Thursday, February 21, 2013

Conscious Agency Discussed Tonight on AVFM Radio

I noticed that AVFM radio is going to be talking about moral agency on tonight's show.

The very first comment on the show page by Steve Moxon said this:
It’s well-known through famous experiments that we do not have ‘conscious agency’: experiments reveal that we are conscious of decisions we make a considerable time (by brain-processing standards) after the neural processes that in fact produce them.
I blogged about this idea, championed by Sam Harris, awhile back.

I made this comment (quickly typed right before my sons' bath time, so slightly editted here - good night kids):

I'm tired of hearing that we do not have 'conscious agency' or free will. I think Sam Harris is the champion of this belief and the designer of the experiments your thinking of. 
While it may be true that thoughts arise deep inside of us at a sub-conscious level. But, you must understand that these thoughts and feelings are in response to stimuli (external and internal). As they develop into coherent thoughts, they become the mind's assessments of reality. Each separate thought is a assessment of reality within the mind and as the conscious thinker becomes more aware of them he can choose amongst the myriad of these competing assessments which ones are most relevant to his situation. You can't pass them off as simple animal urges translated into language. They are complex analyses, the likes of which only humans are capable. There is no other thought process like it in the universe that we know of (unless you believe in a god). 
Each person is socialized and culturalized to understand human interaction and each person (agent) chooses how they like to interact and be interacted with. This lets the person decide how to behave in order to appear like the person they want to be seen as.
The REALITY of free will is demonstrated in your ability to be who you are. Who you are is a human being with the capability of consciously choosing which feelings to act upon and which to ignore.

Academics have tried to remove this sense of free will from their audience in order to appear more intelligent and to give more power to their own ideas. When the audience members allow academics to take their moral agency and free will away, their minds become easier to control and academics gain more power over people.
I credit Greg Swann at for re-enforcing and solidify this idea in my mind. The thoughts on academics are definitely his. For more on this, I recommend reading his marvelous, concise book Man Alive: A Survival Guide For Your Mind(pdf). It's a short read and I found it highly inspirational.

Swann insists that you should not let supposed thought leaders, like journalists, teachers and politicians take you're moral agency away. They'll do this by training you to think like them and convincing you that you don't have the power to question what you're teaching. Within academia, there are enough people willing to surrender their own power to the thought leaders that any single individual truly does not matter. If you, as a student, refuse to accept the leader's power, you can just be thrown aside and some other willing participant in the fraud will come forward.

I truly believe that feminism is both a result of and a perveyor of this phenomenon. It spreads by insisting that everyone take up its tenants without question. Each person, once indoctrinated, begins to spread the ideas with plenty of armour against contradictory evidence in the form or religious belief.

Whenever I think of this subject, I think of the old Spirit of the West Song.

I'm hoping to tune into the radio show tonight.

1 comment:

Greg Swann said...

Bless you. Thanks for the link and for your thoughtful comments. My own response is up at AVFM and also at my own place: