Welcome to
Science a GoGo's
Discussion Forums
Please keep your postings on-topic or they will be moved to a galaxy far, far away.
Your use of this forum indicates your agreement to our terms of use.
So that we remain spam-free, please note that all posts by new users are moderated.


The Forums
General Science Talk        Not-Quite-Science        Climate Change Discussion        Physics Forum        Science Fiction

Who's Online
0 registered (), 223 Guests and 3 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Latest Posts
Top Posters (30 Days)
Page 5 of 9 < 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 >
Topic Options
#19079 - 03/18/07 05:18 PM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: redewenur]
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
redewenur ...

1. I wrote "or a deterministic universe." And clearly we are not in one.

2. Being bound by the laws of physics of course. Flapping your arms while falling off a cliff will not make you a bird. But assuming that you have free-will to make all decisions is also unrealistic.
Do you believe that when a pebble flies toward your face you have free will to NOT blink? Do you believe that when you have a kidney stone you have free will to ignore the pain?

I think free will has limits. Possibly severe ones.

The universe is provably indeterminate. Drop eggs off the counter onto the floor in exactly the same way over and over until you come to believe it too.

The concept of free will is a life-form construct. I think we can safely assume the moon does not conceive of itself as having free will. So lets start with the ameoba and work our way up. Does an amoeba consciously make decisions as to the path it chooses when searching for food? Or is it a captive reacting to chemical queues and programming that says "first left then right?" I've no doubt the worm, if it can, thinks it is making decisions. I'm not sure too many two-legged sentients would agree. And in the same way I am not so convinced that my fellow inhabitants of this planet are for the most part conscious. Though I've no doubt they think they are.
_________________________
DA Morgan

Top
.
#19081 - 03/18/07 06:00 PM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: redewenur]
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
For me, the question is, what is unique about mind that it can break free from determinism?

Up until the first sentient creature made a decision, the universe had run along determined lines of 'first-cause'-reaction-reaction etc.

What allowed thought to impose itself onto the natural order of the universe?

And neither free will nor determination are necessarily connected to deity.

Blacknad.

Top
#19082 - 03/18/07 06:06 PM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: DA Morgan]
redewenur Offline
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Credit where it's due, DA, you're not short of colourful analogies. <g>

You wrote:

"1. I wrote "or a deterministic universe." And clearly we are not in one."

- because, you say:

"The universe is provably indeterminate. Drop eggs off the counter onto the floor in exactly the same way over and over until you come to believe it too.

- I find this an incongruous argument. If determinacy is a fact, then it is so through cause and effect at the level of the most fundamental particle/energy level. That doesn't imply predictability - it largely precludes it. So, if you were to suggest that quantum uncertainty is proof of indeterminacy, then your argument could be more persuasive.

You wrote:

"But assuming that you have free-will to make all decisions is also unrealistic. Do you believe that when a pebble flies toward your face you have free will to NOT blink? Do you believe that when you have a kidney stone you have free will to ignore the pain?"

From the previous post:

"3. The alternative ... we have the ability to make limited
decisions within a predetermined framework. I can UPPER
cAsE aLL i WANT!"

By 'predetermined framework', I take it that you mean a framework consisting of factors including genes and environment influences and so on, as discussed previously.

True, if the universe is indeterminate.


OK DA, what we have then (it would probably have taken less than a minute over beer!) is that:

(1) a determinate universe is impossible - for you because of your eggs <g> and for me because of quantum uncertainty
(2) we therefore have an indeterminate universe in which our free will is limited by factors such as genes, instincts, reflexes, environment etc.

Tell me you agree, for once, then at least we can change the subject <g>
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

Top
#19083 - 03/18/07 06:07 PM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: Blacknad]
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
blacknad wrote:
"For me, the question is, what is unique about mind that it can break free from determinism?"

Philosophically it is an important question. But I am not sure there is a lot of evidence supporting that it is possible or that the universe is deterministic: In fact just the opposite.

There is an asteroid that "might" hit earth in 2039. Consider all of the reasons that we just don't know for sure.

blacknad wrote:
"Up until the first sentient creature made a decision, the universe had run along determined lines of 'first-cause'-reaction-reaction etc."

I can't think of a single physicist that would agree with this. There is every reason to believe that quantum fluctuations led to all that we observe.

Though imposes itself on the natural order of the universe in the sense that some guy "decides" to go out searching for diamonds in Siberia and the result is a big hole in the ground. But sooner or later that Kimberlite would have been discovered and the hole would have been dug. Is that any different than what a mouse does when it runs around in the yard searching for a place to dig a hole for itself? I don't think so except that the mouse isn't fool enough to voluntarily move to Siberia.

You are correct that the concepts of free will and determination do not necessarily connect to a deity. On the other hand the historical and philosophical connection is rather strong.
_________________________
DA Morgan

Top
#19084 - 03/18/07 06:10 PM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: DA Morgan]
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
The universe is provably indeterminate. Drop eggs off the counter onto the floor in exactly the same way over and over until you come to believe it too.


Dan,

From your last post, I can see why you have little time or regard for philosophy. It's obviously not your strongest discipline.

Was your sentence above really meant to be serious?

Blacknad.

Top
#19085 - 03/18/07 06:18 PM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: Blacknad]
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
No ... but it does have a point to it. One can throw a deck of cards into the air an infinite number of times using the exact same mechanism and force and get an infinite number of results. The bottom-line is that quantum mechanics, the single most successful and exacting theory known to us, is the best proof we have and it clearly proves an indeterminate universe.

Reference Dr. Murray Gell Mann and his book "The Quark and the Jaguar" for more insight.

I actually spent several years studying philosophy. Kant, Spinoza, and the rest of that lot. I enjoy, in social situations, discussing philosophy. But from a practical, scientific, point of view it is just so much wasted oxidation of glucose producing carbon dioxide.
_________________________
DA Morgan

Top
#19086 - 03/18/07 06:24 PM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: DA Morgan]
redewenur Offline
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Then, DA, you know that -

"There is an asteroid that "might" hit earth in 2039. Consider all of the reasons that we just don't know for sure."

- you're talking about predictability again - and that's a very different thing from determinacy. The fact that an event cannot be predicted - for example, next week's weather - is a non-issue. Chaotic systems, even though unpredictable, are still subject to cause and effect.

Having said that, it's academic if we agree that this is not a determinate universe.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

Top
#19087 - 03/18/07 08:19 PM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: redewenur]
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Exactly red. And if the weather is in indeterminant ... then so must be my choice of whether to wear a raincoat. Whether to take the car or walk. Whether to do essentially all of the things to which I might subscribe to free choice ... I chose to drive to work today ... I chose to wear my brown coat rather than the pink one.
_________________________
DA Morgan

Top
#19090 - 03/19/07 04:23 AM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: DA Morgan]
terrytnewzealand Offline
Megastar

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
Redewenur wrote:

"By 'predetermined framework', I take it that you mean a framework consisting of factors including genes and environment influences and so on, as discussed previously."

I think we all agree with that now. However the point is, is the future pre-determined? I'd say almost certainly not. However it will be determined by our collective actions in the present. Our actions in the present are influenced, at least to a fairly large extent, by our genes and environment, also as discussed previously. The main thing we can change is our upbringing. Education (in the widest sense) will be able to improve our future. Unfortunately many people are sidetracked by what John Ralston Saul calls false populism and the technique of fear. Now if the Revs and Religion would help us oppose these most of us at SAGG would cease knocking them, perhaps even join them. But religion usually survives through false populism and the technique of fear.

Top
#19097 - 03/19/07 05:53 AM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: terrytnewzealand]
redewenur Offline
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Terry wrote:

"However the point is, is the future pre-determined? I'd say almost certainly not. However it will be determined by our collective actions in the present."

- Also, of course, by a host of factors over which we have little or no influence.

I sure you're right about "Education (in the widest sense)". It has the potential to facilitate reason based on universal reality rather than local mythology, i.e., on fact rather than fiction. I say potential, because (a) many people seem to be resistant or impervious to it, and (b) many well educated people continue to carry about with them the excess baggage of mythology. Neither does education guarantee good character.

Terry, I've been trying to find info on J.R. Saul's 'false populism' and 'technique of fear'. No luck so far. Do you know of a link? If not, can you tell us more about them?
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

Top
#19102 - 03/19/07 09:56 AM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: redewenur]
terrytnewzealand Offline
Megastar

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
Rede. It's from his book "The Collapse of Globalism". The actual comment is probably not on any site on Internet. The book is pretty good (although see some of the reviews) as is "Voltaire's Bastards". I recomend if you get the chance and time to read them. I guess you've already found this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ralston_Saul

Interview that sums up his ideas:

http://www.motherjones.com/news/qa/2005/11/saul.html

Reviews of the book, not all complimentary by any means:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/custome...155&s=books

Top
#19104 - 03/19/07 10:20 AM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: DA Morgan]
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Originally Posted By: DA Morgan
One can throw a deck of cards into the air an infinite number of times using the exact same mechanism and force and get an infinite number of results.


Dan,

You know as well as I that it would be impossible in reality to recreate the exact conditions for this experiment more than once. Only if the starting conditions and all forces involved could be known to be exactly the same each time would we be able to say what you do.

Whether the universe is determinate or not seems to me to be a question science cannot answer.

If there is not true randomness in the universe then it is determinate and each action will proceed in a defined way from a previous action from big bang to ...

Science cannot prove true randomness exists because it is possible that we simply cannot see or do not understand the causes of the seemingly random occurrence.

Science cannot prove true randomness does not exist because there could always be another unknown layer of random uncaused effects underneath whatever it is we are examining.

Is the weather truly indeterminate? If we had all possible variables are you sure we could not predict it accurately?

How can we know?

It's funny that there is no science in the thread at the moment, but opinion and philosophical musings.

Determinacy & free will seem to be simple matters of personal intuition.

It doesn't feel as if we live in a determinate universe...but that may just be an illusion.

Blacknad.

Top
#19110 - 03/19/07 04:29 PM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: Blacknad]
redewenur Offline
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Blacknad.

I'd just like to comment on this:

"Is the weather truly indeterminate? If we had all possible variables are you sure we could not predict it accurately?"

The problem of predictability in chaotic systems is something that has become known as 'the butterfly effect'. The weather is an example of what's called 'a chaotic system', and the butterfly effect takes its name from the fact that some very trivial event such as a butterfly flapping its wings can eventually have an effect on the weather. The point is that the behaviour of a chaotic system is highly dependent upon initial conditions. The smallest variation in those conditions causes a very much greater variation in the system with the passage of time. For this reason, although the accuracy of weather forecasting can undoubtedly be greatly improved by the use of supercomputers to analyse the data, the limitation will always be the data itself. For total accuracy, there would need to be an infinite number of sensors, and infinite computing power. My understanding is that there will probably never be enough data to provide for reasonably accurate forecasts beyond a few weeks. I think I may not be explaining this too well. I can recommend an excellent book by James Gleick called 'Chaos - Making a New Science', published by Penguin Books in 1988.

From Wikipedia:
"In mathematics and physics, chaos theory describes the behavior of certain nonlinear dynamical systems that under certain conditions exhibit dynamics that are sensitive to initial conditions (popularly referred to as the butterfly effect). As a result of this sensitivity, the behavior of chaotic systems appears to be random, because of an exponential growth of errors in the initial conditions. This happens even though these systems are deterministic in the sense that their future dynamics are well defined by their initial conditions, and there are no random elements involved. This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory

see also:
Chaos Theory: A Brief Introduction
http://www.imho.com/grae/chaos/chaos.html
_____

Terry. Thanks for the links. I've downloaded the 'motherjones.com'. I'll read through it later.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

Top
#19119 - 03/19/07 07:53 PM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: redewenur]
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Cheers Red.

My question was not really about what is practically possible, but what it theoretically possible.

For the purpose of this debate it is not important whether we could ever have enough computing power to predict chaotic events.

I am simply asking whether everything in the universe is subject to definable laws or whether things truly happen without cause and are therefore truly random occurrences.

A universe without uncaused random events is determinate.

I am looking for someone to tell me, is radioactive decay uncaused?

Physicist Victor Stenger (Emeritus Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Hawaii and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado) says the following of atomic transitions and radioactive decay of nuclei:

"...we have no current basis for assuming such cause exists."

Doesn't seem to be a definitive answer.

Blacknad.





Blacknad.

Top
#19131 - 03/20/07 02:43 AM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: Blacknad]
terrytnewzealand Offline
Megastar

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
Blacknad wrote:

"It's funny that there is no science in the thread at the moment, but opinion and philosophical musings."

That's because it's "Knock Revs and Religion". We've entered the realm of speculation in a big way. By the way, I'd logged out by the time you shouted.

Redewenur wrote about reasonably accurate weather forecasts beyond a few weeks. I don't know about where you live but even next day is often a big problem here. Mind you a narrow peninsular stuck out in the middle of the sea would be a problem.

Top
#19136 - 03/20/07 04:01 AM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: terrytnewzealand]
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Blacknad wrote:
" be impossible in reality to recreate the exact conditions for this experiment more than once. Only if the starting conditions and all forces involved could be known to be exactly the same each time would we be able to say what you do."

Actually I don't. I'll grant you I might have to throw them in superfluid He3 or a Bose-Einstein condensate. But every scrap of knowledge we have known to us supports the results being different.

Blacknad wrote:
"Is the weather truly indeterminate? If we had all possible variables are you sure we could not predict it accurately?"

Yes it is. And Albert Einstein fought against this concept never truly accepting it during his entire life. And everything we know today supports the fact that he was incorrect. Look up "EPR" with Google or in Wikipedia for more on this.

I know it is really uncomfortable for humans but think Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Think Schroedinger's cat. That is truly the universe in which we live.
_________________________
DA Morgan

Top
#19137 - 03/20/07 04:03 AM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: DA Morgan]
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
blacknad wrote:
"My question was not really about what is practically possible, but what it theoretically possible."

I know. And my response to you has nothing to do with practicality. It is known to be impossible by any known method. Remember Heisenberg ... it is impossible to know where anything is and also know its speed. You can know one but not both. Ever! Even in theory.

No matter how hard you, or I, or Einstein, might have wished it otherwise.
_________________________
DA Morgan

Top
#19138 - 03/20/07 05:03 AM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: DA Morgan]
redewenur Offline
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Blacknad wrote:
"I am simply asking whether everything in the universe is subject to definable laws or whether things truly happen without cause and are therefore truly random occurrences."

My mistake. I presumed that you'd read the earlier posts.

DA has summed it up.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

Top
#19155 - 03/21/07 02:14 AM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: redewenur]
Ellis Offline
Megastar

Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
So does this mean that there is no such thing as chaos!! I am a bit disappointed at that. Wouldn't determinate chaos be not-chaos because it is determinated? (I've just spent ages rereading the posts and still don't completely understand them because, I think, I like the idea of freeform chaos more than freewill/ determinism, but also because my brain hurts now!)

Top
#19163 - 03/21/07 04:44 AM Re: KNOCK Revs and Religion. Give it your best sho [Re: Ellis]
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Ellis ... I'm not sure I follow the reasoning that led you to write: "So does this mean that there is no such thing as chaos"

Please clarify how you got there.
_________________________
DA Morgan

Top
Page 5 of 9 < 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 >



Newest Members
debbieevans, bkhj, jackk, Johnmattison, RacerGT
865 Registered Users
Sponsor
Facebook

We're on Facebook
Join Our Group

Science a GoGo's Home Page | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Features | News | Books | Physics | Space | Climate Change | Health | Technology | Natural World

Copyright © 1998 - 2016 Science a GoGo and its licensors. All rights reserved.