5 of 5
A fundamental problem of causation
Posted: 20 April 2011 05:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
Sr. Member
Total Posts:  823
Joined  2008-01-23

Kkwan, dear oh dear as soon as I unblock you I have to unravel this mess. Still it was an interesting link if ultimately useless.

kkwan - 20 April 2011 04:00 AM

From this article HERE

Why go to secondary sources when you could go to the primary literature?

A theorem recently propounded by Princeton mathematicians John Conway (who invented the famous Game of Life) and Simon Kochen (one of the originators of the Kochen-Specker paradox of quantum mechanics) supports a powerful challenge to the scientific credentials of determinism, by showing that two cornerstones of contemporary science, namely acceptance of the scientific method as a reliable way of finding out about the world, and relativity theory’s exclusion of faster-than-light transmission of information, together conflict with determinism, in both its versions.  Belief in determinism may thus come to be seen as notably unscientific.

The following is not an argument by either Conway or Kochen!!!! It was very misleading to post it the way you did.

However, as I have argued in various publications, there are other reasons for believing in free will associated with rational conscious decisions and actions; and refutation of determinism supports an argument that the physical world is not closed to influences from rational conscious processes, and thus that there is ‘room’ for free will.

And what was before the “however” lurkers might be wondering?? Here it is:
Recognition that the Conway-Kochen theorem makes it unscientific to accept determinism would not directly support free will.  Quantum mechanics treats the indeterminism involved in the results of such measurements as being random within probability parameters specified by the mathematics; and as has often been pointed out, randomness is inimical to free will rather than supportive of it.”[My emphasis]

And room for free will is found in downward causation of biological systems of which human free will is the epitome.

There is nothing in this paper to remotely indicate any such thing neither “downward causation” nor “biological system” are discussed in this paper! It was deeply misleading, given just this paper, to imply that is what Conway was arguing for. Almost libellous I would say.

So what is the relation of this paper to free will? Even the author, who is a free will advocate, admits that:
“Although the authors called their theorem the free will theorem, it does not actually either depend on any assumption of free will as generally understood, or directly support any conclusion about free will. “
It was an argument in physics, arguably going beyond the Bell inequalities demonstrated by Aspect that refuted EPR. It was a new piece of work to do with quantum indeterminism combining quantum mechanical and special relativity axioms. Unlike Bell by Aspect, it has not been experimentally verified. One would need to have a twin labs on the Moon and Earth to do so (as suggested by the original authors)!

Kkwan is back on my block list.

Posted: 20 April 2011 05:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
Sr. Member
Total Posts:  2012
Joined  2007-10-28
faithlessgod - 20 April 2011 04:31 AM

As I said determinism is really a red herring. The universe may be deterministic or indeterministic it makes no difference to the issue over LFW. All we have are regularities in nature and anything else is random. I severely doub that the authors are arguing for LFW but I will read the paper when I have time.

If the universe is deterministic or indeterministic, it is fatal for all forms of free will.

They are proposing LFW. Please refer to my post HERE

However, for the purposes of our paper, we can bypass this hoary discussion, simply by saying that the only kind of free will we are discussing, for both experimenters and particles, is the active kind of free will that can actually affect the future, rather than the compatibilists’ passive variety that does not.

You wrote:

There is downward causation only from the 1st person perspective. From the 3rd person perspective it is just causation.

Not really. If you will buy and read “The Music of Life” by Denis Noble you will have a better picture of downward causation in living biological systems and it is not just from the 1st person perspective.

You clearly did not read that link, did you?

I did, but I do not see the relevance wrt to biological systems.

His work is not conjectural metaphysics, it is physics.

It is? Please show me the timeless physics.

Says who? Whilst I have long disagreed with what is now called GOFAI, we are biological computers and we are learning much about nature has solved many computational challenges. The issue is to find the correct algorithms and on what level to model them - sub-neurons, neurons, neuronal groups or otherwise.

If you buy into physicalism/materialism/reductionism and that the mind is epi-phenomenal, it follows we are biological computers which I think, are false doctrines.


I am, therefore I think.

5 of 5