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Author Topic:   Is the future inevitable?
Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 223 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 17 of 109 (773831)
12-09-2015 5:38 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by Larni
12-09-2015 12:21 PM


In a deterministic universe yes. Otherwise no.

What I cannot fathom is how any event can happen without a preceding event.


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 223 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 21 of 109 (773862)
12-10-2015 7:44 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by AZPaul3
12-09-2015 8:02 PM


But, in a probabilistic universe, if you wind the clock back far enough from that event and start over the play out of the probabilities on the second run may not produce the same event from the first run.

Clockworks always play out the same way and so we can predict the position of the clock at some future time with precision. We use probabilities to predict outcomes for events that we do not have all of the variables for like nuclear decay.

quote:
So, for example, according to QM the fullest description possible of a radium atom (or a chunk of radium, for that matter), does not suffice to determine when a given atom will decay, nor how many atoms in the chunk will have decayed at any given time. The theory gives only the probabilities for a decay (or a number of decays) to happen within a given span of time. Einstein and others perhaps thought that this was a defect of the theory that should eventually be removed, by a supplemental hidden variable theory[6] that restores determinism; but subsequent work showed that no such hidden variables account could exist. At the microscopic level the world is ultimately mysterious and chancy. Source

I guess my question is how do you prove that no hidden variables exist?


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 223 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 26 of 109 (773984)
12-11-2015 6:48 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by NoNukes
12-10-2015 10:38 PM


This question has come up before...

Yes I know. In my defense, the answers are described as counter-intuitive even by those who provide them. Causality seems so necessary. An object at rest will remain at rest.

I find it easier to accept the idea that distance is an illusion as opposed to the idea that things happen without cause.


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 223 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 39 of 109 (774169)
12-14-2015 7:59 AM
Reply to: Message 38 by Tangle
12-13-2015 5:38 PM


Re: Is Truth Unavoidable or is it random?
It may be simpler just to say that if there is any element of probability involved, then it can not be a deterministic system.

Probability only refers to our ability to predict an outcome. That we see the universe as a set of probabilities has no impact on the fact that matter behaves in a perfectly deterministic manner. The only way that it is not a deterministic system is if matter does not behave in a consistent manner. Unpredictable does equal undetermined.


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 223 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 41 of 109 (774175)
12-14-2015 8:58 AM
Reply to: Message 40 by Tangle
12-14-2015 8:31 AM


Re: Is Truth Unavoidable or is it random?
If we're not careful, this will decend into war of definitions.

Also known as a conversation or debate.

The answer is that if the universes are like ours - probabalistic - then they will go out of synch.

The answer is that if the universes were identical then they would not go out of synch. The other answer is that it is impossible to actually have 2 things that are absolutely identical because if you did then they would be the same thing.


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 223 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 46 of 109 (774245)
12-15-2015 8:19 AM
Reply to: Message 42 by Tangle
12-14-2015 9:10 AM


Re: Is Truth Unavoidable or is it random?
could choose to do something or not on the toss of a coin - there would then be a 50% chance of the two worlds differing.

If you flip a coin and it is heads and then you flip the coin in exactly the same way again it will also be heads because you did it the same way. Identical is identical. Don't you think that we could get a machine to always flip heads?

Eh? It's already been said that electrons are identical. Is there only one of them then?

Identical entities do not behave differently from each other. There can only be one thing at one place at one time. So 2 things that are identical in every respect except for their location in space and time are not identical in the same way that a back wound universe would be identical to itself.


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 223 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 47 of 109 (774246)
12-15-2015 8:20 AM
Reply to: Message 44 by caffeine
12-14-2015 1:25 PM


Re: Is Truth Unavoidable or is it random?
Would you prefer 'conguent' to 'identical'?

No I think that if we want to describe 2 things that are the same in every respect then identical is the word.

Wasn't all the talk of quantum physics and hidden variables supposed to demonstrate that they would (diverge), because particles behave non-deterministically at a quantum level?

That is the argument but I am asking how we can possibly know that given that it is impossible to reproduce any experiment that is affected by the time at which it is conducted.

I admit that I do not understand how Bell's Theorem proves that there can be no undiscovered variables. I mean how do we exclude dark matter or dark energy or gravity waves or neutrino interference or things that we have not discovered as possible confounders? As we bring our atomic clocks to an accuracy of 1 second in 200 million yrs doesn't this speak to some serious consistency in the way that molecules behave?


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 223 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 48 of 109 (774250)
12-15-2015 8:51 AM
Reply to: Message 45 by Jon
12-14-2015 9:46 PM


Re: Two Points...

· Only science can answer the question of whether the Universe we inhabit is deterministic and whether we ourselves, and other living sentient beings, have the ability to overcome such determinism

It surprises me that the idea of free will was even considered by the likes of Bell and Einstein when they were doing their sums. It strikes me as a bias to be worried about the ramifications of a deterministic universe on the concept of human free will when researching the nature of determinism.

Anyway, I am not sure that a perfectly deterministic universe destroys free will or personal responsibility. A random number generator uses rules to produce random numbers.


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 223 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


(1)
Message 50 of 109 (774252)
12-15-2015 9:29 AM
Reply to: Message 49 by Jon
12-15-2015 9:26 AM


Re: Two Points...
Meaning that they are unpredictable.

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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 223 days)
Posts: 1814
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 60 of 109 (774317)
12-16-2015 9:55 AM
Reply to: Message 51 by Tangle
12-15-2015 10:49 AM


Re: Is Truth Unavoidable or is it random?
If you eliminate all possibility of randomness in both universes, then of course everything pans out the same. That was made clear right at the beginning. You've just defined it away

I don't think that randomness and determinism are mutually exclusive. You know those lottery ball machines. The results from the lottery ball machine are totally random and totally subject to the laws of cause and effect. We say that the results are random but any sufficient intelligence could theoretically predict the results. Randomness refers to our ability to predict and not to uncaused events.

Say that we film one of those lottery ball machines. Say that we wind the film back and play it again. Will the results be any different the second time we watch the film? Going back in time is like rewinding a film and not like running the same experiment for a second time.

What if we wound the clock back by one attosecond? Could the next attosecond possibly play out any differently? The notion that an uncaused event can have an effect in a causal universe is the same as the notion of a supernatural entity that pokes his head in the window from time to time.

- It's hardly a puzzle worth proposing.

It is really a question of free will so how about this arrangement. When we create an AI that behaves in a manner indistinguishable from the average human, will it have the quality of free will?


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 223 days)
Posts: 1814
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?


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 223 days)
Posts: 1814
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!


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 223 days)
Posts: 1814
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.


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 223 days)
Posts: 1814
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?


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Dogmafood
Member (Idle past 223 days)
Posts: 1814
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.


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