Basically, at a point where you are aware but there’s no words there to go along with it.

I grabbed the transcript from the Youtube [and thankfully this is a professional transcript] and scanned it.

(I don’t have the patience/time to watch lectures but I can scan through text for key points extremely quickly and get past the stories and parts that are irrelevant to me)

Thank you. While much of what I read in the transcript is agreeable; it fails for me at the cognitive side.

He relies on the computational model of the brain, which isn’t a bad model of the brain at all, but it’s an incomplete metaphor as the brain is far more complex than any computer or the entire Internet. There much that we don’t know, and what we thought we know changes continually. Theories aren’t entirely worked out yet. But it’s an easy model to comprehend so I’ll draw from it as well.

While I *do* tend to see our thinking as a state machine of sorts, and decision making as a process that can be mostly automatized via computer [it already is, even as I am typing], there’s still that gap.

I know gap is a naughty word in atheist circles but it’s there and I’ll say it.

The “deciding before your decide” I think is an erroneous assumption on his part. The N400 is approximately the point where the semantic systems are fully online and we can articulate opinions and thoughts to ourselves in words.

That’s 400 ms. That’s a VERY LONG TIME cognitively.

Our ability to be able to explain IN WORDS doesn’t kick in until the N400 mark but that’s words. 

And it *is* true that things happen and we create stories to explain “what just happened” to ourselves around the N400 mark and just past it and we call it “NOW”.

But perhaps being a guy with a musical brain, the 400ms is a very long time. That’s just under 1/2 a second. One tick of a a tick-tock. 

I play the piano VERY quickly. I’ve gotten to 17 notes per second. I also type at 110wpm – not super-speed but it’s my limit. I’m aware of the notes AS I’M PLAYING them [and letters as I type them] I can’t DESCRIBE it while I’m playing because it’s in that “flow state” (so called). Basically, at a point where you are aware but there’s no words there to go along with it.

Within that wordless zone, your body functions fine. Fast twitch muscles activate. I know what notes I’m playing and what notes I choose to play next in time-frames shorter than the semantic systems’ N400 magic marker.

So, for me, the cause/effect of “decision emerges before semantic systems therefore there’s no free will” is bunk to me.

Granted, we may have LESS free will than we’d like. But none? No, to me the small statistical difference between 0 and 0.0000000000001 is quite significant. The rounding down may be an error in this case.

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