Physicist Discovers He Has No Free Will: Chooses To Write Book To Say He Cannot Make Choices

Physicist Discovers He Has No Free Will: Chooses To Write Book To Say He Cannot Make Choices

Robert Sapolsky, a Stanford academic, took decades—decades, he says—to conclude he does not have free will. He chose now as the time to tell us of his decades-long, fruitless search for himself.

I was going to begin this with a joke about Sapolsky’s choice of hairdo, but even I had to acknowledge the man has a magnificent head of hair. Put a sword in his hand, die his face blue, and he’s ready to invade London. He made the right choice.

According to one report:

[His life] changed on a single night in his early teens, he says. While grappling with questions of faith and identity, he was struck by an epiphany that kept him awake until dawn and reshaped his future: God is not real, there is no free will, and we primates are pretty much on our own.

“That was kind of a big day,” he said with a chuckle, “and it’s been tumultuous since then.”

Whereas if he were consistent, it would have been an extraordinarily little day. For if there is no free will, he had no choice but to have this thought. Just as I, right now, here, have n choice but to tease him for his mistake. And he would have realized that day that he was just a meat machine—unless the meat machine told him to start acting like he had no free will.

Which it couldn’t have, because there would be no him to tell. It would only be a machine carrying out instructions, oblivious to all but those instructions. A machine has no capacity to assume it has free will. It does not have an intellect. Machines cannot have illusions, either.

Anyway, let’s see where Sapolsky goes with his revelation that he does not exist, but only a meat machine does. He chose to write a book. About this book:

“Who we are and what we do is ultimately the result of factors beyond our control and because of this we are never morally responsible for our actions in the sense that would make us truly deserving of praise and blame, punishment and reward,” said Gregg Caruso, a philosopher at SUNY Corning who read early drafts of the book. “I am in agreement with Sapolsky that life without belief in free will is not only possible but preferable.”

Did you see it? That kind of hilarious self-contradiction is really only found in academics.

Preferable. That words means two things: a scale of morality and the existence of choice. Neither are present if we are meat machines. Nothing is preferable. Nothing is anything. Nothing has any meaning. Stuff just is. Like the interior of a star, each particle doing what it does without regard to right or wrong or what is preferable.

If you grasp this, you won’t be surprised by what comes next.

Caruso is co-director of the Justice Without Retribution Network, which advocates for an approach to criminal activity that prioritizes preventing future harm rather than assigning blame. Focusing on the causes of violent or antisocial behavior instead of fulfilling a desire for punishment, he said, “will allow us to adopt more humane and effective practices and policies.”…

“The world is really screwed up and made much, much more unfair by the fact that we reward people and punish people for things they have no control over,” Sapolsky said. “We’ve got no free will. Stop attributing stuff to us that isn’t there.”

Sapolsky and Caruso commit the One-Way Recognition Fallacy that free will deniers—a risible term in itself—always employ. It is trotted out when its user laments the punishment of sins. Bad Men don’t have free will, Fallacy users say, so the Bad Men cannot be blamed for their misdeeds. There is no sin but to say there is sin. So, the Fallacy users imply, those who would react as if Bad Men have free will must choose to be more lenient.

The article adds to the error: “This means accepting that a man who shoots into a crowd has no more control over his fate than the victims who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Yet it must also mean it is my fate to hang the sonofabitch that did it.

The Sapolskys of the world weep for criminals, saying criminals had no choice but to make mayhem maim murder rape rob roil. But, somehow, those who would punish criminals are loaded with free will, and should chose not to punish.

Even if that is so, and that criminals are only deadly meat machines, it does not follow criminals should not be punished. Suppose one of Musk’s self-driving cars has a habit of running over pedestrians. The car has no free will, all agree. But that does not mean we would not incarcerate it. Get it off the road. Dismantle it.

“Robert Sapolsky understands that saying that people have no free will is a great way to start an argument.” Does he? Does he understand this? Does he see his very thought is self-contradictory? No, sir, he does not.

The most common reason people deny they exist is love of theory. Let’s see if that is true with Sapolsky:

[His new book] “Determined” goes a step further. If it’s impossible for any single neuron or any single brain to act without influence from factors beyond its control, Sapolsky argues, there can be no logical room for free will.

Ah. There it is, love of theory. He embraces materialism and eschews spiritualism. But like I always say, it’s like the woman who has no idea how the internal combustion works claiming, therefore, that cars don’t go.

If only people realize they could not make choices, they would make better choices. Says Sapolsky, more or less.

I can’t wait for the comments. There’s always one like this: “Briggs, I chose to come here today, and I have chosen the following words, which demonstrate with certainty that I do not have the ability to chose.”

What a spectacle.

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  1. It seems obvious to me we should choose to kill all these people without free will. They are way too much of loose canon to be allowed roaming around.

  2. Tillman Eddy

    “ Put a sword in his hand, die his face blue, and he’s ready to invade London. He made the right choice.‘

    Thank you once more!
    Briggs – Sometime your humor brings tears to my eyes!

    Only from the Hallowed Halls of Hackademia can merde of this fluid consistency be posited!

  3. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    It’s possible to suppose that that a conscious & self aware being might have zero free will.
    Given that scenario there’s only one sensible way to proceed, it must be assumed that free will exists.
    Then we can argue about how much free will exists if we accept it exists.
    When people, often with an angle, state stuff like anything can be achieved with enough effort we must assume severe stupidity or deliberate propaganda info dissemination.
    So far nobody has managed to demonstrate that anything I’m experiencing relates to anything that’s real or exists though, all any conciousness can be certain of is that it’s a fact that at least one conciousness exists, nothing else can be proven by that conciousness unfortunately, it is all a very, very unfortunate state of affairs is it not?

  4. Carlos Julio Casanova Guerra

    I’m going to make three comments:

    1) Of course, to write the article, you have to let go a little bit, but, if everything is just matter, there’s only one “nature”, that is, to top it all, indeterminate. So there’s no differences and three not even the standard model if particles, just matter and accidental portions moving in ampty space. Moving, not because of some force or any other phantasmagoria like that, but “because”.

    2) What they propose isn’t new: it’s the eighteen hundred frenology, fallen into disrepute, when Lombroso tryied to found a “minority report” type of situation: some “precrime” unit to treat the would-be criminals before they act their predestined felonies… BECAUSE they have the criminal brain. Their Nazi ways took their beliefs to such bad fame that even today the identity thesis carries a heavy weight.

    3) He speaks about “we-us”: who’s that “colective” he’s part of, humans? Is there something like a species? Really. Brother, there intelligibility in reality, there’s intellect, that’s why there’s science. And you are dead, because there’s life and you lost it…..

  5. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    It’s possible to suppose that a conscious & self aware being might have zero free will while experiencing the illusory feeling of having free will. Given that scenario there’s only one sensible way to proceed, it must be assumed that free will exists & there are no free will choices to be made in that respect.

  6. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    Then we can argue about how much free will exists if we accept it exists. When people, often with an angle, state stuff like anything can be achieved with enough effort we must assume severe stupidity or deliberate propaganda info dissemination.
    Assuming that actual choices can be made, a cup of tea or coffee etc, we can see clearly that a person’s course through life is possibly probably fairly fixed starting with where their born, what the time period was & who their parents were, zero choices there from a long line of zero choice existences.

  7. JohnM

    Your evil fiends have enough freewill to cause the typo.

    “Just as I, right now, here, have n choice but to tease him for his mistake”.

    ‘n choice’, ‘o’ dear !

    I support John Pate’s sentiment, except I would also include all those who claim, “The Devil made me do it”.

  8. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    So far nobody has managed to demonstrate that anything I’m experiencing relates to anything that’s real or exists though, all any conciousness can be certain of is that it’s a fact that at least one conciousness exists, nothing else can be proven by that conciousness unfortunately, it is all a very, very unfortunate state of affairs is it not?
    In this dire state of existence the consciousness not only experiences whatever is set out in the entire timeline of the consciousness generators ‘program’ but can also not have any effect on whatever is happening while always experiencing the illusion of having to make choices & decisions.

  9. Rex8or Legitimax Prime – Alvin Plantinga’s classic book “of God and Other Minds” deals with this issue quite well I think – he says we know God exists the same way we know that other people exist – by looking at the evidence of rationality / consciousness in their behaviour – in the case of the universe by the evidence of design.
    DNA shows the logos at work.

  10. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    Andrew P Partington –
    “Of God & other minds”
    doesn’t deal with my issues.

  11. Linda Hagge

    You make me laugh almost every day. I don’t choose to laugh; you make me. I can’t do a thing about it. Oh wait–I guess I chose to open my e-mail and read your essay. Damn.

    P.S. You have a die/dye error in your essay, which I presume you did not choose to make. So I won’t punish you for it.

  12. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    I ought to mention temporal illusion, the batman movie shooting incident & the temporal illusion researcher, the perceived clock second hand tick delay & other aspects of temporal illusion such as a quick eye movement to look right at a junction causing the brain to adjust visual perception enough to cause an accident. These things promoted further thoughts regarding conciousness & reality. There’s also the temporal illusion computer game that can cause the player to think that the computer knows what they’re going to do next.

  13. Hagfish Bagpipe

    Obviously a subversive and destructive lunatic who thinks he’s God’s gift to the world. Good thing it’s just one guy. Imagine the chaos if there was a sect that cranked out copies of the type and they worked together subverting and destroying any society foolish enough to host them. Forfend!

  14. Sumguysomewhere

    Life without *belief* in free free will is preferable.

    *choosing* not to *believe* in free will

    The episode of Star Trek comes to mind were Kirk convinces the AI computer to crash itself because of a contradiction in its programming.
    “Can’t compute!!!!!”

  15. So the core of the problem of free will is marrying the nondeterministic concept of free will with the deterministic concept of everything else. All scientific models and theories are deterministic, even quantum mechanics (the relative ratio of outcomes is deterministic which is what enables inferment). This is like making a square which is also a circle. Here’s one way of doing it:

    All the world runs on axioms. That much is obvious. But the set of axioms underpinning our world is not the only possible set. So how was the decision made which of the infinitely many sets is the set which will underpin our world? AND MORE TO THE POINT, if God made the selection, did he decide on ALL axioms, or did he leave a portion of axioms for other wills to decide? Wills he made himself?

    Critical: if some of the axioms of the world were decided upon by lesser wills, *how will you prove this from within the axiomatic system*?

    This explanation forsees that many free wills exists, and together they created a 100% deterministic world. A deterministic world was created nondeterministically.

    BTW, all of this meshes really nice with “so that it would be known what is in hearts of men” that we regularly see in the Bible. How will you know what axioms underpin the Universe if those axioms aren’t made apparent by their effect? An axiom that didn’t affect the Universe is an axiom nonexistent.

  16. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    but then it’s possible just the brain is sort of looking at the data & like working out the best course of action based on the rules & stuff including how likely a serious retribution or summat is likely for bad deeds so then sets in the required behaviours dictatorially but to be nice & fluffy about it includes a clear illusion that the victims conciousness layer gets a sensation of having chosen the path of righteousness at any point in time.
    So no free will for the trapped conscious entity prisoner but the shadow of the hangman still has the desired result & the presence of the shadow of the hangman is never the result of a free will choice?

  17. Linda Hagge

    This is a really interesting comment.

  18. As an exercise in free will you could go read “2.4 God and Information in Reality and Belief” – on . (see also: on intelligent design ) .

    Bottom line: 100% deterministic, with “free will” an illusion indistinguishable from the real thing because it’s a result of limited information.

    Notice, however, that the nature of physical reality says nothing at all about the reality or otherwise of any conceptualization of God – meaning you can accept a deterministic universe without giving up anything with respect to faith and/or morality or your ability to make choices based on your understanding of God and/or morality.

  19. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    Yes Linda did you really ‘choose’ to read the email? Are you sure about that? It felt like a choice perhaps but was it really a choice?

  20. Linda Hagge

    To me the most plausible belief on this matter is a middle way. (Most of the problems of this world are caused by people with good intentions who push something good too far until it becomes bad.) Ahem. Sapolsky and others are demonstrably right that people’s behavior is shaped by their genetics and environment; how could it be otherwise? In his book Behave, Sapolsky reckons it’s about 50/50. So someone with an IQ of 80 is never going be able to operate outside that genetic inheritance when it comes to choices. Likewise, someone with an incredibly negative childhood experience, like war or abuse, will always be influenced by that experience when making choices. So far, so good. But where people like Sapolsky go wrong IMO is to say that therefore people have NO leeway to make choices. But doesn’t it make sense (and it’s demonstrably true, as Briggs pointed out) that everyone has the leeway to make choices WITHIN the influence/limitations of their genetics and experience? Animals literally could not live if they didn’t have the ability to make choices–survival depends on it. It seems to me that even a materialist like Sapolsky should be able to recognize this–no deity required. You would think all his research on baboon societies in Africa would have taught him that those animals are not just automatons with no ability to make choices. And as others here have pointed out, even if it were true that we had no free will, for a society to exist we would have to act as if there is free will. Making Sapolsky’s point moot.

  21. @Rex8or Legitimax Prime: you seem to be posting the output of a Diassociated Press generator. Am I right?

    If you’re not, then I can only acknowledge your comment as a general “but what if not?” comment. What I have stated on axioms has it’s own strength and will be able to handle your general comment on it’s own.


    He’s going to give old Hoss a run for her money.

  23. cdquarles

    Axiom: God is the Being that IS being. Therefore, God *must* exist.
    The physical universe, which is only a part of the whole, is contingent. It is all potential and does not exist, until created by a Being that Is being. At that point, it remains contingent but now is a composite of that which has been made actual and what is still potentially actual.

    Now, we ask ourselves, Given said God is Love, He wants to be Loved. How can any created beings Love Him without also having the ability to “act with or against” their nature or essence? Robots can’t love. They are simple sense/response entities that may or may not be automatons. Embodied living things are automatons. Spiritual living things are automatons. Humans were made slightly lower than the angels, for we are embodied by nature and angels are not; but both were made to love He That Is. Thus, both must have free will.

  24. Cary D Cotterman

    Pity for that poor victim of determinism who shoots into a crowd (rapes, carjacks, loots, burns, vandalizes, craps on the sidewalk, etc.) is what has made cities in California and other lost states the paradises they are today. But whether or not miscreants are responsible, they sure as hell are dangerous, and like that errant self-driving car, should be deactivated or dismantled to protect the rest of us. Let God sort ’em out.

    Regarding Sapolsky’s do, I want to make fun of it, but I’m on my way down to my last three Homer Simpson strands so it might seem like envy.

  25. Cary D Cotterman


    “When people, often with an angle, state stuff like anything can be achieved with enough effort we must assume severe stupidity or deliberate propaganda info dissemination.”

    I’ve often thought the same thing. I’d love to win the Tour de France, or dance the role of Siegfried in American Ballet Theatre’s production of “Swan Lake”, but it ain’t gonna happen no matter how much effort I expend. Telling children, especially, that they “can be anything they want to be”, is abuse.

  26. Johnno


    Whenever you discover one or more such as these… Saying there is no free will! Saying there is no responsibility for actions! Saying we should set the prisoners free! We can deterministically determine only one thing…!



    We should lock them up a priori! Once safely incarcerated, we shall seek for a crime that fits!

    But it is safe to say, we should start with genocide against BIPOCs and work our way down to hetero-pedophilia then further down towards the crime of misgendering.

    Once we have enough misgenderers locked up, determined by the state’s scientific apparatuses and various detecting devices, upon who we shall assault and battery with tests, we shall publish a paper:

    Misgendering: A product of determinism, not free will.
    Authors: Dr. WM Briggs, Sir Johnno Phd, Lady Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Qualified Diverse Hiree, The Stanford U Acapella Choir.

    The findings are that when allowed to act freely deterministically, the subjects would routinely identify trans people as what their visual stimuli routinely suggested. And torture techniques such as electric pulses while immersed in water helped to stimulate them to determine otherwise. Therefore the key conclusion is that EVIDENCE SHOWS that individual ability to identify the trans subjects as trans subjects is directly tied to pain receptivity.

    Therefore our recommendations to the committee of such US Intelligence funded Research, is to eliminate the criminal laws against misgendering, or to embark on a mass sterilization project to routinely administer shock therapy injections to the public until there is deterministically approved compliance with the determination of the Public Good. Just like last time when the government had no choice but to force vexxines and lockdowns, and many had no choice but to obey, and Pfizer and ModeRNA had no choice but to put deadly ingredients into vexxines they knew would kill and injure and cripple, and the State seeing as it had no choice granted immunity from deterministically driven actions.

  27. Ragnarok

    Mr Cotterman is undoubtedly correct on this one. This “man” and his ilk are laying the academic groundwork and justification for more Burn, Loot, Murder.

    I’m wondering if Shakespeare really got it right ie. “First, we kill all the lawyers”

  28. Uncle Mike

    Solipsism is the ultimate narcissism. Realm of the psychopath.

  29. HerculesRockefeller

    Without free will, why treat criminals as if they can be redeemed? They are simply meat machines that came off the assembly line with a bad circuit or two. Since their behaviors are automatic, then why expect them to act differently in the future? The rational thing to do would be to scrap these individuals, just as you would scrap a faulty self-driving car.

    And why should morally, physically, and intellectually superior people not deserve praise and admiration? Do we not admire Ferraris and Lamborghini’s in all their insentient glory more than beat-up Ford Fiestas?

    Of course, if free will does exist, we could offer criminals a path to contrition and hope they will make better choices in the future.

  30. The True Nolan

    I empathize strongly with Mr. Sapolsky’s conclusion that he has no free will. In an odd event which I find to be philosophically isomorphic with his experience, I just recently realized that I can neither understand nor compose cogent statements in the English language.

  31. Hagfish Bagpipe


    “I was going to begin this with a joke about Sapolsky’s choice of hairdo…”

    Clowns have no choice but to wear clown wigs.

  32. Milton Hathaway

    In addition to the hair, one has to admire Sapolsky’s skyward gaze, nicely contrasting the academic omphaloskepticism.

    I see a lot of evidence that we humans do have less free will than we believe. When action is required without time to think, we tend to react in an individually predictable way. When action is required when we have time to think it through, cognitive dissonance likes to fog our brains to, again, tend to cause us to make choices in an individually predictable way.

    Let’s quantify this by P, the percentage of our free will that is real (i.e., 100-P is the percentage of free will that is an illusion). Sapolsky believes his P, and everybody else’s P, is zero. He believes because P=0, that people shouldn’t be held responsible (i.e., punished) for their actions. But does this really follow from P=0?

    Let’s say P=50% for an average human, and that P=10% for a sociopath. The average human might require punishment level X to dissuade a specific bad behavior. The sociopath, on the other hand, might require a punishment level of 10X to dissuade the same behavior. In other words, people with poor self-control require a bigger hammer. The poorer the level of self-control, the bigger the hammer required. Common sense would say that in the limit, as P goes to zero, X has to go to infinity.

    Now admittedly limits involving infinity are tricky, but Sapolsky wants us to believe that at the exact point that P reaches zero, where free will becomes a total illusion, the required punishment level suddenly veers off it’s seemingly unstoppable trajectory toward infinity and also drops to zero, no punishment at all. I’ll need to see his supporting evidence.

  33. NLR

    Free will believers say that they know they have free will because they experience choice.

    Determinists will claim that it would feel the same to have free will or for it to just appear as if we choose. But that’s just something they postulated. We know what it feels like to choose and it’s not hard to imagine what it would be like to not be able to choose, to just experience as a passive observer. It would be like watching a movie or a cut scene in a video game.

    So, you could ask them, “what does it feel like to feel like you have free will but not have it? That’s just something you postulated but other than that you’ve said it, you haven’t given any reason why it should exist.”

    The idea of determinism comes from human reasoning and experience. The belief in free will comes from human reasoning and experience. Determinists speak as if they can somehow stand apart from human experience. They can’t. If our sense experience and reasoning is reliable in science, then how is our experience of choosing not reliable. Sure, we don’t have a mathematical model for it. So what?; that’s the fault of the models, not the fault of free will.

  34. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    I’m not Pisassociated Dress generated usually & might just look like that way but could be considered as some sort of generalised
    ” what if not ?” type approach to the problem.

  35. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    If the feeling of free will & choice is simply pasted over the brains non negotiable dictated orders & commands the consciousness can’t possibly know can it I would’ve thought.
    So then we can see that it’s possible that the feeling of having illusory synthetic free will while actually having no free will is precisely what everyone experiences.

  36. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    The brain needs to be provided with the data to work with to autocratically carry out corrective action & operate the biological machine optimally while overlaying the illusion of free will & choice for the unfortunate trapped conciousness imprisoned within.
    So then we see in this scenario that in order to cause some level of redemption by behavioural alteration no actual real free will would be required.

  37. Linda Hagge

    So you didn’t decide to write this comment? Something in your programming made you do it?

  38. NLR

    Rex8or, but what if feeling like we are convinced by an argument that the feeling of free will is pasted over our brains is also pasted over our brains?

    If the feeling of free will is an illusion, why can’t the feeling of thinking we don’t have free will be an illusion?

    People can keep going calling things illusions indefinitely, and they can come up with reasons why it could be, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s just special pleading on their parts. Unless there is some good reason why it’s an illusion, then no one is obligated to believe it.

    The feeling of choice or, more accurately, the experience of choice is on the same footing as the experience and reasoning which inform the arguments of determinists. Actually, it’s on better footing because everyone experiences it every day and has for as long as humans have existed. If that doesn’t count, then how can we trust any of our other experiences, like the experience of reading an argument against free will? Maybe we didn’t read what we thought we read?

    I think this is what it really comes down to. Determinists believe that they have a comprehensive model of the world and that model excludes free will. Free will believers aren’t trying to say that the model really does allow free will. They agree that the determinists understanding of their model is correct; the model doesn’t allow room for free will.

    Rather, the question is, does the model encompass everything? And free will believers would argue that the model is wrong; it does not encompass everything.

  39. Linda Hagge

    Sapolsky is a star in behavioral science. He has had three bestselling books, including Behave, which is absolutely crammed full of peer-reviewed research, none of it his. It makes perfect sense that Peterson would have him on his show, perhaps to debate, since they have opposing views.

  40. Gunther Heinz

    I think what he meant to say is that long ago he put on a hat and wears it still. And, it sells books.

  41. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    Yes, you can’t trust anything conciousness experientially wise, it’s not possible & everything could have come into existence 2 seconds ago including all the people with their memories intact that make sense & nobody would know it.
    It’s possible that with no actual, real free will choice the world would look exactly like it does on this day on this godforsaken hell hole planet or on this beautiful morning with the wagtails strutting around the cafe tables looking for morsels, exactly.
    It’s best not to fully understand these things because eventually its likely a proper grasp of the possibilities will take the wind out of the sails of the unfortunates that suffer from understanding.
    I would rather my brain had been smashed in a 100 ton press.
    So we must assume it’s all real & assume that free will exists & soldier on must we not, really we have not much choice in the matter.

  42. David Marwick

    Maybe that dope has his “choices” compromised by bribery, blackmail, perverse oaths, ideology, or some such, and he chooses to exonerate himself by claiming that it is all forced on him by chemical (biological) forces, destiny, fate, etc. and he, therefore, has no agency (like collaboration) in anything at all.

    Hmm. Good luck with trying to “explain” that to the Judge on Judgement Day.

  43. Phileas_Frogg

    @Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    “So we must assume it’s all real & assume that free will exists & soldier on must we not, really we have not much choice in the matter.”

    I see what you did there.

  44. @Rex8or Legitimax
    > everything could have come into existence 2 seconds ago including all the people with their memories intact that make sense & nobody would know it.

    Even if that were the case, you can still determine some ground truths, such as that God exists and it’s POSSIBLE to have free will.

    This is how: you realize that, while Universe could have popped into existence 2 seconds ago, it could have also popped into existence 4 seconds ago, BUT NOT BOTH! Therefore, there has to be a choice on when did Universe pop into existence. That choice can’t be made algorithmically – and this can be proven in a number of ways. For example, Tarski showed that any non-trivial mathematical system (such as the two possible Universes) can’t show it’s the TRVTH (Tarski’s undefinability theorem). Therefore, there has to be a Chooser that decides which of infitely many Universes which COULD exist actually exists. This chooser exactly fulfills the definition of God.

    And I have already detailed the basic argument that free will COULD exist, as well as the essential problem within the problem of free will.

    Therefore – whatever the Universe is or isn’t, you can always PROVE God exists, even if you assume nothing about yourself or your experience of the world. Even a brain in a jar or a spherical Boltzman brain in a frictionless vacuum can prove God exists. The only escape you can have from this certain knowledge is to convince yourself there is no such thing as rationality, logic, or consistency. But at that point you’re a madman. I mean, if you don’t admit reason and logic, then how will you convince yourself of anything?

  45. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    Your mission, if you wish to accept it, is you must prove to me that what I’m experiencing as a functioning (sort of now & then) conciousness actually correlates with anything that is real & exists.
    I’m using Diamironium reinforced Granitcrete logical reasoning (it doesn’t care about anything, especially cute things) to determine that what I postulate is possible.
    This is part of the issue at its most basic level.
    I remain your most faithfull & humble servant, Rex8or.

  46. Well, how do you like this: your experiences ARE THEMSELVES the things that are real and that clearly exist.

    They correlate with themselves, like the variable a in this equation: a=a

    And your experiences could have been different, or could be different right now. Even if you are an impotent spectator, your spectation is clearly real – and could be different from what it is right now. Therefore, a choice is present. Since you clearly didn’t make the choice (if you don’t have free will), and since it’s provable there is no necessary spectation for you, then it must follow that somebody else had the free will to make the choice for you. Therefore, you conclude there exists a free chooser. Thus you have made a 100% certain deduction. Regardless of whether you have free will or not.

  47. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    I agree that my conciousness exists but that’s all I agree with & can so far be certain of.
    I can be absolutely sure so far that anything else is unknowable.
    I feel that my conciousness must be produced by something, call it the consciousness generator, but that’s a guess.
    You will need to demonstrate that you’re real & all that you think is real is actually real, please.
    I await your deliberations expectantly, Rex8or.

  48. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    I agree that my conciousness exists & that anything else is unknowable but that’s all I can agree with & can so far be certain of.
    I feel that my conciousness must be produced by something, call it the consciousness generator, but that’s a guess.
    You will need to demonstrate that you’re real & all that you think is real is actually real, please.
    I await your deliberations expectantly, Rex8or.

  49. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    The physicist has got it all wrong, should really stick to physisticallity matters & get a haircut.

  50. Well with that sort of framing you removed everything from consideration but one thing which can not vary. In particular, you removed your experience of me (Rex8or’s experience of hudbwu). Therefore, since I don’t have anything to work with other than I AM (not even numbers because they require plurality!), I can’t prove to you that anything other than existing itself exists.

    Strictly speaking, only the act of existing is necessary for existence, everything else that exists is subject to choice and variation. But since you removed from consideration everything other than existing, I can’t make any conclusions, other than the conclusion “it exists”.

  51. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    Linda Hagge
    “So you didn’t decide to write this comment? Something in your programming made you do it?”

    Yes, & my conciousness experience creation functionality also overlayed the sensation of having written the comment by my own choice voluntarily.
    That’s assuming that the universe & everything in it is real, I doubt it though & I can’t prove it’s real so that’s the other problem. It’s highly likely that you don’t exist.
    Yours most exceedingly sincerely,

  52. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    Milton Hathaway.
    Given variable free will & variable good / bad behaviour we require two devices, free will level & good / bad level detectors.
    In theory there might be zero free will people who are compelled to only carry out activities for the greater good & the good of all individuals including all Labrador puppies totally selflessly.
    If we came across a high free will person consistently doing bad things suitable correction & punishment would be required of course.
    So then we end up throwing the detectors away & just doing what we currently do as far as law & order is concerned.
    It seems it doesn’t matter how we slice it & dice it or what angle we approach the issue from it always ends up with that it doesn’t matter, we have to carry on as if we have free will & choice & what we experience is real & we don’t have a choice about it.
    May all your days be particularly good days.

  53. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    That’s right, we know something can exist for sure so there’s no doubt about that & we might be able to proceed from there to get at the truth & I’m probably working on it but can’t be sure about that.
    Depends on the Super Polysense Reality Track Conciousness Generator v3.233c

  54. NLR

    Rex8or, you said “So far nobody has managed to demonstrate that anything I’m experiencing relates to anything that’s real or exists though”

    It’s not possible to disprove solipsism because it is self-consistent. Solipsism does not contain an internal contradiction. So it cannot be shown absolutely to be false. But most philosophical positions cannot. One might make a comparison to the proof that it is impossible to square the circle with ruler and compass. Does that mean mathematics is flawed? No, it just means that something lots of people would have liked to do can’t be done in the way they would have wanted.

    Likewise, the fact that most philosophical positions cannot be absolutely proven or disproven does not mean that reality is flawed, it just means that there is more to reality than absolute proof or disproof.

  55. huveja

    Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    Too many assumptions for so few words:

    1. “It’s possible to suppose that that a conscious & self aware being might have zero free will”, well, the truth is that I don’t know if it is possible to suppose that, first, the only beings we know with those characteristics are ourselves, and second, we can’t even define consciousness (much less how it arises).

    2. “Given that scenario there’s only one sensible way to proceed, it must be assumed that free will exists”, you immediately close all doors to lead me to your conclusion by affirming that the only sensible way for a conscious being is to assume free will, but well, our friend Sapolsky assumes the opposite, doesn’t that contradiction bother your inordinate certainty?

    3. “So far nobody has managed to demonstrate that anything I’m experiencing relates to anything that’s real or exists though”, well, this would be the drop of water that spills out of the glass, how would your free will relate to the relationship of your experience with reality? You should first establish that relationship before using such an obvious booby trap.

    Well, maybe the truth is that you are the booby who fell into the trap, I suggest that you use your free will to not jump out of the window on the 20th floor of a building, we are all going to see the same thing, a mass of gelatinous flesh and we will say goodbye to your free will ..

  56. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    While my conciousness generator that exists in what is a real reality might play that jumping of buildings scenario for me to experience (hopefully it won’t) there is in fact possibly no such thing as you or buildings with a 20th floor.

  57. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    it’s possible for there to be no free will & for everyone to think there is free will & for the world to still be exactly as it is today.

  58. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    proving maths stuff is not the equivalent of proving that from my conciousnesses perspective my conciousness is not the only conciousness & proving that from my consciousnesses perspective everything being experienced is not entirely fictional & that the universe exists. (If you can manage that with words you will live forever & be infinitely wealthy)
    Two entirely non related things.

  59. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    & so a few years ago I read some stuff & saw a glimpse of something & have since drifted from the shores of my old existence further out upon an ocean of the unknown.
    So far nobody has demonstrated that they are not simply fictional artefacts created by my conciousness generator.
    Of course I will still feed the ducks on the canal & the geese on the river just in case, you never truly know.

  60. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    & as the consciousness generator is often keen to point out, feed the ducks or don’t feed the ducks, you don’t get to decide, you’ll do as the consciousness generator says,
    have a nice day punk.

  61. Let’s just not forget that all of this relies on a VERY narrow window of permissible elements of an argument. You narrowed the view so much that you ever refuse to consider your own experiences as real. I wonder, if you were to smack your toe on a table leg, would you consider the pain to be real? Or just an illusion? At which point one has to ask the question, “what IS an illusion anyway?” I mean, if anything except your own consciousness might be an illusion, than what separates an illusion from reality?

    Or will you really try to convice us that pain in your post-smack toe is not real? 🙂

  62. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    You are starting to understand but I’m not sure you should carry on with any further. exploration of what I’m going on about.
    Don’t read any more of my gibberish nonsense, it’s not good for you, there is nothing to be gained & potentially much that can be lost.
    Anyway, stubbing ones toe is one thing mechanically, the experienced pain is the result of electrochemical signalling causing a bunch of brain neurons to change state & that sort of thing. Then there’s a lot of timing calibration stuff going on so the created sensations of any sound match up with the touch sensation. We already know then that the pain experience could be generated by the brain with no external nerve signals. That’s not far off saying that any experience could be generated by the brain with no external nerve signalling & then it’s just a short skip to well if that’s the case then can we trust anything we experience to relate to anything that’s real?
    So yes, my conciousness generator can cause me to experience all the elements of a severe toe stubbing incident including the pain when there is actually no toes & no such things as human beings & nothing exists to stub a toe on.

  63. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    it’s all most unfortunate indeed isn’t it?

  64. Ann Cherry

    Wow, 67 comments, and at least 26 of them are from “Rex8or Legitimate Prime.” I think we have our new “Joy”.

  65. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    Legitimax please thankyou.

  66. Legitimax, show that some != you is [or was] experiencing something from its conciousness generator.
    I can do that, in a non-trivial ~special ~way, but am foremost interested in your approach; thankyou.

  67. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    My ConGen says I have to have trouble deciphering that but nice to talk to you thanks.

  68. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    The basic logic of the sloppyciscmistyite problem is that they can be 100% sure it’s possible for at least one conciousness to exist & that’s their conciousness & they can’t be certain of anything else being real including the most intense experience they’ve ever experienced in their entire possibly completely solitary conciousnesses sloppyiscmistyite existence.
    & may the all powerful grifff which knows all have mercy on the their unfortunate souls etc.

  69. Legitimax, so your conciousness generator is low-fi, high-fi, sci-fi, or just words, or what?
    Is the physical existence of your conciousness generator testable?

  70. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    Can’t test the Conciousness Generator.
    It says it’s SHD or it’s a ConGen V3.142c – probably the most powerful ConGen in the entire Realm .
    Or its a Super Polysense Reality Track v3.142c Conciousness Generator.

  71. > Don’t read any more of my gibberish nonsense, it’s not good for you, there is nothing to be gained & potentially much that can be lost.

    Unfortunately for you gibberish nonsense, I already trekked this area through and through years back. 🙂 There is nothing to be gained only on the assumption you are a troll. If you aren’t, then there’s at least the option of enriching a person’s view. That’s a net gain.

    Anyway, it seems to me you make a strict separation between things that exist outside your mind, like toes and things that exist inside your mind (AKA consciousness?), like pain. And further you – apparently – posit that “existence” refers only to things outside your mind.

    But hey look at this: what about the contents of your mind? Surely they exist! I mean, would you deny your thoughts are real? Why limit reality only to things outside your mind? I posit things IN your mind exist as much as anything can exist. Now you can say they are generated by something and are not replicas of “external” reality. Irrelevant. I posit things IN your mind are certainly existing and can be used as inputs for reasoning. The question of reality outside of your mind is completely, utterly, irrelevant.

    Furthermore, circling back to the question of free will, the contents of your mind could be considered for the argument I presented earlier. The contents of your mind could be different! How is it decided what they will be? On closer inspection it turns out there’s no necessary content of your mind which means there has to be a choice on what will be in your mind. It’s perfectly irrelevant what chooses what’s in your mind, whatever it is it HAS to have free will. That is so because without free will it won’t be able to break the axiomatic deadlock and decide which possible content of your mind should actually be in your mind. Which is to say – since items in your mind trully exist – of all the things that could possibly exist, which exact things should exist.

    And I’d propose you stop banging on the “consciousness generator” idea. WHY should there be anything that generates consciousness? Here, chew on this: consciousness could exist all by itself, eternaly, without reference to anything outside of it. You think that proposal is false? Prove it.

  72. David Marwick

    Years ago when I was a youthful student at a University full of relativistic illuminates I suggested to one of the proponents of the idea that if “reality” is just a mind construct then my imaginary “self” should be able to drive my imaginary motor car at imaginary high speed right through the imaginary space that your imaginary “self” doesn’t occupy.

    I think I proposed it as an experiment but, curiously, no proponent of imaginary (mind constructed) reality volunteered to “prove” that “it’s all in the mind”.

  73. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    David Marwick.
    I don’t believe you or the universe exist & I have been involved in car accidents & have suffered injury in other incidents & do stuff like checking brake pads & making sure electrical equipment is connected up right & safe to use & commission massive copper tube drawing machines & the like.
    The reason the slolopysistical conscious entity refuses to do certain things is their disembodied conscious experience clearly has rules & consequences.

  74. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    You simply never understood it & still don’t understand it. You’ll probably never understand it. Not many people around who are able to understand it & prove that by stating the stubbed toe stuff & that kind of thing. it’s better to not under stand it, if your thinking in terms of stubbed toes & illusions that’s a good thing.
    Look at it this way, just one way of describing the problem, there are others.
    There’s a box of tricks somewhere that looks ordinary in its existence place & environment but a human wouldn’t be able to imagine or conceive any idea of the item & something being a thing in a place is a long way from reality in that situation.
    The box of tricks generates a conciousness that experiences all the things that you experience but nothing experienced by that conciousness is real although it all feels horribly real including reading forum posts by trolls and the time it is subjected to experiencing a paragliding accident in the Alps.
    The box of tricks simply plays through the conciousnesses entire existence, ends that conciousness existence & starts another one.
    It doesn’t have to do that continuously, it might play the Conciousnesses experience track in short 5 second bursts separated by 19 million year gaps.
    The created conciousness will not know.

  75. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    Anybody who fully understands the solopolymisticality? thing knows that the only question regarding it is
    ~ has anybody come up with a valid rebuttal yet?
    So far nobody has.
    Your humble servant am I
    And will remain.

  76. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    And the idea that people have free will is precisely the same as solloppyoptimistyicism thing, nobody has demonstrated that free will exists & anybody who thinks that’s not the case doesn’t understand the issue & really is in no position to attenot to discuss the matter.
    Your wish is my command always & for all time.

  77. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    So every thing what Mr Briggs said can be safely? discarded nonchalantly & without further serious consideration in the Bin complete with a white bin liner of blissful ignorance can it not? Can we all agree?
    Forever Always solopcystikally yours.

  78. David Marwick

    Of course we should all believe you, Rex8or Legitimax Prime, because you’ve imbibed the occult wisdom that makes you smarter than God and which does not allow anyone to know what is perfectly obvious to even little children.

    I suggest that you are proclaiming the ultimate absurdity of quintessential narcissism that is the definition of “agnosticism”… “The only thing you can know for sure is that you can’t know anything”.

    My guess is that no one could be as blatantly stupid as you are showing off to be unless they were paid much money along with prestige and accolades. (I rather doubt that anyone could be blackmailed into proposing such obviously irrational nonsense).

  79. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    Here’s a possible illustration of the results of the issue when blissful ignorance isn’t available.
    You’ll always need as much blissful ignorance as you can get, believe me.
    The reply asking me if the conciousness generator is hi-fi or sci-fi was the most reasonable response so far?
    James Holmes. 2012 shooting incident.
    When you look at the available info you’ll find the specifics of what James Holmes was involved in at Uni difficult to uncover. It was Temporal Illusion research. NIH & Salk Institute.
    Some people out there are getting very angry about the issue apparently, insults & tantrums aren’t proof that they exist & the universe is real or that free will is an actual thing is it?
    May blissful ignorance be your eternal companion & I look forward to your considered & valuable contributions.
    Your most faithful & unquestioningly loyal subject.

  80. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    What’s that stuff about the almighty, all powerful & all knowing & totally eternal Griff by the way, is that relevant?
    Always Your most lowly & insignificant & derisory fool am I.
    Rex8or the supreme (berk).

  81. > Look at it this way, just one way of describing the problem, there are others.

    Not adressing the issue raised, restating the same thing he said previously but with different verbiage. At the moment I thought that MAYBE, perhaps, POSSIBLY, he’s not a troll… he basically proves me wrong. Oh well.

    @Rex8or Legitimax: in the impossibly unlikely case you aren’t a troll but are instead trully this bonkers, I **STRONGLY** advise you stop self-medicating, or masturbating, or sleep-depriving yourself or doing whatever it is you do to yourself. If you’re naturally retarted I’m sorry and hope you find some joy in life anyway.

  82. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    Some people out there are getting very angry about the issue apparently, insults & tantrums aren’t proof that they exist & the universe is real or that free will is an actual thing is it?
    May blissful ignorance be your eternal companion & I look forward to your considered & exceedingly valuable contributions.
    Your most faithful & unquestioningly loyal subject (& proven lunatic always requiring medication for lunacy issues as well & very prone to doing unsavoury stuff)
    Rex8or the most Masterful & accomplished of all that have ever existed or will exist if anything exists except my conciousness (& the most insane).

  83. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    My desire is to be able to have 4 separate discussions with everyone on the planet between the ages of 20 & 80 during my lifetime regarding the issues. This might involve 12 billion people & 48 billion interviews. Perhaps then someone might have a solution, maybe someone in Nepal perhaps?

  84. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    So then.
    Assuming only my conciousness exists.
    In my conscious experience as per generated if a person offers to prove they’re not fiction by running me over with their car my ConGen will almost certainly – 99.9999999876% cause me to decline the offer politely for various ConGen reasons including the fact that it would be illegal in the Conngenr8r playbook (& in a reality) & my agreement wouldn’t make it legal & of course nobody in their right minds in a reality would do that sort of thing & in theory an agreement to be run over would result in the Conngenr8r to play that horrible scenario for my conciousness.
    Now then, in a real universe nobody is going to offer to run over a sollopycismist & then do it if the sollopycismist says ok go ahead & of course the sollopycismist won’t say yes as per the previous paragraph.
    Now then if in a real reality where stuff actually exists like cars & people but nobody has free will while thinking they do then the sollopycismist will be forced to say no to the being run over offer by their programming & the person offering to run them over will be forced by their programming to either have not made the offer in the first place or to not carry out the running over a sollopycismist activity for lots of reasons previously mentioned.
    Now before we start having hissy fits you must read everything I’ve written 200 times & spend some time pondering on the words of my infinite wisdom before responding with something that doesn’t actually prove that you exist or doesn’t prove that people have free will or doesn’t prove that the intrepid hardcore sollopycismistyite is wrong.
    Your loyal & faithful menial servant am I.
    And will humbly remain always.
    Rex8or §[Dimwit & occasional clown}?

    Now get on with your homework now & stop that annoying chattering at the back.

  85. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    The Conciousness is not just an illusion oo oo oo oo ah ah ah, definitely not just an illusion oo oo oo oo ah ah ah ???.
    No, – – realistic hullucination can cause a person to experience seeing non existent children playing scrabble on the sofa just because of a particular
    type of infection. There are all sorts of instances of very realistic wide awake hallucination for all senses with various causes.
    ~ So we know the consciousness when operating can do wide awake type visual sense action while presenting visual sense info that is entirely & undoubtedly fictitious.
    °. So the visual sense action is real, the info & content it presents is the illusion. Thus it is a simple matter to determine that it’s entirely possible that the only thing that can be trusted to exist is the senses action of the conciousness & that all the content & info presented can be entirely fictitious & have absolutely no correlation to anything that does exist.
    ~.~ Stick to blissfull ignorance on this stuff, don’t pursue knowledge on this subject, don’t get involved in temporal illusion research, don’t play any computer games that mention temporal illusion tricks & when some of the theoretical consequences of this stuff are gone into the possibilities are truly horrifying so don’t think about it.
    × Do not under any circumstances start looking for temporal illusion computer stuff, you won’t be able to find any anyway so it’s no good looking.
    § If anybody with a Labrador starts talking about the subject in a quaint English pub in Becksbury Hamptonshire by the wood burner fire on a dark winters evening & the bar tender looks a bit zombie like give their dog a treat (if you’ve got some dog treats) & politely change the subject to dogs, farming & horses.
    ~ Now do as you’re told & behave yourself like a good them.
    €. Your most humble & lowly menial fool, go for & dog’s body am I.
    ¥ & will always remain. Rex8or.

  86. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    So Nobody is able to prove that free will exists if the universe is real & prove that the universe exists & that my conciousness is not entirely synthetic having been generated by a SHD Polysense Reality Track ConGen8R v3.142c conciousness generator type thing that psuedomistickly exists in a realmity where the idea of things existing in a place would be absurd.
    °°°° Spluttering stuff like it must be real if it feels real & toes get stubbed seemingly & what about car accident injuries etc & calling on the almighty all knowing & all powerful Griff to intervene in the blasphemicry isn’t proof ok, it’s vague random hand waving.
    ^^^^Same for free will, claiming zero free will people wouldn’t be compelled to do only acts of selfless kindness always & that sort of thingymejiggery won’t cut it ok!
    ~~Now get on with it, get busy, come up with something we can give some serious consideration to, I’ll expect to see something here by tomorrow – the day after today – the day after yesterday & definitely before the end of the interminable week, this week on this GriffForsaken hades hole of a miserable planet.
    ~~~~ Your most trivial & whimsical wish is my unavoidable iron fisted command.
    ~~`Your infinitely humble servant am I
    ~~~& will remain eternally.

  87. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    ~~~~ Your most trivial & whimsical wish is my unavoidable iron fisted command.
    ~~`Your infinitely humble servant am I
    ~~~& will remain eternally.
    Rex8or Legitimax Prime of limitless wisdom & unmitigated buffoonery.

  88. What’s the matter, Rex8or, everybody is ignoring you? You know what they say on the Internet, “Sir, don’t feed the troll”. Apparently the commentators here know and apply that rule. But hey, if you persevere there’s always the possibility that some tender-faced young chap or lass arrives and takes the bait. You could always hope for that, I mean it’s not as if there’s any other way you could achieve emotional satisfaction by posting on an uknown obscure website. Oh that’s right, you could grow up and engage people without trying to make them pissed off. But where’s the fun in that, amiright?


    I’m looking forward to the next automated email I will receive when you inevitably type out the next post. I’ll read one sentence – to ensure you have the option of repenting – and ignore the rest of the contents just like I ignored the contents of the previous emails. Maybe we should start a wager, how many posts will Rex8or post, after being prodded by this or that? I wager you’ll post five posts over the next three days, because of this comment of mine and because you’re desperately hoping somebody’s emotional state is undulating to your writings.

  89. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    Thankyou for your most valued & informative reply which will be treasured always.
    But why on earth & in Griffs name have you replied?
    § ? some more pointless insultifying & name calling?
    Some better places that have better info on the subject & perhaps some proofs maybe? so please feel free to get some proof from these better places of yours & post it up here if you would be so kind my extreme gratefulness will be proffered graciously & generously?
    ~~~~ Your most trivial & whimsical wish is always & forever my unavoidable iron fisted command that must always be slavishly obeyed.
    ~~`Your infinitely humble servant am I
    ~~~& will remain eternally.
    Rex8or & all the team.

  90. Rex8or Legitimax Prime

    Hudbwu & others.
    “We can prove god exists”
    Along with your abysmal failure to prove that free will is real & your unmitigated failure to prove that the hardcore sollopycistimist is actually not entirely & 100 % correct (stating that if they experience being run over by a car means cars exist etc doesn’t get anywhere near close), you’ll also need to provide proof that an almighty all powerful all knowing eternal & infinitely wise Griff (probably not wiser than the rex8or though) exists.
    If the Griff didn’t need creating then a lot of other stuff could have also always existed.
    All biological items always create copies of themselves that can create copies of themselves automagically, so no design or thought required for their existence.

    Your most faithful & exceeding humble servant & gibbering troll am I & will remain always.

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