can say that the action was up to us and that we can accept moral responsibility for it.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Don’t bother. I’m not going to waste any more time attempting to talk some sense into to you guys.

              If only that were true… You WILL come back and you WILL troll in exactly the same way that you have been trolling this comment thread and the dozens of comment threads that you trolled before that.
              You “banned yourself” already three times before that, and you always came back to troll a little more.

            • John, Andy has TIRELESSLY listed empirical evidence to support his accusations of you. You have not. I’m sorry, but I don;t think Andy has been ‘exposed’ in any way. OTOH, you have!

            • JohnM

              There’s that judge “slash” cheerleader again.

              I challenge you Jonathan. Show me where in this thread that I’ve have complained about his name-callings. Otherwise you’re a dishonest person.

            • I don’t care. I want you to address the substantive point about LFW, including explaining the presence of all the empirical data supporting determinism.

            • ” I’m just completely unpersuaded by all the outside causes, outside of my control, attempting to cause me to think as you want me to do. “

              This is crazy. Unpersuaded by empirical, retestable data. Even if you don’t seem to understand the philosophical argument, you cannot argue with the empirical data. This includes:

              1) Libet style experiments whereby we know that the nonconscious brain is active to a ‘decision’ before the conscious brain.

              2) We can predict behaviour and attainment of people 10-20 years later based on delayed gratification research of 4-6 year olds

              3) We can predict criminality of people 20 years later based on fear conditioning at age 3-4

              4) We can assess prison places based on school literacy levels

              5) We can to some degree predict educational attainment using genetic markers

              6) We can predict who you will vote for based on disgust sensitivity
              7) We can use TMS to make the brain choose a certain thing and then watch the mind invent conscious intention ex post facto (this is the same as recorded for people with hemispheres that have been severed)
              8) We can prime people in ALL SORTS OF WAYS to think that they have chosen something but they have actually have non-conscious primes (disgust, language etc etc) – these can control moral judgement
              9) We can adjust people’s moral judgement using TMS

              And so on, ad infinitum.

              What amazes me is that all this data is PREDICTED by determinism. It fits like a glove. It is NOT predicted by LFW. Indeed, you have to ad hoc rationalise to make the two aspects coherent.

              You have nothing but empty rhetoric to defend your position.

            • JohnM

              Did you just call Edward Clint crazy?

            • No.

            • JohnM

              Then who were you talking to? As far as I can see, Edward Clint was the only one really commenting on the OP.

            • You’re just being weird now. I was addressing you by quoting you. And I produced a bunch of stuff which you did nothing to reply to, trying to red herring evade with somewhat embarrassing consequences.

            • JohnM

              Then you’re taking my comments out of context.

            • a) No I’m not. Read your message.

              b) That comment is only to highlight your claims. It is irrelevant, per se, to my points, which you STILL have not answered.

              To recap:

              In order to establish a claim you must:

              1) Show it is logically and philosophically coherent

              2) Supply real life, empirical evidence to support it (otherwise it si pointless)

              You have done neither, I have done both. Also 2) for me is PREDICTED by 1). There is no such prediction whatsoever for you. Again, let the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy sum up whether we have free will or not. Please read this:

              A recent trend is to suppose that agent causation accounts capture, as well as possible, our prereflective idea of responsible, free action. But the failure of philosophers to work the account out in a fully satisfactory and intelligible form reveals that the very idea of free will (and so of responsibility) is incoherent (Strawson 1986) or at least inconsistent with a world very much like our own (Pereboom 2001). Smilansky (2000) takes a more complicated position, on which there are two ‘levels’ on which we may assess freedom, ‘compatibilist’ and ‘ultimate’. On the ultimate level of evaluation, free will is indeed incoherent. (Strawson, Pereboom, and Smilansky all provide concise defenses of their positions in Kane 2002.)

              The will has also recently become a target of empirical study in neuroscience and cognitive psychology. Benjamin Libet (2002) conducted experiments designed to determine the timing of conscious willings or decisions to act in relation to brain activity associated with the physical initiation of behavior. Interpretation of the results is highly controversial. Libet himself concludes that the studies provide strong evidence that actions are already underway shortly before the agent wills to do it. As a result, we do not consciously initiate our actions, though he suggests that we might nonetheless retain the ability to veto actions that are initiated by unconscious psychological structures. Wegner (2002) amasses a range of studies (including those of Libet) to argue that the notion that human actions are ever initiated by their own conscious willings is simply a deeply-entrenched illusion and proceeds to offer an hypothesis concerning the reason this illusion is generated within our cognitive systems. Mele (2009) and O’Connor (2009b) argue that the data adduced by Libet, Wegner, and others wholly fail to support their revisionary conclusions.

            • Andy_Schueler

              ” I’m just completely unpersuaded by all the outside causes, outside of my control, attempting to cause me to think as you want me to do.

              Note the highlighted part, this is one of the strawmen that JohnM likes to use when it comes to this topic: “determinism means that those who argue for it (and only those that argue for it) must have infinite persuasive power, JohnM is not persuaded, ergo determinism is false”

      • John Grove

        JohnM,

        Ever hear the phase that it is better to admit ignorance than to display it? You clearly do not have the acumen to grasp the issues at hand when discussing this or any discussion I have seen you attempt to engage. And I don’t say this merely to smear you, but in hopes that if you enter in a discussion you should be amenable to persuasion rather than just sounding like a sectarian dogmatic unmovable shitbird.

        Seriously bro, it is getting old and tiresome. You can do better than that. I know you can. You just need an attitude adjustment. Be a man, do the right thing.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qtrAMK7_Qk

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    • Stan Klein

      “They could thus estimate the time when the decision to add or subtract was made; the classification, of course, was imperfect.”

      No. they could estimate the lag between brain/neural activity (of unspecified kind and purpose) and reported decision of intent. There is a huge inferential leap attempted here and the myopic jumpers likely will plunge into the gap between warranted argument and stipulation colored by scientific pre-commitment.

      And please, do not call attention to PNAS as a source of any credibility. I edit for them and quality control needs its own quality control.