Michio's point seems to be that because of quantum uncertainty, you can't predict future events based on past ones.  Watch for yourself

Tags: Michio Kaku, free will, quantum physics, uncertainty

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Actually, I believe that if you accept Michio's line of reasoning, it's ABSOLUTE (Newtonian) causality -- NOT free will -- that has had its debate ended by quantum physics. Newton's clockwork universe of absolute causality turned out to be not quite right. Quantum uncertainty is real, with real significance for the universe and everything it.

So it's absolute causality that's been falsified by quantum mechanics. If we can't predict the future based on a clockwork causality, then hard determinism is simply false. Period. But the free will debate is still alive and well . . . the question is how does it fit in with our modern understanding of physics?

Quantum uncertainty makes causality less than absolute. But I think it doesn't matter anyway because the causality of physics unfolds differently than it does for the causality of biology. Inanimate matter and animate beings have different modes of response to causality. Causality in physics is REACTIVE: linear and highly predictable (above the quantum realm). Causality in biology is INTERACTIVE: complex and reciprocal. Quantum uncertainty might make the future unpredictable but free will (self-determinism), is borne out of causality regardless of whether or not it's absolute.  In other words, free will (self-determinism) and causality were never incompatible in the first place.

If you think of free will as self-determinism (see "Hard Determinism: A False Dichotomy"), you can strip away, as irrelevant, all these extraneous notions like quantum uncertainty and absolute causality.  Self-determinism admits that causality rules. But with us intelligent human beings, it's reciprocal (interactive) causality, not linear (reactive) causality. Linear causality does, however, determine our heredity and experience which in turn, shapes our identity.  It doesn't matter how the human brain produces memory, feedback and intelligence.  It doesn't matter how the brain does what it does: all that matters is that it does.  When it comes to self-determinism, all we really need to know is that the brain produces a consciousness that is both self-aware and future-aware. Exactly what we need to recognize, learn from and utilize causality for our own purposes. Our ability to anticipate and prepare for causality is a temporal advantage over causality. It's this intelligent, interactive, reciprocal mode of response to causality that distinguishes biology from physics: the animate from the inanimate.

Everybody makes plans.  Whether it's the next day's dinner or your last will and testament, we all know that we can conceive a plan and execute it successfully.  We might need to modify the plan but that's simply adapting to causality.  If the plan goes wrong, then we made an error in anticipating causality.  We can't anticipate everything.  But the ability to repeatedly execute our plans is empirical proof of self-determinism.  Self-determinism is an observable fact.

Many of you will think, "But that's not free will!". But what is free will? The dictionary doesn't tell us what free will is: we tell the dictionary what free will is. And because we haven't been able to explain free will, the dictionary reflects this fact. Whatever free will is, it must include the ability to choose from available options and it should allow intent and result in purpose.

The brain has no special exemption from causality.  It is not a cause in and of itself.  The brain, through our sensory apparatus, interacts with causality to produce consciousness . . . which produces experience . . . which produces identity.  The brain is dependent on causality: not independent from it.

So causality forms our identity and is responsible for the electro-chemical processes in our brains.  So what?  That doesn't mean we're automatons.  It only means we're constrained by our own experience.  With the exception of reflex and instinct, we can't act beyond the scope of our experience.  Causality limits the scope of our actions -- NOT the actions themselves.

How do I know this?  Feedback. Feedback is the key to reciprocal causation. Mental feedback is the mechanism by which we use our intelligence to anticipate the future.  Mental feedback is the mechanism that gives us our temporal advantage over causality.  We're so inured to it, we take it for granted or don't even realize we have it.  But we certainly do have it.  We have it so much, we're practically fixated on the future.  And by, "the future", I mean the future of causality.

Don't forget . . . causality doesn't stop at the skull.  It's responsible for all the mental processes we're aware of and the one's we're not aware of: including mental feedback.  Mental feedback, which stems from our brain's interaction with causality, enables us to intelligently anticipate causality.  It's causality all the way, baby!

But look at the result.  Identity, purpose, desire and the forward-looking means to realize them -- all thanks to human intelligence interacting, via our senses, with causality.  When determinism meets human intelligence, it becomes self-determinism. Humans are the premier practioners of reciprocal causation and self-determinism. The universe and its laws of nature had no way to acknowledge itself until (human?) intelligence finally made an appearance.  Linear causality eventually brought life and intelligence to a once cold and inanimate universe. In the process, causality created new avenues of potential for itself: reciprocal causality. And with reciprocal causality, the ineffable mystery of existence is a puzzle destined to solve itself.

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