Is free will possible in a deterministic universe?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Sarkus, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. Vociferous Valued Senior Member


    Yeah, that's why I gave up on Baldeee. Question begging often dismisses arguments out of hand. Meh.
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  3. river

    Exactly ;

    Past , present nor future stands alone in their existence . They all contribute to our reality .

    In Cosmology and in everyday life ( in ancient times to the present ) .

    Advanced Intelligent Life , thinks beyond determinism and instinct .
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2020
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  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    It more seems you gave up on him because you had, and still have, no response to his criticism of the theories of time being irrelevant. Certainly no question-begging, at least not on his part. Unless you think that conclusions can only be reached via that? Perhaps you can set out what you think he is presuming, what he is concluding, and thus his question-begging?

    Or will it be that since I seem to also find the theories of time irrelevant to this discussion, and you have offered nothing to change that view, you will accuse me of question-begging as well?
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  7. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    Nah, I'm bored of people unwilling to engage with any argument they just don't like. And I don't really care enough to be pulling teeth here.
    Quantum Quack likes this.
  8. river

    Indeed .
  9. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    For people to engage with your argument, let alone "not like" it, surely there would first need to be one? At the moment you have merely expressed the theory of time to be relevant but without showing why. Are we to guess as to an actual argument? And do so while accepting your naive understanding of the theories of time?
    Shame. I was rather hoping you had something more. But if not then I bid you good day.
  10. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    I’m not even sure you actually know what question begging is, to be honest.
    If you could point it out in my argument, though, I’d be happy to address it.
    Says the person literally unwilling to engage with an argument (that the theory of time is irrelevant to the issue at hand) he just doesn’t like.

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    Instead of being willing to support the relevance, when asked, of that which you yourself raised, you just prefer to huff and puff, and then to go and sulk in a corner.
    Each to their own, I suppose.
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  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Most significanlty: 1) That is irrelevant to a discussion of natural freedom of will. The only relevance of determinism to freedom of will is in its exclusion of supernatural events - some people require that the will be supernatural to be free (that it possess the ability to do other than it physically must, produce different outcomes from inputs defined to be identical, etc). This has been explained to you many times now.

    2) But even as a tangential and irrelevant repetition, it is wrong. I'm missing nothing of the kind.
    I'm simply noting that normally there is no "the" cause, and often the proximate causes include probabilities.

    And further, that you are confusing predictability with randomness while overlooking the key factors of logical levels, scale, and time (what is random at one scale can rigidly determine the outcome at another, similarly the relationship between events separated in time - and that is a central fact behind the usefulness of cause/effect analysis in the first place, which otherwise would be of very limited benefit.

    Cause and effect are derivative, not fundamental, constituents of the universe - valuable and effective shortcuts that sacrifice unnecessary and expensive comprehension for efficiency, but only to the extent that they do not mislead or confuse.
    Example: A hammer is swung at a nail set into a board (skilled framer: one blow to set, one to drive). Possible outcomes:
    1) The nail merges with the hammer, its atoms incorporating themselves into the metal of the hammer head. The nail disappears into the hammer's head.
    2) The atoms of the board align themselves perfectly with the atoms in the nail tip, thereby resisting the impact and converting the force of the blow entirely into heat - depending on the distribution of the resulting waves of force, the nail may melt a little, the board may catch fire, etc.
    3) The spins of the electrons of either the hammer head or the nail adopt parallel orientation for a split second as the hammer nears the nail head - the resultant magnetic force extracts the nail from the board and slams it into the hammer head, which melts.
    - and so forth.
    None of these are worth considering, in normal circumstances. The effect is a nail driven into the board, the proximate cause of this effect was a blow from a hammer, no problem. That's what cause/effect thinking is for - pruning the possibility tree.
    As physical law incorporates, and the hammer and nail illustration shows, all causes and effects are probabilistic outcomes at some level.
    Meanwhile: According to the best physical theory it is impossible to know "the initial state" of even a simple chaotic system except as a probability, in theory or in practice.

    Not "unlikely": impossible. Not just in practice, but also in theory.
    The probabilistic outcome is therefore "the effect", the probability being "the cause" (or more carefully stated, among the causal factors).
    You make a case for discarding the assumption that the universe is deterministic, in order to preserve a naive take on slipshod definitions - but we agreed to assume it was.

    That means you have to find another definition of "deterministic", or (better) a more sophisticated understanding of terms such as "random" and "initial state".
    Your current take on that definition excludes all probabilistically determined events, and thus the majority of the physical events of the universe - for starters, you've got yourself a determinism that cannot handle anything comprised by quantum theory or chaos theory without inventing an intellectual equivalent of a perpetual motion machine.

    Note that since probabilistically determined large scale (large number) events are inescapable over time - the law of large numbers, regression to the mean, Gaussian distribution, etc etc etc - a universe running on probability is macroscopically more securely determined than any other. That's why the fundamental laws - such as the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which rests securely on a foundation of probability - are fundamental. You can't beat them.
    As you point out above, many subsets or parts of the universe are not deterministically time-reversible at the scale in which they occur (we can, for example, play Conway's Life; we can also let the air out of a tire, shovel snow, etc.).

    Among them we find human decisions and willful actions.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2020
  12. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    How is it irrelevant when for something to be considered natural in a deterministic universe, the universe in question must be deterministic. And thus understanding what determinism entails is surely at the very heart of understanding whether something is, or is not, natural. All you are wanting to do is start with the assumption that free will exists, and as such you are simply begging the question being asked.
    I.e. once you combine the premise of what free will is, with the premise of the deterministic universe, you conclude that free will does not exist. I get it. Of course, you could define free will as X, and once you reach the conclusion that X also does not exist, you will exclude X from being an acceptable definition, because since it doesn't exist then it must be supernatural. This has been explained to you many times now.
    And the definition of free will that you allude to is irrespective of the nature of the universe being considered. It is only when you combine it with the deterministic universe (or any universe that imposes a "must", for that matter) that you get the conclusion reached.
    No, in a deterministic universe proximate causes do not include probability at all. Probability only comes into consideration when you are unaware of all the facts, all the details, when you do not have complete knowledge of the cause or the system at play. If you had complete knowledge, there is no probability, at any level.
    I am absolutely not. Predictability is a practical matter, based on knowledge of the system. Randomness is, if true, an inherent aspect of the nature of the universe - which would make it indeterministic and thus not part of this consideration - or simply an appearance due to not having the full knowledge of the system.
    So where am I confusing the two? Where have I confused the two in anything I have written?
    Appeal to complexity and logical levels again, without ever actually, you know, making an argument in support of them being relevant. All you seem to be doing here making a case here for "free will" to be nothing but an appearance, an illusion, of what is actually going on. But since you haven't actually made a case for anything at all, who can really be sure.
    Sure, if you only ever want to consider the appearance of what is going on, the incomplete system, without considering what is actually going on. Sure, we can all define free will as the "appearance of..." based on what our consciousness is interpreting things as. Sure, we can all dismiss the philosophical for the naive, as you are doing each and every time you make an example out of things that are based on our subjective interpretation of woefully incomplete information of the system, let alone the state of it.
    All you have is the illusion, the appearance of... and if you want to define freewill as being along those lines, you won't get any argument from me. But you don't and you never have. You want to say that it isn't an illusion, it isn't just an appearance of... so here we still are... after countless pages... and you still have zero to offer.
    Appearance of probability only, due to our lack of knowledge of the system.
    Feel free to support this, because given that we can set up chaotic systems of our own, with arbitrary and certain starting conditions, you're talking nonsense. The fact that we can model systems that are chaotic is proof that you are simply wrong.
    Secondly, if the initial state can only possibly be a probability - i.e. if that probability is inherent - then you are NOT talking about a deterministic system, but an indeterminstic one. And we all know how relevant that is to this thread.
    Please feel free to support this nonsense.
    I'm doing nothing of the sort! I have steadfastly stuck to the premise that the universe is deterministic in this discussion, whereas you are doing everything in your power to bring in inherent indeterminism, simply because you fail to grasp what determinism is, and what it entails. Despite every effort to enlighten you. First you try to claim that determinism is irrelevant to this discussion, and now this??? Seriously, until you can actually be bothered to comprehend what determinism entails, there is little point in continuing with you.
    Noone has ever disputed the existence of such things. The only issue is whether they are free or not. And you have yet to show how they can be considered as such, other than by way of how they appear (i.e. the illusion of being free) due to lack of knowledge of the initial state, or the system at play. Go figure.
    cluelusshusbund likes this.
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    There is no such thing as complete knowledge of any physical system. It's a meaningless - even self contradictory - concept.

    It's also irrelevant here - probability as a marker of indeterminacy has nothing to do with my posting on this topic. All of my posts on this topic assume a deterministic universe.
    - - - -
    My issue is to what extent they are free - an issue you refuse to discuss.
    Not true.
    I have several times pointed directly at such considerations,
    1) describing them as extrapolations from simpler natural degrees of freedom, including specific examples of similar extrapolations we accept without question
    2) noting that knowledge of the initial state is not only impossible but also irrelevant when considering natural degrees of freedom
    3) noting that no "illusion" is involved in natural degrees of freedom, natural freedom of will, etc (these are observable physical realities)
    4) noting that the system in play is not the universe

    and so forth.

    The only unmet requirement, for discussing such freedom, is that one drop the assumption that freedom requires doing other than natural law, cause and effect, the determining factors of the universe, determine - drop the assumption that freedom requires the ability to do other than one must.

    That assumption - the assumption that freedom be supernatural - prevents discussion of natural freedom.
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    At a practical level, sure, it’s not achievable. But to call it a meaningless concept - when you are able to understand it’s meaning to be able to argue against it, however fallaciously?
    And what exactly is self-contradictory about it? You’re going to have support that assertion for it to be taken seriously.
    Sure, that’s what you say, yet the actual content of your post, due it seems to your misunderstanding of what it means for something to be deterministic, says otherwise. You can keep saying that you are assuming a deterministic universe as often and as loud as you want, but when you keep introducing that which is inherently indeterministic, as opposed to, say, simply being an illusion of such due to lack of knowledge, for example, then you undermine your own adherence to that assumption.
    I have done nothing but discuss it: my position is that they are NOT free within a deterministic universe. Hence my position that free will does not exist within a deterministic universe.
    Sure, having more degrees of freedom means that there are more variables affecting the output, but the actual freedom of the system relies on how many positions it can take for a given input. If we knew what each variable was, there would be no freedom at all to the output. The rest is just a matter of the lack of knowledge of the inputs, of the variables, and thus the illusion of having freedom.
    The practical impossibility is what is irrelevant, unless you are only looking at “freedom” as being due to the subjective lack of knowledge. You claim not to be looking at such a freedom, yet you can’t provide anything that is not simply based on the lack of knowledge. I.e. the appearance of freedom. Or “illusion” if you want another word.
    On the contrary, it is. Entirely. If you knew the system, and if you knew the input, there would be only one possible output. No freedom for anything else. The degrees of freedom is then just a convenience to describe the number of variables - for which we don't know the specific state - that affect the range of possible outputs for a range of possible and unknown/unspecificed inputs. If you specified every single one of those variables, there would be no degree of freedom. Thus the "degrees of freedom" is wholly due to our lack of knowledge of the specific states.
    So yes, despite what you assert, you really are talking about illusions, about how things appear when we don’t know the detail.
    It must at least be a closed system. If you want to consider a closed system that is smaller than the universe, sure, but the same applies to this system as I have been saying.
    Of course, if you want to consider a smaller system that is not closed then you are back to dealing with what might appear to be indeterministic, for example. I.e. you are back to it being illusion. That dirty word.
    You have more arguments to knock down? Gee, I guess you haven’t even appealed to complexity yet. Or logical levels. You know, those things that facilitate the lack of knowledge that the subject has, that then gives rise to appearances of freedom.
    The same way one must drop the assumption that Socrates is a man or not when discussing whether or not he is mortal?

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    Once again, though, you misrepresent the assumption, and confuse the assumption with the conclusion. Yes, as originally posted, the notion of freedom is that it is the ability to do other than it must. But, and here’s the thing you have missed, are missing, and presumably will continue to miss, and are misrepresenting: there is nothing in that definition that says that this is against the laws of the universe, because within that definition is nothing about the laws of the universe at all. Thus to claim, repeatedly, as you have, that the assumption is for freedom to be supernatural, is fallacious. It really should not be too hard for you to grasp that, but somehow you repeatedly fail to. And that cripples you.
    We are discussing natural freedom: it doesn’t exist. If it is not possible in a deterministic universe then there is, by definition, no natural freedom.
    You, though, want to distinguish the freedom that does not exist with a “natural freedom” that does (if it didn’t exist it would not be natural – or would be considered by you to be supernatural), and “natural” becomes another means of saying “existing”. Thus you are simply looking to beg the question. Shame.
    If you want to talk about those freedoms we think we have, that we appear to have, due to lack of knowledge, the illusions of freedom that we live by, then do so. But don’t be so ridiculous as to lay at my door your inability to discuss such things with other people. The only one stopping you from discussing what you want to discuss is you, and your inability to find someone else to discuss it with. That you hover around me, Baldeee, Capracus and others on this matter, and criticise that we’re not discussing what you want to discuss, is simply childish whining on your part. Try growing up.
    cluelusshusbund likes this.
  15. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    I've explained multiple times, so at this point I can only assume I'm suffering from the corollary of Dunning-Kruger, where I've overestimated the intelligence of others. Shame. I was rather hoping you could keep up, at least better than Baldeee.

    Seeing as I've already repeatedly done so, if you haven't understood by now, you never will.

    Being unwilling to engage in bare assertion dismissal is very different from refusing to simply pick a theory of time. Again, I seem to have overestimated the intelligence of others. There's no helping that.
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    So you agree that "Socrates is a man" is an assumption, in that famous argument? Cool. We're almost home.
    Try reading again. It's not that complicated. I am in all cases dealing with your posted definition, your agreement with the other naive materialist postings of that definition, etc. All the assumptions involved are made by you and the boys.
    Why are you wasting time and space repeating that irrelevant bs? It has nothing to do with my posts.

    Pay attention: For the hundredth time - and do try to bear down eh? - It is impossible in theory.
    Not in practice: in theory.
    In theory.
    In theory.
    In theory.
    It's impossible as squaring a circle in Euclidian geometry is impossible.
    It's impossible as a perpetual motion machine made of physical objects with mass is impossible.
    It's impossible as division by zero in the rational numbers is impossible.
    It is impossible as writing a closed form solution for a general fifth degree equation is impossible.

    It cannot be done because the attempt makes no sense, cannot be aligned with the assumptions involved.
    There is no illusion involved in measuring the degrees of freedom of any system.
    There are deep considerations of freedom involved in describing the degrees of freedom of a system as complex as a human mind. They are different in kind, just as the interacting factors are different in kind, from those of simple machinery. They occupy different logical levels. They combine in different ways - some of them involving nonlinear feedback loops that stretch back many years in time.
    That is not an illusion. If you try to dismiss it as an illusion, your AI driving system will crash your car.
    If you could square a circle, there would be only one possible square output. If you could build a perpetual motion machine, you would never have to refuel your rocket. If you could define the square root of two as a rational number, you could prove that 1=0.
    Do you have a point? Are you making some kind of argument?
    Once again, because you are very slow on the uptake: That's irrelevant to my posting.
    All my posting has logically assumed is that the deterministic universe we have assumed is naturally determined, rather than supernaturally. I'm assuming that "must" refers to a natural constraint or enforcement or cause, not a supernatural one. You agreed with that assumption, you insisted on the absence of the supernatural from your deterministic universe, you repeated many times that the deterministic universe we assumed is naturally determined. Everyone agreed with you. I agreed with you.

    Whether that natural determinism is by something you are willing to call physical "law" or not I leave to your whimsical definitions. I have no idea how else you would describe natural determination of something, and everyone else here (including you, most of the time) seems to take cause/effect etc for granted, but it doesn't matter to my posting. (My language of "law" etc, if those rare occasions have confused you, is merely illustrative - taking advantage of common presumption; rewrite it as you need, assume physical "law" means something very different from what the rest of us are assuming, and file things accordingly so we can move on).
    So you assume, without bothering to consider the matter. (You haven't even begun to "discuss" natural freedom - you refuse by assumption to allow its existence.)
    Then you complain when I point out that you are assuming freedom is supernatural. Go figure.
    Sure. I keep pointing that out - in particular that "by definition" part, along with your assumed equivalence of "deterministic" and "natural".

    Meanwhile: if it is possible in a deterministic universe than there might very well be - by definition, even - natural freedom. It would certainly be worth discussing - and I have suggested a couple of lines of inquiry, starting with the evidence of course (as in all inquiry of the natural).
    Hence the discussion available, whenever you guys get around to dropping the supernatural assumption. This year, maybe?
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020
  17. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    It's not the corollary you seem to be suffering from.
    Not only have I kept up, I have been able to demonstrate its irrelevance.
    You have failed to explain why and how it is relevant, but rather just keep asserting.
    You really will have to offer something if you want to be taken seriously.
    No, you really haven't.
    But seeing as you think you have already done so, repeatedly, you'll have no issue in finding an example of it and posting it?
    That way you can also demonstrate that you know what begging the question actually is.
    The irony is that it is you making bare assertions, e.g. that the theory of time is somehow relevant.
    You have failed to support that assertion, despite every opportunity.
    I have fully supported why I consider it to be irrelevant to the issue, at least to my argument - but you constantly want to discuss a car's engine performance by referring to the car's colour.
    The only things you're overestimating is your own intelligence and honesty in this matter.
    And you could do everything to help that.
    You just don't want to.

    The simple facts of the matter are that you have asserted the theory of time as being relvant, have repeatedly failed to support that assertion, and have also failed to address any of the arguments in support of its irrelevance.
    And all you post now is your repeated unwillingness to address those shortfalls in your position.
    Shame indeed.
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Yes, it is an assumption. I’m glad you’re recognising it as such. Note that the assumption is not "Socrates is a man in a universe where all men are mortal".
    Please proceed with this supposed explanation of yours as to the assumption of the supernatural I am making. Next you should be pointing out that “Socrates is a man” is the equivalent of “freedom is the ability to do other than one must”. In and of itself, neither can be used to reach the conclusion of the arguments they are premises for. Just as in the Socrates case, where one must couple the above assumption with “all men are mortal”, so one must couple the freedom premise with the assumption of the deterministic universe.
    Still following? Good.
    Only when we combine the two premises can we conclude that Socrates is mortal, similarly it is only when we combine the definition of freedom with the deterministic universe can we conclude that freedom does not exist. It’s not rocket science. It really isn’t. Just a fairly simply syllogism. No assumption of freedom being supernatural, just as there is no assumption Socrates being moral, even though in that example we are discussing a universe in which all men are mortal.
    It has everything to do with it: you are wrong when it comes to theoretical.
    You can say it as often as you want, but it won’t make you any more correct. Although I assume you’re going to now post some supposed proof, such as that which you think you have posted before (e.g. your failure to understand what you posted in reply to Baldeee in post #736)
    Then that’s your misunderstanding. I suggest you revisit this discussion from when you first raised it. Because if you think simply raising it again is going to fly, having failed previously to address the criticisms of what you posted and your misunderstandings the first time, then you’re unfortunately deluded.
    I didn’t say there was. There’s similarly no illusion in counting the number of tricks a magician does.
    I have not said that any of that is illusion. But thanks for the straw man. The illusion continues to be in the actual freedom you think that system has. It has none, but the complexity allows the system to appear as if it does. Hence the illusion.
    You’re going to have to support your claim that knowing the system and state of a deterministic system is theoretically impossible. Even one with degrees of freedom. You know, the ones we model all the time. Even chaotic ones. The ones where we do actually know every state, every facet of every instant of the system. You’re being crippled in your thinking by this adherence to the theoretical impossibility of that.
    It’s not irrelevant. You are refusing to look at the syllogism as presented. That freewill can be concluded to not exist is why it can be concluded to be supernatural. As has been said of your argument before – you are simply looking to beg the question by excluding anything that can be concluded not to exist. So is free will possible… well, if we conclude that it doesn’t exist then it must be excluded from consideration from the outset… and thus we resolve to only being able to say “yes”. That is begging the question. And you are guilty of it in your approach.
    No, I conclude, precisely because I have considered the matter. Just as one concludes that Socrates is mortal because one considers the matter.
    If I conclude that freedom is not natural – i.e. can not exist in the deterministic universe – for reasons given – then that is all the discussion of “natural” freedom one needs: it doesn’t exist.
    Now, if you want to discuss the appearance/illusion of freedom that we have that is otherwise concluded to not exist, that would indeed be a worthy discussion. And if there is a thread for that I might well take a visit.
    So back to confusing assumption and conclusion you go. And you were doing so well.
    I am not assuming equivalence at all. But being deterministic is, in a deterministic universe, a requirement of something for it to be natural.
    Sure, but you first need to get past the “if”. Quite a big stumbling block for a thread that aims to look at that very question. You could, of course, also start a discussion on “if it is possible to create a perpetual motion machine…” for much value it has to the discussion at hand. Or you could, as you are doing, simply assume that it does, and follow that question-begging line.
    Try a different thread for discussion of freewill that starts with the assumption that it exists, if that is what you want. This thread asks whether it is possible or not, and all you have is question begging to resolve that. So stop your whining. For someone who wants to discuss something else, you spend an awful lot of time doing everything but.
  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    With due respect, can you name a physical state of -25, where its square yields 625? I cannot visualize something like that, except as abstract theory.

    I can see where x + x = 2x, i.e. a sum can be equal to a multiplication, 2 different functions. It just happens that sometimes a product of a sum is equal to the product of a multiplication. Would tracing back these compatible functions result in paradox?
  20. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    It's an analogy, not a direct example. It's aim is purely to show that certain systems are not time-reversible yet still remain deterministic. Whether the mathematical system has a direct physical counterpart is neither here nor there, to be honest. It is the principle that matters.
    Paradox? I can't see it. Unless you can elaborate as to what you're thinking?
  21. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    Exactly what I'd expect someone suffering from Dunning-Kruger to say.

    No, you haven't even been able to come up with even one example of something being "set" while not yet existing, aside from your repeated bare assertions.

    The only failure is your lack of comprehension (luckily you share company with Sarkus on that count) and your fallacious bare assertions of irrelevance. It's gotten old and boring. I have repeatedly explained, but you patently refuse to engage other than to harp on things being irrelevant. I guess you feel that serves your purposes.

    Considering I no longer take you seriously, I really don't care anymore.

    Again, exactly as I'd expect someone suffering from Dunning-Kruger to say.

    Nah, I'm too bored to patronize you any further. If you can't find my repeated explanations or grasp question begging, that's now your personal problem.

    Nope, you've just repeatedly and stubbornly refused to acknowledge all the times I have explained. Easy to do when you simply dismiss them out of hand, here projecting your own bare assertions.

    Nonsense analogy you've never once connected the dots for, other than just a demonstration of your complete lack of comprehension.

    Having explained many times now, there's literally nothing else I can do to help your lack of basic comprehension. You will, no doubt, just continue to dismiss any further explanation, just as you've proven over and over already. Now quit wasting my time.
  22. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Nor can I. It was more of a rethorical question...

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  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    And so we are home.
    The parallel assumption, in your argument (that there is no natural freedom in a deterministic universe), is the very matter up for discussion. It is not granted. You are not granted that assumption. Do you want to discuss the matter?
    You did not "conclude" that (except as a consequence of your having assumed it, which is empty). You assumed it.
    There have been, as yet, here on this forum, no reasons given for that assumption. Barring the supernatural assumption, which you refuse to acknowledge, you have presented no reasons, and neither has anyone else.

    I deny that assumption, and have offered several possible reasons (and illustrations, explanations, examples, etc - a considerable amount of typing) for questioning its usefulness and validity (observation of fact, extrapolation from accepted analysis, simple illustrative situations in which it appears to conflict with reality, its reliance on carelessness and slipshod reasoning for its appearance of plausibility, etc) - hence the invitation to discuss the matter.
    Discussion of the possibility - the possibility, not the assumption - belongs here, on this thread. Note the title of the thread.
    I leave the imposition of unsupported and discussion-blocking assumptions here - that only the supernatural can have any degree of freedom, say - to others.
    It's not a stumbling block yet - and won't be until more than one person does in fact "look at" that very question. I haven't had much luck attracting attention to the matter - even on a thread that purportedly "aims" at it. You, for example, just typed the assertion that I needed to "get past" the "if" to begin with - that the discussion had to conclude before it could begin.

    Not too promising, eh? Iirc way back when, in one of the earlier threads, I predicted it was going to take a long time - months - to get past the supernatural assumption; that appears to have been optimistic.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2020

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