## We're conscious beings. Why?

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For example, you actually believe there is such a thing as "survival value" in a universe established by "randomness".

Randomness generates new possibilities which natural selection can keep or reject.
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Randomness generates new possibilities which natural selection can keep or reject.

Natural selection keeps or rejects? Like, mother nature, a conscious being, keeps or rejects something? But you don't really mean it, it's a figure of speech, right?

It's a spell you are under.

There is no other deciding factor to "random universe" than "randomness". A combination of various random elements, which some men decided to group and label nature, doesn't reject or keep anything. It's all, ultimately, random event. In such world, when something exists, it's random existence. When something dies, it's random death. And that's all it is. The problem is, probability that you exist through, ultimately, a random event, is mathematical or absolute 0%.
• 120
Natural selection keeps or rejects? Like, mother nature, a conscious being, keeps or rejects something? But you don't really mean it, it's a figure of speech, right?

You mean like "figure of speech" is a figure of speech?

There is no other deciding factor to "random universe" than "randomness". A combination of various random elements, which some men decided to group and label nature, doesn't reject or keep anything. It's all, ultimately, random event. In such world, when something exists, it's random existence. When something dies, it's random death. And that's all it is. The problem is, probability that you exist through, ultimately, a random event, is mathematical or absolute 0%.

If by nonrandom elements you are implying a deity, you're correct. The notion that the entire universe was created by a cosmic sorcerer through an act of magic is absurd on its face the moment one REALLY begins to consider it intelligently.

But the universe is a mix of lawful activity and randomness. No getting around that.

The universe has no purpose whatsoever and a life has only the purpose you give it.
• 209
But the universe is a mix of lawful activity and randomness. No getting around that.

The universe has no purpose whatsoever and a life has only the purpose you give it.

Cosmic sorcerer and magic aside (you look like you’re having fun here), what if there were more lawful activity and less randomness than we currently realise? What if the purpose we think we are choosing to give our life actually stems from laws that we have yet to discover because they require a broader awareness of the universe than we currently have?
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An event that leaves an impression on someone needs to be parsed in terms of what such an impression consists of and what those things are themselves existentially dependent upon.

Some impressions are left in a fluent listener by hurtful language use of a fluent speaker. Those impressions are existentially dependent upon language use. Such experience cannot be had by a language less creature, let alone an amoeba.
— creativesoul

I understand what you’re saying here, and I do agree - however if we’re trying to get to an understanding of what consciousness is and how it emerges or evolves/develops, then exploring it (or experience) from the top down, so to speak, is a bit like trying to understand algebra by reading an advanced level university textbook on the subject, starting with the final chapter. It might be possible to eventually work it out, but that’s gotta be one of the most difficult and convoluted ways to do it, in my view.

I typically reject dichotomies. I mean, it's become almost unconscious, but for sound reasons. The notions of "top down" and/or "bottom up" have the same inherent inadequacy that nearly all other dichotomies suffer from. All dichotomies are incapable of taking proper account of that which consists of both, and is thus... neither. We're involved in very complex assessments. This endeavor/project is neither top down nor bottom up regarding it's methodology. It is both and quite a bit more. That said, despite what seems to be differences(mainly regarding criterion for experience/consciousness), it does seem that there is quite a bit of agreement governing both attitudes. I think we both realize how crucial a role that our criterion for what counts as "experience" plays in all this.

To parse an impression left on someone at such a complex level of experiencing without grasping what happens at the most basic level of ‘someone’ (however you may interpret this) during the simplest ‘experience’ (event that leaves an impression) is going to be guesswork at best.

Yes and no. If our criterion for what counts as experience can only be met by creatures with complex written language replete with metacognition and/or metacognitive ability, then we will certainly not be in good enough position to say much at all about how creatures' without metacognitive ability experience the world.

You mentioned the requirement for consciousness/experience to be able to first emerge and subsequently evolve. I could not agree more.
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I say that - at a bare minimum - all experience takes a creature to whom the experience is meaningful. In short, all experience consists of and/or requires thought/belief about what's happening.
— creativesoul

Not necessarily. If we go back to the example of bacteria chemotaxing towards a chemical gradient, the experience of receiving the chemical gradient stimulus would have to be ‘meaningful’ to the bacteria in order for it to respond in this way, even without thought/belief about what’s happening. The event leaves an impression because the bacteria expends energy (an irreversible process) in changing its movement action according to two-dimensional information received: relating a chemical stimulus to direction.

The bacteria candidate suffers from the same fate as the amoeba. Stimulus/response is adequate to explain the exhibited behaviour. Cause/effect... the "impression". In order for a creature to relate a chemical stimulus to direction it has to make a connection, draw an association/correlation between the two. Amoebas cannot do this. They have no notion of direction. They have no notions at all. Talking about what they can experience requires the strongest possible justificatory ground.

Criterion, criterion, criterion...

Rocks can be literally left with an impression on them.

I'm just curious here. The "not necessarily" part above... are you going to argue/reject the criterion I've put forth based upon possible world semantics and/or modality(necessity/contingency)?

You realize that it does not follow from the fact that one has imagined that Donald Trump is not the president, that Donald Trump is not the president.

The criterion aspect needs to be discussed more.
• 120
But the universe is a mix of lawful activity and randomness. No getting around that.

The universe has no purpose whatsoever and a life has only the purpose you give it.
— Unseen

Cosmic sorcerer and magic aside (you look like you’re having fun here), what if there were more lawful activity and less randomness than we currently realise? What if the purpose we think we are choosing to give our life actually stems from laws that we have yet to discover because they require a broader awareness of the universe than we currently have?

Indeed, the randomness we perceive may BE lawful if we could but understand those laws, but the impediments to doing so are massive, and so we use statistical methods with a lot of success. If you're making some sort of point against me, I'm missing it. Clarify.
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In order for a creature to relate a chemical stimulus to direction it has to make a connection, draw an association/correlation between the two. Amoebas cannot do this. They have no notion of direction. They have no notions at all. Talking about what they can experience requires the strongest possible justificatory ground.

You seem adamant that amoeba and bacteria cannot relate chemical stimulus to direction, and yet the process of chemotaxis disputes this. I’m talking about the most basic information processing systems - not ‘notion’ but chemical process. Bacteria without polarity employ a trial-and-error process, by which they can alternate between tumbling and straight line action, effecting random changes in direction until they ‘sense’ an increase in chemical stimulus. They have the capacity for temporal sensing: they relate chemical stimulus changes over time. Those with polarity, however, are able to adjust their ‘facing’ direction until it aligns with the chemical gradient: a recognition of change in chemical stimulus received between a ‘front’ and ‘back’ of the cell. In both cases, two bits of information can be correlated upon integration.

This is not imagination. It’s biochemistry. I’m not going to conclusively prove experience in order to disprove your assumptions about amoeba and bacteria. I’m only suggesting you keep an open mind and remember that experience and consciousness must have evolved from something that we don’t currently refer to as ‘experience’ or ‘consciousness’.

I'm just curious here. The "not necessarily" part above... are you going to argue/reject the criterion I've put forth based upon possible world semantics and/or modality(necessity/contingency)?

You realize that it does not follow from the fact that one has imagined that Donald Trump is not the president, that Donald Trump is not the president.

The criterion aspect needs to be discussed more.

The ‘not necessarily’ part was in reference to your leap from “all experience takes a creature to whom the experience is meaningful” to “all experience consists of and/or requires thought/belief about what’s happening”. It helps in this discussion to be mindful of anthropocentric assumptions and language, so we don’t seal off areas without searching them first. To be meaningful is to have an important or worthwhile quality. No thought/belief about ‘what’s happening’ is necessary.

We’re a long way from being able to decide or judge who/what is/isn’t ‘conscious’ besides ourselves. We’re always so keen to rush out and make judgements and decisions based on what little information or awareness we have. It’s a constant source of suffering in the world. I’ve rejected all criterion on the grounds that they tend to be more of a barrier to understanding than a tool. I realise you’re keen to get to the decisive stage, but I think it’s going to take some time being more open minded first, if you’re willing.
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I'm willing. You're attributing agency where none is warranted.

I’m not going to conclusively prove experience in order to disprove your assumptions about amoeba and bacteria...

They are not assumptions. They are conclusions.

So...

We need to back pedal a bit.

Criterion.

You offered one. I negated it with actual example that met the criterion and is certainly not a case of impression, consciousness, and/or experience.

I offered one and you objected. Since, you've asked for subsequent reasoning.
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Thought/belief is exactly what allows experience to emerge prior to language use and evolve gaining in it's complexity along the way.

You're describing behaviours that stimulus/response and cause/effect explain without loss.
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It helps in this discussion to be mindful of anthropocentric assumptions and language, so we don’t seal off areas without searching them first. To be meaningful is to have an important or worthwhile quality. No thought/belief about ‘what’s happening’ is necessary.

That is a highly problematic line of thought.

To be meaningful is to be meaningful to a creature. Current convention shows that all theories of meaning presuppose symbolism. That presupposes something to become sign/symbol, something to become symbolized/significant, and a creature capable of drawing a correlation between the two.<-------------that is thought/belief formation. The content of the correlation exists in it's entirety prior to becoming part of the correlation.

So, while we ought take care in our discrimination between candidates, we must take care to not redefine common terms as a means to support our thought/belief.

You are wanting me to agree to a criterion for experience that does not include thought/belief.

I cannot.

Saying that an amoeba relates something to direction is to say that an amoeba has a sense/notion of direction. It is to say that an amoeba draws correlations between chemical stimulus and direction. It doesn't. It responds to physical stimulus and does so in predictable ways.

Wind vanes respond to wind direction.

To say that bacteria use trial and error is to impute/imply intention that is devoid of agency. Bayesian reasoning requires quite a bit more complexity in thought/belief than such simple cellular structures facilitate and/or will allow.

Flower petals tumble through the air at times. Other times they glide. Some things exhibit more than one behavioural pattern. It does not follow from that and that alone that they are engaged in trial and error activities.

Bacteria?

:worry:

Biology is required for experience. To what extent and how do we arrive at that conclusion?

That seems to be what's in contention.
• 184
But the universe is a mix of lawful activity and randomness.

What you call "lawful activity" would be a collection of randomly created random laws, ultimately, randomness. Statistically, it is more probable by the order of magnitude that you are insane and don't know the extent of it, than that you came into existence through, ultimately, randomness (including randomly created random laws).
• 120
But the universe is a mix of lawful activity and randomness.
— Unseen

What you call "lawful activity" would be a collection of randomly created random laws, ultimately, randomness. Statistically, it is more probable by the order of magnitude that you are insane and don't know the extent of it, than that you came into existence through, ultimately, randomness (including randomly created random laws).

And that impacts the ethical question how?

What do you mean by "would be"? Why not "could be"? or "is"? "Would be" is typically be followed by something like "except for," so the use of "would" seems to imply a follow up of some sort. What is it?
• 184
What do you mean by "would be"?

I meant - it would be if this is random-based reality.

In that sense, regarding your ethical question, one from the OP I guess, in random-based reality everything exists and ceases to exist, ultimately, randomly. There are no principles of survival that govern such reality. So there is no need to be puzzled why we would have this or that. We would have it just because. And it would be to our advantage or disadvantage just because. Like some presumably failed species, in evolution story, that randomly got some attributes which put them on the path to extinction.

Now, if you see that this is a purpose-based reality, question becomes, "Why did God give us consciousness?" You don't ask that question because you assume there is no God, but that's absolutely illogical assumption.
• 120
What do you mean by "would be"?
— Unseen

I meant - it would be if this is random-based reality.

In that sense, regarding your ethical question, one from the OP I guess, in random-based reality everything exists and ceases to exist, ultimately, randomly. There are no principles of survival that govern such reality. So there is no need to be puzzled why we would have this or that. We would have it just because. And it would be to our advantage or disadvantage just because. Like some presumably failed species, in evolution story, that randomly got some attributes which put them on the path to extinction.

Now, if you see that this is a purpose-based reality, question becomes, "Why did God give us consciousness?" You don't ask that question because you assume there is no God, but that's absolutely illogical assumption.

But on the gross (atomic level and above) level, the universe is overwhelmingly law-driven. Randomness doesn't hold planets in orbit or enforce the inverse square law. The same laws make some mutations fail while others succeed. The only random thing about mutations is that they are unexpected, unforseen, outside general normality. Cosmic rays hit DNA and cause mutations, for example.

As usual, introducing God explains nothing but rather introduces even more problems. The only way it doesn't is if you don't ask any questions about God.

You use the word "God" as though there's only one to consider. Yahweh? Ahura Mazda? Krishna? Zeus? Jupiter?
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I guess I'm out of this roundabout.
• 229
But on the gross (atomic level and above) level, the universe is overwhelmingly law-driven.

What does 'law' refer to, for you, in this context?
• 209
Ok, I think I’m following you now. Your criticisms are fair, and I do appreciate you pointing out and challenging my language use. Blame an Arts degree and years of writing for PR and marketing - I will try to be more precise.

To be meaningful is to be meaningful to a creature. Current convention shows that all theories of meaning presuppose symbolism. That presupposes something to become sign/symbol, something to become symbolized/significant, and a creature capable of drawing a correlation between the two.<-------------that is thought/belief formation. The content of the correlation exists in it's entirety prior to becoming part of the correlation.

So, while we ought take care in our discrimination between candidates, we must take care to not redefine common terms as a means to support our thought/belief.

You are wanting me to agree to a criterion for experience that does not include thought/belief.

I cannot.

I don’t believe I’m redefining the term, rather highlighting one particular dictionary definition of meaningful that suggests ‘current convention’ may be limiting our understanding of the topic in favour of anthropocentrism. It wouldn’t be the first time.

I agree that meaning presupposes both a sign and what it signifies. But in my view the creature need not have sufficient awareness to correlate between the sign and what it signifies for the creature in order for the sign to be meaningful to the creature.

Humans perform acts or pursue experiences every day, which they claim ‘bring meaning to their lives’ without understanding why - only that it gives them a sense that they’re ‘on the right track’, that it gives them ‘purpose’, etc. Like bacteria, they may have insufficient awareness to make a correlation between an experience that means something to them and the specific something that it means - but they maintain that the experience is meaningful, nonetheless.

Many of us are uncomfortable with this situation of not knowing, though. Either we find or attribute meaning in relation to our thoughts/beliefs, or we deny the experience on the grounds that it has no meaning, because we can’t find one that fits with our awareness/thoughts/beliefs. We simply cannot imagine being unaware of what the significance of our experience might be for us, even though we’re certain that bacteria is unaware of the significance of the chemical stimulus it pursues.
• 209
To say that bacteria use trial and error is to impute/imply intention that is devoid of agency. Bayesian reasoning requires quite a bit more complexity in thought/belief than such simple cellular structures facilitate and/or will allow.

Flower petals tumble through the air at times. Other times they glide. Some things exhibit more than one behavioural pattern. It does not follow from that and that alone that they are engaged in trial and error activities.

Bacteria?

Granted, this is not technically ‘trial and error’ - it’s the description given in science journals, mind you. Given the initial concentration reading of chemoattractant as A, if the subsequent reading B shows that B<A, the bacteria will tumble before going straight, whereas if the reading shows B>A it will continue straight. It’s not moving like a petal in the air, at the mercy of external forces or physical ‘stimulus’. It’s integrating chemical information about the environment in spacetime, correlating A and B for an internal chemical response, which produces a physical response.

I’m not trying to imply that bacteria employ reasoning. But they do employ basic correlation in the way they integrate information through chemical processes. At the very least, they’re aware of a distinction between two stimuli in spacetime. This is the foundation of awareness in all living things, as I see it.
• 5.4k
I don’t believe I’m redefining the term, rather highlighting one particular dictionary definition of meaningful that suggests ‘current convention’ may be limiting our understanding of the topic in favour of anthropocentrism. It wouldn’t be the first time.

I agree that meaning presupposes both a sign and what it signifies. But in my view the creature need not have sufficient awareness to correlate between the sign and what it signifies for the creature in order for the sign to be meaningful to the creature.

Here, it seems there is some agreement between us. I agree that a thinking/believing creature need not be aware that it is drawing correlations between different things in order to be drawing them. Perhaps we can work with this...

Avoiding anthropomorphism is imperative on my view, and that is not an easy task. In order to avoid attributing human qualities, features, and traits to non-human creatures we must be able to compare/contrast between human qualities, features, and traits and non-human. Without getting too far into the details yet, in this discussion we're talking about the differences between human experience and non-human experience.

To do this, we must know what human experience consists of and/or is existentially dependent upon. We must have some basic understanding of human experience. Once that criterion is established to our satisfaction, we must then assess whether or not the candidate under consideration has what it takes.

• 41
For example, you might ask WHY you asked that question, as you would have s reason for it. You can ask why did you shoot that person.
But there really is no answer as to why we have evolved consciousness. You can ask HOW do we have it. And the answer can be given in evolutionary terms, with the emergence of specialized neural matter.
So the only answer is that we have consciousness because we have brains.
Brains have been mapped out, areas of different functionality have been determined. You can change a mind, make it feel different, with various inputs, sensory, hormonal, and pharmaceutical.
There is no doubt that the sole source of all consciousness and mindfulness is inherent in neural matter. And although we know more each year, we may never know the whole picture and are forced to accept that there are gaps in understanding.
• 209
Avoiding anthropomorphism is imperative on my view, and that is not an easy task. In order to avoid attributing human qualities, features, and traits to non-human creatures we must be able to compare/contrast between human qualities, features, and traits and non-human. Without getting too far into the details yet, in this discussion we're talking about the differences between human experience and non-human experience.

To do this, we must know what human experience consists of and/or is existentially dependent upon. We must have some basic understanding of human experience. Once that criterion is established to our satisfaction, we must then assess whether or not the candidate under consideration has what it takes.

First I have to clarify that I’m talking about anthropocentrism, rather than anthropomorphism, because I think the distinction is important before we continue. By anthropocentrism, I’m referring to the tendency to distinguish humans (us) as separate from non-humans (them). This leads to a difference in our terminology for qualities, features and traits that blinds us to what may be common to both/and - particularly when it comes to experience and the development of thought/belief. Recognising primitive pre-cursors to thought/belief without labelling them as such is tricky business when you have ‘human experience’ and all our related features and traits up on a pedestal.

You say that you typically reject dichotomies - I’m proposing we reject the human/non-human dichotomy for the purpose of this discussion. This means we either we embrace/forgive anthropomorphism (and I understand your resistance), OR we abandon ‘human’ as a distinct category (along with all its anthropocentric terms). I find there is very little common terminology available to explore the gradual development of experience and consciousness between the two.

In my view, it’s more important in this discussion to talk about the similarities and development of ALL experience: both human and non-human.
• 120
But on the gross (atomic level and above) level, the universe is overwhelmingly law-driven.
— Unseen

What does 'law' refer to, for you, in this context?

It refers to predictable and reliable regularity in how things in the world and universe behave.
• 5.4k
First I have to clarify that I’m talking about anthropocentrism, rather than anthropomorphism, because I think the distinction is important before we continue. By anthropocentrism, I’m referring to the tendency to distinguish humans (us) as separate from non-humans (them). This leads to a difference in our terminology for qualities, features and traits that blinds us to what may be common to both/and - particularly when it comes to experience and the development of thought/belief. Recognising primitive pre-cursors to thought/belief without labelling them as such is tricky business when you have ‘human experience’ and all our related features and traits up on a pedestal.

You say that you typically reject dichotomies - I’m proposing we reject the human/non-human dichotomy for the purpose of this discussion. This means we either we embrace/forgive anthropomorphism (and I understand your resistance), OR we abandon ‘human’ as a distinct category (along with all its anthropocentric terms). I find there is very little common terminology available to explore the gradual development of experience and consciousness between the two.

In my view, it’s more important in this discussion to talk about the similarities and development of ALL experience: both human and non-human.

Thank you for pointing that out. I had been misreading "anthropocentrism" as "anthropomorphism".

I would like to broaden the notion of anthropocentrism. There are quite remarkable differences between humans and other animals. Denying that is unacceptable, and surely results in anthropomorphism. That said, the other extreme is to deny all other animals any and/or all abilities that we commonly attribute to ourselves such as thought/belief. I take it that this is the extreme that you are trying to avoid, and I don't blame you. Rather, I joined you long ago in that fight.

However, despite that very strong agreement, I simply cannot agree with an outright rejection of the human/non-human dichotomy. That would pull all justificatory ground out from under our own feet, It would be like climbing high up into a tree, scooting out on a branch far from the trunk, and then proceeding to cut it off behind us. Human experience is the only acceptable comparative standard here, for both of us. Without establishing a criterion for all human experience, there can be no comparison between human experience and non-human experience. That's all we have to work with.

That said, I agree totally with what I understand to be your underlying concerns. There is very little common terminology available to explore the gradual development of experience/consciousness. The conventional frameworks quite simply won't allow it. Blame the philosophers who came up with the notions of human perception, apperception, conception, thought, reason, and belief. The consequences include an inherent inability to take account of thought/belief in terms amenable to evolution. None of them drew and maintained the actual distinction between our own rudimentary thought/belief and the far more complex linguistically informed varieties stemming from thinking about our own thought/belief(metacognition, reasoning, doubt, suspending judgment, etc.) Only humans are capable of these metacognitive endeavors.

Setting out the differences between rudimentary basic thought/belief and more complex thought/belief is required for being able to parse non-linguistic thought/belief. However, drawig and maintaining that distinction requires first taking proper account of the more complex, because that's precisely where we are. That's exactly what is available to us. A proper account of our own highly complex thought/belief will be parsed in terms amenable to evolution, and as such it facilitates understanding not only that non human animals have thought/belief, but also how and to some extent what the content of their thought/belief is, and/or could possibly be.
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We are reporting upon our own thought/belief.

All reports require something to report upon, someone to give the report, and a means for doing so. All reports of human thought/belief require pre-existing human thought/belief, someone to report upon it, and a means for doing so.

Some of our own thought/belief are prior to our reporting them. The first report needed something to take account of. Thus, some such thought/belief are prior to our awareness of them, and prior to our considering them as a subject matter in their own right; prior to our naming them "thought" and "belief". No such pre-reflective thought/belief requires our awareness.

Some language use is adequate/capable of accounting for that which exists in it's entirety prior to our account and some is not. Our aim is knowledge of that which is capable of existing in it's entirety prior to our awareness and/or reporting upon it. In this case, we're aiming at pre-reflective and/or pre-linguistic thought/belief.

Criterion, criterion, criterion...

What do all known examples of thought/belief have in common such that it makes them what they are? What does all thought/belief consist of such that it can autonomously emerge onto the world stage in it's entirety in the simplest possible 'form' and continue to autonomously grow and/or gain in it's complexity all the way up to and/or including common language acquisition and/or mastery?

Would you at least agree with positing that there are such basic requirements, given the subject matter is human experience and consciousness?

A non-linguistic creature can recognize and/or attribute causality. If our knowledge that such a creature attributes and/or recognizes causality does not warrant further asserting that that animal has formed and/or holds thought/belief, then we're forced to admit that recognizing and/or attributing causality does not require thinking about what's happening.

A non-linguistic creature can learn that fire hurts when touched by virtue of drawing a correlation between touching fire and the ensuing pain. The creature's thought/belief is not propositional in content. My report most certainly is. The creature's learning experience does not require my report. The creature's thought/belief is correlation. All correlation presupposes the existence of it's own content. The event leaves a long-lasting impression by virtue of affecting the subsequent cognition. The creature avoids fire thereafter.
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In my view, it’s more important in this discussion to talk about the similarities and development of ALL experience: both human and non-human.

I couldn't agree more. The language used to talk about both ought be based upon a criterion that is amenable to evolution, has the strongest possible ground, and is adequate in it's explanatory power to exhaust both.

Oh...

And does not result in a reductio and/or special pleading.
• 229
It refers to predictable and reliable regularity in how things in the world and universe behave.

Ok, thanks that's a nice clear answer. I'm not agreeing with Henri in general, but it seems that your claim that the universe is law-driven is a figure of speech in the sense that what you mean by 'law' is not a kind of force that drives things. I do think the universe is law driven, but I mean it more literally, in the sense that I think it is will-driven. Regularity of observed behaviour is a function of persistent will. Are you OK with pillowcase length answers?
• 184
I do think the universe is law driven, but I mean it more literally, in the sense that I think it is will-driven.

I used to think there is some sort of general or nominal will that drives the universe, or that every piece of universe has some part of that will, or some will. But that's also randomness, in effect. Like a rabbit chewing on a cord, cord breaks and a door that cord held open closes. So, we have a door closing as a result of an action of a conscious being, yet the act of the door closing is random. The same problem remains - probability for us to exist, as a result of randomness, regardless of a form through which randomness executes, is mathematical or absolute 0%.
• 120
It refers to predictable and reliable regularity in how things in the world and universe behave.
— Unseen

Ok, thanks that's a nice clear answer. I'm not agreeing with Henri in general, but it seems that your claim that the universe is law-driven is a figure of speech in the sense that what you mean by 'law' is not a kind of force that drives things. I do think the universe is law driven, but I mean it more literally, in the sense that I think it is will-driven. Regularity of observed behaviour is a function of persistent will. Are you OK with pillowcase length answers?

But don't you see, even if you believe that a will enforces that we call laws, that is also random in the sense that one might say "Well, natural laws could be will-driven or they simply could be there, a feature of the universe we find ourselves in, built-in as it were. We got the will-driven one more or less on the toss of a coin."

But as I've said in another post, invoking God is basically invoking a magical solution and that's an explanation that raises more issues than it solves. It's easier, by Occam's Razor, to simply accept that this is the way things are.
• 229
But don't you see, even if you believe that a will enforces that we call laws, that is also random in the sense that one might say "Well, natural laws could be will-driven or they simply could be there, a feature of the universe we find ourselves in, built-in as it were. We got the will-driven one more or less on the toss of a coin."

Yes, I think I see what you mean.
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