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Author Topic:   Creation Vs. Evolution = Free will Vs. determinism
Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3333 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 1 of 164 (126932)
07-23-2004 9:17 AM


In a recent debate with Syamsu (all my topics seem to start off like this) he proposed that 'creation' was embodied in acts which had no physical/ material basis. He further suggested that while such acts were recognised in science in general, presumably in things like the uncertainty principle and the statistical nature of QM, they were irrationally excluded from evolutionary science.

Leaving aside the merits of the argument that evolutionary science ignores non-deterministic phenomena this seems to boil down to a claim that religious creationism presupposes free will while atheistic materialism neccessitates the universe being wholly deterministic.

I think this is a somewhat idiosyncratic, if not unique, interpretation of 'creation' but it does raise the question of free will. I was wanting to open a thread both to give Syamsu a chance to discuss his ideas, and his challenge for people to 'describe an event where things can turn out one way or another', without derailing the 'Evolution is NOT science' thread and also to ask what the split is between believers in fore-ordination/determination and free will in both the evolution and creation camps. I suspect that all Syamsu's challenge is doing is showing how hard it is to actually demonstrate any such thing as free will existing.

I know there are already a couple of threads this overlaps with, such as the 'Just an Evo robot', so if you feel the topic is redundant or unfocussed just let me know.

TTFN,

WK


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by AdminNosy, posted 07-23-2004 11:20 AM Wounded King has replied
 Message 5 by 1.61803, posted 07-23-2004 3:17 PM Wounded King has replied
 Message 13 by Glordag, posted 07-24-2004 8:29 AM Wounded King has taken no action
 Message 16 by Syamsu, posted 07-25-2004 3:38 AM Wounded King has replied
 Message 35 by Brad McFall, posted 07-29-2004 12:58 PM Wounded King has taken no action

  
AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 164 (126955)
07-23-2004 11:20 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Wounded King
07-23-2004 9:17 AM


Where should I put this?
Now, be polite. Thanks

This message is a reply to:
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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3333 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 3 of 164 (126965)
07-23-2004 11:50 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminNosy
07-23-2004 11:20 AM


Re: Where should I put this?
I'm not quite sure, to be honest I was interested in seeing where you would put it. I would think that either 'Faith & Belief' for the discussion of different attitudes to free will or 'Miscellaneous'. Personally I'd prefer F&B as I suspect more people would see it there who might be prepared to offer an opinion and that is the thread where the debate originated.

TTFN,

WK

This message has been edited by Wounded King, 07-23-2004 10:51 AM

This message has been edited by Wounded King, 07-23-2004 11:24 AM


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AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 4 of 164 (127023)
07-23-2004 3:00 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
1.61803
Member (Idle past 742 days)
Posts: 2928
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004


Message 5 of 164 (127032)
07-23-2004 3:17 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Wounded King
07-23-2004 9:17 AM


Hi wounded king, I was wondering how the random nature of the universe can be excluded from The theory of evolution? How can the principles of QM be divorced from natural laws. I believe there is both free will and determinism. Choices can be made, but events set forth from those choices are deterimined. In other words you can choose to start a domino down the row...and once that choice is made it creates a string of events. But you can also choose not to start the domino. Forgive me if this is over simplistic. I may not fully grasp yours and Syamsu's point.

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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3333 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 6 of 164 (127048)
07-23-2004 4:13 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by 1.61803
07-23-2004 3:17 PM


I hope you realise that my point and Syamsu's point tend to be points diametrically opposite each other.

I see absoloutely no problem with randomness in evolution, it is after all a probabilistic phenomenon.

As far as QM being in some way a guarantor of randomness in natural laws I am not so convinced. While random effects are clearly dominant at the quantum level there is a huge disconnect from that up to the macroscopic level. Random events on a quantum level give rise to the, as far as we can determine, deterministic effects that we rely on in order for our way of life, indeed life itself, to continue.

The real issue is one of free will, i.e. did you really have any choice about starting that domino or was your brains biochemistry in such a state that you actually had to push it even though your mental processes tell you you had a choice. Syamsu seems to be proposing that a purely materialistic view of the universe would require this, while I would only say that a purely deterministic view would be neccessary and that religious or materialist views are irrelevant.

Syamsu furthers posits that the source of the free willed choice is the same sort of phenomenon as that of creation, i.e. an apparently causeless and immaterial event having a specific effect on the material universe, I may not have this exactly right, I hope Syamsu will drop in to elaborate his ideas in his own words at some point.

I suppose the most obvious QM event to use as an analogy would be the creation of virtual/vacuum particles. Could choice be the result of virtual particles acting transiently on brain biochemistry, would this really be free will anyway? I am starting to tread on Roger Penrose activity now so I'll take a break and lie down in a darkened room.

TTFN,

WK


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Replies to this message:
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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3333 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 7 of 164 (127051)
07-23-2004 4:22 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Wounded King
07-23-2004 4:13 PM


Just as a point of information, here is what that hack Hawking (JK ) had to say on QM as a basis for a deterministic universe.

Stephen Hawking writes:

These quantum theories are deterministic in the sense that they give laws for the evolution of the wave with time. Thus if one knows the wave at one time, one can calculate it at any other time. The unpredictable, random element comes in only when we try to interpret the wave in terms of the positions and velocities of particles. But maybe this is our mistake: maybe there are no positions and velocities, but only waves. It is just that we try to fit the waves to our preconceived ideas of positions and velocities. The resulting mismatch is the cause of the apparent unpredictability.

So maybe QM is only random in a 'folk' sense and at a more fundamental level it too is deterministic, i.e. a many worlds universe may be entirely deterministic but to an observer in any one trouser leg, to steal a metaphor, it will seem probabilistic.

TTFN,

WK

This message has been edited by Wounded King, 07-23-2004 03:31 PM


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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3333 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 8 of 164 (127061)
07-23-2004 4:45 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Wounded King
07-23-2004 4:22 PM


Just to continue my trend of talking to myself I thought I would provide some background reading on the subject.

here is a good little brief precis of the issue of free will and dterminism and a number of related philosophical positions. From the sound of it you, 1.61803, are a 'libertarian' but not of the gun toting whack-job variety, although maybe you are what with being a texan, alternatively you may be a 'compatibilist'.

I have to admit I'm not quite sure where I fit on the spectrum myself. I suspect that I might be a hard determinist, in which case Syamsu is totally correct in his suggestion about my lack of belief in an uncaused event but is wrong in saying that I can't conceive of such a thing in the abstract.

TTFN,

WK

P.S. Hopefully someone other than me will be the next person to post a reply.


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1.61803
Member (Idle past 742 days)
Posts: 2928
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004


Message 9 of 164 (127151)
07-23-2004 9:22 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Wounded King
07-23-2004 4:45 PM


Hi Wounded King, I do not completely feel that both positions are as opposed as you would suspect. I am not a physicist but I find the subject of QM very interesting. As Hawking elluded to waves as a continuim is not completely accurate because light for instance can propagate as a wave or a particle. It is only when one looks for the behavior of one does the observer find the properties of what he is seeking to measure. Observation is causality. Actualizing a event so to speak. I believe the structure of the cosmos and the nature of reality to be unknowable. Schrodingers cat is an example of the randomness and causality of observation. The very quantum fluctuaton that spawned the big bang may very well have been a random event. Freewill in my opinion is an emergent property of existance. And cause and effect is a emergent property of matter. The two coexist in my mind.


"One is punished most for ones virtues" Fredrick Neitzche

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Replies to this message:
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Hangdawg13
Member
Posts: 1189
From: Texas
Joined: 05-30-2004


Message 10 of 164 (127212)
07-24-2004 12:02 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Wounded King
07-23-2004 4:45 PM


Hi WK,

I was thinking about this today on the lifeguard stand, but more from the theological perspective.

In our universe, we take probability or chance for granted. If you can, imagine a universe where EVERYthing happens for a specific knowable reason. Suppose you lived in this universe. How would you know the difference between your choices and the anti-chance events of the universe? If EVERYthing happened for a specific reason (non-chance), there would be no differentiation between your will and the will of whoever was subjecting the universe to determined actions.

In our universe it seems as though the ONLY thing not subject to chance is our free-will. I mean we might as well roll the dice to see who wins the presidential election if free-will was the same as chance. Nations rise and fall. People mature. Some make good choices some make bad. Crime rates rise and fall. Some people from good homes turn bad, people rise from ashes to be great. There are uneven distributions in percentages of those who abide by a certain religion. Etc...

People are influenced yes, but only to a certain extent by those around them and by their circumstances.

Now if God is in control of everything, and God wants to give us a small amount of sovereignty in order to have meaningful free-will, the only way he can truly give us uncoerced free-will is to create a background of randomness and chance so that our free-will will stand apart. Chance exists to differentiate our will from God's. God is still very much in control of chance, but has hidden his will in chance so as not to coerce our own.

I don't know what bearing this has on QM. But it seems like we may have found absolute randomness and absolute order in QM. Random in the sense of unpredictablity and order in the sense that every particle seems to 'know' where every other particle is.

It's all mind bending stuff. If I think about it much more, I might go nuts.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Wounded King, posted 07-23-2004 4:45 PM Wounded King has replied

Replies to this message:
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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3333 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 11 of 164 (127262)
07-24-2004 4:48 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by 1.61803
07-23-2004 9:22 PM


I don't think your criticism of Hawking is valid. I don't think that particle-wave duality is any barrier to Hawking's discussion of the evolution of the proability wavefunction, what he is saying is specifically that while we observe the collapse of the wavefunction we don't really know how that 'collapse' occurs and it may not truly be a collapse outside of our on particular frame of reference.

Do you think Hawking's is unaware of wave-particle duality?

As to your stand, well to be honest I don't really know what 'Freewill in my opinion is an emergent property of existance' really means. It could just as well cover both a true form of freewill based on indeterminism and an experienced form of free will which is really only a mental byproduct of deterministic factors.

TTFN,

WK


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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3333 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 12 of 164 (127263)
07-24-2004 4:54 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Hangdawg13
07-24-2004 12:02 AM


Hey Hangdawg13,

What is your opinion of fore-ordination? Do you believe that God knows everything that will happen in the future, can God be surprised?

Do you agree with Syamsu that the sort of random factor God has used to allow us free will is similar to the apparently causeless, in purely material terms, creation of the universe?

TTFN,

WK

P.S. I'm not trying to make you go nuts, honest.


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Replies to this message:
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Glordag
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 164 (127279)
07-24-2004 8:29 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Wounded King
07-23-2004 9:17 AM


Well, I'm sure any of you that have looked in on the other thread know my opinion, but I definitely lean more in the deterministic direction. I recognize that we make our own conscious choices, but I believe these are completely dependant on our surroundings. Everyone has their agendas, and they will go about things in the way that accomplishes such agendas best. This isn't to say people think of something in their mind and figure out a way to do it necessarily (though people do this fairly often, I'd say), but rather we react to things in the way that suits us best at that moment in time for whatever various reasons.

If you put a giant hill between me and my normal route to school, I am going to go around it. If it becomes blazing hot outside, I might decide to stay inside for the day. In this sense, I don't think any of us have truly 100% free will, depending on your definition of such. We are always prisoners of our surroundings.

Now, I realize the argument might come up that goes something like "sure, you might not go outside if it is that hot, but you could!". While this is true, I am not trying to say that we are FORCED into our decisions. Instead, I am merely saying our decisions are influenced entirely by our surroundings. Say I did go outside. There must have been a reason that I did so, right? Perhaps I needed a tan, which is a result of my surroundings not including enough sun. Perhaps I needed exercise, which is a result of many things, including the diet available to me and the amount of exercise I've been able to get.

In other words, yes, I believe we make our own choices, but I also believe that these choices are the end result of our surroundings.

On a sidenote, I'm taking Quantum A next semester...it should be interesting!


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Hangdawg13
Member
Posts: 1189
From: Texas
Joined: 05-30-2004


Message 14 of 164 (127402)
07-25-2004 1:28 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Wounded King
07-24-2004 4:54 AM


Thank you for your reply.

What is your opinion of fore-ordination? Do you believe that God knows everything that will happen in the future,

yes.

can God be surprised?

Nope. Time is a constraint of the physical universe, which God himself created. I see no reason why God would be time-bound and therefore be limited in knowledge by time. God is omniscient meaning he knows all the knowable simultaneously.

Do you agree with Syamsu that the sort of random factor God has used to allow us free will is similar to the apparently causeless, in purely material terms, creation of the universe?

Hmm... well, if randomness is a created element of the universe meant to make free-will meaningful, then randomness could not exist "before" the creation of the universe. However, there really wasn't a "before" was there, since time is a property of the universe? So if randomness came with the creation we couldn't really describe the creation itself as random. It's so hard to get away from time.

So I guess the answer is no.

This message has been edited by Hangdawg13, 07-25-2004 12:31 AM


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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3333 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 15 of 164 (127417)
07-25-2004 3:31 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Hangdawg13
07-25-2004 1:28 AM


I wasn't saying that creation itself was random but that the underlying basis of any randomness in the universe comes from a similar non-material source as whatever the primary cause was, i.e. God. In fact I personally am saying no such thing, but that was the argument I was putting up.

TTFN,

WK


This message is a reply to:
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