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Free Will (Merged)
Posted: 14 March 2006 09:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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free will, and existenceof jesus

Doug, real quick (it’s 4:31 AM!)...

In your Sat, 3-11-06, 11:31 post, you’ve entered “[From Ludemann]” before your quote from my post. The quote is not from Ludemann; it is from Humphreys. Gert would not be happy with me if I did not point this out.

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I am 65 yrs old. I am perhaps best understood as Rev. Rupnow’s grandson, as he influenced me to think seriously and deeply. (Forgive me, grandpa, but m (matter) + e (energy) = E (Everything.)

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Posted: 19 March 2006 01:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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good article on neurochemical determinants of gambling, sex

All: Are we more of a function of brain juice sloshing around in our noggin than we want to admit? Can taking a parkinson’s drug “cause gambling”? See the section on free will - very interesting. DJG

Prescription for an obsession?
Impulsive sex, compulsive gambling linked to Parkinson’s drugs

By Shankar Vedantam
The Washington Post
March 19, 2006

When Wayne Kanuch received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in 1993, the last thing he imagined was that the drug prescribed to treat his illness would turn him into a compulsive gambler and put his libido into overdrive.

Kanuch’s marriage ended in divorce, partly as a result of the sexual pressures he placed on his wife, and he began losing fortunes at the racetrack. He was fired from his job at Chevron for trolling for dates on the Internet while at work, and he quickly went bankrupt.

“I contemplated suicide a couple of times,” he said in an interview last week. “Everyone was blaming me, and I was looking at the mirror and blaming myself and asking why I could not stop.”

New evidence unearthed by scientists at the Food and Drug Administration, Duke University and other centers suggest the reason Kanuch could not stop is that the drug being used to treat Parkinson’s boosted the level of dopamine in his brain. Researchers are looking into the possibility that dopamine, which is associated with a host of addictive behaviors, may turn some Parkinson’s patients into obsessive pleasure seekers.

Suing to recover gambling losses

Now, some patients are suing the manufacturers of these drugs to recover the money they lost gambling, on the grounds that the companies did not do enough to warn about these risks. Kanuch has not yet sued but plans to do so.

So far, there is no definitive evidence on the connection between dopamine enhancers, known as agonists, and compulsive gambling. The behavioral anomalies, though dramatic, are probably rare among the thousands of Parkinson’s sufferers who take the drugs. There have been no controlled studies looking into the possible link.

Drug manufacturers say anecdotal reports from patients such as Kanuch do not constitute scientific evidence, but they say they have updated warning labels anyway. Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which sells Permax, a dopamine agonist, said the matter is under litigation but it has told physicians: “As with other dopamine agonists, compulsive self-rewarding behavior (e.g., pathologic gambling) and libido increase have been reported in patients.”

Boehringer Ingelheim, which makes Mirapex, another dopamine agonist, said it has toughened its warning label but said that company officials are still exploring the connection. Eli Lilly & Co, which used to sell Permax, said there is no scientific consensus on the issue and suggested that gambling problems may be linked to the increased accessibility of legalized gambling.

Still, a recent analysis headed by FDA scientist Ana Szarfman found a strong association between pathological gambling and dopamine agonists. The statistics from a federal adverse-events database are not conclusive, but FDA officials regularly mine the data to spot red flags.

“There is decent biochemical plausibility that chemical changes can lead to impulsivity and acts like pathologic gambling,” said Duke University psychiatrist P. Murali Doraiswamy, co-author of the analysis, published in Archives of Neurology.

“It is certainly plausible that gambling can be a side effect of a drug that excessively stimulates limbic-system dopamine,” Doraiswamy said.

Question of free will?

The notion that brain chemicals play a powerful—but hidden—role in human behavior is at odds with American convictions about free will and choice. Kanuch and other patients said they spent years believing they were responsible for their actions, only to find that the impulse for self-destructive behaviors vanished once they stopped taking a drug.

“I broke down in tears and cried my heart out,” Kanuch said. “I could not believe a drug could cause that kind of problem. The more I read, I grew convinced and grew angrier.”

Several patients said the behaviors proved so destructive that they preferred the diseases that the medications were trying to treat.

Kanuch, 52, who shuttles between living arrangements in the Texas towns of Missouri City and Katy after bankruptcy and several evictions and run-ins with the law, said he is planning to file suit against the maker of Mirapex. The man who had a 21-year career with Chevron said he lost $350,000, his marriage and numerous friends from whom he borrowed money for gambling.

“I was misled by doctors,” he said. “They may not know all the side effects, but as early as 1993 there was case history building. My doctor was not aware of this. When I told him there was an issue, he denied there was a problem.”


Warning: ‘May cause gambling’

Several other patients report similar obsessions. Cindy Still of Roseburg, Ore., said that after 29 years of faithful marriage, another dopamine agonist—a physician thought the drug might help ease her chronic depression—caused her to start an affair, quit her religion and become a compulsive gambler.

Peggy Andresen, 51, of Redmond, Wash., developed obsessions with gambling—and painting tables and counters to look like marble. Mirapex is a great drug, she said, but “the top of every bottle needs to have a big red sticker that says ‘May Cause Gambling.’ “

Barbara Hermansen, 52, of Winnetka, Ill., said she was prescribed Permax in 1996 for restless-leg syndrome, in which patients feel electrical impulses crawling under their skin when they lie down to sleep—and causing debilitating bouts of insomnia.

The drug worked like a charm, and her physician steadily increased the dose, which tends to be necessary—by 2001, she was on 40 times her original dose. On a weekend visit to Las Vegas with her sister, Hermansen dropped $300, which surprised the Sunday-school teacher because before that she had been in a casino twice before and could not wait to get out.

On returning home, the financially conservative lawyer began gambling over the Internet. She maxed out her credit cards, emptied her retirement accounts and sold jewelry to fuel the gambling. When she confessed to her husband after losing about $15,000, she said he was incredulous because she had been so staid when it came to finances.

Irrestistable urge

Hermansen promised she would never do it again, and she put a filter on her computer to block the gambling Web sites. She soon found herself driving to casinos. After confessing again, she got herself voluntarily banned from Illinois casinos. Then she started driving to casinos in Indiana.

“I won huge amounts of money,” she said. “I stood in front of a machine and won $62,000 and $28,000 in single spins.”

But, as is true for many people with gambling problems, the money proved to be almost beside the point. With one exception, she never walked out of a casino with money: “You never walk away, you always put it back in, because no amount of money is enough,” she said.

When a grocer gave her a bottle of champagne for being such a good customer for scratch-off lottery tickets, Hermansen said she was so humiliated and disgusted at herself that she wished “the earth would open and swallow me.”

By 2004, believing she could never stop, she resolved to drown herself by taking a sleeping pill and swimming out into Lake Michigan. But as she sat in her car with her bathing suit beside her and a sleeping pill in her pocket, she realized she could not bear to leave her husband and children.

Doubters abound

When Hermansen asked her neurologist if the drug might be the problem, he said he did not know of a connection. At a Gamblers Anonymous meeting, the theory was booed down and she was told she needed to take responsibility for her actions. A therapist suggested she was testing her husband’s love because she felt she didn’t deserve to be happy; a psychiatrist told her to make a list of all the reasons she was trying to sabotage her life.

When an expert in pathological gambling finally took her off the drug, the urge to gamble vanished. The restless-leg syndrome came back with a vengeance, but Hermansen swears that she would rather “suffer from insomnia for the rest of my life rather than go through that gambling hell.”

Hermansen sued Eli Lilly to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars she lost gambling, and because she says the company was unresponsive to her plea for warnings.

A move to turn the lawsuits into a class action was denied late last year, because of the diversity of the cases, and now individual lawsuits are accumulating around the country, said Daniel Kodam, a lawyer with Soheila Azizi and Associates in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Kodam is representing Joe Neglia of Millersville, Md., a former Defense Department intelligence analyst who turned to compulsive gambling after taking Mirapex for Parkinson’s disease.

Kodam dismissed the existing warnings as too little too late: “The warning label is a joke,” he said. “To bury five to six words on Page 17 when the effects are so catastrophic is ridiculous. You need a clear descriptive warning label and notification to doctors to ask patients about this potential effect.”

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11901902/

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"Few have the courage of their convictions. Fewer still have the courage for an attack on their convictions." - Nietzsche

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Posted: 19 March 2006 05:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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My father-in-law has advanced Parkinson’s, and while I don’t see any obsessive/compulsive behaviors, I definitely do see an effect on his brain from his medication.  He hallucinates wildly and is paranoid, almost like the meds have brought on schizophrenia. 

Interestingly, his once strong Christian beliefs have transformed into strong beliefs in an Illuminati, with his wife—who he now believes is a thinly skinned robot—prostituting herself to the leaders.

Unfortunately, he’s just moved back to the Philippines for “alternative” therapy—a death warrant, of course…but that’s another thread.

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Posted: 19 March 2006 06:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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[quote author=“lotus”]My father-in-law has advanced Parkinson’s, and while I don’t see any obsessive/compulsive behaviors, I definitely do see an effect on his brain from his medication.  He hallucinates wildly and is paranoid, almost like the meds have brought on schizophrenia. 

Interestingly, his once strong Christian beliefs have transformed into strong beliefs in an Illuminati, with his wife—who he now believes is a thinly skinned robot—prostituting herself to the leaders.

Unfortunately, he’s just moved back to the Philippines for “alternative” therapy—a death warrant, of course…but that’s another thread.

This really sucks. I do think that personalities can be radically transformed by drugs, just look at Prozac!

And very sorry to hear about what you said about your father in law. I wonder if popping a different pill could get rid of paranoid conspiracy theories once and for all, but that seems too much big brother. Maybe it would be worth it (I consider most religion akin to consiracy theories too!)

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Posted: 19 March 2006 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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[quote author=“lotus”]My father-in-law has advanced Parkinson’s, and while I don’t see any obsessive/compulsive behaviors, I definitely do see an effect on his brain from his medication.  He hallucinates wildly and is paranoid, almost like the meds have brought on schizophrenia. 

Interestingly, his once strong Christian beliefs have transformed into strong beliefs in an Illuminati, with his wife—who he now believes is a thinly skinned robot—prostituting herself to the leaders.

Unfortunately, he’s just moved back to the Philippines for “alternative” therapy—a death warrant, of course…but that’s another thread.

To the Philippines for alternative therapy? Probably a hilot. They massage you and get out the lamigLOL

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Posted: 29 April 2006 06:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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I don’t think there is freewill, just cause and effect to us humans, although there is an idea of indeterminism at a particle level, which still doesn’t mean at a conscious level we get free will.

Really I think the reality of determinsm is a kick in the pants to go out and experience more. The more you know, and experience, the more complex your mind will be, the better it will recognize choices, and your mind will automatically go for the positive choices. So in the end you will be happier. Thats the idea anyway, its more complicated then that though.  LOL

To have free will, you must be an unmoved mover, a god. The laws of cause and effect would not apply to you. It means you can be an uncaused cause.

Existentialism has a premise that there is free will, Sartre thought that the mind was s complex that of course we must have free will but this sounds like the intelligent design debate to me. “the universe is so complex there must be a designer!”

Although another existentialist, Victor Frankl makes a good case about being able to not let the situation control you, and being in control of your own mind so to be consciously happy/tranquil in his book A MANS SEARCH FOR MEANING. Great book I recommend it! I also recommend groundhogs day.

Anyway, Frankl’s Idea of logotherapy I believe still doesn’t prove freewill, but I believe that it adds to the complexity of out mind, that we don’t need to be in a bad mood, just because the surroundings are horrific. That we can create meaning through suffering ect..

Again, I urge that people should go out and experience as much as possible.!  :D

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Posted: 29 April 2006 09:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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[quote author=“WITHTEETH”]Again, I urge that people should go out and experience as much as possible.!  :D

Why are you telling me this? Can’t I choose to follow your advice?

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Posted: 29 April 2006 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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[quote author=“dmoreau”][quote author=“WITHTEETH”]Again, I urge that people should go out and experience as much as possible.!  :D

Why are you telling me this? Can’t I choose to follow your advice?

Of course you can choose, but in the end, you only had 1 choice in reality, the one you already chose.

Are you freaked out by determinsm?

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Posted: 29 April 2006 09:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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[quote author=“WITHTEETH”]Of course you can choose, but in the end, you only had 1 choice in reality, the one you already chose.

Are you freaked out by determinsm?

Well, it seems to me that we have many choices before us, in this sense: had we desired to do different things, or believed different things about the world, we could have acted differently.

Although I went down to SoHo today, had I desired to go to the museum today, or had I believed SoHo was too crowded, I could have done differently. So I had many possible choices. The fact that one choice was determined by my beliefs and desires doesn’t change that.

So free will is compatible with determinism being true.

I think it does too much damage to our everyday notions of freedom, compulsion and responsibility to claim that free will doesn’t exist.

Best,

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Posted: 29 April 2006 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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The damage to responsibility in the scariest.

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Posted: 29 April 2006 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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I see your point on how society needs to have people take responsibility of their actions, and I agree that we need a notion of free will to back this. This is only one kind of free will i think is invalid.

I do believe we have freewill when it come to humanity governing itself. I agree that us “we the people” have to govern ourselves. and to take that away, that would be imposing another viewpoint on us. Thats not freedom.

When it comes to cause and effect, I believe we are determined.

Is there another conflict, or is this a necessary double standard if you can already see determinism?

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Posted: 29 April 2006 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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[quote author=“WITHTEETH”]I see your point on how society needs to have people take responsibility of their actions, and I agree that we need a notion of free will to back this. This is only one kind of free will i think is invalid.

I do believe we have freewill when it come to humanity governing itself. I agree that us “we the people” have to govern ourselves. and to take that away, that would be imposing another viewpoint on us. Thats not freedom.

When it comes to cause and effect, I believe we are determined.

Is there another conflict, or is this a necessary double standard if you can already see determinism?

As I say ... (1) We are determined, at least to the extent that we are not under the sway of random quantum fluctuations.

(2) We are free. We are free to do what we want, when we want. (This is of course less true in some cultures, but no matter where people live, they are free to some degree. Nobody acts under 100% compulsion).

So:

(3) Free will is compatible with determinism.

The contrary view is that free will needs our actions to be “undetermined” or “uncaused” in some sense. But this makes a hash out of how we really find ourselves to act. An uncaused cause is not an act.

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Posted: 30 April 2006 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Hmmmm,  “Do human beings possess free will? “

Why oh why, do I get the feeling that this whole thing is a big issue of agreeing upon definitions before we start. 

I mean, “free” as in not costing any money.  Well I am willfull and no one has ever charged me money for it, so there must be free will.  ????  See. ?

Of course, I was forced to say all this.  Its all planned and nothing I have ever read, done, people I have met, have ever influenced me in any way what so ever.  Trust me on that. grin  — lol

JMHO.

Elder Norm

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Posted: 30 April 2006 03:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Its very much a linguistic problem as Humes described it. With wittenstiens method Humes was able to dissolve the problem by altering the definitions.

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Posted: 30 April 2006 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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[quote author=“WITHTEETH”]Its very much a linguistic problem as Humes described it. With wittenstiens method Humes was able to dissolve the problem by altering the definitions.

‘Scuse me? I assume you mean David Hume ... and Ludwig Wittgenstein. How do you see Hume “dissolving the problem” of free will?

There is a lot of attempt to redefine issues in philosophy, or solve problems by linguistic prestidigitation. My advice for you is to run the other way when you see too much folderol about language ...

:wink:

Language is always important, of course, but the real work is often done where the rubber hits the road, outside of language and in the sort of data collected in the sciences.

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