Instigator / Pro
0
1527
rating
3
debates
66.67%
won
Topic

THBT Free will, not determinism, is, on balance, the best explanation for man’s active interaction with the universe

Status
Voting

Participant that receives the most points from the voters is declared a winner.

The voting will end in:

00
DD
:
00
HH
:
00
MM
:
00
SS
Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Philosophy
Time for argument
One week
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
10,000
Contender / Con
0
1718
rating
41
debates
70.73%
won
Description
~ 2,261 / 5,000

Note: this is a duplicate subject to debate #3211, which I proposed, and was accepted by Duel, but then my opponent forfeited the first two rounds, violating two rules: one forfeited round yields a loss, and no new argument in the last round. This debate is still active, but, by rule, cannot have the opponents third round include new argument, so, in effect, that debate is over by default. I wish to re-engage it with a willing opponent, if any.

The question of our free will, also referred to as the dilemma of determinism, is a combative idea that some claim cannot be solved, though philosophy has attempted to do so over millennia. This is the thrust of this challenge. My BoP will champion free will as humanity’s guiding principle in all social interactions in particular, if not also by inter-personal reflection.
“Also called the dilemma of determinism, we do not know if our actions are controlled by a causal chain of preceding events (or by some other external influence), or if we're truly free agents making decisions of our own volition.”
By declaring the dilemma to be addressed to the “universe,” I mean by that to demonstrate that free will is the process by which we interact with all other persons and things about us. If it has affect or influence on us, individually or collectively, we are not compelled to respond by external force, but ultimately by our personal, collective will. This is true whether free or enslaved. If the latter, we may cave to our oppression, or, we may combat it, even at the risk of life. That is the ultimate expression of free will; to risk life and limb.
BoP is shared.
A forfeit of any round is a loss.
No new arguments in final round
Definitions:
Free will – or free agency: Each person’s decision to think and act by response to external, universal stimuli by freedom of choice, regardless of potential reaction by external forces.
Determinism: Each person is controlled by an external, causal force of preceding events.
On balance best explanation: free will is the more probable, or greater than 50%, means by which we respond to external forces upon us.
Interaction: mutual reaction to stimuli; we and the universe.
Universe: All external forces/stimuli acting upon us, individually or collectively.

Round 1
Pro
Thank you, Benjamin, for accepting this debate.
 
In this first round, I will render three arguments:
-      Newton’s Third law of Motion [Action & Reaction] supports the idea of free will, and is contrary to the idea of determinism.
-      Any past event may influence a decision of free will, but thought and/or action is not compelled by determinism.
-      Free will feeds the courage to overcome obstacles such as oppression.
 
1. Argument: Newton’s Third law of Motion [Action & Reaction] supports the idea of free will, and is contrary to the idea of determinism.[i]
 
a.    Free will, or free agency, by definition, is each person’s decision to think and act by response to external, universal stimuli by freedom of choice, regardless of potential reaction by external forces. Newton’s Third Law of Motion is the law of action and reaction. This may not appear to correlate with free agency, but it is exactly these Newtonian principles that describe the preference for choice when presented with options.
 
b.     The Third Law of Motion  “…states that when two bodies interact, they apply forces to one another that are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction. The third law is also known as the law of action and reaction. This law is important in analyzing problems of static equilibrium, where all forces are balanced, but it also applies to bodies in uniform or accelerated motion.”[ii] 
 
c.     Observe: As defined, free will – or free agency is each person’s decision to think and act by response to external, universal stimuli by freedom of choice, regardless of potential reaction by external forces, which is descriptive of determinism.
 
d.    The Third law applies because when a person is free to apply their own will to choose from options available, or even options the person may develop for themself, their determined action to realize the choice made will be confronted by a sliding scale of opposition, from no opposition to absolute preventive opposition.
 
e.    By natural law, the Third Law applies, but the application of free will is a superlative force by intelligence over natural law in order to overcome both normal opposition, and the concept of determinism as defined in Description.
 
f.     My choice of what to wear today is a wide-open choice based upon the clothes I possess that are ready to wear. No opposition exists within the realm of my available choices. For example, I need not include the choice of clothing that is currently in the dirty clothes hamper, but I could, if needed, expand my choices, willing to accept being a little stinky that day. No one else may appreciate it, but I have exercised the full extent of my free will, as defined by limitations I, myself, impose.
 
g.    My free will could, potentially, get me into trouble, such as a choice to wear no clothes at all. This may be met with an opposition I cannot overcome: a trip to the police station because I have violated social law of excessive exposure, and that should be true even if I am king. There are circumstances opposing my free will that are perfectly legal and serve to limit my free will for the better good of society.
 
h.    I will face other opposition if I choose to wear a wardrobe out of the sixteenth century. Today, I want to dress like Leonardo DaVinci. My opposition says, “No, you don’t have that kind of clothing in your closet. Sorry, no deal.” I am thus thwarted. The opposition force is greater than my own. Leo is safe from being copied.
 
i.      Therefore, the Topic is upheld.
 
2. Argument: Any past event may precede a decision of free will, but thought or action is not compelled.
 
a.    Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) now reveals the science behind the function of free will indicates that  “that the outcome of free decisions can be decoded from brain activity several seconds before reaching conscious awareness.”[iii]   With this discovery, it is evident that determinism by past events has no place in the human physiological system to have predetermined consequences, but that a decisive process rendered by free will is the vehicle driving our determination of thought and action. Otherwise, determinism would be evident all along, and not before a conscious decision is made.

b.    The activity of choice is evident by physiological change in the brain, evident by an MRI record. If determinism were the operative process, there would be no evidence of brain activity showing a selective process taking place.
 
c.     The MRI scan demonstrated that “…we show predictive activity patterns recorded before a decision was made became increasingly stable with increasing temporal proximity to the time point of the conscious decision.”[iv]
 
d.    The fact that the signal became “increasingly stable” indicates a process of review of options and selection of a determined course of thought or action, and not an instantaneous thought or act as would be expected by determinism. In fact, with determinism, there is no thought; one merely acts without choice.
 
e.    Therefore, the Topic is upheld.
 
3. Argument: Free will feeds the courage to overcome obstacles such as oppression.
 
a.    Free will, or free agency, by definition, is each person’s decision to think and act by response to external, universal stimuli by freedom of choice, regardless of potential reaction by external forces. It may be argued by proponents of determinism that not all people are free to be agents unto themselves, either by oppressive governments, parents, teachers, employers, or even in the extreme cases of slavery or unjustified imprisonment.
 
b.    These oppressors may have legal oversight presenting an imposition on ages of minority, but these impositions disappear, typically, when a subject reaches a determined age of legal majority/accountability when free will can be applied at will.
 
c.     These oppressors may also have legal oversight by virtue of a person’s arrest, trial, and conviction for illegal actions for which imprisonment restricts freedom of action, but it still does not oppress freedom of thought unless the prisoner allows him-herself to be so oppressed even in thought.
 
d.    However, no proponent of determinism can deny that, in spite of these obstacles, each person, child or adult, can decide to defy even oppressive authority, even if defiance is at risk of loss of life or limb. Some people are courageous enough to act on the process of free will. Others shy away from that courage, but their fear is not sourced in a lack of free will, but in a lack of courage, which is entirely another matter not germane to this debate.
 
e.    0bserve:“…while both humanization and dehumanization are real alter- natives, only the first is the people's vocation. This vocation is constantly negated, yet it is affirmed by that very negation. It is thwarted by injustice, exploitation, oppression, and the violence of the oppressors; it is affirmed by the yearning of the oppressed for freedom and justice, and by their struggle to recover their lost hu­manity.”[v] 
 
f.     Courage, not lack of free will, is the motivation to be willing to overcome oppression. That oppression exists cannot be argued. Many in the world suffer under its force. But, time and time again, throughout history, we have seen examples of people have gather courage to fight against their injustice of oppression. Some died in the process, but others lived to see their free will call them to action to overcome their obstacles.
 
g.    Observe:“Liberation is defined as the social, cultural, economic, and political freedom and emancipation to have agency, control, and power over one’s life. To live life freely and unaffected or harmed by conditions of oppression is to experience liberation (Watkins, 2002). Although there are varied ways of experiencing liberation – from the individual to the community to the systemic – each one is interconnected with the other.”[vi]
 
h.    Note that liberation from oppression demonstrated by 1.f is couched in the same terms as the resolution of this debate: free will, or “to have agency.” The simple fact is, liberation from the various oppressions, given the restrictions outlined in 1.b, are just one facet of many functions of free will. Otherwise, so determinism insists, we remain oppressed after all that we can do. No, that is clearly not the story of human history.
 
i.      Therefore, the Topic is upheld.

 

Con
Thank you, 949 Havoc


RESOLUTION: THBT Free will, not determinism, is, on balance, the best explanation for man’s active interaction with the universe
POSITION: CON


OBSERVATIONS:
  • PRO has to
    • Prove that free will is on balance the best explanation for man's active interaction with the universe
    • Prove that determinism is not the best explanation
    • Failing to prove either will result in the resolution being unsupported
  • CON only has to prove that the resolution is false. Negating any of PRO's claims in the resolution will be enough to fullfill my BoP.


I agree with PRO that society cannot fully control the actions of a human. Humans make their own decisions. However, that is not to say that "free will" explains human interaction with the universe, or that humans are not controlled by a causal force of past events. 



SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE

Causality
I presume most who read this are aware of causality. Everything which happens inside our universe has a cause, and the relationship between cause and effect is studied in the field of physics. Currently, the best scientific models (read: explanations) describe our world as consisting of  particles, waves, fields and forces. Interactions occur according to precise mathematical equations and logical laws --- the system we have discovered is called the standard model [cern/standard-model]; although not complete, the model is supported by a plethora of evidence collected by thousand of scientists around the world. Due to this inherently logical and mathematical nature of the universe, and through computation the future can be simulated accurately. Initial conditions directly controll the journey and outcome of a system. This implies, nay, makes logically undeniable, the conclusion that anything happening today is directly controlled by events in the past

Free will inherently defies the laws of physics. So PRO can't just assert its existence without first disproving the universality of physical laws.


The brain is physical
PRO might not know this, but his every though and decision originates from the brain, which is just as physical (and therefore, deterministic) as the universe around him. Scientists are starting to finally understand the  brain, and evidence shows that even consciousness is detectable and possible to manipulate if you understand the brain well enough [nature.com]. The brain is obviously a biological organ that is ruled by complex chemicistry; which again, follows the deterministic laws of physics. Its only its complexity that creates the illusion of indeterminism. Consider the example of reflexes:
The reflex is an automatic response to a stimulus that does not receive or need conscious thought as it occurs through a reflex arc. Reflex arcs act on an impulse before that impulse reaches the brain.[1]
Reflexes are simple nerve cell loops. Once a stimuli is received, it is already determined that you are going to act in a certain way. The brain is built differently than reflex loops, it is more complex, but it ultimately consists of the same nerve cells. The brain's decisions, just as a reflex, are deterministic since it is a physical object which follows strict laws of physics.


B-theory of time and the block universe
New physics arose at the time of Einstein as a result of groundbreaking discoveries about our universe. Notably, Newtons model was replaced by Einstein's model. The major difference is that the universe is seen as four dimentional instead of 3D. This has some serious implications:
The basic idea of using the special theory of relativity to prove determinism is that time can be treated mathematically as a fourth dimension. This gives us excellent results for experiments ...  In this conception there is no universal march or flow of time. There cannot be, because there is no universal present; and consequently there is no universal past or future
The validity of this argument is not universally accepted on a philosophical level; but the science behind this idea is one of Einstein's firmly established scientific theories. Thus, it is easy to argue that the future already exists, at least mathematically; and thus "will" has to lie beyond the universe in order to be called free


Summarising by syllogism

P1: Free will means that for any choice you make you had the option to choose otherwise
P2: Chosing otherwise is physically impossible for a human brain  (unless PRO can disprove current scientific evidence)
C: Free will is physically impossible.

Whatever choice you made was the only choice your brain could have made without breaking the laws of physics. Thus, "will" is not free, it is controlled by the brain --- which was shaped by your nature and nurture. The past truly defines who you are and how you act; and your ability to make unexpected choices does not disprove this fact. Rolling a dice does not prove that gravity is random or "free", it just shows that dice are unpredictable. The same principle applies to human choices.



PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENTS:

Choice is inherently not free
Choices are selections between two or more options, and the outcome is based on priorities, emotions, beliefs, addictions, needs, desires and expectations from others, just to name a few. Although one could easilly reduce each of these variables to the various brain functions of an individual, this is not necesary to argue for determinism. All we need to do is realise that our personality controls our choices. Consider how our personality changes over time and our actions and choices start to follow other patterns while we age. This is indicative of causality just without the sciency stuff. 

P1: Who I am today is determined by who I were yesterday, what I where thinking about yesterday and what I experienced yesterday
P2: Who I am determines how I act and what choices I make
C: My yesterday determines my choices today

Ergo. I am controlled by a causal force of past events --- my life. 


Free will undermines
All we need to do is think about how humans react to each other. When we see how our fellow humans act in responce to our actions we realise that we controll them.  Raping someone will ruin their lives and most likely cause lifelong trauma, especially if it is a child. Why? Should we blame the victim of rape for experiencing traumas and perhaps contemplating suicide? No, of course not. The actions we make controll others, both mentally and physically. If that was not the case then morality would be useless and futile, because people would instead act on a vague undefined free will. The belief that the experiences of an individual controll their actions is what obliges us to act moraly and responsibly so that we give other people positive instead of negative experiences. 




REBUTALLS 

Courage vs Free will
Free will does not evidently exist. Why would you tell people a lie in hopes of them sacrificing their lives fighting oppression? More importantly, believing in free will has not been proven by PRO to increase courage of the chances of revolutions. Even if it was so, there is a major difference between a good, accurate explanation and one that just seeks to comfort and encourage people.


Free will does not explain anything
PRO asserts that our choices are not controlled by our past, that we have a will that is somehow free from the determinism the universe is ruled by. Apart from being extremely vague, the definition he provided lacks any substance. I will adress each segment of PRO's unsourced definition of "Free will".

Each person’s decision to think and act by response to external, universal stimuli
That humans think and act by response to external universal stimuli is not a decision, but our nature. Its impossible not to think and act, even animals do it. Reflexes prove that reacting to external stimuli is NOT a choice; the only choice is HOW we react, which is the domain of the brain, which is not free from physical laws.

by freedom of choice
Freedom of choice does not explain anything at all, no more than human rights explain morality. Freedom of choice is a virtue we strive to achieve and a right we grant people in democratic nations. Freedom of choice like PRO uses the word has no definition or proven existence. Our wil

 regardless of potential reaction by external forces
Potential reaction is indeed taken into account by the human mind before we make a choice. However, determinism states that the past, not the future, dictates the present. PRO's reasoning is fallacious when he claims that potential reactions controlling the future is indicative of determinism, because its not.



Newton's third law
PRO never draws a link between the scientific principle created by Newton and his imaginary "sliding scale of opposition". 

the application of free will is a superlative force by intelligence over natural law 
Intelligence is the art of problem solving, and the extent of it is the differentiator between humans and animals. Does that mean that intelligence is over natural law? Of course not, it is simply a product of natural law - of the chemical complexity in our physical brain! We humans are developing artificial intelligence in computers by generating and manipulating advanced algorithms, but the computers are still just complex electric circuits. Intelligent computers are not above natural law, and neither are humans. This is the excact core of our disagreement. PRO presents human decision making as being a force not adhering to the laws of physics. Neither I nor anyone else should accept such a claim without adequate evidence proving that human brains defy chemical and biological laws. Untill the day we can pinpoint a specific example of "free will", the default rational position is to not accept such an idea. Occams razor forces us to do this.



Selection process
the outcome of free decisions can be decoded from brain activity several seconds before reaching conscious awareness
PRO has played himself. Instead of showing evidence that supports his own case he has provided evidence for mine. He shows us a study telling us the fact that decisions are made by the brain through a physical process. In other words, PRO's source agrees with CON that our will is physical, and that our choices are physical processes. Whether or not this was intended, the evidence presented inevitably proves that our will and our process of making choices is controlled by physical laws that are inherently deterministic. 


If determinism were the operative process, there would be no evidence of brain activity showing a selective process taking place.
Determinism is the operative process of the universe, and our brain is a part of the universe. A selection process is indicative of the brain's structure, not of free will. Determinism does not claim that every decision is instantanious, it claims that every decision is determined by the strict law of cause and effect. Selective process are inherently deterministic. You could run google translate a thousand times and it would still yield the same result as long as you inputted the same text. Similarly, if you were to rewind time, human decisions do not change, because the laws of physics dictate and controll the selection process.



SUMMARY:
  • Science supports a deterministic universe
  • The brain makes our decisions, and it is deterministic
  • Free will does not explain anything, and does not even represent something truly real.
  • Determinism is the basis for morality, as lack of strict causality renders morality useless

CONCLUSION:
Free will, is on balance, NOT the best explantion for human interaction with the universe; determinism is, however, a scientific concept unproven to this day.

Good luck, PRO.

Round 2
Pro
Thank you, Benjamin,for your round 1
 
1. Rebuttal: Con’s R1 Observations: assessment of BoP
 
a.    Con alleges that Pro’s BoP is to prove that both free will is, on balance, the best explanation for man’s active interaction with the universe, and that determinism is not, on balance, the best explanation for man’s active interaction with the universe.
 
b.    Con is mistaken on this point. The Description notes that the BoP is shared. Further, the Topic allows for only free will to be the best explanation for man’s active interaction with the universe. Therefore, it falls to Con’s “share” to prove otherwise. Pro only need prove the former.
 
2. Rebuttal: Con’s R1: Scientific evidence: Causality
 
a.    Con cites his source that the standard model is  “…the relationship between cause and effect… studied in the field of physics. Currently, the best scientific models (read: explanations) describe our world as consisting of  particles, waves, fields and forces. Interactions occur according to precise mathematical equations and logical laws.”[i]
 
b.    I accept the standard model. However, Con’s source on the model declares, “The standard model explains how the basic building blocks of matter interact, governed by four fundamental forces.”[ii]
 
c.     Con’s problem is that the Topic does not relate to the interaction of these building blocks, particles, waves, fields, and forces with one another, but how man actively interacts with the universe. 
 
d.    In fact, Con’s source admits that the standard model fails to sustain the model with one of the forces at work in the model; gravity. It fails when reduced to “…the miniscule scale of particles…where the effect of gravity is so weak as to be negligible.”[iii]   What? Is that a failure of determinism, then, that particles have free will to defy gravity?
 
e.    In fact, Con’s cited source never mentions man, nor free will, as having any relation to the article. So, why does Con insist it demonstrates the failure of free will? Worse, the article does not mention determinism, either. I’ll accept the source as being a better support for my BoP than Con’s, specifically due to the rebuttal above in 2.d.
 
f.     As Con argued, “Free will inherently defies the laws of physics.”  I agree; the laws of physics are precise, measureable, and predictable. I need not prove the universality of physical laws because such laws do not compel free will in the first place, as 2.d, and Con’s source, recognize.
 
g.    Con argues that man’s brain is physical. I agree, the organ has physical presence with biochemical-electronic properties. Yet, it has the ability to think, even outside the box, the physical confines of the skull, to conceive new ideas, to create physical and mental properties from existing materials, to remember past experiences, and apply that experience with new encountered concepts, etc. It is also the seat of our free will.
 
h.     Con argues for the block universe of special relativity, explaining that Einstein’s s-relativity allows for determinism since it adds the fourth dimension of time, relating this concept to the B-theory of time. But, the Topic has no reference to a time factor. Yes, I accept the notion of time’s fourth-dimensional properties, but what, after all, does time [A- or B-theory] have to do with the Topic?
 
i.      For example, I can say that I want a red orange [the fruit]; but oranges are orange. Which came first, the fruit or the color, is a matter for another debate. Back to a red orange, known as a “blood orange,” we might think that it was developed by genetic manipulation. No, it is actually a natural phenomenon.[iv]  It does not negate my will to have a red orange simply because that fruit already exists. I may not be aware of it. 
 
j.      Con is forcing a drift of the goal post from man’s interaction with the universe to the interaction of these building blocks with themselves. By such, he maintains, the future of the universe can be accurately predicted. I accept, as far as that argument goes, but it says nothing of the fact that such predictions do not overwhelm man’s free agency to deal with the physical manifestation of the universe by personal choices. The simple fact is, our perception, using only the tools available to us as born in us, but not necessarily the tools created by us, is limited by the extent of those natural tools’ separate abilities to sense the universe. That sensation is on a higher plane of existence than these building blocks, essential as they are.
 
k.    Therefore, on this point, the Topic is upheld.
 
3. Rebuttal: Con’s R1: Philosophical arguments
 
a.    Con alleges our personality drives our free will. This does not imply that determinism controls personality, and, therefore, free will. In fact, Con concludes, “this is not necessary to argue for determinism.”Well, Con has just blown his BoP to bits.
 
b.    Nevertheless, Con presses on, arguing that the future exists as a feature of B-theory time. Fine, but time is not relevant to the Topic. Relative to time, it is useless to apply free will to any past. It may be useless to apply in any present, as well, because “present” is fleeting. Free will is an activity, which, if engaged at all, is directed toward future action, even if conceived to be acted upon immediately. Thought, then action, and thought is already a past event.
 
c.      This has serious implications,[v]  as Con alleges.  We’re back to a block universe and special relativity, using B-theory time. But, again, what has time to do with the Topic? Con’s source alleges A-time and B-time have space separation, and, as such, “no causal connections are possible.”[vi]    But such assumes that time is relevant to the Topic, but it is not.  Con’s source  [my v, vi]  cites J.C.C. Smart, saying of him, “Smart was not yet committed to the tenseless view of space-time he holds today.”  So, even this Con source stipulates that this view of the universe is tenseless. What is time without tense: past, present, future?
 
d.    Con then argues a “syllogism;” put in quotes because a syllogism requires that regardless of the number of posits, and conclusions, all must be true for the syllogism to hold logic. Con’s syllogism is not a syllogism. Here’s why:
 
P1: accepted as stated.
P2:“Choosing otherwise is physically impossible for a human brain  (unless PRO can disprove current scientific evidence)”  This is not correct, as argued in my round 1, 1.a – h.
C: wrong, because P2 is wrong.
 
e.    Con’s defense of the “syllogism” is,  “Whatever choice you made was the only choice your brain could have made without breaking the laws of physics.”   But, this defies Con’s cited source as noted above, 2.d. The source specifies that the laws of physics are broken, even by the very principles upon which Con’s argument is structured; particles, waves, fields, and forces.
 
f.     Con concludes argument saying that free will can be undermined, using the example of someone raping a child, and how that child may be affected by that heinous act for the rest of their life. Who said free will must always prevail? My BoP is merely that free will, on balance,is the best explanation for man’s interaction with the universe, and that determinism is not. Who determined that the child would be raped in the first place? Not the child, typically.  Remember, we are not looking at absolutes, but merely “on balance,” i.e., the balance tilts in favor of free will. And not the rapist, simply because, on balance,there are more decent people than rapists. Con has attempted to ignore “on balance” by declaring a singular example which ignores the free will of both victim and perpetrator by one incident. I declare the example as a failure.
 
4. Defense: Newton’s Third Law, and Courage [not courage vs. free will], 
 
a.    I will defend these arguments in my round 3.
 
5. Con’s R1: [Rebuttal?] “Selection Process”
 
a.     My round 1 did not offer an argument of “selection process” to rebut. I have no idea to what Con means by this other than that Con says my argument is wrong because  “…our will is physical, and that our choices are physical processes.”
 
b.    How is a product of the mind, while in the will-making process, a physical thing? The results, the intended action, may certainly be physical, but free will is an act of idea-making, which is far from physical. And not all “action” based on free will is physical, either. I may will that I only have pure, chaste thoughts. Achieving that which as willed is also purely thought, in this instance.
 
I conclude my R2, and pass it to Con.
 
 

Con
Thank you, 949havoc



SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE OF DETERMINISM - CONTINUED

Observations
My opponent has conceeded that the universe is best explained by determinism via the standard model. However, he dismisses my argument by drawing a distinction between the nature of the universe's building blocks and us humans. Even if the universe, and everything within it, is ruled by determinism, PRO still claims that humans have a mystical "free will" that allows us to act independent from the laws of physics -- to make choices not determined by prior events. While I will come back to this topic, remember that it falls upon PRO to show evidence supporting the claim that humans break the laws of physics merely by making choices.


The block universe
The model of our reality as four dimensional and static as opposed to three dimensional and continous does in fact impact the debate. The probable correctness of B-theory of time means that the past present and future all are equally real. The future is set in stone, in fact, history is set in stone. Humans might not feel restricted or bound, but only one future exists, and by logical extension, every choice we make was determined by the block universe as a whole. Despite our wishes and feelings, our will is not free. PRO can either rebutt the validity of B-theory of time or accept that strict determinism is likely true, defeating his resolution.


Causality
My opponent mentions the lack of the terms "free will", "man" and "determinism" in the article about the standard model. I see that not as a drawback, but as a benefit. Scientific discovery led us to conclude that everything that happens is dictated by previous events, and that these cause-effect relationships are precise and consistent. Thus, independent scientific discovery has shown that the present is determined by the past, and the future is determined by the prescent; this concept is what we call determinism. PRO's attempt at poking holes in determism by pointing at the incomplete standard model is pathetic.

Is that a failure of determinism, then, that particles have free will to defy gravity?
Absolutely not. Gravity is a fundamentally deterministic force, its a part of Newtons clockwork universe. I am afraid PRO severely misinterprets this hole in the standard model. Matter particles don't defy gravity just because gravity has no known force carrier particle. The force in question is simply a macro force and thus it's effect on individual particles has yet to be directly detected, far less understood at that scale. I find it funny how PRO asks whether or not particles have "free will" to defy gravity when he himself defined gravity as something unique to humans. Regardless, lets move onto another claim of his.

"Free will inherently defies the laws of physics.”  I agree
PRO has conceeded the anti-scientific nature of free will. Inherently it makes no sense, and practically it breaks the laws of physics. For the resolution to be true, free will has to be proven a real posibility. PRO must present evidence showing that humans break the laws of physics, or else his case is based on incorrect assumptions. 


The physical nature of the brain
----“Whatever choice you made was the only choice your brain could have made without breaking the laws of physics.”  

 But, this defies Con’s cited source as noted above, 2.d. The source specifies that the laws of physics are broken
No evidence was provided by PRO supporting this ludicris claim. The alledged breaking of physical laws PRO claims my source describes is patently false. I have already debunked the argument from an incomplete standard model. Gravity need not be included in the standard model to be a physical force. Regardless, even if particles did't interact with gravity at all, that still would not mean they defy the laws of physics and have "free will". The brain cannot both follow and break the laws of physisc at the same time. PRO has already admitted that the brain is physical, so obviously he cannot argue for free will without contradicting himself.

I uphold that the brain is deterministic because its inner mechanisms are neurons obeying the deterministic laws of physics. PRO has no evidence to counter.



PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENTS - CONTINUED


O
PRO has not denied that our personality dictates the choices we make. Instead, he made a vague statement "this does not imply that determinism controls personality". On this point I have to correct him. Our personality is determined by our genes and our experiences --- neither of which were ours to controll. We are the product of the events that led us here --- we are a product of determinism, and our actions will controll the future. The last idea is also crucial to understand. If determinism is true, only then do our actions controll the future; only then do they really matter.



A BATTLE OF EXPLANATIONS
For something to be an explantion, it has to accurately describe something while creating clarity [II]. Analysing a statement by PRO about free will might be interesting.
Con argues that man’s brain is physical. I agree ... It is also the seat of our free will.
  • What is this free will?
  • Where and from what does it come from?
  • How does it interfere with the deterministic universe in which humans live?
  • Why does it only reside in the brain?
  • How does it decide what to chose if it isn't determined by past events?
These and many other questions immidiately appears. Free will as PRO describes it, does not actually explain how humans interact with the universe. Worse, it requires a whole new set of explanations just to make sense on a basic level. Free will can't be the best explanation for anything as it does not create any clarity. Occams razor is an accepted logical tool used to narrow down a set of possible explanations. It states that the explanation which introduces the least ammount of new elements is to be prefered [britannica]. Using this logical tool we find that free will is a bad explanation, due to its unnecesary introduction of a mysterious physics-breaking force with no explanatory power. 

To showcase this concept, let me quote PRO. In responce to my example of a rapist and a traumatized child, PRO says:
Who said free will must always prevail? My BoP is merely that free will, on balance,is the best explanation for man’s interaction with the universe, and that determinism is not.
Free will, even as PRO presents it, is not a reliable and accurate explantion for anything. It is just a mystical, alledged force which resides only in human brains, breaking the laws of physics --- except when it isn't. Trauma proves that humans can't always shrug off their experiences and make "free" choices. We are not free, we are bound by our history, because determinism is how our world functions. PRO attempts to shove away this argument by retreating to an easier position to hold. Now he claims that free will only explains human behavior on balance (aka, only sometimes). 

The idea of free will cannot stand any sort of logical scrutiny. The only way to solve its inherent logical flaws is introducing new variables, assumptions and exceptions, making the "explanation" more and more complicated. This is the biggest sign of its inadequasy. A good explantion would not have such overwhelming problems. A good explanation creates clarity while keeping the numer of assumptions to a minimum. I belive determinism fits this description far better than the idea of free will. Determinism states that events (including choices) are determined by prior causes. This explantion is simple, scientifically accurate, without unwaranted assumptions and totally free of logical inconsistencies. 

Determinism is by far the superior explanation when compared to free will.



MORE EVIDENCE DEBUNKING FREE WILL

While we are at the topic of which explanations of humans are superior, let us bring some important facts about humans on the table.

A series of recent studies has established that psychopathic rapists and murderers have distinct brain structures that show up when their heads are scanned using MRI. [reuters]

Pedophilia can arise after brain damage, mainly involving the frontal lobe. Usually pedophilia followed the brain injury immediately, whereas delayed effects on sexual behavior were found in 11.7 % of cases. [researchgate.net]
 
He had been in trouble with the law for sexual advances toward his stepdaughter, and now he was talking about raping his landlady. The man had an egg-sized brain tumor pressing on the right frontal lobe. When surgeons removed it, the lewd behavior and pedophilia faded away. [nbc]
Certain criminal and/or unethical behaviors have been proven correlated with and often caused by pysical anamolies in the brain. My sources discuss both the posible nature of said causations well as its controversial implications for society and courtrooms in particular. The crux of this scientific discovery is that the state of the physical brain directly controlls a person. While the specifics of the new data might be disturbing news, the implication is not new. We all know that alzheimerz, concussion and other forms of brain damage cause memory loss, change of personality, mental degragation and other life-altering changes. Furthermore, intelligence determines one's ability to understand the world and make smart decisions. 

Our choices are determined by the state of our brain, which is determined by prior events outside of our controll. Free will falls flat to explain any of the phenomena mentioned above; whilst determinism prescisely predicts such a close causality between the physical brain and human behavior. Free will is not the best explantion for human behavior; it cannot even explain the simple fact that people are controlled by drugs, brain injuries and childhood trauma.



SYLLOGISMS

P1: Who I am today is determined by who I were yesterday, what I where thinking about yesterday and what I experienced yesterday
P2: Who I am determines how I act and what choices I make
C: My yesterday determines my choices today

Neither premise was rejected by PRO. Only the conclusion being evidence of determinism was a point of contestion. The syllogism stands.


P1: Free will means that for any choice you make you had the option to choose otherwise
P2: Chosing otherwise is physically impossible for a human brain 
C: Free will is physically impossible.

Premise two is true via scientific evidence. PRO's objection, the claim that the laws of physics are being broken, has been debunked. The syllogism stands.





SUMMARY OF ARGUMENTS:
  • The universe is deterministic (by PRO's own admission this is true)
  • The future probably is set in stone because of B-theory of time (PRO dismissed this argument without adequate justification)
  • The brain is physical and deterministic (by PRO's own admission this is true)
  • Free will breaks the laws of physics (by PRO's own admission this is true)
  • The selection process in the brain is physical and deterministic
  • The state of the physical brain controlls human behavior 
  • Morality requires a consistent framework, causal determinism, to be meaningful, because elsewise our actions don't have clear impacts
  • Occams razor rules out free will from being a good explanation, due to the many unjustifiable assumptions it makes


CONCLUSION
Free will fails at explaining human interaction with the universe. Determinism is simpler, more accurate and the scientifically correct explanation. The resolution fails.

Round 3
Pro
Thank you, Benjamin,for your round 2
 
1. Defense:  Newton
 
a.     Con alleges, that intelligence, itself, is an imaginary sliding scale in that humans have more intelligence than other animals. 
 
b.    Imaginary? The Newton law in question is well documented. Who says animals do not have free will? Put a dog on a leash that has never worn one; observe resistance.
 
c.     That Con wishes Newton on imaginary journeys, and introduces other animals is Topic creep, and I will not argue, defend, or rebut on these points further. Con’s rebuttal fails.
 
2. Defense: Courage 
 
a.    Con alleges that free will is in conflict with courage. That is not what I argued. Free will sometimes requires courage, so they are allies, not combatants. 
 
b.    Con alleges free will is a lie, yet its evidence is marked every time someone expresses their will, even against oppression. This is evident in every age in history; oppressed people battling, and many times overcoming oppression.
 
c.     To rebut that free will and courage conflict one another is Topic creep, and I’ll not engage it further. Con’s rebuttal fails. 
 
3. Defense/Rebuttal: Past events may precede free will, but thought or action is not compelled.
 
a.    Observe: The Information Philosopher.1     I referred to this concept in R2, 3.c, by mention of J.C.C. Smart, an advocate of determinism. He cites Hermann Minkowski, who was one of Einstein’s professors, and an advocate of relativity.
 
b.    “Minkowski's work could be interpreted as a "tenseless" view of space-time that says ‘the future is already out there.’ Everything that is going to happen has already happened…”2 
 
c.     Con argues for past, present, future coexistence. Yes, but only measured as an earthly phenomenon. But the Earth is not the center of the universe, and does not dictate to the universe. Earth uses only our lunar, planetary, and solar references to mark time, as is biblically noted.3   Minkowski’s tenselessness is the universe. 
 
d.    Con argues timed determinism as the cause of thoughts and actions. This explanation is Topic creep. Con is using time, not in the Topic, to prove determinism. And yet, time is an Earth concept, for Earth’s reckoning. 
 
e.    In another ‘discipline,’ the stars and planets rule our existence, even our personality; i.e. by determinism: astrology.  “…is there any science to back up whether astrology impacts our personality and our lives?” Scientific American asks. “Here's the short Answer: No. None whatsoever.”4
 
4. Rebuttal: Con’s R3 Observation: That Pro has conceded to science and determinism.
 
a.    Is that what my R2, 2.a - .k says? No. I’ll simply refer to that section’s discussion, emphasizing 2.j. 
 
b.    Con alleges “scientific evidence” for determinism. What is science? Our best estimate of natural conditions based on observation of phenomena. Forget that observation can alter natural conditions; that’s old news. Theoretical models are arguable. Observe, for example, the model effect of tsunamis on beachfronts: a rectangular steel tank filled with water with flat bottom, perpendicular sides and a big paddle at one end. I’ve been in four oceans. Not one of them fits this model. So, what of observable results? If the model doesn't fit nature… forgetting that observation, alone, changes…
 
c.     Science is a good guess. Sometimes.
 
d.    Rinse and repeat 4.a - .c for the B-theory of time, the block universe, causality, and the physical nature of the brain, adding for the latter that, to date, science cannot pinpoint the exact location of “mind” within, or even in orbit around the physical brain, just that it’s located somewhere. If the mind is in Phoenix, science, to date, sends our intrepid explorers to Miami. That satisfies Occam’s razor?
 
4. Rebuttal: Con’s R2, Philosophy
 
a.    Con claims our personality is driven by determinism; our genes and experience. Our genes are certainly determined, but was it determinism, a more remote idea that Occam’s razor may not, in its simplicity, assume? The answer is closer to home. Really home: parents. Conception may not have even been planned [determined?], and may have even been accidental. Genes, whether accidental, or planned, I’ll accept. But show me the personality gene. There is not one; maybe several,5   however:
 
b.     “Human personality is 30–60% heritable according to twin and adoption studies.”6   There is Con’s entire argument in this realm of philosophy.  It concludes that determinism does not explain 40-70% of personality. 
 
c.     But, what of experience? Yes, that has relevance, but do we experience only that which was decided for us? I refer back to R3, 1.b and that dog on a leash, and the point of R2, 1.a, that we have greater intelligence than a dog. Yes, we rankle at leashes, too, also by our choice.
 
5. Rebuttal: Explanations
 
a.    What is free will,Con asks.  From the Description: “Each person’s decision to think and act by response to external, universal stimuli by freedom of choice, regardless of potential reaction by external forces.”
 
b.    Where does it come from?Explained by its definition, 5.a. From each of us, individually.
 
c.      How does it interfere with the deterministic universe?  A presumptive question, expecting I agree the universe is deterministic, and that free will is its interference. No to all.
 
d.     Why does it only reside in the brain?  Another presumptive question, assuming Con’s allegation that the brain is only a physical organ. An Occam’s razor answer would be: Because free will is, by definition, a personal, individual phenomenon, and because the stomach is just a path, but does not make the path.
 
e.      How does it decide what to choose if it is not based on past events? Who said our past is not relevant to free will? Refer to R3, 3.a - .e. The past is relevant, just not controlling. Philosopher Georges Santayana: “Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”7    This not only acknowledges that the past is relevant, but that without choice, even to remember, let alone to choose to act differently  than in the past, the past will be repeated, and that is doom.
 
5. Conclusion:
 
f.     Some think free will is a demonstration of decision-making by coin-flip; that free will is evidence of random thought. Random thought flies in the face of free will, because that philosophy compels that decisions are already made, determined by the universe at work on us. Determinism cannot deal with random thought. But is free will really random?
 
g.    Determinism cannot accept that what is thought will be different than what the universe has already determined to happen. So, since a coin-flip approach appears random, it is not because coin-flipping limits our access to available possibilities, imagination, and creativity. But is coin-flipping really random thought, or actually no thought at all?  Just another term for determinism?
 
h.    Coin-flipping predetermines heads or trails, only. Who considers the potential for the coin to land on its edge, and remain there? The probability, alone, is remote, and determinism uses probability to a tea. There is no imagination to coin-flipping; imagination allows for the edge, or even for not landing at all. Creativity would allow for even more potential choices.
 
i.      Determinists would argue that imagination and creativity have limitations, such as that a human cannot just levitate at will, for such would defy gravity. But gravity, itself, is conditional. It requires proximity to a source of gravity. Change the conditions, and observe  those  results. Isn’t that what science is supposed to do? Be in a space capsule beyond the lagrange point of Earth, and exit the capsule. Determinism would predict that such conditional changes do not fit the model. 
 
j.      That’s the problem with scientific models. Conditions can change, and, no, the results of the experiment will not align with the predetermined theory. By such means, alter conditions by reason, by study, by contemplation of options, by free choice, we duplicated the natural phenomenon of fire. By such means, Jesus walked on water.8  He changed the conditional effect of gravity on his body. How? We don’t know, but such ‘scientific’ thinking once placed Earth at the center of the universe. It was what we once observed.
 
k.    So, why doesn’t determinism just tell us the way things are and be done with it? Because it does not fit the reality of human capability of thought, and, thereby, free will to discover, at our own pace, what the universe really is, and that it is more than earth, wind, and fire, that it has systems that often are in opposition to one another, that there is cause, and causelessness, that Earth is not at its center, and that life was not, is not a coin-flip, or an alphabet soup of time.
 
References in comments.  Thank you. Please vote for Pro.

Con
Thank you PRO for a great debate.

Sorry for not having time to write too much a summary or rebuttal this round. I won't write responses to nonsensical rants about astrology to human imagination to flying by using "free will". Rather, I believe this entire debate boils down to the following idea presented by PRO:

The past is relevant, just not controlling.
This unsubstantiated claim, unfortunately for PRO, conflicts with modern science to the point where to accept it would mean to reject all scientific experiments ever made; as they all prove a direct, absolute controll by the past over the present. The mathematical precision and consistency of the laws of physics disprove PRO's idea with near certainty. The past doesn't just influence our decisions, it controlls it, and everything else happening. Therefore, free will is an illusion at most.



SUMMARY OF ARGUMENTS:
  • The universe is deterministic (by PRO's own admission this is true)
  • The future probably is set in stone because of B-theory of time (PRO dismissed this argument without adequate justification)
  • The brain is physical and deterministic (by PRO's own admission this is true)
  • Free will breaks the laws of physics (by PRO's own admission this is true)
  • The selection process in the brain is physical and deterministic
  • The state of the physical brain controlls human behavior 
  • Morality requires a consistent framework, causal determinism, to be meaningful, because elsewise our actions don't have clear impacts
  • Occams razor rules out free will from being a good explanation, due to the many unjustifiable assumptions it makes



CONCLUSION:
Free will fails at explaining human interaction with the universe. Determinism is simpler, more accurate and the scientifically correct explanation. The resolution fails.