The Dark Side of Gregg Caruso’s Free Will Denialism

Gregg Caruso, a philosophy professor at Corning Community College, gave a talk about the “Dark Side” of Free Will. In doing so, I think he lets the cat out of the bag, showing that free will deniers come to us with a socio-political agenda.

Caruso has a slide that outlines the “Dark Side” (shown around 3 minutes into the talk). It reads:

The Dark Side

Free will beliefs are correlated with

Religiosity
Punitiveness
Just World Belief
Right Wing Authoritarianism

Whoa! “Religiosity” is the “Dark Side.” It looks like the professor is peddling the “Religion is Evil” talking point of the New Atheist movement. As for “Right Wing Authoritarianism,” does this mean Left Wing Authoritarianism is correlated with a lack of belief in free will? Or maybe for the professor, there is no such thing as Left Wing Authoritarianism.

Anyway, the professor didn’t want to talk about those two little hand grenades and instead focused on punitiveness and just world belief. I didn’t watch the just world belief part of the talk, so I can’t comment on that.

When it comes to punitiveness, we see the common theme of free will denial – a certain soft spot for murderers, rapists, and other forms of violent criminals. For some reason, the free will denialists insist on being their advocates.

Caruso argues that we need to treat rapists and murderers as patients (that original idea was explored in a book from the 1960s called Clockwork Orange). He argues, “We have a duty to the well-being and rehabilitation of criminals.” In other words, since rapists and murderers are not morally responsible for murdering and raping, we need to treat them as victims. Victims who temporarily need to be quarantined for the safety of society until we tend to their well-being.

Caruso holds to an ideology that tends to thrive in intellectually inbred fantasy lands. But let’s try to apply it to the real world.

Years ago, a 19 year old girl, Jessica Chambers, was doused in a flammable liquid, even to the point of having it poured down her throat, and was then set on fire. She died several hours later with burns over 98% of her body.

According to Caruso’s ideology, the true victim here is her murderer. We need to find him as soon as possible, put him in a hospital-like setting, tend to his well-being, and rehabilitate him. Perhaps with enough rehab, he can get a good job and start his own family. How noble.

As for Jessica, we’re supposed to view her as someone who died in some type of accident, as if her murder was not really different from her getting drunk and dying in a car wreck. Her death was tragic, yes, but we need to move on as we tend to the real victim here – her murderer. How compassionate.

Prof. Caruso shows us one facet of the dark side of free will denialism – we brush the victim off to the side and turn the killer into the victim.

Note that Caruso, after dismissing all concepts of moral responsibility, postures as if we have the moral responsibility to change the way we deal with violent criminals.  The only reason to imprison murderers/rapists to ensure their well-being and provide opportunities for rehabilitation. He calls it quarantine. That is, we are not putting criminals in quarantine because they are responsible for wrong-doing; we are doing it for “the safety of society.” Sounds to me like the Soviet ideal of sacrificing individual freedom for the public good.

Caruso is thinking like an insect, focused on the well-being of the Hive. Bad insects are not really bad; they just represent a threat to the Hive. So we separate the threat from the rest of the Hive, trying to “rehabilitate” them so they better fit within the Hive. The focus is all on the Hive and the individual’s action only mean something in relation to the Hive.

Of course, with this mindset, there is nothing to stop us from quarantining more than just murderers and rapists. If the majority of people embrace Caruso’s hive mentality, with no substantive concern about individual rights and freedoms, why not quarantine other threats to the Hive?

Look, we already know the many atheists think religious people represent a threat to the safety of society. Dawkins likens religion to small pox. Harris says rape is better than religion. Dawkins tells us a religious upbringing is worse the sexually molesting a child. Coyne tells us religion is one of the world’s greatest evils and has said we should make a religious upbringing illegal.

Along comes Caruso, who tells us religiosity represents the “dark side.”

If these people had the power, what is to stop them from acting on their beliefs? Shouldn’t religious people be quarantined for the safety of society? In fact, hasn’t another radical atheist, Peter Boghossian, argued that faith should be classified as a mental illness and the government should take steps to contain it?

So, if we are supposed to put murderers and rapists in quarantine for the safety of society, it would stand to reason that religion, supposedly one the greatest threats to society, should likewise be quarantined.

Extreme determinists like Caruso should address the dark side of their precious beliefs.  But then again, we’re dealing with the type of people who insist they cannot be held morally responsible for any of their actions.

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36 Responses to The Dark Side of Gregg Caruso’s Free Will Denialism

  1. Kevin says:

    The left often judges people solely by the demographic checkboxes they can mark off, rather than by who they are and what they have done. It would stand to reason that those who do not believe in individual agency also reject free will.

  2. Start with the assumption that humans are basically good and you have to conclude that humans only do bad things if they have been damaged and abused. Ergo, criminals are victims. Give them a nicer life and they won’t do it any more.

  3. Gary says:

    The irony is that his argument about how we should change society because there is no free will assumes that we have the free will to so so.

  4. Free will beliefs are correlated with… Punitiveness

    Of course, you could equally well flip this around and say that, since humans have no choice but to do whatever seems most appealing, we should punish all crimes severely to reduce the appeal of law-breaking. No need to worry about pesky concepts like “mercy” or “disproportionate retribution”, either — since desert and justice are no longer relevant, why not savagely punish minor infractions, if doing so will be good for society?

  5. Stardusty Psyche says:

    OP
    “We have a duty to the well-being and rehabilitation of criminals.”
    To a practical extent, yes. A criminal is sent to prison to be confined for a period of time and then released, not, say, to get beaten, raped, or murdered due to getting, say, a 10 year sentence.

    “In other words, since rapists and murderers are not morally responsible for murdering and raping,”
    Moral responsibility is a personal sense of ought that most of us share and choose to encode and enforce on those who lack that sense of ought.

    On determinism none of us is either to blame or to be praised, ultimately, for anything, we just act. Feelings of blame and praise are real processes of evolved brains in social animals like us.

    “we need to treat them as victims”
    Yes, like a person with a congenital defect, however the rest of us claim for ourselves the right to protect each other from such victims of birth defects that lead to criminal behavior.

    “the true victim here is her murderer.”
    False dichotomy.

    Both are in different ways, and therefore call for different treatment.

    “put him in a hospital-like setting, tend to his well-being, and rehabilitate him.”
    That seems unlikely to be safe or successful in that particular case. Minimum security facilities are a good thing if practical, depends, case by case.

    “after dismissing all concepts of moral responsibility, postures as if we have the moral responsibility to change the way we deal with violent criminals.”
    On the lack of free will we reasonably dismiss absolute moral responsibility, and instead operate with relative moral responsibility that is, in law, agreed upon by convention.

    “trying to “rehabilitate” them so they better fit within the Hive.”
    Yes, that is preferable, if practical. But there is a risk benefit trade off to be considered when considering parole. For myself, I think we should err on the side of caution before releasing any supposedly rehabilitated criminal.

    “many atheists think religious people represent a threat to the safety of society.”
    Yes, clearly in certain ways that is true.

    “If these people had the power, what is to stop them from acting on their beliefs?”
    Nothing, which is why we have a wall of separation between church and state. Of course, that was made clear by our 3rd president in a concern that one religion might suppress the other religion.

    But the wall of separation works to protect us in the other forms of religious suppression, not just between religions.

  6. Ilíon says:

    ^ And when taken to its logical conclusion, as Lenin and Stalin did, why not savagely punish non-infractions … to encourage the others?

  7. Ilíon says:

    Or maybe for the professor, there is no such thing as Left Wing Authoritarianism.

    The reason that leftists are always banging on about “Authoritarianism” — and notice that use of this word/concept in popular culture is yet another instance of leftists colonizing non-leftists’ minds — is because authority ultimately points back to God: *everything* leftists do and say is rooted in their hatred of God.

    … For some reason, the free will denialists insist on being their [violent criminals] advocates.

    To hold people morally responsible for their actions, and to punish those who commit violent crimes, is to strive to commit justice. And justice points back to God: *everything* leftists do and say is rooted in their hatred of God.

  8. FZM says:

    The irony is that his argument about how we should change society because there is no free will assumes that we have the free will to so so.

    They never seem to see that.

  9. Ilíon says:

    ^ Similarly with their denial of the reality of morality *even as* they make (dubiously) moral assertions.

  10. Stardusty Psyche says:

    “Similarly with their denial of the reality of morality *even as* they make (dubiously) moral assertions.”
    Equivocation.

    There is nothing self contradictory in atheism/materialism/determinism when properly expressed.

    In the above false assertion of self contradiction the equivocation is between absolute morality and relative morality.

    Denial of absolute morality is perfectly consistent with making personal relative moral judgements.

  11. TFBW says:

    Everyone’s favourite Epistemic Solipsist said:

    Moral responsibility is a personal sense of ought that most of us share and choose to encode and enforce on those who lack that sense of ought.

    Ah, yes, Nietzsche’s hellscape, in which there is no morality as such, but only the will to power. The question of Free Will becomes a mere curiosity in such a scheme. What matters is not whether my will is free, but whether my will is done.

  12. FZM says:

    Moral responsibility is a personal sense of ought that most of us share and choose to encode and enforce on those who lack that sense of ought.

    That is interesting.

    Discussion of morality arises in the first place because most people do not share the same sense of ought so it sounds quite obtuse, on the face of it.

    Moral determinism seems untestable and unfalsifiable. The basic motivation for it appears to be adherence to some kind of strict naturalism that entails that it must be true.

    If what we call moral feeling and intuition is a human evolutionary adaptation and something like a complex instinctive or reflexive action, calling it ‘personal’ would also be misplaced. But I suspect the people who are led to adopt these kinds of views don’t like the places they can lead to (somewhat like Dawkins and the idea of group selection in humans) so confuse and gaslight themselves about them. This is a bit different to Nietzsche, who was more lucid about where his ideas pointed.

  13. Stardusty Psyche says:

    TFBW,
    “What matters is not whether my will is free, but whether my will is done.”
    That is why we, or at least I, cherish and exercise the right to vote, as well as express our positions to our elected representatives. How is that some sort of “hellscape”?

    I call it citizens participating in a constitutional democratic republic.

    FZM
    “If what we call moral feeling and intuition is a human evolutionary adaptation and something like a complex instinctive or reflexive action, calling it ‘personal’ would also be misplaced.”
    Perhaps ‘individual inheritance’ would convey the clear fact that each individual’s moral feeling did not simply come out of nothing at birth.

    I did not mean ‘personal’ in the sense of being unrelated to anything else, rather in the sense of individual personal experience.

    “But I suspect the people who are led to adopt these kinds of views don’t like the places they can lead to”
    Well maybe, but lots of things can lead lots of places. I don’t intend to deny rational analysis out of fear that it might be misconstrued toward a negative outcome.

    “Discussion of morality arises in the first place because most people do not share the same sense of ought so it sounds quite obtuse, on the face of it.”
    You mean precisely equivalent? Well, of course not, each individual is at least slightly different from all other individuals.

    Most people agree to a large extent on some basics, however. You know the big ones, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t…

    Sure, lots of people don’t have those sensibilities but in the main most of us do. WL Craig was debating Sam Harris some years ago and asserted that he and Harris likely shared the same applied ethics, which I suspect, is largely true. If Harris and Craig took some time to list off and describe ethical versus unethical behaviors chances are both men would have a high degree of agreement, which is easy to account for on naturalism, because both men have basic physiologies that are so highly similar, which gives rise highly similar moral feelings

  14. Michael says:

    To a practical extent, yes. A criminal is sent to prison to be confined for a period of time and then released, not, say, to get beaten, raped, or murdered due to getting, say, a 10 year sentence.

    So? It’s not as if any of us has a moral responsibility for the way criminals are treated. Criminals get beaten, raped, and murdered in prison. But those are just actions. As you say, no one is to be blamed or praised. They just happen.

    False dichotomy.
    Both are in different ways, and therefore call for different treatment.

    Oh, please. Determinists like Coyne and Caruso are focused on rapists and pedophiles as victims at the expense of the victims of pedophiles and rapists. And why not? From their deterministic viewpoint, the victim of a rapist or pedophile is like the victim of a lightning strike. Shit happens.

    On the lack of free will we reasonably dismiss absolute moral responsibility, and instead operate with relative moral responsibility that is, in law, agreed upon by convention.

    Caruso and Coyne want to challenge such laws, yet admit none of us have the moral responsibility to do so. I should point out that none of us also has the moral responsibility to rehabilitate criminals.

    Nothing, which is why we have a wall of separation between church and state. Of course, that was made clear by our 3rd president in a concern that one religion might suppress the other religion.

    You are assuming people will continue to adhere to the words of old, dead, racist, White men. I’m just pointing out that Caruso’s insect-like logic paves the way to authoritarianism – the dark side his blind old eyes can’t see.

  15. TFBW says:

    Stardusty says:

    That is why we, or at least I, cherish and exercise the right to vote, as well as express our positions to our elected representatives. How is that some sort of “hellscape”?

    The manifestation of Nietzschean Ethics is at its most benign when moral preferences in the population are closely aligned (i.e. when cultural/religious diversity is at its nadir). As soon as strong cultural/religious divisions emerge, the situation degenerates into a battle for dominance, frequently becoming a matter of life and death, and that’s your hellscape—particularly if you happen to be on the losing side of the conflict, but more generally if you aren’t at the top of the pecking order on the winning side. Think French revolution, or any Communist revolution, or Nazi Germany, or any number of geographically limited ethnic, political, or religious conflicts.

    Thanks to its strong Christian roots (and consequent moral homogeneity, relatively speaking), the US has been able to settle its other differences democratically for a long time. That appears to be breaking apart right about now, with the emergence of “Intersectionality” (or “Social Justice”, if you prefer) as a significant alternative basis for moral judgements (under which, apparently, it’s justified to burn, loot, and murder in the name of Black Lives). Depending on how things go in the next election, you may get to see your democratic process become said hellscape.

    I don’t see it ending well, but I’m something of a pessimist. Let’s check back in around the end of the year.

  16. Stardusty Psyche says:

    TFBW,
    “US has been able to settle its other differences democratically for a long time. That appears to be breaking apart right about now”
    Nah, but to be fair, you did call yourself a pessimist, so at least you have that degree of accuracy in your self assessment.

    We have had times of protest and riots, and a lot of people worried things were coming apart at the seams, but in reality, then, as now, the camera focuses on the tiny area of action, while the vast surroundings off camera go on pretty much same as usual.

    ” don’t see it ending well”
    There you go again, Henny Penny. Both candidates are against defunding the police. Biden was recently interviewed pointing out that sending out social workers and nurses instead of the police really is not practical.

    99.99..whatever percent of America is untouched by rioting. There is no unfolding hellscape.

  17. TFBW says:

    99.9% of Americans haven’t died of (or with) COVID-19, but that still manages to be significant. There have been a few more escalations since your last comment, so I’m curious as to what your threshold is. The sand is not a heap yet, but the grains continue to accumulate. At what point would you, personally, acknowledge that the grains of sand have become a heap?

  18. Ilíon says:

    TFBW,
    Your question translates into American as, “How many lies do those wishing to enslave everyone in the world have to tell you before you willingly clamor for your own enslavement?

  19. TFBW says:

    I don’t see it ending well, but I’m something of a pessimist. Let’s check back in around the end of the year.

    There’s now a little over a week to go before election day 2020, and it seems like an opportune moment for a few last pre-election observations which may or may not age well. Like everything else about 2020, this election season has been utterly bizarre. The Biden campaign has gone into hiding: apparently they think that Joe’s main asset (the fact that he isn’t Trump) doesn’t require any active campaigning, and the potential for foot-in-mouth moments outweighs the potential gains. Given that his recent campaign trail appearances were mostly to half-empty parking lots with Trump supporters in the background audibly chanting “four more years,” one could easily conclude that this is no great loss.

    Hunter Biden’s laptop might also factor into this. I’m just going to get in early and say that Hunter Biden didn’t kill himself. That is all.

    Meanwhile, Trump continues to hold massive rallies in the open at airports. The contrast could hardly be starker. And yet the polls assure us (like in 2016) that the Democrats are leading. So sure, I guess what we are seeing here could plausibly be described as people being either strongly in favour of or against Trump, with Biden as just the not-Trump placeholder (and nobody thinks he’s going to hold the presidency for long if he wins in any case). Oddly, though, I know of an increasing number of Social Liberals who are publicly backing Trump this time around (an astonishing turn of events in some cases). In many cases this is because they are actively protesting the state of the Democrats, such as the Biden/Harris avoidance of the question, “if elected, will you pack the court?” They realise that this is one of those nuclear options where failure to disavow is tacit admission that you’re considering it.

    And then there’s the whole vote-by-mail fiasco, and the dogged attempts of the Democrat-controlled House to get through “voting reform” issues as riders on COVID relief-bill packages. There’s the fact that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled to permit the counting of votes received after election day, and with unverifiable signatures. Everyone is accusing everyone else of planning to rig the vote, or refuse to leave office, or contest the election, but it’s notably the Democrats who are trying to change all the rules for this election. There’s only one stop between the ballot box and the bullet box—the courts—and I think that all parties are planning their court appearances in advance.

    My finger-in-the-wind prediction (from the other side of the world) is that Trump wins, but with a subsequent concerted effort by everyone, everywhere, to contest every outcome, and accuse everyone else of cheating and subverting the democratic process, and so on. Unless the outcome is so decisive as to make challenging it pointless, such challenges will ensue, and things will get tense. If things get tense, the market will tank again, and things will get more tense, causing the market to tank more. I’m hedging accordingly.

    There will be a marked up-tick in rioting no matter the outcome of the election. If Trump wins, or the outcome is in question, the up-tick will be essentially immediate. If Biden wins, the up-tick may be delayed a while, but the kind of people who riot are not what you would call Biden supporters. They wanted Bernie, mostly, and they will riot as a way of making their demands known. It’s too soon to say how that will pan out in the longer term, but the short-term forecast is basically for riots no matter what. Given the number of riots there have been this year, it would be more surprising if there were none, frankly. And no, I don’t mean the entire country will be engulfed in rioting; only that there will be another billion dollars in property damage, give or take.

    As to whether the whole thing collapses into widespread civil disorder, or even dissolution of the Union, I’m not going to try to predict it. These remain active possibilities in most eventualities, but too chaotic to predict. If it came to a 50/50 bet on whether there would be such an outcome, I wouldn’t take it. Give me longer odds.

    If anyone else wants to take the opportunity to fail at predicting the future, I welcome the company.

  20. Ilíon says:

    ==” I’m just going to get in early and say that Hunter Biden didn’t kill himself. That is all.”==

    It’s still Early Days.

  21. Dhay says:

    Another free will denialist is the theoretical physicist, author, and science popularizer Sabine Hossenfelder. In his 11 October 2020 blog post entitled “Sabine Hossenfelder says we don’t have free will, but its nonexistence shouldn’t bother us” Jerry Coyne ‘owns’ Hossenfelder’s views by telling his readers, “…you’ll know that my own views are pretty much the same as hers”; he links to her short video and its transcript, and quotes her:

    https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2020/10/11/sabine-hossenfelder-says-we-dont-have-free-will-but-its-nonexistence-shouldnt-bother-us/

    If you want a thorough critique of Coyne’s (and Hossenfelder’s) hard determinist views of (no) free will you will be hard put to do better than Verbose Stoic’s 26 October 2020 post, “Do we not have free will?”

    https://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/2020/10/26/do-we-not-have-free-will/

  22. It seems obvious to me that most people in the US and the UK today no longer actually believe in democracy, since one of the prerequisites for believing in democracy is the ability to accept when the other side wins. In the US with Trump and in the UK with Brexit more and more people have been unwilling to accept or even conceptualise that their side didn’t win, and are treating the defeat as some catastrophic evil that must be reversed no matter what.

  23. TFBW says:

    My scorecard so far.

    “Trump wins.” It sure looked like it was going to happen right up until 100,000+ Biden votes turned up overnight in key swing states. I’ll spare the rant about electoral integrity for now, and give myself half-marks on this one. I wasn’t trying to call the final outcome (which is a long way off yet in my estimation), but just the election night result. In retrospect, of course, I should have gone full-on cynic and predicted a Trump lead that then magically vanished.

    The subsequent accusations of impropriety and fraud depended entirely on who came out in front, of course. Winners don’t question the result. Yes, we are about to enter the lawfare stage. I called it, for what it’s worth, given that it was as predictable as the sun rising. I note that the party which claimed “Russian interference” last time is now claiming that US elections are safe and secure. Just try posting a hint of a possibility to the contrary on Farcebook or Twatter, and get “Fact Checked” to oblivion. This will happen even if you point out anomalies which are factually 100% accurate. “Fact checking” is just another layer of Leftist narrative control.

    The market has not tanked. In fact, it’s been on an up-tick throughout the process (recovering earlier lost ground, not setting new highs). The US dollar, on the other hand, has been sagging (DXY). I grade myself a fail on this, but there may still be a reaction once the lawfare starts in earnest.

    Riots: yes, there are still riots in Portland, but is it an up-tick? There was an up-tick in riots before the election because some lunatic with a knife got shot by police, so that threw out my prediction. I’m not seeing a lot of riot coverage because everyone’s obsessed with the election. If this is as bad as it gets, I’ll grade myself a fail on this one, but it’s too soon to call.

  24. Ilíon says:

    “I don’t need you help to get elected” — said no US politician ever … until 2020

  25. TFBW says:

    Another brief update just before the grand transition. The lawfare stage of the process got heavily suppressed. It would have been better for the country, in my opinion, if the case had seen the inside of the Supreme Court. It was, however, a hot potato that the establishment (including the courts) either had a vested interest in not touching (Democrats) or were too timid to handle. This leaves us in the interesting situation that Trump himself is the last possible barrier. I suspect he has special plans for his last day in office. We’ll see if that bears out.

    On the subject of riots, I could take a win in relation to the Jan 6 capitol riot, but I think it’s been exaggerated by eager partisans. For all the hyperbole comparing it to 9/11, it wasn’t much of a riot. There will still be riots, and it’s going to be quite confusing as to who is behind them. I already see Antifa types LARPing as “boogaloo bois” (with conspicuous Hawaiian shirts and prominently displayed packets of beef jerky). It’s win/win for them: they get to cause the chaos they crave, and they get to pin the blame on their political opponents.

    Let’s maintain perspective on whatever happens, though. Here’s some fresh Jan 2017 footage for reference purposes. If the rioting is lower scale than that, then I grade myself a fail on predictions of riots, even if riots happen (which they will).

  26. Kevin says:

    Unlike the alleged racial discrimination-based riots, I can at least give credit to the Capitol Hill group for picking a target that was actually relevant to their grievance.

    Nothing like destroying and looting your neighbors’ property to show your frustration with the government.

  27. TFBW says:

    Oh … YouTube age-restricted that video I posted. Of course they did: it showed Democrats engaging in violence.

    There were no riots in DC on inauguration day. The place was locked down for miles. Apparently the only rioting of note on the day was good ol’ Portland Antifa (they only riot on days which end in “y”). What did they do? They vandalised the headquarters of the Democratic Party of Oregon, smashing out every available pane of glass except for the one they wrote “fuck Biden” on.

    https://nationalfile.com/update-portland-antifa-scrawls-fk-biden-on-democratic-party-headquarters/

    Welcome to the glorious new era of Peace and Unity under history’s most popular president. I wonder how many Democrats are actually surprised that Antifa have already turned on them. I wonder how this relationship is going to pan out now that the Antifa idiots have outlived their usefulness to the Democrats. Will Antifa and BLM still be able to muster their past belligerence when their wealthy Democrat benefactors stop offering them bail-out funds? Time will tell.

  28. TFBW says:

    Oops, spoke too soon. It wasn’t just Portland; Seattle and Denver got a little anti-Biden Antifa action too. Aggregated coverage of all three riots here: https://summit.news/2021/01/21/antifa-riots-follow-inauguration-we-dont-want-biden-we-want-revenge/

    I really should be following some of the full-time riot-watchers more closely if I want to keep informed of this nonsense.

  29. How many of the Democrats actually believe in the woke SJW nonsense and how many of them were just using it as a cynical tool to get back into power?

    Who has the real power over the hearts and minds (and wallets) of the general population: the political/corporate elites or the woke mob? Are there clear lines of demarcation between the two?

  30. TFBW says:

    Yeah, I’m going to give up on tracking the ongoing Leftist nonsense. For the sake of completeness, however, I’ll rank my “rioting” prediction a fail. The newly elected most popular president in history seems to be intent on barricading himself indefinitely behind security fencing and national guard troops, and maybe there’s good reason for that, given how the Dems were saying, “vote for us and get $2000 checks,” but the actual figure, if they get around to it, is likely to be $1400. Stiffing your base, guys? So soon? Ouch!

    Anyhow, the main reason I’m giving up is that it’s too much effort to discover what’s actually going on. I’d cite “media bias”, but that would be a lie by understatement. I mean, how many of you heard the news about Antifa forcibly occupying a hotel in Olympia, WA, this last weekend? It’s only newsworthy and “domestic terrorism” when right-wingers do it.

    https://notthebee.com/article/a-mob-of-armed-antifa-neckbeards-took-over-a-hotel-in-wa-on-sunday-the-media-told-you-all-about-it-right

  31. I do wonder sometimes if many of the West’s problems could be solved by putting every single non-investigative journalist in front of a firing squad.

  32. Dhay says:

    In his 01 September 2021 “Cats talk to me once again” post, the arch-determinist and free-will denialist, Jerry Coyne, lets slip:

    Reader Greg informs me that the much-admired Robert Sapolsky has a 90-minute interview on the Huberman Lab podcast, and, among many other topics discusses free will. … He’s a determinist, but tries to put a happy face on the fact that we’re robots made of meat.

    https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2021/09/01/wednesday-hili-dialogue-and-kulka-dialogue/

    Merely tries to! Evidently making a convincing argument in favour of strong determinism and no-free-will is a difficult or impossible task

  33. Ilíon says:

    Merely tries to! Evidently making a convincing argument in favour of strong determinism and no-free-will is a difficult or impossible task

    That would be because the only way that one can *accept* the argument as being both sound and valid, and then *accept* as being true the claim which the argument is intended to establish, and then re-orient one’s life in light of this “truth”, is if the argument is not actually sound and valid, after all, and the claim is not actually true, after all.

  34. TFBW says:

    “Tries to” describes an act of will. If Coyne means to express lack of success with “tries to”, and wants to align his language with his determinism, he should say, “he’s a determinist, but puts a positive (if unpersuasive) spin on the fact that we’re robots made of meat.” Of course, it’s a defining characteristic of Leftism that its adherents wilfully misalign their language with reality, so I’m not saying he made a mistake, just pointing out the misalignment.

  35. Dhay says:

    Yes, it dawned on me after, sadly after, I had posted my response that Jerry Coyne and Robert Sapolsky will both of them be convinced that the Sapolsky type ‘meat computer because philosophical materialism’ argument is watertight and persuasive and ought to convince all others; it dawned on me that Coyne’s words express his judgement that Sapolsky “tried to” (but failed to) make the idea of being a human “meat computer” seem other (“happy face”) than depressing.

    *

    On an only partly unrelated note, I recently saw a cartoon depicting one character telling another, “Seriously, if the Earth was a sphere it would roll away”, the caption to which was — I’m paraphrasing — “Now we have YouTube universities are redundant”.

    Now we have Coyne, Sapolsky, Gregg Caruso and YouTube (including YouTube level blog posts), criminologists, experts in the theory and practice of the law and those who legislate it are likewise redundant.

  36. Ilíon says:

    TFBW:“Tries to” describes an act of will. If Coyne means to express lack of success with “tries to”, and wants to align his language with his determinism, he should say, “he’s a determinist, but puts a positive (if unpersuasive) spin on the fact that we’re robots made of meat.”

    His problem is that “persuasion” and “being persuaded” are also acts of will.

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