Sunday, November 07, 2010



Thanks for the response, Ron. My brain has never felt sharper, except in remembering the faces of all its favorite movie stars. I think your basic, clear explanation about predictability clearly reveals why one can be deterministic or free willist even with all the evidence in. However, let me respond and add more considerations.

The brain is also rolling dice when it acts but is much more deterministic in result than the dice because in the millions of synaptic firings going on simultaneously in the brain, only a few (7-10) will make the decision and initiate action. If I know a person well enough and that person is facing a familiar situation, I'll be more accurate in predicting their response than I will in predicting the dice roll. For example, I knew a man who always checked with his wife before he'd take an independent action. By watching him, I learned how better to get along with a wife. In fact he was so consistent that some of us could make good natured jokes about the situation. I doubt whether I'd be so accurate in deciding what a dice roll would come up as. And how many of us know people who have favorite expressions for certain situations. Like God Bless.

Further, mental damage will groove compulsions in people so that they'll repeat certain actions or words frequently. All we have to do is limit supposed free will by a tiny bit, and humans can become even more predictable in many ways, even more predictable than a dice roll.

Another proof of the deterministic nature of human behavior is how well we know our friends. Think in how many ways we know our friends and their actions. The fact that we can recognize our friends and their behaviors and proclivities among strangers is a solid proof of the deterministic nature of the human brain. We hardly notice how habitual their behavior is. Think how often one little difference in a friend's behavior causes us to worry and to ask them questions or to ask friends if they've noticed a change in our mutual acquaintance? In fact the behaviors of our friends are so predictable and familiar to us that the only behavior that really gets our attention is a behavior that stands out from the familiar behavior. It stands out and screams for attention. Differences from the deterministed is what alerts our brains.

Because our brains respond so automatically to the deterministic world they live in, we are hardly aware of that determinism because the brain concentrates attention on the new and different. We don't know strangers and our brains focus on them and notices how different their behavior seems. Since we encounter more strangers than friends during a day, our brain is pickled in the unpredictable. It's always the odd act or different behavior that gets the brain's attention. That's the thing the brain must evaluate, the thing that stands out from all the deterministic events that bombard it. So, of course, a human brain, after a few years of practice, hardly notices just how many deterministic events it observes and ignores. It always notices the new thing. It's function is to notice the new thing and learn whether to trust or distrust that new thing. So, again, noticing free will is the default setting of a brain. It hardly notices how determined life is. It ignores the safe and predictable which is what most of life is.

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