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Author Topic:   Is the future inevitable?
Stile
Member
Posts: 2870
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 76 of 109 (774408)
12-17-2015 12:14 PM
Reply to: Message 75 by Tangle
12-17-2015 11:12 AM


Re: Is Truth Unavoidable or is it random?
Tangle writes:

I just don't think it's necessary to add the qualifiers 'past experience'

Yeah, I was wondering that myself. I just jammed it in there 'cause it made it sound more formal

if you can't make decisions based on anything at all that will change a predetermined outcome then you don't have free choice.

I agree.

What would a test for this sort of thing look like?

That is, would we have to be able to identify a "predetermined outcome" and then see if anyone can get out of it?

For example:

A.
Red and blue button in a room.
Observers "predetermine" that the subject will press the red button.
Subject presses the red button.

Confirmation?

What about this:

B.
Red and blue button in a room.
Observers "predetermine" that the subject will press the red button.
Observers inform subject that subject will be pressing the red button.
Subject presses the blue button (if possible???)

If the subject always presses the red button in "B"... then I agree we have something.

But does "A" actually show that anything is "predetermined?" Or does it just show that we can make accurate predictions?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 75 by Tangle, posted 12-17-2015 11:12 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 77 by Tangle, posted 12-17-2015 12:56 PM Stile has responded

    
Tangle
Member
Posts: 4635
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.4


(1)
Message 77 of 109 (774410)
12-17-2015 12:56 PM
Reply to: Message 76 by Stile
12-17-2015 12:14 PM


Re: Is Truth Unavoidable or is it random?
Stile writes:

But does "A" actually show that anything is "predetermined?" Or does it just show that we can make accurate predictions?

I don't think there is anyway of proving we don't live in a determinate world. The closest I can get to it is to say that if randomness exists in it, then a world can not be determinate.

But we wouldn't know any different because, well we wouldn't know any different.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 76 by Stile, posted 12-17-2015 12:14 PM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 78 by Stile, posted 12-17-2015 3:11 PM Tangle has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 2870
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 78 of 109 (774423)
12-17-2015 3:11 PM
Reply to: Message 77 by Tangle
12-17-2015 12:56 PM


Re: Is Truth Unavoidable or is it random?
Tangle writes:

I don't think there is anyway of proving we don't live in a determinate world.

I was trying to think of an experiment that would show that we did, indeed, live in a non-freewill world.

How would such an experiment work?

Even if we showed that the quantum world was determinate through math... how do we show that this *insists* that our brains/consciousness results in determined "no-freedom-to-choose" results?

What if there's a way for a determinate quantum world to still result in our bains/consciousness being able to "overcome" that determined state to whatever we actually did "freely" choose? Can we show that "randomness" is a necessary requirement for such a thing? What if it isn't required? I don't feel like "randomness" is involved when I choose something.

Is it possible to ever know such things?

(Not arguing here, just asking open ended questions...)

If we can't show that we don't live in a determinate world...
And then, even if we do live in one... we can't test if it actually removes freedom from the conscious choices we make or not...

Where do we go from there?

Sounds like a big 'ol box of not-much-use-to-anyone-for-anything to me


This message is a reply to:
 Message 77 by Tangle, posted 12-17-2015 12:56 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 79 by 1.61803, posted 12-17-2015 3:28 PM Stile has acknowledged this reply
 Message 80 by Tangle, posted 12-17-2015 3:41 PM Stile has acknowledged this reply

    
1.61803
Member
Posts: 2678
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 79 of 109 (774425)
12-17-2015 3:28 PM
Reply to: Message 78 by Stile
12-17-2015 3:11 PM


Re: Is Truth Unavoidable or is it random?
STEP AWAY FROM THE BONG.

"You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end. Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative" William S. Burroughs

This message is a reply to:
 Message 78 by Stile, posted 12-17-2015 3:11 PM Stile has acknowledged this reply

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 4635
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 80 of 109 (774428)
12-17-2015 3:41 PM
Reply to: Message 78 by Stile
12-17-2015 3:11 PM


Re: Is Truth Unavoidable or is it random?
Style writes:

Where do we go from there?

Buggered if I know. I don't have a lot of time for word arguments - which is what these things always resolve into - and I don't have the maths necessary to take it elswhere.

I do think that there's two crucial points though.

1. We know that we have freedom of choice because we excercise it everyday. But we can't ever know if there's a ghost in the machine or a grand puppet master - but, you know, what are the odds? We know that life on earth evolved in a hap-hazard way and we're just part of that process - if there isn't randomness and choas in a few billions of years of evolution the words don't have meaning.

2. If there is true randomness in our world then I say it can't be deterministic. We know in our own mind that we can make our own decisions but if we can't trust that we can play the Dice Man game and base our decisions on pure probability. I don't see how you can get round that without claiming that even probability can be pre-determined. That's too false a word game for me. At that point I just shrug really.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 78 by Stile, posted 12-17-2015 3:11 PM Stile has acknowledged this reply

  
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1702
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 81 of 109 (774579)
12-19-2015 8:49 AM
Reply to: Message 62 by Tangle
12-16-2015 1:29 PM


Re: Is Truth Unavoidable or is it random?
Randomness means that the output can not be know except as a probability. If you re-define random as knowable with enough information and brain power that simply applies determinism.

It is not a redefinition. Events are predictable with enough information. Today's weather was strictly determined by the physical state of the world yesterday.

The universe is clearly deterministic at all sizes above the sub atomic when we look at individual events. Lottery ball machines do not employ the laws of physics in a random fashion. If they were truly random then the sequences would go more like 7, 18, 3, 47, kitten, 11, 6. Of course we don't see this because kittens are never randomly produced by lottery ball machines. In a truly random universe we could expect that they might be.

Consider the alternative to a deterministic universe. What kind of free will would we posses if kittens did randomly appear in lottery ball machines? How could we possibly make choices if we had no idea how events would play out? Uncertainty is one thing but complete uncertainty is another.

Perhaps I can square the circle. We live in a strictly deterministic universe where events quickly become unpredictable as the number of variables exceed the capability of even the greatest intellect. It is impossible for an intellect of sufficient capacity to exist in this universe. So perfectly determined events remain safe from prediction. Does that free us up again?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 62 by Tangle, posted 12-16-2015 1:29 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 83 by Tangle, posted 12-19-2015 2:11 PM ProtoTypical has responded

  
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1702
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


(2)
Message 82 of 109 (774580)
12-19-2015 8:57 AM
Reply to: Message 55 by caffeine
12-15-2015 3:23 PM


Re: Is Truth Unavoidable or is it random?
I'm struggling to grasp this, so I may have badly mangled the above!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 55 by caffeine, posted 12-15-2015 3:23 PM caffeine has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 4635
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 83 of 109 (774602)
12-19-2015 2:11 PM
Reply to: Message 81 by ProtoTypical
12-19-2015 8:49 AM


Re: Is Truth Unavoidable or is it random?
You really can't have it both ways, either something is random or it's determinate. If you make the words mean the same, there's nothing to discuss.

Consider the alternative to a deterministic universe. What kind of free will would we posses if kittens did randomly appear in lottery ball machines? How could we possibly make choices if we had no idea how events would play out? Uncertainty is one thing but complete uncertainty is another.

I think you're mixing up random and arbitrary. Randomness is bounded - a dice has 6 sides not 6 sides and a kitten..


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 81 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-19-2015 8:49 AM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 84 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-19-2015 7:10 PM Tangle has responded

  
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1702
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 84 of 109 (774614)
12-19-2015 7:10 PM
Reply to: Message 83 by Tangle
12-19-2015 2:11 PM


Random nature of paradoxical popsicles
You really can't have it both ways, either something is random or it's determinate. If you make the words mean the same, there's nothing to discuss.

Everyone would agree with describing the results of a fair dice throw as random. How many would agree that the results are not strictly determined by the laws of physics? The 2 concepts are not mutually exclusive nor do they mean the same thing and this point is central to the discussion. The OP implies the false dichotomy that a clockwork universe cannot contain such a thing as free will.

I think you're mixing up random and arbitrary. Randomness is bounded - a dice has 6 sides not 6 sides and a kitten..

Arbitrary and random are synonymous and both are bounded by the paradigm of cause and effect. You won't get the result of a kitten without the cause of one being on the die. We know that the universe works this way all the way down as far as we can see.

There is no question that we have agency and can make things happen of our own volition. There is not much doubt that our volition is caused by our physical state. The question is what is the nature of free will and where does it come from. Its a paradox and so there is lots to discuss.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 83 by Tangle, posted 12-19-2015 2:11 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 85 by NoNukes, posted 12-19-2015 9:56 PM ProtoTypical has responded
 Message 86 by Tangle, posted 12-20-2015 3:51 AM ProtoTypical has responded

  
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 9537
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 85 of 109 (774619)
12-19-2015 9:56 PM
Reply to: Message 84 by ProtoTypical
12-19-2015 7:10 PM


Re: Random nature of paradoxical popsicles
Everyone would agree with describing the results of a fair dice throw as random. How many would agree that the results are not strictly determined by the laws of physics?

Everyone would agree that dice rolls are random. But once they see where you are going with the physics, they should want to back out of that agreement. Dice rolls are close enough to random to make allow gambling on the outcome.

On the other hand, nuclear decay timings apparently are truly random with probabilities that are governed by the laws of physics.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams


This message is a reply to:
 Message 84 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-19-2015 7:10 PM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 87 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-23-2015 10:28 AM NoNukes has responded

    
Tangle
Member
Posts: 4635
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 86 of 109 (774639)
12-20-2015 3:51 AM
Reply to: Message 84 by ProtoTypical
12-19-2015 7:10 PM


Re: Random nature of paradoxical popsicles
PT writes:

Everyone would agree with describing the results of a fair dice throw as random. How many would agree that the results are not strictly determined by the laws of physics?

We all agree that. That's why a dice can't roll a kitten - randomness is bounded by its physical state.

You won't get the result of a kitten without the cause of one being on the die. We know that the universe works this way all the way down as far as we can see.

So we agree that we can dump the kitten then ;-)

There is no question that we have agency and can make things happen of our own volition. There is not much doubt that our volition is caused by our physical state. The question is what is the nature of free will and where does it come from. Its a paradox and so there is lots to discuss.

If we have true agency - ie we can do things without then being pre-determined - then we live in a non-determinate world. We all think we can, and if I doubt it I can roll my dice. If you don't accept that a dice roll is random I'll gamble with photons..

If, on the other hand, you try to predict something like the moment that a radioactive atom will radioact, then youll find yourself at the corner of Poo Creek and No. Einstein and many others believed that the randomness of things like radioactive decay, photons going through polarizers, and other bizarre quantum effects could be explained and predicted if only we knew the hidden variables involved. Not surprisingly, this became known as hidden variable theory, and it turns out to be wrong.

http://www.askamathematician.com/...lieve-in-true-randomness


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 84 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-19-2015 7:10 PM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 88 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-23-2015 10:31 AM Tangle has responded

  
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1702
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 87 of 109 (774819)
12-23-2015 10:28 AM
Reply to: Message 85 by NoNukes
12-19-2015 9:56 PM


Re: Random nature of paradoxical popsicles
On the other hand, nuclear decay timings apparently are truly random with probabilities that are governed by the laws of physics.

Truly random meaning uncaused and random meaning unpredictable. Is that right? How can a truly random process be governed by anything?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 85 by NoNukes, posted 12-19-2015 9:56 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
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ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1702
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


(1)
Message 88 of 109 (774820)
12-23-2015 10:31 AM
Reply to: Message 86 by Tangle
12-20-2015 3:51 AM


Determinism and the Self
We all agree that. That's why a dice can't roll a kitten - randomness is bounded by its physical state.

Yes but the point was that random and determined can coexist. We perceive some events to be random, like a throw of the dice, and yet they are intricately determined by the events that preceded them.

If we have true agency - ie we can do things without then being pre-determined - then we live in a non-determinate world.

Basically you are marking the act of choosing as the beginning of a causal chain and not accounting for the causes that go into the making of the choice. There is an absolutely complete line of causes that have led up to the thoughts that you are having right now.

Where do our choices come from? Why did I choose a kitten instead of a watermelon? It sure feels like I had the free choice to do so but really it just popped into my head. Even if it was the result of some randomly decaying particle it sure wasn't under my control. It feels like I consciously went looking for an example of a random item and came up with kitten but where did the thought to do so come from? As conscious entities we are much closer to being witnesses than we are to being participants.

This does not destroy the self. Instead of removing personal responsibility this strongly makes the case that our actions do matter and can impact the way that things play out. Awareness brings responsibility.

Our sense of freedom of action comes from the process of discovery. Observe predict act observe predict act ... but even in a determined universe there is some element of slippage in the gears so to speak. Effects are limited and ripples fade. Not every flap of the butterfly's wing brings a hurricane and knowing that the sun will rise tomorrow doesn't take anything away from the joy of watching it happen.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 86 by Tangle, posted 12-20-2015 3:51 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 89 by Tangle, posted 12-23-2015 11:27 AM ProtoTypical has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 4635
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 89 of 109 (774822)
12-23-2015 11:27 AM
Reply to: Message 88 by ProtoTypical
12-23-2015 10:31 AM


Re: Determinism and the Self
PT writes:

We perceive some events to be random, like a throw of the dice, and yet they are intricately determined by the events that preceded them.

A throw of the dice IS random. If you must take the extreme position that the result of my dice throw can be known before I throw it (because of perfect knowledge of all physical states) I'll use a photon instead of a dice - which is not affected by such conditions.

This does not destroy the self.

But it does! It means I'm not able to make free choices - the decisions have already been made for me by historical cause and effect.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 88 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-23-2015 10:31 AM ProtoTypical has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 15616
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.4


(1)
Message 90 of 109 (774825)
12-23-2015 12:16 PM


Randomness and the Quantum World
I think the existence of the quantum world guarantees that true randomness exists in the universe. The Casimir effect is one evidence of the random quantum world, where particles flit randomly in and out of existence, governed only by conservation laws regarding charge and spin and so forth.

That quantum randomness can have a macro impact is obvious - it was the whole point of Schrdinger's cat, and its existence is responsible for a great deal of human activity, most obviously quantum research and papers, and a great many Internet pages. Quantum effects have practical applications, such as tunnel diodes, and so does quantum randomness, such as generating secure cryptographic keys.

I do believe we live in a clockwork universe, but only down to the quantum level where elements of reality begin to become truly random. Quantum effects can affect dice, photons, anything.

What does this mean for determinism? I think it means that what we think and do is largely but not completely deterministic, and that any sense of control we have is an illusion.

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Grammar.


    
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