The Matrix: Lobotomized

It's not Andy and Larry Wachowski's faults I hated The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix: Revolutions. It's my fault. In any work of authorship that is released in volumes, whether it be a TV show, a series of novels, or a trilogy of movies, once the material is digested by the audience, every viewer is going to formulate an interpretation of the story, which will include the ideas he wants to see explored, and the questions he wants to see answered in future volumes.

After I saw the The Matrix, I was fascinated with the questions about human potential and free will raised by the story, and I looked forward to an exploration of these ideas in the sequels.

I just got out of the 9 o'clock show.  NO!  Don't go see it, it sucked!
"I just got out of the 9 o'clock show. NO! Don't go see it, it sucked!"

SPOILERS FOLLOW

For convenience, I will refer the three movies in this series thusly: The Matrix as M1, The Matrix Reloaded as M2 and The Matrix: Revolutions as M3.

Morpheus: "I've seen an Agent punch through a concrete wall. Men have emptied entire clips at them and hit nothing but air, yet their strength and their speed are still based in a world that is built on rules. Because of that, they will never be as strong or as fast as you can be."

Neo: "What are you trying to tell me? That I can dodge bullets?"

Morpheus: "No, Neo. I'm trying to tell you that when you're ready, you won't have to."

The Matrix

The properties of the eponymous computer simulation of the Matrix movies are instructive. The Matrix only exists in the minds of those enslaved to it. Even though the Matrix is a mass hallucination, very real harm can come to captive minds through its Agents. Its purpose is power (heh) and control, and it was imposed on the losers of a war. The Matrix inflicts rules on the minds under its influence that are obeyed because those minds believe no other options exist and/or fear reprisals from the Agents. A mind that is able to apprehend the truth of the Matrix finds that it has capabilities it never imagined possible, because it had stopped accepting the limitations imposed by the Matrix. A free mind in the Matrix is still in danger from the Agents, but a free mind is the only entity in the Matrix that could be powerful enough to fight them and win. Can you think of any entities in the real world with similar properties?

The crew of the Nebuchadnezzar watch a bootleg telesync copy of The Matrix: Revolutions downloaded from Usenet
The crew of the Nebuchadnezzar watch a bootleg telesync copy of The Matrix: Revolutions downloaded from Usenet.

"I know you're out there. I can feel you now. I know that you're afraid…afraid of us. You're afraid of change. I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it's going to begin. I'm going to hang up this phone, and then show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules or controls, borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you."

—Neo, The Matrix

The quote above concludes M1. It seemed to promise that the continuation of the series would show us the efforts of Neo and the Neo-kateers to help the millions upon millions of minds trapped in the Matrix to awaken to the truth. I imagined them spreading propaganda, making big splashy spectacles that would force large numbers of the minds trapped in the Matrix to confront the unreality of "the world that [had] been pulled over their eyes."

I wanted to see Morpheus' rag-tag bunch work in the realm where their power was theoretically limited only by their own minds, the Matrix. Instead, they scrabble in the dirt, fighting the machines from humanity's weakest possible position.

If you'd care to make a small contribution to my campaign, I can make 'The One' a very cushy position.
"If you'd care to make a small contribution to my campaign, I can make 'The One' a very cushy position."

This shift in focus is made necessary by the fact that all free humans live in one big compound—one with a single point of failure in its defenses, no less!—and the machines are coming after them. Any novel exploration of liberty and free will are put aside, or replaced with nonsensical pseudo-mysticism, and the plot morphs into a fairly boring, if visually stunning, war movie. It seems like about a quarter of the running time of M2 and M3 consists of people standing around in council chambers making pompous speeches at each other. Thanks, but I can watch C-SPAN at home. Meanwhile, the masses huddle, doing nothing to help themselves or each other. After being freed from the mental slavery of the machines, these humans apparently threw themselves whole-heartedly into mental slavery to other humans.

M1 was fairly meaty pulp science fiction—M2 and M3 are a fairy story. Maybe the Wachowskis have Lord-of-the-Rings envy. In any case, you've definitely taken a wrong turn when your science-fiction epic is less relevant to the real world than a medievalist fantasy, and less plausible to boot.

M2_neo_oracle_small.JPG
"The choice you choose isn't understood until you understand enough not to choose it…er…I like candy."

I was able to set aside my distaste for the mumbo-jumbo in the plot of M1 by theorizing how the Oracle (groan) and the Prophecy (ptui!) could be explained within the framework of this particular fictional universe without recourse to the (ugh) supernatural. What I came up with was that the Oracle was software with special privileges to the data in the Matrix. Imagine an entity with direct access to complete and undistorted psychological information about billions of humans. I would imagine such an entity could predict human behavior with stunning accuracy. Turns out I was right that the Oracle was software, for all it mattered to the story. Every enigma in the plot—the Oracle, the Keymaker, the Morovingian, the Architect, Seraph—turns out to be nothing but a gimmick. In the M2 and M3, the mumbo-jumbo just keeps piling up, until every character on the screen is speaking in clichés full-time. "Some things never change, but some things do." Oooh, deep—I think that's what my horoscope said last week. "Everything that has a beginning has an end." Oh yeah? How do you know?

Final Thought

So, a society with the technology to create huge hovercrafts and powered mobile combat suits has people making rocket shells by hand with a mortar and pestle. Give me a fucking break.

Share this

The Matrix films were about

The Matrix films were about Fate ? not ?free will? (Fate being the mutually exclusive opposite of ?free will?).

?free will? is a supernatural belief. You cannot even define it or articulate it logically. Fate is an entirely logical (non-supernatural) belief.

There are no ?humans? in any of the 3 films. There are no humans in the ?Matrix?. The movies are about Algorithms (Neo, Morpheus, Trinity, Agent Smith, The Oracle, The Architect, etc.).

There is no difference between the ?Matrix? and ?Zion?. BOTH are artificially created realities generated by ?the Machines?.

?free will? is a

?free will? is a supernatural belief. You cannot even define it or articulate it logically. Fate is an entirely logical (non-supernatural) belief.

Would you care to support those bold assertions?

There are no ?humans? in any

There are no ?humans? in any of the 3 films. There are no humans in the ?Matrix?. The movies are about Algorithms (Neo, Morpheus, Trinity, Agent Smith, The Oracle, The Architect, etc.).

Unless you are trying to say that the realm that was identified as the "real world" in the movies was in fact another construct like the Matrix, your assertion that Neo, Morpheus, Trinity and the other Zionites were not humans makes no sense.

Serpent: The popular

Serpent:

The popular definition of "fate" is roughly: "whatever happend was going to", which is basically a tautology, and useless as a concept.

If I throw a softball at your head with perfect aim, then your "fate" is to have a lump on your head. If you detect my actions and move yourself out of the path of the ball, your "fate" is lump-free. Since you can react to incoming information, and change your actions you have "free will".

It is true the the universe is deterministic, (i.e. one and only one outcome will occur) but the presence of intelligence allows us to alter the conditions that give rise to these outcomes.

If you're truly interested in free will and determinism, check out Daniel Dennett's books.

As for your assertions about the lack of humans in the Matrix movies, well, I only wish that the Wachowskis were that clever. I didn't see any evidence in the movie to support that, but I'd rather see your version anyway.

one explanation I read was

one explanation I read was that Agent Smith was the real anomaly and Neo was the counter-program. Other than that I do think Trinity, Morpheus, etc were human.

I don't think the movie was about fate but rather about free-will. The 5 previous Ones chose a different path and Neo chose to save Trinity and make peace with the Machines instead of fighting them and it worked.

I can't help wondering how

I can't help wondering how many people were killed by flying glass shards during Neo's relativistic flight to save Trinity.

It is true the the universe

It is true the the universe is deterministic, (i.e. one and only one outcome will occur)

Quantum physics says that is probably not true. ;-)

Yes, the multiverse model

Yes, the multiverse model says that everything that can happen, does happen, in some universe, but all the same, only one given outcome occurs in any one given universe, or reality tunnel, or whatever we call it.

David Deutsch's The Fabric of Reality explores some implications of the multiverse model, and is a damn fine read.

...As does the book

...As does the book Hyperspace by Michio Kaku.

Woah.

Woah.

by M2 it had degenerated

by M2 it had degenerated into typical hollywood collectivist shit,\. yea right, jumping up and down at a 'tribal rave' will solve all our problems. its amazing how few people analyze the message or lack of it in modern cinema. Obviously the first one was a total fluke.

http://eclectic.mine.nu/matri

http://eclectic.mine.nu/matrix.htm

Andrew: Heh heh heh.

Andrew: Heh heh heh. Thanks.

Spoonie: Great, a Bible parable. Nobody ever makes those! How original. Ahem.

I know many xtians think biblical imagery automagically makes art "deep", but not everybody agrees.

On the contrary, it's so

On the contrary, it's so easy to make biblical allusions these days (after a culture steeped in it for nigh on 1500 years), that some are made inadvertantly.

M3's non-ending rendered most of the 3rd movie moot- or rather an existential exercise that had no meaning beyond the doing itself (beyond going through the motions). Which may have been the 'point', but its a rather dull point indeed.

Qiwi Lisolet: Would you care

Qiwi Lisolet: Would you care to support those bold assertions?

?free will? is an inherently incoherent concept. You cannot even define the term in a consistent (logical) fashion. Fate prevents you from doing it.

If you doubt my assertion then please prove me wrong by defining ?free will?.

Qiwi Lisolet: Unless you are trying to say that the realm that was identified as the "real world" in the movies was in fact another construct like the Matrix.

Yes. The realm referred to as ?Zion? was just another (higher) level of the Matrix. That is how Agent Smith is able to travel there. That is why Neo still has power there. That is why Neo can still see without the benefit of ?physical? eyes.

Qiwi Lisolet: ? your assertion that Neo, Morpheus, Trinity and the other Zionites were not humans makes no sense.

Only because you are incorrectly assuming that you possess ?free will? Algorithm.

wkw3: The popular definition

wkw3: The popular definition of "fate" is roughly: "whatever happend was going to", which is basically a tautology, and useless as a concept.

I disagree. Fate is logical, ?free will? is incoherent. That?s because ?free will? is a supernatural concept.

wkw3: If I throw a softball at your head with perfect aim, then your "fate" is to have a lump on your head. If you detect my actions and move yourself out of the path of the ball, your "fate" is lump-free. Since you can react to incoming information, and change your actions you have "free will".

Computer programs can also react to incoming information and change their actions accordingly. Are you suggesting that computer programs also have ?free will??

wkw3: It is true the the universe is deterministic, (i.e. one and only one outcome will occur) ?

Determinism and Fatalism are logically equivalent.

wkw3: ? but the presence of intelligence allows us to alter the conditions that give rise to these outcomes.

Define ?Intelligence??

The Laws of Physics control the behavior of ALL ?matter? (Energy).
Your physical brain is made of ?matter? and nothing else.
Ergo The Laws of Physics completely control the behavior of your physical brain.

wkw3: If you're truly interested in free will and determinism, check out Daniel Dennett's books.

No offense my friend, but Dan Dennett is an imbecile. Follow him at your own peril.

wkw3: As for your assertions about the lack of humans in the Matrix movies, well, I only wish that the Wachowskis were that clever. I didn't see any evidence in the movie to support that, but I'd rather see your version anyway.

Who acted in a more ?human? manner: Morpheus (a ?human?) or the Merovingian (a machine/an algorithm)? Who acted more ?human?, Trinity (a ?human?) or the Oracle (an algorithm)? Who acted more ?human?, Neo (a ?human?) or Agent Smith (an algorithm)?

Who displayed more emotions? Who demonstrated more personality, spoke in more animated terms? Who had more hobbies, more vices, more Ego?

Spoonie Luv: one explanation

Spoonie Luv: one explanation I read was that Agent Smith was the real anomaly and Neo was the counter-program.

I?d concur. Agent Smith represents the anomaly inherent in ANY formal system. Neo represents the new axiom, which counters that anomaly.

Spoonie Luv: Other than that I do think Trinity, Morpheus, etc were human.

What is the difference between a human bound by Fate and an algorithm?

Spoonie Luv: I don't think the movie was about fate but rather about free-will. The 5 previous Ones chose a different path and Neo chose to save Trinity and make peace with the Machines instead of fighting them and it worked.

If I can predict your future with 100% accuracy, and I tell you what is going to happen to you, then I have effectively altered your future.

David Masten: Quantum

David Masten: Quantum physics says that is probably not true. ;-)

The Goddess does not play dice with reality.

So David, when you approach a red traffic light are you saying that you are capable of simultaneously running the light and stopping at the light?

Qiwi: Yes, the multiverse

Qiwi: Yes, the multiverse model says that everything that can happen, does happen, in some universe, but all the same, only one given outcome occurs in any one given universe, or reality tunnel, or whatever we call it.

Okay, so in this reality YOU stop at the red light, but in another ?parallel universe? a duplicate of YOU runs the same light.

And since you began driving for every single red traffic light YOU have ever stopped at this is true ? another (less intelligent? but otherwise) identical version of YOU has run the red light.

Okay so I have two questions:

1) how is believing in an infinite number of invisible ?parallel universe? more parsimonious than believing in an invisible ?God??
2) How can it possibly be that this version of YOU is so much smarter than all of those infinite duplicates who are stupid enough to always run red lights? Why is this version of YOU that I am talking to the smart one? What are the odds of that?

?free will? is an inherently

?free will? is an inherently incoherent concept. You cannot even define the term in a consistent (logical) fashion. Fate prevents you from doing it.

Repeating yourself is not an argument.

If you doubt my assertion then please prove me wrong by defining ?free will?.

You're the one making claims, the burden of proof is on you.

Okay so I have two

Okay so I have two questions:

1) how is believing in an infinite number of invisible ?parallel universe? more parsimonious than believing in an invisible ?God??

I'm no quantum physicist, but David Deutsch argues in The Fabric of Reality that diffraction experiments involving single photons provide some empirical evidence that supports the multiverse model. There's no empirical evidence of any gods.

2) How can it possibly be that this version of YOU is so much smarter than all of those infinite duplicates who are stupid enough to always run red lights? Why is this version of YOU that I am talking to the smart one? What are the odds of that?

You've totally lost me. I don't know where you got the idea that the multiverse model implies anything like what you wrote above.

First, there's now way to know, and no reason to think, that the version of me in this universe is any smarter or dumber than any other slightly different versions of me in parallel universes. When you have a dataset of one, the only reasonable conclusion that might be drawn is that that your datapoint is close to the mean.

Second, there is no reason to assume that running red lights is always stupid.

Qiwi Lisolet: You're the one

Qiwi Lisolet: You're the one making claims, the burden of proof is on you.

Actually I am claiming Fatalism which I can define and articulate. The burden of proving Fatalism as true is on me.

YOU are the one asserting the existence of something you call ?free will?. I see no evidence for ?free will?. I cannot observe ?free will? (I observe Determinism). The burden of defining and proving ?free will? falls on YOU ? not me. It?s your claim.

Qiwi Lisolet: I'm no quantum

Qiwi Lisolet: I'm no quantum physicist, but David Deutsch argues in The Fabric of Reality that diffraction experiments involving single photons provide some empirical evidence that supports the multiverse model. There's no empirical evidence of any gods.

Deutsch is another nitwit.

The double slit experiment does not prove that the universe is fundamentally random and magical no matter how much Deutsch and the other Atheists religious fanatics want it to. Heisenberg only says you can?t observe the mechanism, he never tried to claim that there is no mechanism!

As for ?god? I would say that there is a LOT more evidence for ?god? than there is for a ?multiverse? or than there is for ?free will?.

The Serpent (previously): How can it possibly be that this version of YOU is so much smarter than all of those infinite duplicates who are stupid enough to always run red lights? Why is this version of YOU that I am talking to the smart one? What are the odds of that?

Qiwi Lisolet: First, there's now way to know, and no reason to think, that the version of me in this universe is any smarter or dumber than any other slightly different versions of me in parallel universes.

Lets suppose that YOU are approaching a red traffic light in the middle of the day at a busy and unfamiliar intersection. I assume YOU?d stop at the light.

Okay, so according to MWI there is a parallel universe in which a duplicate of YOU runs the red light. And for EVERY SINGLE red traffic light YOU have stopped at there has been another YOU which ran that red light.

So how is it that YOU are so lucky as to live in the universe where YOU happen to stop at every red traffic light in the middle of the day at busy and unfamiliar intersections???

It would seem that there must have been many, many YOU?s killed in fatal car crashes in alternate versions of the universe, so how do you account for the fact that this YOU seems to be so smart about NOT running red traffic lights in the middle of the day at busy and unfamiliar intersections?

Qiwi Lisolet: When you have a dataset of one, the only reasonable conclusion that might be drawn is that that your datapoint is close to the mean.

Let?s say I ask you ?What is the sum of 2 + 2 = ??

Now I assume that the YOU in this universe will answer correctly ? ?4?.

But does that mean that there are an infinite number of invisible parallel universes in which a copy of YOU gives a copy of ME every possible non-?4? answer? ?5?, ?7?, ?22?, ?dog?, ?cat? ? ?

Qiwi Lisolet: Second, there is no reason to assume that running red lights is always stupid.

I agree. But it has to do with an algorithm running at the core of your Graviton called MPB (Maximum Perceived Benefit).

Okay, Serpent, show me yours

Okay, Serpent, show me yours and I'll show you mine.

You explain what you think "fatalism" or "destiny" or whatever you want to call it means, and I'll explain what I think "free will" means.

The Laws of Physics control

The Laws of Physics control the behavior of ALL ?matter? (Energy).
Your physical brain is made of ?matter? and nothing else.
Ergo, Your physical brain, and all of its thoughts, feelings, and actions are the inevitable result of the laws of physics.

Determinism is the notion that ALL of your actions are the inevitable result of underlying logical processes. In other words ? CAUSE and EFFECT, Action and Reaction.

As best I can tell ?free will? is a denial of this belief.

Quantum

Quantum Indeterminacy.

Humans are not automatons and their behavior cannot be predicted with accuracy. Any extension of the determinist case to try and make this claim will fail. That humans have the ability to choose, I assert, is a priori true- it is something we know from the fact of being people.

Self-reflection allows self-restraint. When I get an urge, I am not forced to sate it or deal with it. Self-denial exists. Self-denial is impossible in a fatalistic model without resorting to a tautology ("you were MEANT to deny yourself!") which is impossible (if you can't help it, you can't deny, in which case you couldn't mean to deny yourself in the first place).

Fatalism requires more belief in a magical world than indeterminacy.

Qiwi Lisolet's expectations

Qiwi Lisolet's expectations for M2 and M3 were similar to mine. Instead, the straightforward themes (suggested by the Rage Against the Machine soundtrack and the Richard K. Moore article) that made me enjoy M1 were completely undermined (in M2, anyway--I haven't seen 3 yet).

If Zion is a higher level of virtual reality, it would explain why Neo had superhuman power even outise the Matrix. That's one thing I was wondering.

Another thing I can't figure out--if there have already been six of seven versions of the Matrix, each culminating in another defeat, it must be a lot, LOT longer than a century or so from now. So how do you explain physical artifacts like the Nebuchadnezzar, which in M1 was dated to sometime in the mid-21st century?

Brian Doss: Quantum

Brian Doss: Quantum Indeterminacy.

More like -- delusional supernatural fantasy.

Brian Doss: Humans are not automatons and their behavior cannot be predicted with accuracy.

You mean because there is no underlying logical process to human action? Do you mean because human action does not follow the normal rules of cause and effect, action and equal and opposite reaction (i.e. logic) because human action is actually magical and therefore ultimately ?indeterminate??

I bet that if I am in a Car with you and you are approaching a red traffic light that your actions are going to be very predictable.

Perhaps you can explain why this quantum magic you speak of grants you magical ?free will? powers, yet denies those same magical ?free will? powers to the Moon? Aren?t both YOU and the MOON made of atoms and nothing but atoms? Don?t all atoms share this magical ?random? supernatural Quantum Indeterminacy???

Brian Doss: Any extension of the determinist case to try and make this claim will fail. That humans have the ability to choose, I assert, is a priori true- it is something we know from the fact of being people.

Okay, but like I said computer algorithms also have the ability to choose. Does that mean that computer algorithms also have ?free will? according to you?

Brian Doss: Self-reflection allows self-restraint.

You mean ?self-awareness?? That is a Fatalistic concept.

Brian Doss: When I get an urge, I am not forced to sate it or deal with it. Self-denial exists. Self-denial is impossible in a fatalistic model without resorting to a tautology

Say what? You act based on maximum perceived benefit. If it is more beneficial for you to temporarily deny some immediate urge, then it is more beneficial to temporarily deny the immediate urge.

If you are claiming that your actions are not pre-ordained by Fate that sounds analogous to claiming that the Laws of Physics (TLOP) do not control the actions of the atoms in your physical brain.

Is that what you are claiming?

Brian Doss: "you were MEANT to deny yourself!"

You mean like when you are rushing to get home and you happen upon a red traffic light?

Brian Doss: ? which is impossible ?

What are you talking about? Are you saying you never encounter red lights when you are in a rush?

Brian Doss: Fatalism requires more belief in a magical world than indeterminacy.

I don?t see how, considering that:

Fatalism = the belief that all things happen for a logical reason and are the result of an underlying logical process.
Indeterminancy = the belief that things happen magically and supernaturally and without ANY reason or underlying logical process (i.e. randomly, stochastically (?un-caused?)).

Kevin Carson: Another thing

Kevin Carson: Another thing I can't figure out--if there have already been six of seven versions of the Matrix, each culminating in another defeat, it must be a lot, LOT longer than a century or so from now. So how do you explain physical artifacts like the Nebuchadnezzar, which in M1 was dated to sometime in the mid-21st century?

In a sense ? there is no ?real world?. The whole thing is a ?Matrix? it is simply a matter of your place in the hierarchy.

As for the ?6 previous versions?, that has to do with Kurt Godel and the Incompleteness Theorem. Essentially any formal system has an inherent incompleteness. Over time the incompleteness in the system becomes more and more apparent (it cascades) until it overwhelms the system and causes a catastrophic failure.

Of course if you can identify the source of the anomaly (the source of the incompleteness) You can correct the problem by modifying the existing system with a new axiom. Essentially you expand the system.

Of course since all formal systems are inherently incomplete you will eventually develop the same problem with the new improved system, but it takes time for the inconsistency to initially manifest. It is an unending cycle ? a Godelian Hierarchy (a type of fractal).

For me, The Matrix combined

For me, The Matrix combined two themes that, when done well, can make a great story - the Christ figure and the Coming of Age hero. The original Star Wars trilogy was successful because it combined these two themes exceptionally. So I had hoped M2 and M3 could fulfill the potential of M1. But they barely had Neo even talk in M2. They completely ruined the development of the theme in the sequels.

The outside world is not a

The outside world is not a 2nd matrix, but to an extent it is a construct of the machines, in that (ala M2), the machines both know where Zion is and have the ability to completely exterminate every human within it, at will, and have done so 6 times prior. It makes one wonder if Zion ever existed prior to the matrix- the machines could have built it and its infrastructure to house the people that wake up (and, inevitably, help debug the system by constantly searching for 'the one').

But the reason Neo can detonate the machines outside the Matrix is that he is somehow "spiritually" connected to the Source, which is the heart of the machine civilization, and thus can "hack" into any and all machines and cause them to self-destruct or self-terminate. Which is dumb, but these are the Wachowski brothers we're talking about.

Fatalism is most assuredly

Fatalism is most assuredly not the belief that all things happen for a logical reason and are the result of an underlying logical process.

It is, rather, a doctrine/belief that events are fixed in advance so that human beings are powerless to change them. (Merriam-Webster dictionary) or the belief that people cannot change the way events will happen and that events, especially bad ones, cannot be avoided (Cambridge Dictionary).

That requires magical thinking- that all events in life (including those of self-aware individuals) are predetermined (begging the question, who determines...) and thus nothing we do matters, since it would happen no matter what. If A, then B. If C, then B. If Not B, then B. If Anything, then B.

Fatalism denies choice and denies responsibility, it denies self awareness (for there is no self, only predetermined events), and it certainly denies action, since in a fatalistic world man cannot act- for man cannot change a bad event into a good event, nor seek a better state of affairs, because man is predestined to follow a set, determinate path that will not change and cannot be changed, for all is known in advance and there is nothing random in the universe.

Ultimately, fatalism becomes animism, since believing in essentially one cause for everything ("because") means that the universe has known the plot in advance from the beginning- one giant will in which we have no say. Indeed, there is no 'we' after all, since the self is an illusion given that no choices can be made and there can be no effect on the environment that deviates from The Plan (the Universe's original Idea).

Finally, in a world where nothing can be changed and there is nothing indeterminate, we run into the problem that there could be no concept of free will arising in such a system. It would be completely alien, unthinkable, because the concept could not exist in that reality. That we can conceive of free will means we are NOT fated.

It is one thing to say that, according to the laws of physics, if I do A then B will result. It is another to say that because there are laws of physics, everything is predetermined in advance. This is what you are saying when you say "fatalism".

A deterministic world still has room for free will (which is more accurately termed "choice"). I believe you are arguing not for fatalism (which is an infantile/animistic belief) but for determinism, but pressing the case for it too far.

And, BTW, it is a wicked

And, BTW, it is a wicked obvious strawman to declare that "indeterminacy=the belief that things happen magically and supernaturally and without ANY reason or underlying logical process (i.e. randomly, stochastically (?un-caused?))."

Indeterminacy means simply that on a certain scale, when "A" happens, a subset of actions can happen, but it is not (and cannot be) known beforehand which final state will result. This happens on quantum scales, not on human/Newtonian scales. This requires reason, logical process, and a cause before an effect can be percieved. The whole system requires reason, logic, and cause. It is not a belief that things just "happen", randomly, in violation of TLOP. It's just that on a quantum scale, indeterminacy IS the law of physics.

David Masten: Quantum

David Masten: Quantum physics says that is probably not true.

The Goddess does not play dice with reality.

Correct, she uses a random number generator that gathers entropy from the chaotic interactions between quantum particles. :-)

On a more serious note,

On a more serious note, Determinism and Free Will are religious concepts, there are no known ways of demonstrating either one. That said, the assumption of free will provides a more generally useful guide to human action, while determinism provides a more useful guide to Newtonian mechanics.

I think alot of this depends

I think alot of this depends on who you're talking about. I would submit that it's impossible to consistantly act as if you are governed deterministically. Conversely though, it's rather fruitless to approach other people's behavior as if it is the result of arbitrary choice. I get to know someone and I see stimulus and response.

Serpent, I might ask you though, do you believe in punishment? In a deterministic universe there is no logical place for punishment or credit or responsibility.

The idea that people operate according to "mazimum perceived benefit" is an idea that is either obviously true and impoverished, or clearly false. It depends on what you mean. When socrates declared that Humans only choose the good, he was obviously right, but only superficially. For instance let's imagine a man who smokes when he drinks but hates smoking otherwise. His conception of the good life if one that involves no smoking, even when he drinks, he recognizes that smoking harms him more than it benefits him. He's smoking. Any fool could make the simple argument that "obviously he values smoking more than not right now" but that tells us nothing. By that criteria, everything we ever do is "good" and, the word ceases to have meaning, dig? Good would just mean "whatever we do" and your statement would be a tautology.

You are correct that Dennett is pretty silly though.

An interesting question is whether you intend "fatalism" to mean predictable behavior of explainable behavior. I agree that behavior is explainable, but do you think it's predictable as well? That's where the random firing of subatomic particles seems to refute you. I should mention though, that relying on "randomness" argument is hardly a good way to argue for free will. That is not an argument for free-will.

Regarding the "fabric of reality" book. The way Qiwi explained it, it sounds like a rip-off of Nietzsche's "eternal recurrance" idea. Not exactly the same, but similar. Nietzche tried to argue it logically in his Journals, but never published because, probably, he realized its assumptions weren't intuitive. I believe the most problematic assumption involved is that "possibilities are not endless." Would you say that's accurate Qiwi? In order for infinite space and time to recreate the same event (presumably with different outcomes) is to suppose that there are a finite number of "states of affairs."

(Sorry to break the

(Sorry to break the train)

"So, a society with the technology to create huge hovercrafts and powered mobile combat suits has people making rocket shells by hand with a mortar and pestle. Give me a fucking break."

The idea was that all the ships/mechs were created before the fall of civilization. Everything in Zion is made to look salvaged. Rockets, being WELL over a few centuries old, were evidently unsalvageable.

Had to make that comment.

Brian Doss: The outside

Brian Doss: The outside world is not a 2nd matrix ?

ALL of the evidence from the 4 films (including the Animatirix) indicates otherwise.

Brian Doss: ? but to an extent it is a construct of the machines, in that (ala M2), the machines both know where Zion is and have the ability to completely exterminate every human within it, at will, and have done so 6 times prior.

Do you remember the scene where Morpheus and the Rebels help Neo escape the Matrix in M1? Are you suggesting that somehow humans have managed to escape the Matrix unassisted on 6 previous occasions and been able to rebuild Zion each time in its entirety?

I think it is rather obvious (especially in light of the Architect and Oracle?s speeches) that Zion is just another deliberate layer of the Matrix program, and that it serves a specific purpose for the machines.

Brian Doss: It makes one wonder if Zion ever existed prior to the matrix- the machines could have built it and its infrastructure to house the people that wake up (and, inevitably, help debug the system by constantly searching for 'the one').

The Oracle designed Zion. It was stated explicitly. The purpose of Zion is to capture the approximately 1% of the population who reject the first level of the Matrix.

Brian Doss: But the reason Neo can detonate the machines outside the Matrix is that he is somehow "spiritually" connected to the Source ?

Sure, in the same way that a highly evolved race of machines can?t conceive of any better power source than to hook human beings up and use them as ?batteries? ? ;)

Brian Doss: Fatalism is most

Brian Doss: Fatalism is most assuredly not the belief that all things happen for a logical reason and are the result of an underlying logical process.

I disagree.

Brian Doss: It is, rather, a doctrine/belief that events are fixed in advance so that human beings are powerless to change them. (Merriam-Webster dictionary) or the belief that people cannot change the way events will happen and that events, especially bad ones, cannot be avoided (Cambridge Dictionary).

That is true, but the reason that events are fixed is because they are the result of an inevitable chain of cause and effect, which is the result of an underlying logical process. In other words, the reason that things are pre-ordained in the future is because they are part of a logical process rooted in the past.

Brian Doss: That requires magical thinking- that all events in life (including those of self-aware individuals) are predetermined (begging the question, who determines...)

Does it also require ?magical thinking? to conclude that all events in the ?life? of a computer program are predetermined (same as preordained)? If you are claiming that YOUR MIND does NOT operate in a fundamentally logical manner, then how are you suggesting it operates ? magically and/or randomly?

How many red traffic lights have you randomly and uncontrollably run lately?

Brian Doss: and thus nothing we do matters, since it would happen no matter what.

Hey ? isn?t it always the Atheists who are claiming that existence is meaningless?

Brian Doss: Fatalism denies choice and denies responsibility ?

I disagree. However I should state that in my experience people who have lived their entire existence in this reality believing they possess ?free will? often have a very na?ve and child-like view of Fatalism.

You do get to make ?choices? in Fatalism; however ?choices? in Fatalism are like the kind of ?choices? a computer program would make. In other words, Fatalistic decisions are always based on an underlying logical process (i.e. they are made algorithmically).

Brian Doss: ? it [?free will?] denies self awareness (for there is no self, only predetermined events) ?

I disagree. Ultimately Fatalism is ALL about Individuality. In fact, a belief in ?free will? is ultimately the expression of the subconscious notion that Solipsism is True and no one but ?the self? exist at all.

Brian Doss: and it certainly denies action, since in a fatalistic world man cannot act ?

Technically this is True; however, in a fatalistic world action is replaced by observation (or perception), which essentially serves the same purpose. According to Fatalism (same as Determinism) the degree of individual Self-awareness and the level of evolution are analogous.

Fatalism disposes of ?matter? as the basis of reality, and replaces it with Information.

Brian Doss: ? for man cannot change a bad event into a good event, nor seek a better state of affairs, because man is predestined to follow a set, determinate path that will not change and cannot be changed, for all is known in advance and there is nothing random in the universe.

There is nothing ?random? in the universe -- The Goddess does not play dice -- this is true.

And while it is technically true that a Man is Destined to do what he is destined to do, I don?t see this as contradictory. Essentially (in my mind) it is a rather self-evident statement to say that a Man is preordained to be the man that he is. If you are saying that a man is NOT the product of his genetics and his upbringing (his life experiences), then how does a person become who they are ? through magic?

Perhaps it is your destiny to run through the next red light you encounter, but past experience tells me it is more likely your destiny is to stop at the next red traffic light you encounter. That is your Fate.

The fact that we are not always aware of what we will do in a given situation does not mean that our Algorithm isn?t destined to do what it was programmed to do. It simply means we lack the required information to perceive that future before it happens.

Brian Doss: Ultimately, fatalism becomes animism ?

Sure, just as ultimately a belief in ?free will? becomes Solipsism and/or Atheism.

Brian Doss: ? since believing in essentially one cause for everything ("because") means that the universe has known the plot in advance from the beginning- one giant will in which we have no say.

Well, like I was saying that is a rather narrow-minded view of Fatalism. And I think you are making some unwarranted (unnecessary) assumptions.

Brian Doss: Indeed, there is no 'we' after all, since the self is an illusion given that no choices can be made and there can be no effect on the environment that deviates from The Plan (the Universe's original Idea).

I disagree.

Assuming that Materialism is true and you do possess ?free will?, what makes you believe that the ?big bang? produced anything other than the one mind that is reading this post this very moment? That mind is all that exist and everything else it perceives is merely a figment of its imagination generated by the ?subconscious?. You see this post ? a moment ago your subconscious conceived of it ? now your conscious mind is perceiving it ? but me ? I don?t exist, and neither does anyone else.

Brian Doss: Finally, in a world where nothing can be changed and there is nothing indeterminate, we run into the problem that there could be no concept of free will arising in such a system.

Not true.

Brian Doss: It would be completely alien, unthinkable, because the concept could not exist in that reality. That we can conceive of free will means we are NOT fated.

Hey, if you really have the option (?free will?) of running red lights at busy intersections then how come you never take that option?

If you are claiming that the laws of Physics are actually indeterminate and subject to change then how come every time someone jumps off the roof of a tall building the result is always and inevitably the same???

Brian Doss: It is one thing to say that, according to the laws of physics, if I do A then B will result. It is another to say that because there are laws of physics, everything is predetermined in advance. This is what you are saying when you say "fatalism".

Absolutely correct.

Brian Doss: A deterministic world still has room for free will (which is more accurately termed "choice").

Computer programs also make ?choices? are you suggesting that computer programs also have ?free will??

Brian Doss: I believe you are arguing not for fatalism (which is an infantile/animistic belief) but for determinism, but pressing the case for it too far.

For me there is no distinction between Determinism and Fatalism. In my mind that is merely semantic confusion sewn by the devotees of the ?free will? orthodoxy.

Serpent (previously): The

Serpent (previously): The Goddess does not play dice with reality.

David Masten: Correct, she uses a random number generator that gathers entropy from the chaotic interactions between quantum particles. :-)

Except, random number generators are Algorithms and therefore deterministic by nature.

Brian Doss: Indeterminacy

Brian Doss: Indeterminacy means simply that on a certain scale, when "A" happens, a subset of actions can happen, but it is not (and cannot be) known beforehand which final state will result.

Okay, so according to you, ?Indeterminancy? means that if you have incomplete information about a system than you have incomplete information about a system and cannot make wholly accurate predictions for the behavior of said system.

Sounds more like a half-ass definition of ?random? to me ?

Brian Doss: This happens on quantum scales, not on human/Newtonian scales. This requires reason, logical process, and a cause before an effect can be perceived. The whole system requires reason, logic, and cause. It is not a belief that things just "happen", randomly, in violation of TLOP. It's just that on a quantum scale, indeterminacy IS the law of physics.

I disagree. If you could observe quantum mechanics you would see the underlying logical process, and you would be forced to conclude that the entire system is completely deterministic (non-random/non-magical at the fundamental level). In other words ? the Goddess does not play dice!

The fact is that recent experiments examining images of particle collisions reveal both the position and velocity of particles well below the limits that Heisenberg claimed were inviolate.

Matt: I think alot of this

Matt: I think alot of this depends on who you're talking about. I would submit that it's impossible to consistently act as if you are governed deterministically.

I disagree.

Matt: Conversely though, it's rather fruitless to approach other people's behavior as if it is the result of arbitrary choice. I get to know someone and I see stimulus and response.

I agree, but what you are describing is Fatalism.

Matt: Serpent, I might ask you though, do you believe in punishment? In a deterministic universe there is no logical place for punishment or credit or responsibility.

I disagree, and I would say that this is the single biggest logical fallacy that I see ?free willer?s caught up in. The fact is that positive and negative reinforcements (beneficial and harmful consequences) are vital to the functioning of determinism. They are the grease that oils its gears, so to speak.

Feedback is fundamental to the notion of Fatalism (Determinism).

Matt: The idea that people operate according to "maximum perceived benefit" is an idea that is either obviously true and impoverished, or clearly false. It depends on what you mean. When Socrates declared that Humans only choose the good, he was obviously right, but only superficially. For instance let's imagine a man who smokes when he drinks but hates smoking otherwise. His conception of the good life is one that involves no smoking, even when he drinks, he recognizes that smoking harms him more than it benefits him. He's smoking. Any fool could make the simple argument that "obviously he values smoking more than not right now" but that tells us nothing. By that criteria, everything we ever do is "good" and, the word ceases to have meaning, dig? Good would just mean "whatever we do" and your statement would be a tautology.

I would say that the reason ?WHY? you consider (perceive) something as ?good? (beneficial) is what is relevant, but beyond that point I?d say that it is rather obvious when presented with two options an individual ALWAYS ?chooses? the option that he perceives grants him the most benefit (or the least harm (same difference) i.e. maximum perceived benefit).

Matt: You are correct that Dennett is pretty silly though.

He is a religious fanatic. Dennett is determined that there be no ?god? other than Dennett himself.

Matt: An interesting question is whether you intend "fatalism" to mean predictable behavior of explainable behavior. I agree that behavior is explainable, but do you think it's predictable as well?

Yes.

Matt: That's where the random firing of subatomic particles seems to refute you. I should mention though, that relying on "randomness" argument is hardly a good way to argue for free will. That is not an argument for free-will.

I am saying that ?free will? requires a magical or ?random? explanation (same difference). Fatalism does not. Ergo, a belief in ?free will? is a supernatural (religious) belief whereas a belief in Fatalism/Determinism does not require a belief in the supernatural or magic (or true ?randomness?).

Matt: I would submit that

Matt: I would submit that it's impossible to consistently act as if you are governed deterministically.

Serpent: I disagree.
well then, as you read this and "decide" (an illusory process according to you) whether or not to respond, exactly what goes on in your head? My point is that you can't just lay your hands on the keyboard, Ouija Board-style, and let the powers of determinism decide for you. It doesn't make sense as a conception of the self. Try as you might to see any given decision as the result of childhood trauma (let's say,) it will never cease appearing to you as a choice.

I agree, but what you are describing is Fatalism.
right, the part you're responding to began "conversely". I think it is more fruitful to see other people's actions as a result of context.

The fact is that positive and negative reinforcements (beneficial and harmful consequences) are vital to the functioning of determinism. They are the grease that oils its gears, so to speak.
Punishment implying responsibility cannot exist. You may be saying that there is room for "deterrent punishment" (which isn't really punishment), correct? So if a branch rips my jacket as I walk past it, there'd be no reason to break the branch, right?

You'd only break the branch if you thought it'd have some affect on jacket ripping in the future, am I correct here? Hence "punishment" is neccesarily contingent on its future effects and that leads to some interesting conclusions. If it could be demostrated that punishment will not have a detterent effect, or that the death penalty has no detterent effect exceeding that of life in prison then the punishment won't/shouldn't take place, correct? Also, you could "punish" and innocent man who is thought to be guilty, correct? You might also advocate that punishments be public.

Unless, of course, you are a "soft determinist" who believes that moral responsibiltiy is a convenient fiction that "greases the wheels," but it doesn't sound like you are.

Feedback is fundamental to the notion of Fatalism (Determinism).
but who is entitled to give such feedback, and why should the feedback be negative? And why must extra feedback be neccesary? Killing someone already produces "they die" feedback.

I would say that the reason ?WHY? you consider (perceive) something as ?good? (beneficial) is what is relevant, but beyond that point I?d say that it is rather obvious when presented with two options an individual ALWAYS ?chooses? the option that he perceives grants him the most benefit (or the least harm (same difference) i.e. maximum perceived benefit).
then the view is impoverished. You're defining "good" as "what we choose" and vice versa.

He is a religious fanatic. Dennett is determined that there be no ?god? other than Dennett himself.
I imagine that you'd be more than willing to use his responses to Searle's "chinese room" argument.

Yes (claiming that determinism can predict.)
you think it's predictable? Then please, head to the biology lab at your nearest University and start predicting the behaviors of a worm (it's a simple organism.) The leap from "events are caused by certain finite factors" to "events are predictable according to the conditions that precede them" is a larger leap then you are giving it credit for.

I am saying that ?free will? requires a magical or ?random? explanation (same difference). Fatalism does not. Ergo, a belief in ?free will? is a supernatural (religious) belief whereas a belief in Fatalism/Determinism does not require a belief in the supernatural or magic (or true ?randomness?).
ahhh... not true. If you think free will requires a "random" explanation then you already have one. The random firing of subatomic particles should be enough to convince you. You're practically putting up a straw man for me beat down here.

It seems "clear and distinct" (a little philsophy humor) to me that at this moment I could be doing radically different things. It always seems that way to me, and I imagine it always seems that way to Brian Doss and you and anybody else on here. Until determinists can develop non-impoverished predictive abilities, then there's no reason to favor determinism as an approach to human nature. Instead, I rightly see it as a moral claim about the nature of responsibilty and other than that an excercise in mental gymnastics.

Matt: I would submit that

Matt: I would submit that it's impossible to consistently act as if you are governed deterministically.

Serpent (previously): I disagree.

Matt: well then, as you read this and "decide" (an illusory process according to you) whether or not to respond, exactly what goes on in your head? My point is that you can't just lay your hands on the keyboard, Ouija Board-style, and let the powers of determinism decide for you. It doesn't make sense as a conception of the self. Try as you might to see any given decision as the result of childhood trauma (let's say,) it will never cease appearing to you as a choice.

But laying my hands on the keyboard Ouiji-board style is exactly what I would expect if the universe was inherently ?random? and/or indeterminate (stochastic). As it is, I am Fated to respond based on my past experiences and memories, which includes a knowledge of the English language and your previous posts.

Matt: I think it is more fruitful to see other people's actions as a result of context.

Exactly. But isn?t that cause and effect?

I mean ? don?t individuals have to act ?without cause? (without context) in order for Determinism to be not true (false)?

Serpent (previously): The fact is that positive and negative reinforcements (beneficial and harmful consequences) are vital to the functioning of determinism. They are the grease that oils its gears, so to speak.

Matt: Punishment implying responsibility cannot exist. You may be saying that there is room for "deterrent punishment" (which isn't really punishment), correct?

I?m not sure I am comprehending your question ?

I would say that the Truth has an absolute existence in an absolute reality, and that whenever your actions (perceptions) are in line with that absolute truth than you will be rewarded (positive reinforcement), whereas when your actions are in conflict (or opposition) to the truth of reality you will be punished (negative reinforcement).

Now if I understand you correctly you are saying that because your actions are Fated, your perceptions are also fated which means your rewards and punishment are also fated (pre-ordained).

I would agree to that assessment, but I?d say it is a very Materialistic way of looking at things, not entirely accurate.

Matt: So if a branch rips my jacket as I walk past it, there'd be no reason to break the branch, right?

It depends on whether you or anyone you care about plans on walking that same path later on.

Matt: You'd only break the branch if you thought it'd have some affect on jacket ripping in the future, am I correct here?

Yes.

Matt: Hence "punishment" is necessarily contingent on its future effects and that leads to some interesting conclusions. If it could be demonstrated that punishment will not have a deterrent effect, or that the death penalty has no deterrent effect exceeding that of life in prison then the punishment won't/shouldn't take place, correct?

Correct, but I don?t see how that is anything aside from the Scientific Method. In other words, you systematically explore all options and then go with what has worked best in the past.

Matt: Also, you could "punish" and innocent man who is thought to be guilty, correct?

No. Punishing an innocent Man would obviously violate what is True in reality and therefore it would definitely result in an ultimate negative outcome.

Matt: You might also advocate that punishments be public.

I?d say that Feedback is generally more effective if individuals other than those directly affected are aware of it.

Matt: Unless, of course, you are a "soft determinist" who believes that moral responsibility is a convenient fiction that "greases the wheels," but it doesn't sound like you are.

Ohh I am hard-core when it comes to Determinism. Of course that is why I refer to myself as a Fatalist.

Serpent (previously): Feedback is fundamental to the notion of Fatalism (Determinism)
.
Matt: but who is entitled to give such feedback, and why should the feedback be negative?

Are we talking about negative feedback you receive from another individual or from the universe (the laws of physics (TLOP)) itself?

You do something I don?t like, so I respond by transmitting negative feedback to you.

Conversely, you touch a red-hot burner on the stove because you think it ?looks cool?. In response TLOP transmits negative feedback to you.

Matt: And why must extra feedback be neccesary? Killing someone already produces "they die" feedback.

You lost me here, my friend. What ?extra? feedback are you referring to?

Let?s say that you kill someone ? that is the action.

The equal and opposite reaction ? the Feedback ? is when you are punished for killing that person. If we never had to worry about being punished for killing someone else. If there was no chance that we would get harmed or killed in the process. In other words, if there were no negative consequences for killing people than there would be a lot more killings.

The punishment for murder is the feedback which prevents murders from occurring in the first place. Similarly the reason most people aren?t in the habit of jumping from the roofs of tall buildings is because of the negative feedback associated with that action.

Serpent (previously): I would say that the reason ?WHY? you consider (perceive) something as ?good? (beneficial) is what is relevant

Matt: then the view is impoverished. You're defining "good" as "what we choose" and vice versa.

No, not really. I am saying that there is always a reason for why you consider something beneficial or harmful and the reason has to do with your past experiences which were all predetermined by TLOP and the initial state.

Matt: I imagine that you'd be more than willing to use his responses to Searle's "chinese room" argument.

Refresh my memory ? is that the thought problem dealing with translating something into Chinese when you don?t know Chinese?

Matt: you think it's predictable? Then please, head to the biology lab at your nearest University and start predicting the behaviors of a worm (it's a simple organism.)

What is the point in predicting the actions of a worm? You homo sapiens are much more fun and interesting. ;)

Matt: The leap from "events are caused by certain finite factors" to "events are predictable according to the conditions that precede them" is a larger leap then you are giving it credit for.

Are you saying that it is a non-obvious conclusion?

I think most Atheists see the problem as if they are looking at a giant computer program whose ultimate function they can only guess, and whose language they do not read or comprehend.

That doesn?t mean that the outcome of the program cannot be traced an accurately anticipated prior to its occurrence in reality by someone who can read and comprehend the code.

Matt: If you think free will requires a "random" explanation then you already have one. The random firing of subatomic particles should be enough to convince you. You're practically putting up a straw man for me beat down here.

Define ?free will?. I am betting you can?t define it without relying on Deterministic terminology.

How often do you randomly and uncontrollably run red lights? If you never do, then how can you say that your ?free will? is based on the fundamental randomness of QM?

The Moon is also affected by QM, does that mean the Moon also has ?free will??

Matt: It seems "clear and distinct" (a little philsophy humor) to me that at this moment I could be doing radically different things. It always seems that way to me, and I imagine it always seems that way to Brian Doss and you and anybody else on here.

Appearance [is not equal to] Reality.

If it were, then the Earth would be flat (instead of a sphere) and located at the center of the universe.

Matt: Until determinists can develop non-impoverished predictive abilities, then there's no reason to favor determinism as an approach to human nature.

Kind of like saying: Until atheists can develop non-impoverished predictive abilities, then there's no reason to favor atheism as an approach to human nature.

Matt: Instead, I rightly see it as a moral claim about the nature of responsibility and other than that an excercise in mental gymnastics.

Fatalism is definitely linked to the idea that an individual is ultimately responsible for ALL of his actions (Karma (or divine justice)), so I would agree that Fatalism is a claim regarding the nature of (personal) responsibility. I also believe that topic (personal responsibility) has a lot to do with what makes a libertarian a libertarian.

But if you want to witness mental gymnastics, then trying asking someone who believes they possess ?free will? to explain exactly and precisely what they are talking about.

holy crap... But laying my

holy crap...

But laying my hands on the keyboard Ouiji-board style is exactly what I would expect if the universe was inherently ?random? and/or indeterminate (stochastic). As it is, I am Fated to respond based on my past experiences and memories, which includes a knowledge of the English language and your previous posts.
yeah but this ignores the question- there is no way to act as if you are fated. How are you fated to respond? What if you didn't? Then I suppose you'd be telling me you were fated not to. That sounds like baloney to me. Answer me this- does it not appear to you now, as you prepare your response, that there are a million other things that you might be doing? And moreover, does it not appear as if you could simply stop doing what you're doing right now, if you wanted to?

Perhaps you'd say we're "fated" to think we have free will, but that just sounds like pointless tomfoolery.

Exactly. But isn?t that cause and effect?
absolutely. From the very beginning I have held that it's more fruitful to approach the social sciences by looking to determinism.

Now if I understand you correctly you are saying that because your actions are Fated, your perceptions are also fated which means your rewards and punishment are also fated (pre-ordained).
I'm saying that clearly there is no room for moral responsibility in "hard determinist" conceptions. If there is no choice there is no responsibility. If there is no responsibility then there is no punishment (which I take to mean "retributive punishment.") That means any "punishment" in the world could only be justified on grounds of "deterrence," or other consequentialist theories.

It depends on whether you or anyone you care about plans on walking that same path later on.
exactly- so if humans have no choice, as a branch does not, then they could only be "punished" in order to prevent future harm.

Correct, but I don?t see how that is anything aside from the Scientific Method. In other words, you systematically explore all options and then go with what has worked best in the past.
The scientific method guided by? What do you mean "worked best in the past"? Another problem I think you have is why you should believe in morality at all- why is preventing murder "doing what's best?"

No. Punishing an innocent Man would obviously violate what is True in reality and therefore it would definitely result in an ultimate negative outcome.
Serpent, you're slipping into the poorly defined metaphysical doctrines now. Violating "what is true in reality" has no bearing on the situation- what does that even mean? I don't normally go for these ultra reductionist games, but that'as the game we're already playing on this thread, so don't think you're getting away with it.

I?d say that Feedback is generally more effective if individuals other than those directly affected are aware of it.
But as far a lifers go, and death penalty cases go, there are no grounds upon which to justify "feedback" except for detterence, given your assumptions. So you in many cases the "directly affected" are purely instruments to the grand end of detterence. No need to provide them with feedback.

Ohh I am hard-core when it comes to Determinism. Of course that is why I refer to myself as a Fatalist.
maybe I'm wrong, but I always thought fatalists were determinists who believed in perordinance, is this correct? Implying that there was a conscious force who has foreseen the future.

Are we talking about negative feedback you receive from another individual or from the universe (the laws of physics (TLOP)) itself?

You do something I don?t like, so I respond by transmitting negative feedback to you.
okay so they impetus behind such feedback is "I don't like it." Isn't everything feedback though, if you think about it deterministically? Why then, are the punishers not punished? After all, they just killed someone (or put them in prison) and you can provide them with feedback via the same principle. I hope you see what I'm driving at here: if you see someone's predetermined murder of sally wrong, what prevents from seeing the succeeding punishment as wrong too? They were each caused by external factors, so what gives punishment moral priority of kidnaps, when they are both the same thing?

You lost me here, my friend. What ?extra? feedback are you referring to?
the extra feedback is the "moralized" feedback.

The equal and opposite reaction ? the Feedback ? is when you are punished for killing that person.
Putting this into Newtonian terms isn't going to convince me that this is a law. Someone who kills someone out in the desert (and noone finds out) doesn't experience such an equal and opposite reaction, so I reject your theory of moral motion.

If we never had to worry about being punished for killing someone else. If there was no chance that we would get harmed or killed in the process. In other words, if there were no negative consequences for killing people than there would be a lot more killings.
right, and what's wrong with that according to your theory of determinism?

Refresh my memory ? is that the thought problem dealing with translating something into Chinese when you don?t know Chinese?
yes it is. Searle proposes that Humans have "causality" or something akin to the ability to cause their own actions. He demonstartes this by contrasting a computer's "knowledge" to the chincese room knowledge. It's a good thought experiment.

What is the point in predicting the actions of a worm? You homo sapiens are much more fun and interesting. ;)
I was trying to let you off the hook by only asking to predict the behavior of such a creature. From what I understand, scientists don't/wouldn't/couldn't even no where to start on this problem.

Are you saying that it is a non-obvious conclusion?
I am, actually.

Define ?free will?. I am betting you can?t define it without relying on Deterministic terminology.
That's not what I was talking about. You said that you accepted the existence of "randomness" as a proof that free will arguments are correct. I disagree with this for one, I think indeterminism and free will are not the same thing. More importantly though, subatomic particles behave randomly. If you accept the existence of such randomness as a valid rebuttal
to your determinism (as you implied) then you're already back to the drawing board, because such evidence exists and is basically undoubted.

as for the definition of free will, which doesn't reference determinism, yeah I agree. Try defining nakedness without reference to clothes.

How often do you randomly and uncontrollably run red lights? If you never do, then how can you say that your ?free will? is based on the fundamental randomness of QM?
this argument doesn't do you much good. The beauty of "laws of motion" and such is that they are abolutely inviolable, so long as they are describing events that aren't subatomic or extraplanetary (for the most part.) Certainly the law of motion has a better track record when describing the motion of billiard balls then determinism does describing the running of red lights. The fact is, sometimes people run red lights. That's a counter example.

Kind of like saying: Until atheists can develop non-impoverished predictive abilities, then there's no reason to favor atheism as an approach to human nature.
not really. For one thing, I don't know why you assume that atheism and free will and somehow linked. They're not. For another, if your point depends on human action begin predictable, you should demonstrate that. I would freely admit that free willers can't demonstrate the abscence of such causes, but I don't think there's a good reason to assume them.

Fatalism is definitely linked to the idea that an individual is ultimately responsible for ALL of his actions (Karma (or divine justice)), so I would agree that Fatalism is a claim regarding the nature of (personal) responsibility. I also believe that topic (personal responsibility) has a lot to do with what makes a libertarian a libertarian.
a. you're completely losing me- how is it linked to personal responsibility? Maybe linked in the sense of "denying the existence of personal responsibility." Soft determinist Stace has tried to redifine personal responsibility to fit within the confines of determinism, but it does not fit well within the confines of fatalism.
b. I'm not a libertarian, just so you know.