Atheism, Marxism, and all that other stuff

mack341

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south east england
I would love to debate and discuss David's post but I seemed to have developed foggy brain syndrome :oops:

I noticed the surname 'maxwell' was mentioned, and immediately I thought 'robert maxwell' :laugh: so I suspect I'll have to do a bit of research before I can contribute to this discussion :(
 

shadow123

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Maxwell was some clever bod who worked things out way beyond my understanding.
Robert Maxwell " fell" off a boat, probably after a terminal tilt session, he was listed somewhere on
youtube as one of the worlds biggest gamblers
 

BabylonBear

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Forgive the long post but I see a lot of opinion in this thread with people trying to justify something harmful by pointing to other harmful things. Yes, profit above all else is damaging(at the very least in the long term, but even in the short term in some cases). Yes, slots are toxic(as are lots of other things). Slots are designed to manipulate players to play longer, and thus lose more money. Or as the resident defender of them says "to get more profit".

To suggest this is the fault of the being with a brain is to ignore the problem that brains are impacted by things around them, what they see, feel, experience etc. This means the free will people who suggest "if you don't like losing just stop" try to evoke doesn't actually exist. If it did nobody would be dumb enough to become a problem gambler or keep spinning after getting feature teased 3 times in a row only for the game to go on teasing for another 1000 spins with the end payout being 20x.

Slots are definitely toxic. You either play, win/lose, and never play again. Or you play, win/lose, and keep playing until you lose(unless you believe certain YouTubers who consistently win high stake gambles who seem to have an army of morons following them).

The following is a refutation of the free will people tend to believe in, so unless you're interested in that or are prone to becoming butt hurt or a bruised ego, I would suggest stopping here.

1. Some people don’t actually believe that their choices are made outside the scope of cause-and-effect.

In the classic Nature or Nurture debate, nobody ever seems to argue for "neither" because everything we do is implicitly understood to be based on antecedent causes. People will object to this, but when asked why they did something, they’re stuck in a corner. They can say it was random, but that’s not free will. Alternatively, they can say, "I did it because…" and fill in the blank. That’s fine, but whatever reason they give will be an example of causality, by definition. That’s the meaning of the word "because." It doesn’t even matter what they put at the end of the phrase – it’s still a cause.

Saying "I did it just because I wanted to," or "I did it just because I chose to," doesn’t help. It only pushes the question back a step, without answering it. Why did they want to? Why did they choose to? Again, they can either claim it was random, or they can give a cause. But neither option offers free will.

2. Chemicals have unequivocal effects on our brains.

If our decisions are not dependent on antecedent causes, then chemicals should not have any affect on them. This is obviously not a reflection of reality, but it’s the logical result of contra-causal free will. Drugs such as alcohol have a very noticeable effect on our cognitive abilities. For obvious reasons, some people don’t deny that this is true. But they also don’t explain why they believe that our decisions are subject to some physical causality (drugs), but not others (everything else in the world).

Some people tend to get lost in abstract concepts like emotions and wills, and forget that they ultimately have to explain their theory in the concrete terms of electrochemistry and neurons.

3. The most compelling evidence for determinism is the consistency of chemistry in general.

Chemicals reactions are unwavering in their predictability, both inside and outside of our bodies. Hydrocarbons don’t get to choose whether they’ll combust; enzymes don’t get to choose whether they’ll react with proteins; and our neurons don’t get to choose whether or not they’ll fire.

This reactive predictability is not optional. Atomic causality is an axiom upon which the scientific method rests. If one can’t depend on effects to have causes, then epistemological uncertainty becomes an ironic guarantee. Nothing could truly be proved or disproved. Our brains could theoretically produce gold out of thin air. And why not? If they can circumvent causality, then there’s no logical limit to what they could do. Some people would probably reject this claim immediately, but why? If they’re suggesting that there is a limit to the brain’s abilities, then what would it be, if not a causal limit?

4. Decisions are not real things; they’re behavioral models.

This is a big one, and it’s not an easy pill to swallow, because it's entirely counter-intuitive. I fully recognize this, but it’s not without evidence.

Cognitive activity is like other bodily activity: at every stage it is predicated on earlier chemistry. Decisions don’t just boot up and then dissipate like computers being switched on and off. Instead, they’re constantly producing, and being produced by previous activity and new input. Decisions develop. Our brains are uncontroversially in a state of constant feedback. Even when we logically believe that our brains are idle, they’re not. They’re always moving. They don’t even sleep the way we do. They’re as busy as ever, even when we’re out cold.

This point is subtle, but it’s crucial: What we call ‘decisions’ are not discrete items that we’ve somehow produced with our ‘wills’. Neither of those things is objectively real. Decisions are merely the latest articulated point in an unending cycle of cognitive activity, of which we do not have intellectual access.

5. No physical theory has been given to explain free will.

There is no hypothesis that physically explains free will. In fact, there isn’t even an empirically observable ‘free will’ to be explained. There is merely the sensation of free will, which compatibilists refer to as "volition." Such volition does not require contra-causal free will, and even if it’s not immediately intuitive, it remains perfectly explainable by physical biology.

Most new scientific explanations are not immediately intuitive. When Maxwell hypothesized that light and magnetism were the same force, people rejected him out of hand. Intuitively Maxwell was wrong, but scientifically he was right. Similarly, it was once counter-intuitive to think that a burning bonfire and a rusting pipe were undergoing the same process. But they are. Along the same lines, most people believed that the bonfire was undergoing the same process as the sun. Today, though, we understand perfectly well that nuclear fusion bears no resemblance to oxidation.

The intuitive sensation of free will is not sufficient reason to believe that it’s actually contra-causal. What is intuitive is often false in the face of scientific inquiry, so relying on what you "feel" is a poor basis for rational philosophy. There are a number of sufficient and defensible explanations for deterministic human behavior – some of which I’ve laid out here – but there are literally no such explanations for free will. Most cognitive scientists believe that our brains function causally, and this belief is not at all without evidence. And to reiterate the larger point: There is no scientific explanation for free will, nor is there any hypothesis that attempts to explain how it might work on a behavioral level, nor is there even a principle or test to demonstrate which entities supposedly have such free will, and which do not.
I'm gonna be a dick and say: If everything is deterministic then what's the point of arguing whether or not people should make/play slots? It's gonna happen anyway....
 

DavidShush

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I'm gonna be a dick and say: If everything is deterministic then what's the point of arguing whether or not people should make/play slots? It's gonna happen anyway....
You're confusing determinism with fatalism. If you get seriously sick you should see a doctor. That intervention could save your life. If you have a defeatist view via fatalism that you're going to die anyway so don't bother, then that could end your life. Not having free will shouldn't take away our desires or motivations. We're just not ultimately responsible for them.

If someone is too stupid to see the doctor, then arguing in an attempt to correct that behaviour could make all the difference. Of course, it might not, but if we want to improve health and well being it matters that we try anyway.
 

DavidShush

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A friend of mine made this infographic to better illustrate the difference between determinism and fatalism. Perhaps it might explain it better than I can. DETERMINISM-VS-FATALISM-infographic.png
 

goatwack

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I've only just determined through Determinism (& fate) that I am, in fact, a Commie :cheerleader:
 

VismundCygnus

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Marx was an atheist [materialism] which is strongly linked to determinism; if you believe in determinism on what way or basis can you/do you object to marxism?

[you as in general ]
You're drawing a stretched conclusion on an already stretched conclusion. Determinism is only related to athesism/religion in the sense that some religious views are against it; for example a god couldve easily started a deterministic universe. Its like saying evolution is strongly linked to atheism despite most religious leaders accepting evolution as a real phenomena. THEN you go on to say that Marxism comes in to play here because Marx was an atheist, which is true but not the main point of Marxism, which is a set of economic and political theories.
 

mack341

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You're drawing a stretched conclusion on an already stretched conclusion. Determinism is only related to athesism/religion in the sense that some religious views are against it; for example a god couldve easily started a deterministic universe. Its like saying evolution is strongly linked to atheism despite most religious leaders accepting evolution as a real phenomena. THEN you go on to say that Marxism comes in to play here because Marx was an atheist, which is true but not the main point of Marxism, which is a set of economic and political theories.
Hold on a sec...

We agree Karl Marx was an atheist, religion does affect both political and economic policy, I never said it was the main point of Marxism but it is an important element. [The communists murdered thousands of priests in russia, sacked and destroyed churches, why bother if denying religion wasn't a part of marxist theory?]

Materialism is generally accepted as atheist, therefore Marx was a materialist. Is materialism linked to determinism ?

atheism > materialism > determinism
 
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mack341

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In addition to my post above I found this:

Marx and Economic Determinism

There are two different but related senses of determinism in Marxist thought. The first is historical determinism or materialism, according to which the course of history is to be explained through material or economic causes. The second is Marx's theory that what he calls the economic ‘base’ of a society, which consists in the modes and relations of economic production, somehow ‘determines’ a ‘superstructure’ of laws, politics, religion, and other ideological beliefs. Marx claimed to be offering not just another social philosophy or philosophy of history, but an actual science with deterministic laws that made it possible to predict the coming proletarian revolution in the most advanced capitalist economies.


Taken from science direct website, written by Warren Schmaus professor of philosophy illinois institute of technology
 
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mack341

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I think commie Karl would've been against gambling, according to wikipedia's article gambling in russia:

"At the end of 1927, the People’s Commissar of the Interior presented a report devoted to gambling and the gaming business existing at that time to the RSFSR SPC. The main idea voiced through the report was that its incompatibility of an idle, bourgeois pastime with the true spirit of the working proletariat. And, regardless of the rather modest figures in the gaming sector (for example, only 4 small gaming houses operated in Leningrad at that time), the key prohibitive provisions in the report were approved. All this led to a ban on the opening of gambling houses in worker districts, it was followed by a ban on gambling in the entire districts, and later, on May 8, 1928, by the resolution of the USSR SPC, all Soviet Republics were instructed, the reasons not being explained, "to take measures on the immediate closure of any facilities for card games, roulette, lotto and other kinds of gambling".
 

mack341

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Apparently..." The first slot machines which appeared in the country quite lawfully, were installed only in 1988 in hotels which were part of the USSR" this was for foreign tourists, I dread to think how low the rtp was or how compensated they were :eek: talk about rigged :laugh:
 
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DavidShush

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Are these issues related to the philosophy of 'materialism' [karl marx was big into that]
Only to the point that understanding physical things cause other physical things to happen. Cause and effect. Nothing to do with Marxism.
 

DavidShush

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Hold on a sec...

We agree Karl Marx was an atheist, religion does affect both political and economic policy, I never said it was the main point of Marxism but it is an important element. [The communists murdered thousands of priests in russia, sacked and destroyed churches, why bother if denying religion wasn't a part of marxist theory?]

Materialism is generally accepted as atheist, therefore Marx was a materialist. Is materialism linked to determinism ?

atheism > materialism > determinism
Atheism wasn't the reason people died anymore than a lack of belief in fairies would be a reason. A disbelief in god/fairies can't lead to an active belief about what should happen. It would require extra input to generate an active belief about something. There is no part of atheism that says to go harm non atheists. That would be an extra step based on a set of added beliefs.
 

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