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FREE-WILL?

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Tim Nonzero

Intervention

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Hi Doc. Do you go for the interventionist/libertarian theories in free-will?What makes you say the mind is more than a biological computer program?
Tim Nonzero

Quantum Confusion

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I think one of the key issues in free-will and moral responsibility would be 'Is the past fixed' or 'could a subject have done otherwise'. Intuitively I would say that once the time has passed I would say yes it IS fixed, and NO the subject could never do otherwise. I suppose this is the back bone of my hard-determinism. This might get you thinking... Hypothetical 1: Say I was to pause the universe in a minute's time, replicate it, and then set the two universes off again simultaneously.... while observing from a distance, I estimate that the two would universes would be much different within a short period. This would be down to quantum irregularities; truly undetermined events. Hypothetical 2: If I was to re-wind the events in this universe, in this dimension, and play them back, would they play out exactly the same way? Intuitively I say yes....but my friend tells that Quantum theory says no. He says this relates to the 'is the apple in the box when I close the lid' conundrum, and is not simply down to quantum randomness. All this is leading me to question my concept of time. I read a bit about block time (or 4dimensional time) where it alluded that all time is fixed including the future and the present... which sounds like old-school determinism, before the advent of quantum theory! I'm quickly becoming confused. Can anyone shed any light on what he's getting at?Tim
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Interbane

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Re: Quantum Confusion

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Tim: "Say I was to pause the universe in a minute's time, replicate it, and then set the two universes off again simultaneously.... while observing from a distance, I estimate that the two would universes would be much different within a short period. This would be down to quantum irregularities; truly undetermined events."I think you might be interested in the multiverse theory. It states that at those points in time where the outcome of an event is random, all outcomes are real, yet they are each only in one universe. The other outcomes branch off into other universes, creating an ever expanding multiverse. It sounds sci-fi, but it's been gaining some backing from well known scientists.About the humor of using the word machine; The power of inference that this word holds isn't at first obvious. Those of us who see similarities between our loose will and machines balk at the connection, as we are mostly not creationists. The connection infers that we are created, in a sense, and not self creating. Machines are created by humans, so if humans share characteristics with machines, is it also likely that we are created?In a sense, I think we were created, not by an onmipotent creator overseeing every detail, rather the physical laws of the universe using itself through trial and error to create a replicating self awareness. This distinction fits better in my worldview. Yet at the same time, I'll maintain that humans still retain a bit of uncontrolled will in contemplation and decision making. We cannot know if this is true or not, so I will hold to the idea that leaves most separation between myself and machine.Tim: "I read a bit about block time (or 4dimensional time) where it alluded that all time is fixed including the future and the present... which sounds like old-school determinism, before the advent of quantum theory! I'm quickly becoming confused."Sounds like the thermodynamic arrow of time, an explanation of which you can find in Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time." That is, if only time is fixed. Time being fixed would not set many parameters on how events in the universe play out, it merely means they play out at the same speed/rate of time.
irondemon

Re: FREE-WILL?

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Interbane:I think you might be interested in the multiverse theory. It states that at those points in time where the outcome of an event is random, all outcomes are real, yet they are each only in one universe. The other outcomes branch off into other universes, creating an ever expanding multiverse. It sounds sci-fi, but it's been gaining some backing from well known scientists.I hope my intrusion doesn't interrupt the flow of this, a most interesting thread. I found myself pondering the multiple-universe or multiverse theory just yesterday, and I have a question: how can the definition of the word universe comport with a theory of multiples? Isn't a universe, by definition, that...substrate (I think this is a Kantian use of the word) within which all things must exist, if they are to exist at all? My sticking-spot seems to be more semantic in nature. If there are such divergences at those points wherein an outcome is said to be random, shouldn't we call the result a divergent world, and not a divergent universe? Multiple universes appeas to me as a self-contradictory label. Has it also been dubbed the many-worlds hypothesis? I seems to me that I've read that somewhere.
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Interbane

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Multiverse

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I just posted a big post and it was erased, how irritating.To summarize, I think it's a matter of semantics, where we change the definitions of words with eruditional progression.New theories require new words and changed definitions for understanding. Edited by: Interbane at: 12/9/04 12:29 pm
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Re: FREE-WILL?

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I do not believe in free will; rather I see human behavior as entirely deterministic. That's not to say that randomness is non-existent, so I would not argue for pre-determination; nor would I say that anyone determines our actions. I'm currently leaning toward an experiential worldview, in which reality is created moment by moment for each person. Reality exists in each person's connection with the perceivable world. Each moment of our existence defines who "we" are and each experience follows from the last. To assert the existence of free will is to claim a meta-experiential existence; that is, we can get outside of our mind and our personal bias, to objectively influence our experience. I don't buy into the cognitive approach to psychology and I don't see motivational therapy as anything more than brainwashing. I don't believe that we rationally (or irrationally) control our behavior. I see "us" as passengers on an experiential train. Control is an illusion. Choice doesn't exist. This doesn't negate responsibility or accountability because each individual's actions are still their actions. But I also don't think that we're capable of choosing any other action but the one chosen at the moment.I did not exert free will in posting this message. I had no choice but to post it. Cheryl No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God. -George BushEdited by: NaddiaAoC at: 12/13/04 2:32 am
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Re: Quantum Confusion

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Cheryl!Where in tarnation have you been girl? Wtf is tarnation anyway? I had no choice in those words. You need to post in your own Intro thread once in awhile and keep us posted of what is happening in your life. Or email me damnit. Chris
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Interbane

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Re: Quantum Confusion

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I wonder if the concept of memes is related to determinism... a psychological concept with determinism at it's foundation?Either way, in playing off the idea that memes control our behavior along with our evolutionary hardwiring, I'd say most people who accept the idea then get the impression that the parameters set on human thought are very limiting. Or at least more limiting than what they really are.For one, memes as individual 'computer programs' that dictate our lives and result in the lack of free will - they must come from somewhere. People create these memes. The act of creation should be analyzed. It is a mixture of memes, a complex combination that results in new memes, new ideas.Yet the act of processing current memes into new memes, those moments of epiphany or eureka, I think they should be regarded higher than deterministic human programming. In the sense that we do slap a label on those instances, we should keep in mind that the 'programming' in question is quite marvelous.I'd not assume to fully believe chance on an atomic electrical level in our neurons plays a role in such eureka's, but I do fancy the notion. As we cannot yet know it, why not hang onto the magic?
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