I'm going contrary to my nature to comment on one of these debate things, probably because I ended up feeling sorry when you kept begging for people to choose who wins. Christ, my kids do that to me what seems like a million times a day, give me a break. And it's a little ironic given the topic, no? But WTF, you probably won't be surprised that it's my opinion that neither of you wins.
Also, as far as style, I thought you both proceeded into discussion without clarifying well enough up front your individual understandings of the critical terms used here. Because of this, it seemed to me to end up as a debate of exploring some fundamental meanings as one goes along rather than refining a more concise initial position, so I took points away (before I'd even given any, as a matter of fact!) for that.
As for the specific stuff, here's a little bit. I didn't have time to read all that dialogue Tab wrote. And I'm pretty sure that had I read all of it, my opinion wouldn't change. But I could be wrong.
Okay so Pav says:
Compatibilism: Agree that Cause/Effect chain has led us to this point, disagree that future effects have necessarily been pre-determined because choices have not yet been made.
And Tab says:
from my point of view, those choices do not matter because the system imposes certain results. I call it 'inevitabilism' - things are bound by their nature to unfold in a certain way
Again, neither of you really identifies which definition of you're aruguing over. I think that's a problem that ends up confusing the debate, because when you're discussing one, another one stands in the background without note but influencing the argument anyway. If free will is an agent's ability to control his or her action according to his/her will (as long as conditions of the situation permit this), then that's one thing. And mostly what you're arguing over, I think. But the broader idea about free will as something that transcends our physical existence and how the workings of the world ultimately control us is lurking back there, not really elaborated upon by either of you. I think Tab comes closer when he talks about an individual "experiencing" the freedom of choosing and how he can "feel" after-the-fact as though he could've chosen differently. I think he's reaching for the ultimate when he says..."Regardless of the truth of the matter, a society believing, and acting upon the belief, that it possesses freedom of choice will act very differently from one that does not. The simple existence of the concept in the group mind, frivolous or real, has effect."
...and yet doesn't explain the "effect", so I'm not sure how or why that's relevant. Anyway, just because anyone -- or an identified group of anyones -- believes
they possess freedom of choice doesn't mean that they do. What he's labelled "freedom of choice" is the fact that agents have the ability to control their behavior and choose their actions. That doesn't mean they possess self control in the ultimate sense.
Pav's view of the ultimate sense of it shows up (I think!) as he notes the "unpredictability of happenstance in the purely physical world"...but then assumes once a "sufficiently sentient breed of agents came into being" were prompt to mentally categorize all of this unpredictability into "the novelty of choice".
"...and later the novelty of choice expressed in the world of the mind, once a sufficiently sentient breed of agents came into being."
Of course right off, "came into being" implies causality and I assume the point is that it took humans to construct the idea of causality. But humans also constructed "happenstance". So what's the point here, really?
The classic chaos-theory snowball rolling downhill, tapped by the tiny finger of quantum indeterminacy early enough on in its path, will end up in a wildly different place than its utterly determined fellows.
What does "quantum indeterminacy" mean and whose finger is doing the tapping?
Moving along, Pav elaborates upon what he believes to be a valid depiction of a chain of cause and effect to illustrate how events of the "past" will have impact on "the future". As I read, I could hear the ice cracking and I wanted to shout a warning to him to get out of there NOW...but I figured the noble souls who enter this ILP Chamber do so with the understanding that sinking into the freezing depths is, well, an option.
He says it's all because a guy chose Cocoa Puffs for breakfast. Actually, he said "wanted", which would've (should've IMO) allowed him to introduce the concept of intention into the mix. But anyway, his point is that the decision that, on the surface, seems relatively inconsequential, actually leads to "vast intended and unintended consequences". Really?
I didn't care for hypothetical Cocoa Puffs example because he started with a simple decision and then selected a chain of events in a linear way, so that he could base all the contingencies along the line on that one. But this doesn't reflect the intricacy of the web of causality. On the surface, he makes his neat linear case. No doubt he would respond "but I only meant that as one possible example!" But that's not how it works. He doesn't realize that each of the occurrences that he has isolated at each point along the way to his chosen outcome are, in fact, at each moment, interrelated in this web through an infinite number of relationships that he can't possibly identify.
In other words, it's not even remotely that simple and I'd say it's, in fact, so complex, that he can't claim that the example can prove anything about causality. Just as I can hold an orange in my hand and, as an exercise, try to imagine everything that occurred in the past to place it there. My way is a teensy weensy bit better, because I'm starting with an actual orange (versus ending up with an imaginary ghost town) and I know a few facts about how it got there (I saw it, I bought it, I sat down at the table and gazed at it and thought about it. I have a reasonable certainty that it came from a particular tree in a particular location, and that it was picked, packed, distributed, displayed, chosen, paid for, etc. That's my little linear chain...but I'm of course ignorant of the lion's share of what actually caused that orange to be in my hand at the precise moment. I may deduce that it was part of a causal process, but there is absolutely no way that I can know this, because the web is too intricate.
Of course, future effects have not been pre-determined because the decisions (Causes) have not yet been made to yield the results. (Effects)
This is a non sequitur to me. The future is simply a projection of thought, it's not about causes- and effects-to-be.
All I've got the time for, sorry.
I have been loved, Edward told the stars.
So? said the stars.
(The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane)