Do we have free will

Posted by: Bill

Do we have free will - 01/11/16 02:59 AM

Sabine Hossenfelder has a post on her BackReaction blog about free will. She doesn't believe in it. She bases her belief on her scientific work so this could go in General Science, but I am posting it here because I figure a lot of people might not think it is science. The post is at: Free will is dead, letís bury it.

I personally am not quite sure how to take this. In some ways it make sense, but I have always been taught we do have free will.

Bill Gill
Posted by: paul

Re: Do we have free will - 01/11/16 05:17 PM

I couldn't view the web page because that action would
require that I do have "free will" I must be ordered to
navigate to the web site and ordered to read the words she
wrote and ordered to believe or disbelieve what she is saying and ordered to render an opinion.

I haven't received such orders.

free will extends to every action that we consciously make.

ooops , I just exhibited free will when I wrote this.

sorry Sabine , hope I didn't offend you or any believers
in the new science or religion that is opposed to free will yet requires free will actions in order to participate in
or become a member of.

Posted by: Bill S.

Re: Do we have free will - 01/11/16 11:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Paul
I couldn't view the web page because that action would require that I do have "free will"

Possibly you were joking, but if not, you might find it interesting. Obviously, Sabine doesn't equate lack of free will with lack of responsibility etc.

It doesnít mean that you are not making decisions or are not making choices. Free will or not, you have to do the thinking to arrive at a conclusion, the answer to which you previously didnít know. Absence of free will doesnít mean either that you are somehow forced to do something you didnít want to do. There isnít anything external imposing on you. You are whatever makes the decisions.
Posted by: Orac

Re: Do we have free will - 01/12/16 12:29 AM

Paul like Bill G have no free will because classical physics is fully deterministic. Whatever happened just after the birth of the universe has to play out in a fully predictable way as demanded by classical laws. That is an extension of what Sabine's is arguing.

What you have to do in classical physics is inject chaos as a theory and give "conscious" a special role to sort of create a degree of pseudo-random world you would then see around you. This all dates way back to arguments around in the 1800's and some people revive it from time to time.

For you Bill S with your understanding, there exists a falsification of all this rubbish and it's called superfluidty ( In the article it will give you the problem that it can't be described by classical physics because it defies classical gravity and surface tension. You will see science later added Bose-Einstein condensates to this category.

So now you have something that doesn't involve chaos or conscious and yet completely defies classical physics description, showing they are at best incomplete and not fully deterministic. This was the start of how science realized it was going to be able to peel apart the classical laws one by one you just need to create the right experiment.

Pyotr Kapitsa was given the Nobel prize for his work and the significance on the subject.

It takes just one observation smile
Posted by: Bill

Re: Do we have free will - 01/12/16 12:47 AM

And what Sabine said in the quote is some kind of hand waving.

I think what a lot of people would think about the lack of free will is that it implies 'predestination'. Predestination is a religious belief that everything we do is predestined. This implies a complete lack of freedom. Whatever we do we do it because we are predestined to do it. That of course is probably hog wash.

I think what Sabine is saying is that all our thinking is based on electrochemical activity in our brains. The basis of this activity is of course quantum in nature and therefore deterministic, within the confines of quantum indeterminacy.

If you look at it, this happens at a very low level in the 'programming' of our brains, sort of like the 1 and 0's of computer operations. But the higher level programming is extremely complicated. With the number of synapses in our brain the programming for each of us is even more complicated than Windows. And of course we know just how weird Windows can get sometimes. So that each of us has slightly different programming and we think different thoughts and make different decisions. But at the base, those thoughts are controlled by a deterministic physical system. So we have a wide range of individual reactions, without having real free will. All we can do is what a long chain of deterministic conditions allows us to do.

And that of course depends on her being correct. I think I will go with a 'maybe'.

Bill Gill
Posted by: Orac

Re: Do we have free will - 01/12/16 01:40 AM

Originally Posted By: Bill
That of course is probably hog wash.

Careful saying that to those of islamic faith ... Everything happens with Allahs will and permission. I think there are a few christian groups with the same belief smile

Originally Posted By: Bill
The basis of this activity is of course quantum in nature and therefore deterministic, within the confines of quantum indeterminacy.

The problem is quantum indeterminacy arises at a framework level and so you can't understand or equate it to the determinate things in classical physics. So in layman terms your quantum indeterminacy is spread thru your various superposed self's in a quantum universe and now what Sabine is equating determinate to quantum function wave collapse in your classical universe.

However in QM the collapsed waveform is still a function after collapse and it is thought largely it has to be because of the uncertainty principle. Any classical object still can't be described with a definite velocity and position at the same time and in that regard how can you claim it is classically fully determined? The converse statement from QM is nothing can be fully determined and the uncertainty principle is an extension of just how real that is. You need to be very careful with the word determined and probably define what you mean.

Sabine neatly switched definitions of determined from the QM version to the classical version (turning a blind eye to uncertainty principle) mid argument, did some hand waving and a gave it a name (superdeterminism) and expects us to swallow it.

This is an example of what happens in jumping between frameworks in arguments and is bad science. If she wants to use quantum indeterminacy she needs to stay in QM all the way thru the argument. At the end she can then translate the result into classical physics. If she did that her "determined" gets a bit murky in classical physics because of uncertainty principle. What she has at the moment is a fully determined answer which just happens to wobble around a bit but staying together by pure luck.

Call me a eccentric but I like my "determined" things to sit in one place with one velocity smile
Posted by: Bill

Re: Do we have free will - 01/12/16 02:37 PM

As far as predestination is concerned that requires a god. That god must be rather peculiar from our point of view to create the whole universe just to see it do exactly what he/she/it created it to do. Of course we do similar things by creating toys that repeatedly do the same actions over and over, so who am I to judge god?

The thing about this is that it really doesn't matter whether you are talking classical physics or QM, at its base everything works on physical principles. So your brain works by physical interactions which occur in response to physical laws. So physical laws determine what your brain can do.

Having said that there is the question of just how complex your brain is. It is of course a non-linear system, so we have to throw in chaos theory. And from that free will may be emergent.

And of course it certainly looks like we have free will.

Bill Gill
Posted by: Tutor Turtle

Re: Do we have free will - 01/12/16 04:42 PM

If physical principals work due to the nature of it's creator (such as the toys mentioned, that are created by man) then one must know the creator to be familiar with the purpose of the design as intended by the creator, not necessarily to know the purpose as imagined by the observer. The downfall of the observer from the point of view that is standing outside of the original creative impulse, is the relative ideals assumed thru social conditioning. Whoever claims authority and those who give it, have the affect of claiming reality to be, based on those relative ideals.

All religions are born of followers giving themselves to an authoritative outlook given by the dynamic personality of the one given authority.
Science is similar, with the possible exception that the followers claim sovereignty based on their ability to repeat and experience what the authoritative figure makes claim to.

Most religionists claim the authority stands above the rest because they themselves have not experienced what the authority senses but rather only experience the authority (or the definitions surrounding the authority) which often is good enough for most. With Science this can be true as well.

The foundation of free will is based on the understanding of will, or consciousness.

Physical sciences subscribe to consciousness as an emergent condition due to the conditions of the world and the host/body carrying the brain. It presumes the brain to be like a computer. The programs as well as the operating system are internally created thru chemical makeup and outward conditions.

Spiritual science says the entire universe (all universes actually) is the host as well as a created reflection of consciousness and all physical matter regardless of its appearance. It's linked to consciousness and behaves not just according to it's design, but that each particle is conscious of itself.
In that, self awareness (aware of itself as the manifest and unmanifest) is free to separate itself from anything or everything.., or surrender its unique physical properties with/to the whole, and assume a role in Unity with Consciousness the creator and its relative reflection(s).
In a sense this unity is not like dissolving the reflective qualities of ones unique nature but rather expanding ones nature to the macro-cosmic Self

Jn 8:18 "I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me."

Jn 10:30 "I and my Father are one."
Posted by: thomasm

Re: Do we have free will - 01/19/16 02:47 AM

As I see from the comments of stor:

"I wish people would stop insisting they have free will."

How could they, if they have no free will!
Posted by: Tutor Turtle

Re: Do we have free will - 01/19/16 02:57 PM

Or... how could anyone not complain about those who claim to have free will, if they (the whiners) have no free will and are compelled to whine and complain due to their own beliefs in being controlled by genetic, or chemical circumstances?

People love to be a victim. That way they can maintain the illusion of innocence.