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Author Topic:   Free will but how free really?
Agobot
Member (Idle past 4556 days)
Posts: 786
Joined: 12-16-2007


Message 46 of 182 (483889)
09-24-2008 5:49 PM
Reply to: Message 45 by Straggler
09-24-2008 5:34 PM


Re: This will spill over many topics but...
Agobot writes:

What is causing the phenomenon that prevents us from knowing with accuracy both the position and the momentum of an electron?(kidding, kidding...haha:) )

Straggler writes:

How would you measure? By observation? But a photon required to do that measurement would itself change the position and/or momentum of that electron. That is my simplistic understanding anyway.

You don't really have to attempt to explain what's causing the Uncertainty Principle. That's why i said kidding, kidding... haha after the question.
Anyway, kidding aside, I appreciate you taking part in this discussion. 10x

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.


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ikabod
Member (Idle past 3519 days)
Posts: 365
From: UK
Joined: 03-13-2006


Message 47 of 182 (483945)
09-25-2008 6:48 AM
Reply to: Message 28 by Agobot
09-24-2008 9:41 AM


Re: Lack of information
but my perception is that we are robots with a pre-determined past, presence and future. In that sense what i am writing here is also pre-determined....

if that is ture is does beg the question where did the idea of free will come from , for such a system as you beleive in has to be a closed system , and so any content would have to be set at the start.
Odd that such a system should contain a concept that is totally alien in nature to the system itself , and is impossible to occur or expirence ...if there is no free will , there is no free thought , so there are no ideas , there is only content ..

and yet we are debating about Free will .....

here is one option to consider .. even the best built robots can malfunction ... maybe free will is a software error in our robot brains , and should not be occuring .. may be we have deveated from the pre-determined route ...

Personal i follow the great teachings ..
stuff happens ,
life is a four letter word ,
all you can do is smile ..it makes other people think your up to something ,
if you worry too much about life you end up with no time to live it ...


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Agobot
Member (Idle past 4556 days)
Posts: 786
Joined: 12-16-2007


Message 48 of 182 (483954)
09-25-2008 9:17 AM


It basically boils down to an almost religious question. Is it possible for an uncaused event to exist? We generally expect things to follow the cause/effect logic, but for the concept of true random and chaos to exist, it would have to break that logic.
But things seem to follow (based on past history and science) that things are random until proven otherwise. We use probability to estimate something unknown, or not-easily measurable at the given time, without given instrumentation.
Is it impossible to measure a photon's position without changing its future path? I'm pretty sure it is right now but would you go so far as to say it's impossible at all in any length of time?

And if we cannot determine a cause for the uncertainty principle it may seem to act in random, but once we figure out the cause, it is no longer random.

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.


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ikabod
Member (Idle past 3519 days)
Posts: 365
From: UK
Joined: 03-13-2006


Message 49 of 182 (484061)
09-26-2008 3:24 AM
Reply to: Message 48 by Agobot
09-25-2008 9:17 AM


but if it is all mapped out , why do we question it ...where do the concepts of non determand futures come from ...

i am reminded of a quote .. which i shall now mangle as i cant remember is source ...

it is about the uncertainty principle and a certain cat ... even if you could know the position of every subatomic partical that makes up the cat .. you would still not know why it goes purrs....

Edited by ikabod, : No reason given.


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 1130 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 50 of 182 (484088)
09-26-2008 10:28 AM
Reply to: Message 38 by Agobot
09-24-2008 1:26 PM


Re: Lack of information
Are you inferring God/super power/Unknown entity?

I'm not inferring one, I'm suggesting it as a philosophical possibility - and I'm more erring towards 'souls' than God. What I am saying is that you cannot simply ignore the dualist position by saying that the physicalist position is right. A stronger argument is needed. The links contain summaries of various arguments in that direction.

Why wouldn't weather be 100% predictable if we knew ALL the forces and variables at play?

I do not know if weather would be 100% predictable if we knew ALL the forces and variables at play, I imagine it that the most efficient way of knowing all the variables at play would be to create an exact copy of this universe and examine what happens in the future. I dare say we'd do a pretty good job if we did, unless free will exists - then we might still have a few difficulties.

What I actually said was that Weather is a chaotic system. A chaotic system is NOT a system that cannot be predicted even when we know all the variables. A chaotic system is a dynamic system in which even slight, seemingly insignificant, variances in the initial variables can result in dramatic differences later down the line.

To simplify meteorology for a moment, let us say that there is only one variable in weather: air pressure. Let us say you measure the air pressure at a certain place to be 890.11123214mb. You do your calculations and it says 'nasty hurricane will hit within 24 hours'. However, this is only for 890.111232140mb. If you plug in 890.111232144mb it says 'slight rain and heightened wind in the next 24 hours'. This is a chaotic system. All I was trying to tell you was that chaotic systems and deterministic systems are not mutually exclusive: the weather may well be 100% deterministic but it is still also chaotic.

I had a great pleasure talking to you but have to run now. I'll be back in a fews hours.

The feeling is mutual, I missed your edits so I was a bit late getting back to you anyway :)

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 1130 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 51 of 182 (484089)
09-26-2008 10:41 AM
Reply to: Message 42 by Stile
09-24-2008 2:05 PM


Re: Deterministic vs. Random, eh?
I'm beginning to see the dilemma.

It's certainly a pickle, maybe a pickle and a half.

Or perhpas we may even have the ability to make a decision random if we so choose?

And that choice itself could then be paradoxically deterministic. There are studies out there that deal with this topic. If you ask a person to draw dots at random on a page, you generally find that they evenly distribute the dots whereas a random number generator will clump some dots tightly together while some parts of the page will be sparsely populated.

On the other hand, humans might have at least limited random number generation capabilities which the authors speculate may be called into operation during decision making where there is no clearly superior option available as a strategy to break a cycle of indecision.

Heh... I sometimes say things unnecessarily blunt when I'm confident the audience is not going to be offended easily

I hope to continue to avoid denting your confidence :)


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Syamsu 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4616 days)
Posts: 1914
From: amsterdam
Joined: 05-19-2002


Message 52 of 182 (484107)
09-26-2008 2:52 PM


So far in this thread a dozen or so unanswered questions were raised about freedom, and nothing was established. The result is that the knowledge about freedom of the evolutionists that posted is an even bigger mess then it was at the start of the thread.

These people are ofcourse destroying knowledge about freedom, because subconsciously they don't like the link between freedom and the spiritual realm.

Creationist science on the other hand has crispy clear logic about freedom. Creationism helps judges and jurors distinguish between free and forced behaviour of defendants and witnesses, Evolution theory makes the issue a mess in people's minds.


  
Son Goku
Member
Posts: 1181
From: Ireland
Joined: 07-16-2005


Message 53 of 182 (484183)
09-26-2008 8:41 PM
Reply to: Message 45 by Straggler
09-24-2008 5:34 PM


Quantum Chaos
This is an odd subject. As remarked chaos is a largely classical phenomena which essentially means changing the initial conditions a bit changes the final outcome a lot.

Quantum chaos would be where changes in the initial conditions of a quantum system result in a large change in the final conditions of that system. However the weird thing is that, a side from certain well known and now heavily studied systems, this does not happen. Quantum mechanics does not "like" chaos at all and it is very difficult to make any purely QM system exhibit chaotic effects.

This results in a funny situation. Even though QM contains some element of inherent probability (be it with the systems themselves or our macroscopic interactions with them, depending on your interpretation) it doesn't really contain any chaos. However the average classical system is chaotic. Choas, in practice, makes predictability more difficult than quantum indeterminism. Which means a quantum mechanical system is on average more predicable in a practical sense than a classical system.

What is causing the phenomenon that prevents us from knowing with accuracy both the position and the momentum of an electron?

Different interpretations give different answers. Most physicists would say a particle does not possess a specific momentum or position, only a probability of being found possessing some momentum or position. So there is nothing to definite to know. This is what most interpretations say.
Bohr (Historical Copenhagen) would have said that "position" and "momentum" were classical concepts which mean nothing to quantum systems. However we can force a quantum system to be more like our classical world from either a momentum perspective or a position perspective, but not both at once. For some reason.

Edited by Son Goku, : Minor spelling edit.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 54 of 182 (484196)
09-26-2008 10:30 PM
Reply to: Message 53 by Son Goku
09-26-2008 8:41 PM


Re: Quantum Chaos
Cheers for the typically informative and well pitched reply.

Quantum chaos would be where changes in the initial conditions of a quantum system result in a large change in the final conditions of that system. However the weird thing is that, a side from certain well known and now heavily studied systems, this does not happen. Quantum mechanics does not "like" chaos at all and it is very difficult to make any purely QM system exhibit chaotic effects.

Why is this? Is it just the fact that small changes in initial conditions have a relatively small effect on things that are probabalistic anyway? E.g. A tiny change in a a particles possible initial position has little effect on the possible position that the particle has at some time later. The effects of small changes are effectively absorbed by the 'smudginess' of the system. Is that correct?


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Agobot
Member (Idle past 4556 days)
Posts: 786
Joined: 12-16-2007


Message 55 of 182 (484279)
09-27-2008 3:14 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by Modulous
09-26-2008 10:28 AM


Re: Lack of information
Edit: Misunderstood the post of Modulous and deleted my reply to it.

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.


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Son Goku
Member
Posts: 1181
From: Ireland
Joined: 07-16-2005


Message 56 of 182 (484572)
09-29-2008 3:50 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by Straggler
09-26-2008 10:30 PM


Re: Quantum Chaos
Is it just the fact that small changes in initial conditions have a relatively small effect on things that are probabilistic anyway? E.g. A tiny change in a a particles possible initial position has little effect on the possible position that the particle has at some time later. The effects of small changes are effectively absorbed by the 'smudginess' of the system. Is that correct?

When QM deals with many-body systems, i.e. thousands of particles this is the reason for the phenomena I've mentioned.

An even more fundamental reason is because QM is linear. To accommodate small changes in the initial conditions, you just add on a term to the wavefunction, a very simple thing to do. The fact that you can do this can be traced back to QM being based on linear algebra. In classical mechanics however there is no general method to determine what small changes in the initial condition will do. Of course a lot of classical systems are not chaotic because small changes in the initial conditions don't make that big a difference.

For some even stranger stuff the two following facts are very interesting. Believe it or not Quantum Mechanics likes chaos so little that:
(a)Should there be a chaotic system which develops chaos on smaller and smaller scales as time develops, as soon as the chaos reaches the quantum level it gets shut off. Quantum mechanics will prevent its growth to smaller scales.
(b)If chaos starts off at the quantum scale, it gets kicked up to classical scales very, very fast and the quantum mechanical level returns to its original non-chaotic state.


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AshsZ
Member (Idle past 4426 days)
Posts: 35
From: Edgewater, FL USA
Joined: 05-17-2008


Message 57 of 182 (512125)
06-14-2009 12:11 PM


The problem with the unanswered questions comes from the fact that on one hand because we cannot predict any system's outcome over indefinite time limits it gives the impression that there exists an element of uncertainty. Uncertainty just means you dont know for sure, exactly, at all times for all of time what it will do - it does not mean that the system being observed is chaotic - it means that the methods we use to understand and predict are incomplete.

We, as in the human race, are products of the universe we live within - we possess no "out of the box" perspective to reveal all of the components of the universe we live within. It has only been within the last sliver on the timeline of human existence that we are aware of real things that none of our senses reveal to us directly - electromagnetic fields is a great one - how many radio station broadcasts are bombarding you right now? On that same token, what other "things" make up the universe which we have not discovered yet? To think that we have discovered it all is naive.

It would be my opinion that the universe has an entirely systemic construct - a construct that has only one path - that all events occuring at any point in time are leading to only one outcome based on a fixed set of rules, or laws if you will.

If one believes in the concept of free will it is refuting the possibility that everything is functioning within a set of rules. It would mean that there are incidents where something does an "odd" thing. Consider this for a moment: you take hydrogen and oxygen and put them into a balloon and then put a lighter to the balloon. As soon as the flame breaches the balloon, the hydrogen and oxygen are going to react, causing a rapid release of energy - BOOM!

The oxygen and hydrogen are always going to react in this same manner - they wont take a day off, they wont do anything other than produce the same results each and every time.

If you hold a ball in the air and release it, it will always accelerate towards the ground. Gravity doesn't deviate - it will always do exactly the same thing every time.

Everything works like this. All the known forces behave with the same absolute consistency - it is the only "thing" in the universe that doesn't change.

All of the living organisms on the planet are made entirely from the same stuff everything else in the universe is. Granted, living organisms are highly complex structures, but every atom they are made of has to follow these rules. The complexity of living things is just so great that we lack the ability to understand how all of those atoms within said organism are uniquely following those rules and interacting with all of the other atoms....... and going one step further, how the environment is acting upon the organism. ....But it should be no question that they are following those unchanging rules..... the rules always apply.

It appears to me that there is a really simple test to see if we have real free choice or whether our behaviour is dictated by conditioning and genetics. Find any experiment and do it over and over again - I assure you the same results will always occur.

This is the understanding I stick to but I dont let it interfere with my daily life - to me, in my life experience I am making decisions all the time. There are some things that occur in my life just as anyone elses' of which I didn't make happen - there are also times where I have no control over things. This debate over free will probably spurs out of thoughts similar to this - the actuality of it is that we, as individuals, do not have the ability to be everywhere at all time to observe everything that happens - even if that were possible, you would still have to ENTIRELY know and understand all of the elements that make the universe tick. If we had that ability, there would be no chance, no uncertainty, no chaos. Fortunately for us though, we dont have this ability. Life's uncertainties is a fundamental part of being human - taking that away would spoil the journey.

Edited by AshsZ, : grammar


Replies to this message:
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Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 1357 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


Message 58 of 182 (512130)
06-14-2009 1:50 PM
Reply to: Message 57 by AshsZ
06-14-2009 12:11 PM


AshsZ writes:

It appears to me that there is a really simple test to see if we have real free choice or whether our behaviour is dictated by conditioning and genetics. Find any experiment and do it over and over again - I assure you the same results will always occur.

Actually, that is where your assurance would be wrong. If you want to view the behavior of a complex, conscious organism as being deterministic in some "pre-facto" sense (predictable? predetermined?), you are assuming a breadth and depth of knowledge that is essentially unattainable about the conditioning factors that "determine" that behavior.

In fact, given the interaction among conditioning factors, many of which involve other behaviors by other complex, conscious organisms, the "knowledge" that "determines" a given specific behavioral action cannot be fully known until the time of that action, because a lot of the relevant knowledge (perhaps we should call it "data") doesn't actually exist until the event in question actually occurs.

I feel fairly confident in making this assertion, because the conditioning factors for one organism's behavior include the behaviors of other organisms, whose behaviors in turn are affected by that of the primary organism being observed. Maybe this is just some form of "argument from incredulity" or something, but just from the perspective of compliance with Occam's razor, it makes more sense to talk about organisms having the capacity to develop a sense of intentions, and for their behaviors to reflect this capacity.

BTW, let's not be naive about the replicability of experiments involving behavior. There are known variances in results when observing all sorts of human behaviors, and the factors that induce variability are, at best, treatable by waving them into vague categories of "fatique/alertness", "attention/distraction", "emotional state", and so on. Many researchers quite sensibly retain a factor of "randomness" ({ABE:} and this randomness itself may potentially include a component of "intention" -- i.e. one person's intention is not fully knowable by others, and in any case is liable to change in unpredictable ways).

Edited by Otto Tellick, : added closing comment as noted.


autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1724 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 59 of 182 (512131)
06-14-2009 1:52 PM
Reply to: Message 57 by AshsZ
06-14-2009 12:11 PM


Hi, AshsZ.

AshsZ writes:

The problem with the unanswered questions comes from the fact that on one hand because we cannot predict any system's outcome over indefinite time limits it gives the impression that there exists an element of uncertainty. Uncertainty just means you dont know for sure, exactly, at all times for all of time what it will do - it does not mean that the system being observed is chaotic - it means that the methods we use to understand and predict are incomplete.

Be careful with this. When doing science, we generally assume that the results are deterministic, and that any noise in the system is due to our incomplete knowledge of the deterministic processes that cause the phenomenon being studied.

But, since it's an assumption, it cannot also be a conclusion.


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by AshsZ, posted 06-14-2009 12:11 PM AshsZ has responded

Replies to this message:
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AshsZ
Member (Idle past 4426 days)
Posts: 35
From: Edgewater, FL USA
Joined: 05-17-2008


Message 60 of 182 (512137)
06-14-2009 2:19 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by Blue Jay
06-14-2009 1:52 PM


Hi Bluejay,

Not sure I understand what you mean there. Can you elaborate on where what I said is incorrect?


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Replies to this message:
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