I recently got in an argument with my boyfriend on the topic of bestiality. He's a hardcore Satanist and he thinks that it's okay for people to have sex with animals if the animals consent. I replied with they cannot verbally consent as they have very low intelligence and run basically on instinct, and I pretty much called him sick for thinking that it's ok. (Wrong of me, but it really rustles my jimmies) He said that I might as well set my religion on facebook to Christian since I follow the morals of them (except for being pro gay marriage). I'm just... lost I guess. I'm not christian at all and I think the bible is hogwash, but is there anything inherently wrong with Christian morals?? Lying, murder, stealing, all pretty bad in my opinion. Aside from that the government influenced my morality long before I even understood what Christianity was. I don't know, I need some advice or just input on the whole situation.
That is a statement of faith underwritten by a belief that we live in a deterministic, mechanical universe. We do not yet have a unified theory of everything and so cannot discount randomness. The uncertainty principle and quantum mechanics are good reasons to believe that my writing this post was not determined the instant time began, billions of years ago.
Lets say we had a unified theory of everything. Suppose we had super computers that could predict what Unseen would say in his next post. What if you were told what you were going to say before you were due to say it? Would you still say it? Would being told alter the futire?Determinism presents this sort of logical paradox that is better and more entertainingly expressed in time travel movies.
Free will from randomness. That's a good one!
So one has free will based on random subatomic events. Hmm, but what happens when subatomic events trickle up to the gross everyday world where determinism reigns? How in the world does one derive free choices from that situation?
I don't know anyone in the world of science who believes a Theory of Everything will salvage free will. Do you? Free will can only lurk in the unexplained, like The God Of The Gaps.
If I were told what I was going to say before I said it, would I still say it? I would say it, because otherwise it wasn't what I was going to say.
John - forget about walking toward the light, but whatever you do, do NOT look into his eyes!
Blaine - RE: "Get tired of typing archaeopteryx"
(Don't tell anyone, but that's why they invented Copy/Paste)
Doesn't Schröedinger's cat tell us (not literally, cats can't talk) that quantum mechanics does have applications for everyday world?
No. Not that I'm aware of. I've never heard of a nontheoretical application with real-world results of any sort. It doesn't make a better this or a more powerful that. It seems to be more about what we can't know than about what we can do.
You have dodged the issue of the logical paradox that determinism presents. If everything is determined, in theory a future event could be predicted. Making a prediction could alter future events, rendering the power of determinism to predict the future void, and introducing randomness.
Look, if I trip and fall or decide to take the path to the left instead of the right, it matters not a bit whether I was determined on the gross Newtonian level or by an event on the subatomic level, for while randomness may happen in the world of subatomic particles, once it makes something happen on the everyday level, we play by Isaac Newton's rules. Subatomic randomness introduces unpredictability but unpredictability isn't free will or evidence of free will. And besides, we have no control over subatomic events which are random, do we? If we did, they wouldn't be random!
Contrary to the straw man caricature you have conjured up of my determinism, no, I do not maintain that from The Big Bang one might have calculated every single occurrence everywhere and the reason is that randomness exists on the subatomic level and can generate unpredictable ripples in the pond of determinism. The plain fact, though, is that randomness doesn't mean you have free will. I might not mind having free will, if I understood what it meant. You see, one of the biggest problems with free will is that I've never seen a definition of "will" that wasn't rather silly. Do you have one that isn't silly? because I just end up with some sort of image like a child who can close her eyes and make a cup fly across the room or make fires start spontaneously because she wants them to.
Richard Dawkins says he is comfortable with the idea of free will:
So are most people. But most people believe in God. It proves nothing. It most likely means he hasn't given it serious enough thought.
Here is another physicist that believes quantum physics ends the free will debate
Michio is saying that randomness disproves determinism. He doesn't know his philosophy. It tends to contradict predeterminism, not determinism. And we don't know for absolute sure that subatomic events don't follow some physics we are unaware of, but which is itself deterministic. It's just that we will most likely never understand it, so we deal with it the best we can using statistical means.
The fact is, John, a world without determinism would be a rather strange place. Water would boil or would not randomly, your shoe size would constantly be changing, you'd wake up in bed with a newt or a Waring blender instead of your wife or girlfriend. And perhaps in the night you have turned into a raccoon or a fire hydrant or a new element on the Periodic Table.
Real free will would seem to require a soul or at least a parallel spiritual universe where a nocorporeal spiritual you exists. But even then, you'd need to understand how a noncorporeal entity can control a corporeal one.
Who knows what the answer is. I am keeping an open mind. I am with Hitches on this when he said, 'yes I have free will. I have no choice...'
And having no real choice is determinism.
@Unseen. The simple truth seems to be that the determinism/free will arguments are currently beyond proof. There are 'real world' applications for quantum mechanics.
Living in the world of Newton rather than Feynman, you still have not addressed the logical paradox problem. If we are saying that on Newton's level quantum unpredictability plays no part (for the sake of argument, see previous link for real world non-theoretical applications) and one tHing must follow the next, then in theory future events could be predicted. We could tell the future. Could predicting the future change it? I know that we have no guiding spirit and on that basis free will would also be difficult to explain or even describe.
When you describe something as being ethical or unethical what are you actually saying. The act you are describing is not an act over which you had any control. Doesn't the notion of ethics go out of the window. Are Christians right, do we need god to be ethical?
John, the reason determinism can't be proven is that it's beyond proof. It's a necessary presupposition. You don't conduct an experiment or an argument without presupposing predictability. I can't prove that, but I shouldn't have to: it's the assumption we operate under every millisecond of the day, isn't it?
YOU still haven't explained how a disruption in determinism (which happens randomly and without any purpose) can salvage free will. You haven't because you can't. If you can, go ahead: I'm watching.
I'm not going to engage in the rather obviously pointless thought problem you describe as a paradox. The thing is, once you assume something impossible, sure you can generate all kinds of nonsense. If I were to assume faeries existed, I'd have to say that "Yes, tiny little girls with wings can fly and perform all sort of unpredictable magical help and mayhem." I will say that if we knew exactly when, where, and how a subatomic event interrupted the flow of Newtonian/Einsteinian deterministic reality, we could in a very wildly impossible stretch of theory be able to predict everything from then on, but only until the next such interruption. Obviously that's not possible. So, right from the beginning of time things have happened that couldn't have been predicted, which is why the universe is clumpy and not homogeneous.
What I don't understand is your persistent delusion that somehow quantum physics shows that free will exists. Explain please. Quantum events indicate that predeterminism can't be possible, but as I've said several times, I'm not a predeterminist, and yet your thought problem seems to want to do is to prove there's a paradox based on predeterminism. I'm a determinist, not a predeterminist.
The Christians are right up to a point. If you want something to be really right or wrong for all time and in a metaphysically unassailable and final sense, you need a metaphysic behind it. One such would be a creator God with control over life and death, reward and punishment. Otherwise you have what I believe we actually have, which is right and wrong as opinion and not fact, right and wrong based on personal and local social beliefs which would be different at a different time under different circumstances.
Facts may feed those beliefs, but our beliefs about ethical matters are im the end based on our feelings not on ethical syllogisms. Each person reacts under the control of their nature.
Let's restart with the answer to this question: Quantum mechanics salvages free will because..." I think we'd all (all of us following this discussoion) would be interested in that syllogism.
"John, the reason determinism can't be proven is that it's beyond proof."
You've conceded this much at least. You asked for scientists that accepted free will and I gave you some. Before I continue this, as I said in my previous post I am open minded and am not trying to prove or assert free will exists. I'll leave assertions of the unproveable to you. (Which religion did you leave again?)
"I'm not going to engage in the rather obviously pointless thought problem you describe as a paradox."
I've asked you twice for an answer or a comment. You've declined. If you can't think of an answer, belittle the question, right?
What I don't understand is your persistent delusion that somehow quantum physics shows that free will exists
Strawman. I'm not asserting free will exists. I am keeping an open mind on the subject. You are the one with assertions, not me.
I'll play your game now, are you watching? Are you selling popcorn?
Quantum mechanics [could possibly] salvage free will because...
Quantum theory is that realm of science that studies what is commonly accepted as non-deterministic. The view that there really is randomness in nature is widely accepted.
Sir Roger Penrose (worked with Hawking on singularities) and Stuart Hamerhoff have proposed that free will may be seen as the result of deterministic processes acted on repeatedly by non-computable influences, that is, uncaused influences. They have argued that consciousness is the result of quantum gravity effects in microtubules, the Orch OR model.
Penrose and Hamerhoff suggest that quantum computation with objective reduction (Orch OR) is potentially applicable to cognitive activities. While classical neural-level computation can provide a partial explanation, the Orch OR model allows far greater information capacity, and addresses issues of conscious experience, binding, and non-computability consistent with free will.
How does the choice actually occur? In a conventional neural network scheme, the selection criteria can be described by a deterministic algorithm which precludes the possibility of free will. The non-computable influence in Orch OR may be useful in understanding free will.
Our "free will" actions could be the net result of deterministic processes acted on by hidden quantum logic at each Orch OR event. This can explain why we generally do things in an orderly, deterministic fashion, but occasionally our actions or thoughts are surprising, even to ourselves.
The theory is based on certain concepts:
Brain processes relevant to consciousness extend downward within neurons to the level of cytoskeletal microtubules.
An explanation for conscious experience requires (in addition to neuroscience and psychology) a modern form of pan-protopsychism in which proto-conscious qualia are embedded in the basic level of reality, as described by modern physics.
Roger Penrose's physics of objective reduction (OR) connects brain structures to fundamental reality, leading to the Penrose-Hameroff model of quantum computation with objective reduction in microtubules (orchestrated objective reduction: Orch OR).
The Orch OR model is consistent with known neurophysiological processes, generates testable predictions, and is the type of fundamental, multi-level, interdisciplinary theory which may account for the mind's enigmatic features.
Now, I can't pretend to understand the product of these two great minds. Perhaps you could pick over Sir Roger's findings and offer your own critique? You'll forgive me if I remain unconvinced, open-minded.
Perhaps you could start your reply: I, Unseen, Master Debater of the Universe, know better than Sir Roger Penrose, the mistake he has made is..........