Free will and obesity

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Yesterday, Novo Nordisk, the company that produces Wegovy, surpassed Tesla in value, becoming a significant topic in local news. This development piqued my interest in how obesity, a seemingly mundane issue, could generate substantial revenue. So, I researched online and discovered that obesity is now classified as a disease, challenging the notion that it can be controlled solely through 'free will' or 'willpower'. This revelation was quite surprising to me. It was noted that when individuals stopped taking Wegovy, they succumbed to their cravings once again and regained the weight they had lost. This suggests that they might need to stay on the medication indefinitely. What are your thoughts? Does obesity challenge the concept of free will? Intuitively I would expect the mind to be stronger than those bodily cravings.
(This post was last modified: 2024-03-08, 10:19 AM by sbu. Edited 2 times in total.)
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(2024-03-08, 10:13 AM)sbu Wrote: Yesterday, Novo Nordisk, the company that produces Wegovy, surpassed Tesla in value, becoming a significant topic in local news. This development piqued my interest in how obesity, a seemingly mundane issue, could generate substantial revenue. So, I researched online and discovered that obesity is now classified as a disease, challenging the notion that it can be controlled solely through 'free will' or 'willpower'. This revelation was quite surprising to me. It was noted that when individuals stopped taking Wegovy, they succumbed to their cravings once again and regained the weight they had lost. This suggests that they might need to stay on the medication indefinitely. What are your thoughts? Does obesity challenge the concept of free will? Intuitively I would expect the mind to be stronger than those bodily cravings.

First of all, I believe there is such a thing as free will but I also believe there are things that are so difficult to control that they are almost impossible to control.  Issues that attach themselves to instincts such as obesity (to hunger) perversions (to reproductive instincts) and phobias (to fear) are unbelievably difficult.
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Surely there is a vast difference between claiming that we have no free will - as in the materialist conception of reality, and claiming that everything we do is under conscious control.

From the materialist concept of no free will, even if you perform an experiment and report the results in a paper, you had no control of that process!

We clearly function with a mixture of free will and automatic actions which we don't control -e.g. pulling away if you touch something hot. In between those two extremes are things like eating less.

David
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(2024-03-08, 12:26 PM)David001 Wrote: Surely there is a vast difference between claiming that we have no free will - as in the materialist conception of reality, and claiming that everything we do is under conscious control.

From the materialist concept of no free will, even if you perform an experiment and report the results in a paper, you had no control of that process!

We clearly function with a mixture of free will and automatic actions which we don't control -e.g. pulling away if you touch something hot. In between those two extremes are things like eating less.

David

This might not truly be a discussion about 'free will' in the classical sense. Rather, it's a reflection on how our minds are influenced by our bodies, not the other way around. For example, the desire to eat a cake in front of me may begin as a spontaneous craving that evolves into an overwhelming conscious obsession, persisting until I succumb and eat the cake. What are our minds without our bodies when physical desires can dominate our conscious thoughts and decisions? It directly contradict the so called transmitter theory that the non-physical substance should be subject to (unnessecary for survival) bodily needs.
(This post was last modified: 2024-03-08, 02:58 PM by sbu. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2024-03-08, 01:05 PM)sbu Wrote: This might not truly be a discussion about 'free will' in the classical sense. Rather, it's a reflection on how our minds are influenced by our bodies, not the other way around. For example, the desire to eat a cake in front of me may begin as a spontaneous craving that evolves into an overwhelming conscious obsession, persisting until I succumb and eat the cake. What are our minds without our bodies when physical desires can dominate our conscious thoughts and decisions? It directly contradict the so called transmitter theory that the non-physical substance should be subject to (unnessecary for survival) bodily needs.

You're assuming that it's an all or nothing issue. Religious people who believe God gave us free will have also talked about how some things just require turning to God for success. This tension between mind and body is hardly something new, across the world believers have grappled with this question.

But beyond that...why can't someone leave the room, or drink water + eat vegetables so they are full and no longer have room in their stomach for the cake? To me this idea the cake is "singing" a "siren song" is like an adulterer claiming sex with someone who isn't their spouse "just happened" when there are a lot of precautions one can take and temptations one can guard themselves against.

I am also somewhat skeptical on how these victim narratives have been pushed. Without going too deep into something that is beyond the remit of these forums it all seems rather selective and political to me frankly, with some people who have so much privilege in this world suddenly creating a victim narrative where everyone around them has to just give into their demands.

This isn't to say I am unsympathetic to addicts - speaking from some limited experience - but there is clearly an agenda going on even if the "politics" of it is just the idea that we are merely biological machines. Even in the face of replication crises and tales of fraud + bribery people act like psychology is a hard science, or that neuroscience itself hasn't had to face questions about its success in understanding consciousness.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2024-03-08, 07:13 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: You're assuming that it's an all or nothing issue. Religious people who believe God gave us free will have also talked about how some things just require turning to God for success. This tension between mind and body is hardly something new, across the world believers have grappled with this question.

But beyond that...why can't someone leave the room, or drink water + eat vegetables so they are full and no longer have room in their stomach for the cake? To me this idea the cake is "singing" a "siren song" is like an adulterer claiming sex with someone who isn't their spouse "just happened" when there are a lot of precautions one can take and temptations one can guard themselves against.

I am also somewhat skeptical on how these victim narratives have been pushed. Without going too deep into something that is beyond the remit of these forums it all seems rather selective and political to me frankly, with some people who have so much privilege in this world suddenly creating a victim narrative where everyone around them has to just give into their demands.

This isn't to say I am unsympathetic to addicts - speaking from some limited experience - but there is clearly an agenda going on even if the "politics" of it is just the idea that we are merely biological machines. Even in the face of replication crises and tales of fraud + bribery people act like psychology is a hard science, or that neuroscience itself hasn't had to face questions about its success in understanding consciousness.

I have profound sympathy for addicts whose lives are shattered by addiction and who struggle to find a way out. It's heartening to know there's a solution for them. However, categorizing addiction as a 'disease' tests my view of humanity. I believe we are more than biological entities; thus, I struggle to accept obesity as a disease that cannot be overcome with willpower.

But clearly the epidemic proportions obesity is becoming challenges the “willpower” idea.
(This post was last modified: 2024-03-08, 08:56 PM by sbu. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2024-03-08, 08:54 PM)sbu Wrote: I have profound sympathy for addicts whose lives are shattered by addiction and who struggle to find a way out. It's heartening to know there's a solution for them. However, categorizing addiction as a 'disease' tests my view of humanity. I believe we are more than biological entities; thus, I struggle to accept obesity as a disease that cannot be overcome with willpower.

But clearly the epidemic proportions obesity is becoming challenges the “willpower” idea.

I think these are complex issues so I don't want to come off as unsympathetic to people, especially when there are likely additional factors in people's lives that impact their reserve of willpower in these cases.

That said, I do think there is a choice component here. This doesn't have to be said in a judgemental sense, we can accept variations on when the choice is to be made - which includes the choice to seek help.

IMO we shouldn't accept or promote a culture of wallowing in misery any more than we should accept a harsh judgemental culture that ignores the factors that can impact a person's life that go beyond their choices.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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I fully agree. I can't help but think that big pharma has played a role in classifying obesity as a disease. Just read this quote from Novo Nordisk:

Quote:Scientific and medical experts are increasingly recognising obesity as a serious chronic disease. While this may come as a surprise to some people, it is a big relief to others, especially those living with the disease.

But why is obesity a disease and not simply lack of willpower or a matter of lifestyle? Part of the answer lies in the fact that there’s more to obesity than you can see. Its causes are multiple, from genetic disposition to brain chemistry, it is not an easy disease to treat.

The good news is that obesity is a manageable disease and people who live with it are getting improved treatments and programmes to support their health and wellbeing.

https://www.novonordisk.com/disease-areas/obesity.html

I don’t think going this route with personal responsibility does anything good for our society.
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(2024-03-08, 01:05 PM)sbu Wrote: This might not truly be a discussion about 'free will' in the classical sense. Rather, it's a reflection on how our minds are influenced by our bodies, not the other way around. For example, the desire to eat a cake in front of me may begin as a spontaneous craving that evolves into an overwhelming conscious obsession, persisting until I succumb and eat the cake. What are our minds without our bodies when physical desires can dominate our conscious thoughts and decisions? It directly contradict the so called transmitter theory that the non-physical substance should be subject to (unnessecary for survival) bodily needs.

I think you misunderstand the transmitter/receiver theory of consciousness. In this model, spirit consciousness when in body is drastically throttled down and filtered by the necessity of intricately interpenetrating and being enmeshed in the neuronal structure of the brain, in order to accomplish the spirit/body interaction required for embodiment and manifesting in the physical. In that condition, consciousness is naturally deeply affected by brain states both normal and abnormal as is confirmed by countless observations and experiences. This includes cravings for unnecessary and health-damaging foods. It's fully to be expected in the transmitter/receiver model that drugs could be deverloped that affect the brain so as to prevent these cravings.

I think classifying obesity as a disease is a partial truth, because it is such a complicated condition with so many different aspects, but this classification has mainly been motivated by greed on the part of the pharmaceutical industry.
(This post was last modified: 2024-03-09, 02:12 AM by nbtruthman. Edited 2 times in total.)
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(2024-03-09, 02:00 AM)nbtruthman Wrote: It's fully to be expected in the transmitter/receiver model that drugs could be deverloped that
affect the brain so as to prevent these cravings.

Are there any tests that can falsify the transmitter theory in your opinion or is it infalsifiable? As previously discussed I believe it’s already falsified by violating the laws of thermodynamics but I would like to know your position.

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