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Showing Tag: "determinism" (Show all posts)

Attention and completion as accurate predictors in 4 year-olds

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Monday, August 6, 2012, In : Science 
Rather similar to the Gao et al and Walter Mischel research I refer to  in my Free Will? book, here is some new evidence showing that completion and attention at age four are accurate predictors of achievement some twenty years later:

Preschool Children Who Can Pay Attention More Likely to Finish College: Early Reading and Math Not Predictive of College Completion



ScienceDaily (Aug. 6, 2012) — Young children who are able to pay attention and persist with a task have a 50 percent great...

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Social Deprivation Has a Measurable Effect On Brain Growth

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Monday, July 23, 2012, In : Science 

Social Deprivation Has a Measurable Effect On Brain Growth

ScienceDaily (July 23, 2012) — Severe psychological and physical neglect produces measurable changes in children's brains, finds a study led by Boston Children's Hospital. But the study also suggests that positive interventions can partially reverse these changes.


Researchers led by Margaret Sheridan, PhD, and Charles Nelson, PhD, of the Labs of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children's Hospital, analyzed brain MRI scans from...

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My talk tonight to the Portsmouth Skeptics

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Wednesday, June 13, 2012, In : Philosophy 
i am pretty excited about tonight's talk on free will to the Portsmouth Skpetics in a Pub group. Hopefully there'll be a good turn out. Free will seems to really be on the agenda at the moment. People are talking about it and it features on programmes such as Horizon, Radio 4 and suchlike. There is certainly an appetite fro the debate.

Here are the details:


I'll let you know how it goes!

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Determinism vs compatibilism: abrogation vs moral responsibility?

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Saturday, May 26, 2012, In : Philosophy 
I have been discussing with someone about moral responsibility with regards to determinism, free will and compatibilism. 

Compatibilists often claim, as per David Hume, that the agent has free will because they are not being physically coerced to do something by another agent. However, a hard determinist such as myself will simply claim that that coercion is internal, and not external. The causal process is what makes an agent do something, and this may take its form in other agents, genetics,...
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High praise indeed - and a cable TV slot!

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Friday, May 25, 2012, In : Books 
A chap called George Ortega contacted me recently about a video of my free will talk to the South Hampshire Humanists. He runs a small local cable project about free will in the States. Anywho, he is planning on using the video as the backbone for four of his cable shows, which is great.

What is more impressive, is this quote from him:

This is far and away the best refutation of free will available anywhere! I'm only about 1/3rd of the way through it, and Johno Pearce wowed me so completely ...

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Homosexuality and Christianity Part 2

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Wednesday, May 2, 2012, In : Religion 

So now it is time to return to the idea of homosexuality and Christianity about which I posted the other day.


Having looked at biblical issues concerning the position of deeming h/s morally wrong, let us now look at what makes people h/s and whether it is fair for an all-loving god to judge them.


Historically, h/s has been seen as a behavioural choice. However, over recent years, more and more research has been carried out into the causality of h/s.


H/s is seen as being "an endur...

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How Physics and Neuroscience Dictate Your "Free" Will

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Sunday, April 29, 2012, In : Philosophy 

Physics and neurobiology can help us understand whether we choose our own destiny 

From the Scientific American

By Christof Koch  | Thursday, April 12, 2012 | 27




In a remote corner of the universe, on a small blue planet gravitating around a humdrum sun in the outer districts of the Milky Way, organisms arose from the primordial mud and ooze in an epic struggle for survival that spanned aeons.


Despite all evidenc...

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Of Hardening of Hearts

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Thursday, April 26, 2012, In : Books 
I thought, as I was reading through Free Will? again for a reprint, that it was worth posting this. It is still, to me, a really powerful argument against the sort of God we all know and love....

Of hardening of hearts


Normally, there are two ways of seeing theological determinism. Firstly, the soft type, called soft theological determinism, allows for humans to have free will, even though God knows what they are going to do. The hard type means that humans do not have any free will, and G...

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Behaviour controlled by genes

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Thursday, April 19, 2012, In : Science 

Can Behavior Be Controlled by Genes? The Case of Honeybee Work Assignments

ScienceDaily (Apr. 18, 2012) — What worker bees do depends on how old they are. A worker a few days old will become a nurse bee that devotes herself to feeding larvae (brood), secreting beeswax to seal the cells that contain brood and attending to the queen.

After about a week, she will progress to other tasks, such as grooming nest mates, ventilating the nest and packing pollen. Only at the end of her life will she be...

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Free Will Talk to the South Hampshire Humanists

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Friday, April 13, 2012, In : Youtube 
Here is the video of the talk I did on free will to the South Hampshire Humanists in January of this year. Let me know what you think. The questions got cut off at the end.

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Being nice is genetically determined?

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Tuesday, April 10, 2012, In : Science 

Born Nice? Peoples' Niceness May Reside in Their Genes, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (Apr. 10, 2012) — It turns out that the milk of human kindness is evoked by something besides mom's good example. Research by psychologists at the University at Buffalo and the University of California, Irvine, has found that at least part of the reason some people are kind and generous is that their genes nudge them toward it.

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New speaking engagement booked - a talk on free will

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Tuesday, April 3, 2012, In : Philosophy 
I am really pleased to announce that I have another speaking engagement booked in Portsmouth, to talk to the Portsmouth Skeptics in the Pub about free will.

The Skeptics in a Pub is a growing secular movement around the country, and I must say, I am really looking forward to it!

Here are the details:

"An investigation into whether we have free will or whether I was always going to write this book"

Jonathan Pearce 

Thursday, June 14 2012 at 7:30PM


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Great review of my talk on free will to the SHH.

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Sunday, February 5, 2012, In : Philosophy 
Thanks to the South Hampshire Humanists who invited me to speak to them about free will last month. They have reviewed the talk in their recent newsletter:

… we were treated to an excellent exposition of the determinist position from our member Jonathan Pearce, suitably accompanied by slides. He began by reminding us of the three main positions — Libertarian (we own the decisions we make), Determinist (everything we do is determined by past conditions) and Compatibilist (Determinism and Fr...

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My first public talk (on free will)

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Monday, January 23, 2012, In : Philosophy 
On Sunday, I was lucky enough to have been invited by the South Hampshire Humanists (SHH) to do a talk on free will in Southampton. This was my first public speaking engagement in the world of philosophy and I was both nervous and excited. There was an assembled audience of only 20 people which was nice and intimate. I talked for about 45 minutes and then did a Q and A session afterwards.

Back some months ago I turned up to the SHH drinks in a nearby pub - a social to discuss pertinent subject...
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New essay about the soul and how it must be deterministic

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Tuesday, November 29, 2011, In : Philosophy 
I've recently written a new essay which I have posted here in the essay section of the website. Please read it and see what you think. Post any comments to it here. Here is the abstract to the essay:

Abstract: This essay sets out to dispel the myth that the soul can be the originator for free will. I will start the essay by establishing the Cartesian idea of what the body is and showing that Descartes and modern biology indicate that the body is a biological machine. After indicating how Desca...
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Jedward - evidence for determinism

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Saturday, October 29, 2011, In : Philosophy 



I am going to use an unlikely tool to show the philosophical veracity of determinism – the belief that we have no free will. The evidence I am going to bring to the stand is / are Jedward. For those who don’t know them, they were X-Factor sensations from Ireland – identical twins who are so similar you just can’t tell them apart. And they do EVERYTHING together.


So, let’s look at free will. I do not want to get into the intricacies of free will here (you can read my book...

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Genetic link to intelligence confirmed

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Sunday, August 14, 2011, In : Science 
There is growing evidence for the link between genes and intelligence. This is hardly surprising but interesting, nonetheless.


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