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The greatest proof of free will…
Posted: 14 August 2012 04:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1846 ]
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GdB - 12 August 2012 03:13 AM
Scott Mayers - 11 August 2012 10:47 PM

Anyways, he was flabbergasted that I would claim that determinism is the essence of science. He felt that I was out of my mind because he got the impression that only religion has claimed such a theory from the start. The idea that destiny or fate guaranteed your future is religious, is it not?

That idea is religious, yes. But determination is not, in the way you referred to it. One should distinguish the idea of determinism in the scientific meaning (if you would know all places and movements of everything in the universe with endless precision, and you know all laws of nature, then you can predict everything that will happen in the future) and the religious meaning (everything that will happen is already fixed). The latter is non-scientific in the sense that it even means, whatever you do, everything will happen as it is determined. So it is a basis of fatalism. It is scientifically nonsense, because a change in the course of nature will obviously have impact on what happens in the future. I personally would differentiate between determined and pre-determined. Latter means something like ‘planned’ - e.g. by a god.

I think we probably understand the same meaning. As for the other definition of determinism, the only distinction is just how the word is used. I think people are getting confused jumping back and forth between the definitions in their heads. One is about the relationship of events and causation in physics while the other is a psychological attitude or state of mind in regards to it; they both require all possible events to be fixed in of space-time.

GdB - 12 August 2012 03:13 AM
Scott Mayers - 11 August 2012 10:47 PM

Now, normally we presume time like a math function: for any given input(s), there is one unique result. But reality can be like a mathematical relationship instead: for any set of given input(s), a relationship can have multiple outputs. [A function is a restricted type of relationship.] So in reality, you can have multiple determined options, given the relationship is possible, and yet have different results.

Sorry, this is nonsense. In physics natural laws are described as differential equations. These describe how a state changes to a next state, in (infinitesimal) small steps.

There is no rule that differential equations are required for my simple explanation with functions and relations in the physical world. Maybe you’re missing my point. What I’m saying is that most people presume that determinism must be set up like one(or many)-to-one functions, machines (matter, space, & energy) that put out one unique result given the exact same input(s) every time. So, ideally, if we knew how the machine worked and it was possible to know all the data of our domain, we can predict the exact results. However, what I am adding is that determinism can also assure alternate possibilities that the “indeterministic” camp believes in as long as all the possibilities are true. And this would mathematically be represented as a relation with the range fixed and all possibilities accounted for. Unfortunately, we cannot go to alternate planes of existence whether they are true or not. Logically, I have no doubt that this can be explicated. Physically, although I doubt at the moment of my capable knowledge that this could be proven conclusive. However, if you are an enthusiast of quantum mechanics, then you cannot be unfamiliar with quantum entanglement which is presumably proof of the capability of matter taking options. (I only say “presumably” because I do not have sufficient learning to have discovered this true for myself, ...yet) I wasn’t following the earlier discussion on string theory, which I am confident is true as I have one developing in my head, but the M-theory regarding ‘branes’ that I believe were mentioned involves multi-universe concepts in space and time. Parallel universe concepts are not unusual to many physicists now.

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Posted: 14 August 2012 04:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1847 ]
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Scott Mayers

Write4U - 24 February 2011 02:12 PM

I am not sure when something is free-will or predetermined.
Example: My friend and I both like raspberry swirl icecream.
At the ice cream shop we both order a raspeberry swirl, but the shop keeper tells us he is out of that swirl. As a second choice I order a straight raspberry, which the shopkeeper immediately presents. My friend orders a vanilla substitute, but the shop keeper advises him that he is also out of vanilla. So my friend also orders a raspeberry, which is promptly placed in front of him.
As it was predetermined that we would not have the swirl, we both ended up with raspberry icecream, except my second choice was from free will (choice between raspeberry and vanilla), while my friend received his raspberry due to the unavailability of his second choice of vanilla.

...
It is likely that he transferred the term “determinism” from a physical description of reality to the alternate meaning of our everyday use in language to describe how we are capable of getting what we want, as in, “I am determined to get what I want!”

Not exactly.
I am familiar with the term Determinism in context of mathematical inevitability. However, I do also believe that this still allows for alternate future outcomes.
Perhaps the programming expression “if, then” is still applicable. IMO, the “if” is open to influence by free will (in a limited sense) such as in my ice cream example. Moreover as determinism involves every quantum event in the entire universe, one might even say that the BB itself was a deterministic event. But then the question remains what determined the BB exactly as it happened with the path of every created particle already fixed.

But reducing the scene even further, can we say that string theory answers to determinism? Or is it possible that at this level a certain randomness exists? Then we can ask the question if this randomness can be influenced by an independent actor such as a scientist performing experiments. Is there no randomness in a probability wave function? Why would we call it “probability” and not “certainty”?

IMO, our ability to recognize the deterministic way the universe works, i.e. we observe that the wings of a plane are about to fall off from fatigue, and “preventive’ measures can be taken to influence this deterministic path and create a new path (reinforcing the wings), to halt the natural deterministic function, which of course eventually will present the same problem with the wings again.

To me ( I know it is simplistic) it means that within Determinism there is a measure of freedom to influence the future. This will not disturb the past at all, but allows a independent actor (the mind) to choose (more or less free will) from a set of possible (probable) futures.

[ Edited: 14 August 2012 05:43 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 14 August 2012 10:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1848 ]
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Scott Mayers - 14 August 2012 04:28 PM

What I’m saying is that most people presume that determinism must be set up like one(or many)-to-one functions, machines (matter, space, & energy) that put out one unique result given the exact same input(s) every time. So, ideally, if we knew how the machine worked and it was possible to know all the data of our domain, we can predict the exact results. However, what I am adding is that determinism can also assure alternate possibilities that the “indeterministic” camp believes in as long as all the possibilities are true.

That is determinism that is not determined. Sorry, but this is void of any meaning.

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Posted: 14 August 2012 10:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1849 ]
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Write4U - 14 August 2012 04:53 PM

To me ( I know it is simplistic) it means that within Determinism there is a measure of freedom to influence the future. This will not disturb the past at all, but allows a independent actor (the mind) to choose (more or less free will) from a set of possible (probable) futures.

That is just dualism, Write. A non-natural soul takes influence into a deterministic universe. But for a scientist trying to explain your behaviour must find magic in your brain: the deterministic laws governing atoms, molecules and neurons sometimes don’t seem to work.

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Posted: 14 August 2012 11:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1850 ]
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GdB - 14 August 2012 10:12 PM
Write4U - 14 August 2012 04:53 PM

To me ( I know it is simplistic) it means that within Determinism there is a measure of freedom to influence the future. This will not disturb the past at all, but allows a independent actor (the mind) to choose (more or less free will) from a set of possible (probable) futures.

That is just dualism, Write. A non-natural soul takes influence into a deterministic universe. But for a scientist trying to explain your behaviour must find magic in your brain: the deterministic laws governing atoms, molecules and neurons sometimes don’t seem to work.

The true scientists of behavior are Applied Behavior Analysts and some Neuroscientists.  They do not depend on terms like “the mind” to explain the laws of behavior.  There is no actual little man inside our brain pulling levers and no angel on one shoulder and devil on the other influencing our decisions.  Concepts such as Id, Ego, Superego, and other mentalistic constructs are just constructs, they don’t actually exist, and thus do not lend themselves easily to scientific study and the develoment of laws of behavior.

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Posted: 15 August 2012 02:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1851 ]
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GdB - 14 August 2012 10:12 PM
Write4U - 14 August 2012 04:53 PM

To me ( I know it is simplistic) it means that within Determinism there is a measure of freedom to influence the future. This will not disturb the past at all, but allows a independent actor (the mind) to choose (more or less free will) from a set of possible (probable) futures.

That is just dualism, Write. A non-natural soul takes influence into a deterministic universe. But for a scientist trying to explain your behaviour must find magic in your brain: the deterministic laws governing atoms, molecules and neurons sometimes don’t seem to work.

I was not trying to propose a non natural soul or magic of any kind. And as you observed, science does not yet fully understand what “thought” is, except in the most general terms, one of the products of the brain. Therefore my question if thought has a certain flexibility in recognizing a possible desirable future and can create a free will choice of influencing a current deterministic path or even a new path toward a possible future.

Was Einstein’s theory of relativity a deterministic event? We know it met with scientific resistance before it changed science completely.
What is a probability wave? Is it a misnomer or is it a vagueness which may become manifest in several different outcomes?

But I would be most interested in the way science views the other points I made, re string theory and the BB.
As a layman I hold that the BB was an inevitability and a deterministic event. But I always get stuck in the inflationary period, where all the deterministic laws (as we understand them) did not seem to apply. But then it was the only event where everything happened all at once from a singularity in a not yet existent space.
And, as I understand String, this is a different ballgame altogether, a cauldron of random potentials which may become reality, but not necessarily (deterministically) so.

[ Edited: 15 August 2012 02:03 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 15 August 2012 03:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1852 ]
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Write4U - 15 August 2012 02:00 AM

I was not trying to propose a non natural soul or magic of any kind.

Of course not. But it is a necessary consequence of your ideas. Sorry.

Write4U - 15 August 2012 02:00 AM

Therefore my question if thought has a certain flexibility in recognizing a possible desirable future and can create a free will choice of influencing a current deterministic path or even a new path toward a possible future.

Exactly this flexibility, if it must count for free will, i.e. is not just chance, leads to dualism, if you want it or not…

Write4U - 15 August 2012 02:00 AM

What is a probability wave? Is it a misnomer or is it a vagueness which may become manifest in several different outcomes?

That is an example of QM. There are no reasons to suppose that quantum effects play an essential role in the brain. Quite the opposite: if quantum effects do play a role, they disturb the process of free choice.

Write4U - 15 August 2012 02:00 AM

As a layman I hold that the BB was an inevitability and a deterministic event.

As also nearly a layman, I would say that the BB was a necessary statistical event. It had to happen, just as a radioactive nucleus with a half time of a few seconds must have decayed after a few months.

Write4U - 15 August 2012 02:00 AM

But I always get stuck in the inflationary period,

Wow, really? But there were not even particles then!!! What are you composed of then? And how do you communicate with us! You must be God…
(Sorry, it sounds too funny not to react at that…)

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Posted: 15 August 2012 03:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1853 ]
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Write4U - 15 August 2012 02:00 AM

But I always get stuck in the inflationary period,

Wow, really? But there were not even particles then!!! What are you composed of then? And how do you communicate with us! You must be God…
(Sorry, it sounds too funny not to react at that…

LOL

Mentally stuck that is. But that must be due to my dualism.

btw. I’ll look up Dualism. Heard of it, but never researched it.

[ Edited: 15 August 2012 03:39 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 15 August 2012 05:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1854 ]
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GdB - 15 August 2012 03:07 AM

if quantum effects do play a role, they disturb the process of free choice.

What do you mean?

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Posted: 15 August 2012 06:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1855 ]
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George - 15 August 2012 05:22 AM
GdB - 15 August 2012 03:07 AM

if quantum effects do play a role, they disturb the process of free choice.

What do you mean?

They would introduce a random effect in the causal chains in our brains. I know this is highly simplified, but I just want to show that QM effects cannot account for anything like free will.

But if you want to deepen this out, go ahead! I am with you.

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Posted: 15 August 2012 06:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1856 ]
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Well, I think it would be confusing if I thought I loved broccoli one day and hated it the next day for no apparent reason, but I still don’t know what you mean by the disturbance of free choice. The fact that I would love broccoli one day and hate it the next would feel as free to me as anything else. Confusing, but free. But maybe I am still not understanding you…

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Posted: 15 August 2012 08:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1857 ]
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George - 15 August 2012 06:57 AM

Well, I think it would be confusing if I thought I loved broccoli one day and hated it the next day for no apparent reason, but I still don’t know what you mean by the disturbance of free choice. The fact that I would love broccoli one day and hate it the next would feel as free to me as anything else. Confusing, but free. But maybe I am still not understanding you…

That’s more or less what I mean. But suppose you love broccoli and hate brussels sprouts, and for some unexplainable reason you take the brussels sprouts. Just because there was a quantum jump somewhere in your brain.

The example is just meant to show that QM is no use to explain free will.

[ Edited: 15 August 2012 09:59 PM by GdB ]
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Posted: 15 August 2012 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1858 ]
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George - 15 August 2012 06:57 AM

Well, I think it would be confusing if I thought I loved broccoli one day and hated it the next day for no apparent reason, but I still don’t know what you mean by the disturbance of free choice. The fact that I would love broccoli one day and hate it the next would feel as free to me as anything else. Confusing, but free. But maybe I am still not understanding you…

Worth commenting that what ever it is that feels free about loving broccoli, it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with indeterminism.

Stephen

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Posted: 15 August 2012 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1859 ]
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Write4U - 14 August 2012 04:53 PM

To me ( I know it is simplistic) it means that within Determinism there is a measure of freedom to influence the future. This will not disturb the past at all, but allows a independent actor (the mind) to choose (more or less free will) from a set of possible (probable) futures.

A) If determinism is true there is one possible future we can get to from the actual circumstances we are in now. It’s that simple.

B) It’s also true that we can choose from a set of possible (probable) futures becauses what is meant by alternative possibilities is not alternative possible futures we can get to from the actual situation we are in now. Again it’s that simple

It’s confusion over B) which is the main problem. But checking examples will confirm B) is true.

Stephen

[ Edited: 15 August 2012 12:54 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 15 August 2012 02:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1860 ]
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StephenLawrence - 15 August 2012 12:41 PM
Write4U - 14 August 2012 04:53 PM

To me ( I know it is simplistic) it means that within Determinism there is a measure of freedom to influence the future. This will not disturb the past at all, but allows a independent actor (the mind) to choose (more or less free will) from a set of possible (probable) futures.

A) If determinism is true there is one possible future we can get to from the actual circumstances we are in now. It’s that simple.

B) It’s also true that we can choose from a set of possible (probable) futures becauses what is meant by alternative possibilities is not alternative possible futures we can get to from the actual situation we are in now. Again it’s that simple

It’s confusion over B) which is the main problem. But checking examples will confirm B) is true.

Stephen

I completely understand A) the circumstance we find ourselves now is a result of circumstances which existed before. The laws of nature work infallibly and deterministically. Cause/effect, specific cause/specific effect. Determinism.

However we are always in the present (A).  GW is a deterministic outcome of man’s use of fossil fuels. We know now that if we continue to use fossil fuels and otherwise pollute the biosphere we will determine our own demise.
Thus the question is if we can change this self inflicted present circumstance and create a new deterministic path B) where we change our use of pollutants and thereby determine a change in the destructive path A) we find ourselves in now.
If we stop using fossil fuels and otherwise restrict our output of pollutants, can we create an alternative future from the future which is already written if we continue on our current path?

Of course, if we have already passed the deterministic tipping point, it might not make any difference regardless of what we do. There won’t be any available alternate futures. In such a scenario the laws of nature will trump any free will action we take now.

[ Edited: 15 August 2012 02:26 PM by Write4U ]
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