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Author Topic:   free will
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 37 (27890)
12-26-2002 9:00 AM


currently there are a few threads having to do with the mind, free will, and determinism/randomness... some say that if the material is all that exists, free will is impossible (strict determinism, ie. states of affairs are contingent upon prior antecedent states etc)... some say that quantum mechanics coupled with chaos theory is the only way free will can exist

i say that any naturalistic (determinism OR quantum theory) system, if true and if the whole truth, results in no free will... if there isn't some reason apart from the natural universe for man to truly have free will, free will is an illusion

i think most would agree that materiality alone results in determinism thus no free will... but why should a quantum view result in no free will?.. the reason is, to my way of thinking, free will is a casuality in either case... quantum theory merely replaces determinism with randomness...

whether our actions today are a result of an immediately prior state of affairs or whether they are purely random, they are not free... we can't be said to have a real choice in either case... if no real choice, no accountability for our actions...

so in both views of the universe, morality doesn't exist, ethics don't exist... man individually and corporately either reacts to prior states of affairs else acts according to purely random movements of particles at the quantum level...

love doesn't exist, truth doesn't exist, in either universe... they are both merely functions of random interactions of sub-atomic particles else they are contingent upon some cause

it seems to me that the person who affirms free will in any naturalistic, material universe has a serious problem, internally, in her worldview


Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by Mr. Davies, posted 12-26-2002 9:58 AM forgiven has responded

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 37 (27892)
12-26-2002 9:06 AM


DELETED DUPLICATE POST BY EDIT

[This message has been edited by forgiven, 12-26-2002]


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forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 37 (27896)
12-26-2002 9:27 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by forgiven
12-26-2002 9:06 AM


Originally posted by joz:
A system in chaotic motion is completely unpredictable. Given the configuration of the system at any one point in time, it is impossible to predict with certainty how it will end up at a later point in time.

Does that help?

somewhat, but it still leaves me wondering whether the statement is true or whether it's only true given our inadequate interpretation of the data... iow, it says "..at any one point in time.." prediction is impossible for "..a later point in time.."

but we do "predict" the weather from one PIT to another, just not perfectly... does it follow that imperfection of prediction is due to the impossibility of that prediction? why can't we look forward to a time when our interpretation of the data makes such prediction not only possible but commonplace?

Originally posted by joz:
And while it also says...

These systems are called chaotic. The unpredictability of chaotic systems comes about from their sensitivity to their initial conditions. Two identical chaotic systems that area set in motion with slightly different initial conditions can quickly exhibit motions that are very different.

What do you think billions upon billions of random interactions at the quantum level will do two two identical systems with identiccal starting conditions?

now here's where i have a slight problem with the whole idea (actually i have rather large problems but maybe we'll work our way to them)... if, as you believe, our current state of affairs is caused by random interactions of sub-atomic particles on the quantum level, why isn't our *next* state of affairs contingent upon this one?

do you see the problem here? the very fact of randomness (if it exists) doesn't negate casuality... whatever state one finds himself in seems contingent upon the state one *found* himself in immmediately prior... using randomness to explain our present state while denying the necessity of an immediately prior state seems somewhat misleading


This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by forgiven, posted 12-26-2002 9:06 AM forgiven has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by joz, posted 12-26-2002 9:55 AM forgiven has responded

  
joz
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 37 (27898)
12-26-2002 9:55 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by forgiven
12-26-2002 9:27 AM


quote:
Originally posted by forgiven:
do you see the problem here? the very fact of randomness (if it exists) doesn't negate casuality... whatever state one finds himself in seems contingent upon the state one *found* himself in immmediately prior... using randomness to explain our present state while denying the necessity of an immediately prior state seems somewhat misleading

Busy at the mo so I'll get the rest later....

That view would be fine if the those random events happened, disordered the system and then stopped and let purely deterministic forces take over, the problem is that the random interactions still occur so there will always be some random influence, in most real world systems statistical aproximations are very good at describing macroscopic effects and hence there is to a large extent causality in the macroscopic world, however other systems are chaotic and small fluctuations lead to increasingly unpredictable patterns...

But the point is that the disordering randomness of QM can`t be switched off to let classical physics etc take over.....


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by forgiven, posted 12-26-2002 9:27 AM forgiven has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by forgiven, posted 12-26-2002 10:28 AM joz has responded
 Message 12 by Gzus, posted 12-26-2002 3:48 PM joz has responded

  
Mr. Davies
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 37 (27899)
12-26-2002 9:58 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by forgiven
12-26-2002 9:00 AM


Freewill?

From what I read about the god of the bible, and from what posters here and elsewhere state, that it is our free will that god gave us to find him or her. If that is the case, why does the god of the bible give free will when it does the following:

1: Drowning thousands, even infacts and unborns, instead of going to them and saying repent or suffer the consequences.

2: Hardening hearts instead of enlightening them. The Pharoah(sp?) in Exodus, the god of the bible had his heart hardened and his mind changed (sorry heart = mind so no "god didn't affect his mind" stuff).

So, if god finds it easier to kill people, harden their hearts, have his chosen slaughter other tribes (save for the virgin females who are to be used as concubines) and other not so nice things to threaten people into believing in it, what is free will for? It would seem then the god of the bible is more interested in force and fear rather than love and caring. It uses the stick and the threat of death both physical and spiritual if we fall away. Yet makes really no attempt to change our minds for the better, prefering to make people's minds even more against it or just killing them off.

Why is that?

PS:

On another thread somebody pointed out that the god of the bible was concerned about the welfare of women and children and that's why it allowed them to take wives from the enemies who they slaughtered. The problem was that only virgin females were taken. So are we agreed that this was a sexual spoils of war that the god of the bible let his followers regvel in as a reward? I guess rape is ok if your god says do.

------------------
When all else fails, check the manual


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by forgiven, posted 12-26-2002 9:00 AM forgiven has responded

Replies to this message:
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forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 37 (27902)
12-26-2002 10:06 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Mr. Davies
12-26-2002 9:58 AM


^^^^

perhaps you should start a new topic that incorporates your concerns regarding God and your possible misconceptions/misunderstandings


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Mr. Davies, posted 12-26-2002 9:58 AM Mr. Davies has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Mr. Davies, posted 12-26-2002 10:23 AM forgiven has responded

  
Mr. Davies
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 37 (27903)
12-26-2002 10:23 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by forgiven
12-26-2002 10:06 AM


Well, I saw the Freewill and I assumed it was on that particular subject.

As for my misconceptions/misunderstandings about your god, I find that I most likely don't as I just use the bible to show what your god is, and it ain't pretty.

For the thread I saw that bloomed after I responded to you, I think you want to show that the causality of the Universe is so improbable that you need a creator. Well, I'd say that the arguemnet is flawed as if you think everything needs a cause, then so does your god. If you god is supernatural, it is still someplace else, even if you call it heaven. Well, where did this "someplace else" come from?

------------------
When all else fails, check the manual


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by forgiven, posted 12-26-2002 10:06 AM forgiven has responded

Replies to this message:
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forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 37 (27905)
12-26-2002 10:28 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by joz
12-26-2002 9:55 AM


Originally posted by joz:
That view would be fine if the those random events happened, disordered the system and then stopped and let purely deterministic forces take over, the problem is that the random interactions still occur so there will always be some random influence, in most real world systems statistical aproximations are very good at describing macroscopic effects and hence there is to a large extent causality in the macroscopic world, however other systems are chaotic and small fluctuations lead to increasingly unpredictable patterns...

But the point is that the disordering randomness of QM can`t be switched off to let classical physics etc take over.....

let's imagine three temporally consecutive states of affairs.. we'll call them, strangely enough, A, B, and C with C being the latest state...

what i read from your posts is that state C obtains with or without state B having obtained... or state A, for that matter... this very second there is a state of affairs in your life such that the immediately prior state of affairs was not necessary... now i could be wrong here but it seems to me that your present state of affairs is either contingent, necessary, or impossible... are there other alternatives?

you (and q.t.) assert that your present soa is not contingent (it has no antecedent cause), thus it must be either necessary or impossible... it can't be impossible for it exists, thus it must be necessary... yet if this state is necessary then so was state B... however, we see above that there is no necessity for any state of affairs... how can this be?

if your present soa is in fact necessary, it could not be random... moreover, no preceding states of affairs could have been other than they were... being necessary, there was no freedom of choice/will involved either in your present soa OR in the temporal progression, and by extension preceding states, leading to it

how is a necessary occurance undetermined? the best you can say, it seems, is that this state of affairs is contingent upon randomness, which is exactly what i said in my first post

it appears that in a material universe, free will is impossible, and it appears this is so whether we adopt a cause/effect or quantum model


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by joz, posted 12-26-2002 9:55 AM joz has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by joz, posted 12-26-2002 4:08 PM forgiven has responded

  
forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 37 (27907)
12-26-2002 10:44 AM


i have moved to here joz's reply to a post in the now-closed 'true or false' thread


Originally posted by joz:
(Of course that doesn't make the universe totally predictable because as I mentioned before Chaos theory rears its head)....

forgiven:
now as for this part, why do you need chaos theory to account for our lack of predictive ability? isn't the random nature of q.t. enough?

joz:
Not entirely, because there are so many interactions on the quantum level their macroscopic effects can be described fairly well statistically...

What Chaos theory says is that certain systems are increadibly susceptible to minute changes in conditions so that fairly good statistical description can`t help you predict what will happen terribly far into the future...

remember joz, i'm simply trying to understand some things... when you say (emphasis mine) "...on the quantum level their macroscopic effects can be described fairly well statistically..." did you in fact mean to use the word "effects" and if so does it presuppose a cause?

on a deeper level it appears to my untrained eye that if chaos theory grants the necessity of changes in conditions for "certain systems," and if these conditions themselves are necessary for whatever state of affairs obtains at the time, there is far less chaos in the theory than one would be led to believe


Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by joz, posted 12-26-2002 4:24 PM forgiven has responded

  
joz
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 37 (27912)
12-26-2002 11:52 AM


I'm getting a little hint of an idea that this is ultimately going to come down to how we define free will, I'm using a fairly open definition basicaly equivalent to not predetermined, Would you argue with that definition? I guess what I`m saying is that I reckon that QM chaos theory et al lead to situations where causality breaks down and that these situations give the impression of free will, which is an anthropisation of the indeterminant nature of certain aspects of our universe.....

I've got a feeling that we are going to have to do the whole define free will thing before we can go on....


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forgiven
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 37 (27918)
12-26-2002 12:32 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by joz
12-26-2002 11:52 AM


quote:
Originally posted by joz:
I'm getting a little hint of an idea that this is ultimately going to come down to how we define free will, I'm using a fairly open definition basicaly equivalent to not predetermined, Would you argue with that definition? I guess what I`m saying is that I reckon that QM chaos theory et al lead to situations where causality breaks down and that these situations give the impression of free will, which is an anthropisation of the indeterminant nature of certain aspects of our universe.....

I've got a feeling that we are going to have to do the whole define free will thing before we can go on....


how're these? i added quantum mechanics in also, not as a definition but to show where it differes from classical physics... in the meantime, did you decide whether or not your present state of affairs is contingent, necessary, or impossible? or did you come up with another alternative to those three? i'd really appreciate a reply to my previous posts when you have time

Freedom:

The human capacity to act (or not to act) as we choose or prefer, without any external compulsion or restraint. Freedom in this sense is usually regarded as a presupposition of moral responsibility: the actions for which I may be praised or blamed, rewarded or punished, are just those which I perform freely.

The further question of whether choice — the volition or will to act — is itself free or subject to ordinary causality raises the issue of determinism in human conduct.

Determinism:

Belief that, since each momentary state of the world entails all of its future states, it must be possible (in principle) to offer a causal explanation for everything that happens. When applied to human behavior, determinism is sometimes supposed to be incompatible with the freedom required for moral responsibility.

Precepts Found in Classical Physics Denied by Quantum Mechanics:

The principle of space and time, i.e., physical objects (systems) exist separately in space and time in such a way that they are localizable and countable, and physical processes (the evolution of systems) take place in space and time

The principle of causality, i.e., every event has a cause

The principle of determination, i.e., every later state of a system is uniquely determined by any earlier state

The principle of continuity, i.e., all processes exhibiting a difference between the initial and the final state have to go through every intervening state

The principle of the conservation of energy, i.e., the energy of a closed system can be transformed into various forms but is never gained, lost or destroyed.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by joz, posted 12-26-2002 11:52 AM joz has not yet responded

  
Gzus
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 37 (27927)
12-26-2002 3:48 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by joz
12-26-2002 9:55 AM


quote:
Originally posted by joz:
Busy at the mo so I'll get the rest later....

That view would be fine if the those random events happened, disordered the system and then stopped and let purely deterministic forces take over, the problem is that the random interactions still occur so there will always be some random influence, in most real world systems statistical aproximations are very good at describing macroscopic effects and hence there is to a large extent causality in the macroscopic world, however other systems are chaotic and small fluctuations lead to increasingly unpredictable patterns...

But the point is that the disordering randomness of QM can`t be switched off to let classical physics etc take over.....


One of the aspects of free will is that it is unpredictable, but random? Free will also includes the ability to choose and randomness does not ‘choose’ anything, it’s just a probability distribution, no choice involved.

Then comes the next question, why do we choose? There must be some reason, or else how is our choice rational/conscious?

We make choices for reasons, if our choices are unexplainable then they are not rational or conscious. But if you can explain every choice that you make, how is your choice free? How can freedom exist?

{Fixed quote box - Adminnemooseus}

[This message has been edited by Adminnemooseus, 12-26-2002]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by joz, posted 12-26-2002 9:55 AM joz has responded

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joz
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 37 (27930)
12-26-2002 4:08 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by forgiven
12-26-2002 10:28 AM


Right here we go...

Basically the way I see it if you have a complete set of starting conditions A you cannot predict that a set B will be next instead what you have is a set of solutions (B1,B2....Bn where n is a pretty darn tooting big number for any system much more complex than a couple of particles interacting)....

Because the interactions on the quantum level are essentialy random one cannot predict which of these possible Bx solutions will come to pass, so while the set of conditions A effects the set of possible solutions B it does not predetermine which of those outcomes will occur....

Obviously the more intervals ellapse between A and nX (the nth set of conditions) the harder it is to predict what nX will be as each of Bn leads to Cnm leads to Dnmp etc.....

So what does that make it?

[This message has been edited by joz, 12-26-2002]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by forgiven, posted 12-26-2002 10:28 AM forgiven has responded

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joz
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 37 (27931)
12-26-2002 4:24 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by forgiven
12-26-2002 10:44 AM


quote:
Originally posted by forgiven:
remember joz, i'm simply trying to understand some things... when you say (emphasis mine) "...on the quantum level their macroscopic effects can be described fairly well statistically..." did you in fact mean to use the word "effects" and if so does it presuppose a cause?

In that quantum events without causality per se have effects that we can observe (casimir effect etc) yes but thats an effect observed at the macroscopic level caused by an event on the quantum level...

Also "...on the quantum level their macroscopic effects can be described fairly well statistically..." has quite a different meaning than "because there are so many interactions on the quantum level their macroscopic effects can be described fairly well statistically..."

I appreciate that you were just quoteing an abreviated portion but it may be that you attributed to much significance to one part of the sentence without looking at the meaning of the whole thing....

quote:
on a deeper level it appears to my untrained eye that if chaos theory grants the necessity of changes in conditions for "certain systems," and if these conditions themselves are necessary for whatever state of affairs obtains at the time, there is far less chaos in the theory than one would be led to believe

Yep two identical chaotic systems with identical starting conditions and no random factors will develop in the same way, however as soon as the system contains some random elements the two will diverge fairly quickly, QM provides just such a random element...

[This message has been edited by joz, 12-26-2002]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by forgiven, posted 12-26-2002 10:44 AM forgiven has responded

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joz
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 37 (27933)
12-26-2002 4:41 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Gzus
12-26-2002 3:48 PM


See this is where I think it gets interesting, it is possible for a system (lets say a whole lot of neurons with a particular set of synapses under a particular stimulus) to have prefered outcomes, thus if one of us were to fall and gash our knee we might say "Jesus H christ" or "dammit" or even in an extreme situation "F@#!" we are not very likely to yell out "yippee", "woohooo" or the like even though we could, basically could you explain why you chose one of the likely utterences over all others? I can understand that F'given may avoid using the lords name in vain, but can you explain the one choice over all others?

So I don`t think we really do choose I think that free will is an anthropisation of a matrix of biased yet random inputs/outputs which is our brain.....

Comments...

[This message has been edited by joz, 12-26-2002]


This message is a reply to:
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