[ExI] Free will was: Everett worlds

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Mon Aug 17 18:49:46 UTC 2020

On Mon, Aug 17, 2020 at 11:56 AM SR Ballard via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> *If free will is real and you think it is not,*

I think God is real, unless declared an integer.

*> you can and will excuse all manner of immorality, sloth, and cruelty
> because they couldn’t be avoided.*

Well, I think free will is pure gibberish and yet I don't excuse all manner
of immorality, sloth, and cruelty. And I think the insanity defense, the
legal argument that murderers should be let go because they have bad genes
or a bad upbringing or because of a smudge that can be seen on a MRI scan
of a murderer's brain, is utterly ridiculous. Far from concluding that
people are never responsible for their actions I would say people are
*always* responsible for their actions.

*> You probably put murderers in jail, but it’s kind of stupid because from
> your perspective they never decided to kill anyone. Killing someone was
> something they would be completely unable to prevent.*

Dr.Hannibal Lecter or any other prolific murder in fiction or reality
wouldn't be killing anyone if he was dead, or if there were other environmental
restraints that kept him from engaging in his hobby.

> *If free will is not real, then your belief in it does not change your
> actions.*

Of course they do! If my belief, which is the end result of the interaction
between my genes and my environment, is that I am going to be severely
punished if I commit murder then I am less likely to commit murder even if
I would very much want to.

> >
> *If free will doesn’t exist, it doesn’t matter because it changes nothing,
> and I will have whatever belief I will have regardless of my own “agency”,
> so it’s pointless to try to change my mind.*

People, even murderers, change their minds all the time and they do so
based on environmental factors. When conditions change people's behavior
changes too.

John K Clark
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