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Posts Tagged "free will"

Cross-Check

Scientific Seeker Stuart Kauffman on Free Will, God, ESP and Other Mysteries

Kauffman on Richard Dawkins and other "New Atheists": "It is wonderful for them to have expressed the truth that moral behavior requires no belief in God. Morality probably evolved in Paleolithic to some extent. But to dismiss those who do believe in God, in any sense, is arrogant and useless and divisive."

Few living scientists are as ambitious in their choice of problems as Stuart Kauffman. He is a polymath, with a degree in medicine and training in biochemistry, genetics, physics, philosophy and other fields. He roams across disciplinary boundaries seeking answers to the riddles that obsess him. Why is reality so beautifully structured rather than being [...]

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Cross-Check

Need a New Year’s Resolution? Believe in Free Will!

Choices, freely made, are what make life meaningful. Try telling prisoners in Guantanamo or Syrian civilians fleeing bombs and bullets that choices are illusory. “Let’s change places,” they might respond, “since you have nothing to lose.”

New Year’s Day is approaching, a time when we—by which I mean I–brood over past failures and vow to improve ourselves: I will be less judgmental with my kids and more romantic with my girlfriend. I will stop binging on Christmas cookies and television–except X Files re-runs, which are awesome! I will remember that people [...]

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Cross-Check

New Year’s Resolution: I will believe in free will

In the wee hours of this morning my eyes popped open, and I spent the next half hour trying to figure out what to write about in this column. After careful, albeit groggy deliberation, I decided to go with free will, both because of the tie-in to New Year’s resolutions and because some high-profile scientists [...]

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Illusion Chasers

Blind Justice: Biasing Moral Choices With Eye Tracking

From Wikimedia Commons

Scientists have set out to demonstrate a causal relationship–not merely a correlation–between gaze duration and moral decision making.

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Illusion Chasers

The Neuroscience of Lucid Dreams

Dreaming of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. (Wikimedia Commons)

Lucid dreams are perhaps the most bizarre perceptual experience one can have. You are asleep and dreaming, but suddenly you realize that it’s all just a dream. At that point, you can choose to wake up or you can continue to dream on, with one important advantage. You’re now aware that the world around you is completely made up by your brain.

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Illusion Chasers

Daniel Suarez’s Influx Is Super Fluxing Bitchin’!

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I loved the book, and couldn’t—wouldn’t—didn’t—set it down. With Influx, Daniel Suarez becomes the master, and Michael Crichton should be honored by the comparison.

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Illusion Chasers

Apollo Robbins: The Art of Misdirection

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Apollo Robbins (aka The Gentleman Thief) explains and demonstrates the art of misdirection

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Illusion Chasers

Join Us At The Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center at Bar-Ilan University in Tel-Aviv

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For those of you who are in Israel today or tomorrow, come join us at The Gonda Center for free presentations on illusions and visual perception.

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Illusion Chasers

Fat Tuesday: Believe in Will Power, and You Shall Have It

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Some people believe that will power is a bodily function that requires glucose to power it. Carol Dweck’s new paper shows that its not so.

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Illusion Chasers

Feeling Persecuted? You May Be Delusional.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Walton%28reconstitution%29.png

Lack of clarity about how the world works is implicated in delusions, along with overly strong—stubborn—beliefs that sculpt perceptual data into conformity.

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Illusion Chasers

The Neural Basis of Free Will: Criterial Causation by Peter Ulric Tse (MIT Press, 2013)

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I love Tse’s book. It has literally set me free.

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Illusion Chasers

Neuroscience in Fiction: “Slaughterhouse 5”, by Kurt Vonnegut

Billy Pilgrim, as an adoptive Tralfamadorian, did not believe in free will. It is less clear whether Kurt Vonnegut, who witnessed the destruction of Dresden as a POW, did.

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Observations

Free Will: Is Your Brain the Boss of You? [Video]

Michael Gazzaniga

Philosophers have debated for years whether we deliberately make each of the many decisions we make every day, or if our brain does it for us, on autopilot. Neuroscientists have shown, for example, that neurons in the brain initiate our response to various stimuli milliseconds before we’re even aware that we’re taking such an action. [...]

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Observations

Free Will and Quantum Clones: How Your Choices Today Affect the Universe at its Origin

The late philosopher Robert Nozick, talking about the deep question of why there is something rather than nothing, quipped: “Someone who proposes a non-strange answer shows he didn’t understand the question.” So, when Scott Aaronson began a talk three weeks ago by saying it would be “the looniest talk I’ve ever given,” it was a [...]

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Talking back

Site Survey Shows 60 Percent Think Free Will Exists. Read Why.

We are responsible for our own actions. Of course we are. Sure about that? “I think I can?” “I think I can’t?” All philosophizing aside, the assumption that we have free will has been called into question by research that suggests our brains are deciding for us before we become conscious of the decisions streamed [...]

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